Sunday, September 28, 2014

Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

Over the weekend, Howie's parents were in town, and we thought of taking them to a picnic lunch at Huntington Beach since they had never been there before.  It was also 72 degrees, sunny and the leaves were beginning to change...that perfect combination just doesn't happen in Cleveland!  We planned on picking up some subs along the way, but I wanted to pack a quick dessert to bring so we can have something sweet at the end of lunch.  I was planning on just throwing a quick batch of box brownies into the oven after my morning boxing class, but I spontaneously invented peanut butter cup brownies!  

Monday, September 22, 2014

Breakfast Power Smoothies

So I totally love everything about Cleveland...except the east side.  The traffic, the fact that you can't get from point A to point B without going 4 miles out of the way via winding roads, the fact that the highways somehow failed to connect to any of the important areas, did I mention TRAFFIC?  Clearly I've been a self-proclaimed west-sider for life (with the exception of an occasional hike or a Nordstrom adventure).  But then I landed this awesome design job in Solon.  Karma sucks.  It's a tough life making the 55 minute trek in the morning, so I basically attempt to wake up as late as possible while still looking presentable.  I started making these incredible breakfast smoothies so I can bring my meal on the go, and I realized I was officially addicted when I started making them on weekend mornings when I was in no rush to get anywhere.  It's nutrition in a cup, and so refreshing!!  Especially paired with a sunny Saturday morning and a brand new issue of Travel & Leisure magazine (with Firenze on the cover nonetheless)!  Try making it yourself, and be sure to experiment with the fruit you add too!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Care Package Cookies

My younger brother, Robert, was having a tough week at Miami.  He's double majoring in Finance and Accounting, and the Farmer School of Business was totally kicking his butt between exams, assignments and the career fair this week.  It basically meant a whole lot less partying, and way more studying.  I remember how much the care packages my mom sent me filled with baked goods or Starbucks gift cards cheered me up during undergrad, so I wanted to do the same for him.  I baked him one of his favorites, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, and filled the rest of the package up with enough candy to put him in a sugar coma! 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Hump Day Mojitos!

The weather was rainy, the work week seemed to be taking forever, and my mom had an abundance of fresh mint in her garden. We decided to make the best of a Wednesday night by concocting delicious mojitos using the sweet mint, sour limes, fizzy club soda, and of course, good old Barcardi.  Pairing our drinks with steak fajitas and homemade guacamole?? Our girls night in couldn't be better!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Bisque

It finally felt like fall yesterday!  Yes, I'm one of the weirdos that actually prefers sweater weather over the 80 degree days.  In honor of the first chilly (and rainy) day of September, Howie and I both thought it was appropriate to make a classic cold weather dish: grilled cheese sandwiches and a hearty soup.  We spent a little too long debating what kind of soup to make, but decided that the prerequisites were that it had to be a) thick b) filling c) ideally include some veggies (since soup is the only way Howie can eat them) and d) taste good with grilled cheese.  We ended up choosing one of my favorite homemade soups, a roasted red pepper tomato bisque that my mom started making a few years ago.  The creamy, herb-filled soup paired with the crunchy grilled cheese paninis that Howie made was a truly unbeatable combo!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Summer Tomato Favorites

In addition to leaving Buffalo with some great memories from the weekend, Howie's mom sent me home with almost 5 lb.s of beautiful tomatoes fresh-off-the-vine from her garden.  I gladly accepted her offer, but quickly realized that this pile of tomatoes was more than I could ever need for sandwiches or salads in the week or so that they would stay fresh.  What did I do to solve the problem?  It was a no brainer!  I made a huge batch of homemade tomato sauce with fresh basil, garlic, onions, herbs - all of the Italian classics.  I even reserved some and used it for homemade bruschetta!  You gotta try my recipes while they're still in season...the end of summer couldn't taste better!

If you made the homemade tomato sauce...skip the whole first half of the bruschetta recipe before the French bread is involved.  The sauce does double duty!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Wedding Shower Munchies

I don't know about you, but my Labor Day weekend was a blast!  I was lucky enough to spend a few days in Buffalo for  Howie's sister Brenna's wedding shower and bachelorette party.  We had the best time catching up with friends and family over great food and games during the day, and partying with the girls til the wee hours of the night.  Since I couldn't bring much besides my dancing shoes to the bachelorette party, I volunteered to bring a few items to the shower earlier in the day, and they were a total hit!  Well, my broccoli slaw salad and cookies are always a hit...but the 5 types of cookies totally sent it over the top! Unfortunately, I didn't take step-by-step photos like I usually do - just a beautiful chocolate walnut coconut cookie fresh out of the oven (now how bad is that??)- but everyone was asking for the recipes, so here they are!