February Friday Favorites ~ 2.13.15

The days come and go and the winter remains.  Thank you kind groundhog for predicting six more weeks of winter.

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>> No matter the weather, we come out in full force to run.  #raceeverything <<

Screen Shot 2015-02-07 at 4.00.44 PMThis happened.  I mean, can you just look at some of the headliners?  Farmborough Country concert here we come (although we still have four and a half months to get excited/ready/look good in boots and cutoff jeans) 😉

spontaneous adventures

 If I lived in San Francisco, I would probably have this SF Neighborhood Guide of things to do, see, and eat on my wall.  I have somewhat of an obsession with the blog The Well Traveled Wife and all her glorious finds.  Everything looks so clean and crisp and ever so chic.

>> ME WANT COOKIE <<

I have yet to visit the Levain Bakery but apparently their chocolate chip cookies are out of this world.  Ah, if only cookies fit in the food pyramid as well as kale and keifer do.  Anyways, Broma Bakery has an excellent copy-cat recipe for you to recreate these bad boys in the comfort of your own home.  Maybe mix up a batch for a house-warming gift or a movie night at home.

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These need to happen.  Now.  Well, maybe it would be dangerous to bake since I’ve decided to give up sweets/coffee for lent, but that doesn’t start until Wednesday.  So I guess we are in the clear.  On the other hand, a more mental challenge would be the 30-Day Minimalist Challenge.  Declutter, break free, and just be you.

 Speaking of breaking free, one must really read The Healthy Maven’s latest post on accepting yourself and your body.  I think we all struggle to find ourselves and find happiness with our genes.  So many good points here.  You go girl.

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>>  Peace, love, November Project.  Worth the early alarms and chilly chilly temperatures. <<

yoga without walls

Of course, when I’m not running or spinning, I am doing my best to stretch and go to yoga.  Most of the days that I set out my yoga mat and clothes, I end up snoozing through my 5:45 alarm.  I know that I should wake up and make the trek across town, but somehow it doesn’t have the same allure as my nice pillow.  I was all into the above class because 1) it was free 2) we got free swag afterwards 3) it was with some November Project friends.

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What I’ve Been Eating This Summer

Goodness gracious.  It’s been ages since I shared some good ‘ol WIAW eats and I thought it would be fun to share some worthy summertime goodies of late.  Bon appetit!

BREAKFAST

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Most days I have been creating my own sort of parfait with frozen blueberries + frozen peaches + oat bran/granola + fage yogurt

IMG_5229Stuffed French Toast

IMG_5337Ess-A-Bagel
~ whole-wheat everything w/ blueberry schmear + iced coffee ~

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iced coffee for the win

LUNCH

Most of my lunches are quite forgettable.  No really, either “eh” or just pictureless.  Salads from our cafeteria, trips to Dig Inn, sometimes a splurge at Whole Foods, or just leftover snacks from my fridge.

DINNER

Balance between the usual salmon + grilled veggies and oodles of kale + omelet at home and cooking up a storm with friends

IMG_5319summer produce cooking w/ some new friends

~ watermelon + feta + argula salad ~
~ spinach + blue cheese + pecans + dried cranberries salad ~
~ grape tomatoes + sautéed peaches + corn + squash ~
~ string beans + caramelized onions ~

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Nectarine Pizza w/ Basil and Mozzarella
Recipe inspired from here

Ingredients
1 bag Trader Joe’s pizza dough
1 large nectarine
buffalo mozzarella
handful fresh basil leaves
extra virgin olive oil
balsamic vinegar (we used reduced-fig flavor for extra fruity punch)

Directions
Preheat oven to 425F
Let dough sit at room temp ~ 20 minutes
Roll out and set on an oiled baking sheet (flip once so both sides are rubbed with EVOO)
Slice mozzarella and layer on top of dough
Alternate nectarines + basil
Pop in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the bottom of the crust starts to brown and the cheese has melted.
Dig in

 DESSERT

IMG_5318it’s cherry season folks…good ‘ol fashion pitting party

IMG_5298the finished product = gluten-free cherry cobbler

IMG_5188blueberry pie + ice cream

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What have you been enjoying during these summer months?

Who Wants S’more?

