Homemade Focaccia Bread

Who doesn’t love bread? I LOVE bread, and one of my favorites is probably focaccia bread. I made it for the first time, and decided I am never going to buy focaccia bread again, so much better homemade.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves (2 tsp minced garlic)
  • 1 tsp dry thyme
  • 1 tsp dry rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/4 tsp honey
  • 2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt

To make to oil: add the olive oil, garlic, thyme, and rosemary in a pot and warm on the stove for about 10 minutes. The oil should not get to a boiling temperature, just warm. The house smelled amazing in about 5 minutes, I just left it on the back burner on warm while I did everything else.

I used a large glass bowl, and added a the cup of water, honey and yeast together and let it sit for about 5 minutes while my oil cooled. I then added 1 cup of flour and 1/4 cup of the oil mixture into the water/yeast/ honey mixture. Finally add the remainder 1 1/2 cups of flour and salt to the mixture.

Knead the dough until it becomes a smooth texture, cover the bowl with a warm towel and let the dough rise for 1 hour. After an hour, preheat the oven to 450. Use a few tsps of the leftover olive oil to oil a 9×13 pan. Push the dough out into the pan. You can use your fingers to make craters on the dough. Pour the remainder of your oil mixture over the top of the pan. Let the pan sit for another 20-30 minutes before baking. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on a cooling rack for at least 20 minutes before cutting the bread.

I served the bread with honey/ ricotta as well as honey butter with black pepper.

bonappetit

I can’t wait to make this again when I make pasta! It would be a great combo.

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2 Ingredient Bagels

2 Ingredient Bagels

What’s better than fresh homemade bagels on a cold winter day? I love finding new recipes on blogger’s pages that I follow- thanks everythingerica! I actually ended up making these two days in a row! First I tried the everything bagels. Then the next day I tried both the everything and cinnamon raisin. Now I don’t know which I liked better, haha.

Everything Bagel ingredients :

  • 1 cup Gold Medal self rising flour
  • 1 cup greek yogurt (you can do either 0% or 2% fat)
  • 1 egg white
  • Trader Joe’s Everything But The Bagel Seasoning ($1.99 at the store)

If you are feeling ambitious, you can make your own Everything But the Bagel seasoning with the following ingredients mixed together:

  • 2 tbs poppy seeds
  • 1 tbs white sesame seeds
  • 1 tbs black sesame seeds
  • 1.5 tbs dry minced garlic
  • 1.5 tbs dry minced onion
  • 2 tsp sea salt

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees, mix 1 cup of the self rising flour with 1 cup of greek yogurt until it doesn’t stick to your hand. If it does stick to your hand, just add more flour to compensate. Make a ball and cut into 4 equal parts (this much flour will make 4 bagels, so increase the recipe accordingly). Roll into logs and join ends to make a bagel shape, then place onto a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Brush with egg white and sprinkle on the everything seasoning. Bake for 23 minutes, then broil for 2-3. Let them cool and enjoy!

Follow the same recipe for the cinnamon raisin bagels. Add the self rising flour and yogurt 1:1 ratio, then add cinnamon and brown sugar to taste, along with raisins. Roll into logs, join ends, and place onto a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Brush with egg white and bake for 23 minutes, then broil for 2-3.

This summer I will be trying blueberry, poppy seed, seesame, onion and asiago cheese bagels!

This is what the bagels look like before you bake them:

This is what the bagels look like after you bake them:

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Quiche Galore

I have always been a fan of quiche, but have never tried making it myself. I read a bunch of different recipes before improvising and creating my own!

I started with Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust (you can always make your own pie crust, but I wasn’t feeling ambitious enough to do that). I think if you want to make a more healthy quiche, you need to make your own crust. I’ll definitely be experimenting with an oats/wheat based crust next time. I pushed the pie crust into a 9″ pan, made holes on the bottom with a fork, and let the crust cook for about 10 minutes at 425 degrees.

