Archive | April, 2011

Five Favorites Friday – 4/29/11

29 Apr

Here we are on the last Friday in April.  It’s hard to believe that the month is nearly over.  How does that always happen?  Today is a pretty special day for a  number of reasons.  First off, today is my brother’s birthday.  Happy Birthday Mike!!!  Secondly, today was the much anticipated royal wedding.  Have you heard about it?  I’m kidding!  Something tells me everyone’s heard about it whether they want to or not!  And last, but certainly not least, six months from today I’ll be the one walking down the aisle 🙂  I’m very excited!  You’ve probably heard that before too.

At any rate, I thought today would be a great chance to do an all wedding post.  I’ve gone through numerous wedding posts (it was rough, I tell ya) on one of my favorite sites, Style Me Pretty.  For each wedding included below I selected my favorite component that I’d like to incorporate into our big day.  Also included are links back to the original post so that you can bask in the wedding glory yourself!

My five favorites for Friday April 29, 2011:

Purple Bridal Bouquet

Dessert Bar (Love truly is sweet!)

Floral Centerpieces and Candles

Purple Frame (perhaps for the reception seating arrangements)

Poise, Elegance, and Grace

Did you watch the royal wedding?  What’d you think?

To be honest, I’m not so much into the royal wedding as I am weddings in general so I didn’t watch it.  But I did make sure to look up Kate’s dress as soon as I got the chance.  Needless to say, its gorgeous.

Eat on Repeat

28 Apr

Do you ever find yourself eating the same thing over and over and over again?  I certainly do.  I’m a creature of habit, I know what’s good for me and I know what I like.  And during the week?  Forget about it.  I settle right into my delicious, healthy comfort zone each and every day.

For example, this mornings breakfast included the following components:

  • 6oz Fage 0% Total greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup Kashi GoLean cereal
  • a sprinkle of cookies and cream granola
  • a spoonful of homemade peanut butter

Sound familiar?

The next meal might shock you though.  It contained lots of veggies, some hummus, and a slice or two of provolone but it wasn’t a salad.  Shocking, I know.

Today I ordered the “Eat your Greens” sandwich from Toasties.  Let’s see what it’s got:

  • Multigrain bread
  • A dallop of hummus
  • Two slices of provolone cheese
  • Veggies galore; cabbage, romaine lettuce, avocado, carrots, sprouts, tomato, and sweet peppers
  • A little bit of honey mustard

I love this sandwich!  It has so many textures and flavors going on.  And it keeps me full for a long while 🙂

Shortly after I finished lunch, I looked out my office window to see dark clouds rolling in.

Can you believe the difference in the sky from the first picture to the second?  Rather ominous, no?  Shortly after I took these pictures, it began to pour and didn’t let up for a while.  It’s certainly been a wet April!

In the afternoon, I was back to my old habits.  My snack included a bag of mixed nuts, dried apricots, and crystallized ginger along with an unpictured pear.  Now that’s something new (and rather exciting, if I do say so myself).

By the time I made it home, the rain had stopped and I had a chance to go for a run.  It was the first time I ran outside in months and I managed to cover about four miles.  It was fun!

After my run, I came home to refuel while watching Community.  On tonight’s menu was leftover tacos.  Good eats 🙂

Now I’m munching on some red grapes and getting ready for Michael’s last episode of The Office!  Enjoy the rest of your Thursday night!

Do you find that you tend to eat the same thing over and over again?

Jelly Bean Cookies

26 Apr

Today was a great day!  The sun was shining, Alex and I got to sample the menu for our reception, and I got a chance to bake some really fun cookies.

The morning started off like most mornings; with a yummy yogurt parfait.

Today’s parfait included:

  • 6oz of Fage Total 0% greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup of Kashi GoLean cereal
  • 1/2 of a banana
  • a sprinkle of granola
  • a healthy spoonful of homemade peanut butter

After breakfast was devoured, Alex and I walked to our respective offices.  It was gorgeous outside!  Spring is most definitely here and I’m more than ready.

At work I plugged away and booked some flights for a couple upcoming trips.  I’m very excited.  There is just so much going on over the next few months!

Eventually, it was lunchtime!

Today’s salad included the following:

  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Beets
  • Chickpeas
  • Grilled Tuna
  • dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar
To be honest, this salad wasn’t so great.  The tuna was very undercooked (as you can probably tell from the picture) and most of it tasted very fishy.  I know that sounds like a dumb thing to say but there is such a thing as fish tasting too much like fish, and that’s what happened today.  Oh well, my next “meal” was pretty awesome!
 
