April 30, 2012

Toffee Blondies

Ok, I am going to start the week with something sweet. This one of the few Martha Stewart recipes I have made more than once. I love brown butter almost more than breathing. If you've never had it you should know that when you cook butter, it starts to smell nutty and it tastes toffee like. Sold yet? Ok, so you add brown butter to a brownie like this one and add toffee bits and a rainy Saturday turns into a very happy afternoon.


I used salted butter, so I omitted the salt in the recipe, and I am not a bit walnut fan, so I used pecans. I also added chocolate chips - which were completely unnecessary by the way, but it just felt right.


Ingredients:
1-1/4 cups stick butter
2-1/4 cup flour
1-1/2 baking powder
2 cups brown sugar
3 large eggs
2-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup of chopped pecans
1 cup of toffee bits
1/2 cup of chocolate chips

I put all the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Then I started browning the butter in a pan, when the butter is browned I set it aside and let it cool. Then I added the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, adding the butter last. Mix well. Then add the toffee bits, chocolate chips and pecans.

Bake at 350 in a 13x9 inch pan for about 30 minutes.


Enjoy!

April 27, 2012

Chobani Love

I am so glad it's Friday - this has been a good week, but a long one. Mike and I are both relieved for the weekend. I am back into a work out routine, it took for what felt like forever for the dust to settle after the wedding. We are trying to plan a few vacations - Chicago, Montana, Maryland. This week we got a preview of our wedding photos and I swear I have stared at them every day for at least an hour ever since. My mom and my MIL are both dying to see the full collection - as am I of course. I have a great idea for a post when I get them into my hands! More to come on that...

I have a new obsession - honey nut chex. Seriously, so good. I was eating them by the handful and I always want to have them for breakfast, but in all honestly there just isn't enough protein. One serving has about 2 grams of protein and I need about 20 grams in order to not be hungry an hour after eating. So, I had to come up with some other way to incorporate the chex into my mornings.... enter Chobani. People rave about the stuff, I have never tried it because I'm not the biggest yogurt fan. However, when I found out that one little tub of Chobani contains about 14 grams of protein, I was sold.

So, breakfast has been a handful of honey nut chex, one tub of chobani, sliced fruit and a drizzle of honey over the top. No need to snack after this, I can make it all the way to lunch!

Ingredients for my favortie combo:
1 tub of apple cinnamon Chobani - stirred
1 banana, sliced
3/4 cup of honey nut chex



If you're woondering, no I wasn't paid - I actually like these products!

Enjoy!

April 25, 2012

Veggie Roll-Up

Typically, funny things happen as your wedding day approaches; you fuss over your hair, stress over the dress, stress over the details and of course you stress over your diet. I didn't do too much of any of these, other than not eating dairy, but you get the point

After the wedding we were so happy to not be fussing with anything any more that I think both of us have been a bit over indulgent. {insert your own joke here about newlyweds letting themselves go} We have been going out to eat a lot - which means higher sodium, calories and dessert without me having to actually bake it! Well, the guilt is catching up to me. So, I whipped this up for lunch the other day and it was awesome!

Ingredients:
1 whole wheat tortilla
2 tablespoons hummus - I used a jalapeno hummus for kick
1 handful (1/4 cup) shelled edamame
1/3 sliced red pepper
1 handful of spinach
Cilantro, minced - to taste
Sliced avocado - to taste

I spread the hummus onto the tortilla first, then added the remaining ingredients. Wrap it up and you're good to go!

The next day I made a different version - tahini hummus, grilled chicken, added the same veggies and dipped it in pineapple salsa - HEAVEN.




Enjoy!

April 23, 2012

Prosciutto and Mozzarella Flatbread

I can't believe it's already Monday. We had a very eventful weekend, which means it disappeared quickly. I always hate when that happens and I don't feel like I was as productive as I should have been.

Friday night I hit the movies with Kelly and we saw "The Lucky One" it was actually pretty good - we didn't have very high expectations. It has the fluffy - yea, that could happen factor. But, after the week I had it was just what I needed. Did I mention I had this for dinner that night? Oops. Needless to say I spent a significant part o fmy Saturday on the treadmill! Oh and Nicole - yes, I felt like I was cheating on you! (we usually share them!)


