Friday, November 25, 2016

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Lasagna

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I can't believe we are already at Thanksgiving and December and the holidays are just around the corner.  I hope that everyone is having a great time with friends and family today and that you all eat some seriously delicious food and enjoy!

I made a Vegetarian Lasagna to have around in honor of Thanksgiving.  My husband is a vegetarian and thanksgiving food is typically not his favorite.  Sure he likes the sides, but the main course is obviously not for him.  So, I tried out this recipe I saw from The Kitchn and it turned out fantastic! I subbed a few different things in so here is my variation:

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Lasagna

12 no-boil lasagna noodles
1 large butternut squash
1 15 oz can of pumpkin puree
8 oz creme fraiche
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp salt, plus more
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 oz baby arugula/spinach mix
1 lb fontina cheese, shredded
fresh sage leaves
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1. Heat oven to 375 and lightly grease a few baking sheets.
2. Peel the butternut squash, cut off the ends, and then thinly slice the rest.  Place the slices of squash on the prepared sheets, sprinkle with some salt and bake for 20 minutes.
3. While the squash is baking, in a medium bowl, mix the pumpkin puree with the creme fraiche, dried sage, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
4. In a 13 by 9 inch baking dish, spread a thin layer of sauce.  Place 4 lasagna sheets down then place some butternut squash pieces on top.  Spread more pumpkin sauce over the top, sprinkle 1/2 of the arugula/spinach mix, and 1/3 of the fontina cheese.  Place 4 more lasagna sheets on top and repeat the same process.  Top with the final 4 sheets, more sauce, and the rest of the fontina.  Place some sage leaves over the top and sprinkle with the parmesan.
5.  Bake for 45 minutes.

Enjoy :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Dark Chocolate Zucchini Bread - Tried out a new recipe!

In the past few months since our wedding, we have been having a really fun time trying out all our new kitchen toys!  I have been having a blast baking and cooking and trying out new recipes.  Recently, I ended up with a lot of extra zucchini because I was going to roast them with some other veggies, but then I had a ton of other veggies so then I saved them for zucchini bread!

I tried out a new recipe from America's Test Kitchen and I adapted it a tad to include dark chocolate chips.  I'm not sure I really believe in not including chocolate when the opportunity presents itself.  And so, I made this amazing Dark Chocolate Zucchini Bread.

This bread came out super amazing.  It was flavorful and stayed together nicely.  It stayed moist for a long time and was delicious with apple butter or regular butter.  This bread is great if you have a lot of zucchini lying around so make it before it goes out of season!

Dark Chocolate Zucchini Bread

1 1/3 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 small zucchini shredded
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg
pinch of cloves
3/4 cups dark chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 325 and grease a loaf pan.
2. Beat the brown sugar, canola oil, eggs, and vanilla together in a large bowl.
3. Shred the zucchini using a grater onto a paper towel.  Cover with another paper towel and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Add the zucchini to the wet mixture and beat to combine.
4. Add in the flour, whole wheat flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and cloves.  Beat until just combined.
5. Add in the dark chocolate chips and stir to combine.  Pour into prepared loaf pan.
6. Bake for 65 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Chicago Marathon and Chocolate Chip Cookies

After a long weekend running and recovering from the Chicago Marathon, I decided to make some cookies to bring into school.  Now, I decided to make my "famous" Inception Cookies because you cut each cookie in half and you get double the cookies.  It makes baking for my advisory or other classes so much easier! I wanted to celebrate the marathon a little with them and we have a pizza party at the end of the day today and so I figured it was an excellent time to bake some cookies.

A few weeks ago, I decided to try out a new recipe and it was a huge success.  Now, this recipe doesn't have you putting oreos inside of cookies so it's not as cool looking, but it did turn into a really great chocolate chip cookie.  

I found the recipe over at Cook's Country.  I didn't do much to change it up except add a pinch of cinnamon to the dry ingredients.  However, the cookies came out really great! They were chewy with a bit of a crunch, flavorful, and stayed soft for a long time.  Everyone loved them!  Try it out! 

The Chicago Marathon was also a crazy success and a great reason to bake (and eat) some cookies.  It was my third Chicago Marathon and 4th marathon.  I finished with a PR of 4:18:39.  This is 12 minutes faster than my last best time!  I was so excited.  I finished with my best running buddy, Jana, and we were both so happy!  I celebrated with Brian and my family and it was a great day.  

