Thursday, June 30, 2011

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

I think this week is dragging because I am so ready to be on vacation.  The weather has also been unbelievably gorgeous.  I sit facing a huge window at work so I definitely know when I am missing out on the sunshine.

When I think of the 4th of July, I think of sunshine and picnics.  I guess this would be a perfect world scenario.  I also think that the most perfect, classic picnic dessert is cookies.  But as we all know I have a very fond spot in my heart for cookies, so this may be a biased opinion.  To prepare for the upcoming 4th weekend I had to create some fantastic cookies. 

These pretty much hit the spot right on.  They are soft and chewy, a hint of chocolate and a bit of peanut butter.  Yep, a little bit of 4th of July heaven.    

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies Cookies
adapted from Annie's Eats

2 cups plus
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1/4 cup applesauce
1 cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cup peanut butter cups


Preheat oven 325°. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl; set aside. With electric mixer mix butter and sugars until thoroughly combined. Beat in egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add dry ingredients and beat at low-speed just until combined. Stir in peanut butter cups.

Bake for 12 minutes spinning cookie sheets half way through cooking time.  Leave cookies on baking sheet for 10 minutes before removing.  Cookies will be a light golden brown and centers are still soft.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Fighting with Dinner

Things haven't really been going my way the last few days. Life has been beyond hectic and these little nuisances keep popping up that make everything so much worst.  

Yesterday I woke up early to do Barre 3 workout video.  I think of this as more weights and still planned to go to the gym after work.  But after work I was beat and there was no way I was getting myself to the gym.

I had planned an amazing dinner from Mama Pea of Potato and White Bean Basil Burgers.  They look yum!  Then all of our potatoes were rotten.  It was beyond gross!  I think it might have been Mr. J thinking up ways to sideline my vegan meal for the week. 

Dinner was improvised. 

I consoled my soul with Laguna Beach on Netflix and one of these

Recipe to come tomorrow!  I wish every night could end like this.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Do you ever think you have the best recipe ever?

If you think you have a really good recipe this month submit it to June's YBRNancy @ SpicieFoodie kindly collects every one's wonderful recipes to share each month. 

It may just be fresh in my mind but these blueberry banana yogurt muffins were my best creation.

Cannot wait to see the final list of what everyone created!

Bluebuerry Banana Yogurt Muffins

After making this recipe I realized I have been very, very lax about posting new recipes to my recipe page.  To put it simply, I haven't updated in about 3 months.  YIKES!  A lot of baking and cooking has been going on since then so the mission this week is to do some major updates.  Hopefully, I will stay on the ball. 

I was on the baking train this weekend and had a blast playing in the kitchen.  It has been a long time since I have made muffins.  With all the lovely berries out in the stores, I realized I had a fridge full of fruit to be used.  It pains me a bit to add my favorite berries to baked goods.  I think they are best just plain.  I can easily finish off a container in one sitting.  However, I do like fruit in bake goods and a favorite is blueberry muffins.

Blueberry Banana Yogurt Muffins
Adapted from Stonyfield Farm

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup blueberries
1 mashed banana
2 eggs
1 cup yogurt (Banilla flavored)*
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla

* You can use Vanilla or Plain yogurt.  I reduced the sugar amount to 1/4 cup from 1/2 cup when using flavored since the yogurt itself is so sweet.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine the flours, sugar, and baking soda.  Then  add blueberries. 

Stir in mashed banana until it just comes together.  Be careful not to crush the blueberries.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, yogurt, butter and vanilla.

Gradually stir dry ingredients into wet.

Divide batter evenly in a 12-cup muffin tin that has been greased.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.

The banana and yogurt give just a hint of banana flavor.  The big blueberries are star of the show. I really need to start making muffins more often. They make mornings so much easier. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Prepping for the Week

I now have another reason for not liking the rain.  Our clamming adventures stopped before we even made it out the door.  See, clams filter water and when it rains they filter rain water.  Rain water is not very clean - gross huh?  When it rains too much the Clam Association closes all of the clam areas because they are not safe to eat.  Well, last week there was a lot of rain and thus when we called the clam hot line (don't laugh, it is very helpful) they said all areas are closed.

