Dinner Lately

As much as I love food and cooking, sometimes I don’t feel like putting in a lot of effort into dinner. Here’s a preview of what my minimal-effort dinners have looked like this past weekend:

On Friday I hung out with my good friend and college roommate, Kenna. Senior year we had “wine and cheese night” a few times a month, where we would go to Market of Choice to buy a small wedge of cheese, usually Brie or Camembert, a baguette, and a $6 bottle of wine. The evening would be spent browsing Pinterest, eating and drinking everything we bought, and most definitely not studying for classes.

In honor of our frequent college dinner, we had wine, cheese, and bread, and with the addition of salami, garlic- sauteed zucchini, and blueberry-walnut chutney to serve with the cheese. Because now that we’re adults,* we decided that including a vegetable and a protein source in our meal was probably the responsible thing to do.

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* Obviously I use the term “adults” very loosely, since as you can see we’re eating our dinner on the floor… But Kenna and her husband, David, are getting a dining room table this weekend, woohoo big kids!

Saturday night I was definitely feeling breakfast for dinner, so I went with my breakfast staple, pancakes. By the way, when you work on Saturday’s and Sunday’s, pancakes for dinner and going to bed before 10 is totally the thing to do on a Saturday night, just sayin’.

However, since these were dinner pancakes, and not breakfast pancakes, I could add a secret ingredient- ALCOHOL! And it’s finally fall, which means I can add my favorite fall ingredient- PUMPKIN!

That’s right folks, I made Pumpkin Porter Pancakes.

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Why yes, I do like to serve my pancakes in a giant pool of maple syrup.

 

These pancakes were made even easier, because I had a mix to use and made a single serving amount (yes, I realize it is a very large single serving, but I’m serious about my pancakes).

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of your favorite pancake mix (I like Bob’s Red Mill)

dash of pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1/2 cup porter (I like Deschutes Black Butte Porter)

1 egg

3 tablespoons canned pumpkin

 

Combine all the ingredients and then cook. I don’t feel like going into the details of cooking pancakes here, because I’m tired, remember?

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Fresh Tomato and Meat Sauce

All summer long I watched my tomato plants slowly grow taller and taller, finally taking over the raised garden bed in a massive tomato jungle. Last year, I made plenty of tomato soup to keep in the freezer all year. This year, I started out with dehydrating some for sun-dried tomatoes, but I was really waiting for the time where I could make a giant pot of tomato sauce.

And then the unthinkable happened. It started raining. And the overnight lows dipped down to 40 degrees. In a nutshell, the northwest decided to go straight from summer to winter, and my beautiful tomatoes I had been waiting to harvest split on the vine, or never even turned red.

Luckily, I had just enough previously picked ones to get me one small pot of sauce, which I guess will leave more space in my freezer for beef 🙂

Ingredients:

1.5 lbs tomatoes (I used Romas)

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 lb ground beef

olive oil

1/2 cup red wine (whatever you like to drink, I used a Malbec)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon each of dried basil, oregano, and thyme

salt and pepper

grated parmesan and fresh basil, for serving

Directions:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and next to it place a bowl of cold water.

Trim tomatoes to remove core, and cut an “x” into the bottom of each tomato. Place in the pot of boiling water for 45 seconds- 1 minute, then place in the bowl of cold water to easily remove the tomato skins.

Roughly chop the tomatoes, removing as much of the seeds as possible (but don’t bother making yourself too crazy over them).

Simmer the tomatoes in a medium stockpot until broken down and thickened, about 25 minutes. Add the tomato paste and simmer and additional 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the ground beef with a small drizzle of olive oil over medium heat until done. Drain excess fat from the pan, and then add the minced garlic and cook 1-2 minutes longer. Add the wine and simmer until the liquid is mostly evaporated, making sure to scrap up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

Add the spices, salt and pepper, and tomato sauce to the meat mixture, taste, and adjust for seasonings.

 

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Don’t forget to top with more cheese!

The logical base for meat sauce is pasta, but I served mine over cheesy polenta, and it was some serious comfort food, y’all.

Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins

A few weeks back I got a notification from WordPress congratulating me on making it to my one year anniversary of this blog. Welp, it’s been about a year and change now, and what do I have to show for it? 19 posts. Which works out to about 1 post every 19.7 days. Yikes.

Luckily, my friend Jessie is also a blogger who feels like she’s been slacking, so we’re holding ourselves accountable and decided that for the month of October we’re going to publish three posts a week. So ambitious!

Seeing as it’s October 1st, I’m starting the slew of new recipes off on the right foot, with breakfast of course!

 

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These muffins were slightly adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe in Barefoot Contessa Family Style and were the muffins they made at the Barefoot Contessa store, so you know they gotta be good!

Ingredients:

makes 24 muffins

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

3 eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup yogurt (or sour cream)

1/4 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups frozen blueberries, rinsed but not thawed

Optional topping:

In a small bowl combine a dash of cinnamon, 3 tablespoons rolled oats, and 1 tablespoon brown sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars. Add in eggs, one at a time, and mix until combined. Beat in vanilla, yogurt and milk.

In another bowl, combine remaining ingredients, except for the blueberries. On a low speed, add the flour mixture slowly into the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined. Fold in the blueberries.

Spoon batter in muffin tins that have either been greased or have liners in them (I NEVER have paper liners on hand, for some reason I just never remember to buy any…)

Top the muffins with a pinch of the oat topping, if desired- this is something I picked up from my college roommate, it’s not really necessary but I think it looks nice and adds a little texture to the top of the muffin, kind of like a streusel topping would. (By the way, my computer doesn’t think “streusel” is a real word. How sad.)

Bake the muffins for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

One recipe down, two more to go this week, let’s hope I can keep this up! 🙂

It happened.

I completed my first full marathon, all 26.2 miles of it.

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Rise and shine, it’s marathon morning!

 

It’s a weird feeling to have finished something you’ve worked so long towards. On one hand, I feel like I have so much free time now and should enjoy becoming a social human being again. On the other, I really can’t wait for my muscle soreness to fully go away so I can go on an easy run (darn DOMS…)

 

In the meantime, here is what I have been doing with myself the past few days:

1. Going to bed at 9:00 (see above: enjoy being a social creature)

2. Getting deep-tissue massages from an 8 year-old climbing all over me (seriously…. That might be a thing)

3. Eating massive amounts of meat (plus carbohydrates) immediately following the marathon

4. Continuing to eat massive amounts of carbohydrates 2 days after said marathon (mostly in the form of bread from Great Harvest Bakery)

 

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Post marathon dinner: Obsidian Stout (on nitro!), Elk burger (with bacon!), and chocolate cake (also with bacon!)

(And for the record, there was plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and water consumed as well… I did pay a lot of money to learn about nutrition, you know)

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Day after marathon meal: Apocalypse IPA, and a lamb burger, bacon-free 😦

And before you can ask, yes, I plan on doing it again.

 

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Sweet victory

 

My Favorite Post-Run Snack

YOU GUYS!

I have found the new best snack, meaning I’ll think it’s the best for about three months and then most likely get tired of it. That’s how I roll.

Anyways, I’ve been drinking the chocolate flavored Carnation Instant Breakfast packets for awhile now, but I never thought to try their idea of making it into a smoothie until today.

In a blender, I mixed 1 packet of milk chocolate flavored Carnation Instant Breakfast with 1 cup fat-free milk, added in a chopped up frozen banana, 1 heaping tablespoon of creamy peanut butter, and a small handful of ice cubes. 

Blended until smooth it was a cold and yummy drink that really hit the spot. I also think it would be good with almond butter or any kind of milk substitute (vanilla flavored almond milk…?) Plus, it has the protein and carbohydrates needed after a long workout, without the expensive price and weird after taste of making a smoothie with protein powder, a win-win!

I didn’t take a picture, because a glass of chocolate smoothie didn’t sound very exciting, so here’s a picture of where I went running today:

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28 days until 26.2!

