Monday, October 5, 2015

Apple Roses

With Thanksgiving coming very soon, Sue and I have been busy looking for some new recipes to try out for our family dinner.
I came across a video showing how to make these beautiful roses out of apples and puff pastry and knew I had to give them a try. I will list my step by step instructions below but if you need more clarification you can pop over to Cooking With Manuela (HERE) for her wonderful tutorial and video. 
They really are very simple and look SO SO SO pretty among all the pies and cakes and other desserts. Plus, you can have them ready in under an hour. 

Apple Roses

3 - 4 apples
1 lemon
4 cups water
4 Tbsp jam (any kind)
3 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp icing sugar

Preheat oven to 375. Line 12 muffin cups with paper cupcake liners, set aside.
Core the apples, cut in half, and slice into VERY thin slices. 
Squeeze the lemon into the 4 cups of water. Place sliced apples into the lemon water. Microwave for 3 - 4 minutes. Until apples are just softened a bit. Drain off the water. Set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together jam and 3 Tbsp of water. Microwave for about 20 - 30 seconds. Mix together again. Set aside.
Take 1 box of puff pastry and roll it out into a thin rectangle. Slice into 6 equal pieces - as per photo below.

Take 1 slice of the pastry and brush it with some of the jam. You can use a pastry brush or the back of a spoon. (We used pear jam, that's why you can't really see it.)
Lay several slices of apple over half of the pastry - as per photo below.

Fold the pastry up over the apples so only a little bit peeks over the top. Roll the pastry up from one end. Place into the prepared muffin cup. (Again, better clarification HERE - from Cooking With Manuela.)
Repeat with remaining strips. Then roll out second puff pastry box and repeat again. You will end up with 12 roses.

Bake at 375 for about 40 - 45 minutes, until puff pastry is browned and fully cooked. 
remove from cupcake liners to wire rack to cool completely.

You can serve as is....

Or, you can dust with a little icing sugar (powdered sugar) to pretty them up even more!

The first one or two rolls may take a little finagling... but once you get the hang of it they only take a few minutes to zip through. If you have any questions or concerns, I advise popping over to Cooking With Manuela for her wonderful tutorial and video (HERE). It really is helpful! 
Beautiful, right? 
And tasty.... and sooooo the way to impress your guests. I guarantee it. 
We're sharing at these fun sites. Be sure to pop over for a visit! - Joy Love Food, Memories By The Mile, Hun...What's For Dinner?, Simple Life of a Fire Wife, Lou Lou Girls

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Hawaiian Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

I love Hawaiian pizza. Double ham, double pineapple.
That's always the way to go.
Thing is..... I'm trying to go without bread for a while as I tend to overindulge. Bread is my kryptonite. Anyways... 
This has all the amazing cheesy, Hawaiian-y goodness without the bread. 
Or pasta for that matter.
This is a healthy, good for you lasagna that doesn't even taste healthy. Not even a little.
Feel free to indulge away and not feel the least bit guilty.
One serving of this (according to Myfitnesspal) is only - 315 calories, 39 carbs, 11 fat, 29 protein, and 4 fiber. **That's for 1/5th of the recipe**
Know how big a serving size that is??? Check out this pic...

Yup.  That's ONE serving.
Quick, make your shopping list. You need this right now.

Hawaiian Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

1 medium spaghetti squash (yield approx 4 cups shredded)
salt & pepper
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups 1% cottage cheese
3/4 cup partly skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 cup spaghetti sauce
1 can (14oz) pineapple chunks, drained
2 pkgs (about 110 gr) Buddig deli ham, chopped

1/4 cup partly skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray a 9 X 13 pan with cooking spray, set aside.
Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Season with salt and pepper. Now, you can either place them on a cookie sheet and roast them in the oven for about an hour OR you can place them on a plate and microwave them for 10 - 15 minutes. You just need to cook them long enough that you can easily shred the squash with a fork. 
When they are down, shred the squash into a bowl and set aside. You will need about 4 cups for this recipe. (You can, of course, use more but I used 4 cups to figure out the nutritional info.)
In a frying pan, cook onions and garlic until translucent, about 5 or so minutes. Set aside to cool a little.
In a mixing bowl, stir together cottage cheese, first amount of mozza and Parmesan cheese, and the cooked onions and garlic.

