RED VELVET PANCAKES

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RED VELVET PANCAKES

Dear Mrs. Butterworth and Aunt Jamima……MOVE OVER!

Do you like Red Velvet Cake, Cupcakes, or Whoopie Pies?

If you answered “YES” then you’re probably drooling by now.

I mean I couldn’t wait til Friday to post this puppy!

Today Red Velvet met my Pancake Batter.

Here’s what happened…

ROUND 1: I tried one batch with oat flour and no butter…ummmm yuck! Let’s say they were a little dense and it took at least 1/2 cup cocoa and 1/4 cup sugar to make them worth biting into.

ROUND 2: I caved and added butter, cause we all know “everything tastes better with butter” as Julia Childs once said. I also tried something new that my nana shared with me today, adding club soda to the batter for some fluffiness. I didn’t have buttermilk, which is what I originally wanted to use and red velvet cake is known for its use of buttermilk. Any good cook can improvise. So I did.

I WANT YOU TO SAVOR EVERY BITE!

1) Cause…..they’re AWESOME.

2) It’s not like you’ll be eating a ton of them daily. Unless you have some sort of pancake problem. Maybe there’s a pancake overeater anonymous club for that.

3) I however need a break from them cause I’ve been playing “mad scientist” in the kitchen for two days and my fingertips and tongue are both stained red.

Oh and incase you’re wondering, YES I’m familiar with food dyes and the health concerns. I do not wish to debate anyone on this.

I wish to just enjoy my pancakes.

HOWEVER I’m adding a link for something called BEET POWDER, which is a natural substitute.

Just be aware that it does not act the same way in baking, likely 1/3 cup should be used in place of food dye.

SO HERE IT IS!

Cute little Stencil!

 

RECIPE

Serves: 10-12 pancakes (Be nice and share this time! But expect to devour at least 3 yourself)

Time: 10-15 mins

Equipment:

I just happen to have pancake molds shaped like hearts, that’s always fun!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3-4 Tablespoons (1/4 cup +)  cocoa powder (use the good stuff, like Ghiradelli, add more if you desire)
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar, or more (I use HAIN organic brand)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, unsalted (the real stuff!)
  • 1 cup club soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon red food coloring
  • powdered sugar for dusting
  • maple syrup for drizzling

Note: Please note that the batter will be pretty thin and seem watery. The pancakes will also be a thinner pancake, if you use a mold it thickens a bit because it is contained in that small shape.

Methods:

  1. Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. Melt butter in small saucepan or microwave glass dish for 30-45 seconds.
  3. Combine all liquids including eggs in a small bowl, whisk to combine, careful not to splash that red food coloring all over the place (don’t wear white).

Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and whisk to combine. Again, don’t be too aggressive, I have red splatters all over the place!

Heat a griddle or nonstick pan over medium heat. Toss a pat of butter in there, let it melt and measure out a little less than 1/4 cup of batter. Spray the pancake molds with Pam.

Pour the batter gently into pancake mold (if you have one) and let cook until small bubbles begin to form on the surface.

Gotta love that I have a heart shaped mold!

Remove the pancake mold, gently so as to maintain the shape of whatever you’re making and flip the flapjack. Let heat for another minute or so until done! Don’t burn them, pay attention.

Dust with powdered sugar, drizzle with maple syrup, or make a sandwich by spreading nutella (yeah, I said NUTELLA) between two pancakes, then top with the goodies!

SERVE on a PRETTY PLATE alongside a glass of champagne, perhaps a bellini for a V-day Brunch!

One big mouthful of goodness!

Chefs Tips:

  • You can use all-pupose flour for the entire recipe, it just made me feel better to add some whole wheat flour. What can I say?
  • Like I mentioned earlier, make a sandwich out of two pancakes and spread nutella or some other goodie in the middle, perhaps strawberry or raspberry jam and peanut butter? Now I’m getting a bit crazed and out of hand…what do you think?
  • Dust with cocoa powder, or make a cream cheese syrup by combining 1 tablespoon cream cheese, 1/4 cup powdered sugar and 1-2 tablespoons milk. Check the consistency on this…add water if too thick and more cream cheese if too thin.

