Oat Groat Muffins

You must be thinking, what is a freaking groat? When I first tried them, gross-oats came to mind. Groats are the hulled grains of various cereals, such as oats, and are whole grains that include the cereal germ and fiber-rich bran portion of the grain as well as the endosperm. I get that they’re good for you, but how do you make them edible?

Soak your groats!

These muffins are the only way I could get the goons to eat their groats. I tried to make these healthy, but palatable – not an easy feat when working with groats. You can find them in the bulk foods section of your local health food store.

Don't goon out on too many gruffins

Banana Chocolate Chip Oat Groat Muffins (Gruffins)

  • 1 cup oat groats, rinsed and soaked overnight
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened kefir (or yogurt)
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375.  Spray muffin tins with cooking spray.  Combine groats, banana, sugar, kefir, applesauce and oil in a food processor, and pulse 10-12 times to combine.  Put ingredients into a bowl with the egg and vanilla.  Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined.   Spoon into muffin trays and bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.  Makes 12 gruffins.

How to SLIM a Goon

I’m not sure if most people experience the pull of good and evil with food like I do. On certain days, I crave veggies, fresh fruit and whole grains. I can even imagine myself a vegetarian, all slim, eating vegan meals and flapping about organics and farmers markets. At other times, all I want is a medium rare cheeseburger, smothered in bacon and oozy processed cheese with a side of duck fat fries.  Mmmmmm.  The reality is that while this entire blog is about feeding goons, 80% of the time I try not to be a goon (so that I can justify gooning out 20% of the time).

We’re going to the beach in one month, and I can’t bear the thought of trying to squeeze myself into that mini bikini I wore on my honeymoon. Drastic measures are needed – STAT!  For the next month, I’ll share this to-be-short-lived-kick of blending and juicing veggies, eating tons of salads, soaking grains, sprouting nuts, and delving into the world of “raw” and “detox” and “clean” eating.  Ugh.

So here is my first attempt at healthy eating to slim the goon/goonette. This recipe is from Kimberly Snyder’s “The Beauty Detox Solution.” It is intense tasting, but you get used to it, and it’s surprisingly filling. The first time you try this recipe, add extra apple and less celery for better taste. It’s intended to be consumed on an empty stomach first thing in the morning (after a cup of hot lemon water).

Wish me luck.

It tastes as green and as healthy as it looks. Choke it down!

“Glowing Green Smoothie”

1.5 cups of filtered water
1 head of organic romaine lettuce, chopped
1/2 head of a large bunch of organic spinach
3-4 stalks organic celery
1 organic apple, cored and chopped
1 organic pear, cored and chopped
1 organic banana
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Optional:
1/2 bunch of parsley and/or cilantro

Add the water, romaine and spinach to a blender and starting on the lowest setting, mix until smooth. Gradually add the additional ingredients one at a time.

Makes two servings. This will keep for 1-2 days covered in the fridge.

Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin Tacos

The first time my good friend made this with a pork butt for a party, my head almost exploded – it was that good.  The problem with pork butt is what it does to the size of my butt.  She told me that for weeknights she makes it with pork tenderloin to keep the calorie count down.

In honor of the new year, diet resolutions, and just feeling bad about all of the calories we’ve consumed over the holidays, we made this for the first time tonight.  It’s my new favorite way to make pork, and might be the easiest way yet.  To be honest, you can even leave out the spices, cook it in chicken stock, and cover it with red or green enchilada sauce when it’s finished.  We served it tonight with blue corn tortillas, cabbage slaw, pico de gallo, and guacamole.

Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin Tacos

  • 1 pork tenderloin
  • Copious amounts of your favorite spice rub (salt, pepper, cumin, brown sugar, cayenne, chipotle, etc.)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 1 small can of green chilies
  • 1 can of green enchilada sauce
  • hot sauce to taste

Cover the pork in the spice rub of your choice.  Add it to a slow cooker and cover with the chilies, garlic, onions and enchilada sauce.  Cook for 4-5 hours on high heat.  Remove it from the slow cooker and pull it apart with two forks,  Take the pan drippings and strain off the fat and solids.  Pour strained sauce over the pork and toss to coat.  Serve over warm tortillas with salsa, sour cream, cheese, cabbage, etc.  Enjoy!

Christmas Margaritas!

We finally made it  home after driving 8.5 hours from Hilton Head to DC on Christmas Day. Nothing is open except for the Indian restaurant down the street, and for some reason, I am craving cocktails and garlic naan! With a few things on hand, I threw these together, and feel a little more festive, merry, warm, and in the Christmas spirit.

