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Friday, July 3, 2015

Coconut Cinnamon Popcorn


Hey friends! Today I am sharing a new favorite snack of mine. My kids, my husband and some of my extended family that I've made it for love it too.  It's a keeper. Coconut Cinnamon Popcorn! The name alone is worth drooling over.  

I was introduced to this popcorn a few months ago by one of my friends who brought it to our ladies bunco night.  Anyone else out there play bunco?  It's a simple dice game that we play and we bring random gifts from our house or whatever for prizes. It's a fun reason to get together and chat. I am way more into the chatting and snacking then the game itself, but I enjoy it all.  When I tasted the popcorn that night I had to know what was in it.  My friend, Lacey, said it was just popped popcorn drizzled with coconut oil and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.  After hearing that there was no wonder why I loved it so much.  


Since then we've made this more times than I can count on two hands.  So I've tweaked it and perfected it just the way I like it.   And I even served it at a baby shower a week and a half ago, where I put a little banner saying, "ready to pop" above the bowl. It was a hit at the shower too. That night I drizzled it with melted white chocolate too, just to add an extra hint of yumminess, but it totally doesn't need it. 
 


If you are looking for a treat to share and don't want to add much sugar into the mix, this is just for you. It perfectly satisfies my sweet craving without me feeling like I have dove into something totally sinful!



Coconut Cinnamon Popcorn

[Serves 4-5  - make in 5 minutes]
Ingredients:

½ cup white popcorn kernels (unpopped)
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
⅛ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

Place ½ cup popcorn kernels in an air popper (or pop them however you please). While it’s popping, melt 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup.

Lightly drizzle the coconut oil (in a slow stream) over the popcorn as you toss the popcorn with a butter knife or spatula.

Lightly sprinkle with salt (you don’t have to measure out ⅛ teaspoon). This popcorn isn’t mean to be salty, but a little salt with the cinnamon sugar blend makes it taste so much better.

In a small bowl mix the sugar and cinnamon until well mixed. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the popcorn while tossing to coat evenly.

Enjoy!

Recipe Source:

Inspired from a similar snack my friend Lacey made for me, recipe developed by Lu, originally posted on landeelu.com


If you are a cinnamon lover like me, you might also like these: Cinnamon Rolls

Or these: Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Pretzel Dogs


Let's talk hot dogs.  Pretty much all kids love them, right? Mine would probably eat them every day if I allowed it.  I loved them as a kid, too.  In fact, I recall eating them cold and straight out of the package as a snack.  Um, gross.  I know.  Hot dogs aren't generally something that call out to me these days.  I eat them when there is a fire and s'mores involved, but given a choice I  pretty much always choose a burger over a dog.  But these pretzel dogs? These are a whole different story and I need these in my life.  I think you just might, too.  


These babies have been making regular appearances at our dinner table for the last three years.  Each time I make these I am reminded of my awesome mom and the fun after-school snacks she made for us as kids.  She is adventurous in the kitchen and has never been afraid to try anything new, so we got lots of fun and delicious things to eat as a result of her experimenting.  Soft pretzels were probably my favorite on that list.  Whenever I walked the in the door and smelled them I thought she was the coolest mom ever.  I still do.  Now my kids love to help me “roll out the snakes” and make these pretzel dogs.  It is one of their favorite dinners and I feel like I cool mom when I make them.



Traditionally, soft pretzels are boiled in a baking soda bath before baking, but one day I was feeling lazy and decided I would try to skip that step to save some time and dirty dishes.  I was so happy with the results because it turned this recipe into a realistic dinner that didn’t make a huge mess or require a ton of time.  I found that if you dissolve the baking soda in super hot water and dunk each pretzel dog you still get the distinct tangy pretzel flavor without the extra hassle. Unnecessary dishes are the worst.  

