Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Butter Pecan Oatmeal (Single Serving)

It's another new oatmeal recipe. 
Well....new to me anyway. I've been missing out on some of these crazy oatmeal recipes over the years with my anti-oatmeal stance. 
Now that I have adopted a new position on oatmeal I am discovering that oats don't have to be boring. 
This is a super quick, super easy, super tasty version that requires very little prep. Perfect for those rushed mornings when you still want something warm and hearty.
(If you want to see some of our other fancy schmancy oatmeal recipes simply type "oatmeal" into the search bar at the very top corner of the page!)

Butter Pecan Oatmeal (Single Serving)

1/3 cup quick oats
2/3 cup water
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp Sugar Twin Brown Sugar
2 tsp butter
4 pecan halves, finely diced & toasted

1 Tbsp 0 fat, plain Greek yogurt
1/2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 pecan half, finely diced & toasted

In a small saucepan, stir together the oats and water over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 -3 minutes - until oats are cooked.
Remove from heat and add cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, Sugar Twin, butter, and pecans.

Stir well to combine.

Top with Greek yogurt, maple syrup, and remaining diced pecans. Serve hot.

From start to finish in about 5 minutes. 
According to Myfitnesspal - the nutritional count is pretty sweet too!
257 calories, 29 carbs, 13 fat, and 6 protein. 
You can, of course, make this with regular, old fashioned oats. It just will need to cook for about 8 or so minutes instead of just 2 or 3. And if you want them gluten free - just make sure the oats you buy are marked gluten free. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

M&M White Chocolate Cheesecake Cookies

This is a regular ol' cookie recipe that is made a billion times more fancy simply by the addition of 2 ingredients.
Cream cheese and white chocolate M&Ms.
These are like little mini cheesecakes without the trouble of having to actually make cheesecake. As an added bonus - these are perfect for Easter as the M&Ms are lovely pastel colors. 

M&M White Chocolate Cheesecake Cookies

3/4 cup butter, room temp
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1 (9.9 oz) bag of White Chocolate M&Ms

Preheat oven to 375. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and cream cheese until smooth, scraping sides as necessary.
Beat in the sugar until smooth. 
Beat in the egg and vanilla.
Add in the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon until well combined.
Add in the M&Ms.

Stir in gently. 
Using a medium cookie scoop (or pinching off golf ball sized balls), place cookies about 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet. (To get the bright colored M&Ms on top I simply saved a few from the bag and gently pressed them on top of each cookie before baking.) 

Bake cookies for 8 - 10 minutes, until bottoms are lightly browned. 
Remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely. 
If I remember correctly I got 36 cookies out of this recipe. If you find your cookies are spreading out too much then simply refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes to an hour before baking. 

Cute, right?
And delicious. 
I made these for an Easter bake sale and they were pretty popular! The colors are just so cheerful. 

Looking for more fun, tasty, and crafty links? Check out this linky parties - Memories By The Mile, Chef In Training, Table For Seven

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Fraser Valley Food Truck Festival 2014

Sue and I thought we would share our food truck festival adventure with you today.
Sue, her hubby, Rob, daughter, Kenz, and I traveled down to Chilliwack to meet up with our friend, Shannon and her family to go to the first Fraser Valley Food Truck Festival that was held at the Chilliwack Heritage Park.
Turns out this was a fabulous idea.
Admission was only $2.00.
We counted 14 trucks in total and I think we sampled items from 9 or 10 of those. 
We thought we would share our photos and experience and encourage everyone to be sure to keep their eyes open for next year's festival date. You most definitely will want to give it a go!

Holy Perogy Food Truck

You may or may not be aware that pierogies are my favorite food on the planet. As soon as I saw this truck I was all over it. They had several different things I was dying to try (Ummm.....poutine pierogies...hello) but finally decided on the Stompin' Tom pierogies. They were potato and cheddar pierogies topped with onion, sour cream, and shredded beef jerky. 
They. Were. Amazeballs. 
Some of the best pierogies I have ever eaten. And I have eaten a lot of pierogies so I know what I'm talking about. 

