Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cherry Clafoutis

It is the last week of camp and I just can't believe it! Time has flown by! This week is all about camper favorites and we have been having a blast.

It was also one of my bestie, Jill's, birthday on Sunday.  I was supposed to party it up like a crazy college kid downtown with her, but following a super amazing/rich dinner, I found my tummy seriously disagreeing with me.  I felt so bad about missing her party and I can't wait to make it up to her! Jill is an amazing person and friend and I seriously owe her one at this point.  However, as I cried to my mom about how disappointed I was to be missing out, she made the very valid point that we would both be 21 for a while and could celebrate as much as we want.  I vote for celebrating often :)

All these 21st birthdays have made me really think about growing up.  I have been reflecting a lot lately and I just can't believe I have such amazing friends and family in my life.  Turning 21 has made me feel strangely old, but in a good way.  Like have have grown up so much, but I have come so far and I'm really loving the person I am becoming.  A lot of this is due to the people I have in my life and I am truly grateful!

In other news, I recently purchased this fantastic cast iron skillet (with my birthday gift cards!) and I treated myself to a Cherry Clafoutis.  I wanted to branch out and try something new and my mom purchased a GIANT box of cherries this weekend.  So we ran out and got a cherry pitter and got to work!  This dessert turned out amazing and I would love to try it again with different fruit combinations!

Cherry Clafoutis (adapted from Former Chef)

3 cups cherries, pitted
1 tbsp butter
6 eggs
1/3 cup + 1 tbsp sugar
1 1/4 cups skim milk
2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp chambord
3/4 cup flour
pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in the center position.
2. Over low heat, melt the butter in your cast iron skillet and coat the bottom and sides with the butter.  Remove from heat.  Place half the cherries in the bottom of the pan.
3. In a food processor, process eggs, sugar, milk, vanilla, and chambord until well combined.  Add in flour and salt and pulse for another 30 seconds or until well combined.  Pour batter into the pan.  Place the rest of the cherries on top.
4. Bake for about 40-45 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Enjoy :)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Healthy S'more Ice Cream Sandwiches

For the past 10 weeks, I have been training for a half marathon.  I decided to simply map out my own half marathon and complete that as my first "race."  There weren't any races around the time that I could do one that were convenient for me to run in, but I still really wanted to work towards this all summer.

This past week, I ran 2 4 mile runs, a 4.75 run, a 3.5 run and then on Sunday, I ran the whole big race: 13.1 miles.

I feel so good for being diligent about this and completing the training.  Running helps me feel great and I love how strong and confident I feel when I am running.

Plus, running means I get to eat all the yummy things I make!

After my run, I spent a ton of time baking because I just was happy and wanted to.  I can't wait to share some of the recipes I tried, but first I have a simple, but amazing treat that is also healthy!

For the Daring Bakers' Challenge this month, I made Homemade Whole Wheat Graham Crackers.  Then, today I made healthy ice cream sandwiches with those crackers!!!

Healthy S'more Ice Cream Sandwiches
makes 5 sandwiches
10 graham crackers
16 oz light whipped topping
2 Hershey Bars

1. Place 5 crackers on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.
2. Spread whipped topping on each cracker and then top with the other crackers to create the sandwich.

3. Melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl for about 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds.  Dip the sandwiches or drizzle chocolate over the sandwiches.  Place in freezer for at least 2 hours.
Enjoy :)

These taste just like ice cream sandwiches and then the graham cracker plus chocolate combination is just amazing!!!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Ice Cream in a Bag

Friday was a super fun day as it was my friend, Mario's birthday, and Bri and I had plans to travel to Madison after camp.  I haven't been up in Madison all summer and I was so excited to see some of my friends and spend some time there.  Plus, it was my first time being 21 in Madison and I was actually able to go out to celebrate someone else's birthday!

We went to the Nitty Gritty, the official birthday place of Madison, and although my birthday was last Saturday, they still gave me a balloon and birthday mug and I was able to get free drinks!  We went to a bunch of fun bars that night and had a great time.

Mario's "muff-dive" shot...
Then, after a nice run on Lakeshore the next morning, my Madison was made complete with an awesome brunch at Mickey's Dairy Bar with my besties Caryn and Lauren.  It was a short trip, but it was an amazing one and I can't wait to go back in a few weeks to actually move back in!

