Category Archives: Baking

Where Have You BEEN?!

Have you been asking that question? Where did that girl go? Well, here’s some of what I’ve been eating and doing for the last month or so…

Fresh peaches and greek yogurt (quickly became one of my favorite late summer snacks)

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Homemade Chicken (non)Marsala

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The dragon roll of my dreams!! The eel was on the outside, instead of tiny pieces stuffed inside with the cucumber and avocado, and it was the entire thing, tail and all! They even stuck little cucumbers in the other end to make it look like a little dragon, and set the eel sauce on fire. Simply amazing—thank you, Ocean Zen!

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The World’s Best Chili (seriously, dang good stuff!)

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Chris’s Grilled Salmon (deeeelicious!)

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Tacos In A Pan (easy peasy and so yummy!)

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I tried my hand at Mom’s Beer Bread

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The cake I baked for my best friend’s bachelorette party (hehehe)

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Me out waaayyy past my bed time for that same bachelorette party

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The BFF’s St Louis Cardinals garters

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At The Wedding—it was beautiful and she did so much of the décor herself!

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The cake (I want to be this good at cake decorating!)

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Boyfriend and I all dolled up for the wedding IMG_1166

My cutie butt niece spent the night after my sister’s bday party, and devoured a popsicle!

Airi loves popsicles 

Besides that, I’ve been working, working, and working!! I finally finished up training, and now I’m a “real” manager. Since things have settled down and I’m starting to get into a routine, I promise to post more regularly again.

I missed you!

 

Amber

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Cupcakes and Leftovers

Good Saturday morning! How did your week turn out?  Mine was, again, busy and exhausting!

On Tuesday, we decided to have Chris’s birthday party on Wednesday. I came home from work and spent from 5:30pm to 9:30pm in the kitchen baking, filling, and decorating 4 dozen of these cupcakes. I also managed to fix dinner in there somewhere (I think that’s the night we had tacos in a pan?).

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Half of the cupcakes were taken to work Thursday for a bake sale auction to raise money for MDA, and the other half were either eaten Wednesday night or sent home with our families.

Wednesday night, of course, we had my parents and Boyfriend’s parents over to celebrate his birthday. We kept it simple by grilling burgers, my mom brought her famous macaroni salad, and Chris’s mom brought her famous baked beans, and we had chips/dip and fresh veggies.

Thursday I decided that I wasn’t doing ANYTHING when I got home from work. I heated up leftovers for each of us for dinner, took a shower, and then chilled on the couch the rest of the night.

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Don’t get me wrong: I love cooking, I love baking, and I love having family over, but coming home from work every night and not getting to relax and re-energize for the next day wears me out!

Last night was pretty much a repeat of Thursday night, but with different leftovers and TV shows!


Today I’m off to the farmer’s market to see what goodies I can find.  I also need to make a stop at the natural food store to pick up some nutritional yeast—I want to give kale chips a try. Then I’m going to Michael’s to see what I can find to spend my 40% off coupon on!! Smile  I’m pretty sure I have more things than that on my To-Do List for today, but those are the two that stand out in my mind right now.

Have a happy Saturday!

 

Amber

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Zucchini Bread Muffins

Remember last week when I told you our house smelled of the amazing aroma of zucchini bread… And that I would share that recipe with you? Well, better late than never, right?

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This recipe can be made into loaves, muffins, or a combination of the two, like I did.

There is also flexibility in how you use sugar. The recipe calls for a total of three cups, which can be split into any combination of your choosing between white sugar, brown sugar, and splenda. We’ve found that the best flavor comes when the ratio of brown to white/splenda is 1:2. For this batch, I used 1/2 cup splenda brown sugar blend (equal to 1 cup of regular brown sugar), 1 cup granulated splenda, and 1 cup of sugar.

This batch was better than when we made them with only real sugar and brown sugar. Chris took the loaf to work to share with the guys, and they told him this zucchini bread is so good that we should sell it! I jokingly named these Devil Muffins, and I bet you can’t eat just one! haha

What You Need

  • 3 1/4 c flour
  • 1 1/2 t salt
  • 1 t ground nutmeg
  • 2 t baking soda
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 2 c sugar
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 1 c vegetable
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 c water
  • 2 c grated zucchini
  • 1 t lemon juice

What You Do

Measure and combine all of the dry ingredients into a very large mixing bowl. Little clumps of brown sugar make for extra yummy bites!

