Mini Bagel Snack Idea

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I am sharing this snack idea with you to remind you of three things:

1. Bagels are delicious (and being mini automatically makes them even cooler).

2. Peanut butter should be spread on all things edible.

3. Cinnamon brings out the best in everything.

I also got a new camera and I thought you deserved to appreciate the improvement in photographic quality. Okay, mainly to show improvement in photographic quality, but I trust you will appreciate it.

I don’t know if you would consider this a “recipe”, but because I don’t know of another description that is what we will call it.

Recipe:

  • 1 mini bagel
  • 1 TBS peanut butter
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Directions: 

Toast the bagel to perfection. Spread the tablespoon of peanut butter onto the toasted bagel. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

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3 Ingredient Green Smoothie

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This world that we live in is constantly telling us that more is better. We get caught up in the lies that more clothes will make us happier and more words will make us heard.

Despite this modern day message I am trying to appreciate simple.

Simple wardrobes are worn more frequently and simple recipes are made more frequently. The recipe I am sharing today only requires three ingredients and is one I am sure you will make often.

If you haven’t already jumped on the green-smoothie bandwagon this is your chance. Green smoothies have become my secret weapon. The orange juice gives me a burst of energy and I get to eat a whole serving of vegetables without even tasting it! It’s a win-win really.

Pair this with avocado on toast and you have the ultimate breakfast. Sip this poolside and soak up the sunny days ahead. Simple bliss. What are you waiting for? Blend away.

3 Ingredient Green Smoothie

      Recipe:

  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 a frozen banana
  • 1 cup of spinach (packed)

      Directions: Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until well combined. Pour into a glass and enjoy.

Notes:

  • If you do not use a frozen banana just add a few ice cubes to keep it a cool treat.
  • I have also tried the recipe using 1 cup of kale instead of spinach. It is still good, but produces a much “greener” flavor. My advice is to gradually increase the amount of kale you swap for spinach.
  • Add a tablespoon of chia seeds if you feel like it. You really can’t go wrong.
  • The striped straw pictured will not affect flavor, only awesome-ness.

 

 

 

Make + Bake + Buy Friday!

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I am ecstatic to be welcoming in the weekend. It’s been one of those weeks where I am just happy to have survived. With all of the anxiety inducing exams that I had to take I think that I deserve to party like it’s 1999 (which I thoroughly plan to do). If you’re feeling stressed out this week, then this post is for you. Today I want to highlight three thing you can make, bake, and buy to take care of yourself this weekend.

Make: Although I look absurdly ridiculous anytime I put one on I absolutely love face masks. They make me feel relaxed and pampered. I’ve never been to a spa to get a face mask. I’m sure it’s nice, but I think I’ll save some cash and stick with the homemade recipes I have found. I don’t know the science behind the ingredients in face masks, but I do know they feel nice and that’s all that matters. My all time favorite is an oatmeal face mask. Take fifteen minutes for yourself this weekend. You deserve it.

Bake: I stumbled upon this recipe during one of my Pinterest breaks this week and immediately added it to my list of recipes to try.  Few meals can be extraordinarily delicious and quick, but this 20-minute lemon pesto penne seems to promise both. I have yet to try it, but that shouldn’t stop you! Perfect spring-time dinner with minimal effort (I’m in!). Feel like you’re treating yourself without even breaking a sweat.

Buy: These 5″ inseam Old Navy shorts are calling your name. Being a penny-pinching college student I have found I now have an Old Navy obsession. I purchased two pairs of these at the beginning of the week and am already dying for more. These are the perfect length and come in a variety of colors. Depending on the color you choose the price ranges from $15-$22 online. That is a steal. Seriously, just get them.

Have a great rest of your Friday and don’t forget to treat yo’ self. (Parks and Rec reference alert.)

Happy Weekend!

– Jenna
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Sausage + Asparagus Frittata

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Happy Spring! Yesterday I was giddy as I made my first shorts and sandals purchase of the season. I couldn’t contain my excitement as I tried on dress after dress at Old Navy. There is a possibility I skipped through the store. Okay, I didn’t, but I was dreaming of it! As I mentioned in my last post I am suffering from extreme cabin fever. This condition, if not treated promptly, can lead to a severely unstable state of mind. (I don’t think I’m there yet, but…). For my sake I am happy to report that Sunday marks the start of spring-like weather. I can’t quite call it “spring” yet, but 50 degrees is good enough to get me outside and over this cabin fever thing.

