End of Blog Party!

You know me. The girl who’s not so good with goodbyes! I mentioned yesterday that I might make an appearance today and I didn’t want to disappoint. Plus, I wanted to tell my 8 loyal followers all about the amazing impromptu End of Blog Party we threw! I know I may have mentioned a time or two about the incredible friends in my life. I don’t know how one girl (me/I) got so lucky to constantly be surrounded by such joyful and loving people wherever I go. And fun! So very fun!

One of my girlfriends came up with the brilliant idea to throw an End of Blog Party in which everyone brings over something from the blog. I knew that not everyone was as fond of the kitchen as I am so I was eager to point out that there were plenty of ways we could celebrate and beer and wine were totally acceptable.

Here’s a list of the days we celebrated. Yeah, we ate all of that, just tonight!

National Chocolate Cake Day – Duh! That’s today’s food holiday!
National Cheese Pizza Day
National Sausage Pizza Day
National Raisin Day
National Cinnamon Crescent Day
National Popcorn Day
National Drink Wine Day
National American Beer Day
National Amaretto Day
National Sweet Tea Day
National Water Day
National Chips & Dip Day

In addition to all of that, I also laid out a rather extensive series of desserts that were taking up space in my freezer. Just about everyone got sent home with a goodie bag of treats. I loved all of these but, if you can imagine it, I STILL have a little bit of each of these in the freezer for one of those days where I just NEED something sweet STAT!

National English Toffee Day
National Peanut Butter Fudge Day
National Peanut Brittle Day
National Shortbread Day
National Blonde Brownie Day
National Pie Day
National Apricot Day

Thanks for getting this thing to happen, Crystal! I’m so touched that she was inspired to have us celebrate this past year of my work. We are always looking for an excuse to get together and eat or drink though!

Now it’s time to get this blog onto some pages! I’m really looking forward to having a physical place to reference for so many of these recipes later on!

Parting is such sweet sorrow. Thanks for joining me on this wild ride! On to my next adventure!

National Peanut Brittle Day

January 26, 2017

National Peanut Brittle Day

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye…

Does that wonderful Sound of Music song ever make anyone else chant, “We’ll sell you jeans, even if they’re too tight,” much like myself? Thanks SNL skits of the 1990’s…

But for real. You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here. Well, I guess you could, if you want to get all technical and stuff.

Today is the last day of the blog! Can you believe it?! Neither can I. I woke up a little sad but also a little relieved. I didn’t prepare ahead of time and make my peanut brittle yesterday, so I had to spend all morning in the kitchen, but that’s totally fine with me. I love being in the kitchen. It’s my happy place. Along with the peanut brittle, I also made some of those bacon egg cups that I keep seeing all over Pinterest. Is the recipe below? Of course it is! But first, I present you with a vegan version of peanut brittle because it doesn’t contain real butter. However, it tastes amazing!

Vegan Peanut Brittle (from My Darling Vegan)
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 cup light corn syrup
3 tablespoon dairy-free butter
1 pound shelled peanuts

Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper and place in a 200 degree oven to keep warm
Mix together baking soda, 1 tsp water, salt, and vanilla and set aside
In a medium saucepan (at least 3 quarts) combine sugar, 1 cup water, and corn syrup, mixing lightly to fully hydrate the sugar.  Cook over medium heat until mixture is at 240 degrees
Mix in vegan butter and peanuts. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture has reached 300 degrees
Immediately remove from heat, stir in water/baking soda mixture until light and foamy. Pour onto prepared baking sheets. Quickly spread about 1/4 inch thick. Cool completely (at least one hour) then break into pieces

I spent the first part of the morning opening up peanuts for the peanut brittle. Since the recipe called for a pound of shelled peanuts, I assumed that meant I should buy the pound size bag of peanuts in a shell and then remove the shell myself. I wasn’t sure what “shelled peanuts” meant. I still don’t. The recipe seems to have been perfect with what I did though, so go ahead and get those fingers ready for some sore tips! It’s not like I was leisurely opening peanuts at a baseball game. No, I was rushing through to get it done as quickly as possible.

