Wednesday, November 26, 2014

It is too early for snow and #WIAW

Well they weren't lying about the snow.  Not long after we arrived in Maine it started snowing. About two hours later the trees were covered. A beautiful thing when you are sitting inside.  I hope everyone can be where they planned to be safe and sound for Thanksgiving. 

Per the norm nowadays I had two breakfasts on Tuesday.  First a bowl of yogurt, granola and raspberries around 7 am and then a second breakfast with a green smoothie at 10 am.  I got two packages of raspberries on sale last weekend.  They were fantastic. 

Lunch was leftover pasta bolognese.  Super filling and comforting.  Extra cheese on top.

Dinner was a whatever you can find in the fridge kind of night. I opted for eggs with cheese and toast.  Mr. J had hot dogs.  Saving room for the big turkey day and all. 

Have you been watching what you eat this week in order to account for Thanksgiving?

What did you eat Wednesday?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving Day Menu

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I am busy packing for our trip up to Maine.  I am not looking forward to the snow storm that is on its way. However I am looking forward to wearing sweat pants all day long and eating lots and lots of goodies.  

We pretty much eat the same things every year. I like it like that but in case you like to switch it up a bit each year here are some suggestions.

Brussels Sprouts with Honey Vinaigrette 
Brussels Sprouts au Gratin
Fancy Green Bean Almond Saute
Cranberry Chutney
Apple Cranberry Sauce
Honey Roasted Carrots
Potato Gratin
Caramelized Brussels Sprouts
Stuffing with Sausage
Sweet Potato Cobbler

Cranberry Cobbler
Pumpkin Pie
Apple Pie
Cranberry Orange Sweet Buns

Pretzel Rolls
Anadama Bread
Texas Roadhouse Rolls

Monday, November 24, 2014

Dairy Free Banana Almond Butter Milkshake #SecretRecipeClub

This month for the Secret Recipe Club, I had the joy of looking at Without Adornment. Bean's recipes are gluten free and it was interesting to see all of the baked goodies she is still able to create. 

After looking at all of the recipes I chose the Dairy Free Banana Almond Milkshake.  This one was the one for one reason. The coconut ice cream. I have been wanting to try coconut milk ice cream for forever. I love coconut milk so I figured the ice cream would be fantastic. The only thing that has stopped me is the price. The little containers are well over $5.  Since I look the Secret Recipe Post as a little blog assignment each month I granted myself a little leniency with the food budget. 

I haven't had too many cravings with this pregnancy. In fact 26 weeks in and I still don't have much of an appetite.  The one thing that does hit me every once in a while is ice cream. Sure enough not long after I saw this recipe I had a hankering one night for some ice cream. I whipped up this little shake and it was so good. 

I have made it several other times since. I figure it is pretty nutritious given the almond butter and banana.  Almost like a smoothie right?  The only problem is not that I have tried the coconut milk ice cream I know it is good.  I have to find a way not to make that pricey purchase a common occurrence. 

Dairy Free Banana Almond Butter Milkshake

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Keywords: blender almond butter coconut
Ingredients (serves 1)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 Tbsp almond butter
  • 1 large scoop of vanilla coconut ice cream
  • 2 large ice cubes
  • Almond Milk, enough to make the consistency you want
Add all ingredients to blender.

Blend until smooth, about 3 minutes.

Add more or less ice cream, ice or almond milk to get the desired consistency.
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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Cranberry Orange Sweet Buns

I think Sundays are my most favorite days. They just seem lazy to me. And right now I am all about lazy.  

I wanted to make homemade sweet buns for a while now. At least I have wanted to eat homemade sweet buns for a while. Each time it came down to making them though I wimped out. Homemade buns does equal lazy and I just did not have the energy.  

These are not the easiest or quickest recipe. In fact you have to spend the most time on this recipe the night before you actually want to eat the buns.  But...BUT they are well worst it.

This weekend I was bound and determined to have sweet buns Sunday morning. And look, we did!

I made the dough Saturday night. This morning it was actually super easy to pop the buns in the oven and whip up the frosting. These are some rich buns. The dough is rich with all of the egg. 

