Posts tagged ‘dessert’

What’s the Occasion?

Well, my (not so) triumphant return, of course!

Just kidding…

I do apologize for the absence – I had one of those weeks where the thought of doing anything outside of what was absolutely necessary was too much to handle. And then this weekend, I was home :)

But now, I’m back. With a truly decadent dinner to share. I’ve been eating really poorly recently, so yesterday I sat down and found recipes for the week. I went to Trader Joe’s today and got the ingredients (all the meals have overlapping ingredients, so I actually didn’t spend that much) so that I can be ready to make dinner. I’m so tired of having all these wonderful recipes and not having the ingredients or the will to make them – I’m hoping that planning at the beginning of the week will not only get me eating better, but make me actually cook more as well. (And I realized while typing this that basically I’m participating in the Real Meal Challenge – hooray!).

For dinner, I made something I’ve been eying for awhile – Jenna’s Polenta with Wild Mushroom Gravy. I don’t actually think I’ve ever had polenta before, so I was excited to try that. I’ve also been on an odd mushroom kick lately, which is odd, because until now, I haven’t even liked mushrooms that much! Oh well – I’m glad when my tastes change towards liking a new food :)

I stuck to the recipe almost exactly, except I used a bit less of all the liquids (a bad idea – I thought I had less mushrooms than I did), I used regular milk instead of half-and-half, and I used rosemary instead of the thyme and red pepper flakes.

Oh my gosh, it was amazing. So warm and comforting (necessary, because it’s definitely feeling like Fall out there – we hit freezing temperatures last night!) and delicious. The gravy would be really good on pasta or chicken as well, I think.

I also had a honeycrisp apple on the side, which is also something new – I don’t think I had ever (knowingly) had one before I tried it this season.

And now? I’ve been craving them. So crisp and just slightly tart.

Dessert was ridiculously decadent. I bought some Mixed Berries at Trader Joe’s the other day, and I still have some TJs FroYo, so I wanted to do something with both of those. So I made a Berry Sauce to top my froyo with. I combined (all measurements are subjective – I definitely didn’t measure when I was making it):

  • 1 cup mixed berries (I had raspberries, blueberries, strawberries), slightly thawed if frozen
  • 1/2 TB honey
  • dash pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup water
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

over medium heat until it boiled. To that, I added a couple of teaspoons of flour (! I know – I don’t have any cornstarch!) and let it cook until it thickened, whisking it ‘til smooth.

I topped my froyo with the sauce, and then added some shaved dark chocolate on top (man I know how to indulge).

What was almost even better than the food itself was the accomplishment in making it all. I really do love to cook, and I have to remember that when I try to be lazy and just heat stuff up for dinner…

Tomorrow, I have fun dinner plans – hopefully everything turns out well :)

October 13, 2009 at 8:19 pm Leave a comment

A Day of Celebration

Today has certainly been a day of celebration, at least for me. It’s been a rough month (moving and acclimating to a new place isn’t exactly easy), but finally, as we slide into October, things seem to be looking up! And that brings me to my first point of celebration:

It’s the last day of September!

I’ve never been a huge fan of September, but in recent years (read: about the time I started college in 2005), it’s been a particularly rough month for me. I can remember freshman year the song “Wake Me Up When September Ends” by Green Day was really popular, and man could I relate to it (I had a really tough first year of college). With the exception of 2006, when I spent September in London, I haven’t been such a fan.

This September has been a month of transition. Moving to a completely new city where I didn’t know anyone but my brother, and had absolutely no plans or job prospects whatsoever was scary, but as we move into October, I’ve definitely made great strides in all the above:

  • Ann Arbor, while not yet “home”, has so many things to offer (an awesome Farmers Market, tons of local shops, a great running store and community), and I’m definitely enjoying making it home, no matter how temporary.
  • My running buddy has turned into an honest-to-goodness friend, and she’s helping me meet other people in Ann Arbor as well :)
  • The cause for my Second Celebration…a job!

Yes, that’s right. As I hinted at yesterday, I had something big coming up today, and it was training for my new job :) Which is – working customer service at our local Great Harvest (yes, the same type of place Kath’s husband works at). It might not be the most prolific job, but I think it’s perfect for me at this stage in my life. It’s hard to find work right now, especially in a college town, with only a B.A. and not so much work experience. And I (not so) mentally proclaimed this year to be more of a “self-exploration” year anyway, and working in a bakery-type place is something I’ve always wanted to do.

It seems like it’s going to be so much fun, if I can memorize everything I need to memorize! The change every day, and we need to know not only what breads are available on what days, but what the ingredients to each bread is as well (we’re expected to behave as “bread experts”). Luckily, everything is made from scratch, so there aren’t many ingredients to have to remember. There’s also a major job perk (that could be a major downfall for me) – we’re allowed free bread! We’re expected to be knowledgeable, so we should try everything, and are also allowed to take home loaves at the end of the day! Check out my “first day” swag:

I celebrated my first day of work by testing out the product with an amazing sandwich. I knew I had bacon at home, and I ran to the store to get some cheddar and apples.

Add to that sandwich some Food Should Taste Good Sweet Potato chips and a Dogfish Head Punkin Ale, and you have a pretty good celebration, methinks.

