Thursday, March 6, 2014

Sunbutter Chocolate Chip Cookies - The Leftovers Club

Wow - the last month TOTALLY flew by.  It seems like only yesterday I was posting things for the Leftover's Club.

As a reminder, The Leftovers Club is a lovely group of ladies who send each other treats every month.  It's potentially the best club I've ever belonged to (sorry Latin Club, your snacks just weren't up to par...).  If you're interested in joining, and seriously, why wouldn't you be, check out the website.

Last month, I did savory, so I thought that this month, we could go back to sweet.  About a week ago, I made these peanut butter chocolate chip cookies and they were FANTASTIC.  So I thought I'd make them again, but with some substitutions.  I was out of peanut butter, so I subbed sunbutter.  I also was out of vanilla extract, so I subbed chocolate vodka.  This is a great idea.

Simply put, no matter what you do, these are amazing.  Puffy, chewy, buttery perfection.

Puffy Sunbutter Cookies - adapted from How Sweet Eats
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
8 tablespoons of salted butter, melted and cooled
6 tablespoons of sunbutter, melted and cooled
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons chocolate vodka 
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Melt the butter and sunbutter together over medium heat.  If you're fancy and own a microwave, you can do it in there instead.  Stick it in the fridge so it cools - you want it to be only slightly warm to the touch when you get down to baking.  
Mix the flour and baking soda in a small bowl. 
Then, mix the cooled butter/peanut butter and sugars until they are combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and stir until mixed. Gradually add flour and mix until a dough forms. It's going to look crumbly at first - don't freak out, this is ok.  Keep mixing until it's incorporated.  You can use your hands if you need to, I give you permission.  
Mix in the chocolate chips.
Shape the dough into a ball the size of however big you want your cookies. Place on a baking sheet two inches apart and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are slightly brown. They might look undercooked; they are not.  Try to let them cool before you shove them in your mouth.  

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Make Ahead Breakfast Sandwiches

So I have a small problem.  You see, there is a Breuggers Bagels downstairs from my office.  And I want to go there all the time.  But, I'm trying to save money.  My life is really hard.  Like so hard.

Anyways, I thought I'd try to bring my own food to work, rather than eating a bagel for every meal of the day.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.  I knew that I'd have to make something amazing to keep me from giving it away and eating the bagel anyways, so I made some breakfast sandwiches.

Over the weekend, I did a TON of cooking for the week; I wanted to make sure that I have food on hand so that I'm not tempted to eat take out for every meal.  It's kind of working (I want a bagel...).  These breakfast sandwiches are SUPER easy to put together, and you can freeze them and then bring them to work with you.  All your co-workers will be jealous.

Make Ahead Breakfast Sandwiches:

6 Slices Bacon
Cheese (shredded, sliced, whatever)
6 English Muffins
6 Eggs
Salt and Pepper

First, make the bacon.  I do mine in the oven because I'm a weirdo who doesn't own a microwave.  To make it in the oven, put the slices on a cooling rack, over a foil covered cookie sheet.  Put into the cold oven, then turn the heat to 375.  It takes about 15-20 minutes.

While that's happening, prepare the muffins.  You can obviously use whatever kind of bread you'd like - but these were on sale at Shaw's, so I went with it.  Split them open and add the cheese.  If you're so inclined, you can also add some kind of vegetable here, but I'm not.  Big surprise.

After the bacon is done, prepare the eggs.  Lower the oven to 350 and crack one egg into each of 6 muffin cups.  Season the tops with salt and pepper.  You could scramble them if you wanted, while in the cups, but then you'd have to wash another fork, so...don't.

Cook the eggs at 350 for about 30 minutes.  For some odd reason, one of my puffed up like crazy.  I'm not sure why, but it was kinda cool.

After the eggs have cooled, put them into the sammiches with the bacon.  Put into individual baggies and freeze.

So, I'm going to warn you, these aren't as good as if you made it and ate it immediately.  When you re-heat, the bread gets a little moist.  It's not too bad, but just keep in mind that things you pull from the freezer aren't the same as things you just made.  They're still really good and will totally save you $3 a day.

Question of the Day: 

What's your favorite breakfast food?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Spinach, Caramelized Onion, and Olive Oil Quick Bread - The Leftovers Club

Once again, it's time for another post for the Leftovers Club.  In case you're out of the loop, The Leftovers Club is a great group of bloggers who share food.  And, you get to meet some pretty cool people, like Lacey, who blogs at It Is Well.  This is actually the second time I've been paired up with her, which is super exciting.  I haven't yet received my goodies, but go look at her blog and check them out.  I love M&M cookies!

I decided to try something a little different this time, and I have promised Lacey that if it's gross, I will make her something else.  Because, let's face it, the point of this is to eat delicious food.  However, I found this recipe for a Greek style quick bread and thought I'd give it a try.  All my pictures but one came out TERRIBLE, so there's just the one.  Oops.  I'm getting a new camera soon...promise! 