Bacon Egg Muffin Cups (from Crazed Mom)
6 slices of bread
12 eggs
12 slices of bacon
shredded cheese

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F
Heat a skillet on medium-high heat, cook the bacon and only allow it to cook for about 4-5 minutes. You are looking for flexible but not raw. While the bacon is cooking, cut two circles out of each slice of bread
Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray. Next, lay a circle of bread into the bottom of each muffin cup. Wrap the bacon around the edge of each muffin cup. (I did this part backwards – we did the cheese before the bacon – it made absolutely no difference) Sprinkle cheese on top of the bread slices
Now carefully, crack an egg into each cup. Megan suggested cracking the egg carefully into a bowl first and then sliding it into the muffin cup. I just did it right into the pan
Bake them for 10-15 minutes or until the whites have set and the yolk is cooked to your liking (less for a runny yolk, more for a cooked yolk)

Tomorrow is National Chocolate Cake Day but I’m sharing this little gem of a recipe since you won’t be hearing from me any longer. Maybe, if you’re lucky, I’ll make one last appearance tomorrow just to check in and share how fun my End of Blog Party is that my girlfriends are throwing tomorrow. They’re all bringing something from the blog. I’m pretty sure, knowing this group, that there will be plenty of adult beverage holidays celebrated. Check out this peanut butter brownie recipe! Yes, it really does contain black beans, rather than flour! And yes, it tastes amazing! You honestly can’t taste the beans one bit! Who knew there was such thing as a healthy brownie?!

(Black Bean) Peanut Butter Brownies (from Lean, Clean, & Brie)
1 can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
2 Eggs
¾ cup Cocoa Powder
⅓ cup Creamy Peanut Butter
¼ cup Honey
¼ cup Pure Cane Sugar
3 tbsp Coconut Oil, softened
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray an 8×8 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray or line with parchment paper
Combine eggs, black beans, coconut oil, cocoa powder, honey, pure cane sugar, vanilla extract, baking powder, and baking soda and puree in a food processor for 3-4 minutes, or until smooth
Distribute batter evenly in 8×8 baking pan
Melt peanut butter slightly and add on top of mixture
Use a toothpick to swirl peanut butter around
Bake 40-45 minutes, until edges pull away from sides
Remove from oven and let cool
Once cooled, cut into squares

Thanks for the past year! It’s been amazing and wonderful and fun, with only a little bit of stress, like a small ramekin of ranch sized stress. Overall, I had so much fun and I’m glad I did this. If you’d like to read a little more about some of the things I learned over this past year, check out this article I wrote for Today recently:
10 things I learned from a year of food blogging

Again, thank you! I can’t say it enough!

National Irish Coffee Day

January 25, 2017

National Irish Coffee Day

I’m Irish, but I’m not that Irish! I can’t do Jameson. I’ve tried for years. In celebration of today’s made up food holiday, I gave Jameson another shot. For real. I poured a shot of it into my coffee. Since I wasn’t feeling like whipping up a batch of my homemade whipped cream just to top my Irish coffee with a dollop, I went ahead and improvised. Don’t act like you didn’t know I was a nontraditionalist!

The traditional Irish coffee is a cup of hot black coffee with an ounce and a half of Jameson or other Irish Whisky, a couple teaspoons of brown sugar, and topped with whipped cream. Instead, I basically made my coffee like normal – coffee and my favorite creamer (salted caramel), and I added a mini bottle of Jameson, which is an ounce and a half. I figured I didn’t need the brown sugar since the creamer is already sweetened.

