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Vegan Quinoa Chili February 8, 2012

Filed under: entrees,soups and stews — meier1014 @ 9:40 am

I can’t believe I can post something on this blog that has the word VEGAN anywhere near it, let alone in the title!!! My friend Lizz would be so dang proud of me! I also can’t believe that I enjoy something vegan as much as I enjoyed this chili! I am usually not a meat free chili lover. Heck, I usually am not a meat free chili LIKER, but this stuff was amazing. The quinoa gives it a similar texture to chili with ground beef in it, without giving it that weird chewiness that cheap ground beef has. It was also a pretty cheap meal to make, which is ALWAYS a plus. So if you’re looking for something cheap, something healthy, and the ability to say you enjoyed something vegan, you need look no further.

Vegan Quinoa Chili
original recipe from two peas & their pod, slight modifications have been made

1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 (15 ounce) can black beans
1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans
1 (15 ounce) can red kidney beans
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
3 chopped tomatos
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 tbs paprika
1 tbs smoked paprika (or 3tbs of normal paprika)
1 tsp cayenne (or to taste)
1 tbs ground cumin
Salt and black pepper, to taste

-In a medium sauce pan boil water
-Add quinoa, cover, and simmer until all the water is absorbed. Approx 15 mins
-In a large pot (I always use my cast iron dutch oven) heat the olive oil over high heat.
-Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
-Stir in garlic, jalapeño, carrot, celery, peppers, and zucchini. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
-Add the beans, all the tomatoes, and tomato sauce.
-Stir in the cooked quinoa.
-Season with both paprikas, cayenne, cumin, salt, and black pepper.
-Simmer chili on low for about 30 minutes. Serve warm



World Class Meatloaf February 3, 2012

Filed under: entrees — meier1014 @ 9:17 am

I love meatloaf. I know that sounds weird, but it’s just so delcious. It’s kind of like eating a giant slice of meatball, and the Italian in my blood just can’t say no to that!! I have been perfecting this meatloaf recipe for years. No joke. I’ve probably been working on it since junior year of high school, so around 8ish year. But I think I have FINALLY gotten it just right. I have heard many a time “This is the best meatloaf I’ve ever had”, and I would have to agree. If you like meatloaf at all I would take the time to try this recipe. It’s amazing if I do say so myself.

World Class Meatloaf
Servings: 8-10
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: approx 1hr

-1 egg; lightly beaten
-6oz V8 juice
-1/2c bread crumbs (I LOVE making bread crumbs from dill rye bread and using them in this. They give it AMAZING flavor)
-2tbs onion soup mix
-1/4c fresh shredded parmesan cheese
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-pinch of garlic powder
-1/2c chopped onion
-1/2c any color bell pepper (I use a combo of red and green)
-3/4lb ground beef (I usually use 80/20, the higher fat content helps hold it together)
-3/4lb ground italian sausage (don’t use sweet)
-bacon (usually 3-4 strips)
-BBQ sauce
-siracha sauce (or hot sauce of your choice)

-Preheat oven to 375
-In a large mixing bowl combine the egg, v8, bread crumbs, onion soup mix, parmesan, garlic, garlic powder, onion, and bell peppers
-Crumble in ground beef and italian sausage and season with salt and pepper
-Combine until all the ingredients have been worked together, set aside
-Now this next step is something I have worked out through trial and error. Take a broiling pan (You know, that rimmed pan with a flat “lid” that has slits in it), cover the top with foil, and use a knife to cut the slits into the foil. This way the fat from the loaf will drain into the pan underneath and your loaf won’t be sitting in a big pool of fat.
-Shape your meat mixture into a loaf on your foil cover broiling pan
-Cut slices of bacon in half, width way. Cover the top of the loaf with bacon, from side to side, NOT from end to end (this will make it WAY easier to cut)
-Place in the oven for 30 minutes. While it’s cooking combine the ketchup, BBQ sauce, and siracha.
-After the 30 minutes take out the meatloaf, brush the bacony top with your sauce mixture, place a meat thermometer in the center, and return to the oven
-Bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until the internal temp reaches 160
-Remove and allow to rest for 10 minutes
-Remove the thermometer and slice



Cake Batter Protein Pancakes February 2, 2012

Filed under: breakfast — meier1014 @ 10:24 am

This recipe goes along with the Cake Batter Protein Cookies I posted a little while ago. I actually made these before I made the cookies, but forgot to take pictues…. I made them again this morning and remembered the camera. These pancakes are delicious and filling. They are a little on the dense side because of the protein powder, but it doesn’t ruin the flavor. You can use any protein powder, but I love the flavor our cake batter protein powder gives them. Mmmmmm cake batter!! Anyway, please give these a try. You won’t regret it.

