Tuesday, May 29, 2012


I've never been much of a cocktail drinker.  I mean, I love a good microbrew and I am by no means opposed to drinking, but cocktails always seemed so fancy and in my mind fancy = hard.  And it's true, they are harder than opening a beer (although those twist-off caps always get me!).
This week, after all the packing and all the hassles of preparing for a move across country, I have been inspired!  Inspired to sit outside on our deck and drink a cocktail!  And while I still enjoy a good beer, I could definitely get used to this!

p.s. Please excuse the horribly lit pictures, the sun had already gone down by the time we got to sit down and relax last night.

Recipe from Mark Hough
2 oz. gin
2 oz. margarita mix
1 oz. triple sec
5 oz. ginger ale

1.  In a shaker with ice, mix gin, margarita mix and triple sec.

2.  Pour into a glass, add ginger ale and stir.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


I'm a little behind on my blogging.  I have an excuse though.  My kitchen is being packed up.  Things are getting pretty hectic, but I will be back soon with delicious new recipes for cookies, and cupcakes, and dinner, and other things that you can stick in your mouth!

*Also, we did not realize that we had this much stuff!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Oatmeal Bread

To me, oatmeal is a funny food.  It's not so much because of the weird texture but more because of the reactions that people have to it.  

A lot of people out there really hate it.  I mean, they dedicate time to hating the stuff.  They'll watch you with disgust as you eat it, they'll turn up their noses, they'll voice their opinions.  Basically, they get their point across.  

There's another group of people that know that it's good for you so they choke it down, trying to convince themselves that they are actually enjoying their breakfast every morning.
I, on the other hand, love the stuff.  I love it with brown sugar, maple syrup, fruit, even just some salt on occasion.  But my favorite way to eat the stuff is the same way my mom made it for me when I was little: with a swirl of strawberry jelly and a little milk.
I think I've found a way to bring the oatmeal-haters to my side of the table though.  This bread uses the flavors of the oatmeal but gets rid of the texture of oatmeal that seems to drive people away.

Best part is...you can still put some jelly on top :)
1/4 c. butter
2 c. oats
2 1/2 c. milk, scalded
1/4 c. honey
2 1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp. yeast, dissolved in 1/4 c. warm (not boiling) water
2 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 egg white
1 Tbsp. water

1.  Place butter and oats in a large mixing bowl or stand mixer.  Add scalded milk and let rest for 15 minutes.

2.  Add honey, salt and whole wheat flour.  Mix until smooth.  Mix in yeast.  Gradually add AP flour about 1/2 c. at a time until the dough is stiff and elastic.  The dough should pull away from the bottom of the bowl.
3.  Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until dough is smooth and no longer sticky.  Move dough into a greased bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel.  Place in the window or in a warm place for the dough to double in size.
4.  Punch dough down and knead just until smooth.  Shape into 2 loaves and place in greased loaf pans.   Cover and let rise until double in size.
5.  Brush tops with egg white glaze and sprinkle with a few oats.  Bake for 35 minutes at 375˚.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Farro Salad

Sunday is Mother's Day, as I'm sure all of you remember.  ;)  This year, I won't be able to spend the day with my mom (someone went on a cruise to Alaska and didn't invite me!), but I will enjoy the sunshine and the beautiful spring weather and pretend like the whole fam is together.
For Mother's Day there is always the classic of breakfast in bed, but if your mom is like mine, all she really wants is her coffee and quiet in the morning.  Brunch is a good option (always), but it can take a lot of time to prepare and it's not exactly affordable to go out on this particular day.

Here's my recommendation: eat outside.  Grill up some burgers.  Make some salads and sides.  Cut up fresh fruit.  And finish it all off with a simple, tasty dessert.
This salad recipe is inspired by a pasta salad that is one of my favorite dishes that my mom makes.  But remember how I said, I am obsessed with Farro?  Well, I still am!

1 c. cooked farro
1 1/2 c. cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 red onion
1/2 cucumber, peeled and cut into small pieces
1/4 c. finely chopped parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/4 c. olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste
1.  In a medium bowl, mix together farro, tomatoes, onion, cucumber, and parsley.

2.  In a small bowl, whisk together garlic, vinegar, olive oil, and salt & pepper.

3.  Pour dressing over farro mixture.  You can make this salad the night before and store in the refrigerator.
Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Coconut Cream Pie

Tuesday morning, I thought it would be a good idea to get up at 5 a.m. and go to the gym.  I thought, I will put on my new(ish) running shoes that simulate running barefoot.  I got on that treadmill and I ran like the wind...for a whole mile.  

