Monday, August 12, 2013

Weekly Finds: 8/11/13

Things I read and pinned last week!

Breakfast:

Do It Yourself Egg McMuffins
A step by step tutorial for how to make your own breakfast sandwiches - they will be much healthier than anything you can buy at a fast food restaurant. You can also customize them to your own preferences.

Zucchini, Egg and Goat Cheese Breakfast Casserole
This simple casserole is an easy way to use up fresh produce, and is a healthy and nutritious breakfast. You can make it when having people over for brunch, or serve it with a salad for a light dinner.

Lunch:

Cheesy Mushroom and Herb Quesadillas with Smoky Salsa
These quesadillas are packed with flavor. They use two kinds of cheese, fresh herbs, and the unbeatable combination of onions and mushrooms, and then even better, they're topped with a homemade salsa.

Snacks:

Blueberry Jam - 3 ways
I love jam, especially making it myself. These three recipes give you options to mix and match a lot of fun flavors.

Parmesan Black Pepper and Thyme Crackers
Make these crackers the next time you're attending (or hosting) a party, and everyone will be so impressed! They're super simple to make, and have a great flavor combination. Even better, they can be partially made in advance.

Rosemary Sesame Pecans
Everyone loves cocktail nuts at a party. These are addictive - crispy and crunchy with just a bit of woodsy rosemary. They also make a great gift.

Brie and Fig Bites
I'm sure everyone's mother has brought a wheel of brie, topped with jam, and wrapped in puff pastry to a party. This reinvents that idea, and crosses them with pop-tarts! Fig preserves are used in place of a standard jam, and pie dough is used instead of puff pastry. They are made into little mini bites, so they actually look like mini pies. Genius!

Slow Cooker Chai-Spiced Pear Applesauce
This is the perfect recipe to ease us into fall. Sweet apples and pears are slowly cooked with brown sugar and spices until they fall apart. It will make your entire house smell amazing.

Spiced Peach Jam
More jam! Traditional peach jam is spiced up with the addition of crystallized ginger, lemon zest, and a lot of spices.

Bread:

Apricot Cream Cheese Babka
I've made a traditional chocolate babka before, but this is a completely new invention! It takes the flavors of a cheese danish and transports them into a rich and buttery babka. With babka, you always expect a very high filling to dough ratio, and this doesn't disappoint.

Brie + Jam Pretzel Hand Pies
So you know the fig and brie bites I had up above? And said they were a new take on the typical wrapped brie? Well this one just blew my mind. It takes the traditional brie and jam, but then puts them in a PRETZEL dough!! The mix of salty and sweet must be amazing. I have to try this!

Dinner:

I always love hearing about the journey taken to get to a great recipe. Here, Deb talks about some past failures with tomatoes and pie dough, and how it helped her reach this perfect creation. She describes the combination of "lightly charred and slumped cherry tomatoes, sauteed zucchini, crunchy sweet corn, scallions and parmesan" in a way that makes me want to get this on my plate immediately.

No-Knead Sweet Potato, Pesto, Red Onion and Zucchini Ribbon Pizza
This must be the fastest pizza to make ever - the dough is no-knead, and it's cooked on the grill. The ingredients are not ones you would automatically put together, but still work together perfectly.

Slow Cooker Black Bean Pumpkin Chili
I've seen recipes that use cubed pumpkin or butternut squash in a chili, but this is the first time I've seen actual canned pureed pumpkin in a chili. It helps thicken the chili, and also adds a lot of health benefits.

Sides:

Red Wine and Garlic Mushrooms
Spanish-style mushrooms are cooked with red wine, garlic, and fresh herbs. Have them as a side dish, or as part of a tapas-style meal. In only 20 minutes, you'll be transported to Spain.

Dessert:

How To Make a Pie Crust
A step-by-step tutorial for how to make the perfect pie crust. It gives you many options in terms of equipment, ingredients, and method.

