Kitchen Treaty http://www.kitchentreaty.com Wed, 28 Jan 2015 12:05:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.3 Honey-Sweetened Spiced Banana Muffins http://www.kitchentreaty.com/honey-sweetened-spiced-banana-muffins/ http://www.kitchentreaty.com/honey-sweetened-spiced-banana-muffins/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 12:05:42 +0000 http://www.kitchentreaty.com/?p=14050

Honey-Sweetened Spiced Banana Muffins recipe - Naturally sweetened with bananas and honey, these easy muffins don't need refined sugar to make them scrumptious.

We’re huge into muffins around here. I probably come up with a new muffin recipe every week. Seriously! Muffincrazytown, I tell ya.

In fact, I actually make an active effort to not post too many muffin recipes. So I try to pace myself, blog-sharing-wise. Except it looks like I went too far in the opposite direction last year – I only posted four new muffin recipes for the entire year! So this year, more muffin recipes are clearly in order. First up: Honey-Sweetened Spiced Banana Muffins.

Honey-Sweetened Spiced Banana Muffins recipe - Naturally sweetened with bananas and honey, these easy muffins don't need refined sugar to make them scrumptious.

In my effort to be healthier, I continue to move more and more in the “real food” direction. Basically, less refined stuff. These muffins are a good example of that. For the flour, these days, I am partial to organic white whole wheat. White whole wheat flour is made from white wheat, so when it’s milled, it’s whiter in color without needing to be bleached or otherwise refined. I also like how fine and fluffy it is. Perfect for baking.

Honey-Sweetened Spiced Banana Muffins recipe - Naturally sweetened with bananas and honey, these easy muffins don't need refined sugar to make them scrumptious.

(No no! That’s not really how I measure my flour. I just wanted to share a photo of the fluffiness.)

Aside from white whole wheat flour, these honey-sweetened muffins rely on ripe bananas for some of their sweetness, with the remainder coming from – you guessed it – honey instead of refined sugars. I also like how the honey helps contribute to a nice, moist muffin. Plus, I have a hunch it works especially well with whole wheat flour because whole wheat tends to be more absorbent than all-purpose.

I love how these muffins contribute to a hearty breakfast or make a nice snack in and of themselves without making you feel like you just ate a cupcake for breakfast.

Honey-Sweetened Spiced Banana Muffins recipe - Naturally sweetened with bananas and honey, these easy muffins don't need refined sugar to make them scrumptious.

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Spicy Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Cool Greek Yogurt Ranch http://www.kitchentreaty.com/spicy-baked-sweet-potato-fries-with-cool-greek-yogurt-ranch/ http://www.kitchentreaty.com/spicy-baked-sweet-potato-fries-with-cool-greek-yogurt-ranch/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 12:05:10 +0000 http://www.kitchentreaty.com/?p=14271

Spicy Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Cool Greek Yogurt Ranch recipe

Several years ago, a friend introduced me to a concept called “the French fry feeling.” Basically, it’s a feeling you get after talking too much, often about somebody else, possibly in not such a nice way – you know, gossiping. And then realizing you probably shouldn’t have gossiped quite so … enthusiastically. Which, strangely enough, is very similar to the feeling one might get after wolfing down a giant portion of French fries.

Well, the beauty of this spicy baked sweet potato fries recipe is that you don’t get the French fry feeling after eating them. Unless you gossiped with a friend while doing so.

Spicy Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Cool Greek Yogurt Ranch recipe

I will say that these baked sweet potato fries are very easy to wolf down. I’ve used many tricks in the book to help make these guys as crisp as possible – not easy with baked sweet potato fries. The most important? Use corn starch! Tossing sweet potato fries in corn starch after cutting them helps them to crisp up nicely in the oven. Feels weird to do but totally, totally worth it. (I did some research to try to pinpoint the first online source to publish this trick, and as far as I can tell, it came from The Art of Doing Stuff. Lots of brilliant crisp sweet potato fry tips here!)

If you’re not sure about the “spicy” part of this recipe, just leave off the spices and go with a little salt and pepper. Still delish. But if you do go with the spices, be sure to whip up some of the cool Greek yogurt ranch to serve alongside. It cools the bit of fire – and sweet potato fries + ranch are a match made in heaven. Trust.

