Thursday, January 31, 2013

Foodie Friends Friday: Build-a-Bear Workshop

This week, Foodie Friends Friday is back with a Build-a-Bear Party!  This week you can win prizes from Build-a-Bear Workshop.  One lucky winner will get a Chef Bear and a $25 giftcard!!!   Just follow the rules and link up your recipes! Also, host favorites will be featured on Daily Dish!  This week I'm linking up Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Cup Cookies, Cinnamon Sugar Popcorn, and Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Scones with Vanilla Glaze!

Last Foodie Friends Friday was sponsored by Growing up Gabel and Shared Joy and here were the winners:
And, of course, here were your top 3 voted and clicked recipes!

Most Clicked:

Voted Top 3:

Grab our NEW button! 
Foodie Friends Friday
<div align="center"><a href="http://www.foodiefriendsfridaydailydish.com/" title="Foodie Friends Friday" target="_blank"><img src="http://i1271.photobucket.com/albums/jj628/busyvegetarianmom/FFFDDButtonNEW150Darker_zpse238f637.jpg" alt="Foodie Friends Friday" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Enter below and you might be a lucky winner!!

But first, here are this week's co-hosts:

Foodie Friends Friday http://www.foodiefriendsfriday.com
Tracy at Busy Vegetarian Mom http://www.busyvegetarianmom.com
Marlys at This and That  http://marlys-thisandthat.blogspot.com/
Lois at  Walking on Sunshine http://walkingonsunshinerecipes.com
Michelle at  From Calculus to Cupcakes http://www.fromcalculustocupcakes.com
Cynthia at Feeding Big  http://www.feedingbig.com
Jodie at Binomial Baker http://www.binomialbaker.blogspot.com
R Dawn at Spatulas on Parade http://www.spatulasonparade.blogspot.com
Angie at A lil Country Sugar http://www.alilcountrysugar.blogspot.com
Cindy at Cindy's Recipes and Writings: : http://www.cindysrecipesandwritings.com 
Joanne at Winelady Cooks: http://www.wineladycooks.blogspot.com
Marlene at Nosh My Way: http://www.noshmyway.com
Jutta at Hungry Little Girl: http://www.hungrylittlegirl.com/
Erika at Chef Picky Kid: http://www.chefpickykid.com/
Beth at Honey Locust Hills http://www.honeylocusthills.com


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Restaurant Week: Fresco

Another snow day?!?!

Seriously, one might start to wonder if I am actually in Wisconsin.  When I was a kid we never had this many snow days.  But, here I am for the third time, enjoying a lovely snow day.  I woke up and had breakfast before I found out about the day off so instead of sleeping in, I ran 5 miles, showered, and now I'm making cupcakes!

I also wanted to take this opportunity to tell you about another fantastic restaurant I tried for the first time.  This was my second Restaurant Week dinner and it was amazing! Max and I went to Fresco and for $30 dollars, we both had an amazing meal complete with appetizers, entrees, and desserts.  Plus, we got to sit above the Overture Center and look out on snowy, State Street.  It was pretty amazing.

We both had the same appetizers and entrees: the Wisconsin Apple Salad and the Seared Mahi Mahi with Cauliflower Risotto in an Almond Raspberry Vinaigrette.  It was all delicious.  For dessert, we ended up splitting the Homemade Kit Kat with Peanut Butter Mousse and the Carrot Cake Cupcake with Maple Buttercream Frosting.




It was an awesome meal followed by Modern Family and skyping my bestie Caryn who is all grown up and working a real job in DC! It was so nice to turn a boring weeknight into an amazing one.

Now, it's time for me to take my cupcakes out of the oven! They smell amazing and I can't wait to share the recipe with you later! Have a nice day!


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

I did it! I made it through my first day as a full-time student teacher! I was so nervous about today and I can't believe it is finally over and I have a chance to share a great recipe with you!

I got to school today at 7:30, parked in the wrong lot, ran into another student teacher who told me where to go, and made it to the office by 7:35...not too shabby.  Except for the fact, that I got totally lost on the way to the office.  I figured it out eventually and got there with plenty of time to start the day.

After a bit of a confusing morning, it was nice to spend the first part of first block in a study hall. Every teacher needs to spend a certain amount of time at a study hall being available to help students.  Today was the first day of the new semester and so no one needed help.  Instead, I got to go over the geometry lesson plan with my cooperating teacher.  After our study hall, we had about 30 minutes to prepare for second block.