Now, I need to recover and get ready for the New York City Marathon on November 6th!  I'll keep you posted on my ongoing training! 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Rosh Hashanah Apple Challah

Happy New Year! Well, the Jewish new year that is.  Today is Rosh Hashanah and I took the day off from school so that I could go to services with my family and then have lunch with them.  It is going to be a lovely day and I am excited for some family time.

I kicked off the day with a nice 3 mile run.  This week also happens to be the week before the Chicago Marathon and therefore my final week of taper before the big race!  This will be my fourth marathon!  I can't believe it and I feel so positive and strong.  Running has become so important to me and I love that I have accomplished so much.  It was especially nice to run 3 miles this morning after sleeping in a little longer than usual because of my day off!

Last night, we went to my brother's house for a Rosh Hashanah dinner.  I have been obsessed with my new bread maker and so I decided to make a challah to bring to the dinner.  On Rosh Hashanah, you eat round challah because it represents the end of a year meeting the beginning of a new year.  You also eat apples and honey because you want a "sweet" new year.  So, I made a Round Apple Challah!

Round Apple Challah

3/4 cup water
2 eggs
3 tbsp canola oil
3 cups bread flour
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp SAF yeast
3 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp cinnamon

1. I used a bread machine to make the dough and all you have to do is add the dough ingredients, in order, and then press start.  If you don't have a bread machine, you can add all the ingredients to a stand mixer and mix everything together and then knead for 8-10 minutes, let it rest for about 30 minutes, then knead again and let rise in a warm place for an hour.
2.  To make the filling, toss the chopped apples with the lemon juice, honey, and cinnamon in a bowl, and place in the fridge until you are ready to use it.
3.  Once your dough is ready, place it on a lightly floured surface.  Using a rolling pin, roll it out until you have a rectangle about 18 inches by 12 inches.
4.  Place the apple filling on the dough rectangle and press it into the dough.  Then, starting with the long side, roll the dough into a long log.  Make sure the seam side is facing down.  Roll the log out so that it becomes a few inches longer.  Then, wind the log around so that you have a circle.  Tuck the end of the dough under the circle.  Place your round challah in a 9 inch cake pan and let rise for another hour.
5. About 15 minutes before your challah is done rising, preheat the oven to 325 and make sure the rack is in the center of the oven.   Sprinkle some sugar over the challah and then, bake the challah for 40-45 minutes.  Let cool for about 20 minutes before removing from pan.

Enjoy :)

Sunday, October 2, 2016

We got married!

Alright, I am officially the worst.  I have been planning my big comeback to the blogging world for a while.  I have been cooking, baking, doing diy crafts, and creating draft after draft about everything.

And then, I don't publish anything.  I have been so crazy busy that I just haven't felt motivated to put all my creations into a completed post.

However, that is going to change today.  It is a beautiful Sunday, it is Rosh Hashanah, and I have decided to officially come back and share my latest and greatest news.

We got married! After a year and a half of Wedding Planning Wednesdays, our wedding finally arrived and it was spectacular.  Everything was simply perfect and I couldn't have imagined a better day.

We got ready at the McCormick Place Hyatt, took photos at Promontory Point and the Museum of Science and Industry and then had the ceremony and reception at the Bridgeport Art Center.  It was an amazing day in Chicago and a fantastic wedding.  And the best part? Now I'm a married lady to my best friend!!!

Over the next few weeks, I'll let you all know about some of the final details that we worked on in the last few weeks before the big day!  I'll also make sure to update you all on the amazing food I've been making with all my new wedding presents! Happy Sunday!!!

Enjoy :)

Monday, August 22, 2016

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

We went over to my mom and dad's for a BBQ and to celebrate my mom's birthday this weekend.  I figured I would make a pie because we needed a dessert and I've been wanting to bake!  So, I decided to go for a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie.  I have never made one before! Can you believe that?  Every summer, I see all these strawberry rhubarb recipes come out and I'm always like, "I'm gonna make a pie..." and then I never get around to it.  So, I finally did.  And, everyone LOVED it.  It was a delicious, freakin pie. The crust was flaky, the fruit amazing, and it looked gorgeous!  I was inspired by a recipe I saw on America's Test Kitchen and then I adapted from there.  I love how you make a strawberry rhubarb syrup of sorts to keep the fruit juicy, but also keep the crust from getting soggy.  It was really delicious!

