No-Bake Chocolate Chunk Quinoa Bites

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First off, happy Halloween! Secondly, my office is in candy overdrive. We have a bit of a Reese’s and Kit Kat addiction around these parts, with 3lb bags constantly hiding in the office kitchen cabinet. So dangerous, and anyone who knows me knows that I have zero control in such scenarios.

To attempt to combat this dilemma, I concocted these little guys for you all to try. They really do hit the spot for when I’m craving something chocolate-y after lunch, yet are packed with protein and fiber, with as little sugar as I could get away with. The fact that they’re no-bake makes these a great little snack.

Stay tuned for more editions of these, because I’m in love and want to see what other kinds I can whip up!

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Ingredients
(Makes 12 bites)

1 cup white quinoa, cooked
1 cup quick rolled oats, uncooked
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks
1/4 cup creamy almond butter
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt

To Make
To prep, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside, then pour your coconut flakes on to a plate and set aside.

To begin making, pour your cooked quinoa, oats, almond butter, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt into a large bowl. Using your hands or a spatula, thoroughly mix ingredients until well incorporated. Once batter is complete, add your chocolate chunks and fold into the mix.

Using your hands, roll your dough into golf ball sized spheres and place on your parchment paper. Once you’ve rolled all of your dough, roll the bites once more into the coconut flakes until fully covered. Place back onto your baking sheet and set into the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Once chilled, store in tupperware in the fridge for up to a week.

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Savory Bread Pudding

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I’m a huge fan of sweet bread puddings, filled with raisins and cinnamon galore, but in this case I was in need of dinner, had a bag of spinach that was on it’s way out, and a baguette that could knock a burglar cold. In an effort to avoid as much food waste as possible, I decided to make something a little out of the ordinary that seemed like it would be a challenge to mess up. This tasty little delight is filled with ham, cheese, and all things savory and wonderful. It’s also boy-approved (if you’re needing to please the bae), and could easily serve as a breakfast option as well.

For anyone else ever looking into options for stale bread, check out this helpful little post. Next time I may do meatballs.


Ingredients
1 large baguette, stale (roughly 1.5 ft long)
3 cups 1% milk
2 large eggs
1 cup asiago (I used a blend of asiago of parmesan)
2 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
2 cups ham, shredded
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder


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To Make
Preheat oven to 375 and set aside an 8 x 8 baking sheet.

In a large mixing bowl, combine your milk and eggs, whisking until thoroughly mixed. Add in your garlic powder, salt, and pepper, continuing to mix well. Set aside your mixing bowl to cut your stale/hardened baguette into cubes. Be careful in doing so, as it’s very challenging to cut once the crust has been hardened.

Once cut, combine your bread into the mixing bowl and thoroughly mix, allowing the bread to soak up the milk. Once combined, chop your spinach and shred your ham over the cutting board. Add these ingredients to the pan mixture

Spread this mixture onto your pan. Once combined, chop your spinach and shred your ham over the cutting board. Add these ingredients to the bread mixture, as well as most of the cheese (leaving some to sprinkle on top). Once everything is fully incorporated and settled into the pan, add the remaining cheese on top then place into the oven for 45 minutes.

When fully cooked, the inside should be a little more gooey than cake, and the top golden brown.


 

 

Espresso Peppermint Brownies

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If there’s one weakness I have, it’s dense delicious fudgy brownies. And in case you didn’t know, Dec. 8th is National Brownie Day, so we decided to pay our tribute. This recipe is pretty much as simple as homemade brownies get, and most certainly a crowd pleaser.


For the brownies:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • eggs, lightly whisked
  • teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)

For the topping:

  • 4 large candy canes

To make:

Preheat oven to 350 and set aside an 8×8 pan lined with parchment paper.

In a heat-safe bowl, combine 1 cup of your chocolate chips (save the rest to add to the batter), butter, and oil, and place over a small pot of boiling water.

Once fully melted and slightly cooled, combine in a stand (or hand) mixer with your sugars. Mix well, then add espresso, vanilla, and eggs. Add your flour and salt mixture and blend until just mixed. Fold in your chocolate chips.

Place in the oven for 30-35 minutes.

While baking, prepare your peppermint topping. *Warning, this part is loud*

Place your candy canes into a plastic baggie, removing the air, and adding into a second baggie. With a rolling pin or hammer, gently break your candy into pieces.

Once your brownies have five minutes left in the oven, remove and sprinkle on the candy. Place back in the oven and finish baking.


Recipe adapted from Food 52

Mushroom Asparagus Risotto

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My appreciation for mushrooms has only recently developed. In fact, I think this is the first time I’ve ever cooked with them. For the longest time I would avoid them, mainly because their texture just didn’t do it for me. However, I’ve recently learned that if they’re covered in enough butter, garlic, and wine, I’m a very happy camper. Last week I was craving something rich and delicious, and this dish hit just the spot.

The original recipe I made (adapted from Pinch of Yum) yielded wayyy more servings than I needed — about eight total. Considering I’m generally over a meal after about three servings, eight was definitely over kill. I ended up making a whole lot of risotto cakes to keep my palette interested (to make — form little patties, dip in egg wash, cover in panko, pan fry, and serve with a side of Greek yogurt). A very tasty interpretation, if I must say!