Second block was my big moment: I started teaching the geometry class!  I started off with a group juggle activity to learn some names and then I dove in! We worked through two lessons during the 95 minute block and learned the triangle congruency theorems.  I struggled a bit when it came to names or using the SMART board, but overall the class period flowed fairly well and the students were great.  I can't wait to teach them again on Thursday!  That might have sounded weird...let me explain: with this "block" scheduling, students have classes every other day.  So, geometry happens on A and C days.  On B and D days students have the other half of their classes.  I'm still figuring this out as I go and basically all I know is how A days work right now.

After geometry, we got some time to each lunch and then it was back to class for Pre-Calc.  My cooperating teacher is going to teach this one until I am more comfortable and then I am going to help co-teach.  Today, I led the group juggle activity and then circulated the classroom answering student questions.  We ended class with a guest speaker on teamwork and working together on projects in school and outside of school.  It was an interesting talk and perfect for this class as the students have to work with teams all the time.

For the last block of the day, my cooperating teacher does work with service based learning so I went to an algebra class to help out.  This class was much different as it was full of freshmen, and then sophomores through seniors who have failed the class in the past.  It was a much different class and great to see.  I got to help out students and in the future I may help co-teach or lead warm-ups and other activities.  I had a super full day at high school and by the end of hte day I couldn't wait to sit down and breathe!

However, I still had to drive over to another building to get my ID and then I convinced myself to stop by the work-out facility on the way back and run 4 miles.  Yeah, I can't really believe I did that either...

Now, I am home, showered, and getting my thoughts together before I have to work on planning for the rest of the week.  Tomorrow is another full day and it is a B day so it's sort of like another "first day" all over.  I am excited to see what honors algebra 2 has in store for me!

Now, onto that new recipe I am so pumped to share.  Tamara and I felt like baking the other night and so we whipped out a recipe for peanut butter cup stuffed cookies.  I found a great recipe on Joy of Baking and then adapted it slightly to use whole wheat flour and dark brown sugar.  These cookies were super yummy and you should all make them right now.  In fact, I might go eat a few...I think I deserve it!

Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
48 miniature peanut butter cups

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease a mini muffin pan.
2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well combined.  Mix in the vanilla.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Pour into the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.  Drop a tablespoon of cookie dough into each mini muffin hole.  Bake for 8 minutes.
4. Unwrap the reeses and after 8 minutes. Press 1 candy into each muffin hole.  Place cookies back in the oven and bake for another 3 minutes.  Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then let cool on a wire rack completely.

Enjoy :)


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Gluten Free Cheesecake

Well, today is the big day! I have my first day of high school.  I am obviously very nervous and excited all at once.  I am also stressing out a lot because I am supposed to have an ID by now, but when I went to the place to get one yesterday, the person who does the IDs was not in.  I'm not sure how I was supposed to plan for that one, but now I need to try and get one before school this morning, or after school.  I wish I was just fully prepared to go into school today.  I am excited because today I actually do get to start teaching geometry! I am a little nervous about how class will go, but I can't wait to meet the kids and jump right in!  I will let you all know how it goes soon!

Today I also wanted to share a recipe for a gluten free "healthy" cheesecake that I made.  I brought this in for the last day of middle school as a treat along with a bunch of cookies.  One of the students was gluten free and so I wanted to make sure I had an option for him to enjoy.  He must have enjoyed it because he said, "YOU ROCK!" on the way out of class.  It was pretty darn cute.  Unfortunately, I did not get any photos before the kids destroyed the cheesecake so the one below is from the website of the original recipe.  I adapted the recipe to make it even healthier by using vanilla greek yogurt.  It was pretty delicious!

Gluten Free Healthy Cheesecake (adapted from Simply Fresh Cooking)
Image Source: Simply Fresh Cooking

Ingredients:
2 8 oz containers of light cream cheese, at room temperature
4 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup non-fat Vanilla Greek Yogurt (I used Chobani)
1 tsp vanilla

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2.  In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and eggs until well combined.  Pour mixture into a 9 inch pie dish and place in oven for 35 minutes.  Remove and let cool.
3.  While baking, mix the greek yogurt with the vanilla.  Once cheesecake has cooled for about 20 minutes. Spread this mixture over the top.  Place cheesecake in fridge for at least 4 hours.