Today, I still can't walk.  My calves are in so much pain that it is forcing me to walk like a penguin.  And even though I really like penguins (especially since I have been watching Frozen Planet lately), I don't necessarily want to mimic them.
I can't even walk to the fridge to slice myself a piece of this pie.  The temptation is definitely there. 

On second thought, maybe the calcium would be good for my legs :)

2/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. scalded milk
3 egg yolks
2 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. shredded coconut
1 9 in. pie crust, baked (use pie weights or dry beans to keep shell from puffing up)
1 c. heavy whipping cream
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. toasted coconut for garnish
1.  Mix sugar, flour, salt and scalded milk together.  Set above hot water (in a double boiler).  Stir until thoroughly thickened.  Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring a few times to keep it from clumping up.

2.  Blend small amount of hot mixture into slightly beaten egg yolks.  Add egg yolks to double boiler mixture.  Cook about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. 

3.  Add butter, vanilla and coconut.  Cool slightly.  Pour into cooled, baked pie shell.

4.  Cool completely in refrigerator for a couple of hours.
5.  Beat whipping cream to soft peaks.  Add sugar and vanilla, continue to beat until whipped cream reaches desired thickness.  Pour on top of pie.  Top with toasted coconut as a garnish.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Farro

I know I'm a little late to jump on the whole grains bandwagon (it's a real thing), but you will never be too late to try farro.  Farro is a type of wheat that has an amazing texture, it's easy to cook, and it's good for you.  The only problem you may have with it is finding it in your grocery store. 

And brussels sprouts?  Yes, I was late on that one too.  Here's my advice for you with brussels sprouts: don't cook them before you have guests come over.  Although they are tasty, they are also a little stinky.  No one wants their guests to come in and start sniffing around.  Literally. 
So there you have it.  That is all I know about these two ingredients.  Oh wait!  I also know that when you combine them with some basic ingredients you have on hand, a simple dinner ensues!

1 c. farro
1 lb. brussels sprouts
4 carrots
1/4 c. sunflower seeds
3 Tbsp. olive oil
salt & pepper
1 Tbsp. agave (you could substitute with maple syrup)
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1.  Trim the ends of the brussels sprouts and remove any yellow leaves.  Cut in half.  Peel and cut carrots in 1 inch sections.
2.  In a large ziploc bag, toss brussels sprouts, carrots, sunflower seeds, olive oil and salt & pepper.  Spread onto a cookie sheet in an even layer and bake in a 400˚ oven for 30-45 minutes, tossing every 5-7 minutes to cook evenly.

3.  While the vegetables are cooking, add farro to 2 1/2 c. salted water in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer.  Cover and cook for 20-30 minutes (depending on how tender you like your farro).  Drain if there is any water left in the pan.

4.  Toss vegetables with agave and vinegar and serve on top of a bed of farro.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Spinach Pineapple Banana Smoothie

It's beginning to look a lot like summer!  It's already muggy and uncomfortable in DC which leaves me wanting to eat all my meals in iced, liquid form.

A couple weeks ago, I made this berry spinach smoothie, and after that, I couldn't stop putting spinach in every smoothie!

This time, I tried it with banana and pineapple.  The pineapple is sweet enough that you don't need to add any extra sweeteners.  It's so simple and delicious.  It's the perfect summertime snack to sip on while sitting out on the deck.

1 big handful spinach
1 banana
1 heaping cup pineapple
1/2 c. milk

*Use ice, if you are using only fresh fruit.  If some or all of your fruit is frozen, you can omit this.
1.  Load up your blender, spinach first.  Blend until smooth.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm back!  You may have noticed that I've been out of commission for the past week.  Maybe you didn't.  I'm going to pretend like you did to make me feel better :)

We've been busy.  We went to Colorado to look for an apartment, we checked off some more items from our DC Bucket List, and we went to West Virginia to get some climbing and camping in before leaving the East Coast (for good?).

But that's not really an excuse.  I'll make it up to you with cookies.  Cookies fix everything.  And these cookies have a secret.  They're healthy!  Ok not really healthy at all, but they're healthier than normal chocolate chip cookies...so you can eat more!
Recipe adapted from Tollhouse
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/4 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 c. vegetable shortening
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/4 c. chocolate chips
1.  Combine dry ingredients.  Set aside.

2.  Beat together shortening and sugars.  Add eggs one at a time.  Add vanilla.  Add dry ingredients.

3.  Stir in chocolate chips.

4.  Bake at 375˚ for 9 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.

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