Navigation Bar

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

{4.11.2015 - The Best Day Ever - Rehearsal Dinner }


I have a hard time believing that our wedding was almost 2 months ago!  It seems like just yesterday we were surrounded by our family and friends celebrating our love and commitment to each other!   The entire weekend was a dream come true, and one that I will remember forever!  So in order to preserve some of those wonderful memories I have decided to put together a few short posts documenting the entire celebration!  Hope you enjoy! 


So, let's start from the top with the rehearsal dinner which was really the kick off party for wedding weekend!  The day of the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner began with snow, and not just any snow... huge fluffy flakes!  Yes, snow in April!  Only in Minnesota can you have snow, rain and sunshine all in one week and really all in one day!  But the snow quickly stopped and the day turned into a beautiful sunny 60 degree day!


I got to enjoy a relaxing morning with my bridal party (my mom and mother in law too) getting pampered for the big day!  Mani's and Pedi's for all!  It was a great morning, I loved being able to chat with my girls and just relax before the big day!  I was giddy, excited and ready to go!


The excitement and energy carried me throughout the entire day!


I remember getting ready for the rehearsal and the dinner and feeling as if I were dreaming!  I had a hard time believing that after a year of planning our wedding day was actually here!  It wasn't until I walked into the church for the rehearsal that reality really set in!  I remember walking into the church to the sound of our pianist and vocalist practicing for the big day.  The site of our entire bridal party and family gathered combined with the the beautiful stain glass of the church and the music brought tears to my eyes!  Our wedding was really happening and I could feel the love and excitement in the church.  It was a wonderful feeling!

Nothing Earth shattering happened at the rehearsal!  We practiced, it went smoothly and then it was off to celebrate with a fabulous dinner!


We held our rehearsal dinner at a local restaurant in Uptown, Stella's Fish Cafe!  It was the perfect location for our our rehearsal dinner!  Rustic features (barn wood siding), fun lighting and fabulous food made for a great evening!


I remember sitting back and at one point during the rehearsal dinner just to take in the whole experience.  Family and friends were all excited, all smiling and all happy to be there to celebrate and support Derek and I on the eve of our next big chapter!  It was fabulous evening and a great way to kick off the weekend! Stay tuned for more wedding posts... coming soon!









Friday, May 22, 2015

{Stuffed Portobello Caps with Truffle Oil}




With warmer weather and summer right around the corner, or here for that matter I find myself looking for lighter veggie packed meals to help keep me should I say bikini ready!


However just because I want to eat lighter doesn't mean I want to sacrifice flavor!  I have recently been experimenting with different types of flavored cooking oil (think Truffle, Garlic, Herb infused etc.) to add depth of flavor and to help up the healthy fats in my food. 


 I have found that Fine Food Specialist have a whole host of speciality oils that would be perfect for adding flavor to multiple dishes!  Currently I am crushing on truffle oil and have been using it in anything and everything!  These Stuffed Portobello Caps get a flavor kick from truffle oil drizzled over them right before serving!  I love that these Stuffed Portobello Caps are full of veggies, lean protein and flavor.  The portobello caps are roasted before stuffing to give them nice flavor and then stuffed and topped with bread crumbs and feta!  These Stuffed Portobello Caps make a great light lunch or perfect dinner.  Simply serve with a simple green salad tossed with a bit of lemon juice and garlic infused olive oil!  Enjoy!


Stuffed Portobello Caps with Truffle Oil and Simple Green Salad
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Serves 2 

Ingredients:

Portobello Caps: 
2 Portobello Mushroom Caps - Stems and Gills Removed
1 Spicy Italian Turkey Sausage  - removed from casing (I used Jenni - O and froze the remaining links for a later use)
1/3 Cup Chickpeas 
1/3 Cup Favorite Pasta Sauce 
2 Cups Fresh Spinach 
2 Green Onions Chopped - Plus 2 additional for garnish
1 Garlic Clove - Minced 
2 Tablespoons Feta 
1/2 Tablespoon Truffle Oil 
2 Tablespoons Pank Bread Crumbs 
1 Teaspoon Basil, Oregano 
1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder

