Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Blueberry Almond French Toast Bake

This past week was Shawn's week off which equals one of my favorite things...breakfast in bed! I'm still trying to cook and bake a little on the healthier side than usual for now. When I'm trying to be healthy...Ellie Krieger is my best friend. Shawn and I both LOVE french toast and Ellie Krieger has a couple french toast bake recipes I have been intrigued by.

Whats great about them is you put it all together the night before and just pop it in the oven so you can cuddle up in bed with your loved one until the wonderful scent of cinnamon and toast awakens your bellies :) I chose to do her blueberry almond one because I've always read that both blueberries and almonds help reduce belly fat, and lets face it, I could use the help...especially seeing as to how my man is home only once a month. This was super yummy and satisfying. We ate it warm out of the oven on top of vanilla yogurt with a drizzle of sugar-free syrup and a touch of powdered sugar. As one can probably assume, I got this recipe off of the

Blueberry Almond French Toast Bake


Cooking spray
1 whole-wheat baguette (about 18 inches long, 8 ounces), cut into 1-inch cubes
8 large eggs
8 large egg whites
2 cups 1 percent lowfat milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 cups fresh blueberries
1/3 cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

Spray a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Arrange the bread in a single layer in the baking pan. Whisk together the eggs, egg whites, milk, vanilla, cinnamon and maple syrup. Pour the egg mixture over the bread in the pan, spreading it around so the liquid saturates the bread. Scatter the blueberries evenly on top and sprinkle with the almonds and brown sugar. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Uncover the baking pan and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Serve warm, cold or at room temperature.

Per Serving:

Calories 270; Total Fat 8 g; (Sat Fat 2.5 g, Mono Fat 2 g, Poly Fat 0.75 g) ; Protein 16 g; Carb 35 g; Fiber 3 g; Cholesterol 220 mg; Sodium 280 mg

Excellent source of: Protein, Riboflavin, Iodine, Manganese, Selenium
Good source of: Fiber, Vitamin K, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tilapia Fish Tacos with Chipotle Cream

As much as I love baking I have to hold off a little bit once again. I've gained a lot more weight than I need...of course not all of it is from baking...I had gotten out of my workout routine and my portion control habits. It has caught up with me so for now, I am cooking mostly healthy and only baking for special occasions (we'll see how long this lasts :))

I LOVE fish tacos and found an Ellie Krieger recipe from none other than The chipotle cream was delicious. I only changed a couple things. I added onions with the corn and sauted them for a couple minutes in a pan and I also doubled the chipotle because I love me some spicy :)


2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound white flaky fish fillet, like tilapia or halibut

Chipotle cream:
1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons chipotle pepper, in adobo sauce

8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1 1/2 cups shredded green cabbage or lettuce
1/2 cup corn kernels (thawed if frozen)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
Lime wedges


In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lime juice, salt and pepper. Pour over the fish fillets and let marinate for 20 minutes. Put the yogurt into a strainer lined with apaper towel and place over a bowl to drain and thicken for 20 minutes.

Remove the fish from the marinade and grill on a preheated grill or nonstick grill pan over a medium-high heat until cooked thorough, about 3 minutes per side. Set the fish aside on a plate for 5 minutes.

In a small bowl combine the thickened yogurt, mayonnaise, and chipotle pepper.

Heat the tortillas on the grill or grill pan for 30 seconds on each side.

Flake the fish with a fork. Top each tortilla with 1 tablespoon of the chipotle cream. Top with fish, cabbage, corn and cilantro and serve with lime wedges.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pug Crunchies (Dog Treats!)

I have wanted a pug for as long as I can remember. I'm not really sure when or how the "obsession" came about. There's something about their smashed little faces and big sad eyes that charm me to no end. I just simply adore them. Growing up I knew I always wanted a little guy but was waiting for the right time. I am moving into the beautiful, rustic German Village (my absolute favorite neighborhood) of Columbus in a couple months and found this little guy online. Instantly I knew I had to have him...he just had my heart in 2 seconds flat. I placed a down payment and he was mine. I've had him for almost a month now and he's my little baby who drives me crazy at times...but it's a crazy well worth it.