3 tsp olive oil, divided
1 large yellow onion, cut in half through the root, and thinly sliced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 cups (packed) fresh spinach leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup 2% milk
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 oz. crumbled feta (I clearly used more)
Butter and flour for pan

Pre-heat the oven to 350.  Then, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.  Add in the onion and some salt.  Cook on medium for about 10 minutes, then turn the heat down and continue to cook until the onions are nice and brown. 

Add a little more oil to the pan, then add your spinach and garlic.  Cook until the spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes. 

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and salt.  In a large bowl, mix together eggs, milk, and EVOO.  Combine the two, being careful not to over mix; you don't want it to get tough. 

Add in the veggies and the cheese.  Mix lightly to combine.  Cook at 350 for about 40-45 minutes.  Slice and enjoy! 

If you're a blogger looking to get some delicious treats and want to make some new friends, then definitely check out The Leftovers Club. 


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Bok Bok Bok

Hopefully, everyone got the title of the post and did some kind of chicken dance.  Ok, good, thanks.

Anyways, as I was perusing the grocery store, wondering what kind of vegetables to buy, I saw the biggest bok choy ever.  It legit took up a whole bag.  Clearly I needed it.  I mean, how could you not want the world's biggest bok choy?  So I bought it and took it home.  And then realized that I'm not entirely sure how to cook it.  Luckily, Pinterest came through for me, yet again, and I was saved.

I served this with some Greek Deviled Eggs and some bread.  But you should definitely serve it with another form of Asian inspired fare, because this was a little out of control random.  It would go nicely in a stir fry or with some salmon.  It's also really good on its own, so there's always that option.

Spicy Roasted Bok Choy - The Wheatless Kitchen

1 Large Head Bok Choy
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Teaspoons Sesame Oil
2-3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 Cloves Garlic
2 Teaspoons Red Pepper Flakes

Pre-heat the oven to 400.

While the oven is heating, mix the sauce up in a bowl.  Separate out the bok choy, so that you can coat it.

Load it all up on a baking sheet and coat it with the sauce.  Since I had the biggest freaking bok choy ever, we actually layered it up, so make sure the yumminess was evenly distributed. 

Bake for 6-7 minutes, until wilted and tender.  Mine took more like 12-15 because there was so much, so after about 6-7 minutes, I took it out and tossed it a little, to make sure the sauce was distributed and that it could cook evenly.

This is a great, healthy side dish that takes approximately no time to make.  Even I couldn't come up with an excuse not to make this, and goodness knows I'm good at that.  Big ole dose of vitamins, with a little added spice?  Absolutely :)

Also, sorry the pictures suck.  It's so dark here!  

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

No Lettuce Greek Salad

I think I've discovered the root of my unwillingness to eat lots of salad.  I don't really like lettuce.  It's just...blah.  Because I eat a ton of kale salad, and Lord knows I ate a ton of this Greek Salad.  Lettuce gets slimy and weird quickly, which is a total turn off.  However, you don't have to have lettuce to have salad, thank goodness.

I added in a little quinoa, since I had some leftover and wasn't quite sure what else to do with it.  Great idea, because it added a bit of extra texture and it has a ton of protein in it, so it makes the salad more filling.  When I make it again, I'll definitely use more quiona, but I didn't want to cook more just for this.

I made a simple Greek dressing to go on top, but any kind of vinaigrette would be delicious as well.  I wouldn't do a creamy dressing, just because I think that it would take away from the feta.  Remember guys, feta makes it betta.

No Lettuce Greek Salad:

1 Medium Cucumber
1 Pint Cherry Tomatoes
4-5 Ounces Feta (like I'd measure cheese...)
1/2 Cup Kalamata Olives
1/2 Cup Quinoa
1/4 of a Red Onion
Salad Dressing to Taste

I don't have process pictures, because this isn't exactly rocket science.  Basically, you chop things and put them in a bowl.

I scooped out the seeds from the cucumber, because I think they get mushy, especially if you have leftovers. Then I chopped up the onion pretty finely - you don't want to have giant pieces.  I didn't cut the tomatoes or the olives, but you can if you want.  I'm just too lazy.

Then, pour some dressing over the whole thing and toss.  Because of the lack of delicate ingredients, you can make a giant bowl and eat it for days.  Which is exactly what I did.

Question of the Day: 
What is your favorite kind of alternative salad? 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Time I Made Bread

Yep!  It's true, I made bread.  And it was totally edible.  Actually, it was DELICIOUS and I loved it.

I did a no knead bread, because I think that might be where I go wrong a lot of the time.  So, I found a recipe (on Pinterest, obviously) and went to town.  Now that I have my beautiful Dutch Oven, I have a pan that can handle the heat, which is very important.  If you don't have a Dutch Oven, you could use whatever pot you have, just make sure it can handle being heated to 450.