Enjoy :)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Cinnamon Sugar Popcorn

I had one of the craziest days ever and so I figured I had to document it here.  This way, next time I am stressed or think I am super busy, I can read this and say, "oh yeah, I'm not THAT busy..."

I had my last day of middle school.  It was a half day so each class period was 28 minutes long.  I brought in cookies for my kids and they were super cute and sad to see me go.  Everything flew by at an overwhelmingly fast pace and I basically ran around like a chicken with its head cut off from 7 to 11:40.  Then from 11:40 to 11:50 I was able to relax.  However, at 11:51 we had a PTO lunch for the teachers and I got to eat some super yummy food with my fellow teachers for the last time.  It was a nice way to celebrate a last day.  I am going to have to visit because I am going to miss everyone there so much!

Right after the lunch, I drove straight to high school to plan for next week.  I am going to start teaching on Tuesday and immediately take over the geometry class.  Then, after a week or so, I am going to take on the two honors algebra 2 classes and maybe even pre-calc!  Planning was super overwhelming because I just have no idea about anything right now.  I don't know the school, kids, what they have learned already, how 95 minute blocks work, or the curriculum.  Yeah, I feel like I'm a little in over my head.  However, I really want the students to see me as their teacher and so I want to start off right away lead teaching.  I think I might make a bit of a fool of myself for the first few lessons, but I am going to try my best and keep my confidence up. I can't wait to feel more prepared and settled in this new school.  I am also crazy grateful to have a day off Monday. This means, one extra day to prepare!

After planning for 3 hours and still feeling unprepared, I drove home, changed, went to the gym and ran 5.5 miles.  I needed to do something to relax my fried nerves and this sort of helped.  After my run, I returned home, took a quick shower, and got dressed just in time to meet Bri! He was visiting for the weekend and couldn't have come at a better time.  I really was needing some fun and it was great to see him.

We went out to my third restaurant week restaurant!  The place was called, Veranda Restaurant and Wine Bar.  We had an amazing meal and, don't worry, I will be sharing more on that experience later.  Basically, it was great to go on a date.  We hadn't done that in a while and it was nice to enjoy some good food and catch up in person.

The next part of my jam-packed day was in a word, amazing.  I met up with friends and we went out to a place in Madison known as "The Piano Bar."  This may be one ofmy new favorite places...ever.  You get in, grab a seat/drink, and settle down for an evening full of dueling pianos and tons of fun.  Three guys rotated on the pianos.  They took turns playing requests from the audience.  They were so talented and could play basically any song you can imagine.  We requested "Thrift Shop" and we got a cool mash-up of Thrift Shop and Gold-digger   Crazy right? It was so cool.  Then, they called up Kaitlin to sing to her for her birthday.  Of course, my friend Courtney started pointing to my other friend, Tamara, and calling her Kaitlin.  Tamara and Kaitlin ended up sitting on the piano getting sung to for their "birthdays."  It was pretty hilarious   I was so glad to end my night with an amazing dinner and then a lot of fun with friends.  It helped distract me and calm me down.  I am a bundle of nerves right now with school about to start and I know that I need to focus on getting prepared and being around people I love and who support me.  That is exactly what this night was about.

Oh, and I thought it would be fitting to share another way that I de-stress with you all: movies and popcorn.  That's all I've been doing lately in my free time and I even have a yummy recipe for homemade cinnamon sugar popcorn for you today.  This is a great snack for a lazy afternoon and I hope that you enjoy it!

Cinnamon Sugar Popcorn


Ingredients:
1/3 cup kernels
3 tbsp light butter (I used Brummel and Brown)
2 tbsp sugar
1/4-1/2 tsp cinnamon (I used more because I am a cinnamon fanatic!)
pinch of sea salt

Directions:
1.  Make popcorn.  I did this is my brand new hot air popcorn maker!
2.  Melt butter.  Stir in the sugar, cinnamon and salt.  Pour the mixture over the popped popcorn and stir until coated.

Enjoy :)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Restaurant Week: Sardine


My first restaurant of restaurant week was Sardine. I went with my bestie, Tamara and we had an amazing time!  So, this is how it works: each person pays $25.  This gets you an appetizer, entree, and dessert.  This is how Tamara and I worked it: we each got something different, and tried it all! We make a pretty fantastic team! I am excited to share our dining experience with you!  This last semester of college is going to be a lot of exploring Madison and since I LOVE food, I'm going to share some great restaurant experiences.





