dine

Mommy & Me Valentine’s Day

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Sequin Tulle Dress c/o || Ava’s Velvet Dress || Jackie Kennedy Pearl Earrings || Jackie Kennedy Cascade Ring || Stella & Dot Brier Ring || Stella & Dot Engraved Ring ||

Good morning and happy February 1st! It is officially the month of love and what better way to kick it off than with a little Galentine’s Day Party. Just the “gals” here hence, Galentine’s lol. Ava and I spent the better part of a day celebrating and having our yearly party. We started with putting on our makeup and then getting dressed up. Ava picked out her own accessories and was very excited the whole time. The anticipation of it all! This has always been my favorite post to do throughout the entire year and one I always look forward to. Then we set the table together and lastly baked the cookies. She helped spread the icing and sprinkle on the sprinkles, all while enjoying eating some in the process, haha. Ava kept saying it was a tea party and honestly, we’ve been having little tea parties every day since then. Every meal happens at the dining table so why not make it pretty and fun?! After taking some photos, we dug in to all of the goodies and had some girl chats talking about the things we love. The heart ballon has a nice little story behind it. We were out the day before picking up the roses for the party, when a worker at the store just fell in love with Ava. He ended up cutting this ballon down from one of the displays and giving it to her, which was incredibly sweet! Thank you! This was one of the best days I’ve had and couldn't have spent it with a better gal than my little Ava. Cheers to all of the loved ones in your life! <3

xo, Amanda  

A French Press

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Gold French Press || Copper Mule Mugs || Gold Spoon || Plaid Dress c/o (Old, Similar Here) ||  

Good morning, friends! If you’re like me, then coffee is a big part of your daily routine. I actually drink green tea in the morning and then make some coffee for a pick me up in the afternoon. Recently I started using a French Press to make my coffee. Personally, this is a great option since I only drink one or two cups at the most. Typically with a French Press you only want to make the exact amount you’ll be drinking without any leftover. Think “of the moment”. It’s a very romantic idea! Leaving the coffee in the grounds will only make it bitter when you go to re-heat it. 

In most other countries this is called “Cafetiere coffee” while in America we refer to it as French Press. I remember the first time I ever had French Pressed coffee was in a local organic restaurant. They used sweetened condensed milk in it too and it was absolutely delicious! There are many different styles of French Presses out there and at different price points. Some of them are included below! They all look incredibly chic too. The steps to making a fresh cup are faily simple. 

  • First, you want to heat your water. I use an electric tea kettle.  
  • Next, use the scoop included with the pot to put in the amount of coffee grinds you’ll be using. I always do one scoop per each cup of water. I use New England coffee brand. I almost always get the blueberry flavor! After that, measure out the amount of water you’ll be using and pour that into the pot. Sometimes I put the water in first and then the coffee. Either way is fine. 
  • Stir everything together and let brew for four minutes.  
  • Place the Press into the pot and slowly press down until you reach the bottom. Make sure the lid is turned to where the spout is facing out.  
  • Lastly, pour your coffee and enjoy!  

If you do end up making more coffee than you can drink at the moment, try pouring the coffee out into another container for later so it does not get bitter sitting in the grounds.   

Shop The Post: 

 

 

xo, Amanda  

Good Eats

Applesauce Puffs

applesauce puffs

These little bites of delight are super easy to make and are so light and airy they simply melt in your mouth. A huge hit around my house, and made with ingredients usually kept within the house, this is a win-win situation all around. I made these for one of my dinner nights with my dad and lets just say I kept getting requests for seconds and thirds. Great for Fall and they taste like a cinnamon sugar donut! What's not to love?

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. Bisquick
  • 3/4 c. sugar (divided)
  • 3 t. cinnamon (divided)
  • 1/2 c. applesauce
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 T. oil
  • 5 T. melted butter

 

Directions:

  1. Combine Bisquick, 1/4c. sugar and 1 t. cinnamon.
  2. Stir in applesauce, milk, egg and oil until well mixed.
  3. Fill greases muffin pan 2/3 full.
  4. Back at 400 for 10 min.
  5. In a bowl mix 1/2 c. sugar with 2 t. cinnamon.
  6. Dip hot puffs in bowl of melted butter and then in bowl of cinnamon sugar.