Saturday I spent almost the entire day with my "little" sister (through the big brother big sister program) it was our THIRD anniversary! So in celebration we went to the Mall of America to ride some rides - the zoo was our original plan, but the rain didn't hold off. We also had Dippin' Dots - which taste terrible to me now, which I'm also sure is a sign that I'm old. We hit a few roller coasters and about an hour after the ice cream I saw her eyes glaze over and it was time to head home. She immediately crashed in the car. We had an absolute ball - I still can't believe it's been three years of being matched.

{Gabby and Woody at Legoland}
Oh and I believe I have officially been talked into a 5K and a half marathon - time to start training. Jeez. Any tips/tricks!? Or gear I NEED!?

Today's recipe is super easy and SUPER good. I've had it more than a few times lately. We hit this new (to us) restaurant called Tilia in Minneapolis. If you have been there you know exaclty how good it is. This was an item on their menu I had to copy! I'm shocked I had never been there - when we pulled up it was right next door to a bookstore called the wild rumpus we always went to as kids. It brought a tear to my eye walking through and seeing all these animals, excited kids, and the look on Mike's face that made it obvious we would be heading to this bookstore more often. He just kept saying he would have loved it when he was little.

Ingredients:
1 pita bread
Olive oil - about 1 and 1/2 teaspoons
Mozzarella cheese
Prosciutto
Fresh cracked pepper
Basil, minced

Brush the pita bread with the olive oil and grill it - I used a panini pan! Layer it with the prosciutto and mozzarella and bake in the oven at 350 until the cheese is just melted. Add the pepper and basil over the top.


Enjoy!

April 20, 2012

Classic Stir-Fry

Alright ladies - here's a healthier "single" portion. This is a stir fry I made several times when I lived alone, it's quick and easy and you can eat it on the couch in front of the TV and no one will give you dirty looks! Man - sometimes I miss living alone - all the messes you encounter are your own. No one else to be upset with over the dishes in the sink or the lasts of the wine being consumed.

If you want to make this for a whole bunch of people just add more ingredients - easy to do. Mike and I make this one for ourselves and just use a full pound of chicken, a whole red pepper, 1/2 red onion, a bigger zucchini and usually a handful of something green - shelled edamame or pea pods. We also add a few crushed red pepper flakes, since we like a bit of kick at our house and this stir fry is on the sweet side!

Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts
1/2 red pepper, sliced
1 small zucchini, sliced
1/4 red onion, sliced - if you love red onion, use more!
1 cup of cooked rice or noodles - go with whichever you want

Equal parts teriyaki sauce and orange juice concentrate - 1/4 cup of each is probably enough, unless you're like me and you like the sauce to drip into your rice or noodles, I used 1/3 cup of each!

*Buy a can of the OJ concentrate, if you have leftovers store it in the freezer in tupperware it will be just fine!

Fry up the chicken with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, set aside. Pour the sauce and chopped veggies into the skillet and cook through, add the chicken back in and heat together. Serve over rice or noodles!



Enjoy!

April 18, 2012

Tiramisu

I have been in love with this dessert for years and years. I have also made many TERRIBLE batches of it for years and years. I finally got it right - or at least WAY better than before.

We were getting together with family this past weekend, and tiramisu popped into my head as a dessert to bring - because it's so good and if it bombs at least my family has to pretend it's not so bad. haha! Plus that also means it isn't INSANELY tacky that I took out a portion, took pictures of it and consumed it - it's just a LITTLE tacky.

We had a great time together as usual - it's always so good to catch up. Baby Lukas isn't so much of a baby any more, which makes me a little sad!

Ingredients:
2 packages lady fingers
1/3 cup of kahlua
1/2 cup of coffee
2 (8 ounce) tubs of mascarpone cheese - room temperature
1 pint of heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup of powdered sugar, separated
1 teaspoon of vanilla

On a large plate pour the kahlua and coffee together. Quickly dip an entire package of lady fingers and place in a large bowl or platter or trifle. Then whip together the heavy whipping cream, vanilla and powdered sugar until thick. Layer 1/2 of the whipped cream mixture on top of the first package of lady fingers. Then dip the second package of lady fingers into the coffee and kahlua mixture and layer on top of the whipped cream.

At this point I put the bowl into the freezer. Then I emptied the mascarpone into a mixing bowl, added 1/4 cup of powdered sugar. Moving around the bowl with the back of my spatula I pressed the mascarpone into the powdered sugar until it came together. Then I added the remaining whipped cream mixture and folded together. Pour the final mixture on top of the second batch of lady fingers. Sift cocoa powder on top for garnish. Put in the fridge for a few hours and serve once chilled through.

