Sunday, October 2, 2016

Masonable Mondays #6 - Savory Yogurt and Granola

Welcome to Masonable Mondays #6! Have you seen all the savory yogurts with crunchy toppings out there lately? I liked the idea so I tried Chobani's Pineapple one and loved it. I liked it enough to try to re-create it. So for today's 
#MasonableMondays I am sharing my version of Pineapple Yogurt with Savory Granola. There is really no recipe here except for the granola. If you have access to savory granola options you will not have to cook a single thing. It is as simple as layering crushed pineapple, yogurt and granola in a jar. For my #Masonable I decided to make my own granola. The Chobani flip had a spicy savory granola with almonds and pepitas. The spicy element was chipotle. So I tried to replicate that flavor in my granola. The Domestic Geek came to the rescue. She had a savory granola that featured almonds and a little chipotle powder. So I adapted her recipe and added pepitas. It turned out so good. It is so good with the pineapple flavor. Truth be known, I almost ate it all by the handful before I could fill my mason jars and fruit cups. It is that good! It is great on salads as a crunchy topping too. I think this is another great way to eat oatmeal.  I see lots of savory granola and yogurt in my future. I hope you will give it a try too.

Pineapple Yogurt with Savory Granola
Serves 1


1 wide mouth pint Mason jar
1 empty fruit cup


1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained
5 to 6 oz. plain non-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup Savory Granola with Almonds and Pepitas (recipe below)


Place pineapple in a pint size wide mouth mason jar. Top with yogurt. Place granola in re-cycled fruit cup. Place cup in the top of mason jar. Secure with mason jar lid and ring.

Note: If you like a little sweetness, you can add a drizzle of honey or agave. Or substitute vanilla or pineapple flavored Greek yourt.

Savory Granola with Almonds and Pepitas
Adapted from the Domestic Geek
Makes 4 cups


2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 tsp. chipotle powder
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg white
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1/2 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
3/4 cup Blue Diamond Jalapeno Smokehouse Almonds


Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl combine oats, chipotle powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder and salt. Stir well. In a small bowl whisk egg white, olive oil and maple syrup. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until they are well coated. Spread mixture in a single layer onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Stirring every 10 minutes. Add pepitas and cook 10 more minutes, stirring every five minutes. Once the granola has cooled, mix in almonds. Store in an airtight container.

Recipe Review: Baked Oatmeal

I finally found a way to prepare oatmeal that I enjoy! I have never been a fan of hot oatmeal. Oatmeal cookies yes but then again I would choose a chocolate chip cookie over oatmeal every time. But thanks to the Domestic Geek I discovered I love oatmeal in the form of a warm baked muffin (and granola but that is for another post).

I am sure you have heard me mention the Domestic Geek before. She is a very creative YouTuber that has the best mostly healthy, easy recipes and meal prep ideas. This week I decided to try her Baked Oatmeal recipe. I am hooked! This is how oatmeal should be consumed. They are low in fat because she uses apple sauce. They bake up moist and chewy in the center, crisp and crunchy on top. Much better than soggy oatmeal, in my humble opinion. The best part of the recipe is that you can change it up so many ways. She made Blueberry Coconut, Chocolate Almond and Cranberry Pistachio. I made Mixed Berry, Chocolate Hazelnut and Toffee Pecan. That is six ideas to top your oatmeal! Variety is the spice of life right?

For the original recipe check out the Domestic Geek's video [Here].

This is how I topped mine.

Mixed Berry
Top with a mixed berry dried fruit blend with blueberries, cranberries and raisins. Next time I will stir the dried berries in a bit. I found that 
because of the sugar content some got a little dark for my taste.

Chocolate Hazelnut
Top with chopped Hazelnuts and semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Tastes like Nutella on top of your oatmeal. Yum!

Toffee Pecan
Topped with Heath toffee baking bits and chopped pecans. 
This was my favorite! It was so so good! Tastes like 
pecan praline topping. You have to make this one!

