Tuesday, May 17, 2016

White Chocolate Brownie Cookies and Serving each other


“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small 

things with great love.- Mother Teresa

We were with some friends this weekend and one of the guys was joking with his wife and said something like, "Woman, get me a beer"...this was all in good fun and we started talking about spouses demanding things like this from each other.  When you demand things from your spouse or anybody they are less likely to do it, and will probably make them angry.



While we were discussing this topic I was reminded of a conversation I had a few years ago with a woman who had been happily married for about 40 years.  I asked her what was the secret to their marriage?  She responded with this: "Every morning when we wake up he takes a shower and I make him a cup of coffee.  When he gets out of the shower the hot cup of coffee is waiting for him.  He starts his day knowing that he is loved and cherished by me, and I start my day knowing that I am needed and appreciated.  Then at the end of the day I take my shower and when I get out a hot cup of tea is waiting on my night stand for me.  So, I end my day knowing I am loved and cherished and he ends his day knowing he is needed and appreciated.  This simple act of serving and taking care of each other really gave them both the right attitude towards each other in their marriage.

Now I know I am no expert in marriage, seeing as I have been married less then a whopping 2 years...but we are definitely happier when we are making an effort to serve and help each other.  While I am nursing baby he asks what he can do to help me, when he gets home I try to have dinner ready for him, when I am low on gas in my car he makes a quick trip to fill up my car, when he has work parties I make his cookies to bring.  At the end of the day everyone wants to feel loved, appreciated, and needed - and this is truly a key to a happy marriage.  Instead of saying "woman, get me a beer" or "husband empty the trash" - maybe we should all be looking for ways we can serve our spouses before they have to ask?



This doesn't just apply to marriages, but to all relationships...if we keep asking ourselves how can we serve others and make them feel loved, appreciated and needed...how amazing would that be?

One of the ways I make my husband happy is by making him cookies...way too many cookies...these cookies are our new favorites and we indulge in them a few times a week.  Like all my cookie recipes I make a batch, scoop them, freeze the dough raw, and then pop a few into our oven or toaster oven when we need some dessert...which happens to be every darn night in our household...we are seriously cookies addicts up in here!  If you over bake these cookies you will be disappointed...take them out of the oven even if they don't look cooked...trust me on this. : )



White Chocolate Brownie Cookies
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 stick unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup white chocolate chips*

Melt butter and unsweetened chocolate together — you can do this on the stove over very low heat, stirring constantly until almost melted. Take this off the heat, stir until completely melted and stirred together.

Whisk sugars into melted butter and chocolate, then eggs, one at a time, then vanilla. Whisk in baking soda and salt. Add cocoa powder and stir to combine. Then add flour and stir until just combined. Allow batter to cool 5-10 minutes. Then add white chocolate chips and stir until combined.

Scoop cookies out using a 1 TBS ice cream scoop onto parchment paper and place in freezer for at least 1 hour.

Heat oven to 350°F 

While oven is preheating remove cookies from freezer and place a few inches apart from each other onto a parchment lined baking sheet...they don't spread that much.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, at which point they will still definitely look under baked, but you should take them out if a fudgy-centered cookie is your goal...which it should be : ) 

*Milk, semi-sweet, dark or peanut butter chips also work well in this recipe.























Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Teriyaki Bowls



When I got married my heart was so full and I didn't think I could be any happier...then I became a Mamma. : )  I love my little guy so much...I mean look at this face, how could you not love him? : )



Oh, did I mention I had a baby!  Life changing is an understatement.

In March we had a perfect little boy, weighing in at 5 pounds 4 ounces...he was a little early, but in the end it all worked out.  This is the reason posts have been so sparse!  Now that I am back to eating all foods again I have been cooking and trying new recipes again...so more recipes to come soon!




