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Friday, May 30, 2014

{Fresh Corn Salad with Herbs}

This week was busy!  And I was a little sluggish this week after a wonderful long relaxing weekend! With my busy schedule this week I feel like I haven't even thought about cooking!  Queue leftovers, they are such a wonderful thing, and perfect for busy weekday nights!  I love when I have healthy leftovers in the fridge, it makes eating healthy so much easier!

I made this delicious Fresh Corn and Herb salad on Monday night to go along with our grilled salmon, recipe here.   And this very salad has been eaten for dinner and lunch the past few days as I run around!  But this salad is so darn delicious that  I am not even mad about the fact that I have eaten it all week!  One thing I love about summer is fresh sweet corn, and this salad features it!  I have cut the corn right off the cob,   combined it with some fresh lightly sautéed veggies, a bit of butter and herbs and voila you have a great summer side salad!   Throw some grilled chicken on top of this salad and call it a meal, or eat it as a side with your favorite meat or vegetarian options!  I have even topped this salad with avocado in my lunch for work!  Enjoy!

Fresh Corn Salad with Herbs

5 Ears of Corn (Shucked and Cut off the Cob)
1 Jalapeno Seeded and Chopped
½ Cup Chopped White Onion
¾ Cup Chopped Grape Tomatoes
1 Teaspoon Dried Basil
1 Teaspoon Dried Dill
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1 Tablespoon + 1 Teaspoon Butter (Or Olive Oil)  

1- In a large skillet heat ½ teaspoon butter.  Once melted add onion to skillet and sauté until translucent, add in jalapeno and sauté until tender about 2 minutes. 
2- Add corn and grape tomatoes to the skillet and sauté for 2 minutes.  Add 1 tablespoon butter, herbs, salt, pepper and garlic.  Stir until herbs and butter are evenly distributed and sauté for 2 additional minutes or until butter is melted.  Serve immediately.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

{Hiking - Taylors Falls Photos}

I mentioned in yesterday’s post (PS check it out if you missed the recipe for, Grilled Salmon with Orange Mango Salsa) that Derek and I spent about 2 hours hiking in beautiful Taylors Falls!  I wanted to share some of our awesome pictures we took!  

Taylors Falls is located about 45 minutes from Stillwater!  It is a quick drive with beautiful scenery, and the views you can check out while hiking are unbelievable!

What I love about hiking in Taylors Falls is you can hike on the Minnesota side, or venture across the river to the Wisconsin side for even more amazing hiking!  We ended up hiking the Wisconsin side and ended up connecting multiple trails, which is why we hiked for about 2 hours!

I always forget how much I love hiking, not only are you getting exercise, but your able to take in some amazing views and stop and really enjoy life and your surroundings!  Enjoy the pictures!

Friday, May 23, 2014

{Spicy Peanut Noodles with Veggies and Chicken }

Hello, Lovelies!

Friday is here, what a wonderful thing, and to top it off it is a long holiday weekend!  Does anyone have big Memorial Day weekend plans?  We are planning on laying low this weekend.   Maybe a little hiking or biking (gotta get out and enjoy the beautiful Minnesota weather) and of course Memorial Day weekend just wouldn't be the same without a little grilling out with some fabulous people (one of my favorites)!

Speaking about favorites, thats a nice segue into todays featured recipe!  Spicy Peanut Noodles with Veggies and Chicken!   Not only do these noodles feature one of my all time favorite things, peanut butter, but they are delicious!  The peanut butter sauce is slightly spicy that can be dialed down if your not a huge spicy fan.  Derek said after dinner that he was a little skeptical about using peanut butter in a pasta sauce, but he gave this recipe two thumbs up and even took leftovers for lunch!  That my friends is  win in itself, Derek never takes leftovers for lunch!  Im calling this recipe an over all win!!  Sub in rotisserie chicken instead of the shredded boiled chicken if you like, and sub in whatever veggies you have on hand!  Make these noodles tonight for dinner and eat the leftovers all weekend, well in-between grilling!

