Sunday, April 12, 2015

Kelsey's Sunday Brunch

Ahoy it's Sunday!

Spring has officially sprung!  We had a couple good days of rain and the grass is getting greener, the tulips have started sprouting and I even spotted some little flowers already in bloom when I was walking to my car after work the other day!



I think we officially rang in the start of warm weather this weekend by making our first visit of the year to the Memorial Union Terrace.  As was expected it was crazy busy and we had to wait almost an hour for beer but it was worth it to enjoy some good beer and ice cream with good friends.


The Farmer's Market starts next weekend and I can't wait!  I don't make it to the big Saturday market very often but there's a smaller one during the day on Wednesdays that's just a couple blocks away from my work so I will likely be making a weekly visit there.  There won't be much produce for a while still but I'm already thinking about the farmer's market stir fry with peanut sauce or broccoli salad for when there is.  I actually couldn't wait for the broccoli salad so I whipped up a batch last week for lunches, yum!  We've already grilled out a couple times this year but I'm really looking for grilling season to ramp up some more.  I'm planning on trying out Brittany's lemon chicken kabobs for a healthy, tasty dinner sometime soon.

What are you looking forward to making this farmer's market and grilling season?


As a former waitress and hostess, I'm always drawn to articles about working in the food service industry.  Here's 15 reasons why everyone should work in a restaurant at least once in their lives.  I couldn't agree more!

Have a great week!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Strawberry and Mixed Greens Salad


A couple of months ago I shared by go-to lunch salad, a sweet potato and mixed greens salad.  Honestly, after eating it almost daily for a month straight, my love for that salad faded (don't worry, I'm sure I will become obsessed again in the future because it's too tasty not too!)

Recently I decided to revamp it a bit to make it a little less wintery, and a little more springy.  While it's nowhere near strawberry season in Wisconsin, it must be it other places because they're all over at the grocery store in a rich red color and at such great prices!  Fresh, sweet strawberries replace the cinnamon honey roasted sweet potatoes while a salty, light feta steps in for the tangy goat cheese crumbles.  This salad is also topped with a sprinkling of craisins and a small handful of pecans.  If you're looking for a little more protein to round out this salad, go ahead and throw on some grilled chicken or some quinoa.  Feel free to customize with whatever you have on hand!


As you can see, after I photographed this beauty I threw it in a tupperware to take for my work lunch.  I suggest keeping the dressing separate if you're doing this as the balsamic vinaigrette can really eat away at the lettuce and by lunchtime it'll be really soggy.  If you don't have little dressing containers like I do, I'm intrigued with the mason jar salads as well.  If you're going to do that, I would suggest putting the dressing in first, then top with the pecans, craisins and feta, then throw in the strawberries and put the lettuce on top.  If you give it a try, let me know how it goes!


Ingredients:

  • 2-3 cups spring mix lettuce (or other choice of greens)
  • 1/4 cup strawberries, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons craisins
  • 2 tablespoons feta, crumbled
  • 1/8 cup pecans (or other choice of nut)
  • 2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette

Directions:

  1. Spread spring mix lettuce over large plate or bowl.
  2. Top with strawberries, craisins, feta and pecans.
  3. Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette.
  4. Toss and enjoy!
If you like this salad, you may also like:

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Champagne Mojitos


Mojitos are one of my favorites. So is champagne. Put them together and yum. This drink is perfectly bubbly with the great traditional mojito flavor. Make this the next time you host brunch, celebrate a bridal shower (yes, I have wedding brain...the countdown is finally into the double digits!), or just have extra limes hanging around. For me, here's the list of things I was celebrating when I made this spring-y cocktail:
  • It's feeling like spring! The birds are chirping and the windows are open (slightly)
  • Iced coffee season is here. Enough said.
  • The Madison farmer's market is only a few weekends alway
  • Honeymoon is all planned 
  • Oh and I got a new job!

This recipe is super easy but the champagne gives it a special feel. The original recipe from Food Network suggests using cava, which I used and liked. But, I don't think using a different kind would be a deal breaker. Go ahead, get creative!

Cheers!
Brittany

Ingredients
1/4 c. fresh mint leaves
2-3 Tbsp. sugar
1 lime, cut into wedges
1 c. rum
1 bottle chilled cava

Instructions
1. Put mint, sugar and lime wedges into a pitcher and muddle
2. Stir in rum
3. Strain into chilled glasses and top with cava
4. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Everyday Granola

Simple, homemade, good for you granola is tough to beat.


I buy a lot of granola at the store, but when I have the time I like to make it myself. By no means am I a super healthy eater. I eat what I want.

Sometimes it might be organic other times it might be super processed, deliciously fake cheese. Cheetos! I digress.

