1
Overnight Blueberry Maple Oatmeal
2
No Bake Oreo Birthday Cake Batter Squares
3
White Bean Lentil Garlic Dip
4
Confetti Cake Batter Brownies
5
Overnight Cookie Dough Oatmeal
6
Preserving Strawberries, Kale and Basil
7
Banana, Strawberry, Pineapple Smoothie
8
Tri Color Pasta Salad
9
Slow Cooker Pot Roast
10
Creamy Mashed Potatoes
11
Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
12
For The Love of Pineapple
13
Gingerbread Popcorn
14
Crockpot Chipotle Chicken Tacos
15
Mexican Fried Ice Cream
16
Tortilla Soup
17
Cilantro + Lime Basmati Rice
18
Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
19
Delicious Taco Casserole
20
Green Bean and Broccoli Casserole

Overnight Blueberry Maple Oatmeal

Overnight Blueberry Maple Oatmeal is a quick breakfast that’s waiting for you in the morning! Healthy ingredients include oats, blueberries, milk, syrup, flax seeds and cinnamon!

I can’t get enough of overnight oatmeal.  It’s easy, quick and perfect for those summer days where you wake up, leave your air conditioned bedroom and the humidity just smacks you in the face tossing you back into your bedroom to cry under your chilled blankets.  

I made Overnight Cookie Dough Oatmeal a few posts ago and it was delicious, especially if you love peanut butter.    But I wanted to try something with more fruits and reminded me of pancakes, so I added in some syrup and fresh blueberries and Overnight Blueberry Maple Oatmeal was created!  I love this so much I had it 3 times already this week.  Last night while laying in bed at 2AM, I was thinking about it so I got up and made it so I could have it the following morning.  It’s that easy where you can make it half asleep while a cat tugs at your toes to come back to sleep.  (In case you are wondering, FiFi Bofinkles is the toe tugger).

Stay tuned for more upcoming overnight oatmeal recipes – I’m obsessed.

Overnight Blueberry Maple Oatmeal is a quick breakfast that's waiting for you in the morning! Healthy ingredients include oats, blueberries, milk, syrup, flax seeds and cinnamon!

Overnight Blueberry Maple Oatmeal
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  2. 1/2 cup milk + splash in the morning
  3. 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  4. 1 teaspoon flax seeds
  5. 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  6. 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients in a jar or bowl.
  2. Stir so everything is combined.
  3. Put lid on, and put in refrigerator overnight.
  4. In the morning, splash a bit of milk on top and stir around again.
  5. Enjoy!
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/
 This is so easy, let me show you.

Overnight Blueberry Maple Oatmeal is a quick breakfast that's waiting for you in the morning! Healthy ingredients include oats, blueberries, milk, syrup, flax seeds and cinnamon!
Grab a bowl or jar, just make sure it has a lid.

Overnight Blueberry Maple Oatmeal is a quick breakfast that's waiting for you in the morning! Healthy ingredients include oats, blueberries, milk, syrup, flax seeds and cinnamon!
Add your old fashioned oats.

Overnight Blueberry Maple Oatmeal is a quick breakfast that's waiting for you in the morning! Healthy ingredients include oats, blueberries, milk, syrup, flax seeds and cinnamon!
Then your milk.

Overnight Blueberry Maple Oatmeal is a quick breakfast that's waiting for you in the morning! Healthy ingredients include oats, blueberries, milk, syrup, flax seeds and cinnamon!
Then your fresh blueberries.  Even though these are sitting overnight, they will still have that fresh bite to them in the morning.

Overnight Blueberry Maple Oatmeal is a quick breakfast that's waiting for you in the morning! Healthy ingredients include oats, blueberries, milk, syrup, flax seeds and cinnamon!
Then add your cinnamon and maple syrup.

Overnight Blueberry Maple Oatmeal is a quick breakfast that's waiting for you in the morning! Healthy ingredients include oats, blueberries, milk, syrup, flax seeds and cinnamon!
Then your flax seeds.  Flax seeds are ruling my life right now.

Overnight Blueberry Maple Oatmeal is a quick breakfast that's waiting for you in the morning! Healthy ingredients include oats, blueberries, milk, syrup, flax seeds and cinnamon!
Great, you have all the ingredients.

Overnight Blueberry Maple Oatmeal is a quick breakfast that's waiting for you in the morning! Healthy ingredients include oats, blueberries, milk, syrup, flax seeds and cinnamon!
Stir with spoon, or if you are using a mason jar just put the lid on and shake up.  

It’s that easy! Just throw it in the fridge and let it sit overnight.

Overnight Blueberry Maple Oatmeal is a quick breakfast that's waiting for you in the morning! Healthy ingredients include oats, blueberries, milk, syrup, flax seeds and cinnamon!
And when you wake up, this delicious blueberry maple oatmeal will be waiting for you!  I like to add a little splash of milk on top to make it wet and give it a quick mix around.

Overnight Blueberry Maple Oatmeal is a quick breakfast that's waiting for you in the morning! Healthy ingredients include oats, blueberries, milk, syrup, flax seeds and cinnamon!
You can even add more berries if you’d like in the morning.  Blueberries are totally my jam (haha) right now.

Overnight Blueberry Maple Oatmeal is a quick breakfast that's waiting for you in the morning! Healthy ingredients include oats, blueberries, milk, syrup, flax seeds and cinnamon!
This breakfast is sort of perfect for me.

Enjoy!

Overnight Blueberry Maple Oatmeal is a quick breakfast that's waiting for you in the morning! Healthy ingredients include oats, blueberries, milk, syrup, flax seeds and cinnamon!

Overnight Blueberry Maple Oatmeal is a quick breakfast that's waiting for you in the morning! Healthy ingredients include oats, blueberries, milk, syrup, flax seeds and cinnamon!

 

No Bake Oreo Birthday Cake Batter Squares

No Bake Oreo Birthday Cake Batter Squares recipe that only needs 4 ingredients. They are perfect for when it’s too hot to bake! 

The last few days have been really hot in NYC.  Weather that you definitely don’t want to turn your oven on for! So what’s a girl to do when she’s craving pies, cakes, brownies and breads?  2 words “no bake”.    In the summer we should have a rule, only turn the oven on if we are making pizza.  Any blog post that ever has the words “no bake” on it, I will click, read, comment that I love you.. because I truly do.    So let’s embrace these no bake cake batter treats.

No Bake Oreo Cake Batter Squares recipe that only needs 4 ingredients. They are perfect for when it's too hot to bake!

Frozen No Bake Cake Batter Squares
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 package of Birthday Cake or Golden Oreos
  2. 1 cup white chocolate chips
  3. 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
  4. 1/3 cup Rainbow sprinkles
Instructions
  1. Get a 8x8 baking pan, spray it with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. In a food processor, grind up your Oreo cookies to a crumb mixture. You will probably have to do this in 3-4 batches. Set the crumbs aside in a large bowl.
  3. Melt your white chocolate chips in the microwave for about 30-45 seconds until melted.
  4. Pour in your condensed milk to the chocolate chips and stir until smooth.
  5. Pour 1/4 cup of rainbow sprinkles into the mixture and stir again.
  6. Take your chocolate chips/milk/sprinkles mixture and pour it into your Oreo crumbs mixture.
  7. Stir around until everything is mixed.
  8. Spoon your mixture into a sprayed baking pan and with a spatula press down so it's flat and even across the top.
  9. Add your remaining sprinkles and use the spatula to press these down.
  10. Put foil on top and put in your refrigerator for 1 hour to set.
  11. Remove from fridge, cut into small squares.
  12. Put pieces in a freezer bag, and put in freezer.
  13. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. If you are making shapes by using cutters instead of squares, I would let you sit this at room temperature for about 10 minutes after taking them out of the fridge. Then cut.
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/

 No Bake Oreo Cake Batter Squares recipe that only needs 4 ingredients. They are perfect for when it's too hot to bake!


No Bake Oreo Cake Batter Squares recipe that only needs 4 ingredients. They are perfect for when it's too hot to bake! Now look, what we’re about to do might receive gasps from the Oreo community but you have to trust me here.


No Bake Oreo Cake Batter Squares recipe that only needs 4 ingredients. They are perfect for when it's too hot to bake! We’re going to grind them up.  This will take a few batches, I could do about 8 cookies at a time.


No Bake Oreo Cake Batter Squares recipe that only needs 4 ingredients. They are perfect for when it's too hot to bake! Transfer your crumbs to a bowl.  If you taste this – oh my.  You can still taste the creme, but it’s crumbly.


No Bake Oreo Cake Batter Squares recipe that only needs 4 ingredients. They are perfect for when it's too hot to bake! Melt your white chips.  Even though it doesn’t look melted, it probably will be after 30 seconds.


No Bake Oreo Cake Batter Squares recipe that only needs 4 ingredients. They are perfect for when it's too hot to bake! Add your milk. 


No Bake Oreo Cake Batter Squares recipe that only needs 4 ingredients. They are perfect for when it's too hot to bake! Add your rainbow sprinkles.  


No Bake Oreo Cake Batter Squares recipe that only needs 4 ingredients. They are perfect for when it's too hot to bake! And stir.  


No Bake Oreo Cake Batter Squares recipe that only needs 4 ingredients. They are perfect for when it's too hot to bake! Pour into the crumb mixture.  


No Bake Oreo Cake Batter Squares recipe that only needs 4 ingredients. They are perfect for when it's too hot to bake! It’s my version of Yin and Yang.


No Bake Oreo Cake Batter Squares recipe that only needs 4 ingredients. They are perfect for when it's too hot to bake! Then begin stirring it all together.


