when words fail, s’mores work wonders


Do you ever feel like your days begin one way and end another?? Maybe like this –

  

I have worked like a crazy person around here to bring you all fabulous new things. I believe I have succeeded – and there are more on the horizon. A week from now we will have a new address to meet at (www.feedingbliss.com). It is a waiting game now while all of my data here gets moved there. I don’t know what is worse – moving years of blogging or changing your name with the banks… at this moment I think it’s dead even.

I’ve mentioned my shop before, but now there is a special tab on this webpage for you to browse through my goods, or you could just click here. You will find muffins, cookies, granola, and gift kits, and some beautiful eco-friendly tote bags.

Do you ever feel like a certain treat could say everything you can’t? Or maybe it just reaffirms something, a bond between two people? During this time of year it seems to be s’mores. Eaten over an open flame (or a sink if your stove is freshly cleaned). We needed that yesterday, that wordless conversation. We had used all our words. S’mores make you feel young and carefree and decadent. S’mores, to me, are an inside joke, something very special.

In our house, s’mores require a warm marshmallow (slightly crispy at the edges), melted chocolate and low-fat graham crackers. First, we load up the skewers with fluffy white clouds.   Next, we place the chocolate on the cracker and microwave (if possible) for 20-30 seconds. We really like the chocolate to be melty while the marshmallow is crisp-gooey. The rest is easy assembly. Load that cracker sandwich with the marshmallow and squish. 

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Keeping lunch Interesting, part II


Last week I mentioned that Carver had a moment of genius in suggesting lunches. One was turkey sandwiches, the other was a couscous salad. Back when we lived in Boston and I worked for Beth Israel, I had an office (read: gray cubicle) near this great diner called Zaftigs. I went there with some awesome coworkers for a farewell lunch and found something special. A couscous salad with cranberries, nuts, goat cheese and chicken on a bed of greens. That salad provided me endless inspiration. I decided to make the original this week. The vinaigrette makes this dish, it’s orange-mint. Clean, fresh and intensely flavorful.

I cook up one cup of whole wheat couscous in 1.25 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. After the couscous is cooked I let it cool slightly. In a large bowl I put 1/4 cup toasted walnuts, 1/2 cup dried cranberries, the zest of 1 orange, and 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese. I pour the warm (but cooled) couscous over top so some of the goat cheese melts. I put this in the fridge until I am ready to assemble lunches. In the morning (or evening if I’m on my game) I fill a togo dish with greens and top with 1 cup couscous mix. Then I add 2-3 ounces grilled chicken breast. Separately I mix the vinaigrette (we have found that if you dress the salad too long before eating the mix ends up dry) and store until I am ready to eat/serve. The vinaigrette is simple: the juice of one orange, salt, pepper, 1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves, 2 tablespoons good olive oil. Whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients and taste for any necessary changes- salt, pepper, etc.

This dish is colorful, balanced, nutritious and far from boring. If you really want to pile up the nutrients serve with spinach. Combining the spinach and citrus will unlock more nutrients in the greens.

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I climbed a mountain


Remember I said a few weeks ago that it has been crazy around here?? Well it has and it hasn’t slowed down yet. I am in the final stretch on all of my projects.

  • T minus 3 days until applications are due (accepting prayers and positive vibes)
  • T minus 48 days until Match Day (when I learn my fate…)
  • T minus 69 days until the wedding (dun dun dun….)

Plus there’s this new home thing going on so we are constantly cleaning, and working on projects around the house. I have spent my days cooking and FLYING and shopping. I am sooo ready for a breather… I am anticipating one this coming weekend when applications will be done and invitations will be mailed out. Then the week after is our tasting which should yield some FANTASTIC photos!! Can you imagine a foodie’s wedding when they have full control over the menu??? It’s a bit like heaven…

So what have I been cooking and doing?? Well I recently found Bountiful Baskets which is my new favorite thing. It’s like Chopped but at home. Pick up a mystery basket or two of food and try to make a week or two’s worth of food out of it. If there is a location near you I highly recommend it – one warning is wait to do your produce shopping until after you have taken home and inventoried your loot. It is very affordable and high quality produce; plus you are supporting local growers. Here are a few shots of my first two pick ups.

