Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Pecan Pie Bars

I know, this isn't a dinner or lunch recipe. Dessert is just as good though right? Actually it is way better, especially this dessert. It is one of Eric's favorites and I don't make it often but when I do, they are gone quick. So why don't I just share this delicious dish?  I originally got this recipe from here. I made a few changes though, including adding chocolate chips because, reasons.


Ingredients
    for the crust:
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened.
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • for the filling:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups pecans
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 9×13 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Make the crust: With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and brown sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in salt. Add Flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing until fully incorporated after each addition. Continue mixing until dough begins to come together in large clumps. 

Press dough evenly into baking pan (it should be about 1/4 inch thick). Pierce the dough all over with a fork. Chill until firm, about 20 minutes. Bake until golden brown, 18-20 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and cool completely. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F. 

Make the filling: Combine butter, brown sugar, honey, granulated sugar, and heavy cream in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until mixture coats the back of a spoon, about 1 minute. remove pan from heat; stir in salt, nuts and vanilla. Pour filling into the cooled crust. 

Bake until the filling bubbles, 15-20 minutes. Halfway through add chocolate chips to top.  Carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Gently lift the bar out of the pan by gripping the parchment paper. Transfer to a cutting board. Peel the sides of the parchment paper down and use a sharp knife to cut bars to desired size. Bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to one week.

Eat Drink & Be Mary

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I am an aunt

I am back. I know, I suck. I took like a week off of blogging but I swear I have an excuse. Ava Rose was born last Wednesday August 20th at around 7:00am. She has already made our family so happy, and we are so excited she is here. Mom and baby are happy and quite healthy.

Eric and I really like being an aunt and uncle.This post will be short because I am yet again going to see Ava for some baby snuggles. In the meantime, look at all these cute photos.

 
four generations in this photo.
We were pumped.



Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Here I am just posting another recipe like a pro. I am getting good at this cooking thing guys. Like I haven't even burned anything yet. Crazy. Plus, now Eric has something to look forward to other than seeing my face when he comes home at night. Basically I check Pinterest constantly for ideas on what to make for dinner and it hasn't let us down just yet. I got this recipe here.
 
This chicken cordon bleu was very easy to make, and I even prepared it earlier in the day so all I had to do was pop it in the oven for 35 minutes when I got the call that Eric was on his way home for the day. I love being able to prepare meals earlier in the day and then just bake them when Eric calls me on his way home, because I never know when he is gonna be home these days.

So lets get started. First I took one chicken breast and sliced it longways down the middle to make 2 thin pieces instead of 1 thin one. Then I used a giant glass measuring cups to beat the chicken so it was thinner. Obviously some people would use a kitchen mallet but I don't have one of those so you gotta do what you gotta do. I also prepared 3 bowls. One with flour, one with breadcrumbs, and one with 1 beaten egg.
 Next I rubbed the chicken with olive oil and sprinkled on some salt & pepper. Then I placed a piece of ham (I used just regular lunch meat ham) and cheese (I used pepperjack because it is what we had). 
 After placing the ham and cheese on the chicken I rolled them up and locked them into shape by using toothpicks. It took about 3 toothpicks to hold each piece of chicken. Then I dipped each roll in the egg mixture, then the flour mixture, then sprinkled breadcrumbs on them. Make sure to wipe of any excess between each step so it all doesn't just slide off later. 
 At this point I just put the uncooked chicken on a baking pan and placed them in the oven for about 35 minutes at 350 degrees. Make sure to use a meat thermometer though because you want to make sure the inside is cooked all the way. 


Enjoy them! They are delicious! 

