TPW 5-Ingredient Vanilla Bean Greek Yogurt Pancake Recipe Review

Back in October I shared my easy, yet protein filled, breakfast ideas with you and I have a new tweak to share for the EASY 4-Ingredient Greek Yogurt Pancake Recipe. After an epic trip to Trader Joe’s (does anyone EVER leave TJ’s without a HUGE cart full of food?!) I was ready to carb-out with my bad self…I don’t know what it is about the holidays, but comfort food and delicious breakfasts ALWAYS sound good to me. After a memory jog on my “NomNomNom” Pinterest board, I knew what I was going to do with my TJ’s Greek Yogurts – PANCAKES!

As you may remember, this recipe calls for only four ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup flour (I use whole wheat flour)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 container of greek yogurt (your favorite flavor – I used TJ’s Vanilla Bean)
  • 1 egg
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I used blueberry the last time I made these, but the TJ’s VANILLA BEAN Greek Yogurt makes a DELICIOUS pancake…seriously, SO good! I’ve heard Honey flavored works as well….

I took this picture to show how you mix the dry and wet ingredients separately. But if you look closely, you might be able to make out the black specks in the Vanilla Bean greek yogurt…mmm, TJ’s sure knows how to make dairy products ;-).

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This time around I added 1/4 cup of oatmeal with 1/4 cup of whole wheat flour INSTEAD of just 1/2 cup of flour…it added a nice and filling element to these delicious little breakfast delights!

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After flipping them a few times, I enjoyed them ALL – seriously, I ate two, then brought two to work…and I totally nommed them down…so bad…but OH SO GOOD ;-).

While I like my pancakes a bit crispy on top, Mr. Darcy does not. SO, my new goal is to make these look prettier AND not to make them so dark…Mr. Darcy approved ;-).

SO, in short, my recipe is now a 5-ingredient Vanilla Greek Yogurt Pancake and they are OH SO GOOD…and filling! Oh and they are EASY. I’ve made these the last two mornings before work…perfect!

Happy Noming Dear Readers!

XO, Karen

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Yes, that is a Santa toy. Even Harper loves Christmas!

Slow Cooker Holiday Apple Cider – A Great Home Scent!

Hello Dear Readers,

I hope you all had a lovely weekend! This Friday marks my last day in the office until the New Year and I could not be more excited – CHRISTMAS IS HERE!!! Last year my colleague introduced me to “Christmas Smell”:

Simmer apple juice with cloves and cinnamon on the stove for about 30 minutes prior to guests arriving to your home…and boy does it make your house smell DELICIOUS!

However, that was my problem, it smelled delicious, but the floating ingredients made it gross to drink. SO, this year I pinned quite a few apple cider recipes in hope of creating my own “Christmas Smell” – that I could consume as well ;-). Over the Thanksgiving holiday my sister-in-law introduced her special apple cider recipe tweaks that I HAVE to share with you!

First and foremost, it is cooked in the slow cooker. This cooking technique gives your home a nice holiday smell AND, if your slow cooker has a “warm” button, you can enjoy it all night long at a piping hot temperature! The recipe is as follows:

Ingredients for ONE batch:

  • 1-Bottle of APPLE CIDER
  • 2 Teaspoons- WHOLE CLOVES
  • 2 Teaspoons – WHOLE ALLSPICE
  • 2 Sticks of Cinnamon
  • A few thin slices of ORANGES (we used three to four each batch)

Directions:

  1. Poor apple cider into slow cooker
  2. Drop cloves and allspice in a tea ball  or cloth (keeping the spices from floating in the cider) into slow cooker
  3. Float cinnamon sticks and oranges on top of cider (at one point we ran out of oranges and put orange juice in. It actually worked! The straight orange is the best option, but good to have a last minute option just in case).
  4. Cook on LOW for 4 Hours
  5. Serve immediately or keep “warm” and enjoy throughout the night! (We went through it pretty quickly, so my sister in law just added more of the above ingredients throughout the night and allowed them to cook for about an hour before serving the second batch).
  6. FOR A LITTLE HOLIDAY KICK – add a shot of rum to your apple cider!
mmmm...

mmmm…

NOT ONLY does it make the house smell DELICIOUS, you can drink it too!!!

