Saturday Small Talk

I’m running a 10k this morning! Super excited. I had a great practice run at the distance last weekend, and plan to make this morning just as awesome. I’ll keep you posted!

Speaking of running and being healthy, I’ve bookmarked some good eats that I can’t wait to try: ice cream sandwiches, chocolate chip espresso cookies, Pioneer Woman’s meatloaf, and homemade graham crackers.

Friends are coming over after church on Sunday. This calls for sloppy joes. We’re not messing around here. I’ll probably make a double batch.

Have some warm weather this weekend? Plant some veggies in some containers! Check out sproutrobot.com for planning tips. I’ve heard that it isn’t so accurate for northern climates (MI, MN, WI, etc). But here in Indiana, it seems to be about right. At the very least, it will help you get started!

This recipe from Iowa Girl Eats looks super tasty and light and fresh and summery. Sweet corn and quinoa+honey and lemon! Oh my.

Happy Saturday!

Roadtrip eatin’

I road trip. Kind of a lot. Between trips to Iowa and trips to Michigan and other random trips, I spend a good bit of time in the car. And I love it!

Here are some things to keep in mind if you don’t to sacrifice your calories, waistline, and health before reaching your destination.

1. Always be prepared (like a boy scout)

Pack snacks! Bring healthy and tasty things like pieces of fruit, carrots, celery, granola, bars, pretzels or crackers. Avoid foods that are high in sugar, as they will cause your blood sugar to spike. If it spikes drastically, it will crash just as drastically. Don’t drive tired! Also, if you’re prepared with food in the car, you won’t be as apt to impulse purchase junk food at a gas station. Good for your body and your wallet!

2. Stop at a grocery store (when you need lunch)

Don’t feel like packing a whole meal? Don’t have a lot of time to stop? Hit up a grocery store! The deli will often have wrapped sandwiches and salads. Perks of a grocery store: healthier ingredients, cheaper price, you get to stretch your legs!

3. There are healthy alternatives (if fast food is a must)

Stop at Subway or Jimmy Johns instead of McDonald’s. Order a salad instead of a whopper. Try a bowl of chili instead of those fries-it’s gluten free and chock full of protein!

4. Bring your own beverage (they’re expensive)

Take a water bottle with you. Bring some packets of Gatorade or crystal lite. Bring a tea bag or some instant coffee (Starbucks via is great!) and a travel mug. Gas stations will often let you fill up a water bottle or thermos with cold or hot water (especially if you just filled up on gas there.)

I wanna know: Do you have any helpful tips to add for eating on the road?

Bagels of the homemade sort

I can hear you now. You with your excuses. “I can’t make bread.” “It never works for me.” “It’s such a pain.” “It’s not worth it.”

Well, forget that. Right now. Even if you don’t consider yourself of the bread making sort, you can make these bagels. So easy! Combine ingredients. Rise. Roll. Boil. Bake. Done! Slather some cream cheese or some butter or some jam, and you’re in business.

Bagels

Adapted slightly from Sweets by Francesca

Makes 8 large bagels (4 cinnamon, 4 garlic)

You’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 cup warm water (about 110 degrees. warm to the touch, but not scalding)
  • 4 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 3 Tbs sugar
  • 3-3 1/2 cups bread flour (divided)
  • 1 Tbs salt
  • 2 Tbs baking soda
  • 1 Tbs each of cinnamon and garlic
  • 1 egg, beaten

1. Combine the water, sugar, and yeast in a small bowl and leave it for 5 minutes or so.

2. Combine 2 cups of flour and salt in a bowl. Add the frothy yeast mixture, and mix. Continue to add flour until the dough forms a ball.

3. Begin to knead, adding in more flour as you do. Depending on your humidity level, you will need more or less flour. Aim to incorporate between 3 and 3 1/2 cups. Knead for 7 minutes, or so.

4. Once the dough is a smooth ball (not sticky, but not a rock, either), cover it in a greased bowl and allow it to rise for 45 minutes. Once it has risen, punch it down, and divide the dough in half. In one half, knead in 1 tsp. cinnamon.

5. Bring a large stock pot of water to a boil. Once it boils, add 2 Tbs. baking soda.

6. Divide each half into 4 chunks. Roll each chunk into a ball, and then use your thumb to form a hole in the middle. The end result: a bagel shaped hunk of dough.