On top of looking forward to getting outside I am ready to enjoying spring fruits and vegetables. This week we were bombarded with an overwhelming amount of Asparagus. I love asparagus, but you can only eat so much of it roasted. To add a little variation to our asparagus consumption my Mom and I worked together to concoct this Sausage + Asparagus Frittata.

If you’ve never made frittata before don’t fret. Although it sounds kind of fancy it is not difficult to make. It is a very filling one-pot meal. Frittata is served on it’s own or with pancakes, waffles, or blueberry buttermilk coffee cake (recipe coming soon). Frittata has become my go-to dinner because it requires few ingredients and can be altered to fit whatever items I have on hand. One of my favorite variations includes bacon and tomatoes. Let’s welcome spring in with this simple and fresh dish!

You deserve to gawk at all of this beautiful asparagus as much as I do.

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I’ve added some pictures in this post to aid in the step-by-step directions. Some pictures are going horizontal and others vertical. Sorry, I’m new at this. Let’s see how this goes.

Start by roasting the asparagus. Make sure it is still crispy when you remove it from the oven. We don’t need soggy-lifeless asparagus being added to our frittata.

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While your asparagus is roasting, brown your sausage in a large skillet.

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Potato time. I used two red potatoes and one white potato. Feel free to use whatever kind you like.

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Using a cheese grater, slice the potatoes very thin. The side of the grater that I used made them more like american fries. If you want a more hashbrown-like frittata bottom use the finer cheese grater. I’ve done both. (Thanks for the hand Jackson).

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Add the sliced potatoes to the sausage mixture and cook over medium-low heat until the potatoes are tender.

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While the sausage and potatoes cook, take your asparagus out of the oven and chop.

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Crack 8 eggs into a medium sized bowl. I promise to work on improving my photography skills. Bear with me.

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Add milk to the eggs and whisk together.

Yes, that is a cantaloupe in the background. Another spring food I am ecstatic to be eating.

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After the sausage-potato mixture is done top it with the asparagus and cheese . I used a combination of sharp cheddar and mild cheddar but use whatever you like. Pepper jack cheese is really tasty too.

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Pour the egg mixture on top of the cheese and put it in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Or until the egg mixture is no longer runny.

Then, surf the internet while baking happens. (p.s. check out Shutterbean.com. She’s always doing great things.)

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At last, pull your finished masterpiece out of the oven. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving

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Finally, serve and watch your family devour it. Trust me, it will happen.

 

Sausage + Asparagus Frittata 

Recipe: 

  • 3/4lb of asparagus
  • 1 lb pork sausage
  • 3 medium potatoes
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the asparagus on a large baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Lightly salt. Roast for 5-7 minutes or until just tender. Remove from the oven, cool slightly, and then chop into 1″ spears. Set aside.

In a large oven proof skillet brown the sausage. Slice the potatoes thinly using a cheese grater and add to the sausage once it has finished browning. Cook uncovered over medium-low heat until the potatoes are tender. Turn off burner. Add cheese and asparagus.

In a large bowl whisk together the milk and eggs. Pour the egg mixture on top of the cheese and asparagus.

Place in the oven uncovered for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand for 15 minutes before serving. Salt and pepper to taste

 

Let’s go back to talking spring fashion. Have you done any spring/summer shopping?

Jenna

 

 

 

Curry Cauliflower Soup // Farewell to Winter

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It’s no secret that this winter in the Midwest has been intense. Absurd amount of snow have kept us company for the past few months and we are so over it. Although the snow days were enjoyable I am thankful spring is in the air. I don’t think anyone will argue with me that it is time to put this cold behind us. As a thank-goodness-you-are-leaving tribute to winter I would like to share this soup recipe with you. 

Curry Cauliflower Soup

Adapted slightly from Joy the Baker

  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 1 heaping teaspoon cumin
  • 1 heaping teaspoon curry powder
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt
  • crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Cut cauliflower into 1 ½ inch florets and dice onion. Place cauliflower florets on a baking sheet and sprinkle with cumin and curry powder.  Drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil and toss to coat.  Season with a big pinch of salt and crushed red pepper flakes.  Place in the oven and roast until just tender, about 25 minutes.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the last tablespoon of olive oil.  Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and browned, about 5 minutes.  Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute more.  Add the roasted cauliflower to the pot along with the bay leaf, and broth. Simmer over medium heat until liquid has reduced some and the cauliflower is very tender, about 15 minutes.  Pick out and discard the bay leaf.

