Blueberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

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Happy belated New Year everyone! I hope the new year is bringing you amazing things and you are staying warm, unlike the Chiberia weather we are experiencing this year. 2013 was a great year filled with many celebrations, but I’m incredibly excited for 2014 and feel a lot of productive vibes on the horizon!

I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for a while now. I got the recipe from the owner of this awesome bed and breakfast we stayed at when we visited Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada last year. We fell in love with that small vineyard town and if you ever make it there , which I seriously recommend you do, stay at The Vineyards Bed & Breakfast. It is clear that the owners are truly passionate about what they do. They went above and beyond for all of us. Patricia & Frank – thanks again for making our stay so memorable. So sorry for the delay on this!

Without further adieu…

Blueberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

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Ingredients:

I made 2 cups of a gluten-free flour mix using (you’ll have a little left over):
1 cup rice flour (I used white rice flour)
1/2 cup all purpose gluten-free flour
1/4 tapioca flour
1/4 potato starch

Feel free to experiment and use a different blend of gluten-free flours, but make sure it equals 2 cups. Or if you want to make this recipe gluten-full, you can always just use all-purpose flour.

Streusel Topping:

1/3 cup gluten-free flour mix
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Cream Cheese Filling:

8 ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (peel)
1 tablespoon gluten-free flour mix

Cake Batter:

1 cup gluten-free flour mix
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
1 cup fresh blueberries (or any berry of your choice)

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Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Butter a 9 inch baking pan and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper
  • For streussel topping…In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, and ground cinnamon. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or fork until it resembles coarse crumbs
  • For cream cheese filling…In your electric mixer or food processor, beat the cream cheese until creamy and smooth. Add the rest of the filling ingredients and beat until smooth and creamy
  • For cake batter…In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt
  • In the bowl of your electric mixer, with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth and creamy. 
  • Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy
  • Add the egg and vanilla and beat until incorporated
  • Add the flour mixture, alternately with the milk, and beat only until combined
  • Spread the batter onto the bottom, and slightly up the sides, of the prepared pan
  • Spread the cream cheese filling over the cake batter
  • Scatter the fresh berries over the filling and top with the streusel
  • Bake for about 60 to 70 minutes or until the streusel is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean
  • Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool slightly
  • Serve warm or at room temperature

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Until next time…

xoxo, Sylvia

No-Bake Pretzel & Almond Butter Squares

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Hi there!

Holy crap it’s been forever since I’ve posted anything on here. I’ve been so busy trying to build my photography business (check out http://www.sylviastutzphotography.com) that I haven’t had time nor the space on my computer to work on my second passion, Reel Flavor and cooking :). I’m trying to get better and back on it though. While I can’t make any guarantees, I promise to try and keep it up. I know many of you have said that you have missed my recipes, so friends, this one is for you :).

These No-Bake Pretzel & Almond Butter Squares are perfect just in time for Christmas! They are delicious and addicting. I have warned you ahead of time, so you can’t blame me if you pack on a few pounds. But luckily this is healthy treat…almond butter, coconut oil, dark chocolate. Hey, it could be worse, right? Enjoy!
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Ingredients:
1 cup + 1/4 cup all natural almond butter
1.5 cups powdered sugar
4 tbsp coconut oil, melted
2-3 cups gluten free (or regular) pretzels (depending on how crunchy you like it), crushed in a food processor
1.5 cups dark chocolate chips
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Method:

  • Run your pretzels through the food processor until they are crushed up into pretty small pieces – doesn’t need to be perfect
  • In a large mixing bowl combine crushed pretzels, melted coconut oil, powdered sugar and 1 cup almond butter until everything is well mixed throughout using a mixing spoon
  • Combine dark chocolate chips and 1/4 cup almond butter in a microwaveable bowl
  • Heat in microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between each round until chocolate and almond butter are completely melted and blended together
  • Spread pretzel-almond butter mixture into a rectangular casserole dish and make sure that layer is evened out using a spoon
  • Then pour over the chocolate mixture and even it out into the corners and all over using a spoon
  • Let set in refrigerator for about an hour, cut into squares and enjoy!