 

Chocolate Scotcheroos

A Delectable Dessert

chocolate scotcheroos

If you're looking for a yummy dessert to serve, look no further. Chocolate Scotcheroos were made at many family functions over the years; mainly by my aunt Arlene and grandma. These decadent treats please the taste buds with creamy peanut butter and a topping of butterscotch and chocolate morsels. My mouth waters just thinking about them! When I asked Justin what he wanted for our anniversary he said scotcheroos. Always a crowd pleaser and quite simple to make, these little bars should be a staple in everyone's recipe book.

chocolate scotcheroos

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup (Karo)
  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate morsels
  • 1 cup butterscotch morsels
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies


Directions:

  1. Combine sugar and syrup in a large saucepan. Cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently until mixture begins to bubble. Remove from heat.
  2. Stir in peanut butter, mix well. Add Rice Krispies, stir until well blended. press mixture into 13x9" pan.
  3. Mix chocolate and butterscotch morsels together over hot, but not boiling water, stirring until well blended. Remove from heat, spread evenly over Rice Krispie mixture..
  4. Cool until firm and cut into bars.


chocolate scotcheroos

Good Eats

Italian Wedding Soup

italian wedding soup

Since both my parents and I share wedding anniversaries so close to one another, theirs is September 22nd and mine September 24th, I decided to make Italian Wedding Soup in honor of the celebrations. This was also the soup served at our reception dinner. A favorite with everyone and sure to be a smash at your next dinner, here is the classic recipe. Bon appetit!

homemade italian meat balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 lb lean ground beef

  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley

  • 1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 pkg mirepoix

  • 2 cartons chicken stock

  • 1/3 fresh chopped escarole

  • 1/2 cup acini di pepe pasta

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

  1. Beat egg slightly in medium bowl; add ground beef, parsley, and bread crumbs. Mix well with clean hands. I also added some cheese into the mix. Form into small meatballs, using about 1tsp ground beef mixture for each.
  2. Brown meatballs on all sides in olive oil in a pan on medium, about 5 min. Remove meatballs; drain off all but 1 tbsp pan drippings.
  3. Add mirepoix; reduce heat to medium-low. Cover; cook, stirring occasionally, 6-8 min, until veggies are soft, but not browned.
  4. Add meatballs and stock; bring to a boil on high. Lower heat to medium and simmer for 5 min. Ass escarole; return to simmer on medium-high. Add pasta; let simmer about 5 min until pasta is tender.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish each serving with grated cheese.

Oatmeal Pumpkin Creme Pies

Fun Fall Flavor

Oatmeal Pumpkin Creme Pies

Once Fall hits I go into pumpkin spice over drive. Everything from baking, cooking, drinking, and household items seems to be inspired by sweet cinnamon spice and pumpkin. I made these little delicacies for one of my dinner parties and they were an absolute smash! What really makes them incredible is the cream cheese filling. My goodness, tantalizingly creamy and smooth with autumn spices to boot. I even had some left over filling that I'm storing in the fridge right now to use as the icing on some cupcakes I'm going to make for Fall.

Ingredients:

Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 and 2/3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (or 3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (to thicken, as needed)
  • salt, to taste

Directions:

Step 1

Step 1

1. In a large bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment or with a handheld mixer, cream the softened butter and sugars until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and mix well. Slowly stir in the baking soda, cinnamon, oats, and flour. Mix together until just combined. Do not over mix.

Step 1

Step 1

2. Chill the dough for at least one hour in the fridge. Cookies will be very flat if the dough is not cold.

Step 2 Oatmeal Pumpkin Creme Pies

Step 2 Oatmeal Pumpkin Creme Pies

Step 3

Step 3

3. Preheat oven to 325F degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Roll 2 teaspoons of dough into a ball and place onto prepared sheet. Bake for 9 minutes and let cool on cookie sheet for a minute or two before transferring to a wire rack.

Step 4

Step 4

4. While the cookies are cooling, prepare the pumpkin frosting. Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese, butter, pumpkin, and spices on medium speed until creamy. Add 2 cups of sifted powdered sugar depending how sweet you’d like it. If frosting is much too thin, add in the flour to thicken it. I actually used about 1/2 cup flour to thicken it up to where I liked it. Add salt to cut the sweetness, if you prefer.

