Power Balls


No, we’re not talking the lottery today. We’re talking protein balls, or energy balls; whatever you want to call them.

They are little low-calorie, high-protein snacks in ball form. And they are all the rage these days.

When I was a kid, we used to make peanut butter balls as a treat; they were messy and fun and tasty. And mom, if you still have the recipe laying around, I’d love to have it.

Today’s balled-up goodies are a little more sophisticated. With ingredients like protein powder and flax seed, they pack a healthy punch.

I stumbled upon this spherical phenomenon on Pinterest and I have started to experiment. These little bon-bons appeal to me for a variety of reasons: I can pop a few before a run if I’m hungry; I can snack on a few if I have a sweet-tooth without blowing my whole day’s worth of calories; they’re really easy to make.

I read a bunch of recipes before I made this first batch. And this first batch is enough to make me want to experiment more.

Cocoa Pecan Energy Balls

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 C. pecans
  • 3/4 C. oats
  • 3 Tbsp. flax seed
  • 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 10 oz. raisins
  • 3 Tbsp. coconut oil

Step 1: Pulse the pecans in a food processor until finely chopped.

Step 2: Add the oats, flax seed, and cocoa powder. Pulse a few times to mix everything together.

Step 3: Add the raisins 1/2 at a time, and pulse until thoroughly incorporated.

Step 4: Drizzle in the coconut oil (virgin, expeller pressed, pleased!) and process for a few minutes, until the mixture is crumbly and sticks together when pressed.

Step 5: Roll the mixture into balls and refrigerate in a single layer until firm.

I like this concept, and will definitely be experimenting more with energy balls.

Do you make a qick energy-packed snack at home? What is it?

The Wife

Best Breakfasts


We’re big on breakfasts on the weekends. During the week it’s sort of a grab-and-go situation, but on the weekend we have time to slow down and think about breakfast.

This weekend, you can slow down and have some breakfast, too. But you don’t have to think about it, because I’ve gathered five great breakfasts for you right here. More than enough to make this weekend.

Yogurt Oat Pancakes

These pancakes get a hearty texture from the oats, and a little added protein from the yogurt. Plus, they’re hot and delicious!

Texas Blueberry Muffins

You can use fresh or frozen blueberries to make these muffins. They are a snap to whip up, and some of the moistest muffins I have ever come across. And who doesn’t love a blueberry muffin in the morning?

Bran Muffins

I love this bran muffin recipe for many reasons: they’re super-moist (not like the bricks most bran muffins feel like), they’re only 150 calories (give or take) per muffin, and the recipe is very basic, which means you can add anything you want, or happen to have, in the house. I have made them with blueberries, cherries, raisins, and plain. They were good all those ways. Feel free to use mashed banana, pumpkin puree, or applesauce as oil substitutes.

Blueberry Monkey Bread

I can never decide if this is a breakfast, or a dessert. But since it’s the weekend, I’ll say breakfast. This ooey, gooey, pull-apart bread is so easy to make and so decadent that I can’t not make it at least once or twice a year.

Baked Oatmeal

This is not something I usually make on the weekend. But it is really, really delicious, so I thought I’d share it anyway. Baked oatmeal has the texture and taste of an oatmeal cookie, and you can make single-serving sizes and freeze them for the rest of the week.

I hope everyone has time to stop and make a yummy breakfast this weekend.

The Wife

 

 

Breakfast for Cooler Weather


I ate my last jar of overnight oatmeal the other day. I could have made more, since it’s still getting into the 90s during the day, but I had to experiment with something new: baked oatmeal.

Baked oatmeal was one of those things that I had heard about but never thought to try. Which was silly, because baked oatmeal is now (for me at least) the cool-weather equivalent of overnight oatmeal.

Think of it like a deep-dish oatmeal cookie. It’s the same consistency, and it tastes like a cookie.

Plus, I made mine single-serving, which makes my life easier. In keeping with the theme of the week (and because I had some pumpkin butter that needed to be used) I made this week’s baked oatmeal pumpkin flavored.

Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 C. oats (quick, rolled, etc.)
  • 1/4 C. milk (I used almond)
  • 1/4 C. pumpkin butter
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp. honey, or other sweetener
  • a dash of cinnamon

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 380 degrees. Mix all ingredients together.

This picture makes me dizzy. Does it make you dizzy?

Step 2: Grease a 1 C. ramekin. Pour the mixed ingredients into the ramekin and pop it in the oven for about 25 minutes.

Step 3: After the allotted time, throw it under the broiler for just a minutes or two, to crisp up the top.

Top with applesauce, nuts, or (in my case) a little plain yogurt and brown sugar.

Eat it right out of the oven, or let it cool and take it out of the ramekin for a more portable breakfast. You can also freeze them and reheat them in the microwave, if you want to really plan ahead.

Have a wonderful weekend!

The Wife

Pumpkin Week Continues


I did not intend for this to turn into “pumpkin week”. Really I just did a lot with pumpkins over the weekend.

But since the week has developed a theme of sorts, I’ll keep it going.

When you carve a pumpkin, or make pumpkin puree, or do anything that requires a pumpkin to be gutted, you end up with a bowl full of slime and seeds. Most people toss it all, thinking it’s too difficult to get all that slime off of the seeds. But it really is easy.

Just gently squeeze the slime in your hands over a colander or strainer. The seeds will drop into the strainer, then you can throw the slime away in big handfuls. Then just rinse the rest of it off of the seeds.

You see there is still some slime in there. It’s fine, just spread the rinsed seeds out on a cookie sheet, and pick the bigger pieces out.

