Friday, December 28, 2012


Hi, all!

Hope you had a wonderful holiday!!

I'm back to the daily grind until this weekend when I blast off to a New Orleans vacation.  I'm quite excited about it.

Anyways, I really enjoyed reading about other people's Christmases on the many blogs that I follow.

I'm sorry I did not post over the holidays.  Forgive me?  Here.  I made you a collage to make it all better.

Mexican fiesta on Christmas Eve/Baby the Cat in her new Christmas cape/Some cubano eggrolls/Flowers for xmas?  Yes, please/Got some heavier dumbbells/Cookie madness/Creamsicle martini/My nephew is now seven years old/Boscoe loves his new bowtie

Well, now that all that is done, I thought I'd talk a bit about resolutions for 2013.

My number one is to do a total organization on this here blog.  If you haven't noticed, I have not updated my recipe list in quite a while.  Plus I am not a fan of the format at the moment.  I may seek the help of an expert, so if you have any suggestions feel free to leave a comment below.

I also need to get back to basics and get my bum in gear (again).  I have been way too loosey goosey with my workouts (or lack there of) and my intake of naughty treats.  So, yeah.  Hopefully that change will be reflected here as well.

Another thing I would like to work towards is possibly opening a restaurant in the near future with my most awesome kitchen partner.  I may introduce said kitchen partner in the coming year, as well.  So, stay tuned.

Thanks so much for reading my lil ole blog.  I love posting things that I make and  very much appreciate all the traffic I get and of course, the comments, emails and feedback that I receive!  I treasure it all. 

I am looking forward to a revamped new year with lots more content to share with you.

Have a safe and Happy New Year, and I'll see you on the flip side.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday: Zucchini Chili & Scones

What I Ate Wednesday Healthy Holiday Recipes

Well, would you look at that.  It's Wednesday again already.  And the last Wednesday before Christmas.  I have so many more crafts to make!!!  Eeeeeekkk!
Ok, not panicking.  Let's talk about foods I ate, mmkay?

Breakfast, Part I: PB Toast
Yeah, this has been happening for the past 3 (maybe more??) WIAWs.  What can I say?  I'm a creature of habit.  Had some crunchy peanut butter (Skippy natural) on some Sarah Lee 45 cal bread before 5 a.m. boot camp.  For some reason my brain was awake this morning during the workout and it fought me every step of the way.  It's much easier when I am in a dreamlike state while working out, so I don't realize what's going on.

Breakfast, Part II: Smoothie 
Wow, I am a master of photography today--ha!  I made a super delish shake containing 1 1/2 frozen bananas, 1 tbsp cocoa powder, 1 tbsp peanut butter, a scoop of protein powder and 1 cup of almond milk. Had some coffee on the side.

 Snack: Peas, Hummus, Cheese
Why, yes, I started buying family sized containers of hummus...for one person.  Thanks for noticing ;)  I enjoyed some of this hummus with sugar snap peas and had a light cheese stick, as well.

 Lunch: Soup
Bought this new soup (below) and thought it sounded more appealing than actually packing a lunch.  So I enjoyed a bowl of this chicken, quinoa, poblano soup with fresh avocado chunks and a couple crackers.
It was pretty good.  Not as chunky as expected...although it looks like it in my picture.  Filling and decently healthy, though.
This guy looks so excited about the soup.  How could I not buy it??
 Then dessert happened:
Best lunch dessert ever.

No time for an afternoon snack onward to dinner!

Dinner: Zucchini Chili and Scones
For dinner, I had the assistance of my awesome brother in the kitchen.  He threw together my zucchini chili while I tried my hand at Joy the Baker's feta & chive scones.  I made them with wheat flour, though.  Both quite yummy!

Then, I got down to some serious crafting business with my lady friends.  Gotta get them Christmas crafts done!

Follow me on Instagram!  If you pressure or anything.

