Dairy-Free English Scones

As they are basically a combination between a biscuit and a scone, English scones are in a category all their own. These are unlike any scones I have ever made, they look similar to a biscuit and even have a comparable texture, yet they do not taste the same. The texture, of course, will depend on how much baking powder you use, basically a rule of thumb (for me at least) is that more baking powder means lighter bread. Some use only two teaspoons in this recipe, while others use four, I used four and was not disappointed. It may seem like a lot at first, but its really not. My theory is that those who use two teaspoons like flatter, firmer scones, while those who use four like their scones to be more like a biscuit. As I was making this I was curious to see if replacing whole milk with coconut milk would cause the scones to turn out differently. I was pleasantly surprised to conclude that no, they do not really turn out any different. If anything, the coconut milk gives them a lighter, feathery texture, while the whole milk version is thicker and more chewy. Speaking from experience, these are soft with a delicious crust on the top, and pair very well with fruit jams, jellies, and even syrups! Believe me, I’ve tried all three…..:P This is not only a healthy, naughtily delicious bread to make for yourself, it is also a very impressive treat to serve your friends!

Disclaimer: The addicting quality of English scones may cause gluttony, therefore causing longer hours on the treadmill, this causing hunger, which leads to an even higher level of scone consumption…..an endless cycle of madness! You have been warned! But don’t let that stop you!

The Ingredients: 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 4 tsp. baking powder, 6-8 tbsp. room temperature butter, 1 tsp. salt, 2/3 to 3/4 cup coconut milk, 1 egg, 2 additional tbsp. coconut milk.

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add the sifted ingredients and the butter to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until there are no remaining chunks of butter, or until it has a sandy texture. Now add the mixture back into the mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and add 2/3 to 3/4 cup of coconut milk. Mix together gently with a fork or a rubber spatula. Just before the dough comes together, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for one minute or until the dough forms a soft ball. Flatten the ball into a two to three inch thick disc. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Cut out the scones with a biscuit cutter, place on a greased baking sheet. Whisk together the remaining coconut milk and the egg. Using a pastry brush, brush the mixture onto each scone (there will most likely be some of the egg-milk mixture left over) Bake for about fifteen minutes, the scones are done when they are golden brown on top and soft, but no longer doughy in the center.

I will not look at the pictures, I will not look…at…the….pictures….Oh…I give up! The very sight of these scones causes uncontrollable mouth-watering desire! P.S. You can stuff the centers with Craisins if you want to!;)

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Skinny Broccoli Cheese Soup

Ahhhh….soup, good in spring, summer, fall, and winter. Especially in fall and winter. However, when you are short on time and hungry for comfort food, this is the recipe for you. Skinny Broccoli Cheese Soup is a healthier option than the typical broccoli cheese soups that are loaded down with heavy cream and or half and half. Not that I have an aversion to half and half, it’s just a little too good to be considered healthy. Not that this dish isn’t good…well that got this post off to an awkward start. Ahem. In the past I have posted a few soup recipes that are good for those who are sensitive to lactose, and while this soup does contain some milk, you can easily omit the milk entirely and use only coconut milk. As long as you add a little extra cumin and or black pepper to cover up the coconut taste.;) Using a blend of cheeses gives this soup more flavor and color, making it an impressive looking dish to serve to both family and friends.

The Ingredients: 2 cups finely chopped broccoli florets, 1/2 to 1 cup matchstick carrots, 2 red potatoes or 1 small yellow onion, 1 cup evaporated milk, 3/4 cup coconut milk, 3 to 3 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth, 1/2 cup colby jack cheese, 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (optional), 1/2 to 1 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. black pepper, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cumin, 2/3 cup panko bread crumbs, 3 tbsp. butter.

Mince broccoli florets, dice potatoes or onion. Add 1 tbsp. of the butter and the diced potatoes to a medium to large soup pot over high heat. Saute for ten minutes, add the broccoli, carrots, and remaining butter. Saute for another ten minutes. Now add the chicken broth, evaporated milk, coconut milk, and spices. Stir well, reduce heat to medium low, and cook for fifteen to twenty minutes. Turn off the heat, stir in the cheeses and breadcrumbs and let sit for five minutes before serving.

Soup+Cheese=comfort food….:)

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The Best Cheesy Garlic Breadsticks

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I would like to share with you a sinfully delicious recipe that I recently made, CHEESY GARLIC BREADSTICKS.:) This post is for you fellow lovers of  bread, and cheese, and cheese covered bread…..sigh, there goes my fitness plan. When I sent a picture of these to my really good friend/sister her word for word response was “Oh Man! Are those on your blog!? They should be!”. Boy was she right, I was almost afraid to post this recipe because of the instant addiction/gluttony that will occur upon consumption. But then I decided to share the love/put the recipe down on paper so that it will be ingrained into the sacred hall of Best Recipes Ever. Sooooo…..as a disclaimer I’d like to say: “I apologize in advance for this.” Ahem, anyway, in the past I attempted to make healthy breadsticks, but…..let’s just say that didn’t end well. However, THESE breadsticks are SO GOOD that they are better than anything you can buy in the grocery store or a restaurant. And, they contain wheat flour! Which covers all wrongs! Seriously though, once you discover how simple they are to create, there is no going back. All you need is desire, know-how, and a reliable timer so that the food doesn’t burn. All of that aside, the smell of these babies permeates the entire house, so you’ll know the very minute that they have finished becoming wonderful.

