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Thursday, July 31, 2014

{Berry Acai Bowl}

When it comes to breakfast I can be what you would call a creature of habit.  To me breakfast needs to be simple, easy/quick to prepare and keep me full for hours.  I have a handful of "go to" breakfast that I cycle through; Including Greek Yogurt with Berries, Overnight Oats, Smoothies... just to name a few.  But recently I have been getting into something a little different for breakfast... Acai Bowls!

My sister introduced me to the brand called Sambazon a few weeks ago,   Sambazon is a  Unsweetened Acai smoothie packet that works great for making Acai bowls!  I have been blending my Acai packets with strawberries, a bit of honey and stirring in chia seeds in the end.  The next morning I drop in a few blueberries, a dab of greek yogurt and breakfast is served!  If you're look to switch up your morning breakfast routine, I suggest giving this Acai bowl a whirl!

Berry Acai Bowl 
Brunch N'Cupcakes
Serves 1

1 - Sambazon Unsweetened Acai Packet (I get mine at Whole Foods) 
6 Strawberries washed and quartered 
Honey to Taste - I use about 2-3 Teaspoons 
1 Tablespoon Almond Milk (I used Unsweetened Vanilla) 
1/3 Cup Blueberries
1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds 
1/4 Cup Greek Yogurt  (I use 2% Fage) 
**Yogurt for serving

1- Run Acai Packet under warm water for 5 minutes to slightly de-thaw the pack.  
2- Add strawberries, acai packet, almond milk and honey in blender.  Blend ingredients until smooth. 
3- Place acai mixture into a tupperware container, stir in chia seeds and allow to sit over night. 

To serve - Stir in Blueberries and Greek yogurt the next morning and Enjoy!  I will sometimes top mine with a bit of granola for a little added crunch! 

Happy Eating! 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

{Creamy Cucumber Sauce with Mint and Cilantro}

I feel like lately I have been on auto pilot while making dinner.  Pan sear protien, steam veggies and repeat.  While the meals are healthy, simple and fresh, I just felt like it was time to jazz things up!  Cue this delicious and healthy Cucumber Sauce!

Let me start by saying that I am a huge sucker for sauces.  I feel that sauces can be that extra little kick to a dish that totally elevates the flavor!  A good sauce to me is one that is  healthy and can be smothered over everything that I am eating!  And let me tell you, this Cucumber Sauce  is just that.  Healthy, creamy and loaded with flavor.  Added bonus it is delicious on pretty much anything!  Use it on top of pan seared salmon, as a flavorful dressing for a basic sandwich/warp, to dip veggies in, really folks the sky is the limit.  I whipped this sauce up last night and served it atop our pan seared salmon, yum! Think of this sauce as a slightly sweeter version of traditional tzaziki.  Fresh cilantro and mint give this sauce a fresh taste, while the cucumber adds a cool crunch!  You even get a little protein from the greek yogurt!  Make this today, right now!   

Creamy Cucumber Sauce with Mint and Cilantro
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Makes about 1/2 Cup 

1/2 Cup GreeK Yogurt ( I used Fage 2%) 
1/4 Cup Cucumber Diced 
1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard 
1 Teaspoon Honey 
Salt and Pepper to Taste 
1/2 Teaspoon Cumin 
1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
2 Garlic Cloves Minced
2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Mint 
2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Cilantro 
1 Teaspoon Tahini 

1- In a small bowl combine yogurt, mustard, honey, spices, and tahini.  Whisk together until well combined. 
2- Add garlic, cucumber, cilantro and mint to yogurt mixture.  Stir until well combined and enjoy!  

**Serve atop pan seared or grilled fish or chicken, use as a dip for veggies, or use as a dressing on sandwiches and in wraps! 


Friday, July 25, 2014

{Sweet and Spicy Brussell Sprouts}

If you would have told me 20 years ago that brussel sprouts would be one of my favorite vegetables, I probably would have laughed in your face, or turned up my little nose!  Because let me tell you brussel sprouts do not look that appetizing to a little kid.  They are green, leafy and to be honest kind of ugly!  So how did I go from loathing brussel sprouts to loving them?  I have no idea!  But honestly I love them! 

