National Pastry Day

December 9, 2016

National Pastry Day

I truly only have one speed: GO! So when my GO! button fails, I have to fall back on nothing. Nothing at all. It’s not a good plan. Apparently these migraines are going to be a present I enjoy once a month, seeing as I just suffered from one today, exactly one month after the last debilitating one I endured in November. Lucky me. I could feel it developing over my right eye as soon as I woke up this morning and it just lingered there, it wasn’t too bad, so I forgot to take my migraine pill. I was rushing to get out the door at a decent time so that I could make it to the Jingle Bell 5k on Point Loma this morning. I did, however, have enough time to make breakfast so I ate my two eggs and toast. I missed out on getting coffee though, so I’m sure my brain wasn’t too happy about that.

Yeah, I ran a 5k today with a migraine. And you know what? That was the best part of my day! For that 30 minutes, I didn’t have a migraine, or if I did, I didn’t notice it. I felt amazing. I felt strong and powerful and ready to take on anything. I think I was the 5th or 6th finisher pushing a stroller, but I swear that I could have done better if I hadn’t started off at the end of the entire group. So there’s a goal for next time – sneaking my way into the front of the group to claim and keep my rightful place!

It was on the drive home that I was reintroduced to my migraine in a less than friendly manner. I knew I had my baked pastry sitting at home (because I was smart and made it the night before!), just waiting for me to eat and blog about but all I could manage to do was explain to Joseph that I needed to lay down (um…yeah…without a shower…) in my room and I’d like it if he could play with his tablet in his room. He put up no argument whatsoever. It was reassuring to hear his giggles through the video monitor, knowing fully well that he was happy as could be doing just that. I was able to get a little sleep, despite the fact I completely neglected feeding either of us lunch or eliminating the sweat and dirt from my post-run body. I was basically dead to the world. And then I knew it was for sure that there was no way I could manage driving to LA to meet my cousin for the night. The thought of getting in the car and sitting there in traffic with a massive headache was enough to help me decide not to push myself too hard. I kept from pushing my GO! button.

And now that’s why the blog is coming so late in the day, once again. What is up with these ready to go posts having to wait? I have a bunch of tubes of Crescent rolls in the fridge so I figured I could find a recipe for a cream cheese danish to eat on National Pastry Day. Pinterest hooked a girl up and I found this great and easy recipe.

5 Minute Cream Cheese Danish (from Crafty Butt)
8 oz cream cheese (softened)
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 egg
pinch of salt
Icing:
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 TB milk

Preheat oven to 375.
Using a hand mixer, blend together cream cheese, powdered sugar, egg, and salt until smooth
On foil-lined cookie sheet, lay out Crescent rolls, but do not roll apart. Keep sheet intact and pinch together seams to create one full-sized sheet
Use a knife to score the edges and create angled strips
Pour most of the cream cheese mixture in the center of the dough. I also topped mine with cherries
Fold the bottom part of the dough up and around the mixture, then fold up strips in an overlapping, alternating pattern to create a braid effect
Fold the top of the dough over and under to close off the end
Bake for 15-18 minutes
Once pastry has cooled, mix together icing ingredients and drizzle over the top of the danish

This was a pretty good way of celebrating National Pastry Day but I’m kind of wishing I’d just picked up one of the coffee cakes at Aldi that I’ve been eyeballing for weeks! It looks just like my beloved Chicago coffee cake… Soon, it shall be mine!

Tomorrow is National Lager Day. Good thing some of my friends who came over for Thanksgiving dinner left beer here, specifically a Sam Adams Winter Lager. Woop Woop!