Challah Chocolate Bread Pudding with Chocolate Ganache
Challah makes the best bread puddings. Here, chocolate is both in the pudding, and on top. This very simple, yet very decadent, dessert sounds delicious.

Peach Almond Slab Pie
I've never made a slab pie. It's described as being more about the crust, and a lot easier to serve to a crowd. It's not as messy as a typical pie, that is dripping with fruit juices.

Cake Batter Marshmallows
Making homemade marshmallows is so much fun. They are much better than the sickeningly sweet marshmallows you find in stores, and have a much softer texture. These marshmallows are so cute, with the sprinkles!

Summer Fruit Skillet Cobbler
I love things that can be cooked in a skillet - it gives it that perfectly rustic look. I also love how basic this recipe, and how you can choose whatever fruit you like. It even says that you can use some frozen fruit to bulk up the amount of fruit you use.

Ricotta Cake with Fresh Berries
For some reason we always think of lasagna or ziti when we hear ricotta, and never think of its potential sweet applications. If every other cheese can be used in sweet dishes, why not ricotta? This cake has a creamy texture due to fresh ricotta - make your own, or buy it somewhere that makes it fresh! Then top with fresh summer berries.

Blueberry Cream Cheese Crisp
A typical blueberry crisp that hides a creamy layer of cream cheese underneath the crisp topping. The best of a blueberry crisp and a cheesecake, all in one dessert!

Blueberry Hand Pies with Orange Glaze
These are called hand pies, but to me they just look like pop-tarts! And that's perfect, since I've always wanted to make my own pop-tarts. These have a delicious blueberry filling and then are topped with a sweet orange glaze.

As said by Serious Eats, "A slightly boozy, butterscotch-like ice cream made bright by fresh ripe peaches." Sounds perfect to me!

Butterscotch Tart
This looks to have the perfect tart crust (thanks to Martha Stewart), and a creamy butterscotch filling. I would love to play around with the filling, to make a cinnamon or nutmeg tart.

Blueberry-Strawberry Pie
This pie is gorgeous. It's topped with a lattice crust, and the filling looks to be of the perfect consistency - no running at all. The crust has a tiny bit of rosemary in it, to complement the fruit flavors perfectly.

Fitness:

Sexy in Shorts Workout
This workout promises to be butt-firming, thigh-sculpting, and calf-toning, and to get your legs in gear for summer shorts. You do 10 different exercises to target those muscles.

Beginners Lower Body Workout
Another workout for your lower body - this one can be completed without any equipment at all. It has just 6 exercises that you go through in a circuit, repeating 5 times. It is meant for those who are just starting out.

45-Minute Treadmill Workout
Want to build hills into your run, but don't have any in your neighborhood? You can do it on a treadmill!

Cooking Tips:

Herb-Infused Olive Oil Ice Cubes
This is the perfect way to preserve fresh herbs from the summer. Simply put different kinds of fresh herbs in the wells of an ice cube tray, and then cover with olive oil. Freeze, then pop them out and store them in the freezer. Just use the oil while cooking as you normally would, and you add a ton of flavor.

How to Boil Brown Rice (Like Pasta)
When making rice, we always measure out a specific amount of water, so that it is all absorbed by the time the rice is cooked. But sometimes that doesn't work - either the rice will still be crunchy by the time the water is gone, or there will be extra water by the time the rice is cooked. By cooking like pasta, and then draining, you can get perfectly cooked rice every time, and in much less time.

Food for Thought:

Bullying in the workplace Do you have a co-worker you just love to hate? Someone who always finds a way to put you down, and brings everyone down with his/her negativity? You're not alone.

Open apology letter
This letter made me want to cry - it is written by a woman who used to work at a popular weight loss company, and is written to all of her former clients. She apologizes to them for just following the company rules, and forcing them to adhere to ridiculous diets. Some of her clients were teenage girls who had no business going to a weight loss company.

10 Unbelievable Diet Rules Backed by Science I always scoff when I hear about some ridiculous diet or fad, but these are apparently backed by science. Interesting to know.