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5 minute Chocolate Lava Cakes

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

Ingredients:

  • 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*

Directions:

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.

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Black Bean Salsa

Ingredients:
-1, 15 oz. can black beans (drained) or 1 cup cooked black beans
-1, 15 oz. can black-eye peas (drained) or more black beans
-1, 11 oz. can kidney beans (drained)
-1, 11 oz. can white corn (drained) or ½ cup frozen corn
-2 medium sized tomatoes, diced
-1 diced bell pepper (red, yellow, orange green..whatever you have)
-½ diced purple onion
-3 diced avocados
-½ cup Kraft Zesty Italian Salad Dressing
-chopped cilantro (to taste)
-lime juice (to taste-I use fresh squeezed)
-garlic salt (to taste)

Directions:
Mix everything together and enjoy with lime tortilla chips, on a soft taco etc.

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My tried and true, amazing classic Potato Salad

Ingredients

  • 5 pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes (about 8 Medium) Red Potatoes and Russets work as well, but Yukons are my favorite in this dish!
  • 4 whole Hard Boiled Eggs
  • 1-1/2 cup Real Mayonnaise (NOT Miracle Whip)
  • 1/4 cup Prepared Yellow  Mustard
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 8 whole Small Dill Pickles
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt (more To Taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped thinly (or 1 teaspoon dried chives)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery (optional, but I love the crunch it adds!)

    Preparation Instructions

    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.

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Popping Popcorn using a glass bowl in the microwave

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!)

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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.

*Cool tips:
-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!

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My Mom’s Whole Wheat Pancakes

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2 cups whole wheat flour (or half white, half wheat)
1 Tbs Baking Powder
½ tsp Salt
1 egg
1 cup Milk
1 cup Water
1 Tbs Oil

 

1-In a big bowl combine all of the dry ingredients, mix well and set aside.
2-In another bowl mix the egg, milk, water and oil.
3-Combine the 2 bowls and mix only until combined (it will still be lumpy.)
4-Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat (about 350 degrees.) Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. (A soup ladle works great for this!)
6-cook until bubbles appear on the surface like this…


7-Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.

 

-This recipe makes 10 to 12 pancakes so I cook up all of the batter and freeze or refrigerate the extra pancakes to eat later.  To reheat just microwave the pancake for 30 seconds to a minute.
-I love these pancakes with almond butter and or applesauce.

 

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Delicious Whole Wheat Waffles

Makes 12 Waffles
2 ½ cups Whole Wheat Flour
2 Tablespoons Baking Powder


4 Eggs
2 cups Milk
1 cup Oil or Melted Butter
2 teaspoons Vanilla
2 teaspoons Cinnamon


1-Mix dry ingredients together and set aside.
2-Mix wet ingredients together well ((if using melted coconut oil or butter add it after step 3.)
3-Combine the 2 bowls and mix only until combined (it will still be lumpy.)
4-Cook in a waffle iron


-For extra fluffy waffles you can start by separating the eggs, adding the yolks to the other wet ingredients and beating the egg whites until they form stiff peaks and save them until the end to gently fold into the batter.

Inspired by the Better Homes and Garden’s recipe for waffles
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Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

Makes about 2 quarts (about 8 servings)
  • 2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 cup finely diced celery
  • 1 cup finely diced carrots
  • 1 cup finely diced onions
  • 1 tsp dried oregano or 1 T fresh oregano
  • 1 T dried basil or 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • ½ bay leaf
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 cups milk or cream, warmed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
1.  Add tomatoes, celery, carrots, chicken broth, onions, oregano, basil, and bay leaf to a large slow cooker.
2.  Cover and cook on LOW for 5-7 hours, until flavors are blended and vegetables are soft.
3.  About 30 minutes before serving prepare a roux. Melt butter over low heat in a skillet and add flour. Stir constantly with a whisk for 5-7 minutes. Slowly stir in 1 cup hot soup. Add another 3 cups and stir until smooth. Add all back into the slow cooker. Stir and add the Parmesan cheese, warmed half and half, salt and pepper.  Add additional basil and oregano if needed (the slow cooker does a number on spices and they get bland over time, so don’t be afraid to always season to taste at the end).
4.  Cover and cook on LOW for another 30 minutes or so until ready to serve.

Stove-Top Version
  • 3 cups diced tomatoes with juice (you can use canned)
  • 1 cup finely diced celery
  • 1 cup finely diced carrots
  • 1 Tbsp fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup finely diced onions
  • 4 Tbsp fresh basil or 1 Tbsp dried
  • 1/2 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups milk or cream, warmed
  • 1 tsp salt
1.  Heat oil in 4 quart soup pot.  Add celery, onions and carrots.  Saute 5 minutes.  Add basil, oregano, bay leaf, tomatoes, and chicken broth.  Bring it to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until carrots are tender (15 minutes).
2.  While soup simmers, prepare a roux.  Melt butter over low heat, add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 5-7 minutes.  Slowly stir in 1 cup hot soup.  Add another 3 cups and stir until smooth.  Add back into soup pot.
3.  Simmer, stirring constantly, until soup begins to thicken.  Add Parmesan cheese and whisk to blend.  Stir warmed half and half, salt and pepper.  Simmer over low heat 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.


from http://utah.todaysmama.com/2012/03/20/tomato-basil-parmesan-soup-in-the-slow-cooker-or-on-the-stove-top/
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Banana Bread or Muffins (whole wheat and no sugar/sweetened with honey)

1/2 Cup Butter, melted
1/3 Cup Honey
2 Eggs
3 Bananas, mashed (try to keep it around 1 cup)
2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/3 Cup hot water (just out of the tap is fine)
Chocolate Chips (optional but we love them in this recipe!)
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1- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2-Grease 1 loaf pansor 2 muffins pans (for 24 muffins.) If using cupcake liners spray each liner with a little oil so the muffins won’t stick so much to the paper.
3- Melt the butter in a big, microwave safe bowl.
4- Add the rest of the ingredients to the butter. (See this tip for the honey)
5- Mix with a spoon just until everything is combined (it should still be lumpy.)
6- Pour the batter evenly into 1 loaf pan or use a long handled spoon to spoon the batter evenly into the 24 muffin cups.
7-Bake the loaf for 60-65 minutes or the muffins for 25-28 minutes.
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