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

3 1/2 cups flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
12 tbsp cold, unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into 4-6 pieces
cold water
2 lbs rhubarb, chopped
1 lb strawberries, hulled and halved
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 tbsp tapioca powder

1. Make the crust: Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Then, add in the butter cubes and pieces of shortening and pulse until you have a sandy mixture.  Add in water as needed until dough comes together.  Wrap dough in plastic wrap and place in fridge to chill.
2. Place rhubarb in a microwave safe bowl with the sugar.  Microwave for a minute and a half, stir, and then microwave for another minute.  Stir in 1 cup of strawberries and let the mixture sit for 30 minutes.
3. After 30 minutes, drain the rhubarb mixture into a small saucepan.  Add the rest of the strawberries to the rhubarb juice and cook over medium-high until you can mash the strawberries.  Mash the strawberries, add in the tapioca powder and continue to cook until sauce thickens.  Add the sauce to the rhubarb mixture.
4. Take the dough out of the fridge, cut into two pieces.  Roll one piece out on a well floured surface and then place in pie dish.  Pour the fruit into the pie dish and place in the fridge.
5. Take the other piece of dough and roll it out.  When you are ready take the pie out of the fridge and lay the rolled out dough over the top. Press the dough together around the sides.  Then, brush the top of the crust with water, cut a few slits into the top, and sprinkle sugar over the top.
6. Bake at 425 for 25 minutes.  Then, lower the temperature to 375 and bake for another 35-40 minutes.  Let cool.

Enjoy :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Cookie Dough Stuffed Cupcakes

Today is a very special day! It is on of my best friend and bridesmaid's birthday!  I celebrated with Tamara this weekend up in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin where we went out to a fabulous dinner and then had a good old-fashioned sleepover back at her place.  Tamara and I share a deep appreciation for cupcakes and so for her birthday I baked this outrageous Cookie Dough Stuffed Cupcakes.  Everything is homemade!  I made yellow cake, homemade egg-less cookie dough, and dark chocolate frosting.  Check it out:

Cookie Dough Stuffed Cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup powdered milk
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 eggs
For the cookie dough filling:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp skim milk
1 cup mini chocolate chips
For the frosting:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 oz low-fat cream cheese
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup skim milk
3-3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla


1. To make the cupcakes, whisk dry ingredients together.  Beat in wet ingredients.  Pour into prepared cupcake pan with liners.  Bake at 350 for 15-17 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool.
2. To make the cookie dough filling,  beat the butter with the brown sugar.  Then, ad in the vanilla.  Then, add in the flour and salt until just combined.  Beat in the milk until you have a desired consistency one tablespoon at a time.  Finally, stir in the chocolate chips.  Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Then, core the cupcakes using a knife or cupcake corer and put the cookie dough inside.
3. To make the frosting, 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!

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Breadmaker 101: My first loaf!

So now that it is summer, I have a ton more time to cook and bake!  I'm still doing camp but I have way less work to take home with me. Camp has been really great so far.  I am the director for three park district camps and they have all been amazing!  The site directors and counselors are doing a fantastic job and that makes my job even easier! 

Today I am going to tell you about my latest obsession: bread!  I got a bread maker at one of the wedding showers and I have been totally obsessed.  I also got a bread making cookbook.  I have already tagged multiple pages of recipes I want to try.  The first loaf I decided to go with was a 1 pound whole wheat loaf.  It came out amazing and I promptly announced that we were done buying bread! 

Whole Wheat Bread in a Bread Machine

I used King Arthur white whole wheat flour and bread machine quick rise yeast.  

This was also a honey whole wheat recipe and I really liked the flavor.  I went with the dark crust option and I think I'm the future I'll go with medium.  I also didn't take the paddle out after the mixing stages and I ended up with a hole in the bottom of the loaf.  Next time I'll change that as well. 

If anyone has any suggestions for me on what I should make or technical things, I'd love to hear it! 

Enjoy :)

Monday, June 27, 2016

Marathon Training Monday: Summer Marathon Training

Sorry! I took a little vacation.  And, by vacation, I actually mean I was like really sick for a while!

I ended up finishing up my last day of school and coming down with something.  It was horrible.  I had a fever and just felt like I couldn't move.   Turns out I had a sinus infection and bronchitis!  I took medicine and now I am all better!

I had to take a break from running as well and I am grateful that this illness happened at the beginning of summer marathon training.  I missed a few runs, but nothing that would get my off track.  And, in general, summer training has been off to a great start!  The runs have been pretty hot and I think this is going to be a sizzling summer in Chicago, but at least I have my group that I train with and there is a lot of water support along the lakeshore path where we run.  During the week, to beat the heat, I wake up around 4:45 or 5 and get my run in super early.

