Irish Cream Cupcakes with Coffee Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Woah.

Woah.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!! I love, love, love this holiday.  Everyone is Happy-Go-Lucky, on the hunt for green beer, Lucky Charms, and classic corned beef and cabbage.  Not to mention, this year it coincides with March Madness which is doubly fun!  My class this afternoon put me up to the challenge to bring them a tasty treat, and I gladly obliged.

I knew I wanted something that fully takes on the spirit of the holiday – and what says that more than Lucky Charms and Baileys?  Plus Coffee!?  Sign me right up.  I’m pumped about how these turned out.  A little bit about the recipe….apple sauce?  In cupcakes?  It’s delish – and it adds such moisture to the cupcakes!  I love how they smelled like Baileys when I took them out of the oven!  And the coffee buttercream exceeded expectations!

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Chicken Pesto Stuffed Peppers

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Two fun facts about me: 1) I love stuffed peppers.  They’re very underrated.  You can put things you’d normally eat alone into a stuffed pepper and it’s a whole new meal!  With an added veggie! 2) I LOVE HOLIDAYS.  Like any holiday.  Halloween…Memorial Day…Valentine’s…ST. PATRICK’S DAY!  All week I’ve been planning “green meals”, which inspired these delicious, GREEN PESTO PEPPERS. 

Full Disclosure – I tried making a “skinny shepherd’s pie!” and it…didn’t exactly turn out.  Not to mention shepherd’s pie is not a pretty dish to photograph.

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Deviled Egg Salad

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Spring has sprung and Easter is on its way!  When I was growing up, my mom always hard boiled eggs and rested them in these adorable, ceramic Easter bunny holders.  She took a seemingly boring snack and made it fun – my favorite way to serve food.  I am a sucker for these eggs – rolled in salt and pepper, mixed with avocado on toast, and made into creamy, tangy deviled eggs with a kick.

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Why not have the best of both worlds?  This snack/breakfast/light lunch is great to make ahead of time and when paired with crispy toast (sourdough is my favorite, but Ezekiel bread makes a great healthy option!)  I couldn’t nix mayonnaise entirely, but I mixed it with plain greek yogurt for a protein boost.

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FUN TRICK!  I’ve tried everything in the book when it comes to making “perfect”, easy-to-peel hard boiled eggs.  And, I think I finally found the answer – steaming them!   I fill a big pot up with about an inch of water, turn on high, and place the eggs in a steaming basket (or a colander) in one layer, cover, and steam for 15 minutes.  If you have to stack on top of each other, add a few extra minutes.  After a quick ice bath, they’re ready to eat.  They turn out perfectly every single time and the shell slips right off of them!

If you make extra Easter eggs this year, use this salad to use them up!

Deviled Egg Salad on Toast
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast, Snack
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 open faced sandwiches
 
Try this twist of a egg salad and deviled eggs!
Ingredients
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • 2 slices of bacon, fried and crumbled
  • 1 tbsp. light mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp. plain green yogurt
  • 1 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • Salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • Two slices of bread, toasted - I like sourdough for a "splurge" and Ezekiel bread as a healthy choice
Instructions
  1. Combine all your ingredients in a bowl and mix until combined.
  2. Toast bread until crispy.
  3. Top each piece with half the egg salad mixture, top with additional pepper, and enjoy!

 

Spicy Adobo Turkey Chili

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I am a MASSIVE Green Bay Packer fan.  Like beyond a fan.  A part “owner”, seeing as the Packers are the only NFL team that are publicly owned.  Football season has turned into quite the tradition in our family – we manage up to 5 fantasy football teams, I cheer for Michigan on Saturdays and Green Bay on Sundays, I spend the week discussing lineups with my dad, and I plan football watching menus all season long!  A huge staple on any game day buffet table is a good, tasty, tons-o-toppings chili.

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Normally, I’d wait to spread the joy until next season.  BUT, seeing as we just got a snowstorm last night, it seems mighty appropriate!  What do they say about March?  In like a lion and out like a lamb?  Yeah.  That’s definitely happening.

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Bacon Bourbon Jam and Baked Brie

The only picture I could capture before people started digging in!

The only picture I could capture before people started digging in!

Back in college, I had three main food groups – Eggo (waffles), Choco(late) , and Baco(n).  Let’s be clear…I was NOT a good cook in college.  My life’s motto was, “How is Maddy going to use her toaster oven today?”, which resulted in a lot of quesadillas, broiled hot dogs, dino nuggets, and Eggo waffles.  It was by FAR my favorite kitchen appliance.

