Thursday, March 28, 2013

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Swedish Meatballs


At some point Alex made us Swedish meatballs. These meatballs were so good and the sauce so delicious that I asked him to forward me the recipe. He didn't save the recipe so he sent me the recipe he thought he used. I knew the recipe was wrong because there was no sauce but I still made the recipe he sent me because it seemed easy enough and I had all the ingredients. That was one of the best decisions I made that day because this recipe was a huge hit with everyone. Cati had her serving for dinner and then ate half of Alex's dinner when he got home from work. This recipe is in the rotation now and I probably make it every other week. The first time I made it I served it with some cranberry sauce but the meatballs don't need any kind of sauce; they're that good on their own.

Swedish Meatballs
Source: Slightly adapted from LindaT on

1/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 pound ground beef
1 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon white sugar
3 tablespoons butter

Mix bread crumbs, water, and half-and-half in a large bowl; let stand for about 2 minutes.

Stir ground beef, ground pork, salt, pepper, and sugar into bread crumb mixture until thoroughly mixed. Shape mixture into about 30 small meatballs.

Melt butter in a skillet; add meatballs. Cook for about 5 minutes then turn over and continue cooking until fully cooked in the middle and no longer pink. Add next batch of meatballs if all of them didn't fit in the first batch.

Remove fron skillet, serve, and enjoy.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

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Basic Sauteéd Chicken

Chicken is something we eat a lot. Most of the time the chicken is breaded and then either fried or baked because that's easy for me to put together and something the girls will always eat. The downside is that eating breaded chicken gets boring for us adults. The solution to this boredom has been this chicken recipe. It's even easier to make than my go-to breaded chicken recipes and is very tasty with and without the sauce.

Basic Sauteéd  Chicken
Source: Catherine Newman on

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts sliced thin
1 pinch kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup chicken broth and 1/2 cup dry white wine, or just use 1 cup chicken broth or another tasty liquid of your choosing if the wine is going to be too wine-y for your kids

Begin by trimming the chicken breasts if they need trimming. Pat them dry with paper towels (to helps them brown) and sprinkle them with some kosher salt.

Heat a very large pan over medium-high heat and add the butter, which should melt and foam, and the olive oil, which should stop the butter from burning. When the foam subsides, add the chicken breasts in one layer and cook for about 3-5 minutes while the bottom gets crusty and brown.

Use tongs or a spatula to flip them over as they brown, and then cook another 4 or so minutes until the bottom is very brown and the chicken is cooked through.

Pile the chicken on a heat-proof plate and pop it into a 200ºF heated oven while you "deglaze" the pan.

Pour the wine in and scrape with a spatula to dissolve all the browned bits while the wine bubbles and boils furiously in the hot pan. When the wine has cooked down about halfway, add the broth, turn the heat to high, and cook until the sauce seems syrupy. Taste it for salt, then drizzle it over the chicken and serve.

Monday, March 4, 2013

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Blue Velvet Cupcakes

For her third birthday Cati requested blue cupcakes with M&Ms. I thought of making plain vanilla cupcakes with blue food coloring but I remembered coming across this Blue Velvet cupcake recipe. The cupcakes came out just as requested and even had a hint of chocolaty flavor to them. My only regret was not having more blue food coloring to give the cupcakes more of a rich blue color.

Blue Velvet Mini-Cupcakes
Source: amyBITES
Yields about 4 dozen mini-cupcakes (halving the recipe creates about 12 standard cupcakes)

2½ cups sifted cake flour

1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1½ cups sugar
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 ounces blue food coloring or color of choice
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350. F. Prepare four mini-cupcake pans with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter. Beat in eggs one at a time. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk. Beat in food coloring and vinegar, then add vanilla.

Using a Tablespoon or small cookie scoop, distribute batter among all mini-cupcake cups. Bake for 15 to 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

Let cool in pans for 5 minutes, then remove cupcakes from pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 pound confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese and butter. Beat in confectioners’ sugar until fluffy. Beat in vanilla.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

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Fun & Fit: February

February was a great month for fitness events. I started the month with 5K Foam Fest, which was an obstacle run but with lots and lots of foam. After doing Superhero Scramble in January alone and meeting people along the course, I wasn't nervous about doing this run on my own. Foam Fest was the almost the opposite of Superhero Scramble because it was so much more laid back, all the obstacles were manageable, and there were no consequences for not completing an obstacle. And the foam. There was so much of it. My only complaint is that I wanted more obstacles!
Screen shot 2013-02-05 at 10.22.41 AM

The day after Foam Fest I did a 5K, 5K for the Kids. The best part about this run was going with Cati. She is always asking when the next race is and gets pretty upset when I go for runs without her, so I knew that I was overdue for taking her to a run with me. This was probably the best run to do with her too because there was music, a bounce house, free face painting, and toddler attention-grabbing snacks. It's been exactly a month since that run and she still asks me if I remember the race with the face painting. Doing 3:1 intervals while pushing Cati in the stroller, my time was 32:38.

The last run of the month was, by far, the best: Disney's Princess Half Marathon. We drove up to Orlando the Friday before the run, went to expo on that Saturday, and then I ran my heart out Sunday morning. Some people had complained about the expo being really packed on Friday so I am happy we went on Saturday because it was less crowded and overwhelming.  Prior to the race I had read of the importance of corral placement in these runs because most of the people in the first few corrals are running for time and, therefore, won't stop for pictures. Whereas people in the later corrals do stop for pictures, creating longer lines. My goal for expo was to get my corral changed from G (corrals went up to H) to anything better than G. I was so happy that my ING half marathon time of 2:30 was enough to get me bumped up to corral B.

I'm a princess!

Meeting Jeff Galloway

The day of the run was really exciting. Disney goes out of their way to create a truly unique and enjoyable event. The course was great; running through the parks and Cinderella's castle will forever be a favorite memory of mine. Entertainment on the course was fantastic with all the characters and music. Those 13.1 miles didn't feel like 13.1 miles when all was said and done. I had told myself that I would stop for pictures with Belle, Jasmine, Ariel, and Aurora/Sleeping Beauty but I only made one stop because I didn't see any of the other princesses on the course. Even with a five-minute stop for a picture with Belle and two bathroom breaks I managed to beat my ING time and finished this half marathon in 2:25.

The funny story with my time is that Alex was tracking me and Disney estimated me finishing at a certain time, but I finished sooner than expected. By the time Alex, the girls, and my aunt were settled in in the cheering stands, ready to cheer for me based on the estimated time, he got a text  message saying that I had already finished. So they may or may not have seen me actually cross the finish line.

The one thing I kept saying after the run was that a Disney run is the way to go, in terms of overall experience, for a first half marathon. The runs are pricey but the experience is great and the energy pumps you up for a great run.

This month I have a 5K and another half marathon lined up. Have I told you how much I love running?

Friday, March 1, 2013

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Peanut Butter Banana Protein Smoothie

I love smoothies. Since I started running and working out, smoothies have become a part of my day. My favorite smoothie is this Peanut Butter Banana Protein Smoothie. If you've tried Jamba Juice's Peanut Butter Moo'd, this smoothie tastes like a healthy version of that smoothie. 
Peanut Butter Banana Protein Smoothie

1 cup milk
1 banana
1/4 cup vanilla protein
1/4 peanut butter
1/4 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup wheat germ
4 ice cubes

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend, serve, and enjoy!