Wholly Healthy Momma

A site meant to share healthy versions of delicious food so that more people can enjoy living a healthier lifestyle!

Chocolate Caramel Pecan Bars

I was opening a package of butter the other day and the recipe printed on the inside caught my eye.  This, of course, happens frequently.  Normally, I clip it and squirrel it away in some location, never to be seen again.  These poor recipes never seem to find their way out of the dark abyss once they’ve been clipped.  But this recipe looked so good that I had to make it. Now I am so happy I did; they are so good! So, without further ado…

The original recipe came from a Land O Lakes package and can be found here 

Chocolate Caramel Pecan Bars 

Chocolate Caramel Pecan Bars

Chocolate Caramel Pecan Bars

Crust

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
7/8 cup honey plus 1/8 cup molasses
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups pecan halves

Caramel Layer

2/3 cup butter
1/2 cup honey plus 1 Tbsp molasses

Chocolate

1 cup chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

Heat oven to 350°F.

  1. Combine all crust ingredients except pecans in food processor. Beat at medium speed until well combined.
  2. Press onto bottom of a 13×9-inch baking pan.  Spread pecans evenly over unbaked crust.  Bake about 5 minutes.
  3. Start the caramel layer. Combine caramel ingredients in 1-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until entire surface of mixture comes to a boil. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove crust from oven and pour caramel evenly over pecans and crust.
  4. Bake 18-22 minutes or until entire caramel layer is bubbly. (Do not overbake.) Remove from oven. Immediately sprinkle with chips; allow to melt slightly. 
  5. Cool completely; cut into bars.
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Microwave Banana Bread

My daughter’s class is trying different foods for Thanksgiving.  Last week they were making microwave banana bread and homemade butter.  The teacher asked if I would send a piece of bread so that she would not feel left out at snack time.  I thought, microwave banana bread doesn’t sound too hard let’s make some of our own!  So I looked it up.  I modified the recipe that I found at http://www.cooks.com/recipe/kz9zu1gv/microwave-banana-bread.html, which took hardly any time at all and sent her with her own piece of healthy banana bread for snack.  This recipe was simple and came out great.  Plus, she got the benefit of making it twice!

I always keep bananas in the freezer – they make great ice cream or can be made into other treats.  if The bananas get a little over ripe I just peel them and stick them in a freezer bag.  This way there’s no waste, and they are ready to use any time!  This worked perfectly for making this quick recipe, once the banana started to thaw it easily mashed up in the batter.

 

1/2 c. Whole wheat flour
1/4.c Whole wheat pastry flour
3/8 c. honey
1/4 c. plus 1 tbsp. soft butter
1/3 c. milk
1 eggs
1 med. banana, sliced or mashed
1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 c. nuts (1/8 cup plus 1/8 cup)
(optional) 1/4 c chocolate chips
Combine ingredients in order given, except for 1/8 cup of the nuts. Mix well. Lightly butter a microwave safe loaf pan. Sprinkle 1/4 cup nuts over the bottom of the pan. Pour batter over nuts. Cook for 6 to 9 minutes on full power or until done. I tested mine with a toothpick about 6 minutes in and it was perfect.  Let stand 5 minutes before turning out of pan.
Makes 1 loaf
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Vegetable Lasagna

When I was younger my mom would buy the Stouffer’s Vegetable Lasagna, which I LOVED!  Because only mom and I liked it, we didn’t have it often and when we did I ate a good portion of it… so of course it was something I made sure to have when I got married.  When it became too expensive to buy, I made my own recipe.  When I changed my eating habits it was easy to continue making this – all I needed to do was change from white pasta to whole wheat.  Recently I served it to a group of friends who requested the recipe, so I am sharing it with the world!  You can find this and more in this document – my Healthy Recipies,  This is just a general guideline, add any vegetables you like!  I often use whatever I have on hand – the last time I made it I included cabbage, green beans and peas – it always turns out great.

Veggie Lazagne

Vegetable medley

Doesn’t this look beautiful?