Our long runs so far have been 6 miles, then 7, and then 5 this past Saturday.  This week I have to run 3, 3, and 3.  Then, Saturday we jump up to 9 miles.  I feel like this is the week where I am going to really start to feel like I am training for a marathon again.

For those of you that don't know, I am training for TWO marathons.  I got into Chicago and New York through the lotteries and so I am going to do both.  The races are 1 month apart and I am super excited about them.  This will be my third time running Chicago and I just love it.  It will be my first time running New York and so that makes it really exciting.   If anyone out there has any advice for New York, I'd be grateful to hear it!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Today is Brian's Mom's Birthday!  Happy Birthday!  Brian's mom is awesome and I am so excited to celebrate with her later!  I also can't wait to become part of her family later this summer! #LegallyPflaumed (yes that is our wedding hashtag and yes it is super amazing).

To celebrate, we are going to get some delicious pizza at Lou Malnati's for dinner.  I was also asked to make my chocolate chip banana bread.  I was really excited to bake this because I haven't in ages and it is so good! I seriously have the best banana bread recipe ever.  Of course there are chocolate chips in it and for this birthday celebration I went with some milk chocolate chips.  This recipe holds nothing back.  It has white flour, sugar, and chocolate chips.  There are also TONS of bananas in it.  This is actually the only way I will eat bananas.  If you want, you can substitute the flour for whole wheat or add in other mix-ins like fruits or nuts, but if you want something just plain yummy, I would stick with the original.  We are celebrating a birthday so you need to get a little crazy!

You can find the recipe HERE.

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Madison Half Marathon

I had a great weekend.  I went to Madison, Wisconsin with my family to run the Madison Half Marathon with my bestie, Tamara.  It was her first half marathon and she totally killed it.  We had so much fun hanging out in Madison, eating good food, and celebrating the weekend.  We have already started talking about when we will run our next race!

When we arrived on Friday, we had dinner at Dotty Dumpling's Dowry.  This is a Madison classic with great burgers.  It was delicious.  Then we headed to the Ivory Room where we listened to dueling pianos.  It was a blast.
A beautiful day at the Farmer's Market
On Saturday, we went to the Farmer's Market.  This farmer's market is the king of all farmer's markets.  There are so many great stands and almost all of them are handing out samples.  The veggies, flowers, and cheese are abundant.  We had so much fun sampling things and we even got some scones to take home.  We also ate some famous Stella's Spicy Cheese-y Bread.  Then, we walked down State Street and did some shopping.  I got a super adorable alumni sweater that I am really excited about!  After that, we went to dinner at Cento.  This place was delicious and the perfect place for a pre-race dinner.  Bri and I split a pizza and some risotto and it was amazing!

Sunday was race day.  The race started at 7 am and we finished in 2 hours and 8 minutes.  I was super impressed with Tamara.  Her foot was hurting her, but she wouldn't let that get in the way!  We kept a super consistent pace of 9:47 per mile and we were both really happy at the end.
Some of my awesome support team! 

We celebrated with brunch at the Great Dane downtown.  I got the Huevos Rancheros and we, of course, split some cheese curds (when in Wisconsin...).  It was such a fantastic weekend and it was a great half marathon!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Pizza Bagels

Happy Friday!

I am so excited about this weekend.  It is Memorial Day weekend so that means no school on Monday AND I am going to Madison with my family.  I can't wait to see all my Madison friends and my bestie, Tamara, and I are running the Madison Half Marathon on Sunday.  This will be Tamara's first half and I could not be more excited to be sharing the experience with her.  This race was my first half three years ago!  It is a great race and I am super duper pumped about it.  The weather doesn't look so great, but that won't even matter because we are going to have so much fun together!

More exciting news: Brian is DONE with law school!  He has accomplished so much and I am so excited and proud.  I know he has worked so hard.  Now he has to study for the BAR exam, but at least he doesn't have any more finals!  We went to Hamburger Mary's in Andersonville last night to celebrate.  This was the place we went after his first day of law school orientation so it seemed appropriate to end here as well.  The food is great (Bri loves their veggie burger) and they brew their own beer.  It is an adorable restaurant and we always love it there.  Plus, Andersonville is a great place to just wander around to check out shops or other restaurants.