Cooking Tip: If you have the time, turn the oven on and off a couple of times during the rising process, for some weird reason this makes the finished dough larger.

The Ingredients: (write these on your brain) 1 to 1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour, 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, 1 packet fast rising yeast, 1 cup warm to lukewarm water, 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup Colby Jack cheese, 3-4 tbsp. butter, 1 tbsp. sugar, 1 tbsp. garlic salt (if you do not have garlic salt, simply mix equal amounts of garlic powder and salt and measure out a tablespoon for this recipe), 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tbsp. Parmesan (the sprinkly kind), 1 tsp. Italian Seasoning, 1 tsp. basil, 1 tbsp. olive oil.

Add flour(s), sugar, garlic salt, and yeast to a mixing bowl. Whisk until combined. Slowly add the water while mixing constantly with a wooden spoon. Mix until the dough becomes too thick to stir by hand. When this happens, flour your nearby cooking surface and knead the dough with your hands for one minute or until it forms a soft ball. Rinse out your mixing bowl with water, dry it thoroughly, use the olive oil to grease the bowl. Put the ball of dough into the bowl, cover it with a towel, and let it rise at 170 degrees in your oven for one hour.

When the rising time is done, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Meanwhile, melt the butter, italian seasoning, and garlic powder together in a microwave safe bowl or cup, stir well. Add the parmesan to the melted butter, stir well. Flatten the dough into a rectangle, brush the butter mixture over the top. Now sprinkle the cheeses evenly over the butter mixture. Flattening into a even layer. Bake for 15-17 minutes. Remove from the oven, cut into sticks, and garnish with fresh or dried basil before serving (optional).

The very sight is too much for my tastebuds! Too much I say!

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Western Egg Wrap

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This Western breakfast wrap is not just a meal, it’s an experience. Shortly after completing my recently begun morning workout session, I received a burst of inspiration from the heavens to create an unexpectedly delicious breakfast food that would please even the pickiest palate. For those of you who have to rush off to work and think that you don’t have time for such delicacies, think again! This breakfast is just as good made the night before and reheated in the morning. Just imagine, all night you can dream of that little scrumptiousness awaiting you for breakfast! Not only is it good, it’s good for you! Since when can you combine eggs, veggies, and real cheese all in one breakfast? Unless it’s a omelet, that is to say……but anyway, that is another story for another time. As you can see, my little not-by-choice sabbatical from this blog is over, and I am back baby! I am back! I’m so excited to finally be moved in and settled!!!!:D I know you couldn’t tell…..;)

The Ingredients: 1 whole wheat tortilla, 1 egg, 1 Campari tomato, 1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, 2 tbsp. softened butter.

Break the tomato into small pieces with a fork, discard the top. Melt 1/2 tbsp. of the butter in a small frying pan over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the egg, stirring slowly but steadily to scramble it. Just before the egg is fully cooked, add the tomato bits. Turn the heat to low and let sit for a few minutes. Spoon the cooked egg and tomato goodness onto the tortilla, spreading it out in a straight line. Carefully roll the tortilla around the contents. Add half of the remaining butter to the pan, turn the heat back up to medium. Toast the tortilla on that side, then add the rest of the butter and toast it on the other side. Hurrah! You are done! Now, instead of scarfing it down, take time to enjoy the delicious natural flavors…..or you could just eat it like a normal person…..

Disclaimers for those of you who are bothered by my unprofessionalism: Ignore the bits of brown, burnt cheese that leaked out of the wrap, I may have gotten a little carried away….. Ignore the terrible lighting in these photos, I was hungry, okay!? Please overlook the fact that I am not up to restaurant cleanliness standards. Look fondly upon my sister’s red-haired Barbie doll lying in the background, it is well loved.

Ahhhhh…..this was SO GOOD……

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Herby Breaded Tilapia

Let me start out by saying that I have not been a fan of tilapia in the past, but that. has all. changed. This pan fried, breaded, seasoned tilapia is tender, flaky, moist, flavorful, delectable, restaurant-grade, and generally amazing. Oh, and it was cooked by El Gastronomo. He is the fish and seafood expert, and knows how to make southern food gourmet style. Pair this moist fish with a few hush puppies, tender, buttered corn on the cob, and apple bran muffins, and you’ll have a knock your socks off meal sure to impress your family and friends. This episode of Delicious Food 101 features The Chef, El Gastronomo, and Queenbee. Now for a few words on frying safety with El Gastronomo.

The Chef: “El Gastronomo, it has been some time since you have made your presence known on this website, but you sure know how to make a comeback! Anyway, ya got any tips on frying safety” El Gastronomo: “When frying fish it is always prudent to flip it away from you so that you will not be splattered with hot oil. Also, remember to keep all flammable materials away from the gas flame (as he sets an oven mitt on fire). The Chef: “Your oven mitt is on fire.” El Gastronomo: “Yikes! (extinguishes fire under running water). The Chef: “And this, chefs, is why we should always pay attention to food safety tips.” 

