Banana Peanut Butter Overnight Oatmeal

I know I know I have already shared my one oatmeal recipe with you all already, but I have become obsessed with overnight oats (you can easily adapt my

Spiced Oatmeal with Blueberries and Agave

by following the directions below). This recipe is so easy and sets you up with a great breakfast for the day. Anyone who knows me knows that I am pretty much constantly hungry and this breakfast holds me over until lunch. Plus eating anything out of a mason jar is just fun (as I explained with my

creme brulee

).

I have found that when I start my morning off with a healthy breakfast that I stay on better track all day. It also cuts down on the amount of candy I will eat at my desk... So start your day off right with me!

xx

L

PS. if you're having a bad day check this out,

you wont regret it.

Banana Peanut Butter Overnight Oatmeal

  • 1/3 c GF quick cook oats
  • 1/2 - 3/4 c almond milk (depending on how wet you like your oatmeal, I like mine looser so I add 3/4) ** you can also use water, soy milk, or regular milk
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 tbs peanut butter
  • 1/3 c sliced almonds
  • 1 banana sliced 
  • 1 tbs chia seeds

** if you're feeling saucy add 2 tbs chocolate chips in the morning, to quote Parks and Rec "treat yo self"

In a mason jar or tupperware container add all the ingredients except the banana and almonds. Shake well and place in the refrigerator over night. The next morning slice the banana and add the sliced almonds to the jar. Eat and enjoy! 

Mushroom and Baby Kale Baked Pasta

I spent most of my Monday thinking about mac and cheese, it was cold and dark and dreary and rainy. And all I wanted was something that would be delicious and comforting and warm. This was also compounded by the fact that they had mac and cheese at lunch today and of course I could not eat it because it was chock full of gluten. I thought about just making the

4 cheese baked pasta

I shared with you a few weeks ago, but I decided to shake it up. This baked pasta checked every box for what I was craving.

AND it felt healthy...ish because I put vegetables in it! I have come the decision that no matter what it is, it automatically becomes healthy if you just add kale. My obsession happens to be with baby kale, it is much more tender and I just like it way better. As you can see from this blog I have made salads with it and even put it in quesadillas. So I figured kale and mushroom  baked pasta would satisfy my mac and cheese like thoughts as well as make me feel slightly less guilty about my dinner.

Anyway it is cold and possibly snowy today in New England so make this for dinner and I promise you wont regret it!

xx

L

Mushroom and Baby Kale Baked Pasta

  • 1 lb short pasta (I used g-free but as always you can substitute for some g-full)
  • 2 portobello mushroom caps, diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 4 handfuls of baby kale
  • 1 1/2 c chicken stock 
  • 2 c parmesan cheese
  • 1 ball of mozzarella
  • 1 tablespoon thyme 
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons flour (I used g-free but as always you can substitute for some g-full)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

Note: Be careful how much salt you add to this dish, chicken stock and parmesan cheese are both very salty. Be conservative with the salt you add, you can always add more later but you cant take it away. 

In a large skillet over medium heat sauté the mushrooms, garlic, and onions in olive oil until they begin to brown and become tender. Add in the butter, once melted add the flour. Once the flour is fully dampened slowly add the chicken stock. Whisk carefully, be sure to get out any lumps of flour that occur. Cook for about 5 minutes until thickened, add in the parmesan cheese and thyme. Cook the pasta to the package specifications.

Toss together the pasta, kale, and the mushroom sauce. Butter a large baking dish or individual ramekins. Toss 1/2 of the mozzarella with the pasta. Pour the pasta mixture into the baking dish. Scatter the remaining mozzarella around the top of the dish.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 25-30 minutes until the top is crispy and the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Last Night I Had Popcorn For Dinner...

I don't know what it has been but this week has been horrible. Every. Single. Thing. that could go wrong at work has. Last night it really got to me and I had zero energy. No energy to fold the three loads of laundry sitting on my floor. No energy to do the work I was supposed to do last night. No energy to make the delicious dinner I wanted to make and post for you all. So I decided to put on a movie, I watched This is Where I leave You, pour myself a glass of wine, and make popcorn.

