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September’s Pinterest-ing Meals — Week Four

2012 September 30
by Becky

This week my goal was to make Pinterest-ing meals that more fit our every day lifestyle. While I like enchiladas and goat cheese as much as the next person, they aren’t things we make on a weekly basis. And while Pinterest is THE place to go for all things bad for you (did anyone see the cookie dough oreo brownie bars? OMG disgustingly amazing), there are so many healthy options out there too. So Mom, I hope I’m meeting your request of “no sugar and no butter” on most of these meals! I couldn’t agree more…I think I gained a couple LB’s from the last three weeks of the challenge.

Read about my challenge and the results of the last three weeks here, here, and here. but in a nutshell, I’m rectifying my pinning-and-not-doing situation and hoping it will help get me out of the dinner rut we’re in, making the same things over and over again. We need to shake it up! 

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Here are three Pinterest-ing recipes I tried this week:

Banana Oatmeal Muffins
recipe by Keeping Up With The Joneses blog

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Another toddler-friendly, healthful muffin recipe! And another chance for The Peanut to help me out in the kitchen. He couldn’t wait to get the step stool out and make “dough” (what he calls anything dealing with the mixer or food processor). 

This was one of those recipes that scares me a little because it has non-traditional muffin ingredients but also gets me excited, because I know it will be guilt-free! For instance, this recipe contains NO flour. None! And NO oil! Just bananas, oats, a tinsy bit of sugar (though you can use sugar substitute), yogurt, and eggs. The recipe had some great tips—like how not to use paper muffin liners because the batter is too sticky.

Banana Oatmeal Muffins (modified from Keeping Up With The Joneses blog)

– 2.5 cups oats (old fashioned, not quick cook)
-1 cup plain low fat banana yogurt (use plain, low fat greek for less calories)
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar (or sweetener of your choice)
– 1.5 tsp baking powder
– 1.5 tsp baking soda
– 2 bananas

Preheat oven to 400. Spray tin with non-stick cooking spray or line 12 muffin tins with silicone or foil liners. Or use a silicone muffin pan! Just don’t use paper liners, the batter is too sticky.

Place oats, one cup at a time, in a blender or food processor and blend until they are smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients, including bananas. You may have to stir/scrap a few times to get the batter smooth.

Divide batter among cupcake liners, filling to the top. You should have enough for 12 muffins. Sprinkle some coconut and/or granola on the tops for a pretty presentation and then bake for 15-20 minutes (mine took 17) or until a toothpick comes out clean.

I blended everything together at once in my food processor (though you could use a blender too) and substituted “Vanana” low-fat yogurt (a Trader Joe’s mix of vanilla and banana—yum) for the plain greek called for in the recipe. To bake, I coated my pans with cooking spray (and tested out a few foil liners to check the result). Since the recipe didn’t say how full to make the cups (a pet peeve of mine…this is left out so many times) I did some testing, as you can see, by trying a couple different levels. Full to the top is the way to go!

Ethan was pretty psyched about the result…

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He ate three, right out of the oven. I ate a couple as well…they were fluffy, flavorful, not overly-banana-y but nice and sweet. They will be a freezer staple! Perfect for a snack or breakfast.

Beef With Snow Peas
recipe by Pioneer Woman blog

I have been following the Pioneer Woman’s blog for a few years now, always popping in to see what she’s up to on the ranch. Her recipes are always hearty and sinful looking, which is why I try not to pin them…too tempting. But when I saw this post for a simple Beef with Snow Peas, I thought it would be worth a try. We do a lot of stir fries with chicken, but beef would be a new frontier.

I can safely say, this was the best recipe of the week. It will officially go into rotation and show up on our dinner table (AKA the couch) at least twice a month. This light, filling dish is so quick and easy—and the ingredient list is incredibly short! I had most of them laying around the house. Ginger, flank steak, red pepper flakes, soy sauce, jasmin rice…all things I keep on hand. The only substitutions I made was white wine for sherry, and coconut oil for peanut. If you haven’t tried coconut oil, you need to.

Believe me when I say I took TONS of beautiful pictures for this post…then I upgraded to an iPhone 5 (whoop!) and this recipe’s pictures were the only thing that got lost in the transfer. Big bummer. Good thing it turned out exactly like Ree’s over at thepioneerwoman.com.

You can’t find a tastier, faster week night meal than this! Give it a try, please. You will never order take out again.

Fish en Papillote (Fish in Parchment)
recipe is a mix of several

I’m including this meal because, well, it’s awesome. It’s not necessarily a Pinterest meal, although I do have it pinned on my Yum board. I have it there to remind me how awesome it is, so I remember to make it often. I decided it made the cut for this challenge though, because this week I used a never-before-used fish, monkfish. I got ideas from recipes by Melissa D’Arabian and Weelicious blog. But really, it’s just a mountain of freshness—pretty simple.

