Scotcheroos!

These bars are one of my all time favorites!  My college friend Kirsten would always make them, or share the ones her mom would send in care packages and I was hooked.  They had them as a dessert at my friend Hannah’s wedding and I’m embarrassed at how many I ate!  After college I went through withdrawal after a few years and when I realized that I’m capable of making things myself, I just asked Kirsten for the recipe.  So glad I did that, because these are SO good!  We bust these out occasionally when we need a sugar high and want to feed a larger group.  This weekend we brought these (along with the cowboy caviar) to our friend Stefan’s party.  It’s a recipe we need to bring to a large gathering, because if left to eat it all on our own, we will go through it too soon and get severe stomach aches!

Scotcheroos

For the Bars:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup light karo syrup
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 5 1/2 cups Rice Krispies (we used the Trader Joe’s brand and it was fine)

For the Icing:

  • 1 1/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/4 cup butterscotch chips

Directions:

  1. Start with a large pot (will need to hold krsipies too).  Melt the sugar and syrup together.
  2. Stir over heat and take off heat as edged start to boil.
  3. Stir in the peanut butter.
  4. Add Rice Krispies.
  5. Place into a 9×13 pan (no need to grease).
  6. Melt chocolate chips together, stir, and frost the krispies.
  7. Let frosting harden before enjoying.

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Cowboy Caviar and Blue Apron Goodness

What a great weekend!  I finally got back to Pure Barre for the first time in a few weeks (stupid knee injury) on my studying day off of work on Friday.  The rest of the weekend I got a lot of studying in, and a some quality time with friends and new friends.  We spent a bunch of time in the city, the weather wasn’t too hot and life is oh so good!

On Saturday one of our friends had a cocktail party.  He’s done these every couple of months and it’s really an all around win.  He makes fancy cocktails and tries new cocktail recipes, and we all bring food to snack on, and then it’s just a solid evening of hanging out and enjoying fancy drinks that don’t cost $15 each.  We brought cowboy caviar this time because it’s always a favorite, and I realized I’ve never posted the recipe on here (because it wasn’t new and during year one, this was for new recipes…)!  Well folks, here it is, enjoy!

We also accidentally got Blue Apron this week (forgot to skip the delivery) but it worked out really well.  All the meals were delicious and 2 of them were made with common enough ingredients that we’d totally make them again.  Pics and links to recipes are after the caviar.  We also have a couple free weeks of blue apron we can give to people who have never tried it.  So if you want to check out this great service send me a text or email.

Cowboy Caviar

Serves: A lot (fills a bowl described as “7” in diameter; 4½;” tall; 1½-liter capacity”)

Ingredients

For the Caviar:

  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can white (Shoepeg) corn
  • 2/3 cup parsley, chopped
  • ¾ cup cherry tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 2/3 cup green onion, chopped
  • 2 avocados, chopped

For the Dressing:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper

Directions:

  1. Prepare and mix together caviar ingredients
  2. Prepare the dressing (in a salad dressing shaker is easiest), and pour over Caviar.
  3. Chill and let sit for a couple hours for best flavors.
  4. Stir and serve with tortilla chips.

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Seared Salmon & Preserved Lemon

The side salad with this was absolutely delicious and totally do-able on your own (without having the ingredients delivered to you).

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Lamb & Risotto-Style Ditalini Pasta

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Miso Roasted Chicken

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Double Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream

Happy Tuesday, friends!  Hope everyone’s week is swell.  We just had a solid evening with our new small group – “new” meaning the old one split into two due to size and due to schedules the Tuesday one works best for us, so there are some of the same people, but we’ve added a bunch of people so it’s basically new.  We’ve been discussing the current sermon series at church, Money Matters.  It’s just been really encouraging and motivating to go through these with our group.  I’m really excited to see where God takes us out of this series. And if you need a podcast to listen to I HIGHLY recommend listening to these.  The ones on 6/7 and 6/14 from Aaron and the one on 6/21 from Matthew.

We tried out this new ice crem recipe this weekend and it’s 100% a keeper.  If you don’t have an ice cream maker and you love ice cream as much as I do, I’d recommend the investment.  We don’t have anything super fancy, it’s this one.  Pretty sure we got a rebate gift card for buying that during Sur la Table’s ice cream event last year.  Basically if it’s above your price range it’ll probably go on sale or have some sort of deal attached to it in the future.