Instead I got this done. 

Pretty nails make me happy.  I went to a new place and it was fantastic.  I left with not only pretty nails but smooth legs and relaxed muscles.  This is definitely a splurge for me.  After today though I can see why people go much more often. I would like to go much more often.

I also was able to cut up all sorts of veggies for next week.  I try to do a bit of this every week but honestly it just doesn't happen.  I am not big on chopping things up to begin with.  I would much rather spend my time in the kitchen baking.  Thus, after baking, regular meal preparations and dishes, chopping veggies and fruit for the coming week is just not high on the priority list.  

Wtih extra time on my hand I was able to make carrot and celery sticks for easy snacking, prep cucumbers for salads, and dice strawberries for breakfast. 

All in all this probably took me maybe an extra 30 minutes.  I am hoping it will save me some serious time this week, especially in the mornings when I need it the most.  If nothing else I won't be washing the same cutting board every day.

I am off to get ready for work, counting down the days till the weekend, the LONG weekend for 4th of July one of my favorite holidays!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Weekend Edition: F.U.N.

You know the weekend is going to be good when Friday night starts out like this...

A group of us got together for dinner at The Place.  Yes, the name of the restaurant is called The Place.  The subtitle on the sign is an unusual dinning experience.  I don't think you could explain it much better than that.  As you can see the chairs are tree stumps.  

The menu is a huge board in the back.  And you bring all of your own side dishes. 

We had quite the selection of dishes to pick from.  I am pretty sure everyone was full from just our own dishes. 

But that didn't stop us from continuing to feast.  Some of us planned ahead and brought real wine glasses.  I wasn't so prepared and Mr. J ended up with this classy glass for his red wine.

My favorite item ever at The Place is the roasted corn.  It is so good.  I could probably order 5 and call it a night.  I was lucky enough to not be caught in a picture eating.  Kari has her own blog and was more than willing to be photographed.  They smother the corn in butter so it gets to be quite messy!

The menu consists of a variety of seafood dishes, chicken and rib eye steak all served up on the big fire pit.  I got the mussels.

Clearly they were a hit!

The night ended with dessert.  I talked Mr. J into splitting a Peanut Butter Mud Cake.  He tackled the whip cream and I devoured the peanut butter topping.

Everyone had a fun night.  On a side note, this is a restaurant Martha Stewart frequents but no one believed me.  I did a bit of research and found the last time she visited here

Saturday Mr. J and I did a bit of exploring and ended up at this mini golf course.  I hadn't been mini golfing in years.  The course itself was not fantastic but we had a fun time. I got to see Mr. J in action after all of the weekends he left me to play golf.   

I got a hole-in-one, but then Mr. J got a hole-in one on the same green.  He completely stole my thunder and made my victory dance not as enjoyable.  In the end he won by one shot.  We were both really over par.  I think the holes were a bit messed up though.  I cannot tell you how many balls jumped out of the holes. 

Up next today is a clamming adventure.  We are hoping to catch our own supper.  This weekend would have been like a mini vacation if it weren't for the laundry, dishes, and vacuuming that needed to get done. 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

This is going to be the best day EVER

You know it is going to be a good day when breakfast consists of the most perfect smoothie ever. 
I don't know why I never thought of it before. Adding shredded coconut to a smoothie.

Coconut Green Monster

Ingredients:1 c spinach
1 frozen banana
2 Tbsp chia seeds
1/4 c rolled oats
3/4 c plain yogurt
1/2 c milk

Blend till smooth and top with granola.  Yum!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Fridays 5 Phone Apps

It was not too long ago that I didn't know what a Smart phone Application was...heck I only got a Smart phone beginning in 2011.  Yep, till then I was perfectly content with a flip phone.  Even that I didn't utilize to its full capacity.