Everything is large at Mickey's...

Their famous scrambler...you can even get gravey on it...
but I opted out

At camp on Friday, before the epic trip, we had an epic day! We practiced our Parent's Day Talent Show, had a paint color war, and made ice cream in a bag!

This recipe was super simple, super delicious, and the kids loved it! It is a really fun way to make a sweet treat and I would definitely give it a try before summer is over! Also, if you are not making a million batches for 60 people, I would also add in things like chocolate syrup and your favorite ice cream toppings.

Ice Cream in a Bag (adapted from Kaboose)

1/2 cup half and half
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp kosher or rock salt

1. In a pint sized plastic bag, place half and half, sugar, and vanilla.  Seal the bag.
2. In a gallon sized plastic bag, fill half way with ice and the salt.  Place the small bag in the big bag and seal the big bag.  Shake for about 5 minutes.  Remove the small bag, add in whatever toppings you would like, and enjoy!

Enjoy :)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

July 2012 Daring Bakers' Challenge: Crazy For Crackers

This month's challenge was brought to us by Dana McFalrland.  Dana challenged us to make homemade crackers.  She showed us a bunch of techniques and a variety of fun recipes and examples.  We were encouraged to go after a flavor combo that really represents our style and taste.  I have such a sweet tooth that when I thought crackers, I immediately thought: Graham Crackers! So, I set out to try my hand at some homemade graham crackers...maybe some s'mores are in my future!

Homemade Whole Wheat Graham Crackers (adapted from Tracey's Culinary Adventures)

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3/8 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into cubes
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/8 cup honey

1. Whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together in a bowl.
2. In a separate bowl beat butter, sugar, and honey together until well combined.  Beat in half the flour mixture until well combined.  Scrape down sides and then beat in the rest of the flour mixture.
3. Shape dough into a rectangle, wrap in plastic wrap, and cool in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
4. Roll out chilled dough on a floured surface and create your cracker shapes with cookie cutters.  Pierce holes in the crackers using a fork, place on a parchment or sillpat lined baking sheet, and freeze for 10 minutes.
5. Preheat oven to 350 and bake crackers for 6-7 minutes.  Turn the sheets around and continue to bake for another 6-7 minutes or until edges begin to brown.

Enjoy :)

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Lake County Fair

Last night I traveled to a completely different world.  Me, Bri, Michael, Maddie, and Katie only drove about 25 minutes away, but we found ourselves in a totally different sort of place to what we are used to: The Lake County Fair.  It was a super fun night full of rides, food, and sightseeing. 

We started with roasted corn on the cob and motorcross racing. 

Afterwards this happened:

It's okay, I had camp all day and then I ran over 4 miles...

We saw cows, sheep, goats, and Katie even got to touch an utter! 

Katie looking super fly for the fair...
And then, of course, we hit up the rides.

Bri and I are huge fans of ferris wheels and this one was actually decently intense...I got scared!

After all the fun, we were exhausted and Bri and I were up way past our bedtimes (actually...) so we started to head back to the car...but then, we saw this:

Yes, that is a monkey riding a dog...mind blown

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mini Morning Banana Muffins

It felt like a muffin kind of morning and so I decided to whip up some banana muffins.  I found a yummy sounding recipe over at How Sweet It Is and then instead of a brown butter glaze, I opted for plain-old-muffins.

Last night, I had a super nice dinner with my co-site director, Anna, and director, Lucy.  We went to Kona Grill where from 5:30-7:30 in the "seat yourself" section, you can participate in Happy Hour.  They have tons of half-priced appetizers, small meals, sushi, and of course, drinks.  It was exciting because I am finally 21 and I got to order a drink and get "carded" for real for the first time! I love the friends that I make through camp.  We had a great time and it was a nice way to make a Wednesday summer evening feel a little more special.
Afterwards, I got to be super early and of course, woke up too early once again.  Thus, the muffins.

