Monkey Bread

I’m sure there are a billion recipes out there for monkey bread but this is how I make mine and I put recipes here so my kids will have them someday if they want them.

I usually make this for holiday gatherings and it’s always a hit. It’s one of those things I make that the results totally outweigh the effort put into it. It’s incredibly easy!

I made this for a buffet breakfast recently for Anna’s youth group and she texted me and told me that “Everyone loves it! I opened it and the leaders looked like they saw Jesus.” :)

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Note: This is not gluten free or healthy in any shape or form. :)

Ingredients:

1 pkg (2 dozen)  frozen yeast rolls (uncooked dough balls)
Pecan halves
Brown Sugar
2 sticks of butter

Add cinnamon, raisins or whatever you’d like to add to it.

Method:

The night before, place the frozen dough balls in a large greased lasagna type pan and put in the oven. Don’t turn the oven on. They will thaw and rise overnight and be ready to use by morning.

In the morning:
Spray bundt pan with cooking spray
Melt the butter

Place a layer of pecans, drizzle butter and generously sprinkle brown sugar in the bottom of the bundt pan.

Tear apart bite sized pieces of the thawed/risen dough and drop around the pan.

Repeat the pecans, butter, brown sugar and dough until you use up your bread.

Place the bundt pan inside the pan you used to thaw the rolls in in case the brown sugar/butter overflows (it’s a mess to clean up in your oven if it does).

Bake on 350 for about 20-25 minutes. You can stick a knife down into the middle of it and make sure it’s done. Know will know. :)

Turn out the bread onto your serving dish. Trick: Place the serving dish on top of the bundt pan and flip it. The beautiful pecans that you placed in first will be on top.

Drizzle with a powdered sugar glaze if you like but it’s yummy as is.

Serve by cutting pieces or if you’re not a germaphobe, let people pull off sections as they will.

*You can make a version of this with cheese and bacon as well using the same layering process.

Beef & Broccoli

Those who know me know I rarely leave a recipe as it is. When I bake or when it’s a dish I’ve never made or certain ingredients I’ve never used before it’s different but when I’m making dishes that I can take freedoms with, I usually do. I’d like to think it’s the creative genius in me but I’m sure it has more to do with my control freak tendencies.

Beef & Broccoli is a dish I know what it’s supposed to taste like. There is some freedom in some of these ingredients but you can go overboard if you add to much so if you go changing things, start small and add if you need to.

I found this recipe online and used it as my foundation.

http://rasamalaysia.com/beef-and-broccoli-recipe/2/

If you’d like to use it, I’m sure it’s better than what I made but mine is pretty good and easier. I don’t typically stock corn starch or sherry or rice wine and I don’t like using sugar when it’s not necessary so I adapted this recipe based on what I had and what I like. I LOVE sesame oil so I usually throw in a little extra of that. I also adapted the method just to save a few steps and make it easier and quicker. All in all in probably took me about 30 minutes to prepare.

Start cooking your rice as soon as you begin prepping and it will be done just in time. Enjoy!

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Beef & Broccoli

Main Ingredients:

1 lb beef or venison tenderloin, flank steak or flap meat, cut into thin pieces
2-3 head of broccoli florets (depends on how much you like)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2-in ginger, peeled and sliced (big enough pieces to take out before serving)

Marinade:

1 tablespoon soy sauce (I use Bragg’s Liquid Amino or Tamari)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons Chinese Five Spice

Sauce:

3 tablespoon soy sauce (I use Bragg’s Liquid Amino or Tamari)
3 tablespoon oyster sauce (I use the Panda Brand Gluten Free)
2 tablespoon sesame oil
6 tablespoons water
2 teaspoon of corn starch for thickening (optional)

Method:

  1. Marinate the beef with all the ingredients for the Marinade, about 15 minutes.
  2. Bring the water to boil and add a few drops of oil. Blanch the broccoli florets in the hot water, about 10 seconds. Remove the broccoli immediately with a strainer or slotted spoon, draining the excess water. Set aside.
  3. Heat the 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a wok or skillet over high heat. Cook the ginger for a few minutes to infuse the oil. Add the meat and stir-fry until cooked.
  4. Add the broccoli and then the sauce, stir to combine the ingredients well.
  5. Stir fry for about 5 minutes or so until flavors are infused.
  6. Serve immediately over rice of your choice. We prefer Jasmine rice.

 

Easy Black Bean Stuff

I’ve tried for years to come up with a clever name for this dish but it always comes back to this – Easy Black Bean Stuff. And it is SO easy!!

