Thursday, February 28, 2013

Salmon en papillote...sort of

I'm so sorry I have been MIA. Did you miss me?? I know you did not.

I have been busy being an auntie to the most beautiful baby boy on the planet! I'm so lucky to have him in my life. :)

 


So I'm back! I promise. Here to stay and don't look so disappointed. 

This is a SUPER simple, fast, healthy recipe. It literally takes 5 minutes to prep everything and it has SO much flavor!


I love salmon and making it this way makes this an easy weeknight meal.  I have posted a lot of 'sometimes' foods and I don't want you all to think I'm a 500 pound girl who eats butter and cheese with a side of wine. 

If only you could stay skinny and do that.



Well here is my easy salmon. It's so flaky, yummy, garlicky, lemony, buttery...stop me I can go on!

You can use parchment paper if you like, but I personally like the sturdiness of foil and in the summer you can throw it on the grill instead of the oven. 

Dear Summer: are you ever coming back?



I'm sick of hearing those commercials on the radio about sliding down the slopes on fresh fallen snow. Pure Michigan my ass. MELT ALREADY.

Tangent. But seriously.


H E A L T H.



Salmon en papillote...sort of

1 sheet of foil
3-4 slices of lemon
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
6oz piece of salmon
1T Dijon mustard
2T butter
S&P

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400.

Place foil on work surface. Slice lemon and lay in the center of the foil slightly overlapping. Sprinkle sliced garlic over lemon slices. 

Pat salmon dry with paper towel and season with salt and pepper*. Place over lemon and garlic slices.

Using the back of a spoon, spread mustard over top of salmon. Dab pats of butter on top.

Fold foil around salmon creating an pouch so the salmon can steam. 

Place pouch on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

Let pouch sit for a few minutes, open and serve! I had a little cous cous and veggies with mine...YUM.

*If you want your salmon to be crispy on the top place it in a pan with oil skin side up and sear for a minute. I was too lazy to clean a pan.


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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Peanuts & Alcohol


This is my older sister, Britten.


Yeah...living up to that is fun.

She is gorgeous, fun, and my best friend. She has always been my biggest supporter. I am so proud of the woman she is and feel lucky I get to call her my sister.

This is her beautiful family.


Uh. Yeah. They are real. Seriously.

Lars (the dog) looks a little shocked because he is about to have a brother tomorrow. And I am about to become WGA. World's Greatest Aunt.

Tomorrow will be spent at the hospital anxiously awaiting the arrival of the most perfect baby on the planet.

Seriously...look at them. The kid is gonna be a model.



I'm so excited to hold the little peanut and snuggle and love and kiss him!!! AHHHHH. 

But the second thing that is exciting me the most is my sister being able to consume alcohol again. I know, shocking coming from me.

Before she got herself knocked up, Britten liked to party.



The wine glasses might have been as big as her head, but she will slam it.



But now that she is like this...













Drinking is not really considered acceptable.


She may have her occasional glass of wine with thousands of ice cubes to make it 'last longer'.



She has been a very responsible pregnant and stuck with the St. Julians. 

Oh hey 5th grade New Year's Eve where we pretended to get drunk. I'm just kidding that never happened (nervous laughter).



We have all rubbed it in her face a little bit. 


Oops.




 Especially my boyfriend and her husband.




That's not weird at all.

But really we are all just excited for our little peanut to be here...and maybe to celebrate with a little champagne that my sister smuggled in her hospital bag.

Congrats Britten and Brad! Love you both!



Can you believe he's gonna wear these?!!!!!! I can't take it.




Anyways.


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Monday, February 11, 2013

Pioneer Woman Sunday Night Stew


I will never put cubed potatoes in stew again.

I never realized the magic of creamy ridiculous mashed potatoes at the bottom of a hearty pot of stew.  


Seriously, anytime I have a soup or stew that calls for cubed potatoes. I'm gonna yell "screw you cubed potatoes!" and pour it over unbelievably creamy, buttery mashed potatoes.
Sorry cubes. 

For the last few years I have made PW's mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving. They are RIDICULOUS! I will NEVER make another mashed potato!

Sorry...I will stop shouting at you. 


