Holidays · New Favorite

Skinny Peppermint Mocha

Peppermint Mocha is my favorite coffee drink of the year but I rarely order it at Starbucks because it’s loaded with empty calories.  After several years of using COFFEE-MATE Peppermint Mocha Sugar Free Coffee Creamer, I decided to try making my own Peppermint Mocha with the help of the internet.  This was a great recipe that I’ll make again and again!

The second recipe is for a Pepper Mocha Creamer which is also good, but the first recipe is my favorite.  For the creamer, I added a packet of Stevia to my coffee before using the creamer.  The creamer is a little strong for my taste, but still good!

SKINNY PEPPERMINT MOCHA

2/3 cup black coffee brewed, medium roast or coffee of choice
2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 packet stevia or sweetener of choice (I used 2 packets)
1/8 tsp peppermint extract

Toppings (optional)

Reddiwhip use coconut for dairy free
Cacao bites or sprinkles

  • Brew coffee, I used leftover coffee that I stored overnight in the refrigerator and warmed in the microwave.
  • In a small pot, combine milk, cocoa, stevia and peppermint extract.
  • Bring to medium heat for 2-3 minutes until cocoa powder dissolves and liquid becomes bubbly.
  • Pour into a large coffee cup with the coffee then use a handheld foamer to blend until it becomes frothy and foamy. Add additional toppings as desired and enjoy.
  • OR I heated all ingredients together and then poured in a coffee mug and topped with Coconut Reddiwhip.  YUMMY!

Recipe slightly adapted from Skinnyfitalicious

Skinny Peppermint Mocha Coffee Creamer

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk
  • 1.5 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp espresso powder
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1/4 tsp chocolate extract
  • Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Process on high until the ingredients are fully combined.
  • Transfer to a glass container and store in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks to add to brewed coffee or baked goods.

Recipe from Skinnyfitalicious

New Favorite · Vegan · Vegetarian

Vegan Winter Lentil Stew

Vegan Winter Lentil Stew is a flavorful, hearty winter stew.  I first tried this soup when hosting book club and preparing two stews 1) Vegan and 2) Beef Stew.  The key to the flavor in this soup is the Dijon mustard.  Who knew it could pack such a yummy punch.  Even non-lovers of lentils and beans have enjoyed it.  If you insist on adding a protein, go for it!  I’m sure it would be delicious.

WINTER LENTIL STEW

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion
4 cloves garlic
4 carrots (about 1/2 lb.)
4 stalks celery
2 lbs potatoes
1 cup brown lentils
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1.5 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp brown sugar
6 cups vegetable broth
1 cup frozen peas

  • Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Add the olive oil, onion, and garlic to a large soup pot and begin to sauté over medium heat.
  • While the onion and garlic are sautéing, dice the celery, then add it to the pot and continue to sauté. As the celery, onion, and garlic are sautéing, peel and chop the carrots into half rounds. Add the carrots to the pot and continue to sauté.
  • As the onion, garlic, celery, and carrots are sautéing, peel and cube the potatoes into 3/4 to 1-inch pieces. Add the cubed potatoes to the pot along with the lentils, rosemary, thyme, Dijon, soy sauce, brown sugar, and vegetable broth.
  • Briefly stir the ingredients to combine, then place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to high, and bring the stew up to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Toward the end of the simmer time, when the potatoes are very soft, begin to mash the potatoes a bit as you stir. This will help thicken the stew.
  • Finally, after 30 minutes, stir in the frozen peas and allow them to heat through. Taste the stew and add salt if needed. Serve hot and enjoy!

Recipe from: Budgetbytes.com  

New Traditions

Turkey Green Chile

Green Chile was a novel concept to me until I moved from the midwest to Arizona and then to Colorado.  My Iowa roots only knew Chile as red, in Chile Con Carne.  I’ve grown to love green chile but I prefer mine mild.  This Green Chile was a favorite of mine made at a local office building cafeteria many moons ago.  It’s been years since I have made the turkey (vs. pork) green chile and I was happy to experience it once again.  The original recipe made a much heavier roux but I prefer it on the lighter side.

Warm flour tortillas to serve with the chile to warm you on these cold winter nights!

