Posted in Drinks, Holiday/Christmas, Recipes

Homemade Peppermint Mocha

I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to make a peppermint mocha that wasn’t full of a lot of calories.

Can I be honest? The ones from Starbucks are not my favorite. They add way too much chocolate. I would rather have the peppermint shine through. I love peppermint in my lattes so that makes sense.

Yesterday I found a peppermint mocha ground coffee at Aldi’s so that is what I’m using for the coffee part of the recipe. So good.

For the recipe:

  • ground coffee – I used peppermint mocha flavored coffee.
  • peppermint syrup
  • almond milk – I used vanilla unsweetened almond milk. You could use real milk or any non dairy milk. I just prefer almond milk.
  • cacao powder
  • whipped cream

Peppermint Mocha Latte

Stars of the recipe:

  • 1 to 2 Tbsp. ground coffee (I used a reusable K cup pod for my coffee maker.)
  • 1 Tbsp. peppermint syrup
  • 1/2 c. milk (dairy or non dairy)
  • 1 to 2 tsp. cacao powder
  • 2 Tbsp. whipped cream

Steps:

  1. Add the peppermint syrup to the mug.
  2. Then brew the coffee. I brew my coffee using the bold setting.
  3. While it’s brewing, froth the milk and cacao powder.
  4. After the coffee is done brewing, top with frothed milk and whipped cream.
  5. Enjoy!

Note: You either need to use a frother or froth it without a frother. Place milk and cacao powder in a mason jar, place the lid on it, and then shake it. (Arm workout) Once it’s increased in volume, remove the lid carefully. Microwave it for 30 to 60 seconds.

Stay kind!

Have a magical day,
Traci

Posted in Granola, Ingredients, Recipes

Basic Granola Recipe with 5 Variations (DF,V, GF)

One breakfast/snack item you can meal prep is my fruit on the bottom yogurt cup. I love to top my yogurt cups with granola. 

You can buy granola from the store or you can make your own. When you make your own, you can control the ingredients in your granola. You can also control how much sweetener you put in your granola.

This granola is a great one because it is very versatile. I have given you 5 different flavor combinations that are all very tasty. 

I portion out the granola for the week. If you get the 4 ounce Mason jars and fill it up to the lip, that is the perfect amount of granola.

What you need for this recipe:

  • Oats
  • Unsweetened coconut flakes
  • Your favorite nuts or seeds (pumpkin or sunflower)
  • Dried or freeze-dried fruit
  • Spices
  • Salt
  • Butter, coconut oil, canola oil, extra virgin olive oil, or avocado oil
  • Honey or maple syrup
  • Vanilla or almond extract

Basic Loose Granola Recipe 

Stars of the recipe:

Dry Ingredients: 

  • 4 c. old fashioned oats 
  • 1 c. unsweetened coconut flakes or additional nuts 
  • 1 c. nuts or seeds 
  • 1 c. dried or freeze-dried fruit – add after baking 
  • 2 tsp. spices – cinnamon, pumpkin spice, gingerbread spice 
  • 1 tsp. salt 

Wet Ingredients: 

  • 1/3 c. melted butter, melted coconut oil, canola oil, extra virgin olive oil, or avocado oil 
  • 1/3 c. honey or maple syrup 
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla or almond extract 

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. 
  2. Combine all of the dry ingredients except for the fruit in a large bowl. Stir 
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Stir. 
  4. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients. Stir until all of the ingredients are coated. 
  5. Spread onto a cookie sheet that has either been sprayed down with cooking spray or lined with parchment paper. 
  6. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes. 
  7. Take out of the oven. Allow cooling time before adding the fruit. 
  8. Enjoy with your favorite dairy or nondairy milk or yogurt. 
  9. Store in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks. 

Ideas for granola: 

Nuts and seeds: 

  • Cashews 
  • Pecans  
  • Walnuts 
  • Macadamia Nuts 
  • Almonds – Slivers or slices 
  • Pistachios 
  • Pumpkin Seeds 
  • Sunflower Seeds 

Dried Fruit or Freeze-Dried Fruit: 

  • Apples 
  • Blueberries 
  • Cranberries 
  • Cherries – usually more expensive 
  • Raspberries 
  • Freeze-dried honey crisp apples from Trader Joe’s 
  • Freeze-dried grapes from Trader Joe’s 
  • Apricots 
  • Raisins 

Combinations for granola: 

Apple crisp 

Nuts – Walnuts and pumpkin seeds 

Fruit – Used dried apples – I like dried apples in my apple crisp granola. 