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Monterey Jack Quinoa Bake

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Well hello, it's been forever! There's so much going on in our lives lately I just can't seem to find enough time to blog these days. Life's got to slow down at some point, right? Probably not…

Anyways, so I partnered up with my friends at Yankee Hollow again and made this dish using their Monterey Jack cheese. You may remember my Mac & Baby Swiss recipe from not too long ago. That was another cheese I had the pleasure of working with. Seriously people, their cheeses are delish. You can taste the quality, and if you're a cheese lover like myself, you should definitely check them out. They deliver local artisan cheeses right to your door. Amazing.

This time around I worked with their Monterey Jack from Maple Leaf Cheese, which is mild yet rich with a subtle sweetness to it. I think it goes great with garlic and a little spice, which gives this dish a great kick of flavor. Now I'll warn you that this dish is not in the least bit healthy, but I can guarantee IT IS delicious! Not completely sold on quinoa or you might be thinking to yourself, what the hell is that? Well you'll be sold after trying this and you can read up on it here. It's a whole hell of a lot better for you than rice, it's gluten-free and I prefer the taste. Regardless, how can anyone not love some cheesy goodness like this? Add some onions, garlic, jalapenos, red peppers and top with some tortilla chips and you're in quinoa heaven!
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Ingredients:
6 slices of bacon, cut into small pieces (optional – cut this out and you've got an amazing vegetarian dish, but then you'll need to add some canola oil to sweat the veggies)
1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup milk
About 8 oz. Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup fat free plain Greek yogurt
1/2 tbsp paprika
2 corn tortillas
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 red onion, diced
4 green onions, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Generous handful of tortilla chips crumbled up for topping
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Method:
  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Add bacon to a medium pot and and cook on medium heat
  • Once fat from bacon starts to coat the bottom of your pot add in you red onion, red pepper and jalapeno and let sweat for a few minutes
  • Toss in garlic, stir and sweat for about 30 seconds and then pour in the quinoa and let that toast for about 30-45 seconds
  • Pour in your water, stir and let simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes
  • Add milk and let everything cook for another 5 minutes or so – you don't want your quinoa to be overcooked and mushy – should be soft but still have a bit of a bite to it
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste – start slow and add more after you add cheese if you think you need it
  • Combine Greek yogurt and paprika in a bowl then add to pot and stir
  • Throw in the most of the Monterey Jack cheese (leave a little bit behind for topping), stir and remove from heat
  • Add in cilantro and about 1/2 of your green onions and stir
  • Spray the bottom of a casserole dish with cooking spray – I found that a square 9×9 dish worked great for this
  • Tear up your corn tortillas and place at the bottom of casserole dish
  • Add the cheesy quinoa deliciousness over top and fill the dish
  • Top with rest of cheese and tortilla chip crumbles
  • Bake for 30 minutes
  • Serve garnished with a little extra green onions on top
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Light Veggie Pasta Salad

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Pasta salad is one of those things that is yummy and so easy to make, yet I rarely ever make it. It's perfect for weekday meals. Cook up a huge batch and then eat the leftovers for lunch or even dinner. And this version is literally guilt free.

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Ingredients:
12 oz. box of gluten-free or regular fusilli or penne pasta
3/4-1 cup fat free plain Greek yogurt (I love to use Chobani)
1/4 cup mayonnaise (optional) – if you don't use mayo, then add more Chobani – you might also need to add more salt & pepper, but give it a taste test and add more seasoning if you feel like you need it :)
About 3/4 cup sliced black olives
About 6 cherry tomatoes, cut into halves or quarters if you like extra small bites
About 4 mini sweet red, orange and/or yellow peppers, thinly sliced
Handful of arugula
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Handful of crumbled feta cheese
Salt & pepper to taste
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Method:

  • Boil pasta in a pot of boiling water
  • Drain pasta
  • Mix all ingredients and season with salt and pepper until it tastes right to you

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Honey Waffles Topped with Pears, Feta & Fried Eggs

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Happy National Waffle Day!!! Who doesn’t like waffles? And my new favorite thing is to top basically anything with a fried egg and let the yolk ooze all over everything. However, if you’re not a fan of eggs you can go without. I personally just think the blend of yolk, honey, waffle, sweet pears and feta just really work together. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
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Ingredients:
Your favorite waffle mix (I usually use Bisquick’s gluten-free mix and they sell it in most grocery stores now)
1 pear, thinly sliced (good to top about 3-4 waffles)
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp unsalted butter
Honey
Crumbled feta cheese
Eggs (one per waffle)
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Directions:

