Curry in a hurry

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Tools: Saucepan with lid, instant pot, slow cooker

Preparation time: Varies based on cooking method

Ingredients:

1 can chickpeas, rinsed

1 diced potato, skin well scrubbed or peeled

1/4 cup frozen peas

1/4 cup onion

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 cup broth of choice (vegetable, chicken, beef)

4 tbsp. tomato paste (may add more if you like)

1/2 cup full fat coconut milk with 2 tbsp. flour or cornstarch whisked in

1 tbsp. saute oil of choice or butter or ghee

1 tsp. cinnamon, cayenne pepper (optional), cinnamon, turmeric

1 bay leaf

2 tbsp. curry powder, Garam Masala, onion powder, smoked paprika

salt to taste after recipe is fully cooked

Method:

Stove top: Saute onion in saute oil of choice until translucent, add garlic, diced potatoes and all spices, cooking until fragrant. Add broth, chickpeas, peas, and tomato paste. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, cover. Cook for thirty minutes. Uncover, bring to boil, add coconut milk/flour mixture and boil an additional 5 minutes or until sauce coats the back of a spoon. Adjust sauce to your liking, adding salt and additional seasonings, remove bay leaf. Serve with rice and naan bread.

Instant pot: Saute onion in saute oil of choice until translucent, add garlic, diced potatoes and all spices, cooking until fragrant. Add broth, chickpeas, peas, and tomato paste. Cook on manual for 15 minutes. Release, bring to boil, add coconut milk/flour mixture and boil using sauté function an additional 5 minutes or until sauce coats the back of a spoon. Adjust sauce to your liking, adding salt and additional seasonings. Remove bay leaf. Serve with rice and naan bread.

Crock pot: Omit saute oil, add all ingredients except coconut milk/ flour mixture and salt. Cook on low 6-8 hours or high 4-6 hours. You can lessen the cooking time if you need to as there is no meat. Move mixture to pot on the stove, bring to boil, add coconut/flour mixture. Boil 15 minutes or until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Adjust sauce to your liking, adding salt and additional seasonings. Remove bay leaf. Serve with rice and naan bread.

Garnishes: Toasted coconut, cilantro, toasted fennel seeds, pomegranate seeds, saffron

Variations: You may add diced firm tofu,  goat, lamb or chicken in the beginning as you saute the onion. Continue with the recipe as normal.

Have fun adding whatever vegetables you like.You may also add cauliflower, diced squash, diced sweet potato, or carrots when you add the potato to the pan.

You may also whisk in 1/4 cup plain yogurt once removed from heat for additional creaminess.

For more of a tomato based sauce, omit tomato paste and substitute  small can of tomato sauce.

You may also add sliced almonds when you add coconut milk mixture.

I love Indian food but I don’t always love the price tag.

I completely understand the price because funding exotic ingredients can cost a pretty Rupee! My cravings for Indian food have led me to get creative and make my own. I’ve been nailing down a curry recipe for a while, balancing these flavors is completely new to me. It’s like learning a new language. I love that writing this food blog has increased my knowledge of web page design, food styling, and now Indian cuisine.

My tastes veer towards creamier Indian dishes, so my best friend coconut milk makes an appearance. I use hardly any cayenne pepper, so please feel free to tinker with the heat level as much as you like. This recipe really comes into its own the next day after the flavors have a chance to blend. If I were having company I would even consider making this the day before!

This recipe is wonderfully thrifty and versatile. You can use almost whatever you have on hand, make it vegan, paleo, and gluten free. Research has also shown a diet high in spices like turmeric to be incredibly healthy! I like to serve a side of basmati rice with a handful of golden rasins, saffron, and shredded coconut tossed in when cooking. For my paleo friends, go to your old standby cauliflower rice.

In Germany I absolutely could not find Garam Masala. Luckily, a thoughtful friend who travelled to the States brought me back a hefty spice jar full. I wish I had known Amazon carried this spice so affordably.

This recipe goes out to someone who has been my friend for 16 years! He requested and I am too happy to oblige. May this sustain you body and soul.

Coconut Creamer Master Class

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Tools: Saucepan, spatula

Preparation time: About an hour for cooking coconut condensed milk

Ingredients:

1 can full fat coconut milk

1 cup milk of choice

1/2 cup vanilla sugar or regular sugar

Method:

Cook full fat coconut milk and vanilla over medium heat, stirring until reduced by two thirds or until it coats the back of a spoon. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Add 1 cup milk, store in refrigerator (Mixture will thicken as it cools) and enjoy with coffee.