Spicy Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Cool Greek Yogurt Ranch recipe

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Vegan Hummus, Avocado, & Roasted Red Pepper Gyros http://www.kitchentreaty.com/vegan-hummus-avocado-roasted-red-pepper-gyros/ http://www.kitchentreaty.com/vegan-hummus-avocado-roasted-red-pepper-gyros/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 14:50:14 +0000 http://www.kitchentreaty.com/?p=14252

In the dark of winter, sometimes we lighten up dinnertime by enjoying an indoor “picnic.” We spread a couple of big blankets in the middle of the living room, attempt to keep the dogs away, and dream of spring when we can start doing the same thing outdoors again. It’s a fun change from eating at the table, and it’s an excuse for me to make sandwiches for dinner – or something else equally easy. Basically, a win all around.

Vegan Hummus, Roasted Red Pepper, & Avocado Gyros recipe - Creamy hummus and smoky roasted red peppers make for a scrumptious vegan gyro.

Last week, the sandwich of choice was – you guessed it – gyros! These Hummus, Avocado, & Roasted Red Pepper Gyros, being vegan, are pretty far from your typical meat-filled variety, but they’re utterly delicious nonetheless. Inspired by a vegan gyro at a nearby Greek restaurant, I’ve stuffed these pitas with garlicky hummus, creamy avocado, and smoky roasted red peppers. Cucumbers and lettuce lend a bit of green crunch.

Vegan Hummus, Roasted Red Pepper, & Avocado Gyros recipe - Creamy hummus and smoky roasted red peppers make for a scrumptious vegan gyro.

Basically, you stuff your pitas, fold ‘em up taco-style, and go to town. But don’t actually go to town. Stay home, have a picnic, and eat your gyro.

Vegan Hummus, Roasted Red Pepper, & Avocado Gyros recipe - Creamy hummus and smoky roasted red peppers make for a scrumptious vegan gyro.

One Dish Two Ways option

For my carnivorous guy, I whipped up some chicken using this yogurt and lemon marinated chicken recipe from Shockingly Delicious. Chicken in his + none in mine = happy campers, both of us!

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How To Make French Toast http://www.kitchentreaty.com/how-to-make-french-toast/ http://www.kitchentreaty.com/how-to-make-french-toast/#comments Mon, 19 Jan 2015 12:05:00 +0000 http://fxst4jdt/wordpress/?p=5

If you’ve ever had a failed batch of French toast, well, it’s time to put that behind you. French toast success is ahead, my friends! Here are my tried-and-true tips for How To Make French Toast perfectly every time.

Tips for how to make French toast perfectly every time

Before I delve in to the delicate intricacies of French toast making (ha, ha), first, I will share my three top tips for making sure it’s excellent every time. Yes, it may be a simple thing to make, but there really are a few methods to the madness!

The three factors for French toast success

  1. The bread – hearty and stale
  2. The recipe – the right ratio of eggs to milk
  3. The dip – make it quick!

The Bread

Rustic, hearty breads tend to hold up better to the egg batter – that soft white sandwich bread on the grocery store shelf is generally not the best contender for french toast. That said, no matter what kind of bread you choose, do try to make sure it’s stale! Day old – or two days old – is ideal. If your bread is still a bit on the fresh side, slice it up and let it sit out on the kitchen counter for an hour or two (or several) before whipping up your French toast.

The Recipe

I used to think, oh, it’s easy to make French toast. Just whip some milk and eggs together and I’m good to go! Right? Wrong! The ratio of eggs to milk definitely makes a difference. Too much milk makes for a soggy result. The recipe I use calls for four eggs and 2/3 cup milk. That’s right – quite a few eggs relative to the milk! And it’s perfect.

The Dip

This is another misstep I used to make. I thought I really had to soak that bread in the batter. Five, six seconds or more. Not so! Just a quick dunk in the egg batter is all that bread needs for the perfect French toast.

So now that you know the three tips for success, let’s do this thing! Here’s How to Make French Toast.

