As the temperature rise in Austin, so does my desire for smoothies! Several weeks ago, I was talking smoothies with my friend, Kristina. I told her that I didn’t want to buy an expensive blender, but that my hand-held immersion blender wasn’t cutting it. I said that I had a Margaritaville margarita machine that was collecting dust and wondered if I could use that. Kristina said, Of course!
It’s been smooth smoothie sailing since then!
Blueberry Pomengranate Spinach Smoothie
3/4 cup fresh blueberries
3/4 cup coconut milk (or whatever milk you prefer)
1/4 cup frozen blueberries
1 six ounce container of Chobani pomegranate yogurt (I used fat free.)
handful of spinach leaves
Combine in your
margarita machine blender and enjoy!
Makes one large serving or 2 small servings.
My generous aunt Ann recently gave me several of her cookbooks. It was a win-win situation. She wanted less clutter in her house. I wanted more clutter. Wait, no that’s not right. Ah well, it’s hard to resist free cookbooks!
She later asked me which cookbook I dove into first.
Uh…the cookie cookbook, OF COURSE!
Banana Chocolate Chip Bars
Recipe from Nestle’s Best-Ever Cookies cookbook
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
sifted powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a large 15 x 10 inch jelly-roll pan. Set pan aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set bowl aside.
In a large bowl, beat together the softened butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract until creamy. Beat in the bananas and egg. Gradually beat in your flour mixture.
Stir in the chocolate chips. Spread batter into your prepared jelly-roll pan.
Bake for 20-30 minutes.
Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Sprinkle cooled bars with powdered sugar.
These bars are not overly sweet. I enjoyed
three a bar for breakfast. Add a smear of peanut butter on top and a glass a milk…fast breakfast of champions.
I’d fallen off the smoothie wagon for awhile. It’s been all about eggs for me in the mornings. But now that summer is here, my love of the breakfast smoothie has been re-energized!
Also, I recently bought a Margaritaville blender. And to justify the cost, I knew that I would be making more than just margaritas in it. :)
Raspberry Banana Smoothie
Recipe from The Chew
1 1/2 – 2 cups raspberries
1 frozen banana
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 – 1 cup ice
Almond milk, to thin, if needed
Combine all ingredients into your blender. Blend until smooth. If mixture is too thick, add some almond milk.
Makes 2 small smoothies or 1 large smoothie.
1. It’s been raining here in Austin. I know we need the rain. Be grateful for it. But my apartment complex decided to dump a bunch of sand in the parking lot right before the rain. To help soak up the oil spotches from cars, I guess?? Cut to this sand + rain + oil creating a slippery mess in the parking lot! Cut to Julie eating it in the parking lot & falling…hands full of grocery bags. UGH! At least no one saw me. Someone witnessing your fall is way worse than actually falling.
2. My new favorite smoothie….Banana Biscoff Smoothie.
3. My new favorite breakfast…Runny eggs over asparagus.
4. My new favorite ready-to-drink cocktail….Skinnygirl’s White Cranberry Cosmo. SO GOOD!!
5. Are you watching Girls on HBO?
This show seems to rile people up. People hate it….or love it….or love to dissect it. It’s a hot button issue for some reason. I happen to LOVE the show. I relate to it….or rather my earlier 20 year old self related to it. It’s awkward and real. I went through some of those experiences, self-deprecating thoughts and emotions. The show literally makes me cringe as I’m transported back in time. I love the show though because I know that I come out on the other side stronger and wiser!
Okay, I’m done.
Last week, I ventured out to get my Texas car tags and driver’s license. It’s not fun. No one wants to do it. But I have quite a bit of free time, so I decided to knock it off the to-do list.
The car tags part was easy breezy! I was in and out in less than 30 minutes. Although the lady said that Texas requires back and front tags. I looked at the front bumper of my Nissan Sentra. I swear there is not spot for a front tag!!! I looked at several other Nissan in my apartment parking lot and they didn’t have front tags either. So, I’m not worrying about it.
I ventured over to the driver’s license office on Lamar right after that. I was immediately told that I needed my birth certificate or passport. No problem…I just came on a whim, so left and came back the next day.
The next day there were approximately 1 billion more people at the DMV. Yikes! They made an announcement that the new South Austin DMV office had ZERO people waiting in line, so I left to go there. Since it’s a new office though, my GPS didn’t recognize the location. But, I wasn’t paying attention that my stupid dang Garmin picked a different address for me.
And me being new to town, just aimlessly followed my GPS…….to Round Rock!!! Um hi, Round Rock, TX and South Austin are polar opposites. Argh!
I finally made it to the South Austin DMV and got in right away.