  • Mix together your choice of waffle mix following the instructions on the box or in the recipe
  • Make waffles using waffle maker and set aside
  • Slice up pears into thin slices
  • Melt butter in a skilet and add in pears cook them down a little until they start getting soft
  • Add in brown sugar and stir and continue to saute until pears are nice and mushy
  • Fry up your eggs sunny side up, season with a little bit of salt and set aside
  • Start plating: place your waffle(s) on bottom of plate, then drizzle with a generous amount of honey (eye ball it), top with some pears, a good pinch of feta cheese, and then top everything with 1 fried egg
  • Crack that yolk open and enjoy some oozy sweet and salty goodness!

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9 Amazing Shrimp Recipes You Must Try!

9 Shrimp Recipes

Hey Kids! I'm in the mood for some shrimp today. How bout you? Here's a little #tbt post with some of my past shrimp recipes I've made on the ol' bloggaroo. Hope you enjoy!

1. Spicy Shrimp & Black Bean Lettuce Wraps
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2. Oaxacan Shrimp Tacos
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3. Brown Sugar & Garlic Shrimp Tostadas
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4. Thai Shrimp Ceviche
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5. Grilled Shrimp & Pineapple
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6. Shrimp, Pesto & Pine Nut Pizza
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7. Szechuan Shrimp Pad Thai
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8. Cajun Shrimp & Sausage Eggs Benedict
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9. Shrimp & Grits with Chorizo Queso Sauce
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It's always fun to see some of my old photos and how bad they were. Practice makes…well, not perfect but better :)!

xoxo!

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Grilled Buffalo Chicken Flatbread Pizza

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I love buffalo chicken wings, buffalo chicken dip…basically anything with buffalo sauce on it I'm a fan of. Andy, my brother Peter, and I were flying out of Buffalo, NY a few weeks ago after our Canada trip, so we decided we might as well go check out the home of the original buffalo chicken wing, Anchor Bar. The wings were delicious and I loved the sauce. Their wings are traditional and they have definitely mastered the tradition. I bought a bottle of their hot buffalo sauce, like I always do when I travel and try things I love, so I used it on this grilled flatbread pizza. Hope you enjoy and have a fabulous weekend!
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Ingredients:
Uncooked pizza dough (I use Chebe's gluten-free pizza dough)
2 chicken breasts, seasoned with salt and pepper and pan fried
About 1/2 cup of ranch or bleu cheese dressing (I made mine using Mom's Place Gluten Free's ranch dressing mix)

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8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 large celery stalk, thinly sliced
1/2 cup buffalo sauce (depending on how buffalo-ey you like it, you can use less or more)
3 green onions, sliced – I like to use the green and the white parts
Handful of crumbled bleu cheese
Method:

  • Prep your chicken, celery and green onions as listed above
  • Slice up your cooked chicken into small pieces and toss with 2-3 tbsp buffalo sauce – set aside
  • Turn two burners on high on one half of your grill and leave the burners on other half of grill off – let it heat up
  • Roll your dough out thin and transfer to grill – place dough on the unlit half of your grill
  • Now time to dress your pizza…
  • Put a base layer of ranch dressing down, then celery, chicken, and top with mozzarella and bleu cheese
  • Close your lid and let cook for about 25-30 minutes
  • Remove from grill top and with green onions and drizzle buffalo sauce all over and serve!

