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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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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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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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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Green Chili Cheese Ball

A friend of mine would frequently supply my coworkers and I with the most fabulous cheese ball ever… I got the recipe and was surprised to find that this delicious appetizer is deceptively simple.  Now we frequently find ourselves fulfilling requests for this party staple.

The following recipe is how we most commonly prepare it however it is delicious in many ways.  We have tried it with sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and basil.  Or how about some crispy bacon, ham, or pepperoni… Get creative and make up your own recipe – what would you put in your cheese ball?

Green Chili Cheese Ball

Green Chili Cheese Ball

Green Chili Cheese Ball

1 Block Cream Cheese

1 Can black olives – chopped

1/4 cup chopped green chili

1 cup fiesta blend cheese

1/8 tsp garlic powder (optional)

1/2 cup pecans

 

1. Combine all ingredients except pecans in a bowl.  Mix until all ingredients are evenly distributed through cream cheese.

2. Shape into a ball

3. Spread pecans over a flat surface.

4. Roll ball over pecans, making sure to cover entire surface.

5. Serve with triscuits or other favorite crackers, chips or pretzels.

 

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Grout Bilk

Ok, I know the name doesn’t exactly sound appetizing and it probably isn’t even spelled right, but give it a chance it really is good!

My mother-in-law has some German ancestry.  She gave me this recipe, claiming that it is a traditional German dish.  It is basically a homemade hot pocket. It is actually quite simple to make but does take quite a bit of time to prepare.  My 3 year old helped me prepare these and had great fun sealing up the filling, she originally was pinching so gently that they didn’t really seal so I told her to pinch it like she was mad (and we had a talk about the appropriate release of anger and that it wasn’t ok to pinch people…) so each time she would start working on a n edge she would say “I’m mad” scrunch up her little face into a comedic imitation of ‘mad’ and pinch away, when she was finished she would say “I’m happy now” and wait for her next opportunity to work.  Such fun!

I imagine that you could use the basic concept and stuff it with any fillings you like but I have never experimented with it – we do so enjoy the original… Hope you do too!

Grout Bilk

Grout Bilk

Grout Bilk

To make this you first prepare a bread dough, when bread has about 45 min left on it’s final rise start preparing the filling mixture. After the filling is prepared, allow it to cool while you prepare the bread to be filled.  To prepare the bread dough for filling: break the  dough into 4-6 portions.  Using one section at a time, roll the bread dough out to about 1/8 inch thick.  Use a knife to cut the rolled dough into 4×4 inch squares.  Place a heaping scoop of filling into the center of each square, leaving about 1 inch of dough all the way around the filling.  Lift the four corners of each square to meet in the center then seal each edge well by pinching it shut.   bake in a 350 degree oven until they turn golden brown on the bottom.

Honey Wheat Bread Dough

ingredients

2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast (or 1 packet – bread will be heavier as the packets only contain about 2 1/4 tsp yeast)

2 Cups warm water

1/3 cup honey or dark molasses

1 Tbsp applesauce

2 tsp salt

5 1/2 to 6 cups whole wheat flour

 

directions:

place all ingredients into bread machine in order given, set machine on dough setting. Press start and allow it to work. Roll out dough as instructed in previous directions, fill with the grout bilk mixture, seal well and bake.

 

if you don’t have a bread machine here is the method for making it manually:

in mixing bowl add all ingredients except flour.  Gradually add flour to make a stiff dough.  Knead on well floured surface until smooth and satiny, about 8-10 minutes.  Place in greased bowl, cover, allow to rise in warm place until doubled – about 1 1/2 – 2 hours.  Roll out and prepare as directed previously.

 

 

Grout Bilk Filling

Ingredients

1 pound lean Hamburger

1/4 head of cabbage

1 onion

salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

1. In a large pot, brown the hamburger.

2. Add the cabbage and onion, cook until onion is translucent and cabbage is soft.  Stir frequently, do not let it burn.

3. Remove from heat and let it cool before filling the bread with it – if it is too hot you will burn your hands.

 

We love to eat these with ketchup.

As a time saving idea, the last time we made this we chopped up the entire head of cabbage and 4 onions, divided it into 4 gallon sized freezer bags, labeled them and threw them in the freezer.  So when I made my last batch all I had to do was open the bag and pour it in, it can’t get easier than that!

*the bread recipe was adapted from a recipe found on a package of High altitude, Hungarian stone ground whole wheat flour.  It came out very good, better than any bread I’ve made in the past!

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Homemade Pizza Crust

Nana requested a recipe for pizza crust, so here it is.  This recipe is really very simple and doesn’t even take a lot of time to prepare… but I will admit that I have gotten lazy.  I usually use Mama Mary’s whole wheat and honey crust, which is already prepared, making things that much easier.  however making your own crust allows so many fun options – personal pizzas for the kids to prepare themselves, calzones, pizza pies… Have fun and be creative! Who doesn’t love pizza… enjoy!

 

Pizza with the works

Pizza with the works

Pizza Crust

1 pkg yeast

1 pkg stevia

1 1/2 c warm water.

3/4 tsp salt

2 1/2 c whole wheat flour

1 1/2 c oat flour

1 egg

 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Mix yeast, stevia and water together, let sit 5 min.

 

3. Mix dry ingredients together

4. add egg and yeast mixture to dry ingredients.  Mix well.

5.  Knead 8-10 min

5. Roll out and place on pizza pans.  Bake 5-10 min, crust should still be slightly under-cooked.

6. Remove from oven, add desired toppings, bake until cheese melts and toppings are hot.

 

When My husband worked for Papa John’s they came out with a Spinach Alfredo, Chicken, Tomato Pizza which we just loved so occasionally I make it instead of the “traditional” pizza that we usually make – so here’s the recipe.  Hope you enjoy it!

Spinach Alfredo Chicken Tomato Pizza

Spinach Alfredo Chicken Tomato Pizza

Spinach Alfredo Chicken Tomato Pizza

To make this pizza you spread Spinach Alfredo sauce over the prepared crust, top with mozzarella cheese, Chicken slices and tomato slices.  Bake in a 350 degree oven until cheese is melted and slightly browned.

Spinach Alfredo Sauce

2 Tbsp butter

1 cup Chopped spinach (fresh or frozen)

1 Cup heavy cream

1/2 cup mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Garlic salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Melt butter in a sauce pan, add spinach and sautee until dry but not burned.  Add heavy cream, bring to a boil.  Add cheeses and seasonings.  Stir until melted.  Remove from heat.  Spread over prepared pizza crust.

 

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