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#FantasticalFoodFight: Blueberry Steel Cut Oatmeal Muffins

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When I saw that the ingredient for January's Fantastical Food Fight was oatmeal, my first thought was "I wonder if you can make muffins using steel cut oats?"



I'm not quite sure how, but I ended up with a massive amount of steel cut oats. Too many for one person that isn't that huge of an oatmeal fan to begin with, so using them in baked goods seemed to be a good solution to cutting down on that massive container I have hanging out in the pantry. 




Blueberry Steel Cut Oatmeal Muffins
Adapted from: New York Times Cooking
Servings: 16-18 muffins
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Ingredients:
    • For the Steel Cut Oats: (* 1 cup prepared steel cut oats may also be used)
    • ⅔ cup water
    • ⅔ cup milk or non-dairy milk
    • ½ cup dry steel cut oats
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • ½ tsp salt
    • For the Muffins:
    • 1 ½ cups whole-wheat flour
    • 1 cup all purpose flour
    • 2 ½ tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • ½ tsp baking soda
    • 5 oz. plain (or vanilla) Greek yogurt
    • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
    • ½ cup milk or non-dairy milk
    • ½ cup coconut sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 1 cup frozen blueberries tossed in 1 tsp all purpose flour

Directions:
1. Prepare the oatmeal by adding all of the oatmeal ingredients to a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce to a simmer, until the oats have absorbed nearly all of the liquid, about 12 minutes.
2. While the oatmeal is cooking, preheat the oven to 375 and line cavities of two muffin pans with paper liners.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and baking soda. Set aside.
4. In a large bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt, applesauce, milk, coconut sugar, and vanilla until combined.
5. Once the oatmeal has been cooked, add a heaping 1 cup of oatmeal to the yogurt mixture, stirring until combined. Add in the flour mixture and mix until no large lumps remain. Gently fold in the blueberries. (The batter will be very thick)
6. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tins, filling each ¾ of the way full. Bake for 18 minute or until golden brown and the muffins spring back lightly when poked. 





These muffins are not very sweet, but they are really hearty and filling and bursting with blueberry flavor. The oatmeal makes the muffins really dense but they're not dry or chewy by any means.



#FootballFoods: Cheeseburger Bombs

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'Tis the football season, which to me, means hearty appetizers, gooey dips and my husband yelling at the television. I'm not really a football person. I'm kind of Switzerland when it comes to the sport. Tom is from PA and a Steelers fan. But we live in Maryland, which is Ravens country. Of course there's a huge competitiveness between both teams and because I don't really get football, I prefer to remain neutral.

If Tom is happy because the Steelers are winning, great. If the Ravens are winning, great. If neither are winning, still great as far as I'm concerned.



So while I don't care for the sport, I am all for any event that allows me to make appetizers and today I am joining in with the other Festive Foodie bloggers and sharing a recipe with you that is perfect for game day.

I looked online for some recipes and when I saw cheeseburger bombs, I knew it would be something Tom loved. I opted not to even look at the ingredients for any of the recipes I found and just wing it instead.


Cheeseburger Bombs
Source: Cookaholic Wife creation
Servings: 16-20 bombs
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Ingredients:
    • 2 packages refrigerated biscuit dough (8-10 per package)
    • 1 lb lean ground beef
    • 1 small onion, diced
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • 1 tsp dried parsley
    • ½ tsp paprika
    • ½ tsp each salt and pepper
    • ¼ cup ketchup
    • 2 tbsp mayo
    • 2 tbsp mustard
    • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
    • 5 oz. Velveeta cheese, cut into cubes
    • 1 egg, lightly beaten
    • sesame seeds

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the ground beef, onion and garlic and cook until the beef is browned. Drain any excess grease.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the ketchup, mayo, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, paprika, salt and pepper. Set aside.
4. Once the beef is cooked, reduce the heat to low and add in the ketchup mixture, stirring until all of the meat is coated.
5. Meanwhile, roll out each of the biscuits until it is ¼ inch thick.
6. Add 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture into the center of each biscuit. Top with a cube of cheese and wrap the biscuit dough around the mixture into a ball, pinching to seal the seams together.
7. Repeat with remaining biscuit and meat mixture, placing 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets.
8. Brush the beaten egg over the tops of each biscuit ball and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
9. Bake for 15 minutes or until the tops of each bomb is lightly golden. Allow to cool slightly before serving as the cheese is near bubbling when they first come out of the oven. 

