Polenta Stack with Mushroom Gravy

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Sometimes I like to get experimental in the kitchen.  It doesn’t always turn out so well, but there are those times that it turns out WAY better than you ever expected.  This was one of those awesome times!  I have never made mushroom gravy before, especially not an “almost vegan” version.  The only reason this wasn’t considered vegan is because I used “I can’t believe it’s not butter” instead of Earth Balance.  I’m sure Earth Balance would have made about the same result so if you decide to re-create this vegan style just substitute Earth Balance in necessary location.  Anyway, it was Friday night,  my husband was playing video games and so I decided to play around the kitchen.  That is usually what I do when I get bored and hungry.  I had a tube of polenta that my mother had given me and I knew it was about time to use it.  Now, I have used polenta a few different ways: polenta fries, polenta vegetable casserole, etc… I had seen online that people were crisping them up in a skillet and for some reason I had just never tried it so I thought I would give it a shot.

I was shocked at how quick and simple it is to cook this in the skillet.  I’m probably just going to make it this way from now on.  The texture is great as it gets really crispy on the outside but stays nice and creamy on the inside.  Never have I attempted to make my own polenta.  I always just buy the kind that is in the weird-looking tube shape.  Maybe one day I’ll venture into making my own but for now I’ll just stick to store-bought.  They know what they are doing and I don’t have to wait for it to set up which is nice, especially when you are in a hurry, or just lazy, like me.

The internet is swirling with polenta recipes.  Mostly they are shown as mini pizzas or with some sort of marinara sauce and I just wasn’t feeling Italian last night.  Not to mention that my husband is not a huge fan of marinara sauce and I wanted him to try something new so I decided on a more savory version.  What is better than a nice gravy?  Not much really when it comes to sauces or dressings in my book.  I started thinking about gravy options to pair with the polenta.  Since polenta is basically grits I immediately went to breakfast style options.  However, I wasn’t feeling like “biscuit style” gravy and I had some random mushrooms so I thought I’d give this mushroom gravy a shot.  Goodness gracious, I’m so glad that I did and I also think that this would be an awesome topping for biscuits as well, when you are just wanting something a little different.

I wanted to make the gravy first, since the polenta doesn’t take very long and I didn’t want them to get cold.  Here are a list of the ingredients you will need for the mushroom gravy:

Gravy Ingredients

Handful or two of sliced white button mushrooms

1 – 1 1/2c Original unsweetened almond milk

2 tbs AP Flour

1 tbs I can’t believe it’s not butter

salt, pepper

Start by spraying a skillet with non stick spray, saute the mushrooms until soft and then scoot them to the side of the pan.  Add butter and flour to the skillet to create the roux for the gravy.  Slowly add in almond milk and simmer until the gravy thickens to desired consistency.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. HA…how easy is that?

Once you have made the gravy, simply spray another skillet with cooking spray and cook each polenta round for about five minutes on each side.  Stack them up, pour on the gravy and add some fresh thyme.  Perfect healthy dinner on your plate in no time.

Sweet Potato Chile Soup

I apologize that I have not been able to post for a bit.  Things have been extremely hectic here at our household.  We have had company for much of the time and I have been playing hostess.  Which has meant staying off of the computer and trying to entertain as best I can.  Things are back to normal now and so I am able to get back to writing on here.  I was just reminded by my mother that we are doing the Susan B. Komen walk for the cure this Sunday.  We did the same one last year in honor of a dear friend of mine who has survived breast cancer.  It is always a good time and we enjoy it.  Hopefully the weather will stay nice for us.  It has been so beautiful the last few days as fall has started to set in around the Bluegrass State.  It has gotten a little cooler and there is always a breeze.  This means it’s almost time for the boots and sweaters season.  As far as food is concerned it’s also the time for soup and chili.  Which brings me to this wonderful soup I made last night.  Honestly, this may have been the best soup I have ever tasted in my life, no kidding.  Which really surprised me because it has very few ingredients, five to be exact, if you don’t count the toppings.  Which you most certainly do not have to add.  I highly recommend them though.  I was hoping to top this with some avocado but when I cut into my last remaining one I realized that it had already turned into the brown mush state.  Avocados go bad so quickly.  One day they are perfect and the next they are completely inedible.  It is sort of crazy actually.  Here are the ingredients you will need to round-up for this amazing dish:

Ingredients

1 Sweet Potato – cooked (I cooked mine in the microwave but you can bake it if you have time)

1/2 C – Vegetable Broth

1/2 C – Unsweetened Plain Almond Milk

1 Chile Pepper in Adobo Sauce

Sea Salt

Topping Ideas

Corn Chips

Avocado

Greek Yogurt

Anything Really

How Too

Grab a blender (I just used a small one).  While the potato is cooling add the broth, milk and chile pepper to the blender.  Scoop out the insides of the cooked sweet potato, mash it up and then add that to the blender as well.  Blend on high until the mixture is pureed.  Transfer contents to a small pot, add the sea salt to your liking and heat thoroughly.  Once the soup is warm transfer to a bowl and top with whatever your heart desires.  I added a few corn chips and swirled in some plain Greek yogurt.  Enjoy!

