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Archive for January, 2011

Oh, Monday.

I am not your fan today. I have too much to do, too little time, and am still exhausted from this weekend.

But I did have a great breakfast, and I’ve got some good coffee. I guess I’m good to go.

This weekend, Nick’s parents came up to help us get some projects done in our old house. Thankfully, we had great weather and we got everything done.

However – Maggie made things a bit more difficult.

On Saturday, we left the dogs gated downstairs while we ran to get a quick lunch. When we got back from lunch, we found Maggie UPstairs and little white paw prints all over the dining room from where she had run through some paint.  Thankfully, we got all the paint cleaned up off the floors.

Then on Sunday, Nick and I went back to the house to get the last of the stuff out and clean up, and Maggie decided to throw up a few times in the house. Maybe she just wanted to do that one more time in the old house? I don’t know. I don’t understand her sometimes.

I wore one kind of cute outfit last week that I actually documented!

 

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Top: GAP Outlet. Sweater: GAP Outlet. Jeans: Kohls? IMG_1275

Boots: Tractor Supply Smile They’re my cowgirl boots.

I had plans to wear this same top + sweater with my dark skinny jeans and flats (which would have looked SO much cuter since the tops were baggier) but, it was freezing cold and snowing on Friday. So, boots it was!

 

The winners of the Angell Bars!

Comment #115:

Lauren

I would love to try the dark angel.

AND to Comment #101:

Jenny

my all time favorite chocolate treat = reeses PB cups. Go figure ;)

 

Congrats girls! Email me at branappetit [at] gmail and your bars will be on their way.

 

And for another fun Monday surprise, I haven’t heard from my CSN $100 Giftcard winner from last week, so I’m picking a new one!

New Winner!

jc

i absolutely need a new food processor! hoping for a bigger size

 

Congrats! Please email me at branappetit [at] gmail and I’ll send you the CSN giftcode.

 

 

How was your weekend?

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Happy Friday! So nice to be starting the weekend, right?

We have family coming to visit and help out with some projects in our old house – it’ll be a good amount of work, but it should be fun.

Plus, they’re bringing their dog so Maggie will be in puppy heaven. She loves having other dogs to play with.

I was planning on having another new recipe for you today, but I’ve actually had a few mishaps in the kitchen.

And as for my fashion revolution, I haven’t had anything to show yet this week since I’ve worked from home 3 days! But today’s might be good enough to photograph for later.

Here are my favorite things this week in food:

1. Grilled Banana + Nutella Sandwiches.

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2. Lunches this week? A quinoa, roasted kabocha squash, and chickpea salad with smoked paprika, garlic, onion, and olive oil.

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A few days, I had this over spinach, but yesterday, I added some green beans and a dollop of hummus. I’m having this same dish for lunch today, too.

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3. Coconut Water Vinegar from Tropical Traditions.

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Tropical Traditions sent this to me to sample, and I am in love! It doesn’t have a super strong coconut smell or taste, but the subtle coconut essence is there. It is delicious in salad dressings, and I made a killer tofu (killer tofu! Do you remember the Beets song on Doug?) marinade the other night with this vinegar.

4. Fun new foodie things to try + review!

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PS: There are more giveaways coming soon!

5. New recipes I’m dying to make:

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Evan’s Snickerdoodle Hummus

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Jessica’s Cake Batter Pancakes

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Kristin’s Bruschetta Chicken Pasta – this will be such a great summer dish!

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Mama Pea’s Moroccan Millet Bake

 

Oh, and I still haven’t had my hair cut. I look like a mess. Every day. Guess I should get that fixed soon.

Happy Happy Friday!!!

 

What are YOUR food favorites this week? Any new recipes on your radar?

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I’m not sure what it is, but I am obsessed with coconut right now.

Maybe all this winter weather is simply too much for me, and, in response, I’m making things that remind me of the light and airy days of summer.

Whatever the reason, I’m okay with it.

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First there was the Banana Pina Colada Muffins. Then German Chocolate Cupcakes.

And now…something I’m calling German Chocolate Cookie Bars.

But I guess they could also be called “I made too much German Chocolate icing and need something else to use it in” bars. Or “those cupcakes disappeared too quickly and we need a new sweet treat in the house” bars.

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Even if you don’t have a good reason to make these, do it anyway. You won’t regret it.

