Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Plant-Based Protein Powder

i cannot wait for spring! warm, sunny, 60 degree F days make me long for it even more. same with rainy, dark, dreary days like today. the only consolation is we need rain for spring flowers and green grass.

my favorite part of spring is a great pedicure and flip flops! my feet long to peek out and feel the sunshine after 4-5 long months of hiding in my shearling-lined ugg slippers. but little things like seeing plants with buds and daffodil greens peeking up out of the ground give me hope that spring is around the corner and make me crave some of my favorite warm weather treats like ice cream and smoothies.

i love smoothies - especially those with fresh fruit, a healthy dose of spinach (don't knock it till you've tried it - it's even kid approved) and a lacing of protein powder. smoothies are a great breakfast alternative or a replenishing after-workout treat.

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i used to live and die by my whipped vanilla cream dessert protein powder but i didn't really love the ingredient list. i recently found (via Teri from a foodie stays fit) this plant-based, vegan, soy-free, gluten-free, yet actually great tasting protein powder (i know, i was skeptical at first too).

the plant fusion vanilla bean tastes creamy and lends itself well to adding other flavors (like banana, blueberry, or strawberry) without over-powering the smoothie. it gets the whopping 21g of protein per serving from peas, brown rice, and artichokes.

check out the ingredient list:
anyway, just thought you all might be interested in a healthy, wholesome, protein powder. i got mine on amazon. oh, and hurry up spring!

and for the record, i bought plantfusion on my own and the opinions stated are my own. i was not compensated for anything and i'm positive plantfusion has no earthly ideas who i am.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

9 Years Ago

i met this man 3,285 nights ago.

i'd like to specifically thank Melissa for celebrating her birthday at the ever classy mr. days in clarendon, va and the clarendon ballroom for being closed because of a private party.

my life is 1,000x better tonight than it was 9 years ago and i feel like this

every single day - the happiest/luckiest/most blessed woman in the world . . .


National Pancake Day

today is national pancake day (thanks for the heads up Mim:)

why don't you celebrate with one of my two favorite pancakes recipes:

Apple and Banana Stuffed Pancakes
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Blueberry Strudel Pancakes
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happy pancaking!

Balsamic Shrimp, Spinach, and Gorgonzola Quesadillas

quesadillas are a classic staple on kids menus. usually just cheese melted in a folded over tortilla. not quite what i would call a gourmet meal.

but move over little ones, these quesadillas are all grown up! these shrimp quesadillas get a tasty twist with the addition of gorgonzola, caramelized onions, baby spinach and a drizzle of balsamic reduction.

i really only need two words to aptly describe this concoction - crazy good!

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the bleu cheese melts perfectly into the shrimp and onions and the baby spinach wilts just enough. the balsamic reduction drizzled over the quesadilla really is the icing on the cake. it adds a richness and tang and sends this dish over the top.

this is perfect for lunch or add a side salad or roasted broccoli for a tasty dinner treat.

Balsamic Shrimp, Spinach, and Gorgonzola Quesadillas
serves 2

2 tbs olive oil, divided
1 tsp minced garlic
12 extra-large shrimp
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
salt and pepper
1/3 cup crumbled gorgonzola
2 cup baby spinach
2 whole wheat tortillas
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp unsalted butter

heat balsamic vinegar in small saucepan over medium heat. bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low. let simmer until thick and reduced. when thick and syrupy, add butter and stir to combine.

meanwhile, heat 1 tbs olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat. add garlic and shrimp and cook 1-2 minutes a side until just cooked through. remove shrimp from pan and set aside. add remaining tablespoon of oil to skillet and add sliced onion. sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and reduce heat to medium and cook onion, stirring often, until softened and golden brown. remove onion from pan and set aside.

place tortilla on skillet and place 6 shrimp on half of tortilla. top with half of the onions and sprinkle with half of gorgonzola. top with 1 cup of spinach and fold tortilla in half. when underside is browned, flip tortilla and brown on other side. repeat with second tortilla and remaining shrimp, onions, gorgonzola, and spinach.

remove from skillet and cut into 4 pieces with a pizza cutter. plate and drizzle with balsamic reduction. serve immediately.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Birthday Cake Oreo Chunk Cookies

february is a big birthday month in our house. it starts with my sister-in-law on the 15th followed closely by my college roomie on the 16th, my cousin on the 21st, my niece on the 22nd, and then the month ends with another college roomie on the 27th. whew!