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Double Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream (Recipe from here)

Makes: About 1 Quart

Ingredients:

For the cookie dough:

  • 5 tbsp. salted butter, melted (or unsalted butter plus ¼ tsp. salt)
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ – ½ cup flour
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup chocolate chips (I used mini chips)

For the ice cream:

  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • Pinch of coarse salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (semisweet or bittersweet)

Directions:

  1. To make the cookie dough, stir together the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until smooth. Mix in the flour, then the vanilla and chocolate chips.  Add extra four if needed to get desired consistency.  Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm.
  1. To make the ice cream, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Continue heating, stirring often, until the butter is a deep golden brown color, being careful not to burn it.
  1. Whisk in the heavy cream and heat until simmering.
  1. Meanwhile in a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and the egg yolks until pale and fluffy.
  1. Once the cream mixture is warm, add a small amount to the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Slowly whisk in the rest of the cream.  Mix in the salt.
  1. Return the egg-cream mixture to the saucepan and heat until just slightly thickened, and the temperature reads 170-175˚ F on an instant-read thermometer.
  1. Immediately remove the mixture from the heat and pour through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Stir in the vanilla extract and the whole milk.  Cover and chill thoroughly in the refrigerator.
  1. Once the mixture is chilled, freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  1. Chop the disk of cookie dough into small chunks. As soon as the mixture is done churning, transfer to a bowl or airtight container and stir in the chocolate chips and the chunks of cookie dough.  Store in the freezer until firm.

Week 49 – Enchilada Sauce and Chicken Enchiladas

Happy Sunday everyone!  It’s our first anniversary and we’re loving life and having a relaxing day together.  I’ve decided a few things since we’ve made it about a year on here (I know it’s only week 49, not 52…we got started a little late due to honeymoon and vacations):

  1. I’m going to stop keeping the posts numbered by week
  2. I will no longer post recipes that we don’t like/won’t make again.  At least not the actual recipes.  I may post a pic and give you all a link, since some peoples’ taste buds are difference, but since we’re out of the one new recipe a week year I’m no longer posting sub-par recipes to get “credit” for trying a new recipe that week.
  3. I’m going to post as we make things (hopefully).  So no more posts with multiple recipes anymore (unless they go together, like this week).

First things, first.  Our anniversary was wonderful!  I got Matt a cookbook that I made with all the recipes from the year in it.  I’d been saving them all on my computer, and then in May when I went to looking into how to pull this together I stumbled across blurb.  They have premade templates and stuff so I just had to get all the recipes into the program, and formatted, then I threw in some pictures and finalized it.  Sounds a lot less time consuming than it was… but the result is super worth it!  The book is really great quality stuff, and having our own pictures in it is amazing.  Next time you’re at our place ask me to see this and you’ll be my favorite person.  There is also an option to order your own copy on blurb (crazy) but this thing wasn’t cheap, includes pictures of the two of us, and one of the first pages includes a sappy note from me to Matt so that’s not a real option for our book…but if you make your own it sure is!

IMG_5029IMG_5030IMG_5031For Matt’s gift to me he planned a whole (relaxing) day for just the two of us.  Just what we needed in the midst of me studying like a mad woman.  We actually started the celebrations when class got out yesterday (I had CFP review class Wed-Sat from 8AM -6PM, a great use of 3 vacation days…).  I gave Matt his cookbook a night early (because it’s easy to keep a secret when I’m distracting in CFP review class all day, but once it ended, at 4:45 Saturday, there was no hope for me).  Then Matt started making fancy drinks from his anniversary drinks menu (the cucumber press is new for him and amazing and pictured below) and we ate a delicious dinner (the enchiladas) and watched some TV to close out the night.  The weather is making a lot of his options today on the afternoon itinerary look not appealing, so we’re hanging out inside.  We’ll finish off the night with dinner at le Diplomate (we had to get this reservation like 3 weeks ago…craziness!) and then it’s back to real life tomorrow 😦

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The Cucumber Press.  With freshly made cucumber juice and whatever other stuff this recipe told him to do.IMG_5037Lunchtime picnic on the balcony.  I love how much trouble he went to to make this look perfectly adorable for me 🙂