No Bake Oreo Cake Batter Squares recipe that only needs 4 ingredients. They are perfect for when it's too hot to bake! Note: The mixture is not creamy, it’s kind of rough.  You want it this way as we’re setting it to be hard.  


No Bake Oreo Cake Batter Squares recipe that only needs 4 ingredients. They are perfect for when it's too hot to bake! Have your sprayed 8×8 baking pan nearby.


No Bake Oreo Cake Batter Squares recipe that only needs 4 ingredients. They are perfect for when it's too hot to bake! And add your beautiful cookie mixture to the pan.


No Bake Oreo Cake Batter Squares recipe that only needs 4 ingredients. They are perfect for when it's too hot to bake! With a spatula press down..


No Bake Oreo Cake Batter Squares recipe that only needs 4 ingredients. They are perfect for when it's too hot to bake! So it’s nice and firm.


No Bake Oreo Cake Batter Squares recipe that only needs 4 ingredients. They are perfect for when it's too hot to bake! Add your sprinkles and press down again.  This will make sure they don’t fall off.

Now put foil on top and throw in the fridge for 1 hour.  

Once it’s set take it of the fridge after 1 hour and begin cutting into your squares right away.
No Bake Oreo Cake Batter Squares recipe that only needs 4 ingredients. They are perfect for when it's too hot to bake!


No Bake Oreo Cake Batter Squares recipe that only needs 4 ingredients. They are perfect for when it's too hot to bake! These are just the right size!  


No Bake Oreo Cake Batter Squares recipe that only needs 4 ingredients. They are perfect for when it's too hot to bake! Then freeze them  in a freezer bag. I like to put mine into mini cupcake liners because I was planning to take them to a party later and individually wrapped treats make everyone smile!


No Bake Oreo Cake Batter Squares recipe that only needs 4 ingredients. They are perfect for when it's too hot to bake! Whenever you’re feeling hungry for one, take one from the freezer and pop it into your mouth!  Enjoy it!

No Bake Oreo Birthday Cake Batter Squares recipe that only needs 4 ingredients. They are perfect for when it's too hot to bake!

White Bean Lentil Garlic Dip

Do you tend to buy things at the store and then they get pushed back to back of the cabinet and you forget about them? Ooops.

That’s how I am about dried beans. I love beans.  So whenever I’m in the dried beans aisle, I think to myself “Look at how cheap these are to cans, I should get a few bags, this is a great idea”.  Then they sit in my cabinet and the canned beans get used instead.  It’s a horrible crime, I know.   So when I was cleaning out my cabinets this weekend I found multiple bags of beans that were calling my name.  My first thought “soup” was quickly erased when I realized that was a horrible idea for the sweltering heat.  My second thought “dip”.  Dip is great, especially on hot days.   It’s great to dip crusty bread in, or carrots.   Or how delicious would it be with these homemade tortilla chips?  (Thanks to my friend Owen for reminding me!)  It’s great for a party.  It’s great to snack during the day as bean dip is nutritious and filling.  Bean dip – it’s a champion!

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This bean dip is easy!  If you don’t want to use dried beans, you can used canned ones, but man,  dried beans are cheap!    The ingredients in here are navy beans, lentils, lemon juice, olive oil, onion powder, salt, parsley to garnish.. and garlic and a bit of cumin for some kick.  I bet you have almost all these ingredients already – how much of a win win situation is this?  Because of the garlic and slight hint of cumin, the dip has a bit of a bite to it – it’s slightly spicy – not overwhelming – but it’s there with just the right amount.

bean dip IMG_2737

White Bean Lentil Garlic Dip
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup dry navy beans
  2. 1/2 cup dry lentils
  3. 4 clove garlic
  4. 3 tablespoons lime juice
  5. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  6. 1/8 teaspoon cumin
  7. 1 teaspoon onion powder
  8. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  9. Dried Parsley to Garnish
Instructions
  1. Soak beans. Add your dry beans and lentils to a deep pot and add enough water to cover beans by 3 inches. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain.
  2. Add your beans, lentils, garlic, lime juice, cumin, onion powder and salt to a food processor. Pulse until all combined.
  3. Add olive oil to food processor and turn on until smooth.
  4. Spoon out and put in serving dish.
  5. Garnish with dried parsley.
Notes
  1. If you don't want to use dry beans, use one 15oz can navy beans, one 15oz can lentils.
  2. If your dip is chunky, add a tablespoon of water to food processor and pulse. Keep adding until smooth.
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/
 So let’s get started and dive in…

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Here is my 1/2 cup dried navy beans and 1/2 cup lentils.  The way that I soak these is:  Add your dry beans and lentils together to a deep pot and add enough water to cover beans by 3 inches. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain.

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Then you will start adding your ingredients (except olive oil and parsley)  to your food processor.  I love my food processor so much.

bean dip IMG_2711
Once you are finished adding your ingredients, then add your olive oil and process more until smooth.  Tip:  The olive oil is going to make it smooth, but you might need some more additional smoothness.  If you do, add a tablespoon of water and process again.  Repeat this step until it’s just the amount of creaminess you want.  

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Take it out of the food processor and spoon into serving dish.  Sprinkle dried parsley on top.

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I like to serve this with little pieces of bread, or baby carrots.

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Then snack away!  Who doesn’t love healthy snacking?

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Bonus points: Take to a party, everyone will love you!

Confetti Cake Batter Brownies

Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies – these are ooey gooey good!

Do you know how much I love cake batter? No.  Well let me tell you.. I love cake batter!

Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!

I can eat cake batter brownies, cookies, cupcakes, cake, pudding, popcorn, milkshakes.  If it begins with the word “cake batter” I’m in 100%.  I even  (guiltily) enjoy a bowl of just cake batter, to be enjoyed with a spoon, or your tongue as you look around to  make sure noone is watching you act like a human dishwasher (totally ok, do it all the time, I’ve even been caught a few times, just ignore it and keep going).

Now you can call them blondies if you want, but I’m going to go with brownies because it feels more comfortable.   A vanilla brownie, let’s call it that.  Or  a albino brownie, we can do that.  I’ve googled this brownie vs blondie debate and the wounds go deep with those on both sides, but I think we can come together and just enjoy this.  Let’s just call this amazing, because that’s what it is.  I am pretty sure these bake batter brownies can stop wars.  In fact, I am going to send a letter to the White House letting them know of this.  Thank me later POTUS!

Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!

The other great thing is these can be stored for about a week, but seriously – these won’t even last 3 days.   If I stop by, 2 days at the most! Beep Beep, one cake batter monster coming through…
Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!

Confetti Cake Batter Brownies
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 box Confetti/Funfetti cake mix
  2. 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  3. 1 egg
  4. 1/3 cup milk
  5. 1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles
  6. 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray 11x9 baking pan with nonstick spray.
  3. Combine cake mix, vegetable oil, egg and milk into a bowl. Mix around.
  4. Add sprinkles and white chocolate chips, continue to mix.
  5. Pour into baking pan, sprinkle a few more rainbow sprinkles on top.
  6. Bake 25-30 minutes until your edges are slightly brown.
  7. Allow to cool, then cut into brownies.
Notes
  1. Store in container.
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/
 So let’s begin baking these beauties.  

 
Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!You want to use cake mix for these, the Funfetti or Confetti variety.  I used Confetti.  It’s the same thing.  It’s  made of rainbows and it makes me very happy!

Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!
What else makes me happy? Additional rainbow sprinkles and white chocolate chips.   


Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!Mix cake mix, oil, egg and milk together…


Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!To this beautiful mixture.  Now take a spoon and eat it.  I’m kidding.  No, I’m not.  Really, I’m not.


Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!Then add your white chocolate chips and sprinkles.  This amount of color makes my day happier.


Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!Mix it all around.  Get those sprinkles and chocolate chips mixed in there.


Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!And then take another spoonful because you’ve been a very good (bad) girl.

Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!
Then before you eat all the cake batter, put it in a baking dish.  I used a 11x9ish dish and I feel this made them just the right amount of soft and gooey that I wanted.  Put in the oven.

Now wonder around your house while cake batter fills the air.  During this time I like to lay near the kitchen, close my eyes and enter a magical world of rainbow happiness.  
And when it’s time… 

Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!
These gorgeous cake batter brownies will appear!

Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!
You want to keep them in the oven just until the edges are very slightly brown.  25-30 minutes, mine took 26 minutes to be very exact.

Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!
Then let them cool.  During this time just sit near them and stare lovingly at them.

Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!
Cats will show up and marvel at the wonder you just created! Then hug your cats because this is a great day.

Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!
Don’t you just love how it bubbles up slightly around the edges to give it a nice soft crust?  Oh it’s lovely.

Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!
When they’re cool, you can cut into brownies.  You can cut the into small squares or go big.   
Then serve yourself one as soon as possible.  It’s like when you’re on a airplane and they tell you to first put the oxygen mask on yourself, then your child.  This is the same exact thing.  You eat the first cake batter brownie.  Children come later.

Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!
Can we talk about how gooey the middles are?  It’s the perfect combination.  The edges are firm, enough to cut and move around, but the middles still have that cake batter that brings sunshine to my life.
Hello Pretty Princess!

Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!
When Matthew got home, the first thing he asked was “What is that smell?”.  I answered “Perfection”. Then smiled creepily because I was in a sweet high coma.

Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!
These are perfect for parties, dessert after dinner, a gift to your friend (you can sneak one two before giving) or just a Thursday because Wednesday wasn’t a good day.

Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!
And when there’s only one left, please wrestle anyone in your way to get it!

Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!