We started off with the fabulous house wine for our drink and then shared two different salads as our appetizers.  Both were light, fresh, and delicious.  I ordered the Mixed Green and Bibb Lettuce Salad which came with shaved shallots, crispy chickpeas, beets and a sieved egg in a champagne tarragon vinaigrette.  Tamara got the Apple Endive Salad which had toasted walnuts, blue cheese, crispy squash and a black current vinaigrette.  



Following our starters, we enjoyed the salmon and chicken as our main dish.  The salmon came with french lentils, sautéed spinach, and portobello mushrooms in a tomato and beurre blanc...can we just look at that sentence in awe...The chicken was stuffed with gruyere and leeks and serviced with bacon, lardons, roasted carrots, turnips, new potatoes, and brussel sprouts in a riesling sauce.     My goodness everything was amazing.





As if dinner and appetizers weren't enough, we then got our desserts! Gianduja Crunch Chocolate Hazelnut Ganache and Vanilla Creme Brûlée!  We left totally stuffed and crazy happy. We sang at the top of our lungs in the car in the way home and then went out on a Sunday since it was a long weekend!


It was such a fun night!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Foodie Friends Friday: Growing Up Gabel and Shared Joy

This week, Foodie Friends Friday is back with a DOUBLE party!  This week you can win prizes from Growing Up Gabel and Shared Joy.  You can win a headband or earrings from Jennifer at Shared Joh and a knitted dishtowel from Camille at Growing Up Gabel!!!   Just follow the rules and link up your recipes! Also, host favorites will be featured on Daily Dish!  This week I'm linking up some of my favorite dessert ideas for Valentine's Day: Creme Brulee for Two, Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bread, and White Chocolate Raspberry Heart Cheesecake!
Last Foodie Friends Friday was sponsored by Stacy and here were the winners:
And, of course, here were your top 3 voted and clicked recipes!

Most Clicked:


Voted Top 3:

Enter below and you might be a lucky winner!!

But first, here are this week's co-hosts:

Foodie Friends Friday http://www.foodiefriendsfriday.com
Tracy at Busy Vegetarian Mom http://www.busyvegetarianmom.com
Marlys at This and That  http://marlys-thisandthat.blogspot.com/
Lois at  Walking on Sunshine http://walkingonsunshinerecipes.com
Michelle at  From Calculus to Cupcakes http://www.fromcalculustocupcakes.com
Cynthia at Feeding Big  http://www.feedingbig.com
Jodie at Binomial Baker http://www.binomialbaker.blogspot.com
R Dawn at Spatulas on Parade http://www.spatulasonparade.blogspot.com
Angie at A lil Country Sugar http://www.alilcountrysugar.blogspot.com
Cindy at Cindy's Recipes and Writings: : http://www.cindysrecipesandwritings.com 
Joanne at Winelady Cooks: http://www.wineladycooks.blogspot.com
Marlene at Nosh My Way: http://www.noshmyway.com
Jutta at Hungry Little Girl: http://www.hungrylittlegirl.com/
Erika at Chef Picky Kid: http://www.chefpickykid.com/

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Chocolate Chip Scones with Vanilla Glaze

Good Morning! Today I have a great recipe to share.  I made these amazing scones to bring in as a breakfast treat for our last student teacher meeting.  Every Monday, one of the teachers at the middle school would meet with all the student teachers.  This sort of "support group" was a great way to stay in touch with the school, learn about teaching, and be open to talking to each other about our experiences.  We talked about stresses in our university classes, difficulties with student teaching, and successes both through school and our outside lives.  On top of these therapy sessions, we learned about practices used at the school for discipline, school culture, and teacher collaboration.  We heard from guest speakers such as the vice principal and a first year teacher.  Also, we got to see sample interview questions.  These meetings were incredibly informative and helped me to feel even more part of the school.  It was great to have this as a support system in my first semester student teaching.  I can't believe that we arrived at our last meeting and that in a few short days, I will be off to high school.  I hope to find ways to continue to connect with staff and students as I enter my next semester of student teaching.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Scones with Vanilla Glaze (adapted from Food Network)

Ingredients:
2 cups white whole wheat flour
4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
6 tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 cup Non-Fat Greek Yogurt (I used Vanilla Chobani)
1 egg
3/4 cup chocolate chips
Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla

Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 375 and lightly grease a baking sheet.
2.  In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar together.  Cut in the butter and using your hands, pinch the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles wet sand.
3.  In a separate bowl, combine the greek yogurt with the egg.  Pour into the flour mixture and stir to combine.  Do not over mix.  Stir in chocolate chips.
4.  Form the dough into a ball and press into a circle.  The circle should be about as thick as your hand.  Cut the circle like a pizza to form 8-12 wedges.  Place on the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Let cool.
5.  Make the glaze by mixing all the ingredients together.  For a thicker glaze, add more sugar, for a thinner glaze, add more milk.  Brush over cooled scones.


