Monday, August 18, 2014

I've Been a Little Busy...

It's been a month and ten days since I last blogged (yikes!!). Every week I say to myself, this is the week I'm going to share a great new recipe! But alas, the best laid plans... Life is a tad busy for us right now (and by a tad busy, I mean the busiest it's ever been that I can remember) so please forgive me for my lack of blogging. I'm still cooking and baking whenever I can but I just can't seem to find the time to take photos or share the recipes with you online! :(

The main two things keeping us insanely busy right now, for those of you who don't know, are...

1) A new HOUSE that includes a KITCHEN RENOVATION!!! So, so exciting.

and...

2) A BABY due to arrive in early November!! Also so, so exciting. :) 

Soooo, here's a small sampling of photos of what our life has been consumed with (in a good way!) for the past few months...










 

I can't believe how many decisions go into a kitchen renovation! It's been overwhelming at times but overall, it's pretty darn awesome! We are very thankful to have this opportunity to make the kitchen in our new home our own. I will most definitely be sharing a blog post later on with all the before and after pictures. It's a drastic transformation, let me tell you!! :)

And speaking of a gazillion decisions, my oh my do babies need a lot of items. :) Although creating a baby registry is also overwhelming, we've ultimately had a lot of fun with it and again, are so thankful to be in this amazing place in our lives! We are thrilled to meet our little one later this fall and are having a lot of fun getting ready for him or her (we didn't find out if it's a boy or girl!). If all goes as planned with the kitchen renovation and other changes/updates we're doing to the house, we should be moved in within a few weeks from now, which will give us about a month and a half before the baby arrives. Plenty of time to get settled, right? ;)

Can't wait to share more with you about the house, kitchen, and baby in the upcoming months!

But in the meantime, since this is a food blog after all, here are links to a couple recipes I've made lately that have been incredibly delicious. You've gotta try 'em!



This drink was so easy and ridiculously refreshing. Aaand pretty awesome for me since I can't drink alcohol right now. ;) We still have a few more weeks of summer so make sure to try this while the weather is still warm!


 
These are amazing. That's all you need to know. Try them!!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Peanut Butter Chocolate Flaxseed Energy Bites


 My oh my, where does the time go??! So sorry for my big lapse since my latest post. Life is just crazy busy right now! And speaking of crazy busy, I turn to quick, easy, and healthy snacks when life is so busy that I barely have time to think. And quick, easy, and healthy is the recipe that I have for you today! These peanut butter chocolate flaxseed energy bites are a breeze to put together, and they're perfect for when you're on the go...go...go...go....

I adapted this recipe from Handle the Heat's recipe. I could tell from the list of ingredients that I was going to love this recipe, and I was right! I played around with the original proportions a bit, and below is the list of ingredients I put into my version. But definitely check out the original recipe too in case you want to follow that one. They're both pretty similar in the end! This made about 24 1-inch to 1.5-inch bites for me.

Ingredients:

-1 and 1/2 cup regular oats
-2/3 cup ground flaxseed
-1 cup peanut butter
-1/3 cup honey
-1 tsp. cinnamon
-1/2 cup chocolate chips

Instructions:

In a medium bowl, stir together all the ingredients with a spoon or spatula (or your hands!) until thoroughly combined. Cover the mixture and let chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes so that the dough is firm and less sticky (i.e., easier to form into balls!). Once the dough is ready, form into balls about 1 to 1.5-inches in diameter. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. You could also freeze these for up to 1 month.


 I love these little guys! They're so cute, aren't they? What's not to love about cute, delicious, easy, and healthy?! You could definitely play around with the ingredients in this recipe too. Maybe try almond butter instead of peanut butter, or craisins instead of chocolate chips. Be creative!


I personally think these taste best when stored in the fridge. When they're cold, they taste that much better to me for some reason! These are great to have on hand for that afternoon slump at work, for a quick snack before or after a workout, or for the kids when they come inside after playing out in the summer sun.

Enjoy!

:)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Snickerdoodle Sprinkle Cookies


 Hey look! I actually made a recipe and photographed it! As I said before, despite the lack of blog posts lately, I've still been busy in the kitchen; I just haven't been taking many pictures or writing about the recipes. But, this cookie recipe was way too good to not share. Boy, was it a hit! And when you stop and think about it, it's easy to see why it is such a hit...chewy, soft cookies filled with sprinkles and rolled in cinnamon sugar goodness. Yes, please!

The recipe is from Joanne over at Eats Well with Others, a wonderful blog I've been following for quite some time. Her recipes always sound amazing, her photography is beautiful, and she always has a funny story to tell besides!

