Grilled Cheese {with Broccoli} and Tomato Soup

I was feeling a little spontaneous the other day.  I wanted grilled cheese and tomato soup but I wanted to spice up my grilled cheese.  Surprising, I know…since I am a creature of habit but I am trying new recipes and this one just popped in my mind.  Plus, I had some broc I needed to cook.  So, I roasted some tomatoes, garlic, onions, and a small carrot.  I also roasted the broccoli.  And I have never been more happy about putting my own spin on a classic recipe!

Ingredients

For the Roasting:

1 lb of tomatoes {I used 2 heirloom and 1 pint of cherry tomatoes–hey, it’s what I had in the house!}

1 small carrot, peeled

1/2 of a yellow onion

4 cloves of garlic {skin on}

1 head of broccoli

1-2 tsp kosher salt

6 tblsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut tomatoes to equal sized pieces. {I cut the heirlooms to match  the size of the halved cherry tomatoes}.  Cut onions into large pieces, no need to separate.  Chop carrot into half inch pieces.  Place tomatoes, onion, carrot, and garlic on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with 3 tblsp of olive oil.  Sprinkle with 1 tsp of salt.  Mix together to coat.  Cut the broccoli florets into bite-sized pieces.  Place on a separate baking sheet.  Drizzle with remaining olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Mix together to coat.

You can place both pans in the oven at the same time.  The broccoli will take about 10 minutes to roast and is done when the tops start to turn a golden brown. The tomatoes will need about 15-20 minutes to roast. Watch the onions and garlic and remove them from the pan if they finish before the tomatoes.

For the Soup:

Roasted tomatoes, onions, carrot, and garlic.

2 cups of chicken broth

1/2 cup whole milk/cream {optional}

1 bay leaf

fresh basil

salt and pepper to taste

Once the tomatoes, onions, carrot and garlic {peel the garlic!} are done roasting place in a large pot and add the chicken broth and bay leaf.  Cook over medium heat until a boil.  Reduce and simmer for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Remove bay leaf from pot.  Use an immersion blender to puree the tomato mixture.  Stir in whole milk/cream.  This is totally optional but I like the consistency and creaminess that the milk gives the soup. Chop a few basil leaves {I used 6 because I LOVE it!} and add those to the pot too.  Give it a taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking.

For the Grilled Cheese

2 pieces of bread {I used Ezekiel}

Organic Ghee {I now use this for butter}

1/2 cup roasted broccoli florets, chopped into small pieces

Brie Cheese {you could use American, Cheddar, Fontina}

Turn panini maker on.  Place about 1/2 tsp of ghee on the maker to melt.  Use a brush to dip into ghee and then brush onto the bread.  Place one piece of bread on grill.  Add the cheese.  Top with chopped broccoli florets.  If you want to go crazy–add some more cheese.  I was good and limited myself here. Top with second slice of bread, ghee side up.  Close panini maker and let the magic happen.

 

 

 

 

Blueberry Lemon Bread {Clean}

I have so many blueberries.  I just don’t know what to do with them.  Blueberry muffins and pancakes, yes.  Good ideas but what about something different…like blueberry lemon bread? I did a little Googling and I found a recipe at Real Food Real Deals (thank you, Annemarie for the inspiration!).  The recipe sounded perfect…except if you know me…I have a hard time following recipes.  Of course I wanted to change it up a bit.  The end result?  Delicious.  Clean. Blueberry lemon bread.

 

Blueberry Lemon Bread {Clean}

Ingredients:

2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil

1/4 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt

1/3 cup maple syrup

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

1 cup of blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a loaf pan.

2. In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients.

3. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, coconut oil, yogurt, lemon juice, and zest.

4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir.

5. Fold in the blueberries.

6. Transfer the batter to the loaf pan and bake for 38-40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

**The best part about this recipe, I got to display the loaf on my Nana’s beautiful platter…I miss you SO much, Nana and I think about you all the time.  I know you are watching over us.**

Flourless Chocolate Peanut Butter {FIG} Cookies

I can’t even remember how I came across The Kitchen Prep Blog.  Maybe her post for Flourless Double Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal <sheesh that’s a mouthful!> popped up on my newsfeed?  I click on so many recipe links these days, I am just happy that this one stayed open in my browser.  My daughter asked if we could make some cookies and I thought it was a sign to get up and give this recipe a try.  I pulled out my iPad, set it on the counter, and looked over the ingredients.  I was excited because I had everything in the “pantry” <someday I will have a REAL pantry>.  I even had Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter–YUM! The only ingredient that left a little pang in my heart was brown sugar.  I am trying so hard to make clean, whole food recipes that my husband and my daughter love.  I want to teach them that healthy food, food that will fuel our bodies, doesn’t have to be packed with factory-made sugars and fat. Granted, if this was a perfect world I would have made my own PB too but at that moment, the sugar was my culprit.  So I thought about using honey–but I didn’t have any honey.  Then I thought about the Lara Bar I ate the other day.  I was impressed–3 ingredients–dates, sea salt, and peanuts.  That Lara Bar was deliciously sweet and I didn’t even know what dates tasted like before opening the wrapper. Trust me, there is a point to the crazy roadmap in my brain here.  One problem, I didn’t have dates.  What did I have??? FIGS!  Tons and tons of FIGS!  And that my friends is how I took The Kitchen Prep’s recipe and made it my own.
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The fig puree was a deep purple color.  I never pureed figs before and I couldn’t help but to smile about how the color would blend perfectly with the chocolate peanut butter.

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 And I couldn’t keep her hands away while trying to capture a pic.  She LOVED the sprinkle of sea salt on the top too!

Flourless Chocolate Peanut Butter {Fig} Cookies

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

1 cup Peanut Butter & Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter

8oz of fresh figs (I used 10 figs-should measure out to 3/4 cup when pureed)

1/4 cup of water

2/3 cup rolled oats + 1/3 cup rolled oats

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg

4-6 squares of dark chocolate, chopped into chunks

Sea Salt (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.

2. Process 2/3 cups of rolled oats to make a flour-like consistency.  (I used my magic bullet.) Place in large bowl.

3. Puree figs and water. Think baby food texture!

4.  Add fig puree, additional 1/3 cup of rolled oats, baking soda, salt, vanilla extract, and the egg to bowl.  Mix well.

5.  Stir in chocolate chunks.

6. Drop by the teaspoon on a cookie sheet, spacing about 2 inches apart.  Sprinkle with sea salt (optional but definitely recommended!!)

7. Bake for 11-12 minutes until cookies are just set.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

 

Thank you to Dianna at The Kitchen Prep Blog for inspiring me to make these cookies.  Thank you to Peanut Butter & Co. for making such amazing PBs that I can never seem to get enough of.  And thank you to so many of my healthy friends who have inspired me to wake up and learn about the food I eat.