I’m a mustard lover and love to dunk these in regular ol’ yellow mustard and ketchup.  The hubs is a dijon kinda guy and the kids usually go for just ketchup.  Regardless of dipping preferences, these pretzel dogs get gobbled up quickly every time I make them and some kind of battle over the leftovers is usually involved.



While we're talking hot dogs, I have to tell you that I discovered some super yummy hot dogs this week.  Usually I buy Nathan's or Hebrew National.  But I bought these on a whim and they kinda blew me away.  Park's Finest Ballpark Beef franks.  We tried the "Signature Seasoned" flavor and my hubby even commented that they were really good and well seasoned.  Huge bonus: made with 100% beef, no nitrates or nitrities, and no artificial preservatives.  This isn't an ad and I'm not getting paid to say this, I just love you and felt like you should know. 

 - Leesh


Pretzel Dogs

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon instant yeast
4 ½ cups All Purpose Flour, give or take a few tablespoons
2 teaspoons Salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups hot water
¼ cup baking soda
Coarse salt for sprinkling
12 hot dogs *see note below

Directions:



In the bowl of a mixer, add 1 1/2 cups warm water, sugar, and instant yeast. To that mixture add the oil, salt, and 3 1/2 cups of the flour. Mix on low until all the flour is incorporated. Once flour is incorporated, begin adding the remaining cup a couple of tablespoons at a time until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. It should begin to form a ball around the dough hook. Knead for about 5 minutes. You should have a fairly stiff, pliable dough--not dry. Cover with a lid and let rise at room temperature for about an hour or until doubled in size. (You can speed this up by putting your dough in a warmer spot.)

Preheat oven to 425. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone liners, foil, or parchment. If using foil or parchment, grease it or your pretzels will stick!

In a small loaf pan, combine 2 cups of hot water (as hot as it comes from the tap is fine) and baking soda. Allow it to sit and dissolve while you roll out the dough. Remove hot dogs from package and pat them dry with a paper towel. This will help the dough stick to the hot dog better. Divide dough into 12 equal portions. On a clean and lightly greased work surface, roll the dough out into a rope about 24 inches long--you may want yours longer or shorter depending on how long your hot dogs are. Tightly wrap a pretzel rope around each hot dog pinching the end to help it stay in place. I like to let the ends peek out. Dunk each hot dog in the baking soda solution and set it on a cooling rack to drip. While they are wet, sprinkle with coarse salt. Once all the hot dogs have been dunked, transfer them to the baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes until they have a nice color and the hot dogs are heated all the way through. Serve immediately with ketchup and your favorite mustard for dipping.

Notes:



Most hot dogs come in packages of 8--so I usually only make 8 pretzel dogs and then make 3 or 4 plain soft pretzels with the remaining dough in this recipe.

Recipe Source:



Inspired by and adapted from Joy the Baker
Originally posted on landeelu.com


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Aloha Chicken Salad


It's still technically spring, but it feels like summertime.  During the summer, I love finding meals I can make without turning on the oven. We have A/C so I still do use the oven when I want/need to, but I love an easy meal I can whip up without heating up the house. Is anyone else with me on that?  

This chicken salad is just that.  I even made the soft wrap bread and guess what, no oven for that either (recipe for the soft wrap bread here).  Double win!  You can also serve this just plain, in a pita pocket or on a buttery croissant roll.


My mother-in-law made a recipe book for me (I've mentioned before) before my husband and I got married with lots of favorite recipes from their family. I've come to love so many of them and 8 years later, still haven't tried them all.  This recipe was one from here book, it was one that my sister-in-law shared with the family.  It's super yummy and there is no wonder why it keeps getting shared.  

I hope you'll have time to enjoy it this summer! 

