Irish Soda Bread

Food

An ever-classic addition to the Irish table: Soda Bread! While obviously a commonly prepared piece of the St. Patrick’s day dinner menu, this crusty bread is so hearty there is no reason not to enjoy it all year round!

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To be honest with you, I had never actually made Irish Soda Bread before this St. Patrick’s Day, but was inspired by this recipe on Chobani.com.

I was attracted to the inclusion of the Greek yogurt (a great way to cut calories and add protein) but also loved how few ingredients were involved!

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The other thing I loved? You don’t need yeast! Yeast is something I never think to keep in the house, so I thoroughly appreciate a yeast-less bread recipe. Check it out below:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Chobani® Plain Whole Milk Greek Yogurt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450ºF.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine yogurt and buttermilk, and mix well.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, sift together flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda.
  4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour in wet ingredients. Using one hand, pull together ingredients in a circular motion from the center to the outside of the bowl in circles. The dough should be soft, but not too wet or sticky.
  5. When dough comes together, turn onto a well-floured surface. Pat the dough into a round, about 1.5 inches thick and about 8 inches wide.
  6. Cut a deep cross in the loaf and poke a hole in each of the four corners.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 400ºF and bake for an additional 30 minutes. To ensure bread is done, tap the bottom of the loaf-it should sound hollow.
  8. Let cool slightly on a wire rack and serve warm.

Enjoy this crusty bread with corned beef, cabbage and (most importantly) a good beer!

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*Original recipe retrieved from Chobani.com
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Healthy Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins!

Food

In a true New York effort, the Nor’easter has covered my tiny town in snow! With travel bans keeping us appropriately holed in at home, this morning was the perfect time to try out a new recipe and indulge in an unhurried breakfast.

Leading up to the wedding, Andy and I are doing what most engaged couples probably do: recommitting to health and wellness.

As I already workout on a daily basis, for me this means re-focusing on nutrition and finding exciting ways to eat healthy. Prioritizing health without losing flavor!

With an itch for baking, I scoured the internet for ideas and found this recipe by Ambitious Kitchen for lightened up Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins.

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It’s the first time I tried this recipe and was definitely impressed by the flavor – you’d never know that these muffins are made without processed sugars and contain essentially no fat! I also love the extra protein you get from incorporating Greek yogurt – always Chobani in our household!

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Check out my adapted version of the recipe below:

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 bananas
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon olive or coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup Chobani plain greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon milk (or almond milk)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (add a full cup if you’re a dedicated chocoholic!) 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. *Make sure to grease the pan well!*
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix mashed bananas, honey, vanilla, oil, egg, milk and yogurt until well combined.
  5. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  6. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
  7. Divide the batter evenly into the muffin tin and bake for 20-25 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clean.
  8. Cool the muffins for 5 minutes before removing and transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. 
  9. Enjoy!

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Ultimate Christmas Eve Cocktail

Food

Last weekend Andy and I enjoyed a night in, decorating the Christmas tree and sipping on festive beverages.

While you’ve probably had spiked eggnog before – rum i’m guessing? Andy and I discovered that nog + peppermint schnapps is a by-far superior combination.

The schnapps blends really well with the thickness of the eggnog, and cuts back on the drink’s sweetness while also adding a festive peppermint burst!

To make the treat yourself simply pour out the desired amount of eggnog (feel free to venture beyond the suggested serving size), drizzle in a splash of schnapps (again, feel free to be heavy handed), and top with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon and nutmeg!

Have these ingredients on-hand for all Christmas get-togethers and celebrations!

P.S. Only 8 days until Christmas!

Spicy Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

Food

I’m an avid fan of Food Network‘s Holiday Baking Competition and, as a result, have watched many-a-baker create Mexican hot chocolate inspired goodies. While I’ve never had the pleasure of enjoying Mexican hot chocolate, I’m a sure-fire (spicy reference intended) fan of chocolate and pepper combined and have been eager to try out this flavor profile during the holidays.

This weekend I made my first batch of Mexican hot chocolate cookies and it was truly love at first bite!

SO gooey, with a satisfying zip of spice from the cayenne pepper and chili powder. The recipe is also really easy which is another plus, especially this time of year!

Ingredients

  • 1 stick (4 ounces) butter
  • 4 ounces good-quality unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped (you can also use bitter chocolate chips)
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Melt the butter and unsweetened chocolate together in the microwave (in a microwave-safe bowl) in 25-second increments, whisking between each interval. Cool the chocolate mixture to room temperature.
  3.  Beat the brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla extract and eggs on low speed until well combined. Pour in the cooled chocolate and continue to mix until the ingredients are evenly distributed.
  4. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, chili powder, baking soda, salt and cayenne pepper. Add the dry ingredients to the chocolate batter and mix on low speed until just combined.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.
  6. Scoop the dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan, leaving at least 1 1/2 inches of space between each cookie (they expand!).
  7. Bake the cookies for approximately 14 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through cooking time. The cookies should be puffy and still fairly soft when removed from the oven.
  8. Immediately slide the cookies, still on the parchment paper, onto a wire cooling rack.
  9. Enjoy this recipe with friends, co-workers and loved ones this holiday season.

P.S. 13 days until Christmas!

Original recipe retrieved from http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/spicy-mexican-hot-chocolate-cookies-1962907#reviewsTop

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Food

With every season there are a handful of recipes that are on my absolute must-make list. For fall, we’re talking butternut squash, homemade applesauce, cheesy bowtie bratwurst casserole and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

It’s no secret that pumpkin spice is a an all-time favorite for most (#PSL season started two months ago), and this recipe combines the rich, rustic spices of fall with milk chocolate for a winning combination.