Step 4

Step 4

Step 5 Oatmeal Pumpkin Creme Pies

Step 5 Oatmeal Pumpkin Creme Pies

Oatmeal Pumpkin Creme Pies

Oatmeal Pumpkin Creme Pies

5. Spread a generous amount of frosting on the underside of a cooled cookie and sandwich another cookie on top. Cookies stay fresh for up to 5 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Oatmeal Pumpkin Creme Pies
Oatmeal Pumpkin Creme Pies

Zuppa Toscana Soup

An Olive Garden Copycat Recipe

Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscanna

One of my favorite chain restaurants to dine at is Olive Garden. My husband absolutely adores their Zuppa Toscana soup and always orders it every time we go. While browsing around pinterest, I found this copy cat recipe and knew I had to try it. Needless to say, Justin loved it and the left overs did not last long. A fun fact, I used the kale from our garden in the soup and try to use everything from our garden that I possibly can in my recipes! Now, the taste of the soup is without a doubt creamy and literally has you craving more with the sweet Italian sausage and potato bites that seem to just crumble in your mouth. This would not be for the health conscious person necessarily, but it's fun to diverge every now and then and try something on the creamier side. It's more of a hearty soup perfect for Fall in my opinion.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound spicy Italian sausage, casing removed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 3 russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 cups kale
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add Italian sausage to the skillet and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the sausage as it cooks; drain excess fat and set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Stir in sausage and kale about 5 minutes. Stir in heavy cream until heated through, about 1 minute; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Serve immediately, garnished with bacon.

Roasted Cod and Mushroom Raggot

Go Fish

Looking for a healthy mean in a hurry? Look no further, this dinner comes together in about 30 minutes and has the health boost from the cod, mushrooms, and sweet potatoes. It's low in calories and loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants. This is a great meal to make anytime throughout the year and one I'm sure you'll be coming back to time and time again.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lg sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 in chunks
  • 2 tbsp evoo
  • 2 lg shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 pkgs sliced mushrooms
  • 4 skinless cod fillets
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
Roasted Cod

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees
  • Combine the sweet potatoes, half the shallots, and 1tbsp of evoo in a small bowl. Top with salt and peeper. Transfer to a greased baking pan. Arrange in a single layer on the side of the pan. Roast for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat remaining tbsp oil on medium-high heat. Add remaining shallots and cook 2-3 minutes or until tender and golden brown, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms and 2 tbsp water; cook 8 minutes or until liquid evaporates; stirring occasionally.
  • Arrange cod on the other side of roasting pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast alongside potatoes 8 to 10 minutes or until the fish is just opaque throughout.
  • Stir parsley, wine, and salt and pepper in mushroom mixture. Cook 1 minute or until wine has reduced by half.
  • Divide potatoes and cod among serving plates. Spoon mushroom raggot over cod.

Blueberry and Cream Cheese Muffins

Summer is sadly starting to fade away, but not before one last hurrah! What you'll be seeing on the blog is some end of summer treats, like these muffins, along with some dinners and elegant outfits all while transitioning over into Fall. To say I'm excited for the new season ahead is putting it mildly, Fall has always been my favorite time of the year. Anyway, I digress, back to the carefree whimsical season of Summer. Today I want to share with you a recipe I recently made for dessert when my dad comes over for our weekly dinner parties at my house. These are not your typical blueberry muffins either. What makes them so special is the cream cheese nestled in between the bottom and top layers and the dollop on top. Without further ado, here is the delicious recipe sure to make your end of summer celebrations quite special.

blueberry & cream cheese muffins

What you'll need:

  • 7 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I use gluten free)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 1/4 tsp fine salt
  • 6 oz blueberries
  • 4 oz cream cheese

Directions:

  • Line a muffin pan with wrappers or spray with Pam for baking; preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter in a medium pan over low heat. Remove from heat; whisk in oil, yogurt, vanilla, and eggs. Sift flour and baking powder into a large bowl, stir in sugar and salt, then make a well in the middle.
  • Pour the yogurt mixture into the flour well. Lightly fold in the dry ingredients into the wet using a rubber spatula until the mixture has just come together. Pour in the blueberries, working them into the batter with the bare minimum of stirring. The mixture should still look lumpy.
  • Spoon half the batter into the prepared baking pan (or cups if using.) Then dot about 1/2 tsp of the cream cheese on top of the batter in each half-filled muffin cup. Add remaining batter, then another 1/2 tsp of cream cheese on each muffin. Bake the muffins for 18-20 minutes, or until golden. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
blueberry & cream cheese muffins

