Ever Evolving Food Blog

Hello Everyone! I have had this blog for years now, and as my personal life has changed, so have my tastes and eating habits...for the better!! I am now a fully plant-based eater, so my newer recipes will reflect this lifestyle and way of eating.

All of my old recipes will remain on my food blog, of course, so there will be a mixture of the old and the new for everyone to look through and choose. You can always play around with any recipe out there and make it your own, whether it's plant-based or not. There are always other options!
Thanks SO much for following! Happy Eating!

What's Cooking With Melissa

Don't Forget to Vote! There is a poll on the right side of this page. What is your favorite whole grain to use when cooking?

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Overnight Oats

Don't have time for breakfast?  Here is a fast and easy way to fix it, so you can grab and go!  It only takes a couple of minutes to fix, then all you have to do is leave it in the fridge overnight, and you're ready to go.
I even make it in the morning sometimes, so I can have it for dinner.







Ingredients:
~ 1 1/2 - 2 cups of rolled oats
~1/4 cup chia seeds
~1/8 cup flax seeds
2 Tbsp brown sugar
~4-5 sliced up strawberries
~1/2 banana 
~1/2 cup blueberries
~1 cup of unsweetened coconut milk (or milk of your choice)


Directions:  
Layer the ingredients, starting with the oats, then 1/2 of the chia seeds, flax seeds, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, fruit, oats, the other 1/2 of the chia seeds, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, fruit, and finally top it off with oats again.  

Slowly pour the milk in until it just covers the top of the last layer of oats.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Cherry Turnovers

These cherry turnovers are fast and easy.  If you're having guests over for a visit, these would be perfect to serve with hot tea or coffee.  Of course, you can use any kind of pie filling you prefer.  Sometimes, I make several different kinds for larger family events, like Thanksgiving or Christmas.  






Ingredients:  
2 sheets of Pepperidge Farm puff pastry dough (thawed)
1 jar/can of cherry pie filling (or your choice of flavors)
1 egg
1 Tbsp water
sugar to sprinkle of top

Directions:
In a small bowl, mix water and egg. 

Roll out thawed puff pastry on a floured surface and cut each of the two puff pastry sheets into 6 equal squares for a total of 12 squares. 

Brush egg and water mixture over each pastry square. Spoon a little over one tablespoon  of pie filling into the center of each square. 

Fold the pastry squares over to cover the filling, and then seal the edges with a fork. *Its easier to fold them over to make rectangles instead of triangles.  If you try to make triangles, the filling comes out. 

Brush the tops entirely again with the egg/water mixture and sprinkle a little sugar over each one.

Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes. 

Homemade Potato Skins

These appetizers are SUPER fast and easy to make.  They would be great for a football party or sleepover for kids.  You could serve them with ranch dressing or salsa, or you could top them with sour cream and green onions or chives.  Two large potatoes can easily serve 4 people, so go from there when deciding how much to make.




Ingredients:
2 large baking potatoes 
1 bag of shredded cheese
bacon bits
salt


Directions:
Slice the potatoes (skin on) in 1/8 inch slices and boil them in a large pot of water for about 8 minutes.  You don't want to boil them for longer than that because they will fall apart.  

Carefully dump the boiled potato slices into a strainer and them lay them out on a paper towel.  Gently dab them with a paper towel to remove excess water.  The drier they are, the crispier they will be when you bake them.

Arrange them in one layer on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Lightly salt them and then sprinkle with cheese and then bacon bits.

Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes. Serve warm and enjoy!


 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Apple Roses

This is the cutest treat!!  I saw it floating on Facebook, so I just had to try it myself to see if I could get it to work.  They are really not hard to make, as long as you are patient and gentle with the puff pastry, as always.  They are SO cute and SO yummy!!!  Perfect for a small dinner party!









Ingredients for 6 Roses:

2 large, red apples (I used Gala.)
1 large lemon
3 Tbsp apricot preserves
2 Tbsp water
cinnamon 
1 sheet of puff pastry (I used Pepperidge Farms.)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. \
Squeeze the juice of the lemon into a small mixing bowl. 