Variations:

Sweeteners: Use agave nectar, maple syrup, honey, whatever you like

Very Vanilla Creamer:  Add 2 turns from vanilla bean grinder or 1 split vanilla bean while cooking coconut milk. You could also add 1 tsp. vanilla extract added after mixture is removed from heat

Mounds creamer: Add 1 tbsp. cocoa powder to coconut milk while cooking on the stove

Very coconut creamer: Add 1 tsp. coconut extract once removed from heat

Thin mint creamer: Add 1 tbsp. cocoa powder while cooking coconut milk, add 1 tsp. mint extract once removed from heat

Samoa Creamer: Add 1 tbsp. cocoa powder when cooking coconut milk, add 1 tsp. coconut extract and 1 tsp. caramel extract (It’s vegan!) once removed from heat

Birthday Cake creamer: Add 1 tsp. butter extract once removed from heat. (Guess what? Also vegan!) Add sprinkles for some fun color (Optional) You can also add 1 tbsp. of yellow cake mix

Salted Caramel Creamer: Add 1 tsp. high quality salt while cooking coconut milk. Add 1 tsp caramel extract after removed from heat.

Oh, what a glorious morning! Oh, what a glorious day!

Thanks to sleep training I slept in my own bed for 9 hours. Do you know the last time that happened? Probably when I was pregnant. Well, maybe not. Pregnant sleep is not very high quality sleep. Try going to bed with a 15 pound beach ball strapped to your belly.  In light of getting actual sleep, I felt like my coffee needed something special. I used to love using sweetened condensed milk to make my own creamer. Guess what we can do now? The same thing with more control over ingredients. Please let me know if you feel extra naughty and try one of the fun variations. Don’t like coffee? I forgive you. Any one of these would be delicious drizzled over pound cake, ice cream, or fruit.

Two of my friends hail from different countries and have been giving me treats from home. (How do I keep this trend going?) The vanilla sugar here is from Germany. I love using this in baking, smoothies, and it was born to go with coffee. It’s sugar that has been stored with a split vanilla bean so it absorbs the amazing essence of vanilla. Guess what? You can get the real German vanilla sugar very affordably!

I love coffee- I’m a mom. It deserves a special place in my heart and in my bloodstream. I was telling one of my friends I wish we could drink coffee instead of water to hydrate our bodies. When I visited Italy our hotel provided us our own espresso pot, espresso coffee, and sugar. It was the only thing provided to the kitchen. I was the most energetic visitor the Vatican has ever seen. Drink up my friends!

Southern Style Mac N’ Cheese

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Tools: Saucepan, oven proof baking dish, cooking spray

Preparation time: About 10 minutes

Ingredients:

2 cups pasta of choice, prepared according to package directions

2 tbsp. Spread/ butter of choice (plus more for breadcrumb topping)

2 tbsp. flour (See variations for gluten free method)

1-2 cups cheese of choice (Based on your tastes, I’m using Daiya Cheddar style shreds)

1/4 frozen mixed vegetables (optional)

1 tbsp. onion powder

1 teaspoon soy sauce (Or Coconut Aminos)

1 tsp dry mustard powder

1/8 teaspoon vinegar based hot sauce such as Tabasco

Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

1/3 cup panko bread crumbs for topping

1 cup milk of choice (If using dairy free, use unsweetened only. I’m using cashew milk)

Method:

Grease oven proof baking dish, preheat oven to 350 degrees/180 Celsius. Melt spread and add flour, stirring to combine. When flour appears to be fully combined with melted spread, add milk. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer. Add seasonings and cheese. Please taste and season accordingly- this sauce needs to be FULL of flavor for all those noodles!

Add frozen mixed vegetables, fold in pasta. Pour in prepared baking dish. Top with Panko bread crumbs and more pats of butter/ spread. Bake in oven until topping is golden brown and delicious- about 10-15 minutes.

Variations:

Gluten free: Use gluten free pasta of choice. Omit butter/spread/flour step. Combine milk, seasonings, and 2 tbsp. corn starch whisked into 2 tbsp. cold milk of choice. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer. Once sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, add your cheese, fold in pasta. Top with gluten free breadcrumbs (Or crushed gluten free crackers.) Dot with spread, bake.

Buffalo Chicken Mac N’ Cheese: Add 1 cup shredded chicken (Or vegan chicken substitute) and 1/3 cup buffalo sauce.