Vegetable Lasagna

Ingredients

1 ½ cup frozen chopped spinach

2 carrots

1 small Zucchini squash

1 small yellow squash

1/2 cup broccoli

1/2 cup cauliflower

4-6 fresh mushrooms

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup chopped onion

2 Tablespoons Butter

2-3 Cups Monterey Jack Cheese

8 oz pkg. of Ricotta

6 Whole Wheat lasagna noodles cooked and drained

Sauce ingredients

2 Tbsp butter

1 cup parmesan cheese

1 cup mozzarella cheese

2 cups Heavy cream

Lemon pepper to taste

Garlic salt to taste

Italian seasonings to taste

Sauce Directions:

Melt butter in sauce pan, add cream and seasonings.  Add cheeses.  Stir until melted.   Add cream or cheese if needed to adjust consistency.

Directions

  1. cut all vegetables into julienne strips about 1 inch in length, or small chunks
  2. sauté carrots in butter about 3 minutes add broccoli and cauliflower, cook and additional 3 minutes.  Add zucchini, squash and mushrooms cook another 2 minutes. Add onion and garlic sauté until all vegetables are tender.  Add spinach, cook until heated through.
  3. put a little sauce on the bottom of a lasagna pan, place 2 noodles in the bottom of the pan next spread ¼ in layer of ricotta over noodles, then spread ¼ in layer of vegetable mixture. Sprinkle a layer of cheese then pour a layer of sauce.  Add 2 noodles, continue pattern until pan is full ending with noodles, cheese and sauce.
  4. bake in 350o oven until heated through
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Chicken and Dumplings

My husband’s favorite meal is chicken and dumplings.  Before my diet. I made it for him frequently.  Shortly after starting the diet I gave it a try and it was a spectacular failure… Yuck! So, occasionally I have made it for him the old way and had something else for myself….  The trouble is, I liked it too.  So, when he asked for it this time, I was determined to figure it out so that we could all enjoy it.  It took some work as we like the Betty Crocker recipe made with Bisquick – which is really simple to make, if you don’t need to make all the ingredients first.  I needed to figure out how to make Bisquick mix and chicken gravy mix in order to make it turn out right.  But, as a result I can now make other things that were previously unavailable – like Red Lobster’s Cheddar Bay Biscuits, strawberry shortcake, or any number of other Bisquick recipes.  I can also make quick gravies, which has been something I was missing… so make up a lot of the mixes and enjoy!

Whole Wheat Bisquick Mix

4 cups whole wheat flour

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

3 tbsp baking powder

1 tbsp salt

1 cup butter

  1. Sift dry ingredients together
  2. cut in butter until mixture becomes crumbly and sticks together.
  3. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container. (original recipe – included shortening- said up to 4 months, I do not know how long this recipe will last)
  4. Use to replace Bisquick in any Bisquick recipe

 

Chicken Gravy Mix

3 tbsp chicken bullion

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp celery seed

1/2 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp pepper

1/8 tsp thyme

1/4 cup cornstarch

  1. Using a mortar and pestle grind all spices together into a fine powder.
  2. Add chicken bullion and cornstarch, mix well
  3. Use 1/4 cup to replace 1 package of chicken gravy.

To make brown gravy replace the chicken bullion with beef bullion

 

Chicken and Dumplings

1 lb chicken cut into 1 inch cubes

1 tbsp oil

1  3/4 cups water

1 cup milk

1/4 cup chicken gravy mix

3/4 tsp marjoram

1/2 tsp salt

1 (16 oz) bag frozen broccoli, carrots and cauliflower

 

Dumpling ingredients

2 cups Bisquick

2/3 cup milk

(to be prepared at step 4) using a fork combine Bisquick and milk until they are both well incorporated.  This will make a very sticky mixture.

  1. In a large saucepan, brown chicken in oil, stirring frequently, until browned on all sides.
  2. Add milk, water marjoram and gravy mix, stir until combined.
  3. Add frozen vegetables and mix well.
  4. Begin preparing dumplings, when mixture begins to boil reduce heat to a low, give it one last stir and begin dropping dumpling mixture, by spoonfuls over the chicken mixture.
  5. Cook uncovered 10 minutes
  6. Cover and cook an additional 10 minutes
  7. Enjoy!