I did however find the energy to make a "foodie" popcorn and I honestly don't think I can ever go back. I made a rosemary infused butter (Thanks mom for the rosemary bush I got for Christmas) and sprinkled it with truffle salt. I died. It actually made my night, fingers crossed this popcorn will turn the rest of this hell week around.

Hopefully you are having a better week than me! If you are in New England stay warm!

xx

L

Rosemary Infused Popcorn with Truffle Salt

  • 1/2 c popcorn kernels (if you don't have an air popper just use a bag of regular unsalted and unbuttered popcorn) 
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary 
  • 1 tsp truffle or regular salt 

In a small sauce pan over low heat melt 1/2 a stick of butter. Sprinkle in the rosemary. Allow to sit and get to know each other for about 20 minutes. After that either turn on your air popper and pop 1/2 c of popcorn kernels. OR using the microwave pop a bag of popcorn. In a large bowl drizzle the butter over half of the popcorn, sprinkle with truffle salt. Toss to combine, add the rest of the popcorn, drizzle with the rest of the butter, and sprinkle with truffle salt. Toss again to combine and sit down and enjoy!

** 1/2 a cup of kernels makes enough for about 3-4 people depending on how hungry they are. For 1-2 people I would make 1/4 a cup of kernels. 

Please Forgive Me... I Made Creme Brulee!

HAPPY 2015! I feel so horrible for neglecting you guys, I spent my holidays catching up with family and friends and neglecting my poor readers! I promise promise that I will be better for the rest of the year. I have been asked a bunch at work what my New Years resolution is, and to be honest I really didn't have one. But turns out my New Years resolution is going to be making sure not to leave you all without recipes for such a long time again!

But anyway back to the reason that you read this blog, the food! I. LOVE. CREME. BRULE. I am obsessed with it. First of all I love how they are individual, anything that is just mine where I don't have to share is always a plus. Secondly I love cracking the top with the spoon, it is very satisfying and also fun. Third, they are just damn good. 

Creme brulee is also incredibly easy to make, I think some people get intimidated about making custards, I know I used to. But this recipe is totally fool proof, and I promise that you will be impressing all your friends.

xx

L

PS I make my creme brulee in miniature mason jars, they are oven safe, and it is easier to cool them in the fridge because you can easily cover them with their lids. Also they are adorable for presentation. 

Le Cirque's Creme Brulee

  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean split 
  • pinch of salt
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 3/4 c plus 2 tbs granulated sugar 

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. In a sauce pan over medium heat, heat the cream, vanilla bean, and salt until the top begins to shimmer. In a large bowl combine the yolks and sugar. Whisk until well combined. Slowly stream in the hot cream mixture, while whisking the egg and sugar mixture. Line a mesh strainer with cheese cloth and strain into a 4 cup measuring cup. 

Arrange between 8 and 10 shallow baking dishes on a roasting pan Fill each of the ramekins up 3/4 of the way. Carry the tray to the oven, and place on the shelf, then pour in water to fill 3/4 of the way up the ramekins. Cover with tin foil and bake for 1 hour or until the custard is set (it should not be wobbly). 

Carefully remove the roasting pan from the oven (there might still be water in the pan so be careful not to slosh). Then cover and chill the custards for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days. 

Sprinkle with sugar, if you have a hand torch caramelize the sugar on top until dark. If you do not have a hand torch, preheat the broiler put the ramekins as close to the top as possible, broil for about 30 seconds. Serve and enjoy!

A Trip to NYC & Baby Kale Salad

Just realized this post never never went live : ( here is an update on what I did before Christmas!!

I just spent the most fabulous weekend with my sister in NYC, it was so much fun! We danced, ate, exercised, and drank. The dancing was covered by going to see an epic 80s cover band and by going and seeing the Nutcracker. The eating was covered by restaurants in her neighborhood and Spice Market. We went to exercise classes at Refine and Flywheel (my ass will never be the same). And lets be honest, we all know how we managed the drinking. This was one of my first visits to NYC that didn't cause me huge amounts of anxiety. It felt very relaxed, maybe I'm staring to get a hang of the big apple? who knows.

There are two highlights to this trip:

ONE:

Getting to go on stage with the 80s band (called Jesses Girl) for Girls Just Want to Have Fun. The singer yelled out, "lets get all the hot girls on stage" and before she had even finished her sentence my sister and I were up there. We had the stage to ourselves for about 30 seconds before other girls came up and joined us. It was epic.

