Monday, March 31, 2014

Carrot Pineapple Smoothie

When the weather starts to get nicer, I naturally start to gravitate towards bright, fresh foods and away from heavy, bulky foods.  I think everyone does right?  I'm not so sure that this is just because more fresh vegetables and fruits are coming into season.  I think it really has to do with me wanting to pretend like winter is over.  

When I drink a bright, fruity smoothie, I can easily pretend like I am sitting on the beach somewhere, digging my toes into the sand with the sun on my face.  When I eat chicken noodle soup, it's harder to make that dream feel realistic.  
Drinking smoothies with vegetables in them makes me think for a second that I might actually be able to successfully complete a juice cleanse.  Then I remember that I like bread too much.  But for a second, the thought is there!  

If you're turned off by a smoothie that has a carrot in it, please don't be.  It is still sweet and fruity from the pineapple and you'll look really trendy sipping on it after your hot yoga class.  Trust me on this one.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Aunt Betsy's Apple Pie

A few years ago, my mom starting making family cookbooks.  She collected recipes mostly from my grandma and my aunts, maybe a couple from my cousins and sisters.  I must not have been asked to contribute, because none of the recipes have my name at the bottom of the page.
Even though I wasn't invited to the club, it's still one of my favorite cookbooks.  I know that every recipe in there will turn out the way it's supposed to and it will taste just like I remember it.  There are no surprises.  No letdowns or disappointments.

No matter how good a cookbook is, it will never be quite perfect like one that you make yourself.  I started making my own back when I was in middle school, slowly accumulating more and more tried-and-true recipes, and now when I need something for dinner or to bring to a friend's house, I will almost exclusively turn to one of these 2 books.
This apple pie recipe has no frills.  It's not particularly innovative.  That being said, it's exactly what you want in a classic apple pie.  Of course, so much depends on the quality and flavor of the apples so, like any apple pie, it's more of an art than a science - adjust the sugar and lemon juice to get the right balance of sweet to tart.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Red Velvet Pancakes

Maybe it's because we were never allowed to have bright, food-coloring-loaded foods as kids, but I am not a fan of red velvet cake.  I can pretty much guarantee you that I will never purchase a cake or cupcake that's chocolate flavored but somehow red colored.  Especially not with cream cheese frosting.  It might be one of the very few desserts I would flat out refuse.

However, Austin really likes it.  And in an effort to be nice, I made him some red velvet pancakes for Valentine's Day this year.  See, I can be nice.
To my surprise, they were actually really good.  Granted, I left out about 2/3 of the red food dye, but you can make them the way you like.

They are really chocolatey which I personally have no problem with first thing in the morning, but you could even make these for dessert if you like your sweets later in the day.  I don't think I'll be making these all the time, but every once in a while...maybe special occasions or when I feel like being extra nice :)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Fried Pickles

You know how your facebook feed seems to go through phases.  Like, at one point all your friends will be getting married; then, they get puppies; then, they have kids...and you get to see the whole process?
Well, I seem to be in the baby part of that timeline.  Everyone must think I want to know about their stomach's growth progress and their nicknames for their unborn children.  And before you say anything (Mom), I know that all I post about is Dingo and yes, I am a hypocrite and if I ever have kids, I'm sure I'll do all the things I'm annoyed by.

So anyway, as an apology for offending all of my facebook friends, here's some stereotypical pregnant woman cravings!  And even better, they're fried!  Still friends?  Great.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Malibu Bay Breeze

It's officially spring!  I know some of you have had a rough winter but for us here in Utah, it's kind of felt like spring for months now.  Which, believe it or not, is not really a good thing for us, especially for a ski town like Park City.

The snow conditions have been pretty miserable (I swear there's been more rain than snow), but I'm fine with that.  I am ready for spring and summer!  I can't wait to pull out my Tevas again, go hiking in the afternoons, eat dinner outside, and generally enjoy the sunshine.
I remember last fall feeling really excited for winter.  I dreamt about snowboarding and snowshoeing;  I could envision myself throwing snowballs to Dingo, and now I'm over it.  It makes me wonder if I'll ever be content with the season I'm in.  Right now, I want summer bad, but I know when it gets really hot, I'll be praying for crisp fall evenings.

I should really practice being content.  I'll start with this springy cocktail!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Beef and Rice Casserole

After spending a long weekend out of town, eating out (mostly hamburgers), when we got home Sunday night, I was ready for some "real food."  My body can only take so much grease and then it really starts to crave something that's not cooked on a grill or in a fryer.
It makes me wonder how people eat out every day.  It really makes me wonder how people eat fast food so often.

