“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire” – the easy way

Chestnuts

We know the song, but how often do you make chestnuts? You don’t need an open fire to roast chestnuts, there is a short cut. Consider it. Seriously. They are really tasty with butter & salt. But then again – what doesn’t taste good with butter & salt?!

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F/220C.
  2. Grab a serrated knife and cut an incision in each chestnut. See picture.
  3. Put chestnuts in a pot and pour just enough cold water to cover. Add salt.
  4. Bring to a simmer and drain the chestnuts.
  5. Place chestnuts in any ovenproof dish and bake for 15 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and cover chestnuts with a kitchen towel for 12 minutes.
  7. Serve with cold butter and flaky salt.

Happy holidays!

Chestnuts

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Carrot, Chick Pea & Date Salad

Protein salad

This is the first time I publish a post with a photo shot and edited on my phone. A lot of times I end up not posting something really worthy of a post, because I simply don’t have the time and my family is too hungry. Especially on weekdays, which is usually where the weekday magic tends to happen.

So my teen is vegetarian and after watching Cowspiracy last night, I immediately felt like joining her or at at least reducing my intake of meat and dairy dramatically. Hungry husband can’t live without meat for more than a few days – or so he thinks. We are all different and that’s just fine.

This is a keeper. Lunch. Snack. Side. Dinner. Anytime.

Super Protein Salad

  • 4-5 carrots
  • 1 can of chick peas
  • 8-10 medium sized dates
  • 1/3 cup / 80 ml toasted almonds
  • A handful of fresh mint
  1. Peel and slice the carrots
  2. Drain the chick peas
  3. Remove the pit and chop the dates
  4. Chop the almonds
  5. Chop the mint
  6. Combine everything and make the dressing

Cayenne Vinaigrette

  • 4 tbsps olive oil
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • Season with honey, salt and a good splash of cayenne

Thank you for the inspiration 101cookbooks

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Halloween spider cake pops

Spider cake pops

My daughter attended a Halloween party at her school and she had to bring a cake. She searched through Halloween cakes on google images and fell for these spooky spider pops, which originally came from this fun cake pop site.

We made a chocolate version. The spiders were slightly time-consuming, but so worth it. Yummy little bites, which I will definitely be making again.

Happy Halloween!

Spider cake pop

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Pumpkin muffins with pepita topping

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Organic canned pumpkin was what I used for these treats. When I read on the nutrition facts on the back of the can that Vitamin A is way up there with 280% per serving (of the daily values, you know, pretty impressive). Well, then I packed the whole can of pumpkin into these muffins and my kids still loved them.

Speciel equipment: Muffin pan or cups

  • 2 cups / 5 dl flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tsps pumpkin spice  (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice)
  • 1 tsp gr cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 15 oz / 425 gr canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup / 120 ml agave syrup
  • 1/2 cup / 120 ml oil
  • 1 egg
  1. Preheat oven to 375F/190C.
  2. Sift all the dry ingredients incl. the spices together in a large bowl.
  3. Grab a medium sized bowl and combine the pumkin, agave syrup, oil and egg .
  4. Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture and stir only until everything is moist.
  5. Divide the dough into 12 muffin cups or a greased muffin tray.
  6. Sprinkle with the topping and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Pepita crumble topping

  • 1/4 cup / 60 ml cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup / 60 ml flour
  • 1/4 cup / 60 ml pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 2 oz / 50 gr butter, cold
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Chop the pumpkin seeds coarsely.
  2. Stir the dry ingedients together with the seeds.
  3. Cut the cold butter into pieces and crumble into the mixture. See below what it looks like:

Yields 12

Suggestions

If you think that may be pushing it with the pumpkin, then try cutting it in half and adding 1 more egg. Try pecan nuts in the topping instead of the pumpkin seeds.

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Sesame beef noodle salad

Sesame beef noodles

I have been neglecting my blog a bit lately with good reason. A new job! It’s a lot of work and a lot of fun. When everything is new, there is just not that much time left over to be creative. Hopefully soon I can devote more time to composing dinners likes this one: quick, simple  and full of flavor.

Sesame beef noodle salad

  •  1 pound / 450 gr ground beef
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 inch / 2.5 cm fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsps black sesame seeds
  • 400 gr rice noodles
  • 1 small head of iceberg lettuce
  • 1 small English cucumber
  • A handful of fresh cilantro

Topping: soy sauce and salted peanuts

  1. Heat sesame oil in a wok or skillet and fry the ginger and garlic until fragrant. Then add the ground beef and fry over high heat until brown. Break up the meat as it cooks.
  2. Meanwhile finely slice the iceberg lettuce and cut the cucumbers.
  3. Add 1 tbsp soy sauce and sesame seeds to the meat when browned.
  4. Cook the rice noodles according to instructions.
  5. Let each person assemble their own salad to their liking and dress with soy-sauce and salted peanuts.
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Roasted root vegetables with butternut squash

Fall is in the air – and it is time to add squash and pumpkin to your food. So simple, so colorful and so seasonal. Not to mention super good for you. An all time fall favorite.

  • Potatoes
  • Butternut squash (or other eg. hokkaido pumpkin)
  • Walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • Goat cheese, crumbled
  • Parsley, chopped
  • Olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F/200C
  2. Peel and cut the vegetables into bite size pieces.
  3. Put in an oven proof dish, toss with a little olive oil and bake for 45-50 min.
  4. When baked sprinkle with walnuts, goat cheese and parsley. Season with salt & pepper.
  5. I like to drizzle just a bit of akacia honey on top.