National Brownie Day

December 8, 2016

National Brownie Day

Why is it that the days where we seem to have nothing going on at all often seem to escape us the quickest? Such is the case today! The little guy battled some sort of virus or infection yesterday (I’m not a doctor…) that left us hanging out on the couch together watching TV all day long. I was glad I fit in a workout prior to that! I just knew that last night was going to be pretty awful and I was right. It was obviously more awful for him, since he was the one drenched in sweat and shivering in wet sheets after his fever broke. Seeing your child sick is one of the worst feelings in the world. Nothing makes me feel more powerless. Especially when I’m feeling 100% and happy. All I can do is offer kisses and cuddles and try to give him anything he wants. Yesterday all he wanted was TV and blankets and snuggles and juice boxes. He got all of that.

Today was a new day, thank goodness! He slept in well past 9am (the time we needed to leave the house so that we could make it to Stroller Strides on time) so we took it easy this morning and he continued to not eat the breakfast I made for him. That’s not a sick kid thing, that’s just a Joseph thing. He’s awesome like that… I knew he was back to himself when I heard the rhythmic sound of “Mommy, it’s a little bit daytime!” on repeat. He always calls out from his room in threes, like I didn’t hear him the first time through the monitor, or the door – we don’t live in a mansion here. His voice isn’t going to get lost in a sea of unoccupied hallways, but try explaining that to a 4-year-old.

Anyway, so today totally got away from me and it was as I took a run after doing some errands and chowing down some super late lunch that it dawned on me I still needed to do the blog. It was an easy one. I shouldn’t have let it slip through the cracks. But I guess there wasn’t a good time earlier to eat a brownie, so I didn’t. Let me tell you just how much I needed that good run though! It was amazing! I ran my little heart out at just under top speed (for a 35-year-OLD woman pushing a stroller containing an extra 50 pounds of free-loading weight) and managed to clock a 13 minute mile and a half. What the what, right?! I’m feeling so much more confident about this fitness test I need to prepare for. Just gotta keep working on those push-ups, and they’re no joke! I also got to chat with one of my favorite females in the world – my little sister. And she said some of the sweetest things I’ve ever been told but I’m much too modest to just blab all about it online!

What better time to nuke up a mug of warm brownie than right after a good run, right? Yeah, it was a little difficult to get down. Who am I kidding? No it wasn’t. It was actually quite delicious. It was just the idea of eating it that kept me from doing it sooner. But then the time came and I knew it was now or never. It was microwave brownie in a mug time! You guys! You have to try this! It was freaking amazing!!!

3 Minute Mug Brownie (from Lauren’s Latest)
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
pinch of salt
splash of vanilla

In a small bowl, stir flour, sugar and cocoa powder together so everything is evenly dispersed. Add in wet ingredients and stir to create batter. Spray mug with nonstick cooking spray and pour batter in. Microwave 1-1 1/2 minutes until cake is just baked

I topped my brownie with a scoop (or two) of vanilla ice cream. I’ve got this teeny, tiny container of vanilla ice cream in my freezer that may NEVER empty itself. I only use vanilla ice cream much in the same way that I use sour cream – to enhance the flavor of something else that already tastes delicious. By itself, the stuff is disgusting. I can’t imagine being more grossed out than sitting down next to someone who thinks that curling up on the couch with a big bowl of vanilla ice cream is actually a treat. It’s not. Stop lying to yourself! It is simply the sugary version of sour cream and that is all.

If I haven’t thoroughly offended all of my followers yet, I’d love to have you stop on by tomorrow when I celebrate National Pastry Day. I promise it will be fun! Probably. I should just stop making promises I might not be able to keep…

National Cotton Candy Day

December 7, 2016

National Cotton Candy Day

So this happened for breakfast. Well, not exactly. I also ate what I eat every single morning – a slice of wheat toast with two eggs on top. Sometimes I make scrambled eggs, but most of the time I make fried eggs, or as Joseph calls them “flat eggs.” And I ALWAYS have coffee because my life runs on that stuff! I love coffee so much that it’s almost an obsession. Take, for example, how I incorporated today’s food of the day into my coffee addiction. Yeah, cotton candy coffee totally happened this morning.

