Month: May 2016

Blueberry Muffins

Is there anything more beautiful than a blueberry muffin? Not if you’re into baked goods with crumbled topping and bursts of fruit- which I am. And it just so happens that I am in Michigan where we have the best blueberries in the world (and cranberries, and cherries, and apples…). We are fortunate enough to have two blueberry seasons, and by-golly we can freeze them in-between. So eat up buttercup, life is good.

Adapted from Muffins by Williams-Sonoma

As organic as possible:

For the Topping:

1/4 cup Flour

2 Tbsp Sugar

2 Tbsp Brown sugar

1/4 tsp ground Cinnamon

2 Tbsp cold unsalted Butter

 

For the Muffins:

7 Tbsp unsalted Butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup Sugar

2 Eggs

2 1/4 cups Flour

4 tsp Baking powder

1/2 tsp Salt

1 cup Milk

1 1/2 tsp Vanilla

1 pint Fresh Blueberries

 

Preheat the oven to 375°. Grease 12 standard muffin cups with butter or non-stick cooking spray.

To make the topping, stir together the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut or rub the butter into the dry ingredients just until coarse crumbs form.

For the muffins, using an electric mixer cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition until blended into the butter.

In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Reserve a tablespoon of the dry ingredients and set aside. Add the remaining dry ingredients to the butter mixture in 2 increments, alternating with the milk and vanilla. Stir just until evenly moistened. The batter will be slightly lumpy. Gently toss the blueberries in the reserved tablespoon of flour. Carefully fold the blueberries into the batter, just until evenly distributed, no more than a few strokes. Take care not to break up the fruit. Do no over mix.

Spoon the batter into each muffin cup, filling it level with the rim of the cup. Sprinkle each muffin with some topping.

Bake until golden, dry, and springy to the touch, 20-25 minutes (until an inserted toothpick comes out clean). Let cool for about 5-10 minutes. Unmold the muffins and serve warm or at room temperature.

 

 

 

Loving Lately 🍫

Loving Lately: Dave’s Sweet Tooth Toffee

So when I started with my “Loving Lately” series I was certain I was going to share my favorite gadgets and ingredients. And I have to some extent. But I get so carried away with my enjoyment of pictures and places, that come Thursday it’s all I can think about… Until I’m struck (once again) by the best toffee ever. Let me reiterate. BEST. TOFFEE. EVER. I’ve tried a lot of toffee. Do you know my dad? And it’s not just because this toffee was made in Michigan (for which I am proud) or that it coincidentally share’s its name with my dad. I would have to acknowledge this toffee from anywhere, and with any name because it is AWESOME! And if you are not in Michigan or thereabouts, you can just B-line it for their website DavesSweetTooth.com. You’re welcome.

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Seriously Delish’s BBQ Roasted Chickpeas

I love seasoned & lightly salted snacks. Specifically popcorn, potato chips, roasted nuts & seeds, pretzels… actually it’s not specific to anything- just season & salt it. But for a period of time I almost lost that passion. I was on a train in Alaska when my husband brought me a thoughtful and highly seasoned snack pack, because he knows me so well… that I could never eat because just the smell of the unopened package made me sick (like many things on that trip). Of course, when we got home, it all began to make sense because we found out I was pregnant (with who is now my daughter). I’ll admit it took a while to get past my little hangup, but let the good times roll and the seasoned snacks too! It’s nibbles like these that remind me of how good snacking can be. Did I mention they are healthy? Purely Coincidental! (Furthermore they are awesome tossed in a salad!)

As found in Seriously Delish by Jessica Merchant:

1 Tbsp Smoked paprika

1 Tbsp Onion powder

1 1/2 tsp light Brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp Garlic salt

1/2 tsp Chili powder

1/2 tsp freshly ground Black pepper

1 1/2 cups canned Chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 Tbsp extra-virgin Olive oil

 

Preheat the oven to 425°.

In a small bowl, whisk together the paprika, onion powder, brown sugar, garlic salt, chili powder, and pepper.

Pat the chickpeas completely dry with a towel and remove any of the skins that become loose. Add the chickpeas to a bowl and toss them with the olive oil and three-quarters of the spice mixture. Mix well to coat the chickpeas and spread them out on a nonstick baking sheet. Bake the chickpeas for 20 minutes, toss them with a spatula, and bake for 15 minutes more. Remove the pan from the oven and let the chickpeas cool on the baking sheet.