Now, I occasionally eat weird foodie whole grain waffles with fruit, antioxidant-filled dark chocolate, and last, but most certainly not least, a lot of bacon.  Good ol’, thick cut, salty, fatty bacon.  Balance, right?  Or something like that…

So, when I was brainstorming potential burger toppings, I wanted to try and make homemade bacon jam.  I’ve seen it on charcuterie boards in restaurants and thought it couldn’t be THAT hard, so I went at it!  The process took a while, but it was incredibly rewarding.  What resulted was this delicious, savory jam that I couldn’t wait to try on everything.  We ate it on burgers that night which was DELISH – and I had some leftover and my mind started turning for the perfect appetizer combination that would wow a crowd.  Bacon and Brie!  Classic combination!

I used a variation of this recipe to create the jam.  Check it out below and let me know what you all think!

Bacon Bourbon Jam and Baked Brie
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 appetizer servings
 
This bacon jam and baked brie will definitely impress a crowd! The jam will keep for some time in your fridge, so you can make ahead of time and quickly assemble this appetizer.
Ingredients
For the Bacon Jam:
  • 1 lb thick cut bacon
  • 2 tsp. butter
  • 2 yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. dry thyme
  • 3 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp. sherry vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. bourbon
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • ⅓ cup of water
  • 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium wheel of brie
  • 1 sleeve of savory crackers (I chose cracked pepper flavor)
Instructions
  1. Using a cast iron pan, cook the bacon strips until crispy, then set aside. You may need to do this in 2-3 sets because you don't want to overcrowd the pan.
  2. Drain excess bacon grease into a bowl.
  3. Chop your bacon into small pieces.
  4. Put two tsp. of bacon grease back into pan and add butter. Saute onions over medium heat until translucent - about 7 minutes.
  5. Add salt, thyme, brown sugar, sherry vinegar, bourbon, pepper, and cayenne pepper to pan and stir until combined.
  6. Add water and bacon. Stir consistently until mixture results in a "jammy" texture and a red/brown color - about 20 minutes.
  7. Remove from the heat and stir in balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
  8. To heat the brie: Wrap in aluminum foil and bake for about 8-10 minutes (around 375 degrees). Preheat jam before serving. You'll have plenty of extra jam with this recipe.
  9. Serve with crackers and enjoy!

 

 

Greek Shrimp Zoodles and Leftover Breakfast!

Dinner Style!

Nothing makes me happier than using up a bunch of ingredients in the fridge before they’re dunzo.  I feel like I’m helping the environment and that I am a successful produce buyer.  Which doesn’t happen often.  One BIG thing I’m working on is to choose the healthy snack – fruits, veggies, hummus, etc. – over the easy snack.  Like cheese sticks, and yogurt, and taco bell.  Oops.

This meal is a double whammy of veggies – twice!  For dinner and brunch!  SO MANY VEGGIES!  And shrimp which are phenom for you and feta which is a relatively healthy cheese.  It’s why the Mediterranean diet is so good for you!  Oh and yolky, eggy goodness for brunch.

Breakfast Style!

Breakfast Style!

I got back from a fabulous wedding in San Diego last weekend and was amazed by all the delicious food down there!  I had about 6 servings of fish tacos, oysters, lobster tacos (what!?), and cevicé – and every. single. time it was SO good.  All the food was so light and fresh, it made me crave warmer months when we can cook outside and eat all the fruits and veggies in the world.  That aren’t a potato.

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I came back needing some serious vacay rejuvination.  One of those vacations that you need a vacation after.  Not because of stress, but because TOO much fun was had!  We stayed up late dancing, singing karaoke, eating snacky foods, and I firmly believe that flying across the country seriously dehydrates you.  So I hopped to the gym twice (!) this week already, have drank a TON of water, and ate these delicious dishes to get myself back on track.

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I’ve been perusing the Inspiralized blog recipe index to come up with new ideas for veggies to try in the spiralizer!  I’m thinking something *crazy* like celeriac or kohlrabi.  I don’t know what either of those look like, so wish me luck.  Anyhooligans.  If I haven’t convinced you to get a spiralizer yet, hopefully this is the tipping point.  Your belly and brain will thank you for all the extra nutrients!

