April 29, 2017

Korean-Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

Korean Spiced Pumpkin Seeds
Happy Halloween, everyone!  While it’s not my favorite holiday, I like watching my kids get into it.  When we drive down the street, my little one likes to shout out the neighborhood decorations:  “Mommy, I just saw a skeleton!!!”  “Oh no,” I cower, “I’m scaaaaared!”  “Don’t worry Mommy, it’s just pretend!”  And they really love seeing jack-o-lanterns.

Thank you, Rose the Jack-o-Lantern, for your tasty guts!

My Mom always toasted the pumpkin seeds for us when we were kids, and I loved them so much!  I found a recipe at My Retro Kitchen, which, I think, is the way my Mom made them.  Unfortunately, I was all out of Worcestershire sauce!  Frugal Girlmet to the rescue – I decided to keep the technique and use a different flavor.  Innovate, experiment – voila!  Korean Spiced Pumpkin Seeds!

These have everything you want in a snack – crunchy, salty, spicy (but not TOO spicy – unless that’s how you roll, in which case, double the dried chili pepper powder!) and just a bit sweet.  These would be a great bar snack (in the name of science, I had to test my hypothesis, and these are fantastic with a cold beer!)

Korean Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups raw pumpkin seeds, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic (not to be confused with garlic salt!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Korean chili powder (or use Cayenne or sriracha)
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. In a large bowl, mix everything but the pumpkin seeds.  Make sure you have no lumps of garlic or sugar.  Stir in the pumpkin seeds, then scrape it all out onto the baking sheet.  Spread the seeds out on the sheet so they can cook evenly.
  3. Cook for one hour, stirring every ten minutes.  They get a little sticky, so use a silicon spatula.  After an hour, remove from the oven and let cool for about an hour.  Don’t worry, they’re not sticky anymore.  Remove to a bowl and get snacking!

Lemon Basil Cookies

Lemon Basil Cookies

If your FaceBook newsfeed or email are anything like mine, you’ve got dozens of recipes to view every day.  From pages you ‘liked’ to friends sharing recipes, I’m bombarded with recipes for tasty treats all day long!  However, I saw this recipe for Lemon Basil Cookies on the Elana’s Pantry website, and I said to myself – that’s the one I’m going to make today!

I still have lots of basil growing in my flower bed, so that was handy to come by.  Almond flour is easy to find at the store now, and you can also make your own if you choose.  These cookies are herbal and fresh tasting, with a nice balance of flavors.  In fact, I tasted a bit of salt in mine from the salted butter I used, which offset the sweetness.  You may choose to add another tablespoon of honey, because these cookies are not overly sweet.  Try them and see – perfectly balanced, deliciously different!

Lemon Basil Cookies  (Recipe from Elana’s Pantry)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups blanched almond flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup coconut butter (I used regular butter and they came out great!)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, blend together the almond flour, salt, and baking soda.
  3. Add the butter, honey, basil and lemon zest.  Blend again until a ball of dough forms.
  4. Line baking sheets with parchment paper, or use a Silpat mat.  Scoop a teaspoon full of dough and drop it on the parchment paper.  These cookies spread, so give them some room!
  5. Cook for about 8 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool on the cookie sheets for an hour.
  6. Store in a sealed container.  This made about 18 cookies for me.
Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana

To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet

Roasted Chickpeas

Roasted Chickpeas

I’m a nibbler.  Are you?  I can sit for an hour with a book, popping snacks into my mouth!  If you are a nibbler like me, it’s best to have some healthy treats around the house.  Popcorn is usually my go-to, but this recipe for Roasted Chickpeas may be my new favorite!

Get two cans of chickpeas (or do you like to call them garbanzo beans?).  Pick out your favorite flavors to add:  curry powder, a spice rub, a lemon pepper shake, even taco seasoning or a Ranch dressing packet.  Mix, roast, crunch!  These guys are like healthier Corn Nuts.  Yum!