Layer your lasagna:
First spread half of the spaghetti squash in the prepared pan.
Then top with half of the spaghetti sauce. 
Then top with half of the cottage cheese mixture.
Then top with half of the pineapple and ham.

Repeat the layers one more time - squash, sauce, cottage cheese, pineapple and ham.
Sprinkle with the remaining mozza and Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350 until lasagna is bubbling, about 45 - 55 minutes. 
Let sit for 5 - 8 minutes before serving. 

Cut into 5 portions.

It tastes like the topping off a Hawaiian pizza but is way more filling because of the squash.
I cannot begin to explain how excited this made me.

You can put waaaaaaaay more cheese and filling in there if you want to - just keep in mind that it will completely alter the nutritional counts. 
It freezes very well too. Just pop it in the microwave for a few minutes to re-heat it and you are good to go! I brought it to the office for lunch and everyone was trying to steal it because it smelled so amazing! 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Fabulous Fall Dinner Menu (and a giveaway!!)

We have 4 dishes to share with you today.
Sue and I were chosen to participate in a CorningWare recipe campaign and, as such, received these beautiful dishes with which to create some tasty, tasty recipes.
Disclaimer: this post was sponsored by World Kitchen and we were monetarily compensated and received free product. That being said - our opinions, as always, are our own!

Am I right?
And guess what!?!?!?! CorningWare is gracious enough to allow us to host a giveaway for one of our lucky readers. You can win a 2.5 Quart Vermillion Baker by CW from CorningWare (retail value $21.99) - That's the orangey-red one in the above photo. 
Giveaway deets at the end of the post. Be sure to read through!
Back to our recipes for now!
Sue and I came up with 4 separate dishes so we could have a whole fall harvest inspired meal. 
We came up with an Apple Cranberry Kale Salad, Baked Brown Rice, Festive Roast Asparagus (Asparagus with balsamic reduction, feta, tomato, pumpkin seeds, and cranberries), and Roast Vegetables with Double Smoked Farmer Sausage and Parmesan. 

First up - salad.

Apple Cranberry Kale Salad

1/2 bunch kale, trimmed and chopped
1/2 apple, diced
3 Tbsp dried cranberries
2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
3 Tbsp onion, finely diced
1/2 cup coleslaw mix
Italian dressing (or similar)

In a large bowl, toss together kale, apple, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, onion, and coleslaw mix. 
When ready to serve - drizzle with dressing.

Toss and serve. (We put half the salad into the yellow CorningWare dish and refilled it with the other half when we ran out!)

Next up - rice

Baked Brown Rice

1 1/4 cup chicken broth
1 Tbsp butter
3/4 cup brown rice
2 Tbsp Onion Soup Mix (We used Knorr)
1/4 cup frozen peas

Preheat oven to 375. 
In a medium pot over high heat, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Stir in butter.
In a 2.5 qt oven safe dish, spread the brown rice and sprinkle with the onion soup mix. 

Pour in the boiling chicken broth/butter mixture and stir well to combine.
Cover with tinfoil and bake at 375 for approx 45 minutes - until rice is cooked and liquid is absorbed.

Stir in the frozen peas and let sit 5 minutes.
Serve hot.

Now, on to the asparagus.

Festive Baked Asparagus

2 bunches asparagus, ends trimmed
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar reduced to 3 Tbsp
2 Tbsp tomato, finely diced
2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
2 Tbsp crumbled feta
2 Tbsp dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 400. 
In a mixing bowl, toss asparagus with oil and salt & pepper.