Suggestions

Add other root vegetables eg parsnips, turnips, sweet potatoes. Try another herb.

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Roasted hazelnut chocolate bites

Chocolate hazelnut bites

A few things that are good to know. Don’t skip roasting the hazelnuts. Roasting is where the magic happens. The magic that brings out the flavors of gianduja. Use Medjool dates, if you have a choice, because they are moist and sweet. You can dip the bites in dark chocolate. You can also roll them in coconut, cocoa powder or chopped roasted nuts. They contain no sugar. They are good for you. They are addictive.

Roasted hazelnut chocolate bites

  • 1 cup / 2,5 dl  roasted hazelnuts
  • 1 cup / 2,5 dl (200 gr) pitted dates
  • 2 tbsps cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Dash of salt
  • 100 gr 70 % dark chocolate, optional
  • 2 tsps freeze dried raspberries, optional
  1. Roast the hazelnuts on a pan over medium heat until they smell delicious. Use your nose. It takes a few minutes.
  2. Rub off  as much as the peel as you can by putting the nuts in a cloth. It’s a bit messy and won’t be perfect. Just rub off what you can.
  3. Transfer the nuts to a food processor with the cocoa powder. Pulse till fine and set a side in a bowl.
  4. Now put the dates in the food processor with coconut oil, vanilla extract and salt, then pulse until it becomes thick and smooth.
  5. Put everything in the bowl and combine well.
  6. Roll into balls and cool in the fridge.
  7. Eat now or dip in melted chocolate sprinkled with freeze dried raspberries.

Yields 25

Kids love them too!

Healthy gianduja bites

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Toasted sesame cabbage salad with miso dressing

Sesame cabbage saladIt’s time for another of my favorite summer salads. A side that goes  well with most grilled meats and poultry. Even though the salad consists of only three ingredients, you can play with the colors. Choose cone cabbage in red or green and choose sesame seeds in white or black. Or both. I always toast sesame seeds on a pan over medium heat until they become fragrant. It only takes a few minutes and it brings out so much flavor.

Cabbage Salad

  • 1 small cone cabbage
  • 1 cup / 2 1/2 dl broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup / 1 1/4 dl sesame seeds
  1. Slice the cabbage
  2. Cut the broccoli florets in small pieces
  3. Toast the sesame seeds
  4. Put everything in a bowl

Miso Dressing

  • 2 tbsps rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsps sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp yellow miso
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp water
  • A pinch of salt
  • A pinch of cayenne
  1. Combine all ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake well.

Great taste – Yes

Fast – Yes

Easy to make – Yes

Healthy – Yes

Pretty – Yes

Try it out – Yes

 

 

 

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Chinese five-spice chicken & orange salad

Every diner in California serves a version of Chinese chicken salad. Here is mine. You can make it in less than 30 minutes, which makes it a good healthy choice for weekdays. It is fresh and flavorful. The original inspiration is found in this book, I have tweaked the recipe and added some ingredients.

  • 3 tbsps olive oil
  • 1.5 tsps five spice powder
  • 1 pound chicken breast cut into chunks
  • 3 oranges
  • 1 large romaine or iceberg lettuce
  • 1 yellow pepper, cut into strips
  • 2 large carrots, shredded
  • 2 green onions, finely sliced
  • 1/3 cup / 60 ml almonds
  • 2 tbsps black sesame seeds
  1. Heat the oil and the five-spice over medium heat and add the chicken chunks.
  2. Season with salt & pepper. Stir occasionally and cook until done. About 5 minutes depending on the size of the pieces. Set aside, but leave the skillet.
  3. Meanwhile cut the lettuce, bell peper and spring onion. Peel and grate the carrots. Place it all in a large bowl.
  4. Roast the almonds for a few minutes in the unwashed skillet from the chicken. This will give the almonds some spice.
  5. Cut the oranges into segments and squeeze the rest of the juice over the salad.
  6. Combine everything and dress with mustard dressing.

Mustard dressing

  • 3 tbsps olive oil
  • 2 tsbps rice vinegar
  • 2 tsps dijon mustard
  • Sweeten with 1/2 tsp honey or to taste
  • Salt & pepper
  1. Whisk the ingredients together.
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Watermelon strawberry popsicles or smoothies

This is a cooling repost from a hot day in Los Angeles not too long ago:

If you have been looking for a sweet, healthy, refreshing treat in the heat – well look no further. These watermelon strawberry popsicles must be your answer. If you need instant gratification, because the temperatures are way up there (read 100sF/40sC) or you are in the mood, well then you don’t even have to freeze them. It is an equally amazing smoothie.

  • 1/2 small watermelon
  • 8 0z / 150 gr  frozen strawberries
  • 12 0z / 350 ml water
  • 2 tbsps acacia honey
  • Wooden sticks
  • Ice cream molds or small paper cups
  1. Cut the watermelon into chunks and blend with the water until smooth.
  2. Strain the watermelon juice to get rid of the seeds and pour back into the blender. Skip this step, if using a seedless watermelon.
  3. Add the frozen straberries and agave nectar and blend until smooth.
  4. Adjust sweetness to your taste and enjoy over ice or pour the strawberry watermelon juice into ice cream molds and freeze.
  5. Set your timer for about 30-45 min, then add the wooden sticks to the popsicles and freeze for another 4 hrs or overnight.

Yields 5 cups / 1.25 liter

Suggestions

If you don’t have ice cream molds, be creative and use small glasses or other little containers. I used 3 oz bath cups.

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