Baked Salt & Vinegar Kale Chips

Baked Salt & Vinegar

Kale Chips

Baked Salt & Vinegar Kale Chips

Baked Salt & Vinegar Kale Chips

 

Baked Salt & Vinegar Kale Chips

  • 1 Bunch Organic Leafy Kale
  • 1-2 tsp Organic Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2-3 T EVOO
  • 1/4 tsp Fresh Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Coarse Salt

Preheat Oven to 300°.  Line 1 or 2 Large Baking Sheet with Parchment Paper, depending on amount of Kale you are using.  You want to have a single layer of kale chips, and no overlapping pieces.  Wash Kale and rip into large pieces, removing the stalk.  Place into Salad Spinner and spin until dry.  In a large bowl, add kale and splash with vinegar.  Massage Kale pieces with your hands for about 30 seconds to completely coat the kale with vinegar.  Next, drizzle the EVOO and add the Salt & Pepper.  Massage again for about 15 seconds to coat.  Spread out on Baking Sheet(s) and Bake about 15-20 mins.  Slow and Low is the key.  Watch closely for tips starting to brown and crisp.  That’s when you know they are ready.  The vinegar really needs to evaporate off, so turn the pans halfway through if your oven has any hot spots.  Also, the last 3 mins, you can take a thin, flat spatula and get under the chips and flip them if the vinegar is still lingering.  Just, BE GENTLE…as these delicious chips are now light and airy and delicate!  (and be careful when opening the oven bc of the fumes from the evaporating vinegar!!! Whew!)  Even if there is still a tad of vinegar still shimmering on the chips, DO NOT OVERCOOK THEM.  The Kale Chips will “harden” a set up some more after taking them out of the oven.  If you overcook them, they will be too delicate and paper thin and crumble.  If this happens, I suggest using the Kale Crumbles on top of soup or mixed into a salad!  Happy Kale Chip Making!!!!

Fresh out of the Oven!

Fresh out of the Oven!

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@eatdrinkbeKari

 

 

Skinny Baked Jalapeño Poppers

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Skinny Baked Jalapeño Poppers

Skinny Baked Jalapeño Poppers

Gather Ingredients

Gather Ingredients

Make Cheddar Scallion Cream Cheese

Creamy Cheddar Scallion Cream Cheese

Creamy Cheddar Scallion Cream Cheese

Halve and Seed Jalapeños

Cut Jalapeños in half and remove Seeds and White Membrane

Cut Jalapeños in half and remove Seeds and White Membrane

Slice Jalapeños in Half.  TIP: Remove Seeds AND White Membrane. This is where the heat hides!!! 

Filled Jalapeños

Filled Jalapeños

 Stuff with cream cheese mixture using a small spoon or your fingers.  Be sure to press in firmly.Pop into fridge or freezer.

Toss gently to combine

Season Panko

Make Seasoned Panko.  Add Spices and Gently Toss to Combine.

Bath time!

Bath time!

Make Buttermilk/Egg Batter.  Dip Stuffed Pepper to coat.

Roll in Panko.  Tip: use a spoon

Awesome Panko Coating

Then, roll Pepper in Seasoned Panko.  One Pepper at a time.  TIP: Use a spoon to lightly spoon over pepper and roll to coat sides.   ****Now is when you can refrigerate or freeze for later.)****

Spray with Coconut Oil and Bake

Spray with Coconut Oil and Bake

Give a quick spritz of Coconut Oil and Bake.  350 for 20 mins.

Bake

Baked, not Fried!

Out come little perfect bites.  Spicy, Crispy, Gooey, Creamy….yummmmm….

Just look at that Crispy Coating!!!

Just look at that Crispy Coating!!!

TIP: Be sure not to over bake  or the cheese might explode and ooze out, or seemingly evaporate into thin air!

Plate it up with a creamy, cool dipping sauce

Plate it up with a creamy, cool dipping sauce

I served it with a Homemade Buttermilk Ranch.  Cool and creamy to combat the spiciness.

Seriously, healthy!?!?!  Wow!!!!

Seriously, healthy!?!?! Wow!!!!

Just one bite and you’ll be addicted.  And astounded in the huge amount of fat and calories you are saving!!!

Here's your new go-to recipe

Here’s your new go-to recipe

Perfect for Football Season.

The Perfect Skinny Popper

The Perfect Skinny Popper

Less Fat, Full Flavor

Less Fat, Full Flavor

The cool Ranch was the perfect compliment.

The cool Ranch was the perfect complement.

These will NOT disappoint!

These will NOT disappoint!

Skinny Baked Jalapeño Poppers

  • 6-12 Jalapeños, sliced and seeded

CREAM CHEESE MIXTURE:

  • 4-8 oz. Low Fat Cream Cheese, softened
  • 4-6 oz. Cabot 50% Less Fat White Cheddar, shredded
  • 4-6 Scallions, chopped white and green parts
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste

SEASONED PANKO

  • 1 Cup Whole Wheat Panko (or regular, or gluten-free)
  • 2 T Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Dry Ground Mustard
  • 1/2 tsp Roasted Garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Crushed Urfa Chiles (or 1/2 tsp Chili Powder)
  • 1/2 tsp Crushed Aleppo Chiles (or 1/2 tsp Ancho Chili Powder)
  • 1/8 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Coarse Ground Pepper

BATTER

  • 1/2 Cup Egg Whites (or 3 Egg Whites, or  2 Whole Eggs)
  • 1/4 Cup ButterMilk (or at least 2% Milk)

*Preheat Oven 340.  Cover 9 x 13 Baking Sheet with Parchment.

