Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Stressed. Tired. Still no Sugar. Peanut Butter Balls.

Started packing a little today. We are still going to be here a few more months but wanted to get a head start on things. We just started in the office and I am quickly realizing I am a bit of a pack rat. There was a lot of throwing away to be done. I felt overwhelmed. So overwhelmed that I just froze and sat on my couch and played angry birds while I watched "The View". I'm feeling tired, my baby girl is over 8 months now, still not sleeping through the night. I sure wish she would :) And I am still off sugar, but I really want a cupcake. Having a weak, stressful, especially tired day. But we all have those:)

These little peanut butter balls, or "Snowball Cookies" have saved me since I've been off sugar. Yes they have honey and brown rice syrup in them, but they are natural sweeteners and they sure make a yummy little snack. Even if you aren't on some "no sugar" diet you will still love these. The Chia seeds are optional, but they sure are good for you :)

Off to snuggle up on the couch, watch Biggest Loser, snowball cookie in hand :)

Snow Ball Cookies
by Desiree from Unconventional Kitchen-I've fallen in love with her site!

1 C peanut butter
1/2 C honey
1/4 C brown rice syrup, or more honey
2 1/2-3 C cereal, I used a brown rice cereal from Good Earth that is like rice krispies
1 C puffed millet cereal, also found at the health food store, again any puffed grain cereal would do, or you could do 1/2 C of oats (I just used the brown rice cereal, couldn't find puffed millet
2 T chia seeds, or flax, or both

Mix all of the ingredients together and scoop out with a mini ice cream scoop, or you can press the mix into a baking pan to make bars, they will soften as they sit. After lettting them soften for 1-2 hours cut into bars.

Feel free to add coconut, wheat germ, dried fruit, mini chocolate chips, really whatever your heart desires. You can also make them with almond butter instead of peanut butter.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Best Meal. Ever.

Seriously. This is a good one. And I know this wont surprise any of you that it is an Ina Garten recipe. I'm sure if you follow my blog you are getting the jist that I LOVE Ina's recipes. I recently saw her make this steak with bernaise sauce on her show for her and Jeffrey's 35th anniversary. Don't you just love Ina and Jeffrey? I think they are so cute:)

So first of all, I have never made a Bernaise sauce before. But it looked so divine I was so excited to try it. After reading the reviews of this sauce online many people said it tasted way too vinegary and they would next time completely leave the vinegary out and just use all white wine. That's exactly what I did and I have to tell you, this sauce was one of the best things I have ever had. I made this meal for my family for Sunday dinner and everyone's eyes were practically rolling in the back of their heads-it was so good! We couldn't get enough of it-we were dunking our potatoes in the sauce and I ate way too much steak because I wanted to keep eating the bernaise sauce! It's so so good. I'm excited to make this meal some sort of family tradition of mine, maybe I will make it for every Christmas Eve or something.

I served the steak with green beans and shallots and garlic roasted potatoes. It was all so very yummy. The recipes for everything is bellow. Bernaise, where have you been my whole life?! You are my new favorite thing:)

Steak with Bernaise Sauce
by Ina Garten
For the sauce:
• 1/4 cup Champagne or white wine vinegar
• 1/4 cup good white wine
• 2 tablespoons minced shallots
• 3 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves, divided
• Kosher salt
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 3 extra-large egg yolks*
• 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
• 6 (1-inch thick) rib eye steaks
• Olive Oil
• Coarsely ground black pepper
For the sauce, put the Champagne vinegar, white wine, shallots, 1 tablespoon tarragon leaves, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is reduced to a few tablespoons. Cool slightly.
Place the cooled mixture with the egg yolks and 1 teaspoon salt in the jar of a blender and blend for 30 seconds. With blender on, slowly pour the hot butter through the opening in the lid. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of tarragon leaves and blend only for a second. If the sauce is too thick, add a tablespoon of white wine to thin. Keep at room temperature until serving.
Season the steaks liberally with salt and coarsely ground black pepper on both sides. Heat a thin layer of olive oil in a large saute pan over high heat until it's almost smoking, then sear the steaks on each side for 1 minute. Lower the heat to low and cook the steaks for about 7 to 10 minutes, turning once, until very rare in the middle. Remove to a plate, cover tightly with aluminum foil and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Serve with the bernaise sauce on the side.
Note: To make the sauce in advance, prepare an hour before serving and allow it to sit in the blender. Before serving, add 1 tablespoon of the hottest tap water and blend for a few seconds.

String Beans with Shallots
by Ina Garten


* 1 pound French string beans (haricots verts), ends removed
* Kosher salt
* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 1 tablespoon good olive oil
* 3 large shallots, large-diced
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Blanch the string beans in a large pot of boiling salted water for 1 1/2 minutes only. Drain immediately and immerse in a bowl of ice water.

Heat the butter and oil in a very large saute pan (12-inch diameter) or large pot and saute the shallots on medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, tossing occasionally, until lightly browned. Drain the string beans and add to the shallots with 1/2 teaspoon salt and the pepper, tossing well. Heat only until the beans are hot.

If you're using regular string beans, blanch them for about 3 minutes, until they're crisp-tender.

Garlic Roasted Potatoes
by Ina Garten

* 3 pounds small red or white potatoes
* 1/4 cup good olive oil
* 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
* 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 2 tablespoons minced garlic (6 cloves)
* 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut the potatoes in half or quarters and place in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic; toss until the potatoes are well coated. Transfer the potatoes to a sheet pan and spread out into 1 layer. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until browned and crisp. Flip twice with a spatula during cooking in order to ensure even browning.