Next time: I would double the booze and the coffee mixture and drench the bottom layer of lady fingers - this is how I like tiramisu best. When making it for a crowd however, I wouldn't recommend it that way! :-)



Enjoy!

April 16, 2012

Apricot and Pear Salad

First off - if you haven't noticed, the blog has a whole new look! It's been in the works for a few weeks now and I am very happy with the result! Please let me know if you can't find something. All of my pages have been updated - I pulled together the FAQ from all of the e-mails I have gotten, I added a disclaimer about the content of the blog, and updated the blogroll to include new friends and favorites!

We had a couple of friends over about a week ago or has it been longer? I'm not really sure. Life is a little crazy right now! Anyway, I made this for dinner, and they brought salad fixings over. The salad was awesome. Mike raved about it for a few days, so it got me thinking.... Mike's mother makes this red wine vinegar dressing that we love and I knew it would go perfectly with the fruit in this salad - ta da this salad was born!

Ingredients in the salad:
Spinach
Avocado, cubed
Pears, sliced thin
Craisins
Cashews
Dried apricots, quartered

Everything is to taste, if you love avocado use more of it, or you don't like pears, leave them out, etc.

Ingredients in the dressing:
1/4 cup of oil
2 and 1/2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of sugar
A few dashes of tabasco
Salt and pepper




Enjoy!

April 13, 2012

Venison Meatballs

Well, this isn't a post I EVER thought I would write. I made venison meatballs. What!? Yea, you heard me. My husband hunts and he always brings home ground venison, jerky, and sausage - and truth be told I don't go near any of it.  I can't get the bambi image out of my head long enough to actually enjoy it.

Mike attempted to make his own version of venison meatballs a few weeks back, and they turned out gamey so he wasn't thrilled about them. Little did he know I have my grandmother's recipe for venison meatballs tucked away. So, when another pound and a half was thawed for his second try I took over.

Good thing I did - Mike loved these so much he called my grandmother himself to thank her! The secret is all in the butter. I now have a label called wild game - seriously, who would have thought! Here's hoping my husband never asks me to cook rabbit.

Ingredients in the meatballs:
4 slices of soft bread
1/4 cup of water
1 and 1/2 lb. ground venison
2 teaspoons of salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 white onion, minced
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon chipotle powder

1 stick of butter - yepp, I said it.

Ingredients in the gravy:
1 tablespoon flour
3/4 cup to 1 cup of milk

Soak the bread in the water for about 5 minutes. Start breaking the bread up into little bits with your hands. Add the remaining ingredients (except for the butter) and mix together well. Form the mixture into 1 inch round balls. (Mine were a little bigger than that) Put the formed meatballs into the fridge for about 20 minutes.

In a large frying pan melt a stick of butter, and place all of the meatballs into the pan.  Turn until all sides are good and brown. Turn the heat to low and cover the frying pan. Cook through for about 20 minutes.

When cooked through remove the meatballs, and add the ingredients for the gravy. Adding the milk to get the proper consistency.

There are two ways to serve these - my way and Mike's way. I toast a slice of bread, pile it high with mashed potatoes, add the meatballs on top and smother the whole thing with gravy. Mike's way - toast two slice of bread pile with meatballs, melt a slice of cheese on top and devour!

My apologies for the crappy iPhone photos below - I was lazy.



Enjoy!

April 11, 2012

Creamy Pasta

The single girls, med students, and girls who only cook for their men have spoken. They want me to make easier dishes in smaller portions. Ladies, out of love for you, I have listened. This is basically a mini alfredo pasta dish that you can whip up really quick and once you have the ingredients you can make it all the time! I promise that I will do this as often as I can, and I double promise that the next one will be healthier!!

Ingredients for one portion:
1 cup of cooked pasta
1 scant tablespoon butter
1 splash of heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons of parmesan-reggiano cheese, grated
Fresh cracked pepper

Cook the pasta and drain it. In a bowl stir together all the ingredients and devour it!



This was my instagram photo... I lurves instagram, and I'm very nervous that facebook has purchased them! Here's hoping that nothing changes!


Enjoy every.single.guilty. bite! It should also be noted that I have labeled this "single ladies" so it's easy to find - even though deep down the only label that came to mind was "single b*tch in the kich". hah.

April 9, 2012

Protein Shakes

I make protein shakes for breakfast almost everyday, because it gets me out the door in the morning. So when I stumbled across this idea on Pinterest I knew it was going to shorten my morning routine. I am used to measuring everything out each morning, and blending it up. Instead of doing that everyday, measure once a week into ziplock bags and stick everything in the freezer. Then you have a pre-measured protein shake for each morning with only the smallest amount of effort.