Now, I am just counting down the minutes until the end of the school day.  I can't wait to get on the road and head up to Wisconsin!  To celebrate even more, I am sharing this recipe for pizza bagels.  At my wedding shower, the hostesses gave me a cookbook with recipes from all of the people who were invited.  Bri's mom shared a recipe for pizza bagels and so I decided to make them for him! I had to adapt the recipe based on what I had in the kitchen, but they came up super yummy!  I kept thinking that this is the perfect recipe to make for my future children :)

Pizza Bagels

Ingredients:15-20 mini bagels, sliced
6 oz of tomato paste
1 small onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
3-4 egg whites, cooked and chopped
pepper and garlic powder, to taste
16 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded

1. Turn oven broiler on high and make sure the rack is in the middle of the oven.
2. In a bowl, combine the tomato paste with the chopped onion, red pepper, and egg whites.  Season with pepper and garlic powder and stir to combine.  Pour half of the shredded cheese in and stir to combine.
3. Place bagel halves on a greased baking sheet.  Spread a little tomato mixture over each half and then sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.  Place in the oven and broil until cheese is melted and bubbly (about 4-5 minutes).

Enjoy :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Wedding Planning Wednesday: Wedding Cake Sugar Cookies and Bridal Shower Gifts

I had my first wedding shower!  It was so fun.  I was super nervous beforehand and it was a great time.  I feel awesome now!

My mom's girlfriends threw the shower and they did an amazing job.  The food was great, there was a yummy and gorgeous cake, and it was wine party themed.  They had 6 wines that spelled out JODIE B.  How awesome is that?  I got some great gifts and it was just wonderful.

To thank my lovely hostesses, I made some gifts!  I got coffee mugs from bed bath and beyond, and then put a Starbucks gift card and a homemade sugar cookie inside.  Then, I printed off a "Thank you a Latte" card and wrapped everything up.  They loved the mugs and the cookies were a huge hit!

Wedding Cake Sugar Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp almond extract
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups flour (or gluten free flour)
3 cups powdered sugar
2 egg whites
2 tsp lemon juice
optional: food coloring
optional: sprinkles

1. Preheat the oven to 375 and line a baking sheet with a silpat mat or parchment paper.
2. Beat the butter with the powdered sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the almond extract, vanilla, egg, and salt.  Place in fridge for 20-30 minutes.
3. On a clean surface, sprinkle some powdered sugar.  take the chilled cookie dough and roll it out until it is about 1/2 inch thick.  Cut with the cookie cutter and re-roll as needed.  Place cookies on the prepared cooking sheet.
4. Bake for 8-10 minutes and then let cool completely before frosting.
5. For the frosting, beat everything together.  Then, dye the frosting as needed and frost your cookies!  I used the pearl sprinkles to decorate mine.

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Perfect Chicken Breast with Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower

So I am working really hard to be healthy and get in tip top wedding shape.  I am feeling good about my workout routine, but people keep giving me desserts!  I have some serious issues saying no to free desserts...

This weekend I had a wedding shower, and the hostesses gave me the leftover cake to take home.  It was HUGE!  So, I brought the cake into school and my fellow teachers ate it for me.  It was a really tough decision, but I feel like it really shows growth on my part for doing that...

This dinner is another way that I am working at being healthy and awesome.  This dinner is also crazy yummy so that is even better!  I made some perfectly cooked chicken breast and then I roasted some broccoli and cauliflower.  It was an overall great move on my part!  

Pan Seared Chicken - take a chicken breast and sprinkle both sides with some salt and pepper.  Then, place it between two sheets of saran wrap and pound it with a pan so that it flattens.  Then, heat some olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken and cook for about 3 minutes.  Flip the chicken, lower the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 20 minutes.  Test the chicken and continue to cook if it is not done.  It should be 160 degrees on a meat thermometer or have NO pink in the middle.  

Roasted Veggies -  Place veggies on a pan.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Toss and place in the oven at 400 for 20-30 minutes.  

That's it!  This dinner is simple, good for you, and quick!  Go home and make it!

Enjoy :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Wedding Planning Wednesday

So we are really winding down to the last few things!

The invitations are printed, we are ordering stamps, and they will be ready to be sent out by the end of the week! My friend Alyson designed them and she did an unbelievable job!  I am so impressed with her crazy skills and I just feel that the invites are so special because she did them.  They are truly beautiful and I can't wait for people to see them!

My first shower is this Sunday!  I can't wait!  I am working on some finishing touches for a little hostess gift and then I will be ready!

