February 15, 2012 § Leave a Comment
You know I love breakfast food. There is nothing like a brinner (breakfast for dinner). I loved it as a kid and I love it now.
Thankfully, so does my fiancé. So we’ll celebrate his birthday with a brinner. I’ll bring the Sausage and Apple Braid, and probably some of these pancakes.
I wish I could give someone credit for this recipe, but it came from my mom. She’s been making it, and making us kiddos happy with it, for years.
Now, I pass along this braid of goodness to warm another soul on another special day.
-1/2 of a 17×25 frozen puff pastry, thawed.
-10 ounces of pork breakfast sausage, cooked and drained.
-1 egg, beaten
-1 yellow onion, finely chopped.
-2 apples, peeled and finely chopped.
-3/4 cup dries heb stuffing mix (the kind you only think to buy on Thanksgiving).
-1 egg beaten (for glaze)
-2 Tblsp. sesame seeds.
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
2. Roll out pasty to rectangle and let stand. Cut 3 inch long strips, half an inch in width, along each side of the puff pastry. Leave 2 inch on top and bottom and at least 4 inches in the middle.
3. Mix cooked sausage, egg, onion, apples, and stuffing together in large bowl. Spoon down the center of the puff pastry.
4. Fold the strips over the stuffing and fold each strip over the other a few times, to created “braid”
5. Bake for 30 minutes until golden in color.
6. Brush the braid with beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
May 12, 2011 § 5 Comments
Why, pray tell, is pumpkin only an fall food?? I mean, the canned stuff on the shelf year-round. And it tastes good year-round. And by good, I mean amazing. I love pumpkin. Nom nom nom nom nom. Get the picture?
I’ve love starting the morning with a smoothie. They don’t take long, they’re filling, nutritious, and easily adaptable.
Since I’ll be gone all summer, I’ve been trying to use of a bunch of excess stuff I had in my pantry. So most recipes I’ll be posting will be part of a “cleaning out my pantry” series. I had a can of pumpkin in the pantry so I figured I should use it. Why not?? Just because its spring? Pshhh….bring on the pumpkin.
Recipe from: Oh She Glows
1 Tblsp Ground Flaxseed
1/2 Cup Pumpkin Puree
1 Cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
1 heaping tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 tsp Molasses
1/2 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
4-5 Cubes of Ice
May 6, 2011 § 2 Comments
Apparently I’m on a breakfast kick. I already told you I could eat breakfast for every meal so just go with it.
The boys loved these. But, I’ve determined they may not be the best taste testers since they seem to love everything. The Nutella cheesecake that I couldn’t get to set; they said “What are you talking about?! It tastes fantastic!” The time I couldn’t get my Texas Gold Bars just quite right; they begged for the whole pan. Maybe aesthetics don’t matter at all. I could just through a bunch of their favorite foods in bowl and hand them a spoon.
These called for smoked paprika. So I sprinkled it on. Then I saw chipotle powder in my spice drawer. And I smelled the essence of smokiness from the paprika. Then I looked back at the chipotle powder.
Yeah…it was asking, no begging, to be sprinkled on top of these succulent, smokey chunks of sweet potatoes.
Recipe adapted from: How Sweet It Is
2 large sweet potatoes-peeled and cut in cubes
1 small sweet onion-diced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp chipotle powder
1-2 tblsp EVOO
Heat a skillet and EVOO over medium heat. Add onion. Season the sweet potato cubes with salt, pepper, paprika and chipotle powder. Add to skillet. Let brown, flip. Serve when softened.
Oh…and do that whole mimosa thing again. You still deserve one.
May 5, 2011 § 2 Comments
I love breakfast food. In the morning. At night. For lunch. Brunch. Snack. Midnight feasts. And apparently brinner. (Remember the world’s best french toast?)
So when Josh asked for a “brinner” to celebrate his birthday and the end of finals, I couldn’t wait.
I had seen a recipe for s’mores pancakes recently, but decided to play around with it a little and see what I could do. I knew I had to have some graham flavor (I love graham crackers), chocolate and ‘mallow. (“Then you take the ‘mallow…” -Sandlot, anyone? Anyone?? ok. Moving on). I was quite happy with this concoction and, of course, the whole group loved them. I’m gonna miss my taste testers!
