Breakfast Pops

Summer is a wonderful time with children out of school, warmer weather and a less restrictive schedule.  However, it doesn’t mean that the season isn’t busy!  This is a great recipe for so many reasons.  Kids love to help with this concoction and love to eat the resulting pops (never complaining about how healthy it is!) and the breakfast pops are a cool treat for those mornings when the thermometer is creeping up quickly!

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It is easy to skip this meal in the morning when there is so little time to get out the door. This is a great pop for summertime breakfast for you and your kids!

What You Will Need:

6 Popsicle molds

1 Large banana

1 Cup blueberries

1 Cup plain Greek yogurt

2 Cups Coconut or Almond Milk

2 Cups of your favorite granola based cereal

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl use a fork to mash up the banana and blueberries. Feel free to leave the blueberries whole if you like. They are more evenly distributed in the popsicles if you mash them up.

Next add the yogurt and mix together with a spatula. Then add the milk and mix well. Lastly add the granola cereal.

Pour mix into the molds and freeze overnight.

Grab and go in the morning. These breakfast pops will give you a boost of energy and give you a dose of calcium, potassium and healthy antioxidants!

Cool Orzo Pasta Salad

 

During the warmer months it is nice to serve a cool pasta salad as a refreshing side dish. Find out how to make this tasty dish that will be a hit at your next cookout!

What You Will Need:

1 Cup of dry orzo pasta

1 Oz. of fresh basil

¼ Cup balsamic vinegar

2 Tsp. Dijon mustard

½ Cup of virgin olive oil

1 Cup of mayonnaise

½ Cup quartered black olives

1 Cucumber diced

½ Cup quartered cherry tomatoes

½ Tsp. salt

½ Tsp. cracked black pepper

Directions:

Cook the orzo pasta first. After draining the water add a splash of olive oil and toss occasionally so that the pasta does not stick together.

While the pasta is cooling, make the dressing. In a mixing bowl add the balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, olive oil, mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Using a whisk mix the contents well.

At this time cut the olives and cherry tomatoes into quarters, then dice the cucumber. Leave the skin on the cucumber, it adds a nice crunch to the pasta salad texture.

In a large mixing bowl add the orzo pasta and pour in the dressing and mix well. Next stir in the veggies. Chop the fresh basil and add it to the pasta mixture. Place pasta contents in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes then serve! 

Everyday Uses for Cinnamon

Cinnamon has been used for various reasons for thousands of years. There is a good reason it is still around for civilization to use. Find out how to use cinnamon in many different ways!

Adding cinnamon to meals helps to keep the leftovers fresh longer, by postponing bacterial growth. The spice also helps keep your brain more alert and focused. Start the day by adding a dash of cinnamon to your morning starter beverage, coffee or tea. Even if you smell cinnamon, the same benefits will take place. Soothing a stomach ache is another ingestible remedy. Pair cinnamon with honey in hot beverages, to reap the benefits of the anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties both ingredients possess. These two foods can reduce gas and help fight off ulcers. Cinnamon can assist in weight loss by reducing hunger and sugar cravings.

Mix honey and cinnamon and apply to insect bites. The dynamic duo will stop itching and pain. This mixture will also disinfect the area as well as provide moisture to help in the healing process. The spice has pain relieving properties because it reacts with prostaglandin in the body; which is responsible for the contraction and relaxation of muscles.

The aroma of cinnamon is comforting and refreshing. Add cinnamon oil to dry potpourri in bowls placed around your home. You can also add a drop of cinnamon oil to a light bulb that is cool and off. When the light is turned on and heats up it will emit the comforting smell that keeps your home fresh and welcoming. Cinnamon is great for freshening breath and cleansing your palette. Swish around cinnamon water in your mouth after a pungent lunch. Keep cinnamon water on hand if you are out and about, without an opportunity to brush your teeth.

This super spice is great for increasing circulation within the body. It acts as a blood thinner and therefore helps boost circulation. Circulation is so important to the body because it is supplying oxygen to the blood cells!

Always keep this spice on hand in your kitchen. Just a dash can go a long way! 

 

Reasons Yogurt is a Healthy Snack

Yogurt is very healthy for you for many reasons. Find out how eating yogurt can be helpful to your diet.

Keep your yogurt simple and eat regular plain yogurt or plain Greek yogurt. If you must have a little bit of sweetness, reach for vanilla flavored yogurt. Fruit is a great addition, but fresh fruit yourself. Flavored yogurt containing fruit is high in calories and sugar. Consider adding fresh blueberries or chopped strawberry to plain yogurt.

