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Friday, April 30, 2010

five ingredient fridays: strawberry poppyseed salad

this is all i ate for a week straight at the beach with my best friend in december. i love it. my husband loves it equally as much - dubbed his new favorite salad! and it's a super quick and easy meal. my 2 year old had a few bites of mine and then needed her own plateful. i'm not sure there's anything cuter than a 2 year old eating a salad. adorable.

and try to go easy on the dressing. it's the only unhealthy part of this, but if you take it easy it isn't too bad!!

strawberry poppyseed salad

lettuce of choice (spinach is best, but romaine was good, too!)
sliced strawberries (wait until they're $1 a lb)
a hard boiled egg, sliced
shredded/chunked cooked chicken
poppyseed dressing (i used kroger brand that i got for $1!!!!!!)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

cilantro lime vinaigrette

salads are one of my favorite foods on the planet - my all time favorite being the cafe rio-style salad. the more ingredients the better. pile it high.

when i went dairy free for my baby boy i was devastated not to be able to eat the cafe rio ranch dressing and was forced to try their other dressing.... which was shockingly delicious!
so of course i tried to replicate it at home. i think i like mine better than cafe rio's. and it's soooo easy. try it with the sweet and spicy slow cooker chicken, above, and your choice of beans and rice. then top with all the salad toppings you can handle. a perfectly delicious, healthy and well-balanced meal.

cilantro lime vinaigrette dressing
5-6 servings

1 cup bottled lite balsamic vinaigrette dressing (i use kroger brand that i got for $1)
juice of 1 small lime, or 1/2 of one large lime
1 large clove or 2 small cloves garlic
1/2 a bunch of cilantro

combine all ingredients in a small food processor/chopper and mix until all ingredients finely chopped and combined. serve over your favorite mexi-salad.

Friday, April 23, 2010

five ingredient fridays: sweet and spicy slow cooker chicken

welcome to the 1st edition of five ingredient fridays! thanks again for the suggestion, katja. it will be a good challenge for me!

this is so yummy and so easy it's almost ridiculous. i make it to put in all kinds of things now - burritos, tacos, enchiladas, salads - the sky is the limit. the 2 year old loves it too!

sweet and spicy slow cooker chicken
from mel's kitchen cafe (here)

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 (14 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (i use 1/4 teaspoon)

coat the inside of your crockpot with non-stick cooking spray. place all ingredients in the crockpot. cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 8-10 hours, or until chicken shreds very easily with a fork. season to taste with salt and pepper. (chicken will absorb liquid after it is shredded.) serve in tacos or however your little heart desires.

another note from mel:

*freezable meal: i freeze the leftovers in a freezer-safe container and let thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving the next day. i reheat over medium-low heat in a saucepan on the stove.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

banana snack cake

this banana snack cake was just like banana bread, but you didn't have to wait an hour for it to cook! no white flour and it was completely delicious. both times i've made it it failed to last 24 hours. try it for yourself!

banana snack cake
modified from recipe at (here)

1 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup oat flour (toss some oats in your blender!)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoonbaking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup mashed, ripened banana (i use 4 smallish bananas)
1/4 cup vanilla soy milk (original recipe called for 1/2 cup sour cream - this would be great too!)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate chips

preheat oven to 350 degrees. spray a 9x 13 pan with non-stick cooking spray.

in a large bowl mix together sugar, eggs, and applesauce. add bananas, soy milk (or sour cream) and vanilla. beat again until smooth.

add the dry ingredients slowly. the batter will be thick. fold in chips.

pour batter into pan and bake for 25 to 28 mins or until toothpick comes out clean.

cool completely on a wire rack. cut into 16 pieces.

and coming friday - a new skinny bovine feature! five ingredient fridays. at the request of my friend katja i will post a recipe every friday with five ingredients or less! thanks for the great suggestion, katja!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

fresh ginger: a lesson learned

so, i'm too cheap to buy fresh herbs (except garlic of course, oh and i grew my own basil). there, i said it. sad, i know. but when you've got two kids and your hubby isn't quite done with school it's a mentality you must embrace. well, hubby's done with school and i keep hearing people rave about fresh ginger and what a difference it makes in your food. so i decided to give it a go now that i'm among the working, adult class (not that my food budget is different, but i gladly spend the entire thing every month instead of trying to scrimp every last penny... you should see my food storage!). good news is, it really isn't that expensive either! WOW!!! i can't believe what i've been missing out on all this time. fresh ginger really does make a huge flavor difference in my food. lesson learned.

