Sunday, March 31, 2013

Avocado Egg Salad

Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter!

If you colored Easter eggs this year, there's a chance you have some leftover eggs. Don't throw them out! Instead, try this awesome recipe for avocado egg salad. I made this last week, and Mike and I each enjoyed a couple sandwiches with the recipe. Soooo good! The avocado takes the place of the traditional mayonnaise used in the recipe, and it's a terrific substitution. I don't know if I'll ever go back to traditional egg salad. This avocado version is far better (in my opinion :)).

I semi-followed a recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod for our avocado egg salad. The ingredients I used are below, but be sure to check out the original recipe as well. There are a few different versions of this floating around the web, but I loosely followed Two Peas and Their Pod's version.


-4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
-1 medium avocado, pitted and peeled
-2 Tbsp. plain Greek yogurt
-2 tsp. mustard (regular, not dried)
-2 to 3 tsp. fresh lemon juice
-2 celery stalks, finely chopped
-salt and pepper to taste


In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, avocado, yogurt, mustard and lemon juice. Mash with a fork and mix until well-combined. Mix in the chopped celery and then the salt and pepper to taste. Serve on bread as a sandwich or eat with crackers, pita bread, etc. This salad is best served the day it is made, but it will last in the fridge for a few days (it might just turn slightly brown).

And of course, when you're making this, feel free to adjust the ingredients according to your tastes. It's a pretty flexible recipe!

I could have eaten this avocado egg salad with a spoon! It was so good. And thanks to the lemon juice, it really doesn't turn too brown if you don't eat it up right away. But, it won't stay that nice, fresh green color either.

Instead of eating it by the spoonful, I ate it like a normal person on a sandwich. ;)

 I've never been a big mayo person at all, so coming across this idea for egg salad was pretty awesome.

If you like egg salad and avocado, you have to try this version! Seriously!

You have to. :)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

3-Ingredient Healthy Banana Oatmeal "Cookies"

I've definitely mentioned on the blog before that I'm very much a snacker - I eat several small meals or snacks throughout the day, every two to three hours. For that reason, this recipe I'm sharing with you today is a very "Colleen" recipe. It comes together in no time at all, is healthy, and is the perfect snack for any mid-day hunger that might strike!

Cookies without the guilt? Win win.


-2 medium/large ripe bananas
-1 cup uncooked quick oats
-1/4 cup of walnuts, chocolate chips, or peanut butter chips
(or any other mix-in of your choice!)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray or line it with parchment paper or a silpat. Mash the bananas well, and combine them in a medium bowl with the oats. Fold in the walnuts or baking chips - or whatever mix-in you are using. Place by the tablespoonful on prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes, until cookies are firm and lightly browned. Remove from cookie sheet and let cool completely on cooling rack. Makes approximately 16 cookies.

Now, it's important to keep in mind that the texture and taste of these cookies is not necessarily the same as that you'd expect from a traditional cookie! They are soft and chewy, but they are also more dense since there is no flour or leavening agent of any kind. But that is also what makes them awesome! There's no flour...or these cookies! That's what makes them healthier. ;) Of course, I had to go and "ruin" it by adding peanut butter chips to the batch that I made, but I couldn't resist. I never pass up the opportunity to pair banana with peanut butter! But I do think that just about any kind of nut or any kind of baking chip would be fabulous in these cookies.

And seriously, these little treats are perfect for that afternoon slump. They're just a tad sweet to satisfy that sweet tooth, but they'll also provide you with some very important nutrients and energy too!

Keep in mind too that you can make these cookies gluten free by using gluten free oats. Hooray!

I almost forgot to mention it, but I added about 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon to the dough before baking the cookies. You can never go wrong with the addition of a little cinnamon, in my book.

The next time you have ripe bananas but not enough time to go through the whole process of baking banana bread, try these cookies instead. The whole family will love them! 

And also remember that you can freeze ripe bananas! I realize most of you likely already know this, but every now and then I'll be talking to someone who says they threw out ripe bananas because they didn't have time to bake with them. THEY THREW OUT RIPE BANANAS?! What were they thinking? That should never happen! If I have ripe bananas and not enough time to bake with them when they're ready, I simply peel and slice the bananas and freeze them in a ziploc baggie until I am ready. None of us should ever let a ripe banana go to waste. Ever. :)

This will be my last post before Easter, so to everyone celebrating the holiday this Sunday, enjoy!

This post is linked up to Taste and Tell Thursdays!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Oreo M&M Magic Bars with Graham Cracker Crust

It's almost the end of March and Easter is just four days away. How did that happen??! This week's weather in Boston has been lovely and very spring-like, and spending a lot of time in the kitchen isn't something that's attractive to me right now. I'm in the mood for quick recipes that will still allow me time to get outside and enjoy this nice, fresh spring air.

And that little lead-in, of course, brings me to this easy, quick recipe for Oreo M&M magic mars with graham cracker crust. Eeeeeaaaaaasy. The part that takes the longest is making your graham cracker crumbs in the food processor. But you can save yourself those 5 minutes by buying pre-made graham cracker crumbs at the store, if you'd like. And the ingredient list for this recipe is super short! It's six whole ingredients, folks. That's it!

