Mango Avocado Salsa

Mexican food was a staple of my diet all growing up. Mangos, unfortunately, were not. So now I find any excuse I can to sneak mangos into my meals (or salsa) because they’re rather delicious.

mango avocado salsa

If you shop at Costco, you’ve probably seen the mango salsa they sell there. It’s pretty good, but nothing ever quite compares to making it fresh. Especially when you can find good mangos for a good price! One of the keys to making good mango salsa is starting with good mangos. How do you choose a good mango? Find one with as little green as possible! The more red, the more delicious! It should be mostly red, with some yellow (and probably a little green, cuz let’s face it – you’re probably not going to find a perfect one unless you go to the tropics) and it should be somewhat firm but not hard.

So once you’ve got your mangos, you might be wondering what exactly to do with them. They can be a bit tricky, with their big, weird-shaped seed in the middle, and the skin that needs peeled off, but once peeled the mangos are super slippery. Well, let me share what I’ve found to be the easiest, fastest way to cut up a mango:

time saverStart by slicing down one side of the seed, starting at the top towards the middle, and curving outward around the seed, down to the bottom.

how to cut a mango 1

Repeat on the other side, so you end up with two slightly curved pieces that you cut off, and the seed (with some usable fruit still).

how to cut a mango 2

Cut a cross-hatch pattern into the fruit, cutting dow to the skin but not through.

how to cut a mango 3

Then flip it inside out, pushing the fruit up and out of the skin. Some pieces will probably just fall out, and the rest you can just run the paring knife as close to the skin as possible.

how to cut a mango 4

Repeat these steps on the other two sides of the seed (there is much less fruit here, but still enough to be worthwhile).

how to cut a mango 5

And now you’ve got lots of delicious mango bits!

mango salsa recipe

Now it’s salsa time! Chop up the green onion, crush the garlic, seed and chop the tomato and pepper, and cut up the avocado.

To seed the tomato, just cut it in quarters lengthwise, and then run a knife from one end to the other, just under the seeds, and they should fall right off.

mango salsa recipe deseed tomato

To cut up the avocado, basically follow the same method as cutting the mango, but just slice it in half instead of cutting around the seed. Or look at this post for some pictures and tips.

Stir everything up, let it sit for at least 15 minutes so the flavors can mix a bit, and enjoy!

mango salsa

(I know, it doesn’t have any avocado yet here… but it’s still delicious and beautifully colorful!)

Just eat it on chips, or put it on tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos….

mango avocado salsa burritos

We made chicken burritos with leftover rotisserie chicken, some refried bean, and the mango avocado salsa, and it was super yummy! So simple, and a great use for any leftover chicken!

mango avocado salsa chicken burrito

Mango Avocado Salsa

2 large ripe mangos
1 roma (or other small-medium) tomato
1 large avocado
1 red pepper
2 green onions
2 garlic cloves

1. Peel and chop the mangos (see tips above). Seed and chop the tomato and pepper. Cut up the avocado. Slice the green onions. Mince or crush the garlic. Mix all ingredients in a bowl.

2. Let sit for about 15 minutes (or longer if you want) for the flavors to mix. Stir and serve!

Makes about 2-3 cups salsa.

change it upAdd a jalapeno or other chili pepper for a spicier salsa. Or add some chopped cilantro! (I just didn’t because my husband doesn’t like it!)

Lentil Vegetable Coconut Korma

Somehow I made it through more than twenty years of life without ever eating Indian food. It’s tragic, really. So to make up for lost time, we eat a lot of Indian food now. It’s just so delicious!

lentil vegetable coconut korma

I’ve experimented with lots of different recipes, but my favorites to make always use coconut milk as a base for the sauce. It gives it so much flavor and makes it nice and creamy! Plus, of my experimental recipes, the ones with coconut milk have always turned out the best. Maybe some day I’ll figure out how to make some other types of Indian food… but coconut milk is just so good I don’t really mind.