Enjoy :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Bellini Italian Restaurant

Today is the first day back at school for the university.  That means that campus finally looks like it is back to normal.  Everyone has returned from winter break and the house is back to its usual bustle.  While it is nice that everything is back to normal and this huge house that I live in doesn't feel so empty anymore, it was really nice to spend the last few weeks exploring Madison when it was quieter.  One of my favorite parts was exploring some of the restaurants!

I am in my last semester here in Madison and that means I want to make sure I "do it all" before it's time to graduate.  One of my missions is to explore as many restaurants as I can.  Madison has a ton of to offer when it comes to food and, while it is a daunting task, I do want to get to as many new restaurants and then be able to tell you about them!

My best friend and I went out for an amazing dinner last week at a restaurant called Bellini.  We had one of those Living Social coupons to use there and it was great.  We went on a Wednesday and that was fun since they do "wine Wednesdays" and you get a free glass of their house wine with your meal.  It was also nice because we are both such foodies and were able to narrow down our entree choices to our two favorites and then we split.  On top of all this, we just HAD to get dessert because we needed to spend enough to use the coupon.  It was a perfect meal!


We ordered the Tortellini alla Maria and the Gamberi al Forno to split. And, for dessert, the cheesecake.  The tri-colored tortellini was delicious and came tossed in a light lemon cream sauce with veggies.  The shrimp was a great dish that I usually don't eat on my typical college diet and it came sautéed in a garlic, lemon and white wine sauce with spinach and mashed potatoes.  Splitting a pasta dish with a shrimp dish was a great way to get the best of two worlds.  Then, the cheesecake topped with fresh whipped cream and berries was truly the cherry on top of an amazing meal!  I would definitely go back.  Aside from these amazing dishes, they have pizzas, salads, tons of pastas, and a salmon dish that has my name written all over it.  If you are ever in the area, this is a great choice for dinner!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Foodie Friends Friday: Origami Owl

This week, Foodie Friends Friday is back with some great prizes from Stacy Davis at Origami Owl!  Stacy will be giving away jewelry!!!  The grand prize will be a Large Silver Locket, Silver Ball Station Chair & 3 Charms ($47 value).  Two other lucky winners will win charms! Just follow the rules and link up your recipes! Also, host favorites will be featured on Daily Dish!

Last Foodie Friends Friday was sponsored by Elizabeth  and here were the winners:

And, of course, here were your top 3 voted and clicked recipes!
Most Clicked:


Voted Top 3:

Enter below and you might be a lucky winner of some great stamp sets!!

But first, here are this week's co-hosts:

Foodie Friends Friday http://www.foodiefriendsfriday.com
Tracy at Busy Vegetarian Mom http://www.busyvegetarianmom.com
Marlys at This and That  http://marlys-thisandthat.blogspot.com/
Lois at  Walking on Sunshine http://walkingonsunshinerecipes.com
Michelle at  From Calculus to Cupcakes http://www.fromcalculustocupcakes.com
Cynthia at Feeding Big  http://www.feedingbig.com
Jodie at Binomial Baker http://www.binomialbaker.blogspot.com
R Dawn at Spatulas on Parade http://www.spatulasonparade.blogspot.com
Angie at A lil Country Sugar http://www.alilcountrysugar.blogspot.com
Cindy at Cindy's Recipes and Writings: : http://www.cindysrecipesandwritings.com 
Joanne at Winelady Cooks: http://www.wineladycooks.blogspot.com
Marlene at Nosh My Way: http://www.noshmyway.com
Jutta at Hungry Little Girl: http://www.hungrylittlegirl.com/
Erika at Chef Picky Kid: http://www.chefpickykid.com/

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Creme Brûlée for Two

Today I have to get a TB test...yuck! I am really scared so I think I am going to go for a run first to calm my nerves.  Also, I really need to work out because I haven't in days and I am going out to dinner tonight at an amazing Italian restaurant with my friend, Tamara.  I am afraid that if I get the TB test first, I will pass out and then be unable to run.  If I run first, I can totally pass out and then comfort myself with amazing food.  That is much more of a winning situation.  This whole passing out thing is pretty standard for me.  I basically turn white as a ghost every time I have to get blood drawn, shots make me queasy, and even getting my ears pierced for the first time made me faint.  It's pretty pathetic.  I have been improving of late so hopefully today will go well!