YOUR WELCOME!!!!!!

Do you make Red Velvet anything? Have you ever had it?

What’s your favorite Breakfast splurge?

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A HUEVO AND A SWEET POTATO.

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A HUEVO AND A SWEET POTATO.

I HEART SWEET POTATOES.

Got Breakfast boredom? Have you met me yet? I have loads of ideas…

We all get bored. But bored shouldn’t leave you hightailing it towards the Crispy Creams, Bagels loaded with everything, or the nearest fast food joint for thatMcHeartAttack. I know McDonald’s is trying….they’ve placed the beloved oatmeal on the menu so I”ll give them points for that. (I’d like to meet the people who go there FOR the oatmeal though…).

Nonetheless, February is National Heart Month! And guess what, eggs are good for you! Newsflash, that McHappyMeal or whatever it is will be ten times worse for you then the little football shaped EGG! Combine them with veggies and cheese in a frittata, make an omeletteor just plain hard-boiled for a snack and you’ve got yourself a perfect protein.

Today, beat the breakfast monotony (whatcha eatin? Special K everyday?…huge sigh!) with a year round favorite–>the SWEET POTATO! Make a boat out of that spud and crack an egg in it and see what happens? Yes, why not? Now, set that oven on 425 degrees and get crackin (literally).

Ingredient Highlight:

SWEET POTATO:

  • Despite the name “sweet” potato, studies have shown that they may aid in steadying blood sugar levels and lowering insulin resistance, thus are a good food for diabetics.
  • Store: At room temperature for up to a month in a cool, dry place (55-60 degrees).  If the temperature is a bit warmer, they will spoil within a week. Wash and scrub the skin right before use. OKAY, now the good stuff!

 

RECIPE

Serves: 1 (unless you want to be nice and share)

Preheat Oven to 425 degrees.

Ingredients:

  • 1 sweet potato, ends cut off (so you can balance it) OR slice in half lengthwise.
  • 1 or 2 eggs
  • ground pepper and salt (to taste)

Methods:

1. Slice the ends off of the spud and then slice the sweet potato (If a very large one) in half.   Perch both halves up on a plate so they are able to balance.

2. Place the plate in the microwave (if you use microwaves) and heat for 4-6 minutes (Until potato is soft. Don’t be shy, poke it with a fork, which should pierce skin easily).

3. Remove potato halves from microwave and place on a cookie sheet or tin foil. Let cool or use gloves here, it’s a hot potato. Literally. You’re going to now scoop the flesh out of the potato tops or halves (whichever you’ve chosen to create) and make a boat or cavity for the egg.

Scoop Scoop Scoop! Make a heart shape like I did!

4. You can also continue to bake the extra potato flesh, I used mine to prop them up in the oven. As you can see below.

Crack it!

Potato Boat

5. Crack an egg in each half or both halves if you’re hungry. As I always am. Then place them in the oven.

Propped up and ready to go!

6. Bake for approximately 20 minutes. You may need longer then this-I believe I baked for about 30 mins. NOTE: the egg will cook to somewhat of a soft-boiled consistency.

7. Once the EGG is cooked to your liking, SERVE in a cute dish! I also drizzled some maple syrup goodness on mine.

DELIGHTFUL!

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE WAY TO EAT AN EGG(S)?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yum.

 

 

 

Chefs Tips:

  • ALTERNATIVELY: If you don’t have the time, or the patience you may continue to microwave the potato with the “Egg Boat” and IGNORE all baking procedures.Just a word of CAUTIONbe careful not to BLOW it up! I suggest nuke for 1 minute, check the egg, then continue to nuke in 1 minute increments. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper!
  • Try sprinkling a little cheese in the egg, then cook.
  • I might make two horizontal halves next time versus making a boat out of the top, then top it with some salsa for a little pizazz and more veggies!

