Monday Munchies: Breakfast!

On a weekday when I’m running to school, I usually have something quick and easy, and it’s usually something I can take in the car. I’ve done green smoothies for the past few months, and recently I’ve gone back to good ol’ oatmeal. Growing up, I was never one for a large breakfast. If it was brunch, larger plates of eggs, bacon, and toast were completely acceptable. I guess it was just something about waking up early and not wanting a full meal?

This is one of the ways in which Brandon and I differ. The man can cook himself a plate of eggs and toast almost every morning. He loves his breakfast, and loves opportunities in which we can eat breakfast together.

All this to say that Saturday we had the most glorious breakfast ever. And Brandon said it was the best thing I’ve ever cooked. So of course I have to share this with you!

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What are these, might you ask? They are JALEPENO CHEDDAR BISCUITS! And what could be better than that, you say??

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JALEPENO CHEDDAR BISCUITS WITH EGG, SALSA, AND AVOCADO!!!

….I’m sorry, I don’t mean to shout. It was just an incredibly brilliant creation from Annie’s Eats, and you should follow the link to check it out here.

The one thing I noticed that I would go back and change was that the recipe calls for black pepper but was left out of the instructions. So just mix it in when you’re mixing together the flour, baking powder, and salt. I could definitely tell that it was missing in my batch, and would have loved the addition.

The biscuits aren’t spicy, but the jalapeño adds a wonderful flavor, and of course you can’t go wrong with cheddar cheese in your biscuits! These biscuits can even be frozen before cooking, which I did with half the batch so that we didn’t devour all of them in one sitting. (However, we did wipe them out on Sunday afternoon!) Major Kudos to Annie for this phenomenal recipe!

I wanted to leave you with a few other breakfast recipes I’ve been eyeing but haven’t yet had a chance to try. If you beat me to it, feel free to comment and let me know how it tastes!

– These strawberry jam toaster pastries look wonderful! Brandon and I were just talking the other day about pulling out my toaster pastry press and making some strawberry ones soon!

– A Cozy Kitchen’s black pepper strawberry butter sounds like a fun adventurous try for topping bagels! And it’s so pretty! She also posted about this lovely toasted almond french toast that I’ve been dying to try. Now that we drink almond milk, it would be exciting to try this out.

– These baked clementine vanilla bean doughnuts look awesome. I would have never thought to use clementines because I’m much more prone to just peeling them and eating the cute little segments as quickly as possible!

– These blueberry yogurt crumb muffins.

– And these broken yolk sandwiches with garlicky kale, especially now that I know I love kale!

Like I said, if you cook it before me, let me know how it goes! And feel free to comment if you have other favorite breakfast recipes you’d love to share!

Monday Tuesday Munchies: Kebabs, Orange Chicken, and Dessert!

Yesterday I spent my day pathetically sniffling at home battling the icky congestion bug that seems to be skyrocketing across the area. And back at school today, Now I’m at school and it’s been snowing for a few hours and school will be let out early. What a January!

So although the sickness put me off of my exercise kick for a few days, we have still been eating well and have found some terrific new recipes!

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1. Honey Lime Chicken Kebabs: These kebabs have a super tasty marinade and were easy to throw on the George Foreman! My only suggestion? Make more of them, and add veggies! We’re making these again tonight with onion chunks, green bell peppers, and mushrooms – YUM!

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2. Orange Chicken Stir Fry: I love chicken fried rice, so this was definitely a relative I wanted to try to make. The sauce is wonderful and fresh, and I loved the combo of chicken, broccoli, snap peas, onions, and imaginary mushrooms (I forgot to chop mine up!). I would recommend boiling your chicken before hand if you’re anything like me, because with the high heat it was hard to get my chicken cooked all the way through without having everything burn.