I whipped these little green guys up the other night as a nice veggie side for our chicken.  Let me just tell you that between Derek, my sister and I there were no leftover brussel sprouts!  I guess they were a hit!  I pan seared these little green guys in coconut oil with onion and garlic until golden brown and slightly crispy.  I then finished them off with a sweet and spicy "glaze"  that I think elevated the whole dish!  Make them as your next side, maybe you will even get your picky veggie eaters to eat their veggies! 

Sweet and Spicy Brussel Sprouts
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Serves 2-4 

2-3 Cups Brussel Sprouts Halved - Outside leaves discarded 
2 Teaspoons Coconut Oil 
1/2 Medium Onion Roughly Chopped 
2 Garlic Gloves Minced 
1/2 Teaspoon Ginger 
Salt and Pepper to Taste 
2 Tablespoons Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce 
1 Tablespoon Honey 
1 -2 Teaspoons Chili Garlic Sauce - Depending on how spicy you like them! 

1- In a large skillet heat coconut oil until melted.  Add onions and sautee until tender.  Add in garlic and cook until fragrant. 
2- Add halved brussel sprouts to skillet and cook until golden brown (about 15 min). 
3- In a small bowl mix together ginger, soy sauce, honey and chili garlic sauce.  Whisk ingredients together until well combined.  Pour over brussel sprouts and let cook an additional 3-4 minutes. 
4- Serve immediately! 

Enjoy !

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

{Honey Soy Turkey Lettuce Wraps}

Friends, it had been way to long since I had been creative in the kitchen... let alone cooked an entire meal.  I have to say that I missed cooking, and coming up with recipes for the blog!  Cooking is my creative outlet, and my way to relax at the end of a long day.  Yes, cooking can be messy and I usually have to wash a million dishes after, but there is just something about creating a beautiful meal from start to finish that just de-stresses me!  

Does that sound a little crazy?  I know I am odd!  Anyways, it felt good to be back in the kitchen creating a meal.   I felt like I was getting back to my normal nightly routine.  I can honestly say that I have felt a bit off since moving, traveling and starting a new role.  But, I think I am settling into the changes, and excited for whats to come from the many changes.  

 Now, lets begin talking about these delicious Turkey Lettuce Wraps!  These lettuce wraps are the bomb!  I made them for my sister and I last night and they got some pretty rave reviews!  She called them blog worthy, and delicious!  Win for me!  And yes,  I have been drooling over these images the entire time I write this post!  Just incase you were wonder!  Anyways back to the lettuce wraps.   You must make them as soon as possible!  They are full of flavor and just the slightest bit spicy.  I seasoned the ground turkey with cumin, chili powder, red pepper flakes and ginger!  Then once the turkey has been partially cooked I drizzle the meat and veggies in a delicious honey sesame soy sauce!  Make these for dinner, a simple app, or a side.  They are delicious and won't disappoint you! 

Honey Soy Turkey Lettuce Wraps
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Serves 2-4 

1 Lb Lean Ground Turkey 
1/2 Medium Red Pepper Chopped 
1 Medium Onion Roughly Chopped 
2 Garlic Cloves Minced 
1 Large Handful Fresh Cilantro 
1 Head Iceberg Lettuce
1 Teaspoon Chili Powder 
1 Teaspoon Cumin 
1/2 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper 
2 Teaspoons Ground Ginger 
1/2 Teaspoon Onion Salt 
Cooking Spray 

Honey Soy Sauce: 
2 Tablespoons Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce 
2 Teaspoons Honey 
1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil 

1- In a medium skillet coated with cooking spray suatee onions until translucent.  Add garlic and cook until fragrent.  Next add in red pepper and cook 3 minutes until tender. 
2- Add ground turkey to skillet.  Use a spatula to break the turkey into chunks.  Season meat with chili powder through onion salt.  
3- While meat is cooking whisk together soy sauce, honey and sesame oil in a small bowl.  Once meat is partially cooked drizzle soy sauce mixture over meat and continue to cook meat until fully cooked. 
4- Once meat is cooked through stir in handful of cilantro and serve. 