Optional: stir together additional ketchup, mayo and mustard to create as a dipping sauce. 

I was really bummed when I pulled down my container of spices and found that my regular sesame seed container was empty and all I had were black sesame seeds. I hope that them not being the standard tan color doesn't turn you off this recipe because it's SO good. 

I'd honestly rather make these than make regular burgers. Since it's only two of us, I end up freezing the remaining burger buns and they just aren't as good when they've been frozen and thawed. This way all I'd need to do is keep a can of biscuits in the fridge.





Meal Plan Monday January 15-21, 2018

Happy Monday! How is January treating you so far? Mine has been okay.

I'm starting back up with the Fast Metabolism Diet this month so my meal planning just got a lot more difficult! I made a compliant menu for the week, including a grocery list and recipes to help myself stay organized.

If anyone is interested in a copy of it, please let me know and I'll get it uploaded.

So this week, the meal plan starts on Monday and goes through until Sunday as I've found it's easiest for me to follow the phases with the original start day of Monday.

Monday: chicken sausage bowl over a mashed sweet potato

Tuesday: steak with Italian-style veggies over brown rice

Wednesday: pepperoncini pork roast with green beans

Thursday: steak with peppers and onions

Friday: chicken fajita bowl 

Saturday: shrimp fried rice

Sunday: cashew chicken over quinoa

For breakfast this week I'm having spelt pretzels with peaches, a spicy ground beef and veggie scramble, oatmeal with coconut and peaches and a chocolate almond smoothie.

Lunches will be Hawaiian turkey burgers with salad, turkey meatloaf with green beans and turkey/tomato/avocado lettuce wraps.


#ImprovCookingChallenge: Ginger Chicken Noodle Soup

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The #ImprovCookingChallenge is a monthly blogging event where two ingredients are assigned to a month. Bloggers can make any recipe they like as long as it features the two ingredients. If you are a blogger and would like to join us, please visit our Facebook page.You can also read more about the event on our our home page. If you’d like to see previous creations, check out our Pinterest board.



The ingredients for this month were ginger and spice. I looked up a bunch of different recipes but eventually decided that I wanted to include the ginger into a soup.

Carrot and ginger soup is the first soup I thought of when including ginger into a soup, but I didn't want to go that route. My next thought was that mushroom-green onion-broth soup that you get when you go to a Hibachi restaurant and decided I wanted to make it heartier by adding chicken and noodles. And of course ginger.



Ginger Chicken Noodle Soup
Source: Cookaholic Wife creation
Servings: 6-8 servings
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Ingredients:
    • 1 bunch green onions, finely diced
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 2-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
    • 1 tsp olive oil
    • 6 oz. crimini mushrooms (or exotic mushroom blend)
    • 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken)
    • 6 cups low sodium chicken broth
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • 2 cups ramen-style noodles, cooked

Directions:

1. Add the olive oil over medium high heat in a large saucepan.
2. Add the green onions, garlic, ginger and mushrooms and cook for 4 minutes, stirring frequently.
3. Add the shredded chicken and broth and bring to a boil.
4. Reduce the heat to a simmer and season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes.
5. Divide cooked noodles among bowls and ladle soup on top.




Seeing as it's been so cold, I've been extra lazy and have had my groceries delivered for the past couple of weeks. I really wanted to take pictures of the soup with pieces of fresh ginger root and scallions next to it, but unfortunately my shopper only provided me with one piece of ginger and one bunch of scallions large enough to make the soup and honestly it was just too cold to venture back out for a few ingredients in sake of a picture. (I don't think food bloggers are supposed to admit that, but oh well) 




If you have extra soup, you'll either need to store the cooked noodles in a separate container from the soup so they don't absorb the broth, or add extra broth before re-heating and serving. 

#FestiveFoodies: Crock Pot Turkey Breast and Gravy

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I used to think that February was the winter month of bitter cold, living here in Maryland, but this winter has proven that January can be just as cold. For the last 10 days or so we've had temperatures in the single digits but then it decided to warm up for this week.