I found the idea while browsing Pinterest, looking for new and different ways to prepare my daily made up food holidays. Apparently (according to YouTube) people are ordering cotton candy coffee at some coffee shops and cafes. Bizarre! Fun, but bizarre. It looked easy enough to do myself – pile up some of the fluffy stuff on a coffee cup and run the Keurig. Done.

I have a feeling that this concept of “cotton candy coffee” might have been originally born out of necessity, rather than some sort of cute or kitschy idea. After making myself a cup of the sweet stuff this morning, I had the distinct feeling I’ve done this before, perhaps during my 20’s when there was nothing else to put in my coffee back when I was poorer than poor. When I was grabbing my handful of cotton candy for this hot coffee, I was anal and dug out most just the yellow stuff. I’m glad I did though, look at the bottom of that cup below, there’s definitely some green in there and that’s just gross. Not that cotton candy in your coffee isn’t already gross…it’s just a different kind of gross. Also important to note – I’m so relieved this cotton candy was unflavored. I almost had trouble sleeping last night when it dawned on me that my coffee might end up tasting like cherry or strawberry or pina colada or sour apple, or worse yet, all of those at once! It didn’t. It just tasted like super sweet coffee.

This stuff was SWEET! Did I mention that? Much sweeter than anything I normally do to my morning cup o joe. I kind of feel like I was shot from a cannon right about now. I’m pretty much ready to take on anything at this point and it’s only 8:30am, and I’ve got a sort of sick kiddo on my hands so I’m going to have to pull rank and force us out of the house. There’s no way this livewire can just hang out in the house all day long!

Tomorrow is National Brownie Day and I’ll be making my first ever attempt at cooking a mug-sized brownie for one in the microwave. Please be sure to check back in to see if it’s a totally pinterest fail.

National Gazpacho Day

December 6, 2016

National Gazpacho Day

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I’ve never been too keen on the idea of cold soup. It’s just seems like an oxymoron to me. Soup was meant to be hot. Gazpacho just reminds me of the brunch item of the gods, the Bloody Mary. So an idea came to mind…

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I swapped out the spoon for a straw (a fat smoothie straw) and added a shot of vodka to my cold soup creation. Vodka totally sweetened this up somehow. I certainly didn’t expect that at all so it might just be that Pinnacle makes the worst vodka on the market. It’s no Stoli…just sayin’. Back to the gazpacho!

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This concoction took quite a bit of slicing and dicing so I was in my happy place for the better part of the afternoon. That Ninja blender took care of pulverizing everything so I probably didn’t have to dice it nearly as small as I did. I’d read the recipe through a few times but it was only when I was actually cutting up all of the vegetables that I realized just how veggie-loaded this thing was. I basically felt like I whipped up homemade V8 or Bloody Mary mix, except, as instructed, I didn’t liquify everything. It was still a little too chunky to just drink like a smoothie (or cocktail).

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Classic Gazpacho (from Foodie Crush)
3 stalks celery, diced
1 seedless cucumber with skin on, diced
1 zucchini, diced
¾ whole medium red onion, diced
4 cups tomato juice such as V-8
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons Chohula hot sauce or other hot sauce to taste
1 tablespoon celery salt
1 tablespoon garlic salt
6 cocktail or campari tomatoes, diced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup sour cream
Fresh chives for garnish

In the bowl of a food processor or in a blender, combine half of the celery, cucumber, zucchini, red onion, 2 cups of the tomato juice with the pressed or minced garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, sugar, hot sauce, celery salt and garlic salt
Pulse all of ingredients until well blended. Add the rest of the tomato juice and pulse to mix. Add the celery, cucumber, zucchini and the diced tomatoes and pulse once or twice. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and adjust the hot sauce to taste
Chill the soup for at least 1 hour before serving
Serve the soup with a drizzle of the sour cream that has been thinned with water. Top with fresh chopped chives

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Tomorrow is National Cotton Candy Day and I’m hoping that what I’ve got in mind doesn’t turn out to be a colossal disappointment! Either way, it’s got to be better than cold soup! Yuck!