Overnight Cookie Dough Oatmeal

Did you ever wake up in the morning and the last thing you want to do is make breakfast? Actually, the last thing you want to do is wake up, but after that.. you just don’t want to make anything.  As some of you know my go to breakfast is my usual breakfast sandwich, and although it’s quick to make, sometimes I just want breakfast in 10 seconds.  My solution?  Overnight cookie dough oatmeal.  Get ready… this oatmeal is magical!

Knowing you will want a few extra minutes to sleep, or knowing you are going to have a hectic morning, or just knowing this oatmeal is so darn good you want to plan in advance, this is a overnight recipe.  Before you go to sleep, stir together all these ingredients, it takes 2 minutes.  Throw it in the fridge.  When you wake up the next morning, splash a little bit of milk on top, and eat away.  It’s that easy!

Can I tell you how much this breakfast fills me as well?   This breakfast easily gets me through until lunch wanting no snacks in between.  And because the oatmeal has peanut butter in it and tastes like cookie dough, it’s like a breakfast dessert.  Dessert for breakfast – can life be any grander?

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Overnight Cookie Dough Oatmeal
Print
Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup old fashioned oats
  2. 1/2 cup milk
  3. 1 1/2 tablespoon peanut butter (you can use another nut butter of your choice if you'd like)
  4. 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  5. 1 teaspoon flax seeds
  6. 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  7. topping to your liking
Instructions
  1. Stir all ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Cover bowl with lid, put in refrigerator overnight.
  3. Right before eating, add a small splash of milk and mix again.
  4. Add toppings that you'd like!
Notes
  1. Topping ideas: sliced bananas, dried or fresh berries, shredded coconut, pumpkin seeds, chocolate chips.
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/
blogIMG_2477
For this recipe you need flax seeds.  I didn’t know much about flax seeds, but here’s what I found out: they rule.   Putting them in the overnight oatmeal is going to make the oats thicken, so they aren’t runny.  You can also add them to muffin and cookie recipes.  And because of how little you use, this bag is going to last me at a long time.  Flax seeds are a good investment.

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Just a side note, Matthew’s younger brother was terrified of the Quaker Oats man as a kid.  Matthew (because he’s a loving brother) still sometimes sends him Quaker Oats wrapped up as a gift (to terrify him more).

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Night before, easy.  Just put all your ingredients in a bowl.   

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Then mix it all around.  If you notice, it looks runny because of the milk.  Your flax seeds are going to take care of that though and thicken it!

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The next morning, thick!  Delicious! I add a little splash of milk, stir it around, then it’s breakfast time.

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You an eat it plain, it’s delicious that way, or you can add a topping. Topping ideas: sliced bananas, dried or fresh berries, shredded coconut, pumpkin seeds, chocolate chips. 

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I love some dried blueberries so that’s what I added.

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Enjoy your breakfast! This one is a keeper.

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Here’s some flowers I picked to start the day off bright too!

What’s your favorite oatmeal topping?

Preserving Strawberries, Kale and Basil

As the garden season takes off, I will be doing a series of posts on how to preserve everything you grow so you can enjoy them now and many months later.   We won’t let any of our hard work that went into planting and caring for these plants go to waste here!

I often say “I garden because I cook”.    My love for being in the kitchen goes hand in hand with getting my nails dirty pushing down seeds.    My fulltime job is being an artist with my partner Matthew, and I would say our “day job” couldn’t be farther away from gardening and cooking.   Did you ever go from shooting a pair of shoes that cost close to your monthly rent, to sprinkling manure over your soil?    But it’s amazing because away from the stressful world of advertising, fashion and due dates, there is the kitchen and garden.    These are the stress-free zones for me.  Sure, there comes stress like weather that can destroy crops, oven temperatures that can burn cookie bottoms – but those are all you, noone is judging.  It’s just you with your apron or garden raincoat on, singing along to a rap tune, cats at your feet, enjoying your time.   One hour we can be in our home, sending over files to complete a job.  But wait, the creative director didn’t like that change, so now redo those last 8 hours you spent cutting it together.  Take a deep breath.  Eat a cookie.  Then go up to the garden.  None of this stress exists there.  You can just sit in your garden, with NYC surrounding you, listen to the hum of police sirens (it turns into a hum after you’ve lived here for a while) and forget about everything else.  I love it.

Here are other reasons why I love bringing these worlds of gardening and cooking together:

-You learn where everything comes from.  Did you know Brussels Sprouts grow the way they do? I didn’t either!    By gardening you see the process from seed to harvest, it often surprises you!
-You respect everything you grow.   Those pumpkins that I grew? They came from me pollinating them for a week straight at 5:30AM in the morning.   Those tomatoes that are beautiful red and perfect?   They stayed alive because you ran out into the pouring rain to make sure their windblocker fabric was up and everything was secure.    Those sugar snap peas?  Do you know how long they take to pick? Oh my!
-You try new vegetables.   I hated lettuce before we had our garden, now I’m like a rabbit where Matthew has to shoo me away.    I never tried radishes before, now I eat them whole.  
-This results into trying new dishes in the kitchen.  Pesto? Never made before, except now I have about 10 different recipes for it with every different plant.   I scour websites and cookbooks looking for new ways to use tomatoes, broccoli, carrots.  Dinner, Lunch, Desserts – I try it all!    The most important part is starting with a base you love.  So grow what you like!  
-Preserve! Preserve! Preserve!   This is the big one for me.  There are a few weeks in July and August that I am spending many hours every single day preserving our tomatoes to last us (forever).  So you just grew those kale plants – but did you have any idea how much kale grows on a plant? Or those edamame plants that I grew last year – did I know that I would get 20 pounds of edamame, all at once?  What are you going to do?  Well you just spent so much time and energy and love on these plants to grow great vegetables so now we’re not going to let it go to waste! Oh no we aren’t!  We are going to preserve it!    Did you know I had to buy my first can of diced tomatoes earlier this month because I had enough saved from last summer’s harvest?  Do you know how awesome of a feeling that is to have fresh vegetables you grew in your freezer all winter long?  Oh it’s snowing out and 3 degrees, let me just grab a extra fresh pack of frozen green beans that I grew a few months back.  *High 5’s*

 I spend quite a bit of time preserving everything we grow, and figuring out new ways to try.  One year I went as crazy as literally not wasting any of the broccoli plants, by finding ways to use the leaves and chop up the stems.    I blanch, I freeze whole, I puree,  I turn into sauces, I chop, I husk, I dry.  I do whatever it takes to preserve everything.   This post will be dedicated to strawberries, kale and basil.    Sometimes in future posts, I will give you another idea for the same vegetable.  There are many ways to preserve each plant, so I want to share some options for whatever is best for you in your kitchen. 🙂

Strawberries
Who doesn’t love strawberries?  And is there anything better than a sweet strawberry picked right off the vine and plopped straight into your mouth?  Oh yum!  But what happens when you are are harvesting pounds of strawberries?  Or what happens when you go the grocery store and find out that they are selling pints of strawberries for 89 cents.  Buy a bunch, we can keep your strawberry love stocked up for months!

We are going to freeze strawberries.   Strawberries keep in a freezer for a long time, I’m talking  a year.  Amazing, right?

What can we do with frozen strawberries? Well I’m glad you asked.
Smoothies!  My favorite.  Throw frozen strawberries in your blender and continue as usual in creating your favorite smoothie.
-Throw them into pies.
-Strawberry jelly!
-Strawberry sauce! Blend them up and pour over ice cream, cakes and waffles.
-Strawberry butter.  Yup,  you heard me right!
-Make strawberry bread.
-Strawberry salad.

Here are your beautiful strawberries.  
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Seriously, aren’t they the most loveliest things in the world?   I hope one day I can be at least 1% cool and classy as strawberries.
Now you want to wash them, wash them real good.
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Then once they are washed, you want to hull them.  Basically you want to rip off their green tops and cores.  You can do this a variety of ways with special tools, or just a knife.  Personally I just use my finger nails to get in there.   Then lay them on a cookie sheet and let freeze.    Once they are frozen, put them into freezer bags.  
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Then when you need some strawberries, take them out of your freezer and bask in the glory of them!  Use them however you want.  I will be making myself one happy strawberry smoothie. 🙂
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Kale
Kale, the winner of everything cool in 2013. Do you hear all the buzz about kale?  What a popular guy.    It seems to be the king of greens!  One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6, 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K.  It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.  Can we say it’s healthy?  


So what to do with kale?  When you’ve eaten your share of fresh raw kale, let’s figure out ways to preserve it, so you can be eating this vegetable powerhouse for months to come!
I like to make kale cubes, which is basically kale all chopped up, frozen into cubes.  It’s all kale, nothing else added in. 

What you can do with those frozen kale cubes?
-Smoothies! Again!  Want a real pick me up?  Throw a kale cube into your next smoothie.  
-Defrost and mix into pasta.  Warm through.  
-Throw a cube or two into any soup or stew.   Just a little bit of frozen kale goes a long way in getting your vitamins in!
-Defrost and mix with meats to make delicious ravioli.
-Defrost and mix with meats to make delicious meatballs!