Even before I took my first sip, my nose alerted me that I was about to get punched in the face. This was strong! It always seems like anytime liquor is added to a hot drink it just amplifies the taste of the liquor. I don’t know if everyone experiences that, but for me it’s certainly true! I like my alcoholic beverages on the rocks. End of story. Sounds like I didn’t enjoy this beverage, doesn’t it? Well, that’s true, and I don’t care if it makes me any less Irish than the next girl! So be it!

One thing I do love is watching my creamer swirl into my coffee! It’s always a new work of art that never gets captured, so I went ahead and did it this time. Looks like I had quite the heavy hand, on the creamer anyway.

Tomorrow is National Peanut Brittle Day. Not a super fun food to end this blog with so perhaps I’ll have to recelebrate National Chocolate Cake again the next day…

National Peanut Butter Day

January 24, 2017

National Peanut Butter Day

This moming by myself thing is getting pretty tiresome. I think the thing I miss the most is being able to leave Joseph home with dad at a moment’s notice. It hasn’t been fun trying to arrange childcare for him so that I can have those “me moments” back. Sure, it’s not honestly that big of a deal to leave Joseph with a friend or babysitter, but there’s always that tiny little part of me that feels somewhat guilty for either inconveniencing a friend and leaving him with them or having to pay someone to be with him. Last night I hired a sitter to come over and stay with him so I could go to Mom’s Night Out with the girls. I’m SO glad I did it, but I did feel like an unorganized fool when she showed up and I realized my house was a complete disaster. And I could have done the nicer thing by forcing Joseph to go to bed earlier than usual (especially because he didn’t take a nap) but I just made the choice to let him stay up and have fun playing with the sitter. He ran that poor high school girl ragged! She might not ever return… I’m still glad that everything worked out and I was able to enjoy a night out with friends. We went to Escapism Puzzle Room, an escape room where you have to work together to decipher codes and open locks to get out of the room within an hour. We worked together so well but really struggled for about the first 10-20 minutes, overwhelmed with a plethora of clues and no idea of how to proceed.

Peanut Butter Banana Overnight Oats (from Crunchy Creamy Sweet)
3/4 cup rolled oats old fashioned
3/4 cup milk any kind you like with your cereal
1/2 banana sliced
2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
1 Tablespoon creamy or crunchy peanut butter
2 teaspoons flax seeds optional

Layer all ingredients in a mason jar, starting with the oats
Add milk last
Place lid on jar and shake well to combine the ingredients
Place jar in fridge for overnight
Enjoy in the morning

My overnight oats were a huge success this morning! They tasted amazing, even though I left out the brown sugar. I just figured it wasn’t necessary to start my morning with extra sugar. I’m sure Jocelyn, my Body Back instructor will agree when I see her later today! As I mentioned yesterday, I also whipped up a little concoction based on a few successful recipes from this past month – Egg Roll Bowl & Mushroom Chicken. This time around, I was inspired by Damn Delicious’ Korean Beef Bowl recipe but I made it my own by loading it up with veggies.

Turkey & Veggie Rice Bowl (inspired by Damn Delicious)
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes, or more to taste
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground turkey
1 bag dry coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots)
1 medium zucchini, cut in half lengthwise, then in ½ inch slices
8 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
Brown rice, cooked (I make mine in the rice cooker with half chicken broth/half water, sherry cooking wine, garlic salt, and onion powder)

In a small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, red pepper flakes and ginger
Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add ground turkey and cook until browned, about 5 minutes, making sure to crumble the turkey as it cooks
Add cabbage, zucchini, and mushrooms to pan and stir to combine
Stir in soy sauce mixture until well combined, allowing to simmer until heated through and cabbage has wilted and veggies have softened, about 5 minutes
Serve immediately over brown rice, garnished with green onion and sesame seeds

Both of these recipes are things that are so typical of what I would like to eat on a daily basis. Luckily, they are both pretty easy to make and the rice bowl is so large that I was able to save and freeze several portions for later. I love doing that!