Ingredients:

-1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
-1 tsp. cream of tartar
-1 tsp. baking powder
-1/2 tsp. baking soda
-1/4 tsp. salt
-1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
-1 and 1/2 cups sugar, divided
-1 large egg
-2 tsp. vanilla
-3/4 cup sprinkles
-3/4 tsp. cinnamon

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer or with an electric mixer, cream together the butter and 3/4 cup of the sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add in the egg and vanilla and mix until combined. Add in the flour mixture in three additions, mixing each time until completely combined. Mix in the sprinkles until well distributed.

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar with the cinnamon. Scoop the cookie dough into balls of about 2 to 3 teaspoons of dough. Roll balls in the cinnamon sugar mixture and place on baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough, leaving at least one inch between cookies on the sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the centers are set. They may not look completely cooked, but don't worry; they will continue to cook as they cool. Let sit for 5 minutes on cookie sheets before removing to cool completely on cooling rack.



Seriously, these cookies are amazing. You will love 'em. I promise! :)


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Lately...

Lately I have been doing everything but blogging! Luckily though, I've been keeping track of the foods I've made and loved so that I can still share them with you. You gotta love Pinterest! I have a "I Pinned it...AND, I Did it!" board, where I put all new recipes that I've made, usually with some quick notes about how I liked them, how I altered them, etc. So I thought it would be fun today to share a few recent recipes that I've made and really enjoyed (and kept track of through Pinterest).


(photo source)

Yum! I brought these muffins to work for an occasion with coworkers, and everyone loved them. They would be a great addition to any brunch. I found poppy seeds in the bulk section at Whole Foods (I had never purchased poppy seeds before!). Because I needed so few, they cost next to nothing. Just thought I'd share that little tip in case you've never bought poppy seeds either. ;)


(photo source)

With summer just around the corner, you'll probably be needing recipes to bring to family and friends' bbq's, and you'll be looking for easy recipes that don't require turning on the stove or oven. This salad serves both of those purposes! It's healthy, refreshing, and a breeze to put together. I did change the recipe slightly though by adding toasted pumpkin seeds instead of sunflower seeds and by adding about one half cup of craisins (not called for in the original recipe). Also, I changed the dressing recipe by using plain greek yogurt instead of mayo.


(photo source)

I loved these cookies. They were soft and chewy, which I love, and the toasted oats add a nice nutty flavor. And really, can you ever go wrong with a chocolate chip cookie? I don't think so. :)


(photo source)

A great alternative to mashed potatoes, this mashed cauliflower recipe was a fun new dish to try. Mike and I both really liked it! Maybe you could even fool your kids into thinking they're potatoes. ;) The recipe calls for sour cream, but I didn't have any on hand, so I used plain greek yogurt instead, which worked great. And also, I added some feta cheese (not called for in the original recipe), and that was a great addition for some extra flavor!

What are some of your favorite recipes you've made lately? Fill me in on anything amazing that I should try to! :)

Happy June! Hope to be back on the blog again soon.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Maple Candied Bacon: Taking Brunch to a Whole New Level


Greetings, friends! It's Colleen from the Barbershop...remember me? I am embarrassed to say that I haven't blogged in a month! Crazy. I've still been cooking and baking up a storm in the kitchen, but blogging has been on the back burner for a while (pun intended ;)). Thanks for understanding. I'm hoping to slowly get back into it and get back to posting at least once a week if I can.

So, onto this next amazing recipe! Maple candied bacon. You thought you loved bacon before. Well, I challenge you to think again. This recipe bring bacon (and breakfast/brunch!) to a whole new level. Wow. My husband Mike made an amazing brunch for his mom this past weekend on Mother's Day, and on the menu was this bacon. We all LOVED it. It's great for a special occasion! If you want to impress your guests or if you're an invited to a party and want to impress the host or hostess, bring this bacon. Everyone will love it; I guarantee it!

The recipe is really quite simple. First you marinade the bacon slices in a delicious mixture of sweet and savory/smoky ingredients. Then, you bake it! Finally, you eat. It's that simple. :) When we saw the title of this recipe as maple "candied" bacon, we were worried it might be too sweet. But it definitely wasn't! The flavors were the perfect balance of sweet and savory. The original recipe is from the Clever Carrot. Check out the photos of the bacon on her site...beautiful!
Ingredients:

-1 lb. good quality bacon (we used 10 slices of thick-cut)
-2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup (you have to use the good stuff!)
-1/4 cup brown sugar (light or dark)
-2 tsp. Dijon mustard
-1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
-1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and top with a wire rack. In a large bowl, add the maple syrup, brown sugar, Dijon mustard, salt, and cayenne pepper; mix well. Add the bacon to the bowl and toss with your hands until all the bacon is evenly coated. Place the bacon on a single layer on the wire rack. Bake in the center of the oven for about 20 minutes. The bacon may be brown after 20 minutes, but it will need to bake for 10 to 15 minutes more after that. Continue to check it to be sure it's not burning, but it will likely need at least 30 minutes total of bake time (ours took 35 minutes total). It should look slightly dark and be crispy. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes on rack. Don't let the bacon sit too long or it may stick. Serve at room temperature.