TWO:

I ended my time in NYC with a trip to Eataly. I follow them on instagram and I was absolutely dying to go there in person. It was insane there were people EVERYWHERE. But we had a fabulous time eating mozzarella, amazing fresh ricotta, cured meats, and oysters. We drank red wine and made friends with the people around us. Even though it was totally crazy it definitely made you feel like you weren't in New York and had a great European feel.

So anyway back to the reason you read this blog, the food! Theres this mustard, that you can get in Vermont. It is a molasses based mustard. It is called

Fox Hollow Mustard

. It is amazing. I put it on hot dogs, grilled cheese sandwiches, and keilbasa. Now my friend K, made a warm bacon vinaigrette and used this mustard. This was a full on mind bomb for me. I frequently put whole grain mustard in my vinaigrette. So as you wonder why you are reading about my thoughts on mustard, I shamelessly copied my girl K, and made a baby kale salad with a warm bacon vinaigrette (using fox hollow of course) and topped it all off with a fried egg. I can actually see myself eating this for breakfast, or dinner, or lunch.

Make it for yourself or someone who you want to love you because trust me after this they will.

Merry Christmas!

xx

L

Baby Kale Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette & a Fried Egg

  • 3 slices of bacon, minced in lardons 
  • 1 tablespoon fox hollow mustard (or whole grain)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Baby Kale

In a large sauté pan over medium heat render the bacon until crispy. Using a slotted spoon remove the bacon, add the mustard and olive oil whisking until well combined. Add the bacon to a large bowl with the baby kale, toss with the vignette until coated.

In another large sautee pan over medium heat melt the butter. Once it is sizzling crack the eggs into the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Allow to cook for 2 minutes, flip the eggs. Cook for 1 more minute. The whites will be cooked through but the yolks will still be runny.Place eggs on top of salad. Eat immediately! 

DIY Christmas Gifts -- Mexican Hot Cocoa

I have to apologize, I feel like I am the worst. I have sucked at posting this week. Things have been crazy busy at work but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! Last year I made snickerdoodles for my homemade christmas gifts, which was fun for a little while, but when you triple the recipe you find yourself rolling out little cookie balls for hours. I decided to do something a little more low maintenance this year. I decided to make my own hot cocoa mix, Mexican hot cocoa to be exact. It is rich and indulgent; the heat from the cinnamon and ancho chile powder help to cut through all the chocolately goodness. I ordered chalk board labels online, from

Evermine

 (It was quick, easy, and inexpensive), and put the mix into mason jars. I used 2 inch round labels. They made a very cute and easy gift for my family, friends, and coworkers!

It has taken me a little while to get on board with christmas this year. But something happened this week and I am christmas crazy! Maybe it has something to do with going to NYC this weekend to visit my sister, we are going to go to the Nutcracker and eat our way around the city. I am not a huge NYC fan (sorry NYC peeps), it just makes me so anxious. But it is pretty magical at Christmas time! My new Christmas energy could also be attributed to all of the menu planning my mom and I have been doing.

Anyway I suggest you make some of this hot cocoa this weekend, share it with someone you love (or hog it all yourself), and watch White Christmas or Home Alone (my two go to choices)!

Enjoy!

xx

DIY Mexican Hot Chocolate Mix

(makes 3 cups) adapted from Americas Test Kitchen

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate 
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ancho chile powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor, grind until you have a fine powder (about 1 minute). Transfer to an airtight container and keep at room temperature.

Don't like it hot? leave out the ancho chile powder, cayenne, and cinnamon! 

For one serving: heat 1 cup of milk over medium heat until it starts to steam and bubbles appear around the edge. Add 1-3 tablespoons (depending on how strong you like it) of the mix to the saucepan. Whisk constantly until simmering, pour into a mug and enjoy! 

Awesome extras

: marshmallows, khalua, boozy whipped cream, whipped cream, or a scoop of ice cream. 

Al Forno's Baked Pasta with Cream, Tomatoes, and Five Cheeses

I don't know about you guys but the struggle is very very real on this Monday morning. I woke up and the first words I hear is my best friends saying "But Mom I don't want to go to school." That actually could not be be more accurate. Is it christmas yet? Can I  sleep soon? I mean it is 100% my fault that today is such a struggle, I may or may not have stayed up a little too late last night. Whoops! You're only young once right?