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Peel your zucchini, and shred it in the food processor. Squeeze the juice out and pack it into the measuring cup, then put it in a medium bowl. A little extra doesn’t hurt Winking smile 

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Measure out the liquid ingredients and mix them into the zucchini. It doesn’t look delicious at this point…

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Next, add the wet mixture into the dry mixture, and mix it up well.

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Now is another time where you get to make your own choices: pour it into a well Pamed loaf pan…

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… muffin pan, or both like I did!

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Bake in a preheated, 350 degree oven. The loaf will take about 63 minutes, and the muffins will take about 25 minutes.

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Make sure you stick a tester knife in it and don’t just go by looks!

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Let it cool about 10 minutes, then remove it from the pan to let it cool completely. You can either eat it plan like this, or kick it up a notch by whipping up a simple powdered sugar glaze to brush on top!

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These are absolutely delicious! You will gobble them up and everyone you allow to try them will be begging you to make more of them soon!

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Please go try these, and let me know what you think!

 

Amber

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Turkey Meatballs

Hi there! Hope you’ve had a great weekend!

My weekend was busy. Yesterday was the wedding shower for one of my best friends, and today was full of errands. This weekend definitely went by way too fast!

Tonight I spent a lot of time in the kitchen—and it was so worth it! Right now, our house is filled with the aroma of zucchini bread (I’ll share that with you later this week). 

Dinner was a repeat of a successful batch of turkey meatballs I told you about a few weeks ago.

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What You Need:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 t dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1 t dried marjoram, crushed
  • 1 t dried basil, crushed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 T low sugar ketchup
  • 1/2 t Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 T Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey

What You Do:

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In a large bowl, whisk together the egg whites, rosemary, marjoram, basil, garlic, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce. Add in the onion and breadcrumbs.

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Use your hands to thoroughly mix in the ground turkey.

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Use an ice cream scoop (or your hands) to shape the mixture into balls. Sear them in a non-stick pan with about 1T oil.

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Once they’re browned, pop them in the oven in a Pamed pan for about 10 minutes to make sure they’re cooked through.

Serve them on top of hot pasta and cover them in sauce alongside cheesy garlic bread (if you’re Boyfriend).

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Serve them covered in sauce with whole grain bread on the side (if you’re Girlfriend).

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We both also had a fresh salad with tomatoes, but you probably know what that looks like…

These are so delicious and simple, and the only meatballs either of us has ever liked!

If you try them, let me know what you think!

 

Amber

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From Italian to Oriental

I have a confession: last night I was too tired lazy to make Chicken Marsala for dinner, and both Boyfriend and I were too tired lazy to eat real food that required a knife and fork. We wanted something that was easy to eat from the comfort of our couch, so this happened instead…

Chris’s Dinner:

I opened a bag of PF Chang’s Meals for 2

 

Tossed it in a pan and put the lid on it, and came back to stir it every couple of minutes

 

Cooked him some 10 minute brown rice and baked a couple of these yummy egg rolls

 

And this is what the finished product looked like

 

My Dinner:

I tossed some chicken in a skillet sprayed with Pam and browned it up, along with a little bit of onion, then grated some fresh ginger in.

I added a bunch of the already cooked cabbage and let it warm up and start to brown just slightly, then added about 1/4 cup of chicken broth to deglaze the pan and give it some moisture back.

 

Even though this was super simple and used the leftover cabbage  from onion burger night, it was delicious!

 

Then we chilled on the couch for the rest of the night like lazy bums.

Today I’m off to Hobby Lobby after I have one more iced coffee…

I need to find decorations for a friend’s wedding shower and also look at cake pans and cake decorating stuff because I think I really want to start making “real” cakes as a hobby (not the kind you bake then ice while it’s still in a 13×9 pan).