This is one of those "dress to impress" recipes. It seems complicated but it's really not! And the flavors are truly amazing together.


What a meal we had this morning. I'm so lucky that I married a man who can cook. :) We enjoyed this delicious candied bacon, an amazing garden veggie frittata, and decadent challah french toast with fresh berries and maple syrup. Oh, and orange mango prosecco mimosas.

So. Good.

Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful mothers out there!! :)


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Avocado Feta Dip


This avocado feta dip belongs in your life. I actually feel badly that I haven't shared this with you sooner. I discovered this recipe a few months ago and have made it several times since. Yet somehow, until this last time I made it, I hadn't taken any pictures of it! So I finally made sure to snap a few quick pics so I could write a blog post about it.

If you love avocados like we do, or you're a fan of guacamole, then you really need to give this dip a try. It's a nice change-up from a traditional guacamole, yet it's similar enough that if you eat it, you feel like you're getting your guac fix. ;)

This super simple recipe comes from Two Peas and Their Pod. You can find the original recipe here. The ingredients below are the ones I use when I make this. I don't add the jalapeno or cilantro that are called for in the original recipe because they're not my favorite ingredients... BUT, if you like them, definitely add them!

Ingredients:

-2 avocados, peeled and pit removed
-1/2 cup feta cheese
-1/4 cup diced onion
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-juice of 1 lime (or 1/2 lime, depending on your taste preferences)
-salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

In the bowl of a food processor, place the avocados, feta, onion, garlic, and lime (I'd recommend starting with juice of 1/2 lime first, then add more as you go, depending on how "lime-y" you want it to be). Blend until creamy and smooth, adding more lime if you wish. Add salt and pepper to taste; blend a little bit more. Serve with pita chips, tortilla chips, crackers, veggies, etc. Enjoy! Makes about 1 and 1/2 to 2 cups of dip.


At our house, we loooove this dip. I've brought this to friends' houses too a few times now, and they've all loved it as well. And, it's not only great as a dip with chips or veggies, but it's also great as a sandwich spread, Or, sometimes I even just simply spread some on toast for a snack! Delicious. 



 Have a great start to your week, everyone!!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Sweet Potato Bacon Hash with Fried Eggs


 Hello! I have another easy dinner (or breakfast!) recipe for you today. I just realized I haven't shared many dessert recipes with you yet in 2014. Sorry about that! Hope you don't mind. Hopefully I'll have more dessert recipes for you this spring. :)

Mike and I enjoyed this sweet potato bacon hash with fried eggs as an easy weeknight meal. However, you could certainly enjoy this for breakfast or brunch too. Eggs work for any meal, in my opinion! This recipe is incredibly simple and comes together pretty quickly (about 30 minutes, start to finish). This recipe from Lauren's Latest was the inspiration for this dish. The only thing I really did differently was add in some mushrooms and grape tomatoes to increase our vegetable intake! :) I did not, however, add the jalapeno that the recipe calls for. The recipe serves two, but you could easily increase the quantities of the different ingredients to serve more people. It's a pretty straightforward dish! And of course, you could make this meatless by omitting the bacon.

Ingredients:

-2 slices bacon
-1 Tbsp. olive oil
-1 small or medium yellow onion, diced
 -1 medium sweet potato (peeled if desired), diced into 1/4 to 1/2-inch pieces
-other vegetables (e.g., tomatoes, mushrooms), if desired
-salt and pepper to taste
-1/2 Tbsp. butter
-2 eggs

Instructions:

Cook bacon until crispy and transfer to plate lined with a paper towel to remove excess grease. In medium pan over medium heat, drizzle olive oil, and saute onion and sweet potatoes until the potatoes are fork tender and are browned, about 10 to 12 minutes. If adding vegetables that won't take as long to cook, such as tomatoes and mushrooms, add them later on during the cooking (maybe with about 5 minutes left; use your best judgment). Season veggie mixture with salt and pepper to taste (and other herbs, if desired).

