September 15, 2017

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

The issue with having a garden in your backyard is keeping up with the endless amounts of provisions you reap if you are lucky enough to have a good growing season. Enter Steve. He is out there on a daily basis picking reaping the benefits of what he has tended to all summer long.

The majority of the time, he ends up eating half of the ripe tomatoes the second he picks them off the vines and then comes in swinging another baseball bat size zucchini which really has no place for me to store in the kitchen. Those zucchs are really great to use in so many recipes during the summer.

I bet you didn’t know that you can freeze shredded zucchini. Neither did I until I saw it on Pinterest the other day.

There was one zucchini in particular that was sitting and staring at me from the kitchen counter. It was literally driving me crazy to look at because, I mean, really? It didn’t go with the new decor. In fact, zucchinis don’t go with ANY decor.

We have a giant fridge but there was no room for this sucka anywhere inside of it. Why? Because this guy had too many brothers and sisters that were already occupying the space reserved for humongous vegetables. It looked exactly like the Goodyear Blimp and each time I saw it on the counter, I cringed. I finally had enough and said “off with his head (and butt)”.

I threw the whole thing into my food processor and shredded it until I could no longer recognize it’s similarity to a big flying balloon.

So what was I going to do with all this zucchini?

Easy.

I had all the makings of a chocolate banana bread within my reach and I figured why not just add in the zucchini for a “healthy factor”. Who am I kidding? Between the chocolate and sugar, this wasn’t super “good for you” but it sure was delish and rated on a scale of +10 according to those who tasted tested it. Once again, I threw in substitute ingredients that really should have been other things but somehow this came out just fine.

Example 1:

I used 45% dark chocolate chunks instead of chocolate chips for the guts.

Example 2:

I didn’t really need to throw in a banana, yes I know I said it was a chocolate banana bread but I had to change the title due to the fact that I used half a banana in the recipe. Otherwise, it would have just been called a chocolate zucchini bread. It was a last minute entry from the fridge before it hit the garbage. Gawd I love dead bananas. Oh and by the way, if I had a whole banana I would have most definitely added it in but half was better than nothing.

Example 3:

I used a small container of blueberry greek yogurt instead of plain greek yogurt because I didn’t have any and I certainly wasn’t running to the market to get a large container when I only needed a 1/4 of a cup.

My motto is “use what you’ve got otherwise it will rot”.

What’s the worse thing that could happen? Usually nothing.

Here’s what transpired when I sent a text out to my three boys with a picture of this bread. One of them dropped everything and came up to the house to ensure the gets at least two pieces. The other two were delivered the balance this week and my eldest said “that bread should be illegal”.

If you want to hide your zucchini and puddles of chocolate, this ones for you.

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI BANANA BREAD 

– 1½ cups grated zucchini
– 1 cup all purpose flour
– ¼ teaspoon baking powder
– ¾ teaspoon baking soda
– ¾ cup semi sweet chocolate chips (I used mini)
– 1 bar dark chocolate, chopped into chunks
– ½ cup good quality cocoa powder
– ½ cup white sugar
– 2 large eggs
– ¼ teaspoon salt
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– ¼ cup vegetable oil
– ¼ cup GREEK yogurt
– ½ ripe banana, mashed

1) Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a loaf pan by lining with parchment paper or nonstick spray. In a large bowl mix dry ingredients together with chocolate chunks. In another bowl whisk together sugar,eggs,vanilla, yogurt, oil & mashed banana. Mix until smooth.
2) Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix just until blended. Don’t overmix. Add in Zucchini and mix until the Zucchini is dispersed evenly throughout the batter. Place batter into loaf pan and spread out evenly. Take chocolate chips and sprinkle over batter, press them in lightly with your hand.
3) Bake for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.

xx, Debi
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August 4, 2017

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

Here’s a perfect example of baking something that I didn’t need, but was happy to stuff into my face. Guys, I have to fit into a very tight dress for my other son’s wedding in five weeks. Although there are healthy ingredients in this recipe, I went overboard and added streusel and drizzle to what would have been an acceptable muffin recipe.

Okay, so streusel and drizzle definitely takes this to the NEXT LEVEL, but really? I may has well have just plunked two of these bad boys directly on my hips before they passed through my lips.