I sure hope you have had a s’more at some point in your life.  Whether it’s camping with scouts, your family, over the grill or even in the microwave – it’s a classic.   Well, I was brainstorming what treat to make for my coworkers one week and I considered doing a re-mix of the classic Rice Krispies treat.  All I would have to do is throw any type of cereal in a pot with some marshmallows and butter and then viola a tasty treat creation.

I started to think of popular flavors and who doesn’t love chocolate and marshmallow?  I mean, everyone seems to be creating a product surrounding the graham cracker + marshmallow + chocolate combination.

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So, onto Pinterest I went and debated the amount of effort I wanted to put into the process.  Gaging by the fact that I was starting this around 9:50pm, I was ready for a quick and simple recipe.  Not so much in the mood or mindset to create fudge or roast marshmallows under the broiler (which wouldn’t have taken much time anyways).  The end result was quite a success and I have my coworkers to thank for their honest feedback.  They loved it.  It was such a hit that I’ve gotten multiple requests to make them again.

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Simple S’Mores Treats
Serves ~16-32

Ingredients
1/2 box of Graham Crackers (about 1.5 packages within the box)
1 bag chocolate chips
1 bag marshmallows
1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)

Directions
1. Place butter in a pot on the stove (around medium-high).  As the butter begins to melt, add in the marshmallows.

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2. Once the marshmallows have practically melted, add in crushed graham crackers.  You can crush before hand or crush in the package.

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3. Stir completely into marshmallow mixture.

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4. Remove pot from the flame and turn off stove.  Dump entire bag of chocolate chips into pot and give a couple quick stirs.

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5. Pour mixture into a lightly greased pan (coconut oil spray is my friend in these scenarios) and spread evenly.

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6. Place in the fridge for about 1 hour or overnight.  When ready to serve, take out and slice into small squares.

IMG_5213Since it’s filled with an entire bag of chocolate chips, they can be quite rich, so small squares should suffice.  Although, if you are a chocoholic like myself and my coworkers, go ahead and divide as you please.

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Funny enough when I was drafting this post, I received an email from Pure Wow about S’mores bars.  Same idea but they took their own creative spin with the classic by making them in the broiler.

Go ahead.  Take a stab at it and who knows, maybe you’ll be so obsessed you will be craving s’more. 😉

So Long June

I swear that I do more than just eat, eat, eat.  Although, this weekend’s marvelous happenings would say otherwise.

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Friday was spent with a sunset on the west side of Manhattan with my coworkers.  I had actually never been to this part of town (~68th and the water) and it was picture perfect.  I would love to go back and run the west side all the way down to the Highline or even go back for lunch one day.

IMG_5104Morning run around Battery Park

Saturday ended up being a lot of sit around and wait.  I was bouncing between some lease and rent drama to waiting around to show the apartment to a few potential subleasers.  I swear, the whole process of being a big kid really isn’t all that glamorous.  My PSA for the day – stay young as long as you can.

However, all the pain of being stuck in one place was rewarded with a trip to Brooklyn to see my new friend Marnie.  Together we chatted for hours and made two different types of nut butters.

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~ Dark Chocolate + Sea Salt Almond Butter  &  Lemon + Honey Cashew Butter ~

Nut butters truly have been on the rage lately and so I’m thinking with the right amount of marketing and the perfect flavor niche, we might be able to go into business.  Ok reality check.  Let’s just say we have a good project for holiday gifts and enjoy mixing up flavors on our own 🙂

IMG_5236 We also decided to try our luck at one of the hole in the wall spots of Brooklyn.  This Mexican joint was a recommended tortilleria and boy was it a hit.  Not only were the ingredients delicious (I had tacos – chicken + enchilada or “spicy pork”) but the prices were beyond reasonable.  I guess this stems from the fact that we are getting used to outrageous Manhattan prices – try $12-$15 for a decent salad.

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All about the blueberries – whether they are fresh, frozen, or blended into a smoothie, it’s time to ramp up those antioxidants. Scrumptious results thanks to the Peas & Crayons recipe here.

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My Sunday started off with a spin class led by Jen and then a homemade brunch.  I’ve been able to attend more spin classes recently and love having Jen as the teacher.  Always good playlists, which to me can make or break a class.

From working out, I went to indulge in a whole bunch of homemade food.  My friend Mia happens to have a bunch of friends in the city and thought it would be fun to make our own Sunday brunch.  Between the mega fruit salad, stuffed french toast (gold-star worthy!), eggs, bacon, and scones, I’d say it was a huge success.

