by amanda

Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Feta, and Pine Nuts

April 3, 2014 in veggie by amanda

Quinoa is something that I’m just now learning to love. For years I’ve told you guys that I hated it and refused to even go near it. Mostly because I kind of think it looks like some kind of creature hatching out of an egg when it’s cooked.

*gag*

I’m really into it lately though. I find that the more stuff I put on it, the more I like it. So you know I loved this recipe. It’s got asparagus, red onion, kalamata olives, and feta mixed in – and three of those four are on my top 10 list of favorite foods. Plus it’s topped with a tart, lemony dressing, fresh basil, and pine nuts!

I’m kind of obsessed with this salad right now and I am officially out of leftovers so it’s a sad situation. It’s so good. I had it for lunch and dinner the past two days and could seriously keep going.

Two years ago: Easter Bread
Three years ago: Baked Chocolate Doughnuts with Buttermilk Glaze
Four years ago: Broccoli Salad

Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Feta, and Pine Nuts

adapted from Style at Home

Ingredients

For the salad:
1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups water
1 large bunch baby asparagus, stalks cut off and cut into 1/2" pieces
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 cup crumbled feta cheese + more for garnish
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts for garnish
For the dressing:
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Place the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly with cool water for at least 2 minutes; drain.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the drained quinoa and cook, stirring, for 1 minute to toast the grains and evaporate any remaining water.
  3. Stir in the water and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting, cover and cook for 15 minutes.Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and set aside.
  4. Steam the asparagus for 2 minutes, or until tender-crisp. Transfer the asparagus to a colander and rinse under ice-cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain thoroughly and set aside.
  5. When cool, combine the quinoa, asparagus, olives, onion and feta cheese in a large bowl.
  6. Whisk together the garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, oregano and basil in a small bowl. Add sea salt and pepper.
  7. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss gently to combine. Top with the additional crumbled feta cheese and toasted pine nuts and serve immediately.
http://fakeginger.com/2014/04/03/quinoa-salad-asparagus-feta-pine-nuts/

by amanda

No-Bake Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

April 2, 2014 in bars by amanda

My kids are obsessed with granola bars. It’s bad. Like, so bad that I have to hide them or they will all be eaten before I know it.

And I don’t blame them. I’m sure I’ve told you guys before that I have granola bar problems. I cannot just have one granola bar. If I have one, I’m eating the whole box. Right then.

I’ve tried to make my own granola bars in the past and had okay results. I just want something simple that doesn’t require a special trip to the grocery store.

This one is perfect! It’s no-bake so I threw them together in less than 10 minutes. I have all the ingredients on hand at all times.

My kids love them and I don’t have to worry about hiding them since I can just make another batch if we run out!

Two years ago: Easter Ideas
Four years ago: Pasca (Romanian Easter Cake)

No-Bake Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

Ingredients

2 cups quick cooking oats (or pulse whole oats in a food processor a bit)
1 cup crisp rice cereal
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup coconut oil
3 tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, plus more for topping

Instructions

  1. Line a 9x13-inch pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together oats, crisp rice cereal, and coconut.
  3. In a small saucepan, melt together coconut oil, peanut butter, and honey. Add salt and bring to a boil. Once boiling, allow to boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  4. Pour the coconut oil mixture over the oats mixture and use a rubber spatula to stir everything together - make sure everything is coated. Let cool for a few minutes and then stir in chocolate chips (if you don't allow to cool, all your chocolate chips will melt).
  5. Press mixture into the prepared pan and press additional mini chocolate chips on top. Let set in fridge for about 20 minutes before slicing into bars. Wrap tightly in aluminum foil for storage.
http://fakeginger.com/2014/04/02/bake-chewy-peanut-butter-chocolate-chip-granola-bars/

by amanda

Buffalo Chicken Egg Muffins

April 1, 2014 in chicken, paleo by amanda

I’m not sure how common this is but I find that it is so much easier to stick to healthy eating when my husband is gone. Without someone saying “We should just get pizza/burritos/cashew chicken,” it’s really easy for me to just stick with the good stuff. Plus, I’ve told you guys before that when he’s gone, I’m very willing to sacrifice some of my food budget for clothes or makeup.

It is what it is.

So since he’s deployed, I’ve been sticking to pretty much paleo. I mean, besides the McDonald’s chicken nuggets I had for dinner last night. And the hot & spicy chicken sandwich I had for my pre-sleeping snack. But besides that, I’ve been doing the paleo thing.

I really love paleo. I find that I feel best when I’m doing it. But  - and this is a big but – it is so hard to come off paleo. I want to EAT ALL THE THINGS and DRINK ALL THE WINE and GO TO ALL THE RESTAURANTS. It’s bad. So I’m trying to do mostly paleo with some normal (McDonald’s) mixed in.

I make these Buffalo Chicken Egg Muffins about once a week. I just keep them in the fridge and reheat when I need quick and easy protein.

You guys know that I’m not good with spicy food but these really aren’t super spicy. You get the flavor of the buffalo sauce without much heat since there is such a small amount of the hot sauce. If you are into the spicy stuff, just sprinkle some over your muffins before you enjoy them.