Roasted Chickpeas

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons (or more) of your favorite spice powder mix – see above for ideas

Directions:

  1. Drain the chickpeas and rinse in a colander.  Let dry for about half an hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 400*F.
  3. In a bowl, mix together chickpeas, oil, and spices.  Add salt if your spice mix doesn’t include it (curry powder never has salt in it, so you will want to add about half a teaspoon of salt.)
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.  Spread out the chickpeas into one layer and place the sheet pan on the middle rack.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Stir to make sure they’re not sticking or burning, then bake for another 15 minutes or so (maybe another 5 minutes more or less, depending on your oven.)
  5. Remove from the oven and let cool, then munch away!

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

School Birthday Muffins

School Birthday Muffins

It’s nice to be able to make a healthy snack for your family.  It’s also nice to have a recipe in your arsenal that makes a LOT of healthy snacks!  This recipe for School Birthday Muffins fits that bill!

This is a recipe my daughter’s preschool gave me in case I wanted to bring a treat for her birthday.  No nuts, so we can include kids with nut allergies, and pretty healthy to boot.  The recipe specifies “6 cups of chopped fruit,” so that leaves it open to a lot of variations.  You can easily use six cups of mashed banana, if you want to make it easy on yourself!  Also try canned pumpkin, or a combination of berries and bananas.

Next time one of your little ones has a birthday, maybe bring these to share with her class.  Your child’s teacher will thank you!

School Birthday Muffins (adapted from the Moosewood Cookbook)
(makes 3 dozen)

Ingredients:

Wet

  • 2 sticks butter, or soy margarine, or vegan butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups milk, or soy milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 cups chopped fruit – I used 3 apples and 1 cup of baby carrots, chopped in the food processor, along with 2 cups of Craisins

Dry

  • 6 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Grease muffin tin or use paper liners.
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth.  Beat in the eggs; then the milk and vanilla.  With a rubber spatula, fold in the fruit.
  3. In a separate large bowl, mix the dry ingredients together.  Stir in the wet ingredients until just mixed.  Fill each muffin cup about 3/4 full of batter.
  4. Bake for about 32 minutes, or until puffy and golden.  Remove muffins from tin and cool on a baking rack.  Store in a sealed container.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

Sriracha Popcorn

Sriracha Popcorn

I have a well-documented popcorn addiction.  I’m not ashamed!  I like to fiddle around with the flavorings and see if I can change it up from regular butter and salt.  I think this one is an experiment gone RIGHT:  Sriracha Popcorn!

I went pretty easy on the Sriracha because I knew my girls would want to eat some of this and I didn’t want to burn their little tongues.  But if you live in a house full of chile heads, crank it up!  I used honey to balance out the spiciness, but you could use brown sugar instead.  Ready to get poppin’?  Let’s go!

Sriracha Popcorn

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha (or other hot sauce – use more if you like!)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash, Italian herb blend, or other seasoning blend
  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil or coconut oil for popping
  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • salt to taste

Directions:

  1. In a small pan over very low heat, melt together the butter with the Sriracha, honey, and seasoning blend.
  2. Meanwhile, pop the popcorn in the grapeseed oil.
  3. When popcorn is popped, pour the Sriracha butter over the popcorn.  Cover with a lid and shake.  Add salt to taste and shake again.  Store any leftovers in a Ziploc bag.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

Protein Banana Bread Breakfast Bars

Protein Banana Bread Breakfast Bars

I found this recipe on a website called PaleOMG.  I love their photos on Instagram, and they have great ideas for healthy snacks and things to give your kids.  I changed the recipe a bit, just subbing a few things here and there, and now I present to you:  Protein Banana Bread Breakfast Bars!

That’s a mouthful.  These PBBBBs are just like banana bread, but not cloyingly sweet.  They are made with almond flour and whey protein powder, so you’re getting a good dose of protein in your sweet treat.  These were easy and delicious!  I’m storing mine in the fridge, and hope there is enough left for me to enjoy one with my morning coffee tomorrow!

Protein Banana Bread Breakfast Bars

Ingredients:

  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2/3 cup almond flour
  • 1/3 cup whey protein (vanilla, but I used cinnamon!)
  • 1/4 cup tapioca or arrowroot flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup cacao nibs (I used mini chocolate chips)
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds (I used sesame seeds)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F.  Grease an 8×8 square pan.
  2. Mix all the ingredients together, except for chocolate chips and almonds.  Then fold in cacao nibs or chocolate chips.  Pour into the prepared pan, and cover the top with the almonds or sesame seeds.
  3. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the middle is set.  Cool for 10 minutes before cutting.
  4. I cut mine into 1″x4″ bars, so I had 16 servings.  Store in the fridge, covered.