National Sacher Torte Day

December 5, 2016

National Sacher Torte Day

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I remember when I first looked this bogus food holiday up almost a year ago, I was under the impression (from my brief Google search) that there wasn’t a recipe available for the Sacher Torte and I would therefore be forced to go to Austria to enjoy one in person. Apparently I was wrong…

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Not only was I able to find a recipe for a Sacher Torte, I also found at least one local San Diego restaurant with the food of the day on their menu. That shocked me more than finding the actual recipe.

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I had one recipe from Food & Wine magazine saved that I fully intended to use (because F&W seemed like the right kind of fancy magazine to help a girl out with such a fancy dessert), but I ended up dropping that recipe like a hot rock at the last minute when I found this simpler recipe from King Arthur Flour. The ingredient list was a little less obnoxious, as well as the instructions.

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Sacher Torte (from King Arthur Flour)
1 cup bittersweet chocolate
8 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup apricot preserves
Chocolate Glaze:
1 cup bittersweet chocolate discs, such as Belcolade
1/2 cup boiling water

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray one 9″ by 2″ round cake pan with cooking spray and line with parchment. Spritz the parchment lightly as well. If your pan isn’t at least 2″ deep, use two pans instead of one
Over low heat or in the microwave melt the chocolate slowly, stirring well
In a small bowl, lightly beat the 8 egg yolks. Add the melted chocolate, melted butter, and vanilla. Blend until smooth and satiny, with no lumps or unincorporated yolks
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the 8 egg whites with a pinch of salt until they begin to foam. Slowly add the sugar, then beat on high speed until the whites hold a stiff peak but are still glossy
Using a wide rubber spatula, mix about 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate/yolk mixture to lighten it. Now, pour the lightened chocolate mixture over the rest of the whites in the bowl. Fold gently, using about 20 to 30 strokes
Sprinkle the cake flour over the chocolate batter and continue to fold gently until there are no traces of egg white remaining
Pour the batter into the pan(s). Bake until the cake is puffed and dry looking on top, and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean: 40 to 45 minutes for a single pan, 20 to 25 minutes for two pans. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan(s) for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Be sure to peel off the parchment circle while the cake is still warm
While the cake is cooling, strain the apricot jam through a fine sieve to remove any bits of fruit and make a smooth filling
Filling the cake: If you used one cake pan, you will need to split the layer before filling. Use a long, sharp serrated knife to split the cake into two even layers. If you used two pans, simply spread the apricot jam between the layers, leaving 1/2 inch around the border so that the jam does not squeeze out over the sides of the cake
For the chocolate water glaze: Place the filled cake on a wire rack over a parchment lined baking sheet. Melt the chocolate in a deep, heat safe bowl in the microwave. As soon as it is melted and no lumps remain, vigorously stir in the boiling water. If you go too slowly the chocolate may seize, so incorporate the two ingredients quickly
As soon as the glaze is smooth, immediately pour over the cake. The excess glaze will drip off of the cake onto the parchment paper. You can scoop up the excess glaze to cover any bare spots on the cake. Use a flexible spatula to help spread the glaze on the top and sides of the cake, but do not overwork the glaze or it will not remain smooth and sleek
Allow the glaze to set up at room temperature for a few hours before serving. This cake is best served the day it’s made. Store any leftovers at room temperature for 1 day

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I know those long instructions look quite intimidating, but believe me, this was a lot easier than it appeared to be. But, I do tend to make this stuff look easy, with my past year of experience under my belt. I’m just not scared to try new things. I actually love it. That’s one of the big reasons I want to try to make as many fun and interesting and new recipes with this last month and a half that I have left of this blog. I’ve got some super fun stuff planned, so please check back in several times, if not on a daily, somewhat stalkerish basis.