For my first time, I figured I'd stay simple and just do a basic white loaf.  However, you can definitely play around with different add ins and what have you.  Some caramelized onions would be delicious, or maybe some cheese.  Or both.  Or olives....maybe I should go start on that second loaf.

No-Knead Bread - I Heart Eating (best blog name EVER btw...)

3 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 3/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Yeast
1 1/2 Cup Lukewarm Water

Mix together flour, salt, and yeast.

Add water and mix, until it becomes incorporated.

Cover and set aside for 12-18 hours.  I actually ended up with more like 20, but it was fine.  It's just rising because science, but I think that next time I would make it overnight, so that I could bake in the morning.

See, it grows.  SO COOL!  Also, I moved the bowl to the other side of the kitchen, by the radiator, so it would be a little warmer.  I think everything grows better in the warmth.

When you're ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 450.  After it's heated, put the pot in the oven and heat for 30 minutes.

HEAVILY flour your work space, then dump the dough out and shape.  Once it's shaped, place into a greased bowl for the remainder of the 30 minutes.

Drop the dough into the heated pot (be careful, burns are painful) and cover.  Bake for 30 minutes.

Remove the lid and bake uncovered for 10 more minutes.

Remove and place on a cooling rack to cool for as long as you can stand.  Then, dig in!

This bread is basically perfect, it has a soft interior and a crispy exterior.  I used this mostly for egg sandwiches, but I had a few slices of toast with toppings as well.  This isn't a fancy type of bread, so it's basically good for whatever.

Many people are super intimidated by making bread, but this method is really simple, you should give it a try. It's much cheaper, and infinitely more delicious, than what you'd get at the store.  And it's not full of all kinds of things that I can't pronounce, which is a lovely bonus.  It will mold more quickly than a grocery store loaf, but I wouldn't worry, it's not going to last that long.

Question of the Day:

What is your favorite kind of bread? 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Kale and Shaved Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad

After all the Christmas baking and eating, I'm definitely ready for something a little lighter.  I mean, let's be honest here, eating a salad every once in a while really isn't going to kill me.  In fact, I've heard that it's actually helpful.  Who knew?

As you may have figured out, I'm a little bit of a Pinterest addict.  It's where I get most of my good ideas for many things, not just food.  I've even tried out a few cleaning tips I found on there.  Still hate to clean, but that's unsurprising.  So, as I was browsing Pinterest the other day, I saw two salads that looked good; this shredded kale and Brussels sprouts one and this massaged kale Caesar.  I had kale and Brussels sprouts, so I figured I'd combine them and see what happened.

Deliciousness, deliciousness happened.  The kale and sprouts work well together, and make it feel hardier, like more of a winter salad.  And the Caesar dressing is amazing.  This is much more of a traditional Caesar dressing, because it uses anchovies.  I know that this is controversial, but I promise this dressing does not taste like fish.  Give it a try, it'll be ok.  There is also lots of garlic, so maybe not good for a first date?  Or maybe it is, I guess that depends on the date and what you're hoping will happen.  I'm not here to judge.

Kale and Shaved Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad

First, prepare the kale and sprouts.  To prepare the kale, pull it off the stem; I use this method.  You can also buy bags of pre-washed and chopped, but you need to dig through to make sure all the stems are gone.  I used about three stems.

Then, give it a rough chop.  You're going to tear it up more when you massage it, so don't worry about it being uniform or particularly small.  Then, put it in a bowl and pour a little salt over it.  I never measure this, but I'd say maybe 2 teaspoons and start massaging.  The salt breaks down the kale, so you'll see it get smaller and turn bright green, like it does when you cook it.  As your massaging, continue to tear it apart, so that you don't have giant pieces.  I use this method a TON to make kale salad, it is delicious.

After you're done with the kale, prep the sprouts; I used about half a bag.  You can buy shredded Brussels sprouts already in the bag at Trader Joe's, which is SO what I'm doing next time, because this was a pain in the booty.  To shred them yourself, just chop off the bottom, half them, then slice as thinly as you can.  Break them up as you put them into the bowl.  Or seriously, just go to the store and buy them already done, this is completely not worth it.

Next up, the dressing.  For this, you will need:

1/4 Cup Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1/4 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
3-4 Cloves of Garlic, Minced or Pressed
3-4 Anchovy Fillets
2 1/2 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
1 Ounce Parmesan Cheese

Mash the anchovy in the bottom of a bowl.  Mine didn't get super mushed, but it turned out ok, you just want to break it up a little bit so that it can mix well with the other ingredients.

Then, add the other ingredients and whisk it until smooth.  Taste and see how you like it, adding what you think it needs.  Wait until you've tried it to add any salt, because the anchovies are super salty, as well as the kale.  I didn't think it needed any extra salt.

Pour over the veg and mix to coat.

I loved this salad, there was enough for two giant servings, but since it's all vegetables, servings sizes don't matter.  I had it as my meal, but it would also be great as a side to some chicken or pasta.  Give the anchovies a chance, you won't be sorry!

Question of the Day:

What "weird" food do you love?