Now, as for the size of these muffins? Well, they certainly ain’t muffkins. I like them BIG. Why? Why not?

Is there anything better than a muffin top? With the exception of one that sticks out if your pants are too tight (which may happen if you scarf down a few of these – consider yourself warned).

I absolutely love fresh peach season and throwing in the dried dates into this recipe was a nice twist. I’m getting tired of adding the usual cranberries and raisins to things. Aren’t you?

Oh yes! What about this muffin pan? The nice folks at USA PAN sent this to me a few months ago (pre-demolition), and I have been saving it until we finished the kitchen and had our ovens in full gear. I’m sure you can imagine how many muffin tins I have collected over the years, but this one is special. First of all, it has an amazing design. Love the stripes! Secondly, although I’m always cautious to either spray or line my muffin tins, this pan didn’t need ANYTHING because it’s super non-stick. My muffins practically fell out on the floor when I released them. Five second rule applies here if you happen to drop one.

Speaking of which, I get many requests about freezing baked goods. These muffins are perfect to pop in the freezer for up to three months or they will stay fresh in an airtight container for three days. Having said that, why is it that I never have to freeze anything? Most likely because I either take my goodies to the office OR I polish them off myself before they have a chance to make it into the freezer.

There are no secret ingredients in this muffin recipe. Just plain old fashioned DA BOMB diggity peachy keen muffins here.  Ready, set, let’s get baking!

For the streusel topping
– ⅓ cup packed light or dark brown sugar
– 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
– 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
– ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
– ⅔ cup all-purpose flour

For the muffins
– 2 cups all-purpose flour
– 1 cup rolled oats,quick cooking
– 1 teaspoon baking powder
– 1 teaspoon baking soda
– ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
– ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
– ½ teaspoon salt
– 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
– 1 cup granulated sugar
– ⅓ cup light brown sugar, packed
– 1 large egg plus 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
– 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
– ¾ cup milk (almond, rice or soy will work too)
– ⅓ cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
– 3 fresh peaches peeled and diced into small cubes
– ½ cup chopped dried dates

For the vanilla drizzle
– 1 cup powdered sugar
– 3 tablespoons milk
– ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1) To make the streusel topping, in a large bowl combine both sugars, cinnamon, melted butter and flour until the mixture is very crumbly. Set aside or place in fridge while making your muffin batter to keep the streusel from getting too warm.
2) Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with non-stick spray; set aside.
3) In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the rolled oats and set aside.
4) In a large bowl using an electric mixer, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and both sugars and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy; about 3 minutes.
5) Add in the egg, egg yolks, and vanilla and continue beating until well combined. Turn mixer off and set batter aside. In a large measuring cup add the milk and sour cream; whisk well to combine; set aside. With the mixer speed set to low; alternate adding the flour mixture and the sour cream/milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Be sure not to over mix. With the mixer turned off, add in the diced peaches and dates and use a spatula to gently fold the fresh and dried fruit into the batter just until incorporated.
6) Divide the batter evenly among prepared muffin tins. Don’t be shy, fill those tins to the brim. Top each muffin cup with about 3 tablespoons of crumb topping.
7) Bake for 27 to 30 minutes, or until the tops are lightly golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool muffins 10 minutes in the pan before transferring to a cooling rack. Once the muffins have cooled completely, make your drizzle by combining the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla. Drizzle over each muffin and let set. These freeze well, but I’m going to be honest here, there won’t be any left to freeze once you get your hands on these. Makes 8-12 large muffins.

xx, Debi
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July 21, 2017

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

When I go grocery shopping with Steve, it’s always an experience. Let me explain.

Usually, we stay together and one of us pushes the cart down each aisle as we peruse the items that will ultimately make it into the cart. As a rule, the collaboration on what’s A YES and what’s A NO usually goes something like this:

ME: “OOOOOO!!! Look at these…..I want to make ______with them.”

STEVE: “YOU DON’T NEED THEM.”

ME: “Yes, I do. Can you imagine what they will look like in a photograph?”

STEVE: “It’s going to go bad in the fridge before you ever photograph them.”

