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How Tuesday: Ricotta Blueberry Breakfast

5 Jun

I don’t remember where I first heard the idea that ricotta would make a good breakfast protein, but I decided to give it a try yesterday with a few other ingredients. Here’s what I came up with:

Oh. My. Gosh. Can you say delish? I’ve never really cared for ricotta, I tend to use other cheeses in lasagna, but this made me a convert.

I call it my ricotta blueberry breakfast to-go. It’s really easy to make, it’s more assembling than cooking, which is perfect for me in the morning. I need my breakfasts to be fast and simple. I eat them on the go almost exclusively, a bad habit I know, but I’ve never consistently managed to make myself get up early enough to sit down to a bowl of cereal, much less fry up an egg or two. This takes as long to make as toasting a waffle, and is pretty portable, as long as you don’t pile the ricotta too high. Here’s how it’s done:

Start with a good multi-grain toaster waffle and part-skim ricotta cheese. I like these from Nature’s Path. The figs add a nice sweetness, but Trader Joe’s has a multi-grain that is excellent as well. Toast up a waffle, nice and crispy. While it’s toasting, take about 1/4 cup of ricotta and mix it with 2 teaspoons of honey. Less, if you’re not as much of a sweet tooth at breakfast.

Top toasted waffle with the ricotta.

Top ricotta with 1/4 cup of sliced almonds. You can toast them ahead of time if you’d like. I had some left over from the last time I made a salad, so I used those.

You can mix the almonds into the ricotta if you want them to stick better. I was eating at home for once, so I left them on top. You can stop right here and eat it as is, but with so many gorgeous berries in the market now, how could you resist adding some extra fresh sweetness?

I’m looking forward to trying this with strawberries or a fresh berry compote, too. It’s a surprisingly hearty breakfast. One waffle kept me more than satisfied until lunch time, and I was still a little full and had to keep lunch light. And with 330 calories, 14 grams of protein, and antioxidant-rich blueberries, I call that a win.

How are you making use of the summer’s fresh berries?

Morning Photo Op and a Juicy Friday Five

1 Jun

I woke up this morning and my hair looked like this:

The result of falling asleep on wet hair. All those gorgeous waves that my hair will never hold in real life will be gone the second I hit them with a brush. Not exactly appropriate for a day at the office, but if I were going to the beach I would be all set.

Lest you think I always fall out of bed with beach-ready tousled hair, usually I look like this in the morning:

what? this is what i look like before coffee.

Given that I woke up with the first one, I’m taking it as a sign that this Friday is going to rock.

On to the Friday Five!

Life is just a bowl of….

cherries!

Told you I was cherry mad right now. I have a ton of them hanging out in my freezer right now, so I wanted to look for interesting ways to use them. I know many of you won’t have the experience of picking boat-loads of cherries this summer, so everything on my list of things to do with cherries can be done with frozen ones from the store.

Of course, you could always just make tons of cherry lime granita. So far that’s working for me! Ok, here’s five things I want to do with frozen cherries. Click the photos below for links. Here we go!

cherry-cubes

This totally isn’t my photo, but I did put some of my cherries in ice-cube trays and made ice cubes. Everyone who comes over to our house gets a glass of sparkling water with cherry ice cubes. It’s very fancy. Unlike above, if you choose to make cherry ice cubes I would highly recommend you stem them and pit them first. It looks cool to have your stems attached, yes, but having stems in your glass when you’re trying to enjoy a tasty beverage isn’t fun. And give your guests a break and take the pits out. No one wants to break a tooth on a harmless-looking cherry floating innocently in their glass.

frozen cherry mojitos

Um, yes! This recipe is very similar to my granita, but slushier and boozier. Both are a win for a hot summer day in my book.

almost instant cherry frozen yogurt

almost instant cherry frozen yogurt – gluten free!

I want to make this so badly it’s not even funny. Four ingredients, all healthy enough that I could legitimately eat this for breakfast and not feel bad, and ready in less than a minute? I’m sold.

Fresh berries with sugar and cream has been a guilty pleasure for years. So when I saw this simple dessert with frozen cherries, coconut milk, and dark chocolate my mouth began to water. Apparently the coconut milk freezes on the cherries and makes a texture like ice cream. I’m going to the store tonight to pick up some dark chocolate.

cherry vanilla pops

No matter how hard I looked, this Pinterest dessert didn’t have a link to a how-to. However, the concept seems is simple enough. Vanilla pudding, greek yogurt, frozen cherries, Trader Joes Tart Cherry Juice. Blend in a blender, pour into molds. Yum!

Do you know any ways to use frozen cherries I should try?

How Tuesday – Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites

1 May

Also known as the greatest thing I ever brought to a party.

