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Friday, January 23, 2015

Life Lately - 2015

Happy New Year my Friends!  I hope 2015 and well the month of January is off to a fabulous start for you all!  I know I am a little behind in professing that 2015 is here!  But I hope you all had a fabulous time ringing in the New Year and rounding out your Holiday Season!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

{Gooey White Chocolate Cranberry Revel Bars}

Christmas is a day away!  And as I sit her humming Christmas Carols to myself (in the wee morning hours) I have a hard time believing that it is Christmas Eve!  

The holidays are an odd thing to me as I get older.  I find myself grasping tightly to old family traditions while embracing new Holiday traditions with Derek and his family.  

So today in light of holding on to the past while embracing the future I am sharing a new holiday bar recipe with you along with a few links to my favorite holiday dishes (including my favorite Chicken Wild Rice Soup that my mom makes every year for Christmas eve)!  I hope you enjoy!  Merry Christmas

Gooey White Chocolate Cranberry Revel Bars
Adapted From This Recipe and This Recipe:

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookie Bottom: 
1 Stick of Butter
3 Cups Rolled Oats 
2 1/2 Cups Flour 
2 Cups Packed Brown Sugar 
2 Eggs
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda 
2 Teaspoons Vanilla
3/4 Cup Cranberries

White Chocolate Filling: 
2 Cups White Chocolate Chips
2 Tablespoons Butter 
2 Teaspoons Vanilla
1- 14 Oz. Can Sweetened Condensed Milk 

1- In a large bowl combine brown sugar and butter, beat with an electric mixer until smooth.  Add egg and vanilla into the butter and sugar and mix until well incorporated.  Set mixture aside.  
2- In another large bowl combine oats, flour and baking soda. 
3- Slowly add the wet ingredients into your dry ingredients.  Mix until dry and wet ingredients are incorporated. Gently stir in cranberries and set Aside.
4- In a medium saucepan combine butter (remaining 2 tablespoons), white chocolate, and sweeten condensed milk.  Cook on low heat until white chocolate and butter  has melted, stir occasionally.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. 
5- Press two-thirds of the oat mixture onto the bottom of an ungreased 15x10x1 inch pan.  Spread white chocolate mixture over top of oat mixture.  Using your fingers crumble the remaining oatmeal mixture over top of the white chocolate. 
6- Bake bars in a 350 degree oven for 25 - 30 minutes (until tops of bars are slightly browned and the white chocolate looks glossy).  Completely cool bars before cutting! 

Brunch N’Cupcakes Holiday Favorites:
Minnesota Wild Rice Soup – Brunch N'Cupcakes
Pumpkin Coffee Cake – Brunch N’Cupcakes
Peanut Butter Blossoms – Betty Crocker 


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

{Double Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies}

Hi, Friends! 

My it has been a while since I have posted... like almost a month!  Can you believe that Christmas is next week?  I am still trying to wrap my head around that... I don't even know where the time has gone!  

I feel like Christmas has snuck up on me and I am not prepared at all!  I haven't put up a Christmas tree haven't baked any Christmas cookies and Derek and I just started and finished all of our Christmas shopping last Saturday... Yea, I am a bit behind with the whole Christmas thing this year! 

Ok now lets segue into talking about what these cookies have to do with my lack of preparedness for the Christmas season!  Well, I decided last night that I needed to do a little holiday baking (you know because I haven't done any), which turned into baking about 2 1/2 batches of cookies.  These Double Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies (that's a mouthful to say) are the outcome of that said impromptu backing extravaganza!  I think the itch to bake came on after seeing the 6 million mouth watering holiday treats that kept flooding my Instagram news feed yesterday.  Or maybe the itch to bake was because I wanted to get into the holiday mind set!  Who knows!  I do know however that these double chocolate cranberry oatmeal cookies are delicious, and I think you should make them!