Carmelized Bacon and onion Mac N’ Cheese: Saute 1/2 diced onion in butter/spread until golden brown and caramelized. Add 2 slices crumbled bacon. Fold both in when you fold in cheese.

Gruyere and Onion Mac N’ Cheese: Saute 1/3 diced onion in butter/ spread until golden brown and caramelized. Fold in 1 cup shredded Gruyere instead of cheddar, continue with recipe as directed.

Pizza Mac N’ Cheese: Fold in 1/3 cup pizza/pasta sauce of choice and 1/4 cup diced pepperoni when adding cheese. Continue preparing as directed.

Let’s be honest: I hate the Proverbs 31 lady.

Every Bible study brings her up as a flawless example of a wife and a mother. Let’s read, shall we?

A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”

Proverbs 31: 10-30

I think if I had servants I could also laugh at the days to come! Tired from rocking baby at 3 in the morning? Ring a bell, in come one of your servants clothed in scarlet. Anytime this passage is brought up we all sit in reverence as it is read, nodding in quiet falsehood- thinking we have DONE enough or chastising ourselves for not DOING enough. I actually memorized this passage when I was looking for a Christian husband, thinking quoting it would impress the right kind of man.

You know how I met my husband? A dance class I took for myself doing what I LOVED. I thank God every day my own attempts at righteousness did not win me a husband. You know why? I am loved for who I am and I don’t ever have to keep up an act. Very much like why God loves us.

For fun, I thought I’d write what the modern Proverbs 31 woman would be like. This has been done many times, it’s not new. But it sure is fun!

“A wife that looks good in leggings who can find? She is worth far more than good hashtags. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of clean laundry. She brings him Pinterest worthy meals, not takeout, all the days of his life. She selects organic fruits and vegetables, and works to make her own yogurt. She is like the locally sourced restaurants, bringing food farm to table. She gets up while it is still Saturday morning to cook a healthy well balanced breakfast for her family.

She considers a home business and starts it, out of her earnings she buys homemade wooden toys from Etsy for her children. She sets about her workouts vigorously, her arms are strong for Crossfit. She sees that her home business is profitable, she lives on Starbucks so her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the Pinterest app and grasps the freshly folded laundry with her fingers. She opens her arms to the school Booster club and extends her hands to the Bake sales.

When it snows, she has no fear for her household, for all of them are clothed in matching artisanal flannel pajamas. She makes cloth diapers for her baby, she is clothed in Lularoe and Gywneth Paltrow’s workout gear.

Honor her for all her sleepless nights, and let her works bring her praise at the Mommy and Me group!”

I hope you understand this for the humorous take that it is. It is certainly valuable to work hard for your family and bring honor to your husband. I sincerely hope this doesn’t offend my home business ladies either, I love my Lularoe and good probiotics! On days like this, when my baby is not adhering to a sleep schedule, this all seems like too much! This is a day to bury my face into a dish of crispy topped Mac N’ Cheese. In case you aren’t feeling like cooking, here’s a Vegan Mac N’ Cheese in boxed version.

If you ever have a day like mine (I’m sure you won’t!) let this bring you some comfort. Please have fun with variations too! If you can think of anymore, post in the comments below. I’d love to see what you come up with!

Antipasto Pizza Rolls

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Tools:

Baking sheet, cutting board, knife, spoon

Preparation time: about 5 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup pizza dough or 1 tube crescent dough, cut into triangles

1/4 cup minced olives

4-5 slices pepperoni (optional)

1/4 cup minced Pepperoncini

1/4 cup tomato- based pasta sauce of choice

1/8 teaspoon seasoning salt, Italian seasoning

prepared balsamic reduction, for serving

Method: Combine ingredients except dough, drop by tablespoon full onto bottom of triangle, roll up. Bake according to dough directions. Serve with balsamic reduction. Feel fancy.

Variations:

Use gluten free pizza dough if necessary

I’ll be using whole wheat pizza dough when I make them from scratch

Endless. Use whatever you would enjoy on your pizza.

Bbq chicken pizza: Barbecue sauce and chicken

Bruschetta: fresh basil, tomatoes, and garlic

You’re an adult, it’s time to improve your pizza roll experience.

Honestly these look so fancy you could call these “Antipasto crescents” and people would be none the wiser. In my previous life (Dairy free,) it was always a treat to buy the bag of frozen pizza rolls. The dough was hard and the edges cut into the roof of my mouth. The filling was of the lowest quality. They were always so molten hot I burned the roof of my mouth. Still, there was something about them.