*Slice, seed and take out membrane of each jalapeño.

*Make Cream Cheese Mixture:  Combine Cream Cheese, Grated Cheddar, Chopped Scallions in small bowl.  Mix to combine.  Season with Salt and Pepper.

*Fill each jalapeño half with Cream Cheese Mixture.  Using a small spoon or your fingers, press filling FIRMLY in the pepper.  Pop in fridge or freezer for a quick chill until ready to batter.

*Make Seasoned Panko: Mix Panko with all listed spices and seasonings.  You can omit or substitute as needed.  The listed ones are the ones I chose.  You can also make your own variations.  If you don’t have either of the crazy dried chilies I used, you can always substitute 1 tsp Chili Powder and 1/8 tsp Cumin.  Or just use a  seasoning packet of Ranch or Italian Dressing!

*Make Batter: Mix 1/2 Cup Egg Whites with 1/4 Cup Buttermilk.  Season with Salt and Pepper.

*Take one pepper half at a time.  Dip into Batter.  Then, roll into Seasoned Panko.  Use a spoon to lightly coat the top and gently roll to coat the sides.  Place on pan.  ***This is where you would freeze if using later***  Lightly Spray with Coconut Oil, or cooking spray of choice, and bake for 20 mins or until brown and crispy on top.  Let cool for 5 mins.  Plate and Serve with Ranch.

eat.drink.be

Kari

@eatdrinkbeKari

www.eatdrinkbe.com

Healthy-ish Sausage Balls

Healthy-ish Sausage Balls

NO Bisquick!

No Unnecessary Fillers!

First of all: Happy 2014!!!

Let’s start the New Year off right by eliminating unnecessary CRAP from our diet.  It all starts at home with YOU and your choice of ingredients.  Some choose to take the easy way out….but little do they know how simple the healthier version is.  Healthy doesn’t always mean more difficult.  I’ll prove that to you, just wait and see….

Cheddar Sausage Balls

Cheddar Sausage Balls with Mustard Dipping Sauce

These are super tasty and at least a little guilt free!  Adding in a bit of Whole Wheat Flour and using herbs and spices really makes the flavors POP!  And the guilt-free mustard dipping sauce is a super healthy addition and really adds some zing.  When I got these off the baking sheets, they were virtually grease free.  I was super impressed….as were all the people enjoying them!!!

Gather Your Ingredients

Gather Your Ingredients

So, here is what I started with:

  • Flour (1 Cup Whole Wheat King Arthur Flour & 1 Cup Whole Wheat White King Arthur Flour)
  • Baking Powder
  • Fresh Grated Cheddar (please grate your own…this is a simple step that most people use a shortcut for….you WILL be able to tell a difference in the end result….trust me)
  • 2-3 cloves minced Garlic (can use garlic powder)
  • Dry Mustard
  • Onion Powder (not pictured)
  • 1 lb Nesse’s Sausage (original, hot or extra sage are all delicious!)
  • Champagne with fresh squeezed grapefruit juice.  This helps, I promise!!! (this is for YOU, not the recipe…in case there is any confusion)

TIP: You can also use Turkey or Chicken Sausage as well….it just needs a little extra fat, so be sure to add in a couple Tbs of melted butter or oil so your sausage balls won’t dry out.  I’m also wondering if you could use applesauce……hummm…might try that next and let you know how it turns out. Probably would be good with Chicken Sausage and maybe some apples and fontina cheese…..

Herb and Spice Additions

Herb and Spice Additions

That’s when I realized I didn’t buy the HOT sausage, so I needed to spice it up some with:

  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • Dry Mustard
  • Coarse Black Pepper
  • Rubbed Sage
  • Salt

*Add as much or as little of these as you’d like.  You can add anything you want to change the taste of these!

Dry Ingredients

Dry Ingredients

Put all your dry ingredients into a large Mixing Bowl.  Flour, Baking Powder, Garlic,  Onion Powder, Dry Mustard, Red Pepper Flakes, Sage, Salt & Pepper.  Mix to Combine.

Add Cheese

Add Cheese

Add Grated Cheddar Cheese to Dry Mixture and toss to combine and coat the cheese.

Add Sausage

Add Sausage

Next, add the UNCOOKED sausage to the mixture. Use your hands and really get in there!!! Don’t be scared.  You need to break up the sausage and make sure it is all mixed in together.

Binder Time

Binder Time

You’ll notice it is not binding completely together. You need a little liquid to help this.  Add 2-4 TBS 2% Milk until just moist.  Add it in a little at a time so you don’t overdo it!!! I’m also going to experiment and use beer next time!  It should look like this and shape into a ball easily!

Get Ready to Bake!

Get Ready to Bake!

Roll them into Bite-sized Balls and place them on a cookie sheet.  I had enough to fill 2 full cookie sheets (24 on each) and most of a 3rd cookie sheet.  I made about 67.  So you should get anywhere from 55-70 depending on the size of your balls.

Little Bites of Heaven

Little Bites of Heaven

Pop them in the Oven on 350 for 15-20 mins or until browned and sausage is fully cooked.

Browned and Delicious

Browned and Delicious

Tasty little morsels right out of the oven!!!

Let em cool

Let em cool

So. Darn. Good

So. Darn. Good

Cheddar Sausage Balls

Cheddar Sausage Balls

ENJOY & DEVOUR!!!