Things will start turning around this week at a pretty quick pace, I hope. Looks like the rain is finally about to end in the next day or so and I will have one less thing on my plate with the end of this blog very soon! I know my beloved 8 subscribers are bound to miss me, but if you’d like to become pen pals, just send me a message.

Tomorrow is National Irish Coffee Day. Time to slip a little whiskey into my coffee! Oh lordy…

National Pie Day

January 23, 2017

National Pie Day

Friends! This is it! My final week of the blog. Actually, I don’t want to short you, there are only 4 days left of the blog. Thursday is it! Can you believe it! I’m having a hard time accepting it. I also know that as soon as this project is done, I should have an overabundance of free time, but I’m rational enough to know that’s going to magically disappear without even noticing! It’s been quite the inspiring year though and I’m very eager to get back to writing some books. I’ve got too many ideas in my head just to keep them trapped in there, taunting me for the rest of my life. I need to share these stories, let them out.

Today I decided to make some mini pies. At first, I really wanted to make a batch of hand pies but then I found this fun recipe for mini pies that are made in muffin tins and I was sold! It was so incredibly easy and only required two store bought ingredients – pie crust and cherry pie filling. I only ended up putting in the work to properly lattice one of the pies. Can you tell? No? That’s why I didn’t bother with the other 11!

Mini Cherry Pies (from OMG Chocolate Desserts)
1 package (2 9″) store-bought pie crust
2 cups cherry pie filling
1 egg white-slightly beaten
sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 F, grease muffin tin and set aside
Unroll one crust onto a flat surface and using a cookie cutter or rim of a glass/bowl cut 3 1/2 – 4″ circles
Place each circle into tin cavity and press into the bottom and up the sides
Fill with cherry pie filling about 2/3 to the top
To make a lattice crust, using a knife or pizza cutter cut thin strips of dough (about 1/4-1/3 inch), then lace together to form a lattice. Press down slightly around the edges and trim the excess with a knife
Brush the tops of each pie with the whisked egg white and sprinkle with sugar
Bake for 25-30 minutes (until the crust is lightly golden and the filling begins to bubble)
Let them cool in the pan for at least 15-20 minutes
Using a knife very carefully loosen the edges of each pie and gently lift it out

I’ve been all about the meal prep since starting Body Back last week! We’ve got a great group of interactive ladies on Facebook and we share pictures of our food to inspire each other to make healthier choices at mealtime. I’ve been living on avocado egg wraps for breakfast! I could literally eat that for every single meal and never tire of it. Lately though, I’ve been craving all sorts of Asian food like the Egg Roll Bowl and Mushroom Chicken I recently made. I stumbled upon a recipe from my favorite food blogger, Damn Delicious for a Korean Beef Bowl and I personalized it today to make it my own – a massive mix of all three dishes. I’ll share that recipe tomorrow. I’ve got too much cleaning before my sitter comes over to make sure Joseph sleeps. Yeah, I’m totally planning on putting him to bed before she gets here, just to make things as simple as possible. What am I up to this evening? It’s MOM’S NIGHT OUT!!! And we’re going to an escape room! I am SO excited! This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while and I’m thrilled to do it with my girlfriends. I think it’s going to be a blast. And if not, maybe I’ll just bring a flask to spice things up…

Tomorrow is National Peanut Butter Day. I feel like it’s yet another day that has been celebrated more than once over this past year but whatever, this bad boy is almost done! Hooray!

National Blonde Brownie Day

January 22, 2017

National Blonde Brownie Day

lf I were to serve these blonde brownies to a friend who could care less about eating dairy-free or gluten-free food, they would still be astounded by just how incredibly delicious they are! I kid you not! I had NO idea that finely ground up almonds acted just like a moist flour! These blondies are so amazing that I honestly had a hard time keeping myself away from them. I may have gone back to the kitchen for seconds and thirds of tiny little unnoticably missing edges and corners before finally forcing myself to individually bag them up and place them in the freezer… They are so moist and soft that you have to eat them pretty quickly because they want to just fall apart in your hand. That might be the only con I can come up with. Me? I don’t consider that a bad thing. I actually might be using it as more of an excuse as to why I practically inhaled this dessert so rapidly.

(Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free) Cake Batter Blondies (from Veggie Balance)
1/2 cup butter (or dairy-free butter options), softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/4 cup sprinkles, plus extra for topping

Preheat oven to 350 F
Prepare 9×13 pan with a piece of parchment paper cover the bottom and sides
In a medium bowl add butter, white and brown sugar. Beat with a hand or stand mixer
Add in eggs and vanilla extract. Beat for 3 minutes
Add baking powder, salt and 1/2 cup of almond flour
Continue mixing with the mixer, add remaining almond flour slowly until full incorporated
Fold in chocolate, sprinkles and white chocolate chips
Spread evenly into 9 x 13 pan. Add additional sprinkles on top for decoration
Bake for 25-30 minutes. Crust wants to turn into a dark brown. Coming out fresh from the oven will seem uncooked, let fully cool in the pan before slicing into squares
Store in a airtight container

In addition to making the blonde brownies from scratch, I also made the dairy-free chocolate chips from scratch to use in the blondies. I shared that recipe a couple days ago when I made the chocolate for National Buttercrunch Day myself. I wasn’t about to buy some allergy-friendly chocolate chips for $6 a bag if I could do it myself. Let me tell you, there’s a reason that those chocolate chips are so expensive! Mine turned out super ugly because they’re so difficult to make, but I didn’t care since they were about to become a melted mess inside the blondie anyway.

Tomorrow is National Pie Day. I’m not sure how, but I’ve already managed to celebrate pie on several occasions this year (15 to be exact! OMG!), but why not just one more time before this whole thing ends? And of course, I’ll be trying out a new recipe I’m super excited about.

National Granola Bar Day

January 21, 2017

National Granola Bar Day

When I realized that National Granola Bar Day was on the horizon, it was unquestionable that I’d be making them myself at home for the very first time! I searched Pinterest high and low for just the right recipe. When I saw one containing pretzels, the insatiable mix of sweet and savory was undeniable. I knew that was the one I needed to make!

Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Granola Bars (from Brooklyn Farm Girl)
2 cups quick cooking oats
1/2 cup crispy rice cereal
3/4 cup chopped pretzels
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Spray a 8×8 pan lightly with cooking spray
Mix your oats and cereal together in a large bowl
Chop your pretzels up and mix with oats and cereal
In a small saucepan melt butter, brown sugar, honey and peanut butter on medium high heat until melted. Once it begins to bubble change heat to low and stir for 2 minutes
Remove saucepan from burner and stir in your vanilla
Pour your hot mixture over your oats mixture. Stir well. You want to make sure every single piece of oats and cereal is coated
Pour your mixture into your greased pan and push down with spatula to flatten it
Sprinkle chocolate chips over top evenly. Use your spatula to press them down so they are embedded in the bars
Cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator to set for 1 hour
Cut into granola bar sizes
Store in refrigerator

I ended up slicing 10 bars and then storing them individually in snack sized ziploc baggies. They aren’t very stiff, as compared to the store bought granola bars, probably because they’re not loaded up with preservatives. These homemade granola bars were quite delicious! Every time I bit into a salty pretzel piece, I smiled. I munched on one while occasionally checking in on the live stream of the Women’s March on Washington today. I’ve got a cousin walking in D.C. and an aunt walking in the Chicago location so I’m pretty proud of them for getting involved. Well behaved women rarely make history! I love that quote and think of it often. My eyes have been wet a little more than I expected when I woke up this morning. There was one point when Joseph stopped playing with his toys to ask what I was watching. As he sat on my lap, all I could manage to say was, “It’s a march…” before quietly shedding a few more tears. Of course he doesn’t understand right now what’s going on but maybe someday he will. I’m still in such a fog over seeing the statement “The Inauguration of Donald Trump” as anything other than a hilariously comedic Hollywood production. But alas, now we wait and see…

I could have topped these with the homemade dairy-free chocolate chips I made for yesterday’s post, but I ended up saving those for tomorrow’s food of the day – National Blonde Brownie Day. I’ll be making a gluten-free and dairy-free version. Here’s to hoping it turns out!

