Wednesday, December 18, 2013

'Twas the Week Before Christmas

'Twas the Week before Christmas,
And what did I see?
The temps outside
Just hit 66 degrees!

But that's what you get
When you live in the South
The weather will change
Before you open your mouth!

The presents are ordered,
Each one is so dear...
I just hope that FedEx
Will soon bring them here!

But what's a new post,
Without a Christmas recipe?
Need a side dish for dinner?
Well here's one, from me!

So I give this to you,
A dish full of SPROUTS.
Your family will love them,
And will eat LARGE AMOUNTS!



I'm trying not to sweat,


Sugared Up Brussels Sprouts
Serves 6

1 bag of frozen Brussels sprouts, thawed
1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
~ 2 tbsp stick butter or margarine, divided (you might not need all of this)
~ 2 tbsp honey, plus extra
3 tbsp brown sugar
dash of salt
dash of pepper
optional: chopped pecans

Slice Brussels thinly and set aside. In a non-stick skillet, heat your olive oil to medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp butter and let it melt. Once butter is melted, add sprouts and toss. Add honey and continue to toss until all sprouts have some of the butter/honey mix on them. Stir/toss often so sprouts do not stick. You may need to add a little more butter at this point to make sure all Brussels are covered (but not drenched in butter!).

Once sprouts are cooked (about 5-10) minutes, add salt, pepper, and brown sugar separately. Let sugar melt slightly (so it kind of caramelizes), then add a dash more with pecans just before serving.

Serve piping hot.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmastime's a-Comin'

Invisible Blog People!!!!

We are ONE WEEK away from Christmas Eve!!!!!

ONE WEEK away from being able to travel home to see the fam!!!!!

ONE WEEK away from eating my grandmother's pies and my mom's cooking!!!!!!


I remember Christmas Eve being the most magical night of the year when I was a kid -- we'd spend all night at my grandparents' house, then on the drive home we'd look for Rudolph's nose in the sky. Inevitably, there would be some kind of plane flying up above with a red light and we would go CRAZY -- thinking OHMAHGOSH RUDOLPH IS REALLY UP THERE!!!!!

Then there was that year that I was REALLY creeped out by Santa Claus and couldn't sleep AT ALL because I was crying too hard out of fear.

I remember grilling my mom that night about HOW IS IT OKAY that some random strange old man that we've NEVER MET is going to come into our house tonight??? What if he doesn't JUST give us presents and eat the cookies??? What if he creeps around our house and stares at us while we're sleeping??? What if he touches my toothbrush??? That's just WEIRD, Mom!!!!

I think my mom said something to the effect of how she and my dad would keep the doors locked that night so Santa would have to leave the presents outside, then before we woke up they would move everything inside so we'd all stay safe that night.

I'm pretty sure it was around 3 a.m. when I had my freak-out that year (a normal bedtime for a kid on Christmas Eve), so my mom probably would have said most anything just to get me to go to sleep.

That MIGHT have been the same year as the picture with Santa where it was ONLY my sister and brother; the picture with the caption written on the back saying, "Jenny and Stephen with Santa. Lisa was scared."

No joke.

Aaaah. Memories. Gotta love 'em.

But you know what ELSE I love? Pizza.

That's right. MMM-MMM-GOOD Pizza!

And it's even better when it's healthy. #love.

Case and point:

Mmmmm...oh how I love it!

We made this dish right before we left town for our wedding, and then again last night. While it does require a little bit of prep work, it's VERY easy and tastes SO GOOD. (Note: the above photos were taken BEFORE putting it in the oven - we definitely melt our cheese in these parts!)

The twist is, this pizza has a cauliflower crust. YES, cauliflower. It's SO worth trying, even if you're not a fan.

According to the nutritionist that gave this recipe to me, the crust has very few calories and, if you load it up with fresh veggies (and NOT the gobs of cheese that we decided to throw on at the last minute ;) ), it's a MUCH healthier and lighter version that your typical take out pizza joint.

Plus, it's a VERY delicious way to get your veggies in.

