Sunday, February 28, 2016



6 lasagna noodles (make 7 just to be on the safe side, we like a gluten-free version)
1 lb Italian sausage
1/2 lb ground turkey
1 small onion (chopped)
1 jar of tomato sauce
1 T. crushed red pepper
1 bunch of fresh basil (chopped)
1 bunch of spinach leaves (washed and without stems)
1 (16 ounce) container of cottage cheese
1 egg
1 16 ounce package of mozzarella cheese
1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese

Cook the lasagna noodles according to the package directions. In a large pan saute the sausage, turkey and onion. Cook the meat mixture thoroughly; I like to brown the meat quite a bit, but you just need to be sure it is cooked through. Add crushed red pepper and salt and pepper to taste. I like a lot of pepper, and if you like things spicy feel free to add more red pepper. With the heat off, add the tomato sauce (any kind will do, I don't usually like anything with garlic in my lasagna), I love Newman's anything; set aside. When the pasta is done, drain and set aside until ready to assemble. Mix the egg and cottage cheese together thoroughly. Grate both cheeses in the same bowl and mix, set aside.

Now to assemble. This is how I layer my lasagna from the bottom up...

tomato meat sauce (3 layers)
noodles (2 layers)
cottage cheese (2 layers)
mozzarella cheese mixture (3 layers)
basil (2 layers)
spinach (2 layers)

and to eliminate some of the pasta I do not do a final pasta layer,
I end with the tomato meat sauce
(I like to use big spinach leaves and lay them out flat, so it completely separates these layers)

Make sure to note how many layers of each you will need. You don't want to use all your cheese and then not have any for the top!

Bake at 350 for about 50 minutes (until all the edges are bubbling). Top with the rest of the cheese, and bake 5 more minutes or until melted. Let cook for 10 before serving.


Happy Cooking!

with love,
kristin ann :)

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Brownies... no bake and delicious!

I love easy, raw desserts.  Being someone that bakes a lot and loves the culinary aspect of that, I will probably never give it up completely, but I do like to switch it up, because I very much promote healthy living!

This is such an easy recipe and so delicious.

Raw, easy, healthy Brownies!
1 1/2 c. pecans
3/4 c. dates
1/2 c. cocoa powder
honey or maple syrup

With a food processor, blend your pecans, until they will not blend anymore (should be very fine).  Add the cocoa, pulse a few times until blended.  Add the dates (they should be pitted), and blend completely.  Now here is the only tricky part.. The recipe I used didn't call for honey or maple syrup, but it did say to use soft dates, which mine were not, they were more dry.  So after the first 3 ingredients were combined, they didn't form a "dough" which it was supposed to.  I added a drizzle of maple syrup and it did the trick.  While mixing, it should come together to form a ball of dough.  In a 8x8 pan I cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the pan but lay over the edges.  Press the dough into the pan, and refrigerate for at least an hour.  You can lift the paper out to cut the brownies on a cutting board or leave them in the pan.  Serve cold!  So yum.

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Saturday, February 27, 2016

Parmesan herb crusted salmon with cheesy creamy polenta

Our salmon dinner nights are by far my favorite.  Not only is it the easiest meal the I make, but it's the most delicious!  It reminds my husband that maybe we shouldn't eat out so much, too. At home you get a much larger portion size AND you feed the whole family for about the price of ONE salmon entree in a restaurant!

First, for the cheesy polenta, you can basically follow the instructions of what brand of polenta you have.  I had a medium coarse corn meal (I guess you are not supposed to use fine corn meal) and that worked great.  I found a recipe, it looked as though all the recipes follow a 1 part polenta to 4 parts water rule, which made about 4 servings.  Normally with a salmon dinner I bake or mash potatoes, the polenta takes a little more work, but so very much worth it. 

Creamy Cheesy Polenta
1 cup polenta corn meal (a medium coarse corn meal)
4 cups water
1 t. salt
3 T. butter
3/4 cup cheddar cheese grated
1/4 parmesan cheese grated

Bring your water to a boil and add the salt.  With a whisk or wooden spoon stir in the polenta.  You want to keep a steady and continuous stream of polenta into the water and stir quickly, keep stirring until the polenta thickens up (keeps its hold instead of settling back down into the pan after being stirred).  On a low heat, cover the polenta.  It's going to cook 30-35 more minutes.  Stir for about a minute, every 5-10 minutes.  At this point it should have a pretty thick consistency but cooked through (soft).  I added water and continued stirring until it reached the creamy consistency I wanted. Then added the butter and cheese, and stirred until combined.  Serve immediately or  keep on the lowest heat until you serve.

Parmesan Herb Crusted Salmon
Salmon steaks or large fillet (I generally have a 2 lb fillet)
Olive oil
4 T. Parsley finely chopped
sprinkle of any herb (I like dried oregano, rosemary and sage; you could use an italian seasoning too)
1/4 c. finely grated parmesan

I use a cookie sheet drizzled with olive oil.  You can you any pan, you can also cover the pan with foil (for an easier clean up), drizzle with olive oil and place fillet on top.  Drizzle the salmon with olive oil, rub to distribute evenly.  Salt and pepper.  Sprinkle herbs and cheese across the top and flatten down/pat with your hands.  Broil on hi (on the 2nd to top rack) for about 10 minutes.  I like my salmon cooked through so completely opaque, and I also like a good crust on the top, so I will cook it for another 5 minutes.  And that's it!!

