6 Healthy and Quick Back to School Breakfasts!

Hi! So I haven’t posted in about a month and I thought it was time to post. I moved which is a huge step for us and I finally am reunited with my beloved stand mixer, Cuisinart, blender…I am so happy. I am hungry, tired and exhausted from the first two days of school. Back to school is a hard time of year, folks. Especially switching the wake-up time to 2 hours earlier. But I’m pushing through it, partially because my breakfasts are getting better. Here’s a life hack: Eat breakfast. As simple as it sounds, breakfast IS the most important meal because to be fair, you have gone 10 or so hours without food and you need it and also if you are me and you have lunch at 1:30 you won’t be eating for a while. So really, eat breakfast. And if your options are constantly limited to cereal, frozen waffles and poptarts, fear not. I’ve got you covered with some ultimate breakfasts…6 of them to be exact and they are going to rock your world… trust me. And don’t worry… my fridge is limited, too.

Basically all that is in my fridge is PB, rice pudding, leftovers, yogurt and fruit. And cheese. Obviously.

Basically all that is in my fridge is PB, rice pudding, leftovers, yogurt and fruit. And cheese. Obviously.

Here is a calendar plan for  a week of breakfast delight: KKBreakfasts.pdf

1. Yogurt Granola Layered Pops!

pops1

Credits to: Bethany Mota Youtube Channel for the inspiration. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdhgvXcE0WQ

These pops are delicious, impressive and oh-so easy, not to mention healthy and fun. You can prep them overnight and eat them in the morning, without wasting a bit of time.

Serves 3:

Ingredients:

  • 3 cartons of yogurt, or one depending on the size. I used one Maple Yogurt from Wallaby Organics (mom), one Strawberry Blend Simply 100 Chobani Greek (me) and one Strawberry Banana Dannon Activia (my sister). Any will work.

yogurt

  • Granola of your choice. I like Bread Alone Almond and Raisin, Moomoo Muesli and One Girl Cookie Granola. (Or homemade!)

granola

  • Dixie Cups- 5 oz.
  • Popsicle sticks or skewers… preferably popsicle sticks.

MAKE IT:

  1. Pour a layer of yogurt into the Dixie Cup. Top with a generous sprinkling of granola and top with more yogurt, then granola, so on and so on.
  2. Stick the skewer/stick into the cup and put in the freezer in a safe place. Freeze overnight.
  3. In the morning, peel off the Dixie cup and enjoy. Eat with fruit.

EASY!

2. Blueberry Coconut Almond Smoothie

Photo on 9-9-15 at 4.24 PM Photo on 9-9-15 at 4.25 PM #2 Photo on 9-9-15 at 4.25 PM

This smoothie couldn’t get easier and it is incredibly yummy. I did this to use up coconut milk, but if you don’t have it, sub banana or just skip it… this would also be great with strawberries or raspberries and cashews. You can make this the night before, even the toasted almonds and then just drink it in the morning, topped with the almonds.

Serves about 4

Ingredients:

  • About 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 small carton blueberries
  • Slivered almonds
  • About 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk (if you have sweetened, take out the honey)
  • Honey
  • Banana, if you have
  • Ice

MAKE IT:

  1. Put all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the ingredients in terms of flavor and texture.
  2. Toast almonds in the oven or a toaster oven until dark and you can smell them. Put the almonds and smoothie separately in the fridge and chill OR you can just eat it now.
  3. In the morning, drink the smoothie topped with the almonds, with some toast.

Yum!

Raw Peach “Jam” In Seconds

Credits to Doodat for the original idea…

Quick! Go to the farmer’s market, go to the grocery store! Get the last of summer’s peach bounty before it runs out! Or nectarines! Or plums! Or pluots! Or apricots! And donut peaches would work quite nicely… This is incredibly yummy, and blossomed from my grandma’s idea of mashing peaches into buttered toast. This literally tastes like peach pie and takes seconds. What are you waiting for? Go get those peaches!

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 very ripe peach, plum, donut peach, apricot, pluot, nectarine or any other stone fruit. The riper and softer and juicier the better.
  • Vanilla extract
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • Butter or margarine
  • Bread- any, but I love Eli Zabar Baby Manor House Pullman-, toasted.

