Monday, March 19, 2012

Granola Balls- No bake!

Homemade granola bars are a huge hit in our household (and by huge hit I mean that straight out PANIC occurs when we are down to the last few bars, keeping them in regular stock in the cupboard) so when stumbling across these on Pinterest, I knew they would be a new favorite (and boy was I right! :)


1 cup rolled oats
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/3 cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium to large bowl (use a large bowl if you plan on doubling your batch, which I will definitely be doing next time), then cover and let chill in the fridge for 30 min. Once chilled, roll into balls, whichever size you prefer. Store in an airtight container for up to a week, but believe me, you won't need to worry about if they'll be gone in a week's time!

In the future, I might play around with swapping out the chocolate chips for butterscotch or vanilla chips or adding other nuts or dried fruit. These are the perfect go-to snack or dessert and it took me all of 5-10 minutes to make them (besides the 30 min. of chill time.)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Making Vanilla Extract

I use vanilla extract all the time for cooking/baking purposes so why not make my own? It's a fun, easy little project that looks pretty and makes for a great gift!

All you need is some vodka, bottles, and vanilla beans.

I got Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans from Trader Joe's and cut the ends off and split the bean down the middle the long way, not cutting entirely through.

I put the beans in the bottle and poured the Vodka over the beans, using approximately 1/3 cup vodka per bean.

Then, I put the lid on the bottle tightly and stored it in a cool, dark, dry place for at least 6 weeks, but if you can wait 2-3 months before using it's a better, darker, richer flavor.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Jalapeño Black Bean and Chicken Enchiladas (formerly known as White Chicken Enchiladas)

6-8 soft taco shells (I use whole wheat, medium sized)
1lb. Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast (free-range, organic!)
2 cups shredded Mexican Cheese
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour (I use whole wheat)
2 cups chicken broth (I use low sodium)
1 cup sour cream
1 (4oz) can diced green chiles
1 Can Jalapeño Black Beans with Lime Juice (Kuner's)
Diced Garlic (I used a heaping tablespoon, I LOVE garlic :)
Diced Onion (about a half of a large onion OR 1 small onion)
Chili Seasoning
Cayenne Seasoning
Lime Juice
Diced Garlic
Diced Onion
Sliced Olives (black)
Ortega Original and Green sauces

Preheat oven to 350˚ degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan.
To cook/shred chicken breasts, spray a pan, put the chicken breasts in a large pan (whole breasts before shredding) over medium-high heat and seasoned them with a little salt and pepper. While the chicken is cooking, sauté the onion and garlic in the pan with the chicken to give it a savory flavor. Then, when the chicken is thoroughly cooked, take two forks and shred the chicken while it is still in the pan and mix the onions and garlic in with the shredded meat.
Next, mix chicken/onion/garlic, beans and 1 cup cheese. Season to taste with chili seasoning, cayenne seasoning, cumin, and lime juice. Roll up the mixture in tortillas and place in pan.
In a sauce pan, melt butter, stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Add broth and whisk until smooth. Heat over medium heat until thick and bubbly.
Stir in sour cream and chiles. Do NOT bring to a boil, you don't want curdled sour cream.
Pour over enchiladas and top with remaining cheese.
Bake 25 minutes and then under high broil, brown for 3 minutes until golden.

I like to top mine off with Ortega's Original red sauce and their Green sauce and some sliced Olives. YUM! (This was MUCH more flavorful than the original recipe!)