I Made Pumpkin Bread Instead

Yup…that means I didn’t go to yoga this morning.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE yoga, especially at my studio.  But my body is exhausted (and still sore) and their Hot Yoga class is REALLY hard!  And the Yin style classes are at 8am or 6pm, neither which worked into my schedule today, so I…well, made pumpkin bread instead!

 

We didn’t set an alarm this morning, but Cooper’s internal breakfast alarm can be counted on.  At least he waited until after 7am today!  The BOY and I took our time getting moving, but Cooper missed the slow Sunday start memo and was bouncing around waiting for food.  It may sound like I am talking about a dog here, but he is just a bouncy and continuously hungry kitten.

 

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Maybe they won’t see me here and I can spring into the water when it turns on…

 

So you may have noticed that I am yet to make anything pumpkin this fall!  Or maybe you haven’t noticed, but it’s true, and with the end of October approaching, it is time for that to change.  I went straight to my Everything Pumpkin board on Pinterest and started making the first bread recipe that I saw (not surprisingly, there is more than one pumpkin bread recipe on the board).

 

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Meanwhile, I made myself a Green Smoothie.  In an attempt to assess my current eating habits, I’ve been keeping track of what I’ve been eating this past week.  One obvious note…there are not nearly enough veggies in my diet.  So I picked up some spinach at Costco yesterday because that is easy to mix with everything.

 

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I started with my typical smoothie base of spinach, banana, and almond milk.  I added in some Chia seeds and then went looking for something to build in some flavor.  I had no frozen fruit, but did find the ginormous bag of cranberries that I also bought at Costco yesterday.  I rinsed them off and threw in about a cup.  Then 2 handfuls of ice cubes.

 

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I went in for a taste test and my smoothie was AWESOME!  I couldn’t believe how good it was.  In retrospect I should have added some cucumber as well, but I didn’t notice I had any until after I was half way done.  As you can tell, veggies just haven’t been on my radar recently.  I scrambled up some eggies to go with my smoothie and waited patiently for the bread while the house filled with the smells of the season.  I tried to get the BOY talking about this week’s meal plan, but we didn’t get much further than tonight’s dinner.

 

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We let the bread cool, only enough to remove it from the pan, before slicing off an end.

 

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This pumpkin bread is scrumptious!  I love how the crust is crunchy and sweet while the inside stays moist and full of flavor!  You should definitely add it to your pumpkin board and probably your Sunday as well!

 

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The Best Pumpkin Bread Recipe Ever by Recipe Girl

 

 

Just in case you are looking to spend your Sunday making pumpkin bread instead,

here are a few other recipes to try…

Pumpkin Banana Bread

Paleo Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin Pear Bread

Maple Pumpkin Spice Bread

Pumpkin Molasses Muffins

 

All of which pair well with a refreshing green smoothie!

 

 

Spinach and Cranberry Smoothie

 

Ingredients

1 cup almond milk

1 large heap of spinach

1 banana, sliced

2 Tbsp ground flax or chia

1 cup cranberries (fresh or frozen)

Ice

 

Directions

Combine milk, spinach, and banana in your blender and chop until spinach is broken down and everything begins to mix together.  Add flax or chia and cranberries and mix on high until well combined.  Add in ice and blend until desired consistency is reached.  Enjoy!

 

 

Did you make anything pumpkin yet?

What ideas should I add to my Pinterest Pumpkin board?

End of Year Cookies

I am on the road….to recovery AND to Costco!

 

I haven’t run in over a week and it seems like forever since I’ve posted about exercise, so I am taking one last day to rest up, and then I am exchanging sick posts for active ones. Much more exciting : )

 

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Speaking of exciting…you HAVE to make this Gingerbread recipe and then the next day you HAVE to turn into Gingerbread French Toast.

 

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It was the perfect combination of spicy bread and ooey gooey breakfast.  I’m not sure that there is any other way to start the day!

 

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I don’t know how you make your French toast, but this morning I quickly scrambled together 2 eggs, 1/4 cup almond milk, tons of cinnamon, and a dash of vanilla. Then dunked in each slice and fried them up on the skillet.

 

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Topped with some syrup and a few blackberries.  The BOY and I ate our breakfast standing in the kitchen we liked it so much!

 

These past few days, I have had some extra down time, so I have been catching up on all of my favorite blogs.  It seems that this has been the year of the cookie!  Okay, maybe not officially, but as I read through everyone’s End of Year Recipe Wrap Up, there seem to be a lot, and I mean A LOT, of mouth watering cookie recipes and pictures out there.