Happy Holidays dear readers! I hope you enjoy noming on this delicious drink this holiday!

XO, Karen

UPDATE: My colleague sent me, what sounds like, a DELICIOUS holiday recipe and I definitely plan on making this over the holidays…and possibly incorporating my above apple cider!

Holiday Mule

2 Parts Vodka

1 Part Fresh Apple Cider

1 Part Ginger Beer

Squeeze of Meyer Lemon Juice

Stir/Garnish with a cinnamon stick, sized appropriately to your glass

Holiday Cookie Party: Melting Moments Cookie Recipe

This afternoon my colleague shot around a note asking for holiday cookie recipes – she mentioned those that require little prep or time would be ideal…A woman after my own heart! Easy cookies!!!

My colleague shot around the following email and I had to share with you dear readers – first, because I am having a hard time pinning it, so I’m blogging so I can pin it, and secondly, because when it comes to food, this colleague NEVER steers me wrong. He wrote:

“The Santa Rosa Press Democrat does a Holiday Cookie elimination challenge every year and there are always a few winners in the batch. Here is the link to this year’s winners: http://www.biteclubeats.com/holiday-cookies-2012/

And I’ve made this one a bunch of times since it won in 2010: http://www.biteclubeats.com/melting-moments-cookies-holiday-cookies/ It may sound basic and boring, but it is ALWAYS a crowd pleaser. Super easy and steals the spotlight from everyone who spent all day scraping dough from the grooves of a cookiecutter.”

Melting Moments Cookies...mmmm

Melting Moments Cookies…mmmm

I am TOTALLY making this recipe! Happy noming dear readers!

XO, Karen

The Pinterest Woman’s Top 10 Holiday Movies

I thought a Girls Night movie list was tough, but this – my favorite holiday movies list – was like naming a child (or my puppy, hehe)…difficult! I cheated a bit last time – quite a long list- so this time, I’m limiting my list to TEN (#10 being my favorite!):*

1. Placeholder – I’m leaving #10 open ended – I know, I am already cheating! But hear me out! When I was planning out this list, I not only searched Pinterest for ideas, I also asked friends and family their favorite movies. I will admit, I wholly disagreed with some of them. Alas, I could really be convinced of watching ANY holiday themed movie if it meant enjoying a movie, in front of a decorated tree with a friend or family member. OH and I am NOT above a Hallmark Christmas movie**! I also learned (and know) the following friends and family would most likely watch these movies with me (even though they are not on my top movie list):

a. Charlotte – Polar Express

b. Carrie – Noel (she also loves LOVE ACTUALLY…see below)

c. My sis – Christmas Story (For some reason, this movie creeps me out. BUT I can appreciate any Christmas movie so, I would definitely watch this if it meant hangin’ with my sis and enjoying a holiday movie together)

d. Mr. Darcy – Scrooged. As you will see below, I am a big fan of the more whimsical and happy holiday movies. BUT, Mr. Darcy loves this one and, well, it is Christmas themed so, I would sit down and watch with him 😉

e. A Christmas Carol (Jim Carrey’s version) – OK, no, I draw the line here. Elizabeth and I went and saw the 3D version of this…first, my vertigo hated this. Second, my personality did not like the movie. SO, friends, if you want to watch this movie, I will probably try and sway you to one of the following:

2. All I Want For Christmas – OK, I admit, I haven’t seen this movie in YEARS. In fact, I saw it in the theaters and never saw it again. BUT I do remember absolutely LOVING it…I have been on the hunt to watch it again and recently at Mack’s 30th birthday party I saw it in his family’s movie collection…I guess I am not the only one. SO, my #10 is “All I Want For Christmas” because I MUST watch this again…maybe I will invite Mack over and require that he brings this movie with him 😉

3. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Ron Howard’s version)– Sometimes Jim Carey surprises me and he did with this movie. I never thought it would be “my kind of movie,” but it was…I loved how absolutely dreamlike Whoville was and Martha Who is a wHOOT! I love everything about it, especially the movie’s theme song – Faith Hill’s Where Are You Christmas:

4. Miracle on 34th Street – How can you not love this movie?! I love both the original AND the most recent version. However, because I am forcing myself to pick, I’m choosing the modern version with the ADORABLE little girl from Matilda because when I saw this movie for the first time, I could relate to it better than the original – I SO believed in Santa and still, to this day, believe in the magic that believing in Santa brings to everyone at every age. So #5 is Miracle on 34th Street because I BELIEVE!

He is a GOOD Santa!

He is a GOOD Santa!

5. White Christmas – I love these old movies and especially ANYTHING Bing Crosby sings. I found this movie in my Grandma’s old TV room and my Dad told me I could keep it – this is the same day I took home Funny Girl for the first time! It just makes me think about my Grandma and Grandpa – they are the reason I love Christmas so much. They celebrated right – it was all about the family getting together, kids having a GREAT time and parents chitchatting away late into the night…OH and a DELICIOUS dinner. SO, my #5 is White Christmas. Not only for the amazing singing and dancing, or Bing’s rendition of White Christmas, but for all of the feelings of togetherness and holiday festivity that comes along with watching it! You can sing along to my favorite carol here: http://youtu.be/z7oVY0y9l0o OH! And I must share my absolute FAVORITE non-holiday song from this movie:

6. Love Actually – What can I say, this movie can be enjoyed ALL year long. However, it definitely gets me in the holiday spirit and is one that Mr. Darcy will watch with me…he loves Bill Nighy’s character…and I, of course, love everything about it.

7. Home Alone (& Home Alone 2) – The Home Alone movies with Macaulay Culkin are so festive and wintery, I just love them. If only for the soundtrack and the gorgeous holiday décor, these movies deserve to be on a top holiday movie list – I added #2 to this because I cannot deny the absolute beauty of Christmas Decorations in NYC during the holidays. Don’t you just want to live in that toy store!?

What a magical place!!

What a magical place!!

8. Santa Clause (& Santa Clause 2) – OK, I know I just did a two-fer above, BUT I really believe these sequels are interchangeable depending on the mood you are in. I absolutely LOVE the Santa Clause movies (SC3 goes a bit too far if you ask me). They are so festive and can make non-believers believe in the magic of the holidays. Now, if you just want a funny, feel-good holiday movie, the original Santa Clause is a GREAT one to pop on. However, if you are looking for amazing Christmas visuals and a winter fantasy world (aka the North Pole) go for #2 – don’t you want to taste that elf’s hot chocolate?!

9. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – While some argue the National Lampoon’s vacation to WallyWorld was the best of the NL series, I argue that Christmas Vacation is the BEST! Mr. Darcy and I just watched this on Sunday night, in front of the glow of our Christmas tree, and laughed…again. We even reround it a few times to watch our favorite parts over and over again, ha! So good. I should note, this is also a Darcy Family Favorite so knowing that he loves it, makes me love it all the more. (Sorry, no images or videos to share – there are just TOO many good ones. I may just have to do a separate post for this one ;-)).

10. ELF – I never thought a newer movie would be my number 1 but I cannot, CANNOT deny the absolute joy this movie brings to me. From the first scenes in the fantasyland of the North Pole “Bye, buddy…” & Buddy’s hilarious adventures in NYC, to the turn in the movie when everyone begins believing…OH and if that isn’t enough – Zooey Deschanel’s singing voice!?! This movie BRINGS IT on the holiday movie meter!

