Mashed Sweet Potatoes

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 apple, peeled and chopped
3 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp honey
Nutmeg

Directions
Boil the sweet potatoes until soft, about 8 minutes (depending on size of cubes).  Drain.  Turn the burner down to medium low.  Using the same pot, melt the butter, then add the sweet potatoes back in the pot and combine.  Add apples, honey and nutmeg and stir.  Turn the burner down to low and let it stay warm until ready to serve.  The apples will soften but not break down completely.

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A Fun Filled Afternoon: Homemade Tahini, 2 Kinds of Hummus and Pita Chips

I have tried making tahini before and it turned out awful.  There was bits of sesame seeds and it was not smooth at all.  It was because my food processor wasn’t made to grind up something so fine.  A bottle of it is normally $8 and I really wanted to make hummus.  Then it dawned on me…my coffee grinder!  I used it to grind up lentils, rice and steel-cut oats to make my Homemade Protein Powder (in recipe folder). I toasted two small 1.5 oz. bags (they didn’t have bulk where I was) of sesame seeds on a baking sheet at 350° for 5 minutes.  After cooling for a few minutes, I put them in the grinder.  The trick is to pulse them and shake the gender around so it all grinds but doesn’t get too pasty too quickly. 

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Then I added it to a food processor, combining slowly with 1/4 of Extra Virgin Olive Oil until smooth.  It is close to peanut butter in texture and made about 1/2 cup.  I needed 1/3 cup of it for one hummus recipe and stored the rest.

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I decided to soak and cook Garbanzo beans at home and not only were they cheaper, but they tasted better and you can control the amount of salt and add other flavoring.  I added salt and turmeric!  This is where I got the process from.  Always give credit where credit is due! 

http://www.frugallivingnw.com/cooking-dried-beans-vs-buying-canned-beans/#_a5y_p=1360834

Here’s the first hummus recipe:

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
1 1/2 cups Garbanzo beans
2 large garlic cloves, chopped finely
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup tahini
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup roasted red peppers (I used jarred ones because the juice has a kick to it, but freshly roasted would be good too)
Salt and pepper

Directions
Combine all in food processor until smooth.

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This other recipe is not vegan, but it is vegetarian.

Mediterranean Hummus
1 cup Garbanzo beans
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1/2 cup crumbled feta
2 large garlic cloves, chopped finely
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions
Combine all in food processor until smooth.  This one can be made vegan by omitting the feta (just add the olive oil slowly and monitor the consistency because you may need to add less oil).

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Since the first has tahini, which has a lot of olive oil already, you only need a bit more to combine.  Since the second had no tahini, it needed something to smooth it out, so you add more oil.  You can make so many different flavors of hummus, most of which are vegan or vegetarian.  It can be used as  a healthy spread for sandwiches or even dip.  I used it for all of the above!

For the pita chips, I took a package of thin pitas, separated them and quartered them (as best I could).  I laid them out on a sheet pan, drizzled olive oil using a marinating brush to spread it around and only added salt and pepper to them. I baked them at 375° and started out for 5 minutes on one side, flipped them, then 5 more minutes on the other side but that overdid it.  It can be done for 5-6 minutes with no flipping.  Those still came out crunchy and golden brown, not brown brown.

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HOLY CRAP WHAT A YUMMY SNACK!

Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese

My little one went from eating everything in sight to being the pickiest eater on the planet, and veggies are taking a hit.  I needed a way to hide them and I know a lot of parents need the same tricks to ensure their kids are getting everything they need.  She has been okay with peas, so those made an appearance but she had no idea about the squash and downed every bite…except of course the peas!  She picked those out of the bowl and gave me the, “How could you?” look.  Guessing what food she is in the mood for day by day is an Olympic sport!

1 cup Heavy Cream
1 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
3 Tbsp Butter, unsalted
1/2 cup Butternut Squash, cooked and pureed (I made this while making Butternut Squash Soup)
2 cups Pasta
1 cup Peas (or any veggie like broccoli, just keep in mind cooking times are different)
Salt and Pepper

Directions
Combine the first 3 ingredients in a small pot and simmer on low until completely melted.  Add butternut squash and continue warming on low.

Boil 3 cups of water, add the pasta and peas and cook for 7-9 minutes.  Drain.  Put pasta and peas back in the pot and mix the cheese sauce in with it and add salt and pepper to taste.

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I added tofu to mine!  You can add any protein you desire.  Makes about 4-5 servings.

Teriyaki Marinade

4 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tsp Garlic Powder
1 Tsp Ginger Powder
Salt and Pepper

Directions
Combine all and whisk!

This made enough for marinating a half of a package of tofu.  This would be enough for one or two pieces of meat depending on size.   Multiply for multiple meals!

This was the meal I used it for.  Marinated tofu overnight, then grilled.  Spinach salad with tomato, cucumber, grilled onions, grilled peppers, grilled squash and a little shredded swiss cheese.  Teriyaki and honey mustard is a favorite combination of mine, so I used honey mustard dressing.  Therese used to eat anything, but has been picky lately.  This was no exception, but I loved it!

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Egg Salad

6 eggs
2 Tbsp Mayo
1 Tbsp Mustard
Salt and pepper

Directions
Bake eggs at 350° for 25 minutes.  This method is not as stinky as boiling, and if you live with someone who hates the smell like my hubby, they appreciate the gesture!  Let cool, then peel.  Smash egg and combine with the other ingredients.  Regular mustard is good, but spicy mustard gives it a little zing and honey mustard gives it a hint of sweetness!  Makes about 3-4 servings. 

It is really yummy (and healthier than bread) wrapped in a piece of romaine lettuce! I like spicing my egg salad up sometimes, and throwing in some chopped black olives is really good too!

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Tomato Bisque

4 tablespoons butter (we used unsalted)
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic
5 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
5 cups veggie or chicken broth (I used veggie because I save scraps and make it)
1 28-ounce can of whole, peeled tomatoes (with liquid) or about 5 – 6 medium-sized fresh tomatoes that have been boiled for 1 minute and then peeled…either way they need to be roughly chopped before using
3 chopped fresh basil sprigs
3 chopped fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1 cup heavy cream (or less if desired)
1 teaspoon salt (or more if you are using unsalted homemade broth)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions
Heat the butter in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the diced onion until it starts to get soft. Add the garlic and stir for another minute or two. Add the flour and stir vigorously for 2 – 3 minutes making a roux. Pour in the broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil while whisking constantly. Throw in the herbs and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and puree the soup either in a blender (in batches) or with a handheld immersion blender. Stir in the desired amount of heavy cream and salt & pepper to taste. Serve warm and freeze the rest.

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Potato Salad

6 Small Potatoes, peeled and diced
2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1-2 stalks of celery, diced
1 cup Mayo
2 tbsp Spicy Brown Mustard
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tbsp Sugar
Salt and pepper

Directions
Low boil the potatoes for 15 minutes or until soft.  Drain and let cool.  Toss apple cider vinegar in the potatoes.  In a separate bowl, combine celery, mayo, mustard, garlic powder, sugar, salt and pepper.  Add potatoes to may mix and combine.  I use my hands to break up some of the bigger pieces.  I like the salad chunky but I want to make sure every piece soaks up the mixture.  Refrigerate. 

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Makes 4-5 servings.