In a blender, puree the soup in two or three batches until very smooth.  Return the soup to the saucepan and stir in the yogurt.

Add a dollop of sour cream. Season with salt, and pepper for serving.

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Farewell to Winter

To bid adieu to winter and all things cold I put together lists of things I loved/didn’t love about this past season.

DIDN’T LOVE

  1. 26 sub-zero days — Unacceptable!
  2. Commuting to school in the polar vortex – less than ideal
  3. Being reminded about the freezing temperatures constantly – as if I could forget!
  4. Hypothermia warnings – In ten minutes it can happen people!
  5. Waiting the entire drive to school for my car to warm up
  6. Hearing my sister talk about envy-worthy 75 degree weather at her house in Florida
  7. Running on the treadmill – more appropriately titled the “dread-mill”
  8. Cabin fever like crazy!

LOVED

  1. A perfect year for snowmobiling!
  2. A white Christmas – totally gorgeous
  3. Attempted skiing again – far less falling this time around
  4. Extra coffee shop time – outside activities don’t seem appealing at 20 below
  5. Snow days = delayed exams = I won’t argue
  6. Soup, soup, and more soup!
  7. Drinking tea every waking moment to stay warm – David’s Tea anyone?
  8. Time to catch up on New Girl and Parks and Rec
  9. Eating ice cream despite the cold – totally normal

Tell me what you LOVED/ DIDN’T LOVE about this Winter.

Jenna

Dark Chocolate Black Bean Cookies

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Dark Chocolate Black Bean Cookies

  • 1 can of black beans (15 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter (or any other nut butter)
  • 2 tablespoons milk of choice
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup 100% maple syrup
  • 5 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½  teaspoon salt
  • ¾  cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Rinse the beans and drain them. Add black beans, olive oil, peanut butter, milk, honey, maple syrup to a blender. Blend until smooth.

Add cocoa powder, flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to the bean mixture and blend until smooth. Chop the chocolate chips until fine. (Or put them in a plastic bag and hit them senselessly with a rolling pin.) Add chocolate chips to cookie mixture.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. I used my silicon baking sheets. S/4poon 16 evenly distributed dollops of batter. Bake for around 10 minutes (the cookies should still be a little soft when you remove them from the oven). Set aside a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Finally, enjoy and reevaluate your judgments.

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 Black bean cookies? I know what you’re thinking and I assure you I have not lost my mind. Last year, while skimming Pinterest I saw a recipe for black bean brownies. My eyebrows rose at the thought of incorporating this savory food into my favorite dessert. I made a face similar to the one you are likely making and swore to never combine the two. Fast-forward three months and I found myself on Pinterest yet again (it’s been a long winter) and I saw not one, but several different recipes for black bean brownies. This time my reaction was a bit different. The more I saw these brownie recipes popping up the more I thought there must be something to them. Knowing I could no longer knock it until I tried it I headed to the kitchen. The results were pleasantly surprising. I served these brownies to my sister who was unaware of their contents. She gave them two thumbs up and still calls them the “best brownies ever.” That brownie recipe will be shared in a future post (A tease, I know.) For now I will share with you the brownie’s more portable cousin, the dark chocolate black bean cookie. I like the cookie version of this dessert for several reasons. 1. They are portioned out – I can commit to one cookie and be satisfied.  2. They’re more portable. 3. They can be frozen easily. If you’re still looking at me like I’m crazy I get it. I was skeptical too, but you need to get in your kitchen and try them for yourself! You will not regret it.

Jenna

Let’s get some comments rolling. Have you tried any other desserts that incorporate odd savory ingredients?

Strawberry + Chocolate Scones

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Scones mean something more to me than they do to most people. Scones mark the time when my baking interest turned into a passion. They mark the time when I moved from judging the success of a recipe solely on whether or not the end product was edible. Scones brought a new mindset – a new challenge. The thing with scones is that it’s rather difficult to make them in-edible. They’re essentially butter, flour, and sometimes sugar. Who wouldn’t eat that? (This is the part where I clarify this is not one of my healthy recipes.) So you understand, it’s easy to make these edible, but it’s difficult to make them exceptional. In my journey to finding this scone recipe I failed many, many, many times. I’ve tried recipes that included sour cream, heavy whipping cream, and every other cream there is. All of these produced a fluffy scone – edible, but not exceptional. I like my scone to be crisp on top and flaky inside.  I finally found a scone that captured this balance perfectly at a coffee shop in my town. With them as my inspiration I continued to trial and error more and more recipes until I came upon this one.  If you’re not familiar with the blog Joy the Baker you don’t know what you’re missing. The base for this scone recipe is hers. I can thank her for ending my search for this exceptional tea-time treat. Onto the next challenge.