Merry Christmas to all you goons out there…big and small!…xoxoxo

Christmas Margaritas

1 part tequila
1 part orange liquor
1 part lime/lemon
1 part pomegranate juice
1 part seltzer water

Mix to combine. Taste and adjust booze/juice as needed.  Enjoy!

Fresh Pasta and Sunday Sugo

When I think about goonettes, Lidia Bastianich has to be on the list.  She is large, loves food and definitely tosses back a few glasses of vino.  My kind of gal!  She is never concerned about calories – in fact, a “drizzle” of olive oil could be 1-2 cups.  A “sprinkling” of cheese could be two giant handfuls.  Speaking of hands, have you seen her enormous mits?  When she does her cooking shows on PBS, I love it when they zoom in on those man hands, kneading pasta dough into submission. 

Tonight we made her fresh pasta recipe and it came out great!  We topped it with a Sunday gravy that had been simmering away all afternoon.  It’s much easier to tackle the week with a belly full of satisfying Italian comfort food.

The pasta attachment for the Kitchen Aid makes it so easy!

I'm almost in carb heaven.

Man hands?

Man hands!

I need a long nap.

Finished product

Oh My Lemon Pie

Everyone ate the pie before I could take a picture. It's that good.

When I’m having friends over for dinner, I always feel like I’m always running around and end up throwing something together at the last minute that looks like a lame gooned-out afterthought. This pie can be in the oven in five minutes and uses ingredients that you always have on hand. I made this last night and one of the guests raved that it was the best dessert that he has eaten all year. The goons have spoken!

The original recipe came from www.food52.com where they blended the ingredients with an entire Meyer lemon – skin, seeds and all. I had a hard time getting my hands on a Meyer lemon, so I initially tried this recipe with a plain old organic lemon but it came out seriously bitter with chunks of pith. I tweaked the recipe to use a standard lemon (more juice, less rind), and it was sweet perfection.  Tastes like a lemon bar pie.  Serve it with a few sprigs of mint and vanilla ice cream, or try it with a shortbread cookie crust. My mom thought it would be nice with toasted coconut on top and coconut ice cream. Enjoy!

Oh My Lemon Pie

– 1 prepared pie crust
– 2 lemons, juiced
– 1 thick lemon slice
– 1 teaspoon lemon zest
– 1.5 cups of sugar
– 1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
– 1-2 pinches of salt
– 1 stick of butter
– 4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350. Add all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth (about one minute). Pour into prepared pie crust and bake 40 minutes, or until lightly brown on top. That’s it!

The Long and the Short(ening)

This was an excellent lesson in understanding that you should never have a glass of wine and think you can bake at the same time.  I became immediately spastic after the first sip of Pinot.  Flinging flour everywhere.  When I was finished with these bad boys, there was biscuit debris all over me, in every corner of the kitchen, and caked on the dog too.  I’ve tried approximately ten different recipes over the year, and even with my vino in hand, this is the only version to cut the mustard.

I found that my butter biscuits were fantastic right out of the oven (and apparently more easily processed by the arteries), but if you do not intend to serve them right away, they can seize up into lead weapons of war.  I finally gave into using shortening, and I am happy to say that it made all the difference.  From what I understand, bakers in the south prefer to use shortening because it makes for a more stable product, particularly in the heat.  These stood the test of time (cocktail hour), and were also forgiving of errors in the baking process.  For example, if you forget to add the shortening in the beginning, you can add it at the end (not recommended).

This recipe is courtesy of friend’s mother in Georgia.  In my cooking frenzy, I tried to cut the flour with the shortening in my food processor; however, I quickly realized that the food-pro can only handle three cups of flour at a time.  It’s an 11-cup bowl, so you do the math, but it’s true.  It helps to halve the recipe.

I served these tasty mounds of love with country ham, pickles and mustard, and others with pimento cheese and black olives (see previous post) at an event for wine bloggers a Weygandt Wines (www.weygandtwines.com) in Cleveland Park, DC.

This recipe makes approximately 35 small biscuits.

Angel Biscuits

1 1/2 packages yeast
5 tablespoons warm water
5 cups sifted all purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

  • Dissolve yeast in warm water.  Sift dry ingredients together, then cut shortening into the flour mixture.  Add buttermilk and yeast.  Knead lightly but *do not let the dough rise*.
  • Roll out and cut with a round biscuit cutter
  • Put on a baking sheet touching each other (helps keep the biscuits moist)
  • Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Brush with melted butter on top after baking.

Mmmmmmm....buttermilk biz-kits

Pimento Cheese If You Please, Knock Me to My Knees…

That’s what David Allen Coe said, right?  Or was he talking about Jack Daniels?  I forget.