Spread in a single layer on oven safe dish (or cookie sheet)
Bake at 400 until asparagus is fork tender, about 20 minutes.

Drizzle with the balsamic reduction and sprinkle with feta.

Sprinkle with tomatoes, cranberries, and pumpkin seeds.

Serve immediately. 
Lastly, it's veggie time!

Roasted Vegetables With Farmer's Sausage

1 very large carrot, cut in chunks
1 large rutabaga (or turnip), cut in chunks
1/2 a medium butternut squash, cut in chunks
2 cups Brussels sprouts, trimmed 
1 cup button mushrooms, stems removed
1 medium sweet potato, cut in chunks
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 - 4 Tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper
2 links double smoked farmer's sausage, sliced
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 400.
Make sure all your veggies are prepped (ie: washed, peeled, cut) 
Toss chopped veggies (including garlic) in the oil and sprinkle generously with salt & pepper. Spread on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper).

Roast veggies at 400 until fork tender, about 30 - 45 minutes, keep checking.
When veggies are almost done, scoop them into an oven safe casserole dish and place them on the lower rack of the oven.
Slice the farmer's sausage.

Spread it evenly on the cookie sheet you just used for the veggies - except switch the parchment paper for tinfoil!

Place under broiler and cook until sausage is nicely browned. 
Spread on top of the veggies.

Top with the Parmesan cheese.

Return to rack, under broiler, and cook 1 - 2 more minutes, until cheese is melty.

Serve immediately.
Maybe with a little wine....

So much tastiness AND it's even healthy.
Healthy is always good. 

 All those colors are just too pretty....

Oh, yeah, and don't forget a little whole grain bread with a little butter to round out the meal.

Now - here is how to enter to win your very own beautiful CW by CorningWare 2.5 Quart Vermillion Baker.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 25, 2015

Clif Bar Review

Sue and I were lucky enough to be chosen to participate in a Clif Bar (Visit their website HERE)  promotion.
They sent us samples to review of several of their Organic Trail Mix Bars in 5 different flavors: 
Dark Chocolate Almond Sea Salt, Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond, Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter, Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Raspberry, and Coconut Almond Peanut.
Sue and I thought we would immerse ourselves in the experience by setting the scene with each flavor. I mean... they are "trail" mix bars... am I right?

There's a trail. There's a bar.

We set up a little picnic site for out first sampling on a hill top...

Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Raspberry.... check.
Texture - good. Chewy with a bit of crunch. 
Flavor - good, a little more fruity than chocolaty. 

Then back on the trail again....
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter.... check.
Texture - good. Crunchy & chewy. 
Flavor - very good. I mean - chocolate & peanut butter. Hello! What's not to love?

We then decided on a little lake side break.
Dark Chocolate Almond Sea Salt....check.
Texture - good.
Flavor - very good. The hint of saltiness adds a little somethin' somethin' extra

Aye.... 'tis a thing of beauty.

Here we also tried another tasty choice.
Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond.... check.
Texture - good. Nice and chewy.
Flavor - Good. Perfect amount of chocolate and cherry. 

For our last bar we had a visit from some wildlife. 
Melman the moose approved.
Coconut Almond Peanut.... check.
Texture - good.
Flavor - very good. If you don't like chocolate then this is the way to go!

So... our verdict.
Keep in mind that, while we were given the samples for free, our opinions of the products our completely our own!!
My favorite: hands down, the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter.  
Least favorite: Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Raspberry. (Still good but I wasn't a huge fan of all the fruit with my chocolate.....)
Sue's favorite: Dark Chocolate Almond Sea Salt
Least favorite: Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Raspberry. (She' also wasn't a huge fan of the fruitiness compared to the others.) 
If you are looking for a sturdy, gluten free, vegan/vegetarian trail mix bar to take on a hike, for breakfast on the go, or just for a quick healthier snack... we recommend giving the Clif Bar Organic Trail Mix Bars a try. They are apparently carried by a lot of major retailers so are easy to find!