turns out oreo is celebrating a big birthday soon too - march 6th to be exact. that's right, oreo turns the big 100 this year and has put out a special edition oreo cookie - the birthday cake oreo. they actually taste like birthday cake and even have sprinkles in the oreo cream.

i decided to put a spin on the oreo cream chip cookies i made a while back. i used the birthday cake oreos, vanilla pudding, extra sprinkles, and funfetti cake mix. the result is a delicious cake tasting cookie. i made a batch to give to the last february birthday - Meliss. i think it's safe to say she liked them.

these are perfect for birthday gift or birthday party - or any day of the week really!

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Birthday Cake Oreo Cookies
makes 4 dozen

1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 (3 oz) package instant vanilla pudding mix
3/4 cup funfetti cake mix
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbs sprinkles
15 oreo birthday cake cookies, broken into pieces

preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. add pudding and cake mix and beat until blended. add eggs, one at a time and vanilla and beat until combined.

in a separate bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, salt, and sprinkles. slowly add dry mixture to wet mixture and beat until just combined. stir in broken oreo cookies.

using a small cookie scoop, scoop cookie dough onto parchment lined baking sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes (9 was the perfect number for me). the bottoms should be just starting to brown. let cool slightly before transferring to wire rack. let cookies cool completely and store in airtight container.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Special Delivery

a package just arrived and i cannot wait to use the contents!

i finally broke down and bought a second kitchen aid stand mixer bowl (i could have used this around christmas time) and a beater blade. this mixer attachment is supposed to scrape down the bowl as it mixes. it's like a beater and a spatula in one!

i also happened to spot these at wegmans yesterday . . . i'm thinking they are going to find their way into a baked good this weekend.

to the kitchen!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Breakfast Pizza

weekends are supposed to be more relaxed and promise you unlimited time. yes, of course you can go for a long run, make a big sit-down breakfast, tackle that big project, read a book, take a long nap, vacuum the whole house, have a relaxing bubble bath, make a 5-course dinner for friends complete with cocktails and dessert, watch that netflix movie, and still be in bed by 10pm for a good nights sleep, right?

okay, sometimes those promises fall a little short. i always say at a minimum, a successful weekend includes at least one nap. luckily, i can now add a great homemade breakfast to that list.

this breakfast pizza is definitely weekend worthy - it's even brunch company worthy. i used a pre-made thin pizza crust but with a little forethought, you could make your own whole wheat pizza crust. i love this easy recipe.

the best part about this recipe is it comes together really quickly. in about the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee, the pizza is ready to eat. i pre-baked the crust for 5 minutes and while it was baking, i browned some already cooked chicken sausage, cooked up some shallots, and shredded some cheese. when the crust came out, i tossed on the chopped chicken sausage and cooked shallots, added some baby spinach and sprinkled on the shredded cheese. finally, i cracked 4 eggs onto the top and cooked the pizza a couple more minutes - just until the cheese is melted and the eggs are cooked.

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as soon as the pizza came out of the oven, i sliced it up and sprinkled chopped cherry tomatoes on each slice. of course, you can add whatever toppings you have on hand for a customized breakfast pizza. kids will love helping with assembly too. pick up some ingredients today so you can surprise your loved ones with a pizza this weekend.

Breakfast Pizza
serves 4-6

1 whole wheat pizza crust, rolled out thinly
2-3 chicken sausage links, cooked
1 tbs olive oil
4 shallots
4 cups baby spinach
2 cups shredded cheese (i used sharp cheddar)
4-5 whole eggs
1 cup chopped tomatoes

preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

roll out pizza dough on a parchment lined baking sheet. bake for 5 minutes.

meanwhile, brown sausage and then cook shallots over medium heat with olive oil until shallots are browned and tender.

top pre-baked pizza crust with sausage, shallots, cheese, and baby spinach. crack eggs over top and bake for 5-10 more minutes until eggs are set.

remove from oven and let sit for a minute. slice and top with chopped tomatoes.