MAKE IT:

  1. Finely dice the fruit put it in a bowl. (You can do this the night before if you want) Using your fingers, a fork, a spoon or anything else, mash it up. Mix with vanilla and cinnamon.
  2. Butter the toast and mash “jam” into it. Top with a grind of good sea salt and enjoy.

See? Easy peasy!

Chia Almond Breakfast Pudding

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From the October Issue of the Food Network Magazine

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond milk or cashew milk
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • chopped fresh fruit

MAKE IT:

  1. Mix the chia seeds and almond milk in a glass or bowl. Stir after one hour, then chill overnight.
  2. In the morning, top with fruit and enjoy.

Super healthy!

2 Minute French Toast in a Mug

IMG_7218

Photo and recipe from Pretty Prudent

Read that title again. Hear that? French Toast. In a mug. Two Minutes. Trigger words. Make it. If you want, you can prep the night before and soak the bread overnight, and microwave in the morning. If you don’t have a microwave, a low oven will do fine, but it will take longer.

Serves 1.

Ingredients:

  • 1 or 2 slices bread, cubed
  • Butter
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp. milk
  • Vanilla and cinnamon

MAKE IT:

  1. Butter the inside of a microwave safe coffee. Put your bread cubes in the mug and smoosh them down. In a separate mug, mix the egg, cinnamon, vanilla and milk with a fork.
  2. Pour over the cubes and soak overnight or for 1 minute. Microwave for 1 minute and then do the rest in 10 second intervals. Serve with syrup.

Yay! Also: please try this: http://www.prettyprudent.com/2012/04/entertaining-food/one-minuteone-cookie-how-to-make-a-single-microwave-chocolate-chip-cookie-in-a-minute/

Frittata in a Mug!

from Saint Louis Today

serves 1

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons milk
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1/4 of a bagel (or similar amount of French bread, etc.)
  • 2 teaspoons cream cheese
  • 1/2 slice prosciutto (optional)
  • Fresh thyme leaves or fresh chopped chives
  • Dijon mustard
  • Chopped tomato or pepper

MAKE IT:

  1. Beat egg and milk together with a fork in a coffee cup, adding salt and pepper to taste. Tear bread into dime-size pieces; stir in. Add cream cheese; stir in. Tear or cut prosciutto into small pieces; add to mixture. Sprinkle with thyme.

2. Microwave on high until done, about 1 minute 10 seconds. Garnish with mustard and fresh thyme or chives. Enjoy!

Yummers.

________________________

And if you still only want cereal and waffles, here are my favorites:

  1. Basic 4
  2. Crispix
  3. Autumn Wheat
  4. Flax Plus Oatmeal
  5. Golden Grahams
  6. Strawberry Fields Cereal
  7. Mini Wheats
  8. Heart to Heart Cereal
  9. Van’s Mini Chocolate Chip Waffles
  10. Van’s Whole Grain Waffles

So. Hope you enjoyed the recipes… be back soon.

For now, I’ll rejoice with my stand mixer.

My face when I saw my KitchenAid for the first time in 5 months...

My face when I saw my KitchenAid for the first time in 5 months…

And, as always, keep cooking!

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Another Summer Supper: Panko-Breaded Flounder, Watermelon Feta Salad and Ice Cream with Warm Berry Sauce

fish

Sorry for super bad quality…

Hi everyone! Happy mid-August! With school coming near (ahhh), the summer feel beginning to wind down and the heat raising up to scorching heights, I figured I need to spit out all my summer dinners fast as I can so you guys can hopefully enjoy making them by the end of the summer!

I hate the fact that it is literally August 17th and I am already seeing back-to-school things in the media- well, that’s outrageous. All people talk about in August is how they are SO sad to end summer, but my logic is, why spend your time complaining while you could be enjoying the fun and soaking up the last rays of summer sun before, (sigh), it’s back to long days of math tests and long lessons.