*Note: Spray the muffin tins or cupcake liners. 
The oatmeal will stick if you don't.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Masonable Mondays #5 - Snickerdoodle Hummus

Welcome to Masonable Mondays #5! Today I made a salty, sweet and healthy Snickerdoodle Hummus Masonable. I have been making this snickerdoodle hummus for years. It is amazing! It tastes and smells just like snickerdoodle cookies! The secret is cinnamon and almond butter instead of tahini. I made my own almond butter this weekend. I used my Almond Toffee Butter recipe and just omitted the toffee pieces. But you can use store bought, I know I have many many times. Even some of the friends I shared the recipe with used peanut butter and said it was delicious. If you haven't tried a sweet hummus this should definitely be the one you try. It is so good with sliced apples and carrots. The carrots will remind you of glazed carrots. I really like the salty pretzel crackers with it too. It has that salty sweet thing going for it. The #Masonable is the perfect container to pack all these yummy companions into a easy to carry snack or dessert. It is just sweet enough to satisfy your sweet tooth. So grab a mason jar and a fruit cup and get prepping.

Snickerdoodle Hummus Masonable
Serves 1


1 wide mouth pint Mason jar
2 empty fruit cups


Carrot sticks
Apple slices*
Snickerdoodle Hummus (recipe below)
Pretzel chips or crackers


Add carrots and apples to the bottom of the mason jar. Add fruit cup and place hummus in cup. Add lid and stack pretzels on top of lid. Top with inverted fruit cup and secure with mason jar ring. Store in refrigerator until ready to eat.

*Note: To prevent apple slices from turning brown toss in lemon juice before adding to the jar.

Snickerdoodle Hummus
Makes about 1-1/2 cups; 12 – 2 Tbsp servings


1 (15 oz) can low sodium garbanzo beans
2 Tbsp. almond butter
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon, ground


Drain garbanzo beans reserving liquid. Place garbanzo beans in a food processor along with almond butter, maple syrup, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Pulse for about 1 minute until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Slowly drizzle in reserved liquid (you will not need all of it, approx. 1/3 cup) until the dip is smooth and desired consistency. Transfer to a bowl and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

To serve try garnishing with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a drizzle of maple syrup. Surround hummus with apple slices, carrots and/or pretzel crackers.

Nutritional Info per Serving: Calories 71.8; Total Fat 2.0 g; Saturated Fat 0.2 g; Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g; Monounsaturated Fat 1.1 g; Cholesterol 0.0 mg; Sodium 105.7 mg; Potassium 91.7 mg; Total Carbohydrate 12.3 g; Dietary Fiber 1.7 g; Sugars 3.5 g; Protein 2.1 g

Linking to:
Tumbleweed Contessa - What'd You Do This Weekend?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Instant Pot Spicy Beef Vegetable Soup

I have made this Spicy Beef Vegetable Soup sooooo many times. Too many to count in fact. At one point I would make it just about once a week. It is so easy to throw together. I usually make it on the stove. Well let me tell you it just got faster to make too! I made it in the instant pot tonight and it was so easy and super fast. And, and, it did not heat up the kitchen! I didn't have to stir anything. I just waited for the beep and did a quick release. Delicious and very simple! Taste like it cook for a long time, all the flavors were perfectly blended. I can't wait to enjoy the leftovers, they make a great lunch.

You can play around with the ingredients too. I can't tell you how many of my soup recipes start as a variation of this one soup. My Stuffed Zucchini SoupMoussaka Soup and Barbecue Pork and Vegetable Soup all started as a variation of this recipe. I look forward to adapting some of them to the pressure cooker one day too. I hope this recipe will inspire you to make some soup in your pressure cooker soon.

Instant Pot Spicy Beef Vegetable Soup
Makes 6 to 8 servings


1 lb. lean ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
27 oz. spaghetti sauce
3 1/2 cups water
16 oz. frozen mixed veggies
10 oz. diced tomatoes and green chilies, undrained
1 cup sliced celery
1 tsp. beef bouillon
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste


Place Instant Pot on saute, drizzle with a little olive oil add beef and onion. Brown stirring occasionally, season beef and onion mixture with salt and black pepper. Add remaining ingredients and set to cook at high pressure for 4 minutes. When cooking cycle is complete let sit 1 minute and perform a quick release. Remove bay leaf and serve.

For Crockpot and Stovetop directions [Click Here].

For a Low Sodium version make the following substitutions: Low sodium pasta sauce, no salt added Rotel tomatoes and use 3-1/2 cups unsalted beef stock for water and bouillon.