Fijian Fusion Food Truck

If you like spice then this is the one for you!
We tried the chickpea curry with roti and it was amazing. Just the right amount of spice. Kenzie also got a vegetable samosa - which I wasn't quick enough to catch a photo of - and it was super spicy. Too much spice for me - one bite was enough - but Kenz loved it. 
They had tons of different things to try. I'm not terribly familiar with Halal food but would love to be able to spend more time around this truck and get more familiar. 

Hot Grandma's Kitchen

The corn dogs were a favorite of our friend, Shannon's, son. Shannon's hubby, Guy, tried The Bavarian Dog.  Onions, peppers, and sauerkraut. It smelled and looked delicious. They had deep fried ravioli on the menu but we didn't give that a try. 
I am definitely going for that next year.  

Guerilla BBQ

Like BBQ? How about pulled pork?
We gave Guerilla BBQ a try and it was pretty good. Maybe a little disappointing with the pulled pork sandwich - it was kind of boring, but it tasted okay. The baked beans were very tasty and the tangy coleslaw was definitely different. The apple cider vinegar was a prominent flavor.  
The price was good for how much you got though!

Poomba's Pulled Pork 

Okay, we didn't actually sample from Poomba's as we tried the pulled pork from Guerilla's but the truck was very cute. Next year we will hit up Poomba's!

Suburban Spoon

The Suburban Spoon truck was at the top of our list of things to try. Shannon got the Sweet Thai Chili Chicken on Fries and they were amazing! Sweet with a little bit of spice on top of crispy fries. 
Two thumbs up. Shannon was swarmed by Sue and Kenz and I once we tasted those little tidbits. 
Don't worry, we left her one or two....

Wildcat Grill Express

So many different things to try on the Wildcat Grill menu. We finally decided on deep fried mac & cheese balls, deep fried pickle chips, and deep fried potato, cheddar, and broccoli bites. 
Deep fried stuff is tasty.
Really, really tasty.
So many more deep fried things to get to next year. This will be stop number one. 

Big Red's Poutine

This was the first truck we hit up when we got through the gait. I didn't get a snap of the truck - sorry about that. The poutine was ridiculous though. We tried the bacon poutine. 
Looks heavenly, no?
Reeeeediculously so.

Millie's Minis

Maybe desserts are more your thing?
There was 2 dessert trucks there. This one, Millie's Minis, which was fresh made mini cinnamon sugar donuts.
Which were soooooo good and very reasonably priced!
And the other dessert truck...

Slavic Rolls

These, right here, are like angels dancing on your taste buds.
Crispy, flaky pastry rolled in cinnamon sugar and then filled with your choice of filling - Bavarian cream, nutella, strawberry, raspberry, lemon, etc....
We tried the nutella - my favorite, and a mix of lemon/raspberry - everyone else's favorite. So messy and delicious. It's a good thing I don't have access to this truck every day. 

There you have it. Our Fraser Valley Food Truck experience. 
Over all a very positive experience. 
The festival started at 11:00 and we got there at 11:15. The lines were pretty small at that time...

By noon things started to pick up, and by 1:00 it was getting pretty crazy.
It was supposed to go until something like 7:00 at night but we heard that trucks started running out of food by about 4:00. I know when we picked up our mini donuts from Millie's at 1:00 they had run out of boxes and had to put everything in bags. 
For a first time event it seemed to go smoothly. There was children's activities and live music (The Johnson Brothers) and a beer garden too.  We are going to keep our eyes open for next year's festival and mark it on our calendar as soon as they announce the date. 
We advise you do the same. 
You don't want to miss out!

We're sharing at these fun linky parties: Horrific Knits, The Mandatory Mooch, The Chicken Chick, Ms. enPlace

Friday, April 11, 2014

Spaghetti Squash Carbonara

I may be becoming one of those people. 
You know.... those people that constantly say "this is the best thing ever", about everything. 
I do that.
Hear me out though. 
I'm usually right. 
In fact.... who are we kidding...I'm always right. 
Shut up Sue. I am.
Anyway... while this can be obnoxious when others do it, it's cute and endearing when I do it. 
Again....Shut up Sue.
Take this dish, for example. 
This really is THE BEST THING EVER.
For realz this time.
So many delicious flavors and textures going on for a fantabulous nutritional count. 
Make it. 
You'll see what I'm talking about.