Mini Banana Muffins
makes 36

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1 egg
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2/3 cup skim milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 bananas, mashed

1. Preheat oven to 350 and line muffin pan with paper liners or lightly grease.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, salt, baking soda, and spices.
3. In a large bowl, whisk egg and brown sugar together until well combined.  Whisk in the butter, milk and vanilla.  Whisk in the banana.  Stir in flour mixture until just combined.  Pour into muffin pans, filling about 3/4 full, and bake for 12 minutes.
Enjoy :)

...I might even slather some nutella or peanut butter on top of these...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Gluten Free Raspberry Cheesecake

A couple of the counselors at my camp eat gluten free.  So, when I brought in the Yogurt Coffee Cake yesterday for our director's birthday, I felt a little bad that they couldn't eat it.  I felt so guilty, in fact, that I came home and made gluten free cheesecake cupcakes.

I found a recipe for cute gluten free cheesecake over at Cakes N Bakes  and then I adapted it to fit what I was sort of craving.  I can't wait to share these with them tomorrow! They look fantastic and hopefully, everyone will be able to eat and enjoy them!

Gluten Free Raspberry Cheesecake

1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup gluten free flour
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbsp unsalted butter, chilled
1 tbsp honey
1/2 cup raspberry jam, seedless
16 oz low-fat cream cheese
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 325 and line 18 cupcake wells with liners.
2. In a food processor, process flour, pecans, and salt.  Pulse in the butter until combined and then the honey.  Divide the crust up evenly in the 18 cupcake wells and press down.  Bake for 8-10 minutes.  Set aside to cool.
3. Using a mixer, beat cream cheese on high until light and fluffy.  Beat in the sugar, honey, lemon zest,  and vanilla until well combined.  Scrape down sides as needed.  Beat in the eggs one at a time until well combined.  Fill cupcakes up to about 3/4 full.  Heat the jam in a saucepan over low heat until liquid.  Drop about a tsp of jam on each cupcake and using a toothpick, swirl it in.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Let cool for about 15 minutes before placing in fridge for at least 2 hours to cool completely.
Enjoy :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Yogurt Coffee Cake

Yet again, I am up WAY too early.  I've already had enough time to eat breakfast, get dressed, buy a cupcake at the bakery, and bake a coffee cake (mom's favorite recipe).  However, I feel pretty good about this mornings accomplishments.  Now, I've got a cupcake to give my camp director in honor of her birthday and a coffee cake to share with everyone for the occasion.

I think birthdays are crazy important.  They are the only day of the year that you have a holiday all about you.  It should be celebrated! Also, it's a super rainy/stormy morning and baking just seemed like a lovely thing to do.  Now, I'm sitting here waiting in a kitchen that smells delicious and getting ready for camp.  We are supposed to tye-dye today and today is "backwards" day.  However, with all this rain and pending storms, I'm not so sure that our day is going to go as planned.  At least I have cake!

Yogurt Coffee Cake

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cup sugar
8 oz. non-fat vanilla yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 heaping tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp all spice
pinch of salt
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 10 inch tube pan.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, all spice, and salt.
3. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, yogurt, vanilla, and eggs until well combined.  Beat in the dry ingredients until just combined and then mix in the chocolate chips.
4. In a small bowl, mix topping ingredients together.
5. Pour half the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle half of the topping ingredients on top.  Pour the rest of the batter in and sprinkle the rest of the topping on top.  Bake for 45 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Enjoy :)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Veggie Wrap

I can't believe this is my last week on my half-marathon training schedule! I am planning to run my self-mapped out half marathon this coming Sunday and I can't wait! I did a 10 week training schedule and it is finally here! This past week I did 4 miles, 4 miles, and 3.5 miles during the week.  Then, I did 9 miles on Saturday.  On top of that, I did Pilates, some elliptical work outs, and turned 21...I was a busy girl!

This week, I have another 3 short runs before Sunday where I will do the whole 13.1! I can't wait!