ENJOY!

xox Jen

HAVE YOU USED SWEET POTATOES FOR BREAKFAST?

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THE NON PIZZA, PIZZA. SQUASH.

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THE NON PIZZA, PIZZA. SQUASH.

  •  

This is what I think is going on mid-December. 

1) Your eyes are glazed from slamming back loads of holiday cookies. Or you’ve sunk so low you’re eating them for breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack and sneaking one more for dinner. What the hay?! Right? Oh boy.

2) You’re singing joy to the world cause you’re drunk on holiday cheer (or eggnog).

3) You’re working out every day cause you don’t want to let the holidays bring you down from all the hard work and efforts you put in eating healthfully and exercising tons. Hmmm.

OK, so if you’re the number 3 person, bravo, but “sometimes one should eat a cookie, or at least some rum infused eggnog or a peppermint martini.” Just sayin.

Today I decided you all probably need to add a little holiday health or just a reminder about your health. 

Anyway,you know I eat pizza (as evident from this post, and this one), but I knew I could concoct (love that word) something with a squash and make it taste beyond….well a veggie.

I know some of you don’t even like the word vegetable, but you’re here to learn.

What I don’t know is what people think of when they hear the word spaghetti squash. It’s weird, I’ll admit that. I assume “squash” stands out, but the spaghetti part leaves one guessing.

TIDBITS:

The yellow football of a squash is mild tasting and once you string it’s guts you can pretty much flavor its insides to whatever your hearts desire (ummm, not so much like tofu but close enough). Oh, and it will never taste like cheesecake but you catch my drift eh?It’s high in fiber (bonus), Vitamin C, low in carbohydrates and low in calories (not that anyone’s counting). It’s good stuff, got it?

While I created this idea all up in my head my aunt Josie helped me figure it out and gave me the basic recipe. Props to her.

So put down the breakfast cookie and mug of I dunno….gingerbread eggnog latte whatever and make this!


Serves: Depends on the size of slices, it can be quartered, halved or eaten with a fork and the pie plate in your lap (ooooh that’s naughty and not portion controlled, use a platepreferably a WHITE PLATE as this article suggests-re: how the color of your plate effects how much you eat).

Time: Pre-roasting the squash takes 45 minutes ( I roast it on 400 degrees F on a cookie sheet sliced in half). You can do this the day before and save almost an entire half of squash for another meal like this one. This meal takes ~35 minutes.

Pre-heat oven: 400 degrees F

Ingredients:

  • 1 spaghetti squash (roasted and forked so stringy innards are scoopable)
  • 1-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (I used part-skim)
  • 2 eggs (or 1 egg and 2 egg whites)
  • 1-2 teaspoons fresh or dry oregano
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of tomato sauce (home made or I like Muir organics or Pomi)
  • pepper to taste
  • your choice of toppings

Assembly:

  • Place 3 cups of squash, 2 eggs and shredded mozzarella cheese in a bowl. Stir to combine. (p.s. you don’t have to beat the eggs, just combine).


  • Place all in a pie dish, bake  at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and top this puppy with whatever you desire (ummm, not chocolate). I ran out of spinach yesterday, but sauteed spinach and garlic would’ve been a perfect addition if I don’t say so myself.
  • Bake another 25 minutes and tada!!!! Holy smokes it smells like a pizza kitchen in here!


SLICE AND ENJOY!

Go a step further:

  • Let’s talk TOPPINGS. I mean, add more veggies to the veggie, hello! Mushrooms, spinach, arugula, tomatoes, butternut squash puree? OMG.
  • Try different cheese combos.
  • Pesto would’ve been a unique topping all by its lonesome. Pesto Pizza!
  • Make it mexican style and add a bean/salsa topping? Ole!

So, when you need a healthy, simple and oh so yummy dinner (or a break from the cookies)….here it is.

OH, and YOUR WELCOME!

-JEN

What’s your favorite pizza topping?

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STEWY GREEK BEANS.

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STEWY GREEK BEANS.