 

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These posts are dangerous because they make you want to drop everything you are doing to go preheat your oven.  That’s exactly what happened when I was reading through Sally’s Post.

 

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Luckily, I have tons of leftover baking ingredients scattered throughout my house including the driedcranberries and white chocolate chunks I used in these cookies.

 

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A few things I learned while baking these cookies…

 

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Number 1- Adding cornstarch to all purpose flour creates cake flour, and cake flour makes for fluffy cookies!

 

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Number 2-Chilling the dough is important!

 

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Number 3-There is a difference between light and dark brown sugar when baking cookies.  Sally recommends using dark brown sugar in these cookies!

 

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These were great lessons to learn!  Not only because I made these soft, beautiful, and delicious cookies, but because they will help with many cookie successes in the new year.

 

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Packed full of bright cranberries and white chocolate chunks, these cookies make a great hostess gift for your New Year’s party!

 

I have definitely baked up my fair share of cookies this year, here are a few of my favorites:

Ginger Molasses Cookies

Double Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

Oatmeal Scotchies

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

Chocolate Mint-Thins

 

 

White Chocolate Chip Cranberry Cookies

From Sally’s Baking Addiction

Ingredients

3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup white chocolate chips

3/4 cup dried cranberries

 

Directions

Line an ungreased cookie sheet with parchment paper or silpat. Set aside.

In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together on medium speed until fluffy and light in color. Mix in egg and vanilla. Scrape down the sides as needed. On low speed, mix in flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Stir in white chocolate chips & dried cranberries. Chill dough (covered) for 30 minutes or up to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 350F. Drop balls of dough (1.5 tablespoons each) onto cookie sheet OR used a standard-sized cookie scoop. Bake for 8-9 minutes, until barely golden brown around the edges. Do NOT cook them longer than 9 minutes. Remove and let cool for 5-10 minutes on the cookie sheet. Transfer to cooling rack.

 

 

What are you baking this weekend?

Sugar Coma

If I ate every sweet that was in my house right now, I would be in a total Sugar Coma!  As it stands, I have baked tons of cookies and made a bunch of dips, and we are fully stocked up with the good stuff.

 

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Funny story about that…the BOY calls me last night around 7:15pm while I was still at work.  ‘Bad News’, he says.  I forgot to bring the nice tin of cookies you made for my parents to their house today.  ‘Good News’, he continues.  I liked everything in it! 

 

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Yup…that happened!

 

Our house is loaded with tupperwares full of cookies, yet he dove right into the nice arrangement I made for his parents. Typical right : ) I had to smile when I walked in the door and saw the bright red tin sitting next to his big comfy chair.  Luckily, there is more than enough to go around so I can restock the tin.

 

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With what you ask?  Here is the next recipe from this weekend’s baking spree!

 

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Looks good…doesn’t it?

 

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When I saw this recipe for Cranberry Bliss Bark on Cookies & Cups, I knew I had to make it.

 

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My hands were busy throughout, and my Mom was baking cookies, so we didn’t get tons of pictures of the prep work.  When everything was set and done, I had a major foil problem!

 

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But it didn’t foil my toffee.

 

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It just took some extra work to get these sweet and crunchy bites of happiness!

 

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Lesson learned for next time and for when I make my next batch of Christmas Crack.  No foil!  Just lots and lots of cooking spray.  Sally confirmed that this is the way to do it!

 

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My slices of bark aren’t nearly as beautiful as the original, but they are just as tasty!

 

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I recommend storing it in the freezer, but I like most of my sweets frozen.

 

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Frozen or not, this one won’t last long!

 

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For more holiday BLISS, try making these Cranberry Bliss Bars with your leftover dried cranberries!

 

 

Cranberry Bliss Bark

From Cookies & Cups

Ingredients

18 Graham Crackers

1 cup butter

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk

8 oz white chocolate or almond bark, chopped finely.

1 cup Craisins

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°

Line a 15"x10" jelly roll baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray. If using foil, make sure that your foil lays over the edge of your pan for easy removal.

Line the pan with graham crackers in an even layer, breaking to fit the pan if necessary.

In a large saucepan melt butter and brown sugar over medium-low heat. Heat until mixture boils and then boil it for 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in sweetened condensed milk.

Pour over graham crackers.

Bake for 7-8 minutes until bubbling. Remove from oven and let it sit for 1 minute before sprinkling white chocolate evenly over top.

Let white chocolate sit for 3-4 minutes (I put it back in the oven) until softened and then spread with a spatula or off-set spatula evenly over toffee layer.

