Father’s Day 2015

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Why are Dads so difficult to shop for?? They’re such simple people with simple desires, and that makes it tough to find them a good gift. The key for Dad is getting him something that he’ll actually use, hence all of the food related items. Then there’s also the practical items, like the grill thermometer and stretching band (my Pop is always complaining about his hamstrings and calves), and of course personal items for things that strike his interest, like movies and books. Hope our finds help to inspire you in your gift hunt before Sunday!


01. iDevices iGrill2
02. Men in Green by Michael Bamberger
03. Popcorn Seasoning Set
04. Dijon Black Truffle Mustard
05. Jurassic World movie tickets
06. iPhone 6 Battery Case
07. Stretching Band and Booklet


 

St. Patty’s Day Recipes

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Even if you aren’t Irish, this time of year is never short on some good eats! Usually geared toward lots of cheddar, beef, whiskey, and butter, Irish cuisine is pure comfort. With winter coming to a close, why not indulge a little for one last hoorah? Just don’t forget to wear your green while doing it 🙂


 01. Irish Mac & Cheese
02. Iced Irish Coffee with Coffee Ice Cubes
03. Irish Soda Bread
04. Scones with Pear, Irish Cheddar, & Honey


Blueberry Streusel Muffins

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A few Saturdays back I found myself hunkered down in my Boston apartment while it snowed a good foot or two outside — an ideal day to curl up with some good music and bake some treats. Now I’ve made a whole lotta muffins in my day, and I’ll be totally honest, some of them were not so good. I think it’s because I’m the queen of trying to make things my own and not completely follow the recipe. This time however, things took an upturn, and these were probably some of my best muffins to date. My roommates devoured them, and I received praise while they showered me with gifts, kissed my feet at the base of my thrown, and fed me wine and grapes while slapping my hand if I tried to lift a finger. Okay, maybe not so much. But they did tell me they were great and beg me to make more. The best part? Low fat and low sugar — woot!

This recipe was adapted from Skinny Taste, the Mecca of low fat comfort food. I made a few adjustments, the most major of which was using white flour instead of wheat. I’ve baked with wheat flour several times, and have just never been pleased with the results. It always turns out spongey for me — anyone else have this issue?

INGREDIENTS

For the muffins:

1 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 cups of white flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1 large egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp butter, room temp

 For the streusel:

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp butter, room temp
Roughly 3 tbsp white flour, slowly add until you reach the right level of crumble

TO MAKE

Preheat oven to 325°

Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Mix well.

In a stand mixer, mix eggs, melted butter, vanilla and applesauce until well combined. Gradually add the flour mixture into the stand mixer until just mixed. Fold in your blueberries with a spatula.

Pour your batter into 12 lined muffins tins and set aside.

Begin your streusel by combining the butter and sugar into a small bowl. Gradually add your flour until you reach a crumbly texture. You don’t want it to be too dry, but it shouldn’t be able to form a ball.

Evenly disperse your streusel onto each muffin. Bake at 325° for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for about 10 minutes. 

Enjoy!

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Boozy Popsicles Anyone?

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Boozy Popsicles (aka Poptails) are all the rage this summer and we want to get on these asap. These’ll be the perfect 4th of July weekend treat!

{ Clockwise from top left  // Mixed-Berry Pinot Pops // Sparkling Fruit Izze & Cream Cocktail Popsicles // French 75 Popsicles // Mudslide Poptail }

// Mixed-Berry Pinot Pops

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 bottle Pinot Noir
  • 2 cups water
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup raspberries
  • 2/3 cup blackberries

In a large mixing bowl, combine water, wine and sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add berries, smashing some slightly with a wooden spoon and leaving some whole. Using a ladle, pour into popsicle molds (or just a paper cup!), making sure the berries are evenly distributed.

Note: If you’re using the paper-cup method, let the pops freeze for about an hour (until they’re slushy, but not totally frozen), then place the popsicle sticks in the center. Putting them in a partially frozen mixture will keep them stabilized. Don’t have popsicle sticks? Use spoons or plasticware. Done!

// Sparkling Fruit Izze & Cream Cocktail Popsicles

Ingredients:

Whisk together all ingredients in a large cup with a spout. Pour into pop molds. Let freeze undisturbed overnight. Carefully remove from molds & enjoy!

// French 75 Popsicles

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. of champagne
  • 4 oz. of  gin
  • 4 oz. of simple syrup
  • 3 oz. of fresh lemon juice

Combine all ingredients together into a large measuring cup, then evenly distribute in your popsicle molds, leaving about 1/4 inch of room at the top. (You’ll have around 3 oz. left over after filling the molds.) After they’ve set for about an hour, put your sticks in. Allow to fully freeze then eat up!

// Mudslide Poptail

  • 18 oz. vanilla yogurt
  • 1 banana, medium size (2oz)
  • 3 oz. vodka
  • 3 oz. Kahlua
  • 3 oz. Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • 3 tablespoons grated chocolate

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth, about 1-2 minutes.