I don't know about you, but when I think of winter, I think of comfort foods. Hot, hearty foods that not only fill you up but warm you up as winter is doing her worst. I'm joining up with the other bloggers of #FestiveFoodies today and sharing a comfort food recipe with you.



Until this past Thanksgiving, I had never thought to make a turkey breast in the crock pot. We don't eat a lot of turkey (unless its ground, or Thanksgiving) so I guess that's why it never occurred to me. But now that I've done it twice, I can tell you, I'm hooked. It's so much easier than cooking it in the oven and your house smells absolutely amazing while it's cooking in the crock pot.




Crock Pot Turkey Breast and Gravy
Source: Cookaholic Wife
Servings: 4-6 servings
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Ingredients:
    • For the Turkey:
    • 2-3 lb turkey breast
    • 1 onion, quartered
    • 2 large carrots, roughly chopped
    • 2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
    • ½ cup chicken broth
    • 2 tbsp butter, cut into cubes
    • For the Dry Rub:
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 1 tsp onion powder
    • ½ tsp paprika
    • ½ tsp ground sage
    • ½ tsp thyme
    • ½ tsp salt
    • ½ tsp pepper
    • For the Gravy:
    • 2 cups cooking liquid
    • 4 tbsp all purpose flour
    • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
    • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Place the onion, carrots and celery in the bottom of a 6 quart crock pot. Pour the chicken broth on top.
2. In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the dry rub.
3. Remove the skin from the turkey breast as it will not get crispy in the crock pot.
4. Rub the dry rub mixture all over the turkey breast and place breast side down in the crock pot, making sure that it sits up on the vegetables. Add the cubes of butter on top of the turkey breast.
5. Cook on high for 1 hour then turn to low and cook 4-5 hours more or until a thermometer inserted in the center of the breast reaches a temperature of 165 degrees.
6. Remove the turkey breast from the oven and allow to rest on a cutting board for a few minutes.
7. Strain 2 cups of the cooking liquid from the crock pot and discard any solids.
8. Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and then slowly stream in the cooking liquid, whisking constantly, until a gravy of your desired consistency is reached. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
9. Cut the turkey breast into slices, plate and drizzle the gravy on top.




The turkey turned out perfectly! It was juicy and flavorful and with mashed potatoes it made the perfect comfort food on a cold day.






Enjoy these great #ComfortFood ideas from #FestiveFoodies!

Meal Plan Monday 1/8 - 1/14

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How is the weather where you are? It's been bitterly cold here but is supposed to get into the 40's and 50's for this week before getting cold again. I'll take it. I totally was not made out for winter, I'm telling ya!

The meal plan this week is based on crock pot meals and hearty meals since I thought it was going to stay in the single digits.

Monday: shepherd's pie 

Tuesday: crock pot chicken chile verde

Wednesday: cashew chicken

Thursday: crock pot pot roast

Friday: sausage cassoulet

Saturday: bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches

Sunday: pulled chicken with coconut ginger slaw

For breakfast this week I'm having egg and turkey patties on English muffins with berries and for lunch I'm having turkey taco wraps.

I'm trying to limit the amount of carbs I'm having this week as I'm starting another round of the Fast Metabolism Diet next week that will last through February. 

#BakingBloggers: Boston Cream Puffs

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It's time for #BakingBloggers again! The theme for this month is choux pastry.

The first time I ever made choux pastry was when I decided I was going to make a croquembouche many, many years ago for another blogging event that has since closed. It turned out so well I had no idea that it could be temperamental and not turn out.



You know, until I had to make two recipes in order to get one to turn out for this event! 😜

Thankfully the second recipe turned out and I was able to participate this month. I first tried to make eclairs, but I made the pastry too small and thin to fill properly, and then my custard didn't set up. So eclairs will move back onto my to-make list and instead you get good old Boston Cream Puffs.

Boston Cream donuts are one of my favorite donuts so it only seemed fitting to make a smaller version nestled in choux pastry. This recipe also only makes about 12 cream puffs so if you're trying to hop on that diet bandwagon but still want something sweet, you could make these, eat 2 and pass off the rest to family, friends or coworkers.


