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Yogurt Winner + House Update

Our new rug is here!

Remember this picture? You can’t really see the rug, but it’s a green, braided, country-type rug. Not exactly what we wanted in our front room, especially in the new house with the extra space and opportunity to do something different.

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It wasn’t large enough and didn’t bring any other colors into the room, either. Nick and I shopped in stores and online for a few weeks right around Christmas, looking for a new rug that would fit this room and bring in some new colors.

And I think we found it!

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We got this Linden Street Cavalier Rug from JCPenney online for a steal!

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Because it’s on closeout, this 5×8 rug was only $111, plus we got 2 small rugs for the entry way and in front of the hall doorway for $30!

I love that it’s not a super formal oriental type rug but that it still has a nice print without being too contemporary. This front room IS the more “formal” space, with the fireplace and no television, but we want it to feel comfortable – not stuffy. We want everything in the room to feel cozy – this is where we are when we have family over, when we’re reading or on the computer, and when Nick is practicing guitar.

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So much better, right?

It’s actually not as big as we would have liked, but the next size up would have been too big for the space.

I’m just so happy to have some more color in the room.

The next thing I want for this room is this pillow:

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The Hodgepodge from Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

The colors look a little different online, so it’s hard to tell, but the red is the same color that’s in the rug and so is the blue (it’s darker in person). Plus, it has the beiges from the rug and couch AND it would bring in some orange and purple (which looks brown in this picture).

Then we want new end tables, possibly a new set of chairs (one for each side of the fireplace), bookshelves, and lamps…eventually.

I know we can’t get everything at one time, and I think we’re doing a good job so far of moving slowly with our projects.

 

And now – the yogurt prize pack winner!

Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen

When I was growing up, it was definitely strawberry-banana. No question.

But nowadays, I tend to stick with plain.

Ever since I discovered goat’s milk yogurt though…well THAT’s my favorite flavor. :)

Congrats Sarah! Please email me at branappetit [at] gmail and your prize pack will be on its way!

 

Thanks to everyone who entered – it’s fun hearing all of your favorite yogurt flavors. There’s a lot I’ve never tried!

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Dough Ball Envy

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I first tried Annie the Baker’s Dough Balls at the Foodbuzz Festival’s Tasting Pavilion in 2009, and her toffee milk chocolate chip dough balls were love at first bite.

Then recipes started floating around and I remembered just how good they were. Plus, Danica has them all the time and it’s just not fair ; ) Every time I see them, I want them more!

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So after drooling over recipe after recipe online, I decided to finally make my own.

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While these aren’t the same as her toffee milk chocolate chip dough balls, these are just as tasty. The roasted almond butter and dark chocolate chips give these cookies a deep, rich quality that makes them irresistible.

And they are rich – very rich and very sweet – but you’ll be fighting for the last one, no matter how many you’ve already eaten.

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In fact, I think it’s time I make some more. I only I had 3 out of this batch, and Nick ate the rest.

I told you he was a cookie monster.

 

Almond Butter and Dark Chocolate Cookie Balls

Slightly Adapted from Mama Pea’s Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Balls

Makes 24 cookie balls

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup almond butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1.5 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  1. Cream together butter and sugars.
  2. Mix in almond butter and vanilla.
  3. Beat in baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Add flour to sugar mixture and mix until combined.
  5. Fold in chocolate chips.
  6. Chill dough for 30 minutes – 1 hour.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  8. Take dough by the tablespoon and roll into a ball. Place on baking sheet 2 inches apart and bake 12 minutes.
  9. Let them sit on the pan for a minute before moving to a cooling rack.

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Remember a few weeks ago when I had that CSN giveaway and asked you guys to tell me what recipes you’d like to see me make?

Well, thanks to YOU, I now have a full page of ideas (double sided) and I’m happy to say that this is the first off of that list.

There are a few dishes that still scare me when I think about making them on my own. Things like chicken pot pie, homemade pastas, and the ever elusive perfectly-even layer cake.

But it’s those dishes that are inherently southern that really get me.

Sure, I grew up in Virginia, but I didn’t grow up eating chicken ‘n’ dumplings. The closest I got to having them was at Cracker Barrel, and I knew I could make my own version that tasted better and was healthier for me, too.

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If you like your dumplings thinner and more like a thick pasta, these are not for you.

These dumplings are thick and doughy and perfectly tender, with a slight tang from the buttermilk. Almost like biscuits without the butter.

