Monday, February 28, 2011

Brunching + “mom’s” Coffee Cake

How was everyone’s weekends?? Sadly it’s Monday, but the good news is that it’s almost over and it makes me happy looking at beautiful food pics from the weekend!

Saturday, surprisingly, I had nothing to do. I was so excited! Unfortunately I guess I thrive on a tight schedule and ended up feeling like I wasted a day, but it was still a nice day.

Especially because it started with this


IMG_7970I decided to get my butt to Hot Yoga on Saturday morning, but opted for the not-quite-so-early 9:00AM class (as opposed to the 7:15). This gave me time to get up, eat, and digest.


  • 1/3 cup oats, 1/3 cup water, 1/3 cup milk
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 banana
  • Topped with:
    • 1/3 of Natures Valley PB granola bar, crumbled
    • fresh strawberries
    • coconut
    • regular PB
    • White Chocolate Wonderful PB


I can’t get enough of that “cleaned” feeling you get after sweating the week out in a hot room. I was happy I decided to eat breakfast first too, because I was still hungry when I returned home!


Quick pita with hummus, spinach, and hot sauce to take the edge off.

And this guy for something sweet with my cappuccino


Then is was time to bake!


Sunday, my friend had some people over for a relaxing brunch. She was taking care of the main courses, so I thought a quick bread or muffin would be great to snack on before we sit down to eat!

I immediately thought of “my mom’s” sour cream coffee cake! It’s DELICIOUS! It’s always a crowd pleaser and requested at many family gatherings. So when I asked for the recipe, I was slightly surprised (but I guess not really) that she directed me to Miss Betty Crocker!

Totally one of those situations where like your Grandmother’s “famous” cookies are just the recipe on the back of the box of whatever…

Either way, I was happy it was online, although there are KEY changes to the recipe that make is My MOM’s!

Mom’s Changes:

  • Use the whole container (16oz) of Sour Cream instead of just the 1.5 cups called for
  • No glaze
  • ADD Chocolate chips in the filling/topping! BEST PART EVER!

Of course I took it one step further and made it “healthier”, and I’m just going to call it exactly what it is:

Greek Yogurt Coffee Cake
(adapted from Betty Crocker)

Coffee Cake:

  • 1.5 cups White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1.5 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1.5 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1.5 tsp Baking Soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6T butter, softened
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/3 cup apple sauce
  • 2 cups Non-fat plain Greek Yogurt (such as Chobani)


  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts**
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips**

*I didn't measure out my chocolate chips or walnuts, but just sprinkled them on each layer so I had a nice distribution (see photos), feel free to increase nuts and chocolate as needed :)

Heat Oven to 350. I greased 1 large loaf pan and 1 mini loaf pan, or you can use a bunt pan like mom.

In a small bowl mix filling ingredients together, set aside. I was making a mini-loaf, nut free, for my friend to I just mixed the cinnamon and brown sugar and added the chocolate chips and nuts separately later.


In a medium mixing bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer, beat sugar, eggs, butter, and vanilla on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add in apple sauce, beat on low. Add in flour mixture alternately with Greek Yogurt, beating on low speed until combined.


Add half of the batter to your pan, then sprinkle with half the filling. Repeat.


IMG_7991Bake for 50min-1 hr. The mini loaf took 30-35min.


Cool for 10 min before removing from pan, then cool another 10 minutes.


At this point you’ll be so overcome by the smell that you’ll have to decide to “present” the coffee cake to guests in slices so that you can cut into it RIGHT away :)





Brunch was fabulous as you can see…

Is that not the most gorgeous fruit and cheese platter ever!??


Mmmmm Cheese


And pastries! Danish Pastry House of course!

IMG_8069 IMG_8070



Have you ever had a kumquat!? I never had!! You just pop the whole thing in your mouth, peel and all! Its an orange the size of a cherry tomato and bursts in your mouth the same way! SO GOOD!

IMG_8077 The main course was…


Spinach, feta frittata!


Roasted potatoes, onions, carrots, and chicken sausage. So simple yet SO good!!