Spaghetti Squash Carbonara

1 spaghetti squash (yielding 2 - 2 1/2 cups)
1 Tbsp light cream cheese, softened
3 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup 1% milk
1 Tbsp parsley, chopped
salt & pepper
2 pieces bacon, diced
1/4 cup onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 large egg

1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, garnish

Cook the spaghetti squash using your preferred method. (We cut ours in half, scoop out the seeds, place cut side down on a plate and microwave for 10 - 15 minutes - until tender)
Let the squash cool until you can handle it with bare hands. Using a fork, scrape the squash into a bowl. (If you are worried about excess liquid then you may want to place in a strainer in the sink and set a bit of weight on it for a bit to press out the excess liquid. FYI - I don't do this as I don't worry about a little excess liquid)
In a small bowl, whisk the softened cream cheese and Parmesan cheese together. Very slowly whisk in the milk - about 1 Tbsp at a time - until smooth. Whisk in the parsley and salt & pepper and set aside.
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until is starts to get crispy. Add in the onion and garlic and continue to cook until onions are softened, about 3 - 5 minutes. 

When softened, add in the spaghetti squash and toss to combine with the bacon/onion mixture. Keep tossing while cooking to heat the squash through.
When it seems hot, pour in the cheese mixture.

Continue to cook and stir and evenly distribute the cheese mixture. 
Turn the heat to low.
Take the chicken broth and heat it up so it is hot to touch but not boiling - 30 / 40 seconds in the microwave. Whisk the egg into the hot chicken broth.

Pour the egg mixture over the spaghetti sauce in the pan. Stir constantly in the pan until the sauce on the squash thicken up - about 2 - 3 minutes. Serve hot. Sprinkle with remaining 1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese.

You may find a bit of excess liquid forming in the pan that you don't want. Simply pour off the excess liquid from the pan before you serve it. 

This is as good as regular spaghetti carbonara but without all the carbs and calories. Granted, the sauce is thinner because we are not using heavy cream and butter and tons of cheese and all those glorious things BUT it is still just as flavorful, in my opinion. 
I am in love with the fact that you can sub spaghetti squash for regular pasta in many dishes.
Here's some even better news from Myfitnesspal: per serving - and this recipe is 2 servings - it is:
212 calories, 14.5 carbs, 10 fat, and 14 protein. 
I could only eat 1 serving for dinner. It is very filling. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Baked Carrot Cake Cream Cheese Oatmeal (Single Serving)

As a newly converted oatmeal lover I feel it is my duty to help improve the reputation of my ex-least favorite food on the planet. 
I know there are many of you out there who have always given oatmeal the respect it deserves and to you I say - keep on spreading the oatmeal love. 
For those of you out there who, like me until recently, view oatmeal as a soggy, yucky, justplainweird food creation - take heed!
You need to change the oatmeal you are eating. 
You need to start trying some exciting oatmeal. 
(May I suggest any of ours - Baked Banana Bread Oatmeal (with tons of other fruit options), Baked Cinnamon Bun Oatmeal, Baked Chocolate Peanut Butter Lava Oatmeal,  OR, if you are in a hurry, our Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal or our Peanut Butter and Banana Oatmeal.)
Yes.... I said "exciting" when referring to oatmeal. 
Take this recipe for example. 
It's like eating carrot cake. 
But it's oatmeal.
Mind blown.
Try it. Come over to the oatmeal lovers' side. It's more fun here.

Baked Carrot Cake Cream Cheese Oatmeal (Single Serving)

1/3 cup shredded carrots
1/3 cup 1% milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup Quaker Quick Oats (or Old Fashioned Oats)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp Sugar Twin Brown Sugar
2 pecan halves, finely diced
1 Tbsp craisins (or raisins)
1 tsp light cream cheese, chilled

1 pecan half, finely diced 
1 tsp unsweetened coconut
1 tsp light cream cheese, chilled
1 tsp maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray a single serving, oven safe dish with cooking spray, set aside.
In a small bowl combine the carrot, milk, and vanilla.
In another small bowl, combine oats, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking powder, Sugar Twin, pecans, and craisins. 