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Hot Peaches & Cream

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I got the idea for this recipe from Food Network Magazine, but tweaked it quite a bit to make it my own. It's hot, sweet, a bit caramelized and of course, peachy. It's a perfectly light dessert that leaves you feeling guilt free, even if you do decide to go back for seconds.
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Ingredients:
2 peaches
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/3 cup of Bailey's
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese at room temperature
About 1/2 tbsp agave nectar or honey
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Method:

  • Slice peaches in half removing the pit
  • In a cast iron skillet melt butter and then add Bailey's, brown sugar, and peaches cut side up, and simmer until bottoms of peaches begin to soften
  • Meanwhile combine mascarpone and agave nectar in a small bowl – taste and add more nectar if it isn't sweet enough for you
  • Turn broiler on and let that heat up a bit
  • Sprinkle the cut sides with granulated sugar and then pop in oven and broil for a few minutes – peaches should have a few char marks on them
  • Serve peaches hot and with cream

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Strawberry, Rhubarb & Pineapple Crisp

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Tonight is a big night for the Stutz's. Pearl Jam is playing at Wrigley Field and we're going! I don't usually like to enter ballparks, but if there is absolutely no baseball playing and there is good music and booze involved, hey, I'm in! I hope you have some fun in store for this weekend, and if you get a chance, I highly recommend you make this crisp recipe.
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Seriously, how can you go wrong with that much butter and sugar? It's impossible! Serve it up with some vanilla ice cream and you may just finish the whole dish in one sitting. It's that addicting.
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Ingredients:
Vanilla ice cream, for serving
For filling:
4 cups fresh strawberries, stems removed & cut in quarters
1 large stalk of rhubarb, diced
2 cups pineapple, diced
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1 tbsp cornstarch
For crisp:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup loose gluten-free granola
1.5 sticks of cold unsalted butter, cubed
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Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF
  • Cut up strawberries, rhubarb and pineapple and transfer to a large mixing bowl
  • Add 3/4 cup granulated sugar to bowl and mix through
  • Combine pineapple juice and cornstarch thoroughly and then pour over fruit/sugar mixture, mix and coat everything
  • Transfer to 9×13 baking dish and set aside
  • In a food processor combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, flour, salt and graham crackers (pulse…pulse…pulse…)
  • Add butter to food processor and process until dry ingredients are a bit moist
  • Crumble crisp over top of the fruit in baking dish then sprinkle your granola over top of that
  • Bake at 350 for 1 hour and then turn the oven to broil and broil for an extra 7-10 minutes if you like it extra crispy – if your crisp is already crispy enough after the 1 hour then don't broil…use your good judgement here
  • Serve with vanilla ice cream!

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Check out the how-to recipe reel for my Strawberry, Rhubarb & Pineapple Crisp:

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Kale Salad with Spicy Balsamic Vinaigrette

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Andy and I had the opportunity to take a vegan cooking class on Monday through one of his many awesome connections. I'm always amazed by his ability to meet and network with really talented people. He has always been a connections guy…I wasn't born with that ability, unfortunately. This connection of his just happened to share my same passion – cooking. I'll be honest though, I don't have a lot of experience with or knowledge in vegan cooking, so having the opportunity to learn some tips from the experts at Centered Chef, where they believe good nutrition is at the core of fueling a healthy mind, body and soul, was an excellent and really fun opportunity for me. I was a huge fan of my experience and the food that we created that night was amazing. I highly recommend that all my friends in Chicago check them out! Oh and they do more than just vegan cuisine, I just happened to attend vegan night.

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This kale salad is adapted from the kale salad we made at Centered Chef. I never quite knew how to make a successful kale salad that didn't have that tough bitterness come through in every bite. I learned that I was cutting the kale wrong and you actually need to let the leaves sit in the dressing a bit to help break it down. I think this would make a perfect lunch, appetizer or side.

Ingredients: Serves 4
For balsamic vinaigrette:
1.5 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1.5 agave nectar
1 tbsp spicy brown mustard (or you can use Dijon if you don't want it too spicy)
1 tbsp grape seed or olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt to taste
To Assemble:
4-5 cups of kale, rinsed and dried and stems removed
1/8 of red onion, cut into thin strips 1/8″ wide
1/4 cup granny smith apple, diced or thinly sliced – up to you
2 small sweet red, orange or yellow peppers, sliced thinly
About 2 tbsp walnuts, toasted & chopped

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Method:

For vinaigrette:

  • Whisk all ingredients together and place in refrigerator to chill

To make salad:

  • Thinly slice kale leaves into ribbons, about 1/8″ thick by 3″ long – basically roll up leaves and slice through thinly
  • Add all ingredients to salad and toss with vinaigrette
  • Let kale rest for 10-15 minutes with vinaigrette so the kale can slightly wilt and soften up a bit
  • Plate and serve
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Oaxacan Shrimp Tacos