The usual group came, plus one of Scott’s friends from out of town, Brooks. Brooks brought some mexican martinis to the mix, Grant made breakfast burritos, Becca and Josh brought biscuits and I made pan sausage and white gravy to top the biscuits (we’re obviously southern), I made brown sugar bacon, some Pumpkin pancakes from a mix I got at one of my favorite restaurants, Kerby Lane, and some s’mores pancakes.
None of it made sense together. But, we didn’t care. Honestly, we were exhausted from the tediousness of the past week, the stress of the finals we’d just taken and all that mattered was spending out last weekend together before finals.
And, of course, it was an excellent way to put some food away before our partying. ; ) Yeah…it was the last day of finals. And we would be slowly leaving town over the next week. Its what we do.
Recipe adapted from: Food.com
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tblsp light brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup milk
2 tblsp melted butter
3/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat griddle to medium/medium-high. Mix flours, graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a seperate bowl, mix egg, butter and milk until frothy. Add to wet ingredients and stir together. Fold in the chocolate chips. Pour small amount onto griddle and cook a few minute on each side until golden brown.
Marshmallow sauce from: Can Do You Stay For Dinner?
1 cup marshmallow fluff
2 tblsp boiling water
Mix until mixture is syrup-y.
Top pancakes with fluff syrup and extra chocolate chips. EAT.
Oh…and have a mimosa, too. You deserve it!
April 29, 2011 § Leave a Comment
“Live in the moment and make it so beautiful that it will be worth remembering!” -Crosby
Family is sometimes what you make it. Sometimes it isn’t about blood.
I love my law school family. They get me through finals stress, emotional breakdowns, caffeine meltdowns, sugar cravings, sweat-pants only weeks (yes, weeks), baseball cap days, social embarrassment from said sweats and baseball cap days, cruel professors, late nights, and lonely holidays.
And we have fun too. Dinner nights, and softball league arguments, and karaoke embarrassment, and flag football bruises, and Just Dance 2 awkwardness.
The value of having these people in my life only continually goes up, especially as we all sift through case law, and text books, and outlines, and rules we should have learned before finals week. We sympathize, uplift, encourage, and inspire each other. And make each other laugh. Hibernating with copious sugar and caffeine in our study caves leaves us texting each other “I miss you!”s and “Only one more”s. I bake to relieve stress. Grant trades me two 12 packs of diet coke in exchange for my baked goods. Josh texts constant reminders of how close our Brinner (breakfast for dinner) party is after our last final. Early morning good lucks and late night funnies. We make it through.
I know I’ve told you this before, but I’ve become a MUCH happier person in this town ever since I found this group of friends. I honestly can’t describe how much I love them. In fact, I have a little secret: while I’m so beyond excited about my summer, I’m going to miss my friends here. A lot.
I hope they follow through on their promise to visit with Christa. And ride back with me. And go to Vegas on the way back. Ok…I digress. But, have I told you that I’m really really really excited about summer?
Anyway, back to Easter.
Because of our finals schedule this year, I didn’t get to go home for Easter. In fact, I haven’t been home in 5 months. I hate it. I miss my family. But, I’m also happy enough here that I haven’t hit the feeling of full-on homesick. Anyway, since my friends and I were all going to be here for Easter, we decided to celebrate together.
Because it just wouldn’t be Easter without a good (read: huge) dinner and family.
Scott came to mass with me that morning and I saw at least 15 law students there. The solidarity of stressed students stuck here in Waco was comforting. I didn’t have time to do an full-fleged Sunday family dinner, we we opted for a pot luck instead.
Here’s how that went:
Me: Baked chicken pasta, bean salad, Texas gold bars.
Scott: Homemade salsa, and some chicken, sun dried tomato and spinach dish (That I need the recipe for…so good!)
Michael: Caprese salad skewers (that I helped him make and made a balsamic reduction for)
Becca and Josh: Red Velvet cake, apple crisps
Grant: LOTS of wine and a box for croissants from Wal-mart
For law students, mid-finals, we didn’t do half bad.
My mom had sent me an excellent Easter basket the day before with a new apron, a wooden cutting board, a luggage tag, a prayer book, funny napkins, and a pashmina (seriously, she makes a killer Easter bunny. The woman knows me so well!). But, it wasn’t until Michael and I were putting together the caprese skewers that I realized the cutting board had been made out of olive wood from the Holy Land. Precious, Mom. And very Easter appropriate.
We had an evening with lots of wine, sharing, a movie and a break from the stress of looming finals. If I couldn’t be home for easter, this was the next best thing.
This is my Family. Even if they aren’t blood.
