If you are lime me and a big fan of the fresh Mex restaurants like Costa Vida, Cafe Rio or Chipotle give this recipe a try. This saved us when we lived in Hawaii and there were no restaurants like this on any of the islands!
Makes 8 cups of cooked rice
4 c. uncooked rice, (long-grain, white rice is best but you can use any rice)
1 Tbsp. butter
8 cloves garlic, minced (or 4 tsp of minced garlic from the jar or 1 tsp garlic powder)
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
8 cups water (or up to the “4” line if using a rice cooker)
1 Tbsp & 1 tsp “Better than Bouillon” chicken stock or 4 bouillon cubes
4 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
3 Tbsp sugar
¾ cup fresh chopped cilantro
1-Put the first 6 ingredients in a rice cooker and start the rice cooker. (If you don’t have a rice cooker, put the first 6 ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low 15-20 minutes, until rice is tender. Remove from heat.)
2-In a small bowl combine lime juice, sugar and cilantro. Pour over hot cooked rice and mix in as you fluff the rice.
*This is perfect for soft tacos, burritos or taco salads.
Adapted from https://therecipecritic.com/2012/08/cafe-rio-copycat-cilantro-lime-rice/
These chocolate lava cakes are a new and delicious discovery here at our little apartment in Japan. I looked up several recipes on Pinterest and tried one but it wasn’t quite right so after changing a few things I think I now have the perfect, super fast, delicious and great-to-make-in-a-tiny-apartment-when-you-don’t-have-an-oven recipe! I hope you enjoy these as much as we do. And let me know what delicious variations you come up with. Happy chocolating!
5 minute Chocolate Lava Cakes
¼ cup all purpose flour (強力粉 in Japan works great)
6 Tablespoons sugar
3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg – beaten
3 Tablespoons milk
1 Tablespoon melted butter (or vegetable oil)
10 chocolate chips or 2 truffles*
In a small bowl mix together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, salt, egg, milk, and melted butter. Divide between 2 mugs, ramekins or small ceramic bowls. Push 5 chocolate chips or 1 truffle into each mug*.
Microwave on high for 1 minute 30 seconds. It will still look a little gooey but don’t over bake it! Serve immediately. Makes 2 servings.
It’s quite fabulous with a little scoop of vanilla ice cream on top or a little sprinkled powdered sugar.
*You can also use caramels, Andes mints or peanut butter in place of the chocolate chips in the middle.
1/2 cup chopped celery (optional, but I love the crunch it adds!)
1-Boil your eggs (you can find really great and easy to follow instructions here) and let them completely cool. (I like to do this a day or 2 before if possible so there’s 1 less step.)
2-While your eggs are boiling and cooling, wash the potatoes really well (no need to peel unless using russets.)
3-Cut the potatoes into bite size chunks (the size you like in your potato salad), then boill until fork tender. Drain. And let them cool in large bowl in the fridge. (If you’re in a hurry you can run cold water over them, even adding ice, just be sure to drain them well and then put them in the fridge.)
4-While the potatoes are boiling and cooling, wash and cut up your green onions and chives (kitchen shears work great for this!) If you’re using a yellow or golden onion make sure you dice it into really small pieces, unless you like bigger pieces of onion in your salad.
4-Cut up your dill pickles and cold boiled eggs ans add them to the large bowl with the potatoes.
5–In another smaller bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, mustard, green onions, salt, pepper, and spices, saving a little of the chives and paprika to sprinkle over the top of the salad at the end.
5-Pour this mixture over the potatoes, pickles and boiled eggs. Gently mix everything with out smashing the potatoes or eggs too much. Make sure all the potatoes are well covered in everything, being sure to check the potatoes at the bottom of the bowl.
6-If you like you can transfer the salad to a pretty bowl now or keep it in the same bowl and sprinkle the salad with the rest of the chives and paprika.