Do you have big plans for the weekend? Chris works so we might go watch fireworks somewhere close, but no traveling or lake time for us (which is why we went Wednesday).

Have a happy Saturday!

 

Amber

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A Tasty Turkey

Hi there!

Today we went on another quest to find work shirts, and finally had success! The shirt I found fit me like it was made specially for my body, and was comfy even though it’s a button down dress shirt. I bought it in two colors, and I’ll be on the lookout for more shirts from that brand since they fit so well!

When we stopped to get gas before the prices jumped 15 cents here like they did in Springfield, we went inside to get drinks. I love Gold Peak Sweet Tea, but when I checked the label it said there are 190 calories in the whole bottle!

 

I’ve never given any consideration to calories in my tea, but  now I’m paying attention to everything. Chris saw that they had a Diet option, so I decided to try that… Boyfriend is my hero!! 🙂

The diet version tastes just like the sweetened version, for zero calories! Chris even tried a drink of it, because he usually thinks that sugar-free versions of drinks taste funny, and he agrees it tastes just like the bottle he was drinking. I think we’ll both be buying Diet from now on!

This - 190 = This! 🙂

 

For lunch, we had Q’doba. I got the Chicken Taco Salad, minus pretty much everything, haha! Basically I had romaine lettuce, fat-free picante ranch, grilled chicken, and fresh pico. It was so spicy and so fresh! They are really good about only chopping up the super green part of the romaine, so there isn’t any of the tasteless white part of the lettuce.

Once home, Boyfriend decided that today (the hottest day so far this summer, under a heat advisory) would be a good day to powerwash the deck and back of the house.

I decided to workout. I opted for an old DVD I’ve had for about 7 years, Crunch Pick Your Spot Pilates.

It has three separate 10 minute workouts that target either your belly, butt, or thighs–I did all three. There is also a 10 minute total body workout option.  Afterward I was sweaty and burning, which felt good!

 

For dinner I decided to pretend it was Thanksgiving and roasted a turkey! To keep things simple, I bought a boneless turkey (you can also buy breast only, but Boyfriend likes dark and light meat) which is about three pounds and only takes about 1 1/2 hours in the oven.  It’s the perfect size for the two of us and leaves enough for leftovers.

Here’s how simple it really was:

Preheat your oven to 375, and line your roasting pan with aluminum foil. This makes clean up sooo much easier, because all the stuck on parts stick to that and not your pan!

Rinse your turkey and pat it dry, and lay it out on your lined baking sheet. Use your hands to rub all the surfaces down with a few tablespoons of butter (I use Country Crock Light) and about one tablespoon of olive oil, then salt and pepper it.

Stack all the parts back up: breast, then dark, and finally the skin.

Pop it in the oven for about an hour, and then take a peak at it. If the skin is golden and crispy, make a foil tent to cover it with to prevent over-browning. Let it roast for about another 2o minutes, checking it with a meat thermometer to make sure its 160 before you take it out.

When its done, take it out of the oven but leave the tent on it and let it rest at least 10 minutes before you slice into it. This lets the juices redistribute and makes it super moist. (Not to brag too much, but I’ve always been told I make the best turkeys that are super moist! Right, mom?)

When you’re ready, slice it up, plate it up, and enjoy!

We had ours with “fried” green beans, sliced whole grain bread, and Chris had mashed potatoes with gravy.

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This was a delicious dinner, if I do say so myself! 😉

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And cleaning the roasting pan was as easy as throwing this in the trash!

Now its time to prep lunch for tomorrow and relax, tomorrow is orientation for my new job!!

 

Amber

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Alphabet Food

Good Monday morning! Hope you all had a great weekend!

I’ve seen this floating around the blog world, most recently on Megan’s blog, and thought I’d fill it out for fun. 

The ABC’s of Food

A is for Avocado: How do you like yours prepared?

  • Smashed up with fresh tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, salt, and pepper for yummy homemade guacamole!

B is for Bread: Regardless of nutrition, what is your favorite type?

  • Even though I usually only eat whole grain, I LOVE sweeter varieties: Jiffy Corn Muffins, Panera’s Tomato Basil, and Mom’s Beer Bread!