Freeze for about 1 hour or until mixture starts to solidify enough to hold a popsicle stick upright. Insert popsicle sticks and finish freezing popsicles overnight. To release popsicles run hot water on the outside of popsicle molds for a 5-7 seconds

Enjoy!  

 

Simple Banana Bread

So about two months ago, my lovely new roommate Liz moved in. Not only did she bring her sparkling personality, but also a stand mixer. I’ve never fully been “team stand mixer,” because I’ve always thought they seem like a lot of work to clean and more trouble than they’re worth. Boy was I wrong – this thing is wonderful! It made the process so easy and I will most certainly be getting one eventually.

Since I had some bananas aging at a rapid pace, the first thing I decided to bake with it was some simple banana bread. I was in a purist mood and chose to just make a classic plain loaf, but you can easily throw some chocolate chips, blueberries, orange zest in it for some extra flavor, or my favorite, a streusel topping.

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Ingredients:

– 3 ripe medium bananas

– 2 tbsp of vegetable oil (or apple sauce for a lighter version)

– 1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour

– 3/4 tsp baking soda

– 2 tbsp butter, softened

– 1/2 cup light brown sugar, unpacked

– 1 large egg, 1 large egg white

– 1 tsp cinnamon

– 1 tsp vanilla

– baking spray

– 1/2 tsp quick-cook oats (for garnish)

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To make:

01. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a loaf pan with baking spray or butter.

02. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt with a wire whisk. Set aside.

03. In a large bowl cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add eggs, bananas, oil (or apple sauce) and vanilla, and beat at medium speed until thick. Scrape down sides of the bowl.

04. Add flour mixture and blend at low speed until combined, do not over mix.

05. Pour into loaf pan, sprinkle with oats, and bake for 40-50 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.

06. Allow to fully cool, then slice.

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{recipe adapted from Skinnytaste)

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rkv

 

Oatmeal Raspberry Crumble Bars

raspberry bar 6 copyLately I’ve been on a bit of a health kick by trying to eat a little better and exercise at least a couple of days a week. However, most days I find myself needing a little sweet treat to keep me satisfied so my brain doesn’t go haywire and binge at midnight. Usually I’ll start my morning off with some plain Greek yogurt and blueberries, or a veggie scramble with toast, but I love to have a baked companion for my coffee. This weekend I decided to prep a little something to bring to work – it’s a little sweet, and a lot crumbly.raspberry bar 1 raspberry bar 3 raspberry bar 2 raspberry bar 4 raspberry bar 5

// Ingredients:

– 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed

– 1 cup flour

– 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

– 1/8 teaspoon of salt

– 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

– 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

– 1 cup rolled oats

– 1 stick (aka 1/2 cup) of butter, softened

– 1 cup raspberry jam, seeded or seedless

// To make:

01. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8×8 baking tin.

02. Combine sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and oats in a medium bowl. With hands or a pastry blender, combine dry ingredients with the butter until you’ve formed a crumbly mixture.

03. Scoop 2 cups of the mixture onto the baking sheet, and press firmly with the back of a wooden spoon or your knuckles to create the bottom crust. Be sure to press the edges well.

04. Spread the jam on top of the crust, leaving a 1/4 inch border around the edges (this will prevent them from browning too much).

05. Scoop the rest of the crumble on top, lightly pressing down.

06. Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden.

07. Allow to cool, then eat up!

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rkv

Sweetheart Blueberry Hand Pies

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We’ve been having some seriously sweet teeth lately, and these personal sized pies were just the thing to satisfy our cravings. Using a recipe adapted from Forty-Sixth at Grace, we present you with some easy-to-make heart shaped hand pies – just in time for Valentine’s Day!

Recipe yields 20 pies.

For the pies:

– 2 boxes of store bought pie dough (2 crusts per box), room temperature

– 3 cups frozen blueberries

– 1/3 cup granulated sugar

– 3 tablespoons minute tapioca

– 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

– 1/8 teaspoon of salt

– 2 tablespoons lemon juice

– heart-shaped cutter, about the size of your palm

For the egg wash:

– 1 egg

– 1 tablespoon heavy cream

For the icing (optional):

– 1 tablepoon lemon juice

– roughly 2 tablespoons powdered sugar (you can eyeball it to the consistency you’d like)

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// To begin…

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Once crusts are at room temp, gently unroll onto a floured surface.

2. Using your cutter, cut away at each crust. You should get 10 hearts per crust (40 hearts total).

3. Place 10 crusts on parchment covered baking sheet and set to the side.

4. Time to make the filling – mix blueberries, sugar, tapioca, cinnamon, salt, and lemon juice in a medium bowl.

5. Evenly place 1 tablespoon of filling onto each crust on the baking sheet, leaving room around the edges.

6. Place top crusts on the filled ones, and gently use a fork to press together. It’s okay if the filling oozes a bit.

7. In a small bowl, mix your egg wash. Lightly brush on the top of each pie. Then use a sharp knife to slice the top of each pie so the air can escape while baking.

8. Repeat this process on another baking sheet to make all of your pies.

9. Bake 15-18 minutes until golden on top and edges.

10. If icing, allow to cool for 20 minutes, then drizzle on top.

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