Kale!  You hearty animal you (not really a animal). 
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I destem it.  I do this with my hands too, I just rip it off.  Maybe I’m the animal here.  Then I rip it into pieces to fit it into my food processor.preserveIMG_2401
A few pulses later and your once entire food process cup hardly has any kale in it.  Kale likes to shrink.  preserveIMG_2403
Then spoon it out and throw in some ice cube trays.
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Fill them up to the top.    A entire bushel of kale filled up one ice cube tray, so pack it down.  Now put into the freezer.
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Once they’re frozen, poke them out with a fork.    I find it works best to let them sit on your counter for a few minutes, then poke them out.  They defrost pretty quickly for you to grab one out of the tray.  From here you can keep them in the tray and use as you want, or throw them in freezer bags.
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Because you packed them in, they stay in cube form nicely.preserveIMG_2475

 

Basil
Who else loves the smell of basil?  I love picking fresh basil and putting it in pasta, and especially on pizza! A slice of margarita pizza with basil is the key to my pizza loving heart.   But what do you do when you have pounds of basil and you can’t eat 8 pizzas a nights (don’t try this, just believe me).  You can dry it!
I love dried herbs.  Almost 80% of the time if a recipe calls for fresh herbs, I will ignore it and use dried herbs.  Why? Because I know the dried herbs are ones I grew, loved and they will taste just as good in the dish!  
What can you do with dried basil?
-Any dish call for fresh basil? You can substitute with dried basil.
-Use in any tomato pasta.
-Sprinkle over each lasagna layer.
-Sprinkle over pizza.
-Use in rices.
-Use in a varieties of stews and soups for extra seasoning.
-Use in pasta salad.
-Sprinkle on garlic bread.

So let’s pick your basil!  What you want to do is wash it, then let dry.  I do this by putting it on paper towel sheets and then help blotting excess water on top.  Let dry completely.
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Then find a space of your home that you want to smell like basil for the next few weeks.  Grab a rubber band and hang on something.  We have screws in the top of our loft that we drilled in just for drying herbs.  This is at the very front entrance of our loft, so as soon as you walk in… it’s fresh city USA.preserveIMG_2412
Then just let dry until they are completely brittle.  If the basil seems “fresh” and flexible they aren’t dry enough.  You basically want them to the point of if you touched a leaf, it would crack.  You can see in the top right of this picture I have some dried oregano ready to go.  
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Then pick the leaves off the plant (do this over a bowl, the leaves are going to fall apart beautifully).  Throw in your food processor and you’re done.  If you don’t have a food processor, just crumble with your fingers.  Now you have dried basil ready for whenever you want!preserveIMG_2467

 

Banana, Strawberry, Pineapple Smoothie

The last few afternoons I have been craving a smoothie.  We’ve been hard at work gardening and all I want is a cold “pick me up” when I’m exhausted.  This does the trick!  The best thing about this recipe is that you can match fruit to your liking and create your own. Other examples:  banana, orange, pear watermelon, kiwi banana, orange, strawberries banana, blueberries watermelon, orange, pineapple banana, apple, orange pineapple, kiwi orange, strawberries banana, peach strawberry, banana blueberries, apple, banana banana, cherries pineapple, blueberries blueberry, pomegranate, banana There are so many more variations.  Isn’t it amazing?   I also love this recipe because it gets rid of any fruit where you aren’t sure what to do with.  Many times I’m left with a few random strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, a banana that is very ripe, half an orange, etc.    Put all the soon to go bad fruits in your blender and you’ll quickly have a delicious drink.

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Tri Color Pasta Salad

As I’m writing this, it’s raining.  It’s a dreary morning.  The sky is grey, the weather requires a sweater, the “drip drip” sound is heard on the windows.   May brings rain showers, and it’s definitely brought rain this past week.  It seems like this week it was either extra sunny to the point of sunburn, or you needed a umbrella.    Even when I wake up in the morning and check the weather, it would give me high hopes, then afternoon would come and suddenly I’d get a unexpected alert on my phone “Rain is coming”.  By the way, who else sets up weather alerts on their phone? We do it for the garden.  It’s good to know when a heavy storm or high winds are about to roll in, gives us a few minutes to throw on some shoes and get up to the garden to protect it.    With all the rain I needed some cheerful colors in my life, and something that reminds me of picnics in the park or on the roof.  I made pasta salad.   What kind of memories does pasta salad give you?  As a kid pasta salad was always served at family picnics, it was a fork happy staple of my youth.

 The great thing about pasta salad is once you have the basics of pasta, salad dressing, herbs – the vegetables are really up to you.  There needs some type of tomatoes (I prefer halved grape tomatoes).   There needs to be celery chopped up.   What else?  Well that’s up to you.  You can add carrots.  You can add onions.  You can add broccoli.  You can add chopped up cauliflower.  You can can add black olives (yum!).  Mushrooms are always a hit too, especially when they get marinated by the salad dressing.  Peas, corn, sundried tomatoes, chopped up kale – throw in whatever you  like.   To finish it all, you need some type of cheese to sprinkle all over, I like to add some shredded mozzarella.   How do you like your pasta salad?

You can make your pasta salad with a wide variety of noodles, so use what you like.  I’ve been making our pasta salad with tri color rotini pasta.  The extra color  kick of this pasta makes it special in my opinion.   Bow ties and penne pasta are great too!

Finally, pasta salad is a favorite because you can make it advance.  You want it chilled, so all the pasta and vegetables pick up that salad dressing taste.  Plus when it’s a hot summer day, a little chilled pasta salad will bring your spirits up.    You can make this a few hours in advance, or even the day before.  If I have leftovers, I will eat it for a few days after.   The celery stays crunchy, I love that.  

So go ahead, let’s make it feel like summer and make some pasta salad.  

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Tri Color Pasta Salad
Print
Ingredients
  1. 12 oz bag of tri color rotini pasta
  2. 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
  3. 3 stalks of celery (chopped up)
  4. 1 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes (halved)
  5. 1/2 cup sliced black olives
  6. 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
  7. 1 tablespoon dried basil
  8. 1 tablespoon dried oregano
Instructions
  1. Prepare your pasta as directed. Drain.
  2. Put your pasta in a big bowl.
  3. Add your chopped vegetables, salad dressing and dried herbs.
  4. Mix together so everything is coated in salad dressing.
  5. Add in your mozzarella cheese, toss around.
  6. Cover, put in fridge to chill.
  7. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. If your pasta salad looks a little dry when it comes out of the fridge, add a tablespoon of salad dressing and mix.
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/

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Pretty vegetables.  I love black olives, but Matthew hates them.  When he eats pasta salad, it’s just a bowl left of black olives.  Then  I steal his bowl and eat them all.

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Tri color pasta – it’s a beauty, isn’t it?

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This serves up a big fresh bowl of pasta salad.  

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This can be a side dish or main dish.  In my opinion, it makes a great dinner!

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

MELT in your MOUTH Slow Cooker Pot Roast!  This Crockpot recipe is the best and is so easy to make!  Add your roast, cream of mushroom soup, beef soup mix and vegetables to the slow cooker and dinner will be ready in 7 hours! This beef roast is my husband’s favorite meal, and our family loves the leftovers! 

A few weeks ago Matthew turned 30 and because it was his birthday I asked him to pick out any meal he wanted.  We could go somewhere, I could travel to South Brooklyn and bring back some of the best pizza in the world, we could take out – the choice was his.  What did he decide?  Homemade slow cooked pot roast.  This is a recipe that I have been making for a while now but we don’t have it that often.  Every time we have it, we both swoon at the dinner table discussing how moist and soft the meat is.  It just falls apart! It’s like magic.  And the gravy that it creates while sitting in the crockpot all day, oh my.    So I made it for his birthday and then we both sat at the dinner table, forks in hand, eyes closed, pot roast in mouth….. What a birthday dinner!

I love meals that you can throw in your crockpot, let sit all day, then you come back and somehow it transforms into one of the best meals.   You can customize this meal with vegetables on the side that you throw in the crockpot as well.  I prefer carrots and celery, but this time I threw in mushrooms as well which might have been the best idea I had all week.  If you aren’t having mashed potatoes on the side, throw in some cut up potatoes in the crockpot too!

 If you are cooking for a couple people (2 or 3) this recipe will easily last you a few meals.  We often have this 3x in a row using the leftovers for roast beef sandwiches which are equally delicious.

Might I recommend you serve creamy mashed potatoes on the side?  Please do! 

MELT in your MOUTH Slow Cooker Pot Roast!  This Crockpot recipe is the best and is so easy to make!  Add your roast, cream of mushroom soup, beef soup mix and vegetables to the slow cooker and dinner will be ready in 7 hours! This beef roast is my husband's favorite meal, and our family loves the leftovers!

MELT in your MOUTH Slow Cooker Pot Roast!  This Crockpot recipe is the best and is so easy to make!  Add your roast, cream of mushroom soup, beef soup mix and vegetables to the slow cooker and dinner will be ready in 7 hours! This beef roast is my husband's favorite meal, and our family loves the leftovers!

Slow Cooker Pot Roast
Print
Ingredients
  1. 3.5 pound pot roast
  2. 2 cans of condensed cream of mushroom soup
  3. 1 package dry onion beef soup mix
  4. 3/4 cup water
  5. flour and rosemary to cover
  6. chopped vegetables of your choice
Instructions
  1. Cover pot roast in light flour and then add a pinch of rosemary on all sides.
  2. Pan fry pot roast until it’s a light brown.
  3. In a slow cooker, mix mushroom soup, dry onion mix and water together.
  4. Add pot roast into slow cooker and cover with soup mixture.
  5. Cook on high for 3 hours.
  6. Change temperature and cook on low for 4.5 hours.
  7. Add your vegetables to the slow cooker 3 hours before it’s done. I recommend potatoes, onions, carrots, celery and mushrooms *See note for mushrooms*
  8. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. If you are using mushrooms, only add them when there is 30 minutes left.
  2. In a hurry? Cook on high for 4.5 hours.
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/
A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
Here’s all your pot roast ingredients, nothing too fancy here.

 A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
Before we put it in the crockpot we are going to pan fry it.   Lightly dust it with some flour.

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
Then put some dried rosemary on top.  By pan frying it first we are going to lock in all the flavors and yummy juices that we want.

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
So throw it in a pan and cook until all sides are lightly browned.

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
Keep flipping every single side.

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
Even right side up!

