Chocolate Gooey Marshmallow Cookies

Hey everyone. Hope you are all having a great weekend. Mine has been both relaxing and fun. Alex got tickets to the bulls game from work on Friday night. Last minute sporting event? I’m in! It was a great game and a bulls win! Love my Chicago sports.

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Saturday was spent being lazy around the house for the most part. I did go shopping with my sister and out for lunch. It was absolutely beautiful outside and we had wanted to get our first Black Dog Gelato of the year but they didn’t open until 2pm and it was only noon. Instead we went to a fabulous little boutique to look for bridal shower and rehearsal dinner dresses. This place is awesome and I left with two beautiful dresses. I cannot wait to wear them. Since we didn’t get our gelato, Amanda and I went next door to Frasca for a pizza and skillet cookie out on their patio. It is so nice to see the outdoor seating areas open. Everywhere was packed outside.

Today was spent cleaning up the house. I am in full out spring cleaning mode. Our front door/steps area was driving me insane. There were pine needles from our Christmas tree, sand from last summer, and leaves everywhere. Not to mention all the dirt, salt and everything else dragged in all winter long. This area is cut off from the rest of our apartment so it was easy to ignore by closing our inside front door but with the nice weather today I wanted to tackle this problem. I swept all the way down then hand scrubbed each of the steps to get off all the grossness. It is amazing how different it looks. I should have taken a before and after picture! Alex helped me clean up the inside of the house. There is nothing better than starting the week with a nice clean house.

To celebrate the nice weather and our hard work cleaning (aka I was looking for an excuse), I decided to make some cookies. I love anything chocolate and marshmallows are currently my obsession. I was perusing pinterest and found a recipe for rocky road cookies. It sounded good but I didn’t love the recipe so I made my own. I have these delicious cookies to share with you today. I could not wait to share this recipe with you. They are chocolately, gooey, soft, delicious. I could keep going but I won’t. Feel free to adapt to what you have. Add peanut butter chips instead of chocolate. Don’t have one of the nuts, use what you have! Don’t like nuts? Leave them out. Don’t leave out the marshmallows though. They make this cookie what it is. They melt down into almost a burnt caramel flavor and stay gooey at the same time. Just try it.

I started by creaming 2 sticks of butter, 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup of brown sugar in my stand mixer. Then the eggs were added one by one and the vanilla extract with the second egg.

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Then I whisked together 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour with 1 tsp each of baking powder and baking soda and 1/2 cup cocoa powder. This was gradually added to my butter mixture until combined. Note that this dough is very sticky and takes a bit of effort to combine well. Once the flour is all in, mix in 1 cup chocolate chips, 1 cup nuts (I used almonds and walnuts), and 1 1/4 cups mini marshmallows. I mixed this with my hands because it wouldn’t incorporate well with the mixer.

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Then I rolled the dough into about 2 Tbsp balls or about the size of a ping pong ball. Make them bigger or smaller as you would like. These do not spread out a lot in the oven so you can put them relatively close together.

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Bake for 13 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Let sit on the cookie sheets for 2-3 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

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Chocolate Gooey Marshmallow Cookies (Makes ~3 dozen cookies)

Ingredients:

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or sub all purpose flour)

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 sticks salted butter

1/2 cup granulate white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup chocolate chips

1 cup chopped nuts (i used almonds and walnuts)

1 1/4 cup mini marshmallows

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream room temperature butter and both sugars together

2. Add the eggs one at a time, incorporating well before adding the second. Add the vanilla extract

3. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and cocoa powder.

4. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter, mixing well to combine.

5. Once all the flour is combined, add in the chocolate chips, nuts, and marshmallows. Mix together.

6. Roll into 2 Tbsp balls (about the size of a ping pong ball)

7. Place on parchment paper lined cookie sheets and bake for 13-14 minutes

8. Remove from oven, let sit for 2-3 minutes before moving the cooling racks to cool completely.

9 Store in an airtight container. Or eat them all right away. Sharing with friends is optional

I hope you all enjoy these cookies as much and Alex and I did. We could not stop eating them fresh out of the oven. Some are getting sent with him to work tomorrow to get them out of the house. Let me know what you think when you make the cookies.

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Kale, Mushroom, Tomato Frittata

Not sure about you but I am ALWAYS looking for quick meals during the week. Most days I will get home, change into workout clothes, and head straight to the gym to meet Alex. We spend about an hour at the gym and both end up starving when we get home. Alex will usually grab a snack while I head straight into the kitchen to start dinner. I rarely let him cook. Call me crazy but the kitchen is my place. I don’t really even let him help prepare the food. Which I should probably work on doing… anyways, my goal on these nights is to have dinner ready as soon as possible. Frittatas are starting to make their way into our rotation quite often. Frittatas are a great way to use up those veggies that are about to go bad or overflowing from the fridge. This happens often with our tiny little fridge. Our landlord, back when we weren’t living here, bought a small “apartment” sized fridge. Now, yes, we live in an apartment. But it is a nice spacious apartment with more than enough room for a full size fridge. The tenets who lived here before us never cooked. Ever. Blows my mind considering I cook 5-6 nights a week. It is hard to fit a weeks worth of fruits and vegetables into our little fridge which means when the weekend gets close, I need to use up veggies to make room for next week’s meals or leftovers.