We’ve been trying to have at least a few dinners each week without meat. It cuts down on cost significantly, and it’s generally healthier to eat less meat than most people eat. This meal still gets you a nice amount of protein with the lentils and cashews. But you could easily add/substitute chicken, fish, etc. That’s one of my favorite things about this recipe – it’s so versatile! You could honestly put just about anything in there, and it would taste good!

its good for youLentils have tons of soluble fiber (great for lowering cholesterol, filling you up, and stabilizing blood sugar, among other things) and are also high in protein. Carrots have lots of vitamins and antioxidants. Coconut milk has lots of vitamins and minerals, but is a bit high in saturated fats (although with no meat, and spread between at least six servings, it’s not bad.)

vegetable korma recipe

Get the lentils started on the stove while you chop up the vegetables.

vegetable korma with lentils recipe

Add the vegetables and spices, stir, and let it simmer for about 20 minutes, until the lentils and veggies are soft. (If you can find a korma spice mix at the store, that should work just fine. Just check the sodium – a lot of packaged spice mixes have tons of salt!)

coconut korma with lentils and vegetables

Add the tomato paste and coconut milk and stir well. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir in the cashews. Do a taste test to see if you need to add any more spices or salt. Then serve over rice.

vegetable coconut korma with lentils

Lentil and Vegetable Coconut Korma

1 cup lentils
3 cups water
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 red pepper
2 carrots
2 small potatoes
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (more if you like it hot)
1/4 tsp saffron
3 Tbsp tomato paste
1 can coconut milk
1/4 cashews, roughly chopped
salt to taste

1. Combine lentils and water in a large pan, and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Once it boils, reduce heat to low.

2. While lentils begin cooking, chop the onion, pepper, carrots, and potatoes. Add to the lentils. Crush in the garlic, and add the spices. Let simmer for about 20 minutes, until lentils and vegetables are soft.

3. Stir in tomato paste and coconut milk. Simmer another 10 minutes.

4. Add cashews. Check the flavor, and add salt or more spices if desired. Serve over rice.

Makes about 6 servings

change it upAdd pineapple chunks for a sweeter curry. Add or substitute sweet potatoes, cauliflower, or other vegetables. Add chicken, fish, or beef for a “heartier” meal.

5 Minute Alfredo Sauce

In an effort to stop buying canned/jarred/prepackaged food, I’ve been working on recipes for the foods I most often buy canned/jarred/prepackaged – like pasta sauce.

I’ve mentioned before that pasta is one of my go-to meals when I don’t feel like cooking, or cooking anything that requires much thought or effort. So in order to keep it that way, I wanted a really quick, simple pasta sauce that wouldn’t take a whole lot more time and effort than opening a jar, but would be cheaper and not full of preservatives and sodium.

So now I’m happy to present: 5 Minute Alfredo! So simple, so creamy and cheesy, and so delicious! It only takes five minutes, and it’s only five ingredients! So easy!

5 minute 5 ingredient alfredo

Ok, if you add salt and pepper, it’s technically seven ingredients. But they’re not necessary, and I like the 5 minute 5 ingredient thing.

five minute five ingredient alfredo sauce

Start off by melting the butter over medium-high heat in a medium sauce pan. As it begins to melt, crush the garlic into the pan so it starts to saute a little.

easy alfredo sauce recipe

Once the butter has melted completely, add the flour and stir well so it doesn’t get lumpy. Once it starts getting bubbly, slowly stir in the milk.

5 minute alfredo sauce recipe

Keep stirring to prevent lumps and scalding. The sauce should begin to thicken after just a couple minutes. Cook and stir for 3-5 minutes, until the sauce is fairly thick. If it starts to boil, that’s as thick as it’s going to get. (It doesn’t need to boil, just if it does, know it’s done thickening.)

5 minute 5 ingredient alfredo sauce recipe

Add the cheese, stirring until it’s melted and mixed. If you want salt and pepper, add a little now. Serve over your favorite pasta, veggies, chicken, etc. Top with an extra sprinkling of cheese, or some fresh herbs like basil, oregano, or parsley.

five minute alfredo sauce

5 Minute Alfredo Sauce

1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
1-2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 – 2 cups milk
1 cup grated Italian blend cheese (or half parmesan, half mozzarella)
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. As it begins to melt, crush in the garlic.