Michael had called earlier to decide what to bring. I was having a caprese craving like I’ve never experienced before. I usually crave sweets if I’m going to crave any type of food. Occasionally french fries. But, caprese was a new one for me.
So he suggested we put them on skewers. And I suggested we drizzle them with a balsamic reduction. Yummmm. We make an excellent team. I didn’t get any easter candy, but the perfect caprese skewer can make up for that.
This isn’t even a recipe. But whatever.
Its up there with pizza as my favorite food. And stawberries. And pineapple. And chocolate.
Yeah…pizza, caprese, strawberries and pineapple. Hawaiian Caprese Pizza next week. With chocolate covered strawberries for desert. #winning (yes, I often speak in hashtags. #blameTwitter)
Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
A few basil leaves
1 ball of fresh mozzarella (cute in cubes)
about 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
Place balsamic vinegar in pot. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until reduced to a couple of tablespoons.
Meanwhile, skewer tomatoes, mozzerella, and torn basil leaves. Drizzle with balsamic reduction.
It sounds fancier than it is. : )
**I promise a real recipe soon. Really. I promise.
Also, please excuse my horribly, poorly decorated apartment. I am a broke law student, remember??
April 27, 2011 § 3 Comments
Aren’t Mom’s recipes always the best? My mom’s always are anyway. I tried this toffee for the first time around Christmas and took it to school. Mine isn’t up to the level of hers yet, but I’m trying. My Constitutional Law professor, who we lovingly refer to as “The Godfather” because he’s been here so long, loved it. He kept asking me for more when I saw him in the hall.
So I made him his own. Its worth an A, right?
Wrong. Apparently only a B+. So I teased him that my toffee was definitely worth an A. He laughed and said “You turn it in with your final next time!”
He said loudly, “This is bribery!”
Yeah…at his suggestion.
Honestly, he’d never give me a better grade because of it. But, no one makes below a B+ in Civil Liberties. The Godfather told me he was going to have to walk 10 miles after eating all that toffee.
An “A” would be beautiful. And really, Mom’s recipe for English Toffee is worth an “A,” right?
I thought so.
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 stick butter
1/2 cup slivered almonds + more for topping
12 ounces milk chocolate (I used bakers chocolate, but feel free to use milk chocolate candy bars, or even semi-sweet chocolate chips)
Mix sugar, butter and almonds in pan over medium high heat. Stir constantly until combined and golden-brown. The all ingredients are incorporated and caramel-like, pour onto greased cookie sheet. Let harden. Meanwhile, melt chocolate. Then pour on top of hardened and somewhat cooled toffee. Sprinkle with almonds reserved for topping. When completely cooled, break apart and serve.
*Note I’ll soon try this with dark chocolate. Because I love dark chocolate. And its better for you…which means I can eat more, right?
April 22, 2011 § 4 Comments
Before finals, the law school professors serve the students a “not-quite-midnight breakfast”. Pancakes, bacon, eggs, fruit trays, biscuits and gravy. All dished up by our profs at about 9 pm on the last day of class. Its a wink-and-a-nudge to the fact that we’re in for numerous sleepless nights over the next couple of weeks.
So for my traditional sunday night dinner with the boys (my Law School Family), I decided we should do our own, even better, breakfast for dinner. The week before, I had made a tiramisu tart. Surprisingly, the boys informed me that they loved tiramisu. Which was good news because I had leftover mascarpone cheese. Lots of it.
Note: Even after this meal, I still have leftover mascarpone cheese. I should never shop with out a list. I overestimate everything.
Then I found a recipe for Tiramisu French Toast. Problem solved…partially. Gooey, sweet, luscious. With Coffee. Perfect, pre-finals indulgence.
The recipe called for instant coffee powder. But I has espresso powder on hand from the Tiramisu tart. And I had some Kahlua. Yeah…I did that. Mmmmm Kahlua. Liquor and coffee. Two of my favorite things. Bottled together. I mixed them in all of their goodness with the honey and mascarpone cheese.
Hello, delicious, creamy, perfection. How nice of you to join us for dinner.
We rounded out the meal with some brown sugar baked bacon (which Rachel Ray once taught me all about), some scrambled eggs with a little gruyere cheese shaved on top, and some smoky sweet potato homefries (recipe to come later).
Oh…and Mimosas. Don’t forget the mimosas. Just one more way our dinner was better than the one the school serves.