Immediately sprinkle Craisins on the white chocolate, pressing gently to stick.

Let cool completely before cutting into pieces.  Freezes well!

Pumpkin Cranberry Dough Boy Smoothie

It has been awhile since I have had a Dough Boy for breakfast, and I am not sure why this is…

#1) They are sooo tasty!

#2) They are sooo filling!

#3) Even when fridge is empty, I always have the ingredients on hand.

 

Reason #3 is what inspired this morning’s breakfast.  Our kitchen is fairly empty.  We don’t even have bread to make an almond butter sandwich!  Luckily, I was able to thaw out some Pumpkin Quinoa White Bean Chili for lunch or I just might have starved.  Ok, I probably wouldn’t have starved (Jimmy John’s delivers), but needless to say, our shelves are pretty bare. 

Enter the Pumpkin Cranberry Dough Boy Smoothie

 

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I pulled everything together last night.

 

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So that I would have something to eat for breakfast in the morning.

 

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My smoothie turned out fantastic!  I topped it with pumpkin pie spice and swirled in some homemade apple butter.

 

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The tart cranberries complimented the fall pumpkin flavor perfectly!

 

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I used 1/2 a banana to sweeten up my dish (because I don’t typically like super sweet breakfasts), but feel free to add in maple syrup or your favorite sweetener before blending.

 

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Then Dig In and ENJOY!

 

Did anyone else join Tina’s plank challenge?  There is definitely still time.  I highly recommend checking out this week’s workout!  It’s quick, but TOUGH!

 

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This would be me using my phone to time my workout in front of my computer on the floor before the sun has even thought about rising : )  Today, I held my plank for 2 1/2 minutes…making progress!

 

If you’ve got some leftover cranberries, the Cranberry Dough Boy is delish!

And for leftover pumpkin, the Pumpkin Dough Boy is the best!

 

Pumpkin Cranberry Dough Boy Smoothie

 

Ingredients

1 cup almond milk

1/2 cup raw oats

2 tbsp chia seeds

1/2 banana, sliced

1/2 cup pumpkin

1/2 cup cranberries

1 tsp vanilla

1-2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice

Sweeteners to taste

 

Directions

Combine almond milk, oats, chia seeds, banana, pumpkin, cranberries, vanilla, and spice in a blender the night before eating.  Place in refrigerator.  In the morning, add any optional sweeteners and blend on low until thick and smooth.  Top with fruit butters, berries, nuts, or whatever else you like.

 

 

Does anyone else run out of food by Friday?

What is your favorite fall breakfast?

A Squash Tale-Chapter II

Have you ever heard such a crazy squash story???

After all of that work, I needed to find something fantastic to do with my share of the squash!

I actually came up with an idea while I was flipping through my new cookbook.  I came across a recipe for Squash Muffins and new this sweet squash would be awesome for the recipe!

 

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When I ended up in charge of the last day of class (tomorrow’s) breakfast, I had an actual reason to bake.  After 1 year of class, we will finally be certified.  It has been a busy year (to say the least), and I remember starting the course exactly 1 year ago.  After all of the extra work, weekend’s in class, and sleepovers with my parents, it is exciting to have a few more letters behind my name.  Since I am away house/dog sitting this week, I did my baking last weekend and froze everything for tomorrow.

 

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I decided to turn the muffins into a bread because I think bread freezes better.  Although if you have some muffin freezing suggestions, please send them my way. 

 

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And I added in some fresh cranberries.

 

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I was nervous because the dough looked way too liquidy.

 

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But the batter tasted better than I expected!  I had nothing to lose, so I put it into the oven, set the timer, and got busy with my housesitting packing.  A week is a long time to be away (even if you are just a few suburbs away).

 

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About an hour later, our house was smelling sweet, and I had fresh bread cooling on the counter.

 

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A successful one at that!

 

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Even though the bread was for my upcoming course, I had to slice off a taste.

 

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I just couldn’t wait the week : )

 

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The tart cranberries were the perfect compliment to this moist, rich quick bread and my mystery squash added a strong dose of fall flavor!

 

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I truly am a Bread Baking Fool!

I hope you are not sick of breads just yet because I have a household favorite to share with you (I’m actually not quite sure how it hasn’t ended up on the blog yet).  But because these clowns have been keeping me busy, it might just have to wait until next week! 

 

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Cranberry Squash Bread

Recipe inspired from The Little Book of Country Baking Squash Muffins

 

Ingredients

1 cup cooked and pureed squash

2 eggs

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup milk

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon (or MORE!)