The "It" List - February 24th

Happy Friday!
Take some time to enjoy these amazing links!
  • good clean fun has the key to getting your favorite Girl Scout cookies all year long - a recipe to the oft sought after Samosas!  They look amazing! (find good clean fun on twitter!)
  • here and now finds the perfect mint colored jeans.  She will clue you in on how she found them and  compare other options out there for you.  These are so cute! (find here and now on twitter!)
  • gs lillian scored these darling cat-eye sunglasses for a steal!  Check out where! (find gs lillian on twitter!)
  • sweetie pie style is obsessed with color blocked sandals for spring.  I am loving these styles too and can't wait to add a pair to my wardrobe. Check out her picks! (find sweetie pie style on twitter!)
  • rachael really is looking just adorbs in double stripes! I love this look for spring.... (find rachael really on twitter!)
  • along abbey road pairs a pink blazer with a leopard print top!  I'm absolutely in love with this combo! (find along abbey road on twitter!)
  • the capital barbie rounds up the best kitten heels.  I love this shoe silhouette, it's perfect for a busy lady! (find the capital barbie on twitter!)
  • one hundred inspirations recreates a classic and bold Olivia Palermo look for less!
  • the tiemann girls have another round up of Austin eats - for all you gals heading to the Texas Style Council.  Check out their picks and make note! (found the tiemann girls on twitter!)
  • live a lot sports some super cute patterned tights!  A great way to add some fun to your outfit as the winter comes to a close. (find live a lot on twitter!)
  • suze wears clothes has three great outfits featuring your favorite boots - but I love that these outfits have a hint of spring in them.  The best of both seasons! (find suze wears clothes on twitter!)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

National Margarita Day

i have to apologize . . . something slipped by me today that never should have. today is national margarita day and i am just finding out now, at 7:45pm.

the oversight will never happen again.

feel free to celebrate tonight with one of these recipes. if you are out of time and tequila, like me, feel free to celebrate tomorrow. i will be. it will be our secret.

Grapefruit Margaritas
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Strawberry Margaritas
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Margarita Cupcakes
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Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps

the chicken lettuce wraps are my favorite appetizer at p.f. changs. me along with the rest of america i am guessing. there is something about the dark, rich flavor of the warm chicken in the cool, crisp lettuce that is simply irresistible.

here's the thing though - i'm a little weird. i don't like how messy they are to eat. i seem to end up with sauce running down my arms after the first bite of the wrap. i also prefer romaine over iceberg because iceberg has the nutritional value of a glass of water. the other thing i don't really love is the crispy rice noodle-things. yes, that's the technical term. maybe i'm the only one, but i don't love the flavor. they taste like styrofoam-y to me.

so i made a couple of changes to the dish. i added brown rice to the actual mixture and omitted the crispy bedding. plus, i chopped lettuce and served the chicken mixture on top of the chopped lettuce.

i still served it in the lettuce cups for E, but i enjoyed not making a mess all over myself. hoisin is the key ingredient here but i think the chili garlic sauce is just as important. it adds just enough spice to the chicken.

this recipe is actually my third attempt at replicating p.f. changs wraps. the first two just weren't quite right so i kept tweaking it until it tasted right. this version is the best yet. E even requested them again.

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Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps
makes 8 lettuce wraps

1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced small
3 tbs vegetable oil
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1 cup shiitake mushrooms
1 (8 ounce) can water chestnuts
2 cups cooked brown basmati rice
romaine lettuce leaves, washed and taken off the head (whole or chopped)

sauce ingredients:
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sherry wine or red wine
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon agave nectar
1 tsp chinese chili garlic sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch

heat wok over medium-high heat. add 2 tbs vegetable oil and add chopped chicken. saute until cooked through and remove from wok. set aside on plate.

meanwhile, whisk together ingredients for sauce in a medium bowl and set aside.

add remaining oil, ginger, and garlic. cook, stirring occasionally for 1 minute. add green onions and mushrooms and cook 2-3 minutes. add water chestnuts, rice, and chicken back to the wok. stir well to combine. pour sauce over mixture and cook, stirring occasionally until sauce thickens.

serve immediately by spooning into lettuce cups or over chopped lettuce.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Homemade Samoas

there is a cookie i cannot resist. it's hard to find, sold seasonably by little girls in cute uniforms and is ridiculously over-priced.

my name is page and i'm addicted to samoas.

the main problem with these cookies is not the fact that they cost $4.00 for 15 cookies (i can justify the money "for a good cause") or the fact that they are all sugar, carbs, and fat and go directly to my butt without hesitation (it gives me a reason to exercise). no, the main problem is they are only available certain times of the year.

i cannot live most of the year without these sweet, caramel, coconut, chocolate pieces of heaven. what are the girl scouts trying to do to the rest of the population anyway? they get you hooked on delicious cookies and then only allow you to eat them at certain times. of course i could stock up and freeze them so i have a constant supply. the only problem with that is that i would have a constant supply. it's a catch-22. if i had them available all the time, i would eat them all the time and my behind really can't handle that.

my solution? try and make them at home.

i am here with a successful, delicious homemade recipe. the good news is now i can have samoas anytime i want. the other good news is that these are relatively labor intensive. these are not quick to whip up. why is that good news? let's just say it's good news for my aforementioned derriere.