And French Toast Strata (with cream cheese)… holy mother of brunch! SO freaking good!!!


Needless to say I was full :)

p.s. my shoulders are still so sore from yoga! Must get back into it!!

What’s your favorite dish to bring/make for Brunch??

Friday, February 25, 2011

Tuscan Chicken: on sale!

Pineapple wasn’t the only thing on sale at Whole Foods this past week! It was delicious by the way.

I also picked up 2 whole organic chickens ($1.69/lb!!)


and canned San Marzano tomatoes (i.e. the BEST canned tomatoes) (2 for $4!!)

I now have a nice little stock pile of lovely canned tomatoes and an extra chicken in the freezer :)

The other chicken became dinner earlier this week. I wanted to use up some of the canned beans I have in my pantry so I searched for a chicken recipe with tomatoes + beans. Cooking Light never lets me down.

Side note: As much as I love cookbooks with their glossy pages and pictures, I find myself heading to the computer first every time I’m looking for a new recipe. The biggest benefit, in my opinion, is reader reviews! If a recipe sounds great but got lousy reviews from people who have tried it, I am much less likely to try it out. You can also find great tips and tricks to make recipes even better and more user friendly from online reviews! What are your thoughts about cookbooks vs. the internet??

Tuscan Baked Chicken and Beans sounded like exactly what I was in the mood for…now if only my whole chicken was in pieces. That’s where Brian came to help :)

I don’t know what it is, but I find if I handle/work with a chicken and all its pieces too much I get turned off from it. Sounds weird, and I have not problem actually handling poultry, meats, fish…but it happened once with turkey and almost ruined Thanksgiving for me, so I opted to ask the hubs for help.


He was more than happy to take a crack at breaking down the chicken, and was even more excited to wear his big blue gloves!


For his first time he did awesome! Now I had chicken pieces and got going on dinner! After reading some reviews of this recipe online, I opted to use my Le Creuset Dutch Oven to cook then bake this dinner.


Tuscan Baked Chicken and Beans
from Cooking Light with my additions

· 1 (3 1/2-pound) roasting chicken

· 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

· 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

· 3 slices center-cut bacon

· 1 cup chopped onion

· I added 2 cloves chopped garlic

· 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

· I added ¼ cup white wine

· 2 cups packed torn spinach

· 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary (I used fresh thyme and parsley)

· 2 (16-ounce) cans cannellini or other white beans, rinsed and drained

· 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained


1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Remove and discard giblets and neck from chicken. Trim excess fat. Cut chicken into 2 breast halves, 2 drumsticks, and 2 thighs. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Cook bacon in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; chop and set aside, reserving drippings in pan. Add chicken pieces to reserved drippings in pan; cook for 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove chicken from pan; set aside.

3. Add onion (and garlic) and 1/8 teaspoon salt to pan; reduce heat to medium, and cook 5 minutes or until onion begins to brown. Deglaze with white wine, scraping all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Stir in bacon, spinach, herbs, beans, and tomatoes; remove from heat. Arrange chicken pieces on top; bake, uncovered, at 350° for 40 minutes. Discard skin before serving. I discarded the skin from my pieces, but Brian left his on…he likes the legs!


Nutritional Information

Calories: 307
Fat:4.9g (sat 1.2g,mono 1.5g,poly 1.4g)
Protein: 36g


I wanted something to go with this meal, but didn’t feel the need for a potato/rice/pasta type side dish. I’ve had this organic polenta I picked up at Trader Joes and have yet to figure out what to do with it. So I chopped up some pieces, tossed in parmesan cheese, and sautéed them in a pan with olive oil cooking spray. This was just ok, I think I prefer regular creamy polenta, not this kind you slice up. Still good though.


This was a delicious dinner. Comfort food-esque, but not heavy at all. It made for great leftovers as well.



That night I also whipped up a batch of Super Charge Me cookies, so that I could have a healthy and clean baked good around the house. I used white whole wheat flour instead of the spelt flour and added dried cherries and dark chocolate chips. I also added about 3 – 5T of water to the batter.