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
The smell of rosemary through your house is worth the extra work to pan fry it first.

While it’s browning, prepare your other ingredients in your crockpot (or slow cooker as you might call it).

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
Add in your cream of mushroom soup, beef onion mix and water.

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
Then stir it all around.

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
Once your pot roast is all browned (and beautiful might I add)..

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
Then carefully transfer it to your crockpot.  There lower it in.  During this step I’m always 100% sure I am going to drop it on the ground. 

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
Then cover it with your wet ingredients.  Make sure to completely cover the roast. 

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
Then put on high for 3 hours.

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
Once 3 hours is up, then turn it on low for 4.5 more hours.  You can see after 3 hours how nicely it’s looking with the soup mixture you added.  The smell too! 

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
Add your vegetables in 3 hours before it’s done.  Add in carrots, celery, potatoes, onions – whatever you want.  Note: If you are adding mushrooms, only add them 30 minutes before it’s done completely.

And when it’s done….

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
Just take a minute and admire the masterpiece of your slow cooked pot roast.

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
Bask in the beauty of this roast.

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
And those vegetables, how pretty are they? Especially those mushrooms.

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
This roast is a keeper.

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
And when you slice through it, it will be like cutting butter.

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
The meat falls apart in a moment of glory.

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
The meat is moist and has so much flavor due to the slow cooking.

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
Enjoy your dinner!

MELT in your MOUTH Slow Cooker Pot Roast!  This Crockpot recipe is the best and is so easy to make!  Add your roast, cream of mushroom soup, beef soup mix and vegetables to the slow cooker and dinner will be ready in 7 hours! This beef roast is my husband's favorite meal, and our family loves the leftovers!

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

This is my go to, make you weak in the knees, mashed potatoes recipe.  I started making these a few years ago when I wanted to try a new mashed potatoes recipe for Thanksgiving.  I made them and all our dinner guests gave rave reviews, making these the must have for holiday dinners.  

I believe this recipe is unique for a few reasons:
-There is cream cheese involved.  In my younger days, cream cheese wasn’t commonly used in our mashed potatoes.  Now I have to say I don’t like cream cheese by itself, it scares me, but I love these mashed potatoes.  Go figure.
-There is no hand mixer involved in these potatoes.  What?  There is no hand mixer involved in these potatoes.  Seriously.  How do they get so creamy then?  Next point..
-You boil these potatoes for a pretty long time until they’re almost ready to fall apart.  This makes a hand mixer not necessary, as just a spoon and a potato masher makes them blended pretty quickly.
-You can make these ahead of time, no problem.  For holidays I usually make these the night before so the actual holiday cooking is a little more relaxed.  I just throw them in the oven 30 minutes before we’re ready to eat.  

If you are looking for a mashed potatoes recipe to try, please give these a chance.  They make me very happy.

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Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2.5 pounds Russet Potatoes (half a bag)
  2. 1/2 cup butter + few slices on top
  3. 3 oz. cream cheese
  4. 1/4 cup Half-and-Half
  5. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  6. Pinch of sea salt
  7. fresh or dried parsley to garnish
Instructions
  1. Peel potatoes and then cut them up into about equal sizes.
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add your potatoes. Keep boiling and cook these for 30 minutes. They’re going to be so soft your fork will just slide into them.
  3. Drain the potatoes.
  4. Put your potatoes that you drained back into the pot and put back on the burner, low heat. You are now going to just mash them with a spoon or potato masher.
  5. Add your butter, cream cheese and half-and-half.
  6. Mix and whip these until creamy.
  7. Add in your salt and pepper, mix more.
  8. Put your potatoes in a oven safe baking dish.
  9. Add a few slices of butter on top of the potatoes.
  10. Put foil on top and bake for 25 minutes at 350.
  11. Add fresh or dried parsley to garnish before serving.
Notes
  1. If you want to make them the night before, put foil on top and store in refrigerator. Take them out of the fridge 2 hours before baking to bring them to room temperature. Continue then baking for 25 minutes at 350 (or until completely hot in the middle).
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/

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You will use half a bag of potatoes for this recipe.  If you are having  a large dinner, duplicate the entire recipe and use a whole 5 pound bag.

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One of the worst things in my life: peeling potatoes.  Agh, I never look forward to this.

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Compost the peels if you can!

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Then we cut them up into similar size pieces.  This will assure everything is cooked about the same with equal softness.

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Pretty potatoes.

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Now boil for 30 minutes.  Turn your oven a little down if it starts to spit water at you.  I know 30 minutes seems like a while, but we want to get these potatoes soft.

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So soft that a fork will just slide through..

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Drain, then put back onto your burner on low.  Take a potato masher or spoon and break the potatoes up.  Because they were cooked so long they should fall apart pretty easily.

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No mixer, just a potato masher.  Look how soft they are already!

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Add your butter, cream cheese and half-and-half.

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Now stir, stir, stir.

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Look at the creaminess already.. Oh my!

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Add salt and pepper.

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Stir more.  How beautiful they are!

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Put them into a baking dish.

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Put a few slices of butter on top.  Why not, you know?  YOLO.  Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.

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These glorious potatoes will come out of your oven.  Garnish with fresh or dried (what I used) parsley.  

Serve and enjoy!

 

Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

These Homemade Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Granola Bars are about to become your new favorite breakfast, snack and dessert!  This is a healthy copycat recipe for Quaker Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars.

Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Granola Bars.  Are there any words more beautiful?

After I made the first batch of chocolate chip granola bars, my mind started to wonder to the wonderful world of peanut butter.  Soon later it floated to the island of pretzels.  There peanut butter pretzel chocolate chip granola bars was born.

 About these delightful bars:

Do you enjoy chocolate + salty at the same? I do!  These are for you.
Do you like a bit of crunch in your granola bars? I do!  These are for you.
These are dangerous to have around your house.  Proceed with caution.
I don’t listen to my own advise and made multiple batches.   We annihilated these batches.
I have given these to friends as a “hey you are pretty cool” gift.  Friends swoon.
After the first time I made them I declared “These might be the best thing I ever made”.  

 So now I present you.. the future love of your life that will always be there for you, Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Granola Bars.

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 Is there a better afternoon snack than this?
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Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups quick cooking oats
  2. 1/2 cup crispy rice cereal
  3. 3/4 cup chopped pretzels
  4. 1/4 cup butter
  5. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  6. 1/4 cup honey
  7. 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  8. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  9. 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Spray a 8x8 pan lightly with cooking spray.
  2. Mix your oats and cereal together in a large bowl.
  3. Chop your pretzels up and mix with oats and cereal.
  4. In a small saucepan melt butter, brown sugar, honey and peanut butter on medium high heat until melted. Once it begins to bubble change heat to low and stir for 2 minutes.
  5. Remove saucepan from burner and stir in your vanilla.
  6. Pour your hot mixture over your oats mixture. Stir well. You want to make sure every single piece of oats and cereal is coated.
  7. Pour your mixture into your greased pan and push down with spatula to flatten it.
  8. Sprinkle chocolate chips over top evenly. Use your spatula to press them down so they are embedded in the bars.
  9. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator to set for 1 hour.
  10. Cut into granola bar sizes.
  11. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. If you would like to make a larger batch, use a 9x13 pan and double everything, except use 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips.
  2. Store these in the fridge.
Adapted from Rachael Ray
Adapted from Rachael Ray
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/
 

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Here’s all the ingredients you need!  Note: When I use peanut butter in recipes like this I usually get the cheap stuff and don’t use my gourmet peanut butter cinnamon swirl magic that I usually eat on bread.  The cheap stuff does the job for these, very well!

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Do you love pretzels as much as I do?

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We need these chopped though, so I put them in a baggie and get a potato masher and just take out all my frustration on these poor pretzels.

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Add your pretzels with your quick oats and cereal.

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And give it a good stir to mix everything around.

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Now we create the delicious peanut butter cream.  When  making this unicorns will arrive at your home, sparkles will fall, the clouds will open, rainbows appear.  I’m not kidding. This creates magic.

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Take this magical peanut butter mixture and add it to your oats/pretzels/cereal.

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Now mix, mix, mix, mix.  Nope, still not done, mix it more.  Make sure every single piece of oat, cereal and pretzel is sticky.  This is going to hold everything together.  Think of it as a glue that you can eat.

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Then put it in your pan and pat it down with a spatula so it’s flat.

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Add your chocolate chips and push them down too.  You want them inserted in the granola mixture.

Now you throw them in the fridge for 1 hour while walking around anxiously whispering “hurry up, hurry up, hurry up”.  You can even lay in the middle of the floor and whisper this.

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And when they’re ready, HOLY MOLY.

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Cut them into granola bar sizes, or squares if you’d like.

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While cutting the bars I smile nonstop.

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I also smile inside because my belly is waiting for this..

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The granola bars are firm and hardly crumble at all.

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When you flip it upside down you will see there’s good pretzel distribution as well.

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These granola bars are hard to just eat one.  I’m warning you.

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I wrapped some up and gave to friends.  Friends will have a hard time just eating one at a time.  Warn them!

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And then 2 days later I made a double 9×13 batch because I like to live life on the wild side and can’t get enough of these!

Give these granola bars a chance, I think you will love them. 

These Homemade Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Granola Bars are about to become your new favorite breakfast, snack and dessert!  This is a healthy copycat recipe for Quaker Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars.

For The Love of Pineapple

Do you love pineapple? I do.  Pineapple is beautiful and delicious, the 2 best qualities in food.     I got this gorgeous pineapple from my local grocery store for only $2.50.  It’s enormous! My arms tired carrying it home.

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But then after I bring it home, I always fall into the question “What should I do with it?”