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Today’s blog post is getting out super late because you know what…sometimes life happens. Sometimes, you start baking a cake at 7am and then you have to feed your 4 year old boss (and yourself) and then the cake takes a little longer to cook than expected and you keep staring at it through the window in the oven, willing it to cook faster, until that toothpick finally comes out clean from the center of the cake and then you look at the clock and make a mad dash out the door to make it to Stroller Strides on time, but realize you’ve only given yourself 25 minutes to get there on time so now mama’s gotta run, like literally RUN, not just walk (except you totally just walked up the monstrous hill that no human being pushing a stroller containing 35-50 pounds of flesh and metal and mesh should ever attempt to do).

Then sometimes, the afternoon is when stuff gets a little more relaxed, as in you can fit in a shower after your run and workout and walk and you finally have time to run to the mall to exchange those dress pants for that job you’re hoping you’re offered after nearly a year of time put into just the application process alone and then you realize it’s at least an hour past the normal person’s lunchtime and you should probably feed your kid (and yourself) before either of you get hangry (that’s totally genetic, FYI) and of course he’s going to ask for chicken nuggets (because why wouldn’t he?) so you’re also going to sneak some avocado on his plate and he’s going to get alarmed by the fact that one piece of avocado slid into the ketchup so you’re going to eat that piece just to make his world ok again (and you’re totally going to end up eating the rest of the 75% of the food he doesn’t eat off his plate, so why bother making your own lunch, mama?) before you get back to that cake.

Then sometimes, you get asked what your dinner plans are and you realize that’s still on the radar, but completely invisible until just then, so you accept tentative plans with a friend you adore (and some much needed girl time) to have dinner in at your house and then you realize you need to straighten up your house, at least a little bit so you start with taking the chairs off the kitchen table, where they’ve been since you purchased that knockoff Roomba last week and marveled at the wonder of constantly crumb-free floors (it’s a real thing!) and then you get back to finishing up that cake because you’ve got a pizza party that needs to happen before you can eat it.

Yeah, so sometimes life happens. And impromptu pizza parties happen. And the blog has to be the last thing to happen for the day. And that’s ok. Today was totally worth it for everything that happened today, even as insignificant as any of that might be. I like to look at the little things and be appreciative of them. I like to enjoy the journey I’m on, rather than just rushing to the point where I need to be. I like to stop and smell the roses (and look in wonder at the palm trees). I’m just a lover of life, a collector of life experiences. And if that’s wrong, if I’ve painted a world for myself that is too dreamy and romanticized, well then I don’t want to be right.

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Tomorrow is National Gazpacho Day. I’ve never had the stuff but I’ll be whipping up a batch from the comfort of my own home. I can imagine my friends and family back home in Iowa would not find the idea of a cold soup appealing in the least bit as they are blanketed in snow currently. So glad I didn’t make an unannounced trip out there this month like I briefly considered just last weekend!

National Cookie Day

December 4, 2016

National Cookie Day

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I was so excited for today’s blog food holiday that I almost made it last night. And I’m glad I didn’t bother because I don’t even know how it would have tasted today, if I’d done so. In celebration of National Cookie Day, I picked up a cookie in a cast iron skillet gift set from Target. I really expected it to be just as good as the one that Chili’s serves up, but unfortunately, it was far from that slice of Heaven.

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Despite the fact this cookie was subpar, I still have faith in the fact that this skillet is capable of creating some amazing skillet chocolate chip cookies for another time. I just have to find the right recipe. So I’ll be using a recipe from Pinterest next time. The mix that came with the set was more of a cake consistency so I kind of feel like I’m cheating on the food of the day, the cookie, by open-mouthed kissing his cousin who looks suspiciously similar to him. Right after I took that first bite though, I knew it wasn’t what I expected.

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Don’t get me wrong – I still ate it! Not the entire skillet of cookie, but maybe a good third of it. There’s something about a warm chocolate chip cookie that I can’t deny. It can be oversalted or undercooked and I’ll still eat it like it’s the last one on Earth. Who doesn’t love a melty chocolate chip inside a cookie?!