Spicy Peanut Noodles with Veggies and Chicken 
Brunch N'CUpcakes
Serves 6-8

1 Box Whole Wheat Spaghetti Noodles 
2 Chicken Breast (Boiled and Shredded) 
1 Onion Roughly Chopped 
1 Green Pepper Roughly Chopped 
3 Garlic Cloves 
1 Cup Broccoli 

Peanut Sauce 
1/2 Cup Peanut Butter 
3 Teaspoons Low Sodium Soy Sauce 
2 Tablespoons Chili Paste 
1 Teaspoon Sesame Oil 
Pepper to Taste 

1- Combine peanut butter, sesame oil, chili paste, 2 tablespoons water and soy sauce in small bowl.  Microwave for 45 seconds and stir to combine, set aside. 
2- In a large skillet sprayed with cooking spray saute onions until translucent.  Add in garlic and saute until fragrant.  Add in pepper and broccoli and saute until tender, but be careful not to over cook.  Start cooking noodles according to package directions, once noodles are cooked drain noodles reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid.  
3- Add cooked noodles and shredded chicken into the skillet with the vegetables.  Add 1/2 Cup cooking liquid to peanut sauce and once again microwave peanut sauce for 45 seconds and pour over noodles.  Toss pasta, veggies and chicken until sauce is evenly distributed, serve immediately. 

Check out these other delicious recipes from around the web: 


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

{Wedding Update; The Venues}

Taking a break from my regular food posts, because I realized I really haven't talked much about the wedding on the blog!  I don't know why that is, but I want to have wedding planning documented somewhere, so the blog seems like the perfect place! 

I have been checking things off my wedding check list left and right!   Hard to believe how much I have gotten done in such a short time, I guess you could say I am excited!  Derek and I have now officially set our date!  We will be getting married on April 11th, 2015 in Minneapolis!  I can hardly contain my excitement, and I already want to countdown the days till we will say "I Do" and become man and wife!  But there is so much planning to take place from now until then!  I would say the hardest thing so far for me in the whole wedding planning process was picking the venues!   It was hard to know where to begin when there are so many wonderful venues in Minneapolis!  However, when we started looking at wedding venues I knew I wanted something unique, and something different, but that is all I knew!  My dream growing up was to get married at the Plummer House in Rochester (my hometown) but being as the max guest count was well under what we are inviting I knew that would not work!

(The Plummer House, Rochester, Source)

Monday, May 19, 2014

{Ginger Garlic Stir Fry}

Derek received a pretty cool birthday gift a few months ago from his cousin Nate!  Nate told Derek when he opened the gift that this gift “married” Derek and my interest together, Beer and Cooking!  Any guesses at what Derek got?  Derek got a beer cookbook where all the featured recipes have been submitted by small microbreweries, and instead of cooking with wine your cooking with beer!  I was pretty excited about the cookbook, because I am always looking for new and unique cookbooks!

I flipped through the cookbook a few days ago and immediately marked a few dishes I wanted to make for Derek and I!  First on the list a flavorful chicken stir fry that is from a local brewery here in Minnesota, Surley Brewing!  Stir fry has always been one of my go to dinners because of how easy and versatile it is!  I had never thought to add beer into a stir fry sauce before, but let me tell you it was delicious!  I made this stir fry Friday night for my sister, Derek and I.  We all agreed the stir fry was wonderful, spiciness an all! 

Ginger Garlic Stir Fry 
Surly Brewing Co. - The American Craft Beer Cookbook 
Serves 4 

Chicken Marinade
1 Pound Chicken 
1 Tablespoon plus 1 Teaspoon Cornstarch 
2 Teaspoons Salt 
1/2 Teaspoon Fresh Ground white pepper 
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil 
2 Teaspoons Soy Sauce 

Stir Fry :
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil (I used 1/2 Tablespoon) 
2 Tablespoons Fresh Ground Ginger 
1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic 
2 Carrots Chopped 
1 Medium White Onion,  Chopped 
1 Red Bell Pepper, Chopped 
2 Scallions sliced 
1 Jalapeno Pepper 
1/4 Cup Pale Belgian-Style Beer 
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Sweet Rice Vinegar 
Jasmine Rice for Serving