This meal is an incredible meal for the summer. For a while, this fish that my dad would make was the only kind I would eat. And there is a good reason. For kids who don’t like fish, this is the perfect starter to get you into it. The thin filet of fish that glistens in the center is surrounded by the crispiest breading and perfect seasoning. Honestly, if you told toddlers that it was healthy french fries, um, they would eat it.

Watermelon is a word that sums up summer- refreshing, easy, delicious, fruity, sweet and liberating. Paired with tangy feta and bitter arugula to offset its sweetness, and vibrant tomatoes for a toast of summer, and dressed with a light dressing that enhances it but doesn’t steal the stage, well, it is stupendous.

Again, sorry for the bad quality...

Again, sorry for the bad quality…

For the dessert, I had a little fun. I wanted to make something easy, summery and perfect. We bought some vanilla bean ice cream, some fresh blueberries and raspberries and headed home. I literally put the berries in a pot with butter sugar, orange juice (of course) and some spices and stirred it until it was bubbling and saucy. Served hot over ice cream… so good.

These two past posts about summer dinners are really my pride and joy. If you are planning on cooking any of the recipes on my blog, cook those. Thanks! HERE WE GO:

Watermelon-Feta Salad with Arugula:

serves 4-6

Inspired by Brooklyn Crab

INGREDIENTS:

  • About 1/2 of a seedless watermelon, balled with a melon baller or chopped. You could also buy precut.
  • Arugula to taste. I trust your judgement. Not too much, not too little.
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved.
  • Crumbled feta, to taste.
  • Olive oil.
  • Balsamic Vinegar.
  • Balsamic glaze or crema, if you have it.
  • Salt and pepper.
  • A bit of lemon juice (optional)

MAKE IT:

  1. Mix together the watermelon and tomatoes in a large salad bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the vinegar, oil and salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the levels of different ingredients.
  3. Add the feta. Sprinkle the crumbles, scattering around the bowl.
  4. Dress the salad, then add the arugula and toss. Serve immediately. NOTE: Arugula wilts in liquid very quickly, so if you are making it in advance, always add the arugula right before serving. Pour some balsamic glaze over it if you have.

Panko Breaded Pan-Fried Flounder with Lemon

serves 4-6

Thanks to my dad

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 thin filets of flounder (or other flat fish such as sole)
  • 2 cups of Panko (Japanese breadflakes. You can use regular as well.)
  • 2 egg whites
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

MAKE IT:

  1. Take out two flat dishes. They can be any size BUT they must be big enough that a filet can lay flat in them. In one dish, put the egg whites. In the other, spread the Panko. Have more on hand, because you might need it.
  2. Remove any small bones you may see on the filets. Lay one filet in the egg whites, then flip. Put the filet in the panko, and sprinkle some salt and pepper on the face up side with no panko on it. Flip the fish in the panko. Put some more panko on top of the fish in addition to the panko that stuck to the egg wash.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a pan on medium-high heat with olive oil. When it is hot, put the fish into the pan. When the edges of the filet are golden and the filet looks kind of opaque, flip. (3-5 min. on each side).
  4. Repeat with other filets. Garnish with lemon.

Ice Cream with Warm Berry Compote

serves 4

Spice ideas partially from Bon Appetit. They included garam masala in their recipe for peach pecan cobbler, for warmth and I thought it would add strong aftertaste.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pack of blueberries, washed
  • 1 pack of raspberries, washed
  • Sugar
  • Orange juice
  • Pinch of ginger
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Pinch of garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Vanilla Bean ice cream

MAKE IT:

  1. Put the berries in a pot over medium heat. Add the butter and stir. Let it simmer for a little while until the juices are partially released. Add a generous amount of sugar.
  2. Add the orange juice and spices and stir constantly until it looks saucy.
  3. Taste and adjust sugar levels. Pour on top of ice cream. Enjoy!

___________________________________________________

I hope you enjoyed this recipe! Comment if it sounds good, or “like” it!

As always:

Keep cooking 😉

Graves Mountain Lodge

Down in good old Virginia

Down in good old Virginia

Hi everyone! Though I promised more summer dinners, I had to share a bit about this experience with you. This summer, I went with my family, grandparents, aunt, uncle and two little cousins to Graves Mountain Lodge in Syria, Virginia. My dad went here as a baby with his family, and now we came back!