7-Cover the bowl with a tight lid or aluminum foil or plastic wrap and put in the fridge. (Potato Salad is great after it’s aged a day so if possible, make it a day a head of time and let it chill in the fridge.)
8-Make sure your potato salad stays cool when you’re serving it and store any leftovers (not likely!) in the fridge for up to 5 days or so. A good way to keep it cool at a picnic is to put your bowl of salad in a larger bowl that is filled with ice. You can also buy a variety of bowls that stay cold for hours, here are some examples on Amazon.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone! Coming from Irish heritage (my grandmother was a Riley) St. Patrick’s Day is a big deal and we celebrate it every year with a big Irish inspired dinner and party. I thought it would be fun to share some pictures and recipes of the food we enjoy.
Recipe for Jigglers can be found here. My kids think these are extra special because we very rarely eat jello 🙂
The recipe I used for the sugar cookie dough can be found here I love that you don’t need to chill the dough before hand! I do recommend increasing the baking time a few minutes more than the recipe says.
Some of the other simple and fun things we enjoyed was having the kids taking turns being “the Leprechaun” and hiding chocolate gold coins for the other kids to find and listening to Irish music. Lots of fun!
This is one of those “Why didn’t I know about this awesome thing earlier?!” things. We love popping popcorn seeds at our house and usually eat this snack several times a week. I love that it’s whole grain, real food, super cheap and totally versatile so you can top it with whatever you like. (We won’t even bring up all the ways that prepackaged microwave popcorn is gross and not healthy!) My organization loving heart is always so happy when you can eliminate a kitchen appliance and use things you already have!
For those of you who don’t know about this tip, here are the instructions:
Super Simple Microwave Popcorn
1-Get a large glass bowl and pour 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels into it
2-Put a microwave safe, ceramic plate or do what I do and use your microwave cover (If you don’t have one of these you really should pick one up-very cheap (I got mine at the dollar store) and they keep your microwave nice and clean!)
3-Microwave for 3-4 minutes, listening for when the pops are slowing down. Since the bowl and cover are clear, my girls love watching the kernels pop.
4-Enjoy with some melted butter and salt, dark chocolate drizzled over the top or whatever you like.
-If some of the kernels don’t pop, you can take them out of the popped kernels and microwave them again until most of them pop!
-If you want to easily get the unpopped kernels out of the popped ones, put a cooling rack over your bowl and hold the rack tight to the bowl while you turn them upside and shake until the unpopped kernels fall out!
Yes, you read that right, Pumpkin Cheesecake and brownie all together in one fabulous fall dessert. Easy, all from scratch and absolutely decedent. Make, eat, share and be happy.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies Ingredients:
-1 cup (2 cubes) of Butter (Olive Oil & Coconut Oil both work too to make these dairy free!)
-2 cups of Sugar
-2 tsp Vanilla
-3/4 cup Cocoa
-1 cup Flour *If making these Gluten Free, replace with any GF flour of your choice)
-1/2 tsp Baking Powder
-1/4 tsp Salt
-4 oz cream cheese, softened
-1/2 cup pumpkin puree, canned is great
-1/4 cup of Sugar
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1/4 tsp ground ginger
-1/4 tsp nutmeg
-1/4 tsp cloves (optional)
1-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2- Grease a 9×13″ pan and set aside.
3-Melt the butter in a large microwave safe bowl.
4- Stir in each of the rest of the ingredients by hand until everything is well mixed.
5-Pour 3/4 of the brownie batter into the greased pan, spread it out evenly and set the rest aside. The batter will be thick.
6-In a separate bowl mix the cream cheese, pumpkin, spices and egg on medium high for 1 minute or so until everything is well combined.
7-Pour the pumpkin mixture over the brownie batter and spread evenly.
8-Put the rest of the brownie batter over the pumpkin mixture and swirl them together slightly.
9-Bake for 30 to 40 minutes in the oven, until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean.
