Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Baked Chili Tortilla Chips with Easy Smooth & Spicy Dip

I'm excited to share with you a little appetizer that's SO easy and SO delicious and even much healthier than most chips and dip!  Yes, it's all of those things!  I have to say that I discovered this dip "recipe" myself.  I call it a "recipe" because  it only has two ingredients in it.  Yes, I can literally spell out the number because there are that few of ingredients that make up with creamy, yet spicy dip! 
Did I say it's, yummy??!?
The chips are a baked version of the fried chili tortilla chips that Ina Garten shares in her latest cookbook, The Barefoot Contessa Foolproof.  I've been wanting to make my own chips, and her recipe looked so simple that and really flavorful.  The only change is that I use olive oil and baked them on high heat in the oven.  You won't even miss the deep frying with these crispy chips!
Seasoned with chili powder, cumin, and the delicious chipotle chili powder--which is worth buying, btw!--this recipe takes baked chips to the next level. Be sure you buy corn tortillas when making these and not flour ones. You can buy either the white or yellow corn tortillas, and either are very good.
And the sauce!!...I get excited about this dip, you see.  I like chips and salsa, but after recently going to Chuy's and discovering their addictingly fabulous, creamy jalapeno dip (I'm not even sure what's in it!), I've been wanted to make a creamy type of dip for tortilla chips.  I like ranch dip, but not with Mexican food or tortilla chips.  Also, I wanted something a that doesn't involve fatty mayo or cream cheese.  (Although, I LOVE those things, too.)  That way I wouldn't feel as guilty about stuffing my face, munching on it with chips or veggies.
*light bulb moment*
Greek yogurt + Verde salsa = Heavenly chip dip without fat, plus protein!
I may be lagging behind in this discovery.  Perhaps many of you bloggers have already blazed this trail, but when I put these two simple things together I found the dip that I've been craving!  Two things I always have in the fridge!!
So my friends, if you're inspired, please try these baked chili tortilla chips and this smooth & spicy dip at your Superbowl party for something new, easy, and almost guilt-free!
Baked Chili Tortilla Chips
Makes 4 Servings
2 Tbsp. (approx) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
10- 6 in. Corn Tortillas
1 Tbsp. Sea Salt
1/4 tsp. Chipotle Chili Powder
1/4 ts.p Chili Powder
1/4 tsp. Ground Cumin
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
In a small bowl, mix the salt and spices all together and set aside.
Stack the 10 tortillas and cut them into quarters.  Put in a large bowl and drizzle olive oil on the tortilla triangles.  Using tongs or large spoon, toss the tortillas gently in the oil to coat them all. 
Lay out the tortillas flat in a large sheet pan (may take 2) that has been lightly oiled.  Evenly sprinkle the seasoning all over the tortillas.  You won't cover every little bit, but that's okay!
Bake for about 10 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.  After they have cooled for a couple of minutes they will really crisp up perfectly and delicious!
 Smooth & Spicy Dip
Makes 1 cup
1/2 c. Low Fat Plain Greek Yogurt
1/2 c. Verde (Green) Salsa, I use World Table
Mix together equal parts Greek yogurt and salsa and stir till blended together.  Serve and enjoy! 
You can use a slotted spoon to strain the salsa just a bit if you want it a little thicker.  Salt to taste if you like, though I usually don't.
I'm linking up with friends at:

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Moist Banana Bread with Orange Glaze, Featured at Inspired By Family