During dessert came my third thing to celebrate:

A few days ago, Rose (prompted by a post by Andrea) posted about what “slices of life” are portrayed in the background of blog photos. And what slice of life does the background of my dessert show? The Phillies clinching the National League East for the third year in a row!

I have to admit, I wish I were in Philly right now to celebrate properly, but I’m doing my best on my lonesome with some more pumpkin ale (from Delaware…close enough), my Jayson Werth shirt, and my Phillies wall :)

For what it’s worth, the brownie was fantastic – it sort of had a crunch to it (due to the whole wheat flour?), and so gooey and chocolately. I’m glad I have another half to enjoy (today was the last day for them at the store, unfortunately)!

So, Happy October, everyone. I’m certainly looking forward to it, what about you? Is October a cause for celebration for others as well?

September 30, 2009 at 11:51 pm 1 comment

Fall Has Fallen

Man, ‘tis the season, or what? Two days of fall-like weather, and already I’m ready to trade in my summer wardrobe (I went fall-clothes shopping today!), switch over to oats in the morning (spoiler – I haven’t yet, but there’s an almost-empty nut butter jar in my fridge that’s just begging for an oaty companion!), and eat yummy cookies for dessert instead of yogurt-based ones (I have been *craving* a nice, large, gourmet cookie (Hope-esque :) for so many days, I just haven’t cashed in yet!).

It’s also getting increasingly hard to motivate myself to get out and run. Not only do I no longer have my half-marathon getting me out there, but it’s so cold and dark in the morning. Good thing I have my running partner to get me out there – we went on a glorious ? mile run today (I have to have her give me the route, because I have no idea where we went!) for just over an hour. I have a 10k this weekend (which should be fun – we get to finish in the Big House, Michigan Stadium and be on the Jumbotron!), and I’m seriously seriously considering signing up for a half-marathon at the end of October, the Detroit Free Press Marathon (and Half). Other than just getting an opportunity to run a half on the road, it also crosses into Canada! You even need to bring your passport to register, and be checked out with Homeland Security! Wow – I think in writing this I actually convinced myself to run it :)

So there’s that. And then there’s food. So yesterday, among my marathon cooking day, I also baked a little. Baking for me is always a win/lose thing. Sometimes I’m really able to nail it, sometimes things just don’t turn out. Yesterday was somewhere in-between. I attempted Angela’s Baked Banana Doughnuts.

They got a little flat. And a little burnt. Both things which I’ll attribute to my less-than-stellar oven. Oh well. They still taste pretty darn good :) I enjoyed one tonight with a glass of apple cider (possibly my favorite thing about fall) and a “frosting” of sorts. I had leftover Greek yogurt from dinner (yup, I had more Acorn Squash Chili), so I mixed a little glob of that with some Peanut Butter and Company Mighty Maple Peanut Butter. Someday soon I’m going to devote an entire post to PB&Co., because there’s probably not a day that goes by where I don’t eat it :)

It was delicious :)

Right now I’m watching The Biggest Loser (love it) AND watching the Phillies game (go boys!) in an attempt to not think about tomorrow – I’m starting something new that I’m really nervous about. More on that later ;) Positive thoughts would be appreciated, though!

September 29, 2009 at 8:57 pm Leave a comment

Waxing Poetic

A few days ago, I made these muffins:

I used Megan’s Healthy Banana Walnut Bread recipe, but I figured my lazy brother would eat them if they weren’t in bread form (spoilers: I’ve eaten most of them myself). They’ve been a big part of my food life recently – they’re delicious. For instance, I had them alongside a glass of my favorite:

I think my favorite part of the muffins is the fact that I didn’t mash my banana that well, so I get nice big chunks of banana throughout:

I also had one for an afternoon snack today, and I might have snuck one into my dessert tonight as well:

So what’s in it? Allow me to explain. After finishing Cooking for Mr. Latte today (which made me want to go out to a specialty grocery store and buy it out…), I wanted something decadent for dessert. Ideally, I would bake something chocolately, but I’m lacking cocoa powder and everything I searched for came back to it. So then I went to my other (current) favorite flavor profile – maple syrup/cinnamon. I debated making Maypole Maple Raw Ice Cream, but I’m also feeling the need for some protein, so I turned to my bff, Greek yogurt. Specifically, Trader Joe’s Organic Greek Style Yogurt (vanilla because that’s all I had). 

I then copied the model of my favorite dessert ever, but with a twist. Enter Peanut Butter & Co’s Mighty Maple.

I think I might have mentioned it before, but Peanut Butter & Co’s peanut butters are my favorite things ever. Namely, the Dark Chocolate Dreams variety. I have taken down many a jars of it – my favorite way to eat it is straight out of the jar (terrible, I know, but I really can’t help it).

This was my first time trying Mighty Maple, though, and it does not disappoint. The maple flavor is prominent and delicious – I can’t wait to use this in oatmeal!

Anyway, I microwaved about a tablespoon for 30 seconds, added the yogurt, stirred it to make a mousse, and then crumbled a muffin on top. Decadent? Definitely. A little too rich? Maybe. I think next time, I’ll use regular Greek yogurt instead – I think I’m about to go into a crazy sugar coma :)

(And yes, this certainly doesn’t look much like getting back on track, but to me, eating regular meals that are relatively healthy and not crazily snacking in between is most important, and this I’m sticking to. Also, dessert is important in my life.)

September 24, 2009 at 7:35 pm Leave a comment


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