Yogurt is a good source of protein. If you are eating more lean meats and cutting red meat out of your diet, it is important to make sure you are getting enough protein in your diet. Protein is important for building and maintaining muscle. Check the ingredients and try to buy yogurt with low sugar and high amounts of protein.

Probiotics are found in yogurt. This is a kind of live “good” bacteria that your body needs. Probiotics can improve digestion and keep you in good digestive health. They help with regulating the digestive track, can help with bloating, calm an upset stomach and make you more regular.

High levels of calcium is found in yogurt. We all need calcium in our daily diet in order to maintain strong bone health and fight off bone loss as we age. Most manufacturers add vitamin D to help absorb the calcium, which is a good thing. Many B vitamins can also be found in yogurt.

One of the best things about yogurt is that it is convenient. The little cups are easy to grab from the fridge for a quick snack. Taking yogurt to work is as easy as placing in the communal refrigerator. If you pack your lunch add a yogurt cup and an ice pack to your lunch box!

Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings

During the fall months, meals become heartier for most families.  But with busy schedules, not everyone has time to make complex meals.  This recipe for Chicken and Dumplings is a filling and warm but requires very little time and is ready for you when you walk in the door! Imagine the stress of your day rolling off your shoulders as you finish your busy day and walk into your home to the smell of a meal. 

Pair this with a crusty loaf of bread and a side salad for a wonderful home-cooked meal tonight!

Ingredients:

  1. 4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
  2. 1 can of Chicken Broth 14.5 oz.
  3. 2-10 oz. cans of Cream of Chicken Soup
  4. 1 can Creamed Corn
  5. 1 can of Biscuits 16.3 oz.
  6. 1/2 White Onion chopped
  7. 1/8  tsp. Garlic Powder
  8. 1/4 tsp. Salt
  9. 1/4 tsp. Pepper

 

Instructions:

Place the chicken breast in the crock pot. Cover chicken with broth, soup, creamed corn and chopped onion. Sprinkle on the garlic powder, salt and pepper then place the lid onto the crock pot.

Cook on high for three hours. After three hours, spoon the chicken out of the pot and shred it, using two forks. After the chicken is shredded place it back into the crock pot.

Cut the biscuit dough into bite size pieces. Place biscuit pieces in the pot and cook on high for an hour.

Now you are ready to serve this delicious comfort food!

Naan Pizza!

Everybody loves pizza for dinner but after a while it can feel like the same old thing. Luckily there are different ways to try something new instead of this long loved dinner classic. When you are feeling like you don’t think you could eat one more pizza but your family is begging for it this recipe is sure to please everyone.

 

Enter naan pizzas—take a package of naan bread and build on top of it with your favorite ingredients to make a whole new texture for your crust. You can make it crunchy by browning the naan with something like a panini maker or frying pan. Or if you would like a softer consistency you can preheat your oven to whatever specifications are given on the naan packaging and let it warm the ingredients and bread to your preference. 

 

Next come your ingredients. You can spice it up and put balsamic, goat cheese, arugula and sliced pair on top with a honey drizzle. Or you could go more traditional and spread marinara sauce with mozzarella and parmesan on top with some fresh basil.  A favorite recipe is listed below but feel free to play with ingredients you think your family might enjoy! Whatever ingredients you choose to use, this pizza is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

 

Ingredients:

Balsamic vinegar

   Naan (one naan per person or one naan for two children)

   Olive oil

   2 cups cherry/grape/heirloom tomatoes

   Fresh mozzarella ball slices

   Shaved parmesan

   Fresh basil

   Salt

 

Directions:

Heat balsamic in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once it has reached a boil, reduce heat and simmer until syrupy. 

Use your panini maker to heat the naan over medium heat with olive oil pressing down with a spatula or something similar until the naan is browned. You can simply shut your panini maker if it has a two-sided griddle. (Alternatively you can use your oven to bake the naan after you’ve put your toppings on.)

Top each naan with ingredients. Try chopping the fresh basil and layering this on the very bottom. Next sprinkle parmesan cheese and then top with fresh mozzarella balls. Finally, spread the tomatoes evenly over the naan. Once all ingredients have been placed drizzle with the balsamic reduction and let your family enjoy your fresh take on pizza!

Pig and Pancake Day

Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day for your nutritionally but it is also usually everyone’s favorite meal for coming together and enjoying each other’s company while chowing down on eggs, bacon and a big old stack of pancakes.

 

Lucky for you March has two very important but little known holidays that you can celebrate—March 1st is National Pig Day and March 4th is International Pancake Day. So why not combine these two wonderful odes to everyone’s favorite breakfast foods and get the family together Sunday, March 1st to celebrate these holidays over a good old fashioned breakfast.