1- Marinate the chicken - place chicken, still in the original package in freezer for 30 minutes.  Whisk the cornstarch, salt, sugar, pepper, oil and soy sauce together in small bowl.  Remove chicken from freezer, slice it into thin strips.  Place in air tight container, pour marinade over chicken, shake to coat and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 
2- Heat large skillet and add oil.  Add chicken and marinade and stir fry for 2 minutes.  
3- Add in ginger and garlic and saute 1 minute.  Add in onion and cook for an additional minute.  Finally add in carrots, bell pepper, two thirds of the scallions, jalapeno, and soy sauce.  Cook for 30 seconds. 
4- Deglaze the pan with the beer and sweet rice vinegar.  Reduce the temp to low and cover skillet with lid.  Cook for 3 minutes to let the flavors to develop, and the veggies steam. 
5- Spoon stir - fry over rice and garnish with remaining scallions.  Serve Immediately. 


Thursday, May 15, 2014

{Dixie Caviar Stuffed Sweet Potatoes}

Happy Friday Thursday folks!  I am all confused on dates and days this week!  I have been living a day ahead all week, and in my mind we are already at memorial day (and memorial day is a week away).  This little date/day mix up has me all sorts of confused!  Thankfully tomorrow is Friday, and I have lots to look forward to this weekend!  

This Saturday is our Girls on the Run Spring 5K, which is hard to believe because I feel like it was just last week that we were starting the GOTR Spring season!  I am sad to see such an amazing season come to an end, but I am looking forward to cheering my girls on at the 5K race!   Also this weekend is my lovely friend Sam's Bachelorette party!  Shortly after the GOTR 5K I will be boarding a plane to celebrate the lovely Sam's last fling before the ring!  I am super excited to see all my lovely college besties, it has been way to long!   Now, shall we talk about this delicious looking stuffed sweet potato?  I made these Dixie Caviar Stuffed Sweet Potatoes for my sister and I last night after a very sweaty and intense kick boxing class!  We both wanted something light, and quick!    If you are wondering what Dixie Caviar is check out this recipe, my aunt makes something similar and I can literally eat the entire bowl full!  Anyways, the dixie caviar adds a nice "spicy" addition that helps round out the sweetness of the sweet potato!  The meal comes together quick so before you know it your enjoying a delicious healthy meal! 

Dixie Caviar Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Serves 4 

1 15 oz can Corn 
1 - 15 Oz. Can Black Beans (Rinsed and Drained) 
1/2 Green Pepper Chopped 
2 Garlic Cloves Chopped 
1/2 Large Onion Chopped 
1 Handful Fresh Cilantro 
1 Teaspoon Cumin 
1 Teaspoon Chili Powder 
Salt and Pepper to Taste 
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar 
4 Sweet Potatoes (or 2 Large ones like the one pictured)

1- In a large skillet heat a teaspoon of olive oil.  Add in Onion and garlic and cook until onion is soft and garlic is fragrant.  Stir in green peppers  and tomatoes and cook until tender.  
2- Add beans corn, balsamic vinegar and spices to skillet, cook until heated through.  Stir in cilantro.  Reduce heat on stove to keep topping warm until potatoes are ready. 
3- Wash and pierce sweet potatoes with a fork.  Place in microwave and cook for 6 minutes, or until sweet potatoes can easily be pierced with a fork.  
4- Cut each sweet potato lengthwise, and divide dixie caviar among 4 potatoes.  


Monday, May 12, 2014

{Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars With Pumpkin and Chia Seeds}

Hi, All!   I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, and hope you all got to spend time with loved ones and celebrate some special women in your life this past Sunday for Mother's Day!  I was so happy to be able to spend the entire weekend with my family and I have to say that this weekend was one for the books!   I mentioned on Friday that my family was coming up to celebrate Mother's Day and go wedding dress shopping, and I can honestly say that I had a blast trying on white dresses for my big day!  And even more happy to report that I said YES to the dress!  Ah, hard to believe that I have picked out my wedding dress, the dress that I will walk down the aisle and marry Derek in!  I had the best entourage with me as I set out to find the perfect dress!  I feel truly blessed to have been surrounded by love and support as I set out on the hunt for the perfect dress!  I had the "this is the dress moment" and cried when I realized I had found my dress, and even made my sister cry!   The day was special and one I will remember for a long long time! 