Spice – Apple pie spice which is 3 Tbsp. ground cinnamon, 2 tsp. nutmeg, 1 tsp. cardamom, 1 tsp. allspice combined in a small Mason jar. Use 1 to 2 Tbsp. of the apple pie spice blend.  


Cranberry pecan 

Nuts – Pecans and pumpkin seeds – Don’t use coconut flakes. 

Fruit – Dried cranberries. 

Spice – Cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice. 


Almond Joy  

Nuts – Slivered or sliced almonds 

Fruit – Don’t use any. 

Spice – Cinnamon 

Extract – Almond 


Apricot almond 

Nuts – Slivered or sliced almonds 

Fruit – Diced dried apricots 

Spice – Cinnamon 


Pumpkin spice 

Nuts – Walnuts and pumpkin seeds 

Fruit – dried cranberries or raisins 

Spice – pumpkin spice 

Extra – Add ¼ c. of pumpkin puree to the wet ingredients. 

Printable Recipe

Stay kind!

Have a magical day,
Traci

Posted in Family Recipe, ground beef, Ingredients, onions, Pasta, pasta, Recipes

Johnny Marzetti – Updated

One of my mom’s favorite meals was Johnny Marzetti. When I was Googling the history of the name of Johnny Marzetti, I noticed a lot of the recipes bake it. The difference with my recipe is that I don’t. My recipe is more of an American goulash.

It was named after a restaurant in Columbus that shut down in 1972 when the owner died.

When I made it this week, I modernized or added some depth to the spaghetti sauce that I used in the dish. I added a splash of dry red wine while the sauce was simmering. So delicious!

It’s a simple pantry item dish. Here’s what you need to make the dish.

  1. ground beef – I know the price for ground beef has increased. I get the frozen ground beef at this current time because it is cheaper.
  2. spaghetti sauce – I used a simple spaghetti sauce from Aldi. Less than a dollar for the jar.
  3. dry red wine – Doesn’t need to be expensive. Or use beef broth for a deeper flavor.
  4. onions
  5. elbow macaroni – Aldi has 3 pound boxes for less than $1.50
  6. shredded cheddar cheese
  7. Spices: Dried oregano and Italian seasoning – Salt and pepper to taste
  8. optional: mushrooms and green peppers

Johnny Marzetti

Stars of the recipe:

  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped or 1/2 of a medium or large onion, chopped
  • 1 (24 to 26 oz) jar of spaghetti sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. dry red wine or beef broth
  • 1 lb or 2 c. dry elbow macaroni
  • 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • Optional: 1/4 c. white or Bella mushroom, chopped
  • Optional: 1/2 green pepper chopped

Steps:

  1. Cook the elbow macaroni according to directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Brown the ground beef in a medium sized pot on medium heat. Drain and remove from pan. Set aside.
  3. Add the onions, mushroom (if using), and green pepper (if using) to the pan. Add some oil to the pan if needed. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent.
  4. Add the cooked ground beef, spaghetti sauce, and red wine to the onions. Simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. Add the pasta and shredded cheddar cheese to the pot. Stir to combine.
  6. Enjoy with garlic bread and a salad.

You can leave the wine out if don’t want to use wine. I just used it to add some depth to the dish.

Printable Recipe

Stay kind!

Have a magical day,
Traci

Posted in Gluten Free, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

Roasted Sweet Potatoes Tacos (V, GF)

I’ve began to get Misfit Market veggies and fruits during the Quarantine. It was easier to make sure I had fresh veggies and fruit. This past week I received about 6 sweet potatoes, so I decided to make a roasted sweet potato taco for lunch.

If you want to make this Gluten-Free, you can use corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas. It’s your choice which type of tortilla you want to use for your taco. This recipe is easily vegan if you don’t use any cheese or sour cream on the taco. Instead use avocado for the creaminess of cheese or make cashew sour cream to put on the taco.

This recipe is easily adaptable for what you like.

What you need to make the recipe:

  • sweet potatoes
  • avocado or extra virgin olive oil
  • taco seasoning – Homemade or storebought
  • tortillas – corn or flour
  • refried beans – The one from Trader Joes is vegan.
  • Optional toppings: lime, sour cream, avocado, cheese (Cotija or Feta), cilantro, salsa

When I made mine, I topped it with lime, Feta cheese, salsa, and cilantro.

Stars of the recipe:

  • 2 pounds of sweet potato, cubed into 1 to 1.5-inch sized pieces (peeled or unpeeled)
  • 2 tsp. taco seasoning – Homemade or storebought
  • 1 Tbsp. avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 c. refried beans warmed
  • tortillas
  • toppings

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Cube the sweet potato. Place the sweet potato into a large bowl and drizzle the oil on the sweet potato cubes.
  3. Sprinkle the taco seasoning over the sweet potatoes. Stir until all the pieces are coated with the seasoning.
  4. Place on a lined cookie sheet in a single layer.
  5. Roast for 25 to 35 minutes.
  6. Warm up the beans in the microwave or on the stove. Spread on the tortilla.
  7. Top with sweet potato and your favorite toppings.
  8. Enjoy!