Then came the dreaded eye test. (Insert ominous music here.) I had detached retinas and eye surgery on both my eyes in 5th grade. I just really can not see well out of my right eye.
I read the left section of numbers right away. And the middle section of numbers was fine too. But then when I had to read the right section of numbers….a total blur-fest. I was basically guessing….and blinking a million times to try to get a millisecond of clarity.
I finally got them all but one number. 3? 8? 6? I started to panic! Is she going to fail me? Will she take away my Kansas license too?
I was all flustered and sweaty by now. So of course, the lens was all foggy. I sheepishly asked her for a tissue to clean off the lens.
The DMV lady loudly sighed and said….It’s a 9!!!
Crisis averted. Texas driver’s license approved.
To celebrate, let’s have a breakfast panini.
Recipe from Everyday Food magazine, March 2012
1/4 cup Nutella
8 slices thick bread, such as brioche
3 bananas, thinly sliced
1/2 stick unsalted butter
* I just eyeballed it to make myself one sandwich for breakfast though.
Spread 1 tablespoon Nutella on 4 bread slices. Layer with bananas and top with remaining bread.
In a grill pan (I used my beloved Griddler), melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Cook 2 sandwiches until bread is toasted and Nutella is melted, about 3-5 minutes.
Repeat for remaining sandwiches.
Do you leave your Christmas decorations up through New Years? Or do you take them down right after Christmas?
I’m in the “leave them up!” camp. I think of the Christmas season lasting from the day after Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day.
Although, it is a little depressing staring a tree with no presents under it.
And mostly, this decoration debate is a way to justify why there is a reindeer in my waffle picture. I made these waffles weeks ago and didn’t blog about them before Christmas.
Oops!! I swear, keeping to a blog schedule and some semblance of consistency with blogging needs to be my New Year’s resolution.
And maybe making waffles every weekend should be a resolution. That sounds like a great one!!
This waffle recipe is a copy cat recipe from Waffle House’s pecan waffles. They are the BEST waffles that I’ve made to date!!!
Recipe from Food Network Magazine–Dec 2011
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted & cooled
1/4 cup vegetable shortening, melted & cooled
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread pecans onto a cookie sheet. Bake about 5 to 7 minutes until toasted. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, buttermilk, and vanilla.
Stir the egg mixture, melted butter, and melted shortening into the dry mixture. Stir just until combined.
Preheat a waffle iron. Brush heated waffle iron with some melted butter. Ladle about 1/2 cup of batter onto your waffle iron. Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of the toasted pecans onto the batter.
Cook until golden brown. Repeat until all of your waffles are cooked.
Serve immediately with butter and syrup.
Did you know that Jonathan Lipnicki is 21 years old now?
Who the heck is Jonathan Lipnicki?
The human head weighs 8 pounds.
Oh…..that kid from Jerry Maguire!
There was a story about him NOW on Yahoo. The human head may weigh 8 pounds, but I’m more interested in that SIX PACK!! What?!?!
The secret to his rockin’ abs??
Okay, that’s totally not true. But it worked as a segue!!
Recipe from Brown Eyed Baker
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3-4 ripe mashed bananas
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. Set aside. In another bowl, add the sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Beat together to mix. Stir in the mashed bananas to your wet ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet. Stir just until blended.
Line your muffin tins with paper liners. Divide the batter into the liners. Bake the muffins for about 25 minutes until the tops are golden brown. Test for doneness with a toothpick to see that no crumbs are attached. Transfer muffins to a wire rack and cool slightly.
Makes about 15-18 muffins. Serve warm or cooled. Serve for breakfast or dessert.
I prefer my banana muffins for breakfast, before I hit the gym to work on my own 6 pack abs! Or before I sit in front of a computer for 10 hours. One or the other I’m sure.
Good morning!! I’m not much of a Wal-Mart grocery shopper. It’s just too dang busy. I get overwhelmed…and frustrated…and annoyed, very annoyed.
But gosh darnit (did I just say “gosh darnit”?), I really wanted one of those egg muffin pans! And I’m making pork tenderloin for dinner and I know that Wal-Mart carries what I was looking for.
So I braved the store at 7 am this morning. 7 am is the perfect time to grocery shop at Wal-Mart!! It was quiet and peaceful and not crowded. I venture to say I might even go back. The lady checking out in front of me saw that I was buying cherries and offered me her match-that coupon to get a cheaper price even! Why thank you, kind lady!!
I remembered to brew some coffee last night too and put it in the fridge overnight. Best iced coffee made at home so far!!
I put just a dash of heavy cream into the egg muffin pan with salt & pepper. I microwaved it for 30 seconds only. Every microwave is different, but this did the trick for me….cooked enough to stay in place, but still runny. I served my on a bagel thin with a little Earth Balance and cheese on top with a side of green apple slices.