The biggest project I am working on right now is getting my gifts together for my bridesmaids.  I decided that I really wanted to wear converse sneakers for the reception and so I had some adorable Bride and Groom sneakers custom made for the big day.  Then, I thought it would be so fun to have all the bridesmaids and groomsmen in converse as well!  So, I bought my girls (and guy) their converse shoes!  Then, I also got them a little bling to wear on the big day!  To put all of this together, I found some tote bags and then I saw this great DIY project over at Design Sponge and I decided that it would be perfect!  I am going to decorate and personalize the totes for my bridal party and then put the shoes and jewelry in the bag.

These tote bags can be found through amazon or other suppliers and are about 60 dollars for 25-30 bags.  Then, I am going to get to work on making them look adorable :) 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Is it summer yet?  I feel like I am just trudging my way towards summer. I swear each school day is a little longer than the previous one.  Any other teachers out there feel me?  I know you do because this facebook link keeps getting shared:

Now, don't get me wrong, I love my job and I love my students and I love my fellow teachers.  I just am also super freaking excited for this summer.  I have a pretty big summer ahead of me and with my first wedding shower (there are 3) this weekend, I just can't focus on anything else.

The weather is also (finally) getting nicer and that makes it extra hard to focus.  The longer days and warmer weather are making me so much happier.  I have also been cooking more because when it is lighter out I just feel less tired.  This lasagna happened because of one of those nights.

You are going to love this.  You roast a TON of vegetables and then you layer them with some pasta and a TON of cheese.  Then you bake it and someone it magically becomes a crazy good lasagna.  Even the vegetable haters out there are going to love this!  I was inspired by How Sweet It Is and then I just used my own vegetables and cheese and had way too much fun with it.

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna


8 oz sliced portobello mushrooms
10 oz broccoli florets
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 zucchini, quartered
1 pint red grape or cherry tomatoes
1 pint yellow grape or cherry tomatoes
olive oil
salt and pepper
2 cups light ricotta cheese
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of pepper
1 burrata ball
1 8 oz container of pearl mozzarella balls
1 8 oz container shaved parmesan cheese
8 oz smoked provolone cheese, shredded
1 24 oz jar of marinara sauce (your favorite)
1 box no-boil lasagna noodles

1. Line 3 pans with parchment paper and preheat oven to 425.
2. Place mushrooms, broccoli, onion, pepper, and zucchini into a bowl and toss with 2 tbsp of olive oil, and salt and pepper (to taste).  Spread out the veggies onto two pans.
3. Place all the tomatoes in a bowl and toss with 2 tbsp of olive oil and some salt and pepper.  Spread these guys out on the third pan.
4. Place the pans in the oven and roast for 25-30 minutes.  Take out from oven.
5. While the veggies are roasting, in a medium bowl, mix the ricotta with half the parmesan, half the provolone, and the basil, oregano, salt and pepper.
6. In a 13 by 9 inch pan, spread a thin layer of marinara sauce.  Place three long lasagna noodles on this.  Spread some ricotta mixture on top and then sprinkle a few mozzarella pearls.  Then, take about 1/3 of the veggies and sprinkle on top.  Drizzle with marinara sauce, and in a few roasted tomatoes, and then shred about 1/3 of the burrata ball and sprinkle over the top.  Place more lasagna noodles over this and repeat with two more layers.  For the final layer, drizzle some marinara sauce on top and then sprinkle the remaining Parmesan and provolone.  Also add the remaining tomatoes on top.
7. Reduce the heat of the oven to 400 and bake the lasagna for 45 minutes.  Let sit for about 30-60 minutes.

Enjoy :)

Monday, May 16, 2016

Math Teacher Monday: Computer Programming

So this is my "binomial" post.  Sorry if you were looking for more of the "baker" side.

I am having a lot of fun in math class right now.  I know, I is May.  Teaching in May is usually just the worst.  Kids are checked out, teachers are exhausted, the curriculum is winding down and you have to stay motivated so that kids might stay motivated in time for finals.  I have 19 days (17 until finals) and I couldn't be more excited for summer.

However, we are doing a computer programming unit right now with  This site is FREE! It connects programming to mathematical concepts and students work through the units to create their own computer game.  It is really freaking cool.

My students are totally being rockstars with this.  They are working in groups, writing their own code, and being super creative with their games.  It is awesome.

