Sunday, September 30, 2012

Mango Quinoa Salad

I have made this dish from Our Best Bites several times now, and it's turned out well every time! As a cold salad, it's wonderful in the summertime. You can serve it as a side dish or main dish. 

2 cups cooked quinoa at room temperature, or chilled
1 (14 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium mango, peeled and diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1 handful chopped cilantro (about 1/2 cup)
4 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1-2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
kosher salt
freshly cracked black pepper

Place cooked quinoa in a large bowl.  Add mango, red pepper, green onion, black beans, and cilantro.  In a small bowl combine vinegar, olive oil, and lime juice.  Whisk until smooth and pour on top of salad.  Toss to combine and add salt and pepper to taste.  Chill for at least one hour before serving.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars (aka Fiber Bars)

When I needed to look for ways to increase my youngest's daily fiber intake, Fiber Bars were a lifesaver. Fiberful, yummy and a quick way to eat breakfast. However, I didn't like how processed the store-bought fiber bars are. I set out to find a recipe that was a bit more healthy, but still high in fiber. Here is what I came up with. With 16 servings, they don't have as much fiber as a store-bought bar. These are 4.5 grams per bar, but it's all natural!

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup wheat bran
1 cup All Bran cereal
1 cup Koala Crisp cereal (or rice krispies-type cereal)
1 cup honey
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1/4 - 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips


  1. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl.
  3. On stove, heat honey and sugar until it bubbles and froths. Stir constantly for 1 minute. This will caramelize the sugars and help the bars stick together.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter until smooth.
  5. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix well.
  6. Stir in mini chocolate chips - if honey mixture is too hot, this will melt the chips. Doesn't look as good, but it still tastes great! Another alternative is to omit chocolate chips at the this point and sprinkle 1/4 cup of them on the top after they are pressed into the pan. 
  7. Dump granola mixture into pan. Use a piece of wax paper to press the mixture flat and into the corners.Peel wax paper off bars.
  8. Cool completely. Invert onto a large cutting board and cut into 16 - 20 rectangles.
  9. Wrap bars individually with saran wrap and store in a air-tight container.

Yield: 16 bars

Friday, September 28, 2012

My Baking Bucket List

I realized that I have been subconsciously amassing a list of things that I'd like to bake. Not ordinary things like brownies and pizza, but things one usually buys at the store or orders at a restaurant. Over the past few years I've been ticking recipes off the list and adding some more on.

Here is my Baking Bucket List (with status):

✓ Sandwich Bread (done and perfected!)
✓ Artisan Bread (done and perfected!)
✓ Focaccia Bread (done and perfected!)
✓ Pretzels - soft (done and perfected!)
✓ Crackers (done and perfected!)
✓ Dinner Rolls (done and perfected!)
✓ Tortillas - flour (done and perfected!)
✓ Granola (done and perfected!)
✓ English Muffins (done, but still tweaking)
✓ Bagels (done, but still tweaking)
✓ Pita bread (done, but still tweaking)
✓ Graham crackers (done - made a great whole wheat version!)
✓ 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread (done and perfected!)
Tortillas - corn
Chocolate soufflé
Pretzels - crunchy
Crème brûlée
Goldfish crackers

How bout you, sistas? What's on your bucket list?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Apple Bread

This recipe is based on one I found on I wanted mine to be a bit healthier, so I made some adjustments. It is not a "dessert" bread, but is still sweet, filling and yummy.

1/2 cup oil (I used olive oil)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups apples, diced (mine were decent size chunks)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 325°F.

In a large bowl, mix together oil, applesauce, eggs, sugar, and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, soda, and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet mixture gradually. Add apples.

Bake in 2 regular loaf pans (greased and floured) for 70 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in the pan.

Yield: 2 loaves

Zucchini and Yellow Squash Gratin

When the squash are starting to pile up, it's time to look for delicious new ways to eat them, like this tasty gratin!

Friday, September 07, 2012

Garden Fresh Spaghetti Sauce

While my own garden has produced a pitful amount of tomatoes, I was gifted some tomatoes from some more successful gardeners. I used them, along with fresh herbs from my garden and some onions from the root cellar to create this amazing recipe from

4 lbs fresh tomatoes, chopped & peeled
2 medium onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
3 sprigs fresh oregano, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
4 sprigs parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar

To cook pasta sauce, heat olive oil over medium heat in a large iron skillet or heavy saucepan.
Add onion, basil, oregano, garlic and salt.
Saute until onion is tender, approximately 5 minutes.
Add tomato, parsley and sugar; heat to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for about 2 hours, stirring often or until sauce has thickened. *This took about 3 hours for me, but so worth it! It does thicken up if you are patient.

Yield: approx. 4 cups or 28 oz. pasta sauce.