 

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipes, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

GF Brownies

GF Brownies

Guilt-free?  Gluten-free?  Girl friends?  Yes, all the above!  As usual, I have taken a recipe, tweaked some things here and there for my family, and made a treat that’s gluten-free, nearly guilt-free, and sure to please all your girl friends!  Here are my GF Brownies!

The three ingredients you’ll need to shop for are coconut flour, almond flour, and coconut oil.  You know what?  You can even trade in the coconut oil, if it’s not your thing, for half a stick of butter.  Now just pick up some coconut and almond flours, use what you need, and store them indefinitely in the freezer.  Frugal!

These are fudgy but not pasty.  There’s a difference!  They’re chewy but they don’t become glue in your mouth.  Super easy.  Let’s go!

GF Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips – the higher the cacao percent, the better!  (These were 64%)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (or use butter)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (or you could use brown sugar)
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • butter or coconut oil to grease the pan

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Grease an 8×8 square pan.
  2. In a large pot, melt the chocolate chips and coconut oil together over medium-low heat, stirring constantly.  When the mixture is smooth, remove from heat.  Whisk in the cinnamon, vanilla, and salt.
  3. In a smaller bowl, beat the four eggs together.  Slowly whisk them into the chocolate mixture (make sure it’s cool enough so you don’t make scrambled eggs!)  Whisk in the maple syrup.
  4. A little at a time, whisk in the almond and coconut flours.  Whisk thoroughly, so you don’t have lumps.
  5. Pour the batter into the greased pan.  Bake at 350*F for 25-30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cool for about an hour.  Slice into 16 squares (2×2 each).  Hide the pan from your kids!

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

Cranberry Orange Scones (Gluten-Free)

Cranberry Orange Scones resize

If you have kids, you probably know what summer break is like:  trying to keep them busy and entertained without letting their brains turn to mush!  One of my favorite ways to do that is baking together.    I have my older girl (first grader now!) read the recipe out loud, and both girls love to stir and mix and pour ingredients.  Today’s group baking exercise?  Cranberry Orange Scones!

These are gluten-free, made with coconut flour.  If you’ve never tried it, I can’t recommend it highly enough.  For six big scones, you only need half a cup of coconut flour!  I like making treats for the girls that are single serving – that way there’s no arguing over whether the slice of bread is big enough, or having to share the last one.  These came together in a snap.  The original recipe (found on the Elana’s Pantry website) directs you to mix all the ingredients in a food processor, and I’m sure that would have made the recipe go even faster!  But because my girls wanted to help, we mixed them by hand – dry ingredients in a large bowl, wet ingredients in a smaller bowl, and then mixed wet into dry.

Try these little heaven-scented beauties today!

Cranberry Orange Scones (Gluten-Free)     makes six large scones

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil or softened butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries
  • zest of one orange, plus the juice of half the orange

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, blend together the flour, salt, and baking soda.
  2. In another bowl, beat together the coconut oil or butter, honey, and eggs.
  3. Mix the egg mixture into the flour mixture.  Stir in the cranberries, orange zest, and orange juice.
  4. On a Silpat mat or parchment paper, make six mounds of dough.
  5. Bake for about 15 minutes at 350*F.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread resize

For last week’s recipe, I needed a carton of buttermilk.  I still had quite a bit left, and I knew I wanted to use it all up, so I found a few recipes that fit the bill.  None, however, sounded as tasty as this one for Irish Soda Bread!

A “soda bread” is simply a quick bread that uses baking soda and /or baking powder to rise, as opposed to yeast.  That means you don’t need to wait for it to rise, or worry about the yeast being old and feeble (or killing it with water that is too hot … or not hot enough to wake it up … Have I mentioned lately I hate baking with yeast?!?!)  This recipe comes together in a food processor, but if yours isn’t big enough to fit all the ingredients, or you just like using a pastry cutter, you can certainly put some elbow grease into it and do it the old-fashioned way.