Simple Green Salad: 
2 Cups Butter Lettuce 
1/2 Tablespoon Garlic Infused Olive Oil 
2 Lemon Wedges 
Fresh Ground Pepper 

Directions - Stuffed Portobello Caps:
1- Brush portobello mushroom caps with a little bit of olive oil (both sides, about a tablespoon).  Roast in a 400 degree oven for 12 minutes.  
2- While mushroom caps are roasting, combine bread crumbs, garlic powder, dried basil and dried oregano together in a small bowl and set aside.  In a small skillet coated with cooking spray saute onions and garlic until fragrant and tender.  Add spinach to onion and garlic and cook until spinach has wilted.  Place spinach in bowl and set aside.  
3- Re-coat small skillet with cooking spray saute turkey sausage until fully cooked.  Stir in pasta sauce, and chickpeas.  Cook for 2 minutes or until tomato sauce is heated through.  Remove from heat and set aside.  
4- Remove mushroom caps from oven, drain any excess liquid that may have collected in the mushroom caps.  Season with salt and pepper (1/2 teaspoon of each).  Spoon equal amounts of the turkey mixture into the bottom of each mushroom cap. Then top each mushroom cap with spinach mixture, bread crumbs and feta (divide between the two)
5- Place stuffed mushroom caps into oven and broil on high for a minute or until bread crumbs and feta are a light golden color.  
7- Remove mushroom caps from oven, drizzle with truffle oil and serve with simple green salad! 

Directions - Simple Green Salad: 
1- Toss Butter Lettuce with Olive Oil and Fresh Ground Pepper (as much as you like).  Serve with lemon wedges for squirting! 

Enjoy! 





Thursday, May 21, 2015

{Sesame Ginger Mandarin Orange Salad}



Did you know that May is National Salad Month?  Yup!  An entire month dedicated to one of my favorite foods (odd I know)!


This Sesame Ginger Mandarin Orange Salad is one of Derek's favorite salads (he actually request it)!  This salad is a tried and true  crowd pleaser and with just a few ingredients this salad makes an awesome dinner side or pot luck dish (got a Memorial Day Party to attend, bring this salad)!


However, you can instantly transform this flavor packed salad into a light main meal by adding crispy baked chicken or marinaded tofu!  I recently found Nasoya TofuBaked and am in love!  Its a great source of protein and really completes this salad!  Today I will give you three serving options for this awesome Sesame Ginger Mandarin Orange Salad!


Sesame Ginger Mandarin Orange Salad
Brunch N'Cupcakes
Serves 4-5

Ingredients: 

For Salad:
1 Bag of Baby Spinach 
1 Bag Butter Lettuce 
1/4 Cup Sliced Almonds 
1 - 15 Oz. Can Mandarin Oranges Drained 
1/3 Cup Crumbled Feta 
2 Green Onions Chopped 
1/4-1/3 Cup Newman's Own Light Sesame Ginger Dressing **See Note Below
Protein Source (if making as a main meal) Crispy Baked Chicken (Recipe Below) or 1 Package Nasoya TofuBaked (I like the Sesame Ginger flavor)

Ingredients for Crispy Chicken
1 Package Chicken Tender Strips - 14 Oz (I used Just Bare Brand Chicken Breast Tenders)
1 Teaspoon Basil, Garlic Powder and Paprika 
3/4 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs 
2 Egg Whites 
1 Tablespoon Milk 

Serving Option #1 - Salad Only

Directions for Salad:
1- In a large bowl combine spinach, lettuce, sliced almonds, mandarin oranges, crumbled feta and green onions.  Lightly Toss.  

Serving Option #2 Salad with Bake Crispy Chicken!

Direction for Sesame Ginger Mandarin Orange Salad with Baked Crispy Chicken:
1- In a large bowl combine spinach, lettuce, sliced almonds, mandarin oranges, crumbled feta and green onions.  Lightly Toss.  Set aside until chicken is ready
2- Grab two bowls.  In one bowl combine egg whites and milk, whisk to combine.  In second bowl stir together Panko Bread Crumbs, Basil, Garlic Powder, Paprika and Pepper. 
3- Dredge each chicken tender through the egg/milk mixture and then lightly coat chicken tender in bread crumb mixture.   Set on baking sheet and repeat with remaining pieces of chicken.  
4- Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.  
5- Allow chicken to cool, cut into bite size strips, top salad and serve.  