I created my own game as an example, but I think it is actually pretty great.  Seriously, anyone interested in publishing this?  I call it OctoPI because, you know, math.  The Pi moves up and down with arrow keys and if you press the spacebar, you shoot out an OctoPi!  You want to catch the green star and avoid the red circle.  CHECK IT OUT HERE!  It is not perfect and I am going to work on making the movement more complex, but it's pretty adorable.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Two Tone Swirled Frosting: Graduation Cupcakes!

Today I am off to Champaign, Illinois for my little brother's graduation!

1. What? How is he already graduating?
2. OMG I think that means I am like officially done with college....I don't even have a sibling in it anymore!
3. Champaign is sort of the worst, but at least I get to go to college for the weekend :)

We have a ton of stuff planned because he has two different graduation ceremonies and a luncheon.  On top of that, we are going to some of his favorite places and I made these amazing cupcakes to enjoy after our dinner on Saturday.  These cupcakes are the perfect treat and a great idea for graduations! You can use the school's colors to make a festive treat and, I promise, it is really easy! 

Zack (the little brother) said his favorite cupcake flavor is chocolate.  So, I made some super simple chocolate cupcakes but then I frosted them like this:

How to do Two-Tone Frosting:

1. Make the frosting: I beat 1 1/2 cups of unsalted butter with 3 cups of powdered sugar and 1 tbsp of vanilla.  
2.  Divide the frosting into two bowls.
3. Color the frosting
4. Using two frosting bags, put the frosting into each bag (keep the colors seperate!).  Cut the ends off of each bag. 
5. Put the two bags into a third bag.  This third bag should have the end cut off and your frosting tip inside already. 
6. FROST!  Because the colors come through the frosting decorating tip at the same time they swirl as you frost the cupcakes!  Pretty cool right?

Enjoy :)  

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

My Nashville Adventure

I went to Nashville for a Marathon recently and here is a photo reel of everything I ate...

The best donuts I've ever had from 5 Daughters Bakery. My favorite was the Maple one, but all of them were crazy delicious and the perfect treat to have the day after a marathon! 

A celebratory Bloody Mary from The Frothy Monkey.  This was our day-after-the-race brunch spot.  Breakfast was delicious and it is located on a super cute street to walk around.  

Jackalope Brewery had the cutest taproom...go there! 

A trip to Nashville wouldn't be complete without some Hattie B's Hot Chicken! I went for medium, it was delicious,  and it was the first thing I really ate after the run so it was life-saving as well.  We also got all the sides because Bri is a vegetarian and he loved them! 
Not that special, but we carb-loaded at Bucca de Beppo and I just couldn't believe the size of this dish and the tastiness of those meatballs! 

Country Music Hall of Fame! Do it! 

The Rock n' Roll Marathon Expo was super cute! 

This was a crazy good PB&J that I got at this amazing sandwich shop!  Clawson's Pub and Deli has great sandwiches and a ton of local beers.  This was the day before the race so I did not take part in the drinking, but I would love to go back and try some! 

On the way to Nashville we stopped at the Louisville Slugger Museum.  Bri had a blast and you get to see them making baseball bats! Plus, you get to take a miniature bat home with you! 

We also just walked around the city which is super adorable and we made a pit stop at Acme to check out some Honky Tonk and get a drink.  Overall, the weekend was fantastic and I can't wait to go back another time to check out more that this fabulous city has to offer!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Marathon Training Monday: Race Day! The Nashville Marathon

Race day was a blast.  Well, sort of.  The day started off a little rough.  It was storming and pouring so the start was delayed and instead of starting at 7:15, I didn't cross the start line until 8:15.

Then, I ran through downtown Nashville.  Nashville is just adorable.  There was a lot to look at as we ran through Honky Tonk Central and Music Row.  However, it was also super hilly.  Around mile 11, the half marathon runners and the marathon runners split.  This was interesting because we went from being part of about 40,000 runners to part of about 5,000 runners.  It was nice to have the space, but it was also a little depressing because you know that they only have about 2 more miles and you have 15.  Plus, as we watched our half friends run away towards their finnish, we had to run up a super long hill.

Hills.  Those hills were rough and they were relentless.  Seriously, there really wasn't a flat part of the course and as the mileage went up and up I got really tired.  I had to walk a few times when the hills just were too much for me.  Although the hills were a downer, a lot of the course was pretty cool.  We got to run through a baseball stadium and get on the jumbotron!  We also finished by Nissan Stadium which was pretty neat and we had to run downhill to get there.  Also, the last part of the course was pretty and through a park.  On top of all of this, the bands were pretty great and there was a lot of music along the course to keep us distracted.  