The original recipe for "Mega Stuff Oreo S'more Magic Bars" comes from Lauren's Latest. The only change I  made to her original recipe was substituting Easter M&M's for chocolate chips. Other than that, I followed the recipe exactly!


-1 and 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
-1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
-1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
-1/2 cup M&M's
-1 cup chopped Oreos


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13x9 pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray; set aside. Mix together the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter until moist. Spread evenly into prepared pan to form your crust. Pour sweetened condensed milk over top, spreading to cover the crust evenly. Sprinkle the M&M's, marshmallow bits, and chopped Oreos over top.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes until edges are golden and bars are set (the crust will not jiggle if you shake the pan). Let cool, and cut into bars. Makes 24 bars.

I have to warn you; these bars are on the sweet side (I mean, hellooo, look at the ingredient list ;)). I brought many of these to work to share with my colleagues, and I actually cut the size bars you see in these pictures in half. And that size seemed to be perfect for folks - just a couple bites - enough to satisfy your sweet tooth but not overdo it!!

I wrapped a few of these treats up in a cute little Easter bag to give to our neighbors. :)

Complete with some extra M&M's, of course!!

Although I made these with the "Bunny" M&M's, of course, you can make them with regular M&M's any time of year...or, you can make these bars for other holidays with all the various holiday-themed M&M's that come out each season! So, I'd say these are a nice treat that can vary per holiday. Very versatile. ;)

Hope you didn't mind the change up from a Wedding Wednesday post to a recipe this week! Hopefully I'll have another wedding post next week.

Happy springtime! :)

This post is linked up to Taste and Tell Thursdays

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Herbed Buttermilk Biscuits (Cooking Light)

Homemade breads are such a comfort food. And buttermilk biscuits most definitely fit into this category. Last week I had some buttermilk left after making my Irish soda bread (with whiskey soaked raisins and whiskey butter syrup ;)), so I decided to make buttermilk biscuits with the leftover buttermilk. What a great decision! Mike and I loved these biscuits, and I can't wait to make them again.

The recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks that I've enjoyed for several years now, The Best of Cooking Light. I remember making these biscuits years ago (pre-blog) and I actually don't think I've made them since! Such a shame since it's such a fabulous recipe. I absolutely need to remember to continue making these regularly from here on out!

Below are the ingredients for the biscuits. The only change I made to the original recipe from Cooking Light was adding the dried herbs. We enjoyed these as both dinner and breakfast biscuits with the herbs. However, if you're more of a "plain jane," feel free to leave out the herbs. And of course, you can also interchange your own favorite herb or herb blend! I used herbs de provence when I made these.


-2 cups all-purpose flour
-2 tsp. baking powder
-1/4 tsp. baking soda
-1/4 tsp. salt
-3 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. chilled butter, cut into small pieces
-3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
-1/2 to 3/4 tsp. dried herbs de provence


Preheat oven to 450. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk, and stir until just moist (do not overstir).

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and knead 4 or 5 times (do not overknead). Roll the dough into a 1/2-inch thickness; cut with a 2 and 1/2-inch biscuit cutter. Place biscuits on baking sheet. Bake at 450 for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly golden. Makes 1 dozen biscuits.

Before heading into the oven...

After! Look at how nicely they puffed up. Love the magic of leavening agents. :)

The biscuits rose a lot while baking, but after cooling, they did decrease just slightly in "puffiness."

I also wanted to mention that you shouldn't worry too much about the exact amount of butter. The recipe calls for 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon of butter. Honestly, I'm pretty sure I added closer to 4 tablespoons. Of course, I wouldn't go adding much more than that, but if you don't get the exact amount of butter called for in the original recipe, don't worry!

These biscuits are incredibly flaky and soft. Served warm with a little bit of butter, I think I could eat several of these in a row... And sadly, I'm not joking. However, not to worry, I limited myself to only two of these in one sitting last week!

I could see this biscuits working for many different "occasions." Perhaps for lunch or dinner alongside a nice salad or soup, in the form of a sandwich (see Boston blogger Megan's idea for BLT buttermilk biscuit sandwiches!)...or for breakfast as part of an egg sandwich or maybe with sausage and gravy. And then of course, you can enjoy these the more "traditional ways" with a bit of butter or your favorite jam.

Writing this blog post and looking at these pictures again is making me crave a biscuit... Too bad we don't have any left. :(

I also think these biscuits could be a wonderful addition to your Easter meal this coming weekend! 

This post is linked up to Taste and Tell Thursdays. :) Head over and check out some other great recipes from some awesome blogs!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Turkey Taco Casserole

Greetings and happy Friday to you! Today I have a dinner recipe for ya. While these generally are few and far between here at the Barbershop, I have been sharing more and more dinner recipes with you the longer I've been blogging (in case you hadn't noticed ;)). There are many dinners that we cook that are just too good not to share! And this turkey taco casserole is definitely one of those. 