Located in the tiny town of Syria, VA, Graves Mountain Lodge is nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I’ve been in 3 mountain ranges this summer that all have names with colors: the White Mountains (NH), the Green Mountains (VT) and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Syria mainly consists of a tiny convenience general store called Syria Mercantile, the Apple/Corn Stand that has no name besides the wooden sign out front reading “FRESH Apples and Corn”, a plant nursery, and some houses. And Graves Lodge.

syria

The town of Syria, Virginia

The Mercantile doubles as a post office, and provided some quite yummy Good Humor Andes Mint Ice Cream Sandwiches after our White Oak Canyon hike. Post-hike fuel!

The Mercantile doubles as a post office, and provided some quite yummy Good Humor Andes Mint Ice Cream Sandwiches after our White Oak Canyon hike. Post-hike fuel!

As much as Syria is a dot-on-the-map town, it IS cute, the mountains are gorgeous and there is plenty to do around here. Shenandoah National Park is right nearby, and the trailhead for the White Oak Canyon trail is a 5 minute drive from Graves. Yay, waterfalls!

The Lower Falls on the White Oak Canyon trail-- lovely for an afternoon dip/shower!

The Lower Falls on the White Oak Canyon trail– lovely for an afternoon dip/shower!

We also stopped by Montpelier, James Madison’s house, where I begged for this book (all in vain), checked out the classic “Virginia Housewife Cookbook” (circa 1800), bricks of tea, and some pretty great gourmet sandwiches. Hickory Smoked Chicken Salad, anyone? Or perhaps some turkey and gouda on a demi-baguette with herb mayo? Sure? I thought so. All I have to say is: Dolley Madison was one fabulous lady.

A sandwich from eXchange cafè at Montpelier

A sandwich from eXchange cafè at Montpelier

A bit of history on James and Dolley (we like a bit of history here on KK).

A bit of history on James and Dolley (we like a bit of history here on KK).

Graves Mountain Lodge is also a farm that grows their own apples and peaches, and the apple butter served with every meal (along with homemade rolls and golden topped biscuits.)

Graves Lodge's Famous Apple Butter

Graves Lodge’s Famous Apple Butter

Graves Lodge is also a beautiful place to be, from the pool with its turquoise waters, to the Blue Ridge Mountains, to the old farmhouses that you stay in.

The website

The website

It was also fitting for me to be frolicking around the South, looking at giant plantations and eating down-home food because at the moment I am reading “The Great American Novel.”

scarlett

rhett

Yup, none other than Gone With the Wind, taking place in Georgia. How lovely.

Of all the lovely things about Graves, a top contender was the food.

Fried-Chicken2

Some Southern Fried Chicken a Graves (Fried Chicken is always Sunday Dinner, along with Virginia Country Ham)

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 9.43.08 AM

A sample of the menus at the Lodge

Coming from a city filled with gourmet fancy pastries and ethnic foods and fancy fish and sauces, it was a bit of a happy relief to enjoy some carb/sugar/fried-food soaked classic Southern fare.

Among the delicious options, there was the steak buffet, laden with pasta salad, coleslaw, baked potatoes, beets, string beans, biscuits, apples (oh, my!). The rainbow fried trout was a favorite, but I coughed up some little bones from the breading, which made it not possible to eat the breading around the flesh.

Though the rolls were crusty, the chicken tender, the apple butter spiced and creamy, I felt at times the food was TOO heavy. You ate a lot and felt it and the fried food and the sugar and the carbs began to overload. I think I’ll stick to healthier most of the time.

But despite the fact that this is true, the food was superb. Fresh peaches from the farm in their own juices, or baked apples from the farm served at every meal were superb. Delicious biscuits, toast, rolls and more, smeared with apple butter are amazing (we took some of the condiment home and it was delightful on my toast), and the food was so delicious and filling.

I’ll have some, please.