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The remainder of Sunday was spent exploring a food convention, prepping the week’s food and cookies for coworkers, finishing up season 1 of “Friends”, and re-organizing the apartment.

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With that folks, we say goodbye to June and hello to a brand new month. So long June, it’s been real.

What was marvelous about your weekend?

Mrs. Field Meets the Valley

Cookies.  Chocolate chip cookies.  Nature Valley bars.  What do all these glorious things have in common?  My quasi-experimented recipe – Chocolate Chip Granola Cookies.  Sure I love my regular chocolate chippers but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve graduated to the extra crunch with chocolate chip oatmeal.  Then, with my granola-parfait obsession, I figured why not break the cookie barriers?  I mean, I’ve already conquered the Junk in Da Trunk, so granola should be a seemingly easy addition.  I didn’t want to go into as much of analysis of the chocolate chip cookie as this writer did and pulled a typical Kaitlin – throw all the ingredients together and hope it works out.

The inspiration started awhile back when my mom sent me a torn out recipe of such cookies.  Then let’s add in the fact that I came home from the 2014 Blend Retreat with oodles of trail mix and granola swag, including Nature Valley Granola. SCORE!  I’ve been a loyal Nature Valley customer for over 8 years.

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The sweet and crunchy taste reminds me of high school days and pre-cross country snacks and helped aid many tedious college group projects.  The really helped me get through the group dynamics more than the projects but that’s a story for another day.

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Chocolate Chip-Granola Cookies
~36 cookies

Ingredients

2 2/3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup butter (or coconut oil) softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1.5 cup chocolate (preferably dark chocolate chips/chunks)
1 cup granola
1/2 cup rolled oats

Directions

1. Stir together dry ingredients – flour, granola, salt, and baking soda and set aside. (Preheat oven to 350F while mixing the dough)

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2. In a different bowl mix the butter for about 30 seconds.

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IMG_5070Of course it’s normal to watch TV while baking.   Just don’t get distracted trying to translate the soccer matches from Spanish into English while you are mixing ingredients. 

3. Add in sugar and continue to beat. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined.

IMG_50724. Slowly add in the flour mixture until fully incorporated.

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5. Lastly, add in the chocolate chips.

IMG_50776. Divide up the dough using tablespoons or your own hands.  Separate on a cookie sheet and place in the oven for about 9-10 minutes or until the bottoms of the cookies start to brown.

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7. Cool on a cookie sheet or serve up warm with a beverage of your choice.  I’m partial to a tall glass of milk – regular or almond 🙂
*Cookies can covered at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze up to three months

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I’m almost positive this came from a Rachel Ray recipe, but am not 100% sure as it wasn’t on the tear-out recipe that my mom sent.  Oops.

*Although we were gifted bags of Nature Valley granola, this post reflects my own thoughts on all products 

Why Not Celebrate with Pie

Like a nerd, I want to celebrate today as it’s 3.14 or Pi Day 🙂 Pi is the mathematical constant or the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter.

Sure, I spent my fair share of time with pi in high school but those days are gone and it’s now time for the pie we are more familiar with. Apple pie, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, banana cream pie, and ice cream pie.

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Pie doesn’t have to be for only those with a sweet tooth.  There’s also plenty of options for the oh-so-savory.  From chicken pot pie to quiche, tamale pie to Shepherds pie.  Oh and what about the pizza pie?

fe95774b9ba125f0195bff6cf973601192da6cb490b1cb7f532465400d629d6b4f12c291b63e104bb7aa45f6ca427502I tend to find most of my recipes online these days.  As you know from many of my other posts, Pinterest is an all-time favorite, but I’ve started expanding to online magazines and even heard about this new blog or site called Inkling, which features hundreds of recipes with even more photographs and video tutorials.  They  have a blog post today about pies and it’s oh so thematic and fun. 🙂

This is perfect, especially for myself as back in high school I had trouble making pasta for the kids I was babysitting without tutorial over the phone from my mother.  Yep, that was a confession if there ever was one.  Needless to say I’ve progressed and may even make my own pie crust tonight to celebrate the end of the week.

Anyways, Modernist Cuisine is going to have its own little special on pies and pie crusts today, so check it out!

Everything in moderation, including moderation” – Julia Child