Greek Shrimp Zoodles and Leftover Breakfast!
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Dish and Breakfast
Cuisine: Greek
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Try these zoodles with fantastic flavors and delicious shrimp - and then use your leftover veggies and cheese for a nutritious breakfast or lunch the next day!
Ingredients
For the Dinner:
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 container cherry tomatoes
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 30 shrimp, shelled deveined
  • 2 tbsp. corn starch
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp. oregano
  • ⅓ cup white wine
  • 5 zucchini, spiralized
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 4 tbsp. feta cheese
For the Breakfast:
  • Any leftover cherry tomatoes and zucchini
  • 4 egg
  • 4 tbsp. feta cheese
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
For the Dinner:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss cherry tomatoes in 1 tbsp. olive oil, garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Bake tomatoes until they are blistered - about 20 minutes.
  3. Toss shrimp in cornstarch, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and oregano. They should be lightly covered.
  4. Heat a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the butter and melt. Add minced garlic and sauté until fragrant.
  5. Add shrimp to sauté pan and cook about 3 minutes on each side.
  6. Add white wine and half the lemon juice to the pan and scrape up any bits browned to the pan. Let simmer until reduced by about half.
  7. Add zucchini noodles and sprinkle with remaining olive oil, salt, and pepper. Sauté until soft - "al dente". They'll have a little crunch to them. Add remaining lemon juice.
  8. Mix in half the feta cheese so it can melt.
  9. Add tomatoes and combine.
  10. After plating, sprinkle with remaining feta cheese
For the breakfast:
  1. Add olive oil to a large sauté pan. Cook any leftover zucchini and cherry tomatoes until warmed and tender.
  2. Crack and egg over the noodles like they're in a "basket".
  3. Cover the pan so they can cook through.
  4. Add feta cheese, salt, and pepper at the end.
  5. Enjoy meal #2!
Notes
Don't add anything to the zucchini noodles for leftovers or they might get mushy in the fridge.

If you don't have a spiralizer, this would be delicious with some whole wheat noodles as well! Add the tomatoes and feta into an egg white omelette the next morning for a double meal.

 

Treat Yo’ Self: The Breakfast Sandwich

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I had to redeem myself this morning after a complete *kitchen FAIL* last night.  I was prepared to make a zucc-noodle+cherry tomatoes+feta+WINE dish for you all, which I whipped up recently and L-O-V-E-D.  But.  Alas.  I had no lemons to add some zest.  I accidentally used smoked paprika instead of regular to recreate my Cajun Seared Salmon.  I put too much oil in the pan and – I kid you not – when I dropped the salmon in, I sprayed hot-paprika-oil all over my beautiful white Michigan shirt and my NECK.  Causing me to burn not only my neck, but the SALMON because I couldn’t flip it in time with the pure CHAOS in the kitchen.  Needless to say, I spent the rest of the night finishing the bottle of wine and licking my wounds.

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AnyHOO.  I woke up this morning and needed a rejuvenation.  A confidence boost.  I went with what I know – the best BFast Sammies in the land.  And darn-it-all, these ARE the best BFast Sammies ever!!!  I do declare.

There’s something magical about oozy yolk and crispy bacon and creamy avocado all combined into one delicious bite.  There’s also something magical about eating a breakfast that is not certified dairy-free, butter-free, cheesy-free, grease-free.  OH and the SPINACH.  I’m not one to just *throw in some spinach!* because I think breakfast should be largely vegetable-free.  But the additional flavor is BOMB DIGGITY and I implore you not to skimp on the spin’ spin’ because it MAKES or BREAKS this sammie.

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So, HUZZAH.  Valentine’s Day is on a lazy, brunchy, Sunday morning this year.  Perfect excuse to whip these up, turn on some superhero movie and just laze away the day.  PS – a mimosa on the side would be perfect.  But, I made these on a weekday morning and let’s be honest, that’s not entirely appropriate to *kick off my Thursday!* with a little mimosa.  So I shall live vicariously through you all when you add some bubbly to your Sunday morning!