Pioneer Woman recipes just make me so excited! Oops.
The whole stewing/mashing process took me about 5 hours. Hence the reason PW calls it Sunday Night Stew...girl's gotta have some tiempo on her hands.


I cooked mine a little longer than PW says to, but I wasn't getting the thickness I wanted.  I made a little roux and added it to my stew; notice the rhyming skills. It turned out beautifully!





Don't you just want to face plant into this???!!!! My mom and I did.


Here is the recipe. Head on over to Pioneer Woman to see the full step-by-step recipe and superior photography.

Ingredients

Beef Stew


3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Butter
2 pounds Beef Stew Meat (chuck Roast Cut Into Chunks)
Salt And Pepper
1 whole Medium Onion, Diced
3 cloves Garlic, Minced
4 ounces, weight Tomato Paste
4 cups Low Sodium Beef Stock Or Broth, More If Needed For Thinning
Several Dashes Worcestershire
1/2 teaspoon Sugar
4 whole Carrots, Peeled And Diced
2 whole Turnips, Peeled And Diced
2 Tablespoons Minced Fresh Parsley

Mashed Potatoes

5 pounds Russet Potatoes (peeled)
1 package (8 Ounce) Cream Cheese, Softened
1 stick Butter, Softened
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1 teaspoon Seasoned Salt
Salt And Pepper, to taste


Preparation Instructions

Salt and pepper stew meat. Heat olive oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add butter, and as soon as it melts, brown half the stew meat until the outside gets nice and brown, about 2 minutes. (Turn it as it browns.) Remove the meat from the pot with a slotted spoon and put it on a plate. Add the rest of the meat to the pot and brown it, too. Remove it to the same plate. Set the meat aside.
Add the onion and garlic to the pot, stirring it to coat it in all the brown bits in the bottom of the pot. Cook for two minutes, then add the tomato paste to the pot. Stir it into the onions and let it cook for two more minutes.
Pour in the beef stock, stirring constantly. Add the Worcestershire and sugar. Add the beef back to the pot, cover the pot, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours.
After 1 1/2 to 2 hours, add the diced turnips and carrots to the pot. Stir to combine, put the lid back on the pot, and let it simmer for another 30 minutes. The sauce should be very thick, but if it seems overly so, splash in some beef broth until it thins it up enough. Feel free to add beef broth as needed!
When the carrots and turnips are tender, stir in minced parsley. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Serve piping hot in a bowl with mashed potatoes, letting the juice run all over everything. Sprinkle with extra minced parsley at the end.
MASHED POTATOES
Cut the potatoes into quarters and cover with water in a large pot. Boil until potatoes are fork tender, about 25-30 minutes. Drain the potatoes, then put them back into the same pot. With the heat on low, mash the potatoes for 2 to 3 minutes to release as much steam as possible.
Turn off heat, then add cream cheese, butter, cream, seasoned salt, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Serve potatoes immediately or spread them into a buttered baking dish to be reheated later. To reheat, put them in a 375 degree oven, covered in foil, until hot.


Have a lovely heartwarming Monday!!
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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Motivation



Hi Friends~

I worked so hard after college to lose about 25 pounds and for the last few years I've been an expert at maintenance.  

It has been a huge triumph for me to stay at one weight for the last two years, but I know I can ultimately do better...eat smarter...workout more intensely...be healthier, leaner, stronger. 

I'm seeking motivation. I always do around this time of year because the winter blues strike. HARD. 

So this time of year I jump start my training. Triathlon training. 

Yes - I'm a lunatic. But I absolutely LOVE doing them. It is such an adrenaline rush for me and I feel so accomplished at the end. I have finished two, both sprint distance or a little less than a half mile swim, a 12.1 mile bike and a 3.2 mile run. FUN :)

I did my first one with my sister Britten in 2011. We both wanted to choose a triathlon that would be challenging, but a little more fun and a little less competitive. 


Before the race



We both took 3rd place in our age groups!



After asking for recommendations we chose the Girl's Best Friend triathlon. The triathlon is all female, which explains the girl's part and apparently triathlon's should be your best friend...still deciding on that one!

Bike to run transition






Happy to be done!
Finished!
It was so much fun and I loved accomplishing this with my sister at my side!

Cheers!




The second, I did in 2012 sans the sister cuz she went and got herself knocked up. (Which by the way, my nephew will be here in six days!) 