WOW, that was incredibly difficult, BUT I hope it will inspire a holiday movie night in your home soon!
HAPPY HOLIDAYS DEAR READERS!!!

XOXO, Karen

*Oh don’t worry I, of course, found a way around limiting my list to 10 but I hope you agree that my caveats are pretty legit. 😉

**I recently recorded “Dear Santa,” thinking it was a Hallmark movie, but just found it online for SALE! It was SUPER cheesy…I totally watched the entire thing!

Cheesy...but sweet...but SUPER cheesy ;-)

Cheesy…but sweet…but SUPER cheesy 😉

A Favorite Things Party – “And you get a car, and you get a car, and you get a car!!!!”*

Last night my cousin, let’s call her Monica (not because she acts like Monica Gellar but because they look a WHOLE LOT alike), hosted a FAVORITE THINGS party — it had Pinterest written ALL over it! I had SUCH a nice time that I had to share…you MUST do this with your friends soon!

First, she put together the cutest little invitations with brief, but clear instructions:

1. Choose your absolute favorite thing, buy five of it (costing $6 or less each)
2. Bring all five of the same thing wrapped and it will soon become everyone’s favorite thing!

Please join us for a night of FAVORITE THINGS!!!

Please join us for a night of FAVORITE THINGS!!!

I bought my CURRENT obsession/favorite thing – the prepackaged Starbucks Salted Caramel Cocoa powder mix, MMMMM! I then packaged it with a $5 Starbucks gift certificate. When we arrived, we were instructed to place our favorite things on her table and write our name down 6 times – place one nametag in the box labeled “1” and put 5 of your nametags in the box labeled “5”.

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A table of favorite things!!! How cute is this?!

She had a wide assortment of salty and sweet snacks and PLENTY, I mean, PLENTY of bubbly drinks – so fun! After awhile we got to the “Favorite Things” portion of the party going. The host pulled one name out of the box labeled “1” and the person whose name was called grabbed their wrapped favorite things then proceeded to pull 5 different names out of the box labeled “5”. Each of the 5 people received this new favorite thing! (Monica even made us cute bags to take our new finds home with us):

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Even the bag tags were cute and thoughtful!

Depending on the number of people attending the party, you probably won’t go home with EVERYONE’s favorite thing, BUT you definitely go home with 5 NEW favorite things!

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My new favorite things from bottom left to right: Metal straws (That is right, metal straws- they are AMAZING), Bath bomb from LUSH here in SF, flavored champagne toppers (this holiday season I am going to have the most festive and tasty champagne of any celebrator), Peach Bellini mix (there were a few “drinkers” at this party – I was very comfortable among “my” people ;-)), big dangley earrings (TOTALLY sporting them at my next country concert)!

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Champagne mixers – they will be put to GREAT use in the coming weeks!!!

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METAL STRAWS from Amazon: Probably my favorite gift from last night! Not only are they sturdy and make my water feel SUPER cold, they are just cool!

On our way out the door, Monica handed us the sweetest party favor:

Merry Kissmas & a Chappy New Year! Hahaha, I love "a chappy New Year"

Merry Kissmas & a Chappy New Year! Hahaha, I love “a chappy New Year”

All in all, a good time was had by all, and I have a few new favorite things now ;-). We even discussed doing this party a few times throughout the year – why not!? It was so much fun! I met new people, I got a chance to hang with my fam AND I can now sip some flavored bubbly through my fancy metal straw, all while enjoying a bath, in preparation for my next country concert…Oh and all the while my lips will NOT be chapped! 😉

Happy Holidays everyone!

XOXO, Karen

*If my title to this post does not make sense to you, here is my explanation  Oprah was in my head all night long. I used to love her “Favorite Things” episodes where she would point to everyone in the audience and say “and you get a car, and you get a car and YOU get a car!” Or insert one of her favorite things for the word “Car.” I kept thinking that one line over and over in my head whenever a new name was read out, ha!