Monday, December 26, 2011

Great gift for Teachers or save them for you!

I have many teacher gifts to hand out each year.  Since we like to bake, I like to make something special, delicious, and decadent for each one.  The teachers work so hard and spend so much time with my kids. I want to give them something from the heart.  Well most of my kids teachers are awesome and this year I made a new recipe, Pistachio Chocolate Chip Cranberry Mandelbread.  Yes, it is a mouthful to say, but it is oh so good to eat.
I have not one picture to post.  As soon as I made a batch of these biscotti like cookies, my kids would try to eat them.  I had to only bake teacher gifts while the kids were in school, then quickly box them up and hand them out.
Try this recipe. It is so good, dipped in hot tea!
Pistachio, Chocolate Chip, Cranberry Mandelbread
1 and 3/4 cup flour
1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1/2 cup shelled unsalted pistachios
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 T. butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar, reserve some for dusting on top
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 375
In a bowl, combine flour baking powder and salt.  Stir in the pistachios, chocolate chips and cranberries till well blended.
Beat butter and sugar on medium speed. Save a little sugar fro dusting on top at the end.  Add in eggs.  Add in the dry ingredients and mix on low speed for a minute or so.  Take dough out of bowl, make sure your hands are well covered in flour.  Divide dough into 3 pieces and form into three long, fat sticks.  Place the sticks on a baking sheet, they will not grow much, so dont worry if the sheet is crowded.
Bake 20-25 minutes till brown.
Let cool about 30 minutes.
Gently cut the cooled loaves on an angle into 1/2 inch slices using a bread knife.  But the cut sides up on the baking sheet and sprinkle on the remaining sugar.  Bake 4-6 minutes more until lightly browned.
Serve with a hot cup of tea or coffee.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Protein Pie

Today is my baby girl's 4th birthday. She is such a joy and I cannot imagine how boring life would be without her.
While I am typing this post, her cake is in the oven. It is a totally unhealthy marble cake with icing that I know she will love. But you know what is crazy, she loves healthy foods so much.  I know I could have made something much healthier and she would have loved that too.  Her brothers though, say birthdays should be about bad foods, so I made an unhealthy double layer cake and we will celebrate tonight all together.
On Sunday my 7 year old wanted a pie, so I set out to make him a protein pie. It had to be a pie that tasted delicious, looked unhealthy, and had a little hidden ingredient that no one would hopefully notice.  I made this recipe because I had a 1/2 cup of evaporated skim milk left over from a recipe I made last week.  The hardest part about making sneaky protein packed foods is that the kids are usually watching me in the kitchen, so it is hard to sneak foods they dont need to know about.  My teenager was in the room when he saw me putting the butter into the mix, and he commented, "This recipe looks good, happy to see you using butter Mom!" And he later ate 4 slices!
So here is my recipe for the super secret Protein Pie.

Protein Pie
Any crust you like, I used a healthy graham cracker crust
1 cup sugar
1 TB flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup evaporated milk or half and half, I used fat free evaporated skim milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 TB vanilla
1 can white beans, I used organic cannelini beans

Heat oven to 350
Prebake your crust if you are using a pastry crust. I used a graham cracker crust that was premade.
In a food processor add sugar, flour, and cinnamon and pulse for a few seconds.
Add in the milk, butter, eggs, and vanilla and pulse till combined.
Add in the can of beans(rinse it well first!)
Keep mixing it till it is very well combined.
Pour filling into the crust. Place the pie on the bottom shelf of the oven.
Bake until the edges puff up and the center is fairly firm. It can still wiggle a little when you gently nudge the pan.  Bake it 40-50 minutes.
Place the pie on a cooling rack and let cool 20-30 minutes.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
We had a little whipped cream and sliced strawberries on top and really loved it!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Healthier Snacks

So I have 5 kids and each kid has a different eating issue.  Not really an issue, but each kid likes different foods.  This is most challenging when trying to plan one meal that will make everyone happy.  Basically I have given up on that.  I try to make things that are healthy, delicious and nutritious and will also please the largest number of people in my house.
My most recent idea is to make a "treat" or dessert type food that will have some added protein in it.  I have been experimenting for weeks and I will post for you my best attempts.
Today my 7 year old, basically the world's pickiest eater, and also a vegan,  is home sick.  He was hungry and I asked him if he would like a chocolate chip bar.  He smiled and said YUM!  So off I went to create something he would love and would also sneak some good stuff in.
Since I dont have a picture of the bars, I put in a picture of  my 7 year old when he was feeling good.

Oat Hemp Seed Healthy Bars
1/2 cup oats, not quick ones
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
1/4 cup hemp seeds (if you dont know what these are, scroll down, these are packed with omegas and tons of protein!)
1 scoop of protein powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup non dairy milk
1 whole banana mashed up well
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/4 cup chocolate chips
you could easily add raisins, dry cranberries, nuts, or coconut to these bars too!

In one bowl combine oats, both flours, hemp seeds, protein powder, baking powder, cinnamon and brown sugar. Stir well.
In a separate bowl mash up the banana well. Add in almond extract and non dairy milk(I used almond milk).
Stir wet ingredients into dry ones.
Once mixed up, add in your chocolate chips or other mix-in that you like.
Dont overmix it!
Put in an 8x8 pan and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
My son ate them slightly warm and had 4 pieces in a row!
Hope your kids enjoy these too.

Stay tuned tomorrow for my vanilla protein pie that my teenage picky kid ate 4 slices of!!