Monday, February 27, 2017

Travel Adventures: Door County in Winter

Traveling on a whim has to be one of my favorite things. Saturday Ryan and I decided to head up to Door County to see some music at the Door County Brewery. Door County is always thought of as a summer destination. While it is true that it is great in the summer some businesses tuff it out and are open year round. This trip we did not do any wine tasting but that is always fun. We stopped at some stores in Egg Harbor and Fish Creek on our way to Bailey's Harbor. One store was packed with leather, fur and wood art. Fun to roam in there for like an hour or so.

I promise it was sunny out till I said something about it being sunny. The snow was so pretty.
We stopped at Baileys Harbor Cornerstone Pub & Restaurant for dinner since it was close to the brewery. Always fun to talk to locals and eat some yummy local fish.

I saw this cider place on Wisconsin Foodie and we just had to try it. This was the lavender option. It was good but for sure something to sip on.
Door County Brewing Company serves you pretzels to clear your palate before each beer. Cleaver and yummy.

We decided to try flights of beer to try all of the options they had. This was a great idea. The menu was helpful and so were the locals/employees on giving us history on each beer.

Here is the menu. Little Sister is still my favorite closely followed by the toasted coconut.

A Wisconsin Cheese plate is always something fun to snack on. Dried blueberries made this extra special as I have never had those before.

I cannot take a good picture to save my life. Brother Brothers the band we saw was electric and super fun.  We had such a blast on this adventure. Whom ever says you have to plan out all your trips is crazy. Be spontaneous sometime you will not regret it!

Until next time~
XoXo Emily 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Zuppa Toscana Soup

This is just like Olive Garden's. I hunted for a copy cat recipe because frankly paying $9 for soup, salad and bread sticks is insane. Heck it is Thursday and I still have left over soup that we have had for lunch every day this week. Save yourself some money and make it at home. It is creamy and packed with potatoes. Totally something to warm your bones when the temperatures drop this week.

What you need~
1 pound of sausage (I used chorizo)
6 cups of kale (chopped)
3 large russet potatoes (diced)
1 cup of heavy cream
8 cups of chicken stock
4 cups of water
3 cloves of garlic (diced)
1 white or yellow onion (diced)
1 tablespoon of flour
Nature's Seasoning

Start by prepping all the items that need to be diced. I use a food processor for
my onions and garlic. The potatoes need to be cleaned before dicing. Start browning the sausage in a large stock pot. Season as you go. Add in your onion and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes. Mix in your flour and then add your stock and water. Add potatoes and cook until the potatoes are tender (~20 minutes).

Flour to thicken the soup.

 Once the potatoes are done add in the kale and heavy cream. Season a bit more and let the it cook for at least another 5 minutes before serving.
Add that kale!

Mmmm creamy.


My cheaper version of a classic.

I served it with a side salad like Olive Garden and bread sticks. It was super tasty and honestly really easy to throw together. I will make it again.

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Monday, February 20, 2017

Double Chocolate Banana Muffins

How can you go wrong with banana and chocolate? It is a flavor combination that can do no wrong. Do you know why these muffins are so good? SHHHH.. They are healthier than your average muffin.

Dry ingredients.
What you need~
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
 1/2 cup chocolate chips
Mashed banana.
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 large egg
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1/4 cup  melted coconut oil
1 cup banana smashed (3 bananas)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour

Egg mix, banana and brown sugar.
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 12 muffin cups or liners these can be sticky. Get two bowls out. I used my stand mixer and a large bowl.  In the stand mixture add the cornstarch, baking soda, salt, chocolate chips, cocoa powder and flour. In the other bowl whisk together your egg and yogurt. Mix in the vanilla, brown sugar, coconut oil and then mashed banana. Slowly add this to the stand mixer bowl. Turn the mixer on just until the batter comes together. Do not over mix or the batter can become dense. Put into your muffin tin and bake for about 20 minutes or until a knife comes out clean when checking the muffins.

The dough.

This were a huge hit and I baked them on Saturday all gone by Sunday afternoon. I was really happy how they turned out and will make them again for sure.

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Tzatziki Sauce

Very refreshing and perfect for sandwiches or salads. If you have ever had a gyro you have had that rich tzatziki sauce on top. Packed full of cucumber, garlic and dill flavor it is light but rich at the same time. This recipe makes enough for about 2 cups. Enough dressing for a week.