As I’ve mentioned before, I also love this recipe for the cookies’ consistency (think dessert AND breakfast) and love how many batches the dough renders.

And while this recipe is super simple, it’s also quite elegant – great for both cookie connoisseurs and beginning bakers alike!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups (12-ounce bag) milk chocolate chips, not semisweet

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spray cookie sheets with nonstick spray or line them with parchment paper.
  3. Using a mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Beat in the white and brown sugars, a little at a time, until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then mix in the vanilla and pumpkin puree.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.
  6. Slowly beat the flour mixture into the batter in thirds.
  7. Stir in the chips.
  8. Scoop the cookie dough by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared cookie sheets and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cookies are browned around the edges.
  9. Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let them rest for 2 minutes. Take the cookies off with a spatula and cool them on wire racks or paper bags.
  10. Share with friends and family for a hyggelig time!

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*Original recipe retrieved from FoodNetwork.com

Fruit Kabobs!

Food

It’s that time of year again: barbecue season! And while we all love a good burger, bratwurst, and heaping serving of potato & macaroni salad, sometimes we find ourselves in the mood for something a wee bit healthier.

Fruit kabobs are a simple way to fill that health-craving void. All you need for these simple kabobs are wooden skewers, strawberries and a fresh pineapple (or canned pineapple chunks if you’re in a rush).

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Wash strawberries and cut them in half.
  2. Cut your pineapple by first cutting off the outside skin. Proceed to cut the meat of the pineapple into chunks.
  3. Spear your kabobs, rotating between pineapple and strawberry.
  4. Enjoy!

Protein-Packed Spinach + Kale Smoothie

Food

smoothieThis Thursday I had the grand pleasure of having all four of my wisdom teeth extracted. Many of you out there can commiserate with the pain, odd looks from people who are staring at your enlarged “chipmunk cheeks” and your inability to eat just about everything.

None the less, while the past five days have been trying in their own regard, they have made me much more adventurous in the smoothie realm!

Following an oral surgery such as a wisdom tooth extraction, it’s vital that you don’t allow your inability to chew get in the way of your nutrition. As I discovered, smoothies are an easy, delicious and pain-alleviating way to get the nutrients you need when you are unable to chew or, seriously, even open your mouth.

While I tried several veggie smoothies over the past week, this Spinach + Kale smoothie has by far been my favorite. Check out the simple recipe below:

Ingredients:

2 cups spinach

1 cup kale

1 tablespoon peanut butter

3/4 cup milk or almond milk

1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder (I use a vegetable-based powder)

1 frozen banana

Directions:

Blend spinach, kale, peanut butter, milk and protein powder until smooth. Add in banana and blend again.

Enjoy immediately or store in a mason jar for later!

Greek Yogurt and Walnut Dip

Food

Working at Chobani, I’m always looking for new ways to incorporate Greek Yogurt into my cooking. Aside from being a great snack or mini-meal, the yogurt’s thick and creamy texture make it a healthy, versatile ingredient to cook with, and can be used as a substitute for butter, oil, cream cheese, mayo and, most commonly, sour cream.

While I’ve used Chobani yogurt in Swedish meatballs, tuna fish salad, shrimp tacos, bean dip, cheesecake and salad dressing, my simplest rendition was created using the recipe I’m featuring today: Yogurt, Dill and Walnut Dip. 

I originally found the recipe on Real Simple and love how few ingredients it takes to make a filling and healthy snack. Because – let’s be honest – dip is addicting, so the healthier the better!

INGREDIENTS

  • cups Plain Chobani Greek yogurt
  • clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, plus more for topping
  • 1/4 cup chopped dill, plus more for topping
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a medium bowl, combine yogurt, garlic, walnuts, dill and kosher salt.
  2. Top with additional chopped dill and walnuts.
  3. Serve with carrots or pita chips.
  4. Enjoy!

Grandma Labriola’s Pat a Choux Dough Recipe

Food

Growing up, I was very fortunate to come from a food-loving Italian-American family. With homemade meals and desserts set on our table day in and day out, I grew up learning to appreciate food and the culture and traditions that come with it.

While my grandmother is adept at making absolutely every kind of dessert imaginable, one of my favorite treats was always cream puffs. (I think most children could empathize with this).

Below you will find her recipe for pat a choux, a light pastry dough used for making cream puffs and eclairs, among other French-inspired treats.

While the end result of a homemade cream puff is quite impressive, I think you’ll find that the process to making them is actually quite approachable.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 eggs
  • powdered sugar for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Bring 1 cup water and ½ cup butter to a boil in a sauce pan on high heat
  2. Once boiling, shut the stove off
  3. Add 1 cup of flour and stir until the dough forms a ball
  4. Take the dough off of the stove and beat in four eggs, one at a time
  5. Use a spoon to drop the dough onto an un-greased baking sheet, spacing them apart. There should be enough dough to make 12 cream puffs.
  6. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown
  7. Allow the pastries to cool, away from drafts
  8. Once cooled, cut off the tops of the pastries
  9. Pull out the soft dough in the middle of the pastry
  10. Fill the pastries with filling (whipped cream for cream puffs– homemade or, if you’re in a rush, store bought)
  11. Top with powdered sugar
  12. ENJOY!