Remove the potatoes from the oven, toss with parsley, season to taste, and serve hot.

My Big News

Remember a few posts ago when I said I had some big news I was going to share soon? Well it's time to unveil the secret :)

Here it goes....we're moving!!!

And to where you ask?? Here's a hint, their deep dish pizza tops all and they don't call it the "Windy City" for nothin....

...yep...Chicago! Actually, I hear the true reason they call it the "Windy City" is because if the "windy" politicians, none the less, it is wiiiiiindy!

I can hardly believe we are moving. It's all happened really fast. The reason why we are moving is because Micah got a job out there. He couldn't be more excited. Me-I have more reservations but am really trying to be more positive. I will be honest, I wasn't too positive at the begining. I love where I live, I love that my mom is just 20 minutes away and we can see eachother whenever we want. I am very close with my mom and it is because of that why this move has been very challenging for me. But-I know we don't grow when we don't change and don't go through hard things. When there's change, there's growth. I moved around a lot growing up, each move was very difficult but I wouldn't have changed it for the world. Each move became a part of me and has made me a stronger person. I know the same will happen with this move, I try to think about that every time I get sad we are leaving :)

But we both are so grateful he has gotten a job when things are so hard right now. I also LOVE the Midwest. Especially the Chicago/Milwaukee areas. If we were to move anywhere I would want it to be there. Why? I spent most of my childhood in Milwaukee and my best friend for over 20+ years still lives there. I can't wait to be close to you again Lindsey! :) My brother and his wife and darling little girl also live in Chicago, we will be very close to them so that will be really fun.

It's looking like the big move will take place in April. I will keep you posted. :)

So sorry there's no recipe with this post, but check back tomorrow for a humdinger of a recipe. Seriously, this one is good. It is one probably one of my top 3 favorite things I have ever made. So check back tomorrow for that one! :)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Ultimate Chicken and Dumplings

Operation no sugar has been going ok. After today I will have finished up my 5th day. Yay! I actually made a really yummy sugar free treat today. I will share that with you soon. But first...let's talk Chicken n'Dumplings.

A while ago I remember watching Tyler Florence's show "Tyler's Ultimate" and I saw him make Chicken and Dumplings. They looked amazing. I finally got around to making them about a week ago. They were de-e-li-ciouos!!! I was a little intimidated to make the dumplings but they were easy peasy. To cut a lot of the work and time out of this recipe I just used a store bought rotisserie chicken and used store bought stock. I did discover something interesting about the recipe though. After I was done making the sauce it looked so yummy I couldn't wait to try it. Luckily I did before I served it because it had no flavor! It was so bland. I knew I had done everything right, but just to make sure I re-read the recipe over and over. I finally realized-he calls for no salt in the sauce! It has to be a mistake. So I added salt and it was fine. But next time I am going to saute the carrots and celery with the salt, I think it gives dishes a much better flavor when you layer the salt in, as opposed to just throwing it all in at the end, which sometimes gives the dish just a salty flavor.

Hope you are all having a wonderful beginning to a new year and are sticking to your resolutions :) So far I'm sticking to mine-which is crazy cause we all know how I like me some cupcakes:)

Chicken and Dumplings
by Tyler Florence

Chicken and Stock:

* 1 (3 to 31/2 pound) whole organic chicken
* 2 bay leaves
* 6 sprigs thyme
* 4 to 5 black peppercorns
* 1 head garlic, split through the equator
* 2 tablespoons salt


Buttermilk-Chive Dumplings:

* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 tablespoon baking powder
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 2 eggs
* 1/4 cup chopped chives
* 3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk


* 2 tablespoons butter
* 2 tablespoons oil
* 2 carrots, diced
* 2 stalks celery, diced
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 bay leaves
* 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
* 6 cups chicken stock
* 1 cup frozen peas
* 1 cup frozen pearl onions
* 1/4 cup heavy cream
* Freshly ground black pepper, for garnish
* Chopped chives, for garnish

For the stock:

Place the chicken and all stock ingredients in a large Dutch oven and cover with water. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 1 hour until the chicken is tender. Skim the surface of fat and scum as it cooks.

When done remove the chicken to a cutting board. Strain the stock and shred the meat into big pieces - the stock will be used for the sauce and the chicken will be folded into it.

For the dumplings:

Sift the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a small bowl, using a whisk, lightly beat the eggs, chives and buttermilk together; pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently fold. Mix just until the dough comes together; the batter should be thick and cake-like.

To prepare sauce: In a Dutch oven, over medium heat, add the butter and oil. Add the carrot, celery, garlic, and bay leaves and saute until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour to make a roux. Continue to stir and cook for 2 minutes to coat the flour and remove the starchy taste. Slowly pour in the chicken stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. Add frozen peas and pearl onions.

Let sauce simmer until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 15 minutes. Stir in heavy cream.

Fold the reserved shredded chicken into the sauce and bring up to a simmer. Using 2 spoons, carefully drop heaping tablespoonfuls of the dumpling batter into the hot mixture. The dumplings should cover the top of the sauce, but should not be touching or crowded. Let the dumplings poach for 10 to 15 minutes until they are firm and puffy. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Season with freshly cracked black pepper and garnish with chopped chives before serving.