Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Holiday Staycation

I have this whole week off from work!  My office decided to close this week as it is traditionally a slow week (unfortunately that means forced vacation time :/…) but I guess if I wasn’t “forced” to take this time off I never would be having a glorious staycataion!  I always carefully track my vacation time to save for trips, but never really just have time off at home!  I don’t know why either because it’s AMAZING!
Even better when the husband takes 2 days off as well…like on Monday, there was basically a blizzard from Sunday afternoon into Monday so we did a whole lot of NOTHING!
Except shoveling and taking the dog out…Bromley loves the snow it’s hilarious, the snow was almost taller than him so he was hopping in and out of it.
He also got covered!
I love how the white snow on his face makes it so you can’t see much of his mouth
and shake off…
The greatest aspect of being home this week is actually being able to cook…breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
Let’s see, I’ll start with the not-so-great item from Sunday night.
I was sent a whole box of delicious Chobani Greek yogurt a few weeks ago and adding it to recipes here and there.  Delicious.  One meal I was dying to try is a beef Stroganoff using Chobani instead of sour cream.  Simple right?
Well I picked the wrong recipe as my base…woops.  It was an Ellie Krieger recipe and until now I’ve loved everything of hers I have made.  However I made the mistake of not looking it up online for reviews first (if I had I would have known!)
I only have shots of the prep… IMG_7091 IMG_7093 IMG_7094 IMG_7097
(new shiny pan :)
And that my friends is where the photos end because I was so pre-occupied with saving this meal!  and I did!!
The main problem was WAY too much liquid and not enough thickening agent, so when I initially added the yogurt it just broke up/curdled.  Basically I strained out almost all of the excess liquid with a spoon, added another container of yogurt and then it was fine :)  It was actually quite tasty and I want to try again.
Onto Monday morning.  As I said before we had about 20” of snow and the winds were ridiculous! (a shingle even got ripped off our roof!)
This makes snow bearable:
Leftover Christmas sticky bun
and freshly made cappuccinos
(like my new post-Christmas sale placemats from Crate and Barrel??)
After fueling on sticky buns and caffeine, Brian and I tackled the driveway.  Shoveling is rough, but I just think about the great workout I’m getting!  400 calories/hour…yes!!  1.5 hours later…Breakfast #2 IMG_7118
Yogurt Parfait:
  • 1 container 0% Chobani Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 green apple, chopped
  • 1/2 banana, chopped
  • cantaloupe chunks
  • Bob’s Red Mill Muesli
  • maple syrup drizzle
even had time to layer it all pretty IMG_7121
It’s also been hard to stay out of the Christmas treats!  I mean look what Brian got me…LOOK!! IMG_7126
Dark chocolate covered marzipan!!!!!   This stuff is incredible!!!!!  He went to the Hotel Chocolat on Newbury St in Boston…if you can get there I highly recommend this if you love all things dark chocolate and almond as I do.
Well I think that’s a long enough post for now :)
Happy Wednesday!  (why oh why does the week fly by so fast when you’re not at work???)
Today I’ve been doing some home organizing…what do you like to do when you have extra time off at home??

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Merry (Yogurt Berry) Christmas

Merry Christmas Everyone! 


Bromley hopes you got lots of treats

IMG_6877 IMG_6866 IMG_6869 IMG_6872 

This is actually Brian and my first Christmas actually being together on Christmas morning :)  (our second as husband and wife!)

We spent the night at my mom’s house and Santa was very good to us!


The dogs even have their own stockings…





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A few highlights of the morning…IMG_6987

Woo hoo!  New pan!! IMG_6988

Brian got me another new toy…


Of course I immediately put it on my camera and did a photo shoot of breakfast! 

Now my mom always makes pies for Christmas dinner so she’s always been busy in the morning and we never really had a “real” Christmas breakfast…until now.  Hmmm so brining Brian = breakfast!

Scrambled eggs with pancetta


and homemade sticky buns!!

out of the oven, pre-flip:

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and reveal

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Oh yes….

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I had to go back for seconds of course.

Now it’s time for a Christmas morning run and then off to my aunts for dinner!

Hope Santa was good to you too!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Malt Ball Cupcakes

My mom’s birthday was a couple weeks ago!  I was excited to FINALLY make this recipe idea I’ve had in my head for over a year now.  You see she loves malt balls, malted milk shakes…all things malted and chocolate.  So why not a cake version!



I scoured some recipes online, and got some ideas.  I like the frosting recipe and presentation idea from here.   I also had my eye here, and on the back of the Trader Joe’s cocoa powder box when deciding on a cake.  I wanted a relatively simple cake…i.e. I just wanted to use cocoa powder instead of melting down chocolate.


Malted Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 2 c. All Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 c. cocoa powder
  • 2/3 c. malted milk powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp espresso powder (optional)
  • 1 3/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 stick butter (room temp)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350

In a mixing bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, malted milk powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and espresso powder.  Whisk together and set aside.


In another mixing bowl cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer (paddle attachment or hand mixer) until all combined and fluffy.  Add eggs 1 at a time, mixing after each.  Add sour cream, vanilla, and milk and mix until all combined and smooth.


Add flour mixture a little at a time, mixing until all incorporated.

Fill paper-lined muffin tins 2/3 of the way.

Bake 20-22 min for regular cupcakes, or

Bake 10 min for mini-cupcakes.

I made minis and regular size

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one of these things is not like the other:


Let these guys cool, while you clean up and get ready to make the most delicious and simple frosting ever.

I basically used the same recipe as the one I saw here, but not quite the same quantities.  This is the type of frosting I grew up with and was probably the first type I ever made: butter + confectioners sugar + vanilla + milk.  So easy, SO SO SO good!!  It’s not the shiny, fancy, super-pretty frosting, but I’d take it over any of those Italian, Swiss, you-name-it types of butter cream ANY day. 


Malted Vanilla Butter Cream

  • 1 box (1 lb) confectioners sugar
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 6 tablespoons malted milk powder
  • 3-6 T milk

Combine all ingredients in a bowl including 3T milk.  Beat with an electric mixer until combined.  It will seem overly powdery at first, and add milk 1T at a time until desired consistency is reached but beat it for a while before you keep adding milk…you don’t want it to be too thinned out or it wont hold any shape while decorating! 

You want it THICK like paste…delicious paste. 

This tasted exactly like the middle of a malt ball but in butter cream form.  Heaven. 

Now for the fun part.  Decorating bags and tips are really not that expensive and I think it just takes your cupcakes to a whole new level.  People are so much more impressed.

I knew I wanted a Whopper on top before I even started this, but I also loved the look of the half Whopped I saw on the site I referenced for the frosting.  So I did both:  whole for the big cupcakes, halves for the minis.


I also played around with two different decorating tips.  I will say my frosting was maybe a smidge too thick as it was kind of hard to pipe but nothing a little muscle couldn’t handle.

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IMG_6854 I loved how they came out, they look so cute.  I brought some to a party, some to mom, and the rest to work…big hit all around :)

Last weekend before Christmashas everyone finished shopping!?  I only have a few small stocking stuffers left so I feel pretty good.  Also pumped about this short work week and then vacation!!  Well not going anywhere but my company is closing from Christmas to New Years.  I can’t wait to just get stuff DONE around here!