Have a super fantastic week!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

DIY Gift Idea: Canvas Photo Transfer

Don't bother checking.  You are at the right place.  I am aware that I haven't crafted in seventy bajillion years, but I did a craft this week!!  Naturally, I must share it with my favorite blog readers ;)  Especially since there is one week til Christmas!!!  Eek!

This craft took about 10 minutes of actual work, with a few hours of drying time.  

So, let's get to it.  You don't have much time til Christmas!  Better get crackin'.

For this super easy DIY project you will need:

8x10 stretched canvas
picture printed from a laser printer or copier (8x10)
gel medium (available at craft stores)
mod podge clear coat
paint brush
water bottle
cat (optional)
cheese and crackers (optional)

Step 1
Paint a thick coat of gel medium on your canvas.

Step 2
Lay your picture down face down on the wet canvas.  Let it dry for a couple hours or overnight.

Here's how it looked after about an hour of drying.

Step 3
Spritz the paper with some water and start peeling off layers.  You may have to rub some off.  Don't rub too hard, though.  Be gentle with faces (in this project and in everyday life...I'm weird).

Paint it with Mod Podge to seal.  See, I took out part of my Dad's face.  Be more careful than me.
Cute, right?  You can also do this with a piece of unfinished wood, instead of a canvas, but I haven't had much luck with that.

Happy Crafting :)  If you want more DIY gift ideas, here's my round up from last Christmas.  Don't judge the pictures too harshly, friends.

project from A Beautiful Mess

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

WIAW: Spinach & Black Bean Enchiladas

What I Ate Wednesday Healthy Holiday Recipes

Yay!  We are halfway through the work week!  And rapidly nearing Christmas (only two weeks from yesterday--eek!).
So, yep.  No transition there.  Let's just talk about food.  It's my favorite.

Breakfast Part I: PB Toast

Before 5 a.m. boot camp, I had my favorite pre-workout snack of peanut butter toast.  I used crunchy PB today.  It was quite special, indeed.

Breakfast Part II: Egg & Muffin
I made an egg using 1 whole egg and one egg white and had a whole wheat English muffin with strawberry preserves.  And coffee, of course.

Morning Snack: Cuties
I got a big bag of Cuties oranges this week.  Loving them so far!

Lunch: Leftover Enchiladas & Broccoli 
I was going to post this recipe on Tuesday, but I got since I had leftover spinach & black bean enchiladas for lunch, I'll just give you the recipe right here, right now.

Spinach & Black Bean Enchiladas
serves 4-6

{For the sauce}
2 1/2 cups broth (I used chicken broth)
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. cumin
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. chili powder

{For the enchiladas}
15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
15 oz. can corn 
9 oz. frozen spinach, thawed & drained
1 tbsp cilantro paste (or use fresh cilantro) *optional
salt & pepper
3 cups shredded 3 cheese blend (or pepper jack, etc.)
8 whole wheat or flour tortillas

Make the sauce: in a saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add tomato paste, flour, 2 tsp. cumin, garlic, onion powder, and chili powder. Cook 1 minute, whisking. Whisk in broth, bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, and cook until slightly thickened about 8 minutes. Salt/pepper to taste, and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine beans, 2 cups cheese, spinach, corn,and cilantro.
Preheat oven to 400.
Lightly spray a 9x13 inch baking dish, and pour a small amount of the sauce to coat the bottom.
Generously fill tortillas with mixture, roll up tightly with ends tucked in, and place seam side down in dish.
Pour remaining sauce over the enchiladas, coating evenly. Sprinkle 1 cup cheese on top.
Bake about 20 minutes.

recipe adapted from The Garden Grazer

Dinner: Sandwich & Veggies
I ran home after work and made a quick tuna sandwich with Swiss cheese on an 80 calorie wheat hamburger bun and some veggies I over steamed in the microwave.  How the heck did I over steam veggies?  Silly, Renee.
Then I dipped 2 gingerbread men into Nutella and headed out the door for a meeting with my lady friends about an upcoming trip we are taking.