LINKS:

Graves Mountain Lodge, Syria, VA

Buy Graves Mountain Apple Butter Online

Syria Mercantile Store

Montpelier: James and Dolley Madison’s Virginia Plantation

Monticello: Thomas Jefferson’s Home

White Oak Canyon Falls Trail

EXchange Cafè at Montpelier

AND:

Getting hungry from the apple butter? Here are some recipes to try:

Food Network’s Apple Butter (PS: Is anybody else excited about the Camp Cutthroat premiere tomorrow night on Food Network?)

Martha Stewart’s Apple Butter (I found a great website, coincidentally called “Not Martha”)

Simply Recipes’ Apple Butter (their PB Cookie recipe is scrumptious, as well)

AND:

I’ve outgrown ChopChop (3rd post ever, guys!) and am now loving Cook’s Illustrated in addition to the Food Network Magazine and Bon Appetit and they have an apple butter recipe as well…

BUT:

More on all of this later, so I am signing off.

Keep cooking 😉

A Garden Summer Supper- Dad’s Famous Fajitas and Blueberry Peach Crisp

likefajitababy

The perfect summer meal has a few components. It should be refreshing, but also substantial; healthy, but also a celebration of the freedom of summer. It should be reminiscent of laughing days and inexplicable joy, but also have a sincerity that keeps you on the ground, and thinking about the food and the food only. It should bring people together and should take advantage of summer’s great bounty, while still adding the familiar warmth of a few classic ingredients.

Also, it should taste good.

This meal, in my opinion is just that– a team effort, delicious, wholesome, substantial and a creator of good conversation. It uses all we have that this season offers and brings new things to the table. I’m talking, of course, about my dad’s fajitas.

My dad makes the best fajitas on Earth, and yes, I’m going there because, well, he does. He concocts the most amazing marinade and grills chicken breasts to get tons of delicious juice and flavor out of them.

fire(boom)

We also grilled some steak in this batch. And by the way, you can also grill this chicken inside. We were just grilling it outside because we were here.

maineMaineMAINE

We serve the chicken on grilled tortillas with my family’s famous guacamole (always), corn tomato salad (on the fajitas, and a bit on the side, but only sometimes do we have the salsa), sautèed peppers and onions (always necessary), cheese (duh), and occasionally black beans. Yum.

fiestaguac

fiestaguacandtortillas

As for the crisp..

My grandma has a foolproof recipe for crisp that works with all fruits and makes a killer topping. For this crisp, I didn’t use it. I promise that someday I will post it, but I decided to try and make up a new kind of recipe. So I tossed some chopped fresh peaches (it works lovely with nectarines, too) with a bit of flour, some cinnamon and sugar and added blueberries and a splash of orange juice (my secret ingredient in everything). Then I mixed some oats, brown sugar, flour and butter and spread it on top.

crispchrome

filling

blurredcrisp(i know you want it)

buttah

The result was a resounding dinner, a delicious thing that we devoured outside, onions strewn around our plates, vanilla ice cream dripping down our chins. We were happy, we were satisfied. The perfect summer meal.

SO:

(BY THE WAY: this goes great with homemade strawberry soda)

Dad’s Fajitas-

Serves 4 to 6, but feel free to add or subtract: ALSO remember that these are very editable (sorry, that’s not a word), so make sure to put your own twist on it, and add what you want. Hot sauce, hello!

Tips on cooking corn adapted from the Kitchn. Otherwise, this is a family recipe. 🙂

Ingredients:

CHICKEN & MARINADE:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved horizontally (into two flat cutlets) (PLEASE note that this works amazingly with skirt steak, as well. Coincidentally, my dad has a famous steak marinade as well, but I’m afraid I can’t tell that secret. Use your favorite.)
  • Juice of 1-2 limes or lemons
  • 2 cups Olive Oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp. cayenne or chili pepper, or a dash of hot sauce (optional)

CORN AND TOMATO SALAD:

  • 4 ears of sweet corn
  • 2 good heirloom tomatoes- big and juicy
  • Cilantro, chopped to taste
  • 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 chopped red bell pepper
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I’m not going to tell you how much to use: I trust your judgement)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • salt and pepper to taste