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I’d really like to go ahead and have a do-over for this skillet cookie right now, but instead I’m going to attempt to bake a Sacher Torte in anticipation of tomorrow’s food holiday – National Sacher Torte Day. Wish me luck! I have no idea what I’m doing! (PS – you’ll hear that phrase at least two more times in the next week!)

National Peppermint Latte Day

December 3, 2016

National Peppermint Latte Day

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I waited in lines all day long today. No, I’m not blaming the food of the day, the peppermint latte, but it was still quite the test of my patience. First of all, I had to wait in a long line at Starbucks to order the obligatory drink, which was a first for me, and some breakfast items. I ordered a bacon breakfast sandwich and a “healthy” bacon breakfast sandwich. Guess which one the kid wanted…yep, he stole my “healthy” one.

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I was able to enjoy my hot beverage in the car on the way to the naval base for a family holiday party. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I heard there was always a crazy line for Santa/LegoLand tickets. My sources were right. There was also a crazy line to get onto the actual base! I think that was the most frustrating line of the day and it wasn’t all that bad, considering I had my sweet caffeine to fill my time.

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After we finally got on base, Joseph was more than ready to get himself inside the bounce house. He didn’t want to do anything but that the entire time we were there. I had to force him to watch the animal show the San Diego Zoo put on and he had to later convince me to wait in the line for Santa. I agreed to that, thinking he’d get tired of waiting in line after 10 minutes. No. Instead, the organizers of this event were geniuses and they had a kids holding area full of giant Jenga blocks and toy cars and trains and a coloring area. There were several open areas to retrieve your kids from once you got further along in the line. Disney could learn a lot from them! Just sayin.

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So this was the first year that I let Joseph meet Santa. He had zero interest when he was a month old. Weird, I know… He continued to show zero interest when he was one year old. At two years old, he didn’t exactly show interest but I also didn’t want to push it on him, so when the opportunity came, we went to meet Santa and he was fine in line up until the point when I had to place him in the jolly man’s lap. He would not physically remove himself from my body. So we left. Last year, when he was three, I asked if he wanted to meet Santa and he emphatically proclaimed no. This year, not that he’s four, I figured he’s still not that interested. He’s not a typical kid, what can I say? I didn’t expect him to want to meet Santa today, but he surprised me and said he did, so we did. Upon walking in the room, he stopped dead in his tracks at the sight of Santa. I don’t know if he was nervous or scared, but he had to be coaxed to walk in the room and he would not talk to the guy, rather he wanted me to relay his message of wishes for a Hot Wheels Ultimate Garage and Legos for Christmas. Obviously I wanted a photo to commemorate this momentous occasion. Lovely, isn’t it, him all squirmy in my lap, peering outside the open door to the freedom beyond…

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So that’s it. I survived all that line waiting today, in the name of bringing my kid joy. Well, it’s not like he drank that peppermint latte himself, so I guess it was a little bit for myself too.

Tomorrow is National Cookie Day. Oh, how that makes my heart happy. Just wait and see how I’ll be celebrating! I almost can’t wait until tomorrow to eat my cookie, but I’ve got stuff to do between now and then, like the Starlight Parade that me and the Stroller Strides girls are walking in tonight and then my writer’s group meets in the morning. I can’t wait to tell them all about my failed attempt at writing a novel last month…

National Fritter Day

December 2, 2016

National Fritter Day

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Sometimes the blog comes out a little late, sometimes I get it done at the most ideal time (late morning). Today is one of those days when the blog is getting delivered a little later than usual. Why? Because I was asked to play with cars. Sorry guys, but all work and no play makes Maria…you know how this goes. Let’s not anticipate me locking my family in a historic hotel with no means to escape in the dead of winter. Please and thank you.

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I think I also didn’t make the blog a priority today because I wasn’t all that excited about celebrating the fritter. It didn’t trip my trigger. I wasn’t looking forward to frying these little guys up in a pan today. Weird, right? So now my upstairs level of the house is scented like the fried oil scent of the kitchen. Awesome. Also, my fritters did not end up looking nearly as pretty as the ones in the recipe I used. Ya win some, ya lose some.