I’m feeling nostalgic today and certainly can’t have any filled with cheese. The greatest part of these? They’re so versatile. Fill with whatever you want on your pizza! The dough actually tastes good!

 Try this balsamic reduction if you can’t find it locally, it’s actually a better price than most places carry it for. What else can you eat this on? Grilled peaches. Grilled chicken. Ice cream. My own arm.

Boozy Marinade

IMG_4759Tools:

Dish that can go in the fridge. That’s all!

Preparation time:

About 1 minute, plus the time involved drinking leftover beer.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup beer of choice

1 tablespoon minced onion-dried or fresh

2 tablespoons ketchup

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons soy sauce

Method: Stir to combine. Marinade protein of choice in refrigerator, flipping halfway through (At least two hours to overnight.) Drink remaining beer.

Variations:

Gluten free: Use gluten free beer and soy sauce of choice.

Vegan: This marinade is Vegan as is, use a firm tofu, Seitan, or nice hefty mushroom caps would be delicious.

Soy free: Substitute Coconut Aminos for Soy Sauce

Glaze: If preferred, boil marinade down to a sticky consistency. Brush on in the last 2 minutes of grilling. This is wonderful if you are doing multiple proteins.

There is a world famous steak marinated with something very similar to this.

Often when I’m planning meals I ask myself, “If I could go to any restaurant in the world, what would I order?” Then I set out to make it a reality!

This is a knockoff of a marinade for a drunken Ribeye. Why stop there? Drunken chicken! Drunken tofu! Drunken Seitan! Drunken mushrooms! This really does taste good on anything.

My mother’s day has had many spoiling components. I was treated to dinner of my choice, a lunch of my choice, and was told I could cook any treat I like. Steak it is! I chose some beautiful New York Strips.

If you don’t have a grill like our poor souls, you’ll need a very good grill pan. It can give you beautiful grill marks (put food on very hot, pick up, rotate 45 degrees to get those beautiful diamond shaped grill marks.) A perk of using cast iron is the seasoning the pan gets! Click here for my pick, remember whatever you buy through that link gets me a small commission!

I’ve continued to be spoiled by three hour baby-less naps when my husband is off work. The gift of sleep! Could anything be better?

Maybe (Just maybe) A nice boozy steak.

Ranch ‘Ritos

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Tools:

Baking sheet, kitchen shears or knife, bowl or large Tupperware with lid

Preparation time: About 15 minutes

Ingredients:

4 or 5 corn tortillas, cut into triangles

cooking spray

Chili Ranch spice mix:

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon chili powder

2 tablespoon garlic powder, onion powder, dill, smoked paprika

Method:

Toast tortilla triangles in oven at 350 degrees for ten minutes, flipping after 5 minutes.

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Once cooled, coat with cooking spray and toss in Chili Ranch spice mix.

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Enjoy!

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Variations:

If you can have cheese, toss in some powdered cheese such as popcorn nacho cheese seasoning

You can season these with whatever spice mix you like! Get fancy with popcorn seasonings too.

Some people enjoy Nutritional yeast flakes to add a certain depth (You either love it or hate it)

Fun fact: Ranch flavored Doritos in German are called “Cool American.”

This never ceases to amuse me. Their recipe for Doritos is very different than ours, as MSG is not allowed in foods there. It tells you something when our foods are not allowed in other countries.

I LOVE chips. I am affectionately called the ‘chip monster’ by my husband. I can control my sweet cravings easily, but salt? Give me the crunchy, salty, goodness.

I really missed Doritos and had some corn tortillas lying around. Easy peasy! You can adjust the coating amount on these, I go a bit light. If you’re feeling especially lazy, Here’s a dairy free ranch seasoning mix.

Remember, even if you start with that link, whatever you buy on Amazon gets me a small commission at no cost to you!

May all your snacking be joyous. Thanks to these, it can even be a little healthy.

White Pizza with Vegan White Sauce

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Tools:

baking sheet, saucepan

Preparation time:

10 minutes

Ingredients:

White sauce:

1 cup milk of choice (If using dairy free, use an unsweetened milk )

2 tbsp. all purpose flour or cornstarch, whisked into milk when cold

1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning

1 teaspoon garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika

1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper, season salt

Pizza:

1 prepared pizza dough, spread onto greased baking sheet, or baking sheet topped with cornmeal. (You can also use pizza stone)

1 cooked potato, sliced into rounds

1/4 thinly sliced onion

2 slices torn Proscuitto (Optional)

Method:

White Sauce: In saucepan, cook milk and flour on medium heat, stirring constantly. When thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, add all spices. (Season to taste)

Pizza:

Coat pizza with white sauce, top with onion, Proscuitto, and potatoes. Bake as pizza dough recipe directs. (Normally 350 degrees for 15 minutes)

I need cream sauce. I need it to live.