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note: i made them as squares to save a little time and effort. if you are super inclined, you can cut them into circles and then cut out centers out so they look exactly like samoa cookies. if so, good for you:)

Homemade Samoa Cookies
adapted from the little epicurean

Shortbread Cookie Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs whole milk

preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

in the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar for 2-3 minutes. add vanilla paste and mix to combine. in a separate bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture on low speed. mix until combined. add milk and mix until dough forms. remove and divide into 2 logs. on a lightly floured silpat (or parchment paper), roll out dough into a rectangle about 1/4" thick.  repeat with second batch of dough, trimming edges to form a rectangle. place each rectangle on a baking sheet and bake for 12-13 minutes until edges are lightly browned.

remove from oven and let cool completely.

Caramel Ingredients:
1 cup granulated sugar
5 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
pinch of salt
3 cups sweetened shredded coconut

lower oven to 325 degrees F.

line baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat and spread coconut out. bake for 5 minutes then stir well and repeat for 5 minute increments, stirring until coconut is evenly lightly browned. remove from oven a let cool.

meanwhile, add sugar to a medium saucepan and let it melt over medium-high heat. once sugar has begun to melt, reduce heat to medium. don't stir the sugar, just let it melt, reduce heat to medium-low if it browns too much. once sugar is completely liquified, whisk in butter. when butter is completely melted, remove pan from heat and whisk in cream (be careful, the mixture will bubble up when the cream is added). continue to whisk until caramel is smooth and thick. fold in toasted coconut and spread mixture evenly onto both shortbread pieces.

after shortbread is covered with coconut and caramel mixture, gently cut into squares using a pizza cutter. let cool completely.

Chocolate Drizzle Ingredients:
10 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

melt half of chocolate chips in microwave safe bowl for 30 second intervals, stirring well after each interval, until smooth and melted. spread a thin layer of chocolate onto bottom of shortbread cookies and place them caramel side down on cooling racks until chocolate hardens. once set, turn cookies over.

melt remaining half of chocolate and drizzle onto caramel sides of cookies. let chocolate harden, then serve. store in airtight container.

Monday, February 20, 2012

DIY Jewelry Display

a couple of months ago, i decided to hang most of my necklaces in our dressing room. i figured if i can see them, i might actually wear them more often. turns out that philosophy is true. i am not a big necklace wearer (i prefer bracelets or fun earrings) but i do have some fun necklaces that were hidden away in my jewelry box.

i got the 2 rows of hooks at lowes (similar jewelry hooks) in their storage and organization section for under $10 a piece. not only does seeing them remind me to wear them more often, i also think it looks pretty.

while getting dressed the other day i thought, "why don't i display my earrings too?" i remembered my sister-in-law had her earrings hanging on an old mesh flat strainer of sorts and i figured i could make something like that. and, as it turns out, i had all the supplies i needed to do this project.

you will need:
1 medium frame (backing and glass removed)
wire mesh (i used old gutter guards i found in rolls at my grandfather's house)
wire cutters
staple gun
painting tape (optional)

i simply cut two strips of the wire mesh and stapled it to the back of the frame (bring sure to pull it taught as i went). then i trimmed the edges with the wire cutters. (you can tell i have already re-purposed this frame once before by spray painting it white.)

the edges ended up being a little sharp and even though i knew it would be hanging on the wall, i decided to put a little frog tape around the edges to keep my from cutting my finger open while hanging the frame.

of course you will also need a hammer and nail to hang the finished product and some pretty earrings to hang.

note: hoops don't really work in the set-up, but i found most every other kind of earrings do. for post earrings, i just pulled the earring backing away from the earring a bit and it hung right on the wire.