This recipe is basic and can be changed up in so many ways.  I’ll also post another flavor change up for you, but here is the Basic Cheddar Sausage Ball Recipe:

Healthy-ish Cheddar Sausage Balls

  • 1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour (King Arthur)
  • 1 Cup Whole Wheat White Flour (King Arthur)
  • 1 1/2 TBS Baking Powder
  • 4-6 oz. Freshly Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 lb Nesse’s Sausage
  • 2-4 TBS 2% Milk (2 Tbs at a time)

TIP: Above is the BASIC recipe.  You can change/add any herbs/spices from here on!

  • 1 TBS Rubbed Sage
  • 1 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 2 tsp Dry Mustard
  • 1-2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2-3 Cloves Minced Garlic (or 1 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder)
  • 1/2 tsp Fresh Coarse Ground Black Pepper
  • Pinch Salt

Mix all ingredients (flours, baking powder, herbs & spices) to combine EXCEPT the Cheese, Sausage & Milk.  Next add grated cheese to dry ingredients and toss to coat cheese.  Then, with your hands, crumble the sausage into the mixture…breaking it up and incorporating it into the mixture.  Do not overwork!!! Add enough milk to moisten the mixture, 2 TBS at a time.  (Tip: if you used turkey or chicken sausage, it might take a little bit more!!!)  Roll into bite sized balls.  Bake 350 for 15-20 mins until browned and sausage is cooked through.

Mustard Dipping Sauces:

* Combine equal parts, or 2-3 heaping TBS, Creole Mustard and Dijon Mustard.  Mix.

* Combine equal parts Yellow, Dijon & Whole Grain Mustard with a dash of Worcestershire. Mix.

* Combine 2 TBS Whole Grain Mustard & Dijon Mustard, 1 TBS Mayonaise, Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt.  Mix.

And there you have it, folks.  Probably one of my husband’s favs.  I hope you enjoy the sausage balls as much as my family does.  I’m also going to quickly share a flavor change up for you!  Here goes:

Cheddar Jalapeño Sausage Balls

Cheddar Jalapeño Sausage Balls

These are out of this world!!! But, careful, the pack quite a kick!!!

Basic Dry Ingredients

Basic Dry Ingredients

Here I used the same dry ingredients in my basic recipe, but added in 2 TBS dried jalapeño bits. These bad boys are SUPER spicy!!! You could also substitute fresh jalapeño.  Depending on your spice preference, one should do the trick…or even half if you don’t like heat.  I also omitted the fresh garlic and red pepper flakes.

  • 2 TBS Dried Jalapeño Bits
  • 1 TBS Rubbed Sage
  • 1 TBS Dry Ground Mustard
  • Fresh Black Pepper & Salt
Cheddar & Scallions

Cheddar & Scallions

Next add in your freshly grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese and 3 diced Scallions. (whites and green parts)  Toss to combine and coat in dry mixture.  Add the sausage.  Mix with hands.  Add a bit of milk until moistened.

Pop in the Oven

Pop in the Oven

Roll into Bite Sized Balls and Pop into the Oven.

350 for 15-20 mins.

Dee-damn-licious

Dee-damn-licious

These are super tasty and bursting with flavor!!!

Careful if you don't care for Spicy Sausage Balls

Careful if you don’t care for Spicy Sausage Balls

If you don’t like spice, or heat, just stick to the regular basic recipe!

So Yummy!

So Yummy!

Moist and Delicious because no one likes dry Sausage Balls!!!

Enjoy!

Happy 2014!

Cheers!!!

eat.drink.be Kari

Cheese Ballin’ & Jalapeño Poppin’

Cheese Ballin’

&

Jalapeño Poppin’

 

Ok, Folks!!! Today I’m giving you a 2 for 1. The EXACT SAME CheeseBall, also doubles as a kick ass Jalapeño Popper Filling. I’ve learned a few things along the way, so I’ll share and let you run free! This is a super easy recipe that I just threw together on the fly. I’ve never made Jalapeño Poppers before, but have always wanted to.  They were super tasty and…. pretty easy to assemble. So, here’s what you need:

Jalapeños & Ingredients Prepped

Jalapeño & Ingredient Prep

  • 8 oz. Organic Lower Fat Cream Cheese
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup diced Fresh Pineapple
  • 6-8 oz shredded Sharp Cheddar
  • Handful of Cilantro chopped (stems & leaves)
  • as many jalapeños as you want to make (seeds and membrane removed)
  • Applewood Bacon

TIPS: I used 9 LARGE Jalapeños. I mean, these suckers were HUGE!!!! We def had to use a knife and a fork for these bad boys! (You can also use the smaller jalapeños and make them more “popper” size. Instead of wrapping an entire piece of bacon around them, you would just use half. Easy Peasy!!!) Also, I recommend the Neufchatel Cream Cheese as it has 1/3 less fat than regular cream cheese. But, I would NOT Substitute Fat Free ANYTHING EVER!!!! Usually the Fat Free versions are chock full of other bad ingredients (sugars, calories, preservatives, natural flavor, etc). The small amount of added fat in the lower fat or even the full fat versions are in actuality better for you. The more natural and wholesome the product, the better! And, for the love of food, Do NOT use Fat Free Cheese. I mean, YUCK!!! That stuff doesn’t even melt right!!! Also, if you don’t like pineapple…leave it out! And if you hate cilantro, you can sub in another herb of choice. I’d recommend Parsley, Chives, Garlic Chives, or Thyme.