The story behind this recipe…  I walked into a friends house one evening to take something or pick something up, many many years ago, and she was cooking this. It smelled so incredible I had to get the recipe from her. Cathy D, thank you SO much for this and even though I’m sure we’ve adapted it somewhat from what you told me way back when, I always think of you and your family and how much we love you guys when I make this. BTW, as I recall, Cathy didn’t have a name for it either. I think she may have even called it “Black Bean Stuff”. :)

Feel free to adapt as you’d like. Use natural veggies or canned, organic or not, add something in you’d like or take something out. Make it yours just make sure to keep it easy! I think you’ll love this so much that you’ll always want to keep the ingredients on hand. It’s a super quick and easy meal that our family enjoys frequently.

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Put a little bit of olive oil in your saucepan and saute’ the garlic, onion and corn

Combine the remaining ingredients in a sauce pan all together until flavors have blended

and heated through.

green onion, red onion, or white onion to taste, chopped fine

fresh chopped garlic or garlic salt

1 can milder rotel drained (sometimes I use this and sometimes I don’t)

1 can diced tomatoes, don’t drain, you will need some juice

1 can corn drained, I like white shoepeg corn because it’s crunchy.

fresh cilantro to taste, remove stems and chop

cumin lightly sprinkled over the top

chili powder, a little or a lot – up to you

the seasonings are really just whatever you have and whatever you like

You may need some juice so you can add a little water if needed.

Simmer with the lid on for a little while to blend flavors

then add:

1 can drained and rinsed black beans (or more if you’d like it really beany – yes, I said beany.

Cook until beans are soft and then serve over brown rice with grated cheese and sour cream if desired.

Serve with brown rice, quinoa, corn bread and/or tortilla chips. Top with cheese if you like. And if you need meat, grill, bake or pan fry some chicken. You can add the chicken into the mixture or serve with it.

Enjoy!!

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Thai Beef Salad

This quickly became a family favorite after my Thai friend, Paunnee, had us over for a cooking lesson and then our family’s enjoyed the meal together. It’s so so so easy! I’ve looked at other recipes out there and they all look so much more involved than the one I make but my Thai friend taught me and she should know right? Plus, I’m all about easy!! I didn’t write down exactly what we did so I’ve adapted a few things on my own but the ingredients are the same.

Thai Beef Salad

*Good fresh, crispy lettuce or Chinese cabbage

*Quality boneless steak (get a lot, the meat will go fast!)
Sprinkle with sea salt and lime juice, broil and slice very thin. Drizzle the juice from the beef back on top of the beef after cooking.

*Chopped Coriander (Cilantro). If you can find it, use Thai/Vietnamese Coriander. Image is below.

*Purple onions (sliced thin and gently massage with sea salt in a ziploc)
*Chopped spring onions
*Sliced cucumbers
*Limes (You’ll need a lot of limes for this dish. In Singapore I could find seedless limes and that was nice but I haven’t seen them in Texas.)

Build your salad with the lettuce on a large plate (or individual plates if you prefer), then sliced beef, then top with cucumbers, chili’s, coriander, spring onions and lime juice.

Optional ingredients:
Tomatoes
Chopped red chili’s (I put these on the side for those who would like to add heat)
Mint (I don’t use mint but a lot of recipes do)

Thai/Vietnamese Coriander

Thai/Vietnamese Coriander

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Share and enjoy!!

Coconut Milk Coffee Creamer

Update: I’ve been making this for about a year now and think I finally perfected it to my taste. The basic recipe below is fine but I now use a can of organic coconut milk that has a thick layer of cream on top of it and my homemade vanilla, organic coconut oil and a free range/no hormone egg. When it sits in the fridge overnight it gets super thick and you almost have to scoop it out with a spoon but it makes my coffee SO smooth and creamy! I’m still amazed that I don’t miss the sugar!

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When we lived in Singapore my coffee creamer of choice was the liquid flavored Coffee Mate. It’s full of sugar, though, and generally not healthy. Not to mention it cost about $11-15 USD for the small sized bottle of it over there. I bought it anyway for a long time because I loved it. Over the years i have tried to drink my coffee black numerous times so I could enjoy the coffee but without the sugary mess but I just never have been able to.

I posted this homemade recipe on my recipe blog a while back and it’s good. I did actually make it for a long time and at least felt good that I wasn’t spending a lot of money for good tasting creamer. If you read that recipe post you’ll see how excited I was about finding that recipe. I’m 100 times more excited about this one!

In late 2012 Tommy and I started on an eating journey. Tommy wrote about it here, Food For Thought. We started eating Paleo and then went to mostly whole foods, nothing processed. I had to find something natural and sugar free (not even sweetener) that i could enjoy. And I did! And it’s SO healthy. The benefits of coconut oil and coconut milk are many. The best thing about this creamer, though, is that I don’t need sugar. The combination of ingredients is perfect and makes for a super smooth and creamy cup of coffee. I love to use the ArroyD brand of coconut milk for this. It was easy to find in Singapore but I order it on Amazon here in the US. It’s pricier than most coconut milks so I use other brands to cook with and use this kind only for my creamer. It’s that good! My Thai friend told me about it when we were shopping one day in Singapore. It’s what she uses and she said it is superior and after I tried it, I totally agreed.