I was really worried about transitioning into being a stay at home mom, but so far it just feels so right...like I was born to do this! : )  I look at my 2 guys and am just so grateful to have them in my life!  I have decided that if  given the chance everyone should get married and have babies, it is a very good thing for your heart. : ) 



This is a new recipe I have made a few times in the last few weeks.  It is a great way to use up some random veggies you have lying around your fridge.  Feel free to be creative with the veggies and meat. My sister suggested cooking the rice in coconut milk instead of water, and yum...it was good!  Be creative with the grain too: rice, brown rice, quinoa, rice noodles, etc.  The first time I made the sauce I followed the recipe and used sugar, the second time I used honey instead...both turned out yummy dinners, so do what you prefer.



Teriyaki Rice Bowls

  • ½ cup Soy Sauce
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar or 1/8 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons warm water

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 pound Ground Turkey, ground chicken, or chicken breasts cut up into chunks
  • 2 cups finely chopped combo of any of these: broccoli, zucchini, snow peas, snap peas, mushrooms, red/yellow/orange peppers, bok choy, any veggie you like in stir frys
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced small
  • 2 green onions, diced, for garnish, optional

Mix soy sauce, water, red wine vinegar, sugars or honey, garlic and ginger in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir with a whisk until sugar is dissolved.

In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons warm water and cornstarch until cornstarch is completely dissolved.

Heat sauce over medium high heat. Slowly whisk in cornstarch mixture and simmer until thickened. Remove from heat and set aside.

Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add diced onions and cook until soft.

Crumble ground turkey or chicken and garlic into the pan and cook until meat is about half cooked. Add carrots and chopped veggies and continue to cook until meat is no longer pink.

Pour teriyaki sauce over cooked turkey and vegetable mixture and stir. Simmer for about five minutes to combine the flavors.

Spoon meat over rice or noodles. Garnish with green onions and serve immediately.












Monday, February 1, 2016

Flaky Almond Milk Biscuits


Is there such a thing as "Daddy Nesting" before baby arrives? : )  Andrew has been on super accomplish things mode, and has really been rocking it to prepare for baby.  I on the other hand am in slow mode as my belly and feet increase in size and my mobility is quickly slowing down these days...haha...my feet seriously look like giant hobbit feet...it is quite funny looking...my Mom and Andrew have had quite a few laughs over the hilarity of their size. : )  Thank goodness my belly is also growing - so soon I won't even be able to see my feet!


Anyways, please note from the pictures the lovely yellow walls that my husband painted for us, and the grey end tables I finally found to complete the furniture in our TV room!  Yeah for baby steps!  We have gone a bit paint crazy and have only a few rooms left to paint - can't wait for it all to come together!  My goal is to at least get curtains up before baby arrives in a few weeks...too ambitious?

I guess we should focus on more important things like coming up with a name for "Baby".  So much pressure and responsibility it is to name a human being...seriously, I don't want to screw this up! : )  I love names so much, and having a good name is so important to me.  I think I wrote a million papers in college about the importance of a name, and how it identified some intrinsic thing in each person.  Andrew and I can't seem to agree on any names though, so I'm not too sure how this is going to end up : )  We keep revisiting our name list and then crossing things off and giving up.  "Benjamin" was the only boys name we agreed on, but then realized our kid would be called "Benjamin Moore" which is a paint company...so there goes that idea : )  Maybe we will just wait for Baby to grow up and he/she can name themselves instead!

At least we can agree on our love of breakfast food!  : ) Hubby and I usually have a nice breakfast at least once on the weekend...a nice change from our weekday smoothie or oatmeal.  Usually we have pancakes or waffles, but this time I realized all the lovely jams and honey options in our cabinet and decided they needed a vehicle to get into our bellies.  These were super simple to throw together and were flaky and delicious indeed!  Added bonus I used almond milk to make them - but if you have regular milk on hand - by all means use that instead!


Flaky Almond Milk Biscuits
adapted from the Sunlight Cafe cookbook

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 TBS sugar
6 TBS cold unsalted butter
2/3 cup cold almond milk and 1 tsp vinegar (mixed together)*

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place the flour, salt, baking powder and soda in a food processor fitted with the metal blade and pulse a few times to combine.  Cut the butter into diced pieces and add to food processor - pulse a few times until mixture is a coarse meal.  With the food processor running pour the almond milk/vinegar into the processor - pulse 3-4 times until mixture comes together.  DO NOT OVERMIX!  Pour out dough onto very lightly floured surface - roll into a ball and pat into a flat 8" circle.  Using a 2.5" diameter drinking glass cut out 8 biscuits.  Place onto parchment lined baking sheet a few inches apart.  Bake 12-15 minutes until slightly golden.  Enjoy with salty butter, honey, and an assortment of jams and jellies...or make into a breakfast egg sandwich.