TURKEY GREEN CHILE

3 quarts (96 oz.) chicken stock (remove 1 cup for roux)
1/2 cup olive oil
2/3 cup diced onion
1/2 bunch chopped cilantro
12 ounces diced green chiles
2 pounds ground turkey
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon jalapenos
4 tablespoons flour (or more if you want the chile to be thicker)
16 ounces chopped tomatoes
2 to 3 chopped green onions
salt, cayenne or tabasco to taste

  • Prepare chicken stock. Simmer while preparing other ingredients.
  • Heat olive oil; add onion, cilantro, 8 ounces green chiles, turkey, garlic, oregano and jalapenos until turkey is cooked. Lower heat.
  • Combine flour with the 1 cup of reserved stock to make roux. Mix thoroughly. Add to stock and stir. Add sautéed mixture.
  • Add 4 ounces green chiles, chopped tomatoes and additional green onions. Season to taste.
  • Serve with warm tortillas.
Gluten Free · New Favorite · Vegan · Vegetarian

Winter Fruit Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing

Fresh fruit salad in winter is a real treat. This recipe is delicious, combining several fruits including apples, kiwi, blackberries, pomegranate, bananas and Mandarin oranges. The dressing is fresh and tasty, delivering a nice side to compliment any meal.
IMG_7698

WINTER FRUIT SALAD WITH LEMON POPPY SEED DRESSING

Dressing

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
3 Tbsp. honey
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. poppy seeds

  • Combine all ingredients and mix well.

Salad

8 mandarin oranges, peeled and segmented (I used Cuties)
4 apples, diced
4 ripe kiwis peeled and diced
4 bananas, peeled and diced
1 1/2 cup pomegranate arils (from about 1 large)
1-2 cups blackberries (I added to the recipe)

  • Combine all salad ingredients. Toss with dressing and serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from CookingClassy.com

Family Favorites · Holidays

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Cold winter days and soup are the perfect pair.  I have such fond memories of Chicken and Wild Rice Soup from Panera and also from the little luncheonette at my work. With temperatures near and below zero this week, I was craving this savory gem especially after all of the sweets from the holidays.  It didn’t disappoint!

CHICKEN AND WILD RICE SOUP

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons onion, minced
1/4 cup flour
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups cooked wild rice
1 cup diced, cooked chicken
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup half and half
2 tablespoons dry white wine (or dry sherry)
minced parsley or chives

  • Melt butter in 6 quart kettle and sauté onion until tender. Blend in flour, gradually add broth and continue stirring.
  • Cook, until mixture thickens slightly. Stir in rice, chicken and salt. Simmer about 5 minutes.
  • Blend in half and half and wine. Heat to serving temperature. Garnish with minced parsley or chives.
Gluten Free · Health · Vegan · Vegetarian

Spinach Tomato Lentil Soup

In the New Year, many of us have vowed to lost weight (5% for me) and eat healthier. This recipe from Aggie’s Kitchen grabbed my attention with the healthy vegetables and protein of the lentils. It’s an easy soup to make and full of nutrients. It makes a large batch and I found I added more and more water since the soup gets quite thick. I’ve shared some with a vegan friend and frozen some for a later treat.

SPINACH TOMATO LENTIL SOUP

1 lb. dried lentils
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 carrots, diced
2-3 celery stalks, diced
1 large onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 large cans diced Italian tomatoes, with liquid
2 tablespoons vegetable bouillon (or replace some of water with vegetable broth
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
12 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
salt and pepper, to taste
1 bag fresh spinach

  • In a large pot, heat olive oil and add vegetables, garlic, bouillon, spices and pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté vegetables in oil for about 7-10 minutes until soft and fragrant. Add diced tomatoes, water (or broth), and lentils to vegetable mixture.
  • Bring soup to a slow boil for a few minutes, then back down to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for about 20-25 minutes, until soup starts to thicken.
  • Taste for seasoning as its cooking, add more water if it gets too thick.
  • In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add fresh spinach leaves to soup and gently stir to combine.

Recipe Adapted from Aggie’s Kitchen

Czech Heritage · Family · My Roots

Mushroom and Barley Soup…a Czech winter delight!

My Czech heritage is fascinating to me.  My Mother gave me The Czech Book Recipes and Traditions in 1982 and it has become a treasure.  The Mushroom and Barley Soup is a favorite of mine.  You can add meat, or if vegetarian, leave it out.  It’s a hearty, healthy winter soup that makes me even more curious about the Smaha Czech heritage.  Požívat! (enjoy)

MUSHROOM AND BARLEY SOUP
Houbová Polévka as Kroupama

2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, washing, trimmed and sliced
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced carrot
1 tablespoon flour
3 cups chicken broth or beef broth
1/2 cup pealed medium barley
1 1/2 cups diced cooked chicken, turkey or beef

  • In a 3-quart saucepan melt butter, add mushrooms, onion, celery, carrot. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring often about 10 minutes.
  • Stir in flour, then the broth.
  • Add barley, cover and simmer until barley is cooked through, about 1 hour.

  • Add cooked diced meat, salt and pepper. For a creamier soup, stir in about 1 cup milk.

Adapted from The Czech Book, Recipes and Traditions, Copyright 1981