this is one of my favorite fresh ginger dishes we've eaten lately. my bff made it for us when we visited them (and disneyland!) in california last month. she got it from her friend. it's pretty high ranking on the favorite food list right now. soooo good, easy and quick!

thai peanut chicken wraps
6-8 big wraps

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons olive oil (next time i'll try no oil here, i don't think it needs it)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

6-8 eight to ten inch flour tortillas (yummy on wheat!)
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt (or a bit more fresh garlic instead and add some salt)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
12 oz boneless skinless chicken breast meat, in chunks or slices
1 teaspoon olive oil
4 cups packaged broccoli slaw ($1.68 at my wal-mart, my bff gets it at trader joes)
3/4 medium raw red onion, cut into thin wedges
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1. for peanut sauce: combine all sauce ingredients in a small saucepan. heat until sugar is dissolved, stirring frequently. set aside.
2. wrap tortillas in foil. bake in 350 degree oven about 10 minutes ot until heated and softened. meanwhile, combine garlic salt, pepper and chicken.
3. in a large skillet, heat the 1 teaspoon olive oil. cook and stir seasoned chicken in hot oil over medium-hight heat until cooked through. remove chicken from skillet; keep warm. add broccoli, onion and ginger to skillet. cook and stir for 2-3 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. remove from heat.
4. to assemble, top tortilla with chicken and vegetable mixture. spread each tortilla with about 1 tablespoon + peanut sauce. roll up each tortilla, securing with a wooden toothpick. serve immediately with remaining sauce.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

a spotlight and a guest post

the skinny bovines kitchen was recently featured on two awesome blogs - secrets of mom and the tree of life!

heather at secrets of mom gives great mom tips all over the board - i love to read her stuff. she just wrote a post on getting organized and i'm feeling completely inspired.

jenna at the tree of life writes about nesting/homemaking of all kinds - gardening, sewing, cooking, baking, etc. and invited me to guest post last friday. i even posted the most wonderful, delicious, all-time best and completely unhealthy chocolate chip cookie recipe. check it out here.

thanks, girls, for featuring me! i appreciate other bloggers and the things we can share back and forth to make all of our lives better and easier!

Friday, April 2, 2010

orange juice cake

this is a fool-proof recipe. there is nothing you can do to mess it up if you follow the directions. it's springy, would look lovely on your easter table and is always a crowd pleaser. and it's super simple - which makes it even better! enjoy!

orange juice cake
from: my mother-in-law

1 yellow cake mix
1 small package instant vanilla pudding
1 tablespoons flour
1 cup orange juice
4 eggs
nuts, finely chopped (optional)

pour a few chopped nuts on the bottom of a well-greased bunt pan. (i used mini bunts this time, see pic, but i wouldn't suggest it. it wasn't as good!) mix all ingredients and pour into bunt pan. bake 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees.

glaze (reduced fat version)

1 cup sugar
2/3 cup orange juice

combine in saucepan, boil 2-3 minutes. pour over hot cake while still in pan (i like to save a little bit to drizzle over the top after i turn it out). turn cake out after 15 minutes.

*glaze (regular version)

1 cup sugar
1 stick butter
1/4 c orange juice

same directions as above.

*just for reference, 1 stick of butter adds 92 calories and 810 grams of fat to your cake. yikes. the entire cake has less than a 1/4 of that much fat without it.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

easter dessert: no guilt carrot cake bars with cream cheese unfrosting

the babies and i have the plague over here, so i'm thinking lots of sitting around and eating sweets for easter weekend. you with me? we aren't buying any easter candy, so we'll have to get our fix through desserts.

long, long ago i wrote a post about making healthy desserts. here's a repost along with the most delicious, totally guilt-free dessert to go with it. it makes a huge 10x15 jelly roll pan, so it goes a long way. it will be sure to feed, and please, all of the mouths at your easter feast! (find original post here)

i'll post another fun, springy easter dessert tomorrow! if you want to make it, prepare ahead and make sure you have a yellow cake mix, a small box of instant vanilla pudding, eggs and orange juice. mmm....