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The Breakfast Sandwich
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 sandwiches
 
This classic breakfast sandwich is a real crowd pleaser and perfect for breakfast in bed!
Ingredients
  • 2 english muffins, toasted
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 3 cups spinach
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup shredded cheese - cheddar is best
  • 4 slices bacon
  • ½ avocado, sliced thin
Instructions
  1. Cook your bacon until crispy. If you've got a large crowd, I find it easiest to make the bacon in the oven (375 degrees, about 20 minutes). Set on paper towel to absorb excess grease.
  2. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and swirl to coat. Add spinach and toss to coat with the olive oil. Sauté until wilted and season with salt and pepper. Remove from pan.
  3. In the same pan, fry the eggs over-easy, adding cheese at the end. Cover pan to better melt the cheese.
  4. Toast the english muffins and add the butter immediately after for supreme melting.
  5. Assemble sandwiches - 2 slices of bacon, spinach, ¼ avocado, egg and cheese. Enjoy!

 

Edamame “Hummus” + Vail Adventures

Superbowl Spread! Healthy Style

Superbowl Spread! Healthy Style

A few weeks ago I had the amazing opportunity to fly out to Colorado, drive up through the beautiful mountains, and spend the weekend with 15 friends from high school and college.  My good friend, Hannah, whom I’ve known for over TEN years (OMG!) had all of us to her family’s BEAUTIFUL house overlooking BeaverCreek/Avon.  The view was insane, the food we made was delicious, and the company was even better.

Snowboarding Crew! At the top of the mountain by Two Elks

Snowboarding Crew! At the top of the mountain by Two Elks

I gladly took on the task of planning three giant meals for the crew – I settled on this pulled pork recipe which I’ve made a few times and it’s a real crowd pleaser, Slow Cooker Shredded Mexican Chicken for a taco night, and this delicious spaghetti recipe (minus the green pepper).  All three dinners turned out really well and were so easy for such a large group of people!

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Homemade Crunchwrap Supremes

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I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that Taco Bell Crunchwrap Supreme is my ultimate weakness.  Whether going through the drive-thru at 2AM with our Uber driver (he always gets free tacos) or stopping by when you just can’t cook that night – it’s the ultimate go-to fast food!  And sewwwww not good for you.

Recently, the best thing I’ve discovered is that I can make these at home and they’re 10x better and 10x healthier and 10x more customizable.  AND they’re not that hard!  Once you buy the ingredients, you’ll have them stored for last-minute usage and those weeknights where you need to find the closest bottle of Cabernet and some melty cheese A*S*A*P* are SAVED.

Speaking of Cabernet and melty cheese….SCANDAL COMES BACK NEXT WEEK!  And the Superbowl is on Sunday!! Two “holidays” in one week!  EEK!  And V-Day is next Sunday!! So exciting.  I’ll be posting my Superbowl app that has edamame and dates and olives and…ugh.  Just wait, it’s gonna be completely amazing.

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Strawberry Banana Protein Smoothie Bowl

Feel the Tropical Breeze!

Feel the Tropical Breeze!

This week I was feeling tired of my classic winter breakfast of peanut butter toast or oatmeal topped with cold milk – the way my dad used to make it when I was a kid, the ONLY way.  I had to introduce some fruit into my life and decided to go summer-style with a smoothie bowl.  Topped with peanut butter and chocolate OBVIIIOUSLY.

I know half the country is stuck in their house – a perfect reason to bring out the frozen fruit in the back of your freezer you’ve been *meaning* to bake into a pie all year.  I used strawberries and bananas, but any fruit combinations will do.  Add in a handful of spinach if you’re feeling healthy-ambitious.  I’m thinking a blueberry mango bowl is in my very very near future….

The protein powder and Greek yogurt will keep you feeling full and the frozen fruit factor makes this heavier than a quick drink.  If you haven’t any protein powder, add extra Greek yogurt for your protein boost.  And cacao nibs are optional – but maybe sprinkle some chocolate chips on there 😉  I gotta say, the melty peanut butter makes all the difference though!

Hope you’re enjoying your weekend – rain, snow, or sun!

Strawberry Banana Protein Smoothie Bowl
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast, Smoothie
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 serving
 
Whip up this smoothie bowl for a light lunch or a filling breakfast. It'll make you dream of summer weather!
Ingredients
  • 1 banana, frozen
  • 1 handful strawberry slices, frozen
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 cup cashew milk (Or your milk of choice)
  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. natural peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp. cacao nibs
Instructions
  1. Combine banana, strawberries, protein powder, milk, and Greek yogurt in a blender. Blend until smooth and well-mixed.
  2. Put peanut butter in microwave for 15 seconds, or until melty. Be sure not to overcook or it'll turn into a weird texture
  3. Pour into a bowl. Top with peanut butter and cacao nibs.