Filling/CheeseBall

For the Filling/CheeseBall

Yeah, Yeah….I know this is a blurry pic, but I was working fast in the kitchen. I just wanted to show you what I did with the Pineapple. After dicing up, I placed it on a paper towel to drain off the excess water and juice while I prepped the rest of the ingredients. Nobody likes a soggy CheeseBall!!!

Cheese Mixture

Cheese Mixture

Now, the cheese mixture should look like this. Yes, that is a LOT of pineapple. We love pineapple and cilantro. I thought that the sweetness of the pineapple might counteract the spicy jalapeño. Here’s what I learned. Yes, you CAN taste the pineapple in the cheese ball. And, no, you can NOT taste the pineapple in the poppers. I’m not sure if its because we smoked them on the grill with apple wood, or if the heat of the jalapeño masked it. But, if I make poppers again, I will leave out the pineapple, I think.  Maybe it does do some undercover work making the mixture a little sweeter?  And, it IS a healthy addition!!!  In fact, it was delicious in the cheese ball…….until the next day. We had some leftover and ate it for a game day appetizer on Sunday. For some reason it tasted BITTER. Not very good. So, apparently the cheeseball is best eaten the day its prepared if you add pineapple. And, be sure not to roll it in the bacon and jalapeños until the day you serve. You want to bacon to be crispy, but once it is refrigerated, it becomes chewy.

Stuff the Jalapeños

Stuff the Jalapeños

I wasn’t sure how to go about the Jalapeños. I could either slice them lengthwise and try to clean out the seeds and some of the membrane (this is where the heat hides in peppers). I did that to my first Jalapeño, I started with 10. I ruined it. I think they were so large that this method was difficult to accomplish without splitting the pepper. Down to 9 peppers. This time I decided, Off With Their Heads!!!! This worked fabulously!!!! So, for smaller “popper” size jalapeños, I would use the slice down the middle method. For these Big Daddy Jalapeños, the Off With Their Heads method worked best. TIP: When stuffing the peppers, be sure to start with a small amount of filling and push it down to the tip of the pepper. Then go back for more filling for the upper half of the pepper. No bite left unfilled!!!

Put the Tops back on!

Put the Tops back on!

Now, secure with a toothpick. Not really sure what I was doing here since these guys were HUGE. I inserted 1 toothpick through the top “hat” of the pepper and tried to secure it to the base. Maybe next time I’ll use 2 toothpicks and secure them in a crisscross fashion??? I didn’t use 2 because I thought the bacon “wrapping” would help keep them intact.  Lesson Learned.

Toothpicks

Toothpicks

It gets kinda messy, but No Worries!!! The filling also acted as a sort of “glue” to let you put the tops back on the jalapeños and secure them with a toothpick. However, we lost some of the tops while grilling. Apparently, I should have used 2 toothpicks for these Big Daddys. I figure 1 toothpick would be sufficient for a normal size jalapeño. TOOTHPICK TIP: I used natural bamboo toothpicks that I had presoaked in a cup of water for about 20 mins. You don’t want them to burn! This will help.

Wrap Em' Up!

Wrap Em’ Up!

Next, take a whole slice of bacon and wrap it around the entire pepper, tucking the ends in. If you are using a “normal size” jalapeño, a half slice should be enough. I used a local applewood bacon for super flavor. We were also smoking these on the grill with applewood chips. Flavor Boost!!! You can also use regular bacon or turkey bacon!

Plate and Pop in Fridge until ready to cook!

Pop in Fridge until ready to cook!

Now, to put these on the grill and try to keep them easy to turn.  I skewered 3 poppers on 2 skewers before placing them on the grill. This helped keep them stabilized and easy to flip. Got to get all sides of that bacon CRISPY in this household, per the hubs.

Throw 'em on the Grill or in the Oven

Skewered Poppers

Throw ‘Em on the Grill.  Smoke ‘Em.  Put ‘Em in the Oven. Broil ‘Em.  Put ‘Em on a Grill Pan.  All sorts of cooking choices.  Use what works best for you.  We Popped ‘Em on the Grill and Smoked ‘Em over Apple Wood for #SUPERFLAVOR.  Yes, yes, YES….it was amazing.  I highly recommend it.  Now, let’s get Cheese Ballin’

Kicked Up Pineapple-Cilantro CheeseBall

Leftover Cheese Mixture

Leftover Cheese Mixture

Ok, so after stuffing all the jalapeños, I had some of the Cheese Mixture Leftover. Hence, the creation of the CheeseBall. Cheese Balls are simply cream cheese mixed with your choice of cheeses and herbs and fillings and rolled into a ball. I thought, what a quick app already made for me!  No waste, No worries. (I also debated using it for stuffed chicken).

Cheese Ballin'

Cheese Ballin’

Simply Roll the Mixture into a Ball and wrap in Saran Wrap.  Let chill in the fridge at least 30 mins or while you get the toppings ready to roll it in. Most people use a variety of nuts to roll their cheeseballs in. The Hubs is allergic to tree nuts, so instead I decided to crisp up some bacon and that naughty leftover jalapeño that I ruined earlier and use that as a crispy outer layer. Turned out DELISH!!!  Do It!!!!

Sautee Bacon & Jalapenos

Can you Smell the SIZZLE!?!?!

Drain the bacon and jalapeños on paper towels until cool.  Make sure they are pretty small.  I chopped mine up roughly with a knife.  You want your CheeseBall to be evenly coated in bacon deliciousness.  Tip: Again, you can sub turkey bacon.  It just won’t be as delicious.

Crispy Coating

Crispy Coating

Roll the chilled cheeseball in the bacon/jalapeño pieces.  Serve Immediately with Crackers, Bread, Crudités, Pita.