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Matt made us fancy itineraries and menus for the day

So this recipe is quite delicious.  In Matt’s anniversary cookbook I explained that the bad recipes that we didn’t like were in it, but at the end of the book and not in the table of contents.  They’re in the book getting credit for being made, but that’s about it.  So when he had his first bite of recipe he exclaimed that we need to put it in the front of the book (which is impossible, because it’s a hard bound book), because he loved it so much.  He also asked when we’re making it again.  So there’s that.  Enchiladas aren’t something I’d ever order when out to eat (hello, fajitas!) but I’m pretty excited to make these again soon.  I recommend making this homemade enchilada sauce if you have the time, it was pretty amazing.  We would have made a double or triple batch and frozen it (as suggested) but we ran out of chili powder.

Red Enchilada Sauce (recipe from here)

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose or gluten-free flour
  • 2-4 Tbsp. chili powder (*not cayenne!)
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. oregano
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and stir together over the heat for one minute.
  1. Stir in the remaining seasonings (chili powder through oregano). Then gradually add in the stock, whisking constantly to remove lumps. Reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes until thick.
  1. Use immediately or refrigerate in an air-tight container for up to two weeks.

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Chicken Enchiladas (Recipe from here)

Makes: 4+ servings*

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small white onion, peeled and diced
  • 1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into small 1/2-inch pieces (*or see substitution below for using pre-cooked shredded chicken)*
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles*
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans or lentils, rinsed and drained*
  • 8 large flour tortillas*
  • 3 cups Mexican-blend shredded cheese*
  • 1 batch red enchilada sauce, or 1 can store-bought enchilada sauce
  • optional: 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

*We made a smaller batch in a smaller than 9×13 pyrex pan so we used 2 chicken breasts, less beans, 8 small/medium sized corn tortillas, less cheese, and about 1/2 cup Trader Joe’s green Hatch Valley Salsa instead of green chiles.  This made enough fr the two of us, plus 2 servings of leftovers (2 enchiladas per serving).

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare your enchilada sauce, if making homemade.
  1. In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add diced chicken (if uncooked)* and green chiles, and season with salt and pepper.  Saute for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the chicken is cooked through.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  1. To assemble the enchiladas, set up an assembly line including: tortillas, enchilada sauce, beans, chicken mixture, and cheese. Lay out a tortilla, and spread two tablespoons of sauce over the surface of the tortilla. Add beans in a line down the middle of the tortilla, then add in a spoonful of the chicken mixture, then sprinkle with 1/3 cup cheese. Roll up tortilla and place in a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.  Then spread the remaining enchilada sauce on top of the tortillas, and sprinkle on the remaining shredded cheese.
  1. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and serve immediately, garnished with chopped fresh cilantro if desired.

*If you are using pre-cooked chicken, just leave it out of the saute and cook the onion and green chiles for 1 additional minute (instead of 6-8). Once you remove the onion and green chiles from the heat, stir in the chicken (which should be shredded or chopped into bite-sized pieces).

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Week 48 – Summer Salad

Time continues to fly by which brings me to you with late posts…again.  Woops!  Also, at first I thought I lost count of the weeks (and that my CPA license should therefore be revoked, because what accountant can’t count?), but even though the post for this coming week will be week 49, yet our anniversary is Sunday, I realized this didn’t start til Mid-July last year.  Phew.  And btw, get excited for the next post, because I get to share with you my anniversary gift for Matt and I’m so stinking excited!! It has been a hard thing to keep secret…just 3 more days!

This weekend was great – we drove up to NY for a friend’s wedding and stopped near Binghamton to hang out at my aunt’s house with some of my dearest cousins and their little ones, and my parents and Amanda came down too!  It was great to spend some time with family.  Then we drove over to Delhi, NY to the house Matt’s friends rented for the weekend.  What did people do before airbnb?  It’s so great that we can go anywhere (hello…Delhi, NY) and rent a house that sleeps 10 people so we can all hang out all weekend.  Anyway, the wedding was adorable and the whole weekend was a lot of fun, a much needed break from my straight days of studying.

I recently purchased Shauna Niequist’s new book – a 365 Day devotional.  Not only is it great because I just love everything she writes, but it has recipes sprinkled throughout!  So we tried one of them this week and, just like her other recipes, it did not disappoint.