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until well combined.

Scrape into the prepared baking dish.
Take the 1 tsp of chilled cream cheese and break it into little pieces. Push the pieces of cream cheese into the top of the oatmeal until they are slightly covered up by the oatmeal.

Bake at 350 for 20 - 30 minutes, until puffed up and browned and top appears dry.
While oatmeal is baking, prepare the topping.
In a small frying pan toast the coconut and remaining pecans until browned and fragrant. Remove from pan and set aside until ready to use. 
Flatten out the remaining 1 tsp of light cream cheese until it you have a thin, flat "disc" to set on top as the icing. (Take chilled cream cheese and place on a small piece of plastic wrap. Using your thumb dipped in a little water, press the cream cheese as flat as you can.)
Remove the oatmeal from the oven.

Top with the flattened cream cheese.
Then top with the toasted coconut and pecan. 
Lastly, drizzle with the maple syrup. Serve hot.

When you dig in it is all moist and chewy and coco-nutty and cream cheesy.

Just like cake.
Just. Like. Cake. 
I like cake.
(FYI - according to Myfitnesspal the entire recipe is: 288 calories, 43 carbs, 8 protein, 8 fat.)

We are sharing at these fun linky parties. Be sure to check them out! -- Nap Time Is My Time, Easy Life, Morsels Of Life, My Turn (for us), Kitchen Fun With My 3 Sons

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Vegan Gluten Free Oatmeal Raisin Avocado Cookies

Normally I would just call these Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. I would keep the vegan/gluten free/avocado stuff a secret so I didn't scare you off of trying them. 
See.... those words would scare me off.
"No, no, no, no, no!" I would scream as I ran away - towards the nearest wheat, egg, butter, and milk filled treat. 
The thing is.... these are so good I'm willing to put it out there that they are also those scary things. 
Anyway, they are super easy and no one will ever guess you have gone all bohemian beatnik on them. 
Make them now, feed them to the kids after school, see if they notice anything. If you have raisin haters in your house sub in some vegan chocolate chips and you are good to go. 

Vegan Gluten Free Oatmeal Raisin Avocado Cookies

1/3 cup chocolate almond milk
3 Tbsp ground flax seed
1 cup mashed, ripe avocado
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup Cloud 9 Gluten Free Baking Mix
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch salt
2 cups oats 
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup coconut

Preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
In a small bowl, stir together the almond milk and flax seed. Let sit for 3 minutes.
In a blender or food processor, puree the avocado until smooth - scraping down sides as necessary. Add in the sugar and process until smooth. Add in the flax seed mixture and vanilla. Process until smooth.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together gluten free baking mix, baking soda and powder, cinnamon, and salt. 
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until well combined. 
Stir in the oats, raisins, pecans, and coconut. 

Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop batter onto prepared cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. You can also just drop by the spoonful. Batter will be sticky. Dip your fingers in water and lightly press down each cookie. 

Bake for 12 - 15 minutes, until cookies are golden, bottoms are browned, and cookies appear dried.

Remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheet for 10 minutes or so (they are a little fragile until they cool off). Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely. 

Sue, of course, didn't like these. She thought they tasted like trail mix. I think we know Sue has a history of  anti-cookie propaganda though so we can just go ahead and ignore her. 
The taste testers at the Senior's Center loved these. Sue's daughter, Kenzie, also really liked them. I missed out as I was too busy eating our Chocolate Avocado Almond Butterscotch Cookies by the handful but these definitely looked like 'normal" oatmeal raisin cookies. There was a few little specks of green from the avocado that might give it away if  they were carefully inspected but otherwise, the secret is safe. 
FYI - any gluten free baking mix can be used. I just happen to use Cloud 9. Also, you can use old fashioned or quick cooking oats for the oats. (Oats can sometimes contain gluten - be sure to check the ingredients list if this is something you are concerned about.)

Be sure to check out Adorned From Above and Dizzy Busy & Hungry and Mama Buzz for some great links!