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For my husbands birthday I got him a Rare Beer Club membership, and promised that I would create food pairings with each beer once a month. While I can't drink the beer he is having, I am doing research on foods that would work well with these specific types of beers. I will save the specific beer details and the entire evening's pairings for another post, but this month's beer paired well with spicy or Mexican foods – Oaxacan to be exact. So I decided I'd make some Oaxacan shrimp tacos! And you know how much I love tacos :).
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The marinade on this shrimp is packed full of fresh herby and garlicky flavors. A little bit of heat from the crushed red pepper flakes, paprika and garlic, but not too much. It was pretty subtle. So even those who are a wee bit sensitive to spicy foods will probably be able to handle this one. When I made the marinade I couldn't stop tasting it, it was just so delicious. I swear I could drink that stuff and I would be satisfied!

Ingredients:
About 1.5 lbs. of raw shrimp, detailed and deveined
Corn tortillas
For marinade:
3/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup fresh cilantro parsley

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1/2 cup fresh cilantro

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4-5 cloves of garlic (depending on how garlicky you like it – I say 6! I love it and want some more of it!)
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper to taste (start with about 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and then add more if your taste buds desire more)
Garnish: Cheese, guacamole and whatever else you're craving!

*** You will need a blender for this recipe
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Method:

  • Throw all marinade ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth (no big chunks of herbs or garlic)
  • Combine raw shrimp and marinade in a bowl, cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes
  • Saute in a skillet on medium heat until shrimp is just pink
  • Warm up corn tortillas using stove or microwave
  • Serve as a taco and add your toppings of choice – I used cheese and guacamole and it was fabulous!

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Roasted Beet & Fresh Apple Salad Topped with Feta & Toasted Chickpeas

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In an effort to juggle all of my hobbies, Reel Flavor, and our continuously hectic social and family lives, I've decided to switch to only one video recipe and one to two recipes without videos a week. I was spending so much time editing videos that it had become incredibly overwhelming keeping up with everything. This way I can focus on creating videos for the recipes I think our viewers would benefit from the most – those involving more steps and that require more than just a basic skill set. Who knows, maybe if/when (yeah right) our lives slow down a bit I'll be able to bump up the amount of videos again. But for now I'm just trying to simplify my life where I can!

With that said, the month of June was packed full of photography classes, social events and a fishing trip to Rhinelander, WI, with our good friends Anna and Abe. I'm not really the outdoorsy type of girl. I like the idea of being outdoorsy, but when it comes down to it the bugs and the dirt really freak me out. Call me a baby, that's fine. Our friend Anna is expecting and should have been the high maintenance one, but no, it was me. I spent the entire week leading up to the trip doing research on how to avoid ticks, how to escape a bear attack, and what bug sprays were best. You would have thought I was going into the Amazon or something. The entire time I felt itchy and was religiously examining every inch of my body for ticks. In the end I was THE ONLY ONE in the WHOLE GROUP the ENTIRE weekend that found a tick on them. Moral of the story, I need to shut up and man it up next time. I think that was God playing a little joke on me. Of course I'd be the one who got a tick. I did capture some really pretty photos though. Here are a few. Wisconsin is a truly beautiful and serene place.

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The moss deep in the woods (or what I considered to be deep in the woods).

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We also just got back from the Niagara region of Canada. I'll post a few of those pics next week.

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Now, on to this delicious recipe. I've been meaning to try toasting chickpeas for what seems like forever. I don't know why it took me so long, but I just kept putting it off. They are so incredibly simple and addicting! I want to toast some more just to keep around as a snack. I love how all the flavors mesh so well together in this salad. It's a perfectly light yet filling salad for summer.