Blueberry Cream Pie

Refreshing Delight

Blueberry Cream Pie

One tradition my dad and I have is every week he comes over our house and I make a nice big dinner with all of the trimmings. Everything is home made from scratch, something I'm very happy to do since I want to be like the lovely ladies in my family who knew how to do things right the old fashioned way. My mom and my grandma Kretchmer have always been two of my biggest inspirations, and these two women knew how to cook a homemade meal and delectable dessert all without batting an eye lash.

When my dad was over one night finishing up dinner, I gave him my retro baking book to flip through and pick out a dessert for next weeks dinner party. My dad has always been a pie type of guy so it came as little surprise when he choose the Blueberry Cream Pie. I have never made a pie before, so I was a bit apprehensive, but knew I could complete it with little mishap. The great thing about this pie is how refreshing it is with the blueberries and homemade whipped cream. Talk about a delectable dessert. Now on to the party!

 

What You'll Need:

For the pie crust:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup butter (or coconut oil!)
  • glass of ice water

For the filling:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 tbsps cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (I used fresh)
  • 2 tbsps butter (or coconut oil)
  • 1 1/2 tbsps lemon juice
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions:

To make the pastry:

  • Mix flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Use pastry cutter to blend in butter until the mixture becomes crumbly. Add 3 to 4 tbsps of ice water one at a time until dough is moist enough to form into a ball. Flatten ball to 1/2 inch thickness, smooth rough edges, and roll out onto a floured surface. Dough should form an even circle 1 1/2 inches longer than a 8 or 9 inch pie pan. Place crust loosely in pan, pat out air pockets, fold and flute edge to form even rim. Prick crust generously with form and bake at 450 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Allow to cool before filling.

To make filling:

  • In a saucepan blend together sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Stir in water and 1 cup of blueberries. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil and cook until very thick. Add butter and lemon juice; mix well and let cool. Gently stir in remaining 2 cups of blueberries and refrigerate about 1 hour. In a small mixing bowl beat whipping cream until thick. Mix in powdered sugar and vanilla. Cover bottom of pie shell with half the whipped cream. Pour blueberry filling over whipped cream. Chill about 2 hours. Top pie with remaining whipped cream.

I also made another batch of the whipped cream to keep on hand for any little desserts or fruit cups I decided to make. During our dinner, I always make a cup of fresh mixed fruits and usually drizzle with honey. This week, I topped it off with the whipped cream much to my dads delight. Some tips for making the whipped cream are to put the metal bowl and beater attachment in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before stirring. I used my kitchen aid mixer for this. Do not over beat either. About 5 minutes is plenty.

 

Easy Cooking

Dill Potatoes

Dill Potatoes

A few weeks ago I came across this delicious recipe while looking for ways to use some dill in my cooking. Every year Justin and I plant a vegetable garden in our back yard. I thought it would be nice to include an herb and why not some dill? My famous chicken noodle soup recipe uses this, as do our home made pickles. The things is, we now have TONS of dill! So on my search went for some more ways to include dill in my cooking. It's also quite nice in salads by the way. This new dinner was a huge hit with my husband who requested that I keep this as a go to. First off you'll need the following ingredients:

  • 2 lbs of baby red potatoes, cut into quarters
  • 1 tsp of salt for the water
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Garlic Salt to taste
  • 2-3 tbsp of dill chopped
  • 1/2 cup of Parmesan Cheese shredded

Directions:

  1. Fill a large pot with cut potatoes and add warm water until there is ½" of water above the top of the potatoes. Stir in 1 tsp salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Cook red potatoes at a light boil for about 10-12 min in salted water or until you can smoothly pierce potatoes with a fork. Remove from heat and drain well.
  2. In a large pan over medium heat, melt 4 Tbsp butter. Transfer potatoes to the buttery skillet then sprinkle with garlic salt to taste. Toss potatoes to coat them in butter and sprinkle again with garlic salt. Let potatoes sit undisturbed for 2-3 minutes then turn them and let sit another 2-3 minutes.
  3. Once potatoes are starting to turn golden on the second side, turn them and sprinkle generously with fresh dill and top with shredded Parmesan cheese. Remove from heat and let the potatoes sit in the hot skillet to let the cheese melt a bit then serve.