2. Once it’s completely melted, stir in the flour. Stir well to prevent lumping. Once it starts to get bubbly, add the milk, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens, about 3-5 minutes. (I only did 1 1/2 cups milk, and it was really thick. If you like your sauce a little thinner, add a little more milk.)

3. Add the cheese, and stir until it is completely melted and mixed. Add salt and pepper, if desired. Serve over pasta, vegetables, chicken, etc. Top with more cheese or fresh herbs, if desired.

Makes about 6 servings

change it upAdd some sundried tomatoes or roasted red peppers for an extra pop of flavor!

Maple Balsamic Salmon with Lemon Butternut Squash Orzo

This might make me a total nerd, but I love getting good deals! My husband makes fun of me because I (quite) frequently tell him about the great deals I get at the grocery store. I think part of it is justifying the things I buy, even though he’s far less concerned about it than I am. I just feel like if we’re eating something that’s normally pretty expensive, I have to explain that I got it for super cheap!

Like this beautiful salmon filet that was plenty of meat for a meal for our family – and cost less than $2!

maple balsamic salmon

Seriously, how could I not buy it?? I didn’t have a choice!

Plus, then I got to try out this fabulous recipe my sister told me about. It’s adapted from this recipe she found on the Mayo Clinic DASH Diet. (There are actually tons of great, healthy recipes on there! Go check it out!)

save moneyHow did I get salmon for that cheap you ask? Look for the “manager’s special” stickers on meat – that means it’s super marked down because the sell by date is only a day or two away. I buy most of my meat that way! If you’re not going to use it right away, just freeze it!

Back to this recipe – not only is it good for you, it’s also super easy! I’m still a little intimidated by fish; we never ate it growing up, so I don’t have a lot of experience with it. But this recipe is seriously fool proof.

creamy lemon butternut orzo maple balsamic salmon and asparagus

Just mix the maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, and crushed garlic in a small pan on the stove. Heat it until it just starts to boil, stirring frequently. Then use about half of it to glaze the salmon, and pop it in the oven! Be sure to put the salmon on foil – the glaze gets really sticky and you do not want to clean it off the pan!

maple and balsamic vinegar glazed salmon

After 10 minutes, spoon most of the rest of the glaze on top of the salmon, and put it back in the oven. After another 10 minutes, check to see if it’s done. It should be nice and flaky. If it’s not, spoon whatever’s left of the glaze on top, and cook it for a few more minutes.

While the salmon is cooking, you can make the orzo.

creamy lemon butternut squash orzo

Start by cutting up the squash. You’ll want about 1 cup of squash cut into small chunks. Put it in a small pot with enough water to cover, and cook on the stove until tender – about 10 minutes.

Just a side note on the squash – I used slightly less than half of the squash pictured above for this recipe. I used the rest to make some baby food! Also, when buying a butternut squash, find one with a nice long neck. That’s where most of the usable “meat” is.

butternut squash

Cook the orzo according to the package directions, then add the cooked butternut squash.

For the sauce, squeeze the juice of one lemon into a bowl. Crush in 1-2 cloves of garlic. Mix in 2 egg yolks.

creamy lemon butter sauce

Melt 1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter. Make sure it’s quite hot – this is what cooks the egg. Slowly, using a whisk, mix the hot butter into the lemon and egg mixture. Be patient, and keep whisking the whole time. This keeps the yolks from scrambling, and makes a smooth, creamy sauce. Pour on the orzo and squash, stir it up so the sauce evenly coats everything, and serve with the salmon!

creamy lemon orzo with butternut squash

We also had lemon butter asparagus: Just melt a little butter in a large frying pan, toss in the asparagus, and squeeze in a little lemon juice. Saute until tender-crisp.

lemon butter asparagus

its good for you So many healthy things in this meal! First of all, everything is all-natural except the orzo, which you could certainly buy an all-natural pasta. I even used real maple syrup! There is no salt. None. (Unless you use salted butter, which would add a small amount) But still tons of flavor. Salmon is full of vitamins and Omega-3s. Butternut squash has tons of fiber, vitamin C, and loads of other vitamins. And asparagus give you more fiber, vitamins, antioxidants, and lots of other goodness.