GUACAMOLE:

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/4 white onion, chopped (optional)
  • Juice of 1 lime (again)
  • Chopped tomato, to taste (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

PEPPERS & ONIONS:

  • Olive Oil
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 2 white onions
  • A tbsp. of ground cumin
  • A pinch of chili powder (optional)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • chopped cilantro to taste
  • salt to taste

THE WORKS:

  • Lots of grated white cheddar cheese (of course, you could use the pre-shredded Mexican Fiesta Cheese Mix, too)
  • A few limes, for extra juice, quartered
  • 8 tortillas
  • Black beans (from a can or fresh, but let’s be realistic)

MAKE IT:

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you want to have some REALLY good fajitas, this marinade takes 5 minutes to put together and if you could do it in the morning and leave the chicken all day… wow. If not, just leave it there while making all the other ingredients.

  1. Start with the chicken: In a large container, like a Tupperware, mix together all of the ingredients listed in the marinade except for the chicken. Put your chicken into the marinade and tightly close the lid.
  2. While the chicken is marinating, start on the corn, ’cause it may take a bit of time. It would be awesome if you could grill the corn, husks on outside, or even inside on a grill pan, but if not: heat a pot of boiling salted water, enough to cover all 4 ears (a big pot, or you could do 2, or even 1 at a time). Shuck the corn, and remove the silk and put them in the pot. If your corn is fresh, it should take 3-5 minutes, and older corn should go for 6-8. The corn should be golden and tender.
  3. As another alternative, you could zap the corn, husks on in the microwave for a few minutes. Yet another alternative: just use pre cut frozen corn (if you are in a rush, not recommended.)
  4. Once your corn is done cooking, wait for it to cool off, before shucking (if you used the grill or microwave method). Then, take a sharp knife (∆) and cut the corn off the cob, preferably into a bowl.
  5. Chop your tomatoes into fairly small chunks, and try to get the juices off the cutting board, and into a small bowl. Chop your onion and add that to the bowl with your corn. Ditto bell pepper.
  6. In the small bowl, whisk the lime juice, tomato juices, cilantro and a bit of olive oil, in addition to some salt and pepper. Pour it onto the vegetables and toss.
  7. Meanwhile, heat your grill. If you are grilling on an outdoor grill: Depending on what kind of grill you have, heat up the grill until it is very hot. Indoors: heat a grill pan (or a regular pan will do in a pinch) to a high heat. Take your chicken out of the marinade and throw it on the grill. Wait until the chicken seems slightly white around the edges before flipping. Use your instincts, and maybe even stick a toothpick in to check for doneness.
  8. When the chicken is done, lay it out on a platter and cut it into inch-thick slices. Meanwhile, slice your peppers and onions and heat olive oil in a pan until hot.
  9. Add the onions, and cook for a while, so they are starting to caramelize before adding the peppers and spices and cilantro. Mix around and sautè until the veggies are tender and soft. Put them in a bowl.
  10. As a last thing, start to grate your cheese. If you have a helper to do this for you, it would be great, but if not, grate the cheese on a the fine holes of a box grater. If you bought pre-shredded, just put it in a bowl.
  11. Grill the tortillas for a bit just to brown and warm them a bit. Mash the avocado, salt, pepper and lime to desired guacamole consistency, then add other ingredients, if you are using them. Put all the fixings in bowls.
  12. Enjoy! Your hard work was rewarded.

Peach Blueberry Summer Crisp:

Ingredients:

FOR THE FILLING:

  • 6 to 8 fresh ripe peaches or nectarines
  • 1- 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
  • Lemon zest, to taste
  • Lemon juice, to taste
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • A splash of orange juice

FOR THE CRUMBLE:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • A bit of brown sugar
  • Pinch cinnamon
  • 2 handfuls of rolled oats
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold butter, diced

MAKE IT:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350º. Wash your peaches and chop them into slices. Toss them with the flour, sugar, zest and juice. Mix in the blueberries. Add the orange juice.
  2. Put all of the ingredients for the crumble in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until the butter is pea-sized. Rub it between your fingers to make crumbles.
  3. Spread the fruit in a casserole pan or in individual ramekins and sprinkle the crumble on top, spreading it out. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the juices are bubbling and the top is browned and crispy and a wonderful jammy buttery smell will have filled your kitchen. Serve with (what else) vanilla ice cream.