Double Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies 
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Makes 21 Cookies 

1 1/2 Cup Oatmeal 
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder 
1 Cup Peanut Butter 
1/3 Cup Pure Maple Syrup
1 Egg Beaten
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 Cup White Chocolate Chips
1/2 Cup Milk Chocolate Chips 
1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries

1- In a large bowl combine oats and baking powder.  Stir to combine. 
2- In a small bowl mix together egg, maple syrup, vanilla and peanut butter until smooth and well combined. 
3- Pour peanut butter mixture into the oat mixture and stir until cookie dough has formed. 
4- Stir Chocolate Chips and dried cranberries into cookie dough. 
5- Roll cookie dough into about 1 inch balls and place on cookie sheet.  Slightly smash each of the balls.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown! Allow cookies to cook on pan before removing.

Check out these other delicious cookie recipes from around the web: 

Enjoy and Happy Holidays! 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

{Baked Veggie Egg Cups}

Hi, Friends... I am back! 
Did everyone have a relaxing Thanksgiving?  Anyone shop on Black Friday?

My family and I had a fabulous Thanksgiving!  My sister and I ran our first Turkey Trot (it was freezing, like 0 degrees freezing), and we feasted on some fabulous food!  But my Thanksgiving didn't end on Thursday... nope I feasted again on Saturday with Derek's family, it was lovely!   This time of year is truly my favorite!  I love getting together with family, Holiday Music, Traditions the whole nine yards! 

 I realized it had been a long time since I  had shared a recipe with all of you!  I felt this recipe was perfect to share with you the week after Thanksgiving!  Why?  Well, because these Egg Cups are easy to make (because who wants to cook more after cooking all week for Thanksgiving), packed full of veggies,  and hands down delicious!  These Egg Cups make a great dinner, grab and go breakfast or can even be packed for lunch!  Customize them with any veggies you have on hand! 

Baked Veggie Egg Cups
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Serves 4 

6 Large Egg Whites 
4 Large Eggs 
1/2 a Medium Onion Chopped
1 Cup Broccoli Florets 
1/2 Cup Green Pepper Chopped 
1/2 Cup Finely Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese 
1 Teaspoon Course Ground Pepper 
1/4 Teaspoon Salt 
1/2 Cup Greek Yogurt 

1- In a skillet coated with cooking spray saute onions until tender.  Add green pepper and broccoli florets and cook until tender - 7-10 minutes.  
2- In a large bowl whisk together egg whites, eggs, Greek Yogurt and Salt and Pepper. 
3- Stir veggies and cheddar cheese into egg mixture. 
4- Grease muffin tin with cooking spray and divide egg mixture between 12 muffin cups.  
5- Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until egg has set. 
6- Serve immediately with your favorite egg toppings - Avocado, Salsa Etc. 

Check out these other delicious egg bake recipes from around the web: 
Enjoy !

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

{Mexican Lasagna}

Oh. My. Goodness!

I think it is time to move to the South!  I cannot deal with how cold it has gotten here in Minnesota!  Don’t get me wrong the snow is beautiful, and I love cozy sweaters and scarves… but my body just cannot handle the bitter cold!   Ok… I am done whining about the cold… for now!

Before we start talking about this dish I have to give my friend Shannon at work a shout out as this recipe was inspired by her!  She had brought in Mexican Lasagna for lunch a few weeks ago and ever since that lunch I knew I had to try my hand at Mexican Lasagna!    Anyways, this delicious Mexican Lasagna is sure to warm you up! This lasagna is spicy (sub in mild salsa  and leave out the jalapeno if you don't like heat) and is packed full of protein from the ground turkey and beans.  Whole wheat tortillas are subbed in for lasagna noodles and the entire dish is smothered in salsa!  This dish is comforting and just down right delicious!   Make it tonight... You won't be sorry you did! 

Mexican Lasagna 
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Serves 8 

6 Whole Wheat Tortillas
2 Cups Salsa of Choice 
1 1/4 Cup Greek Yogurt 
1 Cup Reduced Fat Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1 Cup Black Beans 
1 Lb Lean Ground Turkey 
2 Teaspoons Dried Cilantro 
2 Teaspoons Cumin 
1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
1/2 Large Onion Chopped 
3/4 Cup Red Pepper Chopped 
1 Small Jalapeno Pepper - Chopped (Optional)

1- In a large skillet coated with cooking spray saute onions until translucent.  Add in jalapeno and red pepper, cook till tender.  
2- Add ground turkey to the skillet along with chili powder, cumin and cilantro.  Cook until turkey is no longer pink.  Set turkey aside ones cooked through. 
3- Spread 1/2 Cup Salsa in the bottom of 9x13 pan.  Place 2 whole wheat tortillas over salsa. 
4- Spread spread 1/3 of the Greek yogurt over the whole wheat tortillas top with 1/4 cup salsa followed by 1/3 of the turkey mixture and and 1/4 cup cheese. 
5- Repeat layering two more times. Top with Remaining 1/2 Cup Cheese. 
6- Bake in a 350 Degree Oven for 30 minutes! 