Alex and I got the chance to taste a sample of what we’ll be serving at our reception.  I don’t have any pictures because I don’t want to give anything away but I will say that I think our guests are going to be more than pleased with our choices.  Each day I just get more and more excited about our upcoming wedding!
 
After some much-needed relaxation, I decided to bake some cookies.  Even though I’m 27, I was lucky enough to be visited by the “Easter Bunny” this weekend.  What a coincidence that my mom was visiting this past week, no?!  Included in my goodies was lots and lots of Jelly Belly jellybeans.  I love Jelly Belly’s!  If I’m not careful, I can eat my weight in jellybeans, haha.  As I was munching away this weekend, I thought it might be fun to make something with the jellybeans.  Insert Jelly Bean Cookies here!
 
 
These cookies did not disappoint!  The jellybeans added so many fun flavors and the dough was soft and buttery.  If you’re looking for a way to use up the rest of your jellybeans, I highly recommend this recipe.  Heck, this recipe is good enough to justify going to buy a new bag of jelly beans!
 

Jelly Bean Cookies
(adapted from razzledazzle recipes)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup jelly beans

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mix butter and both sugars in a large bowl until smooth & creamy.
  3. Stir in egg, baking soda, baking powder, salt & vanilla. Mix well.
  4. Stir in flour & oats. Mix well.
  5. Stir in jelly beans, mix well.
  6. Drop spoonfuls of batter about 2 inches apart on a GREASED sheet.
  7. Bake for about 10 minutes and allow a few minutes to cool.
Do you like Jelly Belly jellybeans?  What’s your favorite flavor?  Mine is definitely the sour blueberry.  Makes my mouth pucker every time.  Love it!

 

Daily Eats

25 Apr

This past weekend was a whirlwind!  In four days I managed to do more than I typically do in a month.  Here’s a break down of my weekend by numbers:

One broadway show (Jersey Boys; so so so good!)

Five separate Save-the-Date designs

Ten different restaurants (Three of which happened to be for dessert only, yum!!)

Four bridal salons (and probably close to twenty different gowns.)

One wedding dress purchase (!!!!!)

Three separate subway lines (and countless trips on each)

One holiday!

Phew, I’m exhausted just thinking about it!  But it was such a great weekend.  I enjoyed spending time with my family since I see them so rarely.  And it was a great opportunity for my family to get to know Alex’s family better.  Not to mention that I made some very important decisions that will impact our big day.  I’m so excited, I can hardly wait!

Planning our wedding is so much fun but, as I’m going through each step, I’m discovering that it does take up a lot of time.  It’s a time commitment that I’m thrilled to make however it will take away some time I’d otherwise dedicate to some of my favorite hobbies, baking and cooking.

With that being said, I doubt each week will be the same but I can see that over the next month or two I’m going to have my hands full.  So, I expect there will be some changes on the blog.  When I get the chance to bake or cook something new, I’ll gladly share, but in the mean time I thought I might try a little more lifecasting.  Seeing as this is mostly a food blog, I’d like to start by discussing my daily eats.   Who knows how diligent I’ll be about snapping pictures, but I figure it’s a good starting point!

Let’s start with today, shall we?

Breakfast
Yogurt parfait

  • 6oz greek yogurt
  • 1/2 Kashi GoLean cereal
  • a sprinkle of cacao nibs
  • about 1 Tbsp homemade peanut butter

Lunch
A salad with all the fixings, ordered from Tossed.

  • Spinach
  • Black beans
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Chick peas
  • Egg Whites
  • Roasted Chicken
  • Avocado
  • topped with Fat-free Honey Dijon dressing

Snack
An apple and a bag of mixed goodies.  The bag contained the following

  • Raw almonds
  • Raw cashews
  • Organic Turkish apricots
  • Crystallized ginger

Dinner
Leftovers from this weekend; Curry Spice & Coconut Pot Pie from 10 Downing.

Not the most photogenic of meals, but it sure was tasty!  Also, I had a pear and a few jelly beans for dessert.

One other thing worth noting is that I went to Crunch for the first time today.  A couple weeks ago I purchased a one month gym membership for over 50% off from Living Social.  Today was my chance to cash it in!  I took a class called Chisel.  The description from the Crunch website is “use weights and calisthenics to sculpt and shape muscles.”  It was 60 minutes of jumping jacks, burpees, push ups, squats, lunges, and more.  It was tough and I’m going to be sore tomorrow!  But this is exactly what I need to get wedding dress ready!