 

 

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Stuffed Acorn Squash

This recipe was somewhat of a mistake.  I went to the store to get the ingredients for a summer squash recipe and got acorn squash instead.  When I went to make it I had the wrong ingredients.  After returning from the store for the correct ingredients I didn’t know what to do with the acorn squash… so I decided to stuff the acorn squash with the summer squash and see what happened.  My husband and I both loved it!  Now, at the request of my baby sister, I share it with the world.

 

 

Stuffed acorn squash with sausage

Stuffed acorn squash with sausage

Stuffed Acorn Squash

2 acorn squash

2 yellow squash

2 cups chicken broth

1 clove minced garlic

1 tbsp butter

1/4 cup pecans

3/4 cup Italian blend cheese

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

 

Directions:

  1. Cut the acorn squash in half and remove the seeds and guts, place in a baking pan and fill each cavity with chicken broth.  Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour (until fork tender).
  2.  Julienne the summer squash.  Melt butter in a pan and saute with garlic and pecans.
  3. Mix the summer squash mixture and cheeses together.
  4. Remove the acorn squash from the oven pour about half of the chicken broth over the squash and cheese mixture, discard the remaining juice.  Mix until combined and scoop the mixture into the empty cavities of the acorn squash.
  5. Return the squash to the oven and bake and additional 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted.

optional – add some cooked sausage or bacon for a different flavor.

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Whipped Sweet Potatoes

This one is for my sis! One of my favorite parts of any holiday meal is whipped sweet potatoes.  YUM!  It is like having desert with dinner! They are so easy and the kids love them!  My sister recently asked me to post the recipe so she can have it so here goes!

Whipped Sweet Potato Bake

Ingredients:

2-3 large baked sweet potatoes

¼ cup butter melted

½ cup honey

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350o remove sweet potatoes from skins, beat remaining ingredients on medium speed until well blended.
  • Spoon into lightly greased (1 ½ quart) casserole dish.
  • Bake 15-20 minutes or until heated through

Traditionally these had marshmallows on top which I LOVED but I do not usually do this anymore, because homemade marshmallows add to the difficulty of the recipe.  However if you want to add this feature – use my marshmallow recipe found here. Just make large sized marshmallows bake the sweet potatoes until they are nearly done then arrange the marshmallows over the top and bake just long enough for the cornstarch to brown.  Otherwise they melt into a big puddle across the top and make a pretty good glaze.

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As Easy As Ramen Soup

 

 

Every once in a while you just have to cook something SUPER SIMPLE… for us Ramen noodles fit the bill.  They are so quick and easy!  When my husband was on his mission he learned to embellish it which makes it so delicious, but is still SO easy – at least as easy as you want it to be.  To make it oh so much better, you simply follow the package directions and add meat and veggies of your choice.  – to make it super simple, all you do is, throw in some leftover meat – your choice and some frozen veggies – your choice.  Boil it until everything is hot and serve.  It takes maybe 15 minutes!  Well unfortunately this has been something that I had to do without…. Until recently when I realized I had exactly what I needed already in my pantry…

Product DetailsWe found this in a local store and bought it to replace the noodles in some Thai dishes we love.  Sadly, they stopped carrying it locally and I needed to start buying it off Amazon. com, which means that that I have to buy it in bulk and we just don’t use it that fast.  It sat around for quite some time before I had the idea to use it to replace Ramen Noodles – I SO wish I had thought of it before!  Anyway, here you go.  I hope you enjoy!

Easy as Ramen Soup

 

As Easy As Ramen Soup – and better for you too!

brown rice vermicelli about 1/4 of a package

cooked meat of choice

vegetables of choice

bullion of choice

4 cups water

1 egg (optional)

 

1. Add water to pan, bring to a boil.

2. Add bullion

3. Add meat and vegetables to pot

4. After vegetables are nearly finished cooking, add noodles, cook until tender (2-3 minutes)

5. Beat an egg and drizzle it slowly over boiling water.

5. Serve and enjoy

 

So Simple!