Check out these other delicious spins on the classic lasagna! 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

{Crock Pot Beer Can Chicken}

You guys… guess what I did?  I roasted an entire chicken!  And you know what?  It was absolutely delicious and way easier than I thought it would ever be! 

I did a little (ok… a lot) of research before actually roasting the chicken because I wanted to make sure I was going about cooking the bird in the right way!  A few cooking methods roasted the chicken in the oven, others used a slow cookers, some even had veggies in it.  I opted for the easy way out… the slow cooker!  I figured if I used the slow cooker to “roast” the chicken there would or should be a low risk of failure!

I rubbed the bird down with a little olive oil, seasoned it up with my favorite herbs and then plopped it in the slow cooker with some beer.  Yes, I said beer (keeps the chicken nice and tender)!  End results… flavorful tender chicken that isn’t dried out!  Literally the chicken was so tender it fell off the bone… I actually struggled getting the entire bird out of the slow cooker in one piece!  I went ahead and removed the meat from the bone before serving and served up the meat with some simple steamed veggies!  Easy, quick, healthy and oh so good!

Crock Pot Beer Can Chicken
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Serves 6 
1 Whole Roasting Chicken (2-3 Pounds)
1 Can Favorite Beer (I just used a light beer, but I bet a seasonal pumpkin beer would be delicious)
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
¼ Teaspoon Salt
2 Teaspoons Rosemary
2 Teaspoons Basil,
2 Teaspoons Garlic
2 Teaspoons Chili Powder

1- Remove chicken from package.  Rinse off and pat dry.  Remove any excess fat that you do not want on the chicken.
2- Rub chicken with olive oil.  Combine seasonings in a small bowl and rub over chicken.  Make sure you get every inch of the bird.  Run out of seasoning?  Just add another teaspoon of rosemary, basil and garlic.
 Place chicken in a slow cooker that has been coated with cooking spray.  Carefully pour can of beer around chicken.  Be careful not to rinse the seasoning away.
3- Cook bird on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4.

** To serve – remove meat from bones if desired and serve with simple steamed veggies or a simple salad. 

Worried you won’t be able to eat up a whole chicken?  Check out these delicious chicken recipes to use up all the meat!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

{Crock Pot Lentil Soup}

Before jumping into this post I want to say Happy Veterans Day to all those who have served or who are currently serving in the military!   Thank you for all you have done!  

 While it was beautiful to wake up to a fresh dusting of snow I can safely say that I was not prepared physically or mentally for it!  

I will admit I am not adjusting well to the days growing shorter and colder.  As I begin to face the reality that Winter is finally coming I find myself reaching for a second cup of hot coffee, a warm wooly sweater and hot soup for comfort!  This soup was exactly what I needed at the end of a long cold day!  Throw all the ingredients into the crock pot the night before, turn the crock pot on in the morning and voila dinner is served!  Perfect ending to a blustery cold day! 

Crock Pot Lentil Soup
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Serves 6-8 

1 - 15 Ounce Can Fire Roasted Tomatoes - Undrained 
6 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth 
1 Cup Onion - Roughly Chopped 
1 1/2 Cups Mushrooms Chopped 
3 Chicken Sausage Links - Chopped 
2/3 Cup Green Lentils 
2 Teaspoons Dried Basil 
2 Teaspoons All Purpose Seasoning (Like Mrs. Dash or Trader Joe's)

1- Place all ingredients into crock pot.  Stir until combined. 
2- Cook on low for 6-7 hours or on High for 3-4. 

I served this soup with a huge scoop of brown rice.  Crusty bread and crackers would be delicious too!