Slice the two apples in half and remove the cores.  
Cut the apple halves into very thin slices and place into the bowl of lemon juice.  Gently toss the apple slices with your hands until they are coated with the lemon juice and microwave for 2 1/2 minutes.  Drain the juices when your done.


In a small mixing bowl, mix together the apricot preserves and water with a spoon and microwave for 1 minute.

Roll out the puff pastry onto a floured surface and cut into 6 long strips.  Coat each strip with apricot preserves and then place the apple slices along the top of one edge so that they are overlapping. Lightly sprinkle with cinnamon.  Fold up the bottom half of the dough strip and then gently roll up the apples and dough until it has made a rose shape.  




Gently place the roses into a muffin tin sprayed with coconut cooking spray. Bake at 375 for 40-45 minutes.



Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Oven-Baked Okra Chips

I am from the South, so I grew up eating breaded, fried okra.  Don't get me wrong, I love it, BUT.... I don't eat fried foods anymore.  When I went to the Farmer's Market a few days ago, I came across the most beautiful okra and thought, "Ah, man! I wish I could have some fried okra. Oh well."  And I almost passed it up, BUT... then I stopped myself.  I bake a lot of my veggies, so I figured there must be a way to bake okra, too.  I found a Paleo recipe for baked okra and made it with some tweaking of my own.  It was SO good!!! What a great snack!!

Ingredients: (makes about 1 cup)
10 large okra
1 tsp grape seed oil
cracked pepper
garlic salt
a dash of red pepper

Directions:
Cut the okra into thin slices (~1/4 inch slices).  Lightly toss them in grape seed oil.  Spread them out in one layer on a baking sheet sprayed with coconut oil spray, and then sprinkle on the cracked pepper, red pepper, and garlic salt.

Bake for 15-20 minutes at 400.  They'll come out crispy with no slime.  :)

Monday, July 6, 2015

Gluten-Free Banana Bread

I am trying some new gluten-free recipes just to see how they taste.  My family isn't gluten-free, but a lot of my students and friends are, so I thought I would try some things out and see how I like them.  So far, everything I've tasted has been great.  There are some recipes that end up being a little dry, they say, so I tweaked this banana bread recipe to see if it would be more moist, and it was!

Ingredients:
2 large, over-ripe bananas (mashed)
4 large, brown eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 cups brown rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp honey
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup grape seed oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
(you can substitute the two sugars with 2/3 cup of agave)

Directions:
Combine everything in a large bowl, mixing until well-blended.  Fill a 4 x 8 inch bread pan (that has been sprayed with non-stick coconut oil spray) halfway and bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

*I had some mix left over, but it wasn't enough to make another whole loaf, so I made a few muffins with what was left. :)

Monday, June 29, 2015

Black Bean Soup (NO CANS!)

I don't eat anything out of a can anymore, so I've learned to soak my black beans and season them for the things I use them in, like soups, salads, pizzas, enchiladas, etc.  It's super easy, and you don't get any of the loaded sodium, additives that some brands include, nor do you have to worry about the BPA in canned and bottled foods and drinks.  This is my own recipe for black bean soup.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!




Ingredients:
1/2 pound of dry black beans
onion powder (1/4 tsp for soaking, 1/4 tsp for cooking)
celery seed (1/4 tsp for soaking, 1/4 tsp for cooking)
garlic salt (1/4 tsp for soaking)
red pepper (1/4 tsp for soaking, 1/4 tsp for cooking)
ground cumin (1/4 tsp for soaking)
Adobo all-purpose seasoning (1/4 tsp for cooking)
whole cumin seeds (1/2 tsp for cooking)
minced garlic (1/2 tsp for cooking)
1 tomato (diced)
1 red bell pepper (diced)
1/2 large yellow onion (diced) 
chicken broth (1 qt.) I use Pacific Free-Range, low sodium
grape seed oil or olive oil to saute with

Directions for soaking the black beans:
In a medium-sized pot, put 3-4 cups of water, the beans, onion powder, celery seed, garlic salt, red pepper, and ground cumin.  Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat, cover, and let soak for 4 hours.  When you're ready to cook them, drain and rinse them with cold water.