Saturday's dress shopping extravaganza was a long one, and I can honestly say I wish I would have packed some healthy snacks in my purse!  These granola bars would have been the perfect healthy pick me up snack!  What I love about these granola bars is you can really mix and match ingredients!  You literally could throw whatever you have on hand into the mix and they would be delicious!  These granola bars are sweet, slightly crunchy and have just enough chocolate to satisfy a chocolate craving!  They make a perfect on the go breakfast, or a hearty snack to keep you full and energized all afternoon! 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Granola Bars with Pumpkin and Chia Seeds 
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Make 12 Bars 

1 1/2 Cups Rolled Oats (not quick cooking) 
1/2 Cup Puffed Brown Rice Cereal 
1/2 Cup Mini Chocolate Chips 
1/2 Cup Pumpkin Seeds
1/4 Cup Chia Seeds 
1/2 Cup Honey (or agave) 
3/4 Cup Peanut Butter

1- In a large bowl melt peanut butter and honey (about 45 seconds).  Stir honey and peanut butter until well combined. 
2- Add Rolled Oats, Brown Rice Ceral, Pumpkin Seeds and Chia seeds to your peanut butter and honey mixture.  Stir until peanut butter and honey is evenly distributed. 
3- Stir in chocolate chips. 
4- Press granola bar "dough" into a greased 9x9 in glass baking pan.  Cover and place in freezer for 30-45 minutes to harden. 
5- Once granola bars have set cut into 12 bars and enjoy!  

**Note - I store mine in the freezer and enjoy them cold but they can easily be left out on the counter in a sealed container. 


Saturday, May 10, 2014

{Lemon Muffins with Sweet Lemon Glaze}

Growing up I always remember my mom baking, that was and is her thing!  My mom is a phenomenal baker!  She makes some of the best pies (my favorite is her Pecan Pie) and can make a pretty mean cheesecake!  Growing up I remember countless weekends spent baking cookies or brownies with my mom and younger sister.  And she always baked delicious Sugar Top Muffins for breakfast on the first day of school, recipe here!  To this day I will still find my mom in the kitchen bright and early on Holidays (think Easter, Christmas, etc.) whipping up something delicious and tasty for a special holiday breakfast!   I love sitting with my mom while she bakes, carefully measuring out each ingredient, and always snagging a few bites of batter (brownie batter is the best).  There is something special about those moments spent in the kitchen with my mom!

So with Mother’s Day being tomorrow, I thought I would share a special muffin recipe with you all!   It is a recipe that makes me think of baking with my mom!  These delicious lemon muffins are light, fluffy and packed with lemony flavor.  Make these muffins for Brunch or to show your mom just how special she is to you!  They are perfect for brunch alongside eggs, and make a delicious snack with coffee or tea!   Enjoy and Happy Early Mother’s Day to all the moms out there! 

Lemon Muffins with Sweet Lemon Glaze 
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Makes 12 Muffins


1 1/2 Cup Flour 
1/2 Cup Sugar 
3/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder 
3/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda 
Zest from One Lemon 

1/4 Cup Butter Melted 
2 Tablespoons Greek Yogurt (I used 2%) 
1 Egg 
3/4 Cup Almond Milk or Milk of Choice (I used Unsweetened)
Juice from One Lemon 
2 Teaspoons Vanilla 

Lemon Glaze: 
1/2 Cup Powder Sugar 
Juice from One Lemon 

1- In a large bowl whisk together all dry ingredients and set aside. 
2- Grab a smaller bowl and lightly beat your egg.  Add Melted butter, greek yogurt, milk, lemon juice and vanilla and whisk until combined. 
3- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until well incorporated, don't over mix. 
4- Grease or line muffin tin and divide batter among 12 muffin cups.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes or until tooth pick inserted comes out clean. 