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So you cut off the top and admire the beauty.  (Note:  We were going to plant the pineapple top but I cut  too high, oops.)

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Then you cut it into slices.  Your fingers are sticky, the pineapple aroma is building.  But what are you going to do with it?  

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One solution that I usually always fall for is just eating pineapple by the slice.   Nothing else.  Just plain ol great pineapple slices.  

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The other solution is cubed pineapple with a little bit of shredded coconut on top.

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MMMMM!

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For breakfast I like to add some blueberry granola, shredded coconut and dried apples to it.  This breakfast is super filling!

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My other favorite pineapple use is blended up. I throw some chunks in the blender with 1/2 half an apple (cut up) and about 1/4 cup of orange juice.  Blend until smooth.  You can even throw some mint on top.  I love this drink for a mid afternoon pick me up!

How do you like to use pineapple?
Anyone have any great pineapple recipes? If so, please share them in the comments, I need ideas!

 

Gingerbread Popcorn

We recently got a air popper which is changing our lives.    With a air popper you don’t have to use any butter or oil.  It’s fresh, low calories and each kernel is so puffy and light.   Not to mention it’s so quick to pop.  The product claims you can pop 18 cups in 2.5 minutes – wow!  For now we have stuck to single servings or a bowl for both of us, but because of how quick it works for us, I trust it can do that amount too.  On the calorie side, one big bowl of popcorn for one clocks in at 110 calories plain.  It always fills me!  On our counter now sits a 12 pound jar of popcorn ready for you to scoop and pop!

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A few nights ago during the night I whispered to my husband “give me your phone”.  There I sent myself a email that only had a subject line.  The email looked like this:
gingerbread

I knew when I woke up the next morning I would understand it, I needed to make gingerbread popcorn.  But where to start?

I had a few rules:
-Needs to taste like gingerbread
-No butter
-No oil of any kind

The result: A  simple gentle ginger tasting popcorn which was eaten in a few minutes.  I have a bunch of popcorn thoughts in my head so stay tuned for more popcorn recipes!

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Gingerbread Popcorn
Print
Ingredients
  1. 3 tablespoons unpopped popcorn
  2. 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  3. 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  4. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  5. 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  6. 1 single packet of Splenda
Instructions
  1. Use a air popper to pop your corn. Put in a bowl.
  2. Mix ginger, nutmeg, salt, cinnamon and splenda in a bowl.
  3. Mist your popcorn with water 1-2 times.
  4. Sprinkle seasoning mixture over popcorn and toss popcorn around.
  5. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. This recipe is for one serving. Duplicate for as many as you need.
  2. If you'd like to use real sugar or Stevia you can use that instead of Splenda. A packet of Splenda measures a little less than 1/2 teaspoon, so measure accordingly.
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/

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Air popping.. 

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Your gingerbread spices..

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If you aren’t using oil or butter, the seasoning is not going to stick to your popcorn.  The solution to keep this oil and butter free is to mist your popcorn with a water mister (or a cheap one from the dollar store) 1 times, toss it so the bottom is now the top, mist again.  Misting it 1-2 times will not cause your popcorn to get soft.  The water will allow the seasoning to stick to it, plus it will keep your popcorn low calorie. 

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Eat as a afternoon snack..

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Or while you’re watching your favorite television show…  The only 2 shows I watch right now is Game of Thrones and Mad Men.  What do you watch?

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Enjoy every single piece! (PS.  My nails are supposed to look like this – I’m lying). 

Crockpot Chipotle Chicken Tacos

Crockpot Chipotle Chicken Tacos.  I know that’s a mouthful, but a very delicious one!

We are big taco lovers in this house, but there are only 2 true taco recipes we love.  One is a pepper steak where we cook on the stove, the other is chipotle chicken slow cooked for many hours causing delicious smells all day long.   I have messed with this recipe over the past few years and it’s now become a staple.  Not only do we love it, but we have served it at get-togethers such as Christmas, New Years Eve or NBA Finals taco parties and it’s always a hit.  The tacos are slightly spicy, very moist and full of flavor.  

This recipe makes a good bit of meat, it’s easily 4 meals for us.  So whatever is  left over, we put into freezer bags and freeze.  Isn’t it the best when you are feeling lazy but can still pull out a amazing homemade meal out of your freezer, defrost it and you’re set?  This recipe I tell ya, it gives and it gives.

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Here’s all your ingredients.

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You will need to get some dried ancho chiles.  You can usually find these in the produce section.  They are cheap.

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Aren’t they beautiful?

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You need them soft, so throw them in some boiling water for 10 minutes.  They will soften up right away.

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You will also need some chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.  blogIMG_0859
You only want the sauce, not the peppers or seeds (warning: hot!).  So just fish them out and try to keep as much sauce as possible. 

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There’s still a little more than half of the can left of sauce.   You can toss the peppers/seeds. 

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Now we want to start to  make the Chipotle sauce.  Add all your dry ingredients + garlic + oil to a food processor.

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Then add your adobo sauce.

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Then add your soft ancho chiles.

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Pulse a few times until smooth.

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That easy, your sauce is done.

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It’s beautiful and smells delightful.

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Grab your breasts.  (*shakes head*)

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Put some stab marks into each one.

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This will make sure the sauce is going to sink down and get all the meat moist.  It will be full of flavor.

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Then cut each breast into fourths.  I find this makes it even more flavorful.

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Put your chicken into a crockpot.

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Add your chipotle sauce, smear all over the chicken.

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Add water.  This will make sure the chicken doesnt dry out.

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High Power, Lid On, Walk Away.

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Write down the time you started to remember.  As you can see I have made this recipe quite a few times here… This time I started at 2:45PM.

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After 5 hours (and a house that smells so darn good) you will look at your beautiful chicken and sigh.

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It’s moist, it falls apart, it’s just great.

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Spoon out of your crockpot (careful, it’s hot).  Keep the sauce mixture in the crockpot, you will still use this!

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Shred up with a fork into pieces that you prefer for your tacos.

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Yeah, this is good. I ate a few nibbles here..

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Then push it all back into the crockpot.

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And mix around in the remaining chipotle sauce/water mixture.    Your meat will soak this all up – nothing will be wasted!  Cook 1 more hour on low.

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Now get ready to make those tacos.

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Flour burrito – hello.

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Chipotle Chicken – you are delicious. You are magical.  I love you.

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Then add some pinto beans and some cilantro lime rice (recipe here).  Just thinking about this gets me all worked up.

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Then fold your burrito up. Thanks Matthew.

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One big beautiful burrito – it’s all yours!

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I like to soak mine with salsa verde too.  I love the kick. 

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Matthew loves this chicken so much he even eats a pile of it on the side.  It’s that good.

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I’m more of a rice-a-holic myself. 

Crockpot Chipotle Chicken Tacos
Print
Ingredients
  1. 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  2. 2 ounces of dried ancho chiles
  3. 7 ounce can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (you only want to use the sauce)
  4. 1 teaspoon pepper
  5. 2 teaspoons cumin
  6. 2 teaspoons oregano
  7. 6 cloves garlic
  8. 2 teaspoons salt
  9. 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  10. 1 cup water
Instructions
  1. Soften your ancho chiles by boiling them for 10 minutes. Drain, cut open chiles and remove the seeds.
  2. Remove the peppers and seeds from adobo sauce – you only want to keep the adobo sauce – you can toss away the actual peppers and seeds.
  3. Add all your ingredients (except your chicken) in a food processor. Puree until smooth.
  4. Poke holes in chicken and cut each breast into fourths.
  5. Put your crockpot on high. Add chicken, then pour Chipotle sauce on top. Spread all over chicken.
  6. Add one cup water. Stir chicken so everything is marinated in the water/sauce.
  7. Cook on high for 5 hours.
  8. Take chicken out of crockpot carefully, shred up.
  9. Put back into crockpot, mix around in sauce and cook on low for 1 more hour. Your chicken is going to soak up all the juices now.
  10. Serve on flour tortillas with pinto beans, rice, salsa and whatever else you'd like.
  11. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. Whatever is leftover, you can freeze in freezer bags.
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/
Enjoy friends!

Mexican Fried Ice Cream

Two weekends ago Matthew had a craving for a childhood favorite, Chi-Chi’s fried ice cream.  Does everyone remember Chi-Chi’s?  It was a popular Mexican chain restaurant.   In 2004 Chi-Chi’s closed all their restaurants after many incidents, but their salsa can still be found in stores.  As a kid I remember going to Chi-Chi’s quite fondly with my parents,  Matthew’s memories are the same.  One of the best memories of this trip for him was the fried ice cream.  I never had fried ice cream (ever) so I was intrigued by his description of it.  After he linked me to many pictures of the ice cream online with lots of happy faces and love hearts, I got the hint: I had to make him fried ice cream.   Because it was his birthday soon enough, I promised him for his birthday I would have him a fried ice cream sundae.  With a little practice, I think I got it just right.   I asked Matthew to supply a quote of what he thought of it and he told me “magical cinnamon crisp amazingment”.   So let’s make some…

Few things:
Working with ice cream and taking pictures  is not easy.  I felt a little stressed out.
You can serve the ice cream in a bowl, but to get the true authentic feeling try serving in a tortilla bowl – I included directions below for that too.
This post is picture heavy because ice cream is so pretty.
I made this for his birthday dinner, and then the next day made it for a afternoon snack.  Please stop me.