*You can eat them warm but they are also amazing after the have cooled and been refrigerated for a few hours. Think warm pumpkin pie versus set up, cooled pumpkin pie.
It’s the pumpkin time of year and I love it! We are all big pumpkin fans at our house and pumpkin pie gets made several times through out the year for birthdays and special occasions but this time of year just begs to have pumpkin goodness as often as possible! I’ve been on the hunt for a great pumpkin chocolate chip cookie recipe that isn’t too moist but not too try, doesn’t use shortening and is of course, simple. I found this great one at Sallysbakingadiction.com where she has gone to great lengths to avoid the typical cakey pumpkin cookie and make a delightful chewy version I can really appreciate that! I made it as written first (with just a few tweaks) and then also made a real food version batch that replaced the sugars with honey and the white flour for whole wheat flour. Both versions were amazing and actually turned out quite similar. My official taste testers (my girls and their friends) all liked both kinds equally well and couldn’t really tell the difference, which is kind of fabulous. Now, I don’t think ALL dessert recipes have to avoid white sugar and white flour but it’s good to have a few that are a little more nutritious and filling, such as my Chocolate No Bake Cookies in your arsenal. My kids (and my husband) think it’s so great when I let them eat this healthier cookies for breakfast.
Makes about 18 cookies
-1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
-1/4 cup brown sugar (or substitute 3/4 cups honey for the 2 sugars)
-1/2 white sugar
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-6 Tablespoons canned pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp baking powder
-1/4 tsp baking soda
-1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
-1/4 tsp ground cloves
-1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
-1 1/2 cups white flour (or substitute 2 cups whole wheat flour-more because the honey adds extra moisture)
-1 cup chocolate chips
1-Melt the butter in the microwave and pour into your mixing bowl. (I use my Kitchen Aid for this but you can do it by hand too.)
2-Mix the melted butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together until no brown sugar lumps remain on medium speed and then mix in the vanilla and pumpkin until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
3-Add the salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves and mix on medium until combined. Then add the flour and mix lightly until it is all combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
4-Cover the dough and chill for 30 minutes or up to 2 days. The regular dough will be softer than regular chocolate chip cookie dough and the honey/whole wheat dough will be even softer.
5-Take the dough out of the fridge. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
6-Scoop the dough into balls, about 1 to 1.5 Tablespoons of each. Slightly flatten the dough balls because these cookies won’t spread much in the oven.
7-Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes. The cookies will look very soft and underbaked. Keeping them in the oven for longer may dry them out. Remove from the oven and press a few more chocolate chips onto the tops, if you like and flatten out a little bit too, if you like.
*Sally says “Allow the cookies to cool for at least 10 minutes on the cookie sheets before transferring to a wire rack. The longer the cookies cool, the chewier they will be. I let them sit out for at least 1 hour before enjoying. I find that their chewiness and pumpkin flavor is more prominent on day 2. Cookies stay soft, moist, and chewy stored at room temperature for up to 1 week.” My children had to try the cookies right away so we know they are delicious with out the wait too 😉
This recipe comes to you after many years of chocolate chip cookie research. (You know this is coming: It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it.) Like most American women, I adore chocolate chip cookies and have made and sampled many, many, many of them and although there is room for different kinds of chocolate chip cookies to reign supreme in your own cravings kingdom, I like the kind that are chewy yet puffy and soft, a little tiny bit gooey on the inside and crisp on the edges. NOT flat and greasy. Unfortunately, making a flat and greasy chocolate chips cookie seems to be the default outcome for many if not most recipes. (I know, I know #firstworldprobs for sure!) I spent a ridiculous amount of time researching why this is and how to avoid it (As anyone who has attended my meal planning class can attest, I’m a little obsessive about these things!) and will spare you all the scientific explanations, but finally came up with what I dare to deem as the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe! Chewy, puffy, gooey, crisp bites of heaven that are laced with plenty of semi sweet chocolate and NOT flat AND are easy to prepare in one bowl in a dangerously short amount of time. You can thank me later for now, go and get started on these!