Fish en Papillote sounds fancy and actually looks pretty darn fancy, but couldn’t be easier to make. All you need is a beautiful piece of fresh fish, one per person.

Something firm, like tilapia, sole, catfish or monkfish. My monkfish filet was pretty gigantic, so I cut it in half. Pre-heat your oven to 375. Next, julienne a bunch of veggies. I always use baby bok choy, then usually add carrots, red paper, red onion, and sometimes asparagus or green beans. Chop up some garlic and shave a big pile of fresh ginger (keep it in the freezer, it will last forever and shaves very easily). Grab some white wine, coconut oil (or peanut or olive) and a couple thin slices of lemon.

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Then pile it all on your pieces of fish! Pack it on, everything will shrink down in the oven. Drizzle wine and oil on top…or in the case of coconut oil, plop a little dollop on the stack.

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Then wrap it up! Fold your parchment in half and start crimping the edges together, making sharp creases as you go.

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Make one pouch for each person, throw on a sheet pan and pop in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fish. My monkfish took longer than usual, I’d say about 20 minutes. I opened the corner of the pouch to check for doneness. When it’s done, open up the pouches and use a spatuala to place the contents on a plate. You can serve the whole pouch, but I’m not a fan…I rather eat paper-free.

I nuked some Trader Joe’s frozen brown rice and dinner was served! Can you get more fresh, healthy, and tasty than this?

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[pinterest]

Salted Caramel Apple Crumb Bars
recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod blog

I know, I said this weeks recipes were healthy, but this one was by request. Our friends Bret and Lauren just bought an adorable new house and invited us to dinner Sunday night. They suggested I bring a Pinterest-ing dessert! How could I say no? An added challenge was Bret—he doesn’t like chocolate. Insane, right? (He reads the blog, therefore I have to give him trouble) I scoured my Yum-Sweets board for a fitting dessert and came across this fall-goodness. Much like the bars I made two weeks ago, but cheesecakeless. And with salted caramel—my FAV.

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Speaking of salted caramel, I have to say I wasn’t thrilled with this recipe’s method. While it tasted perfect, I’d rather use my tried and true salted caramel sauce, the one I posted here. Same basic ingredients, just easier. Trust me…I’ve made a lot of caramel and have the burns to prove it!

I used my food processor for the crust, which was smart and stupid. Smart because it was fast and made a perfect bottom crust. Stupid because using the food processor made the crumbles smaller than I wanted for the topping. Since you use the same mix for both top and bottom, I think I’ll use the hand/pastry cutter method next time.

No matter, the result, topped with a bit of vanilla ice cream and more warm caramel sauce, was delicious. And much easier than apple pie!

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Note: You could totally use a store-bought caramel sauce if you want to skip making it. If you make it, please be careful. Think “melted plastic”!

So that’s it! A month of new recipes under my belt. Overall, I’m really happy with the results of my challenge. I have several new go-to recipes and my Yum, Yum-kiddos, and Yum-Sweets Pinterest boards are not sitting idle. And I got some really nice comments from readers saying they enjoyed these food-based posts. I call that a success!

October is INSANE with visitors and travel, but stay tuned for a month of Kid-friendly Pinterest-ing meals.

7 Responses leave one →
  1. Abbie permalink
    October 1, 2012

    You have inspired me to try stir fry this week along with those amazing looking muffins for breakfast for the boys. Thank you and wish me luck!!

    • Becky permalink*
      October 2, 2012

      Thanks Abbie! Hope the boys love the muffins!

  2. Sandy Schon permalink
    October 1, 2012

    Hey thanks Beck for finding some heart healthy and low sugar recipes. I struggle with this one. Love the muffins with no flour! Gonna make some for Willa. but need gluten free processed oats. No problem. I’m pretty good with the stir fry and fish, but will definitely try these as well. You know my weakness for caramel ( I too have the burns to prove it), but will have to make some salted caramel goodness!!!

  3. Lauren G permalink
    October 1, 2012

    Bret and I had a great time having you guys over his weekend. Loved the carmel sauce and it was just as good on the second night! You should definitely get Ethan some pumpkins this fall, he really seemed fascinated by them at our place.

    • Becky permalink*
      October 2, 2012

      Thanks again for a fabulous dinner! And I think Ethan liked those pumpkins because he was playing with Auntie Lauren :)

  4. Beth permalink
    February 9, 2013

    Those muffins look awesome! But I can’t get to the actual recipe. When I go through the blog you linked to it says page not found. Can you post the recipe?

    • Becky permalink*
      February 9, 2013

      Looks like the poster I linked to has a problem with their site Beth! I’ll put the recipe in the post ASAP. Don’t want you to miss out on these yummy muffins!

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