I made two different fillings:

Spinach Mushroom: 1 frozen slab of spinach (thawed and water squeezed out), half a container of fresh mushrooms (cooked on low heat for 3-5 mins), 1 cup milk (I used 2%, feel free to use a heavier milk if you want something more rich), 1-1½ cups of shredded gouda cheese, 2 eggs, 3 egg whites, salt and pepper 

Veggie: 1 tomato, 1 white onion + 1 jalapeno (cooked on low heat for 3-5 minutes), 1 cup milk, 1-1½ cups of shredded cheddar cheese, 2 eggs, 3 egg whites, salt and pepper 

I poured each of the mixtures into the cooled pie crusts and put them back in the oven at 350 degrees for 55 minutes. I took it out right before it started browning because I was taking it to a potluck. Then before they were served, we warmed them in the oven again. This made the pies a little crispy at the end, which was perfect. 

There are so may different ingredients you can put in a quiche. I am going to try making my own version of the Lou’s Special deep dish pizza next time. 

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Guilt Free Apple Pie

I made an improv apple pie one morning without 2 key ingredients: flour and butter. Granted it wasn’t the best pie I’ve ever eaten, but it was definitely a healthy alternative!

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 apples (honesty you can use whatever kind of apple you want)
  • 2-3 cups of oat (whatever you don’t use to make the crust becomes the crumble on top)
  • brown sugar
  • sugar
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg
  • lime juice
  • 2-3 eggs
  • warm water

I first used my Ninja Blender to grind the oats into a fine powder. To the oats I added 3 eggs, a few teaspoons of water, and about a 1/2 cup of sugar. I then pressed the “dough” into an 8in pan and cooked it for 10-12 minutes at 375F. While the crust was cooking, I pealed and cut up 3 apples. Then added about 3 tablespoons of lime juice, a half a cup of both brown sugar and sugar, 1 tsp nutmeg, and cinnamon to taste.

When the crust came out, I filled it with the pie filling, and added the remainder of the oats as crumble on top. I baked the pie for about 30 minutes until it was slightly brown on top.

There were 2 great things about the pie: that it didn’t take long to make, and it was truly guilt free.

I definitely want to play around with this recipe and maybe try a different filling in the next few weeks!

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Overnight Oats

I have been trying to make sure that we have breakfast every day, even on mornings I have work and have to run out of the house early. I think it is important to incorporate protein into breakfast and one of my favorite ways to do that is with peanut butter and oats. Overnight oats require no effort in the morning, not even a blender! I have been trying a lot of different combinations, but my all time favorite one is still blueberry.

All you do is put a cup of oats in a bowl, add almond milk along with your ingredients (I did blueberries, blanched almonds and cinnamon), and put your container in the fridge until the morning.

Some other ingredients that I love to add into my overnight oats include: banana, chia, coconut flakes, strawberries, dark chocolate chips, peanut butter, apples and much more!

Remember, there is no reason to skip breakfast, especially when it can be this easy!

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Vegan Gluten Free Pancakes

I love trying new recipes, and this was a crowd pleaser. I love a good pancake breakfast, but its not necessarily healthy so I decided to take a healthy spin on pancakes, and it was shockingly amazing.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of Oats (blend to flour consistency in ninja)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (I tend to add more because we love cinnamon)
  • 2 large egg
  •  1 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large banana

Just mix up all the ingredients, and cook them over the stove (1/4 cup of mix per pancake). Be careful though, they are harder to flip then regular pancakes, your first few may break.

The last step: enjoy guilt free pancakes!

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Smoothie Bowls Galore

Everyone says “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. But did you ever wonder why? Well for starters, from the name, you are breaking your fast from the night before. It is thought that eating a balanced breakfast contributes to better memory and concentration, a reduction in your bad cholesterol (also known as LDL), and may help reduce your chances of getting conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Generally your blood sugars are low when you wake up, and by eating your first meal early, you increase those levels giving your muscles the ability to work all day, and remember your heart is a muscle. It beats around the clock to give you life!

What if I told you people who eat breakfast are thinner than people who don’t eat breakfast? According to a research study done by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the fact is that people who have a balanced and complete breakfast are thinner than people that don’t. This doesn’t mean you can eat a doughnut for breakfast… the key is balanced and complete.

We are obsessed with making eggs and generally pairing it with fruits, but lately I have been on a smoothie bowl kick. For starters they are so yummy, and you can get very creative them them, and above all THEY ARE EASY!  I generally tend to sneak protein in them however I can with ingredients such as peanut butter, chia seeds, almonds and dry oats. The dry oats make a good thickening product but be careful, whenever I make smoothie bowls with oats it seems like I am full for hours.