-1/2 c (1 cube) butter, slightly softened
-3/4 c white sugar
-3/4 c brown sugar
-2 tsp vanilla
-1 tsp soda
-1/2 tsp salt
-2 1/4 to 2 1/2 c flour (see instructions)
-1 c (1/2 bag) chocolate chips,
1- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2- Soften the butter, but only a tiny bit! (Either leave it on the counter for an hour or so or if it’s straight out of the fridge microwave it for 5-10 seconds, but no more.)
3- In a large bowl (I use my Kitchen Aid mixer so I put it in the bowl that goes with that) cream the butter and sugars really well (cream means to beat together on a high speed until they are nice and fluffy and all combined.)
4- Beat in the 2 eggs on medium speed or a minute or so until combined and scrape the edges of the bowl.
5- Then beat in the vanilla, soda & salt just until combined and scrape the edges of the bowl again.
6- Gradually beat in the 2 1/4 cups of flour on medium to low speed (I do a little with the mixer and then gently finish mixing in the flour by hand with a spoon-these keeps your cookies from being tough but you can do it all in the mixer too, just don’t over do it.) and if it doesn’t seem thick enough (see the following picture), add a little more flour, up to the extra 1/4 for a total of 2 1/2 cups. I’ve found from living in Hawaii, Japan and dry Utah that the flour amount can make a big difference depending on a lot of variables.
7- Then gently mix in the chocolate chips. Feel free to add in extra chips if you want (and who doesn’t want more chocolate?!)
8- Drop by spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. I tend to do mine on the small side, maybe a tablespoon of dough rounded into a ball, but you can go bigger if you prefer.
9- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. (depending on the size of dough balls and how brown you like your cookies.)
*I like to bake up a batch and then refrigerate or freeze the rest so I can bake them fresh whenever we plan to eat/serve them. For the freezer I roll the dough into balls and place them carefully into a flat Ziploc gallon freezer bag (that is labeled with the kind of cookies and baking instructions) and then carefully, keeping the bag flat, move it to the freezer. Then you can get that bag out anytime and put the number of cookies you want to bake on your baking sheet to defrost a little and put the bag with the rest of the cookie dough balls in the freezer again.
**A big thanks to my friend, Nick, for being a consultant on this recipe. He and his wife are pretty much amazing at anything in the kitchen.
1-Keep it simple! (big surprise there) No crazy fad diets or strict eating plans or avoiding entire food groups etc.
2- Make a meal plan so we can enjoy healthy, yummy, inexpensive meals that are easy to prepare and don’t stress me out. If I want to I can go all out and make something extravagant (and I DO love to do that sometimes!)but those kinds of things won’t be on my go-to meal plan so they don’t become an excuse when I’m tired or sick to order pizza.
3-Eat real, unprocessed food. And make it local and organic as much as I can. (I adore local farms! My favorite one in the Salt Lake area of Utah is Peterson Family Farm and on the leeward side of Oahu is Kahumana Farm.)
4-Make eating out a special occasion that doesn’t happen often and is somewhere we really love and enjoy.
5-Eat together as a family at home. the same meal (no “kids food”). at the same time. At the table with out TV.
6-Eat lots of whole grains, vegetables, fruit. Eat some whole milk, cheese/dairy , eggs and fish. And a little meat. Mainly drink just water and lots of it.
7-Eat sweets and desserts sparingly and when you do eat them make sure they are amazing and don’t feel guilty!
8-Avoid fake food like: shortening, margarine, artificial sweeteners, fast food and most packaged food.
9-Completely avoid, alcohol, coffee, tea (except non-caffeinated types) and soda. (I chose to do this for religious and health reasons)
10-Don’t let food control my life by over eating or always stressing about eating too much, losing weight etc. Enjoy it, be thankful for it and enjoy feeding others.