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 cup cranberries, rinsed, drained, and dried

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Sift together all dry ingredients except sugar. Stir in cranberries. Add the squash, eggs, sugar, milk, and oil and mix well. Fill well-greased loaf pan and bake for 55-60 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Cranberry Dough Boy Smoothie {Revisited}

Good Morning!

I did manage to stay up past 8pm last night, but barely.  I was most definitely asleep by 10, and the BOY joined me shortly afterwards.  I guess we were both exhausted after this busy weekend.

 

For breakfast, I made a Cranberry Dough Boy Smoothie.  I know it’s not exactly cranberry season, but this cool, hearty breakfast is perfect for a refreshing morning meal.  I found fresh frozen cranberries at the Jewel (local grocery store) and was eager to add these powerhouses to any breakfast.  Since I hadn’t had a Dough Boy in awhile, I was definitely in the mood for one. 

 

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I made a Cranberry Dough Boy Smoothie back in December during cranberry season, but this morning’s breakfast was SO tasty and satisfying, I thought it would be worth revisiting in the spring.

 

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Unfortunately, I grabbed the ONE bowl with a chip, which is not ideal for pictures, but I guess that’s life  ; )  I figured you would be focusing in on the rich smoothie and not the bowl anyways.

 

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I ate my breakfast quickly (man, those cranberries are good and the banana adds just the right amount of sweetness) before getting ready for this mornings yoga class.

 

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I hope you have a great Sunday celebrating Dad!

If you have some leftover cranberries, you should think about making Dad a batch of these incredible muffins!

 

 

Cranberry Dough Boy Smoothie

 

Place the following ingredients into a blender:

 

1 cup Almond milk

1/2 cup oats

2 Tbsp Chia seeds

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 –1 banana, sliced

1 cup fresh (or frozen, thawed) cranberries

Dash of cinnamon

 

Cover and place blender in the refrigerator over night. In the morning, BLEND and ENJOY!

Serve topped with fruits and nuts.

No sweeteners needed, I promise!

Hot Banana Quinoa Cake with Cranberries

Using my leftover cranberries from this weekend’s Cranberry Walnut Bread crumbs has been an easy task.  I decided to add these nutritional powerhouses to yesterday’s breakfast.  I was motivated by this Hot Breakfast Banana Quinoa to make a Banana Quinoa Cake with Cranberries.

 

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I combined the cooked quinoa, egg, mashed banana, flax, cinnamon, and cranberries in a microwave safe bowl.  Three and a half simple minutes later, I had a warm and hearty breakfast!

 

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Covered in peanut butter, this breakfast was divine.  The warm cranberries ‘pop’ in your mouth and who doesn’t love warm gooey peanut butter?!  It was loaded with protein which was perfect as I headed off to meet the trainer for a strength session.

 

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Hot Banana Quinoa Cake with Cranberries

Adapted from Hot Banana Breakfast Quinoa

Makes 1 serving

 

1/3 cup cooked quinoa

1 egg

1 mashed banana

1-2 tsp cinnamon

1-2 tbsp ground flax

1/3 cup cranberries

 

Combine all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl.  Stir well to combine.  Microwave for 3.5 minutes.  Cool slight,remove from bowl, and enjoy warm!

Optional: decorate with your favorite nuts, jams, maple syrup, fruit, nut butters, etc.

This Could Be Dangerous!

 

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A broken bread in the kitchen before dinner.

 

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I made two successful chocolate chip banana breads (different recipes, hence the different looks). 

 

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But, I was a bit careless with my last bread.  I found fresh frozen cranberries at Trader Joe’s last week.  I haven’t seen fresh cranberries since December, so I was excited to grab a bag.  I am back in class next weekend, so I was planning to bake a few breads to freeze for breakfast during the course.

 

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I was most excited to make this Cranberry Walnut Bread.  The TRAINER made me this bread over the holidays.  It was so amazing and I was immediately addicted.  I have only made it one time as mini muffins using dried cranberries.  They turned out wonderful, so I was ready to try it with real cranberries.

 

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However, I made a few important errors, most of which centered around the cranberries.

1) After rinsing the cranberries, I forgot to dry them

2) I did not chop them in half

3) I added the cranberries to the wet instead of the dry mixture

4) With a little too much water

5) I tried to remove the bread too soon!

 

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Somehow, all of the cranberries floated to the top of the middle of the bread, which was the last portion to finish cooking.  When I went to remove the bread…

 

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Ooopps!  Half the bread stayed in tact, but the other half turned into pieces.  Delicious pieces of warm fresh bread that I just couldn’t keep my fingers away from.  So dangerous!!!