Cake Batter Protein Pancakes

-1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
-2/3 cup protein powder
-1 tbs sugar
-3/4 tsp baking powder
-pinch of salt
-2 eggs
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1 cups milk
-assorted sprinkles


Place flour, protein powder, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl

Wisk to combine, making sure there’s no clumps, and set aside

Place eggs, milk, and vanilla in a small mixing bowl

Whisk until well combined

Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined

Add sprinkles (as much as you like)


Preheat an electric skillet to 350 (or a pan over medium) and pour batter, using 1/4 cup per pancake, onto skillet and cook until bubbles form around the edges (2-3 mins)

Flip, they should be golden brown on the cooked side. Allow to cook until both sides are golden brown (about 1-2 mins)



Homemade Coffee Creamer February 1, 2012

Filed under: drinks — meier1014 @ 9:18 pm

I have recently started drinking coffee. I know, weird. But my coffee habits have come with creamer habits… I love coffee creamer. But it’s exspensive and has so many chemicals. So, when I saw this recipe on Pinterest I HAD to try it. Especially since I had everything I need already. It was beyond simple, so give it a try.

Homemade Coffee Creamer


1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
14oz milk (whole, 2%, skim, whatever you want)
2tbs of you favorite flavored syrup or 2tsp vanilla
Storage container (a quart size mason jar, which I didn’t have, works awesome)

Place all ingredients in your storage container and mix until well combined.



Cake Batter Protein Cookies January 23, 2012

Filed under: baked goods — meier1014 @ 12:07 pm

I have been addicted to the Food and Drink section on Pinterest lately. I have made quite a few recipes that I found on there. This recipe is one of them. It is actually a recipe that calls for boxed cake mix, but as I am trying to eat healthier I wasn’t about to make cookies with cake batter (plus, we don’t buy boxed cake mix…). So I was trying to figure out how to make these “better for you”, and I remembered we have cake batter flavored protein powder! I figured I’d give it a try and they turned out PERFECT!!! This recipe really could be done with any flavor of protein powder, which makes it more fun. Ok, on the the recipe.

Cake Batter Protein Cookies

3/4c butter, room temp
3/4c brown sugar
1/4c sugar
1 (3.4oz) box of instant pudding mix (I used vanilla)
1c protein powder, divided (I used cake batter flavored)
2 eggs, room temp
1tsp vanilla
1tsp baking powder
2c flour
1/2tsp salt

-Preheat oven to 350
-Combine flour, 1/4c protein powder, salt, and baking powder. Set aside
-Cream butter and both sugars with your mixer
-Add pudding mix and the rest of the protein powder. Beat until well blended, and no dry mix remains
-Add eggs and vanilla. Mix until smooth
-Add dry flour mixture and beat until well incorporated, scraping down the sides as need.
-Roll into 1tbs balls, place onto a greased cookie sheet, and flatten slightly
-Bake for 10 minutes
-Cool on a cooling rack, or eat them hot, which ever you prefer 😉



Crockpot Mac and Cheese January 16, 2012

Filed under: crockpot,entrees — meier1014 @ 3:00 pm

Truth be told, I’m not the biggest fan of mac and cheese. I’m not exactly sure why, but that’s just the way it is. However, I do have 2 little kids, and kids LOVE mac and cheese. I usually just go the stereotypical route with the boxed stuff, but I am trying to get away from things that are so overly processed. I came across this recipe on Pinterest the other day and really wanted to try it. I had the perfect chance recently, a friend came over with her little one for a playdate. So, I said I’d make lunch and I gave this recipe a try. It turned out awesome. It wasn’t overly saucey, but it wasn’t dry either. Plus, I was able to make it in the crockpot so it was beyond simple. It did make quite a bit more than I expected… I would say this recipe could serve anywhere between 6-10 people.

