Thursday, May 31, 2012

Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups

After a long first week of my summer anatomy class, I was desperate for some good food. I remembered a recipe I found on the internet and decided to try it out. My new roommate and I had our first real dinner at the apartment, how cute!!! I changed the recipe up a little and it turned out great! Well... according to my roommate and I at least.

The Appetizer
I placed ritz-type crackers on a plate. Sprinkled shredded mozzarella, feta, and diced tomatoes. I also spread a little of the cooking creme on the crackers (left over from the lasagna recipe). Then I microwaved them for 35-40 seconds. Totally delicious.

The Entre
Here's what you'll need:
6 lasagna noodles
10 oz philadelphia cream cheese cooking creme (Italian cheese and herb flavor)
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 large egg
10 oz frozen shredded spinach
marinara sauce

Here's what you do:
1. Boil a large pot of water, with a little dash of salt, and cook the noodles until they are al dente (soft but not soggy).
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Thaw the package of spinach and be sure to drain as much water as possible. Combine the spinach with the cooking creme, mozzarella, parmesan, and egg.
3. Drain the noodles once they are cooked and allow to cool until they are handleable. Lay the noodles flat on a clean surface and spread the mixture onto them. No need to spread the mixture too thickly, once the noodles are rolled it won't make much of a difference. Roll the noodles and place them in a lasagna pan to be cooked. Be sure to spray the pan so the noodles don't stick!
4. Spread marinara along the top of the noodles and cook at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes.
Original Recipe

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Granny Pancakes

AKA crepes. My friends and I eat these just about every time we get together. Not that we are all mature and culinary, my friend's mom still cooks them for us... BUT it has become a tradition of its own. Sadly, we have yet to devour these granny pancakes since we have all gotten back into town and I was feeling deprived of them. Having never made them myself, I was nervous about trying it out. I have made regular pancakes and am quite pro at them, but super thin pancakes? Never tried it. Turns out, it is one of the easier things in life. Having only 4 ingredients and taking less than 20 minutes or so, these granny pancakes were divine!

1 cup flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk

1. Whisk together the flour and eggs. Gradually add in the liquids. Beat mixture until smooth.
2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium-high heat. Pour a small portion of the batter, making sure it spreads across the pan evenly.
3. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until the cooking side is lightly browned. Flip with a spatula and cook the other side.
4. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar, roll the crepe, sprinkle more cinnamon sugar, and top it off with some fresh lemon juice! YUMMM. I did a couple with nutella too... of course.
They were so tasty I ate them right as they came off the stove! In my defense, I was rather starved. Such an amazing way to start the day! :)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Peanut Butter and Honey Dog Treats

I've been meaning to make my pups some dog treats for quite some time now. The recipes never seem too hard, I just kept putting it off until today. I chose one with peanut butter and honey, I figured no dog could refuse that combination! The recipe itself was really easy and didn't take much time at all. The cooking process was more time consuming.

1/4 cup honey
1 cup crunchy peanut butter (try to find an all-natural kind with minimal sodium and mostly all from peanuts)
2 cups chicken broth or water
1/3 cup peanut oil
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup oat bran
3-4 cups oat flour

1. In a large sauce pan, combine the honey, peanut butter, chicken broth, and peanut oil. Heat and stir often. Remove from heat once the mixture begins to simmer.
2. Stir in rolled oats and oat bran. Let mixture cool until it is cool enough to work with.
3. Gradually blend in oat flour, adding enough to form a stiff dough.
4. Transfer to a floured (oat flour or rye flour) surface and knead until smooth. The kneading process will take between 3 and 5 minutes.
5. Roll the dough until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Use a mini cookie cutter or cut into small squares. I happened to find a dog-shaped cookie cutter!! I also found that we have the whole alphabet in cookie cutters - I made a B (for Buttons), a G (for Goose), and a D (for Denny)!
Continue rolling and cutting the dough -- if the dough starts to crumble, sprinkle some water and knead the dough then start again.
6. Bake for 30 minutes on a non-greased surface. Remove from oven and turn over. Bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until golden brown on both sides. 
I think the treats turned out pretty well! The dogs ate them so quickly... so I guess that means I was successful! The original recipe advised allowing the treats to cool while in the oven for a few hours (the oven being turned off) to make them crispier. Mine turned out pretty crispy, so I didn't put them back into the oven to cool.
Patiently waiting for more!
They smelled so good my mom asked if she could try them! I told her they had chicken broth in them, after that she wasn't so interested. :)