I also have an awesome lunch idea to share with you all! I hate taking "normal" sandwiches for lunch and so I've been trying to be creative with my camp lunches.  My mom made a fabulous Roasted Red Pepper Veggie Dip for our Pampered Chef party and put out a bunch of veggies and chips to go with it.  Then, we had a ton of leftovers and so I did this:

Random Veggie Wrap

2 tbsp roasted red pepper dip (see recipe below)
1 small tortilla
handful of chopped up veggies (I used pepper, broccoli, and snap peas)
good goat cheese

1. Heat up your tortilla in the microwave for a few seconds.  Spread on the red pepper dip and place veggies and cheese on top.  Roll it all up and pack it away for a fun, healthy, and delish lunch!
Roasted Red Pepper Dip (adapted from Low-Fat, Low-Colesterol Cookbook)

1 cup low-fat sour cream
1 7 oz jar roasted red bell peppers, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup snipped fresh dillweed
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
pinch of salt
3 tbsp minced onion

In a food processor, process all ingredients except for the onions.  Mix in the onions.  Chill in fridge or serve immediately.
Enjoy :)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Golden Birthday Part Two: Vegetarian Slow-Cooker Lasagna

Yesterday, Saturday, was my 21st birthday.  I turned 21 on the 21st and therefore it was my golden birthday as well! It was quite possibly one of the best days of my life.  I know that is dramatic, but it seriously was amazing.  Also, I totally remember all of it!

I just feel so blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life.  I started off the day with a nice 9 mile run, not kidding.  As I was running, I was amazed at how happy I felt that this was such a special day, but that I still felt totally the same. It was an amazing run where I just felt so happy and comfortable with who I am.  I have changed a lot through the years, and now, I feel very comfortable and happy.  After my run, my amazing boyfriend took me to the DMV to get my new license.  Not only do I now have a real-person sideways license, but I also registered to vote! It was so exciting! Following that excursion, we met my parents, brother, and bestie, Tamara, at a restaurant for a little Brunch/Lunch.  I got my favorite omelet and just continued to enjoy my day.  Also, I hadn't seen Tamara in AGES and it was awesome to catch up with her.  Then, it was time to really get the party started.  Some of the most amazing ladies in the world, Caryn, Lauren, Anna, Katie, and Jilly, met up with me, Bri, and Tamara at my house and my brother, mom, and dad were awesome enough to drive us all downtown to our hotel for the night.   We got ready to go out in the hotel and then headed to Goose Island Brewery for a fantastic dinner and my first legal drink! Of course, the waiter asked for my ID and it was really funny and exciting.  I was all decked out in my goofy birthday trinkets and of course, my golden shoes for my golden birthday! Then, we headed to Lincoln Park for the bars.  Everything was so fun.  We drank, we danced, and then we ended the night with pizza! It was the best!  I felt so happy to be surrounded by such amazing friends and I can't thank them all enough for the awesome birthday night I had because of them.  Also, Brian was amazing and even danced the night away with me! I don't even know how to express my love for all of them, they are all unbelievable!

Now, it is Sunday, and it is definitely a Slow-Cooker kind of day.  Which is why I am sharing a fabulous recipe for a Slow-Cooker Vegetarian Lasagna.  It is the easiest comfort meal I have made in a while and it is perfect after yesterday's/early this morning's shenanigans.

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lasagna (adapted from Betty Crocker)

1 box whole wheat, uncooked lasagna noodles
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
2 red peppers, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
3 roma tomatoes, chopped
4 cups, or more marinara sauce
2 cups shredded, light mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
15 oz low-fat, part skim ricotta cheese
salt and pepper

1. Lightly grease your slow-cooker and prepare the vegetables.  Place the veggies, without the tomatoes, in a bowl and combine.
2. In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta with the mozzarella and parmesan.  Season with salt and pepper.
3. Coat the bottom of the slow-cooker with some marinara sauce. Place lasagna noodles over the bottom.  Break noodles to make them fit. Spread some of the cheese mixture over the noodles to coat them.  Spread a few spoonfuls of the veggies over the cheese and then top with sauce and some chopped tomatoes.  Place lasagna noodles on top and then repeat with the other ingredients to create the layers.  Once you have 4 layers, top with the final lasagna noodles, coat with marinara/tomatoes, and then sprinkle on some extra parmesan.
4. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
Enjoy :)

This recipe is featured on Foodie Friends Friday Linky Party!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Golden Birthday Part 1: Fun Funfetti Cupcakes

Today is my Golden Birthday!!! That's right, I am 21 on the 21st and I couldn't be more excited! I can't believe it is finally here! I will be going out tonight and I can't wait to share my adventures tomorrow, but first, I want to share a little about yesterday...