Last night I had an awesome dinner party at P's house with my brother and some good friends. We had an absolute blast and the food was of course amazing. My friend P and I love to cook together, its funny because we are both kinda control freaks and you would think that we would step on each others toes a little too much BUT we don't thank goodness! We made my roast chicken, duck fat brussels sprouts (to.die.for), baked pasta, and a big ol salad. Cooking with friends is so fun and way cheaper than going out!

So this baked pasta is a recipe from Al Forno, a restaurant in Providence RI. It is freaking amazing, like mac and cheese on crack. There are five cheeses (FIVE!) and it is super easy to put together. It also reheats really well. When I first discovered this dish I made it 5 times in one week. I promise that you will be obsessed with it too.

Enjoy!

xx

L

Al Forno's Baked Pasta with Cream, Tomatoes, and Five Cheeses

  • 2 c heavy cream
  • 1/3 c ricotta 
  • 1/2 c shredded fontina cheese
  • 1/2 c shredded pecorino romano cheese
  • 1/4 c crumbled gorgonzola cheese
  • 1 c chopped tomatoes 
  • 1/4 lb sliced mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 a stick of butter, sliced
  • 1 lb short pasta
  • 1/2 c basil 
  • 3 scallions chopped
  • salt 
  • pepper

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Put a large pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil. In a large bowl combine the cheeses, heavy cream, half of the basil, and the tomatoes. Par boil the pasta, about 4 minutes. Combine with the cream tomato cheese mixture. Spread in individual ramekins or a large casserole dish. Try to spread as thing as possible. Bake for about 10 minutes, until browned, bubbily and crispy on top. Finish with basil and chopped scallions. 

Ancho Chicken and Kale Quesadillas

I was watching Watch What Happens Live the other night and Rachel Ray was on. She said that a really cheap and easy way to have a holiday party would be to have a nacho bar. Now I got to thinking, nachos (are one of my favorite foods) but I prefer them with melted cheese rather than a cheese sauce. And making a nacho bar with melted cheese would be difficult (these are the things that I think about when I am running). Then I started thinking about omelet bars, and it hit me! Quesadilla bar! Way yummier and you could use a omelet bar set up to make the quesadillas! Mom and Dad I hope you are paying attention, there WILL be a quesadilla bar at my hypothetical wedding.

Anyway I got home from my run and was absolutely starving, so I threw together this quesadilla and let me tell you it was amazing. I felt healthy because I used my handy-dandy grill pan to grill my chicken and put kale inside the quesadilla. Is it just me or does adding just a little bit of kale to something automatically make you feel like your eating something that is good for you?

Enjoy!

xx

L

Ancho Chile Chicken and Kale Quesadillas 

  • 2 Corn Tortillas (or flour if gluten full is the way you roll)
  • 1 boneless skinless chicken breast 
  • 1/4 tsp ancho chile powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 good dash of oregano
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • 1 cup of baby kale
  • 1 clove of garlic diced
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup Mexican cheese blend 
  • 2 tbs olive oil

For Avocado Crema

  • 1 avocado
  • 1/4 c sour cream 
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • pinch of salt and pepper

In a small bowl drizzle chicken breast with one tbs of olive oil, ancho chile powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and oregano. Set aside, so all the flavors can get to know one another. 

In a sauté pan over medium heat, sauté the garlic and red pepper flakes in one tbs of olive oil. Once the garlic is fragrant and begins to cook add the kale. Sauté until soft (it will shrink down a lot), about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Put a grill or sauté pan over medium heat. Once hot, cook the chicken about 4 minutes per side. You want to get a nice sear on the outside to keep all the juices in. Set aside to rest. After it has rested for 5 -10 minutes dice. 

Heat a cast iron skillet to medium low heat, place one of the tortillas in the pan, sprinkle with half of the cheese, kale, and diced chicken. Sprinkle with the other half of the cheese and top with the other tortilla. 

After about five minutes (or when you see the cheese on the bottom getting nice and melty) flip your quesadilla and brown the other side. About 4 more minutes. 

