A Hiatus And A Promise

HELLO!!! I hope you did not lose faith in me. I am SO sorry it has been so long since I’ve written. As you know, I broke my phone during the holidays. This paired with AT&T’s ridiculous $200 insurance deductible (what is the POINT of buying insurance?!) and a chance to buy a new phone for $199 in February (I have my eye on that Galaxy S), well, I am left with an old blackberry with a broken camera until Feb.

As you can imagine, the death of TONS of photos I had hoped to blog about put me pretty behind on my blogging. All of this, combined with a few virus’ (ear then stomach) and a CRAZY work schedule has lead me to take a hiatus from blogging – in an effort to get myself organized and prepared for inspired posts (I don’t want to bore you).

Don’t worry, I have QUITE a few things I am already preparing…as a teaser here are a few pins that have inspired me the last few weeks:

add molding to the top of the front door to create a totally custom look

Check out what I like about this photo here: http://meandjilly.blogspot.com/2011/05/front-door-miracle.html

Cake idea for beer tasting party...and snack bar!

I cannot WAIT to share what this is for!

My promise is to be back and blogging before the end of the month. And a promise to blog at LEAST once a week! I hope to inspire as much as all of you have inspired me!

A little shout out to Charlotte for a recent text message that lead to inspiring me to post again. Thank you for reading dear readers!

XO, Karen

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!

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

NomNomNom – Guest Review of Creamy Chicken Picasso Recipe

As many of you know, I am traveling this week so will do my best to post as much as possible. However, now that I am blogging, my girlfriends send me DELICIOUS recipes with their own spin on them and I think this is the perfect time to start sharing their reviews/takes with you! SO, one of my best friends from college, let’s call her Tess, has shared a few recipes with me that I have yet to try, but we have similar likes in the food department, so I thought I’d share a portion of her email to me this morning!

“I made this Creamy Chicken Picasso tonight and it was awesome! Creamy Chicken Picasso – http://www.kayotic.nl/blog/creamy-chicken-picasso. I made a couple changes though:

  • Used about a third of the amount of cream they called for
  • Threw some smoked mozzarella on top (yum!)
  • Added mushrooms
  • Served it over spaghetti squash (just cause I really like both of those).

Anyway, thought you might enjoy it! Hope you have a great week 🙂 XOXO, Tess”

HAPPY NOMING DEAR READERS! Please share your thoughts on this dish!
XO, Karen

Nom, Nom, Nom: Easy Brown Sugar & Garlic Chicken Recipe Review

Shocking, “EASY” is in the name of a recipe I Pinned! I know, I know, BUT it really is easy AND it is SUPER tasty – a wonderful combo for a workweek dinner. ALSO, it is perfect if you are looking for a healthy comfort food. (NOTE: I think anything with sugar on it can be categorized as a “comfort” food). So, the next time you get home from a long workday wanting to curl up under a blanket and watch Holiday Movies (oh wait, is that just me?!), throw together this easy dish and impress your loved ones: Easy Brown Sugar & Garlic Chicken Recipe from Food.com.

All you need is:

  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 Garlic Clove per breast, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar per breast
  • Olive oil
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It says to cook for 15-30 minutes and in my lil old oven, we had to cook for 25 minutes + a few minutes of broiling (I like my chicken to look a little brown).

I paired it with broccoli sauteed with a little garlic left over from the chicken and a Negro Modelo…MMM, DELISH!

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Nom, Nom, Nom…

OK, the chicken was delicious. Mr. Darcy even liked it AND I noticed he took a breast to work for lunch the next day! I had it for leftovers last night, so it is good cold as well! My only caveat, add some fat to your side. I should have added cheese to our broccoli. Mr. Darcy had to eat two chicken breasts to fill up and I grabbed a little helping of my new “addiction”: THINaddictives.

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Have you tried these suckers?! They also have a green boxed one that are JUST as good!

I bought them for Harper’s birthday party thinking they were like a cracker and to my HAPPY surprise, they are like a little delicious biscotti. And, the nuts make them more filling AND the dried fruit give them a great little chewy texture. They are packaged in little portions of three “biscottis.” One bag of those was JUST enough to fill me up after our Easy Brown Sugar and Garlic Chicken Dinner.

