Thursday, April 18, 2013

Greek Salad Dressing

I was craving Greek food the other day. Although when I think of Greek food, I think of a good salad, rice pilaf, and pita bread with cucumber yogurt sauce (tzatziki). Now please don't laugh at me, I realize that this is not Greek food, but that was what I was craving. I settled on making just a Greek salad. I searched long and hard to find a recipe for Greek salad dressing, aka I looked at my pins on pinterest and low and behold there was a recipe for greek dressing. The recipe was good but after some changes, it is now amazing.

Greek Dressing
1 C. olive oil
3/4 C. red wine vinegar
1/8 C. water
2 1/2 tsp. of each: garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, dried basil,
3 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
3 Tbsp. sugar
Put everything in a blender and blend well until all is incorporated. Serve over a salad. For a Greek salad I like the combination of lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, feta cheese, kalamata olives, and pepperoncinis. Be creative, but enjoy!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

English Muffin Breakfast Sandwich-Breakfast of Champions!

Now that you've made Sourdough English Muffins, it now time to take them to the next level. In fact you could take it up a couple more notches by adding my secret sauce. Well, it's not going to be a secret after I share it, but I'm nice like that.

English Muffin Breakfast Sandwich
-English muffin(s)
-1 egg/sandwich
-1 piece bacon/sandwich
-1 slice cheese/sandwich (so far I've tried muenster and cheddar and both were delicious)
-Liz's secret chipotle sauce
Cut English muffin in half and toast. Cook bacon (for a fast breakfast, cook the bacon ahead of time and freeze, just reheat while cooking the egg). Cook egg with some salt and pepper. I usually crack the egg into the pan, break the yoke, add some salt and pepper, and while it's cooking, use a spatula to keep egg in a round type shape. Once the muffin is toasted and the egg cooked, assemble the English muffin, egg, bacon, cheese, and add Liz's secret chipotle sauce. Enjoy!

Liz's Secret Chipotle Sauce
(note: this is also called chipotle mayo but I don't like mayo so I have a hard time calling it that)
You will need:
1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (you just want the chipotle peppers, not the adobo sauce)

In a blender, put in mayo. I usually do a bigger batch so I always have it on hand. Remove chipotle peppers from adobo sauce, cut open and remove seeds. It is very important that you remove the seeds. If you do not, then it becomes very spicy and not very flavorful. We want flavorful with a bit of spice. Turn on blender and add one pepper at a time until it is a salmon color. The darker it is, the spicier and stronger it will be. Store in either a container or squirt bottle.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Tiramisu cupcakes

As Curtis' birthday was nearing, I asked him what his favorite cake was. He told me several different kinds and one was tiramisu. Since we were going out, I decided that I wanted to make something that didn't require me cutting and serving, but something that could be self served. Because of my stipulations, I decided to make tiramisu cupcakes. No one ha ever done that, right? Wrong. Google has everything. Unfortunately, I didn't like any of the recipes so I combined 5 different recipes and added some extra love. The result was an incredible tiramisu cupcake that looked amazing and tasted even better.
However, due to life, I never wrote down what I did so the blog post never got written. Then my grandma had a birthday party and I was in charge of the dessert. I decided to attempt at repeating the process and was again successful.
For those who don't know what tiramisu is (like my grandparents and cousins), its a coffee soaked scone like cake with a layer of creamy custard and topped with whipped cream. There are different versions, but this is my favorite. Plus I had an Italian taste them and as he went back for seconds he said that they were amazing and were just as good as the ones in Italy.

Note: this is an easy recipe but requires multiple steps and a good chunk of time...but it's so worth it.
Tiramisu Cupcakes (makes 12)
Layer 1 (lady finger cake part):
4 eggs separated
2 Tbsp + 2/3 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Preheat oven to 400F. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form, then add 2 tbsp sugar. In a separate bowl, mix the flour and baking soda together. In another separate bowl, beat egg yokes and 2/3 cup sugar. Add half of the egg white mixture to the egg yoke mixture. Once incorporated, add all of the flour/baking powder mixture and gently mix. Then fold in the remaining egg white mixture. Fill lined muffin tin with batter about 1/2 full. Bake 8-10 min or until slightly golden brown. Allow to cool.

Layer 2 (coffee soaking mixture):
3/4 cup strong coffee-not hot (I used instant espresso)
2 tbsp
3 tbsp sugar
Mix together until sugar is dissolved.

Layer 3 (creamy custard part):
4 egg yokes
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
4 oz mascarpone cheese (found in the specialty cheese section of most grocery stores)
Whisk eggs, sugar and milk together. Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Chill in fridge (or freezer if you want to rush the process) until completely cooled. Once it is cooled, add the 4 oz of mascarpone cheese)

Layer 4 (whipped cream topping):
12oz heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4oz mascarpone cheese
Approx. 1-2 cups powdered sugar (I didn't measure it, I just added until I liked the taste of it)
Using a hand mixer or kitchen aid, whip the cream on med high until soft peaks form. Continue whipping while adding vanilla and sugar. Once the whipped cream tastes good and looks good, add the mascarpone cheese. Put all the contents in a gallon size zip-lock bag and store in fridge until ready to use.