In a food processor combine the avocado, sour cream, salt, pepper, and lime juice. Pulse until well incorporated. 

Cut your quesadilla and serve with avocado crema. enjoy! 

Brown Butter Gingerbread Muffins

I officially have a new motto: why use butter when you can use BROWNED butter. Browned butter is just so freaking good! I love the richness and nuttiness it brings to things, without needing to included nuts! I have a fear of using nuts in baking and accidentally having someone have an allergic reaction. So now I use browned butter and get the same subtle flavors without the fear. Whenever I am baking and the recipe calls for butter, I almost always use browned butter instead. I suggest you do as well.

I made these muffins for my coworkers today, they gobbled them up pretty quickly. I made them for a breakfast meeting so you had all of the holiday cheer and flavors of gingerbread, in a muffin which feels way more acceptable to be eating at 8 am than cookies. Not that there is anything wrong with cookies for breakfast, I do that all the time, but for normal people it might seem a little strange.

Anyway bake these delicious muffins, you wont regret it.

xx

L

Brown Butter Gingerbread Muffins

  • 2 c flour (gluten free or full depending on how you roll)
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar 
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 c mollasses 
  • 1/3 c maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup browned butter 
  • 2/3 cup milk 
  • sugar topping (2 tbs sugar, dash of ginger, dash of cinnamon - mix together)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium sauce pan melt butter and whisk over medium heat until the milk solids begin to brown and the butter begins to get a nutty aroma. Remove from heat and set aside once it is a light golden brown. In a large bowl combine flour, ginger, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk together until well combined. 

In another large bowl or stand mixer, whisk together brown sugar and the egg. Add in the molasses and maple sugar. Once well combined whisk in the melted browned butter. Add the flour mixture in two parts. Before the second part is fully incorporated add the milk and stir until combined (DO NOT OVER MIX, or you will have tough muffins). 

Put muffin liners in your muffin pan, fill them 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Sprinkle with sugar toping and enjoy!

Oatmeal Oatmeal Oatmeal!

So I have been having really strange cravings for oatmeal lately which is bizzare because in 5th grade I wrote an 'ode' about my dislike for oatmeal. So it really wasn't an ode it was more of an anti-ode and that isn't really a thing. Anyway I went home today to take a picture for my own personal christmas card (featuring my dog and I) and it turns out my mom has been on a total oatmeal kick! We are so different but sometimes we are so in sync it is INSANE. I am named after her so it would make sense that there would be some similarities there.

Anyway in an effort to feel healthier, have more energy, and stop my mid day chocolate snacking (which to be honest probably wont stop but a girl can dream right?) I wanted to come up with a quick and super easy breakfast that is both satisfying and healthy. That is where this oatmeal comes in. Now when I was a kid I would LOAD my oatmeal with brown sugar (it actually would turn brown) and pour on tons of milk. This is not that kind of oat meal (sorry mom). I have been making an effort to also avoid milk because I am in denial over the fact that I am possibly lactose intolerant. (Side note: seriously god GLUTEN FREE AND LACTOSE INTOLERANT! I got a bone to pick with you man)

So... I wanted to make a oatmeal with the creamy comforting memories of childhood while also packing a punch with flavor. AND I think I succeeded. The trick I found was using a combination of almond milk for creaminess and water to help keep the oats from getting mushy. I also added a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger to add heat. Plus it takes about 5 minutes to throw together!

Start your mornings off with this oatmeal and I promise you will not regret it. Okay enough of my rambling...

xx

L

Spiced Oatmeal with Agave and Blueberries 

  • 1/2 c water
  • 1/2 c almond milk
  • 1/2 c quick cook gluten free oats (or gluten full if thats how you roll, you lucky bastard)
  • 1/4 c. ground chia seeds
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • pinch of salt
  • about 1 tbs Agave Nectar but add more if you like it sweeter!
  • 1/2 cup blueberries 

In a small pot bring water and almond milk to a boil. Add in the salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Whisk together. Once boiling turn off the stove, and pour in the oatmeal and ground chia seeds. 

Whisk while the mixture thickens (about 2 minutes). Pour into a bowl top with blueberries, additional almond milk if you like your oatmeal soupier, and drizzle with Agave for sweetness. Enjoy and start your day off right!