**To serve scoop turkey mixture into lettuce leaves and wrap burrito style.  You can serve the lettuce wraps with additional soy sauce, sriracha or any other dipping sauce of choice! 


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

{Wedding Update - Engagement Photos}

This past weekend was packed full but the majority of the weekend was spent focusing on Wedding Planning!  My mom and dad were nice enough to head up to Minneapolis for the weekend, specifically so my mom could help me with wedding details!  We shopped, met with florist, tried a new brunch place, enjoyed the weather on a beautiful patio with a glass of wine and talked what felt like non stop about the wedding!  

Friday, July 18, 2014

{Chicago Weekend Recap}

Friends I am here to say that I survived the week!  I feel like it is always hard to get back into the groove of things after a long weekend (I had a 4.5 day weekend this past weekend).  In fact this week to me is a complete blur, but thats ok because I live for long weekends that are spent with dear friends and celebrations!

This past weekend (yes, almost a week ago) Derek and I traveled to Chicago for our lovely friends wedding!  We made a pit stop in Wisconsin Dells to visit Derek's aunt and uncle and made a little vacay our of our 6 hour road trip down to Chicago!

The weekend was filled with wedding festivities and catching up with some of my closest girlfriends from school!  But the best part of the entire weekend was being able to stand by my Sam's side as she married the love of her life, Ryan!  Their wedding was simply beautiful and absolutely perfect!

It was a wonderful weekend!  Congrats again, Sam and Ryan!  

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

{Quinoa Risotto with Peas and Chickpeas}

Hi, Friends! 

I am finally getting back into cooking... I know it has been a while and I am not even sure I can use moving as an excuse anymore!  While I still feel like I am settling into the new place, the kitchen is more then functional, really I have just been lazy with cooking!  Sorry!!   But none the less I am excited to be back with you today, and more excited to share this delicious risotto recipe with you!  

Risotto is my go to recipe when I need a wow recipe that is sure to please a crowd, or when I want to make an extra special dinner for Derek and I (check out my go to shrimp risotto recipe, here)!  Risotto is simple, yet delicious and to me is a dressed up version of good old comfort food.  Think carbs, cheese and delectable add ins!   My quinoa risotto is a nod to the classic rice version, and packed full of good for you veggies and cheesy goodness!  This risotto is perfect for a meatless Monday meal, and reheats great for lunches!  Serve it with a simple salad for a complete dinner or eat it as a side dish.  I am just sure you will love this risotto, no matter how you choose to serve it! 

Quinoa Risotto with Peas and Chickpeas 
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Serves 4-6 

1 Cup Quinoa Rinsed (I used Tri Color Trader Joe's Quinoa) 
3 Cups Vegetable Broth 
2 Teaspoons Minced Garlic 
1/2 Medium Onion Chopped 
1 Cup Canned Chickpeas (Drained and Rinsed) 
1 Cup Frozen Peas 
1-2 Large Handfuls Fresh Chopped Basil 
1/3 Cup Good Quality Parmesan Cheese
1/4 Cup Feta Cheese 
Salt and Pepper to Taste 
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil 

1- In large skillet heat olive oil.  Sautee onions until translucent add in garlic and cook until fragrant.  Slowly add quinoa in with onion and garlic.  Stir until quinoa is evenly coated with olive oil.  Cook for 1 minute. 
2- Add in 1 1/2 Cup of the chicken broth.  Allow mixture to come to boil, reduce heat and continue cooking until broth is absorbed.  Add in remaining broth and all mixture to simmer until liquid is almost all absorbed and quinoa is tender.  
3- Stir in peas and allow peas to cook for 5 minutes until heated through.  Stir in parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and basil.  Transfer risotto to a serving dish and top with feta.  Serve immediately. 