The only way my morning would have been better is if I would have exercised too. There’s always tomorrow for that!!
It’s a new wonderful week in Charlotte!! I am not sad I missed the 111 degree temperatures in Wichita yesterday! Yikes! Sarah and I had made a Wal-Mart run on Friday night to get all the food and drink for her party on Saturday. I eye-spied an Egg N Muffin microwave pan. After having gotten breakfast sandwiches at Starbucks or Subway the last few mornings, it wasn’t a hard sell for Sarah to buy this gem. At only $3, it pays for itself quickly!!
You simply crack an egg into the pan. Then stir a bit with a fork and microwave for a minute.
Toast your English muffin. Top it with your cooked egg that is now the perfect circular size. Add with some shredded cheddar cheese and some salt & pepper. Sarah topped our breakfast with some prosciutto.
Yum! Have a great morning!!
So, I made cinnamon rolls on Sunday night. No biggie.
Syke! It was a H-U-G-E biggie. By the way, did you like how I just brought “syke” back? And since we’re on the topic, is it “syke” or “sike”???
While we ponder the depth of that, back to the cinnamon rolls of awesomeness. It was a biggie for me, because I was scared to death of this little ol’ thing.
I’d never made any bread that required yeast. The closest I’ve come is beer bread. Beer bread…yum. This yeast stuff though….you look online and it’s horror stories of bad yeast packets and what when wrong stories. Yikes!
I finally conquered my fear for my friend, Amy, though. When I started my food blog in May, Amy mentioned how much she loves cinnamon rolls. She said that she and her co-workers would love some cinnamon rolls to go with their morning coffee…hint hint hint. I put her off and said, “Well, maybe I’ll make them for your birthday.” Guess who had a birthday this weekend?
Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Frosting
Recipe from The Pioneer Woman
Makes six 8.5 inch aluminum pans worth of cinnamon rolls
For the cinnamon rolls:
4 cups whole milk
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 package active dry yeast
8 cups + 1 cup separate all-purpose unbleached flour
1 heaping tsp baking powder
1 scant tsp baking soda
1 heaping tbl salt
1.5 cups melted butter
2 cups sugar
copious amounts of cinnamon
For the maple frosting:
1 bag powder sugar
2 tsp maple extract flavoring
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup brewed coffee–I used Caribou blend
1/8 tsp salt
To make the cinnamon rolls:
Mix the milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a pot on the stovetop. Heat the mixture just before the boiling point. (I turned off the heat just as I saw the first bubble in the liquid.) Leave the liquid on the burner with the heat off and let it cool for 45 minutes.
After 45 minutes, the liquid will still be warm, but NOT hot. This warm temperature is what you want for the yeast. Sprinkle in 2 packages of the yeast. Let the yeast sit for a minute to get all happy and hoppy. After that, add 8 cups of flour. Stir together. Cover and let rise for an hour. (I covered the pot with two dry dish towels.)
(After an hour (no peeking before then!), your dough will have risen! Success!! I was seriously nervous I would lift the dish towels to see no change in the dough! Crisis averted!)
Now, add 1 more cup of flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir together.
Now, place the pot in the refrigerator for at least an hour. (I only did an hour, but could have kept it in longer to easier to work with dough.) You can even leave it in overnight too. If your dough starts to get too big in the pot in the refrigerator, just pop it down with your fist.
Let’s get rolling! Sprinkle your counter and rolling pin generously with flour. Take HALF the dough and form a rectangle. Then roll the dough out, keeping a rectangular shape. Drizzle 1/2 of your melted butter over the dough. Sprinkle 1 cup of sugar over the butter Sprinkle cinnamon over the sugar. (I went a-crazyyyy with the butter & cinnamon! I love ooey gooey cinnamon rolls. These cinnamon rolls are not diet food, folks! Go wild!!)
Now, start to roll the dough in a nice line toward you. Try to keep the roll tight. Pinch at the seam to seal it.
Coat your six pans with melted butter. (I used 1 tbl melted butter per pan.) Cut your rolls approximately 3/4 to 1 inch think. (I used a pizza cutter to cut my rolls) Lay rolls in butter pans. Let the rolls rise for 20 minutes. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 18 minutues until light golden brown.
Repeat the process with the other 1/2 of the dough.
To make the maple frosting:
Mix together all listed ingredients. Stir on low in mixer until smooth. Frosting will be thick but pourable. Once again, go wild and pour frosting on the cinnamon rolls as soon as you take them out of the oven!
This frosting is great on the rolls!! Don’t be afraid of the coffee element. Delicious!
Happy Birthday, Amy!