Ingredients in each bag:
5 frozen peach slices
1/2 banana, sliced
1/4 cup of raspberries or blackberries
1/3 cup of vanilla yogurt
1/2 of a lime, zested

Switch up the berries and the fruit to suit your own preferences. Toss the bags into the freezer and pull them out when you need them. I have a magic bullet that is the perfect size for my insulated mug. I stuff the magic bullet with about three handfuls of spinach and about 3/4 cup of water. Blend together until smooth. Then add the entire contents of one of your frozen ziplock bags and blend together until smooth - add one scoop of protein powder, honey, cinnamon or whatever else you can think of. Pour into an insulated mug and hit the road. Believe me when I tell you that you will NOT notice the spinach - the lime zest and fruit takes care of it - I promise!


Oh and because these protein shakes have been so much better with lime zest lately... this has been my afternoon snack... vanilla yogurt, a handful of granola and a bit of lime zest!



Enjoy!

April 6, 2012

Friday

Lately my posts have been short and sweet - my apologies - I've been busy! We got home from our wedding and got all the gifts opened, thank you notes written, and did what we could to find room for everything - you were all too generous, and we are very humbled.

This past week has been especially busy, I managed to fit in a lunch date with the sweetest little girl on earth. Had a ball getting to see her and her mom - this must happen more often!

 {This is her new thing - it makes me laugh every single time I see this picture!}


I had two seperate happy hours with friends from high school - yes, high school! It had been WAY too long since I had seen them and had a ball getting to catch up. It makes me feel old when we get together and talk about the good old days and I realize how far we've come and how much we've grown up - we have big girl jobs, degrees, husbands, houses, dogs, etc. it's bizarre.

I have been switching up my morning protein shakes and they are suddenly even better - lime zest - I'm telling you it's the greatest ingredient! Recipes up next week!


Hubs got a bit creative this week and made me another one of his awesome creations! 1lb. of chicken, 1/4 cup of hoisin sauce and 1/2 of an orange squeezed into a ziplock bag. In the fridge overnight and grill it up the next day - it.was.awesome. We had it with a spinach salad and a glass of pinot noir. Then we went for a walk with the pup, it was a great "date night" in.



Ok - share time over! I hope everyone has an awesome weekend and a very happy easter!

April 4, 2012

Granola Pancakes

There is something you should know about me - I am the pancake master! Or at least my family used to pretend that I made really awesome pancakes. The latter is probably more likely. Either way it's hard to resist a pancake.

I recently had brunch with my husband at a local dive bar type joint that I have always resisted going to - because, well, it's a dive bar. Of course it's one of those places that turns out being absolutely delicious!! What I loved the most were the granola pancakes - I immediately decided I could make my own!

Ingredients:
1 cup of flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup of milk
1/2 cup granola - use your favorite!

Put all the ingredients into a mixing bowl except for the milk and the granola. Add the milk last and whisk the mixture until smooth. When you make the pancakes - pour the batter onto the pan first and add a sprinkle of granola to the pancake. Flip when there are bubbles throughout the pancake. Stack the pancakes high when done, sprinkle with more granola and strawberries.

Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker



Enjoy!

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April 2, 2012

Chocolate Pie

This is an Alton Brown recipe that my dear friends Sandra and Jennie found and have made many times. They convinced me that it's an excellent "go-to" by simply bringing me a piece! It's a no dairy pie - or "moo-less" as Alton calls it. So, the main ingredient is tofu. I have never made anything with tofu before so this was a learning experience for me!

The pie turned out great - I should point out that the recipe calls for either a graham cracker crust or a chocolate wafer crust and I used neither which also means this should probably be called chocolate bars instead of chocolate pie. I poured the mixture into a square 9 inch pan without a crust and instead added truwhip (coolwhip to those of you who eat dairy) as a topping! See the full recipe here.

Ingredients:
13 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips - I used Ghiradelli
1/3 cup coffee liquer - I used Kahlua
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound silken tofu, drained - I used firm
1 tablespoon honey

Melt the chocolate melting chips over a double boiler with the Bailey's. Add all of the ingredients into a blender and combine until smooth. Pour into a pie crust if you choose or a 9 inch square pan. Refrigerate for two hours or until set up. Slice into squares and top with tru whip for serving.



Enjoy!
 
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