 

INGREDIENTS
(makes about 4 servings)

3/4 cups arborio rice, uncooked
1/4 lb of bacon
2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup white wine
2 cups cremini mushrooms, choppped
2 cups asparagus, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 medium Spanish onion
2 tbsp butter
salt & pepper to taste
parmesan for garnish

TO MAKE
In a large skillet, cook your bacon over medium-low heat. Once crispy, allow the grease to settle on a plate with a paper towel. After it has cooled, chop roughly and set to the side to prepare the rice.

On medium-low heat, melt the butter to a nice sizzle. Add your garlic, onion, rice, and a splash of the wine. Allow to toast slightly before adding the rest of your wine and vegetables. Cook your vegetables down slightly before adding 1/4 of your broth.

The next few steps are all about watching your rice. Once it has soaked up the liquids, add another 1/4 of your broth. Repeat this step twice more until all of your broth has been added. This is should take about 20 minutes. At this point add in your bacon, a dash of salt and pepper, and mix well.

By now your rice is cooked and ready to serve. Top it off with some grated parm and dive in.

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Pecan Pumpkin Muffins

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One of the first homemade goods I remember my Mom making me as a kid was pumpkin bread. I always looked forward to her whipping it up, and it became one of the first things I learned how to bake once I was old enough. Call me basic all you want, but I’ve been loving myself some pumpkin spice since 1993, okay??

While this recipe isn’t my Mom’s (I don’t know if that woman has ever made the same thing twice), it’s still wonderful and always reminds me of home.

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FOR THE MUFFINS
1 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, unpacked
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin (not pumpkin-pie filling)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped

FOR THE STREUSEL
2 tbsp butter, room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar, unpacked
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup quick oats

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TO MAKE
Preheat
oven to 350. To begin the muffin batter, use a stand mixer (or large bowl with a hand mixer) to combine the canned pumpkin, white & brown sugars, and vanilla. Blend until thoroughly combined. Add one egg, mix, add second egg, mix, then slowly add in the oil.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Slowly add the dry mixture into the pumpkin blend until just combined. Fold in the pecans and set aside.

To make the streusel, mix the butter and sugar together. Once combined, slowly add in the flour and oats. The mixture will be crumbly, but not completely dry. It should be a pale brown, and you don’t want to see the white of the flour.

Using two spoons, scoop the pumpkin batter into a lined or greased muffin pan. It should make 12 medium-sized muffins. Sprinkle the streusel onto the muffins until the tops are just covered.

Bake for 24-26 minutes. Poke the center of a muffin with a knife or toothpick to check if done. If the knife or toothpick come out clean, you’re ready to take out of the oven.

Set aside for 15 minutes, then enjoy with a piping hot cup of coffee.


Recipe adapted from Skinny Taste

Sweet Summer Sangria

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In case you haven’t noticed, we’re BIG fans of Fridays around these parts, and we’re pretty shameless in our celebrations of them. We decided to show our appreciation for them with this festive summery treat we made a couple of weekends back while we were hanging at the beach.

Before we go any further — how ridiculously adorable/hilarious are they straws??? We happened upon them hiding in the cabinets at our friend’s house, and it was fate.

Alright, moving on. This recipe is very simple, but is best if made early in the day so that the wine has time to infuse with the fruit juices.

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Ingredients

1 bottle of mid-grade sauvignon blanc
1 cup pineapple
3/4 cup canned peaches (you can also use fresh, but we opted for canned so we could use the syrup in them)
3/4 cup strawberries
Splash of club soda to top with

Optional:
Instead of club soda, you can use a splash Fresca, 7Up, or any fruity regular soda. Just don’t use too much, or you’ll go into sugary overdrive.

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To make

01. Pour your wine into a pitcher or jug

02. Chop up your pineapple and peaches and place into your wine, and give it a good stir. You don’t want to add your strawberries at this phase — they’ll lose there color and look anemic and sad — we learned the hard way!

03. Place in the fridge for a couple of hours so everything can infuse

04. To serve — stir well, pour into your glass until about 3/4 full, slice your strawberries and add in. Top with club soda (or regular soda), and say cheers!

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Travel Diary // NY, NY

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Happy Monday, all! Hope you all had lovely weekends and had a chance to enjoy some of that sunshine. This time of year our weekends tend to be filled with lots of local traveling, and recently mine included popping over to New York to hang with some ol’ pals. It’s funny, I grew up in New England, but have never actually been to NY in my adult years, (mainly because I loathe the bus) so this was a treat!

Stop No. 1 // After a lengthly 4 hour drive filled with Beyonce and No Doubt, my biffie Xiao and I were hungry. Our hostess Sarah and her boyfriend love Latin American cuisine and knew just where to take us – Coppelia. It is an amazing Cuban 24-hour diner that hit all the right notes. We had a spread of nachos, ceviche, and an amazing dish called lomo saltado which I highly recommend. We topped it all off with some caipirinhas and were basically rolling out of the place.

