Sunday, June 29, 2014

Summer Berry Trifle

When you're in between having a baby and your sister's wedding, there's not a lot of room for dessert, sadly.  Enter - this trifle.  It's not from scratch or made with whole grains, and doesn't use coconut oil, but you can throw it together in about 15 minutes and not feel too guilty about splurging on it for breakfast the next morning (oops). 

I started making this and had to go look for my trifle dish.  I knew I had one somewhere.... apparently on the mantel and filled with pinecones?!  Not sure when/how that happened - can I blame pregnancy brain?  Let's just say trifles will be happening more often around here.  Especially when they're as refreshing and delicious as this one.

Summer Berry Trifle
2/3 store bought angel food cake
2 pints strawberries, sliced
2 pints blueberries
6 tbsp fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups cold water
1 package sugar-free cheesecake instant pudding mix
8 oz fat-free frozen whipped topping

Thaw the fat-free frozen whipped topping in the refrigerator for 4 hours. 

Whisk the condensed milk and water in a bowl. Whisk in the pudding mix for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set; fold in the whipped topping.

Arrange half of the cake in the bottom of a 14-cup trifle dish. Sprinkle evenly with 1/3 of the blueberries. Spread half of the cream mixture over the blueberries and gently spread. Top with 1/3 of the strawberries. Layer the remaining cake cubes on top of the strawberries, then add half of the remaining blueberries and top with the remaining cream mixture. Finish with the remaining strawberries and blueberries, arranging them in a pretty pattern - or just dump them on, depending on your timeframe. ;) Cover and refrigerate at least one 1 hour. 

Source: skinnytaste

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

green smoothie

I know what you're thinking: I went from s'mores cupcakes to a green smoothie.  Yep, I did, because this baby weight isn't going to lose itself.  I promise, though, this is a healthy option that still tastes like a frozen treat (especially if you haven't had the real thing in a while).

Since we spent our fourth anniversary in the hospital with Ruby, we were a little delayed on the whole gift/celebrating thing. (We did order Thai food in the hospital instead of eating the cafeteria food, woohoo!)  We decided to get ourselves a Vitamix blender since it is the "fruit and flowers" anniversary, and this sounded like a fun option.

This blender is no joke - it doesn't fit on our countertop and sounds like a lawnmower while it's running.  But it does produce some restaurant quality frozen drinks!  The high-powered equipment isn't a requirement for this smoothie though... I drank these pretty regularly from our normal $20 blender that came with Lane into our marriage.

To make life easy (and to give myself the ability to make a smoothie with one hand while holding a baby with the other), I packaged up the ingredients for one smoothie in ziplocs and put them in the freezer.  Now my fruit/spinach won't go bad before I get a chance to use it!

Green Smoothies 
½ banana (frozen or not), cut into chunks
½ cup chopped frozen pineapple
½ pear (or apple), coarsely chopped
1 cup orange juice
1 cup baby spinach leaves, rinsed and dried
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until completely smooth.  Serve immediately.

Source: Annie's Eats

Thursday, March 27, 2014

i'm baaaack: s'mores cupcakes

Well, it's almost been a year since my last post, which is a little embarrassing.  I got pregnant shortly after my last post, and wasn't really interested in eating, so not much cooking happened.  Then we moved, I got a job, and in the whirlwind of getting ready for baby and seeing more family since we're back in Texas, this poor bloggity got neglected.  But I'm back and ready to document more delicious adventures in the kitchen!

To celebrate being back in the ole' blogisphere, I bring you:

S'mores Cupcakes
For the graham cracker crust:
  • 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 5 1/3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
For the cake:
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 sticks plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup sour cream
For the frosting:
  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners. In a small mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter; mix well with a fork. Drop about 1 tablespoon of the graham cracker mixture in the bottom of each cupcake liner and press down to line the bottom. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven.
  • In a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder and hot water and whisk until smooth.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and whisk to blend.  Combine the butter and sugar in a medium saucepan set over medium heat.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is smooth and the butter is completely melted.  Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer, and beat on medium-low speed until the mixture is cool, about 4-5 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Blend in the vanilla and then the cocoa mixture until smooth.  With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions alternating with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing each addition just until incorporated.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners, filling each about ¾-full.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking.  Let cool in the pan about 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • To make the frosting, combine the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in a bowl set over a pan of a few inches of simmering water. Heat the mixture, whisking frequently, until it reaches 160° F with an instant-read thermometer. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk starting at low speed and gradually increasing to medium-high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form. Mix in the vanilla until combined.  Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip. Brown with a kitchen torch (or I used the oven broiler on low and watched carefully so they didn't burn!)

Source: Annie's Eats

And... since you're still reading after my 10 month hiatus, I give you:
Baby Ruby :)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

honeydew cucumber cooler

You know that feeling you have when you've been out of town - the one where you've been eating out constantly and all you want are some vegetables and home cooked meals?  Well, that's how I felt after my trip to Seattle.  So when I saw this recipe in my new Real Simple magazine, I knew it was calling my name.

I have officially become an Indiana wimp when it comes to heat - the high was 85 and I went to the pool, drank about 80 gallons of water, and then decided today was the day for this refreshing drink.  It totally hit the spot.  I drank it on the patio with a plate of the broccoli pesto pasta I posted yesterday , and it was wonderfully green and delicious.  Next time I may do half sparkling water in the glass to cut the sweetness a little and add some fizz.