OK, last caveat, Mr. Darcy and I just had Negro Modelo’s in the fridge. I don’t necessarily think this type of beer with this chicken dish is the perfect pairing. Typically I find a beer consistency similar to Guinness is a great pairing for “comfort” food ;-).

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Everyone loves an empty bottle shot..no?! Well, I drank it before I could capture a shot…it was one of those days!

HAPPY NOMING DEAR READERS!!!
XOXO, Karen

Nom, Nom, Nom: Easy & Delicious Holiday Veggie Side Dish Recipe – Green Bean & Cherry Salad

Too many cooks in the kitchen? Here is a great recipe that calls for a few minutes at the stove and a little room in the fridge! OH, and I’m sure this will come as no surprise, it is easy and very tasty!

As you know, this weekend we celebrated Thanksgiving with Mr. Darcy’s family in Texas. On Friday afternoon I was sharing the kitchen with my mashed-potato-making mother –in-law, turkey-&-gravy-baking-grandma-in-law and appetizer-preparing-cousin-in-law, with a few additional family members coming in for drinks, snacks and misc. items. SO, I was THRILLED when I realized the green bean salad I found on Pinterest called for some chopping and quick cooking times. Mr. Darcy and I made EPICURIOUS’ GREEN BEAN SALAD –http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Green-Beans-with-Toasted-Walnuts-and-Dried-Cherry-Vinaigrette-361791

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By the time I remembered to take a shot of the final product, it was basically gone. SO here is a shot of my helping!

We chopped and prepped the few ingredients at the kitchen table, freeing up space as my water boiled.

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The dressing for the dish not only smelled delicious, it looked festive thanks to the dried cherries!

Thanks to the blanching process, I only needed the stove for about 10 minutes total – boiling to cooking. THIS WAS MY FIRST TIME BLANCHING; I’ll admit, I NEVER thought this would work. I know, I know, people blanch veggies all of the time.

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A crispy veggie lover myself, I questioned whether the veggies would have a good texture after this process…

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Although not crispy like a grilled veggie, I was wrong re: bad texture! They were great!

I was in and out of the kitchen and since the dish calls for refrigeration, I was able to make it early in the day and then pull it out about an hour before dinner. The dish itself was VERY quick to make and since it was cold, it was a nice addition to a notoriously filling and warm-dished meal.

We, of course, had to make a few tweaks because the store in Texas was pretty picked over. We swapped:

  • French green beans for regular green beans
  • A mixture of Sherry with Red Wine Vinegar for Sherry Vinegar – Next time, I will just use what it calls for vinegar wise, but the above combo worked if you don’t have SHERRY VINEGAR.
  • Next time I will add more cherries – mostly because they look festive!

Although I was nervous serving a side that I had not yet tried myself, it came out wonderfully – in fact, I was told it was one of the best dishes on the table by multiple people. Thank you Pinterest! SO, if you are assigned a side this coming holiday season, this is definitely a great go-to whether you have to make it in a busy kitchen OR make a trek to the celebration – “it is best served at room temperature.”

Happy noming dear readers, Karen

Nom, Nom, Nom: 4-Ingredient Holiday Mint Chocolate Cookies

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

I know I am a day late, but we are celebrating with Mr. Darcy’s fam today so we have basically been celebrating “Thanks” for the last two days – it is pretty great! Yesterday was dedicated to cooking and preparing for tonight. I had to do something festive on the actual Day of Thanks. SO, I made the easiest, and delicious cookie recipe to nom on as we prepped –
http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2011/04/

andes-mint-cookies

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It called for few ingredients and was a fun one to invite my little nephew to help me – he stirred the batter and molded the cookies.

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I have to admit, I wasn’t sure if the mints were going to melt, but they really did, and they spread out nicely after a few minutes on the hot cookie. And they were DElish!!

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Mmm…andes mint cookies! perfect for the holidays!

Happy Black Friday dear readers! Oooh, for those of you decorating today, these are easy and festive for your “decking of the hall” festivities!

Happy Holidays!
XOXO, Karen