Serving Option #3 with baked and marinaded tofu!

Directions for Sesame Ginger Mandarin Orange Salad with Marinaded Baked Tofu:
1- In a large bowl combine spinach, lettuce, sliced almonds, mandarin oranges, crumbled feta and green onions.  Lightly Toss.  Set aside. 
2- Cut package of tofu into bite size pieces, about 1 inch cubes.  Top salad with marinaded tofu and serve.  

**Note:
I usually set the dressing out in a decorative serving bowl and let guests spoon their own dressing on - or you can pour your desired amount of dressing over the salad (1/4-1/3 Cup) and toss to combine right before serving! 

Enjoy! 









Tuesday, May 19, 2015

{Lemon Raspberry Ice Cream Bars}

This post has been created as part of a recipe challenge for the Daily Meal. The challenge was to create a Raspberry dessert featuring Driscoll's Raspberries.  Follow @Driscollsberry and #raspberrydessert for my great raspberry recipes!


I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!  Sorry I couldn't resist!  And I couldn't think of a better time to share the recipe for this layered ice cream dessert with you!  Because not only is Memorial Day right around the corner (seriously, where has May gone?) but summer is here and nothing screams summer more to me then ice cream desserts!


Seriously though, need to make these Lemon Raspberry Ice Cream Bars!  They would be the perfect addition to your Memorial Day spread, or just make them because you love ice cream and because warm weather is finally here!


These Lemon Raspberry Ice Cream Bars are my spin on the classic Buster Bar Dessert, recipe here.  They are sweet, zingy, refreshing, and oh so indulgent!  To make these bars I started with a thick and buttery lemon Oreo crust (seriously there is nothing better then an oreo crust), which is then topped with vanilla ice cream that is studded with fresh raspberries and lemon.  I then upped the indulgent factor with a gooey white chocolate fudge layer, and finally top the whole dessert off with fresh whip cream and more crushed lemon Oreo's!  The whole dessert is kind of ridiculous, but ridiculous in a good way!


Seriously, you need to make these bars today!  You won't be sorry!


Lemon Raspberry Ice Cream Bars 
Brunch N'Cupcakes
24-32 Servings Depending on how you cut

Ingredients:

Crust:
1 Package Lemon Oreos (set 4 aside for topping)
1/2 Cup Butter Melted

Ice Cream Layer
1/2 Gallon Vanilla Ice Cream - Slightly Softened (I used Stone Ridge Creamery Light Vanilla)
1 Pint Fresh Raspberries
Juice from One Lemon 
Zest from One Lemon 
1 Teaspoon Sugar 

White Chocolate Fudge Layer:
1 Can Evaporated Milk (not sweetened condensed milk) 
2 Cups Powder Sugar 
2/3 Cup White Chocolate Chips 
1 Teaspoon Vanilla 
1/2 Cup Butter

Whip Cream Layer:
2 Cups Heavy Cream 
1/4 Cup Powder Sugar 
1 Teaspoon Vanilla 

Directions:
1- Start by preparing your crust.  Place Oreos in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse food processor until Oreo's are finely crushed.  Set aside 1/4 cup Oreo crumbs for a later use.  Combine remaining crushed Oreos with melted butter.  Stir until Oreo crumbs are evenly coated in butter.  Press Oreo crust mixture into the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan.  Place in the freezer until needed. 
2- In a large bowl combine raspberries, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest.  Let raspberries marinade for about 5 minutes.  Lightly mash raspberries.  Spoon softened ice cream into bowl over raspberry mixture and gently stir until raspberries are incorporated int the ice cream. 
3- Grab your Oreo crust from the freezer.  Evenly spread raspberry and ice cream mixture over Oreo crust.  Cover and return to freezer.  Freeze until ice cream is hard about 2 hours. 
4- Begin prepping your white chocolate fudge layer.  In a medium sauce pan combine butter, powder sugar, white chocolate chips and vanilla.  Bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until mixture reduces and becomes thick, about 15-20 minutes.  Remove fudge sauce from heat and stir into vanilla.  Allow white chocolate fudge to cool completely before spreading over ice cream layer.  
5- Once white chocolate fudge has cooled and the ice cream layer has hardened gently spoon white chocolate fudge over the ice cream layer.  Make sure the ice cream layer is evenly covered!  
6- Freeze until the white chocolate fudge layer is set 6-8 hours but overnight is preferred!  
7- Just before serving whip heavy cream, powder sugar and vanilla together with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.  Even spread whip cream over frozen ice cream bars.  Top with reserved 1/4 cup crushed Oreos and serve!