3. Finally, I have a yummy dessert that is picture-less. Mine was a bit unphotogenic. This healthy sticky chocolate fudge cake was AWESOME. It bakes in a loaf pan and uses honey instead of granulated sugar. There’s no flour involved either, and a little bit of pumpkin puree makes it very moist. It’s tasty and I don’t feel bad enjoying it! 🙂

Monday Tuesday Munchies: Purple is Power

It’s always nice to have a Monday off to get to catch up on things, like folding massive amounts of laundry or allowing our dinner table to see the light of day again. True confessions: I’m the messy on in the house. I’ve grown accustomed to coming home and dumping everything down, and sometimes it’s just good to get everything all spic and span and restart the process of putting things back when you’re done. It’s refreshing and makes me feel like such a better person!

This weekend was also marked by good fellowship. I was beyond blessed to spend time with a handful of dear friends. I even got a chance to use a new online app I have to call my friend in Mozambique! As someone who gets beyond busy often, it’s good to slow down and make time for some good ol’ heart to hearts.

This week saw an increase in the color purple on our plates. I bought purple potatoes to make a steak salad (inspired by Real Simple – we’ll talk about that soon!) and was able to incorporate them into two dishes. I also brought home some purple cabbage for another dish. Needless to say I fell in love with the coloration. I get so amazed by the brilliance of raw food sometimes! Take a moment and revel in this with me ….

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WOW. Am I right!?!

Alright so now to the meals I actually made them with…

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1. Remember this lazy Sunday casserole? I made it this time with purple potatoes instead of red. The purple potatoes are softer and creamier, almost as if they were buttered. Combined with sausage, bell pepper, conion, and carrots, and all topped with a delightful chicken broth and balsamic dressing marinade/this stuff is super savory and tasty!

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2. This chili-garlic shrimp noodle bowl from Real Simple was amazing! The recipe called for soba noodles, which are made with buckwheat, but my grocery store didn’t have these so I just used rice noodles. The shrimp are tossed in a chili-garlic sauce that you can find in the Asian section at the grocery store, but I decided to make my own. I used this recipe and cooked it with jalepenos. You can use pretty much any chili pepper, but I was glad I used one with a lower heat because this sauce packed a punch! The noodles are tossed in soy sauce and toasted sesame oil and then topped with the shrimp, shredded cabbage, snap peas, and carrots, with a lice of lime. YUM!

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3. This is not the steak salad recipe from Real Simple. Yes, it has purple potatoes and steak and it is a salad, but it’s different and I’ll post about it later this week. But I wanted you to have the link to their salad as well because it sure looks tasty!

Hope you’re having a great Tuesday and that you enjoy everything on your plate this week!

Monday Munchies: Healthier Eating

It’s my second week of waking up early for a pre-teaching workout, and today I feel so much more energized and ready to go! I read a wonderful article in the January issue of Real Simple Magazine concerning eating well. To sum it up, rather than focusing on a fad diet, the key is portion control and being aware of what and how often you are putting various foods into your body. It’s a much simpler and more natural way of eating healthy, and it keeps my husband and myself adequately satiated after meals! So I wanted to share with you some of the things that we mix in with our ultra healthy options (check back a few posts to see yummy things like green smoothies and my Mediterranean chicken bowl!).

chicken fried rice1. We love takeout, which is not always the best for you. This chicken fried rice recipe uses soy sauce (I opt for the low-sodium variety) and a little sesame oil, but aside from that, it’s veggies, chicken, egg, and rice. I added broccoli to this recipe because I simply LOVE the taste and texture of stir-fried broccoli. I also found that it’s better to prepare your scrambled egg in a separate pan rather than just stirring it into the veggies. I did this the first time and didn’t end up getting those lovely egg clumps I enjoy – it just made all the rice have essence of egg. Great recipe and super simple!

chicken spinach quesadillas

2. Brandon told me that this recipe was required to be in this post, and I heartily agree! These chicken spinach quesadillas with avocado sour cream are legit! The recipe calls for both goat cheese and shredded monterey jack, but I just used a shredded Mexican cheese blend. And this dipping sauce – oh my it’s divine! Avocado, lime, sour cream, a hint of mayo, onion powder, and salt and pepper (I actually didn’t use the salt – we try and cut that out of our diet as much as possible). So good! Brandon even used the dipping sauce with a ham and cheese sandwich the next day.