Directions for the soup:
In a large sauce pan, saute the onion, minced garlic, cumin seeds, and bell pepper until lightly browned (about 5 minutes).  Add the broth, beans, tomato, Adobo seasoning, red pepper, onion powder, and celery seed.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook down to the consistency you would like.  I like mine to be thicker, so I let it cook down for a while.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Roasted Beets and Multi-Colored Carrots with Balsamic/Honey Glaze

If you want something that's easy to prepare, colorful, and healthy, then this is your kind of dish!  It only has five simple ingredients, and there is very preparation involved.  I know it says "glaze" in the recipe title, and when I think of glaze, I think of the old-school butter and sugar Easter ham glaze.  This glaze has NO butter and only one tablespoon of honey. Try it!



Ingredients:  

3 medium-sized organic red beets, tops removed
3 multi-colored organic carrots, peeled and sliced
1 Tbsp organic honey
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350. Wrap each beat in foil, place on baking sheet, and bake for 25 minutes.  While the beats are baking, peel and slice the carrots.  After 25 minutes, place the carrots on the baking sheet with the beets, (I give my carrots a light spray with coconut oil spray), and bake for another 25 minutes. Once the veggies have baked, let them cool on the stove top for 15 minutes.

While the veggies cool, prepare the glaze by heating the vinegar, honey, and nutmeg in a small saucepan
over medium-high heat.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until thick and bubbly (about three minutes).


Once the veggies have cooled for 15 minutes, then peel the beets and slice them into 1/4 inch rounds.  Mix the beats in with the carrots, drizzle the glaze over them, and enjoy!


Sunday, March 8, 2015

Homemade Granola Bars

I love to hike, so I eat a lot of granola bars because they are easy to pack and carry, and they won't ruin or melt on a long hike.  They can also be fairly healthy if you make them yourself.  I used to eat Nature Valley granola bars, which aren't terrible as far as ingredients go, but if I can make something myself and know exactly what goes into it, I'll do it.  I think these are delicious, and they are super easy to make!

Ingredients:
1 cup butter or butter alternative
2 Tbsp honey
1/2 cup organic light brown sugar
3 cups organic oats
1 Tbsp. chia seeds
1 Tbsp. flax seeds
1/2 cup cranberries
1/2 cup dried coconut
*sometimes I add 1/2 cup of chocolate chips
*you can add 1/2 cup chopped nuts if you like them

Directions:
Heat cutter (I cut mine into squares to make melting faster.), honey, and brown sugar in a large sauce pan on medium heat, stirring constantly until melted and blended.  Remove from heat and gently stir in all the other ingredients.  

Gently fold out onto a lined, sprayed cookie sheet and pack evenly.  This will make half a large, standard cookie sheet's worth of granola bars (*before cutting).  

Heat at 350 for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.  Let cool and then cut into desired, measured bars. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Chicken Pesto with Prosciutto

I eat a lot of baked chicken, so I was trying to come up with some new ways to spice it up without being terribly unhealthy. I use pesto when making my favorite tofu dish because I don't use soy sauce, so I thought I would try using pesto with chicken this time.  It was delicious!



Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts

3-4 Tbsp. pesto
4 strips of prosciutto
shredded Parmesan cheese
two slices of Provolone cheese
coconut oil spray

Directions:
Hammer out the two chicken breasts until they are flattened out to about a half inch in thickness.  Place
one piece of sliced Provolone on each chicken breast.  Spoon on 1-2 Tbps of pest on each chicken
breast.  Sprinkle on about 1 Tbsp of shredded Parmesan cheese over the pesto.  Carefully fold over the chicken as you would when making chicken cordon bleu.  Wrap each stuffed and folded chicken breast in two slices of prosciutto.  Place on a cooking sheet lined with foil and sprayed lightly with coconut oil cooking spray.  Bake at 400 for about 25 minutes or until done.

I served mine with a variety of medley of vegetables sauteed in grape seed oil with a bit of whole cumin, sesame seeds, and minced garlic. 
Enjoy!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Palm Tree Treat for Kids

Here is another cute, healthy treat I found on the Internet.  It's amazing what kind of art you can make with fruits and veggies.  This is something you could have your kids help with that would be fun AND nutritious.  My students at school have been loving the creations, and my son has been giving me pointers as I am creating these little masterpieces. Ha ha!  FUN!!