As for my camp experience… it was amazing! I loved the camp and it was so fun. One of my favorite parts was that we got all our vegetables from a local farm down the road. I got to go blueberry picking and make homemade jam and even led a class on key lime pie.

UP NEXT: Panko Crusted Pan Fried Flounder with Watermelon Feta Salad and Ice Cream with Berry Sauce (ANOTHER SUMMER DINNER)

I have a few more perfect summer dinners coming your way… and as always:

Keep Cooking 😉

Vacation Recap, Summer Ideas, New Plans, Notices, the Whole Enchilada

Photo by the author

Pleasant Lake 🙂

Hey everyone! I hope you were inspired by my last post and liked the printables… I thought it would be cool. Even though the recipe in that post was not edible (I mean, you could eat it, technically), I figured it was still food related, so… So, last year I made a post about my summer vacation, with all the best places to eat in Rome (PHOTOS ARE COMING!) so this summer I figured I’d do the same thing with my vacation this year. Here we go!

This summer we went hut to hut hiking in New England. Though this vacation did not have any tiny trattorias hidden on street corners or sweeping vineyards, the constant gorgeous mountain views and the adventure made up for it. Though this vacation was not food centric, that didn’t mean that the food wasn’t good. Just because something isn’t centered around one thing doesn’t necessarily meant that that thing cannot be a part of it. In fact, eating food in New England was an incredible experience. The people there have been cooking the same food for years, so it’s really good, and besides that, we cooked at home a ton, making for a nice culinary experience. 🙂

Normally on long road trips (cough cough, 7 hour drives), the main food sources are 7/11 and Wendy’s with the occasional Cinnabun or perhaps a decaf Starbuck’s latte, but on this trip we stumbled upon a jewel in the heart of a tiny town in Massachusetts called Northborough. It was called Tavern in the Square with 8 locations throughout Massachusetts. The first thing on the menu I saw was risotto fritters, which immediately let me know that this was a step up from a Junior Double Cheeseburger Deluxe with a large Coke and fries. I checked out the specials.

my food

My food (excuse the finger)

I got the ancho spiced shrimp in lettuce wraps. It came with avocado creme fraiche sauce, corn and lettuce. It was amazing! I highly regret to inform you that I did not get the s’mores skillet for dessert. I got no dessert. I love that one of my favorite parts of the trip was stopping for lunch in a tiny town.

We headed to Cardigan Lodge, an AMC Lodge where we explored some of the little ponds.

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Cardigan Lodge

Cardigan was great, but the adventure started the next day. We hiked to Mizpah Hut and stayed there a night. The huts are run by college kids who cook all day for you. All day, there are baked goods, hot drinks and soup and at dinner there was fresh bread, split pea soup, stuffed shells, broccoli and gingersnaps. Yum, right? They make the best breakfasts, too.

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Mizpah Hut

Mizpah Hut dining hall

Mizpah Hut dining hall

Here is a fact: the huts sleep 20-90 depending on the hut. Here is another fact: the next day was incredibly foggy.

We hiked for 6 hours to a 5,000 and something feet altitude and we missed the gorgeous views.

Rocks on the hike to LOTC

Rocks on the hike to LOTC

a flower against the fog

a flower against the fog

We were hiking with our backpacks, carrying our clothes, sleeping bags, food and water and it was a long stretch. By the time we reached the second hut, Lakes of the Clouds, let’s just say we were ready for some hot cocoa. Who wouldn’t be after walking through a cloud for 6 hours?

The fog was so dense that we could barely see the hut from 10 feet away.

The fog was so dense that we could barely see the hut from 10 feet away.

The LOTC hut greeted us with hot cocoa and gingerbread, and hot black bean and rice soup. We played Pictionary until dinner, and then heard about the Thru Hikers experiences on the Appalachian Trail, a trail from Georgia to Maine. They served us Tomato bisque, salad, mashed potatoes, beef and string beans and chocolate cake (It was the 100th anniversary of Lakes).