My super cool friend laid out some beautiful veggies and hummus, so you know I couldn't resist ;)

Ok, have a great week, all!
Be sure to check out my jalapeno popper popcorn over at Endless Simmer.

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012: Peanut Butter Chocolate Swirl Cookies

I may have mentioned before, but I participated in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap again this year.  Such fun!  So, I'm delaying What I Ate Wednesday until later today, so I can tell you all about this!

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012
The way it works is if you have a blog, you sign up with the swap and they send you 3 matches.  You kind of keep it on the downlow for a bit.  Then you send your 3 matches a dozen cookies each.  There are a ton of participants and it is all across the U.S.
You will also receive a dozen cookies from 3 other bloggers, as well.  That's the fun part!  You get to sample someone else's cookies and share them with family and friends.
Then, everyone posts their recipes and we all link up to like a gazillion other recipes.  It's fun to browse through there and see what everyone comes up with.
This year proceeds go to Cookies for Kids' Cancer and they sent me an awesome cookie spatula!  Yay :)
So, for my recipe this year, I had one combination on my mind: peanut butter and chocolate.  I figured  I should swirl them together for maximum enjoyment.
This recipe makes a TON of you might want to scale it down if you are not feeding a small army.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Swirl Cookies
makes 5-6 dozen (for real)

Chocolate Cookie Dough

12 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Beat melted butter with brown sugar and granulated sugar until smooth. Cool slightly and beat in egg and egg yolk. Beat in vanilla.
Combine the flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda. Slowly beat into the butter and sugar mixture until well blended. 

Roll out the dough on plastic wrap that has been sprayed with oil until it makes a giant rectangle the size of your baking sheet.  No actual measurements from this gal!

Make your peanut butter dough.

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
5 cups all-purpose flour

Combine butter, peanut butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla.  Add flour, baking soda and salt. 

Plop about 2/3 of the dough on top of the rolled out chocolate dough and roll it over it until even and smooth.  You will have extra peanut butter cookie dough (you're welcome), so you can make those, too or freeze the dough.

Roll the plastic wrap up a bit and use it as a guide to carefully roll your two doughs into a giant log.  I had to actually cut down the middle and separate the cookie logs, because they were so large.  Refrigerate dough for about 30 minutes.  

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and slice your cookies into about 1/4" slices.

Lay on parchment paper and bake for 11-12 minutes.  Cool on a cookie rack.

Chocolate cookie dough recipe adapted from
Peanut butter cookie dough recipe adapted from All Recipes

cookies all ready to go to my recipients ;)

I love participating in this online cookie swap and meeting other bloggers!  So fun :)
Thanks so much to Love & Olive Oil and The Little Kitchen for hosting!

Also, I gotta give a shout out to the awesome bloggers whose cookies I received:

Amber from Caleigh's Kitchen made some killer chocolate buckeye cookies.  Holy moly.

Mal from The Chic Geek sent me some scrumptious cinnamon roll palmiers :)

My third cookie shipper got delayed, because she had the flu.  That's no fun :(  I'll update this once I receive hers.


My cookies from last year's swap: Crispy Coconut Almond Cookies

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Shortcut Gingerbread Beignets

 Howdy!  So, how's everyone coming with those holiday gifts and such? I am being a big giant procrastinator this year, for sure!  I usually make gifts for peeps because 1) I like to get my craft on and 2) I'm super cheap.  That didn't sound right.  I'm frugal.  Better word choice.. Anyways, I've only bought about 25% of my list (eek!) and haven't made a darn thing yet.  Not panicking, not panicking...breathe.

OK, so seeing as how I have a lot on my proverbial plate, I don't have a lot of time to make a yeast dough with rise time and blah blah blah. Clearly,  I don't even have time to construct proper sentences.

So here's a quickie recipe to brighten your holidays!

