Monday, January 31, 2011

Caramelized Onion & Spinach Olive Oil Quick Bread

Jeff and I stayed in Long Island this weekend (we usually travel to visit friends and family in other states), and had a great and relaxing weekend! Sunday we spent the afternoon with Lauren & Fritz strolling around downtown. My favorite stop was Starbucks of course, where Jeff and I shared a skinny caramel macchiato.

There is nothing better than a day spent with friends & laughter....

After shopping around, Jeff and I headed to his sister's house to have a little photo shoot with our adorable niece. Here are a few sneak peak shots :) More to come later...

I ordered this hat for her for Christmas off Etsy and love it!

And once we finally made it home, I made some delicious savory bread! I usually only make sweet breads (pumpkin is my specialty thanks to my mom's recipe), so I decided to try something new. This recipe was great! I found it here and adapted it just a bit to my liking.

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 whole large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups (packed) fresh spinach leaves
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 whole eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cups milk
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ounce parmesean cheese
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the onion to the pan. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook for 10 minutes, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the onions are golden brown, about 10 additional minutes.

Add 1 more teaspoon olive oil to the onions, then stir in the garlic and spinach leaves. Stir until the spinach is wilted and bright green, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, combine eggs (lightly beaten), milk, and extra-virgin olive oil. Whisk well until combined.

Pour the flour mixture into the eggs mixture and stir until just combined. Do not overmix or the bread will become tough. Add the spinach mixture and the parmesean cheese, and stir until just combined.

Butter a loaf pan. Spoon 1 tablespoon flour into the pan and tap the flour around the pan. Shake out the excess. Scoop the batter into the pan and smooth the top.

Bake until the top is light golden brown and a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out dry, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove the bread from the pan, and cool on a wire rack. Slice and serve.

1 word: YUM. This bread is great with some butter spread on top! I also think it would go perfectly with a cup of warm soup-which is what I may just decide to have for lunch today.

If you're bored today, make this bread. Even if you're not bored, make this bread.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Artichoke & Sun-Dried Tomato Angel Hair Pasta

I thought of this recipe from a movie I used to watch. And if anyone out there knows it, could you please tell me the title? I used to watch it all the time with my sister-a movie about a little girl who ice-skated. Her mom died and she was sent to live with her dad. She had a guardian angel who always made her pasta with sun-dried tomatoes. Sometimes I think I am making this movie up, because I haven't been able to remember the name for the life of me! But I is real. I think. Anyways, every time I think of this movie I want that pasta that the guardian angel made for the little girl.

  • 2 Chicken Breasts
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 3/4 cup Sun-Dried Tomatoes
  • 1 cup Marinated Artichoke Hearts
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 1/2 Box of Angel Hair Pasta
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
First, chop and saute the garlic and the olive oil for a few minutes. Meanwhile, cook the angel hair pasta on another burner (3-5 minutes). On a separate burner, cook the chicken breasts (yes this unfortunately creates a lot of dirty dishes)! Once the garlic and olive oil are heated, add the sun-dried tomatoes and artichoke hearts. Once pasta is cooked, toss the tomatoes and artichoke hearts in it. Top with a chicken breast and parmesan cheese!

While the chicken was cooking...I admired the new shelves Jeff put up for me tonight! I was getting sick and tired of all of my bulk item foods piling up in plastic bags in my cabinets. So, I bought some cute canning jars to hold them in. What do you think?

Here we have: wild rice, fruit trail mix, muesli and cinnamon.

Alright, back to cooking! Here are the artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes I used (you can also used dried tomatoes in water, and simply drain half or more of the water out).

One more side note: do you remember how my toes were blue last week? Yup, still are. Therefore I wear Jeff's tiger slippers :) They are so obnoxious but more importantly, so warm.

I just took them off since my feet are a little too hot at the moment. At least my toes aren't blue though, right? And at least we had a great meal for dinner!

We're off to have a movie night with our friends Lauren and Fritz! We're watching "Easy A"...which is probably super corny, but hopefully entertaining. Accompanying it with some Trader Joe's apple bread! Hope you have a fun weekend planned :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Hi all! There is LOTS of snow falling outside my window as I write this post. I wasn't expecting snow until later tonight, but I guess it decided to come early. Ok with me, as long as I make it home safe and sound after work. Before sharing a delicious and warming recipe, I have a small favor to ask all of you readers out there. The photographer who shot our wedding is offering a free large canvas of one of our favorite wedding pictures if we receive the most "likes" on Facebook. Confused yet? I realize I am not explaining this, go HERE to vote on Facebook. First, "like" Hoffer Photography then "like" the picture of Jeff and I on our tandem bike! Please and THANK YOU so very much :) Now, on to more important things like food....

