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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sausage and Polenta Triangles

My family is very traditional at Thanksgiving we all meet up at our family farm, my mom makes the turkey and dressing, my aunt makes a ham and her special cranberry jello (my favorite dish at Thanksgiving click here for the recipe) my cousin Dana, brings sweet potato souffle and macaroni and cheese my brother brings collards and mashed potatoes, and I always bring broccoli casserole. We are so lucky that we all live close to each other so no one really has to travel far to be together on holidays. I try really hard to instill gratefulness in my kids. In a world of give me, I need more, enough is never good enough, I think gratitude is one of the best values I could instill in my children, honestly if they don't get any others I pray they get gratitude. Each year at the beginning of November we make a tree and cut leaves, each day we all write something we are grateful for and paste it to the tree. My kids love doing it and this year when friends or family came over they would immediately give them each a leaf and ask to them to contribute to our thankful tree.

You probably can't read any of our thankful leaves so here's a close-up...
This is an important part of the season in our house and one I hope makes an impact on my kids. 

As far as this recipe, I found it in a Cooking Light magazine and as soon as I saw it I thought it would make a perfect addition to our traditional Thanksgiving! Of course I made a few changes, I just have such a hard time following directions, however it is a trait that I am actually grateful for as it helps with my creativity in the kitchen.

1 roll of reduced fat pork sausage (I used Jimmy Deans)
1 small onion, diced small
1 stalk celery, diced small
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 1/4 cups 1% milk
1 cut polenta (corn grits)
2 T grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
2 t Olive oil, divided

Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook, as sausage begins to brown stir to help crumble into small bits. Once browned, add the onion, celery and garlic. Cook until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Next add chicken stock and milk and bring to a boil. Slowly add the polenta constantly stirring so no clumps form. Add Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Once thickened, spoon the polenta-sausage mixture into a large casserole dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Cool to room temp then cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight. Once chilled, using a butter knife cut the polenta into 8 squares then cut each square diagonally to form a triangle. Heat a large non-stick skillet to high heat and add 1 teaspoon olive oil, place half the triangles in skillet and brown on each side about 3-4 minutes per side. Serve immediately.

I took this picture with cornmeal see the notes below, don't use cornmeal.

This is the sausage cooking with the celery, garlic and onion, love that steam!

Here is the 1st batch I made with cornmeal...

Here is the 2nd batch I made with polenta.

Sauteing the polenta batch, Yum!

It tastes like an Italian Thanksgiving. So delicious, I can't wait for my family to try these babies tomorrow!

*Notes I searched for polenta for in 6 regular grocery stores and the only kind I could find was:
Don't use this...instead use this...

The only place I could find this was at Natural Foods Warehouse!
I made it once with cornmeal and it was not as good, if you can't find polenta, just use grits! Really it's the same thing other than the color. 

Weight Watcher Friends: Each triangle has 2 points.

Source: Cooking Light Magazine Nov 2012

Thursday, November 1, 2012

No-Bake Peanut Butter Bites

Lately I have been hearing about all kinds of little balls of food, some people call them energy balls, protein balls, whatever you want to call them these babies are awesome! Last week we were at our farm and my cousin Rusty and his wife Ali, had brought some "balls" up to share. They were great, we all snacked on them. Then we chatted about making them, because I knew these would be a perfect recipe to share with my readers. The bottom line is that there are no real rules when it comes to these little bites of yumminess...the main important components are ingredients 1-7, after that add or omit what you want. These are just an idea. You could use walnuts, pecans, raisins, any kind of seeds, substitute almond or sunflower butter, really the possibilities are endless with these little loves. They are a yummy, raw food recipe and healthy nonetheless! Enjoy...

1 cup oats
2/3 cup coconut
1/2 cup Peanut butter (I used natural crunchy)
1/2 cup ground flax
1/3 cup honey
1/2 t salt
1/2 t vanilla
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli dark chips)
1/4 dried cherries
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, mix together well. Place bowl in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Spray hands with baking spray so the mixture won't stick to your hands. Roll together, actually it's more of a pressing into the shape of a ball. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Makes about 30 balls.

Gather your ingredients, might be the most time consuming part of this one...

Add them to a mixing bowl...

Stir to combine, then refrigerate.

After the mixture is chilled shape into small balls.

A little hand wanted one while I was taking pictures, my kids like them. Although the competition for sweets is tough right now being the day after Halloween!

Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Weight Watcher Friends: These have 2 points per ball. Add or omit whatever fits your tastes but these are a very satisfying treat that is packed full of wholesome goodness!