Chocolate Trail Stacks

petalsHealthy Chocolate Trail Stacks Healthy Chocolate Trail Stacks Healthy Chocolate Trail Stacks

Another tasty, simple, healthful snack idea for you today: Just carefully melt the chocolate, stir in any desired additives (pepitas and raisins here), mound onto wax paper, and harden in the fridge. Delish, filling, and energizing.

My kind o’ snack!

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Frozen Blueberry Yogurt Bites

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 Here is a delightful little snack that is easy to prepare, healthful, and delicious! Plain Greek yogurt, blueberries, and maple syrup are all it takes. Mix, dollop onto wax paper, and freeze. Once frozen, remove them to a freezer bag or container, and pop one out whenever the craving for something sweet strikes!

How to Prepare Leeks

petals

How to properly prepare leeks | Vignettes~ the Blog

Leeks. Those funny, fat non-bulbous members of the onion family. I adore them in a good soup, and though they add a deliciously creamy sweet-onion taste, if not prepped properly, they can also add a rather unwelcome gritty texture to the mix.

How to properly prepare leeks | Vignettes~ the Blog

Luckily, thoroughly cleaning out the sand found between the layers is easy as a wink! All you have to do is give the outside a good rinse, cut off the roots, then slice the white part into 1/4″ rounds. Have a deep bowl filled with cool water at the ready, and throw your slices in as you separate the round layers from one another.

How to properly prepare leeks | Vignettes~ the Blog

Swish the rounds vigorously in the water, and all the sand will sink to the bottom, while the leeks float. See?

How to properly prepare leeks | Vignettes~ the BlogScoop out the rounds, drain, and add to your favorite recipe grit-free!

How to properly prepare leeks | Vignettes~ the BlogIf you’d like a recipe to use your perfectly clean leeks in, come visit me over on She{hearts}It today where I’m sharing a yummy Creamy Spring Carrot Leek Soup!

The ‘Umble Cheeseboard

petalsA Simple Cheeseboard: the perfect appetizer/snack A Simple Cheeseboard: the perfect appetizer/snack A Simple Cheeseboard: the perfect appetizer/snack A Simple Cheeseboard: the perfect appetizer/snack A Simple Cheeseboard: the perfect appetizer/snack

I can’t tell you how many times I have been saved by throwing together a quick cheeseboard at the last moment. Equally at home at a formal affair or a night of sports tv with the guys, allow me to share just a few of the many virtues of this ancient rustic spread.

  • It keeps people occupied if dinner is taking longer than expected to prepare.
  • If you have surprise guests, it helps the main meal stretch further by acting as a filling appetizer.
  • It’s quite easy to keep the makings of a cheeseboard on hand all the time. Some ideas might include: at couple varieties of cheese, simple crackers, nuts, bread, spicy meats, dried and fresh fruit, veggies, apple butter, jam, chocolate…
  • Everyone loves a good cheeseboard and can find something on it they can eat – even people with allergies and/or special diets.
  • There’s hardly any prep involved – especially if you buy pre-sliced/pre-cubed cheese, or just place a knife beside the wedge and let people slice their own.

Besides entertaining, a cheeseboard is also a delicious and simple option to take on a picnic, road trip, or plane ride!

Do you enjoy cheeseboards? What are some of your favorite ingredients to include?

Blueberry Sweet Potato Pancakes

petalsIMG_7633We have a favorite brunch joint here in town, and at that joint, our favorite thing to get is Blueberry Sweet Potato Pancakes! Well, I finally got tired of only having them every-once-in-awhile, and started looking for a recipe to alter. HERE is one that I found on Pinterest from Fuji Mama, and below you will find my adaptation.

Blueberry Sweet Potato Pancakes

2 medium sweet potatoes
1 1/2 cup freshly ground whole-wheat flour pastry flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 egg whites, beaten
1 1/2 tablespoons unsulphured molasses
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups milk (I use rice milk)
1/2 cup blueberries

To cook the sweet potatoes, I scrub them, pierce them with a fork all over, and place them in a pan to roast for 20-50 minutes at 400 degrees, rotating occasionally.