I found a lovely recipe for Creme Brulee for Two over at Dishing the Divine.  Creme Brulee is one of Bri's favorite desserts and so it seemed appropriate to make it to go along with our little home cooked meal while he was visiting.

Creme Brulee is the best.  It is the perfect combination of sweet, creamy, rich, and delicious   However, you don't feel that full after because it's not dense like cake, brownies, or cookies.  Plus, it is fancy.  It just looks fancy.  All that caramelized sugar on top and the fact that it is French.  I love it.  And, it is so simple because of how few ingredients you use to make it! We had everything on hand except for the cream.  We were able to prepare it in 15 minutes before I had to run off to work and Bri monitored the baking/cooling process from there.  Then, we invested in a cheap kitchen torch to finish them off with the caramelized top.  That torch worked terribly and now I am looking into purchasing a nicer one.  I mean, I am going to need one ASAP if I am going to make creme brulee all the time, which I will.

Creme Brulee

Ingredients:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup + 2 tsp sugar
3 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 300.  
2.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
3. In a saucepan, combine the cream and 1/4 cup of sugar.  Bring to a rolling boil.  Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, and let cool for 15 minutes.  
4.  In a separate bowl, beat the eggs until broken up.  Slowly stir in the eggs to the cooled cream mixture.  Divide mixture among two 6 oz. ramekins.  Place the ramekins in a baking dish.
5.  Carefully, pour the boiling water into the baking dish until it reaches about 2/3 up the sides of the ramekins.  Make sure not to get water into the ramekins.  Place the pan in the oven for 50-55 minutes or until creme brulee is only slightly wobbly.  Let cool for two hours and then place in the fridge to chill for 4 hours.  
6.  Sprinkle 1 tsp of sugar over each ramekin and caramelize with a kitchen torch.  Place back in fridge for 30 minutes to set. 

Enjoy :) 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Maple Glazed Salmon

In yesterday's post on Roasted Vegetables, I included this not-so-fantastic photo at the end of it. 
This was one of my dinners back in Madison and it was amazing! I had the Roasted Vegetables as a side with some Maple Glazed Salmon.  I LOVE salmon.  It is so good and so easy to make.  Basically throw whatever you want on top and stick it in a pan or the oven until it is cooked.  This salmon recipe was done in the salmon and ends up being super flavorful and delicious.  It is sweet from the maple syrup and savory from the mustard.  It is simply perfect! Last night I had my last piece and I am sad to see it go.  I will have to whip up another amazing salmon dish soon!

I'm also excited to share that I am feeling pretty good today.  Last night, I got to see some of my best girlfriends at Forever Yogurt and then today, I had a good day teaching and yet another good day working.  We are wrapping up our Looking for Pythagoras Unit in math and it is fun to see how far the students have come since day one.  We went from learning about square roots, to discovering the theorem, to applying the theorem.  Tomorrow we are doing a great activity where the instruction is differentiated and students can work on problems that vary from hard, to harder, to hardest.  They get to choose their level of difficulty, but all of the problems are about the Pythagorean Theorem.  I am excited to see how it goes!

Work was strange today because it was my last shift at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery.  I still have one more shift at Union South, but it was still sad to think that I am almost done with this job.  I have loved working for VIP and I will miss all of my co-workers very much. I learned a lot through this job about working with others and providing excellent customer service.  I also learned a ton about the University in general.  This job has truly made me feel more at home on this campus, more connected to the campus, and even more in love with Madison.

Tonight, I am excited because I was invited over to Tamara's house for a home-cooked meal! I can't wait! It is always so nice to be in a  house with a yummy dinner.  It is going to feel a little bit like going home for an evening and I can't wait! Maybe that is why I am so excited to share this recipe for Maple Glazed Salmon, it also makes me feel like I am home :).

Maple Glazed Salmon

Ingredients:
2 lbs. salmon filet
2 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 fresh lemon juice

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 and line a pan with parchment.  Wash the salmon, pat dry and place on parchment.
2.  Cook the salmon for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven.
3.  While salmon is cooking, place the rest of the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together.  After 10 minutes, spread the mixture over the salmon.  Place the salmon back in the oven for about 20 minutes or until done.

