Homemade BBQ Sauce

My husband came up with this recipe a few years ago and now when its BBQ season, this is our favorite sauce.

It’s easy and most households will have these ingredients readily available.

Give it a try on your next BBQ and see what you think.

Homemade BBQ Sauce

1/2 cube candied ginger-chopped fine

1/4 c. dried cranberries-chopped fine

3/4 c katchup

1/2 c brown sugar

2 TBSP. yellow mustard

1/4 c rice wine vinegar

1/4 c hoisin sauce

1/4 c honey

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 c maple syrup

1 TBSP soy sauce

2 TBSP molasses

1 TBSP Lawry’s seasoning

Mix all the ingredients together and cook over low heat for about 20 minutes stirring occasionally. Let cool and store in a jar in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Enjoy!

Mediterranean Quinoa Breakfast Cups

Fast and simple breakfasts at our house are must during the week days. We get up early, very early(4a.m.) and I prepare breakfast every morning while my husband prepares to leave for work by 4:40 a.m…..if there is no snow predicted. So needless to say, I have very little time to make two breakfast meals, his and mine, coffee, throw together his lunch and pack it to go, we then eat breakfast together,and out the door he goes all in 40 minutes. I will say, I have become very efficient at making this happen but from time to time I do wake up with no plan and struggle to find something quick and nutritious for breakfast. Which brought us to this recipe. I have been meaning to give something like this a try for sometime now and I finally did it and quite successfully I will say on the first attempt.

This has a protein punch with eggs and quinoa, along with some mediterranean ingredients that are packed with flavor.

Mediterranean Quinoa Breakfast Cups

1 cup of cooked quinoa

1 handful of baby kale, roughly chopped

1/2 cup of sun dried tomatoes in oil, roughly chopped

3 TBSP crumbled feta cheese

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. ground flax seed

2 tsp. creole seasoning (or any preferred seasoning mixture)

3 whole eggs

5 egg whites

First, you must cook 1 cup of quinoa as the package says. (1 cup seed, 2 cups water, cover and cook for approx. 15 min)  About five minutes before the quinoa is done, add the chopped kale and sundried tomatoes to wilt and wake up the flavors from the tomatoes.

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After this is prepared, if there is any remaining liquid, drain it off. Ideally, this should be cooled then for an hour or so but in my world, when I am cooking,I don’t have an hour to return and finish the project. So if you wish, you could do what I did and place it in a bowl and into the freezer for 10 minutes and stir it every few minutes. This will at least drop the temp enough while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

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While this is cooling, measure your spices, cheese, and crack your eggs. Whisk this all together until combined. During these 10 minutes you also can line your muffin tin and make sure you spray the inside of the liners with non stick cooking spray since this will assure easy removal later on.

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Preheat your oven to 350.

Ok, now get that bowl in the freezer and add this mixture to your egg mixture. Mix well and scoop it into the muffin tin liners.

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Place these in to bake for roughly 20 minutes if your quinoa is not completely cooled like mine wasn’t. If your quinoa was completely cooled, cooking time will vary, so keep a close eye on them. You will know when they are done when a knife or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

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Remove them onto a cooling rack until cool and store them in an airtight container in the frig for reheating in the mornings. They are great for kids and adults.

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No Bake Chocolate Energy Bites

These little gems are perfect for before workouts, after workouts, after school snack, or to toss in lunch boxes for your family. They offer healthy ingredients with a bit of chocolate yum added. And the best part is, you literally can throw them together in minutes with common, everyday ingredients.

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Give them a try…

 

Chocolate Energy Bites

1 cup of quick cooking oats

1/2 cup ground flax seed

1/4 cup honey

1/2 cup peanut butter

3 tsp. cocoa powder

pinch of cinnamon

pinch of sea salt

In a large bowl, mix the oats, flax seed, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and sea salt together until well combined.

In a microwave safe bowl, mix the honey and peanut butter and heat for 30 seconds or until easier to combine by mixing with a spoon. Mix this well and pour it over the dry mixture.

Combine until no crumbles are left and then form into ball sizes of your desire.

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Store them in the refrigerator for up to a week and enjoy.

Curry Lentil Stew

Recently, I found a half bag of lentils that I did not know I still had in the pantry. And since I am the only person in my house that will willingly eat lentils, I could do what I wished with them and curry was what came to mind first. So to the kitchen I went with veggies, spices, and lentils in hand and I started adding things to the pot and this is what evolved…..scrumptious lentil curry stew. Oh my, was it yummy. Thankfully, I wrote it all down as I went to share with you in the instance it was a success and here we are.