Devour.

Devour.

Cheese Ballin’ & Jalapeño Poppin’

Enjoy!

eat.drink.be

Kari

@eatdrinkbeKari

www.eatdrinkbe.com

Healthy Organic Whole Wheat Ginger-Pumpkin Chia Bread

Also good drizzled with Local Honey or Warmed with Cream Cheese

Delicious drizzled with Local Honey or Warmed with Cream Cheese

Healthy Organic Whole Wheat Ginger-Pumpkin Chia Bread

1 1/2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour (King Arthurs)

3 T Chia Seeds

2 Eggs

1/2 Cup Applesauce (I used Cinnamon)

1/3 Cup Honey

1/3 Cup Coconut Sugar (or Brown Sugar)

2 T Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean Paste (or Vanilla Extract)

2 t Cinnamon

1 t Fresh Grated Ginger or Ground Ginger

1/2 t Fresh Grated Nutmeg

1/8 t Ground Cloves

Pinch Salt

Dash Cayenne

Chopped Crystalized Ginger (awesome addition if you have on hand)

1 t Baking Soda

1/4 t Baking Powder

1 can Pumpkin

Combine Dry Ingredients in large bowl (Flour, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Salt, Cinnamon, Ground Ginger, Nutmeg, Cloves, Cayenne).  Mix to Combine.  Create a Well in the Center.  Add Wet Ingredients (Eggs, Applesauce, Honey, Vanilla, Fresh Grated Ginger).  Mix.  Stir in Pumpkin and Chia Seeds. Bake 325-350, in prepared Loaf Pan lined with Parchment, 35 mins to an hour. 18-20 mins for Muffins.

Wet Ingredients in the Well

Wet Ingredients in the Well

Bake in Prepared Loaf Pan or make Muffins!

Bake in Prepared Loaf Pan or make Muffins!

<3

Quickly Devoured with a dab of Local Homemade Butter

Moist & Delicious

Moist with Pumpkiney Goodness

This is definitely a recipe that can be easily adjusted to your tastes.  If you don’t care for a quiet kick, OMIT THE CAYENNE.

If you hate Cloves…LEAVE ‘EM OUT.

I used Fresh, Ground AND Crystalized Ginger.  How’s that for taking it up a notch?!?!  Most people will probably not have all 3 on hand.  No worries.  Just use the one you have.  A little goes a long way, but my family really loves the spice.  If you are not sure, Start with only 1 tsp of GROUND Ginger.  Add in from there for the next loaf.  Ginger packs a good little spicy kick, and you might want to see the amount that you prefer.

Also, if you don’t have any Applesauce, you can substitute 1/3 cup Oil (vegetable, safflower, canola…something light).  I was just trying to keep it on the healthy side by omitting all oil.  TIP: You can sub in applesauce for oil in baking most every time!!!  Keep the measurement the same and it should swap right out for ya!

If you don’t have a Whole Nutmeg to grate, you can use ground nutmeg.

Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean Paste.  Wow, oh wow.  You really need to buy this stuff.  It is AMAZING.  Seriously.  The flecks of the Vanilla Bean are just simply sinful.  Devine.  You can use a GOOD QUALITY Vanilla as well.

As for the Sugar…You can sweeten it a tad more with this or you can just use a 1/2 cup of honey total.  I am in love with Organic Coconut Sugar right now and am using it in everything (coffee, baking, etc).  You can always use light brown sugar or dark brown sugar.

And, as always, use Organic Ingredients when possible.  And, be sure all your other ingredients are of the highest, most natural quality you can find.  Remember:  Your Food Is Only As Good As Your Ingredients!

eat.drink.be

Kari

Even the Kids will LOVE it!!!

Even the Kids will LOVE it!!!

eat.drink.be

Kari

@eatdrinkbeKari

www.eatdrinkbe.com

Organic Herbed Cream Cheese

Serve with Rach's Rainbow Medley of Baby Tomatoes with Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper

Serve with a side of Rach’s Rainbow Medley of Baby Tomatoes  & Cucs w/ a dash of Sea Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper

Hello Friends!  I’m about to pass along a recipe my friend Rachel and I created, that is so simple…..YOU CAN MAKE IT IN A HOTEL ROOM!!!!  That’s right.  Literally.  We whipped up this tasty organic cream cheese in the mini-kitchen of our hotel room.  Who says you can’t enjoy healthy, fresh, delicious choices while traveling?  Not these Girls!!!  All you need is 2 Chicks & a Bowl, (that’s the name of our future cookbook collaboration, right Rach?!?!?! Cute, huh???)

Our Fancy Lunch in our Hotel Room

Our Fancy Homemade Lunch in Our Hotel Room

Rachel is a wonderful friend and amazing in the kitchen!  I learn so much from food to organic gardening from her!!!  I just wish she lived closer.  We met in Alpharetta, GA for few nights to go to a couple of Phish shows.  She knew I had just moved and didn’t really have a garden yet, so she brought along all sorts of goodies from her own!  Just because we were staying out of town in a hotel, did NOT mean that we had to sacrifice our love of cooking and eat out the whole time.  Actually, we cooked in the entire time for ALL OF OUR MEALS!!!  And we ate so, so, so, soooooo good.  So, take some goodies from home and liven’ up your road trips a little!  Rach even surprised me with a Fresh Picked Bouquet!  We like to travel in style….

Rach's Fresh Flowers from her Garden

Rach’s Fresh Flowers from her Garden

and a few Festive Decorations make a cheerful mood...the empty bottles by the end didn't hurt the cheerful mood any either!!!