Friday, February 17, 2012

GoodCleanFun Pinterest Board

for those of you interested, i have created a GoodCleanFun Recipe Board on pinterest. you can find my favorite and the most popular GCF recipes all on one board on pinterest.

check it out here.

and in the spirit of favorite recipes, here are the top 5 most viewed recipes this year so far:

champagne cake pops

moo goo gai pan

almond brie chicken

best balsamic vinaigrette

whipped cosmopolitan

The "It" List - February 17th

    Happy Friday ladies!
    Take some time to enjoy these links!

    • gs lillian is inspired by coral and aqua for spring... stop by to check out this gorgeous color combination and you will be inspired too! (check out gs lillian on twitter!)
    • the capital barbie shares this chocolate cream cheese cupcake recipe - as if we haven't had enough chocolate this week!  But this looks too good to pass up! (find the capital barbie on twitter!)
    • rachael really found the perfect sweater - don't you love it when that happens? Check out where she found it and how she styles it! (find rachael really on twitter!)
    • suze wears clothes lays out three fun outfits featuring a simple red top... I especially like this dressed-up/dressed-down look featuring classic All-Stars! (find suze wears clothes on twitter!)
    • stay in the lines styles up a perfect winter outfit featuring a great pair of red skinny jeans - see how she styles them and what her perfect winter day is! (find stay in the lines on twitter!)
    • good clean fun makes champagne cake pops and they look amazing and delicious!  Check out her handy work and the recipe! (find good clean fun on twitter!)
    • here and now snags the uber-popular leopard print skinnies that are all the rage these days for a great price!  See her secret source! (find here and now on twitter!)
    • live a lot somehow finds a way to look amazing when she isn't feeling great - I think the cozy scarf and sunglasses have something to do with it!
    • sweetie pie style has gorgeous garden inspiration... I know it's just what I need on these gloomy winter days.  Check out her finds and get inspired to start working in your own garden very soon! (find sweetie pie style on twitter!)
    • along abbey road is looking stylish yet casual in simple gingham - stop by her blog to commiserate with her "first world blogger problems." We've all been there! (find along abbey road on twitter!)
    • the tiemann girls round up their favorite eats in Austin - just in time for Texas Style Council.  I am for sure taking notes here! (find the tiemann girls on twitter!)
    • 100 inspirations features an Ali Larter look for less (and lesser!) - check out how you can get the bold red look for yourself!
    the IT list is produced weekly by jill of good life, for information on how you can be involved, click here!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Almond Brie Chicken

i made this chicken a while ago using the same ingredients but a different method. the first time i made this, i layered the layered the chicken breast with apricot preserves, brie, and almonds. it was good. the flavor was amazing. but the brie melted all over the place.

this time i wised up. i stuffed the chicken with the brie, brushed it with the apricot and rolled it in chopped almonds. and dang, it was good. and i mean good.

this dish is going into the regular rotation. that is if i actually had a regular rotation. being a food blogger will do that to you. i feel like i am always trying something new. but seriously, i will be making this again.

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p.s. i served this with roasted garlic broccoli. it was an excellent pairing.

Almond Brie Chicken
serves 4

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
1 cup sliced almonds, finely ground
2 tbs apricot preserves
1 tsp dijon mustard
4 slices brie cheese
2 tbs olive oil

preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

in a small bowl, combine apricot and dijon. set aside. roll thin chicken around slice of brie cheese. secure with toothpicks. brush outside of chicken with apricot dijon mixture. roll chicken in ground almonds. repeat with all 4 chicken breasts.

heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. sear chicken on all sides and transfer to a foil lined baking pan. remove toothpicks and bake for 20 minutes until chicken has cooked through.

serve immediately.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Project Pinterest - Met, Wed, Live

this is me most days:

however, not today. in an effort to actually do some of the ideas i have pinned to my pinterest boards, here is another of my project pinterest finished products.

i saw this idea (and there are many others like it out there) and wanted to do a map version of where E and i met (clarendon, va), where we got married (anna maria island, fl), and where we now live (hunt valley, md).

i just found maps on google maps and used a glue pen to write the words and sprinkled them with glitter (my favorite medium:).

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this is actually part of a larger pinterest project to do a wall of framed items. i am in the process of spray painting mismatched frames white and filling them with things that make me smile. stay tuned for the finished product.

in the meantime, why don't you follow me on pinterest and share some projects you have successfully completed after being inspired by something you have pinned.
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