almond milk ice cream

3. I always need a sweet incentive to keep me sticking with my healthy eating, and I love this one! Since we’ve moved from milk to almond milk, I wanted to try to make an almond milk ice cream/ frozen yogurt. I found this delicious chocolate banana ice cream recipe that I’m going bananas for! (I know, cheesy, but I had to go for the pun!) It’s just almond milk, 2 smooshed bananas, and a little bit of cocoa powder and sugar. The consistency is a little more wet, probably because it doesn’t have as many things to thicken it up, but I love it! (I also threw in a handful of caramel corn on top the other night, which made my day!)

Hope everyone is doing well with their resolutions! Happy eating!

 

Monday Munchies: Holiday Goodies

I apologize for being off the radar for a while. Prepping for Christmas put me out of blogging commission for a while. Between homemade gifts, getting grades turned in, holiday get-togethers, and lots of baking, the schedule was jam-packed!

And now we’ve headed back to our hometown and things have quieted down. School’s out and presents are under the tree, and now I’m just really excited to see everyone open things up! I’ll share more on that post unwrapping time.

But I CAN share with you the treats I baked for my friends this season! I grew up watching (and helping) my mom bake tins of goodies for neighbors and friends. I love the tradition and wanted to become a part of it this year. Sadly because of the whirlwind of the past few weeks, I don’t have pictures, but I have links for you!

1. Magical Marvelous Memorable Cookies: I was recently introduced to Food 52, a food site filled with fun unique products and delicious recipes. This was a last minute addition to my baking list, and I’m so glad it was! The name does these cookies justice – they are magical, marvelous, and oh so memorable. It’s a chocolate chip cookie with pretzels, pecans, and cereal (it called for granola but I used Honey Bunches of Oats). Sweet and salty – yum!

2. Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies: The Pioneer Woman made a delightfully soft little chocolate cookie. It’s dipped in almond bark and then sprinkled with crushed peppermints. I used spearmint mints because they are my favorite – I love that crisp taste.

3. Sugar Sparkled Gingersnaps: I wanted to go back to a classic cookie with a nice kick of spice. This recipe is from Annie’s Eats and I love it! The dough is rolled in turbinado sugar, giving the cookies a nice sparkle. The cookies get hard and crunchy after they’ve cooled down, but Annie suggests you heat them in the microwave and they soften nicely.

4. Peanut Butter Pretzel Truffles: I love buckeyes… you know, those tasty peanut butter and chocolate truffles that are oh so addicting!?! Well add crushed pretzels into the equation and you get a delightful sweet and salty combination.

5. Honey Lavender Caramels: I love caramel in anything, but have only ever made caramel sauce rather than the candies. I had gotten some culinary lavender buds from Williams-Sonoma a while back and have been waiting for an opportunity to use them. When I found this recipe, I knew it was just what I wanted. I wrapped little rectangular caramels in wax paper. They are super yummy!

I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas!

Monday Munchies: Comfort Foods

The weather here has been wet and cold for the past week, and it’s made me want nothing more than to snuggle up on the couch under a big quilt. It’s also been the perfect week for warm dishes cooked in bowls. I’ve got some delicious things to share with you!

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1. Lazy Sunday Casserole: This is simple and incredible. Roasted potatoes, carrots, onions, and sausage – this stuff is savory and heavenly and it’s so simple!

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2. Slow-Cooker Creamy Chicken with Biscuits: So this is the slow-cooker version of chicken pot pie. A little bit of flour, dry white wine, and chicken broth makes for an incredible flavor mixture. My husband suggested that diced potatoes would add a good textural balance to this meal in the future, and I think he has a great point.