There is a fair amount of butter… but when split between all the servings, it’s not that much per serving. Plus, some natural fats will help your body process and use all those vitamins!

maple balsamic salmon lemon butternut squash orzo and asapragus

 

Maple Balsamic Salmon

~1 lb salmon filet
1/4 c pure maple syrup
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
1-2 cloves garlic

1. Preheat oven to 375. Combine syrup, vinegar, and crushed garlic in a small sauce pan on the stove. Bring just to a boil, stirring frequently. Once it boils, remove from heat.

2. Place the salmon on a foil-lined baking sheet, and use a spoon or a basting brush to glaze the salmon. Use about 1/2 of the glaze, saving the rest.  Put it in the oven, and cook for 10 minutes.

3. Pull the salmon out of the oven, and brush/spoon most of the rest of the glaze on top. Put it back in the oven for 10 more minutes.

4. Check if the salmon is done – it should be nice and flaky. If it is, it’s ready to serve! If not, use any glaze that is left, and put it back in the oven for a few more minutes.

Makes 4 servings

Serve with Creamy Lemon Orzo with Butternut Squash and pan-roasted asparagus.

Creamy Lemon Orzo with Butternut Squash

1 c uncooked orzo
1/2 – 1 c butternut squash cut into small chunks
1 lemon
2 egg yolks
1-2 cloves garlic
1/2 c (1 stick) butter

1. Chop the squash into small chunks, and place in a small sauce pan with enough water to cover. Cook over medium heat until squash is tender, about 10 minutes.

2. Prepare orzo according to package directions. Drain and mix with cooked squash.

3. While those are cooking, prepare the sauce. Squeeze the juice from the lemon into a bowl (make sure to discard any seeds!). Crush in the garlic and whisk in the egg yolks.

4. Melt the butter, making sure it is quite hot. Slowly pour the butter into the lemon-egg mixture, whisking constantly. This will cook the egg but keep it from scrambling. Pour over the hot orzo and squash, mix to coat, and serve.

Makes 6 servings

 

Whole Wheat Pasta with Ricotta and Asparagus

Pasta is one of my go-to meals. When I don’t feel like coming up with something to cook, we have pasta.

The nice thing is, it can be as simple or complex as you want. And you can have a whole meal in one pot. Add some veggies, some meat, some cheese. It’s actually a great way to use up some of your vegetables, too. Seriously, almost any vegetables taste good in pasta. Just saute them in a little olive oil, and throw ’em in with the noodles and sauce! Or even go without sauce, and just sprinkle (generously!) some cheese on top.

So this was my “I don’t feel like cooking but I need to use up that jar of pasta sauce and that asparagus” dinner. I know, I used jarred pasta sauce… I was lazy. But don’t worry, I’m working on a post for my “5 minute marinara” so be on the lookout for that soon!

whole wheat pasta with ricotta and asparagus

Three of my favorite things about this pasta:

1. It only took about 10 minutes to make, since that’s about how long it took to boil the water and cook the pasta. And I only used two pans, so cleanup was quick too!

2. It’s delicious.

3. its good for you I used whole wheat pasta (you can’t even tell a difference in the taste in angel hair pasta); asparagus, which is full of vitamins; and cottage cheese (I know the title says ricotta, but I was being cheap and using what I had) which has lots of protein.

Start off by putting a big pot of water on to boil. Then chop up your asparagus into 1″ pieces.

asparagus

Put a little olive oil in a skillet, heat it up, add the asparagus, and toss regularly. After a couple minutes, crush in a clove of garlic and sprinkle a little salt and pepper.

garlic roasted asparagus

The water should be boiling by now. Add your pasta, and follow the package instructions. (If you’re using angel hair, it only takes about 4 minutes.)

whole wheat angel hair pasta

Drain the pasta, and put it back in the pot. Pour in the sauce and the ricotta or cottage cheese. Heat through, stirring regularly.

whole pasta with ricotta

By now the asparagus should be done – you want it tender-crisp. If it cooks too long it gets kind of limp and mushy. You can either stir it into the pasta, or serve it on top. Sprinkle some parmesan on top, and enjoy!

whole wheat pasta marinara with ricotta and asparagus

Whole Wheat Pasta with Ricotta and Asparagus

1 package whole wheat angel hair pasta
1 jar marinara sauce, or about 2 cups homemade sauce
1 cup ricotta or cottage cheese
10-12 asparagus shoots
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic
salt and pepper
parmesan cheese

1. Boil a large pot of water for the pasta. While waiting for that, trim the asparagus and cut it into 1″ pieces. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, and add the asparagus, tossing regularly.

