Italian Christmas Cookies

 

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Well, the season is here and so is all the good food! It is a tradition in my family to make a ridiculous amount of cookies and give them to everyone we know from best friends to the mailman. I am lucky enough to have some of my grandmothers handwritten recipes and make every single one each year. I know live just a couple hours from my dad so we are able to make them together which makes me incredibly happy. I hope my kids remember baking with us when they get older and continue the traditions, nothing would make me happier.

Anyway, enough with the sentimental stuff and onto the recipe! I promise I will share more in the near future but for now enjoy these festive bites of joy! (ha!)

 

COOKIE INGREDIENTS:

  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 3 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1 teaspoons lemon extract 

You can replace any of the extracts but this is the “right” way to make them.

GLAZE INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm whole milk (about 30 seconds in the microwave)
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Colored sprinkles

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a kitchen aid (preferred) or a hand mixer beat the eggs until like are foamy (about 7 minutes on high)
  3. Take out and put aside
  4. Add flour, sugar and baking powder to bowl, mix to combine
  5. Slowly beat in the shortening and extracts of choice
  6. Roll dough in 1 inch balls
  7. Bake for 7 minutes, turn baking sheet, bake for another 5 minutes
  8. While baking, mix all ingredients together and make glaze
  9. Let cookies cool for a few minutes and while still warm dip into glaze and top with sprinkles
  10. Try to eat just one and share the wealth

I always double recipes but this one make several dozen cookies so unless you plan on feeding an army one batch will do. Let me know if you like them and how they turned out and share your must have cookie recipes with me so I can add some to my list!

Cheers and Merry Christmas!

Gi

 

Guilt-Free Chocolate Pumpkin Pancakes

So, this recipe is perfect for everyone. I have been trying to get creative since my kid goes on a hunger strike every other week. I have been experimenting with hiding the good stuff in things he would normally be drawn to like, pancakes, waffles, muffins, tots, etc. These pancakes are packed with protein with a fall spin.

I love foods like pancakes because I hateeeee measuring when I am cooking and since you cant really try as you go (like with sauces or sides) you can see when you are doing something wrong. When pancake or waffle batter looks too dry, you add a wet ingredient a vice versa, its pretty tough to screw up.

As with all my recipes, you can customize however you desire and the outcome will not be affected. If you don’t like hemp seeds, throw in chia seeds, if you aren’t a fan of pumpkin try some flavored yogurt and of course the topping options are endless.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Cup Almond flour (or regular flour, whole wheat, oat, coconut, etc.)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 C (heaping) pumpkin ( you can used pureed OR roasted fresh pumpkin)
  • 1/3 Chocolate protein powder ( I used a sample packet from Plant Fusion
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3/4 Cup Coconut milk (or you preferred cows milk or nut milk)
  • Sprinkle of hemp seeds
  • Sprinkle of flax seed
  • Dash of pumpkin pie spice
  • Nut butter (optional topping)
  • Coconut oil (optional topping)
  • Cocoa Nibs (optional topping)
  • Local bee pollen (optional topping)
    OTHER OPTIONS: collagen peptides, brewers yeast (if nursing), any potions you desire (ashwagandha from Mountain Rose Herbs is my personal favorite at the moment)

DIRECTIONS:

This seems silly but…

  • Whisk all wet ingredients
  • In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients
  • Combine
  • Grease your pan with butter
  • Make pancakes
  • Mix a spoonful of nut butter and a little coconut oil (heat if in a solid state) and use this as your “syrup”
  • Top them with all the goods

This is great for a quick breakfast before running out the door, your picky kid or just because!

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Guys, don’t take cooking to seriously, it should be somewhat enjoyable. Play around with ingredients and remember {almost} anything can be fixed.

Bacon Roses Make Everyday Special

Roses are red and so is bacon…

The way to  your man’s (or lady’s) heart is with these bacon roses. These are super easy to make and will be better than any other bouquet you find andddd you can eat.

What you will need:

  1. Bacon (One strip makes one rose so as little or as much as you want)
  2. Muffin tin (big or small)
  3. Toothpicks
  4. Bouquet of fake flowers (Dollar Tree, Hobby Lobby or Micheal’s)
  5. Vase to hold the bouquet (or a glass or your hands…)

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees
  2. Gently pull the flowers off the steams of your flowers, leaving the “bud” part (this is where your “roses” will sit
  3. Take one strip of bacon at a time and roll it into a rosette
  4. Use two toothpicks to secure your rose and help it not tip over while baking
  5. Grease your pan
  6. Place your roses into the tin using the toothpicks to keep the bacon rose from touching the bottom (allows the grease to drain and your bacon to get crispyyy)
  7. Bake 30-40 minutes (until crispy)
  8. Drain your roses on paper towels to soak up extra grease and remove the toothpicks
  9. Place your rose on the “bud” of your bouquet and place them in your vase
  10. Give it to someone that deserves bacon roses!

