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Bailey’s Irish Cream Donuts

16 Mar

Hi everyone!  For the past week the blogosphere has been inundated with all things St. Patrick’s Day.  One thing I found on a few different sites that I found particularly interesting were the recipes for homemade Bailey’s.  While I’m not a hard alcohol kind of gal (let alone whiskey), I was really intrigued.  Bottling this up and bringing it to a St. Patrick’s Day party would be charming and all, but to be honest my brain immediately went the “what can I bake with this?” route.  All about the food I tell ya!  Then I remembered the donut pan I’ve had hidden in the darkest corner of my pantry for the past three months, and the rest was history.  Bailey’s spiked donuts.  Yes!

Here is the link to the Bailey’s recipe that I used

Bailey’s Irish Cream Grown-Up Donuts

Yield: 12 donuts

Ingredients:

* 2 cups all-purpose flour

* ¾ cup white sugar

* 2 tsp baking powder

* 1 tsp salt

* nutmeg and cinnamon, to taste

* ¾ cup bailey’s (homemade or from the store)

* 2 beaten eggs

* 1 tsp vanilla

* 2 tbsp melted butter (or margarine)

Preheat oven to 400F.  Spray your donut pan and set aside.  In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt until combined.  Add the bailey’s, eggs, vanilla and butter and mix until everything is incorporated.  Fill each doughnut cup and bake for 9 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before removing from pan.  Paint the tops with melted butter and dip in cinnamon/sugar mixture.

Oh. My. Goodness.  These reminded me exactly of the cider donuts that we get at the farms in the fall – except with a slight taste of Bailey’s instead of cider.  They couldn’t have been easier, either.  If you don’t have a donut pan, I found mine at Michael’s for $6!

Now obviously, even though these aren’t cooked in oil, they aren’t really healthy.  However, what’s wrong with eating a donut on a holiday?  For those of you who are heading out to the parades/restaurants/ bars for the holiday, have fun and stay safe!

Goodnight!

Spinach Goat Cheese Weeknight Pasta

12 Mar

Happy Monday!  Typically I really dislike Monday’s, but how can I hate a day that is 70 degrees and sunny?  The weather here in the northeast is out of control nice.  To the point that I almost felt a “fever” coming on on my way back to work from lunch today. But alas, paying bills trumps nice weather so back to the office I went.  At least tonight will stay light for an hour longer, which makes it feel like the evening is that much longer.  Every year, it amazes me just how different the nice weather can make me feel.  Better mood, more energized, actually wanting to work out, etc.  Another bummer of winter is the available produce (other than clementines).  After 3-4 months, I can honestly say that I don’t think I can stand winter produce much longer.  Hopefully the warm and sunny weather forecast will allow the typical spring/summer fruits and veggies to peak their heads a little earlier than usual this year.

A few weeks ago I was left with very limited options for dinner.  The food store wasn’t going to happen until the next day, so I was left with going through my fridge and pantry and hopefully finding foods that I can pair to be somewhat edible.  Anyone else ever do this?  What I discovered was that a little spinach, butter, and goat cheese can take pasta over the top.

Spinach Goat Cheese Pasta

Yield: 1 serving

Ingredients:

3/4 cup vegetable pasta (i bought the spinach/carrot/tomato blend)

2 tbsp soft goat cheese (not crumbled)

1 tsp butter or margarine

2 handfuls baby spinach, rinsed and patted dry

While pasta is cooking, place the spinach in the bottom of your bowl.  Scoop the goat cheese and butter on top of the spinach and microwave for 60 seconds.  When the pasta is finished cooking, drain it and pour right over your spinach, cheese, and butter.  Mix with a fork and serve immediately.

Pre-Microwave

 Post-Microwave

Literally, the easiest dinner in the history of mankind.  Except for maybe PB&J…  or a bowl of cereal (but both of those things are not really dinner, per se).  I would even make this for a dinner party because it tastes like something that actually took thought and effort 😉

what to do with those leftover oatmeal packets?

5 Mar

Hey there!  It’s been a while, huh?  Did you ever feel like you need to unplug for a while?  It’s always good to test yourself from time to time and make sure you can still function without some form of technology in your hands 16 hours a day.  We recently had a lovely long weekend in Lake Placid, which is always a good way for me to relax.  Nothing like the mountain air to clear my head and make everything a-okay!