Mike and I don't often cook casseroles; it's just something that we don't think to do much. But this one...this a keeper for sure! After we ate this, we kept talking about how delicious it was. One thing that isn't so "delicious" about this dish is my pictures of it! Do forgive me. I realize that my pictures don't make it look super appetizing, but it's a hard dish to photograph (especially at night). However, if you want to see excellent pictures that will make your mouth water, I suggest you head over to the original source where I found this turkey taco casserole recipe, Eat, Live, Run.

Putting this recipe together was very simple. The only "time consuming" part (and honestly, it really doesn't take too long) is cooking the ground turkey on the stove. Once you cook the turkey, you layer it with several other ingredients in the pan and then just pop it in the oven! It's a recipe that would be great for a small crowd or a hungry family. ;) Mike and I each got at least 3 meals out of this!

Here are your ingredients, adapted slightly from Eat, Live, Run.


-approx. 1 pound lean ground turkey
-1 medium or large onion, diced
-1 16-oz. can refried beans
-2 4-oz cans diced green chiles
-1 cup fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained
-1 Tbsp. chili powder
-2 tsp. ground cumin
-1/2 tsp. salt
-1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
-2 or 3 flour tortillas, cut into 1-inch strips
-1/2 cup salsa, plus more for serving
-1 and 1/2 cups reduced fat Mexican blend cheese (or cheddar)

-sour cream for serving
-avocado for serving


Spray an 8-inch (or a 13 x 9-inch) pan with cooking spray and set aside. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and place on medium heat. Once hot, add the ground turkey and diced onion. Brown the turkey; and when it is almost cooked through, add the chili powder, cumin, salt, and cayenne pepper. Mix well. Add one can of the diced chiles and the diced tomatoes. Stir well and cook until the turkey is done. Remove from heat.

Spread a thin layer of the ground turkey mix on the bottom of your pan. Top with a layer of refried beans, more green chiles, a hefty sprinkle of cheese, and one of the flour tortillas, cut into strips. Repeat this process two or three times until all of the ground turkey has been used. After putting your last layer of tortilla strips on, sprinkle with salsa and remaining cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until cheese is melty and bubbling. After removing casserole from oven, let sit for 15 or 20 minutes before serving. Top with sour cream and sliced avocado (and maybe some more cheese :)), if desired.

A few points to share with you... The onion was my own addition; that was not in the original recipe. And I also decreased the salt amount and only used about 1/2 teaspoon instead of the 1 and 1/4 teaspoons called for in the original. All the other ingredients listed though are from the original recipe. Feel free to adjust them according to your tastes! Don't like too much spice? Then add a little less chili powder or cut back on the green chiles. However, I will say that as is, this recipe is only mild-moderate spicy. And I'm not someone who cares for hot, spicy foods, and I could definitely tolerate this. There was only a slight kick to it. ;)

Also, feel free to use an 8-inch square pan or a 13 x 9. I used the larger pan, and it worked great. The layers were probably just a little thinner than they would have been with the 8-inch pan. A nice, easy tip for you too is to slice your flour tortillas with a pizza cutter! Works like a charm.

Such a great meal!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wedding Wednesdays: Our First Dance & Parent Dances

For this Wedding Wednesday post, I thought it would be fun to share some photos of our first dance as husband and wife, as well as of our parents dances - Mike and his mom and my dad and me. :)

We chose to do our dance immediately upon our entrance to the reception. We kind of wanted to "get it over with" before the rest of the fun!

Before the wedding, Mike and I took 4 or 5 lessons at Extreme Dancesport in Cambridge (and practiced a lot on our own!). Our teacher was great! We did not choreograph our dance, but we did learn a couple different spins/turns and moves that we incorporated into our dance. We were nervous going into it, but in the end, it went quite well! We received many compliments from our guests and we were very pleased overall with our first dance as husband and wife.

We chose the song "Lovely Tonight" by Joshua Radin. It's a song that Mike and I have both loved for a while, and we've seen Joshua Radin a couple times in concert too, as he is a favorite artist of ours. If you listen to the song, you'll hear that the lyrics are also quite fitting for a first wedding dance!

A few of my favorite photos from our dance...

This first one cracks me up. :) Mike's getting ready for the big dance!

Next up was my dance with my dad!

After considering many different songs, we chose to dance to a great song by Nancy Sinatra, "It's For My Dad." Just like "Lovely Tonight" fit for my and Mike's dance, "It's For My Dad" was a perfect fit for my dad and me. I just love the lyrics! And it wasn't your "typical" song choice, which we liked.

A few photos from our father-daughter dance. ♥

 And last but not least, we have Mike and his mom! They chose to dance to a lovely song by Lady Antebellum, "Never Alone." Again, this wasn't a traditional song choice, but it was a perfect one for the occasion. And Mike and his mom, Linda (now my mother-in-law! :)) had a wonderful dance together.

A few photos of their beautiful mother-son dance... ♥

Looking back at these photos brings me so much joy. These dances are such a beautiful symbol for the love that we all have for one another. Mike and I are truly blessed to have found each other, and we are also incredibly blessed to have such amazing parents...and now, in-laws! Below are a couple more pictures of us with my parents and Mike's parents - some pretty awesome people. :)

See you on Friday for a new recipe!!