Two staples that no Greek Kitchen should be without…

LEMONS and OLIVES…

Greek Cuisine delivers some favorite flavors and foods including olives, feta cheese, lemon and garlic. What’s not to like about that?

I also adore dishes such as Pastitsio (click for recipe), Spanakopita and Baklava. The first bite of anything with phyllo always leaves a crumbly mess of flakes on my shirt but anything that oozes honey or is surrounded by a flaky shell is worth every bite.

Did you know the Greeks are said to be the first to don the chef’s hat?

IMG_3466.JPG

FLAVOR!

Ingredient Highlight:

LEMONS:

“Few foods add such flavor magic as the lemon” (Food Lover’s Companion).

Only second to salt and pepper, lemon is a superb seasoning valued for its sour and refreshing flavor. Added to a beverage, (Lemoncello anyone?) made into a curd, squeezed into lemonade or cooked into a savory dish…it’s impact is unforgettable. Not only is the odd-shaped, yellow, thick-skinned fruit a flavor powerhouse, it also hasmedicinal and nutritional value like no other.

We all know about its superior amount of Vitamin C but did you know it has been used fornon-culinary purposes? It ha been used in toothpaste, as a diuretic and antiseptic or antimicrobial, healing insect bites, sunburn and sores. I think I”ll keep lemons around at all times.

Buying: Organic lemons are available seasonally in some markets. Commercial lemon skins are dyed and waxed. Avoid lemons that have a darker yellow or dull color with a hardened or shriveled skin, which indicates old age.  Also avoid soft spots, mold, or broken skin.

Storage: Keep in the refrigerator in a bag for 2 to 3 weeks.

Today I wanted to make something simple, warm and hearty with a few favorite ingredients combined in one pot  of happiness bursting with mediterranean flavors.

RECIPE

“Stewy Greek Bowl! “

Serves: 4

Time: 5-10 minutes prep, 40 minutes cooking time

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoonextra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped (or red)
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, quartered
  • 1-15 oz can navy, garbanzo, or black beans, drained and rinsed (personal choice)(BRAND: Eden Organics uses BPA free cans).
  • 1/2-15 oz can other bean of your choice (optional- I used 1 can navy +1/2 can garbanzo)
  • 1 Tablespoon cilantro, chopped, fresh (or 1 tsp. dried)
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1-6 oz can tomatoe paste
  • 2 cups low-sodium, chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 1-2 large handfuls (1-2 cups) spinach, fresh, washed
  • 1/2 cup, cooked. Whole wheat orzo, brown rice, quinoa or other grain of choice (optional for serving)
  • Feta Cheese, garnish
  • lemon slices for garnish
  • Ouzo (cause why not?)

Pre-Prep:

Chop onions, garlic, cilantro and olives. Set aside.

 

Methods:

  • Heat a small skillet on medium heat. Add olive oil to pan. Heat for a few seconds then add onions and garlic, cooking until onions are slightly translucent (4 minutes).
  • Place a heavy saucepan or dutch oven on the stove and add beans, chicken broth, tomato paste, olives, lemon juice, and cilantro . Stir to combine then add garlic and onion saute.
Use A Good Olive Oil. 

Use A Good Olive Oil. 

Luv my dutch oven! Thank You Nana!

  • Cook for approximately 30 minutes, it will thicken up nicely! (This will depend on your stove and the pot you use, mine was going to burn if I cooked it longer then 35 mins.)

Meanwhile:

  • Cook the grain of your choice. I love whole wheat orzo. Bring water to a boil (based on serving size you’re making) add grain and follow cooking time.
  • After 25 minutes add the spinach and mix so that it wilts nicely. Take off the stove and serve in a bowl, top with Feta cheese and a fresh squeeze of lemon juice!

 

ENJOY!

