Friday, February 5, 2016

Crock Pot Cinnamon Rolls

Happy Friday!

I am so excited that it is Friday, my students are taking a test, and I have my friend's engagement party to go to tonight!  I am so excited for Caryn and Max and I can't wait to celebrate with them.

Last night, I went to La Principal in Evanston with some of my friends from my old school.  It was so nice to see them and it really made me miss them!  Plus, La Principal was amazing!  I really hope that we continue to have outings like that in the future!

Today, before the engagement party, a bunch of teachers from my current school are going to a restaurant to celebrate the fact that it is Friday.  I'm excited to hang with them and it will be a nice way to kick off the weekend.

You know what is also a nice way to kick off the weekend?  Cinnamon rolls!!! Cinnamon rolls are my ultimate favorite breakfast pastry.  I just can't say no to them.  I know that the world is on a donut kick, but I still say that cinnamon rolls are the best.  I made crock pot cinnamon rolls recently and they came out great!  I made them a little "healthier" so they are probably not as crazy delicious as they could be, but I thought they were delish and it made me feel better to know that they were lightened up.

Crock Pot Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients:
3/4 cup almond milk
1 packet instant yeast
1/4 cup + 1 tsp sugar, divided
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 egg
2 and 3/4 cups bread flour
Filling:
5 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1-2 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
Icing:
2 tbsp milk
1/4 cup powdered sugar
dash of vanilla


Directions:
1. Warm the milk in the microwave for 1 minute.  Pour the milk into a stand mixer or large bowl with a dough hook.  Add in the yeast and 1 tsp sugar and let sit for 8-10 minutes.  Yeast should make the mixture frothy.
2. Once the yeast mixture is frothy, add in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, butter, egg and 2 cups of flour.  Beat on a low speed until dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  Add in more flour as needed.
3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes.  Then, place the dough back into the bowl, cover with a towel and let rest for 15 minutes.
4. Line a slow cooker with a lightly greased piece of parchment paper.
5. After 15 minutes, roll the dough out into a long rectangle about 1/4 inch thick.  Spread the softened butter over the dough, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.  Then, starting with the longer side, roll it up towards the other long side.  Cut into about 12 pieces and place in the slow cooker.
6. Place a paper towel on the inside of the slow cooker right under the lid.  Turn the cooker on to high and let cook for 2 hours.
7. Make the icing by mixing the powdered sugar and milk together in a small bowl.  Once the cinnamon rolls are done, spread with icing or just dip the cinnamon rolls in the icing!

Enjoy :)


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Vegetarian Paella

I decided to take a blog-cation.  I'm not sure that is a real thing, but I am officially making it a thing.  I was feeling a little overwhelmed with how much I have going on in my life and I just couldn't keep up.  It happens.  All the stuff is really good and I totally kept cooking up a storm, but I just didn't feel like writing.  However, I am pretty pumped to tell you about this Vegetarian Paella:


Here is a quick re-cap on all the good stuff that is keeping me occupied.  First, school is busy.  I am teaching the AP Calc and Precalc groups right now, so I have a lot to plan for.  I have never taught these classes before this year and so I need more time to plan and prepare myself.  Plus, this math stuff can be really difficult!  I give these kids a lot of credit because they are learning some tough stuff and doing a really nice job! Then, I also have cheer practice or basketball games after school.  On Saturday, we attended a college basketball game and talked to the cheer team there.  It was really fun and the girls had a great time meeting the college cheerleaders.  We are also getting ready for a winter pep rally and that means lots of practice.  On top of all that, I also had a meeting on Monday with the park district to start preparing for my summer job.  Summer seems really far away, but now is the time that we start planning/hiring for summer camp.  Finally, Bri and I have been doing a lot of house shopping.  We think we found our condo and are getting ready to make an offer!  And, all of this is in addition to wedding planning and marathon training.  Jeez!  
So, needless to say, I just have a lot on my plate.  