Crazy for Coconuts

Coconut Oil

coconut

One of the biggest health and beauty crazes of 2014 is coconut oil. The best kind to use is pure, unrefined, cold pressed, organic extra virgin. This can easily be found at any grocery store for around $7-10. What's all the fuss about you ask? Well, after conducting a 2 month test, I'll let you in on all the goodies this yummy oil has to offer.

Cooking:

To start off, coconut oil is a healthy alternative for butter and fats in the diet. You can use it to saute vegetables, roast kale or sweet potatoes, add into smoothies or oatmeal (which I do every morning), use it in baked goods, and even over popcorn. Not to mention it tastes great too, just like a coconut, go figure. I use this oil as much as I can in my cooking or baking. If I juice some vegetables or fruit I mix some in, if I make a smoothie the oil goes in. Any more when I bake up some treats, this is the oil I use or when I need to coat some veggies for sauteing or roasting, you guessed it, coconut oil.

Beauty:

This light weight oil, jam packed with vitamin E, can be used on your skin or hair. I like to add some oil, heated so that it turns into a liquid state, into my hair before I take a shower for about 1 hour. Then I shampoo it out and continue with my normal conditioning. Also, sometimes I put the oil on after my shower, while my hair is still damp, as to moisturize the ends and keep them shiny. Only a little bit is needed though or the hair looks too greasy and no one likes that. As a body moisturizer, I put this on after my shower, within 3 minutes of getting out so as not to loose any of the moisture from the shower. It does smell faintly of coconuts, which I like, but that does fade after a little while if you are one who does like the scent as much.

 

Oil Pulling:

The reason why most people are becoming aware of coconut oil is because of a morning ritual technique called oil pulling. Before brushing or flossing, you take a spoon full of the oil, swish it in your mouth for 20 minutes like a mouth wash, spit it out preferably into a trash can as to not block up your drain, rinse your mouth with salt water, and then continue on with flossing and brushing as you regularly would. What happens within those 20 minutes really is quite remarkable. The oil literally pulls out all of the bacteria from inside the mouth and creates a clean environment. Your breath smells fresher over time, your teeth become whiter, and the bacteria becomes non existent. I do this about 3 times a week for the full 20 minutes. When I'm traveling I take it down a notch to about 10 minutes. One thing to remember is not to swallow any of the oil while swishing. In doing that, you basically swallow the bacteria back into the body.

 

Health:

This do it all oil not only helps hair stay shiny, skin stay moisturized, eases cooking and baking, but it is also extremely good for you as well. Where has this magic oil been all of my life!?  Health benefits include, helps in easing digestion, improves bone health, healing damaged tissue and infections, treats pancreatitis and Alzheimer's disease, rich in lauric acid that helps maintain blood sugar and cholesterol, prevents diseases affecting the liver and kidney, prevents and effectively cures candida, and strengthens the immune system.

 

Delicious Delight

Lemon Butter Chicken

Lemon Butter Chicken

One thing I'm always looking out for is a meal that has few ingredients and tastes delicious. Enter the lemon butter chicken recipe. This takes only 6 simple ingredients to make and only about 30 minutes to cook. As a girl who is always busy, this comes in as a winner.

Ingredients:

  • 6 medium boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour  (I used gluten free)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1/3 cup of butter
  • 2 lemons, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Place each chicken breast between two pieces of plastic wrap. Pound lightly to about 1/4 thick. Remove plastic wrap. In a bowl, combine the flour and sea salt. Coat the chicken breasts with flour mixture. Sprinkle chicken with lemon pepper
  2. In a large skillet cook the chicken breasts in the hot butter, half at a time, over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes on each side or until brown. Remove chicken from skillet. Add lemon slices to skillet; cook for about 2-3 minutes  or until lightly browned, turning once.  Return all of the chicken to the skillet, overlapping chicken breasts slightly. Drizzle lemon juice over the chicken. Cook for 2-3 minutes more or until pan juices are slightly reduced. Serve chicken, lemon slices, and pan juices over rice or quinoa if desired.