Honeydew Cucumber Cooler
1 honeydew melon, peeled and chopped
1 English cucumber, peeled and sliced, divided
1 cup fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup fresh lime juice

Puree melon, half of cucumber, and mint leaves in a blender until smooth.  Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large pitcher.  Add lime juice and remaining half of cucumber slices.  Stir well, then serce over ice, garnished with lime slices, if desired.

Source: Real Simple magazine, July 2013

Saturday, June 15, 2013

broccoli pesto pasta

Lane has been working in Seattle for the past 6 weeks, and is finally coming home tomorrow!  I haven't felt like cooking for one while he was gone, so I've been living on eggs, Lean Cuisines and sandwiches. Boo.  My shopping cart seriously looked like this almost every time I went.

But now he's headed home, and I decided I'd make myself a special meal to commemorate my last night of bachelorette-hood: a vegetarian dish that I knew Lane wouldn't feel sad about missing. ;)

This broccoli pesto was absolutely delicious, and I'm so glad the recipe made enough to freeze for later.  I was definitely skeptical at first, but I love broccoli and pesto, so why not?  If you're looking for another way to use broccoli besides just a side, or a healthier pasta sauce alternative, try this!  I promise you won't be disappointed.

I used whole wheat spaghetti because that's what I had, but next time I'm definitely using farfalle or penne.  Something about those shorter noodles seems like it would work better.

Broccoli Pesto Pasta
1 lb. broccoli, chopped into florets
1 lb. pasta
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
3-4 cloves garlic minced
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. salt
½ cup greek yogurt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Grated Parmesan, for serving

Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Boil the broccoli florets for 3-4 minutes, until fork tender.  Remove the broccoli and place in the food processor or other bowl.  Add the pasta to the same water and cook according to package directions.  Drain, reserving about a cup of pasta water, then return the pot to the heat.

Melt the butter and olive oil over medium high heat until the butter is melted.  Add the onion and salt and saute until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for an additional 2 minutes.  Season with pepper to taste.

Add the garlic and onion mixture to the food processor and pulse to combine.  Scrape down the sides as needed.  Add the greek yogurt and process until smooth.  If needed, gradually add a little pasta water at a time until the sauce is smooth and creamy.  Toss with the pasta and serve with parmesan.

Source: Annie's Eats

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

beef fajitas

Since we moved to Indiana almost 2 years ago, we haven't been to a single Mexican restaurant here.  (Don't worry, I make up for it on trips back to Texas!)  This is partly due to the fact that my husband is a blasphemous Mexican-food hater and partly because I just don't believe there could be good Mexican this far from the border. 

My assumption was (sadly) proven wrong a couple weeks ago when I went to a popular Mexican restaurant here with some friends.  In an effort to fix my unsatisfied craving for good fajitas, I tried this recipe and OH WOW.  This is what fajitas should taste like.  Marinate them all day for maximum deliciousness, or do like the original author suggests and freeze the steak in the marinade for fajita emergencies.  Bookmark this recipe, folks.  You don't want to lose it.

Beef Fajitas
1 lb flank steak
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 shot tequila (optional)
Juice and zest from 1 orange
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
Fresh ground black pepper
Large handful fresh cilantro, chopped

Place the steak in a large freezer bag or a shallow dish.  Whisk remaining ingredients together and pour over steak.  Refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or overnight.  Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking.  Heat a grill (or grill pan, in my case) to medium high heat, and grill the stake for 5-6 minutes per side. 

Remove from heat and tent with foil, letting the meat rest for 15 minutes.  Slice against the grain and serve with grilled onions, peppers, queso, guacamole, sour cream and tortillas.  Or just some sliced avocado sprinkled with salt, if you're me.  Enjoy!

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

chicken and bok choy "salad"

Oh boy, have you seen this video?  That has definitely been me for the past 5-ish days.  I spent so much time soaking up the beautiful weather yesterday that I got sunburned. And celebrated.  We've been rollerblading daily, and going to the dog park as often as I can handle cleaning my car (and dog) afterwards.  I am putting away the heavy sweaters and coats tonight, and then I'll celebrate again.

I love trying new recipes and it is not unusual for all of our dinners for the week to be completely new.  I must be really picky, because I rarely think something is worth repeating!  This recipe, however, is different.  I loved it, and ate it for lunch and dinner for days until it was all gone.  We ate it warm, but according to many, it's just as delicious cold.  Apparently that's why it's called a salad, but I'm not hip enough to understand. ;)

Yes, I realize it is quite a long ingredient list - once you've got all that assembled, you can put it together pretty fast, and it's worth it!  And if you're wondering if I have been making anything besides Asian food these days, you'll probably be glad to know that now I'm on a Mexican kick, so prepare for some can't-be-found-in-Indiana goodness coming your way soon.

Chicken and Bok Choy "Salad" with Orange Sesame Dressing
For the "salad"-
4 cups brown rice, cooked
1 1/2 cups cooked shredded chicken
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
1 bok choy, rinsed, trimmed, and thinly sliced (I watched these videos to show me how) 
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
4 scallions, chopped
1 tbsp sesame seeds (I actually forgot these and it was still good!)
For the dressing-
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 tbsp orange juice
1 tsp orange zest
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp honey
1/4 cup canola oil

To make the salad, combine all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine.

To make the dressing, combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk vigorously to combine.  Add salt and pepper to your preferences.  Add the dressing to the bowl with the salad a little at a time, tossing gently to coat.  You may not use all of the dressing - I had about 25% left over.  This kept in the refrigerator for about 3 days in an airtight container.

Source: Annie's Eats, originally from A Cozy Kitchen