Sunday, September 13, 2015

Wedding Planning and Football Sunday

So I'm getting married!! I can't believe that I get to marry my best friend in the whole entire world! He's just the best.  And we've been starting the planning process which is kind of difficult once school started a couple weeks ago.  But this morning we had time to meet up with his parents and look at a couple venue options.  And the excitement continued!

Today is also the first Sunday night football night of the season too.  And since the Lions were playing today, we had to have some great grub.  Since we were gone all morning, I put a pork shoulder in the crockpot.  It was really simple but it tasted so good! I added a can of beef broth, about a cup of apple cider, some good barbecue sauce, and a cup of water.  It simmered for about 5 hours and them I removed about 4 hours of liquid and reduced it on the stove.  I added some more barbecue sauce and reduced it back down to the thickness of regular sauce.  I also made pasta salad and some brownies with peanut butter frosting.  Yum!

What a great sunday!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Yummy Granola and My New Favorite Cookbook

I love granola.  It's one of my core food groups.  For the longest time, I would buy that Nature Valley chocolate protein granola which I would mix with dried cranberries and more chocolate chips (you would too).  It was so sweet that I would often eat it in place of dessert and it helped me get my protein for the day since some days I don't eat meat (college student problems).  Then it dawned on me; I could make this for so much cheaper! I found this recipe in a wonderful cookbook that I received for Christmas this year.  The author is also a fellow blogger and you should definitely check out her site!

I literally carry a huge bag of this yummy snack around with me everywhere so I always have a healthy option for snacking.  Plus, then I am less inclined to head to the vending machine.  Also, the flax meal in this recipe really helps out the ol' digestive system if you know what I mean.  I have made this recipe twice since I began writing this blog post! I think I'm going to go through at least a bag a week!

Seriously, if you make nothing else from this blog, which I hope isn't the case I mean just check out this  yummy recipe, you have to make this granola.  I have a batch in the oven as we speak and it smells divine!! It's so versatile too because you can add whatever dried fruits or nuts or seeds you want to make it yummy for you.  Plus, it's can easily become gluten free by using gluten free oats. And, its only 150 calories for 1/4 cup.

Oatmeal Cookie Granola (Recipe courtesy of Jessica Merchant Seriously Delish Cookbook)
yields 4 cups

2 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 cup chocolate chips

(1) Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
(2) In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients.
(3) Melt the rest of the ingredients besides the chocolate chips in a small saucepan.
(4) Pour the melted ingredients over the oats and toss to combine.
(5) Bake for 30 minutes tossing several times during the baking process.
(6) Toss in the chocolate chips and let cool.

Happy Snacking!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Chocolate Chianti Cake

I hope everyone had a  wonderful Holiday season! My waistline and I both thoroughly enjoyed our time with family and friends, eating away the days with delicious treats.  Alas, we all have to return to the real world eventually.  As I try to get back into the swing of things, I find myself preparing for the year ahead.  This year, this involves getting ready for a beautiful wedding between two amazing people who I went to high school with.  Unfortunately, their taste buds haven't had the pleasure of tasting any of my confections yet so I'm holding a little cake tasting for them.  This is fun, not only for them, but also for me because I get to make a couple different kinds of cake and frostings and fillings!  I hope they can find a combination that they love!

One of the combinations I made for them is this Chocolate Chianti Cake.  Have you ever had chianti?  It's a red wine, that has fruity notes to it and pairs really well with chocolate.  I first made this cake when I created a wedding cake for two back in high school.  This recipe is adapted from the wonderful Sprinkle Bakes blog which I love and read regularly.  She made cupcakes but it works just as well in a cake form.  And what can be more romantic at a wedding than a fruity chocolate wine cake?  I hope they like it! Apparently my family also enjoyed eating the extras.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Apple Pie Overnight Oats

As I progress through my education in the culinary industry, I am learning more and more about the problems that affect our food.  It's crazy to me how little we know about our food and where it comes from, not to mention what is actually in it.  Many people are adapting the "Clean Eating" principle to their eating habits.  If you're curious about what exactly clean eating entails, check out this great article at The Gracious Pantry.  
Personally, I'm getting there slowly.  It's hard on my budget to completely change the way I eat all at once.  Plus, there's lots of information out there so I need to do some more research on the products that are considered "healthy."  As I continue learning more about nutrition and diets, I can ponder the perils of our food supply as I fill my belly with a great easy and tasty breakfast dish.  It's super easy especially when you'd rather sleep in than make a good balanced breakfast.  I got the idea for this recipe from Lauren Conrad but I adapted it to celebrate the beautiful fall weather we've been enjoying.

Apple Pie Overnight Oats
makes one serving

1/2 cup old-fashioned or steel cut oats
1/2 cup greek yogurt (I used Fage)
1/2 cup almond milk (I used Silk light)
1 small organic apple, diced
1 teaspoon apple pie spices (I had a spice mix but it included cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice)
1 teaspoon honey

I usually make this in a pint mason jar because it's reusable and you don't get those pesky chemicals that leach out of some plastic products.  I start by measuring out the oats, greek yogurt, and almond milk.  I mix all of that together and then add the spices and honey.  Make sure you taste it at this point to make sure the flavor balance is good.  Then I add in the apples.
You can easily adapt this recipe to fit your mood.  I really like having whole fruit in mine just to add a different texture component but you can easily use a puree or omit it all together.  You do have to make sure that you make this the night before so that the oats can absorb all of the liquids to make a thickness similar to hot oats.  I like mine a little thicker, but you can play with the amount of almond milk to adjust the thickness.  Also, you can definitely use regular milk or even soy milk, whatever your heart desires!

Nutritional Facts

414 calories
67 grams carbs
4 grams fat
30 grams protein
36 grams sugar

Happy Breakfasting!