2. Once the asparagus has cooked for a few minutes, crush in the clove of garlic, and sprinkle in some salt and pepper. Continue to toss regularly until the asparagus is tender-crisp.

3. Cook the pasta according the package instructions. Drain, and return to pan. Pour in the sauce and ricotta, stir and heat through.

4. Stir in the asparagus, or serve it on top with the parmesan sprinkled on top.

Veggie Banana Bran Muffins (aka Sneaky Muffins)

A while back my toddler went through a super picky phase, especially when it came to eating vegetables.  He used to eat just about anything we gave him, but then he decided he basically only wanted to eat quesadillas and fruit.  I’ve been told this is really common with toddlers, but it’s still rather frustrating at times.  So I had to get a bit more sneaky.

toddler muffins

(I thought this was a good picture for being sneaky since the muffin kind of blends in with the counter! I know, I’m so clever.)

time saverOne of the things I really like about these muffins is that they freeze well!  So if you have lots of zucchini in your garden this summer, make a few batches and freeze them.  Or if you know they won’t get eaten fast enough, just pop them in a freezer bag and stick them in the freezer. You can even just pull out one or two at a time as needed.

They’re also actually quite tasty, so they’re definitely not just for toddlers. I just made them in a mini muffin pan so they were more toddler size, and were sneaking in some veggies for my picky little man. But let’s be honest, we can probably all use some more veggies in our lives! But with the carrots and spices, they’re almost like mini carrot cakes.

its good for you Carrots and zucchini are both full of vitamins of course; bran gives you lots of fiber; and there’s only a little sugar since the bananas naturally sweeten them. In fact, you could probably make them without any sugar at all, or even substitute applesauce (I’m planning to try that as soon as I have some more zucchini from my garden!)

banana carrot zucchini bran muffins 2

Start by shredding the carrots and zucchini in a food processor or with a box grater. Mix the butter and sugar, then add the bananas, eggs, and shredded veggies. The carrots and zucchini will get kind of stuck on the beaters, so you might have to stop occasionally and scrape them.

Mix in the dry ingredients, then spoon the batter into a muffin pan. Bake until they’re golden on top, let them cool, and enjoy!

banana carrot zucchini bran muffins

Sneaky Muffins (Banana Veggie Bran Muffins)

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 large, very ripe bananas
1 small-medium zucchini, shredded
2 medium carrots, shredded
2 eggs
1 cup flour
1/2 cup oat or wheat bran
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 375 F.

2. With an electric mixer, mix butter and sugar together until smooth.  Add bananas, zucchini, carrots, and eggs, and mix well, until the bananas are smoothly mashed into the dough.

3. Add remaining ingredients, and mix until just combined.

4. Spoon batter into greased muffin or mini muffin pan.  Fill each muffin 2/3 to 3/4 full.

5. Bake for 13-15 minutes for mini muffins, or 15-18 minutes for regular muffins.  Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Yield: about 2 dozen mini muffins or 1 dozen regular muffins

change it upYou could also add raisins, chopped apples, or flax seed.

 

*I originally published this recipe on my other blog – A Song of Sixpence. It has more crafty/mommy ideas and such, so I decided to re-blog this recipe here.

Homemade Potato Chips – a first attempt

Potato chips – another perfect example of food that is so bad for you, and yet we eat mass quantities of it. According to several different sources, Americans eat 1.2 billion (with a B) pounds of potato chips every year! And I’ll admit that I totally understand why – they’re a pretty tasty, convenient snack, and available everywhere you turn. And let’s face it, there’s something about the combination of potatoes and salt that’s kind of hard to resist (remember my confession about my love of french fries?)