Other taco recipes:

Printable Recipe

Stay kind!

Have a magical day,
Traci

Posted in Electric Pressure Cooker, Hamburger, Ingredients, Pasta, pasta, Recipes

Pressure Cooker Spaghetti (DF)

Jump ahead to the recipe

The boys do not like when Hubby makes pasta dishes because he doesn’t always drain the pasta. He’ll rather use a slotted spoon to get out the pasta. Needless to say, it becomes very mushy.

So whenever we do have any pasta dishes, I’m the only one who cooks or if he cooks the pasta, he needs to be reminded to drain the pasta. I know us bugging him drives him crazy.

Making the spaghetti in the pressure cooker eliminates the need to drain the pasta because all of it is made in one pot.


Youngest is not always the best eater. He doesn’t always eat a lot of food at meals. When he ate 2 servings of the spaghetti, I knew this recipe was a keeper.

Hubby doesn’t always want to eat leftovers even though I plan for them during the week. He actually volunteered to eat the leftovers the next day. This also told me that this recipe was a keeper.

What you need for the recipe
  1. spaghetti noodles
  2. ground beef
  3. jar of spaghetti sauce
  4. water
  5. Italian seasoning
  6. optional: diced onions

Pressure Cooker Spaghetti

Pressure Cooker Spaghetti

  • Servings: 5
  • Difficulty: extremely easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 0.5 pound of spaghetti noodles
  • 0.5 pound of ground beef
  • 1 (26 oz.) jar of spaghetti sauce
  • 1 (26 oz.) jar full of water plus about 2 to 3 Tbsp. more of water
  • 1 small or 1/2 large onion, diced – optional
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil – optional

Directions

  1. Set your electric pressure cooker to saute.
  2. If you are going to add onions to your spaghetti, add the oil and then the onions. Cook the onions for 4 to 5 minutes or until translucent. Remove from the pot.
  3. Add the ground beef to the pot. Cook until no longer pink. Make sure you break up the ground beef so the pieces are equal pieces. (About 5 minutes) Drain the fat from the ground beef.
  4. Add the spaghetti sauce, water, Italian seasoning, and onions, if using them. Stir.
  5. Add the spaghetti noddles. (Break them in half.) Make sure the noodles are covered with sauce and water. Add a little more water, if needed.
  6. Set the pressure cooker to manual 8 minutes. Put the lid on the pressure cooker making sure the valve is set to seal.
  7. When it’s done cooking, quick release the valve.
  8. Stir the spaghetti.
  9. Enjoy with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Notes:

  1. You can use ground turkey instead of ground beef.
  2. If you want to make it vegetarian, you can use the beefless beef from Trader Joe’s. Just start with step 4 unless you are adding the onions.

Stay kind!

Have a magical day,
Traci

Posted in Holiday/Christmas, Recipes, Snacks

Christmas “Crack” Pretzels

I had bought some wreath shaped pretzels to use for my Rolo Turtles not realizing the Rolos would fall through the wreath. I used one bag of the wreath pretzels for my cinnamon sugar pretzels. Since I had another bag to use up, I found this recipe. Hubby had leftover popcorn oil from an event he hosted in November so this was a perfect way to use the pretzels.

Enjoy these at your Christmas get together or even on New Year’s Eve. Yum!

Oh and the best part of this is there is no baking involved. Sweet!

  • Servings: 16ish
  • Difficulty: extremely easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 15 to 16 oz. bag of pretzels
  • 6 oz. buttery popcorn oil, canola oil, or melted butter
  • 1.5 Tbsp. dry ranch salad mix (not the dip)
  • 0.5 tsp. garlic powder
  • 0.5 tsp. Cajun seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese (I used a garlic Parmesan cheese powder.)

Directions

  1. Pour the pretzels into a deep dish.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the oil and seasonings.
  3. Pour over the pretzels. Stir until all of the pretzels are combined.
  4. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese. Stir once again until the pretzels are combined.
  5. Continue stirring every 15 minutes or so for 3 hours or until the oil is absorbed by the pretzels.
  6. Store in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Recipe source

Stay kind!

Have a magical day,
Traci

Posted in Meal prep, Recipes, Vegetarian, Write 31 2018

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes – Day 12 of 31

I’m sorry I’ve been AWOL for the past few days.  I’ve been exhausted and had ZERO writing bug.  Every time I thought about writing, I was like Nah!

