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Friday, December 31, 2010

Kelsey's Goals for the New Year

When the time comes for New Year's Resolutions, I can never seem to remember what mine were from the previous year! I'm fairly certain, however, it had something to do with eating healthy and going to the gym. Of course, both were failures. Not complete failures, mind you.. I did fairly well with the gym at the beginning of the year and the eating healthy part near the end of the year (sans Christmas Break!). This year I am documenting my goals in a blog so I can look back and be like "oh yeah.. about that.." And I'm calling them goals because it sounds so much more positive than "resolution," don't you think?

  • Eat more vegetarian and vegan dishes. It's healthier and, if done right, cheaper!
  • Eat out less and spend less when I do go out. I'm saving up for grad school, after all. Maybe when I have those fleeting thoughts of going to Starbucks I'll take whatever money I would have spent on my overpriced beverage and put it in a savings jar. Probably not, but it's a great idea. (I'm trying to be realistic here.)
  • Read more books. In high school I ate books for breakfast, and now I finish maybe one or two a semester. I used to read them faster than Nicholas Sparks could pump them out.
  • And last but not least, go back to the gym! I had a pretty good routine in the spring and in the summer but I completely ditched it in the fall semester. I'd like to get myself back into it so it feels like part of my schedule and not so much of an obligation.


I remember one of my resolutions from the beginning of 2010: Have a better New Year's Eve than last year. CHECK! Already got that one down... Going to Sarasota's Pineapple Drop tonight with my Mr. Boyfriend Approved himself. Hope you all have a very safe and wonderful New Year. GO NOLES!

What are your goals for the New Year? Lose weight? Go to the gym? Save the world? Drink more ovaltine?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza

Last week I finally got around to doing some holiday baking! It just doesn’t feel like Christmas until I get some cookies in the oven. Every year I look forward to making up dishes of fresh baked holiday treats for my friends and family. I always aim to create a selection of flavors that way there will be something everyone will enjoy. Here's a rundown of the cookies that made my baking list this year.

Peppermint Sugar Cookies

I was looking around at of my favorite food blogs and We Are Not Martha had this intriguing peppermint sugar cookie. I knew I absolutely had to make it! This recipe successfully combines two of my favorite holiday treats: candy canes and sugar cookies. They were so good I wish I made a double batch.

Buckeyes

These bite sized peanut butter and chocolate treats are always a hit. Brown-eyed Baker's recipe is simple and you can keep baking other cookies while they set in the fridge. Horay for multitasking! Plus Kelsey and I had a lot of fun dipping them in chocolate.

Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies

These are so simple and tasty. I’ve always made Peanut Butter Blossoms in the past, but this year I decided to give the thumbprint technique a try. There will be a new tradition in my house! It’s so simple and they travel much better than the traditional blossom cookies (my chocolate kisses always wind up falling off!). This recipe was delicious and inventive! I made two batches a PB&J version and a dark chocolate filled version.



Pecan Pie Truffles

My co-worker Rachelle sent me a link to these scrumptious looking truffles back around Thanksgiving time. I finally decided to give the recipe a try and WOW I’m glad I did! They were relatively easy to make and I did them at the same time as my buckeyes so it was très convenient. Warning: These have a kick to them so if you’re not a fan bourbon you might want to sub in dark spiced rum.

Macaroons

My mom has been raving about the delicious and easy macaroon recipe. I decided it was about time I gave it a try. It was so simple I wound up making two batches; one batch dipped in chocolate and one batch plain with cranraisins in it.



Orange Drop Cookies

My aunt Noreen makes this great citrus cookies every year for Christmas. I didn’t have her recipe, but I remembered it had orange and cranberry flavors so I went hunting for a similar recipe. These sweet citrus cookies were a light and fresh addition to my Christmas cookie platter.