C is for Chocolate: What is your favorite kind currently?

  • Any of it, haha! My absolute favorite though is moist chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, or molten chocolate cake! I love warm melty chocolate!

D is for Donuts: You might not currently eat them, but what kind do you fancy?

  • Either powdered and raspberry jelly filled, or chocolate iced and pudding filled. But I stay away from them because I could eat 5 and still be hungry an hour later!

E is for Eggs: How would you like yours prepared?

  • Scrambled with onions or an omelet full of veggies.

F is for Falafel: Yay or nay?

  • I’ve never had it…

G is for Groceries: Where do you purchase yours?

  • Wal-Mart and occasionally we pick up produce at the Farmer’s Market.

H: is for Hot Beverages: What is your favorite hot drink?

  • Coffee/espresso. We brew Starbucks House Blend at home, and I add Splenda and Coffee-Mate Sugar Free French Vanilla for pure yumminess! I also drink more than my fair share of Skinny Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks in the fall.

I is for Ice Cream: Pick a favorite flavor and add a fun topping.

  • Does a brownie concrete from Andy’s Frozen Custard count?

J is for Jams or Jellies: Do you eat them? If so, what kind and flavour?

  • I only really like Smucker’s Simply Fruit, and only strawberry or blackberry. Please do not try to feed me grape, yuck!

K is for Kashi: Name your favorite Kashi product?

  • Kashi Go Lean Crunch.

L is for Lunch: What was yours today?

  • Well we haven’t gotten there yet, but it will be a spinach salad with grilled chicken and dried onions, and hopefully a good salad dressing!

M is for microwave: What is your favorite microwave meal/snack?

  • I always make my oatmeal using the microwave to heat the water, but other than that I usually just use it for re-heating food that’s already been cooked.

N is for nutrients: Do you like carbs, fats, or proteins best?

  • Can’t we all just get along?!?

O is for oil: What kind do you like to use?

  • Always EVOO.

P is for protein: How do you get yours?

  • Chicken, chicken, and more chicken! Eggs or peanut butter at breakfast, with the occasional beef or fish option one or two nights a week.

Q is for Quaker: How do you like your oats?

  • Hot with peanut butter = creamy goodness! Also like them as breakfast cookie dough cereal, a la Fitnessista and in oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

R is for roasting: What is your favorite thing to roast?

  • A mixture of squash, zucchini, onions, and potatoes.

S is for sandwich: What’s your favorite kind?

  • Toasted whole grain bread, with lettuce, tomato, turkey or chicken, and miracle whip light or mustard.

T is for travel: How do you handle eating while traveling?

  • It depends on the situation. I try to eat as normally as possible whether I’m at home or away, but sometimes I can’t always do that. Recently we were having dinner at my mom’s house, and I asked what she planned to fix. I forget what the meat was, but the sides were potatoes and corn. Uh, Mom, what about veggies?  She broke out a bag of fresh brocoli and cauliflower for me! (Thanks, Mom! 🙂 ) I’m the most lenient on vacation, because we usually eat at places we don’t have around home so I tend to splurge and eat what sounds the best, which still usually consists of a good balance of veggies and lean meat.  I always make sure to drink lots of extra water too, because something about traveling just messes with my body.

U is for unique: What are some of the unique foods that you like?

  • Um…  I don’t know that I really have any?

V is for vitamins: What kind do you take?

  • I usually don’t, because I eat a pretty balanced diet. I try to take half (they make me sick to my stomach) a multivitamin every night with dinner, but I usually forget. I do eat Caltrate Calcium+D chews every day though!

W is for Wiener Schnitzel: Do you ever recreate this traditional Czech food?

  • I’ve never had it–is it like a hot dog? 

X is X-RAY: If we x-rayed your belly right now, what food would we see?

  • My morning cups of coffee!

Y is for Youth: What foods remind you of your childhood?

  • Little Debbie’s snack cakes–definitely how the madness started.  Hamburger Helper and Nanny’s biscuits and gravy and chocolate chip cookies.

Z is for Zucchini: How do you prepare it?

  • Either roasted in the oven (see above) or sliced like pickle spears and grilled.

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