Shortcut Gingerbread Beignets

makes 20 

 1 16 oz can of biscuits 

1/4 cup molasses 

heaping 1/2 tsp cinnamon 

heaping 1/2 tsp nutmeg 

heaping 1/2 tsp ginger 

heaping 1/2 tsp cloves 

flour for rolling 

oil for frying (I used canola) 

powdered sugar, whipped cream for serving 

 Knead the spices and molasses into the biscuit dough until combined.  Flour your countertop (or parchment paper) and roll the dough out to about 1/8"-1/4" thickness.  Cut in 2"squares.


 Heat your oil to 325 degrees and fry for about 4 minutes or until done in the middle.  You might need to do a test one. Dust with powdered sugar for serving. Enjoy :) It's the perfect fuel for online shopping!  

I first posted this recipe on Endless Simmer on December 5, 2012.

In the post on your site you need to link back to our sites to be eligible to win…like this, “I am entering this {name of your recipe} in the Creative Holiday Recipe Contest hosted by Confessions of a Cookbook Queen and Cookies and Cups!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

WIAW: Eggplant Veggie Burgers

What I Ate Wednesday Healthy Holiday Recipes

Healthy holiday recipes is the new theme for What I Ate Wednesday.  I'm kind of unprepared for this.  I usually am on the first WIAW of the month, because we don't really get advanced, bear with me ;)

Onward to the food stuff!

Breakfast: Egg Muffin
Confession time: I did NOT go to boot camp this morning.  I really had no excuse, except that I just didn't feel like getting up at 4:40 a.m.  So...yeah.  I made a yummy breakfast of a whole wheat English muffin topped with Canadian bacon and an egg.  Target's Christmas blend coffee on the side.

Morning Snack: Berries
I enjoyed the last half cup of my blueberries (those suckers lasted a while-score!) with some fresh whipped cream for morning snack.

Lunch: Sandwich & Veggies
Lunch was pretty simple today: an open faced roast beef and turkey sandwich (on honey oat bread), veggies & hummus with a teeny wheel of cheese.  Yum!
For dessert, I resisted the urge to buy a Starbucks and had one of these instead:
Saving money & calories #winning

Afternoon Snack: Kind Bar
I ate this bar to hold me over til dinner.  It was really good.  I enjoyed the taste of apricots.

Dinner: Eggplant Veggie Burger
I dunno if you guys remember my Eggplant "Meat"balls from a while back, but my brother has been asking me to make them again ever since.  He suggested I make them into burgers.  He is a genius.  I added even more vegetables to make it a veggie burger.  I also made sweet potato fries and veggies (more veggies!!! eeeee!!!) as sides.

Here's the recipe:

Eggplant Veggie "Burgers"
serves 6

2 medium eggplants (or 1 large)
salt, pepper
olive oil spray
1 egg
2/3 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 cup frozen spinach, thawed/drained
1 carrot, shredded
1/4 onion, finely diced
handful of mushrooms, finely diced
garlic clove, minced

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and slice your eggplant (about 1/4" thickness).  Spray the slices with oil and sprinkle with salt.  Roast in the oven for about 20-25 minutes.
Sautee onion, carrot and garlic in a skillet for 5 minutes.
Dump the roasted eggplant into a food processor with other ingredients and combine.  
Divide the dough into 6 patties.  Cook in a skillet coated with olive oil until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes per side.

The night was rounded off with a rousing 4 hour game of Monopoly.
I made a martini, also...
The game was so good, we had to play while eating ;)

Links I feel like sharing today:
Taylor Swift performs Begin Again on Ellen
I love this handmade gift of 5 bean soup from Back to Her Roots
Joy the Baker made some red velvet black & white cookies (awesome)
I feel like I could make these popsicle stick angels--how cute would they be on the tree?!
I made some shortcut gingerbread beignets over on Endless Simmer...go look at them and I'll be your best friend forever.

Ok, have a super fabulous rest of the week!!