Pretty Healthy

Quinoa pasta with kale and garlic

One of my favorites lunches to make contains some of the best ingredients for you and its easy to make. I stumbled upon this recipe while I was thinking of better ways to eat kale. We all know the leafy green is amazingly good for you, but tastes very bitter, which can be a turn off to some. I thought about sauteing the kale with olive oil and garlic, and lets be honest, garlic tastes incredibly amazing with pretty much everything, and then thought about putting some chicken stock in with it. Complete genius! I could not get over how well all of the ingredients blended together while also taking away the bitter taste of the kale. After making this lunch for a couple of weeks, I saw a box of quinoa pasta while I was out with my dad. This made a great lunch dish even better and still kept  everything healthy.

Quinoa pasta with kale and garlic

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of kale, trimmed off of the stem
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup of quinoa pasta
  • 1/2 cup of chicken stock
  • A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (evoo)

 

Directions:

Cook the pasta in a large pot according to the package instructions. Once done, set aside and wait for the kale to be finished. While the pasta is cooking, heat the evoo in a medium sized pot. Trim the kale leaves off of the stem. Make sure to wash the leaves and pat dry. Once the oil is ready, take the chopped garlic and place into the pot, making sure to stir frequently for about 3 to 4 minutes. Then take the 1/2 cup of chicken stock and pour into the pot with the garlic. Let the mixture come to a boil and then reduce to a low temperature. Place the kale into the pot, with the lid on, for about 5 minutes. Once the five minutes are up, take the lid off and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Once finished, take the pasta and place on a plate with the kale and garlic on top.

 

Healthy Bites

Balsamic Roast Pork Tenderloins

One of my favorite go to meals to make is Balsamic Roast Tenderloins. They're rather easy to make and pack a whole lot of flavor from all of the garlic and herbs piled high on top of them. Not only that, but this meal comprises of all healthy ingredients ranging from the garlic, herbs, and evoo. Garlic is known to be a natural immune booster, has loads of vitamin C and B6 in it, regulates blood sugar, fights bacterial infections, and reduces cholesterol. Rosemary is known to improve digestion, enhance memory concentration, fights free radicals in the brain, and boots the immune system with antioxidants. Thyme is rich in vitamin A, contains antiseptic and antibiotic properties, aids in digestion, improves the appearance of acne, and controls blood pressure levels. Without further ado, here is the yummy recipe you can enjoy while also reaping all of the healthy benefits!

Balsalmic Roast Pork

What you'll need:

  • 1 package or 4 pork tenderloins
  • 4 tbls of balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tbls of extra virgin olive oil  (evoo)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • steak seasoning or coarse salt and pepper
  • 4 sprigs of rosemary, stripped and finely chopped
  • 4 sprigs of thyme, stripped and finely chopped

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
  • Trim the fat off of the tenderloins
  • Coat the tenderloins with balsamic vinegar. About 1 tbl spoon per tenderloin,
  • Drizzle pork with evoo, just enough to coat
  • Cut small slits into the meat and disperse chunks of garlic into the meat
  • Combine steak seasoning with rosemary and thyme and rub meat with the blend.
  • Place the tenderloins onto a nonstick cookie sheet.
  • Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes.
Balsamic Roast Tenderloins

Sweet Treats

Blueberry  Crumble Cake

blueberry cake       amandabrezovsky.com

My sweet treat indulgence for this week is a delicious blueberry crumble cake. Keeping true to my retro roots, the recipe comes from a Retro Baking book with a healthy update, while still keeping the flavor and decadence alive. Enjoy this treat while taking a break from the day and sipping on some tea of coffee.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup truvia baking sugar
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 2 eggs, seperated (reserve the whites)
  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • 1 cup of fresh blueberries

Grease and flour the bottom of a 12x8x2 inch rectangle pan. In a large mixing bowl sift together flour and sugar. Using a fork cut in butter until mixture becomes crumbly. Measure 3/4 cup of flour mixture and set aside. To remaining flour mixture beat in baking powder, salt, egg yolks, and milk; beat about 2 minutes. In a small mixing bowl beat egg whites until stuff and still moist. Gently fold into batter and pour into pan. Spread blueberries over batter and sprinkle crumb mixture over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes.