Not only do they look pretty, they are also delicious. This is a quick and easy way to not skip the most important meal of the day. If you don’t want to blend the smoothie in the morning you can do it the night before, then add the toppings in the morning. I think having a smoothie in a bowl and eating it with a spoon keeps me fuller longer because it makes me feel like I actually ate something versus drinking a smoothie and being hungry 30 minutes later.

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Healthy PIZZA?

Everyone is always looking for ways to incorporate healthier foods into their lives. What if I told you that you were eating a slice of pizza that was ACTUALLY HEALTHY because the crust wasn’t made of processed white flour, but instead it was made with quinoa! Skeptical at first, I was happy with the results of this recipe.

Quinoa Crust Precipice

Ingredients:

  1. 3/4 cup of dry organic quinoa (I use a the Kirkland Signature organic quinoa– definitely more cost effective then getting it from Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s)
  2. 1/2 tsp baking powder
  3. 1/2 tsp salt
  4. 1 tbs olive oil
  5. italian seasoning to taste
  6. dry rosemary to taste
  7. unsalted garlic powder to taste

The dry quinoa has to be soaked in water for about 6-8 hours. Soak it overnight if you are going to be making the crust in the morning or all day if you are going to be making it for dinner. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Wash the soaked quinoa thoroughly and blend with the baking powder, salt, olive oil and seasoning. The consistency is going to be similar to pancake batter (not pizza dough). Take a 9″ cake pan and line it with parchment paper and coat it with olive oil. Pour the mixture in; the thinner you pour it the more crispy the crust will turn out. Bake it for 12 minutes, then flip the crust and cook for another 15 minutes. You can now either add the toppings or save the crust for later in the day.

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Making my pizza crusts in the morning, I was able to use them later that evening for pizza night. I chopped up mushrooms, green peppers and onions and prepared a garlic oil to brush onto the crust before adding the toppings.

garlic oil: freshly minced garlic, olive oil, Italian seasoning and rosemary

I also made a homemade pizza sauce: 1/2 cup chopped onion, 2 tbs minced garlic, 2 tbs oil, 1 cup chopped fresh tomato, 8 ounces tomato sauce, 6 ounces tomato paste, 1 tsp salt, 2 tsp oregano, 2 tsp basil,  and 1 tsp pepper. Saute the onions and garlic in olive oil, once brown add all the remaining ingredients and let the sauce simmer over low heat.

When it was time to assemble the pizza, I brushed the crust with the garlic oil, then added the pizza sauce, vegetables, pepperoni, mozzarella cheese and lastly the Italian blend. Then I baked the pizza for another 10-15 minutes until the cheese was melted.

It tasted as good as it looked. Can’t wait to make it again!

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Honey Garlic Chicken

I have always loved to cook! Cooking is relaxing and calming for me, and I enjoy every moment of it. I am always on the go, and it is nice to prep meals before work and utilize my crock pot. Crock pot honey garlic chicken is not only easy to make, but it’s delicious!

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Ingredients:

  1. 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts      (about 2 lbs)
  2. ½ cup soy sauce
  3. ½ cup honey
  4. ¼ cup hoisin sauce
  5. 1 tsp sesame oil
  6. 1 tbs rice wine vinegar
  7. 4 minced garlic cloves
  8. 1 tsp ginger
  9. 2 scallions (1 for cooking and 1 for garnish)
  10. 1 tbs corn starch
  11. Sesame seeds

First whisk together the following ingredients: soy sauce, honey, ginger, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, minced garlic cloves, & half the scallions. I normally use all fresh ingredients but I recently tried Spice World Squeeze Ginger. I found it in the refrigerator isle in the grocery store, and it honestly tastes fresh, without the hassle of fresh ginger. Pour the mixture over the whole chicken breasts and cook on low in a crock pot for 2-3 hours. After the chicken comes out of the crock pot, let it rest for a few minutes before shredding it. I use The Original Bear Paws Shredder Claws to shred my meat. They are an Amazon’s Choice product that I absolutely love! Now time to thicken the leftover liquid in the crock pot. Take about 3 tablespoons of the liquid and mix corn starch into it until the mixture is smooth. Slowly add the mixture back into the crock pot (I used a whisk to mix it back in). Lastly, add the shredded chicken back into the crock pot and let the mixture simmer.

I served the chicken over a piece of sea weed with a scoop of rice. Finally, the chicken was garnished with sesame seeds and scallions. Bon Appetite!

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