What are you waiting for, go make some scones! Oh and pour yourself a cup of coffee. Not a coffee person? 1. That’s a shame. 2. Tea is acceptable. Enjoy my friends!

Jenna

p.s. All I’ve eaten today is spinach and a scone. It’s real life people.

 

Strawberry + Chocolate Scones

Adapted slightly from Joy the Baker

(I swapped out blueberries for strawberries and threw in some chocolate chunks to bring this tea-time star to the dessert menu – swoon worthy.)

Makes 8

Recipes 

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½  teaspoons baking powder
  • ½  teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¾  teaspoon salt
  • ¾  cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • ¾  cup cold buttermilk (I had to improv a bit and use 2% + vinegar. It works just FYI)
  • ¾ cup fresh strawberries, cut into bite size pieces
  • ½ cup dark chocolate, chop into chunks
  • 3 tablespoons buttermilk for brushing the tops of the scones before baking
  • granulated sugar for sprinkling on top before baking

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. I used my silicon baking sheets.

In a mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt.  Cut in butter (using a pastry cutter) until mixture is fully combined. Work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture becomes crumbly.

In another bowl, combine egg, maple syrup, and milk and beat lightly with a fork.  Add to flour mixture all at once. Fold in the chocolate, then fold in the strawberries.

Turn out onto a floured board and knead about 15 times.  Roll out into a 1-inch thick circle.  (This thickness is important.) Cut into 8 sections. Place on baking sheet.  Brush lightly with buttermilk and sprinkle with granulated sugar.   Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown on top.  Serve warm.

Pistachio + Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Pistachio and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Edible Perspective

Recipe:

  • 6 TBS butter (softened)
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 TBS maple syrup
  • 2 TBS almond butter
  • 1 ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup oat flour*
  • 1 cup oats
  • ½  tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup pistachios (de-shelled)
  • 1 TBS orange zest
  • 2 TBS water (or orange juice)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Cream the butter and brown sugar together in a medium sized bowl. Add the egg, vanilla, maple syrup, and almond butter to the butter-sugar mixture.

Combine the wheat flour, oat flour, oats, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl. Gradually add the dry ingredient mixture to the wet mixture until well combined.

De-shell the pistachios, place in a plastic bag, and use a rolling pin to break them into pieces. Don’t go overboard and turn them into powder. Chunks that are half the size of the whole pistachio will work.

Zest one orange.

Add the pistachios, chocolate chips, and orange zest to the dough. If the dough still seems crumbly add 2 TBS of water or orange juice.

Scoop the dough into balls and place on a baking sheet. Use a fork to press the cookies down like you would for a peanut butter cookie. This dough does not spread on it’s own. Place the cookies in the oven and bake for 11 minutes. Remove from the oven, cool, and store in an airtight container.

Notes:

*You can buy oat flour or grind oats in a coffee/wheat grinder.

I never spray my pans because I use silicon baking sheets, but if you’re using a regular baking sheet be sure to coat it with non-stick spray.

To prolong freshness cookies can be frozen

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I am one of the lucky people to be experiencing spring break this week. Although there is still snow on the ground here in the Midwest, the temperature has increased from where it has been and it is apparent that spring is on its way. Okay, maybe it’s not apparent, but I did hear a bird or two yesterday. I’m not going on a fancy tropical getaway, but I am thrilled to forgo my hour commute for ten days straight. Instead of heading straight to school in the morning I will pour an extra cup of coffee and saver my time on our comfy couch. I will most likely be exra java-ed up, but it’s just what happens on vacations. Even if those vacations don’t involve you leaving your home.

This recipe is one you will make over and over. For the past couple Tuesdays I have brought these cookies to share with my friends at school. (Nursing students are never too old for snacks.) They are in love with them and so am I. The hint of orange found in these cookies makes them taste light and fresh. Chocolate and Pistachios work together beautifully to find the perfect balance between salty and sweet. I won’t say these cookies are “healthy,” but they are “healthier.” There is still some butter and sugar in these cookies, but I decreased the amounts of each. There is also no white flour found in these. Throw these in your freezer and add them to your lunch for an occasional treat. Enjoy!