When I buy granola though, I'm buying it to be somewhat healthy. Some whole grains. A few nuts. The perfect snack or fiber for your morning yogurt.


What I am trying to say is that I like to have a little control over what goes into my granola, specifically sugar. There does not need to be much in your granola, in terms of fats or sugars.

It can be hard to find a store-bough granola with just a few ingredients. Hence, making it is the way to go, when time permits. It is simple, clean and easy to make.

This is a pretty basic granola, hence "Everyday Granola." Original, I know, but everyone needs a good and safe based to venture out on their own from, knowing they can always come back.

I sort of just use what I have in my cupboard. All the little leftover handfuls of nuts. You know what I'm talking about. A recipe called for all but 1/4 cup of slivered almonds, what to do with the leftovers? Stash 'em away for some granola. 


Perfect opportunity to use up various seeds, like sesame or flax, as in this recipe. So many sesame and flax seeds, with so few opportunities to use them and then there was granola. Everyone gets to play! No, your granola is not going to taste like sesame.

Any flavorful oil will work in here. Until coconut oil was all the rage, I used olive oil. The coconut oil also does not make this taste overwhelmingly like coconut, for all those coconut haters out there.

Egg whites make your granola a bit more crunchy and you could add up to about 3 tablespoons. I used egg beaters and would probably skip egg whites, if I had not had egg beaters on hand. The protein bonus does not hurt either.


If you like granola that is in bigger pieces, press the granola down firmly, with a spatula, not stirring it for the remainder of time in the oven.

After it comes out of the oven do the same thing, letting it cool completely before breaking it up, tossing in the fruit at this point.

If you have not gotten the gist by now, this recipe is flexible. Change the amount of oil or honey you add, maybe it is too much for. Maybe it isn't sweet enough. That is okay. Not offended, promise.


Spread you wings and play around with the ingredients. Use what you have on hand. Go wild. It will be fun. You deserve it.

xo
April 

Ingredients:
2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup slivered almonds
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon flax seeds

3 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon egg white
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup dried fruit

Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Mix first 7 ingredients in large bowl. Stir honey and oil in saucepan over medium-low heat until smooth, or microwave in a measuring cup for 30 seconds. Pour honey mixture and salt over oat mixture; toss. Add tablespoon of egg; toss. Spread on prepared sheet. Bake until golden, stirring every 15 minutes, about 40 minutes. 
  2. Place sheet on rack, to cool. Stirring immediately for a less chunky mixture or let cook fully for bigger chunks. Mix in fruit. Granola will keep for up to a week, in a air-tight container.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Kelsey's Sunday Brunch

Happy Sunday Everyone!

I hope you've had a fun, basketball filled weekend so far and that you're favorite team is winning unless they're playing our Badgers of course ;)  We've had some pretty great spring weather for the most part the past couple of weeks and Ruger has been getting spoiled with extra walks and time outside soaking in some rays.


Us Badger Kitchen ladies and a couple of friends started off the weekend by enjoying cocktails at the Old Sugar Distillery.  It's always good to be able to catch up and unwind at the end of the week, even better when you're sipping on some local spirits.  I was tempted to buy a bottle to take home but couldn't quite pull the trigger.


I've been trying out some new recipes lately.  This spring quinoa salad with honey lemon vinaigrette was a winner.  I'd like to give this garlic parmesan chicken lasagna bake another try and maybe throw in some broccoli and make a smaller batch this time because sometimes there is just too much leftovers for the number of days in a week you're willing to eat the same meal.  If you can't tell, I'm currently spending some quality time on Pinch of Yum while meal planning for the week.


We also made this simple deep dish pizza twice(!) in the past couple weeks.  You may recall that I've mentioned that I was gifted a pair of cast iron skillets for Christmas but I've honestly been a little intimidated to use them since they need to be cared for in a special way.  Deep dish pizza was a dish I knew I wanted to try making so I gave it a shot and it turned out great, the skillet isn't ruined and now I'm ready to broaden my cast iron skillet horizons!  Give me some suggestions!


We have been getting a ton of stuff checked off the wedding to-do list lately.  My dress came in (insert heart eyed emoji) so my mom and I went and picked that up.  Hello extra workout motivation!  We also ordered and received our wedding invitations from Vistaprint and we're getting all the details worked out for the rehearsal dinner at Tutto Pasta.  Funny enough, it's actually the same restaurant where I went to dinner before prom.  One of the extra fun things we got to do, well at least I thought it was fun, was pick out our wedding bands!  We are getting them from BR Diamond Suite where we were actually able to custom design them.  I wanted something a little more unique that I wasn't able to find at other jewelry stores.  Hopefully now that we've accomplished so much some of these crazy wedding dreams will stop!

Have a great week friends!

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