making "healthy" desserts

i realize "healthy dessert" is an oxy moron, but there are some things you can do to make your desserts lots healthier than they start out. here are a few quick tricks, some of which i've discussed before and some of which may be new!
  • make friends with your dessert. this may seem like a strange part of this list, but one of the best ways to make dessert healthier is to eat less of it! duh! get your fix in and then give lots away to your friends and neighbors. they'll appreciate it and you'll be glad you didn't get sick on your cookie dough. (i did this last week, so i would know. it was soooo yummy though... i just needed to make the cookies and get them out the door faster.)
  • never use oil. if a recipe calls for oil, use applesauce or yogurt instead. 1:1 ratio works great.
  • avoid recipes with lots of butter. you may often be able to find a recipe that is similar that uses oil instead of butter and then you can substitute it.
  • sneak in some non-white flour. it drives my husband crazy when he knows i do this, but if he doesn't know, he often loves is and then i tell him what i did! ha! i like to use part wheat or part oat flour (put some oats in your blender for this!). i made this apple cake from elise's a few weeks back with part wheat flour and it was fabulous!
  • add wheat germ or flax seed in place of some of the flour. these are extra, super healthy for you and a little bit goes a long way. i wouldn't substitute more than 1/4 to 1/3 of the flour for these.
  • cut back the sugar. this doesn't always work, but some recipes call for way too much sugar and it tastes better with less. just taste your batter to make sure you didn't take too much out. honey is expensive, but you can also use some honey instead of sugar - it's better for you!
  • use fat free ingredients, even if you're usually opposed. baking is a great time to use fat free cream cheese, sour cream, milk, etc. because however much you think they taste different, it's hard to taste the difference when they're baked into things.
  • make recipes that include a fruit or veggie. i love apple cake, carrot cake and zucchini bread. mmmm....

the applesauce for oil substitution will work in any recipe. try the flour and sugar ones. if it isn't yummy in one recipe try it in another!

*i wanted to use some of the homemade baby food my daughter is no longer eating so i decided to create these carrot cake bars. (have no fear, you can simply steam some carrots and run them through your blender with some water. 4 oz is about 4 ice cube sized blocks). they have no white flour, no oil or butter, lots of carrots and even the un-frosting has no butter and has less than a cup of powdered sugar instead of like 4-5 cups like normal frosting. i brought them to a church thing and people couldn't believe what wasn't in them. you can see how good they were from the picture. :)

no-guilt carrot cake bars with cream cheese un-frosting

makes 1 jelly roll pan-full

3/4 cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups applesauce
3 eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 cup oat flour
1 cup wheat flour
½ cup wheat germ (or 1/2 cup more oat/wheat flour if you don't have wheat germ)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 (4 ounce) jar carrot baby food (or homemade baby food, see * note above)
1 cup shredded carrots (or more if you'd like!)
½ cup un sweetened shredded coconut (optional), soaked in water for 20 minutes

1. cream sugar, brown sugar and applesauce. add vanilla and eggs and cream again.

2. add oat flour, wheat flour, wheat germ, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. mix until combined. add carrot baby food and mix again until combined.

3. stir in shredded carrots and coconut.

4. bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes in a jelly roll pan (10x15 cookie sheet). done when toothpick comes out clean.

cream cheese un-frosting

whip 1 block 1/3 less fat cream cheese (softened). then add 4 tablespoons milk and ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons powdered sugar and whip until combined. spread over carrot cake bars.

healthy cooking on a budget

disclaimer: i don't claim to be an expert on cooking, weight loss or even healthy eating, but i do love to cook, find healthy, taste bud-friendly tricks and most of all, i love to eat!

qualifications: what qualifies me to blog on cooking healthy on a small budget? well, as my husband is still a student, my budget is not what you'd call large. and as for the healthy part, when i was 10 i was diagnosed with pancreatitus - a disease that doesn't effect me much anymore unless i eat food that is too greasy or has too much fat (in which case, well, let's just say i get really sick). this had steered my experience and limited cooking expertise in a health-conscious direction.

please feel free to comment, criticise, rate recipes, try ideas and make requests for future posts!