Taste the chickpeas and season them with the additional spice mix if needed… Roasted chickpeas are best the day they are made- after a few hours they can lose their crunch. However, you can store them in a container with a sheet of plastic wrap lightly covering the top for 2 to 3 days.

 

 

Easy Crockpot Chicken Teriyaki for Two

I love Teriyaki. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t like the flavor of Teriyaki. But for all my appreciation, I can’t get my kids to eat anything with the taste of Teriyaki. Which means there is no point in making a full meal that’s going to go to waste, hence my rare and personal-sized batch of this yummy chicken dinner (or lunch) for two. Of course if your family knows what’s good, feel free to double, triple or quadruple etc.

As organic as possible:

4 boneless skinless tenderloins
2 scallions, finely chopped, plus extra for garnish
1 thumb size piece of fresh ginger, minced or grated
2 small or 1 large garlic clove, minced or grated
1 cup Teriyaki Sauce
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice (optional)

1 cup cooked brown rice
1 broccoli steamed

Place the tenderloins, scallions, ginger, garlic, Teriyaki sauce and orange juice in a small crockpot. Give a little stir to incorporate all ingredients and set on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. (My little crockpot runs hot even on low, so six hours is plenty.)

Top with extra scallions and serve with rice and broccoli. You’re so healthy.

Sidenote: If you want to roll like we do, about 20 minutes before dinner place the frozen organic chicken tenders for the kids in a preheated oven.
(And if you really want to know how this is going to play out, it’s going to go something like this: my children are going to be really glad I made them chicken that doesn’t have sauce. And they’re going to like their rice. One of my children is going to eat all of his steamed broccoli, and probably ask for some of mine. Another child will eat her mandatory broccoli floret because she is sensible and has reasoning, but she won’t like it. The next child will have passed up every opportunity to eat his broccoli and it will be the last thing left on his plate. And it will have turned into a battle of the wills to take a bite of that broccoli (which is what it has been reduced to). And before it touches his lips, he will already be gagging. Because he has a ridiculous self-imposed gagging reflex. All threats will have been made, and he knows that he will be going to bed straight after dinner without watching any TV with the family. And he will finally take a nibble followed quickly by a drink of milk. And then he will ask for a treat, as if his effort deserves a reward. And the baby will have little green pieces of broccoli all over his chin and covering his tray. Because he has an amazing ability to sort and separate with his tongue the pieces of broccoli that you have tried to shovel in with the spoonfuls of rice. And you will just be satisfied that he at least has tasted the broccoli. After you clear the table you will spend 20 minutes picking and wiping up sticky pieces of rice from the chairs and floor, because not one of your children can get all of their rice in their mouth. And you might murmur to yourself something like “I should just wait until the morning when this is dry and sweep it up.” But you know that in your heart of hearts, if you made a decision like that, that this would be the night they would pretend the kitchen table was a rocketship and they’d all be under there playing and mashing rice with the knees of their pajamas and socks… Whew! Blogging, it’s better than therapy.)

Loving Lately 💖

Loving Lately: Lala-Land & Beautiful Things…

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I’ve been a little mentally unavailable.

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Distracted maybe, is a nice way to put it.

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And as some of you may have noticed… I’ve had technical difficulties.

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Coincidence? I think not.

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As this week celebrates my 1 year blog-iversary, I’ve been contemplating the future of Sadie’s Nest.

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My goal was to set out for one year. Mission Accomplished!

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Where it leads from here; I am uncertain. I’ve made so many wonderful friends! Good times…

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I have been nominated for awards that have not been acknowledged, blog-fully challenged and unresponsive, honored by a dear few without mention; I truly meant to reply, but time keeps slipping… So without further ado, as a small token of my appreciation to the following…

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A sincere Thank You!!

Anna of Life Bellissima

Lynn of Lynz Real Cooking

Roberta of Chorizo & Thyme

Katie of Quirky and Wonderful

Terry of Spearfruit

Antonia of Zoale

Natascha of Natascha’s Palace

Fabiola of My Heart of Mexico

Lynne of Lynne’s Recipe Trails

Parul of Gharkepakwan

I truly cherish you taking the time to mention my little blog in one way or another. And thank you to many other blogging friends I’ve made new and old. It’s been a great year and experience! To whatever the future may hold!

Love,

Sadie

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And again thank you Pinterest for letting my imagination soar (and supplying me with photos as random as my thoughts).