Festive Decorations Make a Happy Hotel Room (TIP: Now you know what to do with your empty bottles)

Ok, I think I’ve forgotten the whole reason for this post now.  THE RECIPE!!!  Whoops, getting back on track….

Of course, this is just a basic recipe.  Herbed Cream Cheese can be changed up so many ways…leave something out, add something in, or just use 1 Simple Herb…Like Chives…and KISS (keep it simple stupid).  Look around and see what ingredients you have fresh and need to use, and go from there.  We compiled a variety of herbs in this particular recipe, because Rach had brought so much to choose from.  Maybe at the end I’ll try and give you a few suggestions…but basically: add or omit: Garlic, Lemon, Zest, Pepper, Jalapeños, Onions, Shallots etc to taste.  When you are cooking, you want to make something YOU LIKE!  If you hate Mint, and we do have it in this one, JUST LEAVE IT OUT.  It’s as simple as that to make something your own.  So here goes….

Beautiful Fresh Organic Herbs from Rach's Garden

Beautiful Fresh Organic Herbs from Rach’s Garden

1. Choose Your Herbs

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ORGANIC: Dill, Thyme, Sage, Mint, Marjoram, Parsley & Chives

2. Chop Herbs and add to Softened Cream Cheese

Chop Herbs and add to Softened Cream Cheese

3. Add Chopped Organic Veggies of Choice

Add Organic Chopped: Red Onion, Garlic & Jalapeño

Red Onion, Garlic & Jalapeño

4. Add Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice & Zest

Mix to Combine

Mix to Combine

5. Refrigerate & Enjoy!

Use as a dip or Smear on a Local Everything Bagel.  Add Organic Avocado and Rach's Organic Cucs

Use as a dip or Smear on a Local Everything Bagel. Add Organic Avocado and Rach’s Organic Cucs

Add some Sprouts for a delicious Veggie Bagel

Add some Sprouts for a delicious Veggie Bagel

Fresh, Creamy, Crisp & Satisfying

Fresh, Creamy, Crisp & Satisfying

 

Organic Herbed Cream Cheese

  • 8 oz Organic Cream Cheese, softened
  • 2 T EACH chopped Organic Herbs of Choice (NOTE: Mint and Cilantro…a little goes a LONG way)
  • 2 T EACH chopped Veggies of Choice (garlic, red onion, jalapeño, shallots)
  • 1 T Fresh Organic Lemon Juice & Zest (can substitute lime)
  • Sea Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper
  • Mix to Combine all Ingredients

We went for a rustic, chunky cream cheese.  We wanted to be able to taste the bits of garlic and onion and spicy jalapeño, because we were going to use it right away instead of refrigerate it.  The longer it sits, the more time the flavors have to marry!  If you want a smoother consistency, you can always put into a food processor and chop the herbs and garlic finer and then pulse the cream cheese to combine.  You could also use a microplane grater for the garlic and onion and get smaller bits and lots of the juices for flavor.  That would work as well.  Like I said, we were in a hotel and did not have the foresight to bring along a good knife.   TIP: If going on a road trip, BRING A GOOD KNIFE!!!  Lesson Learned.  Lucky for us, all fingers remained intact!

Ring around the Sun

Ring around the Sun

It’s so fun to go on a road trip!  You never know what’s gonna happen.  But, you can be sure that you make good choices while traveling by making your own food.  And, it was so much fun for us to be able to cook together!  Not much we’d rather be doing!!! Although we did have some craziness, see above pics and below pics of the Ring Around the Sun, we sure had some good damn food for a hotel room!

Crazy

Crazy

For awhile I really thought I was the only one seeing this....at least I got the pics for PROOF!!!

For awhile I really thought I was the only one seeing this….at least I got the pics for PROOF!!!

Some other ideas for Hotel Room Food

Alexia Onion Rings w MicroGreens & Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice.  Raw Plate (Beets, Carrots, Cu

Late Night Snack after Phish Show: Alexia Onion Rings w MicroGreens & Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice. Raw Plate (Beets, Carrots, Cucs & Whole Grain Mustard) and Homemade Guacamole

PHISH

PHISH

Late Lunch/Snack before Show

Late Lunch/Snack before Show: Cucs, Guacamole, Habanero Lime Tortillas & Bread

Totally worth it to decorate your hotel room if your staying a few days!

Totally worth it to decorate your hotel room if your staying a few days!

eat.drink.shine

eat.drink.shine

WIth Love & Safe Travels

2 Chicks & a Bowl

Kari & Rach

@eatdrinkbeKari

www.eatdrinkbe.com

STAR WARS BIRTHDAY PARTY

STAR WARS

EPISODE V

DASH STRIKES BACK

DASH'S 5th BIRTHDAY PARTY!!!!!

DASH’S 5th BIRTHDAY PARTY!!!!! Death Star Cake Pop Face!

Dash is in LOVE with Star Wars.  He used to be obsessed with Thomas the Train….now, STAR WARS is where it’s at!  Seriously, he can tell you all sorts of useless information.  He even schooled his Dentist when Dr. James made an incorrect statement.  So funny.  Gotta love him!

Anywho, for those who might be thinking about a Star Wars Party in the future, I hope this helps with some ideas.  It all turned out supercute and everyone had a blast!  I also used SIMONEMADEIT.com for Custom Party Printables.  She has a TON of different Party Themes.  Check it out!!! You just choose what you want to print, and she has a ton of different options. (Invitations, Banners, Party Favors, Food/Drink Cards, Jedi Training, Jedi Certificate, Thank You Notes…all customizable!!!)  Amazing, Looked Awesome, and saved me a TON of Time since I was doing the food.  I HIGHLY recommend it!!! LifeSaver!!!