I pondered over his name for a while and decided that Kirby fit. My dad has been telling me for years to name my dog Kirby after Kirby Puckett. He's a hyper funny little guy. He chases his own tail and likes to sit on my neck. He loves giving kisses and he could play for hours. The cutest thing of all is when he gets his binky in his mouth he runs in circles around the room and prances around. He's smart...yet stubborn which is where I lose my patience. Sometimes I feel bad for yelling at him...and what do I do when I need to say "sorry"? I bake!

I've come across numerous dog treat and dog cookie recipes online. Many of them have lots of butters, sugars and oils. I'm a little weary of those as pugs can easily become me, they are overeaters. I searched for pug treats and found these pug crunchies. I don't recall where I found it...I just jotted down the rather vague and simple recipe. Obviously any dog can probably eat these.What's great is you can experiment with dog treats, and they just appreciate that their treats were made with love, regardless of how they turned out.

Kirby loved these...he actually went a little crazy for them. And as far as I can tell they are good for him!

Pug Crunchies (the origional recipe was vague, so I experimented with it and hope that I made it more clear)


1 large jar of baby food (I got a 6 ounce jar of turkey and rice)
1 egg
1-1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour (depending on what size jar you buy...I found that almost 1 1/2 cups worked nicely. Just add until it becomes a consistency that you can roll out)
1/2 cup wheat germ


Preheat oven 300F (I thought this was a little low/odd but followed it anyway, it took a while but worked, maybe thats why they turn out so crunchy)

Mix all ingredients, starting with all wet ingredients then slowly add in the dry ingredients until dough reaches desired consistency.

Roll dough out onto flat surface, dusting with flour as needed. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters (I used little doggie bones :))

Bake on ungreased baking sheet for about 45-60 minutes. I found that baking for 55 minutes works and then let them finish outside of the oven on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes.

Baby boy begging for more treats! :)


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Homemade Chipotle Ranch on My Pretty Rainbow Salad

Last week I ate a LOT of salad and experimented with throwing all kinds of crap in them. I couldn't even tell you half of what is in this salad except that I topped them with buffalo wing pretzels and it was sooooo good! I am not afraid to do weird things to my food, you never know what might work. I think there are tomatos and peppers in there as well as long as whatever else I could find in my kitchen :)

Anyways, I am a huge fan of making my own dressing..its easy, cheap and has waaaay less sodium and crap than the storebought stuff. I was inspired to make a ranch based off of Ellie Kriegers recipe on I put my own little twists on it to satisfy my personal taste buds.

Homemade Chipotle Ranch Dressing


1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt, or 1/3 cup nonfat Greek style yogurt
1/3 cup lowfat buttermilk
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
1/2 tablespoon dry parsely
1/2 tablespoon dry cilantro
2 teaspoons chopped chipotle in adobo sauce
equal pinches of cayenne pepper, cumin and paprika


If using plain yogurt, place it in a strainer lined with a paper towel and place the strainer over a bowl. Let the yogurt drain and thicken for 20 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine the strained or Greek-style yogurt and the rest of the ingredients. Add salt, to taste.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Highly Anticipated Troy Strawberry Festival

Every year, during the first weekend of June, I have a huge grin and an even bigger belly. I grew up in a southwest Ohio town known as Troy. Each year they host the Strawberry Festival. It is like Christmas for those of us who grew up there. There is so much great food and you get to see friends you haven't seen in a while. Troy is one of those towns where you are destined to run into anyone and everyone you know...whether you want to or not.

The Strawberry Festival is my excuse to indulge in all that is fried, sweet, name it. They have strawberry popcorn, strawberry salsa, fried strawberries and more. My most favorite things of all are the strawberry donuts. They are AMAZING and soooo worth the sometimes hour plus wait. They are just strawberry cake donuts with a yummy glaze best eaten warm right out of the fryer. Maybe what makes them so appealing and oh-so-yummy are the fact that you can only get them once a the Strawberry Festival.

Every year, it is generally the same thing. Friday night you watch the bed races, go to the local downtown bars and get some absolute strawberry shots with family and friends and catch up with everyone else who came to town for this wonderful event. Then saturday afternoon you head to the levy by the river and INDULGE!