We love vegetables over here, so I always add a side of veges.  Zucchini sautes up in about 6-8 minutes, and I just season with a little salt and pepper.  Top the meal with any left over grated cheeses or parsley.  So delicious.  One of the best meals I've made this year, and so easy!!
Happy cooking!

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Monday, February 15, 2016

Wonderfully Raw Macaroons!

So, I will confess that this cookie is a 100 % knock off of the Wonderfully Raw Coco-Roons that I love oh so much, but are too pricey to buy in bulk.  Although my sweetheart of a husband said they were better :) I've been searching for a couple weeks with foodgawker/google/pinterest and other places for similar-looking recipes, and I think I found/created a winner.  I've only made them once (I stupidly made a huge batch so I couldn't justify make more the next day, even though I wanted to, just so I could make some tweaks to the recipe).  Obviously things can end up different depending on the brand of the ingredient you use, or your specific oven and things like that, so don't be made if it doesn't come out perfect :/

Raw Vanilla-Maple Macaroon

1 1/2 cups almond flour
3 cups coconut flakes (dried and unsweetened)
3/4 cup maple syrup (real maple syrup)
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1 1/2 Tablespoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Mix the dry ingredients (flour, coconut, and salt) thoroughly.  Add the wet ingredients (syrup, oil, and vanilla), and mix.  If for whatever reason it feels to dry to roll into a ball and stay intact, add a little more coconut, but this mix should work fine.
On cookie sheets lined with parchment paper I scooped/formed the cookies, using a small cookie scoop.  You could roll them if you want, if you don't have a scoop, but that made it the easiest for me.  The size of the cookie doesn't really matter, but you will have to change the cook time accordingly.  If you had a dehydrator, you could use that, which would make this cookie truly raw, but I don't.  One recipe I found that used a dehydrator said 8 hours, but it really just depends on how you want the cookie to turn out.  So try it out half way through!  I used my oven at 200 degrees, with the door open.  This took almost 2 hours.  Yes, this very simple recipe has a painfully long finish time.  I checked the cookies at the hour and a half mark to make sure they had not dried through the middle and the bottom was still quite moist (not easy to handle) so I let them stay in longer.

vanilla-maple coconut macaroons


This recipe made about 2 dozen, maybe a little more (I forgot to count darnit).  You only need one pan because they don't expand, you can place them right next to each other.  Let them cool and store in an airtight container.  I didn't refrigerate them and they lasted just fine for a week.

Wonderfully Raw, has an amazing assortment of these cookies!  We've tried the lemon (my favs), vanilla-maple (martin's fav), and the chocolate brownie one (I'm not the biggest choco fan).  I'm trying the apple pie next!  You should try them first and then you really know how to create this perfect little cookie.  My next flavor to make will be lemon :)  This is the basic recipe so I would assume I'll use this and add to it.
Bob's Red Mill is the brand I use for most of my flours/grains and other things.  I buy my almond flour and coconut flakes in bulk on amazon :)  They really have everything, especially if you have to do gluten free, which I'm obviously going for.  We just love their gluten free pancake mix.

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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Avocado Pesto Pasta

Avocado Pesto Pasta

1 ripe avocado
1/2 cup pesto - make your own or buy it!
Cooked pasta - I used a brown rice pasta (spaghetti)
Sauteed veges - we used zucchini, kale, and swiss chard
grilled/sauteed chicken breasts (or shrimp would be great, and so easy)
chopped basil
parmesan cheese

The chicken takes the longest, so I seasoned my chicken breasts and got them cooking.  I season with salt, pepper and garlic powder, and let them saute in a little olive oil over medium heat, about 7-8 minutes on each side (for larger/thicker pieces of chicken you can add a little water and cover with a lid, after you saute, until they are cooked through).  
In a large pan, I cooked my pasta (follow instructions for your specific pasta), drain and rinse in a colander and set aside.  While the pasta cooks I chop my vegetables.
Saute the vegetables (about 5-10 minutes depending on how crisp you like or don't like them) in a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  (I use the same pan I cooked my pasta in).  When they're done, put in a bowl and set aside (I use the bowl I will eventually serve in).  In the same pan, add the noodles to a little olive oil and saute for a minute, then add the pesto and avocado (which you can mix ahead of time, so it's creamy all the way through or put the avocado in chunks, which end up mostly dissolving anyways).  This only takes a couple minutes until everything is evenly distributed on the pasta.  Add your veges back in, and toss.  
Add the chicken to the pasta mix or serve on top, garnish with fresh chopped basil and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese!
So easy!

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Saturday, February 6, 2016

Etta wants to show you how we do sweet potatoes!

Easy Savory Sweet Potatoes

4 medium sweet potatoes
4 T. butter (we use coconut oil sometimes too, only 2 T.)
salt and pepper to taste
granulated garlic
sprinkle of dried sage or an italian seasoning

Peel and chop sweet potatoes.  Boil in water for 20-30 minutes until a spoon can mash a pieces easily on the side of the pan.  Drain and place in a bowl to mash (I use a potato masher, not a mixer/beaters).  Add butter and seasonings and mix!

For the sauce..
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup pineapple juice
granulated garlic
salt/pepper to taste
1 T. honey

After the meatballs were cooked, I added the sauce (combined) into the pan and let saute for about 5 minutes until it cooked down.

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