-Lu


Aloha Chicken Salad

Ingredients:

For the Salad:
¼ cup canola oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 clove garlic or ¼ teaspoon granulated garlic
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 chicken breasts
4 cups fresh pineapple, diced
¾ cup celery, chopped
½ cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
¾ cup pecans, toasted
2 green onions, chopped (white and green parts)
1 small can mandarin oranges, drained (juice reserved)

Dressing:
½ cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon chicken base or 1 chicken bullion cube
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons mandarin orange juice

Directions:

Combine oil, lemon juice, soy sauce, garlic, salt and pepper in a bag or shallow container, add chicken and turn to coat - let marinate for 4-12 hours.  Grill on BBQ until chicken is cooked through.  Dice the chicken and add it to a large mixing bowl. If you prefer not to grill the chicken, just shred 3 cups of chicken.

Add chopped pineapple, celery, coconut, green onion (reserving the oranges to toss last) to the mixing bowl with the chicken.

In a separate small bowl, combine the mayo, chicken base/bouillon (stir til smooth - no lumps), add in nutmeg and orange juice.  Pour dressing over the salad and toss to coat.  Then gently fold in the mandarin oranges, they are more delicate so you add them last so they don't break up too much.

Serve as is or in soft wrap bread or pita bread.

Enjoy!

Notes:

If you don't want to use grilled chicken you can sub in shredded chicken.  If you use shredded chicken you can skip the first 6 ingredients which are part of the marinade.

Also, I like my salads not overly dressed, so if you love dressing you might want to double or 1 ½ the dressing recipe.

Recipe Source:

Originally posted on Dessert Now, Dinner Later. This recipe was adapted from a recipe given to me by my sister-in-law, Jayna M., who got it from a friend.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Avocado Sandwich


Any other avocado lovers out there? I loooove avocados! I think I hated them til I was about 23 or 24 and then I discovered what real guacamole tasted like (not the fake stuff you buy in a tub with preservatives and garbage) and I have never been able to turn back.  I try to keep them on hand for this yummy avocado sandwich I'm sharing with you today and also for guacamole, bean dip (which FYI is not required to be made to look like a spiderweb), etc.

A few weeks ago our local Sprouts had avocados 3/$1, which was a steal, so I bought 9. And don't you worry, we put them to good use and ate them all up before they could go bad. I had this sandwich multiple times that week. 

My friend Becky, introduced me to this sandwich one day when we met them at their pool.  It's so simple to make. It's good for you and tastes delicious.  I love that!  You simply toast some bread, butter it, top it with whatever cheese you want, some sliced avocado, salt/pepper, lime juice, and your choice of spinach, lettuce or sunflower sprouts (which add an incredible nutty flavor).  You can make it in 2 minutes or so and it just hits the spot for me any afternoon.

I hope you'll love it as much as I do. 

-Lu

Avocado Sandwich

Yield: 1 Sandwich
Ingredients:

2 slices bread, toasted & buttered
1-2 slices cheese (any kind, I usually use Colby, Monterey Jack or Provolone)
1 small avocado, sliced
sea salt & pepper, sprinkled to taste
½ lime, juiced
Spinach, lettuce or sunflower sprouts



Directions:

Toast two peice of sandwich bread and butter the sides that will be inside the sandwich. Top one of the buttered sides with cheese, and sliced avocado (I use ½-1 avocado), sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper to taste, and drizzle with lime juice.  Top with spinach, lettuce or sunflower sprouts (I love the nutty flavor from the sunflower sprouts) and the remaining piece of toasted bread.  

Enjoy!

Recipe Source:

From my good friend, Becky Nelson.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Ham & Potato Blender Quiche


If you've been following our blog since the beginning, then you might remember the Crustless Blender Quiche I posted back in 2011 (back when my picture taking skills were very lacking to say the least).  I wasn't really well acquainted with quiche until I married my husband.  And since this blender quiche has been in the family for quite some time it was one of the recipes that was in the recipe book I got from his mom and my bridal shower. I had asked her to write down all of their family favorite recipes when we were engaged so I could learn to make them.  I love having this book!  


Here is the cute book she gave me with several family favorite recipes. It's been the best gift to have so many favorites of the family written down. We enjoy a lot of them on a fairly regular basis.  The quiche is no exception. 