 

But first, a little history lesson. National Pig Day was founded by a couple of sisters by the names of Ellen Stanley and Mary Lynne Rave. They believed that pigs were not appreciated like they should be as “man’s most intellectual and domesticated animals.” And thus National Pig Day was born and everyone has a day they can celebrate all that pigs have to offer.

 

International Pancake Day, on the other hand, derives from a medieval Europe tradition where some believed that that change of seasons was the struggle between the spirits of darkness and cold and those of light and growth and life. By eating pancakes they were swallowing the sun and therefore able to ingest their warmth and light. The modern day version is quite a bit different but no less delicious and satisfying.

There never needs to be a reason to bring your family together on a Sunday morning for a hearty and laughter-filled breakfast but these two holidays certainly give any family a good one. Scrambled eggs with cheese and chopped vegetables, a nice stack of cooked-to-perfection bacon and the largest stack of pancakes you can manage that are dripping with butter and drizzled with maple syrup complimented by a steaming cup of coffee. Is there any better way to spend your Sunday morning with your family?

 

Sound off below—how do you like your bacon? How do you prepare your pancakes? And how will you and your family be spending National Pig Day and International Pancake Day? We hope that however you spend it you and your family enjoy yourselves!

Parmesan and Fig Grilled Cheese Sandwich

There is nothing quite like the grilled cheese sandwich. Pleasing to children and adults alike, and perfect for a cold day, grilled cheese sandwiches are the surefire way to bring your family together for a satisfying meal.

 

There are many different ways to invent this classic meal and some might even say that there is no way to cook grilled cheese the wrong way. But there are ways to add a little spice and pizzazz to your take on it that can spice up the “old” grilled cheese.

 

In this recipe we use sourdough bread to give the wrappings more flavor and sturdiness with which to build on. Next we make sure to have grated or shaved Parmesan and white cheddar cheese to give a sharp and distinctive flavor that is sure to please. Use as much or as little as you like, it all depends on personal preference when building your perfect grilled cheese sandwich.

 

The twist comes with the fig jam that adds a punch of flavor and works to balance out the sharpness of the cheese. You could add a different flavored jam if you like here, it’s always fun to play around to see what works best for your family’s preferences. Finally add a handful of arugula to add freshness to the sandwich – balsamic vinegar is optional to top it all off.

 

This is a grilled cheese sandwich that is sure to please and with ingredients that can be played with to make sure that the recipe is always an original and crowd pleaser. Enjoy!

 

Total Cook Time: 10-15 minutes

 

Parmesan and Fig Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Ingredients:

 

  • Sourdough bread slices (adjust for quantity needed)
  • Grated or shaved parmesan cheese (fresh)
  • Sliced white cheddar cheese (fresh)
  • Fig jam (or adjust with your favorite jam if desired)
  • A handful of arugula
  • Butter
  • Optional: balsamic vinegar

 

Directions: 

  1. Butter the bread on the sides that will be grilled. You can either grill these sandwiches in a frying pan or with a Panini press.
  2. Assemble the sandwiches with the desired amount of cheese, a light spread of the fig jam, arugula and balsamic vinegar if desired.
  3. Place the sandwiches in the pan and grill both sides until golden brown. Be sure to periodically check to ensure that they don’t overcook. If using a Panini press, close and let cook for 3-4 minutes on medium to high heat. Check the color after this and if needed continue to cook until golden brown.
  4. Once done, let sit for 2 minutes. Afterwards, slice in half and serve.

Super Bowl Quick Hummus Recipe

Jan D'Atri Easy Hummus Recipe

Easy Hummus

Get Ready for the Game in 5 Minutes

Credits:

Dacor Kitchen Southwest

From The Kitchen of Jan D'Atri

Easy Hummus

Ingredients:
One 15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained, reserving 1 tablespoon of the liquid
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup Sesame Tahini (I used Joyva Brand)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
¼ to ½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
Fresh parsley for garnish, optional

Directions:
In a food processor, combine chickpeas with the liquid, garlic, lemon juice and sesame tahini. Puree to a thick paste. Scrape down sides. Add olive oil, salt and paprika and puree until smooth and creamy. Spoon into serving dish. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with parsley. Serve with crackers, pita chips or crudités.
The hummus can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. Makes about 1½ cups.


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Cooking a Turkey (Repost from 2013)

A Basic Recipe to Roast a Turkey

Here’s a recipe from last year. My thoughts are that a good recipe doesn’t change from year to year. Our Turkey last year was spectacular. Hoping for a repeat performance in 2014!