** While muffins bake whisk together lemon juice and powdered sugar and set aside.  Let muffins cool 5 minutes in pan and then lightly drizzle muffins with glaze.  Allow muffins to fully cool before removing from the pan! 


Want more delicious muffin recipes?  Check these out from around the web!
Lemon Poppyseed Muffins - Two Peas and Their Pod
Lemon Muffins with Chia Seeds and Honey Glaze - Pinch of Yum 
Lemon Blueberry Muffins - Cooking Light 

Friday, May 9, 2014

{Wedding Update - Say Yes to the Dress!}

Happy Friday All!  I have mentioned in previous posts this week that I have anxiously been awaiting the weekend, because my family and I would be doing some fun wedding things!  

Tomorrow I am going to try on wedding dresses!  I am still wrapping my head around the fact that this I am actually hunting for my wedding dress!  I am anxious, excited and a little nervous!  I feel like as a little girl you dream about the day when you will try on white dresses in preparation to marry the man of your dreams, and I am no longer playing dress up, this is the real thing!  I have two dress appointments set up at two local shops here in Minneapolis!  I am going into Saturdays dress appointments with an open mind.  I want something elegant, timeless and classic.   I am taking my Mom, Dad, Sister, Soon to be Mother in Law and Soon to be Sister in Law dress shopping with me!   I am excited to play dress up and spend time with my family!

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!  Stay tuned for a delicious muffin recipe tomorrow!  The muffin recipe I am sharing is light and fluffy and would be a great addition to your Mother’s Day brunch spread! 

Happy Weekend All! 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

{Back in the Saddle - Green Smoothies}

** This post is not sponsored by the Young and Raw App, it is a review and the opinions are my own.

Green smoothies are slowly finding their way back into my diet!  After making it a New Year’s resolution to drink at least 3 green smoothies a week (that’s a lot for me) I found myself kind of sick of the green liquid once the New Year (2014) hit!  The reason behind getting back on board with the green smoothie fad (that makes it sound bad) you might ask?  This new iPhone App that Derek sent me the other day!

The Young and Raw Official 30 Day Challenge app is chalk full of 140 different green smoothie recipes, just the motivation and inspiration I need to enjoy the little (yet powerful) green drink!  I am usually not a recipe/diet App person, but this App had me intrigued and got some pretty rad reviews (its on the top charts)!

Derek and I tested out the Citrus Cold Buster Smoothie a few days ago to help pump me full of Vitamin C (I posted a picture on Instagram)!  I need to get over this cold before the weekend!  Check out the App in the iTunes app store!  And check out the delicious green protein packed smoothie below, its from my new app! 

Powered Up Plant Protein Green Smoothie
From the Young and Raw Official 30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge App
Serves 1

2 Pears Chopped 
1 Cup Kale or Spinach or a combo 
1 Tablespoon Raw Pumpkin Seeds 
1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds 
1 Cup Coconut Milk (We used Almond Milk) 

1- Combine ingredients in a blender, blend till smooth and enjoy! 


{Pan Seared Sesame Soy Tuna with Sauteed Veggies}

This week has not really gotten away from me, but I feel like I have been letting my to do list fall by the wayside.  I have been battling a cold for most of the week (never fun, but comes with the change in weather), and I am living for the future and anxiously awaiting the weekend, we have fun wedding plans (I will talk about those on Friday)! 

Needless to say with my to do list falling by the wayside, cooking, and blogging have also fallen off the band wagon!  I know, bad me, I am sorry!   But I am back with you today, and I am excited to share this delicious tuna recipe with you!  I feel like I haven’t shared a fish recipe with you in a while, and this tuna is both easy to prepare and delicious!  I made this a week ago for Derek and I, and I want to say that dinner was on the table in about 30 minutes!  Yup, it takes no time at all!  All you need is one pan so clean up is a breeze!  Sub in any veggie you like or have on hand, make this meal your own!  

