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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Chunky Monkey for Breakfast?!


A week or so ago I made our first attempt at ice cream and it was creamy and decadent. Shortly after our first bite, C asked if I could and when I would make Chunky Monkey ice cream. While I will eventually make it for him, albeit reduced-guilt, I couldn’t get the flavor combination out of my mind. Any morning that we are able to sleep in seems to require a special breakfast – waffles, pancakes, French toast, etc. As I have made more waffles than I care to count over the past month pancakes were the clear answer. I flipped through this book for inspiration on healthier breakfasts and made up one of my own. They are very easy to whip up and go down quickly, especially if dunked in warm buttery syrup…

Whisk up some whole-wheat flour, baking powder, salt, Splenda, cinnamon, and oats in one bowl.

In another some egg substitute, vanilla extract, milk, water and mashed banana.

Follow the normal pattern – add wet to dry and combine.

Next add in the chopped walnuts, chocolate chips, and banana.

Portion them out in to 2-bite pancakes and cook them until crisp on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside.

     

Chunky Monkey Pancakes (4 points plus/5 pancakes)

  • 3 tablespoons rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 packets Splenda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons fat-free egg substitute
  • 2 tablespoons non-fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 banana, half mashed and half diced
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate chips,  chopped
  • 2 tablespoons walnut pieces, chopped
  1. Preheat skillet over medium heat.
  2. In a medium bowl combine dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl whisk mashed banana, water, milk, vanilla and egg substitute
  4. Form a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet – whisk until just combined.
  5. Gently fold in nuts and chocolate.
  6. Use a tablespoon (or tablespoon-sized scoop) to portion out batter. Cook  approximately 3 minutes on each side – they will be slightly crisp on the outside and light on the inside.
  7. While pancakes are crisping warm syrup with a bit of butter (I use 2 tablespoons of syrup and 2 teaspoons of butter).
  8. These will not last. Nothing bite-sized ever does… I put them out on a platter and portioned out 5 for myself.

Apple Muffins


Now that the wedding has come and gone we get to delve back into our to-do list. The fun one that has things like update recipes and make macaroons on it… Not the one riddled with obligatory tasks like making table numbers. We are looking forward to fun and to relaxing. After all isn’t that what being newlyweds is all about?? Anyways, over the past few years I have adjusted this recipe from the original I was taught and the original one I posted here. This is where we are today.

Apple Muffins

  • 1 stick butter, melted and cooled
  • 4 ounces unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 small Granny Smith apples, cored and diced into 1/4″ pieces
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin trays with papers and spray papers with nonstick spray.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl sift together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
  3. Cream together butter, sugar, applesauce, eggs and vanilla extract mixing until light,  airy and well-combined                   
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet in thirds and mix at a gradual speed – you don’t want to over-mix or make a mess. Mix the first two thirds then wait.   
  5. Add the diced apples to the remaining flour and stir to evenly coat the apples; add to muffin batter and fold to incorporate.
  6. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter.
  7. If you are making mini-muffins, cook them for 18 minutes rotating halfway through. For larger muffins you will need 25 minutes, again rotate the pan halfway through cook time.
  8. Let cool in pan 5 minutes before removing to cooling rack to cool completely.
  9. These guys are delicious with yogurt, coffee, or by themselves.


a cruel April Fool’s Day


What do you do when all of your dreams come true? You sit back, appreciate it and think of what comes next. I think you do the same when your dreams don’t come true, when you are at a loss for words. You give thanks for what good things you still have and you reassess. And then, if you’re me, you bake cookies. I made muffins this morning in anticipation of the impending decision, and managed to screw up my own recipe. The muffins are hideous and a little moist but they are still a muffin thank goodness. Though I do have 24 ‘not quite’ muffins and more batter in the fridge to deal with now. The cookies however, I started yesterday before my nerves got unruly. I knew I would need something in the oven when I learned of my fate – good or bad. And something idiot proof… think scoop & bake. Easy.

My future husband  is a cynic while I am superstitious, he’s not so sure about religion and all while I’m pretty spiritual. Our difference here comes into play during situations like this.  He says try again, just keep pushing whilst I try to figure out the bigger picture and the message within it all. Who’s right? Not a clue. I can’t tell if it’s some higher power telling me that maybe I should reassess my goals or if it’s my hurt pride that doesn’t want to be rejected again. Maybe a bit of both? Only time will tell.

Here’s what I know I am: a wife (close enough), a daughter, a sister, a friend, a two-time internship/grad school reject…. ouch.