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

{Life Lately}

Hello, Friends!

(Aren't they just the cutest?)

Life has been pretty busy for the last few weeks, and I feel as though life won’t be slowing down any time soon!  But you know what, even though life has been pretty crazy and full of changes, I have to say I am thoroughly enjoying myself! Life has been filled with friends, family, a move, a new category at work which was then followed by a promotion, I truly have nothing to complain about nor should I be complaining!  My world has been turned upside down with changes but hey that is life!  Isn’t life all about growing and changing and taking on new adventures/challenges?  I think so!

Friday, July 4, 2014

{Happy 4th of July}

Wishing you all a wonderful 4th of July! Hope your day is filled with celebrating our great Nation, family, friends and good food! 
Happy 4th of July! 

PS if you missed the recipe round up on the blog yesterday... here it is!  

Thursday, July 3, 2014

{4th of July Recipe Round Up}

I love the 4th of July!  I  find it exciting and an honor that we get to spend an entire day celebrating our Nation!  I love gathering with friends and family, grilling out, watching fireworks and getting decked out in Red, White and Blue!  I still remember when I was younger my mom dressing both my sister and I in matching flag shirts, you know what ones I am talking about!  We were really cute kids, I promise! 

Anyway, with the 4th of July being tomorrow I figured I would give you a nice little run down of a few recipes that I think would be perfect for your 4th of July get together!  Whether you are throwing a huge 4th of July bash or a small intimate get together with close friends and family, these recipes are sure to please and impress!  So here is is, your 2014 4th of July Recipe Round Up!

Marinaded 3 Bean Salad - Brunch N'Cupcakes 

Summer Pasta Salad – Brunch N’Cupcakes  

Patriotic Fruit and Cheese Skewers - Whats Cooking with Ruthie 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

{Salmon with Tomato, Avocado and Corn Burschetta}

Cooking in my apartment right now has been pretty interesting!  My sister and I are living among boxes, furniture, and suitcases and we prepare for the move on Thursday (YAY)!  My sister and I are making the best of it however, and I have to say that cooking is way more exciting when you have no idea where your cooking utensils, spices or pots and pans are! 

Anyways, yesterday I whipped up this delicious pan seared salmon for my sister and I, Mainly because the only thing I could find to cook on was a large skillet!  Anyways, we topped this simple pan seared salmon with the most delicious tomato avocado and corn burschetta.  Now let me just pause for a moment and talk about how obsessed I am with tomato and avocado as a pairing!  Oh, my, goodness is it one of the best (still might not take the place of PB and chocolate in my book, but pretty close)!  Tomato and avocado were made to go together.  The creaminess of the avocado paired with the bright pop of flavor from the grape tomatoes, yum!  Ok, side note over…

I think you really need to make this Salmon!  It is a simple meal, filled with tons of flavor!  The salmon is lightly pan seared with a little seasoning and the burchetta topping adds extra flavor and texture!  Pair the salmon with a simple green salad or steamed veggies and you have a delicious meal! 

Salmon with Tomato, Avocado and Corn Burschetta
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Serves 2-4

3/4 -1 Pound Fresh Salmon 
Teaspoon Pepper and Basil 
1/4 Teaspoon Salt 
1 Teaspoon Olive Oil 

For the Burschetta: 
1/2 Cup Fresh Sweet Corn 
1 Cup Grape Tomatoes Roughly Chopped 
1/2 Avocado Chopped 
1 Teaspoon Dry Basil 
Salt and Pepper to Taste 
1 Teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar 
1/2 Teaspoon Olive Oil 

1- Combine Burschetta ingredients into a small bowl, lightly mix and set aside. 
2- Coat both sides of the fish with olive oil and seasonings.  Heat a small skillet on medium heat and cook salmon for 4 minutes on each side or until salmon has reached the desired degree of doneness.  
3- Plate salmon and top with the fresh burschetta, serve immediately! 

Check out these other delicious salmon recipes from around the web!