I first found this recipe on pinterest, but it originated from Two Tiny Kitchens. I made this a few weeks ago on a Friday where I had a knitting night and a baby shower I had to bring something to. Which means I made a boatload. And how many did I bring home? Zero. That’s how good they were. You know how you bring food to a gathering sometimes and try to give away the leftovers and you can tell people take them reluctantly to be polite? Yeah, I didn’t even have to ask. People asked me. That’s right baby, from now on I will only be making peanut butter pretzel bites to take to soirees.  These are ridiculously easy to make. The hardest part is the assembly, but only because it takes a million years when you’re making 100 of them.

A few notes on the recipe:

  • If I were to do them over again I would put the melted chocolate into a piping bag and drizzle it over the bites. Dipping them in chocolate as the original recipe calls for left a big hunk of chocolate to bite into. I think a generous drizzle of chocolate over the whole pretzel would have tasted better, as the chocolate flavor would have been evenly distributed, and would have been easier to eat.
  • The original recipe says that the amount of sugar you’ll need may vary. I really found this to be the case. I think it has more to do with the type of peanut butter you use than anything else. I used an all-natural peanut butter that was just peanuts and salt, so there was a lot of peanut oil in it, making it pretty soft. The sugar acts like a thickening agent, so I’ll tell you how much I used, but know that you may use more or less depending on your peanut butter. The consistency is what you’re looking for more than anything.
  • These are in no way good for you. But they are amazing.

On to the recipe. As I mentioned before, this made about 100 bites, so if you want to make less you might want to half it, or follow the amounts noted in the original recipe.

Ingredients
4 cups creamy peanut butter
8 tablespoons (1 stick) softened unsalted butter
3 cups powdered sugar
3 cups brown sugar
Large bag of pretzels
2 bags semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mix peanut butter and butter together in a large bowl. Slowly mix in sugars, checking consistency as you go. You’re looking for the peanut butter mixture to become dry enough to roll into balls without sticking to your hands. Scoop out a heaping teaspoon of filling and form it into a ball, then sandwich it gently between two pretzels.

Lay out the pretzels on a baking pan lined with a silpat or parchment paper to avoid sticking. I made so many that I had to get creative with how I laid them out. A girl only has so many baking pans.

Put the pretzels in the freezer for at least half an hour to get them cold enough for the chocolate to set.

Once they’re chilled, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave, stirring until smooth. Dip each pretzel into the chocolate (or drizzle with a piping bag) and lay them back on the cookie sheet. Put the dipped pretzels back in the freezer until the chocolate is totally set, and store them in the fridge until you’re ready to serve up the peanutey chocolatey goodness. Stand back, and watch people go nuts.

My New Everyday Pinot

23 Jan

I love pinot noir. It’s fruity, yet dry. Juicy, but cleansing. Flavorful, but not overpowering. I also love my local Whole Foods’ sommelier. Every time I walk in and am looking for the perfect wine to match my newly crafted attempt at cuisine, she’s there with a rocking recommendation that fits my budget. The other day I walked in, requesting an affordable wine (under $15 for me) that would compliment scallops and steak. She suggested this:

Fat Cat Pinot Noir, from Fat Cat Cellers in Napa, California. $7.99 at Whole Foods.

To quote my new sommelier bff: “It goes great with everything…fish, beef, watching tv on my couch with my cat…” I’ve taken this to two dinner parties, one home group meeting/impromptu cheese tasting, and one gift exchange, and it has never failed to please. I am constantly in search of a good wine that drinks just as well on it’s own as it does with food at a everyday wine price-range, and this definitely fits the bill. I just found out that they make a lot more wines than just a pinot, and I can’t wait to try the whole Fat Cat family!

How Tuesday: Peppermint Chocolate Cake Pops

10 Jan

Otherwise known as my attempt to keep the Starbucks Christmas spirit alive all year-long.

Our home group is famous for forgoing the studying before any type of a break and having a good, old-fashioned pig-out session instead. The week before we parted ways for the holidays was no exception, and we said hello to Christmas by bringing our favorite holiday confections. Caleb and Elaine made their killer eggnog, Adelle pimped some of G’s now infamous bread, and I tried my hand at making cake pops. But not just any cake pops, my friends. For my first cake pop adventure I had my heart set on recreating those minty, chocolately balls of deliciousness that has made me mosey into my local Starbucks for more than my usual morning cuppa. I’m sure Starbucks has a super secret recipe that mine is nowhere near (I use a store-bought cake mix because I’m lazy. ‘Nuff said.) but for my first attempt at cake pops ever, I think they came out great! And since Starbucks isn’t carrying them anymore (at least not around these parts*) I thought I’d share my approximation of the recipe for any fellow Peppermint Brownie Cake Pop junkies that are going through withdrawal out there.

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