Showing posts with label Holidays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Holidays. Show all posts

November 11, 2013

Happy Veteran's Day

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Today I am so grateful to have known such amazing men and women who have served for our country, including my Papa, grandpa, friends and past veterans and active military. 

To my husband, you are a man among men. This was an unbelievable hard year with you away from home but I could have never made it through if there was anyone but you on the other side. I prayed every night that you were safe and thanked God for bringing you into my life, and for making our love so strong that we could bear through anything and make it out stronger than before. You are my rock, my family and my home. I am so proud of you and honored to be your wife.

July 04, 2013

Happy Independence Day!

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Thank you to our Service Members and their families for keeping this wonderful country safe! For those currently serving, including my husby and his company currently deployed, please stay safe and hurry home!
We love and miss you!

Happy Independence Day! 

June 24, 2013

Chocolate Drizzled Almond Florentines

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Taking some more time off this month was very needed. Doing things like visiting my best friend and her husband up in Boston or attending the best cult following at a Jimmy Buffett concert can really tire a girl out which doesn't leave much time for cooking, but I am back here this week to share some really outrageous dishes and treats that I have made over the past month and today is no exception.
June's SRC is here and this month I had Melissa from Fried Ice and Donut Holes. How cute is that name? She said it was inspired by her grandpa telling her to "behave or she'd be having fried ice and donut holes (aka nothing) for dinner"... too cute. My mother's phrase was always "kitchens closed after dinner" and if you didn't eat what was on your plate she was serious about 'shutting down' the kitchen. Moral of the story, I can relate. 

Melissa had some fabulous looking recipes which I am soon to try like homemade coconut coffee creamer and a knock-out citrus beet salad, soo good, but you all know me and I tend to use my SRC days for sneaking a little more sweetness into my day and that is when I landed on her almond florentine cookies. 

The first few batches I struggled with a bit in getting the right timing and temperature to work correctly so as to not burn the cookies, but then I was able to balance it all out for a deliciously nutty yet sweet treat.

If you’re looking to make these delicious cookies a well-rounded dessert, they go quite nicely with coconut ice cream! Traditionally, they can be served with tea/coffee, crumbled over pudding, or served as sandwich cookies filled with ice cream, whipped cream, or jam. If you are looking for a way to use up coconut cream, this may be a good option. They also freeze well and are fantastic straight out of the freezer (in fact in these hot days in June/July, I prefer them that way).
Chocolate Drizzled Almond Florentines
Yields: 28 cookies

1 3/4 cups sliced almonds
4 tbsp almond flour
1 tbsp Orange Zest
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp full-fat coconut milk (not light; use the cream from the top of the can)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4-1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 tsp coconut oil

Finely chop the almonds and place them in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the flour, zest, salt, and sugar. In a medium sized pot, add the butter, honey, and coconut milk and stir until combined. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a low boil. Immediately remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Set aside to cool for about 10-15 minutes. 

With wet fingers, shape the dough into 1/2 tablespoon balls and place 3 inches apart on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Bake at 275 degrees for 10 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for another 7-9 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool for about 5 minutes on the pan, then careful transfer them to a cooling rack. Repeat baking process with the remaining dough. 

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate chips and coconut oil over low heat, or in the microwave. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the cookies with a fork. Chill the cookies in the fridge or freezer, until hardened.  
Recipe adopted from Fried Ice and Donut Holes
Photos by A Healthy Jalapeño

Click here for more of my SRC reveal posts!

March 17, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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 I hope you are all out celebrating and cheering to good food, better friends and memorable traditions. 

So, while I am out and about celebrating my Mc-heritage this weekend in Massachusetts, I wanted to share some of my favorite Irish recipes with you all that no St. Patrick's Day should go without.

Have a wonderful weekend!

My Irish Toast To You

"My friends are the best friends

Loyal, willing and able.
Now let’s get to drinking!
All glasses off the table!"