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Fried Ice Cream
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup sugar
  2. 4 teaspoons cinnamon
  3. 4 ounces vanilla ice cream
  4. 1/4 cup corn flakes (crushed)
  5. 2 quarts vegetable oil for deep frying
Instructions
  1. Mix sugar, cinnamon and crushed corn flakes in bowl.
  2. Scoop 1-to-2 inch ice cream balls and roll ice cream in sugar mixture.
  3. Pat down to shape balls and transfer to wax paper.
  4. Put ice cream balls in freezer. Let in the freezer for at least one hour to set.
  5. Heat vegetable oil to 350 degrees.
  6. Take ice cream balls out of the freezer and drop in oil for 2 seconds. Immediately remove.
  7. Serve in tortilla bowl, covered with whip cream, chocolate syrup and a cherry!
  8. Enjoy!
To make a tortilla shell bowl
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Microwave 10 inch flour tortilla shells for 15 seconds to get them soft and flexible.
  3. Spray each tortilla with non stick spray on both sides.
  4. Turn cupcake pan upside down and center each tortilla in between 4 cups.
  5. Bake 9-12 minutes - until slightly brown on edges - watch them carefully before they burn.
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/

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Measure your corn flakes out.  Because of this recipe, I’ve come to love corn flakes again.

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You want to crush them up into tinier pieces, so I like to put them in a plastic baggy and just pinch them with  my fingers. 

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Prepare your cinnamon, sugar, cornflakes mixture. I totally made a mess.

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Grab your vanilla ice cream.  Try to get it out of the freezer right when you’re ready to begin.

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Scoop 1 to 2 inch balls of ice cream.

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Drop into corn flake mixture and roll around.  I like to pat them with my hands to roll into a more “perfect” ball shape.

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Throw on your cookie sheet that you have wax paper down on.  Now you have to work quick, time is not on your side.

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I made enough ice cream balls for 2 big sundaes.

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Ok, they are starting to melt, but one more picture quick.

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Ok into the freezer, now let them set for at least 1 hour.

If you have a deep fryer – 350 degrees.
If you don’t have a deep fryer like me, you can totally do this on the stove.  If I had a deep fryer I would make french fries and bbq wings every single day so it’s best I don’t have one.

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Grab a thermometer and put it in the pot, I use a candy thermometer as it goes high.  You need to know when the oil is 350 degrees.  If you don’t have a thermometer, throw a piece of corn kernel in the oil and when it pops into popcorn, then you know it’s 350 and ready to go.

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Now this takes some time to get this hot. Mine takes about 15-20 minutes of crazily watching the thermometer.

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225.. 125 degrees to go.  Please be careful with this, the oil is spitting a bit and is very very very hot.
Once it’s 350 degrees, drop a ice cream ball into the oil for 1-2 seconds.  Yes, that quick!  Do  not do any longer or it will melt.  You literally drop it in, pull it right back out with a spoon.

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I like to put them directly on a paper towel to get the excess oil off.  Then you start to build your sundae.  Again you should do this pretty quickly, but the ice cream won’t melt as fast once it’s been fried so you have a little more time.

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Throw your fried ice cream balls into your tortilla bowl. 

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Spray whip cream on top.  Matthew then took the whip cream canister and squirted more in his mouth.  Boys.  Girls would never do that (ahem).

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Oh and Hershey’s chocolate syrup! We got the “Lite” version because obviously we are worried about our figures when are eating fried ice cream with whip cream on top.

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Add a cherry! Please do! Add 2 if you’d like! Add 3!

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Oh baby, baby, then just spoon it into your mouth.  Just take a minute and enjoy this.

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You beautiful ice cream you.

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Keep spooning it in.  Crack off some of the tortilla shell, use that as a spoon too.  Go wild. 

To make the tortilla shell bowl, it’s quite easy.  
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Grab a 10 inch flour tortilla and lightly spray both sides with cooking spray.

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Grab a cupcake pan and turn it upside down.

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Push your tortillas into the cupcake so it touches 4 of the cupcake holders.  Press it down – this is what shape your tortilla bowl will become.

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Put it into the oven.  (Omg, my oven is a mess, I know, embarrassed, but  think about how much love it’s received, we spill too much corn meal for pizza).   You want to keep a eye on these, generally mine usually take 12 minutes, so watch yours anywhere from 9-12  minutes.  Once they have a slightly brown edge, they’re done.

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When they come out of the oven, you’ll see how they have hardened.  Let them cool so you can touch them.

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Pretty cool and easy, right?

Enjoy your fried ice cream! It’s a winner.

Tortilla Soup

I love tortilla soup – love, love love.  
I used to get tortilla soup all the time from a local Mexican restaurant but one day I got some near closing time and it was a big disappointment   It was like they gave me the entire bottom of the pot that was sitting all day long with every ingredient soggy.  I was very upset.  That night I told myself I would match their tortilla soup with my own.  I would set up a table outside their restaurant serving small cups of my own soup and compare it theirs.  The neighborhood would love mine.  They would put me on their shoulders, parading me down the streets while chanting “tortilla soup, tortilla soup!”.  Well one of those things came true, I came up with a tortilla soup recipe that (dare I say) is better than theirs.  *High Fives*

 This soup is delicious.  It’s easy to make with a few canned goods.  It doesn’t take much time, minus some simmering here and there.   Please give this soup a chance.  

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Tortilla Soup
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  2. 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  3. 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  4. 1 1/4 cup water
  5. 10 oz chicken broth
  6. 2 teaspoons chili powder
  7. 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  8. 1 15 oz can of white hominy
  9. 1 15 oz can of black beans (rinsed/drained)
  10. 1 4 oz can of chopped green chile peppers
  11. 1 cup yellow corn kernels (cooked)
  12. 2 cubes frozen cilantro (or 1/4 cup chopped fresh)
Optional for on top
  1. Sliced Avocado
  2. Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  3. Crushed Tortilla Chips
Instructions
  1. Heat vegetable oil over medium heat.
  2. Saute in minced garlic until slightly brown.
  3. Stir in crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, water, chili powder and oregano. Stir well.
  4. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Stir in hominy, black beans, corn, chile peppers and cilantro. Stir well.
  6. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  7. Serve into bowls, serve with crushed tortilla chips, avocado slices and shredded cheese on
  8. top.
  9. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. You can turn this into chicken tortilla soup by adding 1/2 pound of boneless chicken breast. Cook it, cut it into small pieces and add in the pot when you add the beans/corn/hominy/peppers.
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/
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These are all the ingredients you’ll need.

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You might also want some cheddar cheese or a avocado. I would highly recommend this direction.

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Start by browning some garlic in a big pot.  Who doesn’t love the smell of garlic cooking?

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Once it’s brown, add in your water.

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Then your chicken broth.  I showed the steps above because I usually always  make my chicken broth from bouillon cubes.  I find it much cheaper and just as good. 

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Open up your crushed tomatoes.  San Marzano is the best in my opinionblogIMG_1445
Then stir into the pot.

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Add your oregano.

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Then your chili powder.

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Stir all your ingredients together, bring to boil and let simmer for 10 minutes.

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Start to prepare your other ingredients.  Open up your black beans and rinse  and drain them.

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Add your hominy.  Do you love hominy as  much as I do? I eat it by the spoonfuls.

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Then add your corn.  I use frozen corn and cook it right before.

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Then add in your green chiles.

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Put all these ingredients into the pot.

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Last but not least, get your cilantro.  I usually use the frozen cilantro cubes as I find they work well in soups.  You can use fresh if you’d like.blogIMG_1469
Add your cilantro.

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Then stir again and let simmer for 15 more minutes.

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When it’s done, spoon into bowls.

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The truth is that I always go back for seconds.

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You can eat it plain if you’d like, it’s totally delicious that way.

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Or you can add some cheese which will melt quickly causing you to fall madly in love.

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Or you could grab a avocado and add some cubes in too.

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This is totally the way I like it.  I love that the soup is hot and will cause the avocado to melt slightly. 

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I have been known to eat a entire avocado this way. 

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Hope you will try this amazing soup – let me know how it works out for you!

Cilantro + Lime Basmati Rice

I could eat cilantro and lime rice by itself for dinner, and I have.  You can also have it as a side dish, especially with tacos.  Or you could make some chicken to put on a flour tortilla and add this rice.  Oh wow, the 3rd idea is really a favorite.  Later this week I will be sharing a marinated chipotle chicken recipe to make in the crockpot, which this rice will go perfect with.  I  love the taste of the sour lime and the kick of cilantro – this is a favorite.  

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Cilantro + Lime Basmati Rice
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  2. 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  3. 1/3 cup lime juice
  4. 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  5. 1 cup white basmati rice
  6. 2 cups water
Instructions
  1. Saute rice in vegetable oil for 2 minutes. Add water, bring to a boil.
  2. When water begins to boil, turn the heat to simmer and cover for 15 minutes.
  3. Turn heat off completely, leave lid on, and remove from burner. Let sit for 30 minutes.
  4. Mix together salt and lime juice, you want the salt to dissolve.
  5. Pour salt/lime over rice, mix around. Add cilantro and toss.
  6. Enjoy!
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/

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Here’s your ingredients.  When you buy cilantro in the grocery do you immediately smell it in the produce aisle while people stare? I do.

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Basmati rice is the best to use in this recipe in my opinion as the rice does not stick together like regular white rice does. Also, basmati has such a special aroma.

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Cook in some oil, stir, then add water.

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Once done, take off the stove and let sit for 30 minutes covered.   NOTE: Do not peek!  I know it’s tempting.

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Cut up your cilantro. I use scissors as I find it easiest.

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After the rice is done sitting, take the lid off.  We’re almost done here…

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Mix your salt into your lime juice.  Make sure all the salt is dissolved, so keep stirring it until it is.

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Then add your lime juice/salt and cilantro to the rice.  Use a fork to mix it all up.

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The smell of the lime makes me so happy.   Don’t you love it?  You can have it just like this, a big ol spoonful for a Mexican dinner side dish would be great.