Ingredients:
1 lb chicken cutlets (I had 5) 1/4 cup flour 1 egg, whisked 1 cup panko breadcrumbs 1/2 tsp garlic powder 1/2 tsp onion powder 1/2 tsp paprika 1/4 tsp dried thyme 1/4 tsp salt salt and pepper about 2 tbsp olive oil, for drizzling 1/3 lb thinly sliced black forest ham 1/3 lb thinly sliced Swiss or Gruyere cheese (or you can do grated cheese instea - See more at: http://www.yummykey.com/2014/05/chicken-cordon-bleu.html#sthash.GNaNIX8J.dpuf
1 lb chicken cutlets (I had 5) 1/4 cup flour 1 egg, whisked 1 cup panko breadcrumbs 1/2 tsp garlic powder 1/2 tsp onion powder 1/2 tsp paprika 1/4 tsp dried thyme 1/4 tsp salt salt and pepper about 2 tbsp olive oil, for drizzling 1/3 lb thinly sliced black forest ham 1/3 lb thinly sliced Swiss or Gruyere cheese (or you can do grated cheese instead) - See more at: http://www.yummykey.com/2014/05/chicken-cordon-bleu.html#sthash.GNaNIX8J.dpuf
  • chicken breasts 
  • 1/4 cup flour 
  • 1 egg, whisked 
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs 
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder 
  • 1/4 tsp salt salt and pepper 
  • about 2 tbsp olive oil, for drizzling 
  • 1/3 lb thinly sliced black forest ham (I used regular lunch meat)
  • 1/3 lb thinly sliced Swiss or Gruyere cheese  (I used pepperjack)
 Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Set a wire rack on top of a baking sheet.
  2. Set up your breading stations by placing the flour in the first bowl, the egg in the second, and the breadcrumbs the third.
  3. Lay out your chicken cutlets on a cutting board and gather up some toothpicks, about 2 or 3 per cutlet (or you can tie it up with kitchen twine if you prefer that). Season both sides of the chicken cutlets with salt and pepper, and drizzle on a little bit of olive oil. Place a single layer of both ham and cheese on each cutlet, and roll it up tightly. Secure with the toothpicks or tie it up with twine to keep it closed up.
  4. Dip the rolled chicken slices first in the flour, then in the egg, then in the breadcrumbs, shaking off the excess coating every step of the way (if you don't do this, your breading will want to fall off later). Place on the wire rack.
  5. Baking time will vary depending on how big your chicken cutlets are, but 30-35 minutes should be about right. I bake the chicken until it's about 152 degrees F inside (rises to about 155-157 during resting), to make sure it doesn't overcook. Let the chicken rest about 5-10 minutes out of the oven so the juices don't run out, and remove the toothpicks or kitchen twine before serving. Enjoy!

1 lb chicken cutlets (I had 5) 1/4 cup flour 1 egg, whisked 1 cup panko breadcrumbs 1/2 tsp garlic powder 1/2 tsp onion powder 1/2 tsp paprika 1/4 tsp dried thyme 1/4 tsp salt salt and pepper about 2 tbsp olive oil, for drizzling 1/3 lb thinly sliced black forest ham 1/3 lb thinly sliced Swiss or Gruyere cheese (or you can do grated cheese instea - See more at: http://www.yummykey.com/2014/05/chicken-cordon-bleu.html#sthash.GNaNIX8J.dpuf
1 lb chicken cutlets (I had 5) 1/4 cup flour 1 egg, whisked 1 cup panko breadcrumbs 1/2 tsp garlic powder 1/2 tsp onion powder 1/2 tsp paprika 1/4 tsp dried thyme 1/4 tsp salt salt and pepper about 2 tbsp olive oil, for drizzling 1/3 lb thinly sliced black forest ham 1/3 lb thinly sliced Swiss or Gruyere cheese (or you can do grated cheese instead) - See more at: http://www.yummykey.com/2014/05/chicken-cordon-bleu.html#sthash.GNaNIX8J.dpuf
1 lb chicken cutlets (I had 5) 1/4 cup flour 1 egg, whisked 1 cup panko breadcrumbs 1/2 tsp garlic powder 1/2 tsp onion powder 1/2 tsp paprika 1/4 tsp dried thyme 1/4 tsp salt salt and pepper about 2 tbsp olive oil, for drizzling 1/3 lb thinly sliced black forest ham 1/3 lb thinly sliced Swiss or Gruyere cheese (or you can do grated cheese instead) - See more at: http://www.yummykey.com/2014/05/chicken-cordon-bleu.html#sthash.GNaNIX8J.dpuf

Monday, August 18, 2014

{The Wedding} The Bridal Party & Family Part 1

We had so many photos taken before the ceremony that I couldn't help but share more. We didn't see each other before I walked down the aisle, so these photos were taken with our families and bridal party. I had a really good time hanging out with everyone before the wedding, but I have to admit that this was around the time I started to panic about the actual walk down the aisle.

As I have said before, I made it down the aisle and it was fantastic. 


Friday, August 15, 2014

My Favorite Beginner Yoga Poses

Hey y'all. As I said yesterday, the fighting in STL has been bumming me out. I am a fan of calm and non-violence (who isn't?). Lately I have been combating my sadness with some of my favorite yoga poses. I don't know how many of my readers enjoy doing stretches in the mornings, but I assure you that it makes it so much easier for me to wake up. For several weeks I was having back and neck pain and doing just a few daily stretches have totally helped.

Today I am going to share a few of my favorites that are so super easy for even someone who has never tried yoga before. For me, the most important part is adding some length to your body and just stretching out all of the tension and focusing on your breathing. Make sure you are in a quiet area with enough time to relax and calm yourself before starting.