February 11, 2013

Mini Pancake Bites

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This past summer when I was looking around every corner of the internet for different wedding ideas, DIY decorations and unique food favors, I heard somewhere the idea of serving up late night snacks for guests. I had been to a few weddings where after the reception they had hot pretzels handed out, among other things, but this had one idea in particular that really intrigued me, pancakes.
Now, husby and I decided on traditional country popcorn to be served up for guests at the end out our wedding which was a big hit, but this idea of mini single-serving pancakes stuck in my head. I made a single set last winter when I was making my hot apple pancakes with the leftover batter, but now I really wanted to make a whole heeping pile of these mini dollars. 

So what better a time to break out the whisk and make pancakes then in the middle of the biggest snow storm to hit CT. 

If you are snowed in (and I do mean literally snowed in) with over 36in of snow, you mide as well make some delicious snacks and snuggle up with the pups by the fireplace, am I right?

Plus pancakes are so much fun to make, for little or big kids. Remember my fun with fluffy fun pancakes?

These mini stacks of single-serving pancakes drizzled with maple syrup we're a huge hit. They were enough to indulge a little with a breakfast favorite without slurping down a 5-cake stack. We made some eggs, a quick spinach breakfast smoothie and these mini pancakes for a balanced and delicious 'snow-day breakfast'.  

I know I found these with the mind-set of late-night wedding snacks but I think these would be excellent for holidays like Mother's Day or Easter, or even the perfect breakfast in bed for that special someone. Enjoy!
Mini Pancake Bites
Servings: 4

1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 cup milk (I use almond milk)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 egg
Pinch of salt
handful of mint leaves, rinsed
1/4 cup blueberries
and your favorite maple syrup

Preheat lightly greased skillet or griddle to medium heat. In large bowl, combine flour and sugar. Add milk, oil and egg and mix with wire whisk until well combined.

Drop tablespoons full of batter into a hot pan until golden brown on both sides. Turn when bubbles begin to appear on the top. 

Put stacks together with toothpicks and top with a mint leaf, single blueberry and drizzle with your favorite maple syrup.

Note: You can keep your pancakes in air tight container and store in fridge for about 4-5 days. To reheat pancakes, preheat your oven/ toaster oven for 5 minutes. Then place your pancakes in the oven/ toaster oven for another 5 minutes (with heat off).

*Makes about 8 - 10 mini pancakes
Recipe and photos by A Healthy Jalapeño 

December 25, 2012

From Our Family To Yours

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Husby and I find ourselves realizing how incredibly blessed we are. We will not get have a traditional first year of marriage or get to experience all the laughs and special moments together, but we have our family, our friends and our unconditional love for one other, and for that we are truly blessed. It’s my hope that everyone experiences these same feelings of merriment and joy, during this time of year.

This season is a time to open our hearts and find those special reasons to enjoy life’s little moments more fully.

Wherever you’ll be spending the season, I hope it’s Merry & Bright.

Cross your fingers our Connecticut Christmas is white!

See last years card HERE.

December 14, 2012

5 Ways to Stay Healthy Over the Holidays

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As the Christmas season approaches, people are getting much busier planning their holiday itineraries. Surrounded by such an electrifying hype, people easily forget to stay healthy over these festive weeks. From traveling to indulging in cholesterol-rich foods, the human body endures an awful lot of unhealthy or hard-to-deal-with things during Christmas holidays. For people who wish to step up their game and maintain optimal health over the holidays, below are 5 surefire ways to achieve their goals.

Get Involved

Rather than watching TV or eating all day, consider getting involved with the community. Volunteer here and there, and really stay on your feet and out of the kitchen. This way you're paying it forward, truly feeling the holiday spirit AND avoiding the excess calories that you'd consume just sitting around.

Food Fun

Even if you can't consume every confection on your Christmas table, help your family prepare for their feast. This way, you're not all by your lonesome. Furthermore, by involving yourself during the preparation, you can cite healthier alternatives for meal ingredients and suggest more nutritious dishes to make. Participate actively to bend decisions to the right curve. If your family members still insist on making decadent cake, suggest donating that dish to a local pantry in need of food for Christmas dinner.

Early Morning Jog

Early morning, between 4 to 6, is a great time to get in a quick workout. It isn't overcrowded with people or cars, despite being the holidays. Taking early morning jogs will help you stay fit, and you won't have to worry about leaving your loved ones behind while you sneak in some cardio. Though your calories burned will likely be replaced by your next meal, that's still ok. The key is to always stay dedicated to your long term wellness. A little indulgence here and there is perfectly acceptable, as long as your eye is always on the prize.