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These are really perfect for any occasion, I mean its bacon…

I usually make my husband a bouquet for an anniversary or special day and grab some of his favorite beer to put next to it with a funny card and its an ideal dude (or dudette) gift.

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Do it!

Cheers,

Gi

DIY Dinosaur Eggs

So, I have been bribing my kid with these for two days now and have zero intentions of stopping. They are so easy and cheap to make and so fun watching my son think it’s magic!

I put one out a day, he woke up this morning asking for “dino egg” and I explained to him the Mama Dinosaur won’t come and leave eggs if he is acting fresh or crying (so far so good). So, I run out and put one in a bush or next to a plant and we go “hunting” he yells for the egg and crouches down while looking and its so damn cute.

He has a plastic hammer and when we find one it hits it until a dino “hatches,” he picks a name and we go give him a bath to clean him up. Honestly, the joy in his eyes when he sees what’s inside is so fun and I am going to keep making these until he tells me to stop!

 

RECIPE:

  • baking soda
  • water
  • coffee grinds or food coloring

That’s literally it.

Depending on how many you are making will depend on how much of each ingredient you will need (obviously).

-Dump some baking soda in a bowl and just add water until you have a mold-able consistency. I add a scoop of coffee to make it a dark color and more “egg-like.” You can also add food coloring (maybe dark green). **Don’t worry, if you had too much of one thing, just balance it out with the other ingredient.

-Mold the mixed ingredients around your figurine. We have only used dinosaurs but will probably start using other animal figurines in the future.

– dry for 12-24 hours (or more) in a dry area and THAT’S IT!

Super easy and super fun for everyone.

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Family-Friendly Turkey Muffins (because calling it a loaf of meat sounds disgusting).

I am not a huge meat-eater so the thought of shaping meat into a loaf just doesn’t sit well with me so I put them in muffin tins instead and somehow it makes it okay but you can shape it any way you desire for this recipe. As a bonus my toddler prefers picking things up rather than using a fork (how wonderful, I know) so this meal goes over well all around. I substitute quinoa for the normal bread crumb version to make it lighter and pair it with cauliflower mash or potato and a vegetable.

I am terrible at recipes because I taste as I go and add things here and there so I encourage you do to the same. Personally, if I see a recipe calling for one clove of garlic, in my world that means ten. So personalize it for you and your family and make it your own.

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TURKEY MUFFINS (the health(ier) version)

  • 1 package of ground turkey
  • 1/4 (or so) C Quinoa
  • Garlic (as much or as little as you like, I used several cloves)
  • 1 Tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Egg
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)
  • Dash of Worcestershire
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive or Avocado oil
  • Italian seasoning (you can use your favorite spice mix)
  • Hot sauce (optional)
  • Brown sugar (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cook the quinoa according to package and set aside to cool
  3. Heat olive oil and add onions and cook until they smell delicious an are translucent
  4. Add garlic and let brown
  5. Set onions and garlic aside and let cool
  6. Add all remaining ingredients (except for brown sugar) and stir until everything is mixed together
  7. Line muffin pan with paper (if you would like, I rock with just greased pans and skip the muffin liners)
  8. Bake for 40-50 minutes (turkey is supposed to be 160 degrees

OPTIONAL

Mix about 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, a dash of worshichire and a tablespoon of water to make a glaze and spread on top of the meat loaf (or muffins) before baking. You can also use ketchup or your favorite sauce for dipping afterwards.

If you’re feeling a little extra make a funny face using your veggies to convince your kid to actually eat it!

The Easiest Salmon Dinner

Hey guys! I have been trying to eat cleannnn during the week and my husband just randomly got a new work schedule so the less prep/clean-up time the better ! As always substitute you favorite veggies/sides and make it your own!