This recipe is based on a Martha Stewart recipe, but I made a few changes.  The biggest change is that, unlike regular soda bread that is kind of bland and dotted with raisins, this one has chopped currants throughout, so it is more of a currant-flavored bread.  Also, the original recipe called for caraway seeds, but I used anise seeds instead.  This bread keeps on the counter, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and foil, for a few days.  Cut a big slice, cover it with butter, and match it up with your favorite coffee or tea.

Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons anise seed
  • 4 tablespoon cold butter, cubed
  • 1 10-ounce box currants (or use 2 cups of raisins)
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons buttermilk

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F.  Butter a large round Pyrex baking dish, all the way to the top.
  2. In the bowl of a large food processor, blend together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and anise seed.  Add the cold butter cubes and pulse to blend.  Add in the currants and blend again.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together the buttermilk, egg, and baking soda.  Add this to the food processor and blend again until thoroughly mixed.  It will be wet and sticky!
  4. Scoop the bread dough into the buttered Pyrex dish and smooth into a mound.  With a brush or the back of a spoon, brush the top with the 3 tablespoons of buttermilk.  Bake for 70-80 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Homemade Coconut Flour, and Homemade Cheezits

 

Homemade Cheezits

 

So, you fell in love with coconut milk too, right?  It’s your end-all, be-all, new favorite thing? That’s okay if it’s not.  But if you have made it, or plan to, you will be left with a cheesecloth-wrapped ball of pulp.  Now, someone who didn’t know better might just chuck that in the trash.  But not us!  We are going to use the pulp to make Homemade Coconut Flour and, with that flour, we’re going to make Homemade Cheezits!

First, the tools you will need:  You’ll need a baking sheet, parchment paper, and a food processor or blender.  If you have a Silpat silicone baking liner, now is the time to use it.  And you’re in luck:  the ingredients are already in your house, right now!  Once you make (or purchase) coconut flour, you can whip these crackers up in minutes.  The good news is that they have no preservatives, artificial colors or flavors, or any unpronounceable chemicals – hooray!  They come out of the oven the perfect blend of crispy and  chewy, ready for snacking.  The bad news is, because they lack any of that lab-created stuff, they don’t stay crispy.  But that is easily remedied by a quick pass through a toaster oven.  Just a few minutes is enough to make these crackers crunchy again.

Ready to make some homemade, preservative-free snacks your family will love?  Let’s go!

Homemade Coconut Flour

Ingredients:

  • Pulp from 2 batches of coconut milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 250 F.  Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat.  Spread out the coconut pulp, breaking up any lumps.  Toast the pulp until completely dry and powdery.  You really need to make sure all the moisture is removed.  This can take anywhere from one to two hours.  Stir occasionally to make sure the lumps are broken up and there are no hot-spots, and don’t let it burn!
  2. When the pulp is very dry, let it cool in the oven for another hour or so.  Transfer to a blender or food processor and blend for 5 minutes.  Depending on how powerful your blender is, you can get it pretty fine.  My food processor did a decent job, but the flour was not silky fine in texture.  That’s okay!  Get it as powdery in texture as your tools allow.

 

Homemade Coconut Flour

 

Homemade Cheezits

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (I used cheddar)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.  In a food processor, blend all the ingredients together.  You will end up with a moist ball of dough.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat liner.  Plop the ball of dough down on the liner, and cover with a piece of parchment paper.  Roll out the dough very thinly, to about 1/8″ thickness.  Try to make it even thickness all the way across – you can see my edges were a little thinner, and they got crispier than in the middle.  That’s fine, but you don’t want a huge variation in thickness.  Remove top sheet of parchment paper and bake for 8-10 minutes until starting to color.
  3. Remove from oven and score with a sharp knife.  You don’t need to go all the way through, because you don’t want to cut your liner or parchment paper.  Bake again for another 8-10 minutes until golden brown and starting to get crispy at the edges.
  4. When it’s cool enough to touch, cut all the way through the crackers, or just use your hands to break them at the perforations.  When cool, store crackers in sealed container.  To crisp, put them on a baking sheet in the toaster oven or regular oven for five minutes.

I think next time I make these, I’ll add a little paprika or garlic powder.  New flavor combinations are exciting!  My girls helped me make these, so here is a photo of them enjoying their handiwork:

 

B+L Homemade Cheezits

 

 

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipes, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!