Holiday Parties

Christmas isn't complete if you can't celebrate it with family and friends, right? Though holiday parties are fun and exciting, it does leave you vulnerable to consuming too much food or drinking too much alcohol. A great way to keep your cravings and appetite under control is to eat a light meal prior going to the party. This way, you'll be satisfied with eating fruit platters or carrot sticks once you are actually at the party.


Most families and individuals spend their Christmas holidays out of town. During your stay at hotels or at your relative's house, make sure you keep an eye out for things that may compromise your health. For example, never drive under the influence, and be sure to keep an eye out for others who are less careful

In conclusion, staying healthy over the holidays is a great way to start the upcoming new year. However, you should aim to stay healthy and fit all the time, not just during holidays. A new year's resolution is only worth something if you stick with it!

Gregory Logan writes about health, nutrition and wellness. A nurse, he routinely writes for the Associates Degree in Nursing Guide.


December 12, 2012

Espresso Fudgy Walnut Pinwheel Cookies

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This year I had the pleasure of participating in the 2nd Annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. Food bloggers from around the world celebrate the holidays with all things sweet and scrumptious. Last year there was nearly 22,000 cookies sent around the world, how cool is that? 
I am involved with cookie swaps with friends and co-workers but this 'swap' is exciting because you are sending and receiving cookies from all around the world. The idea is that you are each given three secret senders to bake a dozen cookies for each and mail your goodies off by a certain date. At the same time, you would receive cookies from three different surprise bloggers and thus, the great food blogger cookie swap was created. 
This year was extra special and exciting because we were able to partner with Cookies for Kids’ Cancer so not only were we all able to make and share delicious cookies, but we're also supporting a great cause. Additionally, OXO® matched all our donations DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR!!! 

Baking for a cause is much more satisfying (and did I mention, it's calorie free too)!

The cookies I decided to make were a recipe I tried last year and they ended up being husby's favorite, followed of course by my nutella chocolate chip cookies. There were barely enough left to cover my decorative cookie platters for our holiday parties and swapping them was not even an option. With that kind of response I was sold that these would be a perfect choice for a cookie swap.
These easy, good looking cookies are one of my favorites for the holiday season because not only do they taste amazing but they really jazz up a holiday platter with it's beautiful swirls and little drops of walnuts. Plus, they have the convenience of making them ahead of time and once you are ready to cook simply take them out of the fridge, slice and bake. I know for me, anything that I can make ahead of time makes my life soooo much easier.

A decorative and delicious slice and bake cookie, what could be better than that?
The three lucky recipients of my swap were the beautiful...
Susan @ Mercer and Sage
Stephanie @ CopyKat Recipes
Jeanette @ SweetJeanette 

I hope you ladies all enjoyed each crumb just as I did (with all the added leftovers I made, yumm)!

Now that I have shared my favorite delicious cookie swap recipe with you all, I have three different batches of cookies that I received that are calling my name.

Happy swapping! 
Espresso Fudgy Walnut Pinwheel Cookies 
Prep: 25 min. + chilling
Yield: 30 Servings

1/3 cup canola oil
4 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder

1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1 tbsp vegetable shortening
1 cup finely chopped organic walnuts
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 tsp instant espresso
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolk and vanilla. Combine the flour, salt and baking powder; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.

Roll out dough into a 12-in. x 10-in. rectangle between two sheets of waxed paper; transfer to a baking sheet. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips and shortening. Stir in the walnuts, milk and vanilla. Remove waxed paper from dough; spread with filling. Tightly roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm.

Unwrap and cut into 1/4-in. slices. Place 2 in. apart on lightly greased baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks. Store in an airtight container. 
Recipe and photos by A Healthy Jalapeño 


November 20, 2012

Baked Oatmeal with Pumpkin and Bananas

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I don't know about you but I get carried away with pumpkin this time of the year. It's healthy, versatile and sets the warm, cozy tone that is fall.