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Or put on a burrito with some chicken and pinto beans.  This is magical, it’s a favorite meal of mine. 

Try some cilantro + lime rice soon, I hope you like it.

Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars!  They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!

We love Quaker Granola bars in this house! Our favorite are the chocolate chip bars, which are great for a quick snack.  I can’t tell you the amount of boxes that we have bought in the past years.  One thing though I’ve never liked, the price.  A box of granola bars usually ranges in the $4-$5 range which is pretty expensive considering it’s made with pretty basic ingredients.  So before I would go to the store and buy more, I decided to try to make my own.  I’m so glad I did because not only are they (much) cheaper, but I find them more filling.  Plus it’s a great feeling knowing every single ingredient (and being able to pronounce them) that’s going into them.  

These are easy and quick to make! The part that takes the most time is letting them set.  If you’re a fan of these, I recommend making a few batches at once to save on the dirty dishes.   Bonus: You can also freeze granola bars!

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!

Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups quick cooking oats
  2. 1 cup crispy rice cereal
  3. 1/4 cup salted butter
  4. 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  5. 1/4 cup honey
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  7. 3 tablespoons mini chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Spray a 8x8 pan lightly with cooking spray.
  2. Mix your oats and cereal together in a large bowl.
  3. In a small saucepan melt butter, brown sugar and honey on medium high heat until melted. Once it begins to bubble change heat to low and stir for 2 minutes.
  4. Remove saucepan from burner and stir in your vanilla.
  5. Pour your hot mixture over your oats mixture. Stir well. You want to make sure every single piece of oats and cereal is coated.
  6. Pour your mixture into your greased pan and push down with spatula to flatten it.
  7. Sprinkle chocolate chips over top evenly. Use your spatula to press them down so they are embedded in the bars.
  8. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator to set for 1 hour.
  9. Take out and cut into bar sizes.
  10. Store in airtight container in refrigerator to keep them fresh.
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
Here are your ingredients.  It’s likely you might already have all these ingredients already.

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
I have to give this honey a shout out because it’s from Ohio.  Matthew is from Ohio and his family sent it to us.  It’s quality honey.

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
Spray your 8×8  pan. I like to grab a paper towel and rub it in so it’s on the sides too.  Set aside.

 
Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!Pour your oats into a bowl.


Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!Then your crispy cereal.  Feel free to get the generic kind, you will save a few dollars.  Stir together.

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
Put your brown sugar, honey and butter over medium high heat.

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
When it melts..

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
It will soon start to bubble. Turn it down immediately to low, you don’t want it to burn.

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
Take it off burner and add vanilla.  Note to self: buy more vanilla extract, I’m always running out.

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
Pour the wet mixture into your dry mixture.


Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!And stir, stir, stir.  I can’t say this enough.  You want every single piece to be coated or it won’t stick which will make crumbly granola bars. “Crumbly Granola Bars” would make a cute band name.

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
Pour your mixture into pan and push down with spatula to get it even.

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
Then take your spatula or a back of a spoon and press the chocolate chips down into the mixture.  This will make sure they don’t fall off. 

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
Wrap plastic wrap on top and chill for at least 1 hour.

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
When they’re set, cut them up into bars.  You can also cut them up into smaller squares if you’d like.  They would be super cute for a kids party like that.

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
Because you sprayed the pan and let the granola bars set, they should slide out pretty easily.

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
I cut it up into 10 delicious bars.

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
These will be a hit! You won’t ever buy the ones in the store again.

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!
I was quickly down to 9 bars as Matthew scooped in and grabbed this one. 
Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!

Make sure you grab one…


Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars! They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!Before it’s too late.  Don’t worry though, I saved you one.

Enjoy!

Easy to make homemade chocolate chip granola bars!  They taste just like Quaker Granola bars but are made with simple, healthy ingredients!

Delicious Taco Casserole

This recipe is up there in the favorites.  When I first made it, we had it 2 more times that following week. Since then we’ve had it almost once a week.   Even though there’s only 2 of us, we usually finish a entire casserole ourselves.  We really really really really love it.  Who doesn’t like tacos? Who doesn’t like casseroles? Who doesn’t like cheese on top?  It’s like a dream world scenario!

More reasons why this makes me have happy dreams at night:

It’s easy to make.
You can make it early in the day, store it in the fridge and then cook it at night.
It’s pretty – the red and green colors are lovely!
It has cheese on top! Did I mention that already? Sorry.

Feel free to customize it too.  You can add a onion if you’d like.  Maybe throw some crushed chips on top, or some avocado slices.    Just please try this! 

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Taco Casserole
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Ingredients
  1. 1 pound ground beef
  2. 1 cup (8 ounces) of elbow macaroni noodles
  3. 1 medium sized green pepper (chopped)
  4. 1 10.75 ounce can condensed tomato soup
  5. 1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
  6. 1 package of taco seasoning mix
  7. 3/4 cup shredded taco blend cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain, set aside.
  3. In a pan cook ground beef with chopped green peppers until meat is brown.
  4. Mix in tomato soup, diced tomatoes, taco seasoning. Mix real good.
  5. Stir in pasta. Mix real good.
  6. Put mixture into a baking dish.
  7. Sprinkle cheese on top of the entire casserole.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes until cheese is melted.
You can also
  1. Add a onion (same time you add the green pepper)
  2. Sprinkle crushed up tortilla chips on top
  3. Add avocado slices on top
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/

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Here’s all your ingredients.   You might even have everything you need already in your cabinets.

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Measure your elbows (the noodles)..

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And boil until al dente.

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Drain, and set aside.

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Chop up your green pepper. If you’d like to add a onion, this would be the time to chop that up too.

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Put it in your pan..

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Add your ground beef.

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Then mix it all around so everything gets that delicious green pepper taste (and smell!) to it.

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After the meat is brown, add your tomato soup.

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Then  your diced tomatoes.  In the summertime I will make these fresh but for now the canned version will do.

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Then add your beloved packet of taco seasoning.

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Mix it all around.  Oh man, the smell, you can’t beat it.

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Then add your elbow noodles.

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And mix it good so everything is covered in that sauce mixture.

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At this time it’s totally ok to test it. You should.  I did.  Even two spoons.  Noone is looking.  We’re all friends here.

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Transfer the casserole to a baking dish.

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Measure out your cheese.

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And spread it on top.   At this time I usually take a big handful of cheese from the bag and eat it too.  Cheese, I love you.

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Because I planned on making it that evening, some plastic wrap went on top and into the refrigerator it went. 

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Right after I put it in the refrigerator I spotted this guy and snuggled with him for a few minutes. 

When you’re ready to make it..
Pop it into the oven and then enjoy! It’s really that easy!

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One cheesy taco casserole will be yours.  All yours! Ok, you probably have to share.  

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Serve, make sure you get some of that cheese on top.  If any cheese falls off into the casserole dish, fight for it.  You deserve it.

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Hope you enjoy this recipe! When I told Matthew what I was making, he broke his concentration from editing and did this reaction.  It’s a major winner.

Green Bean and Broccoli Casserole

You’re about to become everyone’s favorite at any gathering!

I love green bean casserole.  It reminds me of holidays, friends, smiles.  I also love it because it’s green and beautiful.  A few days ago around midnight, Matthew came into the bedroom where I was reading and asked if we could have green bean casserole “tomorrow”.  I told him we would gather the ingredients the next day.  Then I came to thinking how I made broccoli casserole last year and I loved it so much, so why don’t we mix these beans and brocs and make a delicious green bean and broccoli casserole?  I can’t be happier about how it came out!  In the recipe below I am using frozen vegetables which adds simplicity in the time saving department.

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Green Bean and Broccoli Casserole
Print
Ingredients
  1. 11 oz frozen green beans
  2. 11 oz frozen broccoli florets
  3. 3/4 cup milk
  4. 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  5. 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  6. 1 1/2 cups French's fried onions
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350.
  2. Mix soup, milk and pepper in a baking dish.
  3. Stir in frozen beans, frozen broccoli and 1 cup fried onions. Stir good.
  4. Bake at 350°F for 40 minutes. (Make sure it's hot inside)
  5. Stir it, then top your remaining 1/2 cup onions on top.
  6. Bake 5 more minutes until your onions are golden brown.
  7. Enjoy!
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/

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We are getting down to the nitty gritty with saved frozen vegetables from the garden last year.  I found these guys hiding in the back of the freezer, they are the last bag.  

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Here are all your ingredients.

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Cream of mushroom soup – I love you.

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Does anyone eat cream of mushroom soup by itself? I don’t but I can imagine how good it would be as I always lick the spoon clean after scooping it out.

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Then add your milk.

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Mix it! Arm workout!

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Add pepper and stir again!

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Add your frozen beans..

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Then your frozen broccoli…

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Here are your fried onions.  Truth: I don’t like onions.  I’m really picky about them.  But for some reason I’m 100% fine with these fried onions – how that makes sense, I have no idea.

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Sprinkle your onions in..

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Then more arm power and keep mixing..

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Until you have a creamy beautiful  mixture that looks like that. Into the oven it goes..

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Then 40 minutes later, this lovely smelling dish comes out.

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We want to add some more onions to crisp the top. This will really make the casserole extra special!

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5 more minutes until they’re slightly browned on top.

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Oh man, about this time Matthew just happily showed up in the kitchen.  I slapped his hands away.

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Many people serve bean/broccoli casserole as a side, but we had it for a man dish with some toasted garlic bread/bread rolls.  There is creaminess residing in the casserole so you want to have some bread to dip in..

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Serve away! Just wait for the “ooohs” and “aahhs” and “iloveyous”. 

 

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