 

German Chocolate Cookie Bars

Crust:

  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Icing (see this post for icing directions):

  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Earth Balance
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch mixed with 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1/2 –1 cup pecans

Chocolate Topping:

  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate
  • 1 tsp coconut oil

 

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Cream Earth Balance/butter and sugar.

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Beat in flour, vanilla, and salt.

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The crust will be ready when the mixture is combined but still crumbly and when it clumps up when you press it together (like above).

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Dump crust into 8×8 baking dish and press into an even layer.

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Bake crust at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until set and golden around the edges. Let the crust cool completely.

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Once the crust is cool to the touch, spread on your cooled icing into an even layer on the crust.

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To make the chocolate topping, put your dark chocolate and coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 1 minute, stirring every 20-30 seconds or until chocolate is melted and smooth.

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Dump chocolate on top of icing and smooth out, covering the entire dish.

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Let sit at room temperature until chocolate layer is set.

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I cut these into 16 pieces (from an 8×8 dish), and I’m glad I didn’t cut them any bigger!

These bars are delicious, but very rich, thanks to the coconut icing.

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But the richness didn’t stop me from having two of them right away.

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It’s your lucky day!

Remember the Angell Bars I reviewed last week?

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Now you have 2 chances to win your own!

Angell Bars is offering 2 sample packs (each pack contains 1 of each bar + some stickers) so you can try the bars yourself.

To Enter:

  • Leave a comment telling me which flavor you’re most excited to try

For an additional entry:

  • Tell me YOUR all time favorite chocolate treat – it can be anything!

Good luck!

I’ll be choosing the winners Monday morning!

This contest is only open to US residents.

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Three years ago, I made my first layer cake.

To be honest, it was horrible.

The cake itself tasted good (it was a box mix and canned icing, so at least I didn’t mess that up), but it was uneven and the top kept sliding off and I didn’t have an actual cake stand so my upside-down bowl crushed the icing from the sides of the cake.

Thankfully, Nick didn’t really care what it looked like after the first night, and we ate it anyways.

The sad part? That sad, sloppy cake was his birthday cake that year.

I knew I had to make it up at some point. And I think these cupcakes did just that.

See, Nick loves German Chocolate Cake. And so do I! The rich coconut and pecan icing and delicate chocolate cake is one of my favorite combinations.

And while I DO have a real cake stand now, I wanted to try my hand at my own recipe for the cake and icing. Since I was already taking a risk making up a healthier recipe, I didn’t want to chance having another ugly layer cake.

So cupcakes it was!IMG_1112

If you would have told me last year that I would be making up my own vegan recipes, I would never have believed you.

And if you would have told me that not only would my husband love these cupcakes (and not know they were whole wheat and vegan) but also that I could fool coworkers – I might have laughed in your face.

But thank goodness I went through with it. Because these are the best cupcakes I’ve ever made – no comparison.

German Chocolate Cupcakes (Vegan!)

Makes 1 dozen cupcakes

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Frosting:

  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Earth Balance
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch mixed with 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1/2 –1 cup pecans

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In large bowl, mix almond milk with vinegar and let sit 5 minutes or until milk has “curdled”.

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Whisk sugar, oil, and vanilla into milk mixture until some bubbles stay on top of the mixture.

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Whisk in the cocoa, then whisk in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

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Once the mixture is smooth, pour into cupcake liners or a sprayed muffin tin, filling each one about 3/4 of the way.

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Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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While the cupcakes are baking, heat the almond milk, sugar, and Earth Balance on the stove top until it comes to a boil.

In separate bowl/dish, mix cornstarch and water together.

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Once milk mixture comes to a boil, put 1-2 spoonfuls into the cornstarch mixture and stir together.

Add cornstarch mixture back to milk/sugar and stir.

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Bring mixture back to a boil until thickened. Take off the heat.

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Stir in the vanilla, coconut and pecans, and let sit to cool.

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Once the cupcakes and icing have cooled, dollop a spoonful of the icing on each cupcake and smooth out to the edges.

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Serve to your family who think they don’t like anything “whole wheat”.

Give some to your friends who freak out when they hear the word “vegan”.

Then just sit back, relax, and watch their reactions.

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And make sure to not tell them that these cupcakes are actually pretty healthy, whole wheat, and vegan until after they’ve had a few.

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It’s more fun that way.

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Happy Monday morning Smile I had some crazy dreams last night, which is always a fun way to start the day. I remember something about traveling, finding a Baby Sitters Club soap set (thought of you Heather!) and hanging out with Mama Pea?