We are lucky to live in Connecticut (despite times like Hurricane Sandy). Being in a state that gets all four seasons, we are fortunate enough to enjoy the snow cuddled up in winter, relax lakeside in the hot days of summer and smell the delicious warmth of a fresh pumpkin spice latte in the crisp of fall. There aren't many places like New England where you get to experience such extremes all year long... it's a beautiful thing.
With this year being so busy, getting married (in less than 4 months), having a huge year with work and now preparing for for deployments, it's easy to say that I haven't had the time that I would like to play around in the kitchen with all the delicious recipes I see in magazines arriving at my door monthly. What a tease.
Did I want to make amazing pumpkin recipes like I did last year, of course. So now here we are the week of Thanksgiving and I am finally getting my hands dirty. We are going to be spending Thanksgiving at my husby's grandparent's house and then again this weekend at my brother and sister-in-laws so since we aren't hosting I decided to make a few side dishes and a special breakfast bake to get us in the spirit of the holiday.

I have been looking for oatmeal breakfast recipes that you can make ahead of time and is easy to put together. This recipe embrases both concepts and falls perfectly in line with my warm and cozy fall mood.

There were a bunch of bananas that we had bought that were a little past their due date which meant they were perfect for a bread or a breakfast bake just like this. The smell of cinnamon and pumpkin filled the house so you know I jumped at the first bite immediately. Sooooo good.

It's make-ahead convenience brands this perfect for breakfast around the holidays with a large crowd or you can just make this for you and your hunny-bun to cozy-up on the weekends. Either way... it's a keeper.
Baked Oatmeal with Pumpkin and Bananas
Servings: 6 (Serving Size: 1/6th)

4 medium ripe bananas, (the riper the better) sliced into 1/2" pieces
1 (15 oz) can organic pumpkin
1 tbsp honey
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 cup uncooked quick oats
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
pinch of salt
1 cup original Almond milk (or any milk you desire)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375°. Lightly spray a 9 x 9" ceramic baking dish with cooking spray or coconut oil (my favorite); set aside.

Arrange the banana slices in a single layer on the bottom of the ceramic dish. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp of the cinnamon, honey and cover with foil. Bake 15 minutes, until the bananas get soft.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the oats, half of nuts, baking powder, remaining cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg and salt; stir together. In a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, brown sugar, milk, egg, and vanilla extract.

Remove the bananas from the oven, then pour the oat mixture over the bananas. Next, p
our the pumpkin mixture over the oats, making sure to distribute the mixture as evenly as possible. Sprinkle the remaining nuts over the the top.

Bake the oatmeal for about 30-35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the oatmeal has set. Serve warm from the oven.

Photos by A Healthy Jalapeño 
Recipe adopted by SkinnyTaste

Calories: 226 • Fat: 6 g • Carb: 41 g • Fiber: 4.6 g • Protein: 6 g • Sugar: 23 g
Sodium: 77 mg (without salt)

August 30, 2012

A Grownup Birthday Milkshake

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It's my birthday!!!!

Today marks my 29th birthday and it's the perfect beginning to a great year. In a little more than a month I am marrying the man of my dreams with all of our closest friends and family present, enjoying 2 mini-moon vacations across New England and embarking on the strongest journey of hope I will ever encounter.
I am not one to get depressed over getting older yet instead I embrace my wisdom as I age. I think birthdays are a time to celebrate the life you've lived thus far and the life you have in front of you that has yet to unfold. It's exciting.

Birthday's are exciting... and fun and silly. And who doesn't like silly?

I do!
It seems like such a short time ago that it was my 28th Birthday and Paul and I were bunkered down for what we thought would be the big storm of the year, Hurricane Irene, and I was celebrating the safety of all my loved ones, to our homes still standing and to me getting yet another year older! 

I guess you could say not much has changed except that there was no storm this year. I continue to be so blessed.
I don't have much planned for my birthday this year, the last year in my 20's, but I have to say I have so much coming up to look forward to that I am so excited about... more so because it's time spent with friends and family.