White Chocolate Oatmeal

I knew I wanted to make a nice chewy oatmeal cookie so knew this recipe from Smitten Kitchen would be perfect. I kept everything the same except instead of raisins and walnuts I added a 1/3 cup coconut and 3/4 cup white chocolate chips. They were an excellent alternative to traditional oatmeal raisin cookies.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Butternut Squash Ravioli in Sage Brown Butter Sauce

When I'm home for the holidays we eat a LOT because we try to fit in all my favorites my mom makes into one week. This time around we decided we had to mix it up. I introduced my parents to Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese, Cream Cheese Chicken Enchiladas, and Pumpkin Whoopie Pies. In turn, my mom's making me my favorite Roasted Red Pepper Soup for dinner tonight and Pasta, Peas & Sausage tomorrow!

After enjoying a seasonal butternut squash ravioli dish from Bella Bella, my mom and I resolved to make some on our own when I came home for the holidays. I can't tell you exactly how much of what we put in them because we used three different recipes and our own creative flair to make them. I can only tell you what the items were. As for the art of wonton wrapping.. we have a ways to go, so no "professional" advice from us on this one.


Filling: butternut squash, ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper
Sauce: butter, sage, baby bellas, parmesan
Here are the links to the original recipes! Giada, Emeril, and Food.com

 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Jelly Muffnuts

Lauren and I really wanted to make sufganiyot for the Alpha Phi Omitzvah "Jewluck" but, being the impatient bakers we are, we couldn't imagine waiting for the yeast to rise. Using Our Best Bite's "How to Fill a Cupcake" blog and Baking Bite's Sugar Donut Muffin recipe, with a few modifications, we made these delicious beauties. Everyone loved them and we'll definitely make them again. Not everything was Jewish cuisine at the potluck (macaroni salad, anyone?) but everything was delicious.


Ingredients
(Makes about 20 muffins)
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • scant 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp baking power
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
    -------
  • 1/4 cup (4 tbsp) butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon, for rolling
  • 1 cup raspberry jam (your choice)

Directions
  • Preheat oven to 350. Place cupcake papers into 20 tins.
  • In a large bowl, beat sugar and egg until light in color. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Pour into egg mixture, oil, milk and vanilla extract and stir to combine.
  • Divide batter evenly into the muffin tins, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake for 15-18 minutes (our took exactly 15). Remove from oven when done and place on cooling rack.
  • Melt butter and pour remaining cinnamon and sugar into a small dish. Dip a spoon into the butter and using the back of the spoon gently cover the muffin tops and roll in cinnamon/sugar. 
  • Cut a small cone out of the top of the muffins (see below) and fill with jam, using a plastic bag and icing tip. ENJOY!
Dip a spoon into the butter and using the back of the spoon gently cover the muffin tops.

Roll in cinnamon & sugar mixture.

YUM!

Cut a small cone out of the top of the muffins.

Lauren and I thoroughly enjoyed eating all the cones.

Fill with jam, using a plastic bag and icing tip.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Cream Cheese Chicken Enchiladas

After sorting through my bookmarks last week, I rediscovered these Cream Cheese Chicken Enchiladas from Karly at Buns In My Oven. I know my version looks like it has a ton of ingredients, but it's one of those "stir a whole bunch of ingredients together at once..." kind of deals. Xavier, Megan and I love them! PS: Karly, corn was a great addition. I'm bringing this to the Friday Potluck abrpharma.com.



Ingredients
  • 1-1/2lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 2 10 oz. cans enchilada sauce (mild)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese, divided
  • 1 15 oz. can corn
  • 4 oz. can diced green chiles 
  • 8 8-inch flour tortillas

Directions
  • Add chicken, water, cumin, garlic salt, onion powder, and chili powder in a medium/large skillet. Bring to a boil and boil 10 minutes. Put lid on, cracked slightly, and continue to simmer on low 20-30 minutes, until chicken is fully cooked. 
  • Drain any excess liquid. With two forks pulling in opposite directions, shred the chicken and set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 13x9 in. cooking dish.
  • In a medium bowl, cream together cream cheese, sour cream, 1/2 can enchilada sauce, and half of each cheese with mixer on low speed. With a spoon or fork, gently fold in chicken, corn, and green chiles.
  • Pour 1/2 can of enchilada sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Spoon the chicken filling into each tortilla, roll, and place in dish, seem down. Top with remaining cheese and enchilada sauce and bake for 20 minutes, until cheese bubbles.

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