First, the Decorations.  We saved a TON of $$$ by using Mark and Rhett’s old Star Wars toys.  It turned out AWESOME and was definitely the frugal way to go.  It let me use the old toys, but kept them out of the way of all the kids so they remained intact and didn’t get broken at the party!

Decor

All Free except Balloons!

All Free except Balloons!

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Printables & Old Toys

Printables & Old Toys

Welcome Sign for Front Door & Jedi Training Checklist

Welcome Sign for Front Door & Jedi Training Checklist

Printable

Printable

MIll Falcon

Millennium Falcon

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INVITATIONS

INVITATIONS

Jedi Knight Certificate & Party Favors

Jedi Knight Certificate & Party Favors

Jedi Knight Certificate

Jedi Knight Certificate

Party Favors

Party Favors

Jedi Knight Training

LightSaber Training

Turn Pool Noodles into LIGHTSABERS!!!

Turn Pool Noodles into LIGHTSABERS!!!

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These were so easy to make, and the HIT of the Party!!!!

Take a regular pool noodle and slice it in half.

Using the sliced half, cover with sliver duct tape.

Then, using colored electrical tape, Decorate!

The Kids could wail on each other, but not get hurt!

AWESOME!!!!

(these DID take time to make, do in advance with a glass, or two, of wine!!!!)

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Even Princess Leia was into it!!!

Even Princess Leia was into it!!!

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Story

Story

Dash

Dash

Storm Trooper Blaster Training

Storm Trooper Ballons

Storm Trooper Ballons

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I took some nerf guns and TONS of bullets and let them go to town!

All the kids loved this one!

We ended up letting them go one at a time.

That way they could see who popped it first!

Dash, Birthday Boy, gets first turn!

Dash, Birthday Boy, gets first turn!

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I also made Jedi Robes by cutting brown sheets lengthwise and adding a neck hole.  Again, cheap, easy, and the boys LOVED it!  Tied with Twine!

I also made Jedi Robes by cutting brown sheets lengthwise and adding a neck hole. Again, cheap, easy, and the boys LOVED it! Tied with Twine and leftover sheet strips!

Detonator Training

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Pass around a light up bouncy ball until it stopped glowing.  Whoever has it…OUT.  Last Man left, WINS!!!!

And, of course, you gotta have a:

DARTH VADER PINATA

Darth Vader

Darth Vader Piñata

Birthday Boy gets first Swing!

Birthday Boy gets first Swing!

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FOOD

The Spread

The Spread

LightSabers

LightSabers

LightSabers: Pretzel Rods dipped in Candy Melts!

Light Sabers & Darth Dogs

Light Sabers & Darth Dogs

Darth Dogs: Cocktail Weenies Baked in Crescent Roll Dough w/ herbs, poppy-seeds & cheese.

Sith Slaw

Sith Slaw

Homemade. Organic. A Mix between Pimento Cheese & Cheese Slaw. So yummy, will post recipe soon!

crackers

Droid Dippers

Snap Peas, Cracker Assortment, Carrot Chips

Leia's Gold

Leia’s Gold

Goldfish.

Wookie Cookies.

Wookie Cookies

Teddy Grahams

Yoda

Yoda

Grapes & Marshmallows & Raisins

Obi-Pop-Kenobi

Obi-Pop-Kenobi

Popcorn. M&M’s. Golden Raisins.

Drink Table

Drink Table

Yoda Soda

Yoda Soda

7-Up & Lime Sherbet

Padawan Pumch

Padawan Punch

Prosecco, Pomegranate Juice & Seeds

Bloody Mauls

Bloody Mauls

Homemade Bloody Marys

Beer

Beer

Water Bottles

Water Bottles

Jedi Juice, Hoth H2O, Warrior Water

Ice Bucket

Ice Bucket

DeathStar Cake Pops

DeathStar Red Velvet Cake Pops

DeathStar Red Velvet Cake Pops

At-At Centerpiece

At-At Centerpiece

Star Wars Cake Pops

Star Wars Cake Pops

DSC_0053

 

 

* STAR WARS *

* STAR WARS *

eat.drink.be Kari

Easy Entertaining

~ Easy Entertaining ~

Beautiful & Delicious

Beautiful & Delicious

Now that the weather is warming up, we all want to entertain.  I am going through some old photos and finding some cute, easy ideas to pass along.  Enjoy!

Above: Roll a Log of Goat Cheese in fresh chopped herbs and lemon zest.  Garnish with Chive Flower (I believe I used fresh organic thyme, chives, parsley, lemon zest, s&p)

 

Table Display

Bright & Colorful Display Ideas

Starting Bottom to Left: Herbed Goat Cheese, Edamame Hummus & Fresh Veggies, Caprese Bites, Radish & Herbed Cream Cheese Tea Sandwiches, Crab Stuffed Mushrooms, Foraged Quinoa and Berry Salad, Drunken Pasta, Smothered Greek Hummus, Baked Brie with Grapes and Thyme

This was actually for another BookClub that I hosted.  I tried to use all my own produce and herbs and local ingredients.  I had chosen the book Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter.  I needed more lettuce than I had, so I even foraged dandelion greens from my yard!!!  Gotta keep with the spirit of the book!  I have some of the pics, so I’ll post them.  Not 100% of all the recipes, but I’ll do my best to remember what I can.