Pan Seared Sesame Soy Tuna with Sauteed Veggies
Brunch N'Cupcakes
Serves 2-4
For Tuna:
1 Pound Tuna Filet 
1 Teaspoon Cumin 
1 Teaspoon Ginger  
2 Teaspoons Sesame Oil 
2 Tablespoons Low Sodium Soy Sauce  
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Cooking Spray 

Sauteed Vegetable Medley
1 Cup Broccoli 
1/2 Cup Red Pepper 
3 Garlic Cloves Minced 
1/2 Onion 
1 teaspoon sesame oil 
Sesame Seeds
Salt and Pepper to Taste

1- Heat a large skillet coated with cooking spray.  Pat Tuna dry and sprinkle both sides of fish with ginger, cumin, salt and pepper.
2- Pan sear tuna for 5 minutes on each side, or until tuna has reached desired doneness.  In a small bowl whisk together sesame oil and soy sauce.  Drizzle over fish.  Cover with tin foil and place in warmed oven until vegetables are done.
3- Respray skillet with cooking spray.  Saute onions until translucent, add in garlic and cook until fragrant.  Add broccoli, and red pepper and saute until veggies are tender (don't over cook).  Drizzle veggies with sesame oil and toss with salt, pepper and sesame seeds.

To serve plate veggies and top with tuna filet.  Enjoy! 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

{Cinco De Mayo - Copy Cat Chipotle Burrito Bowls}

Happy Monday, and Happy Cinco De Mayo!  
Did everyone have a good weekend, do anything special?  Enjoy a margarita?
My weekend was relaxing but eventful!  I finally got around to "Spring Cleaning" my apartment this weekend, and wow have I accumulated a ton of stuff in the almost 3 years of living in my apartment!  It is insane!  But lets start talking about this delicious copy cat recipe!

Saturday night I had a little girls night in with my sister and I whipped up these delicious copy cat Chipotle Burrito Bowls!  We enjoyed these burrito bowls with margaritas, homemade guac and a lovely conversation about our new apartment!  My sister and I have decided to live together for the 8 months before Derek and I get married!  Yes, I will be moving twice this upcoming year, time to get rid of stuff!  Anyways, back to the burrito bowls!  These bowls are loaded with fresh veggies, flavorful chicken, good for you whole grains, protein and fresh homemade guacamole!  They are the perfect quick weeknight meal, and the leftovers make the perfect weekday lunch!  These burrito bowls would make the perfect Cinco De Mayo celebration meal! 

Copy Cat Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowls
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Serves 4 

2 Large Chicken Breast Cut int 1 Inch Chunks 
1 Large Bell Pepper Chopped 
1 Red Onion Chopped 
2 Teaspoons Cumin 
2 Teaspoons Chili Powder 
2 Teaspoons Garlic Powder 
1 - 15 oz. Can Black Beans drained 
1 Teaspoon Olive Oil 
1 Cup Brown Rice cooked according to package directions 
Juice From One Lime 
1 Handful Chopped Fresh Cilantro 
Salsa for Serving 
Chips for Serving 
Homemade Guacamole for Serving - Ingredients/Recipe below

For Homemade Guacamole 
2 Large Ripe Avocados 
1 Handful Fresh Cilantro Chopped 
Juice from One Lime 
1/4 Cup Chopped Red Onion 
1/2 Cup Chopped Cherry Tomatoes 
Salt and Pepper to Taste 
2 Garlic Cloves

1- In a large skillet heath olive oil.  Add in onions and pepper and saute until tender.  Toss veggies with 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon chili powder and salt and pepper to taste.  Place in bowl and place in oven to stay warm. 
2- Toss chopped chicken with remaining chili powder, cumin and garlic powder.  Place chicken in heated skillet and cook until chicken is no longer pink.  Place chicken in a bowl and place in oven to stay warm. 
3- Toss cooked rice with chopped cilantro and lime juice and place in oven to to keep warm. 
4- To prepare guacamole - mash avocados in large bowl.  Add cilantro, lime juice, tomatoes, onion and garlic to mashed avocado.  Add in salt and pepper to taste. 

To assemble burrito bowls: 
Divide rice amoung four bowls.  Top rice with black beans, veggies, chicken and finally top with salsa and guacamole!