While the sweet potatoes are cooking, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Set aside.

When the potatoes have cooled slightly, remove the pulp from the skin into a bowl, and add the yogurt, mashing until relatively smooth. Add the egg whites, molasses, vanilla extract and blend. Finally, mix in the milk.

Add the sweet potato mixture to the dry ingredients and mix with a spoon until just moistened (the batter will be lumpy), about 50 strokes. Set aside to rest.

Preheat a lightly greased skillet or griddle over medium heat. Using a 1/4 cup measure, pour the batter onto the preheated skillet or griddle. Drop 5-7 blueberries onto each puddle of batter. Turn the pancakes once with a spatula when the surface begins to bubble. Cook until golden brown.  Serve hot with your favorite pancake toppings.

Enjoy!

For a printable version of this recipe, CLICK HERE. Like it? Pin it!

Crockpot Banana Quinoa

Crockpot Banana Quinoa | KristinsVeranda.com/VignettesAre you like me? You love having a hot, steaming, stick-to-your-ribs breakfast, but hate having to get up early to make it? Thank goodness Mr. Crockpot doesn’t mind laboring diligently all night for all those of us grumpy non-morning people! Just throw these ingredients together before you hit the hay, and a mouthful of YUM will be ready and waiting for you bright and early!

I won’t wax eloquent on the extensive benefits of quinoa today, but if you’re interested, HERE and HERE are a couple of articles that just scratch the surface of the nutritional punch packed into this superfood powerhouse! Original recipe is from The Realistic Nutritionist.

Crockpot Banana Quinoa | KristinsVeranda.com/Vignettes

Crockpot Banana Quinoa

1 cup of quinoa
1 cup milk (I use rice milk)
1 T cinnamon
1 cup water
1 1/2 banana (past ripe)
3 tablespoons sucanot or honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mash the banana in a bowl and set aside. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a crockpot sprayed with PAM, and mix well. Fold in the mashed banana.

Cover and cook on low for 4 – 6 hours, or until the quinoa is fully cooked. My crockpot has a “warm” temperature, and that allows it to cook for 8 hours or so.

Serve warm with a dab of butter, a splash of milk, and some slices of fresh banana. If you’re not careful, you just might think you’re enjoying dessert for breakfast ;-).

Crockpot Banana Quinoa | KristinsVeranda.com/Vignettes
For a printable version of this recipe, CLICK HERE.

Morrocan Quinoa

Moroccan Quinoa | KristinsVeranda.com/vignettes

Are you ready to throw a dance party for your mouth? One full of tender morsels, and exotic spices? Look no further than this flavor-filled side dish. A cinch to throw together, it has fast become a favorite at our table for both casual meals and more formal affairs. As the creator of this recipe suggests, I’ve found that it is best made a day ahead so that the flavors have a chance to blend. If you’re looking for a simple meal-in-one, just add some chopped up cooked chicken to the mix.- Original recipe can be found HERE at EmmaEats.

Moroccan Quinoa

1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup roughly chopped dried apricots
1 cup pitted and chopped dates
6 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 T Moroccan seasoning mix (see below)
juice of 1 lime

Cook quinoa in broth as directed on package until fully done. Mix together all ingredients in a large bowl, and toss until well combined. Delicious served warm or cold, and even better the next day! Stores and reheats easily.

*I like to make this with a lime-infused olive oil in place of the evoo (with the lime juice omitted).

Moroccan Seasoning Mix

5 tsp ground nutmeg
5 tsp ground cumin
5 tsp ground coriander
2 1/2 tsp allspice
2 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Mix all spices together, and store in a cool dry place for up to 6 months.

Moroccan Quinoa | KristinsVeranda.com/vignettes

For a printable version of this recipe, CLICK HERE.

Like it? Pin It!