Two years ago: Southwestern Deviled Eggs
Four years ago: Hot Cross Buns

Buffalo Chicken Egg Muffins

Ingredients

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
1/4 cup hot sauce
1/4 cup coconut oil
12 eggs
1/4 cup green onions, sliced

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with papers (preferably parchment muffin papers).
  2. Arrange chicken breasts on a baking sheet and sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Once chicken is cool enough to handle, shred and place in a large bowl.
  4. In a separate small bowl, stir together coconut oil (melted if necessary) and hot sauce. Pour half of this mixture over the shredded chicken and stir.
  5. In another bowl, beat together eggs, remaining hot sauce mixture, and green onions. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Fill muffin cups about 12 full with the egg mixture. Top each muffin with about 1/4 cup of shredded chicken.
  7. Bake about 20 minutes or until the eggs are set and the tops are golden brown. Cool slightly before serving.
  8. Store in the fridge and reheat when hunger strikes!
http://fakeginger.com/2014/04/01/buffalo-chicken-egg-muffins/

by amanda

Sloppy Joe Tater Tot Casserole

March 31, 2014 in beef by amanda

I know. It’s way too early on a Monday morning to be talking about things like tater tot casseroles.

I’m sorry.

I was sick all weekend - all weekend! – and didn’t have time to get a bunch of yummy things baked and photographed. I made this and it’s delicious and amazing but I couldn’t stop coughing long enough to take pictures. Being sick is the worst.

I threw this together for my kids yesterday and there wasn’t a tater tot left by the end of dinner. They loved it! I won’t lie, I didn’t think it sounded very good but I stole a couple bites and didn’t hate it. I like sloppy joes, I love tater tots – so yeah, I think I’m just embarrassed to say that I liked it.

One year ago: Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken
Two years ago: Caesar-Stuffed Eggs
Three years ago: Toffee Bar Brownie Torte
Four years ago: Coconut Cupcakes
Five years ago: Chicken Shawarma

Sloppy Joe Tater Tot Casserole

adapted from All The Cooks

Ingredients

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 pound lean ground beef
salt and pepper
1 (15.5 ounce) can sloppy joe sauce
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
16 ounce bag tater tots

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Brown ground beef, breaking it up, until no pink remains. Drain, return to pan, and season with salt and pepper. Add sloppy joe sauce and cream of mushroom sauce. Stir until everything is combined.
  3. Pour mixture into a 9x13-inch pan. Top with sharp cheddar cheese. Arrange tater tots on top.
  4. Bake for about 25 - 30 minutes or until tater tots are cooked and golden brown.
http://fakeginger.com/2014/03/31/sloppy-joe-tater-tot-casserole/

by amanda

Pineapple Fairy Cupcakes

March 27, 2014 in cake by amanda

Sometimes you just need a fun cupcake in your life. Am I right? (And by sometimes, I mean every day of your life.) I made these cupcakes in honor of the release of Disney’s The Pirate Fairy on Digital HD and Blu-ray on April 1st. It is the newest from the world of Peter Pan and I am pretty excited about it. I think the Disney Fairy movies are so cute – they really appeal to my love of all things pretty and sparkly. My littlest has recently been obsessed with the Tinkerbell movies so I’m sure we’ll be heading to the store first thing April 1 to pick it up. And then we’ll watch it at least 3 times that day. That’s just how we do things around here. I decided to make pineapple cupcakes because for some reason pineapples make me think of fairies. Maybe it’s all the leaves growing out of the top? I really don’t know but they do. This is also my go-to recipe when I get a last minute request for cupcakes because they are so simple and I always have the ingredients on hand. It is just cake mix and a can of crushed pineapple! That’s it! They couldn’t be easier to make and they bake up so light and fluffy. These are one of the only cupcakes that I’d happily eat without frosting on top. I went with a vanilla bean buttercream but you could top the cupcakes with anything you want. Because they are so light, I actually really like them with just a dollop of whipped cream on top and some fresh berries or even maraschino cherries. I went with a “Tinkerbell” green for the frosting and then covered it with sparkly sprinkles. You can’t make anything fairy related without lots and lots of sprinkles! I also made cute little flowers out of marshmallows because I always think of flowers when I think of Tinkerbell. The flowers are so easy – you just cut large marshmallows into pieces and dip them in sprinkles! I used chewy Sprees as the center of my flowers but you can use any kind of round candy.

Pineapple Fairy Cupcakes

Ingredients

1 yellow cake mix
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple (DO NOT DRAIN)
For the vanilla bean buttercream:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
pinch of salt
2 - 3 cups powdered sugar
2 - 3 tablespoons milk
For the flowers:
large marshmallows
small sprinkles
round candies

Instructions

    To make the cake:
  1. Beat cake mix and crushed pineapple until very few lumps remain. Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake according to package instructions.
  2. Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
  3. To make the vanilla bean buttercream:
  4. Beat butter until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla bean paste and salt. Gradually beat in powdered sugar and milk until it reaches your desired consistency.
  5. To make the flower cupcakes:
  6. Use kitchen scissors to cut marshmallow into 5 horizontal "slices". Dip the sticky side of marshmallow into sprinkles. Position the marshmallows around the cupcake and top with a round candy.
http://fakeginger.com/2014/03/27/pineapple-fairy-cupcakes/

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