Ingredients: Serves 2
1/2 green apple, thinly slice
About 1 tbsp feta cheese per salad
For chickpeas:
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt
White (or black) pepper
About 1/2 tsp Garam Masala seasoning
For arugula:
3-4 cups arugula
1-2 tbsp olive oil
Salt & black pepper to taste
Small squeeze of fresh lemon juice
For beets:
3-4 beets, stems removed, skins still on
About 1 tbsp olive oil
Little salt

***You will need a large piece of aluminum foil to wrap the beets in for roasting

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Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375
  • Meanwhile, place beets on aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with a little salt, and wrap them up sealing the foil so none of the juices run out during roasting
  • Place chickpeas on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, season with Garam Masala, salt and pepper, and toss using your hands to coat them all
  • Place both the beets and chickpeas in the oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes – I like my chickpeas nice and crunchy :)
  • While those are baking, slice up your apple and set aside, and toss all of the arugula ingredients in medium bowl
  • Remove everything from the oven and let beets cool for a little bit until you can handle them
  • Remove skins – they should come off easily with your fingers or using a small knife to peel them a  bit
  • Slice up beets to about a cm thickness
  • Place slices on plate, top with some arugula, then apples, and finish with feta and chickpeas
  • Serve!
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Mac & Baby Swiss with Roasted Garlic & Sun-dried Tomatoes

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I bet you thought that I forgot about you and Reel Flavor. Don't worry…I'm back! It has been a crazy hectic month or so, but my life should hopefully die down at least a little bit for the rest of the summer. Here's to wishful thinking :).

I had the pleasure of using some really delicious baby swiss cheese for today's recipe, provided by Yankee Hollow, a new website where you can sign up for their US artisan cheese of the month club. If you are a cheese lover, which I feel like most are, you should definitely check out their website! The baby swiss I used in this recipe is made by Deppeler's Cheese Factory, which is a Wisconsin based cheese company. Their baby swiss is really amazing – super creamy and packed full of flavor. You know how some Swiss cheeses lack overall flavor? Not this one. You've got to try it out! I'm looking forward to working with Yankee Hollow and their amazing cheeses again soon!

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This mac & swiss recipe may be one of my best mac n cheese creations and I didn't even use cheddar! I don't feel like it was missing it either. I hope you enjoy it and I promise I will have more recipes for you soon! I won't leave you high and dry for as long this next time :).

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Ingredients:
2 cups macaroni pasta (I used gluten-free macaroni
2 cups shredded baby swiss cheese + a little extra for topping (I reckon you could use regular swiss if you don't have baby swiss, but make sure it's a good brand…I bet gruyere would be amazing AND expensive!)
1 head of garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 egg
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour (gluten-free, of course)
1 cup milk
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tbsp dried oregano
Pinch of salt & pepper
About 2 tbsp bread crumbs (gluten-free)
1/2 tsp paprika
Cooking spray

***You'll need a small square of aluminum foil for roasting the garlic.

Directions:

  • Boil some water
  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Remove most of the outer skin of head of garlic and slice the very top of cloves off (as shown in video)
  • Drizzle with a little olive oil and wrap in a little foil
  • Pop garlic in oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes
  • Your water should be boiling by this point, so pour in macaroni and let that boil until it is almost tender, but not all the way tender (you will be baking it too, so no need to cook it all the way at this time in the process)
  • Meanwhile, chop up the sundried tomatoes and shred cheese if it isn't already shredded
  • Beat egg in a small bowl and set aside
  • Melt butter in a large pot on medium heat
  • Slowly add in 2 tbsp flour to make a roux
  • Then slowly add in the milk and continue to stir until thick
  • Take about 1/4 of this mixture and slowly add it to the small bowl containing the egg and continue to beat it (don't pour it all in at once otherwise it will cook the egg)
  • Add the egg mixture into the large pot and stir
  • Now add in the cheese and stir
  • Once melted add the mustard powder, oregano, sundried tomatoes, roasted garlic, paprika and salt and pepper
  • Taste everything and add in more salt and pepper as needed
  • Pour in cooked macaroni and mix everything through until the pasta is completely coated
  • Taste one noodle and add more salt and pepper if needed
  • Spray a baking dish and pour everything in
  • Sprinkle the top with a little more salt, a little bit more cheese, and then top with the breadcrumbs
  • Bake at 350 for about 25-30 minutes
  • Enjoy!