The challenge for this one was training alone and competing alone. But come race day I had amazing cheerleaders (Mom, sister, friend Danielle & boyfriend Sean) that kept me going and made me feel like I wasn't alone.


Finished!

The last 1/4 mile was on the beach!
Tough - but I could see the finish line so also motivating!




This triathlon was definitely more mentally and physically challenging but the Lake Michigan scenery helped to distract me!

I'm the second one out - isn't that a gorgeous setting!??

Celebrating with a Long Island. Obvs.



2013 we plan to do the Girl's Best Friend together and I might to another one but we will see.

I'm really glad I did this post today...feeling ready to get after it again!



Cheers, 

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

"Top Notch" Cornbread


The best joke I heard about the Super Bowl came from my mom.

"The Super Bowl in 2014 will be held at the Motel 6; they always keep the lights on"

OK. That. is. funny. Good Job Mom.

I love my mom - remember that - and I had to give her a shout out because I'm about to knock her. :)

Now the woman makes EXCELLENT chili but her corn muffins from the mix have always been dry and burnt on the bottom. (now I can let out that breath I've been holding). I'm not going to blame her...I'm going to blame Jiffy for printing a bogus recipe on the box. :)

So last week one one of the cold snowy nights here in Michigan - which has been like the last 1000000 nights - I made a good 'ol pot of White Chicken Chili. It was deliciously heartwarming, but would not have been complete without some amazing cornbread.

I LOVE cornbread. People eat it all sorts of ways. My roommate in college thought it was weird that I ate it with chili because he family ate it for breakfast with syrup. HUH???

Anyways I like the Jiffy mix because it's made in Michigan (whoop whoop) and it's just easy to have it pre mixed for you! Plus, boxed mixes give you the opportunity to doctor it up just the way you like it. This is how I like it...and RGP likes it too! I think he called it "Top Notch".

I only took one picture but they literally were sweet squares of cheesy, moist, gooey, spicy heaven. I'm drooling.



Cheesy Jalapeno Cornbread


2 T. butter, divided
2 boxes of Jiffy corn muffin mix
2 eggs
2/3 c. whole or 2% milk
10oz of creamed corn (about 2/3 of a can)
6oz of pepper jack cheese, cubed
1 can of diced green chiles
1 large jalapeno
1/2 c. fresh or frozen corn

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 and butter 8x8 pan (I used glass) with 1 T of butter.

Stir together Jiffy mix, eggs, milk and creamed corn until well mixed. Add next four ingredients and fold together. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Melt last tablespoon of butter and swirl into uncooked mix with spatula.

Bake for 30-40 minutes until top is brown and until a toothpick comes out clean. Just keep a close eye on it. If the top starts to brown too much put tin foil over until the center is cooked through.

Enjoy with some more butter. Oops.




Buh-bye Lovers~

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Friday, February 1, 2013

Super Bowl Round-Up



It's Friday!!!! Well not really...it's Thursday because I work tomorrow. Ugh. The joys of my work schedule being event related.

Made some amazing White Chicken Chili last night with cheesy cornbread...plan to share the recipe's with y'all next week.  

The Super Bowl is this weekend. Wahoo. I feel like the Super Bowl is a turning point of the year...like maybe winter is almost over. Wishful thinking?

I love making appetizers. Parties where I can bring a dish to pass are my favorite. I love just having little bites of a ton of food. Hence the reason I love love love the Super Bowl. Here are some recipes you should consider for your party this weekend from a couple of my favorite food blogs! I've made most of these and love them all so hopefully you try some :)

Bacon Jalapeno Cheese Ball

Marinated Ham Buns

Skinny Artichoke Dip

Football Oreo Truffles

Nacho Loaded Potato Skins

Sausage Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers

White Pizza Dip

The Ultimate 7-layer Dip

Turkey Taco Cups

Spicy Chicken Tortilla Roll-Ups

Baked Brie Bites

Brown Sugar Kahlua Baked Brie

Mini Quinoa Bites with Goat Cheese Pesto

Cheesy Roasted Garlic Dip

Cheesy Garlic Breadsticks - just like the restaurants


Eat Hearty, Drink Up and go 49avens!! (please say like forty navens)

XO,
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