I had to get creative with no dairy. No butter. No cheese. No milk.

Fortunately thanks to some heavy spicing I have a spicy, well seasoned, white sauce. This is definitely going on pasta in the future!

This pizza is inspired by Flammkuchen- a specialty pizza that’s popular in Southern Germany/Northern France. Earlier in history, the border of Germany was further North. The region we lived in used to be French and the influence in food is still very heavily felt.

Flammkuchen is a thin crusted pizza, topped with a sour cream/cream cheese style cheese topped with Lardon and onion. It’s cooked in a brick oven so the crust gets those beautiful crusty raised bubbles. Oh how I missed it! All I need now is to find Lardon and I’ll be in heaven.

Cheater’s Chicken and Gravy

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Tools:

Whisk, crock pot, saucepan and lid or instant pot

Ingredients:

4 pieces boneless chicken of choice (Does not need to be defrosted!)

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon season salt

fresh ground pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika

1 cup water

2 tbsp. saute oil of choice

Method:

Instant pot: Poach chicken using tray insert. (pour water in bottom, place frozen chicken on top of metal steam tray) Set on meat setting or manual for 30 minutes. Once instant pot is done, dredge chicken in flour/ spice mixture, pressing to get a good coating.

Remove cooking water (now homemade broth) into another bowl, whisk in remaining flour where you have dredged chicken.

On saute’ setting, add oil and brown floured chicken. Set aside once both sides are brown.

Stirring constantly, add broth/ flour mixture back to instant pot. Cook until gravy is thickened to your liking. Add chicken back to pot. Serve.

Slow cooker Method:

Add chicken and water to slow cooker. Cook on low 6-8 hours or high 4-6 hours. Remove chicken, dredge in flour and spice mixture. Saute’ in oil on stove top pan,  browning both sides. Set chicken aside.

Whisk remaining flour in broth in slow cooker. Transfer to stove top pan, stirring constantly on medium heat until gravy is thickened to your liking. Add chicken to gravy, serve.

Variations:

Gluten free: Substitute cornstarch for flour easily, your chicken will have a crunchier coating.

Ensure you whisk cornstarch into broth thoroughly so your gravy has no lumps.

Season with whatever you like, and always season to taste.

Happy belated Mother’s Day from the trenches of Motherhood.

As I type, I have a sleeping baby on me that wakes up the minute I put him down. He’s as large as a frozen butterball turkey, so my clavicle might dislocate at any time. The great news is he’s warm and clean and happily snoring.

This is my first time celebrating as a mother. It means a lot to me as our son was born early and had to stay in the hospital for a time. I’ll never forget the dinging of the monitors, for months I heard it anytime there was any kind of droning noise. Seeing babies smaller than ours gave me a sense of perspective some people will never understand.

I was an emergency C-Section. I endured severe agony for months getting my child to nurse, I would do it all again a million times if it helped our baby even a fraction. This is the gift of motherhood. This is the gift of fighting hard for what you love. I have never known a love this fierce and unyielding. You hear people talk about a Mother’s love, but I had no idea until this year.

As for daily mom life, it is crazy. This recipe is great for those days. There’s no defrosting! Put it in with water, brown it, and gravy it! It’s from scratch and let me tell you, it’s good. This was adapted from a Carolina recipe.

I love it because I hate futzing with raw chicken. This way you use the flour for both the dredging and gravy application. There’s no going back and forth with egg and flour making a mess. Sometimes from scratch can be easy.

It’s pictured with my microwave mashed potatoes and country style green beans. This is some husband pleasing food, and they will never know it was easy.

Click here to check out my instapot. Remember, if you start with that link, whatever you buy on Amazon gets me a small commission at no cost to you!