What you'll need:
  • A large dinner plate
  • 1 large carrot sliced thinly
  • 2 kiwis, peeled and sliced 
  • 2 small bananas, peeled and sliced
*Tip: Cut the bananas last so they don't turn brown.

    Tuesday, January 6, 2015

    Ice Tray Meal for Kids

    This is a great way to get kids to eat. I saw this on idea on the Internet and thought I'd see what I could come up with myself.  It was funny because after I made it, I thought it looked really good and almost made one for myself.  I have OCD, so I don't like my food to touch (just like a lot of kids), so I can most definitely see the appeal of this colorful, fun, healthy way to serve a meal to small kids.  I would have added something besides the gummies in that one compartment, but I was saving my kiwi for another project.  Other than those, it's pretty healthy!


    Things you might want to include:
    granola (I used peanut butter.)
    celery
    low-fat cheese
    apple
    Annie's organic Bunnies crackers
    low-sodium, lean turkey sausage
    strawberries
    nuts
    goldfish crackers
    roasted coconut chips
    sugar snap peas
    pineapple
    grapes
    low-sodium turkey jerky
    carrots
    kiwi
    banana
    orange slices

    Friday, January 2, 2015

    Two Birds and a Tree Treat

    I saw this on the Internet and just had to make it myself.  It's so cute and a good way to get kids to eat their protein!  It's a very simple and healthy snack.





    Ingredients:
    1 brown, cage-free egg
    1 Horizon organic Colby cheese stick
    9 green grapes



    Directions:
    1. Boil the egg for 20 minutes, peel, and slice in half. Let cool.
     
    2. Slice the cheese stick in half, length-wise, then make two slits to make the branches.  Be careful or they'll break.

    3. Arrange the grapes around the tree branches to look like leaves.

    4. Cut two triangles of cheese for the bird beaks.

    5. Place one peppercorn on each egg half for the eyes.


    Nutritional Info:
    1 brown egg
    70 calories
    5 g fat
    1 g carbohydrates
    6 g protein
    195 mg cholesterol
    65 mg sodium

    1 Horizon organic Colby cheese stick
    110 calories
    9 g fat
    1 g carbohydrates
    7 g protein
    30 mg cholesterol
    170 mg sodium

    1/2 cup green grapes
    52 calories
    0 g fat
    13.5 g carbohydrates
    0.5 g protein
    0 mg cholesterol
    1.5 mg sodium


     

    Black-Eyed Pea Salad

    To start off the New Year, a lot of people eat black-eyed peas in some fashion or another.  This recipe was given to me by my friend, Brandy. She served it at her New Year's Day Cookout, and it was fabulous!!! It is loaded with Vitamin C, protein, iron, and potassium.  Yum!!!



    Ingredients:
    1 (16 oz) bag of frozen black-eyed peas
    1/4 cup chopped, fresh cilantro
    1/4 cup red wine vinegar
    2 Tbsp grape seed oil
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 cup diced red bell pepper
    1/3 cup diced red onion
    1 cup diced pineapple
    2 cups lightly steamed, chopped kale
    *makes 5 cups

    Directions:
    1. Prepare black-eyed peas according to the directions on the package. Simmer only until al dente, drain, and let cool for 1 hour.

    2. Whisk together cilantro and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl.

    3. Add cooked black-eyed peas, bell pepper, and red onion, tossing to coat. 

    4. Cover and chill for 8 hours..

    5. Add pineapple and kale into the mixture just before serving. 


    Nutritional Info for 1 cup:
    Calories: 208
    Fat: 6.4g
    Saturated fat:  0.42 g
    Polyunsaturated fat: 4.18 g
    Monounsaturated fat: 1.24g
    Sodium: 32.9 mg
    Fiber: 6.5 g
    Protein: 9.34 g
    Potassium: 166.7mg
    Cholesterol:  0mg
    Sugars: 4.4g
    Carbohydrates: 31g
    Vitamin A: 96.5%
    Vitamin C: 123.3%
    Calcium: 6.4%
    Iron: 13.94%