IMG_7908 IMG_7901

IMG_7949 IMG_7943

So sad I ate the last one today!!!

Other nights my dinners look like this…and I love these meals just as much!


  • baked sweet potato + butter + maple syrup drizzle
  • steamed spinach + balsamic vinegar
  • cheddar + crackers + carrots


These random “snack style” dinners are perfect some nights after work when I come home later than usual and really don’t want to spend much time in the kitchen. Plus I tend to snack a lot while at work so a small dinner balances it out. IMG_7935


Hmm…yeah, so not that great this week. I’ve actually had a hard time getting back into a routine since those crazy work weeks earlier this year!

This is where my half-marathon goal is going to kick in! It’s time to train!! I’m actually really excited and even more so now that I have a stellar training plan made for me by my friend Lizzy!!

Funny side note: we used to work together at Gap Kids while both in high school!! We didn’t even realize who we each were until recently…small (blog) world right??

I’m starting my plan next week! It will consist of 3 running days a week: speed work, easy run, long run. I am really pumped to do the speed work because I’ve never really done it properly before so I’m looking forward to see if I can improve my speed! This plan is great for me because I still need other non-running days to mix up my workouts.

Can’t wait to share my training!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Winner + Weekend Recap

First things first, the winner of the Michael Chiarello Cookbook and Lemon Pepper Panko!

New Picture

Turns out to be fellow Bostonian…Michelle!  Email me your contact info and I will be sure the prize pack gets to you!

I really can’t wait until I have a weekend with NOTHING to do, but that rarely ever happens, so until then I’ll keep trucking along :)  At least my weekends are fun…fun and busy!

It’s Sunday night and this girl needs sleep ASAP!  So I’m going to do more of a list-like recap of the weekend (and beyond)

Footie Pajamas.  Yeah I got a pretty stellar Valentine’s day present and wasn’t I shocked when I saw that Tina got the SAME thing…I mean, what are the odds???



Who doesn’t love soft fuzzy adult sized hoodie-footie pajamas!?

But it doesn’t stop there, Brian got the package deal from pajama-grams…  Hoodie Footies AND Pajama Jeans

Ok, no, I can’t bear to show the picture…didn’t get my good side ;) 


They are basically thick-stretch material…denim-esque, with the faux stitching, and even though I’m only 5’6”, they are too short on me haha!

Leftovers.  I love my once a week day where I come home at lunch to walk the dog.  I get to eat at my table, in the sunlight, and enjoy things like chicken pot pie, out of my own bowls. 


(I wasn’t in love with the pot pie recipe, so you wont be seeing it as of now)

Saturday Morning.  Brian had to go into work, so I had a quiet breakfast with the pup before he went off to the groomer!





TJ’s Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin British Muffin.  Half with cream cheese, the other with some nut butters


Bromley before.  The long hair + melting slushy snow = DIRTY dog!!  He looks like a ragamuffin (whatever that really means)  


(hehe love when the under-bite comes out) 

They took off a little more than I was thinking, but I am seriously loving his puppy cut!



So sweet and innocent ;)


Pineapple (on sale at Whole Foods!)





I FINALLY got to spend some quality time with my good friend’s baby, who was born at the beginning of January :)

Isn’t she precious…


Pastries :)

Picked these up at the Winter Farmers Market.

Some of my favorites from the Danish Pastry House!


Cinnamon Brioche (in-freaking-credible)


and my favorite, Almond Croissant


Cut up to share :)


With cappuccinos!



The rest of today consisted of another Off-Leash dog training session, which was cut a little short as the temps + wind made it pretty unbearable outside!!

But we were up in Gloucester, so we warmed up with chowder and seafood


Picnic in the car of course, since we had the pooch!  I had clam chowder and a salad


Brian opted for the fish sandwich!  Both were delicious and hit the spot :)  Looking forward to WARMER temps to return to the beach!

Lookie what I found…


Bad news I tell you. 

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!  I really hope those mild temps from the end of last week return!  I had a GLORIOUS run outside Thursday and it felt like Spring :)  But that half-marathon is going to sneak up on me so I better start to enjoy running in the cold for now.

Good night!