Assembly instructions:
Remove the lady finger cupcakes from pan. Using a fork, poke a couple of holes in the lady finger cake part. Spoon in the coffee mixture until the cake part can't soak up any more or the coffee mixture is gone. Spoon cooled custard part on top of the cake. Cutting the corner of the ziplock bag containing the whipped cream mixture, squeeze contents onto custard. Note: if custard isn't completely cooled, then the whipped cream part will slide off. Dust with chocolate powder and sprinkle with chocolate shavings. Place in fridge for at least an hour. Enjoy!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Sourdough English Muffins

A year ago, I tried making a starter. With that starter, I tried making English muffins. They didn't turn out very well. I think I may have eaten one and thrown the rest away. Now that I have another starter (which seems much happier than the last one), I decided to try my hand at making English muffins again. Although I'm still refining my process, I made whole wheat English muffins that lasted only two days before I ate them all. I got the recipe from here.

Sourdough English Muffins
8-12 hours before you want to eat this deliciousness, mix together:
1/2 cup sourdough starter
1 cup milk
2 cups whole wheat flour
After 8-12 hours, add:
1 T. Honey
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
Turn out to a floured surface and kneed until everything is incorporated. Flatten to about 3/4". Using a biscuit cutter or a wine glass, cut rounds. Allow to rise on some corn meal or flour (I used flour and they stuck a little bit so next time I'm going to used corn meal) for 45 minutes (don't forget to cover them so they don't dry out). Heat a pan or electric skillet to medium. Grease the pan a little (unless it's non-stick). Cook 5-7 minutes on each side. Cut open and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Chinese Chicken Salad

Here is one of my new favorites discovered during the Whole 30. The secret is in this dressing. This is also great lunch to pack the night before since the cabbage doesn't get nasty when sitting in a lunch box all day.

Chinese Chicken Salad
Easy lemon chicken
Napa cabbage
chopped sugar snap peas (optional)
Chopped cashews
A small bit of finely chopped cilantro

Ginger salad dressing:
3/4 c.-olive oil
1/4 c.-soy sauce (I just omitted this during the whole 30 and it was good but soy sauce makes it way better)
1/4 c. rice vinegar
1 T-sugar (I omitted this during the whole 30 but added some coconut milk instead)
2 garlic cloves
2 T worth of fresh ginger
1/2 t-salt (if you omitted the soy sauce, it may need a little more)
Put everything in a blender and blend until the ginger, garlic, and cashews are completely incorporated. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Easy Lemon Chicken

This is one of the easiest chicken marinades to throw together on a busy day.  You can start with either thawed or frozen chicken.  I also prefer to use the chicken tender pieces since they cook up nice and evenly and only take a couple minutes to BBQ.

Easy Lemon Chicken
Using a zip lock bag, throw in:
-approx. 10 raw chicken tenders
-some olive oil (about 1/4 cup)
-some garlic powder, onion powder, and pepper (about 1/2 tsp. each)
-the juice of one lemon (i've also used lime but used the juice of two of them)
-salt (my salt rule is a pinch per serving)
Close the zip lock bag.  Mix and shake all the ingredients around until everything is incorporated and evenly coating the chicken. Allow to marinade in fridge for 4-12 hours.  If using frozen chicken, follow recipe but allow to marinade and thaw for 24 hours in fridge.  BBQ until the chicken is cook. 
Enjoy over salads, in wraps, on a sandwich, or any other way you enjoy chicken.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


This is my version of carnitas. I like this because it is full of flavor, natural, and can cook in the crockpot all day. It tasted amazing in my coconut oil tortillas topped with my Greek yogurt, cheese, salsa and guacamole. Plus, since my mornings are a bit hectic, I put everything in the crockpot the night before and stick the pot part of my crockpot in the fridge. The next morning it takes approximately 10 seconds to take it out of the fridge and turn it on. No mess. No time. No hassle.

Crockpot Carnitas
1.5-2 lb pork shoulder or pork roast
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. pepper
4 cloves garlic (either chopped or whole)
1 orange cut in quarters
1/2 tsp. liquid smoke (optional)
3 T. olive oil

Place pork in crockpot. Sprinkle spices, add garlic and drizzle with olive oil. Squeeze orange and then throw rind in with meat (warning: the orange will smell overpowering while cooking but when you taste the meat at the end, it is in perfect balance). Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-5). The longer you cook it, the easier it will be to shred. Once cooked, take out orange rinds and throw them away. Using two forks, shred the meat. Allow the meat to sit a few minutes to soak up any liquid. You can either serve it as is or fry in some coconut oil to add that more authentic carnitas texture.