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Um Ali – Egyptian bread pudding and Puff Pastry

We often feed the missionaries for our church… When we fed them a few weeks ago my husband began bragging that I make foods from many different cultures and asked them if there was anything they wanted us to make for them when they came again.  This is a typical question for us to ask but it is rare to get any particular requests.  This time, however was different.  One of the sisters responded that she loves a particular desert that she had eaten while growing up in Saudi Arabia.  I will admit that I was a little nervous as I had no clue what I was getting into… but I was up for the challenge and found a recipe on line, which, of course, had to be fixed so that I could eat it too (find the original and read about it’s interesting history at http://honestcooking.com/um-ali-egyptian-bread-pudding/ ).  And set to work… It turned out to be really quite simple and tasted great – and of course was approved by the most important critic, our missionary sister, who said it was exactly what she remembered and seemed to enjoy it very much.  In addition, I had to learn how to make whole wheat puff pastry in order to make this dish, which is something I have wanted to try but has seemed very intimidating to me in the past.  I was surprised to find that it was actually quite simple and turned out really good!  We even got a bonus desert out of the deal – Pain au chocolat- because I had to see how the puff pastry turned out before I could serve it to a guest.  These came out fabulous as well and were gone WAY too quickly!
Um Ali - Egyptian Bread Pudding

Um Ali

Ingredients
  • 1 pack (10 small square slices) puff pastry
  • 4 1/2 cups milk
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds
  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • ¼ cup pistachios
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • ¼ cup shredded coconut
Instructions
  1. Take the puff pastry out of the freezer 2 hours before using them and allow to defrost
  2. preheat heat oven to 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit
  3. Place the puff pastry slices on a baking sheet and then place them into the oven for 5-10 minutes (you want them to be puffed up and golden brown).
  4. Take them out of the oven and allow to cool
  5. Combine the milk, whipped cream, honey and spices in a pan and allow to come to a gentle simmer.
  6. take off the heat and add vanilla
  7. Break the puff pastry into small pieces and place half the amount in a baking dish
  8. Later the nuts raisins and coconut
  9. Top with the other half of puff pastry crumbs
  10. Slowly add the milk mixture,one ladle at a time to the dish with puff pastry and nuts until the milk fully covers the puff pastry
  11. Allow it to rest for 10 minutes so that the puff pastry absorbs some of the milk. Add milk again until it covers the puff pastry
  12. Bake on the central rack for 15 minutes at 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit, until thickened and milk is absorbed into the pastry

 

Puff Pastry

2 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 tsp salt

1 1/4 cups cold butter

1/4 cup cold water

  1. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Roughly break the butter in small chunks, add them to the bowl and rub them in loosely. You need to see bits of butter.
  2. Make a well in the bowl and pour in the cold water, mixing until you have a firm rough dough adding extra water if needed. Cover with Saran Wrap and put in fridge for 20 min.
  3. Turn out onto a lightly floured board, knead gently and form into a smooth rectangle. Roll the dough in one direction only, until 3 times the width.  Don’t overwork the butter streaks; you should have a marbled effect.
  4. Fold the top third down to the center, then the bottom third up and over that. Turn the dough a quarter turn and roll out again to three times the length. Fold as before, cover with Saran Wrap and chill for at least 20 mins.  Roll it out one last time before using.

This freezes very well.

see the original at http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2403/roughpuff-pastry-

 

Pain au Chocolat

Pain au Chocolat

Raspberry Pain Au Chocolat

Ingredients:

Puff Pastry cut into approximately 5 inch squares

6 Tbsp Almond butter

3 Tbsp cocoa powder

2 Tbsp honey

1 Tbsp milk

4 Tbsp raspberry all fruit jam

(optional – 1 beaten egg for brushing over the pastry to get a nice golden brown top)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix the Almond butter, cocoa powder, honey and milk together to make a chocolate almond spread. Please note that all the measurements are approximate, taste it, observe it and adjust it as necessary to meet your tastes and consistency desires.
  3. Spread some of the hazelnut spread onto the center third of each square to within 1/2 inch of the outer edges. Spread about 1/2 teaspoon of the raspberry jam over the hazelnut spread. Fold the two outer sections over one another to enclose the filling. Press the  open edges firmly to seal. Repeat the process with the remaining squares. Use a sharp knife to cut 5 slits across the top of each pastry, and place them on baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.
  4. Bake for about 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown. Cool on racks.

 

we are also going to try this with a cream cheese spread and apricot jam… YUM!  So… have fun, experiment and feel free to share your ideas!