Recently I've been experimenting with different flavors for the quiche - and I've found two favorites. So this recipes varies slightly from the original quiche.  This quiche has mashed potatoes and ham in it.  It's still just as simple to make. 


You start by greasing a baking dish and sprinkling in some diced ham, green onion and some grated cheese. 


Then you top it with a mixture that of blended eggs, milk, salt, pepper, optional seasonings, chicken broth, flour and baking powder (or you can use a hand mixer if you don't have a blender). 



Bake it for about 45-55 minutes until it's golden on top and the egg mixture is cooked through, and serve it up.  {Printable Recipe below}


This is something we generally enjoy for dinner. But it would be equally as good for lunch or brunch! 

Enjoy!

I'd also like to thank Patience Brewster (unique Christmas ornament designer), who posted about the roots to our recipes.  I really enjoyed the read.  This post has inspired me to share lots of other family staples and we have been enjoying for years.  I love connecting our family history to the food we eat. After all, food is what keeps us alive and going and is a huge part of family life and getting together, so I love these old time recipes that we can keep enjoying through the generations! 

Ham & Potato Blender Quiche

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups ham, diced
2 green onions, chopped
½ - 1 cup cheese, grated (Colby or cheddar)
¾ cup mashed potatoes
1 cup milk
½ cup chicken broth
½ teaspoon salt/garlic salt
5 eggs
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ cup water
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash (optional)


Directions:



1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Grease a 1 ½ to 2 quart size baking dish (9x9 should work great too) with spray grease or butter. Sprinkle diced ham, green onion and cheese evenly over the bottom of the dish.
3. in a 6 cup+ blender (you can also use a hand-mixer and bowl if you don’t have a blender) combine milk, mashed potato, chicken broth, salt, eggs, flour, baking powder, water, pepper and Mrs. Dash or other seasoning of choice.  Blend on high until mixed well.
4. Immediately pour blended mixture over the ham/onion/cheese in the baking dish. (if you don’t the mixture kind of separates, so if you wait a minute or two give it a quick pulse in the blender to incorporate it.
5. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until golden on top and you can stick a toothpick or chopstick in to see if the egg mixture is cooked. Let it cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe Source:

A Leesh & Lu original, by Lu (inspired by my mother-in-law’s quiche recipe). Originally posted on landeelu.com

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Chicken Pesto Pasta

  
Are you a pesto person?  It seems that there are only lovers and haters and not many in-betweeners.  I'm definitely a lover.  I love it on garlic toast, pizza, spread on sandwiches or stirred into pasta.   This dish is a favorite and is so quick to make.  It's also a perfect dinner as the weather warms up because you don't have to turn the oven on and heat up your whole house.  


This dish is stupidly simple and comes together in no time at all–especially if you already have cooked chicken on hand.  It’s sophisticated enough to serve to dinner guests, but familiar enough to please little ones.  If you happen to have leftovers, they are delicious eaten warm or cold. 3 hoorays for versatile, quick, family-pleasing meals!

Chicken Pesto Pasta

Ingredients:


1 pound angel hair pasta
2 cups cooked, diced or shredded chicken
½ -¾ cup prepared basil pesto (see note)
½ cup feta cheese crumbles
2-3 roma tomatoes, diced
Grated asiago or parmesan cheese for serving

Directions:


Break pasta in half and cook according to package directions. Using tongs, toss chicken, pesto, feta cheese, tomatoes, and hot cooked noodles together until well combined and evenly distributed. Serve immediately topping each serving with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
.  

Notes:


I like to get by pesto at Sam’s club in the refrigerated section by the cheeses and salsa.  It comes in a giant jar and ounce for ounce is a lot cheaper than buying the shelf-stable stuff on the pasta aisle at the grocery store.  I usually freeze it in 1 cup increments and pull it out of the freezer the morning I plan to use it.

Recipe Source:



Leesh and Lu Original--by Alycia