We turn to Queenbee for objective criticism.

The Chef: “Queenbee, you being a expert in the southern food category, please tell us what you thought of this dish.” Queenbee: “I thought it was amazingly delicious and extremely flavorful.” The Chef: “Well, that says it all, doesn’t it?”

The Ingredients: 8 tilapia fillets, 2 cups onion flavored hush puppy mix, 1 cup water, 1 egg, 4 cups chicken broth, 1 tsp. italian seasoning, 1 tsp. basil, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. black pepper, 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp. rosemary, 1 tsp. poultry seasoning, 1 tsp. garlic powder.

Heat the chicken broth in a small pot with the spices until it comes to a simmer, turn off the heat and let sit until the the liquid is still. Add the fish fillets and let them marinate for 30 minutes to an hour. Meanwhile, mix together the hush puppy mix, water, and egg. Add 1/4 cup more of water if the mix is too dry. When the tilapia fillets are done marinating, remove them from the marinade, allow to drain, and halve each one. Preheat your skillet to medium high heat, add one to two inches of olive oil. Cook the breaded fillets two at a time when the oil is hot. Fry until deep golden brown, this should take about three minutes on each side. Serves 8 to 10 people.

Strawberry Pretzel Cheesecake

Up here in the mountain country strawberries are ripe for the picking. I tell you what, there is nothing like picking your own berries and turning them into delicious treats. There’s just something about fresh fruit that says ‘summer’, don’t you think? Whether it be peaches, blackberries, strawberries, or blueberries. I decided to use this in season deliciousness as an excuse to make a cold dessert that is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Strawberry Pretzel Cheesecake is smooth, creamy, and delicious with salty sweet hints of pretzel. And because of the addition of strawberries, it has zero calories and is therefore healthy!;) There is no better way to get your serving of fruits for the day! This episode of Delicious Food 101 features The Chef, The Health Inspector, and Friar Tyst.

The Chef: “Mr. Health Inspector, your thoughts on cheesecake?” The Health Inspector: “Well it’s pretty good I guess.” The Chef: “Except for the strawberries, right?” The Health Inspector: “Well you know how it is.”

The Chef: “Friar Tyst, first of all let me thank you for your excellent sous chef assistance. Second of all, what to you think of the flavor combination?” Friar Tyst: “I thought it tasted like cheese!” The Chef: “Granted, anything else?” Friar Tyst: “I thought it tasted like strawberries.” 

The Ingredients: 1 stick butter, 1 to 2 cups crushed pretzels, additional 1/2 cup roughly chopped pretzels,  1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs, 2 bars plain cream cheese, 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, 1 8 oz. tub whipped topping, 2 cups halved strawberries.

Melt the butter at 30 second intervals in your microwave. Using a fork, combine it with the crushed pretzels and graham cracker crumbs in the bottom of a large rectangular pan. Press the crust down firmly and refrigerate for one hour. Using a hand mixer, mix together softened cream cheese and whipped topping until smooth. Gradually add the sugar, mixing between each addition. Place 1 cup of strawberries atop the crust. Top these with the cheesecake filling. Now add the remaining strawberries and chopped pretzels. Refrigerate for three to four hours, or until you are ready to serve it. Serves 6-8 (if they’re not ‘starving’)

Beautiful food, delicious food……CHEESECAKE GOODNESS!!!!

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Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

For a baker, the long-standing debate as to the best way to make a chocolate chip cookie is usually solved through personal preferences. Every once in a while a cookie comes along that is enjoyed by many different tastes, and thus we label it THE BEST chocolate chip cookie. However, I prefer to enjoy all types of cookies equally rather than labeling any one as THE BEST one. That being said, today I am sharing with you one of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes, they are crispy and chewy on the outside, yet soft and chocolatey on the inside. This is because they are made with special, all natural ingredients.;) Dark Brown sugar is obviously the healthier choice when it comes to sugar options. Not only that, but it gives baked delicacies a dense richness that could never be achieved through using the stereotypical “white sugar”. As for all-natural cane sugar, just know that it provides cookies with intriguing little bursts of crunchy sweetness throughout.

The Ingredients: 1 1/2 to 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour, 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, 1/2 cup all natural cane sugar, 1 stick butter (salted), 1/4 to 1/2 cup quick oats, 1 egg, 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, 1/4 to 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. baking powder.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Soften the butter until partially melted, add the egg and both sugars. Mix well and let sit while you measure out the other ingredients. Alternate adding the flour one cup at a time along with half of the oil, mixing well after each addition. Now add the salt, baking powder, and chocolate chips. Mix well. Grease a large cookie sheet with butter. Use a regular cookie scoop or an ice cream scoop to form balls of cookie dough, when all the dough has been used, place these on the cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes. If you used a cookie scoop you will probably get about sixteen cookies, but if you use an ice cream scoop you will most likely get a perfect dozen. Enjoy them!

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