The cranberries made them much more festive looking and added a bit of pucker to all of the sweetness of the buns. 

At first 12 seemed a bit much for just the two of us.  And then we each had two for breakfast. I am sure we will manage. 

Cranberry Orange Sweet Buns

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 30 minutes, plus rise time
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Ingredients (12 buns)
    For the Dough:
    • 4 large egg yolks
    • 1 large whole egg
    • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 6 tablespoons butter, melted, plus additional to grease pan
    • 3/4 cup buttermilk
    • Zest of 1 orange, finely grated (to be used in dough and filling, below)
    • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting counter
    • 1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant dry yeast
    • 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse or kosher salt, or more to taste
    • 1 teaspoon oil for bowl
    For the Filling:
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
    • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
    • 1 cup fresh cranberries
    • Orange zest leftover from above
    For the Icing:
    • 1 tablespoons orange juice
    • 1 cups powdered sugar
    • 2 oz cream cheese, softened
    +Make the dough:+ In the bottom of the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter, buttermilk and 3/4 of the orange zest together (saving the rest for the filling). Add 2 cups of the flour along with the yeast and salt; stir until evenly moistened. 

    Switch to the dough hook and add the remaining 1 3/4 cups flour and let the dough hook knead the mixture on low speed for 5 to 7 minutes. The dough should be soft and moist, but not overly sticky. 

    Scrape the dough into a large, lightly oiled bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Let dough rise at room temperature until doubled, which will take between 2 and 2 1/2 hours.

    Prepare the filling:
    Melt the butter and set it aside. In a food processor, pulse the whole cranberries until they’re ground to a coarse rubble, but not fully pureed. You’ll need to scrape the machine down once or twice. Set them aside.

    Assemble the buns: Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish, a heavier ceramic or glass dish is ideal here. Turn the risen dough out onto a floured work surface and roll it into a rectangle that is 18 inches wide and 12 inches long. 

    Brush the dough with the melted butter. Sprinkle it with the brown sugar. Scatter the ground cranberries over it, then the remaining orange zest.

    Roll the dough into a tight, 18-inch long spiral. Using a sharp serrated knife, very, very gently saw the log into 1 1/2-inch sections; you should get 12. Arrange the buns evenly spread out in your baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

    The next morning, bake the buns:
    Take your buns out of the fridge 30 minutes before you’d like to bake them, to allow them to warm up slightly. Heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Bake your buns until they’re puffed and golden, approximately 30 minutes.

    Transfer pan to a cooling rack and let cool slightly. Make the icing by whisking the orange juice cream cheese, and powdered sugar together. Spread a little on each bun, or drizzle it over the whole pan. Serve immediately.
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    Friday, November 21, 2014

    Macaroon Blossoms

    A combination of chocolate, coconut, and almond these cookies are all of the flavor of Almond Joy candy bars.

    This week was full of ups and downs and I am so happy Friday is finally here.  I am happy for the weekend and happy for these cookies.  Typically I am pretty strict about no Christmas until after Thanksgiving but this year I am all about getting the shopping down early. I am about 1/3 of the way done and plan to finish it all come December 1st. All of the planning for Christmas got me in the mood for cookies. 

    There are certain cookies I make every year. They are a must. But it seems each year I find more and more cookies to add to that list. I saw these cookies not too long ago on Pinterest and knew they were a must.  

    Chocolate, coconut and a hint of almond.  Think Almond Joys. 

    Is it just me or does coconut seem Christmas - y?

    So these are the first Christmas cookies of the year. I do feel a bit guilty sneaking them in before Thanksgiving but I will have to say I was super happy to come home to a container full of these cookies each night after work.

    Macaroon Blossoms

    by Emily Morris
    Prep Time: 15 minutes, plus 1 hour of fri
    Cook Time: 15 minutes
    Keywords: bake dessert chocolate coconut cookie
    Ingredients (24 cookies)
    • ⅓ cup butter, softened
    • 3 oz. cream cheese, softened
    • ¾ cup sugar
    • 1 egg yolk
    • 2 tsp almond extract
    • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 tsp. baking powder
    • ½ tsp salt
    • 5 cups flaked coconut, divided
    • 24 milk chocolate kisses
    In a bowl of a stand mixer cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar together on medium.
    Add in egg yolk and almond extract until well combined.