Stop No. 2 // Since we had pretty much eaten our weight in prime rib the night before, by the next morning we weren’t feeling our hottest. I picked up a tasty little peach parfait to hold me over in the morning, and then we swung into Joe Coffee for some iced caffeine. As previously mentioned, I haven’t spent a whole lot of time in NY, so I was pleased to do the touristy things like putz around Central Park — and that just what we did! Sarah only lives about 10 blocks from it, so we had a nice little afternoon checking out the musicians and entertainers.

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Xiao’s Instax polaroid film took the cutest photos!

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These pants are so comfy — you can grab a pair at Old Navy!

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3-cheers for Sarah’s sister Alla for snapping the only candid photo EVER of me to not involve snarled lips and a double chin…

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Kissing pigeons in the window!

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Stop No. 3 // After having lunch at Mario Batali’s Italian eatery Otto Pizzeria we continued to stroll around Soho and Little Italy for some window shopping and treats at M’o Il Gelato — so refreshing on a 90 degree day!

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Stop No. 4… 5, 6, 7 // After having dessert for lunch (hehe) we spent the night in Brookyln where we had some amazing Mediterranean tapas for dinner at Olea. We followed up with a little bar hopping — a fancy lavender cocktail at Dick & Jane’s Bar, some video games and beer at Barcade, and and all-night 90s dance party at The Bell House. Pretty much the most hipster Saturday night ever, and it was wonderful.

Stop No. 8 // Feeling a just a wee bit tired from our dance party the night before, I was ready for my first New York bagel… H & H Midtown Bagels East was loud, greasy, and had a nice long line… aka exactly what I wanted. The perfect bacon egg and cheese on a toasted everything to top off my weekend!

We had such a good time, and are definitely planning to return on the next long weekend, because 1 1/2 days just ain’t enough! Thanks Sarah for the foodie tour! 🙂

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Happy Weekend!

Guys, it’s Fridayyy! This week went by surprisingly fast actually and we’re definitely ok with that. We both have busy and fun weekends ahead of us – Reg will be in NYC visiting old friends, and Christa will be poking around NH and Mass, stopping in Portsmouth & Rockport. We’ll be trying to get some profesh photos with our nice cameras, but in the mean time, keep an eye out on our instagram!

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cct // Have you guys seen the ESPN Body Issue covers? Damn! Here are my 2 fav so far – Amanda Bingson & Ali Krieger

rkv // I have yet to have a beach day this summer, and am getting very antsy! Especially after looking at these best beaches in America… and now I want to go to Michigan! Also while you’re at it — how to turn your local beach into the South of France

cct // Travel’s Best Summer Foods 2015, yes please! Also my friend Manny‘s photo is the one shown for Bar Taco!

rkv // Uhhh this chick’s snapchats are insane!

cct // Ideas to Steal from 10 Clever Small Space Entryways

rkv // Since I’m a complete sucker for mind-mushing celebrity related anything, I always appreciate a good “before they were stars”

cct // I got a pair of mirrored sunnies from Old Navy the other day (love them!), and I am just obsessed! I’m especially loving the pink mirrored color, and I’m seeing it everywhere. Pink rocks!

rkv // Yummmm easy itsy bitsy lobster rolls

4th of July Food

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Seriously though, what is this weather?? We’re very much hoping that New England is just getting this rain out of it’s system before the weekend, because we want sunshine! We have activities on the brain, and rain just doesn’t go along with any of them. One thing, however, that we know that our weekends will certainly be full of is wonderful food. We’ve got the whole shebang here to inspire your kickoff to summer— apps, dogs, and dessert — woot!


4th of July Spiked Snow Cones
Food52’s Cookout Essentials
Dilled Cucumber Salad
Grilled Corn with Basil


And make sure to check us out on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter!

 

Happy Weekend!

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Hey all, and happy almost summer! We’re just two short days (well, long days, according to the Earth’s rotation), away from one of our favorite seasons. And what better way to kick it off but with a day where you get to show your Dad a little extra appreciation?? This weekend is full of all sorts of goodness, hope you enjoy it!

cct // 50 States of Doughnuts: The Best Shops in America, YES PLEASE! I will say tho — I’m not impressed by Connecticut’s donut shop…I’m not a fan of Luke’s, and I’ve been seeing some great CT donut shops on the CTEatsOut instagram

rkv // I don’t know about you guys, but my mama raised me to have a healthy appetite. Because of that, I always have snacks readily available (mainly to avoid getting h-angry 🙂 ) So I was very happy to see this list of 10 high-protein snacks to keep you hungry… and the first one has chocolate!

cct // Amy Schumer is amazing, and this couple is so beautiful – all around a solid post (insert the A-Ok emoji here)

rkv // I’m deeply in love with summer, but the insects? Not so much. Here are some ways to get rid of household pests

cct // I love when exercises are broken down in GIFs rather than still shots or video, and I need to start doing these moves asap!

rkv // As much as I appreciate a tasty burger or dog, I also love myself some seasonal veggies in the summer. Here’s a way to get the best of both worlds!

cct // 10 Summer Fashion Trends We Can’t Wait to Wear from The Everygirl

rkv // Looking for a little inspiration this summer? Check out these 5 TED Talks to get you going!