What do you make for your first meal after such a heartbreak? Scallops. With brown rice, a touch of bacon, and some green beans. You stay on plan because now isn’t the time to completely jump ship. Now is the time to zero in on priorities. Now is the time to really take care of yourself and what says taking care of yourself better than a healthy dinner with a dose of bacon with a chocolate chip cookie chaser? Not much.

Heart-Break Scallops

  • 10 ounces scallops
  • 1 cup green beans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 4 slices center-cut bacon, quartered
  • Chicken stock
  • Salt, Pepper
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  1. In a large skillet, cook bacon according to package instructions. Once browned remove to plate with paper towel to drain.
  2. Season scallops with salt and pepper and add to skillet. Cook until tender and opaque, about 3 minutes on each side.
  3. Meanwhile, steam green beans until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes in the microwave.
  4. Remove scallops from pan and let rest with bacon.
  5. Deglaze pan with a splash (about 3 tablespoons) of chicken stock and bring to a boil. Be sure to scrape the browned bits up and let the sauce thicken.
  6. Add scallops, green beans, bacon and tomatoes to the pan and cook 1-2 minutes ensuring all ingredients are coated by the sauce.
  7. Serve over brown rice.

Lumpy Path Cookies

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 ounces unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup bread flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut
  1. In a large bowl combine dry ingredients – salt, baking powder, flours, chocolate, oats and coconut; set aside.
  2. Cream butter, applesauce and sugars together on medium speed of electric mixer. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract until light, fluffy and well-combined.
  3. Add dry ingredients to the wet in thirds until just combined.
  4. Let the ingredients marry – allow the mix to chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
  5. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment paper and spraying with non-stick spray.
  6. Bake 16-18 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through cook-time.

I missed yoga


For the past few weeks I have been in a fog. I have no idea what I was doing or what I already did. I just can’t seem to remember. I’m late all the time and distracted and few things are making me feel better. I tried to make it to yoga everyday this past week and failed. Partly because I made excuses and partly because work was overtaking things. Oh and we had a rental dog this week. Who wants to do ANYTHING when there is a dog at home to play with?

I was so excited this morning. I had a wedding call with my dad, I started a load of laundry. The house was relatively clean. I was going to yoga. I got my spirits up while driving thinking class would be empty as it is a holiday. I’m not sure if class was empty but the parking lot seemed empty. As I walked up to the door with my mat and bag I noticed the class was finishing the standing postures. Hmm that’s awesome. That means class started at 8AM, not 830AM like I thought. That’s what I mean. ALL week it’s been like that. By the by, it’s written in my agenda that class starts at 8…

After I drove all the way to the studio I decided I should just go home and have some breakfast. Carver was at work so I snuggled up on the couch with my bowl of cereal and consoled myself with some television.

 I am a fan of mixing cereals. It seems more exciting that way. Today I mixed 1/4 cup Post Great Grains, 1/4 cup Quaker Corn Bran Crunch, and 1/4 cup Whole Grain Total. Perfectly crunchy with 1/3 cup of milk and a big glass of water.

Since we spoke last I have had tomatoes grow in on my plant and some beautiful flowers have begun to adorn the front of the house.

     

Also we had a lot of yummy food over the past couple weeks.

                 


Spicy Breakfast for dinner


The other day I mentioned a frittata I made. It was one of those fantastic things that you create with the random ingredients you have on hand. A few weeks ago I picked up my Bountiful Basket and also got a guacamole pack. There was so much food I was running out of inspiration to use everything before it went bad. I had this genius idea to make a Mexican-inspired frittata. You know, eggs, jalapeno, avocado, salsa, cheese, etc. I have only made a few frittatas in my day and only one of them has turned out well. Oddly enough it was the first one I ever made and I have not been able to duplicate the results until this Mexican frittata. Do you have some goodies laying around? Or feel like going out of your way to try my concoction? Here’s what you will need…

Mexican Frittata

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup egg substitute
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup pico de gallo
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 jalapeno, diced
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons shredded reduced fat cheese

Preheat oven to 350. In an oven-safe medium skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter and stir to coat pan evenly. Meanwhile whisk together eggs, egg beaters, pico, milk and jalapeno until well-combined. Add mix to skillet slowly. You want to work the egg mixture gently in the pan but keep the liquid moving so all portions get heated. This is just to start the process of cooking before placing pan in the oven. See this video for a visual (Giada). Next, I bake it for 7-10 minutes. You want the eggs to be set and the top to be a light golden brown.

You will get four servings out of this. I served ours with roasted potatoes and onions (1/2 pound potatoes, 1/2 medium yellow onion, 1/2 jalapeno diced; roasted at 400 for 35 minutes with oil, salt, and pepper) but you could also add a side salad and or some crusty bread.


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.