ME: “NO, I’m going to make the recipe when we get home.”

STEVE: “YA, RIGHT.”

ME: “Can I get these too?”

STEVE: “NO”

ME: “WHY?”

STEVE: “Because you will forget that you have the container and it will expire”.

Enter these gooseberries. I have to admit something to you but you need to promise not to tell Steve, okay?

I really didn’t need these. Don’t get me wrong, they were super cute and really made for an unusal twist to this recipe BUT the bottom line is, they were totally an impulse buy and were not ripe enough to eat out of the container.

That’s exactly why there is a good amount of honey in this recipe because unless you like things REALLY SOUR, and I mean SOUR, you are going to want to ripen these on your window sill for a few days OR until you forget about them.

Oh, and my solution for shopping with Steve is not going shopping with Steve. I usually make my way to the store to buy everything my heart desires, quickly unpack it and try to camouflage it in the fridge. Works like a charm, until he finds it with arms and sleeves three months from now.

GOOSEBERRY MANUKA FROZEN YOGURT

– 1 cup low fat vanilla flavoured yogurt
– ¼ cup Manuka honey
– pinch of cinnamon
– 1 pint fresh gooseberries, frozen

1) Place all ingredients into the Vitamix container in the order listed and secure lid.
2) Select Variable 1.
3) Turn machine on and slowly increase to the highest speed.
4) Use the tamper to press ingredients into the blades.
5) In about 30-60 seconds, the sound of the motor will change and four mounds should form.
6) Stop machine. Do not over mix or melting will occur. Serve immediately with additional gooseberries for garnish.

See you next week!

debi @simplybeautifuleating
Simply Beautiful Eating

xx, Debi
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June 2, 2017

Donut Day

There is no holiday in existence that the LMP team would rather celebrate than National Donut Day. So in honor of our favorite breakfast pastries, we styled up 3 ways to decorate for your own Donut Day celebrations. Have a party at home with friends or at work with colleagues and tag @littlemissparty so we can see how you celebrated!

Setup 1: Donut Inner Tube Platter.

That’s right. Break out your favorite donut sledding tube, like ours from Big Mouth, Inc., wipe it clean, and platter your donuts right in the center. Sprinkle some confetti and place it in the middle of the room for everyone to access.

Setup 2: Stacked Donut Cake

Find your favorite cake stand and serving tray and pile those donuts up. We used our inner tube as a decorative riser this time and placed it on top of the table. We surrounded the setup with our favorite balloons from The Grown Up Birthday Bash in a Box and voila! A perfect Donut Day Party.

Setup 3: It’s Raining Donuts

Last but not least, we decided to hang our donuts from the ceiling. Easy access for your guests to come in and pick their poison! We added depth by decorating with our favorite confetti balloons and the inner tube in the background. This setup is definitely a crowd pleaser.

Looking for a drink to go along with your donuts? Be sure to check out Abby’s Spiked Cold Brew Coffee.

Happy Donut Day!!!

xx, Seri
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May 30, 2017

Spiked Cold Brew Coffee

It’s officially iced coffee season, and over Memorial Day weekend, I was inspired to make a more “festive” version of my favorite summer pick me up!

We had some Bailey’s lying around the studio after St. Paddy’s Day and I thought it would be a good idea to use it to spice up my cold brew coffee recipe.. and boy, was I right!

Here’s what you need:

-fresh cold brewed coffee (recipe here)
-Bailey’s Irish Creme liqueur
-ice

Here’s what to do:

1) Once you’ve made your cold brew coffee and let it sit in the fridge overnight, remove cold brew from fridge.  Add ice to each coffee glass.
2) Fill each glass almost full with cold brew coffee. On top of that, pour about 1 oz. of Bailey’s, or more if you have room.


3) Use straw to mix Bailey’s in, and add more if desired.

Since National Donut Day is coming up this week, I also added a little extra detail to this drink… a mini donut on the straw!

You can dunk the donut or eat it on its own. Either way, this coffee/ donut combo is an excellent way to start your morning off right this summer.

Hope you enjoy, and that you had an awesome Memorial Day Weekend! Cheers!

xx, Abby
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