Baby, it's cooold outside!!!
Good morning, dear Friends!  It's been a while since I've posted.  I took a little rest from blogging and social media as part of fasting and prayer that I just finished.  I wanted to remove as many distractions as possible as I focused on my walk with the Lord more.  I dedicated a week to deeper intimate times with Him through reading His Word, praying for specific needs for myself and others, singing praises to Him (at home!) and journaling.   He is my Everything in life and always deserves my full attention although I don't always give it.  There are many things right now the Lord is doing in our family's life and things we're trusting and believing him for.  It was a really good time of just resting in the Lord and seeking Him in a deeper way.  I'm refreshed and hope to keep this renewed spirit daily!
The past few weeks, I've made several delicious things that I've been meaning to share with you all!  The lovely slices of goodness you see here is a new recipe I found from one of my favorite cookbooks, that I LOOOVE!  I call it Banana Bread with orange glaze, although fresh orange flavor is infused throughout this bread recipe.  It's incredibly moist and yummy!  I actually cut out 1/4 cup of the sugar and because it's made with naturally sweet very ripe bananas, we didn't miss it at all!!  (The recipe I've given you is the original one, though.)
I'm sharing this bread recipe at Inspired By Family magazine!  While you're visiting the magazine, read up on nourishment for the spirit and soul.  Especially you mommys out there...so many good articles written by real people, like me.   I'm honored to be a part of something so positive and uplifting on the web!
Before I start my day, I wanted to say that this blog is something that has become dear to me, and my readers have become friends that I feel honored to have around the country (and the world)!  I don't always get a chance to go to all of your beautiful blogs after you leave a comment to thank you, so right now I want to say THANK YOU!!!  I whole hearted-ly appreciate your precious words that you graciously leave me after each post of mine.  I love writing about food, home and God, and it's these intertwining of different people that make these relationships we share... friends!  I do know many of you all personally and love you--y'all know who you are!!-- and many more I don't know.  I just feel really blessed to be able to share a piece of my small world with you! :)
Have a blessed weekend and stay warm!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Dark Chocolate & Walnut Granola Bars

What a busy January it's been so far!  This month is just going along much faster than it usually does, but you won't hear any complaints from moi!
With bitter cold wind, frosty temperatures and more cloudy days, I've been playing "catch up" on things I've put off for a while!  (I'll be sharing more on those things later with you friends;)
I just returned from visiting family and friends back in my hometown.  Mr. Cozy is very busy at work so I took the opportunity to see some people I haven't seen in a long time and missed!  
 I want to share with you the recipe to these yummy dark chocolate and walnut granola bars I made on a cold, cloudy day last week!  These are way more delicious that the store bought version of granola bars, and you can control what's in them!  The bittersweet chocolate dots the bars and somewhat melts giving them a decadent taste with some extra anti-oxidants!  I wanted to use walnuts because they have good fats in them (although pecans are my favorite), and I added some ground flax seed to amp up the nutritional value a little more.  The honey makes them chewy and and the walnuts add that satisfying crunch!  I'm trying to be more aware of how much sugar I eat on a daily basis, and although these are better than store bought ones are for you, they still have some sugar!  Cut them in half if you like, but either way wrapped up they last for about 1 week!
Perfect for a quick breakfast treat on the go, delicious snack or even dessert these home dark chocolate & walnut bars are a delight to eat.  You'll feel good about knowing they are homemade and even better because they are easy to make!  I hope you can try these out sometime, and if you've never made any granola bars before, don't miss out... ;) 
...Here's your chance!
 Dark Chocolate & Walnut Granola Bars
Recipe is slightly adapted from The Barefoot Contessa & found at Shopgirl
2 c. of Rolled Oats, toasted 
3 Tbsp. Butter, melted
1/3 c. Honey, I prefer raw
1/4 c. Brown Sugar
1 1/2 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
1/4 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Kosher Salt
1 heaping Tbsp. Ground Flax Seed
1 c. Walnuts, chopped & toasted
1/2 c. Bittersweet (60%) Chocolate Chips, I used Ghiradelli
Note: I decided to toast the oats and nuts to give them a fuller flavor.  To do this you just spread out the oats and nuts in the same baking sheet and put in the oven to bake at 350 degrees F. for about 8 minutes or until fragrant and oats are lightly tanned.  When making this batch, I didn't allow for cooling time before adding to the rest of the mixture and that is what melted my chocolate chips.  If you want whole chocolate chips, be sure to let this cool first!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper. I let this almost hang over the edge and trimmed down to size a bit.
In a medium sized bowl, mix together butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt.
 Stir in the ground flax. 
Pour in the beautifully toasted oats and nuts.
 Add the chocolate chips.  (Like I said, most of my chocolate melted for the warm oats, but it's still very good!)  If you feel like it's not sticking together, add a bit more honey.
Pour mixture into prepared pan.  Wet your hands and gently press down.  Bake for 18-20 minutes, or 'til edges are slightly brown. 
Important: Let granola bars cool for 2 hours before cutting! This way they won't fall apart. We want pretty little granola bars to be proud of!
Before cutting them, use the long ends of the parchment paper and lift the whole granola bar out of the pan.  Sit on the counter with the paper still underneath and then cut the bars.  I used a plastic knife.  Also, after cuttng them I wrapped them tightly and individually in plastic wrap so they would keep well and be easy to grab on the run.
 Once they are cut into 8 pieces (or 16 if you want small squares), enjoy a chewy delicious bar with some coffee or milk and ponder your granola bar success! 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Warm Winter Wonder & Thai Chicken-Coconut Curry

