Tuesday, November 30, 2010

White Chocolate & Almond Molasses Biscotti

Last night while at the grocery store I picked up a jar of molasses to make gingerbread cookies with this coming weekend, however couldn't just stare at it for the entire week...so decided to use it for a recipe today! It has been cold the past few days, and I always drink tea while the little guy I nanny for naps. So I thought, why not make a biscotti to dip in my tea? And why not make it with lots of molasses? So I did.

  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
(Recipe adapted from here)

First, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix all together until blended well. Then, add the almonds and white chocolate chips into the mixture.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg, vanilla, maple syrup and molasses together. After, pour this mixture into the dry mixture bowl.

Once all of the ingredients are mixed well together, knead the dough on the counter or table for a few minutes. Either line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray. Once dough has been kneaded, form a long flattish log (vague I know). Here is a picture of what mine looked like:

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Once hardened a bit, take out of oven and cut into 1/2 inch wide slices. Then, place back in the oven for another 15 to 20 minutes or until hardened. Let cool and enjoy with a hot cup or tea or cocoa :)

There you have it, a somewhat healthy recipe to enjoy these next few cold winter months! Speaking of winter (aka Christmas)-Jeff and I bought our first Christmas tree last night. It is small, but perfect for us.

"What's Jeff eating?" you say...a yummy leftover bread bowl with some homemade chicken & rice soup.

I'm off to read a bit then meet Jeff at the gym after work. I'm going to make some tortellini & sausage soup tonight (hopefully Jeff isn't too sick of soup...that's my favorite thing to make in the winter), so check back later for some pictures and a possible recipe if it turns out how I plan!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Apple & Cranberry Cinnamon Red Quinoa

I found this recipe a few weeks ago on The Front Burner blog and knew immediately that I wanted to make it. Not only did it scream "fall in a bowl" but also looked beautiful. So I gave it a try for lunch today! I adapted it a bit, but mostly followed Emily's recipe.

  • 1 cup red quinoa, rinsed and drained a few times
  • 1 medium apple, diced
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup mandarin oranges

First, rinse the quinoa a few times to get rid of the any bitterness. Then, dice your apple. Add the diced apple, quinoa, and cinnamon to medium heat on the stove top.

Next, add the orange juice and water to the rest of the ingredients. Cover and cook for about 20 to 25 minutes. I ended up cooking mine for a little less time since I like my quinoa a bit crunchy instead of soft.

Stir it all together.

After 20 or so minutes, remove the cinnamon sticks and add the cranberries and oranges. Simmer over the stove for a few more minutes.

Finally, take lots of pretty pictures then eat and enjoy it!

Tonight Jeff and I are celebrating 6 months of marriage! It is really crazy how fast the past 6 months have gone. He has made me the happiest gal in the world. We are going to buy a very small Christmas tree and relax while drinking hot chocolate together :) A budget friendly way to celebrate an anniversary...

Question of the day: What is your favorite Christmas decoration? My mom is a collector of snowmen and has tons of cute little ones all over the house-to the point where my Dad has to stop her from buying them sometimes! I need to start my Christmas decoration collection and need some ideas...

Much to be thankful for...

As you have probably already noticed, I have been slacking on blogging lately. Well that is because I finally sold my Olympus camera and was without one the entire week...until our new Canon Rebel T2i came in the mail on Saturday afternoon! So its official, I'm a canon girl. I still have a lot to learn about the camera but today you'll see some pictures of my first shots with it.

Jeff and I can cross Buy a New Camera off of our Bucket List today!

Jeff and I spent Thanksgiving in Long Island, celebrating with his family at his sister's house. We ate lots, played some games, and really enjoyed our time together. After, Jeff and I drove 4 hours to our other home in PA. We spent Friday celebrating Jeff's birthday and having a second Thanksgiving (only with salmon and steak since we were all turkeyed out). Saturday we visited family, and Sunday we went on a hike with all of the pups.

I started off breakfast with some oatmeal and some of the apple butter that I had left at my parent's house a few weekends ago! Also some raisins and peanut butter of course :)

Then, we put our hiking gear (aka sneakers and north faces) on and hit the trails at Hibernia Park.

We tried to get some Christmas card pictures for Lauren and Jeff...difficult with 2 crazy dogs :)

Married for 6 months now! Time flies...

After some hiking we came home and helped my mom decorate the house for Christmas. I can't wait until we own a home of our own and can decorate more than 1 room ;)

We invited some of our favorite friends over for dinner: the Clarks & the Carrs. We had a quadruple date with Kelvie & Rob and both of our parents. I didn't get lots of shots of our dinner because I was distracted...but my mom made some delicious white chicken chili in bread bowls.

While mom worked on the chicken chili, I worked on yummy berry cobbler made with fresh cranberries and some blueberries!

We ate and enjoyed each others company...and then Jeff and I had to leave to make the long drive back to Long Island :( We had such a relaxing weekend in PA (as always) and can't wait to be back for the next holiday-Christmas! Until then, I blog from NY.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Flourless Almond Butter Cookies

I've been in the baking mood the past few days. However I always hate the mess that baking makes. When you don't have a dishwasher in your small apartment, washing 5 different bowls and pans gets old...fast. This recipe only used 1 bowl and a few ingredients! And who doesn't love peanut butter & jelly? Well ok, I decided to use almond butter since I am trying to get over my addiction to peanut butter, plus I had a whole jar in our cabinet just waiting to be used. But still, these cookies taste just like a PB & J sandwich, only better since they are cookies.