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Quick & Crispy Vegetable Fritters (from Just a Taste)
2 cups shredded zucchini
2 cups shredded carrots
2 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup sliced scallions
vegetable oil
sour cream

Place the shredded zucchini in a colander and sprinkle it lightly with salt. Let the zucchini sit for 10 minutes then using your hands, squeeze out as much liquid as possible
Transfer the zucchini to a large bowl then add the carrots, garlic, flour, eggs, scallions, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Stir the mixture until it is combined
Line a plate with paper towels. Place a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and liberally coat the bottom with vegetable oil. Once the oil is shimmering, scoop 3-tablespoon mounds of the vegetable mixture into the pan, flattening the mounds slightly and spacing them at least 1 inch apart
Cook the fritters for 2 to 3 minutes then flip them once and continue cooking them an additional 1 to 2 minutes until they’re golden brown and crispy. Transfer the fritters to the paper towel-lined plate, season them with salt and repeat the cooking process with the remaining mixture
Serve the fritters immediately topped with sour cream or yogurt

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I went ahead and sprinkled a little dill on top of my sour cream because it is my honest opinion that dill makes everything better. It’s true!

Tomorrow is National Peppermint Latte Day so it looks like Starbucks will be getting a visit from me.

National Pie Day

December 1, 2016

National Pie Day

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Once again, we are celebrating National Pie Day. It is also National Fried Pie Day and I may have also anonymously celebrated by eating one of those handheld Hostess cherry pies that I’m too terrified to look at the Nutritional Details of…or maybe I didn’t. Jury’s out on that one. Not only did I celebrate the pie twice already this week, I also celebrated National Pi(e) Day on March 14th (3.14…). Today I decided to really push my boundaries and just eat a slice of the quiche I made a few days ago, of which I didn’t publicly share the recipe, just a link to the recipe on another blog. So today’s your day! Sure, quiche is a bit of a stretch in terms of pie, but it’s made in a pie crust for goodness sake! How much more pie-like can one get?! I’ll go ahead and call it Egg Pie, or Bacon Pie, or Cheese Pie. Oh, Bacon, Egg, & Cheese Pie. That’s it! McDonald’s should really start selling this on their dollar menu!

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Brie & Bacon Quiche (from Tasty Kitchen)
1 package deep dish pie crust, pre-baked if instructed
4 ounces Brie cheese (rind removed if preferred)
4 ounces Swiss cheese, shredded (I actually used Havarti, rather than Swiss)
10 slices bacon, cooked crisp, drained, crumbled
6 whole large eggs
½ cups whipping cream
½ cups sour cream
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 dash each nutmeg, salt, pepper

Crumble cheeses in the bottom of the pie. Spread crumbled bacon on top. Mix all remaining ingredients thoroughly and pour into the pie pan
Bake in a preheated 375 degree F oven for about 45 minutes, until a pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool slightly before serving

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I don’t know why it came to me today, but I totally forgot to tell a funny story about Thanksgiving on the actual day! Two years ago when Joseph and I were taking our cross-country adventure, I ended up calling Poison Control on Thanksgiving when I noticed the boy had managed to snack on a couple of my grandma’s bedside pills. I wasn’t sure what they were and she was trying her hardest to figure out what was missing. It was determined that what he’d eaten wasn’t life threatening and everything would be ok, but it totally reminded me of a National Lampoon moment for reals. “It’s not Thanksgiving unless you’ve had to call poison control,” I joked with the rest of the family. I’m not entirely sure what brought that memory to surface but maybe it was just that I wanted to brag about my awesome mom skills…

Tomorrow is National Fritter Day. Seeing as I’m so determined to make as many recipes as possible, now that I’m in the homestretch of this blog, I’ll be making some fritters of my own tomorrow. I decided I’m going to turn the blog into a book after I finish out this year, so that I have something to look back on. Blogs only last a short while after all, and I want a place to find some of these great recipes easily again. I’m really looking forward to doing that but completely dreading what the process will entail. Have I mentioned lately just how excited I am that I’m almost done with this thing?! Blogging on a daily basis is quite the time commitment, let alone all the baking and prepping and shopping involved! No wonder I can’t find someone to take over for me after this year is over – clearly I’m just crazy!