I'm not trying to claim that this casserole is super healthy, just that it's got some nutrients and that it tastes better than a Beef 'N Cheddar.  I pretty much love anything that has water chestnuts in it.  They are so perfectly crunchy and they don't have a lot of flavor, so there's really not much to dislike.  Add in some hamburger, rice and seasonings and you've got an easy dinner.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Blueberry Bread (Bread Machine Recipe)

This afternoon, after I get off work, Austin and I are headed down to Moab (Utah) to run our first half marathon!  We've been training for a few months now and I feel pretty confident that I'll be able to finish before the cutoff time, but that's about where my confidence ends.
I've never been a runner before and I've only done one race before (a 10k in Boulder last year), and unfortunately, I think this might be my last long race.  Not because the running is so bad, but because it takes so much time!  We've been running about 5-6 hours a week for the past couple months and I just don't want to invest that kind of time into it anymore.

One thing that really helped me get through the training was listening to books on tape.  I think it was Emma from the A Beautiful Mess blog who gave me the idea first.  In about 2 weeks, you can listen to just about any book on tape.  It keeps you distracted and entertained just enough to get through the long runs and if the book is good, it might even make you want to run again to find out what happened next!
The one thing that I really neglected during my training was eating and drinking.  On a couple of the long runs, we each choked down one of those disgusting Clif Shots and shared 1 water bottle, but besides that, we didn't eat or drink anything.  And I really can't remember what I ate before we ran...mostly peanut butter on a spoon I think.  I've heard you're supposed to carbo load before a big endurance race, so maybe I'll try that.  Everyone usually eats a giant bowl of spaghetti the night before the race, I think I'll just have a loaf of bread and hope for the best!

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Weeknight Vegetarian Pasta

What do you make when you have no ideas, you don't want to go to the grocery store or can't get there and you're hungry now?  For me, it's always pasta.  It's one of the main reasons (though there are many) why I can't be gluten-free.
When you're already hungry and you need to make something to eat now, it has to be quick.  And since pasta takes less than 15 minutes to cook, you can't really beat it.  

The tricky part comes to what you're going to put with your noodles.  Spaghetti is a good option, but it can get old quickly and alfredo can be too heavy.  We always seem to have some medley of fresh veggies in the fridge and a little bit of spiciness never hurts anything.

This recipe is totally adaptable to whatever you've got hanging around.  You can even use leftover vegetables from a earlier meal (just adjust your cooking time so they don't get too soggy) and add as little or as much spice as you and your family prefers.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Beet Bloody Mary

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about what society deems acceptable.  Mostly in terms of drinking.  Maybe this is just because I've moved back to Utah - a state notorious for it's whacky liquor laws - but really, everywhere has arbitrary rules about what's allowable and what's not.
Like, why is it ok to drink a beer in the middle of the day if you're on the mountain skiing but not at you kitchen table?  Unless it's a holiday, then it's ok.  And why can you drink vodka in the morning or champagne but not beer or wine?  What's so magical about 5 o'clock?
I may not understand the reasoning behind it, but I do know that you can drink a beet bloody mary in the morning or early afternoon with brunch.  You can even have a few if you want!

If you like the flavor of fresh beets, this is for you!  It still has the signature tomato juice to it, but it's much more muted in combination with the beets.  Adjust the amounts of other ingredients as much as you like to make it spicier or milder and drink up!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

1 Skillet Pork Chops and Apples

Most of our stuff is in storage (in my parent's garage) right now which does two things.  First, it makes you realize how much stuff you have that you don't really need.  And second, it makes you realize the stuff that you have that you really like.  For me, everything that fits into the second category is in a box marked kitchen.

I want the Kitchenaid, the Ninja blender, and the cast iron skillet back.
I didn't have a cast iron skillet for a long time, mostly because I didn't understand how to "condition" it, but after we got one, it became one of our favorite pans.  Kind of like that song, "If I had a Hammer" by Peter Paul and Mary.  "If I had a hammer, I'd hammer all over this land..."

Well, if my skillet wasn't packed away, I would cook everything in it!  I would cook in my skillet in the morning.  I would cook in the evening.  I would cook cornbread, and dutchbabies, and pork chops!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Rosemary Overnight Bread

I've been rock climbing for about 8 years now.  Sometimes I'm really good about getting to the gym (or outside) 3 or 4 times a week.  Other times, it might be months between visits, but for the most part, it's been 8 years.
This morning, I went to the gym for a quick hour of bouldering before work by myself and I don't think I've ever gotten that tired and worn out from climbing so quickly.  Usually, working out with other people pushes you harder.  You have more motivation to keep going.  Not the case in this particular situation.  What I found out is that when you climb alone, you have no one to talk to.  There's no reason to rest, because you feel like an idiot sitting alone on the pads.

Long story short, my hands and arms are tired.
Lucky for me, my friend sent me this recipe for no-knead bread!  It takes a lot of time, but it's almost all downtime.  Basically, mix together the ingredients tonight before bed and tomorrow for dinner you could be eating fresh baked, perfectly risen, golden brown-crusted bread!

p.s. This is definitely the type of recipe that you'll want to read all the way through first so you know what's coming (made that mistake!).

Sunday, March 2, 2014

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