So, I made the mistake of food shopping while hungry last week and I ended up buying this oatmeal:

I should have known that I would hate it.  I actually couldn’t choke down more than one bite because it was so sweet.  I’m so used to either making it myself or eating McCann’s (aka – best oatmeal in the universe), that this was just too much.  Being that I knew Steve would hate it even more than I did and I hate wasting food/money, the brainstorming began.  The first thing I thought of was to try to making cookies (shocking) out of the leftover packets.  Well, that was easier said than done.  Sure, my first attempt looked edible, but they were so dense and dry that I deemed them a choking hazard.  My advice to you is to always write down everything you do while cooking.  This way, you can tweak appropriately after a massive kitchen fail.  Luckily, I had only used half of my remaining oatmeal packets so I had enough leftover to try and get it right..

Blueberry Oatmeal Packet Cookies

Yield: 2 dozen

Ingredients:

1 egg

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1 container blueberry greek yogurt (I used chobani)

3 packets oatmeal

1/2 cup turbinado sugar

1/4 tsp baking powder (I didn’t use this)

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup flour

Preheat oven to 350F.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, butter, and yogurt.  Add dry ingredients, one at a time and mix batter until everything is incorporated.  Scoop the batter (about 1 tbsp per cookie) onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for about 15 minutes.  You will know they are done when the edges begin to brown.

This time around they came out light, moist, and cakey (even without using the baking powder that I didn’t realize I didn’t have until the batter was already made).  Perfect for breakfast or a snack.  I love the blueberry flavor a lot, but you can change the oatmeal and yogurt flavors to fit whatever you have on hand.  The best part?  No more of that scary oatmeal that gave me nightmares!

Oreo Cheesecake-Pops

14 Feb

Today is Valentine’s Day, and Steve and I have absolutely nothing planned. There are a lot of reasons, but the biggest one is that we were never all that into Valentine’s Day. Who needs the crowds at the restaurants and prix-fixe menus? I mean, it’s not like we won’t do anything – he’s cooking dinner and I made these cake pops for dessert. Obviously, these are in no way healthy. I can’t even spin it in any way whatsoever. But as I’ve mentioned before, i think balance is an important aspect of life. If you exercise regularly, and eat healthy, whole foods most of the time, there is absolutely nothing wrong with treating yourself now and then. And most of the people that feel guilty and give themselves grief about having that piece of pizza or cake, are the ones that shouldn’t because they take such good care of their bodies. Being a crazed health freak isn’t healthy either! So after work tomorrow, relax with the one you love (or by yourself), and enjoy one of these outrageous Oreo cheesecake pops. The banana soft serve and wheat berry pudding will be there tomorrow!

Oreo Cheesecake-Pops – inspired by Brown Eyed Baker’s oreo truffles
Yield: about 16 pops
Ingredients:
1 package Oreos
1 8 oz. Block of cream cheese, at room temp
1 bag of good chocolate chips (1 used 1/2 milk chocolate and 1/2 semisweet melted together)

Put the entire package of Oreos in the food processor and process until they are crumbs (you will have to do this in batches if your fp is smaller, like mine). Take 3 cups of the Oreo mixture and place in a large mixing bowl with the cream cheese. Using a hand mixer, mix the cookie crumbs and cream cheese until fully blended. Take some of the mixture in your hand and roll into a ball the size of a golf ball. Place on cookie sheet. Repeat until mixture it gone. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Before taking out of fridge, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave, stirring every 10-15 seconds until completely melted. Stick your lollipop stick in the top of your balls and one at a time, dip into the melted chocolate. Twist the stick back and forth over the bowl to ensure all of the excess chocolate comes off. Gently dip the pop into the topping of your choice, if you wish (i used crushed nuts). Place stick into the styrofoam. Repeat until they are all dipped and place back in the fridge for another 45 minutes before eating.

*store in an airtight container and keep in the fridge

Creamy, chocolatey, goodness. I went to Michael’s over the weekend and picked up a 30 pack of these cake/lollipop sticks for $3.99. The piece of styrofoam was $3.99 too, and I’ll be able to use it multiple times.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

8 Feb

I learned a very valuable lesson late last August, that I will forever carry with me.  After a few particular hardships I endured while trying to find canned pumpkin at the end of summer (when I get bitten by the every-recipe-must-include-pumpkin bug), I realized that once November hits I need to stock up for the following year.  Canned pumpkin has a long shelf life, so I now have a cabinet dedicated to pumpkin.  No more weird looks from super market employees or awkward showdowns with the elderly for me!  This came in especially handy earlier this week when I got a crazy craving for pumpkin mac and cheese.  I call it a crazy craving because I’ve never actually had pumpkin mac and cheese before.  Anyway, after some very minimal research and additions/changes, this is what I threw together.  Don’t be intimidated, the sauce cooks up even faster than the pasta.  In fact, I almost overcooked the pasta while staring into the pumpkin sauce’s slow, bubbling, lava-like movement.  Quite hypnotizing after a long day!