Do you read blogs that feature life casting?  Do you like them?

Wordless Weekend

24 Apr

Peanuuuut, Peanut Butter…

20 Apr

…and Jelly!

Did you ever sing that song as a kid?  I remember singing it over and over again.  Namely because it’s catchy and secondly, because I love peanut butter!

Peanut butter might just be my favorite food.  I can eat it on pretty much anything but my favorites would have to be greek yogurt, banana bread, pretzels and a spoon.  That’s right, I like it straight up!

This past weekend I made my first attempt at making my own peanut butter using nothing but dry roasted unsalted peanuts.  I was hesitant at first but you butter believe it was a success (hahaha, sorry, I couldn’t help myself!).  Seriously though, it couldn’t have been easier.  I roasted three and a half cups of peanuts on a baking sheet at 375 for about 6 minutes.  I made sure to stir at least once, so they didn’t burn.  My kitchen smelled heavenly!

After letting the nuts cool for a few minutes, I pulverized them in my food processor.  It sounds so cruel but it really was a beautiful thing.  Within five short minutes, I had creamy, drippy, wonderful peanuuuut, peanut butter!  Then I decided to go a little nuts (hahaha sorry again!) and added a dash or two of salt.  Perfection!

I was so proud of myself that I ran out of the kitchen to tell Alex (who doesn’t even eat peanut butter; the horror).  Even he was somewhat impressed, but not enough to try it.  That’s okay, more for me!

So as the week went on, I continued to think of peanut butter.  That’s normal right?  Well, actually I don’t care if it is.  I’m content with my peanut buttery ways regardless 🙂  So I have spent an embarrassing amount of time trying to think of tasty ways to eat more of my latest culinary delight.  Peanut butter granola?  Peanut butter muffins?  Peanut butter slathered on Oreos?  (<– btw, best way to eat an Oreo.  Ever.)

That’s when it dawned on me.  I’ll make peanut butter cookies!  There has been a super basic flourless peanut butter cookie recipe floating around the blog world for a while now.  I’ve always meant to make them, but never have.  So here’s my chance!!  It’s okay if you jump for joy; I did.

Flourless Three Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies
(I followed the recipe from meals & moves)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup peanut butter (In case you didn’t gather from my ranting above or you skipped straight to the recipe, I used homemade peanut butter.  It’s delish.)
  • 1 cup pure cane sugar
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix your ingredients well.
  3. Make 1 teaspoon sized balls and line them up on a baking sheet.  Press them down in the middle with a fork.
  4. Bake for about 10 minutes.
  5. Allow them to cool before devouring.
Do you like peanut butter?  If so, what’s your favorite way to eat it?

Homemade Burgers & Sweet Potato Fries

19 Apr

You’ve probably noticed by now that Alex and I really like burgers.  In fact, before I embarked upon my vegetarian years, bacon cheeseburgers were my favorite food.  Ironic, no?

At any rate, vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike, can agree that burgers and fries are quintessential American food.  Whether it’s an all beef patty or a veggie burger, they’re speedy, tasty, and all-American.  These days I favor local, organic grass-fed beef because it’s better for me and for the environment.  It’s a win-win!

Last week, when discussing dinner, Alex requested that if I make burgers to not “over cook them”.  He had a valid point.  You see, I’m very nervous about serving undercooked meat so I tend to go to the other extreme resulting in dry, tasteless burgers.  So I accepted the challenge and rose to the occasion!

These burgers were fantastic!  The meat was moist, juicy, and flavorful.  To complete the meal, I buttered and toasted store-bought buns and prepared sweet potato fries.  All in all, it was a classic American meal with a healthy twist! 

Homemade Burgers
(makes four burgers)

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the grill to medium-high heat.
  2. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients.  Mix with your hands to evenly distribute the seasonings.  Get your hands a little dirty!
  3. Form four compact patties.
  4. Cook on grill until they reach desired level of doneness.  I cooked ours for about 4 minutes per side.

Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients:

  • 1 to 2 medium-sized sweet potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Wash the sweet potatoes, poke them with a fork, and microwave them for about 3 minutes.  This will make it easier to cut them.
  3. Once the sweet potatoes have cooled, cut them into long thin strips.
  4. Spread the sweet potatoes into a roasting pan and cover in olive oil.  Sprinkle seasonings over top.  Stir or shake the pan to evenly distribute the seasonings.
  5. Cook for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

What’s your favorite kind of burger?