    In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and mix well on low.

    Stir in 3 cups coconut.
    Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until dough is easier to work with.

    Roll into 1-inch balls and roll in remaining coconut. Place 2 inches apart on lined baking sheets.

    Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.

    After removing from oven, immediately press a chocolate kiss into the center of each cookie.

    Let cookies cool on pan for 2-3 minutes or until chocolate is softened, then transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely
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    Monday, November 17, 2014

    Oatmeal Cookie Granola

    Crunchy granola made sweet with honey and chocolate chips. The end results is like you are eating cookies for breakfast. 

    Who doesn't want cookies for breakfast?  I have been wanting to make granola now for weeks. Not only is a quick, easy, and absolutely yummy breakfast to have one hand; it is great for snacking all day long. I am all about snacking all day long nowadays.  I just have to figure out how to stop my husband from snacking on it all day long too.

    Making granola from scratch is so much better than the store kind. First, it is way cheaper. Buying the ingredients from bulk bins will cost you a pretty penny but compared to the price you pay for a little baggie of granola from the store you are way ahead of the game.

    You can control the ingredients, swapping out more preferable ingredients based on your palate and the amount of sweetener used. 

    You end up with way more.  OK this might be a bad thing. But the little bags at the store will last us about a day, maybe two if Mr. J doesn't notice it right away. Snap and the bag is gone.  The homemade batch leaves us with enough to last all week long.

    It is quick and easy.  You collect the dry ingredients and mix with the wet ingredients. Pop the cookie sheet in the oven and just check every so often, tossing the mixture so it bakes evenly.  Normally the whole process takes less than 45 minutes.  And you get to taste test right out of the oven.  Warm granola...oh so good!

    I got my copy of Seriously Delish a few weeks ago and this is my first recipe. I cannot wait to make more. 

    Oatmeal Cookie Granola

    by Emily Morris, Seriously Delish
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 30 minutes
    Keywords: bake breakfast snack oatmeal
    Ingredients (serves 6)
    • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
    • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
    • 1/2 cup walnut pieces
    • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/3 cup honey
    • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted until browned
    • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
    • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
    Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking oil and set aside.

    In a medium bowl, toss together oats, almonds, walnuts, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.

    In a small bowl whisk together honey, browned butter, coconut oil, and vanilla extract.
    Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients and toss together until all of the dry ingredients are moistened. Spread in an even layer across the prepared baking sheet.

    Bake for 30 minutes, removing the pan from the oven every 10 minutes to stir and toss. Granola will be a deep golden brown when done.

    Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the pan Add chocolate chips.

    Store in an airtight container. Granola will stay fresh for weeks and is lovely for breakfast and snacking.
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    Thursday, November 13, 2014

    Our Trip To Miami, Part two

    The last post I will share about Miami is our trip to Vizcaya.  

    "Vizcaya, the winter residence of James Deering (1859–1925), was built between 1914 and 1922 in the Coconut Grove area of Miami. The estate was entirely surrounded by subtropical forest—the Main House and the formal gardens appeared as a dreamlike vision in the midst of the jungle on the shores of Biscayne Bay. Today, Vizcaya is an oasis of silence and green, miraculously preserved just south of Miami’s modern skyline."

    I love going to old houses, even though this one wasn't that old. It was designed and decorated from old European mansions and castles.  Some of the rooms were transported to Miami in their entirety. 

    The grounds were also very European-esque. They reminded me of a less opulent and smaller version of Versailles.

    We did the audio tour a meandered around the house and grounds for about 3 hours.  Each room had at least one recording describing what the room was for, how it was decorated and John Deering's feelings on the room. 

    Visiting Vizcaya was one of my favorite things in Miami.

    Wednesday, November 12, 2014

    Baby Eats and #WIAW

    I had huge plans to take pictures of what I really eat nowadays.  I don' think it is vastly different but it is more often. However, I totally forgot to snap lunch and some other small bites through the day. Arg!