Here’s a simple recipe to roasting your Thanksgiving Turkey. It’s very similar to the one I use except that I make sure that the roasting rack is raised so the bird sits as high as possible in the roasting pan. There are a couple reasons for this. I use a convection oven and I want the air to circulate around the turkey. Also I don’t want the turkey to sit in the broth. This is especially important since I’m going to have the turkey sitting breast down most of the time so that the juices flow into the breast and keep it moist.

Credit below goes to the awesome website thekitchn.com:

turkey

How to Roast a Turkey

What You Need

Ingredients

1 turkey, any size
2 cups broth or water
Melted unsalted butter (optional, for basting)

Equipment

Roasting pan (or alternative)
Roasting rack (or something to raise the turkey off the bottom of the pan)
Turkey baster or spoon

Instructions

  1. Prepare the Turkey for Roasting – About an hour before roasting, take the turkey out of the fridge. Remove any packaging and the bag of giblets (check in the body cavity and in the neck cavity). Set the turkey breast-side up on the roasting rack and let it sit. This takes the chill off the meat, which helps the meat cook faster and more evenly, and it dries out the skin, which promotes browning and crisping. Heat the Oven to 450°F – Position an oven rack in the bottom third of your oven. If you brined your turkey, as we did, no need to do anything now. If your turkey is straight out of the package, rub it with some salt and pepper before putting it in the oven. We recommend leaving your turkey un-stuffed and un-trussed, both because it’s easier and because the turkey will cook more evenly. Optional Extras – Rub your turkey with butter or oil for a richer flavor and browner skin, rub minced herbs or ground spices into (or beneath) the skin for more flavor, place a few halved lemons or garlic cloves inside the cavity of the turkey.
  2. Roast the Turkey – Pour two cups of broth or water into the roasting pan. Place the turkey in the oven and turn down the heat to 350°F. We’re going for a breast-side up approach here. Some recipes advocate starting the turkey breast-side down to shield the breast meat, but the idea of flipping a hot, sputtering turkey is not our idea of a good time. Instead, we like to shield the breast meat with foil toward the end of cooking if it starts getting too browned.
  3. Cooking Time – The rule of thumb for cooking a turkey is 13 minutes per pound. So our 16-pound turkey should have taken about 3 1/2 hours to cook. However, some factors like brining the bird, cooking with an empty (un-stuffed) cavity, and leaving the legs un-trussed will contribute to much faster cooking. Plan on the 13-minute-per-pound rule, but start checking the temperature of your turkey about halfway through the scheduled cooking time to gauge how fast it’s cooking.
  4. Baste the Turkey – Every 45 minutes, remove the turkey from the oven, close the oven door (don’t let that heat out!), and baste the turkey all over. To baste, tilt the pan and use a turkey baster or spoon to scoop up the liquids and drizzle them on top of the turkey. Basting with pan juices cools the surface of the turkey and slows down cooking, which in turn keeps the breast meat cooking at close to the same rate as the legs and thighs. Optional Extra – In the last 45 minutes or so of cooking, baste the turkey with melted butter or oil. This helps crisp up the skin and turn it a beautiful deep golden brown.
  5. Check the Temperature – To make sure that turkey is fully cooked through and through, we like to check its temperature in three places: the breast, the outer thigh, and the inside thigh (see photos above). In every case, the meat should be at least 165°F. If any place is under that temperature, put the turkey back in the oven for another 20 minutes. Shield the breast meat with foil if needed to keep it from overcooking.
  6. Rest the Turkey – Grab one side of the roasting rack with an oven mitt and tilt the turkey so liquids inside the cavity run out into the pan. (These juices are used to make the gravy.) Then, lift the whole turkey (still on the rack) and transfer it to a cutting board. Tent the turkey with aluminum foil and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. This gives time for the meat to firm up and the juices to be re-absorbed into the muscle tissue, making the turkey easier to slice and taste juicier.
  7. Carve the Turkey – Carve the turkey the same way you would carve a chicken (click that link to see a video of the entire process of carving a chicken): Remove the wings first, then the thighs, then the breast meat. Once you have the meat off, you can separate the thighs into thighs and drumsticks and carve the breast meat into individual slices.

That’s all there is to it! Roasting a turkey is really just like roasting a large chicken. The same methods and ideas apply. Even if you don’t get fancy with spices or special basting liquids, your turkey will still turn out browned, moist, and flavorful.

One final note! Once you sit down at the table, don’t forget about the turkey back on the counter. The leftover meat needs to be refrigerated within two hours of cooking, after which the risk of something nasty taking up residence starts to increase exponentially. Be safe, kids!

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