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Roasted Vegetables

So I am here to tell you about a super fun thing to do if you are ever in Madison.  The Comedy Club on State Street is a great place and it is so cool to have something like this in Madison.  They do shows Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.  Tickets are anywhere from $8-$10 and you get to see 3 comedians.  It is a truly fun evening, the cocktails are excellent, and it is an inexpensive way to laugh super hard with your friends.  I went this past Friday for the first time and I can't believe it was only my first time.  I had such a fun night and I hope that I get to go again before I graduate.  

Anyways, I also have a yummy recipe for Roasted Vegetables.  This one is great because you can literally use any veggies that you want.  I made a big batch all for myself and I've been eating these amazing veggies with my dinner every night.  Gotta stay healthy in the new year right?  Right!  This recipe is so simple and it's one that my mom uses and is always a hit.  I'll tell you what I used, but feel free to customize as you wish!

Roasted Vegetables

Ingredients:
2 lbs. red potatoes, quartered
1 lb. brussel sproats
1 lb portabella mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, quartered
1 red, 1 yellow, and 1 orange pepper, sliced
1/2 cup olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp rosemary

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 475 and lightly grease a large glass dish.
2.  Place all the veggies, except for the peppers in the dish. 
3.  Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, and rosemary.  Pour this mixture over the veggies and toss.
4.  Place in the oven for 30 minutes, occasionally tossing.  After 30 minutes, add in the peppers and continue to cook, occasionally tossing, for another 30 minutes.  .

College Dinner?
Maple Glazed Salmon and Roasted Vegetables
Enjoy :)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Whole Wheat Sweet Potato Gnocchi and Peas with a Baslamic Sage Brown Butter and Goat Cheese Sauce

Bri was still on break for my first week back to school.  So, he came up to Madison with me and it was great!  We had a lot of fun hanging out together after school/work and it was nice to have the company since Madison is so dead right now with Winter Break still going on.  During the days, I had school and work so Bri worked a ton on his thesis.  It worked out perfectly that he had so much to do because I was so busy all day long.  However, at night we were able to get in some really fun activities around Madison!

On Tuesday, Bri got into town pretty late so he got a bite to eat at Potbelly's and then we discovered a new frozen yogurt place called Cherry Berry.  It was pretty awesome and it's really close (too close) to where I am teaching.

The next night, we made dinner and dessert. It was a really nice time.  The dinner we made was Sweet Potato Gnocchi and Peas in a Brown Butter Balsamic and Sage sauce and then for dessert, Creme Brulee. Everything was delicious and people thought it was our anniversary or something.  Nope, just Wednesday night.

On Thursday, we went to Ella's Deli for dinner on the way to the movie theater.  We saw Les Mis.  It was fantastic.  It is my favorite musical to begin with and now I can watch it whenever I want.  Anne Hathaway truly deserves her Oscar nomination.  I bawled my eyes out at the end and was a tad embarrassed leaving the theater looking like a splotchy mess.  We were able to make it to the 6 p.m. movie time, which was great since it was almost 3 hours long and I was exhausted after my long day of teaching/work.

Friday was when Bri had to leave to get back to Chicago before his long drive back to school so we went to Panera for a quick lunch between school and work and then it was time to say goodbye.  It was really nice having him around for the week.  It felt like a little preview of what next year could be like with me teaching and him in law school.

Whole Wheat Sweet Potato Gnocchi and Peas with Balsamic Sage Brown Butter Sauce and Goat Cheese
(adapted from Aida Mollenkamp)

Ingredients:
1 16 oz package Whole Wheat Sweet Potato Gnocchi
3/4 cup frozen peas
2 oz. goat cheese
4 tbsp unsalted butter
12-16 sage leaves
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 shallots, chopped
freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
1.  Cook the gnocchi according to the directions.  Drain and set aside in a large bowl.
2. Cook the peas according to directions and add to the gnocchi.
3.  In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  When it starts to foam, add in the sage leaves and cook for a few minutes.  Remove the leaves and place them in the gnocchi bowl.  Return the butter to the stove and add in the shallots.  Cook until butter browns, stirring often.  Scrape the brown bits from the bottom and remove from heat.  Stir in the balsamic and pour over the gnocchi.
4.  Top with goat cheese and season with the pepper to taste.  Toss everything together and serve!

Enjoy :)