    Breakfast is still the same when I am home.  A green smoothie makes me feel like at the very least, no matter what else I eat for the day I am getting my vitamins with some fruit and veggies. I eat breakfast anytime between 6-7:30am depending on how hungry I am when I wake up. 

    By 10 am I am pretty hungry. This is when I have a morning snack.  I packed a peanut butter and jelly English muffin and an apple today.  Sometimes it is almonds, sometimes it is a yogurt. 

    I completely forgot to snap my lunch photo. Today it was a small serving of clam chowder that I froze a few weeks ago and a side of squash leftover from dinner. I eat lunch around noon.

    By 4ish I am hungry again.  I try to get another snack in before leaving work otherwise I would be eating dinner at an unheard of early time.  This can be a granola bar, yogurt, or fruit depending on what I packed and what I ate for my morning snack.

    Dinner was homemade nachos with sweet potato chips, cheese, leftover short ribs and avocado.  This is around 6 pm. Most days I am done eating at this point but sometimes I have been fitting in another snack from 7:30 or 8 pm if I get hungry again. 

    I kind of feel like I eat all day long.  

    What are your favorite snacks at work?

    What did you eat Wednesday?  Check out Peas and Crayons to join the fun!

    Tuesday, November 11, 2014

    Our Trip To Miami, Part one

    Last week we went on our babymoon to Miami.  When we found out we were expecting and Mr. J heard of the "babymoon" idea he was in.  In fact he was adamant about taking a little vacation.  After going over some possibilities we settled on Miami for three main reasons.  First we had never been there.  Second, it was relatively easy to get to being on the east coast.  And third, it was so far south that it was sure to be warm.

    We landed just after noon a week ago Sunday and immediately went out in search of food.  We headed to Little Havana and stopped in Versailles.  A tourist and local joint this place was like a big dinner Cuban style.  We both got two different sampler platters and munched away. 

    After lunch we walked around the Little Havana area seeing lots of old men smoking cigars.  There wasn't too much to do on Sunday afternoon but it was great to stretch our legs and see all of the unique buildings and stores. It definitely felt like another country. 

    Before leaving we got the best ice cream at Azucar ice cream company.  It was so good and I would go back just for that ice cream.

    The next day we took off for the Everglades. It took about 30 minutes to get out of Miami in the morning but once you were out of town the landscape immediately changed.  We were so excited to see our first alligator we turned around twice to get a better look.

    Little did we know that within another mile we would be seeing alligators all over the place. I would guess we easily saw over 50.

    We didn't plan any activities ahead of time but after stopping at the first Visitor/Ranger station we had a good idea of what we wanted to see. We did a short 1/2 mile boardwalk trail into the swamp.  This was perfect as I wasn't ready to venture longer than a 1/2 mile being pregnant.  Even more important though was the raised boardwalk. There are alligators, snakes and all sorts of other creatures that I was not planning on getting close too. 

    After our little walk we headed toward Everglades city stopping along the way at one more Ranger station.  

    There are very few places to eat besides in Everglades city.  After a quick google search we ended up at Camellia Street Grill. It was right on the river causeway.  We had a great lunch; the salad was amazing and watched the airboats go by. 

    We continued on to the tip of the ten thousand island Ranger station and got tickets to do the island boat ride. Here we saw lots of mangroves and dolphins. Mr. J got way better dolphin pictures.  I think I was too slow. We saw two different pods, over 20 dolphins.  They put on quite a show and got much closer to the boat than this picture shows.  

    After the boat ride we headed back toward Miami.  We ended up doing a back road loop to go back into the swamp on the way home.  This allowed for way more opportunity to get out of the car and walk around. I didn't really participate but Mr. J got out quite a bit. I would watch him closely through the mirror making sure he didn't get too close to the critters. 

    The following day we checked out the Biltmore hotel and golf course.

    Another amazing stop was Michael's Genuine Food and Drink in the Design district. 

    We got two snacks - deviled eggs for Mr. J and homemade potato chips with fried onion dip for me. The chips and dip were out of this world. 

    I got a short rib pizza with dandelion greens.  For dessert we split the chocolate cremosa. It was like mousse and ice cream in one.

    I have one more post about Miami before we move on to real life. 

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