So I decided to attempt a healthier, homemade version of this oh-so-addictive snack. I started really simple – just salt and pepper flavored. I’m working on some other flavors, but first I want to figure out how to make them perfectly crispy without burning. These ones turned out ok – most were perfect, but some were burnt, and some were still a little mushy.

homemade potato chips 2

The weird thing is, it didn’t seem to necessarily go with the how thick/thin they were. Some of the mushy ones were some of the thinnest-sliced ones! So if any of you are chip-making pros, I’d love some tips!

I started off by slicing some potatoes as thinly as I could.

homemade potato chips 1

This might be easier using a food processor with the thin-slice blade. But alas, I don’t have one… some day (soon, hopefully!) So if you’re cutting them by hand, just go a little slower and slice as thinly as you can.

Then I tossed the potato slices with just a little olive oil, and fresh ground salt and pepper. I laid them out on a foil-lined baking sheet in a single layer so they wouldn’t stick and they could get nice and crispy.

homemade potato chips 3

Then I put them in the oven at 425 for about 25 minutes, turning over about half way through. Then I sorted the chips to find the ones that still needed to cook a little longer (about 1/4 of them) and popped those back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes. You can tell they’re done when the edges start curling, they start to get a little golden (not too golden – they’ll taste burnt!) and the surface looks bubbly and translucent.

homemade baked potato chips

Deliciously crispy crunchy goodness!

While these still aren’t the healthiest snack, they’re a lot better than most (all?) of the chips you’d buy at the store!

1. They’re baked, and with very little oil.
2. They still have the skins, which is where most of the vitamins and nutrients are.
3. They have way less salt!
4. They’re all natural – no preservatives or other nastiness.

Oh, and they’re way cheaper. You can get 10 pounds of potatoes for about the same price as a bag of chips.

Now I just have to figure out how to get ALL of them perfectly crispy, and come up with some other delicious flavors!

Mexican Rice

I love Mexican food. It’s totally comfort food for me. Few foods make me happier than super cheesy enchiladas or some shredded beef tacos or tamales. Oh, tamales.

Maybe it’s because of growing up in Southern California, but I don’t think I’ve ever gone more than a week without eating Mexican food except for the few months I lived in Europe. And even then, when  my mom sent me a package she included some tortillas and enchilada sauce!

That being said, I’m no expert at making authentic Mexican food (though I would love to be!) But I have come up with a few good recipes over the years, and am constantly searching for and working on more.

healthy taco salad with Mexican rice from scratch

This Mexican rice is pretty simple, and making it from scratch is a lot healthier than making packaged ones (they have soooo much sodium! and all sorts of preservatives and such). You basically just toss all the ingredients in a pot, put the lid on, and let it cook!

Mexican rice recipe

That’s fresh chopped cilantro on top of the bubbling rice. I love cooking with fresh herbs! Almost all of the ingredients for this recipe are fresh, and it makes the rice very flavorful.

Mexican rice from scratch

When it looks about like this, it’s done. Stir it up with a wooden spoon – the tomato sauce tends to be thicker on the top. If there’s still liquid, just cover it back up and cook for a few more minutes.

Mexican rice

It will be a little saucier than plain rice, but there shouldn’t be any standing liquid. It should look like this when it’s ready to serve.

Mexican Rice 

2 cups white rice
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
2 cups water
2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp chopped cilantro (optional)

Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat on the stove. Once it reaches boiling, cover and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer about 20 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Stir and serve!

Makes 6-8 servings (about 4 cups cooked rice)

change it upSqueeze in some lime juice for a little more flavor, or if you like things a bit spicier, add 1/2 a chopped jalapeño or sprinkle in some cayenne pepper.

easy Mexican rice recipe

It’s great on taco salads, in burritos, or just as a side dish.

Honey Oat Bread with Sunflower Seeds

Who ever came up with the phrase “best thing since sliced bread” clearly wasn’t talking about the taste! Because let’s be honest – homemade (or even bakery) bread tastes soooooo much better than basically any sliced “bread” we buy at the grocery store. That stuff is mostly air with some overly-processed carbs and other random junk trying to trick you into thinking it’s bread.