This week, I have several get togethers where I need to bring a little something something to satiate the goon squad.  So I threw together a big batch of pimento cheese last night to use on burgers, and it made enough to be a spread, a dip, and a filling for tea sandwiches.  I’m also thinking that it would be killer on nachos with black olives.  (Wait, what kind of goons eat tea sandwiches?)

Here’s my favorite recipe.  It will last for at least a week in the fridge.  My friends from the south grew up eating this sharp and cheesy delight at cocktail parties and holidays, and my peeps from the north are captivated by its bright orangey/pink hue.   You have to try it on burgers, straight up, no ketchup needed.

Pink 'n Juicy

Pimento Cheese

8oz sharp white cheddar, shredded

8oz yellow cheddar, shredded

7 oz. jar of Pimentos, drained and rinsed

2/3 cup mayo

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon hot sauce (or more to taste)

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)

Black pepper

Combine all ingredients in the food processor and pulse to combine.  You will want the consistency to be somewhere between chunky and smooth.  Taste for seasoning.  Store in an airtight container for one week in the fridge.

GOON Feeding

Thai Punk-in Curry

First, let me apologize for going dark on the goons for a few weeks.  My waistline was getting seriously GOONED-OUT and I needed to take a break.  Now I’m back, a few pounds lighter, able to run a few more miles on the treadmill and ready to eat my way through the holidays!

This recipe was inspired by a terrific pumpkin curry dish that we enjoyed a few weeks ago at Thai X-ing (http://thaix-ing.com/).  Thai X-ing definitely qualifies as a goon friendly establishment because of its large quantities and the fact that it’s BYOB (we should have brought a box o’ wine just cuz we could).

My version has a little less sugar, much more spice, and uses several types of squash.  I recommend that you make this ahead and let it sit for a few hours before serving so that the flavors meld.  Enjoy!

 

 

Serves 8-10 goons!

Ingredients:

  • 1 TBSP canola oil
  • 1 small pie pumpkin, 1 butternut squash, 1 kabocha squash – peeled and cubed (or any other orange squash except spaghetti)
  • 2-3 small red or sweet potatoes (peeled and cubed)
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into thick slices
  • ½ red onion, cut into thick ½ moons
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thick slices
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 can chick peas

Curry Sauce:

  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1-2 fresh Thai chilies
  • 2 cans of coconut milk (possibly more as needed)
  • 2-3 TBSP tamarind paste
  • 4-5 TBSP soy sauce
  • 3-4 TBSP brown sugar
  • 1 lime – juiced
  • ½ orange – juiced
  • 1 TSP tumeric
  • 2 TBSP rice vinegar
  • 1 TBSP fish sauce
  • 1 TBSP ground coriander seeds, 1 TBSP ground cumin, 1 TSP fennel seed
  • ½ red onion
  • 1 TBSP red curry paste

Garnish:

  • Chopped cilantro
  • Thai basil

To make the vegetables, heat the canola oil over medium high heat and cook the squash, potatoes, carrots and onions until they start to get some color.  While they’re cooking, combine all of the ingredients for the curry sauce in a blender and puree until smooth.  Add the curry sauce to the pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer to thicken.  Add the rest of the vegetables (except the chick peas) and simmer for approximately 30 minutes or until all vegetables are soft.  At this point, check the seasoning!  Add more chili sauce, coconut milk, soy sauce, sugar and fish sauce as needed.  Add the chick peas at the very end until just heated through.  Garnish with cilantro and basil, and serve over warm sticky rice.

 

Salad Smoothie Shake

I am a strong believer that early birds get the worms.   I work out early, get to work early, and eat healthy early in the day.  Life is about balance.  Start out good, finish off bad…

In order to keep myself from weighing 500 pounds, I like to eat clean (ok, 10% of the time).  This smoothie makes me feel virtuous before (or after) a serious goon-out oinker session.  It’s breakfast, it’s a salad, it’s clean livin’, and it tastes like dessert (that might be pushing it, but it’s really tasty).

Salad Smoothie Shake (serves one petite goonette)

8 oz. unsweetened almond milk (you can also use water, juice, soy milk or skim milk)

1 scoop whey protein powder (preferably vanilla without added sugar)

1 tsp flax oil

1/2 ripe banana (use frozen ripe bananas to make the smoothie even more like a milk shake)

1 handful frozen pineapple (or mango)

1 handful fresh or frozen blueberries

1 handful fresh spinach

Add all ingredients into a blender and kick it into high gear to combine.  I also like to add some of the following to mix it up from time to time:

  • Toasted almonds
  • Greens powder (available at Whole Foods)
  • Ground flax seeds
  • Any ripe berries
  • Any greens
  • Nut butters
  • Coconut milk (lite)

Mmmmmmmmm…..can’t wait for my next burger.

Tastes much better than a salad...I promise