*If you have regular cow's milk use that here instead, or omit the vinegar and use buttermilk.
* also if you don't have a food processor you can also make this in a stand mixer or by hand.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Apple Cinnamon Slow Cooker Oats


These days I am not in the kitchen much.  I get home from work and just want to rest...all the time :)  Third trimester pregnancy will do that to a person.  I feel so lazy and unproductive, my poor husband is stuck crossing off things on our "to-do" list all by himself.  Oy.

Can't wait for this little rascal to arrive in a few weeks!  I already bought a mini apron for him/her and hope they quickly become my sous chef in the kitchen.

Most food makes my indigestion and heartburn off the charts - so food groups that are out are: dairy, gluten, anything with tomatoes, most meat, and yeah...pretty much everything.  I was getting really sick of my normal bowl of oatmeal in the morning so I thought I would try something different.  This was actually really tasty and easy, and I will be making it again!  Leftovers are stored in the fridge and reheated with some almond milk.


Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

1 cup steel cut oats
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 (14 oz) can of coconut milk
14 oz almond milk (or any kind of milk you have on hand)
1 1/4 cup water
2 cups cubed apples (I peeled mine, but it is up to you)
3 TBS coconut oil
1 TBS vanilla
1/2 TBS cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

Spray slow cooker with nonstick spray or rub with coconut oil.  Stir all ingredients together and set on low 6-8 hours.  Serve hot with extra milk or almond milk.  I topped mine with hemp seeds for a protein boost.





Friday, October 30, 2015

Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies


Tomorrow is Halloween.  This is the first time in a long time I am not dressing up. : (  I love theme parties, and in the past have thrown quite a few for Halloween.  Unfortunately, a lot of friends were going to be out of town or busy this weekend so we opted not to throw a party this year.  It's all good...next year we will throw an awesome one and God willing we will have our baby to dress up in a fun costume as well!

I can't believe the Holiday season is upon us already!  So much fun is up ahead in the next few months!  Best of all Christmas when I can see most of my siblings again for a few days...darn this distance between us all!


In other news - my parent's dog, Flopsy, just became a first time Mamma!  She had 6 little pups, but only 3 of them made it.  The 3 that survived are strong little guys with jet black coats and are busy wearing out Flopsy with their needy little whimpers. : )  Right now they look like little rats, but in a few weeks they are going to be adorable miniature schnauzer puppies...then they will be wearing my parents out as well!

Pregnancy update!  I am 19 weeks along, and my belly is finally popping out!  It is such a weird feeling to have this extra weight in my mid section area - I know I'm not that big, but I already feel like a house that will knock everything down in my way. ; )  It is getting more difficult to move quickly, and my workouts have slowed down in pace since I get winded so much faster now.  Thankfully my appetite is back and I am eating food again!  Hopefully this will translate into more recipe posts as well.  : )


I realized that I didn't have a go to chocolate chip oat cookie recipe...and that just wasn't going to work for me.  I played around with a few recipes and came up with this gem!  The trick to these cookies is 1) using two kinds of oats - this jumps up the texture appeal, and 2) you must not over bake the cookies...if you do, they will be dry : (

Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies

2 cups unbleached flour
1 cup old fashion oats
1/2 cup quick cooking oats or ground whole oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In small bowl mix: oats, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and chocolate chips.  Set aside.

In large mixing bowl beat butter and sugars until creamy - 4-5 minutes, scraping the bowl a few times.  Add the eggs and vanilla and beat to combine until smooth.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix just until combined.  Scrape with spatula and mix again for a few seconds.

Scoop out 2 TBS size balls onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Bake 10-11 minutes...do not over bake!