Curry Lentil Stew

1/2 cup onion- diced

2 celery stalks-diced

 1 large carrot- diced

2 TBSP. olive oil

1 can(14.5 oz) diced tomatoes

1 garlic clove-minced

1 1/4 c. lentils

3 1/2 cups water

3 tsp. chicken bouillon

1 tsp. curry powder

1/2 cup half and half(optional)

First, I took the onion, celery, and carrot and sauteed them in the olive oil until tender, about 10 minutes.

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Next, I added the garlic, tomatoes, chicken bouillon, lentils, water, and curry powder. Mix these well and turn the heat down to a simmer. Cover the pot and let them cook for approximately 45 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Watch that the liquid does not completely absorb, if this happens, add another 1/2 cup or so.

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After the lentils are tender take it off the heat and add in the half and half, mixing this well. This will add a creaminess to the stew although, it is not necessary and can be left out if you prefer.

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Lentils are a good source of potassium, calcium, zinc, niacin and vitamin K, but are particularly rich in dietary fiber, lean protein, folate and iron. They are wonderful for digestive health along with stabilizing blood sugar. Although, many people shy away from them since they are pretty bland unless you spice them up a bit. Try this recipe and you may just become a lentil lover.

 

 

 

Egg and Roasted Potato Casserole

This recipe came about when I noticed I had a bunch of roasted potatoes from the night before when I thought our son was going to be home for dinner and then, like usual, plans changed and he was not. If there is one thing I hate doing it’s throwing out food. So I needed to think of something to do with these potatoes and this is what I came up with. I prepared and egg and potato casserole and it turned out so good I thought I would share it here with all of you.

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Now first, if you would not happen to have left over roasted potatoes that is going to be the first thing you will need to prepare. You simply take your potatoes, wash them, cut them into cubes and toss them with salt and pepper and a little olive oil. Doing this in a bag or large bowl works best. Then lay them on a heavy baking sheet you already sprayed with  non stick cooking spray and bake them at high heat(450) for about 20 minutes or until tender.

****Since I used my left over potatoes I prepared this casserole with cooled potatoes.

Egg and Roasted Potato Casserole

12 eggs

left over roasted potatoes(about 2-3 cups diced)

hand full of spinach – roughly cut into strips

bacon pieces( I used the whole package)

small onion-diced

1/2 green pepper-diced

cheddar cheese(optional) (I used about 1/2 cup)

salt and pepper to taste

First, you will need an 8×8 baking dish and spray this with non stick cooking spray.

Dice your onion and green pepper and microwave them together in a safe bowl covered with plastic wrap for 1-2 minutes.

Lay your potatoes in the bottom of your casserole.

Layer the onion, peppers, spinach and bacon over the potatoes.

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Crack and whisk 12 eggs and add salt and pepper to taste. Pour this over the potatoes.

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Bake this at 350 for 40 minutes.

Take it out and check with a knife or toothpick if the center is set. If so, layer your cheese on top and bake an additional 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

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Serve with toast, english muffins, roasted broccoli as I did or alone if you prefer.

This was a great, quick and easy way to use up leftovers and feed my entire family a healthy meal. You can bet the next time we have roasted potatoes for dinner I will make a few extras to have for the next day. This way I can prepare this casserole once again.

What??? 50 Degrees In February In Wisconsin….YeeeeHaaaa!!!!

How do I even try to explain how happy I was when I heard it was going to hit 50 degrees this week in Wisconsin. Explanation points, happy faces or just burst out with words like….yeeee haaaaa!!!!! This is completely a gift from up above and I will gladly except it with a big THANK YOU.

Something happens when it warms up over in our house. I become a happier human being, I find energy to cook, clean and make lists of things to cook and clean when I run out of time. Thoughts of vacations and places to visit start popping into my head and trails I want to hike become a date on the calendar and not just a thought. I send home reminders to all my daycare parents that we are headed outside FINALLY so prepare for muddy children. I go for walks outside instead of the local mall where we do laps…..so boring. All in all, things just become a bit brighter for everyone when I become a happier human being.

In my heart I know this is too good to be true, since it is Wisconsin and we could easily get one, if not more, snowstorms well into March, but for now I am taking it and loving every last minute. So take a look at what I did this week in the world of exercise. Not a single mall lap walk during the whole week and that I am so thankful for.