I still may be lacking in my deep-south cooking adventures, but I’m getting there. And make sure you’re ready to put these in your regular dinner rotation – it was love at first bite for me and Nick.

 

Chicken ‘n’ Dumplings

  • 1 lb. bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 2 cups broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • .5 tsp pepper

Dumplings:

  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Heat oven to 350. Sprinkle chicken with some salt and pepper and roast in the oven for 1 hour.

While chicken is roasting, heat large pot over medium heat.

Add olive oil, carrots, celery, onion, salt and pepper and saute until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.

 

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Sprinkle veggies with flour and stir to combine.

 

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Once you can no longer see any white flour and the veggies have a gummy-looking coating, pour in your broth and water, a little at a time, stirring constantly.

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Each time you add the broth and water, the coating on the veggies will release a bit more, helping to thicken the cooking liquid.

Once all the broth and water have been added, bring mixture to a boil and let simmer for 15 minutes.

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In separate bowl, mix your dry ingredients for the dumplings.

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Pour in the buttermilk and stir until dough just comes together (it will be a little sticky – that’s perfect!).

Right before you add your dumplings, take the chicken off the bone and cut into bite size pieces. Add chicken to the pot (along with the frozen peas) and return to a simmer.

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Drop dumplings by the spoonful into the broth until all your dough is in the veggie mixture.

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Cover and let simmer about 15 minutes or until the dumplings are fluffed.

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Spoon dumplings and broth mixture into bowls and serve.

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You made me do it, and I couldn’t be happier.

Have you ever tried the Stonyfield cream-top yogurts?

If you have and you love them, you’ll love these.

If not, and you just like yogurt…you’ll love these, too.

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Stonyfield, based off of feedback from their consumers, has now stirred in the cream to create an even smoother, silkier texture and delicious taste.

If you’re a cream top-yogurt fan, you will be happy to know that the cream you’ve always loved is still there, it’s just stirred in. 

Their whole milk yogurt is the creamiest yogurt I’ve ever had!

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As always, all of their yogurts are organic and sweetened only with naturally milled cane sugar. They’re made without artificial colors or flavors, and are made from organic milk produced without the use of toxic persistent pesticides, chemical fertilizers, antibiotics, or artificial growth hormones (rBST).

Kristina from Stonyfield sent me a package of their new whole milk yogurts with the cream stirred in to sample (yes, the samples were free, but my opinions are my own).

Honestly, I had never had whole milk yogurt before these arrived on my doorstep. I actually can’t get them around here, so I was happy to be able to try these flavors!

In the sample pack, I got:

  • Plain Whole Milk Yogurt
  • French Vanilla
  • White Chocolate Raspberry
  • Strawberries ’n’ Cream
  • Chocolate Underground

I’ve tried their Chocolate Underground yogurt, but only in the fat free version.

And, after trying these yogurts, I can see why people love the whole milk varieties. They are insanely creamy and are not nearly as tart than other yogurts.

In fact, their Strawberries ’n’ Cream yogurt tasted more like strawberry ice cream than yogurt. Delicious!

And while I loved the Chocolate Underground, I think my favorite was a tie between the Strawberries ’n’ Cream and the White Chocolate Raspberry.

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The White Chocolate Raspberry yogurt reminded me of the raspberry pudding pops I used to have during the summers growing up. Do you remember those?

 

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If you haven’t tried their new Whole Milk yogurts (or if you’ve never tried ANY of their Whole Milk Yogurts), here’s your chance!

The prize: 4 Stonyfield coupons (for both quart and 6 oz. size), plus a reusable Stonyfield bag.

To Enter:

  • Leave me a comment with your all time favorite yogurt flavor

 

Good luck! I’ll be picking a winner on Thursday!

Afternoon Tea

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It’s Monday. It’s cold outside.

That means I’m having some hot afternoon tea – are you?

Today, I’m enjoying some Celestial Seasonings Blackberry Pomegranate. It’s such a beautiful color!

Too bad I don’t have a scone to enjoy with my tea. That would be even better ; )

 

And one of you will be enjoying this tea soon, too!

The winner of the tea package above is:

Gloria

My favorite tea is candy cane lane from celestial seasonings! Chamomile citrus from mighty leaf is great too :)

Congrats Gloria!

Please email me your information to branappetit [at] gmail and your package will be on its way.

 

What are you having for your afternoon snack or pick me up?

Best Week Ever, 2.6.11

A little late with this, but this week was too good to miss!