blueberry cake      amandabrezovsky.com
blueberry cake       amandabrezovsky.com



Sweet Treats

Bird's Nest Macaroons

birdsnestbanner             amandabrezovsky.com

A spring time holiday, Easter brings with it delightful visions of blossoming color and life renewed. This simple dessert not only incorporates the pretty pop of color, but also the idea of new life. Like Christmas, Easter has many sweet treats associated with it. While I try to stay away from sugar, sometimes a girl cannot resist the temptation, especially while I'm in the mood for whipping up desserts. The recipe is easy to follow and only takes a few ingredients  to make these delicious bird's nest macaroons.

birdsnest        amandabrezovsky.com

Ingreidents:

  • ½ cup butter
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 cups shredded coconut
  • ¼ cup nutella
  • Mini chocolate Easter eggs

(A small note to make: I used truvia baking blend to cut down on the calories and sugar intake. If using truvia, the amount of sugar decreases to 1/4 cup and 2 table spoons)

birdsnest         amandabrezovsky.com

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Then, using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, and salt.
  2. Add eggs, one at a time, until mixed thoroughly. Mix in coconut.
  3. Drop your batter onto a cookie sheet by using 1-2 tablespoon amounts. Roll into balls, then make an indent with fingers to resemble a bird’s nest. You can make them however large or small you want. This will affect how many eggs can fit into the little nest. I found that 1 tablespoon scoop leaves enough for one egg, while 2 tablespoons leaves enough for 3.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown on the bottom and browned in spots on top.
  5. Once completely cooled, spoon a little Nutella into each “nest”. Heat the Nutella for 15 seconds to make it spread easier. Finish by topping with 1-3 chocolate eggs.
birdsnest    amandabrezovsky.com


birdsnest                 amandabrezovsky.com

Heart of Health

Juice Boost

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One of the best things a person can do for themselves comes in the form of juicing. Especially drinking the juice on an empty stomach which allows all of the vitamins and minerals to absorb quickly into the system. Wait about twenty minutes to a half hour before eating anything else to give the digestive tract a chance to process the nutrients. Also, juices should be considered more like a snack than a whole meal. The body receives a good amount of the daily requirement for fruits and vegetables through juicing, but lacks in the fiber and protein needed to keep the digestive system happy.

 The great thing about juicing is how customizable it is. One can literally experiment with so many different fruit and veggie combinations. I want to share a new favorite of mine that combines kale, beets, lemons, oranges, and apples. All are extremely good for overall health and provide a big boost in vitamins and minerals. This specific combo balances each other out nicely with the fruit cancelling out the bitterness of the kale and beets. In the juicer, combine, 1 bunch of kale, 1 apple, 1 beet, 1 orange, and 1/2 of a lemon.

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  • Kale: This leafy green has become very popular lately and rightfully so! It comes chock full of vitamins and minerals including, vitamins K, A, and C, magnesium, and folate. It has a high fiber content leading to proper digestion and the ability to detox the body keeping the liver in check. It is high in iron, antioxidants, and has anti-inflammatory properties, all great for the skin!
  • Beets: I've only recently started to research about beets and their wonderful affect on the body and skin. They are loaded with potassium, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, iron; vitamins A, B & C; beta-carotene, beta-cyanine, and folic acid. Like the kale, they also have the great ability to detox the digestive system and keep the liver happy. To top it off, beets can also help in keeping the mind and body relaxed. They contain betaine and trytophan, which relaxes the mind and creates a sense of over all calmness. 
  • Apples: The old saying goes, an apple a day keeps the doctor away, so there must be a reason for this right? Absolutely! They come packed with vitamins C, A, B1, B2, B6, E, K and flavonoids and with smaller amounts of phosphorus, folate, niacin, magnesium iron and calcium. Apples provide potassium which may promote heart health and are thought to be good at fighting cancer with their high antioxidents, phytochemicals and phytonutrients, which help lower the LDL or bad cholestrol.
  • Oranges: A glass of orange juice is known to provide twice the daily amount of vitamin C needed and that means good things for your skin and immune system. Oranges also are bursting with vitamin B6 thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, magnesium,  selenium and copper.
  • Lemons: While oranges have the market corned on vitamin C, a little known fact is how packed lemons are with vitamin C as well. Not only that, but they can restore the body's pH levels, cleanse the bowels, stimulate the liver, dissolve kidney stones, contain the  phytonutrient tangeretin, which is effective for brain disorders, and strengthen blood vessels with vitamin P.

     

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