Since I already said the "peanut" word...I'll tell you the ways I most love peanut butter (or any form of butter really-almond, pumpkin, chocolate peanut butter, the list goes on and on) :

on a banana
by the spoonful
peanut butter & fluff
after a bad day
on a good day
before bed
in bed while watching a movie
in the morning
on my bagel
on an apple
with a glass of milk
in my cookies
with chocolate chips on top
rolled in a tortilla with banana
on a chocolate rice cake
in my amazing grass shake
with my finger
on my oatmeal
always have always will love me some (a lot) peanut butter.

But like I said, these cookies I made with almond butter! Here's a picture of the beautiful butter I used for these cookies...

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup almond butter or peanut butter (or you could mix them)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • about 1/4 cup of your favorite fruit preserves (I used raspberry)
Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Next, spray a baking sheet and set aside for the cookies to be placed on once made. In a mixer, combine almond butter and sugars and mix well for 2 minutes. Add the egg and baking soda and mix for another 2 minutes. Roll the mixture into teaspoon size balls and place on the baking sheet. Make a small indentation in the middle of the cookies and fill with the jelly! Finally, bake for about 12 minutes or until perfectly browned.

Note to self: don't make the dough ball this big...my cookies turned out much bigger than I had anticipated.

These cookies are easy and quick, great for kids too! I made them while the kids I nanny for are at school so they can enjoy them when they get off the bus. Am I the best nanny or what? I try really hard because I want them to like me...

And a plus...these are gluten-free! I've still been incorporating wheat back into my diet and haven't had any side affects yet, but still mostly eat gluten-free. I may have to make these for my gluten-free sissy one day too.

PS. I AM VERY HAPPY...how could I forget to tell you this? Jeff and I sold my Olympus camera and ordered my new one! A Canon Rebel T2i. We have researched cameras for a few weeks now and decided this would be the best fit for us. I cannot wait to have clearer and brighter pictures. However since I have to ship my Olympus away, I will be without a good camera for about a week so bear with me and my point and shoot canon pictures this week. Here she is, the newest addition to the Jensen family. Did I mention we are VERY excited? :)

I'm off to eat some lunch (a turkey and cheese melt on a bagel thin and a clementine or two) then finishing up work and meeting Jeff at the gym for a long treadmill run. Shooting for 6 miles today. I'm making roasted brussel sprouts & sweet potato for dinner tonight and I'll try and post later since I want to take a few last pictures with my Olympus. I'm sad to see it go, but beyond excited for our new camera!

Question of the Day: Starting next Monday, Jeff and I will be living (well eating) off of $1 a day for the entire week. We want to experience the way in which the majority of the rest of the world lives. We can each spend 7 dollars for the week, so what food do you think we should buy to live off of? ...Pasta? Bread and peanut butter? Ideas would be greatly appreciated!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Our Sunday.

I'm happy that it was a beautiful and perfect Sunday...but sad because tomorrow is Monday. Good thing this week is only 2 days long! Then Thanksgiving break! A plus about being a nanny for 2 teachers is that I get off all holidays too.

So last night we had boys & girls sleepovers with our friends the Zietsman's, and felt just like we were back in middle school :) Jeff dropped me off to spend the night with Lauren and picked up Fritz for a boys night. The girls drank hot chocolate and chatted literally all night long, while we learned this morning that the boys pigged out on pizza and candy and watched war movies. Typical of both genders. We reunited this morning for a fabulous breakfast made by Lauren and myself.

The boys got right down to business playing the game Jenga while Lauren and I made some breakfast.

Lauren made very yummy whole wheat pumpkin pancakes...and lots of them ( Go here to visit Lauren's food blog and read the recipe)!

I made my sausage & egg muffins, since Fritz loves anything involving eggs & meat and Jeff requested another batch! We were fatties, and ate almost all of these.

We had lots of toppings for the pancakes...I chose to top mine off with Lauren's homemade pumpkin butter and cinnamon & sugar. SO freakin' good.

The boys eventually quit their game and joined us for breakfast. Love married friends :)

I stole this picture from Lauren's blog so you could see me in action. Lauren snapped a picture of me snapping a picture of our food. You know you're a food blogger when you spend more time taking pictures of the food than actually eating it...and by the time you eat, its usually cold. But that's fine with me!

Our bellies were stuffed, our hearts were happy.

After some breakfast and spring break planning, Jeff and I came home and relaxed for an hour or two before heading to our favorite state park for a run/hike and picnic.

We listened to good ole' James Taylor on the way. So relaxing...

After running/hiking about 3.5 miles we headed down to the beach for a picnic lunch. It was pretty cold, so unfortunately we didn't last long. But we had a ton of fun just being outside for the day in such a beautiful place! (of course Lamby Blanket came along-he comes with us often)

Our lunch. Pretty light since we had such a heavy breakfast...

This boy loves him some string cheese. He always says my mom has the best string cheese because it is the stringyest (is that a word?). This wasn't my mom's obviously...but he still enjoyed it!

In all, we had two fun filled weekend days that were completely free! Jeff and I have been trying to save some money this month, so we wanted to do activities that didn't cost much. Feeding ducks/coffee date and a hike and picnic=free and fun. Hope you had a great weekend as well :)

Question of the Day: What is your favorite way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon? Jeff and I love being lazy and spending the day on the couch...but we also love spending most of the day outdoors. Share what makes you most happy on days like today...

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