Tiramisu French Toast
Recipe adapted from: How Sweet It Is
1 Loaf Challah Bread
8 Large Eggs
1/4 Cup Heavy Cream
1 Tblsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Tblsp Instant Espresso Powder (divided)
1/2 Tblsp Sugar
1 Cup Mascarpone Cheese
1 Tblsp Honey
1 Tblsp Kahlua
Butter for griddle
1/2 Tblsp Cocoa Powder
Maple Syrup for Serving
1. Dissolve 1/2 tblsp espresso powder in 1 tblsp Kahlua. Microwave for about 10 seconds if needed to help dissolve. In separate bowl, mix mascarpone cheese, honey, and dissolved espresso powder and Kahlua. Set aside.
2. Whisk eggs, heavy cream, 1/2 Tblsp Espresso Powder, and sugar in a large bowl. Then transfer to baking dish to dredge the bread.
3. Preheat griddle or pan to medium to medium high heat.
4. Slice Challah bread in 1/2 inch slices.
5. Melt about a tablespoon of butter on griddle or pan.
5. Place challah slices in egg bath and let soak each side for about 30 seconds. Once coated, place on griddle. Let cook for about 1 minute (or until slightly browned) on each side.
6. Let the coated and cooked bread cool for about 1 minute before coating with the mascarpone mixture (it’ll melt if you put it on to early, but you still want nice warm french toast). Dust with cocoa powder. Drizzle with syrup and serve.
*This was my first “food photography” experiment. Hopefully you’ll see my skills progress infinitely as I post more recipes. Thanks for bearing with me.
March 30, 2011 § 1 Comment
I’ve been on a cooking/baking kick lately. Even more than is normal for me. I’ve started weekly “family dinner” for 3 of my great guy friends, which is nice just to give us a chance to hang out, force me to clean, give me a chance to try new recipes, and have a few glasses of wine with excellent company. Seriously, I’m so happy with my new friends here that I hardly leave. Don’t worry, I haven’t partaken in any kool-aid parties or joined a religious cult…yet.
Also, i’ve been baking cupcakes and taking them to school so ravenous law students can quiet their hunger pangs. Maybe I’m buying friends…but I like to cook and they aren’t complaining. Maybe I’ll have enough winning recipes to sell some creations to a coffee shop for some extra dough this summer. Get it…dough?? Yeah, I’m cheesy.
Anyway, I just wanted to share a few creations with you. I’ve been following a lot of cooking blogs lately and all of my ideas have come from there. I really recommend checking out cooking blogs; they’re like free cookbooks with lots of pictures. And you can find like a recipe for anything.
First; peanut butter cupcakes with peanut butter icing and chocolate ganache. (where i learned my first cardinal rule of cupcaking: let the cupcakes cool before icing)
Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone
October 23, 2010 § Leave a Comment
If you can’t tell already, I love to travel. Really, if you didn’t know this already, this must be your first time visiting my blog. I feel like somehow, travel winds itself into every story I post and every story I wish I posted. But, for me, travel is so much more than just checking places off of my list; it is about really experiencing a place. Some people just go to say they’ve been there, seen it, done it. I go to learn, to grow, to make connections. The people, the food, the culture, the celebrations. I like staying in a place long enough for it to become a part of me. I develop a passion for that place. Legitimately, it is a little insane. But, I’m ok with it!
In Poland, people celebrate their “name day.” Essentially, Catholicism is huge there, and the older population largely attends mass regularly. The young people seem more like the young people in America simply because there are some religious, but probably more who are not as much so. Name day is celebrated like a birthday; so really, Polish people get two great celebrations. Polish kids are usually named after a saint, in either a first or middle name. Saints have feast days, so name days are the feast days of the saint that the person is named after. I love this tradition. In fact, I love it so much that my kids will probably have a saint name for a middle name and we’ll celebrate their name day. If I decide not to have kids and get married, my brother and sister had better be ready to for me to nickname each of their kids with a saint’s name so that I can celebrate name day. I’m that serious about it.
In Costa Rica, the motto is “Pura Vida.” I remind myself of the simplicity of the Costa Rican lifestyle often. They focus on the necessities and contentment in life. They treasure family time and I loved seeing families spending evenings at the beach together, gathered around their father’s fishing boat, just enjoying the company of the ones they love.
These are just a couple of things I’ve learned, and brought back with me, from my travels.