7. Drop the 4 plain bagels into the boiling water for 2 minutes. Remove, and set them on a cooling rack. Do the same with the 4 cinnamon bagels.

8. Transfer the boiled bagels to a cookie sheet, and brush the tops with the egg. On the four plain bagels, feel free to sprinkle with herbs. I used garlic….so good!

9. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, until golden brown on top.

10. Serve with your favorite bagel toppings and fillings.

Some fair and ahead warning: these bagels won’t taste exactly like a store bought bagel. They are much softer on the inside and more bread-like, with a crispy crust. Fine by me!

They taste great warm out of the oven, but will keep well in a sealed container.

Cookie Dough Dip

This is on my list of things to try, so I did! It’s not exactly like cookie dough, but it’s pretty downright tasty. Bonus points: it’s high in protein and very easily adapted to be gluten free (just make sure you have GF oats)!

You can find the recipe here or on Darcy’s blog, so I’ll spare you. Essentially, you dump all of the ingredients except the chocolate chips into a food processor or blender, and blend/process it up! Once it’s mixed thoroughly, add the chocolate chips, and you’re done. Some tips:

  • If the dip is too runny, add more oats. If the dip isn’t thick enough, add more milk (I only used 1 Tbs, and could probably have left that out)
  • If you don’t have brown sugar, I recommend 2/3 cup white sugar+1 or 2 Tbs. molasses.
  • It tastes better after it’s had some fridge time. So let it chill for an hour or so, then serve it. It also becomes a bit thicker-more like cookie dough.

Let’s talk about dipping. My dip of choice? Animal crackers.

They’re just so fun!

If animal crackers aren’t your thing, try graham crackers, shortbread cookies or vanilla wafers. If you’re adventurous, try making your own version of whatever cookie/cracker combination sounds tasty to you. Your last option (and maybe the best one) is to just dig in! Grab a spoon. And eat.

Happy snacking!

 

Saturday Small Talk

Good morning, dear friends!

It’s Saturday. I’ve got a run under my belt, and I’m off to South Bend for Unity Gardens: Growing Summit. I’m going to attend a couple of sessions: one on soil and one on container gardening. It should be a great time!

Have you ever made your own ice cream? When I worked at summer camp, it was a weekly thing. Favorite camp activity. Ever. No ice cream maker required!

What about homemade vanilla pudding mix? I’m going to give it a shot! I have an Amish friendship bread starter (anyone know what I’m talking about?) that requires vanilla pudding. Not having to buy a couple of boxes every time I want to make bread would be great.

I found these oatmeal sandwich cookies over at Joy the Baker. Oh my. Oatmeal+peanut butter. This is health food, people. Eat breakfast. Fuel your day. With these cookies.

If you’re hankering for some real food (what? the oatmeal cookies don’t cut it for you?), check out this recipe for skinny chicken and broccoli alfredo. It looks tasty!

News! Bob Goff’s book Love Does is released this week. It might be one that I have to add to my shelves.

Want some ideas for your weekend? Check out Ann Voskamp’s post from last Saturday. She’ll post one today too!

Happy weekend, all!

Baked Chicken Fingers

Don’t mind me while I pat myself on my back. These little guys turned out pretty tasty! They’re not exactly the same as their processed second cousins you would get at a fast food joint, or even in the frozen section of the grocery store. But that’s a good thing! This is real food here, folks. Legit. And stuff.

Chicken Fingers

based on a recipe by fANNEtastic food

You’ll need:

  • 1/2 lb. of chicken tenders
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbs. mustard
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs (for a gluten free version, check out the original recipe!)
  • dash of salt, pepper, turmeric, cumin, and rosemary.

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Take a meat tenderizer to your chicken tenders. You don’t need to completely pulverize the poor chicken guys, just tenderize them a bit. Cut each strip into thirds.

2. Beat your egg and mix in the mustard. Use whatever kind of mustard you like, in whatever quantity, based on how much you like the taste of mustard.

3. Mix the panko and spices together in another bowl.

4. Set up your assembly line! Dredge the chicken pieces in the egg and mustard, and then in the panko, attempting to coat evenly. Lay them on a greased cookie sheet.

5. Slide them in the oven for 15 to 18 minutes.

6. Enjoy with a side of green, and ketchup or mayo for dipping!

Happy Friday!