It's was a cool, cloudy morning.  I woke up and lit some new candles to make things cozy as I got my first cup of coffee.
 After I put my Christmas away, I decided to leave out some snowmen and winter greenery at least for the next few weeks!  While I really like for there to be less clutter and to reorganize things at the beginning of the year, I think it's fun to have out some cute cold weather decor to brighten the house on these dark days.
 I really love this picture that my hubby and I took of us 3 years ago on a very snowy day!  I keep it in this frame my parents gave us a couple of years ago and put it out every winter!
 I decorated my large shelves that I usually have trouble knowing what to fill with.  They're so tall and deep and, well, awkward!  I kept things fun and simple here, and I like how it's turned out.  I just need a little candle to bring life to my old lantern!
 This is one of my favorite pillows!  With red and cream plaid and homemade looking snowmen, it's just so country cozy!   It's like the sweet snowmen are giving a winter greeting to those in the room!
This pillow a Christmas gift from Mom a couple years ago. 
You know, I welcome every change of season and each new holiday as they come.  Like I've shared before, I look for and find the joy in them all!  I know that January in my part of the country isn't a time to be outside to garden, grill, or relax on the patio, so I think it's that much more important to keep inside my home a place where we love being.  Just with the help of a few simple things like having yummy candles lit, the fireplace cracklin, new books on hand to read and a well stocked pantry for new recipes or a batch of cookies on the fly, it's easy to be inside!!!
One of my favorite things about winter is that it's quite okay to have sparkly lights here and there to give a warm glow inside the house.  I decided to keep out this sparkly sprig that's so pretty, especially at night!
Another favorite photo of us with our best friends in front of the Louvre in Paris!  I think it's appropriate to keep in this Parisian frame by the Eiffel Tower.
Oh!  How I wish to go back some day....
Underneath the shelving I keep a big basket --I love this basket!--with snugly throws and blankets in year round.  We love curling up around here under soft throws, and we have them everywhere!  I have my favorite one kept on the couch.  This new grey one is Mr. Cozy's and it's incredibly soft!!  (Haha, we "claim" certain ones as our own, although I did give him this one!) As you may remember, the quilt here is a family heirloom. :)
Last night for supper I made some delicious chicken & coconut curry filled with tender chicken breasts, sweet basil, red and orange bell pepper and broccoli.  We LOVE Thai food, and this is one of our favorites.  I thought I'd surprised my husband by making it since I rarely cook Thai at home.  This recipe is extra simple because it uses ready made red curry paste that you can find any almost any grocery in the Asian food.  This mixed with succulent (light) coconut milk makes a creamy base for this recipe.
Last night on Facebook I mentioned that I was cooking it and posted a picture and there was quite a response for the recipe.  Because this picture was a quick one taken with my phone, it's not "styled" the way I like to present my food on the blog, but I want to share with recipe with you all anyways! This is a wonderfully easy recipe for anyone who loves Chinese or Thai food!   
( I have another Thai recipe, Thai Chicken & Mango Curry, that I posted a while back that you should check out, too!) 
Perfect on a winter night, we ate a bowl of this over some whole grain Jasmine rice to satisfy our body and give a little comfort to the soul. :)
Chicken Coconut Curry or Kai Kang Dang
Slightly adapted from Allrecipes.com
1 can coconut milk
1 heaping Tbsp. red curry paste
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut in 1 in. pieces
2-3 Tbsp. fish sauce
1 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
1/3 c. Red Onion, sliced thinly
1/2 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
1/2 Orange or Yellow Bell Pepper, chopped
1 1/2 c. ( or 1 medium head) Broccoli
3/4 c. Fresh Basil Leaves, torn
1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
Squeeze of 1/2 Lime
Before I proceed with the recipe, note a few things:
  You can add more coconut milk if you want more soup to your curry.  If you do this, you'll probably want to add more curry paste.  Also, I added a few dashes of reduced sodium soy sauce and didn't put in quite as much brown sugar.   Add whatever vegetable you love in this kind of food, like carrots, snow peas or bamboo shoots.  Feel free to play around with the recipe like I do.
Bring 1/4 can of the coconut milk to a simmer and whisk in the red curry paste in a heavy bottomed pot.  Cook until fragrant, about 5 minutes. 
Add the chopped chicken and cook until slightly golden or at least cooked just on the outside, about 5 minutes. 
Stir in the rest of the coconut milk,vegetables, fish sauce, sugar, cayenne pepper and basil leaves.  Allow to simmer for about 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. 
Pour lime juice over the dish and remove from heat.  Serve warm over rice.  Deliciousness!
I'm linking up with friends at:

Monday, January 7, 2013

Individual Light & Fluffy Frittatas


On Saturday, Mr. Cozy was off after a week and a half of intense work for him.  (Upwards of 100 hours a week is never a good thing!)  We slept in and it felt wonderful!!  I wanted to treat him to a nice little weekend brunch to make his day off as special and worth-while as possible!

I thought these little puffy and melt-in-your-mouth frittatas would fit the bill perfectly!  They are something that's so easy to make, but they look quite fancy and taste very delicious!  I've also made them for family who stays overnight with us.  They remind me of a breakfast we've had at one of our favorite bed & breakfasts in Ste. Genevieve, MO.  There is something about these little ramekins that dress up eggs like nothing else!
 This recipe is actually quite healthy!  I use lots of vegetables and whatever I have on hand at the time.  One of my favorite combinations are sweet onion, bell pepper (the more colors the better), fresh garden tomato and spinach.  These don't have the tomato, but are still colorful and delicious!  Other yummy veggies to add are broccoli, artichoke and summer squash! 
There is a little bacon, but I trim off the fatty ends first and strain off the grease.  Also, I buy the smoked, uncured bacon without any nitrates or nitrites!  This makes real pork bacon a little healthier in the way that it doesn't have those added carcinogens.  I try to stay aways from them as much as possible!  I've also used turkey bacon or sausage in this recipe, and they're really good, too.  
Like almost everything else, I cook the veggies in delicious extra virgin olive oil.  This stuff is a must in every kitchen!  Also, when you use a strongly flavored cheese like Parmesan, sharp or extra cheddar or pepper jack a little bit goes a really long way! It's put on the very top so you see a little gooiness that feels satisfying instead of hiding it inside.
 I don't deprive myself from hardly anything, that way I don't have many cravings!  I just limit my portions some things. If I eat real bacon, I eat it only on occasion and use it creatively.  Or the use of a strong cheese, grated finely (grating it yourself) actually adds volume to the cheese making it appear like you're eating more than you really are!
 Saturday I served the baby fritattas with a small piece of gingerbread dusted with powdered sugar and Fuji apple slices.  The perfect combination of savory and sweet!
If you like eggs at all or just want to jazz up your morning options a bit, please try these individual fritattas!  To make more, double or triple the recipe and fill greased muffin tins to bake in!  They stay in the fridge really well for you and kids to grab and eat throughout the week!  But for a special breakfast, you should use these sweet ramekins.
This is a perfect morning breakfast, along with fresh orange juice or coffee, to sit by the fireside on a frosty morning before your day really begins!
 Individual Light & Fluffy Frittatas
Serves 2
4 Eggs
1/4 c. Skim Milk
2 Tbsp. Baby Spinach, rough chop
1/4 c. Sweet Onion, finely diced
1/4 c. Bell Pepper, finely diced
1 slice Bacon, diced
1 1/2 Tbsp. Grated Cheese, approx.
Salt & Pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
(Side note:  I don't mind chopping veggies at all, but if you want to save a couple of minutes do this the night before.)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Over medium heat in a cast iron skillet (preferably), cook the bacon bits until crisp.  Strain with a slotted spoon and transfer to paper towels.