1. Tree Pose

photo credit
  • Stretches your inner thighs, groin and shoulders.
  • Strengthens your thighs, calves, core, and foot muscles.
  • Strengthens your posture.
  • Calms and relaxes your mind and central nervous system.
  • Develops balance.
  • Increases your mind / body awareness.

2. Cow Pose 
photo credit
  • Stretches the front torso and neck
  • Provides a gentle massage to the spine and belly organs 
  • Helps with stress  

 3. Butterfly Pose
photo credit
  • Stretches the inner thighs, groins and knees
  • Stimulates the heart and improves circulation
  • Stimulates abdominal organs, ovaries, prostate gland and bladder
  • Massages your internal organs and improves digestive circulation.
  • Helps reduces menstrual symptoms and discomfort
  • Soothes sciatica pain

4. Knees to Chest Pose
photo credit
  • Strengthens arm, shoulder, and leg muscles
  • Develops core stability
  • Prepares body for inversions and arm balances

5. Spinal Twist Pose
photo credit



  • Encourages movement and mobility in your spine and vertebrae.
  • Massages, stretches, and tones your internal organs.
  • Improves your digestion.
  • Stretches your chest, shoulders, lower back, hips, middle spine and your upper back.
  • Alleviates pain or stiffness in your lower back, spine and hips.
These are some of my favorite beginner poses. I will be back another day to share some intermediate poses with you. Like I said, make sure you focus on your breathing and lengthen your body. It will make it so much easier to tackle the day after you have finished!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

My St. Louis

It has been hard for me to get out of bed this week. Not only because I have started doing yoga again, but because the world has been making me sad lately. For those of you who are not aware of the crapfest going on in St. Louis, MO this week, I want to give you a bit of information.

You can find information here, here, and here.

Most of all my heart hurts for St. Louis... my home. The place that I learned to ride a bike, catch lightening bugs in jars, and enjoyed Ted Drewes for the first time. It kills me that instead of doing these great things that I enjoyed so much as a kid, kids are now shoveling rubble in front of buildings that are still smoking from the night before. They are learning that the only way to act after violence is more violence. They hear their neighbors shouting "Fuck the police!" at the top of their lungs while they are being tucked into bed at night.

Frankly, I don't want to continue to get out of a bed in a world where we are teaching our children, our next generation, our future world leaders that violence should be met with violence.

This is how I see my Saint Louis. Always. 



Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Crock Pot General Tso's Chicken

I was concerned with how this recipe would turn out. I love General Tso's Chicken but taking something that is typically very bad for you, and adjusting the bad parts to make them semi healthy is usually a failure. I am happy to say that this was not a failure. In fact, Eric and I really enjoyed it! I got the recipe here.
It was simple enough to make and nothing was fried so that must mean it's healthy, right? Just agree with me to make me feel good. Anyway, first you are gonna start out by cutting up your chicken into two inch chunks.
After cutting up your chicken, you will dip in in a mixture of cornstarch, salt, and pepper. While you are doing this you can heat up a pan for grilling the chicken. 
After you grill up your chicken, you are gonna dump it in the crock pot with the sugar, soy sauce, pineapple juice, apple cider vinegar, garlic, cayenne pepper, and dried ginger.
 Just leave it to simmer on low for 4 hours and when it is done throw it on top of some jasmine rice. It is phenomenal! 
Ingredients:
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1” pieces)
  • 1 cup cornstarch, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • ½ cup unsweetened pineapple juice
  • ⅓ cup vinegar (white distilled or apple cider)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon dried ginger
  • Green onions, chopped, to top
  • Rice and broccoli, to serve
Directions:
  1. Combine ¾ cups cornstarch, the salt, and the pepper in a shallow dish. Dip the chicken pieces in the cornstarch mixture to coat, shake off excess, and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken pieces. It should take less than 2 minutes per side. Remove the chicken and set aside.
  3. In the slow cooker, combine the sugar, soy sauce, pineapple juice, vinegar, garlic, ginger, and cayenne. Stir to mix well.
  4. Add the chicken to the crock pot and cook on low for 4 hours. Check 20 minutes before serving and make sure your sauce is thick enough. If not, take the remaining ¼ cup of cornstarch and mix it with ¼ cup cold water until a slurry forms. Then, gently mix it into the chicken and sauce, being careful not to scrape the cornstarch coating off of the chicken. Cook for another 20 minutes, and then serve over broccoli and rice. Top with chopped green onion.

Eat Drink & Be Mary