I also found out that next year I will be teaching 12th grade.  For any of you who keep up with my life, I am currently teaching 11th grade and this means I will be teaching the same kiddos next year! I am turning into Mr. Feeny from Boy Meets World!  This is just awesome since Mr. Feeny is the best! 


How can you not love that guy???  

Well, now that you are all mostly updated on my whirlwind life, here is a fabulous recipe for Vegetarian Paella.  I made this on a weeknight, which means that it takes like no time, and it was crazy yummy.  Please make this and enjoy!

Vegetarian Paella
(adapted from The Kitchn)


Ingredients:
1 cup brown rice
1/4 tsp tumeric
1/4 tsp paprika
5-6 cups vegetable broth
1 tbsp olive oil
1 sweet onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 red peppers, sliced
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tbsp hot paprika
1 cup green beans, trimmed and halved
1 can artichoke heart quarters, drained and roughly chopped
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1/4 cup frozen peas
salt and pepper

Directions:
1. Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil, add a pinch of salt and the brown rice, and boil for 20 minutes.  Drain and set aside.
2. In another pot, bring the broth to a simmer.
3. Heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet and saute the onions until translucent.  Add in the peppers and garlic and cook until the peppers soften.  Add in the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, tumeric, paprika, hot paprika, and season with salt and pepper (to taste). Let this simmer for 5 minutes
4.  Fold in the green beans, artichoke hearts, chickpeas and cooked rice.  Ladel the warm broth into the mixture until the rice is almost covered.  Let simmer for 20 minutes.
5. Stir in the frozen peas and let simmer for 5 more minutes.  Then, serve! 

Enjoy :)


Monday, January 25, 2016

Marathon Training Monday

I hope that everyone had a nice weekend!  My weekend was super busy, but also pretty great.  We had a friend's birthday party, brunch with my family, and we went house hunting!

On top of all that, I had my 9 mile run on Saturday and I went out to breakfast afterwards with my group.  It was a good run, the weather felt cold, but it was also sunny and it was a good group of people!  I caught up with someone I hadn't ran with in a while and after there were 6 of us that went to breakfast at Whole Foods.  Overall, it was a great way to start the day!

This week the mileage increases even more.  I have 3/5/3 for the weekday runs and then 10 on Saturday.

Also, the NYC Marathon Lottery is open!  So, of course, I applied.  I don't have a good feeling about getting in.  I know it is a "random" lottery, but I am applying for the first time and I have never volunteered or anything for that marathon.  I figured, I'll apply for the NYC lottery as well as the Chicago lottery and just see what happens! Wish me luck!  If you have run that marathon before and have any words of wisdom, I would love to hear it!

I hope everyone has a great week and for all the Midwest runners out there, enjoy the relatively amazing winter weather!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Avocado Egg Salad

How are your new year's resolutions going?

I am not a huge fan of resolutions.  I like to think of them more like lifestyle choices.  I decided that since my wedding is in less than 200 days, I am going to work on being healthy, eating well, and getting in great shape.  So far, I have lost some weight and I've been doing more strength training.  I feel great!  I am also watching my students take their last final right now and so I am getting focused on starting fresh with them next semester!  I can't believe I am already entering second semester...before you know it, it will be the end of the school year and time for summer!

Today I am sharing a recipe that has helped me stay focused on my goal of eating well.  I saw a recipe for egg salad that used avocado instead of the typical mayo/egg combo.  I love avocado and I figured this would be amazing!

I also saw an idea for a smoked salmon sandwich that had avocado on it.  So, I got to thinking:  What if I used my avocado egg salad to build a yummy salmon sandwich.  This way, I would get some great nutrients, lots of good protein, and it would be delish.

Avocado Egg Salad

Ingredients:
3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 whole avocado
1 tbsp non-fat, plain greek yogurt
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 tbsp chopped chives
fresh ground pepper
dash of lime juice

Directions:1. Place chopped eggs in a container.  Then, add in the avocado and mash with a fork until well combined.  Then, mix in the rest of the ingredients.

My smoked salmon sandwich! Avocado Egg Salad,
Smoked Salmon, and Cucumbers :)

Enjoy :)