But now I have my hands on some modern technology and I am just starting to see the wonders of the Smart phone.  I can only say that I will never, ever, be bored again!

Here are my top five applications:

Netflix - What a great idea! You can stream hundreds of movies and TV shows instantly if you are a member.  Last week when I was stuck in the airport for an extra 2 hours, I enjoyed 3episodes of Glee, season 1.  This also provides entertainment while at the gym and I needed a little extra distraction to finish my workout.

Pandora - Bye bye itunes!  This is a constant stream of music.  You can pick genres, songs, basically anything and you get a custom radio station.  Again, this is great for gym distraction.

Nook -  Ever get stuck at a doctor's office, or a line at the post office.  Well pop open a book on the Nook application and that wait doesn't seem so bad.

Facebook - I don't think this needs an explanation!

Detla - OK these makes me seem a bit geeky but I do travel alot.  This allows to me to check in at the click of a buttom. It stores all of my flights and confirmation numbers.  You can check flight statuses, and gate locations before getting off the plane.   

You may be question why Angry birds didn't make the cut. Well, I am too scared to try it out.  I heard it sucks your life away.  After seeing a 60 some year old business man playing it non-stop during a 4 hour flight, I realized I am probably better off without it.  

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hump Day

It is Hump Day today.  Yesterday was one of those days that seemed to last forever and yet it went by so fast. 

My day started with an 8am meeting.  It was a phone conference call.  These calls are always inherently awkward.  My co-worker were giving a presentation to a group of 13 people.  I judge a conversation a lot by the body and facial expressions of the people I am speaking with.  Over the phone you cannot do that. I could not tell if they were bored, interested, confused.   So an hour later I was sitting there wondering was it good or bad?

Our office also seems to have bathroom problems.  I wonder if every office has these issues.  The women's restroom, the only one in the office with 3 stalls always smells funky.  Is it one person or do multiple people have stomach issues.   I am always running in and out as fast as possible trying not to breathe too deeply.  

These pictures are just to prove that I do feed Mr. J red meat on occasion. We had flank steak on Sunday.  I was pretty impressed with the results.  I marinated the meat for 6 hours before throwing it under the broiler.


1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Whisk together.
Tonight is a "on your own" night.  This means there are lots of random leftovers in the fridge.  Not enough for a complete meal separately but if you take a little of each you would have quite the smorgousboard.  The best part is that there is little preparation, the oven stays off, and the refridgerator gets cleaned. out. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

First Day of Summer

Today is the first day of summer.  Can you believe it?  A year ago I still lived in New York.   A year ago I was still single, preparing for my wedding.  Seriously, where does the time go?  This weekend I had some incredible urgings to have chocolate and coconut.  I mean, I am really hard pressed to think of a better food combination.  They I got to thinking about my delicious dough balls that were not the brightest idea to try.  I cannot get them out of my head. 

Somehow I logically thought that a blend of dough balls and coconut and chocolate would make the situation better. I blame Mr. J because he spent the better half of Saturday golfing.  Whenever he goes golfing I end up in the kitchen.  So there blame Mr. J.

I took the Oatmeal Carrot Cookie recipe and made a few minor adjustments.  The end result is heavenly.  They are vegan so snacking on the dough is perfectly acceptable safe.

Vegan Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks

1 cup oat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup chocolate chunks
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup unrefined (fragrant) coconut oil, warmed until just melted


Preheat oven to 375F degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and oats. Add the nuts, coconut, and chocolate. In a separate smaller bowl use a whisk to combine the agave nectar and coconut oil. Add this to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.

Eat a bit of the dough for quality control.

Drop onto prepared baking sheets, one level tablespoonful at a time, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie. Bake in the top 1/3 of the oven for 10 - 12 minutes or until the cookies are golden on top and bottom.

My chocolate chunks were a bit too big for the recipe.  It was hard to form solid balls and some of the cookie exploded a bit when baking.  We cannot all be perfect right?

It is OK though.  I ate destroyed the evidence before anyone noticed.  

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