 

Veggie & Hummus

Veggie & Hummus

Just Slice Veggies of your choice and put a dip in the middle!

 

Edamame Hummus:

1 package Organic Edamame (cooked & drained)

1-2 T organic Tahini

2 Cloves Organic Garlic

1 Organic Lemon Zest & Juice (or lime)

1/2 – 1 Jalapeño (to taste)

1 T Organic Chili Powder

Put in Blender or Food Processor.  Blend.  Drizzle in GOOD, LIGHT ORGANIC EVOO until desired consistency (4-7 T)  I kept this one a bit more rustic rather than creamy.  Less EVOO….healthier.  Put in cute serving dish and sprinkle with Chili Powder or Paprika. Cilantro is also good in this!

Makes a great

Use a Variety of Veggies & Color Coordinate!

Caprese Bites

Caprese Bites

Pretty Basic:

Layer Basil, Mozzarella & Tomato on Fork

Drizzle with GOOD Balsamic Vinegar & EVOO

salt & pepper

Radish Tea Sammies

Herbed Radish Tea Sammies

Supereasy.  Bought Tea Sized Rye/Pumpernickel Bread.  Made a custom herb cream cheese to spread.  (soften 1 package organic cream cheese, blend herbs of choice, salt & pepper.  I think I used thyme, chives & parsley)  Slice Radishes.  Top with 2 Radish Slices and Sprinkle with Fresh Herbs (thyme & chives)

 

Foraged Quinoa & Berry Salad

Foraged Quinoa & Berry Salad

Variety of lettuce and foraged greens, Quinoa (cooked & cooled), My Fresh Raspberries, Local Blueberries, Local Goat Cheese (could substitute Feta or another creamy cheese….I like the tanginess the goat cheese) s&p.  Tossed with Lavender Balsamic and drizzled with EVOO.

Brie, Grapes, Thyme & Lavender Balsamic

Brie, Grapes, Thyme & Lavender Balsamic

Beautiful & Delicious!

Top Brie with Grapes, Lavender Balsamic, Fresh Thyme, s&p

Bake 400 7-10 mins.

DEVOUR!!!

Lemon, Cucumber, Mint

Lemon, Cucumber, Mint

So Refreshing!

eat.drink.be

Kari

 

Organic Dark Chocolate and Peanut Butter Granola

Organic Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola

Organic Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola

O. M. G.

Crunchy & Chock FULL of Healthy Goodness

Crunchy & Chock FULL of Healthy Goodness

Are you ready for this!?!?! I’m not sure you are.
You are about to find the Holy Grail of all granola recipes. Every time I make granola….I’m never quite pleased with the results. (And usually end up having to throw the pan away!!!) Here is a simple, no fail, De-freakin-LICIOUS recipe that I promised will Wow! It made a little over 3 large mason jars full. Plenty to share!!!
I’ve got to give credit to David Lebovitz (www.davidlebovitz.com) for the basic Chocolate Peanut Butter recipe. It is fantabulous. Check out his blog!  Great writer….Paris…food….humor…love him!!!  Anyways, all I did was karify it up a little.  Get creative!!!  Use what you have hanging around in the pantry! I’m sure you can’t go wrong no matter what you add in to personalize this one!  I just added some seeds for a little health booster!

Slightly toasted to perfection

Slightly toasted to perfection

Organic Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola

3 cups Organic Rolled Oats
1 cup Coarsely Chopped Local/Unsalted Peanuts
3/4 cup Organic/Good Quality Dark Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup Organic Organic Sunflower Seeds, Unsalted
1/2 cup Organic White Sesame Seeds
1/3 cup Organic Black Chia Seeds
1/3 cupOrganic Flax Seedsor Ground Flaxseed
2 T Organic Ground Ceylon Cinnamon
Sea Salt

1/2 cup Organic Peanut Butter, Creamy & Unsalted
1/2 cup Organic Maple Syrup
1/4 cup Organic Coconut Sugar (or Organic Dark Brown Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste (or Madagascar Vanilla Extract)
2 Tablespoons Water

Preheat oven to 325. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment. In large mixing bowl combine all dry ingredients. Lightly mix. Combine wet ingredients in small saucepan and warm over low until just smooth. Quickly pour over dry mixture and toss to coat. Spread evenly over 2 pans. Bake 25-40 min, Stirring a few times while baking. Let cool completely. Should last if stored tightly for a month or two!

Keep some and be sure to SHARE with a friend!

Gorgeous Healthy Homemade Granola

This made a bit more….I can’t lie.  The kids and I could barely keep away from this stuff when it came hot out of the oven.  The chocolate was ooey gooey deliciousness all rolled up in this nutty crispy crunchy bites.  Holy wow.  I don’t even know what to say.  And your house will smell absolutely delightfully divine!  I know this because my hubby didn’t get home until like midnight and scoured the kitchen looking for whatever I had been baking.  Unfortunately for him, it was bottled up in 3 mason jars and packaged away for his birthday surprise.  whoops!  Surprise!!!

Instant Granola Gratification!

Instant Granola Gratification!

Tips:

  • You can totally change this up with different nuts.
  • Be sure to use UNSALTED whenever possible, that way YOU can control the amount of salt!
  • You could use Almonds and Almond Butter for an awesome twist!
  • Add dried fruit, cherries, mango, golden raisins for a sweet addition.
  • Substitue seeds or use what you have!  If you leave something out or add another, it won’t matter!

I hope you enjoy this as much as we have!!!

eat.drink.be

Kari

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