Enjoy! 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

{Zucchini and Grilled Onion Galette with Pesto and Ricotta}


For the longest time I have wanted to make a Galette, but I was scared to!  I didn't want to make the dough (I hate working with yeast), I worried it would lack flavor and to be honest I just didn't have the patience!


But I finally tackled the Galette a few days ago, and I nailed it!  I mean when Derek my Husband goes back for seconds of any dish I call that dinner a success, and he went back for seconds of this Zucchini and Grilled Onion Galette with Pesto and Ricotta!  The best comment he made was that the Galette was playing tricks with his mind!  He thought the galette looked like a pizza therefore he thought it should taste like one! 


A Galette is a French term used to describe a free form pie like pastry.  A Galette can be sweet or savory and the filling possibilities are endless!  I opted for making a savory simple galette that I could serve for dinner (or even as part of a brunch, but now I think I will try my hand at a sweet galette)!


What I love most about this galette is the light and simple flavors!  The crust is absolutely delicious and thick (I might make this crust recipe my go to pizza dough recipe) plus added bonus it wasn't that hard to whip up!  The pesto ricotta mixture ads a nice garlicky punch, while the grilled onions ad sweetness.  I love the way the fresh roasted zucchini adds freshness and color.  Top with fresh basil for a little extra kick!  This fresh Zucchini and Grilled Onion Galette with Pesto and Ricotta makes a perfect light lunch or dinner, simply serve with a green salad or simple steamed veggies!  I have even enjoyed a slice for breakfast (great if eaten cold)!  Enjoy!


Zucchini and Grilled Onion Galette with Pesto and Ricotta 
Serves 8

Ingredients:

Dough: 
1 Cup Lukewarm Water
2 Teaspoons Sugar
1 Teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
1 1/4 Cup White Whole Wheat Flour
1 1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour (Plus more for rolling)
1 Teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil (I only used 2 but us up to one more tablespoon if needed)

Filling:
2 Large Zucchini Cut Crosswise into 1/4 Inch thick slices
1/2 a Medium Onion Cut into Slices (rings)
3/4 Cup Part Skim Ricotta
1/4 Cup Prepared Pesto (I used Barilla Pesto, but could make your own)
1 Egg White
2 Quartered Marinated Artichoke Hearts Cut into small bits
3 Garlic Cloves Minced
1 Teaspoon Olive Oil
Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
1/2 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1/8th cup shredded parmesan cheese

For baking - 
1 Egg White
1 Teaspoon Water
Basting Brush

Directions:

To make the dough:
1- Combine lukewarm water, yeast and sugar in a small bowl.  stir together to dissolve yeast then set aside until mixture becomes foamy.
2- Combine whole wheat flour, all purpose flour and salt in a medium bowl.  Grab your yeast mixture and mix the 2 tablespoons of olive oil into foamy yeast.
3- Slowly pour water and yeast mixture into flour mixture and stir until a dough forms - the dough will be soft and sticky.
4- Knead dough on a floured surface for 3-4 min or until the dough is springy to the touch.  Roll dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow dough to rise for one hour (make sure you place the dough in a warm area).

While dough rises prepare the filling.

To make the filling:
1- Combine ricotta, pesto and chopped artichoke hearts in a medium size bowl set aside.
2- In a large bowl toss zucchini with minced garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
3- Heat a grill pan coated with cooking spray until nice and hot.  Grill onion until both sides are slightly charred about 2-3 minutes per side.  Turn stove off and allow onions to cool.