Let the seeds dry on a tray for about 24 hours before you try this recipe:

Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients:

  • About 2 C. pumpkin seeds
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • a pinch to 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • olive oil
  • salt

Step 1: Toss the seeds in a some olive oil (enough to coat them). Spread them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and lightly sprinkle with salt.

Step 2: Bake them at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. They should go from this:

to this:

Step 3: While the seeds are baking, mix the white sugar and the spices in a bowl.

Step 4: Once the seeds are done, remove them from the oven and set them aside. In a medium heat skillet, add 1 Tbsp. olive oil and the seeds. Stir them around, then add the brown sugar. Stir them continuously until the sugar melts and coats the seeds.

Step 5: Once the brown sugar is coating the pumpkin seeds, pour the sugared seeds into the bowl with the spice mixture. Toss well to coat, then let them cool. Letting them cool is the hard part.

These were maddeningly addicting. I say “were” because they are gone now. If you like sweet/salty/spicy as a combination, you will not want to miss out on these pumpkin seeds. I may have to make more puree just to have more seeds!

The Wife

Drip Beef, Two Ways


I am always looking for new recipes using beef. I love chicken, and because of this, our menus tend to be a little poultry-heavy. There’s nothing wrong with chicken, but sometimes it’s nice to have steak. Or pot roast. Or some other stick-to-your-ribs dish.

I discovered drip beef not too long ago. This recipe is a conglomeration of about four different recipes. It is a little spicy, and very flavorful. Plus, the serving possibilities are endless!

Drip Beef

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 Lb. chuck roast (or sirloin, because that was all I could find.)
  • 1 jar pepperoncini
  • 1 jar cherry peppers (optional)
  • 4 C. beef broth
  • 3 C. water

Step 1: Drizzle a little oil into a dutch oven. Heat the dutch oven on medium high heat. Once the pot it hot, sear both sides of the roast.

Step 2: Remove the roast from the pan. Pour in the beef broth and scrape the bottom of the pan while stirring, to get all the brown bits off.

Step 3: Add the jar of pepperoncini, juice included.

Then add  the cherry peppers. Don’t add the juice from them.

Step 4: Put the roast back into the pot, then pour in water until it’s covered. Put the lid on the pot, then put in a 300 degree oven for about 4 hours.

Step 5: Once it’s done, the meat should fall apart. I couldn’t even pick the roast out of the liquid without it falling apart. Shred the roast and put it back in the liquid.

Serve on bread as a sandwich, or over noodles or rice.

Later this week I’m serving the leftovers with carrots and onion added. I’m going to pour the beef and broth over biscuits, kind of like beef “a la king”. Should be good!

The Wife

Homemade Pumpkin Puree


I have a lot of cans of pumpkin puree: I bought them at Sam’s. This year, I figured if I used enough of something to buy it in bulk, maybe I should try making it myself.

So I bought a few sugar pie pumpkins at the store and got to work.

I cut the tops off the pumpkins, just to make them easier to manage.

Then I cut the pumpkin in half and scooped out the seeds.

Don’t forget to save the seeds! We’ll be playing with those later this week.

I coated a cookie sheet with a little oil, then cut the scooped pumpkins into quarters.

I roasted the quartered pumpkins at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. When they’re done, a fork can be easily inserted into the pumpkin flesh.

I scooped the flesh off the skin with a spoon and pureed it in a food processor until it was entirely smooth.

I scooped the puree into a colander lined with cheesecloth and let it drain for 1 hour.

Then I just scooped it into a freezer bag and popped it in the freezer!

You will notice that homemade puree is a much brighter color than the canned stuff. I assume that’s because the canned puree is heavily processed. Yuck.

Use your homemade pumpkin puree just like you would use that canned stuff!

The Wife

 

Halloween in Cake Form


I know it’s a weird way to describe something, but this cake really does, well, taste like Halloween. Or how I imagine Halloween would taste if it were a food instead of a holiday.

The original recipe for this cake was featured last year on Picky Palate. I revised the recipe because I didn’t have all of the ingredients, and my waistline expands just by reading the word “cream”.

Here I have posted the recipe, which includes only ingredients readily found in my pantry. Be warned, my pantry has all kinds of weird stuff in it, and I understand if you don’t keep giant cans of pumpkin puree around.

Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Cinnamon and Sugar Glaze

Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 box of yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 C. canola oil
  • 1/2 C. milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 C. plain yogurt
  • 15 oz. can of pumpkin puree

Cinnamon Glaze Ingredients:

  • 3/4 C. packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 stick of butter

Sugar Glaze Ingredients:

  • 1 C. confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 C. milk

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Combine all cake ingredients in the bowl of a mixer. Mix well.

Isn’t the color just beautiful?

Step 2: Lightly grease a jelly roll pan. Pour the batter into the pan.

Step 3: In a glass bowl, melt the stick of butter. Add the brown sugar and cinnamon and stir well to combine. Drizzle over the cake.

Use a knife to cut the glaze into the cake by running the knife through the glaze.

This is also known as marbling. Did you know that? Good.

Step 4: Put the cake into the preheated oven and bake for 35 minutes.

Step 5: While the cake is baking, pour the confectioner’s sugar into a small bowl. Add the milk slowly and stir it together between milk additions. Stop adding milk when the glaze is thin, but not watery.

Did that make sense? If not, look at the picture. That’s what it should look like.

Step 6: Once the cake is done, remove it from the oven and drizzle the sugar glaze over the top. Let the cake cool for 20 minutes before cutting it into squares.

Store the leftovers in the fridge. If you have any.

The Wife