Happy Friday!

Here’s a peak into what’s been going on in my kitchen the past few weeks:

This buttery beer bread is so addicting. I used one of my favorite beers, Deschutes Black Butte Porter, which I normally reserve for chocolate-y type desserts (and drinking in large quantities), but it was amazing in this bread. I also made them into muffins because I couldn’t wait 50-60 minutes for the bread to bake in a loaf pan…

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Blobs of beer bread dough sitting in their pools of melted butter!

Pat Neely’s beer can chicken is an almost-weekly staple in our house. I like to use a Mexican beer, like Tecate, because you end up pouring out 1/4 of the can of beer, and 1. I’m obviously going to drink it because wasting beer is sinful, and 2. mass-produced American beer tastes like poo (see above comments on buttery beer bread). And by the way, I like spicy food, but I definitely ease up on the recommended amount of cayenne pepper.

THIS PIZZA. I’ve tried most of The Pioneer Woman’s pizza recipes, but this is hands down my favorite.

I was obsessed with this grilled cheese sandwich for an extended period of time my senior year of college, and it’s starting to make a happy return back into my life. I like to use Irish cheddar instead of regular cheddar cheese, because I’m fancy like that.

I was so excited when I found this pancake recipe, I knew I wasn’t the only one who thought peanut butter and bacon belonged together! After finishing the Bald Peak Half Marathon last weekend, there was an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast so I threw together my own peanut butter bacon pancake:

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The taste of sweet victory

After running 13.1 miles up a mountain, this just-add-water pancake tasted like a gift from God. However, I’m excited to try the recipe from scratch, when I’m not on the verge of crawling into a ball due to exhaustion.

And finally, it just stopped raining two days ago, and now it’s supposed to be 90+ degrees for the next week… I guess it’s finally summer in the Pacific Northwest. This idea for overnight cold brewed coffee changed my life, and also saves me a lot of moolah!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Balsamic Glazed Meatloaf

I was going to go swimming tonight, I really was.

But then I realized I haven’t posted a recipe in three weeks, I already went on a run today, there’s a College World Series game on tonight, AND I have two jobs, which is pretty exhausting…

But mainly I didn’t end up going swimming tonight because my dad poured me a glass of wine and I sat on the couch and drank it. Triathlon shmiathlon.

balsamic glazed meatloaf

Really, it’s about time I shared this recipe- it’s ridiculously good. And yes, I’m talking about meatloaf here, not brownies. The vegetables in the meatloaf give it additional moisture and texture, and the balsamic vinegar is really what makes the meatloaf, if you know what I mean.

It also helps to use beef that is completely delicious all on it’s own. You know, all- natural, completely grass-fed cows that you helped to raise in the temperate climate of Banks, OR….

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Ha. Use whatever meat you want, ground turkey works really well with this recipe because of the additional vegetables.

Also, just kidding Ina!!!!!! I have 7 of your 8 cookbooks and I love you!!!!!!

Ingredients:

Recipe was adapted from here

olive oil

1 small onion, finely diced

1 red bell pepper, finely diced

4-5 crimini mushrooms, finely diced

5 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 lb ground beef

3/4 cup bread crumbs, or a mixture of bread crumbs and crushed crackers (buttery crackers like Ritz work best!)

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup ketchup

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

additional 1/4 cup ketchup + 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar for the glaze

Salt and pepper

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

In a large saute pan over medium- high heat, cook the onion, pepper, mushrooms, and red pepper flakes in olive oil until almost soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, except for the glaze, and gently mix. Add cooled vegetables to the meat mixture, remembering to just mix until everything is combined, and no more than that!

Press the mixture into a 9 x 5 loaf pan, brush with the remaining ketchup/ balsamic vinegar glaze, and bake for 1 hour.

Or, you can make adorable mini meatloaf’s, by using a mini loaf pan and baking the meatloaf for 20 minutes. Which is conveniently the time and temperature needed to roast Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes….

Your call though 🙂