What you need~
2 cups of plain Greek yogurt
3 cloves of garlic (chopped finely)
1 cucumber
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 of a lemon (juice)
1 tablespoon of dill
Salt to taste

Start by cutting your cucumber in half. Remove all seeds from the
cucumber. Place a strainer in a bowl. Grate the cucumber over the strainer. Press out all liquid from the cucumber. This will keep your sauce thick. Chop your garlic up finely. Add all of the items to a food processor and blend well. Best of chilled for an hour before serving.

We had it on gyro salads on Sunday. It was the so good I have had it for lunch two days in a row. I highly recommend you make this for all your sandwich/salad needs.
Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Friday, February 10, 2017

Cauliflower Sauce

 I like to call this fake alfredo sauce. Ryan thinks it turned out more like a hummus. Either way it is delicious. Some of my co-workers begged for me to post this after they tasted it yesterday. It is so easy to make and can be literally served on anything from cabbage to noodles. I will admit it is not the most pretty looking sauce but trust me it packs the flavor.

What you will need~
Head of cauliflower cleaned and chopped up
1 tablespoon of garlic
Chicken broth
Milk or heavy cream
Parmesan cheese
Worchester sauce
Garlic salt
Nature's seasoning
Garlic powder
Olive oil

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Chop up the cauliflower and coat with olive oil. Lightly season with garlic salt. Place in oven for about 15-20 minutes till the cauliflower is fully roasted. Remove from oven and place in a blender. Let cool for at least 2-5 minutes so you do not burn yourself. Start to pulse the cauliflower while slowly adding chicken broth till you get the consistency you want in the sauce.  Add all of the above items slowly to the sauce until it is well blended. I do not have measurements because you want to do it slowly and to your personal liking. Serve over veggies or pasta.

It went really well with my chicken cordon bleu. I will be making this again for sure as it tastes amazing and is less calorie dense than alfredo.

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Positive State of Mind

How wonderful that we are all alive and kicking still. Lately my life has been a whirlwind of stressful situations. From my dad being hospitalized for complications from chemotherapy and my dog partially tearing her ACL on Monday. I could choice to become a mess and woe is me all day long. Where would that really get me though? I have a good life and these things will pass.  So, let's all promise to ourselves to stay positive. We only live for a sort time as the Beatles say "let it be."

Things you can do daily to stay positive.

The cake I baked!
1. Focus on all the good things that are happening around you.
Example: getting to celebrate a friends birthday this weekend and baking him a cake. I love to bake.

The best Meade I have ever had.

2. Enjoy the little things every single day.
Example: Making myself a large thermos of lemon/ginger tea. Eating an entire plate of Brussels sprouts with dinner. Being able to still cuddle my dog.

3. Start your day with positive intentions.
Example: It is only Wednesday but that is okay we have the rest of the week to finish this week strong at work and in my personal life.

4. Surround yourself with positive people.
Example: Do you have that co-worker that complains non-stop when you are around. Maybe it is time to limit your interaction time with them. Instead network a little and talk to others at work that are more upbeat in their interactions.

Rocking your favorite clothes will put you in good spirits.
5. Treat yourself.
Example: I am not talking eat an entire cake here but having a little piece of dove chocolate or a cup of apple cider are great ways to treat yourself. I like to also take baths to unwind or paint my nails.

Remember your time on this earth is really limited. Try to enjoy every second that you can.

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Monday, February 6, 2017

Bakery Style Boxed Cake

This is going to be easy and so tasty. What makes a bakery cake special? When you think about it they use the best ingredients. Whole eggs, butter and milk instead of water and cheap oils. I have found that if you sub out the cheap stuff for high quality you can get a cake that people will swear comes from a bakery. Top it with homemade buttercream frosting and you will have a guaranteed hit on your hands.

What you need~
1 box mix of cake (I used funfetti)
 4 whole eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup melted butter (unsalted)

Mostly what you do here is sub out and add some additional ingredients.
Here are the original recipe items and their substitutions:

1 cup water= 1 cup almond milk (or whatever milk you have)
1/2 cup of vegetable oil= 1/2 cup unsalted butter (melted)
Add another egg!

Blend this all really well with the cake mix that you had from the box. Bake according to the directions on your box. It will be a light and flavorful cake. Always a big hit and you can do it with really any flavor cake you want.

Until next time~
XoXo Emily