I will now resume my coffee drinking.

Jenna

Peanut Butter + Chia Energy Bites

Balls

I don’t know about you, but when 3pm comes around I need a sweet treat. My blood sugar is heading downward and when I’m not home the convenience of the vending machine calls my name. If I’m not prepared I will easily fork over 75¢ in exchange for an indulgent snack that will only temporarily satisfy.

When my schedule gets crazy, which let’s be honest is all the time, I can grab these peanut butter chia energy bites before I leave in the morning and they’ll keep fresh all day. So let’s talk snacks and the occasional emotional rollercoasters that can occur in the kitchen.

Yesterday was Sunday. I woke up with an endless list of school related tasks that I needed to accomplish. After church, I planned to grab a quick bite to eat, get in a quick workout, and then chain myself to my desk until all of the information in my Mental Health Nursing book seeped into my brain and out my ears. An envy-worthy day, really.

After I ate lunch an idea popped into my head.

“What if I don’t study.”

(Gasp) This idea was far too tempting to ignore. Now, before you go all “mom” on me let me assure you that my exam for this class is still eight days away. I think I can spare one day without opening that textbook. With school off the table I headed to the kitchen. I opened a few cupboards and took a mental inventory. Next I went to the fridge where I found six pounds of butter staring at me. Yes, we buy butter in absurdly large quantities. Don’t judge. So, I decided on a more specific direction: cookies! I checked the baking cupboard only to find we were out of chocolate chips, which took my go-to cookie recipe off the table. Oatmeal-raisin cookies? Unfortunately, there were raisins, but not enough to actually make anything.

Maybe I didn’t have to make cookies. Maybe I could make something that I actually had the ingredients for. A recipe I had started to make regularly jumped to the forefront of my mind: Peanut butter energy bites! Although these didn’t fall along the cookie path that I was heading they would be the perfect treat to have on hand for the upcoming week. An added bonus: they’re healthy! The only items I needed to locate were the oats, chia, honey, and peanut butter. Oats: check. Chia and honey: check, check, check! I also found a few dove dark chocolate hiding in the pantry. Score!

Peanut butter was the last item that remained. I opened the cupboard and lifted the jar only to be disappointed in it’s lightness. Even scraping the sides would not have produced enough peanut butter for this recipe. In fact I have no idea why anyone put the jar back in the cupboard. I tried to think of something else I could make with the remaining ingredients I had on hand, but I couldn’t. I was so determined to make those energy bites. I scoured the rest of the kitchen searching for something that was peanut-butter-like. Almond butter? None. Cashew butter? Nothing.

By this time I needed a break. So, I went to the snack cupboard and tried to spin the shelves to get an overview of my options. However, when I went to turn the lazy Susan it was stuck. Lazy Susans never seem to work for me (and printers, but for a different reason.) My first step to fixing the problem was to sigh and roll my eyes. Step two, reach my hand to the back.  Step three, finally grab something and proceed to knock all the remaining items off the shelf. No big deal. Step four, celebrate. The box was full of my missing ingredient. The box contained nothing other than peanut butter to-go cups!

Okay, maybe I’m being overly dramatic. I will now proceed to make the peanut butter energy bites with less drama.

Actually, I can’t guarantee that.

Jenna

P.S. This is obviously my first post and I already acknowledge I will be embarrassed about it 3 years from now, but I am so grateful to you for reading. I am hopeful that as my blog develops you will hang with me. Comment your heart away. ❤

Peanut Butter and Chia Energy Bites

Recipe:

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds

Drizzle (optional):

  • ¼ cup chocolate chips*
  • 1/2 tsp oil

Directions:

Place a piece of wax paper on a medium sized baking sheet. Add oats, creamy peanut butter, honey, and chia seeds to a medium bowl and combine. Form the mixture into bite sized pieces and place on wax paper. In a microwavable dish combine the chocolate and oil and microwave for about 1 minute. Stop, stir, and continue to microwave in 20-second intervals until chocolate is fully melted. Once chocolate is melted drizzle it over the energy bites. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for about an hour or until the chocolate has hardened. Remove the bites from the freezer and put them in an airtight container. I recommend putting half in the fridge and half in the freezer.

*I used 4 dove chocolate pieces because it was what I had on hand.