Gather Your Ingredients

Tips for how to make French toast perfectly every time

  • Large eggs - the best you can find.
  • Fresh milk – I use whole milk or 2%. If you’re going dairy-free, almond milk or soy milk can be a good sub.
  • Bread – we covered that above. Hearty and stale. For this story, I used a typical loaf of grocery store French bread, but we often use a heartier whole-wheat version too.
  • A couple of pinches of salt
  • A tablespoon of sweetener (key, I think) – either granulated sugar or pure maple syrup works. Honey would do, too.
  • Plus, a little flavor – vanilla, for sure, and nutmeg and/or cinnamon if you really want to amp it up.

(Scroll down for the exact recipe for basic French toast)

Okay! You’re ready!

Make the Batter

Tips for how to make French toast perfectly every time

I like to give the eggs a good whisk before adding the rest of the ingredients – it helps them distribute well throughout the batter. Don’t you hate clumps of egg white on the edges of French toast? Me too! So whisk whisk whisk.

Heat Your Griddle & Start Cooking

I use a non-stick griddle to make French toast – it makes it easy to whip up large amounts quickly. You can also use a large frying pan on the stove top over medium heat. If the surface is non-stick, you probably don’t need any grease to keep the French toast from sticking. Otherwise, you may want to add a little butter before cooking each batch. Dip the French toast and place it on the hot (350 degrees or so) griddle or pan. Cook until golden brown, 1-2 minutes, then flip and cook the other side. Transfer your French toast to a platter and cover with a kitchen towel to keep warm until you’re ready to serve.

Tips for how to make French toast perfectly every time

And Then Serve!

You can arrange the French toast on a platter or individual plates and sift a little powdered sugar over the top, or just serve as is. Pass with butter, drizzle with maple syrup, and you’re good to go. French toast is also awesome with lots of fresh fruit, or different flavored syrups – the possibilities are endless.

Tips for how to make French toast perfectly every time

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5 Hearty Dairy-Free Breakfast Recipes http://www.kitchentreaty.com/5-hearty-dairy-free-breakfast-recipes/ http://www.kitchentreaty.com/5-hearty-dairy-free-breakfast-recipes/#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2015 12:05:28 +0000 http://www.kitchentreaty.com/?p=14242

As I mentioned earlier this week, I’ve been cutting back on dairy. As it turns out, breakfast was when I really packed it in. Between the cream in my coffee and my typical go-to breakfast of yogurt, I was starting off the day with some serious dairy action.

So this is a totally selfish little round-up, because I’ve been in need of ideas. I figured I’d do a little research, and share some of my findings here while I was at it. I’ve already started using homemade almond milk coffee creamer again (so good), but the rest of breakfast is a bit of a challenge. And I’m still eating eggs, even – but it’s still hard! So here are 5 Hearty Dairy-Free Breakfast Recipes. And I know there are tons more great dairy-free breakfasts are out there, I just need to find them!

5 Hearty Dairy-Free Breakfast Recipes

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Spicy Ginger Smoothie http://www.kitchentreaty.com/spicy-ginger-smoothie/ http://www.kitchentreaty.com/spicy-ginger-smoothie/#comments Wed, 14 Jan 2015 17:34:31 +0000 http://www.kitchentreaty.com/?p=14196

We recently took a trip to Disneyland, and we all returned with a cold. Bummer! But hey, better a cold than the measles! So we’re not complaining.

I spent a good couple of days incredibly stuffed up and unable to taste anything. So I thought I’d throw a whole bunch of ginger at that stubborn ol’ rhinovirus, and see what happens. Spicy Ginger Smoothie to the rescuuuueee!!!

Spicy Ginger Smoothie recipe - Warning: Not for wimps! This bold smoothie can't wait to kick the crap out of your cold.

Ginger, with its anti-inflammatory properties, is pretty well known to be a natural cold remedy. But I’ve always been a bit of a fresh ginger wimp. That stuff is strong! But when I whipped up this ginger smoothie recipe, I decided to go for it. A good hunk of fresh ginger along with some powdered ginger for an added note of ginger flavor. And then a pinch of cayenne pepper, even, to really give this thing a spicy kick.

Spicy Ginger Smoothie recipe - Warning: Not for wimps! This bold smoothie can't wait to kick the crap out of your cold.

This first time I sucked one of these things down, I admit I felt it more than I tasted it (again, because I wasn’t tasting a darn thing at the time). The tingly spices, a healthy burn, and, after I was done, I could breathe. It was fabulous.