 

What I Learned During the 21 Day Fix

I took the 21 Day Fix challenge. I fit in my 30 minute workout everyday and I stuck to the meal plan. (With the possible exception of day 20 in which I cannot confirm nor deny that I might have exceeded my “blue” container, a.k.a. healthy fats, in the form of cheese and a possible “unhealthy” white sauce that I did not mean to order on top of my vegetarian style eggs.) Was it fun? I had some creative menu planning moments, but no. Was it easy? There were without doubt better days than others, but no. Was it educational? Absolutely.

Here is a little about what I’ve learned…

  1. I eat too many carbs. Apparently if you have oatmeal for breakfast, you are not supposed to have a wheat pita at lunch if you are going to have rice for dinner. But that’s really the least of my concerns, because I like muffins and pastries. My daily intake of refined sugar (even in the form of organic cane sugar) and all purpose unbleached organic flour is just too high. I’ve got to face the facts.
  2. I don’t eat enough whole grains. Just because I have been buying whole grain organic bread for over a decade doesn’t mean I’m really eating whole grains. I have pasta, pita chip, cereal, cracker and tortilla opportunities just to name a few. Alas, what’s a girl to do?
  3. My portions are out of proportion. So this one is not a shocker. Yes, I have a tendency to get carried away at a breakfast buffet, but that’s not what I’m talking about. There is too much of a good thing, meaning you can even overdo it with healthy meals. For example, some salad dressings are caloric nightmares. It’s a work in progress.
  4. I don’t exercise enough. I can honestly say I feel like I’m on my feet all day. I do dishes, laundry, chase my one year old, make snacks and meals- clean them up, make beds… the list goes on. But getting your heart rate up and sweating for just 20-30 minutes is a different beast. Granted, I am not naturally prone to loving that, but I think know I need more of it.
  5. I need to drink more water. I don’t drink half of my body weight in ounces on a regular basis. (Because you are probably good at math, I won’t tell you what that is; let’s just say it’s over the standard 64 oz.) There are days I can reach that goal, but I really need to push myself. Thankfully this program has no restrictions on coffee, tea (unsweetened and without cream of course), and flavor infused waters- even carbonated. I’m actually fortunate that way, I am completely satisfied with just those options. If I could only drink more water…
  6. My attitude could use an adjustment. I was doing this to better myself, reset my habits so to speak. I started off with excitement and optimism. I made fun and healthy, (and delicious) snacks. I made some separate food for myself, but to be realistic I’d have to create dinners my family would eat also; which I really enjoyed. Knowing I was doing good for them too was heartwarming. I made it through my birthday, Mother’s Day, my brother-in-laws birthday, a weekend getaway- streaming my workouts mind you, a church pizza party… Yet, somewhere along the way I fell out of love. Around day 15-17, I got pretty grumpy. I started having thoughts like “A little pita with this hummus would be nice. I can’t help it if the restaurant doesn’t serve whole grain…” and “If I wanted to workout on vacation in ‘real life’, I would go to the hotel fitness facility, instead of exercising in the dark while my children are sleeping.” It turned into more of fulfilling my commitment than bliss.
  7. I am going to apply more of these principles into my life. I definitely need to incorporate more fresh fruit and vegetables in my diet. I’ll be honest, if I eat oatmeal for breakfast and a wheat pita for lunch, I’m not going to worry about having a little rice for dinner- but I need to pay attention. I can’t have a daily intake of waffles for breakfast, french fries with lunch and pasta at dinnertime followed by dessert- on a regular basis without knowing it’s going to have an effect. The program suggests the 90/10 rule; if you follow the guidelines 90% of the time you can treat yourself 10% of the time. And I think until I reach my goals I’m going to try hard to follow that.
  8. It works. The results are in the “chia” pudding. I’ve lost over 5 pounds. (Not the most dramatic results in weight, but it’s only been 21 days.) However, in three weeks I have lost over 3 inches in my stomach, and over 2 inches in my waist. That’s amazing! I think some mom’s like myself (and certainly women who are not and men too) start to think “this is just my body type now.” The truth is we CAN do something about it.

I still have some work to do to achieve my goals, but this was a great platform and eye-opener. The knowledge that it can happen is encouraging. I can do this! (And I am really looking forward to this week “off”… I earned it!)

Baked Parmesan Zucchini Bites

I love zucchini. It’s a green vegetable with a creamy, almost buttery, texture when baked. Top it with a little pepper and salty Parmesan, and well you’ve got yourself a tasty treat. But let’s take this one step further and serve it with a side of marinara dipping sauce. Oh my goodness! Guiltless indulgence is like an oxymoron when it comes to healthy eating… but it does exist!