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Jambalaya

Pregnancy is weird.  I always heard that you crave certain strange foods while you are pregnant, like pickles and ice cream...yuck.  I keep waiting for the food cravings to kick in, but it seems like I am still in the "food aversion" stage of this.  Sadly this means my cooking has been cut way back, as in I don't really cook dinner that much anymore.  My poor husband has been eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches most nights for dinner.

This weekend I was napping and started thinking about Jambalaya for some strange reason.  I woke up from my nap and went straight to the store for the ingredients before I decided to have an aversion to this idea...haha...I like to move on my ideas very quickly!  This recipe was actually pretty easy and turned out delicious!  It makes enough for 6-8 people for dinner.  You could also make it meatless and omit the chicken and sausage, use vegetable broth instead of the chicken broth, and add shrimp or black beans at the end.

Jambalaya

  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. sausage, sliced into rounds
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts or 4-5 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cored and diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored and diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped 
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 (14 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked white jasmine or brown rice*
  • 1 Tbsp. Cajun or Creole seasoning 
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

  • (optional) 2 cup sliced okra
In large soup/stock pot heat the olive oil.  Add the sausage and brown 1-2 minutes.  Then add the chicken and cook 2-3 minutes until no longer pink.  Remove sausage and chicken from pan, leaving the fat in the pan.  

Add the chopped onions, peppers, celery and garlic to the pan.  Saute 5-7 minutes over medium high heat.  Add the meat back into the pan.  Add the chicken stock, canned tomatoes, rice and seasonings.  Stir to combine.  Cover with lid and cook over medium/low heat 30-40 minutes until rice is tender.  Stir every 5-8 minutes to ensure rice isn't sticking to the bottom and burning.  If your rice is not cooked through and the liquid is evaporated add some more water until rice is cooked.

Once rice is cooked add the okra, stir, and cook 5-10 minutes until okra is tender.  


* Brown rice takes longer to cook than white rice, and sometimes requires more liquid too...just keep an eye on it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Gluten Free Apple Crisp



Oh Fall!  So looking forward to you for so many reasons:

1)  Moving into my second trimester!  Everyone says the 2nd trimester is much better than the first...looking forward to not feeling yucky all the time!  Did I mention I was having a baby! : )  The little munchkin is the size of a lemon right now and we are grateful for his strong heartbeat (we do not know the gender, but will refer to the baby as "he" until it is born)

2)  THE WEATHER!  Fall weather makes me so happy!  It makes me want to be outside all the time!  I just want to go outside and take really long deep breathes of the delicious Fall air.   By far the best season of the year!  All my workouts must be outside now!

3)  Our 1 year marriage anniversary in November!  Dang, that was a fast year!  A good year, and somehow I love him more and more every darn day.  He is basically the best husband ever : )

4)  Our family Portugal Trip!  My parents and 2 of my siblings and I are travelling to Portugal for a tour led by my Aunt.  We are looking forward to it!  I am really looking forward to the food!

5)  THE BAKING!  Oh so many things to bake in the Fall.  Next on my list is apple fritters...doesn't that sound divine?


My pregnancy has given me some really lovely heartburn and indigestion...yuck.  Gluten doesn't help it, so I am trying to stay away from it for a while.  I know I should also stay away from sugar, but at this point most of my food groups are off limits so I am just eating what I can.


Gluten Free Apple Crisp Recipe

5 apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin (I used Pink Lady and Honey Crisp)
1 TBS apple juice (or lemon)
1/2 tsp corn starch
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 TBS honey
pinch of cloves

Crisp Topping:
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup rice flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup old fashioned oats
1 stick butter diced

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease an 8x8 cake pan.  Toss the filling ingredients together and set aside.  Place all of the crisp ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix until combined and crumbly.  Sprinkle a small layer of the crisp on the bottom of the pan.  Pour in filling and spread evenly.  Top with the remaining crisp topping.  Bake 30-40 minutes until crisp.  Serve warm with fresh whipped cream, mascarpone cheese, or ice cream.  This made really delicious leftovers too...if there are any!