With a clean paper towel, carefully to not burn your self, wipe out the grease from the pan.  Lower the heat to med-low and add a couple swirls of olive oil.
Saute the veggies for 5-7 minutes or til onions are clear and soft. 
While veggies saute, crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk together with milk, pinch of paprika, salt and pepper.  (I don't use much salt with the bacon in there, but I like lots of black pepper!)  Once the egg mixture is well whisked and blended, add the spinach and stir together.
When the vegetables have cooked, add them to the egg mixture.  Divide this mixture up between 2 greased 7-8 oz. ramekins.  Evenly divide the bacon and sprinkle on top.  Do the same with the grated cheese.  Finish the top with a sprinkle of paprika.
Bake for 25-27 minutes, or until puffed and golden.  Eat right from the ramekins and enjoy while still very warm!
 Linking up to:

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Blogger issues and a thank you!

Friends, I don't know what's going on with my picture icon, but for some reason this is the second day I've been unable to upload any pictures onto a post!  I can't start/finish another post until this picture thing is figured out!....
I click the little picture icon.  A smaller page comes up like it should, but there is no option to click and upload photos, like there usually is.  I'm hoping it's just a fluke thing that will correct itself soon, but whatever it is I'm ready to share another recipe with you!!!
I also wanted to thank you so much for all the prayers, warm thoughts and comments you sent my way.  I feel so much better now, and I've even had the energy to take down my Christmas decor!  I appreciate all your sweet words so much. Reading the comments you left was like sunshine on those sick days of mine!
I hope this picture "crisis" get resolved soon so that I can share more things with you all, and I hope your day has been as good as mine has been.  Taking down Christmas, light cleaning, the fireplace ablaze, afternoon coffee and enjoying a rare day with my hubby at home makes it perfect.  Enjoy the rest of this wintry weekend!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!!!

This pic was taken at home after a dressy Christmas party we went to.
Happy New Year from The Cozy Little Kitchen!!!
I am expecting the Lord to do some mighty things in mine and my husband's life this year!  I want to draw nearer to Him and seek His heart, to know His ways and desires for my life and for others! 
Jesus says in Matt. 7:7 "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you..."
I LOVE the start of a new year!  I tend to freshen up my home, find new and healthy recipes that turn into favorites, and I become more energized in all areas.  My Christmas gifts get incorporated throughout the home and closets, and I start reading my new books that I've received.  It's truly a fresh start!
I wanted to share that I've been pretty sick with the flu for the past several days, and haven't posted on my blog or done much visiting lately.  I miss sharing with you all, Friends!  I'm praying this doesn't last much longer so that I'll have the stamina to put away Christmas decor and clean things up around here.  I have to thank my husband for taking care of me as much as he can despite him working 12-15 hour days this week! (Love you, Honey!)  I would so appreciate your prayers for me and that he doesn't get sick, too.
May you and your home be filled with so much joy in 2013!!!