Boston Cream Puffs
Source: Baker by Nature
Servings: 12 cream puffs
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Ingredients:
    • For the Vanilla Bean Custard:
    • ½ cup sugar
    • 2 ½ tbsp cornstarch
    • ¼ tsp salt
    • 4 egg yolks, at room temperature
    • 1 ⅓ cup whole milk
    • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
    • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
    • For the Choux Pastry:
    • ½ cup water
    • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
    • ½ cup all purpose flour
    • ¼ tsp salt
    • 2 eggs, at room temperatures
    • For the Chocolate Topping:
    • ½ cup chocolate chips
    • ¼ cup heavy cream

Directions:

1. Prepare the custard by whisking together the sugar, cornstarch and salt together in a medium saucepan. Add the egg yolks and ⅓ cup of the milk. Whisk until fully combined and then whisk in the remaining milk.
2. Heat the saucepan over medium heat and cook for 8-10 minutes, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back a spoon. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla bean paste.
3. Transfer mixture to a glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap against the custard so it does not create a skin. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until fully chilled.
4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
5. Prepare the pastry by adding the water and butter to a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, whisking to melt the butter. When the mixture come to a slow boil, add in the flour and salt, and whisk constantly until the dough forms into a smooth ball.
6. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to rest and cool for 5 minutes.
7. Cooling the mixture will stop the egg from cooking when it hits the hot pan. Once cooled, add in one whole egg and stir with a wooden spoon until the egg is incorporated. The mixture will become glossy and stiffer. Add in the second egg, stirring until all lumps are removed.
8. Use a cookie scoop or spoon to drop heaping tablespoon and a half sized dollops of the pastry on the prepared baking sheet, placed 2 inches apart.
9. Wet your fingers and press down any of the pastry that has tips or lumps to allow it to cook more evenly. Bake for 30 minutes or until puffed up and golden brown.
10. Remove from the oven and transfer immediately to a wire cooling rack. Poke a slit into each to allow the steam to escape. When they are cool enough to handle, slice each in half and remove any gooey dough still inside.
11. Prepare the ganache by adding the heavy whipping cream to a small saucepan and heating over medium-high heat.
12. Prepare the ganache by adding the heavy whipping cream to a small saucepan and heating over medium-high heat.
13. Place the chocolate chips in a glass bowl. When the whipping cream comes to a simmer, remove it from the heat and pour over the chocolate chips. Allow to sit for 1 minute before whisking until all of the chocolate has melted.
14. Add a heaping tablespoon of the vanilla bean custard to one half of the choux pastry. Swirl the top of the pastry in the chocolate ganache and then place on top of the custard bottom.
15. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat. Cream puffs will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.




OMG these are delicious! The pastry are light and crispy, the vanilla custard is rich and full of flavor and you can just never go wrong with chocolate ganache. Cream puffs aren't as hard to make as you may think. I'm fairly confident if you follow these steps you'll be able to make super tasty Boston Cream Puffs too.




Check out what everyone else made below:


18 Things About Me for 2018

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I was going back through some really old blog posts and realized that I haven't shared an about me post in a really long time. Of course, you could read the About Me page...

but if you're curious to know what 18 additional facts I've managed to come up with about myself, read on...



1. I've had the same cell phone number since 2002. Which was my junior year of high school. 😳

2. Part of the reason why I started this blog is because I love to write. I finally decided to start a bucket list goal and write a novel. It's massive (like 100,000+ words) and not even finished yet. The story is based in Bethany Beach, DE as it's one of my favorite places ever.



3. After the cruise we went on last March, Tom and I decided if we ever win the lottery, we're buying an island in Belize. It's absolutely gorgeous there and I loved every second of it. I'm already planning how to get back (sans lottery ticket).




4. Frozen fruit, particularly cherries, are one of my favorite snacks/desserts.


5. I hoard mini chocolate chips because sometimes they can be hard to find in stores and I like them better than fulled sized chocolate chips.


6. I hate driving, especially if it's somewhere I'm not familiar with.

7. I had collected all but 4 of the 209 total Baby-Sitters Club book series before they accidentally got wet and destroyed.

8. I don't have a natural hair color. As a kid it ranged from orange to auburn, then it started to grow our strawberry blonde. Now it grows 2 inches of light brown roots before it switches to a dark red.

9. I'm allergic to nearly everything. For an allergy test, they prick your arm with 20 potential allergens. I reacted to 19...