Two different times with two different cans and on two different nights this past week, I ended up with either tomato juice or canned bean juice sprayed into my face while trying to open the cans to use in our dinners. Twice. Both cans had places that the can opener got stuck, so when I tried coming from the other way, they flew open, spraying me in the eyes.

On Thursday morning we had an adventure with Maggie. Nick took her out to go to the bathroom thinking that she had on her shock collar, but she didn’t.

She, of course, took advantage of that fact and ran off. When Nick couldn’t find her, he came inside to tell me and get in the shower. I went out, found her by the tree, and she finally came back inside. But something was off.

She was acting weird, shaking, and whining.

We know she likes to eat stuff that she isn’t supposed to (like dead fish and deer poop) and that’s pretty much what she did. Judging by the amount that came out of her during the day, we’re pretty sure she had to have eaten a full 5 lbs of cat food – her belly was huge and bloated.

And Thursday afternoon was the first time I had ever seen Maggie have explosive vomit. That was fun to clean up. A FedEx guy had come to the door to leave a package and she got so excited barking and growling that it knocked the rest of that food right of her in the kitchen floor.

Style Revolution is still going!

But don’t ask to see me on the days I work from home ; ) That’s another story.

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Tuesday: Fake tweed pants, Old Navy; Black Ruffle Tank, Christmas Gift; Red Leopard Cardigan, Ny & Co. a few years back. Black Pumps, Belk (can’t remember the brand off the top of my head).

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Wednesday:

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Black jeans, JCP; Black tee, H&M. Floral Cardigan, Christmas Gift. Necklace, gift from sis-in-law a few years back. Shoes, Hand me downs from my older sister from a long time ago!

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Friday:

 

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Skinny jeans, JCP. Black tank, Belk. Red sweater, I have no idea where it’s from! Leopard Flats, Belk (Red Camel).

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Growing bangs out is the worst. Now I know why the last time I did this was in 5th grade.

My weekend was fabulous, but it went by so fast. We had a great time with the family visiting – had lazy mornings with lots of coffee, went antiquing, and did not turn on the television ONCE the entire time they were here. It was nice.

 

What happened to you this week?

Anything fun, crazy, embarrassing, ridiculous? Spill it!

*I’ll be picking the tea giveaway winner at lunch – you still have time to enter!

I have no list of Superbowl snacks to share. No compilation of dips and chips and fried stuff with cheese.

Truth be told, as much as I LOVE college football, I’ve never been as interested in the NFL. It’s just not as much fun as college ball!

That being said, we do usually watch the Superbowl.

And you definitely need good food during the game.

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My family got here last night to spend the weekend visiting. But since they’ll be heading back Sunday afternoon, we won’t get to watch the game with them.

So a good Friday night dinner was necessary!

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Thanks to Foodbuzz and the Tastemaker program, I received some Pace Picante salsa to use to make a dish good enough to serve during the big game.

Everyone loved it!

And the best part is that it’s pretty healthy – so if you have this for your main meal on Superbowl Sunday, you’ll still have some room for your favorite game time snacks and treats.

 

Pace Yourself Enchilada Casserole

  • 3 scallions, sliced
  • 1.5 cups red lentils
  • 2 cups kale, chopped
  • 2 cups broth
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp smoked (or regular) paprika
  • 28 oz. green enchilada sauce
  • 1 jar (8 oz) Pace Picante sauce
  • 16 corn tortillas
  • 1 cup queso fresco

 

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In large skillet, saute scallions until tender and add lentils and broth.

Bring to a boil and let cook 10 minutes.

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Chop kale into bite size pieces.

Add kale, 1 cup of enchilada sauce, spices, and Pace Picante to the lentil mixture.

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Let lentil mixture cook 10-15 minutes more until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the lentils and kale are tender.

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Preheat oven to 375 and cut tortillas into 4ths.

Pour 1/2 cup of Enchilada Sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish and top with a third of the tortillas.

Put 1/2 of lentil mixture on top of tortillas and repeat (tortillas, lentils).

Once the last of the lentil mixture is layered, top with the last third of the tortillas and pour on 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce.

Top with cheese and bake 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted and edges are bubbling.

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Cut into 8 pieces and serve.

We actually had ours with a fried egg on TOP – and it. was. incredible. But I ate it too fast to get a picture with the egg ; )

Whatever you’re making for the big game, enjoy it!

I know I’ll be enjoying these leftovers.