Chefs Tips:

  • Instead of serving over a grain, serve over a bed of sautéed spinach or kaleby heating a teaspoon of olive oil in a fry pan over medium heat. Add 1-2 cloves chopped garlic and heat for an additional minute or two. Add a mound (mound in my book equals a few handfuls or whatever you can fit in your pan). It shrinks like a shrinky dink so be generous with your greens here!
  • You can use any type of bean and also add any type of veggie. Why not zucchini slices or some sort of squash? More veggies the Merrier!

What’s your favorite Greek Dish? Do you have a special use for lemons? Do share!


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THE HEALTHY DECONSTRUCTED APPLE PIE.

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THE HEALTHY DECONSTRUCTED APPLE PIE.

WHO LIKES PIE?

I DO. And frankly, I’ll fight over the last piece of my grandmothers’ banana cream pie or her apple strudle (holy strudle-we’re Czech I’ll have ya know).

To my family members that might read this, “there will be a good fork stabbing coming your way if you think you get more then one slice this year.” To my brother Dave, “I know not to dare touch a piece of your pie-it’s like we’re twins”, and to my husband, “you know I’ll steal some off your plate when you’re not looking.”

While I’m at it, p.s. nana, make two pies, will ya? Wow, I’m a bully. Nana knows this.

Anyway, I was never a fan of pie crusts (I know, it’s sort of like I’m committing a crime). I always scoop out the middle (recently did this to a friend who got quite annoyed at me). That is the best part anyway, the innards (is that even a word?).

Back to the recipe. This is superbly simple, crustless, with a kick of spice (optional kick of course) and not like a kajillion calories that will smack right onto your bum (not that one piece of pie would do that, but you know who you are when you eat more then one slice of a pie cause it was lyin around all up in your face, then you have pie for breakfast, lunch and dinner-oopsie!).

OKAY, here goes. A dessert, or snack without all the guilt. Good for adults and kiddies.


RECIPE

Serves: 2 or more (easily doubled-or serve as one big bowl of goodness)

Time: 30 minutes for apple baking. 5 minutes for crumbly topping. Like 1 minute for yogurt whip.

Ingredients:

For the filling:

  • 2 apple, cored, and cubed, I used Jonagold (keep the skin, fiber people, fiber)
  • 1 pat of butter ( I used Earth Balance-and a pat is not half the tub, got it?)
  • 1 teaspoon of apple pie spice (or make your own)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (alternatively, honey or rice syrup work here)

For the raw crumbly topping:

  • 1 cup Walnuts
  • 4 Medjool Dates, depitted
  • 3-4 chunks of crystalized ginger (optional, but gives a spicy kick)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (or more)

For the white whipped stuff: (I know, you want to top it with Hagaan Daaz ice cream, but try this instead).

  • 6 ounces of Fage Greek Yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

Procedure (as though it’s surgery):

Pre-heat the oven on 350 degrees F.

  • Place apples, spices, butter and maple syrup in the dish. I had my camera in hand, but chose to put that down for a sec and use my hands to mix this all up (trust me, it’s easier then using a spoon). Bake for 30 minutes.

To make the crumbly topping:

  • Place all ingredients in a food processor and whirl it up until a gorgeous crumble forms. Avoid sticking a spoon in it and eating it all. Set aside.

To make the maple whip:

Just combine the greek yogurt with maple syrup. Duh.

SERVE when it’s still warm, but you can always reheat for the next day.

TIPS

  1. The walnut crumbly topping is awesome. And You can actually use it as a crust by pressing it into a pie dish (raw crust of course) but fun nonetheless. You might just need to add one more date, or simply process it a little longer until it clumps up nicely.
  2. Use the walnut crumbly topping to add into a yogurt or into your oatmeal.
  3. Make this into an awesome Apple Pie Parfait! Layer yogurt, then nutty topping, then apples, do it again. Omgomgomgomg.
  4. Try other nuts for the topping. Might I suggest almonds or pecans? Maybe even toast them first. That takes all of 7 minutes in a skillet on the stove.

ENJOY!

xox Jen

So, what’s your favorite pie?

And

What’s your favorite use for apples? 

p.s. don’t forget to subscribe for zen jen updates from ME! No spam, just kale. 

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