I was bummed about walking, but I truly had a good time.  It was fun to see so much of Nashville and to run with my training buddies from Chicago.  We all finished and that was also great.  I finished with a time of 4:49.  This is 19 minutes slower than my previous time in Chicago, but considering the heat, humidity, and hills, I am actually pretty proud of this time.  The medals were super cool, the shirts were adorable, and then I went and ate all the food.  Nashville ended up being pretty great!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Biscuits

I just finished my last training run for my marathon.  This week was sort of silly, but it was the final week of taper so really it was just about staying loose and feeling comfortable.  At this point in training, you are totally ready for the marathon so this week I just ran 3, 3, and then 2.  I don't want to tire myself out and I want to stay ready.  I just finished my 2 miles and I feel great! I am nervous, but so excited.

In honor of traveling to Nashville for the weekend, I decided to share a recipe for some good-old biscuits.  I saw the recipe on Cook's Illustrated and then I adapted it to use my favorite whole wheat flour.  They came out AMAZING! I ate these with everything! Chilli, butter and jelly, some peanut butter, anything!  They were flaky and super tasty and I was in love.

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Biscuits

3 cups King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
2 tbsp sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
16 tbsp unsalted butter, frozen for about 20 minutes
1 1/4 cups light buttermilk, cold

1. Preheat oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, toss the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Coat the butter with some of the flour mixture and then using a cheese grater, grate 14 tbsp of butter into the flour mixture.  Toss to combine.
3. Pour in the buttermilk and using a spatula, fold until it is combine.
4. Dump mixture out onto a well-floured surface and use your hands to shape the mixture into a rough square.  Roll the mixture out using a rolling pin (or if you're me, a wine bottle!).  You want to create about a 12 by 9 inch rectangle.  Then, fold this into thirds like a business letter about to go into an envelope.  Then, roll it out the perpendicular (see? math!) direction from where you rolled before into a 12 by 9 inch rectangle and then fold into thirds again.  Continue to do this for a total of 5 folds.

5. Roll the dough out into a square so that the dough is about 1 inch thick.  Cut into squares using a sharp knife.  Place the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet.
6. Melt the last 2 tbsp of butter and brush the tops of each biscuit with butter.

7. Place on the upper-middle rack of your oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.   Biscuits should be golden.

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

My Dallas Adventure

This past weekend I was in Dallas hanging with some of Bri's Wash U besties.  Bri was roommates with Stephen and Amy and they are now engaged! We had a fabulous time exploring their neighborhood and eating tons of food.  It was a great weekend and here are some highlights:

We took a tour of the Dallas Cowboys Stadium.  This was super cool because you even get to go onto the field! I even did a cartwheel on the football field because...why not?
We had a couple amazing breakfasts as you can see below:  

We got breakfast tacos at Tacodeli.  This place was super great and even had a salsa bar where you could sample all of their salsas! They also do lunch and dinner. 
I did my usual Saturday morning run and then we went to Cafe Brazil.  I ordered the Vegetarian Migas and it was one of the greatest post-run breakfasts I have ever enjoyed.  They also have this amazing selection of coffee at their coffee bar and you are allowed to get as many cups as you want!  
Our final morning was spent at The Meddlesome Moth eating one of the best brunches I have ever had.  We had coffee from individual french presses, mimosas, and I ordered the omelet.  
We also went to some great places for Lunch/Dinner/Beer: 

This Bahn Mi Sandwich came from this amazing food truck that was parked alongside a bunch of food trucks in a park in downtown Dallas.  This was awesome and the park was adorable! 

This amazing BBQ came from the Lockhart Smokehouse.  When in Dallas, one must eat some BBQ! Get the it.

Like Chipotle for Pizza lovers, Pizza Snob was a must try as Bri is a HUGE pizza fan! I got the Buffalo Chicken Pizza and it was so good I took a bite before remembering to take a photo! 

Go to Emporium Pies.  Eat all the pies....

The Highland Park Soda Fountain is a cute little dive that has amazing milkshakes and just plain good grilled cheese.  I got chocolate, but Bri got cherry and Stephen ended up with Strawberry.  We were all very happy. 

We went to a great bar called Luck and sampled a ton of good Texas beer.  Then, we walked over to the brewery next door, Four Corners, and tried some of their stuff as well! 
I swear we did more than eat!  We shopped, walked around cute areas, and spent a good amount of time at the Fort Worth Stockyards: 
Engaged Cowgirls :) 

It was a truly amazing trip!