So today I’m back with the writing.

On Thursday, I shared with you my favorite meat substitutes.  Today I’m going to share one of the ways I use the meat substitute.

One of our favorite meals is sloppy Joes.  So instead of eating Sloppy Joes with ground beef, I make mine with the meat substitute.


What you need:

  • 1 batch of the meat substitute
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 bell pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 sm. can of tomato paste (6 oz)
  • 1 sm. can of tomato sauce (8 oz)
  • yellow mustard
  • apple cider vinegar
  • brown sugar
  • chili powder
  • salt and pepper

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 batch of the meat substitute
  • 1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 bell pepper, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, minced
  • 1 sm. can of tomato paste (6 oz)
  • 1 sm. can of tomato sauce (8 oz)
  • 1 Tbsp. yellow mustard
  • 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste


Directions

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil, meat substitute, peppers, garlic, and onion. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes until the peppers and onions are tender.
  2. Turn the heat down to medium low heat. Add the tomato paste, tomato sauce, mustard, vinegar, brown sugar, and spices. Stir until combined.
  3. Cover. Allow the mixture to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. While it’s simmering, make sure you stirring it every so often.
  4. Serve on a bun with cheese if desired. Enjoy!

Happy vegetarian eating,
Traci

Posted in Meal prep, Recipes, Vegetarian, Write 31 2018

Better than Restaurant Oven Home Fries – Day 7 of 31 (Sheet pan recipe)

While I was sick with my gallstones last year,  I had one food that did not bother my stomach.  Okay, it did bother me if it was greasy but if it was cooked with no oil or grease, I had little to no problems.

Potatoes were my friend during those 4 months.  I would spiralize potatoes and then cook up like hash browns on the stove.

That is until I started to cook the home fries in my oven.  We love a roasted potato in the household so this made things so much easier.

Hubby might debate if these potatoes are better than the ones we get at a local breakfast place called Butter Cafe.  He adores their home fries.


What you need:

  • 2 red potatoes or 4 to 5 baby red potatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 red onion
  • olive oil
  • garlic powder or your favorite seasoning

Oven Home Fries

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 2 red potatoes, cubed, or 4 to 5 baby red potatoes, quartered or even cut into eighths
  • 1/2 to 1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 to 1 red onion, cut into chunks
  • 1 Tbsp. extra olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic powder or your favorite seasoning

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Place the potatoes, bell pepper, and onion on a rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Pour the extra virgin olive oil over the veggies. Using clean hands or a spatula make sure the veggies are covered with the oil.
  4. Sprinkle the seasoning over the veggies.
  5. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes at 425 degrees.
  6. Enjoy!


I enjoy using the onion salt from Trader Joes on my potatoes.

We love to use sriracha ketchup from Red Gold on our fries and roasted potatoes.

This recipe is not only vegetarian but also vegan. Score!

Happy vegetarian eating,
Traci

Posted in Meal prep, Recipes, Vegetarian, Write 31 2018

Sometimes You Need “Beef” Tacos – Day 6 of 31

I’m teaching my students how to write narratives so I’ve been doing a lot of model writing for them.  A good narrative has a hook that gets the reader to want to read your story.  This is a skill that I struggle with when I’m writing my blog posts.

However it is important for a writer to have a hook so you can get the reader wanting to read what you have written.

Just like a writer needs to have a hook, sometimes you need a beef taco.  Since I’m a vegetarian, I don’t have the typical beef taco.

I’ve tried TVP which is textured vegetable protein but it usually turns into a brown soupy mess.  Yuck!  Not appetizing.

Then I tried the Beefless Ground Beef along with their soy chorizo.  It’s just the right texture.

“Beef” tacos get into my belly.


What you need:

  • a third of a package of Trader Joe’s “beefless” ground beef
  • a third of a package of Trader Joe’s soy chorizo
  • a third of a jar of Trader Joe’s enchilada sauce

  • Servings: 2 to 3 tacos
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

-1/3rd of a package of Trader Joe’s “beefless” ground beef -1/3rd of a package of Trader Joe’s soy chorizo, make sure you take the casing off -1/3rd of a jar of Trader Joe’s enchilada sauce (You may need a little more.) -tortillas (hard or soft) -Your favorite toppings


Directions

  1. Combine the “beefless” ground beef, soy chorizo, and enchilada sauce in a sauce pan.
  2. Cook on medium heat until heated through. (Add more sauce if you discover it’s not coated enough.)
  3. Enjoy on your a hard shelled or soft shelled tortilla with your favorite toppings.


This recipe is vegan before you add your toppings.

Happy vegetarian eating,
Traci