 

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Goldfish Crackers

My oldest daughter loves goldfish crackers… but of course I’m not thrilled with the ingredients.  So, I promised her that I would make her some… This really was a labor of love, first I learned to make cheez it’s, which are actually VERY simple.  I found a great  recipe on the internet that was perfect.  See it here: http://www.time2saveworkshops.com/homemade-cheez-its-only-6-ingredients-healthier-version/), then I figured out how to make mini cookie cutters (I looked around to buy premade ones but couldn’t find anything. Finally, I was able to make the goldfish as promised.  Both the girls really enjoyed  them but it sure took a lot of work to cut out all those little fish.  So… with love for my daughters, here it is…

Goldfish Crackers Goldfish Crackers before bakingGoldfish Crackers

Ingredients:

8 oz block extra sharp cheese (or your favorite flavor)

1 cup whole wheat flour

4 tablespoons butter

2-4 tablespoons ice water

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon paprika

6-8 drops yellow food coloring (optional)

3-4 drops red food coloring (optional)

Instructions

Chop cheese into cubes

Put cheese, flour,butter, salt and Paprika and food coloring in a food processor. Process until combined. Will look like coarse crumbs.

add water 1 Tablespoon at a time until dough sticks together

remove from food processor, form into a ball and wrap ball of dough in plastic wrap. refrigerate for 30 min.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut about 1/4 of the dough off, roll on a floured surfaced until about 1/8 inch thick. Cut into shapes. Transfer to a cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes or until puffed and crispy.  Watch them closely or they will burn.

 

To make cheez it’s – cut into squares using a rolling cutter, transfer the entire sheet to a cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes.  The crackers break apart easily after they are baked.

 

How to make the cookie cutters

this was a lot of work but actually pretty fun – I love a challenge and I love to learn new things so this was right up my alley!

 

Mini Goldfish Cookie Cutters Mini Goldfish Cookie Cutters

I started with a soda can which I rinsed and dried.

Next, I used metal shears to cut off the top and bottom of the can and cut it down one side to get a flat sheet of aluminum.

Then, I marked the can in even strips with a sharpie and a straight edge and cut these into strips along the marked lines (about 1 inch wide)

Next, I folded the strips in half because I did not want to use the sharp aluminum edge and rolled it through a pasta  press to make the fold nice and crisp.

Then I made a model fish out of cardboard which I glued together to make a template which I could mold the aluminum around.

For each cookie cutter, I wrapped the aluminum around the mold to form it into the proper shape.

I then tucked the ends together to get my final cookie cutter.

Since these were so small and I did not want to cut each one by hand I decided to design a rolling cutter, I found a tube to place the fish on, lined them up and threaded a wire through the front and back ends of each fish, this served to hold them together and to anchor them to the tube.  I wrapped the tube in clay, positioned the fish and baked it until the clay was solid.

Tada! one rolling goldfish cookie cutter – It worked pretty well, But I would suggest making sure all the cutters are even in height as some do not cut because they cannot reach the dough.

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Master Muffin Mix

My oldest started preschool this year.  It is amazing how fast she has grown… One of my concerns with her being in school was that I did not want her eating the breakfasts and lunches provided by the school (they are frequently loaded with refined grains and sugars) but I also don’t want her to be teased because she has to eat different food than the other kids.  So I decided to try making similar meals to send with her.  The first meal on the menu was blueberry muffins so I looked up a master muffin mix on line fixed it accordingly and we got fabulous muffins to send to school!  So far we have tried peach, mixed berry and blueberry muffins.  She liked them so much that I  haven’t need to make any of the other breakfasts – she just want’s muffins or pancakes…

See the original and great varieties at http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2014/02/18/master-muffin-mix/

MuffinsMaster Muffin Mix

Ingredients:

1 Cup whole Wheat Pastry Flour

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 large egg

1/2 cup honey

1 Tbsp Molasses

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup of fruit of choice

 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Combine and sift the dry ingredients into a bowl

3. Combine wet ingredients in another bowl

4. Combine wet and dry ingredients, add fruit, mix until combined.  Do not over mix.

5. Prepare muffin pans with liners or spray with oil

6. fill muffin cups 3/4 full.  Bake in preheated oven for about 10 minutes or when toothpick comes out clean.

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