When I’ve shared the recipe, most people turn their noses up at it. I think because of the egg. But if the egg is fresh you’re fine! It stays in the fridge and is used up within a week anyway. The creamer is not for everyone but it certainly is for me! I love love love it!

The basic recipe is:

Carton of coconut milk (16 oz or so)
1 egg (1 large or two small) – cage free/farm fresh if possible (the egg keeps the oil from separating and makes the creamer very frothy/fluffy)
2tbsp melted coconut oil
1 tsp(ish) of vanilla (I use A LOT of organic, fructose free vanilla!)
Mix in the blender until creamy and smooth. Store in the fridge for no more than a week. It’ll be used up by then anyway so no worries.

Check out this link for more details and then get inspired to create your own version.

A Primal Non-Dairy Coffee Creamer

Links I Like

These are a few recipe links that I’ve made recently and love! I adapted them slightly because, if you know me, you know I can never strictly follow a recipe. Recipes are just a starting place for me. :)

I took out the sugar from the tacos and lettuce wraps cause we don’t like our meat sweet. I used Sutchi filets instead of Tilapia for the tacos and made extra of the seasoning blend and really coated the fish with it because we’re flavor junkies. I used Bragg’s Liquid Amino for the soy sauce in the lettuce wraps because I have Celiac and can’t use regular soy sauce. I added chopped walnuts to the oatmeal and sprinkled sugar over the top before baking to give it a nice crust.

I made all of these in Singapore. We bring in our corn tortillas from the US but you can order them from Belmonte I believe.

Enjoy!!

PF Chang’s Lettuce Wraps

Blackened Tilapia Baja Tacos

Baked Oatmeal

I also made this dip to pour over our fish tacos. We love this stuff!!

Chuy’s Creamy Jalapeno Dip

Flourless Nutella Cake

Flourless Nutella Cake – submitted by Andrea
via http://www.msadventuresinitaly.com/blog/2011/02/05/flourless-nutella-chocolate-cake-recipe-for-world-nutella-day-2011/

This cake is really really good! Now that I’m eating gluten free it’s a great dessert that I can make to take to gatherings or when I host a gathering that I can enjoy as well as others. They won’t even know it’s gluten free so don’t tell them!

My notes:
*Don’t add anything extra. I’ve tried adding extra chocolate but it’s too creamy. Stick to the measurements in the recipe.
*You can also make it in an 8″ cake pan and even double the recipe for a 13×9 but it takes a little longer to cook so turn the temp down a bit so it doesn’t burn the outside.
*One more thing, I used the Starbucks Via instant coffee.

FLOURLESS NUTELLA CHOCOLATE CAKE RECIPE

Note: Below the recipe is a pic showing how the batter looked during various points of preparration. Getting an electronic scale is one of the best investments you can make for your kitchen. In case you don’t have one, you can convert the grams in this recipe to ounces with Google. Credit where credit’s due: David Lebovitz’s Chocolate Cake heavily inspired me.

Note: the better the quality of ingredients you use, the better the cake will be. Organic, cage free, etc.

200g unsalted butter, cut into chunks (this is all of two 8oz sticks minus about 1.5 tsps. Use that portion to grease the pan with.
200g dark chocolate
200g Nutella (just under 1 cup)
100g white sugar (just under 1/2 cup)
6 eggs, separated
1 t. instant coffee or espresso powder

  1. Butter a 9″ springform pan . Preheat the oven to 350F / 175C, and move your baking rack to the lowest rung / place in the oven.
  2. Cut the butter into chunks and the dark chocolate as well, and melt in a double boiler or in the microwave until smooth. If melting in a microwave, take out to stir every 30 seconds or so until smooth.
  3. Remove from heat/microwave and add the Nutella to the still-warm chocolate mix and mix well, until incorporated completely with a small whisk or fork. Add the instant coffee / espresso powder as well and mix.
  4. Separate the egg whites and egg yolks into two separate bowls. Add the white sugar to the yolks and beat for a minute or two with a hand mixer or a whisk.
  5. Add the chocolate mixture to the egg yolks and mix thoroughly.
  6. Whisk / beat the egg whites until peaks start to form, tending toward stiffer peaks rather than just soft peaks.
  7. Add the beaten egg whites to the chocolate mixture, folding gently with a whisk or spatula until fully incorporated (this may take a few minutes).
  8. Pour the mixture into the springform pan and place into the oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes (mine was done closer to 30 minutes). Test after 20 minutes how jiggly the center of the cake still is – you don’t want the cake to be completely solid when finished but the center should not sway when moved. Stick a toothpick in a few places to make sure it’s cooked through and the toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Let cool (the cake will probably deflate quite a bit) at least 30 minutes before serving, and garnish with chopped hazelnuts or hazelnut halves.

You can click on msadventure’s link above for the photo. If I get a good photo of mine when I make it next I’ll add one.