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Color Run

The first time I found out about the Color Run I just knew I had to do it. The Color Run is a 5k (around 3 miles) in which different colors are thrown on you throughout the run. A white shirt is absolutely required!! A different color is chunked at you at each kilometer. 1k is yellow, 2k is blue, 3k is green, 4k is pink, and 5k is the color extravaganza! The colors are made, according the Color Run website, from an"elf made" secret recipe of magical color dust. Hmmmm... sounds pretty awesome to me!!!

Being a cross country runner all throughout high school and having completed my fair share of half marathons, there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to one day become a color runner! After looking at the list of cities I practically screamed with happiness when I saw that Birmingham was on the list!!! I was even more excited when I realized it was on Labor Day. Sooner than I thought I would be able to do it! AND I'm not missing a football game OR class. Roll Tide.

The "happiest 5k" looks like an explosion of fun and I can't wait to do it! I've got my white shorts and shirt - I am ready to run. Only 100 days to go until I am covered in color!!
Have a colorful day!! :)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Guacamole Hummus

Guacamole and hummus - two of my favorite things. Avocado frequently makes an appearance in my meals. Whether it is on sandwiches, in salads, or even eaten whole I absolutely cannot get enough avocado. Garbanzo beans, the staple bean in hummus, is something I don't use as frequently. I typically buy hummus from the store but when I saw this curious recipe, I wanted to give it a try. I found the recipe a few weeks ago and when I woke up feeling fiesta-like this morning I decided to finally try it out. This totally vegan recipe is super easy and didn't cost me more than $7! That's a pretty sweet deal seeing as hummus alone is typically between $5-8.

1 can (15.5 ounces) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
3 cups fresh cilantro leaves
1 ripe avocado, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Coarse salt and group pepper

1. Combine chickpeas, cilantro leaves, and avocado in a food processor. I have a small food grinder and a large blender. I used the blender. It wasn't exactly ideal, but it eventually got the job done.
2. Process the ingredients until finely copped.
3. With machine running, add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream.
4. Add the lemon juice.
5. Add water - 1 tablespoon at a time - until the mixture is smooth. After the lemon juice, I didn't add any water. The mixture seemed smooth enough.
6. Season with salt and pepper as needed and serve with lemon wedges and tortilla chips!
The original recipe contained garlic, I'm not much of a fan so I didn't add that into my guacamole hummus. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Frozen Bananas

My sweet tooth got the best of me yesterday. I keep seeing recipes for frozen fruit and I just had to try one out. Of course, Nutella is involved. No surprise there though. This isn't much of a recipe as it is an idea. I found it on Pinterest (typical) and it is easy as pie (easier even). These are frozen bananas with Nutella and assorted toppings. Yummmm :)

Step 1: Purchase bananas, Nutella, and any toppings you want. I used Butterfingers, Oreos, vanilla wafers, and shredded coconut. Anything could work!
Step 2: Cut bananas into fourths and insert popsicle sticks into the center - I used small stirring straws. The straws seemed like a good idea but were too flexible when it came to eating the bananas. For next time I will probably use something more sturdy. Once the bananas are cut, place them onto a flat surface.
Step 3: Allow bananas to freeze - I let mine sit overnight.
Step 4: Dip bananas into melted Nutella and roll into toppings. To melt the Nutella, I put a spoonful into a bowl, microwaved for 30 seconds, and stirred. The Nutella packaging says not to microwave but I didn't have any major problems. The only problem I did have was with clumping, so microwave a little at a time and this is prevented! For the Oreos, Butterfingers, and vanilla wafers I put them into a food grinder for a few seconds before rolling the bananas into them. The coconut was already shredded. 
Step 5: Freeze for another hour and a half and enjoy!
I immediately tried one of each flavor and absolutely adored them!!! My favorite was the Butterfinger and a close second was the coconut. It is perfect for a hot day like today and I expect they will be gone before I have a chance to enjoy any more. Next I want to try this with strawberries!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Water Colors