National Buttercrunch Day

January 20, 2017

National Buttercrunch Day

So far I’ve made Almond Buttercrunch and English Toffee. After both of my experiences with those, I can’t say that today’s food holiday is really necessary so I decided to kick things up a notch and really challenge myself. Today I made a dairy-free buttercrunch. Why? Because. I didn’t think it would be that much different from the past two times I’ve made the stuff so I was prepared. I had my candy thermometer close by and ready to use. I had my pan lined and ready to break some buttercrunch!

Vegan and Nut Free Buttercrunch Toffee (from The Pretty Bee)
1 cup Earth Balance soy free vegan buttery spread
1 cup organic cane sugar
3 Tablespoons water
1 Tablespoon organic corn syrup
¼ teaspoon salt
10 ounces dairy free chocolate chips

Line a 13×9 inch cookie sheet with foil
In a heavy bottomed saucepan, melt the vegan buttery spread, sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt
Cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly
Once the mixture comes to a boil, clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan, and boil, stirring constantly until the mixture reaches 290 degrees. (When the mixture gets to 280 degrees, watch it very carefully so it doesn’t burn)
Take the saucepan off the heat, and remove the thermometer, then pour the toffee mixture into the foil lined cookie sheet
Wait for five minutes, then sprinkle the dairy free chocolate chips over the toffee. Once the chocolate chips are melted, use a spatula to spread the chocolate over the toffee
Place the pan in the refrigerator until the toffee is cool and firm
Use the foil to lift the toffee from the pan, and break into pieces. I broke it into three big pieces, then put those into a ziploc bag and whacked it on the table to get lots of smaller pieces
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Toffee will last up to two weeks

Vegan Chocolate Chips (from Light Orange Bean)
½ cup coconut oil, soft but not liquid
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ tsp pure stevia extract powder
½ tsp agave nectar
⅛ tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

Chill the baking sheets in refrigerator. Place coconut oil in a large bowl and fast whisk in one direction by hand. About 1 minute
Whisk together the rest of ingredients until smooth. Chill the batter for 2-4 minutes until it is starting to get thick but is not yet solid
Transfer the Chocolate batter into a gallon freezer bag. Push the batter down to the bottom while holding onto the top of the freezer bag. It will form a cone shape like a filled pastry bag. Try not to warm up the bag of chocolate batter with your hands. Wear cloth gloves if necessary. Cut a small tip off a bottom corner of the bag
Gently squeeze the plastic bag and place a dot onto the chilled baking sheet. Then quickly lift the bag to form the pointy part of the chip. Finish all the chocolate batter. I filled two baking sheets with this amount of batter
Chill the formed chocolate chips until they are hard. Transfer them into a container and store in refrigerator

Something I didn’t anticipate happening was the oil from the butter substitute separating itself from the rest of the boiled mixture. I only saw what was going on as I poured the liquid into the pan to let it dry flat. Along the lines of that pan I used (a 9×13 inch cookie sheet, as instructed in the recipe), it was WAY too big! This should have called for a 8×8 or 9×9 square pan, so if you plan to make this yourself, take note. Since the buttercrunch recipe I used called for a bag of dairy-free chocolate chips, I took things a step further and went ahead and made my own rather than buying them for an unreasonable amount of money. What I also didn’t expect was for the chocolate in this recipe to be so soft and oily and smudgy after letting it set. It was seriously melting all over as I broke it into bite-sized pieces. I just ended up throwing it into the freezer hoping that will keep it from becoming one melted mess. The taste is incredible though! I can’t believe how truly delicious this is without real butter or chocolate.