10. I thought I would find sour beers disgusting, but I actually love them. Like more than regular beer.

11. I work with all guys and I actually love it. Probably because I have my own bathroom. 

12. I've always been someone who kept a journal, but in 2015 I switched to a bullet journal and I feel much more organized. Now, if I could only get rid of my sticky note habit. (Even if my journal is with me, I tend to write things down on sticky notes first.)


13. I am terrible about seeing movies. I don't like going to the theater so I tell myself I'll watch it when it comes to Netflix. If I'm lucky, its 2-3 years later before I remember it again. 

14. My husband convinced me we should buy this house because he'd give me an 8 foot by 8 foot pantry wall. Confession: I probably could have went with deeper shelves, there's more stuff I'd like to keep on it. 


15. I didn't know the way my brain does addition and subtraction is what's considered common core. Or that it wasn't usual. (To add 58 + 24 I would add 58 + 20 = 78, then 78 + 4 = 82)

16. I keep an inventory of what is in my freezer and deep freezer so I don't end up with 5 packages of frozen burger rolls or 20 chicken breasts and no ground beef. 

17. We're seriously thinking about getting another cat for Itty so she has someone to play with. I have a feeling this will backfire and I'll end up with 3 total cats that all want my attention separate from each other. 

18. I have an Instant Pot that I want to use for dinners, but I end up only ever using it to make hard-boiled eggs or spaghetti/butternut squash.

Did anything shock you? Are we similar? Fill me in on you. I'd love to know more about my readers!

Meal Plan Monday Jan 1-7, 2018

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Happy New Year! I've decided one of my goals (or resolutions, if you want to think of them as such) is to get back into the habit of sharing what I'm making this week with you.

I used to share this on Sunday, but I think sharing it on Monday (and by doing such, giving myself one extra day to post it) will be better to hold me accountable.

Here's what we're eating this week:

Monday 1/1: Traditional New Year's Day fare - crock pot pork and sauerkraut with mashed potatoes

Tuesday 1/2: Chesapeake burgers with fries and salad

Wednesday 1/3: pot roast sandwiches

Thursday 1/4: paprika chicken over pasta with green beans

Friday 1/5: french bread pizza

Saturday 1/6: crock pot chili

Sunday 1/7: crock pot turkey breast with mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans

For breakfast this week I'm having blueberry steel cut oatmeal muffins and for lunch I'm having a ginger chicken noodle soup. Both recipes are for blogging events and will be shared later this month.  

Most Popular Recipes of 2017

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Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful night last night ringing in 2018!

We haven't gone out for New Year's in quite some time. I don't mind the crowds and the people, but I don't like driving when there are just way too many people who think they are still capable of driving when they aren't. So we stayed in and I made appetizers last night.



I did cheeseburger bombs (which I'll share with you later this month) and jalapeno popper wonton cups. Speaking of food, it's time to share with you the most popular recipes from each month of 2017. I feel like I should name 2017 the year of bundt cakes as those were the most popular recipes multiple time throughout the year.


January:
We started off 2017 with you deciding that a Sugar Cookie Bundt Cake was something you needed in your life.  



February: 
By February, you decided that a nice hearty breakfast, like the Apple Oatmeal Breakfast Bake was perfect to warm you up on those cold mornings. 


March: 
Full of flavor this Chicken, Sausage and Shrimp Paella won you over. 



April: 
A lighter and dairy-free take on buffalo chicken won you over when it was served as Buffalo Chicken Celery Sticks.  


May: 
Super easy and adaptable for many of the healthier eating plans out there, you chose Fajita Chicken Bowls


June:
It's never too early to be patriotic, as you choose these Red, White and Blue cookies


July: 
Bundt pans aren't just for sweet cakes as you picked the Cheese Steak Bundt


August: 
A Strawberry Crunch Bundt Cake flavored like that iconic ice cream bar won you over. 


September: 
I guess you all knew before me that local honey is amazing, because you chose these Honey Cupcakes.


October: 
I won't lie, it makes me super happy that you chose my state's cake, the Smith Island Cake, as the most popular. 


November: 
Full of all things fall, this Pear Apple Crumble Cake was your top pick. 


December:  
I completely agree with you that these Eggnog Crumb Muffins were a great choice. 



If this wasn't enough for you, check out the most popular recipes for   2016 * 2015 * 2014 * 2013 * 2012

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