Instant Pot “Sake” Special Ramen

Last Wednesday was an unusual day for me. I guess I was feeling adventurous? First I did something different with my hair when I went to the salon. Then I went to our sushi restaurant (Sake Sushi) and did not order sushi. I always get sushi? But this time, I got ramen off of the daily specials. It was a first for me. I have never had real proper ramen, just the cheap packaged ramen. I was really impressed. The broth was creamy looking not clear. And the first bite well it was almost smoky and definitely savory. So good! The bowl was beautiful too, loaded with lots of flavorful toppings; like nori, green onion, fish cake (another first), perfect grilled chicken and a ramen egg. The RAMEN EGG! Oh my gosh! I was so surprised with that savory, salty little egg. It was so good! I can’t wait to go to a ramen house one day. I really loved it! So when I got home I started to do some research.

I started by searching for instant pot recipes. Wait! Did I tell you dear sister bought an instant pot during the Amazon Prime Day sale. She is keeping it at my house. [Smile] So that means I got a new toy. I have been using it more than I thought I would. So look forward to more instant pot recipes in the future. This being the very first. Anyway... I knew I wanted to make the eggs and the broth in the instant pot. I found a few recipes but the broth did not look the same. So I kept searching. In the end, I used a little bit of every ramen recipe I read or watched to make this ramen. I made sure to roast the bones like one recipe said to do. I added chicken bones to mellow the flavor like another recipe suggested. I made sure to brown the onions like another recipe insisted. I added dried mushrooms for umami as one recipe recommended. I made sure to stir the broth breaking up the bones to get that creamy broth rather than a clear liquid. I seasoned the broth with the flavors of Japanese soup base as another blog suggest. I used mirin, tamari, and instant dashi for the kombu and bonito flavors. It turned out so good! Very close to the inspiration ramen I had at Sake Sushi. I even made the ramen egg too. I need to work on my technique with this one. The flavor is spot on but as you will see in the photos the shape and color was uneven. I made the mistake of putting something on top to weight it down in the marinade. So one side was squished and had less color and therefore flavor. Don't weight it down! I have four in the frig right now secured with a rubber band and hanging from a chopstick across a plastic container. I feel this is going to turn out much better. My favorite parts of this ramen is the broth, ramen egg and chicken; in that order. I think you should definitely make sure to put those ingredients in your bowl. Maybe add some green onion, not too much just a little sprinkle. The chicken was a surprise to me too. The mirin really added to the color and grill marks. I have never had grilled chicken turn out that attractive. I may start adding mirin to more marinades.

This whole experience was a lot of fun. I made six - two cup containers of ramen broth. I put three in the freezer right away. So now I have it just waiting on me to have a craving. This was time consuming not instant as the title might suggest. But the instant pot was an invaluable tool to the process. It let me develop great flavor in less time and really made the broth spectacular. I see myself doing this again real soon. I hope you give it a try. If you have instant pot or ramen tips for me please comment. I would love to hear about your successes too.

Instant Pot “Sake” Special Ramen
Makes 12 cups of broth; 6 servings


For ramen eggs:
3 eggs
3 Tbsp. reduced sodium tamari (or soy sauce)
3 Tbsp. mirin
9 Tbsp. water

For broth:
2 to 3 lbs. pork neck bones
1 to 2 frozen rotisserie chicken carcasses
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 large yellow onion, sliced
3” piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
2 large cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
4 green onions, whole
3 dried black mushrooms
5 Tbsp. reduced sodium tamari (or soy sauce)
2 Tbsp. mirin
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. miso paste
1 tsp. instant dashi granules

For grilled chicken:
2 boneless skinless chicken breast
Reduced sodium tamari (or soy sauce)
Sesame oil
Black pepper

For ramen bowl:
6 servings Ramen noodles, boiled to package directions
Ramen broth

For toppings:
Ramen eggs, halved
Fish cake or imitation crab, sliced
Toasted nori
Grilled chicken, sliced
3 green onions, sliced
Mushrooms, reserved from broth and sliced


Ramen eggs:
Combine tamari, mirin and water in a plastic bag. Set aside.

Place steam rack inside the pressure cooker. Add exactly 1 cup of cool tap water into the pot. Place eggs straight from the refrigerator in the center of the pot. Cook at Low Pressure for 5 minutes*, then quick release (QR).

After quick release, immediately take out the eggs and soak in ice bath to stop them from cooking. Let them cool for 5 minutes or longer.

Gently peel the eggs. Put the eggs in the sauce bag and close tightly. The eggs should be submerged in the marinade. Marinate for at least 3-4 hours in the refrigerator. I recommend overnight.

Take the eggs out of the marinade and discard the marinade. Cut each egg in half to serve. Enjoy the eggs as is or place them in your ramen bowl as a topping.