Chai Spiced Cinnamon Rolls with a Hot Cocoa Glaze

IMG_4713Tools: Rolling pin, knife, pastry brush, baking dish

Preparation time: 10-15 minutes

Ingredients:

2 cups prepared pizza dough (I used whole wheat)

2 tbsp. melted spread of choice (needs to be a spread that bakes well, I used Earth Balance)

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tbsp cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

 2 turns grated vanilla bean (from vanilla bean grinder)

glaze:

2 tbsp. melted spread

2 tbsp. cocoa powder

2 tbsp. brown sugar

Method:

Roll out pizza dough in a rectangle. Spread dough generously with melted spread, cover in a layer of brown sugar. Sprinkle on all spices evenly. Roll and cut into 2 inch rolls. Place in greased oven safe baking dish. Bake at 350 Degrees F for 15 minutes. Add glaze, bake an additional 15 minutes.

Glaze: Combine all ingredients. Brush on halfway through baking.

Variations:

Omit cardamom if you prefer.

Gluten free: Use gluten free pizza dough. Fortunately there are a lot on the market now, you lucky dog!

I deserve a medal for all the times I’ve walked past the Cinnamon Bun vendors in the mall.

I think about all the calories, the trans fats, and not to mention I can’t have any because they include dairy. What if we could make them healthier? What if we could have them whole wheat? What if they could be vegan? Oh friends, we can.

Let’s not talk about how many I ate. That’s just not important.

When baking, it’s better to pull out a little sooner rather than later. Pizza dough can get hard when over baked and we want these soft and melty in the mouth.

One of my favorite kitchen gadgets comes into play here- my silicone basting brush. It cleans easy and doesn’t pick up any oily residue thanks to the dishwasher. Click here to get your very own or just start with that link and buy whatever you’d like on Amazon and I get a small commission (Yay!)

It’s a marvelous thundery, rainy day. I once again have snoring baby. Sleep training could probably be going better. I’m a softy, letting him cry it out ended in him giving up on sleep completely and getting very, very, wired and tired. I continue to pursue techniques that help. For now, I’m much more interested in him getting sleep during the day. I hope wherever you are, you are as comfy as me in my pajamas and snuggly snoring baby.

Enjoy these with some coffee, milk, and maybe even treat the mom in your life for Mother’s day!

One Pot Tomato Basil Pasta

 I IMG_4687Tools: Saucepan and lid

Preparation time: 5-25 minutes depending on pasta type

Ingredients:

1 tbsp. saute’ oil of choice

2 cloves fresh garlic, minced

2 fresh tomatoes, diced

1 tbsp. basil, dried

1 tbsp. capers

1 cup pasta of choice (I enjoy whole wheat)

1 cup vegetable broth

enough water to cover pasta

splash of soy sauce

1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Method:

Saute’ garlic in oil until fragrant. Add remaining ingredients, adding just enough water to cover pasta. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer. Cover and cook until pasta is halfway cooked. Remove lid and continue cooking, reducing liquid as pasta cooks, stirring occasionally. Salt to taste, enjoy!

Variations:

I love this recipe for all the variations!

gluten free: Use gluten free pasta and soy sauce- careful not to overcook your pasta

Proteins: You can add Better than Beef soy crumbles- they’re delicious!

You can also add cooked ground beef.

You can also add shrimp to the recipe as you are in the saute garlic step

Don’t have fresh tomatoes? A can of diced tomatoes will do very well and give you a more Bolognese style sauce.

I added capers and torn Proscuitto to my pasta for a ‘Puttanesca’ feel. I think some diced olives would also be marvelous.

When I cook pasta, I make enough to feed all of Italy.

That’s a good thing, because today I just returned home from running errands with a baby and was starving. The last thing I wanted to do was cook, it took all of my strength not to buy Chicken McNuggets from the golden arches. I’m afraid my child might be made of 50% nugget at this point.

Fortunately, this pasta came to the rescue! I was given this recipe by its’ very inventive creator- my sister. Okay, sister- in-law. I hate that term! We’re family!

I love this recipe for its’ versatility and economy. Who can’t afford some tomatoes and pasta? Plus the soy sauce adds an unexpected depth of flavor thanks to its’ Umami properties. It’s vegan friendly, beginner cook friendly, whole wheat or gluten free friendly.

Never had capers? Oh, friends. If you are lover of all things briny and pickled, these are for you! They also make an amazing Picatta (recipe idea, perhaps?) To order your very own capers Click here for some caper action.

A little pasta tip- in Italy and all the Italian places you love, pasta is finished cooking in the sauce so it absorbs the flavor. This is another reason I love this pasta, it seasons as it cooks. The next time you are too tired to cook- try this. All you need is one pot and very few ingredients to treat yourself.