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30 Minute Salmon Dinner for 2 (in a half) 

  • 1 lb Wild Salmon (cut in half or your desired sizes)
  • 1 TBSP Bragg Aminos (or Soy sauce)
  • 1 TBSP Rice vinegar
  • 1 TBSP Sesame seed oil
  • 1 Big squeeze of honey
  • 1 Lemon, sliced
  • Toasted sesame seeds (garnish/optional)
  • Shishito peppers (Trader Joes always has them near me)
  • Veggies of choice (I used carrots, brussels and purple potatoes)
  • Favorite dipping sauce (I used a “healthy” premade sweet and sour from Trader Joes)

Ok, here we go.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Take enough tin foil to make a “boat” for your salmon, just simply roll up the sides enough to hold liquid and place your filet inside the foil
  • Mix aminos, rice vinegar, sesame seed oil, honey and pour over the salmon
  • Place one lemon slice on each filet and wrap the entire salmon up in the foil
  • Cook for 35 minutes
  • Open up foil
  • Broil salmon to get crispy (about 2 min)
  • Finish with a little sprinkle of sesame seed and plate with the veg, viola!

I used a Gowise Air Fryer to make alllll my veggies super crispy, no oil just air, pretty amazing. If you don’t have an air fryer just toss all veggies with a little olive oil and Italian seasoning and throw them on a baking sheet and put it in the oven with the salmon. 

While the salmon/veggies are cooking get the Shishito peppers going

Throw the shishitos in a pan with the heat on medium with a little EVOO and some aminos (or soy sauce) and keep them moving. Let them blister (about 5 min) and you’re done! Finish them with some coarse ground salt and you have a quick and easy appetizer!

Is Jack Fruit..Magic?!?

Ok, so I am sure many of you heard of Jack Fruit, its the biggest fruit in the world and can be found in a few different parts of the world (and your local Whole foods and canned at Trader Joes!) Check it out below (not my photos).

So back to why you care. Apparently you can use this magical fruit in place of meat! Tonight I did it “pulled pork style” and my Husband AKA the biggest meat eater that I have met, ever literally said “Not only does this look like pulled pork but it tastes like it too, you seriously would never know!”

I am telling you try this recipe, whether you are trying to cut the meat, be healthier, try something new, curious or whatevs, it is nuts that a fruit could act as a protein and be a fulfilling meal!

MOCK PULLED PORK NACHOS aka Jack Fruit Sweet Potato Nachos:

“Chips”

  • 1 Can of Jack Fruit from Trader Joes (rinsed and dried)
  • 1/2 C (plus) of your favorite homemade or store bought BBQ sauce
  • 2-3 Large sweet potatoes (sliced on a mandolin or cut super thin (chip like)
  • 1 Can Corn (I used organic from Trader Joes  (TJs)
  • 1 Can Black Bean (again organic from TJs)
  • 1 Can Garbonzo Beans (you know it, organic from TJs)
  • 1 TBSP – Cumin
  • 1 TBSP – Garlic Powder
  • 1 TBSP – Paprika
  • 1 TBSP – Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 TBSP Oregano
  • Desired amount of cheese (or omit if you don’t like cheese)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

NOTE: Omit any seasonings you don’t like or make it less spicy by leaving out the cayenne. You can also get away with just using your favorite BBQ sauce on the Jack Fruit and not adding any additional spice.

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  • Mix all the seasonings together then split in half
  • Mix half with a little coconut oil or EVOO and put in a large zip-lock with cut sweet potatoes to coat
  • Spread out potatoes on a baking sheet and put in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, flipping half way through (keep a close eye and don’t let them burn)

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While the potatoes are cooking

  • Take rinse/dried jack fruit and cut off the hard ends and shred as much as possible
  • Mix together the canned items (corn, black beans and garbanzo beans) in a colander and rinse
  • Take other half of spice mixture and add with your BBQ sauce and toss with jack fruit
  • Start cooking the jack fruit on the stove in a pan for about ten minutes; you want to brown it, it should start looking like meat (especially with the marinade)

Put it all together

  • Sprinkle cheese over potatoes (if you are using cheese)
  • Add cooked jack fruit
  • Add desired amount of corn/bean mixture (I kept the leftovers for salads/bowls throughout the week)
  • Pop it back in the oven for 5 minutes to get everything warm and melty

Optional but obviously recommended

  • Guacamole (or just sliced avocado)
  • Sliced jalapenos
  • Favorite hot sauce
  • Salsa (or just diced tomatoes)
  • Sour Cream or your favorite substitution
  • Cold beer

Guys, this recipe was super easy and as always able to be customized. Just add anything you would normally add to your nachos. It will for sure curve your “bar food craving” and make you feel like you are cheating when in reality you are eating FRUIT on a SUPER FOOD topped with some more super food. It’s bizarre but in a good way!

BONUS/FRUGAL TIP:

Keep any and all leftovers. I am going to scramble up some eggs tomorrow morning and add the leftovers for a weird and delicious version of a breakfast burrito!

Let me know if you do it and what you think but seriously MAKE IT!

Cheers!