Tomorrow is National Granola Bar Day. You guessed it right – I’m making some of my own homemade! I’m actually looking forward to it! Call me crazy…

National Popcorn Day

January 19, 2017

National Popcorn Day

Every once in awhile I let Joseph eat something completely nonsensical for breakfast. It’s not that often so I don’t carry any guilt for it. It’s usually something like a donut or piece of coffee cake but today it was popcorn. Why? Because it’s National Popcorn Day. And why not?

Confession: I don’t love popcorn like most other people do. I actually went through my 20’s despising microwave popcorn altogether. I blame my sister and her love of microwave popcorn, as well as my very first college roommate who loved microwave popcorn perhaps even more than her! I suppose if you smell popcorn every time you open the microwave, you might be disgusted by it too. I’m not entirely opposed to passing along the popcorn bag at the movie theater too, unless it’s just soaked, dripping in that fake neon liquid butter! I’d much rather toss back a box of Junior Mints or Twizzlers (NEVER EVER Red Vines because they’re vile and should be outlawed! I don’t even respect the divide of Twizzlers fans and Red Vines fans. It actually upsets me that some of my best friends are Team Red Vines. It’s embarrassing!).

Joseph munched on some plain popcorn while I threw together a delicious concoction of my own. I had the hardest time deciding on whether I wanted to do a sweet popcorn or savory popcorn based on my search for the fluffy stuff on Pinterest. I was really interested in making my own batch of homemade caramel corn for the first time ever (brown paper bag and everything!) but savory won when I took a look at the remaining week of this blog and noticed that it’s ALL sweets! No joke!

Dill Parmesan Garlic Popcorn (from The Gold Lining Girl)
1 – 3.5 oz. bag microwave popcorn, plain or light butter
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
salt & pepper, to taste

Prepare popcorn according to package instructions
Place popcorn in a large bowl
Drizzle the melted butter over the popcorn, and toss gently to evenly coat
In a small bowl, combine Parmesan cheese and garlic powder until thoroughly blended
Spread the Parmesan cheese mixture and the fresh dill over the popcorn, and toss gently to evenly coat
Salt and pepper to taste

Tomorrow is National Buttercrunch Day, not to be confused with National Almond Buttercrunch Day which I already celebrated back in June.

National Gourmet Coffee Day

January 18, 2017

National Gourmet Coffee Day

That might not look like coffee, but it is! It’s actually a coffee smoothie. Sweet mother of pearl, yes, that exists, and it’s pretty tasty, plus it totally did it’s job and kept me full all morning long, even through two hours of activity. Joseph and I walked to the park and met the Stroller Strides girls for a workout. My shoulders were incredibly sore from yesterday’s Body Back assessment night, but I was no less motivated to get in a workout while the weather is nice. Apparently we are only allowed three days of sunshine at the present moment because we’ve got four days of rain to look forward to…


Energizing Coffee Breakfast Smoothie (from KitchMe)
4 ice cubes
1 banana, sliced
1/4 cup oats
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon almond butter
3/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup strong coffee, concentrate, or espresso

Place ice cubes, banana, oats, honey, almond butter, almond milk, and coffee in a blender. Cover and process until smooth

After my workout, we returned home and I enjoyed a real cup of gourmet coffee, not just a smoothie by the same name. It was just what the doctor ordered for this afternoon slump I’m experiencing. (ha, get it, doctor…Dr. Conkey’s…? I’m so punny…) Since my Body Back journey just began, I’ve got my work cut out for me with some meal planning, so sorry to cut this short, but I’ve got some stuff to make and freeze! There’s nothing I love more than a good pre-cooked meal that’s ready to go after a few minutes in the microwave!

Tomorrow is National Popcorn Day. Joseph thought it was yesterday, when I let him eat some microwave popcorn in the car. Silly boy!