To assemble the galette:
1- Once dough has had a chance to rise turn dough out onto a floured surface and roll into a thin round (like a pizza)  about 15-16 inches across.  Place on a greased baking sheet.
2- Spread your ricotta/pesto mixture onto the dough like you would pizza sauce leaving a 2 inch boarder around the edge (you are going to fold that part up over the filling).
3- Next top the ricotta/pesto mixture with your grilled onions followed by your zucchini (I just placed my zucchini on the galette overlapping slightly - almost like adding pepperoni to a pizza).
4- Next sprinkle zucchini with the 1/8 cup of parmesan cheese.
5- Carefully fold the edges of the dough (the 2 inches you left around the edge) up around the filling and lightly press down.  Brush the crust with one egg white mixed with a teaspoon of water.
6- Bake in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes or until edges of the galette begin to brown.  Allow galette to cool for 5 minutes before cutting!  Cut into 8 wedges and enjoy!

Serve with simple green salad or steamed veggies for a complete meal! 

Check out these other sweet and savory Galettes recipes from around the web!




Monday, May 11, 2015

{Toasted Classic Museli}



Growing up I was not a breakfast person.  In high school  I remember grabbing a mug of coffee, and darting out the door before my mom had time to say are you sure you don't want something to eat?  Back then breakfast foods just didn't appeal to me, and as a sleep deprived high schooler I couldn't imagine eating anything that early in the morning!


Fast forward 10+ years and I am a breakfast lover!  I am not sure how I became so obsessed with my morning meal but I can safely say that I now crave breakfast foods!  I look forward to my breakfast every morning l, and dare I even say that breakfast might now be my favorite meal of the day?  When it comes to breakfast now a days I am a creature  of habit and find myself eating the same breakfast day in and day out for weeks, even months (I guess once I find something I like then I stick with it)!


Recently (for about that past 3-4 months) my breakfast obsession has been museli!  Museli is similar to granola just not as sweet, and generally the oats in museli are eaten raw (not cooked).  Typically muslie is made up of oats, nuts, seeds and dried fruit. This whole museli obsession began with one bag of Bob's Red Mill Museli mix that I purchased on a whim one weekend.  I thought I would give museli a fighting chance since I needed a little break from my beloved granola, and after that first bowl of museli I was hooked.  


I never thought of making my own museli until I read a recent post from Kate of Cookie and Kate where she talked about making homemade museli.  Kate toasts her museli to bring out the flavors and after reading her post I knew I needed to try to make my own museli to fuel my breakfast obsession.  I toasted my museli like Kate did but gave the museli my own spin.   I subbed in some unsweetened applesauce for some of the oil and added raisins and dates for a sweet burst of flavor.  Kate was right toasting the museli really brings out the flavor of the oats and makes this breakfast cereal extra delicious!  I love serving this classic museli with Greek Yogurt but you could serve with milk (of choice) as well.  I add berries and peanut butter to my bowl to round out my breakfast, yum!  I hope you enjoy this museli as much as I do, Enjoy! 


Toasted Classic Museli
Brunch N'Cupcakes inspired by Cookie and Kate
16 Servings (1/4 Cup)

Ingredients:
4 Cups Thick Cut Rolled Oats (I buy mine in bulk)
1 Cup Raisins
1/2 Cup Chopped Pitted Dates
1 Cup Sliced Almonds 
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil 
1 Tablespoon Unsweetened Applesauce 
2 Tablespoons 100% Pure Maple Syrup 
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract 
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

For Serving:
Berries
Milk or Yogurt 

Directions:
1- In a large bowl combine oats, and almonds.  Mix together until well combined
2- In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla.   Pour olive oil mixture over oat mixture and mix until oat mixture is evenly coated.  
3- Spread oat mixture out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (I used  cookie sheet with raised sides) and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, stirring the mixture halfway through to ensure even toasting! Once museli is done toasting stir in your raisins and dates.  Let completely cool before storing in a freezer bag or large container with an air tight lid.  

 I serve my museli with Greek yogurt and berries.  It is delicious!  Sometimes I will combine my Greek Yogurt and museli the night before and let it sit in the fridge overnight.  Then I top with berries and peanut butter in the morning!  Think of it like overnight oats!

More delicious museli recipes from around the web:
Toasted Museli - Cookie and Kate
Mediterranean Museli - Cooking Light
Nourishing Museli - Nutrition Stripped

Enjoy!