In a medium nonstick skillet, melt butter. Fry eggs until yolks are done to your liking. Divide sweet potato hash between two dishes, top with fried eggs, and crumble bacon over top. Feel free to add some shredded cheese on top too! Enjoy. :)


This really is such an easy meal. And it tasted so good! We both loved it. The sweetness of the potatoes paired nicely with the salty bacon and egg. Mmmmm. 
 

I think this dish might make it into our dinner rotation again soon. It's too good not to have again!


Do you make eggs for dinner sometimes? If so, I'd love to hear your favorite egg for dinner recipes! I'm always looking for new ways to enjoy eggs. :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spinach and Avocado Greens Pasta with Roasted Grape Tomatoes


I am obsessed with this recipe. It's by far my new favorite dinner. I've made it twice in the past few weeks, and I've had to restrain myself from making it more often...for variety's sake. But I can easily say that I'd be happy to eat this at least once a week, if not more! It's that good.

A couple things in particular that I love about this dish are how healthy it is and how filling it is! And, in the grand scheme of dinner recipes, it's fairly easy too. There are several steps to make this meal, but they're all easy; I promise. Also, the dish is meatless, which is another added bonus (for me personally - I don't always love cooking meat!). And also because it's meatless, it's perfect for the Lenten season if you are someone who happens to be observing the practice of not eating meat on Fridays.

The recipe is from Annie's Eats. I only adapted the original recipe slightly. I did not add the greek yogurt to the green "sauce," although I'm sure it would be yummy. The first time I made the dish, I tasted the sauce before adding the yogurt and liked it as is, so I decided to omit the yogurt. But definitely add it if you'd like! And also, both times I've made this I've used feta cheese in lieu of parmesan cheese. Below are the ingredients I used both times I made the dish.

Ingredients:

For the tomatoes:
-1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes (halved or whole - your call)
-1 to 2 Tbsp. olive oil
-salt and pepper to taste

For the pasta:
-12 to 16 oz. whole wheat pasta (I recommend linguine)
-2 Tbsp. olive oil
-1 medium yellow onion, chopped
-3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
-1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (add more if you want a bigger spice kick)
-approx. 5 to 6 cups of loosely packed baby spinach leaves
-1 and 1/2 to 2 avocados, split and pitted
-6 Tbsp. fresh basil leaves, packed
-1/2 cup feta cheese

Instructions:

To roast the tomatoes, preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, combine tomatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper, tossing well to coat tomatoes. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, tossing once halfway through. Remove from oven and let cool.

In a large pot, bring water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, and then drain pasta. While the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil over medium heat in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook 1 minute more. Add spinach to pan, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low (it's okay to add spinach in batches if it doesn't all fit at once). Stir occasionally until all the spinach has fully wilted.

In a food processor or blender, combine the spinach mixture with the avocado, basil, and feta. Adding a splash of reserved pasta water at a time, processing mixture until smooth, adding more water as needed along the way. You will likely end up needing 1/4 to 3/4 cup of water total, depending on your other ingredients and your preferred sauce thickness. Toss the sauce with noodles, and if necessary, return to stovetop to reheat the mixture over low heat. Top with roasted tomatoes and more cheese (feta, parmesan, or any other kind!), if desired. Enjoy! Makes 5 to 6 servings.





Did I mention that I love this recipe? I love this recipe. :) The second time I made this, I roasted red peppers with the tomatoes, and they were a great addition. Roast any other veggies you think might be yummy with this! Also, another great thing about this recipe? It tastes awesome as leftovers. The flavors really come together nicely on the second or third day... So it's a great recipe to make for dinner one night and then enjoy for lunch the next day!

I highly, highly recommend you give this recipe a try. It might even be fun around Christmas time with its green and red colors. :) Or, it might be a fun dinner (without the tomatoes ;)) for St. Patty's! If you have kids and are looking for new ways to incorporate veggies into their dinners, this would be a great recipe to try!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Herbed Parmesan Buttermilk Biscuits


Homemade biscuits are one of my favorite goodies to bake. When I was young, whenever we were having biscuits with our dinner, my mom enlisted my help to make them. Lucky me! Back then I got my start baking biscuits with Bisquick, so making biscuits then involved fewer steps than making them from scratch, but still, my love of baking biscuits began many years ago and hasn't faded since!

I posted a delicious recipe for garlic cheddar beer biscuits a few weeks ago, and this recipe isn't too different. It simply uses buttermilk instead of beer and parmesan instead of cheddar! Otherwise, the recipes are fairly similar.

