Thursday, January 8, 2015

Blueberry Chia Overnight Oats

Overnight oats have probably been around for a while, but we've recently just discovered them. I know---crazy, right? While oats aren't something I want to eat every morning (because I like eggs and bacon way too much), I do love the convenience of these.
These are perfect for mornings that you know you'll be busy and don't have time to cook. For us, overnight oats are great for Sunday mornings. We have a healthy breakfast before church that isn't heavy! 
Overnight oats are also so versatile! The possibilities for flavors and combos are endless. The oats thicken nicely in the milk while you are sleeping soundly. They are also great because they can be adapted to fit the needs of your family if food allergies are present. Of course, it is also just fun to eat out of a jar!
Try different combos, get creative, and yes, play with your food. I give you permission. :)

Blueberry Chia Overnight Oats

1/2 cup oats (gfree if needed)
3/4 cup milk (any kind)
Splash of vanilla
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1 Tbsp brown sugar or honey
~1/3 cup blueberries
Optional-- plain Greek yogurt (just a little) or vanilla protein powder (1/2 scoop)

Mix all ingredients in a jarCover with lid and place in refrigerator overnightEnjoy in the morningThis is meant to be eaten coldbut I still like to microwave it about 30 seconds before eating. I also add additional blueberries before indulging.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Coconut Layer Cake

Do you like coconut? I've learned that people are either a fan of it or they really just don't care for it much at all. I love it! My husband had a not-so-pretty episode with coconut as a child, so he's pretty much turned off by the tropical fruit.

And coconut is so popular now--- with coconut milk, coconut water, coconut cream, and let's not forget the powerful coconut oil! Man, I LOVE that stuff.

But let's talk about shredded coconut. You can buy it either sweetened or not. You can toast it and sprinkle it on ice cream..or garnish a cake with it. How about coconut shrimp? Yum!

But now it's time for cake!  As a child, I always requested an ice cream cake for my birthday. Those are just so fun and yummy and was like a two for one!  As I got older and my palate matured a bit, I began asking for my Mama's Coconut cake.  My birthday is in early April, so many years Easter falls on or around my birthday. Coconut cake is also a great dessert for Easter.
I made it this year for Thanksgiving. It is also perfect for Christmas. Bottom line---- coconut cake is wonderful all year long. But in moderation of course. I'm struggling with that.

You know what's even better? You can use a cake mix! Now of course for those of you that cringe at the thought of a boxed mix, a scratch cake would be awesome too. I've done it both ways. And I honestly do prefer the scratch cake myself. That's because it is better than a boxed gluten free cake mix. And really, the icing is what makes this cake. That's where all the coconut is.  This is also one of those cakes that gets better as the days go on.  Which is probably another reason a scratch gluten free cake worked better.

OK, ready? Here we go.

Coconut Layer Cake

1 pint sour cream (light is fine to use)
2 cups sugar (I know, I know..but I said light sour cream is OK)
3 packages frozen sweetened coconut. (See picture for what I use) 

I let the coconut thaw slightly, then...mix all the ingredients together and refrigerate for 24 hours. 

Cake time

Next make your cake. You can wait and bake your cake the next day when the icing is ready. Whatever floats your boat. 

So.... Bake a yellow cake in two round cake pans. Cake mix or scratch...whichever you prefer. Let the cake cool completely! Once cooled, slice each layer in half with a serrated knife so that you'll have four layers of cake. 

Grab a cake plate. Place one layer down and slap some of that delicious coconut icing on top. Spread and repeat with the remaining layers. Once you get to the last layer, pour the rest of the icing on top and spread it around. You do not need to ice the sides. Because this icing is a little runny, it will run down the sides, icing itself. Store the cake in the refrigerator. That's it! Sooo good!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Here is a recipe I've been meaning to share with you.  Between homeschool, laundry, church, dishes, soap making, laundry, and feeding my family I somehow forgot to post this recipe. Did I mention laundry? 

I researched several soup recipes similar to this one. I wanted something that would suite the tastes of my family and be easy to prepare for those busy days. You that I could turn on and walk away from..for hours. Because well, laundry.  So, I make this in the slow cooker.  It is perfect for those crazy busy days. If we are gone all day to co-op or running errands or whatever, it is so wonderful to have supper done when we arrive home.  This also makes a great Sunday lunch. Wouldn't it be nice to come home from church and sit down with a warm bowl of soup? 

This recipe is similar to The Pioneer Woman's recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup.  I tweaked it to make it fit for us.  I did, however, use her way of making the fried tortilla strips.  Those are sooo good. So check out her post for the tortilla strips.  

We like corn, so I use quite a bit.  A quart size bag is what I use for this soup. We "put up" corn here every summer. I put probably two and a half cups (maybe even three) in one quart size bag.  It is so nice to have a freezer full of corn all year. If you are using canned corn, start with one can and then decide if you'd like more. I also only used two boneless skinless chicken breasts. Those chicken breasts went a long way!

*Note: If you don't feel comfortable putting raw chicken into the pot with the other ingredients, roast or boil your chicken a little bit first. I don't mind using it raw...and we lived to tell about it. ;-)

All the soup ingredients are just thrown into the pot.

Look at how wonderful the chicken shreds.

Slice the tortillas into strips.

Just before serving, fry the strips.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 quart of chicken broth (I use homemade. If you are using purchased broth, I recommend the low sodium)
  • 1 or 2 cans of corn (Or frozen--2 cups or more depending on your preference)
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes and green chilies
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
Fried Tortilla Strips

  • 3 or 4 small corn tortillas
  • oil for frying

Place all soup ingredients into slow cooker. Give it a stir.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours or until the chicken is done and shreds. 

Just before serving, slice the tortillas into strips and fry in hot oil. This does not take long. Keep your eyes on them. They will burn quickly! Again, see The Pioneer Woman's post for more instructions on the fried strips. 

Top individual servings with tortilla strips and whatever other toppings you like. We like sharp cheddar and a little avocado.