Yesterday was not quite my birthday, but it was the day I celebrated at camp with my staff and campers.  It was such a great day! My friend and co-site director Anna, make an awesome cake to share with the staff in the morning.  It was so sweet of her! She is one of my good friends and she will be partaking in the shenanigans tonight!

Then, my campers sang to me in the morning and were just so cute! We had a great day at camp, and then I brought it treats for my birthday.  I wanted to make something homemade and fun so I decided on mini cupcakes.  I make funfetti cupcakes based on a recipe I found at How Sweet It Is and then I made a vanilla buttercream and chocolate frosting.  I also decided it would be cute to give the campers to recipe.  Here is what they got:

Jodie’s Fun Funfetti Cupcakes
Makes 12-14 large cupcakes or 24-30 mini cupcakes

1 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla
1/3 cup skim milk
1/3 cup sprinkles
more sprinkles for decoration

1.     Preheat oven to 350 and line a cupcake pan with liners.
2.     In a medium bowl, whisk the flour and baking powder together.  Set aside.
3.     In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar on high until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.   Beat in the eggs and vanilla until well combined.  Alternate adding the flour mixture with the milk.  Start with 1/3 of the flour, then ½ milk, then 1/3 flour, ½ milk, and last 1/3 of the flour.  Stir in the sprinkles.
4.     Fill cupcake holes about 2/3 full and bake for 18-20 minutes for big cupcakes and about 14-15 minutes for mini cupcakes.

Chocolate Frosting

1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 oz low-fat cream cheese
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup skim milk
2-2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Beat the butter and cream cheese together until light and fluffy.  Beat in the powdered sugar and then slowly add the milk and vanilla.  Melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl on high, stirring after 30 seconds, until melted.  Beat in the chocolate.  Frost cooled cupcakes!

Vanilla Frosting

1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla
skim milk, if needed

Beat the butter until light and fluffy.  Beat in the powdered sugar and then slowly add the vanilla. Add about 1 Tbsp of milk at a time, if needed, to get the consistency you want.  Frost cooled cupcakes!

Now, I am off for a nice 8ish mile run before the rest of my birthday fun commences.  I think there is a brunch involved, a renewing of my license, and then my friends and I are headed downtown for a night out in Chicago.  We are doing dinner, bars, and then staying at a hotel...I can't wait!!! OMG I'M 21!!!!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Sweet Potato Ice Cream and Another Camp Treat

It's July and July means two very fantastic things: National Ice Cream Month and My Birthday! Tomorrow is my birthday and I am so excited! I can't wait to share all the fun things I end up doing, but first I wanted to share and Ice Cream Recipe I tried out when I was feeling super adventurous.

I love ice cream.  Like, it's an unhealthy obsession.  To attempt to satisfy my constant ice cream cravings and my desire to be healthy, I usually just opt for frozen yogurt, or small portions.  I could never cut it out completely, it just makes me too happy! One day, when I was craving ice cream, but wanted to be healthy, I found a recipe for Sweet Potato Ice Cream.  I was completely baffled, but figured it probably tasted a little like Pumpkin ice cream and therefore I could be okay with it.  I gave it a shot.  To be honest, my family and I tried the ice cream, and then threw it all out! We were not fans, too healthy.  However, I can see the appeal of this ice cream.  If you are a serious sweet potato lover or if you add a ton of marshmallow cream or something, this stuff can be super appealing.

Sweet Potato Ice Cream (adapted from Cherry Tea Cakes)

3 medium sweet potatoes
1 1/2 cups half and half
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves

1.  Bake the sweet potatoes in the oven at 400 for 1 hour and then let cool completely.  Peel the potatoes.
2. Place peeled potatoes, half and half, brown sugar, and spices in a food processor and process until smooth.  Place in ice cream maker and freeze according to directions.  Place in freezer for at least 2 hours to harden and set.
Enjoy :)

And now, a quick treat that was a much bigger success: Edible Oceans! At camp this week, it is water week and so all the activities are water themed and we spend lots of time dumping water on the campers to keep them cool.  Edible Oceans are a great special camp snack for the week.  All it is is blue jell-o and swedish fish.  They LOVED it!