National Mousse Day

November 30, 2016

National Mousse Day

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It’s amazing what a little time with friends and some plans in the calendar can do to a girl’s attitude. Thankfully, I’m ending November on a high note. Today is a good day. I can’t believe that tomorrow is already December though! OMG! Where has the year gone?! Today is also everyone’s favorite made up food holiday – National Mousse Day. No? Got me, I just made that up. I was surprised it wasn’t called National Chocolate Mousse Day until I realized there is more than one way to make a mousse.

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I also self-taught myself the best technique for getting my heavy cream to whip better this morning. I’ve tried a variety of hand motions with my mixer – rotating clockwise, rotating counter-clockwise, going up and down, side to side, moving at the speed of light, sitting still, moving the bowl rather than the mixer… See, the options are virtually endless! It is decided (based on a series of bad mixing mishaps) that the best thing to do is simply go slowly in an upward motion while rotating the bowl very slowly a quarter of a turn every few seconds. Continue that for 5 minutes and you’ve got the fluffy stuff.

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I consulted Pinterest once again for just the right recipe for today. I’m still not completely sure why I chose this one but I think it was either because it said it was a “3 Ingredient Mousse” or because of it’s genius use of flavored coffee creamer. I love that idea! I imagine that there are a vast amount of recipes that could be made with that stuff! And the options these days are amazing! I tend to go with the Lucerne brand of Salted Caramel on the regular though. It’s my fave. For this dessert though, I decided that the Bailey’s White Russian Truffle was more fitting. Plus, it’s a seasonal flavor, so that just made sense. And rather than chocolate chips, I ended up using an entire Hershey’s milk chocolate bar that Joseph received for Halloween and I almost threw in the trash today. Who hands out large plain chocolate candy bars?! Stealers of joy, that’s who! If you’re going to give me a Hershey’s bar, please accompany it with a toasted marshmallow and a set of graham crackers. Thankyouverymuch!

3 Ingredient Mousse (from The First Year)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (milk, dark or white)
1 tsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup flavored coffee creamer
3/4 cup heavy cream

Place a metal mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer for 10-15 minutes
In a small pot over low heat on the stove, combine the chocolate chips and vegetable oil, stirring occasionally with a spatula until melted. Allow the chocolate to cool to room temperature
Remove the chilled mixing bowl and beaters from the freezer. Add the coffee creamer and heavy cream, beat for 5 minutes until soft peaks form
Add the melted chocolate into the bowl, beat the mixture for 2-4 more minutes, or until stiff peaks form and the mixture becomes more mousse like and airy
Divide the mousse into smaller serving dishes. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, but the longer the better. The longer the mousse sets in the fridge, the less “pudding” like it will be and the more mousse like it will become

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Tomorrow is National Pie Day. Really?! Like I haven’t already consumed enough pie this week?! Good thing I’ve got a Marie Callender’s gift card! Looks like I’m headed there for some pie after Stroller Strides tomorrow! I gotta get these daily workouts in for two reasons now – (1) I’m forced to eat way too many sweets because of my blog activity and (2) I was just invited to take my Physical Fitness Test Self Evaluation for my potential new career! Time to get those pushups and situps and runs in! Wish me luck! Additionally, I can’t say enough how thankful I am that Stroller Strides came into my life when it did! It has single-handedly gotten me into shape in preparation for this career. I find that fascinating considering it’s a workout built specifically for moms and their young children in strollers. It’s truly an amazing program!