 

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The BOY came by for a taste and was pleasantly surprised with how good this ugly bread tasted.  He took a few broken pieces for dessert.

 

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Lessons learned (and now that I’ve shared them, you won’t make the same mistakes).  This bread is one of the BEST quick breads I’ve made, even when broken into many pieces.  Next time, I will be sure to treat my cranberries better so my bread turns out in one piece looking nice enough to serve to guests.  Until then, the BOY and I will be enjoying the dangers of broken bread at home!

 

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Cranberry Walnut Bread

 

Mix dry ingredients together:

2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 cup nuts (I use walnuts)

1 cup cranberries-cut in half (can used dried if fresh not available.  If using frozen, see mistakes to avoid above).

 

In a separate bowl, combine:

2 eggs

4 tablespoons butter (melted)

1/4 cup oil

1/3 cup orange juice (if you don’t have, just use 1 full cup water)

2/3 cup water

 

-Combine both mixtures, stirring just until combined. Do not over stir.

-Grease and flour a loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

-Test with a toothpick.

 

This recipe also makes wonderful muffins!

***Note: If making muffins, bake for ~20 minutes until muffin top springs back to touch.

Recipe Flashback-Cranberry Bliss Bars

As I was making the White Chocolate Puppy Chow for today’s work party, it got me thinking about what I made last year for the winter party.  Another winter white chocolate dessert, these indulgent Cranberry Bliss Bars, based on the Starbucks bars.

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The fresh ginger is the place to start and adds the perfect amount of zing.

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It nicely compliments the white chocolate and dried cranberries in these cakey bars.

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The bars are drenched in cream cheese frosting, which adds the perfect amount of sweetness and topped with even more cranberries and a white chocolate drizzle.

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Absolute perfection!  I must confess that I have never tried this Starbucks sweet, but I’m betting these are just as good.

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Cranberry Bliss Bars

From Mr. Breakfast’s Collection
(15 servings)

  • For Cake Base:
  • 2 sticks margarine (or butter if you want to indulge) – softened
  • 1 and 1/4 cups brown sugar – packed
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup minced dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup Lindt or Perugina or other quality white chocolate – coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced candied ginger
  • For Frosting:
  • 4 ounce cream cheese – softened
  • 1 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons butter – softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • For Garnish:
  • 2 Tablespoons minced dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup white chocolate chips (e.g. Ghiradelli or Guittard) — melted

Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease a 9×13 pan.
Beat butter and sugar together for the cake base, and add eggs/vanilla beating until fluffy. Sift together flour, ginger, and salt and then add to the butter/sugar mixture beating well. Fold in the cranberries, chocolate and ginger. Spread thick batter in pan and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until light golden.
When cake is cooled, mix all frosting ingredients together and spread a thin layer over the cake. Immediately sprinkle with the minced cranberries. Then use a cake decorating bag of melted white chocolate with a tiny decorating tip (like the size used for writing on cakes) and drizzle the chocolate over the cake.
Cut this into bars immediately because the white chocolate hardens pretty fast and makes cake cutting messy.

A Clean Lunch

As ya’ll know, I like to use Mondays to prepare for the week ahead.  This is in general and when it comes to food and meals.  This week is a bit odd, as we are just finishing up with Passover and then heading out of town.  I bought a few fresh ingredients at the grocery store this morning and was planning on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch this week.  Except, that I found this interesting recipe in my Clean Eating Magazine last night.

Luckily, we have some cooked chicken breasts that the BOY made last night and I had most of the other ingredients as well.  I picked up some apple cider vinegar at the store today, substituted dried cherries for the grapes (which were outrageously priced) and decided to give it try.  I made a slightly larger salad thinking that I could take half for lunch tomorrow.  Way more exciting than PB&J!

I combined the first ingredients and then mixed the ‘dressing’ in a separate bowl.  I had a little trouble stirring up the fresh ground almond butter (which I was worried might happen), so I nuked it for 10 seconds and everything blended smoothly.

I poured the almond butter mixture over my chicken, tossed to coat, and ta-da…in under 10 minutes I had a delicious and super healthy clean lunch.  I guess I should tell you that I subbed in a touch of agave instead of maple syrup since I had maple syrup this morning in my breakfast.

I paired my lunch with a leftover grilled sweet potato and packed half up to take to work tomorrow.

Bu-Bye boring lunches!