I get the same things. I begin by waiting in the long line, drooling and anticipating the sweet heaven that is those strawberry donuts. Then I get a texas tenderloin with mustard pickles and onions. I usually pair that up with some greasy fair fries with salt and vinegar. My mom always gets the chicken dinner which is awesome (I end up eating half of it). I then stop at the booth that my favorite teacher of all time (6th grade social studies, Mr. Barret. Funniest nicest guy in the world). In between all of that I enjoy free samples of popcorn and salsa and gulp down the wonderful strawberry lemon shake-ups. If I'm not too sick yet I get chocolate covered strawberries and strawberry shortcake. :):):)

I shall take you on a tour of the good eats that is Troy, Ohio

The sinful absolute strawberry shot. A strawberry soaked in absolute and my family have made a tradition of having too many of these.

This is such a "Tarrah" snack it's ridiculous! A jalepeno cheese stuffed pretzel from the bar Dunaways

Dunaways is known for its pizza. My cousin got the pepperoni (boring!). I got the white pizza with spinach...delish!

Alas, victory is mine, strawberry donuts are in my possession! (I apologize for the blurry photos...I may have been too excited)

My texas tenderloin...mmm...grease!

Moms chicken

Cheesecake is in my top 3 favorite foods. This cheesecake with fresh strawberries and whipped cream is to die for!

They had strawberry cupcakes! I've been making strawberry cupcakes a lot lately and was on the verge of exploding at this point so I didn't have any but I'm sure they were fabulous!

Man I wish I had room for funnel cake!

I'm sure it goes without saying that I usually leave the Strawberry Festival having gained a significant amount of weight...but is it worth it? OH YES! Come to think of it...I have some strawberry donuts in the freezer...yay! :)


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Outrageous Brownies

I was finally able to say "thank-you" to Shawns family the way I like to. They have been so kind with including me and inviting me to their home to meet their family. Last time, I made them No-Bake Cookies but they didn't set in time. This time, they invited me to their memorial day cookout so I was prepared and baked some brownies the night before. I have had my eye on these Outrageout Brownies from Ina Garten on the These have seriously been in my recipe box for over a year. They have rave reviews and also I think we have a similar brownie at the bakery I work at (Bakery Gingham) and it is just FABULOUS and fudgey!

These turned out pretty good except for one thing...mine were a little crumbly and I think I know why. I was getting impatient with the cooling process and added the warm chocolate mixture to the egg mixture a little too soon, I think the chocolate was a little too warm for the please wait because these will be the best brownies you ever had! Nonetheless, I ate like half the enjoy! (ps, origional recipe calls for walnuts which I ommited, also it makes a TON of they're GREAT for a crowd)

Outrageous Brownies


1 pound unsalted butter
1 pound plus 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
6 extra-large eggs
3 tablespoons instant coffee granules
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter and flour a 12 x 18 x 1-inch baking sheet.

Melt together the butter, 1 pound of chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate in a medium bowl over simmering water. Allow to cool slightly. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee granules, vanilla, and sugar. Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, sift together 1 cup of flour, the baking powder, and salt. Add to the cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and 12 ounces of chocolate chips in a medium bowl with 1/4 cup of flour, then add them to the chocolate batter. Pour into the baking sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes, then rap the baking sheet against the oven shelf to force the air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Bake for about 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake! Allow to cool thoroughly, refrigerate, and cut into 20 large squares.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Grilled Salmon with a Brown Sugar and Mustard Glaze

I am a huge fan of Bobby Flay. He is definitely one of my favorite celebrity chefs. His southwest cooking style suits my personal tastebuds very well. Not only that but he's a grilling man and there is nothing I find more sexy than a man working a grill...(one who knows what he's doing at that) :) I don't get a chance to make much of Bobby Flays food but I took advantage when I had some salmon in the freezer. I actually have a go-to grilled salmon recipe that is an asian bbq grilled salmon recipe that is phenomenal but I wanted to try something new. I did a quick search on and found a yummy recipe by none other than Bobby Flay. This was easy and delicous. It was pretty sweet but not too sweet in my opionin.Yummy!

Grilled Salmon with a Brown Sugar and Mustard Glaze


3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
Vegetable oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 salmon fillets, 6 ounces each


On the side burner, melt the brown sugar, honey and butter in a small saute pan over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat and whisk in the mustard, soy sauce, olive oil and ginger. Let cool.

Preheat grill to medium heat. Brush salmon with vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place the salmon skin side down on the grill. Coat the flesh of the salmon fillets with the brown sugar mixture. Grill for 6 to 8 minutes to medium doneness, turning once after 5 to 6 minutes.

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