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups pasta of your choice (preferably rotini or shells)
  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • 3/4 cup skim milk
  • 1 tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar (I used low-fat)
  •  1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 2-3 tbsp goat cheese (or other soft cheese)
  • fresh ground pepper, to taste
Cook pasta according to directions on the box.  While the pasta is cooking, heat the EVOO in a large skillet.  Add the milk and flour and whisk really well so the flour doesn’t clump up.  One by one, add the remaining ingredients to the sauce, stirring often.  Drain the pasta, and pour desired amount of pumpkin sauce over.  Mix and serve immediately.

Perfection.  The next time you want pumpkin, give it a try – even if you’re short on time!  I’ve already had it twice this week.  Long live canned pumpkin!

Vegan Chili

4 Feb

Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it?  Being that I don’t eat poultry and don’t really care for pork unless it’s slow cooked and pulled, it’s really important to incorporate lots of meat free meals into my week so I am not eating red meat all the time.  That’s why I was more than happy to fulfill the request of finding and perfecting a recipe for vegan chili.  Of course the search began and ended at my go-to, one stop shop for all things vegan; Oh She Glows.  I added and changed a few things, but overall her recipe was amazing.  Dare I say that I enjoyed it more than regular Chili?

Vegan Chili – adapted from Oh She Glows

Yield: 6-8

Ingredients:

1 tsp EVOO

1 garlic clove, minced

2 bell peppers, chopped

1 sweet onion, chopped

3 carrots, chopped

1 can mushrooms, drained

1 – 28 oz can diced tomatoes, with the juice

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can red beans, drained and rinsed

1 can corn

3 tbsp chili powder

2 tsp oregano

salt, to taste

red pepper flakes, to taste

1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tbsp chia seeds (optional, but adds more protein and omega’s)

* I wanted to add some chopped up eggplant, but the one I bought 3 days ago was getting fuzzy already (thanks Stop and Shop)

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat with the EVOO.  Cook onions, garlic, carrots, and peppers for about 5 minutes.  Add everything else, stir real well, cover, and let simmer for 30-35 minutes.  That’s it!

Perfect for meat eaters, non meat eaters, and people with high blood pressure like *somebody* I know who is reading this!  Steve quickly un-veganized this by adding shredded cheddar to his bowl, but considering he is a full on carnivore and asked still asked for seconds, I’m considering this a major win..

Chianti Marinated Pulled Beef Stew

26 Jan

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As per a request, next week I will be posting a recipe for vegan chili just in time for super bowl Sunday.  I was going to make it this past weekend until Giada sucked me into her delicious world during an appearance on the Today Show.  She made this amazing looking stew that I could not get out of my head for the rest of the week.  So on Saturday morning, while everyone else in the northeast  was inside hiding from the snowstorm, I dragged Steve out of our warm, comfy bed to go to the food store.  Along with everything else we needed for the upcoming week, I also got a beautiful piece of meat for the stew.  After a quick stop at our local liquor store for the bottle of chianti, I was home and got crackin’.

Of course I changed her original recipe a bit, so here is what I did:

Chianti Marinated Pulled Beef Stew

Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients:

2 1/2 lbs beef brisket

1 bottle chianti

4 tbsp EVOO

salt and pepper

4-5 strips of bacon, chopped

2 cups chopped carrots

1 garlic glove, minced

8 oz green beans, cut in thirds

5 red potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces

1 tsp dried rosemary

1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes

4 cups beef broth

Place beef in a baking dish and pour the wine over it.  Place in fridge for an hour and a half, turn over, and marinate for another hour and a half.  Set meat aside and reserve the wine.  Heat the EVOO in a dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add the meat and brown on each side (about 2 minutes per side).  Remove meat.  Place the bacon in the dutch oven and cook until crispy.  Add the carrots, garlic, green beans, and potatoes and toss around for a few minutes.  Add the wine, tomatoes, rosemary, and beef broth, and stir thoroughly.  Add the meat, bring to a boil, and simmer (covered) for 3 1/2 hours.

Remove meat and pull apart with two forks.  Place meat back in the pot and let warm back up, about 5 minutes.

 

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Do you believe that I don’t have a single picture of the final product?  Maybe it’s because we inhaled it.

For the meat lovers out there, this is the one the best stews I’ve ever had.  Highly recommended for any super bowl party.  If you don’t eat meat or dairy, stay tuned – I got you covered!