             

Also on the project list was some quality time in the kitchen. I made a delicious cake for a dear coworker’s birthday, I threw a party for that big football game (which was a total disappointment) a couple weeks ago, I made my two favorite breads (this one and this one), and a few soups (this one, a recipe-less chicken and veggie soup, and this one). Oh yah… and homemade Oreos. Yep. I did that. I have been addicted to a new cookbook my mom & I bought for each other this Christmas. FLOUR and it’s amazing… I have made: snickerdoodles (awesome), chocolate chip cookies (dear God the best CC cookies ever…), sticky buns, and the homemade oreos. Mom’s list looks like that but with a few extras including the bran muffins and a few others. Here are some drool-worthy photos of the goods.

            

Also on my project list – crafts… tons. I’ve been sewing curtains, and pillows, and cutting fabric for invitations and assembling invitations… I’m so looking forward to receiving RSVPs mainly because it will mean I am done with invitations. Please tell me (current/past brides) that you feel me on this…

Enjoy this shot – I (literally) climbed to the top of a mountain today. That’s a first and it was a pain in the butt… Though I will probably be back, just never EVER on a Sunday morning again.

I have a bit of an emergency on my hands currently — less than 1/2 cup of butter in the house… and not enough peanut butter~ Off to load up.


Pumpkin Donut Muffins


These fabulous muffins came up last year. I believe I originally saw them in the November 2010 EDF. I knew instantly that these would be a huge hit. I made them last year as Thanksgiving day breakfast and they lasted a few days beyond that for snacks. This year I made them again – twice. Once for Carver’s breakfasts last week and again last week (5AM on Wednesday before work…) for my coworkers. Here is the original recipe.

Pumpkin Donut Muffins

Yields 12 muffins

Muffins

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 15 ounces canned pumpkin
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup egg substitute

Topping

  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a muffin tin with papers and spray papers with nonstick spray.

2. Sift dry ingredients together in to a medium bowl or on to parchment paper.

In a small bowl whisk together pumpkin and buttermilk. Set wet and dry aside.

3. In a separate bowl beat butter, brown sugar and applesauce together until light and fluffy. Mix in egg substitute gradually scraping down bowl regularly.

4. Put mixer on low and add wet and dry ingredients to butter/sugar mix. Alternate flour and pumpkin; add the flour in thirds and the pumpkin in halves.

5. Spoon batter in to muffin cup – they should be about 2/3 full.

6. Bake muffins for about 30 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through cook time. Let muffins cool 10 minutes in the pan.

7. Assemble the topping. Combine cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg in a small bowl and transfer the melted butter to a separate small bowl.

8. After muffins have cooled for 10 minutes, dunk the top of each muffin in butter then dunk top in cinnamon sugar mix. Transfer to wire rack to finish cooling. I would put paper or baking sheet underneath the cooling rack to catch any stray sugar.

These will last 4 days in an airtight container at room temperature. They also will freeze very well; they last 3 months in an airtight freezer bag.


what i’m reading


I had to share some of these fabulous posts with you. These have helped to get me through the week and to keep me motivated.
There are so many people out there doing amazing things and making amazing foods and products. So here’s to the people that keep my brain working and my spirit fresh.

 


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies adapted from Martha Stewart’s recipe here: http://www.marthastewart.com/344840/soft-and-chewy-chocolate-chip-cookies

2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
3 tablespoons egg white substitute
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and ½ of the pumpkin. Next cream the butter/pumpkin with both sugars; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; add the salt, vanilla, and egg whites and egg. Beat until well mixed, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. The dough will be slightly dry at this point so you will add in the remaining ½ cup of pumpkin and then stir in the chocolate chips.
Drop heaping tablespoon-size balls of dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Flatten the dough slightly with the back of a spoon/scoop.
Bake until cookies are golden around the edges, but still soft in the center, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool on baking sheet 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week
Yields about 4 dozen cookies.

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Need a plan?


Well you are in luck! I have one for you. A whole week plotted out. Recipes, grocery list, some basic exercise goals, and a place to log any prep work you may want to do.

Planning is, in my opinion, the most important thing you can do aside from completing what ever you may be planning for. To have a successful plan it must be thorough, realistic and flexible. What I have put together here is all of those things. It includes all major meals, plus two snacks daily and exercise goals. The exercise is a key part because it is not possible to be truly healthy without being physically active.

The plan adapts easily to the number of people you are feeding. Right now it is set at 2 people for breakfast, lunch and snacks and recipes for 4 for dinner.

Sept 5 Meal Plan

Shopping List

You are ready to go! And just out of curiosity….