Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Happy New Year!

The start of this New Year has me reflecting and thinking about my goals for 2017.  And no, these goals are not any kind of resolutions or empty “new year, new me” promises that are bound to fail from the start.  However, they are goals that I have purposefully and mindfully set in order to realize my true potential and become my best self.  They are milestones that I have set for myself to achieve, grow with, and learn from, and I can’t wait to start going down the list and checking them off!   They include, but are not limited to: competing in my first coffee competition, traveling to Guatemala on my first coffee origin trip, taking the dogs for more walks, and visiting at least three state parks with Mike that we’ve never been to before.

All in all, I anticipate that this year will be a year of exploration—and I’m ready for the adventure!  Along with this adventure, this year, my goal is to share at least one recipe (or food/beverage-related blog post) each week.  Although I’ve been notoriously bad about keeping up with my blogging in the past, I’d like 2017 to be the year that that changes.

To kick it off, I’m sharing one of my favorite go-to recipes.  It’s good on its own or topped with goodies, and it’s sure to stick to your ribs—perfect for a Wisconsin winter or a hot summer—it’s Creamy Mashed Potatoes!   These versatile mashed potatoes are quick and simple, and you’ll be wondering why they weren’t in your repertoire sooner.  So grab a few spuds and put some hot water on for mashed potatoes to remember.

And cheers to your best year yet!

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

4 washed large potatoes, preferably russet or yellow

¼ C milk

1-2 Tbsp unsalted butter (can use more or less depending on what you’re looking for)

¼ C cream cheese

1 tsp sea salt (or salt to taste)

¼ tsp ground black pepper (or to taste)

1 tsp parsley flakes

mashed-potatoes-2

Directions

To start, thoroughly wash the potatoes, ensuring that all of the dirt is removed from their skin.  Set two potatoes aside.  Peel the remaining two potatoes and discard of their excess skin.  Rinse the peeled potatoes once more.  Cut all four potatoes into cubes no larger than 2 inches.

Bring 2-3qts of water (or enough water to cover the potatoes) to boil in a 4qt pan.  Add a dash of salt.  Place cubed potatoes in boiling water.  Reduce heat to medium-high.  Cook about 15 minutes, or until potato falls off of fork when you poke it.  Turn off the heat on the burner.  Drain the water from the potatoes and return pan with potatoes to the warm burner.   Add the butter, cream cheese, and milk.  Smash with mashed potato smasher or spoon until mixed.   For chunkier potatoes, make sure to not over-smash.   Add salt, pepper, and parsley.  Mix with spoon until blended.    Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to one week.  Enjoy!

mashed potatoes 3.jpg

Serves 2-4.

Spicy Black Bean Hummus

Sorry that I’ve been on a blogging hiatus for awhile, but I’ve been busy between enjoying my summer, working, and getting ready for the semester to begin!  When I don’t have time to blog my recipes, I usually share pictures of what I’m creating in the kitchen on my Instagram feed (@radiantlyliving), but I hope to start finding a little bit more time to share my recipes, regardless of the fact that I am about to become much more busy.  I won the in-house manual coffee brewing competition that I competed in, and will be advancing to the next round of the competition with the help of a sponsorship by the company that I work for–Stone Creek Coffee–which is hosted by the Specialty Coffee Association of America/Barista Guild of America, so I will be practicing for that, as well as beginning school again in just a few short weeks, but don’t plan on losing any of my passion for cooking, so figure I may as well take the time when I have it to share 🙂

On another health-related note, I recently started doing Tone It Up workouts and have fallen in love!  Last night, I purchased the Beach Babe 3 workouts and began following Karena and Katrina’s weekly workout schedule that they post to their website as of this morning.  And Mike and I also purchased our first kettle bell (15 lbs.) today!!!! Woot woot!  Can’t wait to see my progress and continue to get stronger while my man does too!

Tonight I’d like to share a tasty recipe for Spicy Black Bean Hummus that I whipped up to squeeze some extra protein into our meal and pair with some homemade baked yellow potato fries and steamed purple cauliflower and multicolor baby carrots.

Ingredients:

1 16oz. can drained, rinsed black beans

juice of 1/2 a lemon

2 tsp. pink Himalayan salt, or salt to taste

1 tsp. cayenne

1 tsp. turmeric

2 Tbsp. water

3 Tbsp. tahini

2 tsp.-1 Tbsp. hot sauce of your choice (I used Valentina because that’s what we had in the fridge), optional

cilantro to garnish, optional

Directions:

In a blender or food processor, mix all ingredients until smooth. Use a spatula to make sure that all of the hummus is removed from the blending vessel.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to enjoy!  Garnish with cilantro if desired.

Asian Slaw

Crisp and refreshing, this slaw-style side salad is perfect with lunch, dinner, or as a crunchy snack!

Asian Slaw_1

Ingredients:

about 4 cups finely chopped red savoy cabbage (1/4-half a small cabbage)

about 3 cups finely chopped green cabbage (1/4-half a small cabbage)

about 1 C finely shredded carrots (I used multicolored baby carrots)

1 small shallot, diced

1-2 cloves of garlic (or use rice vinegar with garlic in it for an even easier recipe)

1/3-1/2 C rice vinegar (plain or garlic)

1/4 C shoyu or soy sauce

2-3 Tbsp. sesame oil

1/3-1/2 C cashews, halved

Directions:

Preparing asian slaw

After you have cut, shredded, and measured out all of the ingredients, put them together in a dish with a lid (glass preferable) and mix thoroughly.  If the least amount of rice vinegar, shoyu, or sesame oil are not enough, add more to taste, but be careful to not overdo it!  Place in the refrigerator and store for up to 3 days (tip: it will actually taste better on the second day than it does on the first) before the cabbage gets too soggy.  Enjoy!

Optional topping: crunchy ramen noodles