I constantly have a glass of water in my hand, especially throughout the summertime. It isn't hard to tire of the same plain flavor of water. Beverages like sports drinks and sodas are full of calories and sugar. Many people make the mistake of choosing these drinks instead of water and end up consuming entirely too many calories than they should. Unlike sodas, water keeps you hydrated and is very refreshing no matter the circumstance! There are easy ways to make water more appealing. Two of my "go-tos" are adding fruit and the addition of flavoring powders.

Add a little color: water is absolutely divine with some fruit added into it. The fruit not only adds some color but also the mild flavor is a definite bonus!
Some of my favorite fruits to add into water are lemon, strawberry, lime, and cucumber.
Lemon water can even help stop bad breath!!

Add a little flavor: Many companies have come up with packets of powder that can be mixed into water to add some flavor. These are typically low in calories, sugar, and loaded with tastiness. 
My two favorites are Crystal Lite and Mio!
My sweet pup even knows to stay hydrated during this hot summer heat. Although, I wouldn't recommend the bird bath...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Banana Bread

Happy Mother's Day!!
I woke up this morning and decided today was the day to begin my Pinterest baking adventure. Dark chocolate raspberry banana bread seemed like the ideal way to start such a thing. I'm a big fan of banana-nut bread so when I saw this recipe I just had to try it!
Seeing as it was Mother's Day, I was already a little inspired to do something special around the house. Being a broke college kid, I didn't exactly splurge on platinum jewelry for my mother, so I compensated by baking a nice loaf of breakfast bread! Don't worry though, she did get some PRETTY beautiful flowers. 

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup granulated white sugar
4 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs
1.5 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
1/3 cup plain low fat yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup dark chocolate chunks or chips
1 cup halved rasberries, tossed in 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the four, baking soda, and salt.
3. In a separate larger bowl, beat sugar and butter with an electric mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 1 minute).
4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
5. Add the banana, yogurt, and vanilla - beat until well blended.
6. Stir in the flour mixture, just until moist. Don't over-mix.
7. Stir in the chocolate chunks and then gently stir in the raspberries.
8. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes. Remove and let cool.

I would definitely recommend trying this recipe! It made for a tasty breakfast, loved it. I can't wait to try this recipe with other fruits!
Not that a loaf of bread can reward my mother for all she has had to put up with, but I know she will enjoy it for a little while. I hope everyone made sure to do something special for their mothers!! 
Love you mommy! :)
"Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever." - Unknown

Friday, May 11, 2012

summer to-do list

Now that it's summer, I can finally start on the things I didn't have time to do with a 17 hour course load!! Aside from the typical summer activities, I have a few things I am determined to do before the summer comes to an end. Without this fantastic list, I would probably spend most of my time Netflixing random television shows and accomplishing absolutely nothing!! Unfortunately, I have to take some classes this summer but I am dead set on having time to conquer this lovely list!

1. Actually cook some of the things I have found on pinterest. I find deserts, entrees, salads - pretty much anything, but I have yet to cook a single thing! Being a nutrition major that is a little embarrassing. I really should be cooking more. My mother even bought me an apron so I am geared up and ready to go!
2. WAKEBOARD. My friends at home are crazy about it, I even know people that wakeboard competitively. I am a little baby and have yet to gather the courage to try. I've never seen someone fall on their face, I just picture it happening to me.
I'll probably be pro: 
Just kidding, more like terrified:

3. Finish reading the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, so intense. I read the first book, have started that second, and can't wait to read the last one!

4. Get a little crafty. Again, pinterest has me motivated to do crazy things... and my apartment walls are so bare it makes me sad to look at them. I have all these awesome (ridiculous) ideas, so hopefully my walls won't be too white once I'm done! Some of these don't even look to hard, my walls WILL be beautiful :)

My balcony also needs a little help, I'm sure that won't be too difficult to spruce up!

"Sun is shining. Weather is sweet. Make you wanna move your dancing feet." - Bob Marley
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