Sunday: gym: 30 minute elliptical and full body weights on the TRX suspension trainer

Monday: evening walk outside 3 miles

Tuesday: home: 30 minute recumbent bike

gym: 30 minute elliptical

Wednesday: evening walk outside 3 miles

Thursday: home: 30 minute recumbent bike and total body weight routine

Friday: rest

Saturday: trail hike of 2.5 miles…original plan was 3.1 miles but it was more like a skating rink so instead of falling and injuring myself, I cut it short and still had a wonderful time. Here are some pics from todays 50 degree hike in February.

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As for meals this week. I did not do very good at remembering to snap pictures but don’t think we did not eat…haha. I again tried two new recipes, this one which will be shared soon.

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and this one which turned out better than expected.

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And one night I rebounded to a family favorite of turkey fajita seasoned brats with veggies, and like always we enjoyed one dinner out on Friday evening.

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The highlight of my week next to the awesome weather we have had was when my son snagged some floor to ceiling mirrors from the gym he works at that they were going to toss out. One corner is a bit cracked and one is slightly chipped but hey, they will do just fine here at home. I have been wishing for mirrors for my workout area to keep an eye on my form when doing yoga and lifting weights but they cost a fortune to buy. Now we just need some time to install them….which until the temps turn back to freezing, this will not happen because WE WILL BE OUTSIDE……HURRRAAAYYYY!!!!

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Finally February…What’s Next On The Agenda?

A few more weeks to go until we change our clocks once again and life starts looking a little brighter and much more fun in my eyes.

Typically by this time of year, I have already starting planning our summer excursions, booked some camp sites, and made numerous other plans to fill up our summer calendar. This year, however, has been a bit different…..I have done none of this. UGGGG! I have been, in all honesty, unmotivated since we returned from Tennessee to do any of this. Life has been chaos and I just can’t seem to catch a break long enough to even consider summer planning.

I have been keeping up with my pledge to try at least one new recipe a week for our family dinners. And so far, we have found some real winners. Like beef with pepperocino peppers in the slow cooker. The easiest recipe ever since you literally take your beef roast and lay it in the slow cooker. Dump the jar of pepperocinos with the juice over the roast. Add a shimmy shake of Worcestershire sauce and a tsp of beef bouillon to the mixture and cover and turn it on. Taaaadaaaa….6-8 hours later you shred it up and serve how you wish. I layered whole wheat rolls with cheese and baked them until they were melted. Then I added the meat and served it with a side salad. A complete meal, with little work and very tasty to end a long day.

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With February normally being the month I struggle with the most, so far it has been ok.I have been keeping busy thanks to many different things on my plate at one time. With a trip disaster in January to TN, I am still fighting with the airlines for refunds. I have made and have had plans with friends cancelled due to illnesses(on their end) numerous times. And I have been doing my best to keep a level head about some work issues that have been plaguing me.

I recently went to dinner with my brother to a restaurant I had not been to in at least 15 years and was happily surprised by the remodel job. The place was beautiful but the food was mediocre at best. Next month it is my turn to choose the restaurant and I think I might try Thai for the first time ever. I love that my brother has a broad sense of taste, since then we have many different options to choose from. Often, when I go out with my husband, it’s to the same three restaurants and even though its nice, I sometimes wish he was a bit more adventurous when it came to trying new things.

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February at the gym has significantly gotten less crowded. Normally by February I am so ready to be outside doing something active, however, this year I am not quite there yet. I am loving the gym and my time to do what I love. I have been concentrating on strengthening my abs and core along with my upper body again. Paddling season is not that far off and after taking it easy all last summer due to my abdominal surgery and the summer before due to my husbands disc herniation….this summer I plan to paddle as much as possible.

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We have a bunch of birthdays coming up in the next few weeks and no real plans as of yet to celebrate them. For mine, I am hoping to get a nice dinner out somewhere…..maybe Hibachi/Sushi….we shall see.

There is also an REI garage sale date coming up and unless there is a snowstorm that stops me from making this two hour drive to our nearest REI, I have the calendar marked and the gift cards are burning a hole in my pocket. On the list….a new pair of Keen hiking boots for yours truly. Mine have taken me many miles through Minnesota, Tennessee, Arizona, Michigan, Utah, Arkansas, and all over Wisconsin. I think it’s time to let them rest and break in a new pair.

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And come next month our clocks will once again be changing. Daylight will be longer, snow will begin to melt away leaving mud around every corner. And we will slowly start to venture back outside and start making memories again of times better spent somewhere other than in the four walls of our house. Ohhhh, how I wait patiently for this month to pass.