Sunday, January 29, 2012

Spinach Berry Smoothie

Here is this morning's smoothie experiment.

-7 strawberries, capped
-15 raspberries
-25 blackberries (this was probably too many, but I wanted to use the remainder of the box I had)
-1 banana
-handful of spinach leaves
-1/2 c almond milk
-1/4 c plain Greek yogurt

Throw everything in the blender. If you like iced smoothies, toss in some ice cubes. Next time, I will use fewer blackberries because I'm not a huge fan of seeds. This made 2 medium-sized servings. All in all, this was extremely tasty and very filling.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Living Lean

So hubs and I ordered Mike Dolce's book Living Lean. We've both read through the "book" portion, which is about 1/4 of the total. Another 1/4 is recipes. The remaining 1/2 is exercise recommendations and diagrams. We've tried 3 recipes inspired by the book thus far.
1. French Toast using Ezekiel bread
2. Pan-roasted chicken and broccoli
3. Honey glazed salmon
Once we've had some more experience with this, I'll have some more blog posts. Perhaps I'll even have hubs be a guest writer!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Banana Bread

Aside from zucchini bread, banana is my favorite. Today I wanted to share my banana bread recipe with you. I'm in the process of trying to tweak this into a healthier recipe, but it's just so good like it is. (Also, I need a lot of overripe bananas to experiment with, and that's not a common occurrence.)

Without further ado, I give you banana bread a la Aly.

2 c bread flour (you can use all-purpose too)
1 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t ginger
1/4 t cloves
1/2 t allspice

1 stick butter
1/2 - 3/4 cup packed brown sugar (depending on how sweet you like yours)
2 1/2 c mashed bananas
2 eggs, beaten
1 t vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350 degress F. Spray a 9x5 bread pan with cooking spray, or you can grease it.
Large bowl: combine all your dry ingredients. (Top section of list.)
Medium bowl: Cream together butter and brown sugar. Once that's combined, add bananas, eggs and vanilla. Remember: if you don't have enough banana, throw in some applesauce. I almost always do that anyway because it keeps the bread super moist. If you use sweetened applesauce, I'd recommend only using 1/2 c brown sugar.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry. This goes against everything I was ever taught about baking growing up, but it seems to work best to get all the dry moistened. Stir as little as possible to combine the ingredients - the bread will be tough if you over-mix.
Bake for 60-70 minutes until a toothpick inserted in several spots comes out clean. (Make sure to test more than one place, because you might stick the toothpick into a chunk of banana.) Let cool for 10 minutes, then move to a cooling rack. 
Happy eating!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Crockpot Lasagna and Pull-Apart Garlic Bread

My wonderful college roommate and her boyfriend came to visit me for New Years, so it gave me the chance to try out some new recipes! I was rather skeptical when I came across a recipe on Pinterest for crock pot lasagna. I wasn't sure how the noodles would cook.
The recipe itself sounded fine, but I am the kind of person who has a difficult time following instructions in the kitchen - even the first time I try something. The link above will take you to the original, but here's the one I made, and my sample audience loved it. (Sorry I didn't take a picture... but I figure most people know what lasagna looks like...)

1 pound ground beef (I used 90% lean)
1 pound ground pork
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
1/2 onion, diced (I usually puree onions as my hubs doesn't mind the flavor, but hates the texture)
32 oz pasta sauce
Lasagna noodles
1 1/2 c ricotta cheese
3 cups mozzarella cheese, divided 2 and 1
2 eggs

Spray your crock pot with cooking spray or brush down with olive oil.
Brown the meat in a skillet with the garlic and onion. Drain off the grease. Add the pasta sauce to the meat mixture. I retained a little of the sauce to put on the very bottom of the crock pot.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine cheeses and eggs. Keep one cup of the mozzarella cheese to put on top.
Spread 1/4 of the meat sauce on the bottom of the crock pot. Arrange a layer of noodles above that. My crock pot was not large enough, so I did need to break the noodles apart. Spread 1/3 of the cheese mix over the noodles. Repeat meat, noodles and cheese layers twice more, ending with the final 1/4 of the meat mixture.
Sprinkle remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese on top.
Cover and set on low for 8 hours or med/high for 4 hours.

This made enough for 4 people to eat dinner, and leftovers for a few more days.

With it, I prepared a Pull-Apart Garlic Bread.

2 cans refrigerated biscuits, cut into quarters
Half stick butter
2 cloves garlic, crushed and pureed
1 t garlic salt
1/2 c shredded parmesan cheese

Preheat oven at 350 degrees F. Melt butter, stir in garlic, garlic salt, and parmesan cheese. Dip each piece of biscuit into the butter mixture, and place in a pile in a greased bread pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until top layer is browned. To serve, flip pan upside down on a plate.