Mac & Swiss with Roasted Garlic & Sun Dried Tomatoes Recipe Reel:

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Grilled Zucchini, Corn & Black Bean Tostadas

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Don't worry, I haven't forgotten about you. My ADD has just kicked on overdrive. I have lots of recipes lined up, it's just a matter of getting to posting them! Summer has officially kicked into full gear, even though you could never tell judging by the Chicago weather, and I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Chicago comes alive during these fabulous months, and I just want to be part of all the action.

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With my busy schedule comes finding yummy recipes that don't take terribly long to make. I'm sure many of you can relate 100%. This recipe is one of them. I think many people think that grilling = more work. It's actual quite the contrary. Turn that bad boy on and let it heat up. Meanwhile prep everything, throw it on and pretty shortly after you have deliciousness. You can actual quicken this recipe by using canned corn instead of corn on the cob, like I used.

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Ingredients: Makes 4-6 tostadas
1 large zucchini, cut into round slices
1 can organic black beans
1 corn on the cob or 1 can organic corn
1/4 red onion, sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
About 2 tbsp chihuahua cheese or any other melty cheese per tostada
4-6 corn tortillas (gluten-free)
Salt & pepper to taste
Cooking spray
Garnish:
About 6 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Plain Greek yogurt or sour cream

Directions:

  • Heat grill to medium-high heat
  • Meanwhile, slice zucchini and red onion, and drain black beans (and corn if you choose to use canned)
  • Remove husk from corn
  • In a medium size bowl toss zucchini with 1 tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper, then set aside
  • In a skillet, saute red onion with 1 tbsp olive oil until it's cooked down a bit and then throw in the black beans (and corn if you are using canned)
  • Season that with salt and pepper to taste, cook until beans are heated through, and then remove from heat – set aside in bowl
  • Bring everything to grilling area – corn, black bean/onion mixture, corn tortillas, cheese, zucchini
  • If you're using corn on the cob, throw that on the grill and grill until you have some nice char marks
  • At the same time place zucchini slices on the grill and cook until you have char marks – then remove and set aside
  • Remove corn from grill and remove corn from cob using a knife – transferring to black bean & onion bowl and toss
  • Turn the heat down to medium
  • Spray corn tortillas with cooking spray on both sides and place them on the grill
  • Let them crisp up for about a minute
  • Be careful and place about 4 slices of zucchini on each tostada, then a spoonful of black beans & corn, and top with about 2 tbsp of cheese per tostada
  • Close the lid to grill and let cheese melt and the tortilla crisp up some more – this took me about 4-5 minutes, but keep an eye on it
  • Remove and garnish with cherry tomatoes and a little plain Greek yogurt or sour cream!
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Mexican Corn on the Cob

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My gosh, so much has been going on I haven't even had time to post this week until now! Eeek! I've been really focusing a lot on my photography and photography classes over the last couple of weeks, so that plus my ADD has proven challenging to balance all the thoughts in my little noggin!  Check out a couple pics from the latest engagement session I shot of our friends Krista & Joe. Such an awesome and beautiful couple!

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Over Memorial Day weekend we had a lot of lounging and cooking time. Most of our friends were out of town, so we took advantage to the max! We stayed in most the weekend and this Mexican Corn on the Cob is one of the fabulous things I made. I honestly can't imagine eating corn any other way now – yes, it was THAT good! Hubs and I literally scarfed it down within 30 seconds and then had one of those 'did that really just happen?' moments. Yes it did. And it was glorious.

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Ingredients: Serves 4
4 cobs of corn, husks removed
2 tbsp soft (room temperature) unsalted butter
1/2 tsp lime juice
Zest of 1/2 lime
2 tbsp mayonnaise (I like full fat, because I'm a fatty)
About 2 tbsp Cotija cheese (you can also use Parmesan if you can't find Cotija)
Cayenne pepper
Tiny pinch of salt
Garnish: Lime wedges

Directions:

  • Heat up grill to medium-high heat
  • Remove husks from corn
  • Combine butter, lime, lime zest and tiny pinch of salt in a small bowl
  • Place cobs on grill and grill until you can see some charred grill marks – this took me about 15 minutes or so
  • Remove
  • Brush butter all over on hot corn using a knife or cooking brush. The process is messy – deal with it :)
  • Brush some mayo all over
  • Sprinkle some cayenne pepper followed by Cotija cheese all around
  • Serve with lime wedges
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