These herbed parmesan buttermilk biscuits are everything I love in a biscuit. Fluffy, flaky, and flavorful - the three fundamental f's of biscuits, apparently. :)

The recipe is adapted from these parmesan chive buttermilk biscuits from Good Life Eats. I halved the recipe, and the half proportions are below. This makes about 8 to 10 biscuits. If you are feeding a crowd, feel free to double (or triple!) the recipe.

Ingredients:

-2 cups all-purpose flour
-2 tsp. baking powder
-1/2 tsp. baking soda
-1/4 tsp. salt
-1 tsp. sugar
-1 stick (8 Tbsp.) very cold butter
-3/4 cup cold buttermilk
-1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
-2 tsp. dried herbs de provence

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Using two knives, a pastry blender, or a cheese grater, cut the butter into small bits and work it into the dry ingredients. Stir in the parmesan and herbs. Form a well in the center, and add the buttermilk, stirring until moistened. On a well-floured surface, knead the dough until it comes together well and you can easily form it into a disc (it should not be sticky). Roll the dough (you can use your hands for this) to 1/2 to 3/4-inch thickness. Using a biscuit cutter or the top of a round drinking glass, cut the dough onto biscuits. Combine the dough scraps and form more biscuits, continuing until all the dough is used. Place biscuits on prepared baking sheets, and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, checking after 10 minutes. The tops should be a light-medium golden brown. Enjoy!


If you'd like, you could use half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose. Also, you're welcome to use your favorite type of cheese instead of parmesan, and the types of herbs can easily be changed up as well.


One night we enjoyed these biscuits with some beef stew I'd made in the crock pot. They go perfectly with soup or stew! And then we saved a few for the weekend to eat with our eggs. These biscuits are perfect for breakfast too. Oh my goodness. So good. The biscuits I made with the omelettes Mike made were the perfect pairing! We toasted the biscuits too - I highly recommend that!


My husband makes the BEST omelettes. As I'm writing this post, I'm getting hungry for one! And of course, I'm getting hungry for more biscuits too. I might have to make some more pretty soon. ;)



Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Mocha Chip Cinnamon Rolls


Remember a couple weeks ago when I shared with you an amazing coffee cake recipe? And I suggested that you add it to your next brunch menu? Well, I have another brunch requirement suggestion for you. Mocha chip cinnamon rolls. Holy cow are these babies delicious.

The original recipe is from Inside BruCrew Life. And an excellent recipe it is! What I love about this recipe is that it's a no-yeast, no-rise recipe. You can have these cinnamon buns on your brunch table in less than an hour!

There are some great step-by-step photos on Inside BruCrew Life's post about this recipe, so definitely check them out! Also, there is a coffee glaze that you can put on top of the cinnamon rolls should you so desire. I didn't make the glaze, and we found the rolls to be wonderfully flavorful as is and sweet, but not too sweet. If you're a glaze person though, by all means, go for it!

Ingredients:

For the filling:

-3/4 cup brown sugar
-1/4 cup granulated sugar
-2 tsp. cinnamon
-1/4 tsp. nutmeg
-1 Tbsp. butter, melted
-1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

For the dough:

-2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
-2 Tbsp. sugar
-1 and 1/2 tsp. baking powder
-1/2 tsp. baking soda
-1/2 tsp. salt
-1 and 1/4 cups buttermilk
-2 Tbsp. instant coffee
-5 Tbsp. butter, divided
 
Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Combine all filling ingredients in small bowl, and mix until it resembles coarse sand; set aside. Stir together the buttermilk and instant coffee; set aside.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the coffee buttermilk and two tablespoons of melted butter; mix until combined. Transfer the dough onto a well-floured surface. Knead about 10 times to get some of the extra flour incorporated into the dough. It might be sticky at first. Once the dough is easy to work with, press it (as best you can) into a rectangle about 16 by 10 inches. Spread the dough with two tablespoons of melted butter, and sprinkle evenly with the filling. Try to keep the filling away from the edge of the dough by an inch. Gently roll the dough (from one of the long sides) until it's in a log shape. Press the ends together and fold into the log. Cut into 9 even rolls.

Cover the bottom of an 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 pan with one tablespoon of butter. Place rolls in the pan. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes.


Other than being very excited to share another great recipe with you, the other main reason I wanted to share this recipe is that I have a snowman mug in these pictures!!! I made these cinnamon rolls about a month ago, when at the time, we were smack dab in the middle of winter. And now spring is just a week away! Of course, just because spring is a week away on the calendar, it doesn't mean it's actually starting to feel like spring... 20 degrees and snow in Boston today!


 Although we may not be sure if winter will stick around for a while longer or if spring is coming soon, one thing we can be sure of is that these cinnamon rolls need to make an appearance in your life. ;)