I’m definitely sad that the weekend is over, but I think this week is going to be a good one!

Before I get to announcing the winner, I also want to do a review of some Le Creuset Bake Ware I got from CSN a few weeks ago.

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I actually got these in the mail the week we moved into our new house, but after getting settled and getting through the holidays, it took me a while to get back to cooking and baking in our new kitchen and I wanted to do a full review.

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As a Preferred Blogger with CSN, I’ve had the opportunity to hold awesome giveaways for YOU, as well as review products from their stores.

And this review has definitely been my favorite.

Le Creuset is something special for me. It’s not just because of the fabulous colors and shapes; it’s the history in the products. I see chefs on tv using Le Creuset and know there must be something great about them, but, until now, I had never been able to have any on my own.

But thanks to CSN, I found some great Le Creuset bakeware on sale and received a few pieces to try out and review!

And I am officially a Le Creuset convert.

The pitcher is one of my favorite pieces – it holds the perfect amount of iced tea when you have guests and would also be great to use for juice for brunches. And while it is a heavier piece, it’s not so heavy that you can’t lift it – it just feels sturdy, which I like.

As for the actual baking dishes, I love them all. I love the colors, I love the smooth coated ceramic that keeps things from sticking, and I love that they’re freezer, microwave, and dishwasher safe (something that I can worry about now!).

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The first thing I made in one of the baking dishes (in the Dijon color) was for Nick. He loves those Magic Cookie Bars – aka, not good for you at ALL – and since it was still within the “holiday season”, I made them for him and he enjoyed every one ; )

And you’ve seen one picture of my other latest recipe success – but you’ll have to wait until later this week for the recipe. But they turned out great in this deep purple dish.

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Regardless of what I made in these dishes, I have a feeling I’m going to love everything. Both desserts came out perfect, and I used the stock pot to make popcorn on the stove top the other night – fun!

All in all, I absolutely love every piece and I can’t wait to buy more to add to my collection.

 

But I guess this isn’t what you showed up for this morning : )

 

So…

The WINNER of the $100 CSN Gift Card is…

 

Lynda Del

I would get the Cuisinart Panini/Sandwich Maker for sure.

Congrats! Please send me an email (branappetit [at] gmail) and I’ll get your gift code to you!

 

And thanks to everyone who entered : ) I got SO many great new recipe ideas and challenges from you and I’m excited to get busy in the kitchen.

 

How was your weekend? Any strange dreams you’ve had lately?

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Best Week Ever, 1.22.11

Ready for this week’s recap?

It’s my best week ever, 1.22.11!

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So…I really need a haircut. Like, really badly. My bangs annoy me all day long and it’s past time for a trim.

I tried calling my hair place about 20 times last week, and no one answered the phone.

Then yesterday, I called again and the “phone number has been disconnected”. Crap. That can’t be good.

I hate having to find new hairstylists! I’ve got to go  by there and see what’s going on. Otherwise…my fashion pictures will only be from the neck down for a while.

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My style revolution is going well!

Yesterday’s outfit: Fridays = I can wear jeans to work.

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Jeans: Converse brand from Target. Tank: Marshall’s, bought 2 years ago (?) and worn for the first time two weeks ago. Cardigan: Christmas gift from my parents. Necklace: Christmas gift from Nick!

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Pumps: Sofft brand from JCP, last year.

And today’s outfit! This is the first time – in a long time – that I’m not just in jeans and a tshirt or sweatshirt on a Saturday.

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Sweater: Gap Outlet, $12.99!. Skinny Jeans: Arizona brand, JCP. Leopard flats: Red Camel.

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You can see that we’re still working on some of the rooms in the house – Nick’s working on fixing that bed to actually fit the mattress we have for it. And this room is the ONLY room in the house that has a full sized mirror! We need to fix that.

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I have some awesome recipes to share – they’ll be coming this week!

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This afternoon, we’re going to a baby shower/party for two of our really good friends and I’m so excited to go. It’s going to be so much fun and she’s my foodie friend, so I can’t wait to see what’s for lunch ; )

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I got an awesome foodie gift box from Allison this week, and it made my day! She is super – if you don’t read her blog, you should. She’s hilarious and loves her dogs as much as we love Maggie.

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There are some more fun reviews + giveaway in the works, so stay tuned!

 

Happy Saturday! Here’s hoping you’re having your best week ever Smile

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