We put sliced peppers, tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, and turkey pepperoni on ours - as well as a nice mixture of cheese, obvi - and ate it with some spinach & mushroom risotto.
My belly was HAPPY last night :) :) :)

Cauliflower Crusted Pizza
12 servings

1 whole cauliflower, raw
3 eggs
1 cup low-fat, part skim mozzarella cheese
Italian seasoning, to taste
garlic, to taste

Ideas for toppings: pizza sauce, low-fat cheese, spinach, mushrooms, turkey, peppers, tomatoes, olives

Rinse cauliflower and dry completely. Finely chop the cauliflower until it reaches the texture of rice - this process is faster if you have a food processor (or a blender!). In a mixing bowl, beat eggs and add cauliflower, garlic, cheese, and a little italian seasoning. Mix thoroughly then press into a sprayed pizza pan or cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, then at 425 for 12-15 minutes. Remove the crust, then add the toppings of your choice.

Bake at 425 for 10 minutes or until the crust is brown and the cheese is bubbly.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Oh By Gosh, By Golly!

Whoooo weee!!! It has BEEN awhile, folks!

Lots and LOTS of stuff going on on this end, as I'm sure is the case with most of you. Lots of traveling, laughing, people, and cooking, cooking, cooking!


It's awesome and I love it :) :) :) :)

Also, we got super cheesy AWESOME and put up one of those "Our First Christmas" ornaments too. I was slightly hesitant to get one at all but, when I found it, I couldn't pass this one up...

IT'S CAKE!!!!!!!!

Wonderful, glorious CAKE!!!!!!!!

We all know my fascination.

Last week at work we had a baking competition. My contribution? Cake balls :) Red velvet, at that, folks. MMMM. But oh, the fate that was to come....

Check out those beauties -- these wonderful balls of YUM before their disastrous end.

Everything was fine and dandy until it came to the "dipping" part. Apparently, this girl is NOT meant to make candy. They tasted fine, but they LOOKED hideous. I couldn't bring something so ugly (albeit, delicious) to compete in a competition, only to get overlooked by leery tasters. Le sigh.

But alas, all was not lost!

Thankfully I have a husband who has co-workers that will eat almost anything -- despite the looks of it -- so I boxed the ugly little treats up and sent them off, mainly to GET THEM OUT OF MY FRIDGE because OH MY GRACIOUS if they stayed I'd eat them all.

And we've had more than our fair share of sugary treats ever since.

For instance - The Cookie Swap.

Oh yes. It happened again.

I was SO THANKFUL when Natalie emailed me a few weeks back to tell me that her church was once again holding its annual cookie swap. When she invited me I hoped and HOPED that everything would fall into place and I would get to attend again this year - and boy, was I EXCITED that it did.

You might remember THIS POST from last year's event - an event I lovingly remember as the day that prompted my fascination with The Monkey Bread.

WHICH, by the way, I made for an early family Christmas celebration a few weeks back:



But back to the Cookie Swap on Saturday!

Late Friday night, the Hubs and I arrived back in town around MIDNIGHT after his family's early Christmas celebration - but staying up an extra 20 minutes to make these babies for The Swap? Totally worth it:

Myyyy ohhhhh my, they were so good.

But then again, is anything NOT good when it involves Oreos? easy, so delicious.

I MIGHT have had one with breakfast this morning. Along with a banana. So it totally makes it healthy.

Welcome to my world.

On Sunday, for the first time in WAY TOO LONG, we woke up before the sun and WENT FOR A RUN!

I'm telling you -- what a way to start a Sunday.

The weather was crazy cold and slightly windy, but to be outside (versus a treadmill) and in the open surrounded by beautiful scenery was invigorating. It felt amazing to be able to just RUN the road ahead and go up and down hills and across bridges and through the trees!

Yes - I said hills. I NEVER thought I'd be so happy to see hills. I guess a few months on the treadmill has had more of an effect than I thought.

Five miles later, we were back in the car and ready to start the week. Here's to doing this more often!

Maybe. Because I do enjoy sleep.

Happy Monday, friends!