As I mentioned this past weekend we were unexpectedly invited to the JETS's Sunday night football game by his best man, his wife and our little ring bearer and we all had the time of our lives. Little tailgating, couple of beers and a whole lot of J.E.T.S. JETS JETS JETS chanting! This coming weekend we have Paul's family reunion, one of my good friends wedding and a couple of fun wedding errands of our own. 

It's a back-to-back exciting week for us.
So in keeping with last year's cocktail theme I really wanted dessert before dinner tonight and being that it's my birthday I thought I earned that right. We have lot's of opportunities for unhealthy foods coming up but thus far I have been very good in keeping with the "wedding diet" so in keeping with that mindset, I decided to have a healthy yet delicious sweet treat. 

I had some inspiration from a close SRC friend when she had her blog's birthday but I knew the exact birthday cake combination I wanted. I was a bartender back in college and one of the best shots to give out was the chocolate cake... a mixture of vanilla vodka and frangelica taken with a big bite of a sugared lemon slice. 

I am telling you it's the best.
Citrus and vanilla with hints of sweet liquored hazelnut and toped with all the sprinkles I wanted... ahh that's a birthday milkshake. Of course I shared my fabulous milkshake with my wide-eyed fiancé being that he is such a huge ice cream fanatic (I know, I am good like that), but this sweet sip totally put a smile on my face. 

So here's to 29

May you be healthier, happier and full of great surprises!!!
A Grownup Birthday Milkshake 
Serving: 1 milkshake

4 scoops of french vanilla frozen yogurt
1/2 cup original almond milk
2 oz Frangelica liquor
1 oz citrus vodka (I use Absolute)
1/4 cup whip cream
Sprinkles, lots and lots of sprinkles

Blend all of your ingredients together.
Pour milk shake into glass and top with whip cream and loads of sprinkles.

Recipe and photos by A Healthy Jalapeño 

May 08, 2012

Chilled Strawberry Soup

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Spring time and strawberries... that's my life these days.

This past weekend I spent in Newport for my girlfriend's bachelorette party and it was such an excellent time. We got dressed up for dinner, heard some wonderful bands at the local bars, went out on a sail boat with just our private party and a bottle of champagne, and had laugh after laugh of a good time.  
The weekend was winding down and I had finally made it back home to rest up {aka take a serious nap} for a while before I composed myself and started getting ready for the week.

Strawberries scream spring-time and in case you hadn't noticed, take a trip to your local grocery store or farmers market... they are busting at the seems with fresh strawberries. I also noticed that Strawberries are this flavor of the month on Foodbuzz so I wanted to join in the fun and make a nice refreshing spring soup.
These days with our grocery stores able to carry our favorite fruits and veggies all year long makes us sometimes forget that nothing beats fresh picked seasonal fruits. This year our weather here in New England has been a little thrown off with spring coming in winter and fall creeping into spring a little, so being that I am not an agriculturalist, I am not sure if this is effecting crops at all, but I still prefer food outside of the store any chance I get.
And Strawberries, you can never go wrong with strawberries. They are juicy, sweet and just enough bite and color to add to a sweet or savory dish... it's one of the perfect fruits.

Again, with the weather being a little off, Sunday was a beautiful day. I made Paul and I some strawberry soup, cool and refreshing, and then an hour later we were bundled up in sweatshirts to head off to the movies. New England, you never can tell.
This soup was sweet and peppery. The strawberries and wine (which has always been a match made in heaven), are marinated perfectly together with the yogurt and then topped with olive oil and cracked pepper. There's a nice peppery zing to alter the sweetness.

It was refreshing, cool, and the perfect afternoon treat on a warm spring afternoon. Lucky for me there are leftovers!!!
Chilled Strawberry Soup
Yield: about 4 cups
Total: 2 Hours, 10 Minutes

3 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1 cup plain greek yogurt
1/2 cup Chardonay (or sparkling white wine)
1/4 cup sugar
olive oil, freshly ground pepper and sliced fresh strawberries, for garnish 

Process fresh strawberries, Greek yogurt, Riesling, and sugar in a blender or food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. 

Cover and chill 2 hours. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, freshly ground pepper, and sliced fresh strawberries. 

Photos by A Healthy Jalapeño
Recipe adopted by Southern Living

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