Out the window...

Out the window…

But (here’s the good part) waking up the next morning was like opening a present. The fog had lifted and we realized we were on the side of a mountain, with sweeping views.

Clouds...

Clouds…

Mountain views

Mountain views

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A cloud descends on a lake

A cloud descends on a lake

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We hiked down straight down wet rocks, which took about 6 hours, before we stopped on the way to my cousin’s house in Maine.

Our cousins love to cook, so there was a lot of home cooking, especially at the 4th of July party, where Israeli couscous, Coleslaw, Potato Dijon salad, Ribs, Salmon, brownies, Strawberry shortcake and a pecan pie we won in the town pie contest and auction. (Otisfield, ME is an adorable town.)

There was lots of fun cooking on our part, but this was a little distracting.

the lake

the lake

There was a dock outside of our house. That is not to say that food wasn’t a big part of it. I made a delightful crisp.

But that food will be coming soon. The next post is a summer meal straight from our kitchen.

On the way home, we stopped at The Beach Plum, where we ate corn chowder, lobster rolls, fried shrimp and potato chips before heading into the car.

chowder

shrimp2

Here are the top 3 things to do with food this summer:

– Make easy ice pops. If you have molds, great! If not, just pour OJ or lemonade into paper cups with sticks in them and freeze.

– Make trail mix for when you are on the go. Add: cashews, peanuts, dried apples, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, craisins, crispy M n Ms and almonds.

– Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Water seem boring? Steep water in lemon and blackberries in the fridge overnight for a little flavor!

New plans? Brownie of the month! Coming out soon. I have some great ideas :).

AND FINALLY:

I will be heading to camp for 2 weeks next week, so please forgive the long stretch of not posting for those two weeks. I’ll miss you all!

And as always,

KEEP COOKING 😉

Sugar Scrubs + a Printable!

We use sugar for lots of things– for example:

So yeah, lots and lots of sugar. But it wasn’t until my aunt bought me some sweet smelling sugar scrub that I did some research on sugar and health. Sure, sugar is not so healthy for your body and a high sugar diet probably won’t bring any gifts, but did you know:

1. Sugar exfoliates and softens skin without leaving residue that will block your pores.

2. Sugar removes dead skin which evens out skin tone and prevents wrinkles.

3. Homemade scrubs prevent acne, blackheads, whiteheads and other pimples AND fixes calloused and cracked heels.

Still not convinced? How about the fact that making sugar scrubs take 5 minutes, make a fantabulous gift and smell delish!

Here are 3 kinds:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup white, brown or (better) turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil (olive or softened coconut work great)

AND:

Cinnamon Vanilla:

  • 2 pinches ground cinnamon
  • A splash of vanilla extract

Lemon Olive Oil:

  • Use olive oil
  • A little lemon juice
  • A drop of yellow food coloring, optional

Mint:

  • A splash of peppermint extract
  • A bit of green food coloring, optional

MAKE IT:

  1. Mix all ingredients together
  2. Slather scrub on legs, feet, arms and anywhere else.
  3. Wash off.
  4. Easy as that!

I used Ball 4 oz Jelly Jars to put them in that I bought at my local grocery store, but any will do. Be sure to glue the adorable labels I made onto them…

printable is below!

Keep cooking (and moisturizing) 😉

What’s cooking soon? Up next: a recap of my classic New England vacation in food and an awesome summer meal straight from my family.

Here are the printable labels– adorable! Click on the link to download:  SugarScrubs

Contest News

Hi everyone! Sorry for the super late posting, but you are in for a surprise with three new posts I’m planning about my vacation in New England and plenty more fun. I know this may disappoint some, but I am canceling the recipe contest. I have valid reasons, though! Not that many people entered the contest, which I wholeheartedly understand, due to time limits. I felt that it wasn’t fair to the amazing Laurie and Susy to compare them to only each other. Maybe someday when the blog is bigger, I’ll try again. Thanks for all of your support!

Keep cooking 😉