More specifically...muesli! Muesli is a popular breakfast cereal made with oats, fruit and nuts. There are so many fun ways to make this. Here is what I came up with:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 mashed banana (to thicken the oats)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup of mixed fruit (apricots, cranberries, dates, etc).
  • handful of fresh blueberries
  • sprinkle of brown sugar
Heat the oats, water and raisins on the stove top at medium heat until they thicken. After about 2 minutes, stir in the mashed banana half. Once the oats are the thickness you want, add the rest of your toppings and sprinkle with brown sugar to add some sweetness! Similar to oatmeal, but a little more exciting and healthier with all of the added sugars from the fruits instead of syrup or peanut butter, or whatever else you use to normally sweeten your oatmeal.

Jeff bought me this spoon for Christmas at one of my favorite fair trade shops close by. I love love love it! I also loved this breakfast (even though I ate mine for lunch)! If there is snow near you, I hope you are safe and enjoying the beauty of it today.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Gluten-Free Cranberry & White Chocolate Brown Rice Crisp Bars

Since I used to be on a completely gluten-free diet (I just recently started incorporating wheat back into my diet), I still make most meals gluten-free. It has honestly become easy for me, especially when it comes to dinner. And I truly believe that a gluten-free diet is one of the healthiest. However, I have always struggled with making the perfect g-free baked goods. If you remember in my last post, I made Rocky Road Bars that were g-free and turned out great! Today I created another treat, which is much healthier than those bars over the weekend but with the same great and sweet taste. Not only are they free of gluten, but can also easily be made vegan (just be sure to buy vegan white chocolate).

  • 5 cups of brown rice (gluten-free) cereal
  • 3/4 cup brown rice syrup
  • 1/4 cup organic peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup white chocolate, melted
In a large saucepan, combine the brown rice syrup, peanut butter, maple syrup, cinnamon and salt and heat on medium heat. Once it just begins to boil/bubble, stir in the 5 cups of cereal and the dried cranberries and mix until everything is coated with "syrup" mixture. Cover a pan with parchment paper and fill the mixture into the pan. Press down evenly to flatten the top. Melt the white chocolate chips in the microwave for about a minute (stirring occasionally). Place the melted chocolate into an icing bag or a plastic bag (with a hole cut in the end) and drizzle over the bars. Refrigerate for about an hour before cutting and serving!

Like I said before, these are much healthier than your typical rice krispie bar but still kid friendly! You could really add anything to the mix (whether it be other fruit or chocolate or peanuts).

There you have it-an easy gluten-free, healthy and easily vegan recipe! Make these for your kids, or even as a dessert to bring to a party...because even adults love rice krispie treats ;)

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Gluten-Free Rocky Road Bars

Hi everyone! Sorry I've been MIA for a few days. I usually try and post every day or every other day, but I have had a bit of a problem on my hands...or should I say my toes. Yes, my toes. You see-3 of my toes turned purple and numb this past week. AH! I went to a podiatrist and was diagnosed with Raynaud's Disease. Unfortunately, I'm sitting here with blue toes still. However I managed to bake today which made me think less about my pain and put a smile on my face.

Tonight we are going to a going away party for our dear friends Rob & Kelvie Carr, who are moving to Indiana on Thursday :( If any of you readers are from Indianapolis please be their friend! My sister eats completely gluten-free so I made a gluten-free treat for her off of Betty Crocker's website. I'll re-post the recipe, but it is completely the same as good ole' Betty's.

  • 1 box Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
First, mix together the softened butter, egg and vanilla until blended well.

Next, mix in the cookie mix and stir well.

Press the dough evenly into a 13 by 9 inch pan. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

While they are baking, take some pictures of the cutest pups in the whole wide world! These are my parent's dogs: Kody & Klaire. Jeff and I hope that one day we can find a pup as cool as these two.

OR, if you don't have any pups...make your own friend like Jeff did :)

Once the cookie is golden brown, immediately top with the 2 cups of chocolate chips. Let stand for 3 to 5 minutes or until chips begin to melt. Gently spread evenly over the cookie crust with a spoon.

Finally, set your oven to broil. Top the melted chocolate with the marshmallows and toasted pecans. Broil in the oven about 5-6 inches from the heat for about 1 minute. We kept the oven open to watch them brown, since it happens quickly. Be careful not to burn them!

After a minute, they are done! Let them cool for a good hour or two before serving since they will be very ooey-gooey (as Betty describes).

These turned out better than I expected! Sometimes gluten-free mixes don't work out so well, often falling apart. But these look good. So, if you have any gluten-free friends, these are guaranteed to put a smile on their face :) It is like a s'more in a bar!

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