As organic as possible:

Snack serves 2 (or a hungry 1) 

Olive oil cooking spray

2 Medium Zucchini, washed, dried and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds

3 oz. Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Coarse Kosher salt

Freshly ground Black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, lightly sprayed with olive oil. Place zucchini rounds on the oil-misted parchment paper, not touching eachother. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pinch a tiny mound of Parmesan cheese to top each slice of zucchini. Place baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until Parmesan turns golden brown. Serve warm with a side of marinara. (And maybe an iced glass of S.Pellegrino?) Indulge.

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Loving Lately 💐

Loving Lately: Spring Flowers

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You know what they say, “Spring showers bring May flowers…”

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Well it’s holding true once again.

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Although we had a snowy wintery start to our spring…

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The flowers are on cue.

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It’s the stuff sonnets and songs are made of.

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I’m feeling it.

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(And thank you Pinterest for providing me with images)

Turkey Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes were kind of a staple growing up in my house. It’s game night and the cheerleaders are coming over for dinner, what are we going to have? Sloppy Joes! We had a big test in school today, and I could sure go for some comfort food, what’s for dinner? Sloppy Joes! Or it’s been a particularly busy day, mom hasn’t had time to prepare a huge meal for dinner, what should we have? Sloppy Joes! To be fair to my mom, maybe we had them 2 times a month at most, but it always felt like the best answer to me. Yummy comfort food, great for a crowd and easy to pull together. That just so happens to be my favorite kind of food to feed my family today. Here’s just a delicious and healthier twist, because eating healthy should be comforting too!

As organic as possible:

Olive oil cooking spray
1 medium Green bell pepper, finely diced
2 lbs ground Turkey
1 1/2 T granulated Onion
1 1/2 T granulated Garlic
1 tsp Chili powder
1/2 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground Black pepper
1/2 tsp dried Thyme
1/2 tsp dried Oregano
1 14.5 oz can Tomato sauce
1/4 cup Ketchup (I use organic with a cane sugar, and I think it gives the mixture a little depth of color and flavor, but for die-hard clean eaters feel free to omit)

Whole grain Hamburger buns

Coat a large frying pan with olive oil spray over medium heat and add the green pepper and turkey. Start to separate the turkey with a wooden spoon (or utensil of your choice) and add the granulated onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, thyme, and oregano. Continue to incorporate spices into meat mixture as it browns.

(Side note: For Sloppy Joe’s made with beef, I prefer to use freshly diced onion and minced garlic. However, I like the concentrated flavor of granulated onion and garlic for ground turkey. Also, I like to flavor the meat as it is browning- I think it tastes better. Could you add the spices to the turkey after it has been strained -so you don’t lose any- along with the tomato sauce and ketchup? Yes… but I wouldn’t.)

When turkey is mostly cooked through (because turkey has a tendency to dry out, and it will continue to cook in the sauce) strain the majority of the excess fat- a little keeps some flavor… (Who knew Turkey Sloppy Joe’s were so technical?) Add the tomato sauce and ketchup. Stir until combined and saucy. Allow to simmer on low for at least 15-20 minutes.

Serve on whole grain buns, because there is no reason to cut corners on our healthy meal. And if I may, I suggest a side of baked sweet potato fries because they are awesome.

Brenda’s Cheesy Dip

It’s the weekend, hurray! Time to cut loose, invite some friends over, and eat some corn chips!  Well, for some of you anyway. I thought it would be fun to post an easy and oh-so-tasty little dip. Hey, not everybody is clean eating these days, and for those who take occasional days off… Here’s to having a little fun! My friend Brenda brought this retro-style deliciousness to a party not so long ago. She called it “Bean dip”, and she was like “I don’t know why, there’s no beans in it.” Lol. Stuff like that cracks me up! Regardless, it was yummy and I had to have the bean-less recipe to share with you! (Call it what you want.)

Now the original calls for Velveeta, which even my favorite celebrity home cook Ree Drummond herself condones at times. However, I’ve listed a more “natural” option that I’ve come to appreciate- for all of you purists out there. (I can see both sides.)

4 – 15 oz. cans Hormel chili (no beans)

8 oz. Sour Cream

1 – 16 oz. block of Velveeta (or 2 – 8 oz. jars of Trader Joe’s Chipotle Queso)

2 – 10 oz. cans original Rotel Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies

2 bags of your favorite corn chips

Family and/or friends (optional)

 

Place all of the ingredients into a crock pot and turn on low, stirring occasionally. When all ingredients are well incorporated and warm, bust out those corn chips and dip on. Whoot Whoot!