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3. Slow-Cooker Curried Chicken with Ginger and Yogurt: I love chicken curry so this recipe is quite wonderful in my opinion. Greek yogurt is added at the end of the recipe to give the chicken this delightful creaminess. Serve it over Jasmine rice – so good!

If you’re looking for other curl up in a blanket recipes, check my old Monday Munchies post out on slow-cooker chicken gumbo and vegetarian chili!

Monday Munchies: Thanksgiving in Review

Hopefully by now you have all had enough time between reading this and eating your turkey, because I want to share with you some of the delights that were had at my parents’ home on Thursday afternoon.

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This year, I was given the task of pseudo heading up dinner. In other words, I planned out the meal and cooked lots of sides and pies, but my mom still made some of the basic staples. Which is a very good thing, because up until now I’ve known nothing about cooking a turkey. The exciting thing about playing such a big part in the cooking process was that I got to bring favorites I have found on various blogs throughout the years. Additionally, we got to try new delights that our mouths have been watering over! Check this goodness out.

The main course was the turkey and gravy. My mom stuffed herbs, both dried and fresh, underneath the skin. She also covered the outside of the skin with olive oil and added herbs there as well. She used an oven bag to cook her turkey. I learned that apparently putting flour into the bag with the turkey and cutting slits into the bag prevents it from exploding. Fascinating!

And now for the sides….

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1. Roasted Butternut Squash with Caramelized Onions, Gorgonzola and Crispy Fried Sage from Closet Cooking. I found this gem of a recipe a few years back and it delivers. The gorgonzola adds a strong taste that blends wonderfully with the sweet and savory squash and onions. And crispy fried sage adds a terrific complementary flavor as well!

2. Spinach Casserole, a staple in my family.

3. Great Grandma’s Cornbread Dressing. I love a good stuffing or dressing but this one is hands down my favorite. I could eat this for the whole meal!

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4. Roasted Green Vegetable Medley from Taste of Home. My mom found this recipe, and it is wonderful! Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green bean, carrots, all covered in lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, and Italian herbs. So good!

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5. This beautiful Lightened Up Sweet Potato Casserole by How Sweet It Is. Another gem I’ve held onto for a couple years, and it is so terrifically tasty that it’s hard to believe it’s lightened up! The key is using lite coconut milk in the sweet potato mixture. And the topping… oh my gosh drool. Coconut flakes, pecans, brown sugar, butter, with mini marshmallows in the middle.

6. My Grammy brought a few of her signature sides: cranberry fluff, pumpkin bread, and cranberry bread. I’m pretty sure this recipe is a pretty accurate representation of Grammy’s cranberry fluff: cranberries, pineapple, marshmallows, and cool whip – yum-o! And fun story about the cranberry bread, my Grammy makes this from the recipe in Cranberry Thanksgiving, a children’s book she introduced to me when I was in first grade. The combination of cranberries and golden raisins in this bread is a delightful merge of sun-sweet and tart.

And onto one of my most favorite of things: lots and lots of pie!!!

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1. My Go-To Apple Pie recipe courtesy of Betty Crocker.

2. This amazing salted caramel chocolate pecan pie from Southern Living. It is the most beautiful mix between a fudge and pecan pie. Not to mention it’s a visual showstopper!

3. And in the loveliest of traditions, my Grammy brought her fudge pie and sugar cream pie. There are just some things you can’t go wrong with!

I’m almost full again just thinking of how wonderful this meal was. I loved getting an excuse to spend time with my family and share the kitchen with my mom. Blessings abound!

Monday Munchies: Appetizers

This week, Brandon and I had some friends over for a little get together. I served some of my favorite heavy appetizers, and with Thanksgiving quickly approaching, I thought it might help you out to add some appetizer recipes to your arsenal to make sure no guest goes hungry! Sadly I don’t have any pretty pictures to show for this post, as the things I made this week were eaten up quickly and I’m also going though old favorites too. Enjoy!

