Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Favorites, 8.26.11

Happy Friday, all!

I'm trying to get back on track with the blog, so here's an edition of Friday Favorites for you. :) I'll keep it a bit more "traditional" and share some of my favorite recipes I've bookmarked lately.

No baking required friends! And they're somewhat healthy too ;-)

(photo from Keep it Sweet)

These look so delicious! And it's always nice to have options for a vegetarian main dish. Personally, I don't cook a lot of meat (I choose to eat it more when I go out to eat), so I love veggie dishes to make at home!

(photo from Annie's Eats)

It's late August. For me, that means I am already thinking about my favorite season - fall! So, I've recently bookmarked a couple delicious looking recipes with autumn flavors...

These look pretty easy to make and yuuummmmmy. And they're baked, not fried. No guilt! They are a bit similar to these French Breakfast Puffs I made a while back that are full of cinnamon-sugary goodness.

(photo from The Craving Chronicles)

These are 1) too cute 2) so festive and 3) lookin' very tasty!

(photo from the Picky Palate)

Hope you all have a great weekend. And I hope everyone stays safe with the arrival of Hurricane Irene!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Engaged in Baking!

Hello blog world friends!

I apologize for yet another long break from the blog, but I have been busy with some exciting news these last few days... I just got engaged!! Super duper exciting. :)  My boyfriend (who is now my fiance!) proposed to me this past Friday evening, August 19th. It was a very sweet, thoughtful proposal and I obviously said YES!

In case you have two minutes to spare right now, I've included a video I took after the proposal to capture the moment and have it forever.  (My voice sounds funny in this video, I think. I blame it on the fact that I had a cold/was sick, I had just been happily crying quite a bit, and I was totally happy/giddy while filming this video :)).

After the proposal, we went out to celebrate where we had our first date, which was at James Gate (yes, rhymes were intentional)!

Happy couple! We're going to be maaaaarried!

Awesome, thoughtful cookies my sister made for us!! Thanks, sista! :)

Both our families were able to get together this past weekend in MA to celebrate. What a memorable weekend! One of the best of my life thus far, I can tell you that. ;-)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Strawberry Banana Quinoa Breakfast Cereal

Quinoa cereal? Yes! I've heard about folks making quinoa for breakfast and have been wanting to try it... My most recent issue of Whole Living magazine inspired me to do so since it included a tasty looking quinoa cereal recipe.

What a delicious breakfast! It was one of those dishes that you taste and realize it's reeeeally yummy, and then you start to eat it fairly quickly because it's so yummy, all the while thinking that you probably shouldn't be eating that quickly, yet you keep taking bites as if someone's about to come take it away from you... And then finally, when the bowl is two-thirds of the way gone, you slow down for just a minute or two...and then gobble up the rest. Well, maybe that doesn't happen to you. But that's what happened to me with this delicious bowl of strawberry banana quinoa breakfast cereal.

So, how do you make this cereal? Here you go!

Bring 1 and 1/2 cups of milk (I used 1%) to a boil in a saucepan on the stove, and add in 1/2 cup of quinoa (I used white quinoa). Cook until all the liquid is absorbed (about 14 minutes). Remove from heat and mix in your fruits of choice (the magazine suggested raspberries and bananas). I added about 1/3 cup of strawberries (mine were fresh ones that I had frozen and then thawed, so they were a bit liquid-y), and about 1/4 cup of sliced banana. I also sprinkled a generous dash of cinnamon on top (I love me my cinnamon!!), and a slight drizzle of maple syrup (pure VT maple syrup - it's gotta be the real stuff, friends!). Mix everything together, and enjoy!!

I love how the strawberry juice made it a pretty pink color!

I hope you try this for a unique twist on a healthy breakfast. You'll be glad you did!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Blueberry Banana Bread

Aloha! We're back from an amaaazing vacation in Kauai. It was tough to return last week, but it's also nice to be back home, of course. I have missed baking in my kitchen! I didn't do one lick of baking while on our trip. We did, however, eat a lot of yummy foods that I'll have to share with you at some point. :)

The day after we returned from our vacation, I took the day off from work to rest and recover (the time change/jet lag from Hawaii to the east coast is a killer!), to get some errands done, and of bake! I made a batch of some delicious maple snickerdoodles, and I tried a new recipe for blueberry banana bread since I had both ripe bananas and blueberries frozen in the freezer, waiting to be used in a baked treat. This recipe is definitely a keeper! It's from the blog, Daily Garnish. I wanted to make several mini loaves to give to people as gifts for various reasons, and this was a great recipe for that. As is, the recipe made 8 mini loaves for me (in my Crate and Barrel mini loaf pan). It makes one 8 x 4 or 9 x 5 loaf if you'd like to make it as one loaf. I changed the recipe just slightly (my ingredients are listed below), and the original recipe is here.


-1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (you could easily substitute whole wheat flour here! I actually meant to and forgot)
-2 tsp. baking powder
-1/2 tsp. salt
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-1/4 cup sugar
-1 cup ripe, mashed banana (should equal about 2 large bananas)
-1 tsp. vanilla
-2 eggs
-1/2 cup yogurt (I used Dannon light n' fit banana flavor)
-1 cup blueberries (I used some I had frozen; you can also use fresh, of course!)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, mash the bananas with a fork, and add to them the sugars, vanilla, eggs, and yogurt until well combined. Mix the wet ingredients in with the dry ingredients, until just combined. Fold in the blueberries. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan (or several mini pans), and bake for 1 hour (my mini loaves took about 25 minutes; they're tiny!) until the top is lightly golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

Delicious and pretty healthy too! This was the perfect recipe to satisfy my baking itch upon our return from vacation...  I was dying to make something but it needed to be easy since I was tired and didn't have a lot of time. Perfection right here in this banana blueberry bread, folks! :)