This is bread.

honey whole wheat oat bread with sunflower seeds

Doesn’t it just look so thick and delicious? Nice crisp crust with just a little sticky honey, and soft and chewy inside. We ate the whole loaf within two days. And we would have eaten it faster except my husband was hardly home during those two days!

I don’t make homemade bread very often. In fact, this was my first attempt in a few years. But it turned out so well, and was actually pretty easy to make, that I think we’ll be making lots more! Plus, my two-year-old had a blast helping me knead the dough!

kneading bread 1 kneading bread 2

See, kids can help in the kitchen! Granted, he did get flour all over himself… but he was actually pretty helpful with the kneading.

 

honey whole wheat oat bread

I can’t actually take credit for this recipe – I used this wonderful recipe from Bakingdom.

However, I did make a few changes. I used whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour. And it turned out great! I also sprinkled sunflower seeds on top of the bread along with the oats suggested in the original recipe. The seeds added a nice nutty flavor that complemented the whole wheat and honey flavors beautifully.

its good for youUsing whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour means lots more fiber and vitamins in your bread! Add that to the oats (bring on the fiber) and sunflower seeds (healthy fats and proteins) and honey (tons of vitamins, minerals, etc.) and you have a bread that’s delicious and nourishing!

honey oat bread with sunflower seeds

It hasn’t even baked yet, and it already looks scrumptious!

If you’re intimidated by making bread (I was!) or envision spending hours in the kitchen kneading, try out this recipe. It’s really easy and doesn’t take much time at all (other than waiting for it to rise). I was pleasantly surprised by how quick, simple, and delicious this bread was!

Soft Honey Oat Bread by Bakingdom

whole wheat honey oat bread with sunflower seeds

The wonderfully golden bread after baking. I could hardly wait to slice into it!

I’m testing out a few more bread recipes over the next week, so I’ll be sure to let you know how those turn out! Hopefully with a little more practice, I’ll be adapting and coming up with my own recipes soon!

Mixed Roasted Potatoes

Yesterday I posted the recipe for the pork chops I served for Easter with these tasty (and colorful!) potatoes. So today I figured I should post the recipe for the potatoes.

mixed roasted savory potatoes

I love the way these different potatoes look all mixed together. And I love even more the way they taste! The sweetness of the sweet potatoes is nicely balanced by the earthy flavor of the other two, and roasting them with herbs and spices just makes for a wonderfully savory side dish.

its good for youSweet potatoes have lots of fiber and are just packed with vitamins! And since the other potatoes still have their skins, they have lots of fiber and vitamins too! (B vitamins, vitamin C, and Iron to name a few)

mixed roasted potatoes recipe

I used Russets, red potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Yellow, white, or purple would work as well – but Russets, sweet potatoes, and red potatoes are often the most easily available and least expensive. And you’ll definitely want some sweet potatoes in there for their flavor.

Scrub the potatoes and cut off any bad parts. Peel the sweet potato. Then chop them up into bite-size chunks. They don’t have to be perfect, just roughly similar sized pieces.

mixed roasted potatoes

Once they’re all chopped, toss them with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and fresh rosemary (dried works too, it’s just not as strong of a flavor). Pour them onto a foil-lined baking sheet, and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, mixing half way through so they get more evenly crispy. If you like them extra crispy on the outside, cook them a little longer.

I’m super bummed I didn’t get a picture of the potatoes with the pork chops! It all looked so scrumptious and colorful! Oh well… I’ll just have to make this meal again!

Mixed Roasted Potatoes

3 medium Russet potatoes
3 medium red potatoes
1 large sweet potato
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1-2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary (or 1-2 tsp dried)

1. Preheat oven to 425. Scrub the potatoes and cut off any bad parts. Peel the sweet potato. Chop the potatoes into bite-size cubes.

2. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with the olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary. There should be just enough oil to lightly coat the potatoes and make the seasonings stick.

3. Pour the potatoes onto a foil-lined baking sheet and spread out in a single layer. Place on an upper-middle rack and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring the potatoes around half way through. For crispier potatoes, cook an extra five to ten minutes.

Serves 6-8

These would also be an excellent side with grilled chicken and some roasted or grilled veggies! Or even some grilled fish.