1. Olive Cheese Balls: Cheddar cheese, flour, melted butter, and green olives. This Betty Crocker recipe has been used in my family for years and is a crowd favorite. My husband, who typically does not at all like olives, has gotten to the point where he whips up batches of these on his own. It’s a surprisingly wonderful savory and salty little treat.

2. Sweet Chicken Bacon Wraps: This was a favorite discovered by one of my old roommates, and it quickly became a staple to all of our gatherings. Paula Deen’s simple recipe gives you cubed chicken wrapped in bacon and coated in a mix of brown sugar and chili powder. Needless to say its a little bit of heaven, and they are usually the first thing to be cleared from the table!

3. Spinache Artichoke Dip: I’m the girl that could eat this dip up with a spoon. Spinach artichoke dip can be served with tortilla or pita chips. It’s creamy and cheesy and so so good.

4. Baked Brie topped with Caramelized Mushrooms: I found this recipe a few years ago and made it for my family on Christmas Eve. It’s a bit time consuming with the caramelizing of the mushrooms and onions, but it is so worth the wait! And then you top your brie with all of this goodness and pop it in the oven for a bit until you cut into it and it turns into this gooey delight for your baguettes or crackers. BLISS.

5. Pumpkin Dip: Another appetizer from a few years ago that I loved. Cream cheese and pumpkin make a beautiful combination. This stuff is wonderful on vanilla wafers, ginger snaps, or fruit. My only warning is, this recipe gives you a pretty good sized amount, so make sure you have lots of friends and family to help you demolish it together!

Happy Turkey Week! I’ll be posting a few more recipes up before the big day on Thursday!

Monday Munchies: Double Crunch Chicken

For those of you that have read my last post, you know that the butternut squash lasagna was pretty much the highlight of my week. However, I did find a recipe that is pretty darn tasty and worth a read (and taste!)

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This, my friends, is Double Crunch Honey Garlic Chicken. This reminds me of an orange chicken-esque meal. I was very impressed by the flour mix – it’s got a crazy pack of flavor: ginger, paprika, cayenne, thyme, nutmeg, sage – it’s a combo I never would have thought of! The “double” in the recipe title references the double coating of the flour mix before putting the chicken into canola oil. I, being wary of using more than a splash of oil in cooking, think that I could have kept my chicken in the oil longer, giving it a truly crispy “crunch.” And this sauce – yum! Honey, soy sauce, and garlic. Sounds bizarre but its delicious!

For our broccoli, I cooked it like normal and tossed in a splash of soy sauce. It was quite tasty indeed.

Monday Munchies: Pumpkin Roll

I swear this post STARTED on Monday…

So with my one pumpkin recipe a week regimen, I haven’t gotten tired of this delicious gourd. I feel like it’s set a nice pace to my fall munching.

On Saturday night, we had Brandon’s family over for dinner. We had one of our favorite meals: Chicken Parmesan topped with oven-baked Parmesan tomatoes and with a side of green beans. Yum! And for dessert…..

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This beautiful pumpkin roll! So I got my pumpkin fix and I can now say that I’ve successfully made a variation of a jelly roll! I was a bit nervous trying this recipe because I don’t own any jelly roll pans. I have a rimmed cookie sheet, and after looking on a bunch of cooking message boards, went ahead and used it, secretly crossing my fingers that the cake batter wouldn’t spill over the sides. But it didn’t! And I probably could have spread out the batter further towards the edges of the pan, which would have made the roll more even and easier to roll. But I guess I’ve learned for next time.

One thing to note is this is definitely a pumpkin spice cake, emphasis on the spice. It has 1 whopping tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice, which really packs the flavor! Yum! My favorite part is the vanilla cream cheese frosting – I dumped the extra and my husband and I have been mourning over it. So many options of other yummy things I could top it with! Hindsight’s 20/20 I guess….

Finally, as with most pumpkin things, the cake is quite moist. So if you’re trying to be clever like I thought I was and give it a cute dusting of powdered sugar, be wary… the pumpkin absorbs all. So much for finishing touches! But man the taste makes you forget about any other concerns, so enjoy!