Don’t worry, though. I’m not posting a recipe that I haven’t actually tasted. I’ve made this thing several times since then, and now that I can both feel and taste it, I can still declare it a winner. I love this smoothie!

It is not a wimpy smoothie. There is serious ginger going on here. Serious. It’s called spicy for a reason. I mean, if you’re a spice fiend and you’re the type of person who asks for 7 stars at your favorite Thai restaurant, this might not make you blink. But otherwise, I think most will find this thing has a mighty fine kick.

Spicy Ginger Smoothie recipe - Warning: Not for wimps! This bold smoothie can't wait to kick the crap out of your cold.

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Maple-Sriracha Roasted Cauliflower http://www.kitchentreaty.com/maple-sriracha-roasted-cauliflower/ http://www.kitchentreaty.com/maple-sriracha-roasted-cauliflower/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 12:05:19 +0000 http://www.kitchentreaty.com/?p=14220

I’ve recently started eating less dairy, not because I don’t love most of it (umm, cheese), but because I am learning that dairy just might not agree with my body. Also: I was eating a LOT of it. More than I realized. Stupid food diary exposing the truth about my eating habits (and issues).

But if consuming less dairy means I’m eating more simple vegan recipes like this Maple-Sriracha Roasted Cauliflower, well … cheese, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Maple-Sriracha Roasted Cauliflower recipe - Cauliflower, tossed in sweet maple syrup and spicy Sriracha, gets crispy-edged and caramelized in the oven.

Roasted cauliflower is a seriously addicting snack. Or side. Or main. It gets tender, goldeny-caramelized, and a little crispy edged as it roasts, transforming into something so utterly scrumptious that it’s entirely possible to eat a whole head of cauliflower this way. Not that I, um, know anything about that (see: less-than-stellar eating habits again).

But adding pure maple syrup and spicy Sriracha to the mix? Oh. My. Stars. Roasted cauliflower just got a heckuva lot more addicting. Not that I needed for that to happen.

Maple-Sriracha Roasted Cauliflower recipe - Cauliflower, tossed in sweet maple syrup and spicy Sriracha, gets crispy-edged and caramelized in the oven.

Maple-Sriracha Roasted Cauliflower recipe - Cauliflower, tossed in sweet maple syrup and spicy Sriracha, gets crispy-edged and caramelized in the oven.

It’s super-duper easy to make. Just toss bite-sized cauli florets in a mix of olive oil, maple syrup, Sriracha, salt, and pepper. Spread on a cookie sheet and bake for about 25 minutes, and sweet/spicy nirvana awaits.

I like to serve it up with a few extra dots of Sriracha for a little extra kick. So. Good.

You could also present it wing-style with a cooling dip like blue cheese or ranch, and maybe a few celery sticks, even. But I have enough of a problem controlling myself around this stuff just the way it is, straight-up. Ah well, at least it’s cauliflower instead of cheese.

Maple-Sriracha Roasted Cauliflower recipe - Cauliflower, tossed in sweet maple syrup and spicy Sriracha, gets crispy-edged and caramelized in the oven.

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5 Vegan Recipes for Beginners http://www.kitchentreaty.com/5-vegan-recipes-for-beginners/ http://www.kitchentreaty.com/5-vegan-recipes-for-beginners/#comments Fri, 09 Jan 2015 15:47:46 +0000 http://www.kitchentreaty.com/?p=14206

A few weeks ago, I received an email from a reader who told me about her husband’s decision to go vegan for health reasons, and, as the primary cook in the family, her struggles adapting ways in the kitchen to follow suit. She had always taken great pleasure in turning out delicious traditional dishes – especially around the holidays – and was almost feeling like this change has sucked the joy right out of her time in the kitchen.

She asked me to send her five of my favorite vegan recipes – my own go-to recipes that are simple, straightforward, and don’t have a bunch of unrecognizable ingredients. I’ve been thinking a lot about what that list would contain, but life – Christmas, vacation, and birthdays – got in the way of an actual email reply. Folks, I promise to do better with emails in 2015!

Anyway, I thought this was a perfect idea for a Friday round-up – a list of 5 Vegan Recipes for Beginners. Essentially, recipes that might just help you – and those around you – dip their toe into vegan waters without having to resort to “foo foo bean sprout tofu” as my carnivorous guy likes to say. And most meat-eaters or dairy-and-egg-eating vegetarians should be able to embrace these recipes, too.