Summer Salad:

Servings: 6 (as a side)

Ingredients*:

  • 3 Ears of Corn, cut from the ears, raw
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 2 peppers (red, yellow, or orange)
  • 1/2 pint grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 bunch fresh dill
  • 1/2 bunch fresh basil (we used parsley…accidentally, but it was still good!)
  • 4 ounces crumbled feta
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste

* The original recipe was double of all these amounts, but since we’re only two people we cut it in half

Directions:

Combine all ingredients and adjust the herbs, salt, and pepper to taste.  Let sit for several hours before serving, it gets better the longer it sits.  Keeps for at least 3 days.

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Week 47 – Chicken Pesto Quinoa Bowl

Life is crazy and the days just fly by!  Work is busier than I’d like, but part of that is due to me taking Fridays off to study and get things done.  So same amount of work, just less days to fit it into.  The studying is coming along, slowly but surely.

We had a good weekend.  A bunch of studying for me, but also a good amount of time was spent hanging out with friends.  We went to Annapolis yesterday for lunch with our friends Joe, Elizabeth, and Naomi, to celebrate Elizabeth’s birthday with fresh sea food!  The food was delicious and the company was pretty great too 🙂

This week’s recipe is inspired by one of my favorite orders from Protein Bar.  Protein Bar was one of my go-to spots for busy season dinners in Chicago when I wanted to be healthy, rather than eating my feelings about working 80+ hours a week for weeks on end.  They also exist in DC (but unfortunately I work in Tyson’s Corner, not DC) and we went there for the first time since I lived in Chicago a couple weeks ago when Matt’s parents were in town.  So when eating there and being bummed about the lack of suburban locations of Protein Bar, I realized I could totally re-create this for myself!  This recipe is DELICIOUS.  Matt is pretty opposed to quinoa/will eat it but wouldn’t ever make it for himself, and he devoured this.  He liked it so much, he suggested re-creating the buffalo one, which is similar to what he had that day for lunch.  Stay tuned for that in the future!

Chicken Pesto Quinoa Bowl

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 small, or 1/2 large, chicken breast, cooked and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (we used tri-colored quinoa)
  • 1/2 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese
  • 4-5 Tbsp Pesto
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach, fresh

Directions:

  1. Mix the cooked quinoa and pesto together
  2. Add  spinach, cooked chicken, and freshly grated parmesan and stir.
  3. Spoon into two bowls and enjoy!

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Week 46 – Strawberry Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes

Sorry for the delay, everyone!  We made this recipe a couple weeks ago on our day off for memorial day.  It’s not bad, but it’s not as great as I wanted it to be, and due to the process and sugar quantity, we’re unlikely to make it again.    But everyone has different tastes, so if you have a little time and want to try something new, have at it!

Strawberry Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes (recipe from here)

Ingredients:

For the syrup
  • 1.5 cups strawberries, hulled and diced
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon honey
For the pancake batter
  • 1¼ cups all purpose flour
  • 1½ tablespoons poppyseeds
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • juice of 2 medium lemons
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup strawberries, diced
Directions:
  1. Prepare the syrup: Add strawberries, sugar, water, vanilla, and honey to a medium sauce pan and heat over medium heat stirring throughout until sugar is dissolved, remove from heat. Use an immersion blender to purree syrup (or you can transfer the mixture to a regular blended and then pulse for about one minute). When syrup is smooth with only small bits of strawberries left, allow to sit and thicken over very low heat until pancakes are ready.
  2. Preheat large nonstick pan or skillet over medium-low heat and spray with cooking spray.
  3. Prepare the pancake batter: In a large bowl combine flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and whisk until well mixed. In a medium bowl whisk together lemon juice and sugar. Add buttermilk, vanilla, and egg and whisk until smooth. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Pour dry ingredients into the well you just made. Whisk all ingredients until just incorporated (batter will be lumpy). Gently stir in the diced strawberries
  4. Make the Pancakes: Pour ¼-1/3 cup batter onto preheated pan or skillet. When edges begin to look “dry” and bubbles form and burst in the batter, use a large spatula to flip pancake. Cook 1-2 minutes longer. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve warm with strawberry syrup and additional fresh strawberries and powdered sugar if desired.

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