Crockpot Mac and Cheese

-1 1/2 cups milk
-One 12 oz can evaporated milk (I used skim)
-1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted, cooled to room temp
-3 large eggs
-1/2 tsp salt
-3 cups (12 oz) shredded cheese (I bought the preshredded bagged stuff, I used 2 cups of cheddar blend and 1 cup colby jack)
-1/2 pound elbow macaroni or mini penne tubes, par cooked and drained (this means cook them for about five minutes until tender but not completely cooked)
-Freshly ground black pepper to taste
-1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Spray the inside of your crockpot with cooking spray

Combine the first four ingredients in your crockpot and whisk until smooth. It is very important to make sure your butter is room temp, I added mine a little early and it made the mixture a little weird.

Add par cooked noodles

Top with your 3 cups of shredded cheese

Pepper to taste

Give it a stir to combine everything

Top with the parmesan and paprika.
Cover and cook on high for 30 mins. Once the 30 minutes is up reduce heat to low and cook for an additonal 2 hours. When it’s done it should look like this:

(I didn’t take this picture, it’s from the original blog, I’m just an idiot and forgot to take a pic of the final product… It did look like this though.)


Quinoa Burgers January 11, 2012

Filed under: entrees — meier1014 @ 8:03 am

Derived from the Spanish spelling of the Quechua name “kinwa”, or occasionally “Qin-wah”, Quinoa originated in the Andean region of Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia and Peru before they were colonized and became nation-states, where it was successfully domesticated 3,000 to 4,000 years ago for human consumption, though archeological evidence shows a non-domesticated association with pastoral herding some 5,200 to 7,000 years ago.
Similar species, such as pitseed goosefoot and fat hen, were grown and domesticated in North America as part of the Eastern Agricultural Complex before maize agriculture became popular. Fat hen, which has a widespread distribution in the Northern Hemisphere, produces edible seeds and greens much like quinoa, but in smaller quantities.
The nutrient composition is very good compared with common cereals. Quinoa grains contain essential amino acids like lysine and good quantities of calcium, phosphorus, and iron.
After harvest, the grains need to be processed to remove the coating containing the bitter-tasting saponins. Quinoa grains are in general cooked the same way as rice and can be used in a wide range of dishes. Quinoa leaves are also eaten as a leaf vegetable, much like amaranth, but the commercial availability of quinoa greens is limited.
(from Wikipedia)

In our house we are always looking for new things to try. We want our kids to have a wide range of things they will eat, and the best way to do that is to introduce them to as many different tastes as possible. We are also on a very tight budget, so we need to find a way to try new things but keep it inexspensive. The best way we have found to do this is with the bulk section at Winco. I LOVE the bulk section at Winco, it has a little bit of everyting. Quinoa was our most recent “let’s give it a try” from the bulk section. The first recipe my hubby made with it was a little weird texture-wise for me (I was pretty sick at the time, so that could have been a large part of it) , but these Quinoa Veggie Burgers were delicious.
The simple fact that we’re talking veggie burgers is a big deal for me. I don’t do veggie burgers, I love meat. The fact that I made an entirely vegetarian meal (no bacon fat, or chicken stock, or anything meat product at all!) is a really big deal for me, especially since it wasn’t breakfast food. But I found this recipe on Pinterest, it’s originally from the blog Canyoustayfordinner, and we had the Quinoa in the pantry so I figured I’d give it a try. They turned out AWESOME! Next time though I think I may bump up the spice with a bit of cayenne. Now on to the recipe.

Quinoa Veggie Burgers

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 carrot, diced
4 scallions, sliced
2 cloves garlic
15 ounces can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup Italian seasoned dried breadcrumbs
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tbs ground cumin
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
Cayenne to taste
Cooking Spray


In a small pot, bring 3/4 cup water to a boil

Add quinoa

Cover and reduce heat to low

Cook until liquid is absorbed, 12 to 14 minutes; set aside

In a food processor, pulse carrot until finely chopped

Add cooked quinoa, scallions, garlic, beans, breadcrumbs, egg, cumin, salt, and pepper

Pulse until combined but still slightly chunky

Use a 1/4 cup measure and form into patties (should make about 8)

Heat a non-stick skillet or griddle on medium, spray with cooking spray, and cook patties until brown on both sides (approx 8 mins each side)

Top with your favorite cheese, and allow to melt