This is super easy and can be vegan, without the yogurt of course.  I did not think something so simple could taste so amazing.  I was in shock that this turned out so well.  For taking only 10 minutes to prepare, this is a quick and easy dinner idea or lunch.  I think everyone would enjoy this.  The chile pepper gives it a touch of a smokey spicy flavor which pairs so well with the sweetness of the potato.  Trust me, give this a whirl, literally, in your blender.  I’m such a ham sometimes!  This recipe is enough for one person or two if you are willing to share, which I wasn’t.  I inhaled all this by myself and savored every last bite.  Give it a shot and I think you will be surprised at just how wonderful it is.

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The colors of this soup just scream FALL.  Don’t you think?  I’m sure you would get a similar outcome using butternut squash or pumpkin which I plan on trying soon.  Now I’m thinking of trying this with pumpkin and a little curry spice.  That post may be coming soon.  After I go to the grocery store that is.  We are running low on things so it is going to be necessary for me to go tomorrow.  I hope everyone has a lovely day and maybe you will get a notion to make this tonight.  If you do, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

If you like Pina Coladas…

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I entitled this post “If you like Pina Coladas…” because as I was making these overnight oats that’s what I was singing.  In my head of course, because if I actually sang out loud it would probably have glasses to shatter and people for miles would be covering their ears screaming in agony.  I am not the worlds best singer, so therefore I chose to sing it in my head.  I’m aware that this has no ingredients that make up a pina colada other than perhaps the coconut, but this had such a tropical vibe that I was picturing being on a bean sipping away on an ice-cold beverage.

I decided to try a different flavor of overnight oats.  I love my old standbys but sometimes you just want to experiment.  Lucky for me, this turned out very well.  I made this with the standard overnight oats ingredients but I added a little coconut and banana extract and kiwi.  I normally avoid kiwi as it isn’t my favorite fruit but I had picked up a couple at the supermarket for my husband.  He didn’t eat them however and so I decided to use them before they went to waste.  Which was also when another morning breakfast consisting of kiwi came into play:

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I just topped some Dannon toasted coconut flavored yogurt with a sliced kiwi, mini banana and some Puffins cereal.  Good stuff right there.  Maybe I have been having thoughts of vacation and warm places and that is where this has all come from.  I’m not sure really, but I do know that both of these were really awesome breakfast options.  So get to experimenting and coming up with some new overnight oat flavors.  Never be scared to try something new.  It just might turn out as the most amazing thing ever.  You never know until you try as I was always told.

I also managed to sneak in an oldie but a goodie:

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This is one of my favorites.  Lemon flavored overnight oats with strawberries and blackberries mixed in.  Never ever gets old.

 

Lemon Poppy Seed Mug Muffin

There’s nothing like the refreshing taste of lemon.  Since summer has pretty much dwindled away and it’s now September I decided to make one last summer time inspired treat for breakfast.  It felt like a send off to the warm weather and sunshine.  Bring on the leggings, boots and sweaters.  It’s fall time which means loads of fall inspired foods will be taking over the internet in a very short time.  I feel as if I have already started in that direction with all of the pumpkin recipes lately.  I wanted to end the summer season with an ode to my favorite summer time treat…lemonade!  Now, you can make or buy lemonade all year round but for some reason it just doesn’t have the same effect on the soul as making and enjoying your first summer batch of lemonade.  I digress…on to the muffin.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just don’t want to make a huge mess in the kitchen.  Especially on my last day off before heading back to work.  Insert sad face here for the holiday weekend being over.  It has been filled with lots of laughs, fun and new home purchases.  Including, a new sofa for our entertainment room in the basement.  How exciting is that!  This muffin though, literally takes very few ingredients, AND….wait for it… everything is mixed and cooked in a coffee mug.  Which means that you only have to wash the mug and a spoon.  It does not get any better than that folks.  Absolutely delicious and low maintenance equals a total win in my book.  It looked a little something like this:

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Ingredients

2 Tbs Coconut Flour

 1 Tbs Liquid Egg Whites

1/4 tsp Baking Soda

1/4 tsp Baking Powder

1 Tbs Sugar Free Lemon Pudding Mix

2 Truvia Packets

1/4 tsp Poppy Seeds

2 TBS Plain Greek Yogurt

Splash of lemon juice, coconut extract and unsweetened almond milk to moisten.

Alright guys, this next part is extremely difficult so stay with me here.  Spray a coffee mug with non stick spray, put all of the ingredients straight into the mug and stir it all up.  Pop it into the microwave for 1.5 to 2 minutes.  Turn the muffin out onto a plate and add some blackberries if you wish.  Goodness that was difficult, I think I even broke a sweat typing it out.  Of course I’m kidding, but do not be fooled by the easiness of this recipe.  I promise that it will taste like something that took an hour to prepare and bake.  Thankfully, this was not the case at all.  I took my fancy muffin to the front porch and enjoyed the sunshine and a warm cup of coffee.  I felt like I had done the summer justice and waved it goodbye.

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