5 Vegan Recipes for Beginners

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All-Fruit Mango-Pomegranate Smoothie http://www.kitchentreaty.com/all-fruit-mango-pomegranate-smoothie/ http://www.kitchentreaty.com/all-fruit-mango-pomegranate-smoothie/#comments Wed, 07 Jan 2015 15:27:42 +0000 http://www.kitchentreaty.com/?p=13838

All you need are just four different kinds of fruits – mango, pomegranate, banana, and orange – to make this All-Fruit Mango-Pomegranate Smoothie. Its runner-up name was “Winter Sunshine Smoothie,” because to me it tastes like sunshine in a glass.

All-Fruit Pomegranate-Mango Smoothie - Just four ingredients to sunshine in a glass!

Sunshine in a glass is totally necessary right now. It’s not just that we’re knee-deep in the gray of winter, but my family is recovering from a particularly frigid trip to Disneyland. The day we arrived, temps were hovering in the 30s with strong gusts and pelting rain. This was Southern California?! Later in the trip, the sun came out, but things never really heated up like we’d expected. Until the instant our plane took off for home, at which point I think 70 might have been reached. Of course.

We were stubborn, though, and we still swam in the hotel pool while we were there. Brrrrr. And – possibly related but probably not – we all subsequently came down with colds.

So this smoothie is doubly awesome for us right now. We’re at least getting our sunshine in liquid form, and a germ-fighting vitamin C boost, to boot.

All-Fruit Pomegranate-Mango Smoothie - Just four ingredients to sunshine in a glass!

I love the unfussy nature of this smoothie. I always have frozen mango cubes in my freezer – I stock up at Costco or Trader Joe’s. They taste incredible in smoothies, plus they make the things ice cold without having to freeze your banana or add ice cube. The banana, combined with orange juice - freshly squeezed or not – makes for a nice, creamy base. And then pomegranates arils add that signature tart flavor and a nice sunny pink hue.

If the sunshine doesn’t come to you, sometimes you gotta make your own.

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Slow Cooker Quinoa, Sweet Potato, & Black Bean Vegetarian Chili http://www.kitchentreaty.com/slow-cooker-quinoa-sweet-potato-black-bean-vegetarian-chili/ http://www.kitchentreaty.com/slow-cooker-quinoa-sweet-potato-black-bean-vegetarian-chili/#comments Mon, 05 Jan 2015 12:05:05 +0000 http://www.kitchentreaty.com/?p=14060

When it comes to vegetarian chili recipes – especially ones made in the Crock Pot – I feel like I have to reign myself in. Or else basically, I’d have to call this blog “Kitchen Chili.” Or “Chili Treaty.” Neither of which are very catchy.

Slow Cooker Quinoa, Sweet Potato, & Black Bean Chili - a protein-rich (and very tasty) vegetarian chili recipe

It’s just that chili is the perfect food for vegetarians. I know, I know – there are many arguments about what makes a “real” chili, and meat is one of the ingredients that many consider a must. To which I oh-so-wisely and poignantly say: “Whatever.” I think chili is what you make it – and it doesn’t need meat, goshdarnit! There are so many infinitely awesome variations of chili and such an assortment of potential meatless ingredients that it is more than possible to create a hearty, satiating, and dare I say award-winning bowl of meatless chili.

(But if your resident carnivore really, really wants meat in their bowl of Slow Cooker Quinoa, Sweet Potato, & Black Bean Vegetarian Chili, this chili would lend itself well to some cooked diced chicken or browned ground turkey thrown in to their portions).

Slow Cooker Quinoa, Sweet Potato, & Black Bean Chili - a protein-rich (and very tasty) vegetarian chili recipe

I especially adore quinoa in chili – it helps thicken up the batch and adds another element of filling protein.

If you don’t have black beans on hand, this chili is equally great with pinto beans, or you might try kidney beans, too.

Slow Cooker Quinoa, Sweet Potato, & Black Bean Chili - a protein-rich (and very tasty) vegetarian chili recipe

Chili Treaty, man. I should totally make it happen, right?

Don’t answer that.

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