*Note: Want to know how to cook the eggs just like you like them. [Click Here] to learn how to cook soft, medium or hard boiled eggs in your pressure cooker.

Ramen broth:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place pork neck bones in a roasting pan, season with sea salt and black pepper. Roast for 45 minutes, flip bones over and roast 30 minutes.

In the last few minutes of cooking time, place instant pot on saute. Add canola oil and sliced onion. Cook the onions until brown on one side then flip to brown on the other side. Stir to separate into rings and brown evenly. Turn off and add a little water if necessary to prevent burning.

When pork has finished roasting, transfer the bones to instant pot with the onions.  Immediately pour off fat and discard. Add 1-1/2 cups of the water to the pan, and use a spoon to scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan.

Transfer the pan drippings to instant pot with the onions. Add chicken bones, ginger, garlic, green onions, and mushrooms. Add cool water to the max fill line. Set the instant pot to cook under high pressure for 30 minutes. When cycle is complete let rest 5 minutes and perform a quick release. Stir the pot really well. Scraping the bottom of the pot and breaking up bones. Set the instant pot to cook under high pressure for another 30 minutes. When cycle is complete let rest 5 minutes and perform a quick release. Stir the pot really well again, breaking up bones some more. Place the instant pot to saute and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes or longer. Turn off if broth begin to splash over the edge of the pot liner.

Let the liquid cool for a little while. Reserve the mushrooms and set aside. Remove the other solids and discard, then strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer, and transferring the liquid to another container. Clean the liner of the instant pot and pour broth back into pot. Season broth with tamari, mirin, sesame oil, miso and dashi. Keep warm and allow flavors to blend.

Serve the broth, refrigerate overnight and remove the fat cap (if you prefer) before re-heating or freeze for your future bowls of ramen.

Grilled chicken:
Place chicken breast in a freezer bag pound to even out thickness. Season chicken with black pepper, a drizzle of sesame oil and equal parts tamari and mirin to cover chicken. Marinate 20 minutes at room temperature, flipping and moving around in the marinade at least once half way through marinating time.

Preheat grill for 10 minutes, lower heat to medium high. Remove chicken from marinade and grill chicken for 6 minutes, flip chicken and grill for 6 more minutes or until internal temperature of 160 degrees is reached. Remove from grill and rest at least 10 minutes before slicing. Slice chicken for use as a topping.

Ramen bowl:
To assemble the ramen, cook the noodles (discarding any flavor packets), according to package instructions.

Divide the noodles between bowls. Pour the hot broth directly over the noodles, then add whatever toppings you desire. Serve immediately.

Linking to:
Kahakai Kitchen: Souper Sundays

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Green Goddess Hummus

A few weeks ago I made and shared Green Goddess Dressing with you. This dressing is so different and very delicious. I could not help but think it would make a great Hummus flavor too. So I tried it right away. I used the microwave hummus method and substituted a little mayonnaise and sour cream for the tahini. I used the fresh herbs like in the dressing, chives and parsley are perfect in the hummus too. I tried it with garlic and it was too strong. I did experimented with the anchovies a bit. The first time I made it I just used maybe three and thought it needed more. I added all the anchovies from the dressing recipe and it was delicious and savory. However, I did notice the last serving of hummus was stronger in that anchovy flavor than the first. So if you are new to anchovies you may want to start with half of the amount and add to taste. I served it with all green veggies but it is delicious with any vegetables. I recommend giving it a try if you are looking for a new and savory way to eat more hummus.

Green Goddess Hummus
Makes 2 cups


15 oz. can chickpeas, undrained
2 oz. can anchovy fillets, or to taste
1/2 cup chopped parsley
3 Tbsp chopped chives
Tbsp Mayonnaise
Tbsp sour cream
1-1/2 Tbsp tarragon vinegar
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste


Microwave undrained chickpeas in a mixing bowl for 4-5 minutes, set aside.

Put all other ingredients in a blender; blend until herbs are very fine, smooth and green in color. Add chick peas only, process until smooth and creamy, scraping down sides as needed. Add chickpea liquid one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency (3 Tbsp.), it will thicken once refrigerated. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Cover and refrigerate until needed. Best if allowed to blend for some time. It tastes even better after refrigerated and flavors have had time to develop.

To serve, garnish with a little olive oil and chives. Serve with veggies, crackers and/or pita. Keep leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. 

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