Traveling also helps you realize how small the world really is. When I spend a lot of time in one place, develop a connection with people there and have the passion for the culture, I love to check the news regarding that country because I feel connected to the people that way and I search for ways to relive my experiences there. One of my favorite ways to relive my experiences is food. OK, well I am a bit of a foody, but I don’t think I’m alone on this food thing. The first time my friend, Christa, and I cooked Polish food, the smells took me back to the cafeteria in our dorm and with the smell came the feeling of being there, the sounds, the excitement. One little meal brought it all back.
So, Christa and I have decided to have more international food nights. We would love to stick to countries we have been to so that we can really “relive” our experiences, but that isn’t always an option. Work, school, and very small discretionary spending funds keep us grounded more than we’d like. Personally, I try to go places where I have a free place to stay and try to find flight discounts, but traveling is an addiction for me and I never really feel satisfied. I have to learn to be grateful for the experiences I’ve had and patiently wait for my next opportunity. But, I digress from my point. Since Christa and I can’t spend all of our time traveling (yet…there are business plans in discussion that would allow that), we travel through food. Last week: German. It is October so our own little “Oktoberfest” seemed like a great idea. Christa made Sauerbraten, we both contributed to the Spatzle, I made red cabbage and apple strudel. We didn’t love all the food, but we had a great time putting it all together. Of all things, the cabbage is what took me back to Germany. It wasn’t the best thing I’ve every eaten, but it was truly German…as was the beer. We decided to do these nights more often and we’re both anxious for the next one. Food is one of the best things to share with others who haven’t been to the location as well so they can get a little sense of the place. We get to cook together, linger over our food and inevitably, we end up telling stories about our travels, our friends (this time we talked about missing our German friends), and places we want to go. These little international food nights have become one of my favorite things and I can’t wait for Costa Rican next month!
March 26, 2010 § Leave a Comment
I love to grocery shop! I know..its weird. But so am I, so its fitting. I think part of it is because I love to cook so its fun to go and see what there is and what I can make. For example, I saw some buckwheat sweet potato noodles the other day. Hello!?! Healthy ingredients that sound fantastic. Perfect! I just need to figure out what to pair with it. Anyway, I got to go to Whole Foods on Sunday, and just being there inspires me to be a healthier person. Its a good thing I don’t live there because I’d probably just wander up and down the aisles, avoiding homework, and eating at the little food stations on a regular basis. Seriously. It would be bad! But, I got to stock up on good, healthy food like Tofu Shirataki noodles, Tempeh, Amy’s Organic meals, sweet potato gnocci, Ciao Bella Sorbet….seriously, I loaded up an ice chest and come back with bags of stuff. Oh, and I bought new Tom’s shoes so some child in Africa will be thrilled that I went to Whole Foods too. Its probably sad that one of my favorite store’s is a grocery store, but, yeah, it is. Judge away.
Anyway, I had been trying to go low carb-ish for awhile (but with only lean meats…its the South Beach version of the low-carb phase), and I don’t know why I try. Every time I try this, Friday rolls around and all I want to do is eat tortilla chips and frosted flakes (and by frosted flakes, I mean the whole box…dry…by the handful), and then wash it down with alcoholic beverages. Telling myself I can’t have something is the worst thing I can do for myself. But, when I just try to make healthy choices, I tend to eat bad things in moderation, and snack on fruits and veggies just because I enjoy them. So, really, I don’t know why I try. I feel AMAZING, when I stock my fridge with whole foods! Fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes, lean protein. And I love whipping up healthy dishes!!
So after that whole schpeal (sp??), I’ll let you know that I’m 2 day from being done with month 1 of P90X. Woo-hoo. I definately feel like my arms are quite a bit more toned, so that’s excting. And, I made a great Quick Bean Chili the other day (becuase, oddly, its still what I would consider “chili-weather” up here) and I thought I’d share it with you! Try it out. The textured vegetable protein can be found in health food stores, or the bulk section of HEB and the only black soy beans I found were with all of the organic Amy’s beans. Enjoy!
Quick Bean Chili
- 1 tbls EVOO
- 5 scallions, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, any color, chopped
- 1 small zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 (15 ounce) can black soybeans
- 1 (15 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 canned chipotle chili in adobo, minced, plus 2 tablespoons sauce from can
- 1/2 cup textured vegetable protein (TVP)
- 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add scallions, bell pepper, and zucchini. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables soften, about 5 minutes.
- Add beans, and their liquid, tomatoes, chile, adobo sauce, and TVP.
- Bring to a low boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cood 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Ladle into bowls and top with cheese.