The other day I had half a bag kale, a container of mushrooms that were on their last leg, a random roma tomato and about a 1/3 container of cherry tomatoes hanging out in the kitchen. First thought was omelets but that’s too hard because I can never flip them or keep them from falling apart. Plain sauteed vegetables with some protein side didn’t really sound appetizing. Next logical step was frittata. They are quick, easy, and delicious. Plus they make great leftovers!20140407_184536

I sauteed up the veggie, added the eggs, a few seasoning and some cheese then let it cook up first on the stove top then under the broiler. The whole dinner took about 20 minutes from start to finish. It helped that the kale and mushrooms were pre-cut. Frittatas are versatile, use what you have on hand! I had some Parmesan and some scamorza cheese. The scamorza cheese is a wonderful melty Italian cheese that I bought for pizza. We have a ton of it leftover after making our one small pizza. It added a fun stringy, melty, gooey aspect to our frittata. Sooo good.

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Veggie Fritatta with Kale, Mushrooms, and Tomatoes (serves 6)

Ingredients:

  • 8 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used skim)
  • 3.5 cups Kale
  • 1 pint sliced mushrooms
  • about 1 cup tomatoes diced (I used 1/3 container of cherry tomatoes and 1 small roma tomato)
  • 1.5 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 ounce shredded parmesan
  • 1.5 oz scamorza cheese
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried minced onion
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Using a large oven safe skillet (I used my cast iron skillet), heat the canola oil over medium-high heat. Once heated, throw in the mushrooms and tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper, and minced onion

2. Beat the eggs with the milk, and garlic powder. Add in the cheeses

3. Once the mushrooms and tomatoes are cooked thoroughly, add in the kale and let wilt for 2-3 minutes. Stir frequently

4. Add in the egg and cheese mixture and distribute evenly

5. Cook for about 2-3 minutes on medium-high heat.

6. Turn on your broiler and pop the entire pan in the oven about about 6-7 minutes. Watch carefully and rotate your pan as needed to avoid burning. Mine took 6 minutes until the eggs were set.

7. Let sit for a couple minutes before cutting into the frittata. Serve with a side salad or fruit.

We also like ours with some ketchup and mayonnaise.  This comes from when we spent a semester in Spain and would have tortilla de patata. It was always served with mayo and ketchup. Alex’s senora would send him and his roommate Andy on trips with tortilla on french bread with mayo as a travel meal. Frittata leftovers are wonderful this way too. Give it a try. Absolutely delicious.

What are you favorite frittata ingredients? Do you have a go to weeknight meals that shows up regularly in your meal rotation?

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Spicy Chickpea Black BeanTacos

I’m making a big effort this year to make more meatless meals. Alex and I eat at least one meatless meal per week, usually on Monday. Now, when I cook dinner, I like to make enough for both of us to have leftovers for at least lunch the next day. Its a must to make life easier during the week. Back when Alex and I moved in together, he would always “complain” about our meatless Monday meals, especially at work. So much so, that his coworkers actually thought I was vegetarian. There is nothing wrong with being vegetarian but I like my animal meats. Over the summer, his coworker had a group of the boys and a few of us girlfriends over for a barbecue and was so confused as to why I chose a turkey burger that night. Now they poke fun at our meatless Monday meals. But that is okay with me. I love the experimenting I get to have in the kitchen to create healthy, fun, and vegetarian meals that Alex will, hopefully, like to eat.

These chickpea tacos were one of my favorite new meals so far this year.  They were easy to make, came together in no time. A perfect weeknight meal, especially after coming home from the gym starving! If you don’t love spicy foods then cut back on the cayenne pepper. These have quite the kick but it’s cooled off by delicious guacamole. If you haven’t tried the Trader joe’s reduced guilt guac I highly recommend it! It has a wonderful tangy taste and is indulgent without breaking the calorie/fat bank.

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Spicy Chickpea and Black Bean Tacos (serves 6, each serving is two hard shell tacos)

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 yellow onion, minced
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1.5 tsp paprika
  • 1.5 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 C water
  • Shredded cheese. I used a taco blend we had in the fridge
  • Package hard shell tacos
  • Reduced Guilt Guacamole (or homemade or other store bought. it is up to you)

Directions:

1.  Heat oil in a medium skillet pan

2. Add garlic and onion to pan, saute until translucent and soft. About 5-7 minutes

3. Add in chickpeas, black beans, spices and water. Stir well and let cook/simmer for 7-10 minutes. Add more water as needed to keep things moist

4. While everything is simmering together warm your taco shells in the oven per package directions

5. To assemble fill the shells about halfway with the black bean and chickpea mixture, then sprinkle on some cheese, and finally your guacamole. Serve with some salad or your favorite taco sides.

What is your favorite meatless meal?

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New Computer, Good Fun

For the past 5 months this little blog has been quiet, not because I forgot about it but because my computer died. It has been rough. Alex would let me borrow his but I didn’t have the freedom of my own computer to load pictures, edit them, and spend the time to write posts. But, my new computer is finally here! I got the Yoga Pro 2. This thing is fancy schmancy. It can fold back on itself to act as a tablet, stand in tent mode, or be a regular computer. It is the same computer as Alex has and I use tent mode in the kitchen all the time. It ah-mazing. It was nice testing out the computer before getting it. Hopefully Alex doesn’t mind too much that I have the same computer as him!

Here is a quick update of things that have happened!

Christmas/Holiday Season. Yay for crown’s in our poppers this year

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Mardi Gras in St Louis. So much fun! No pics because I was having too much fun taking pics with my friend Andy’s camera instead of my own

My first Chicago Blackhawks Game!

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Went shopping with my favorite girls for bridesmaid dresses!

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Played in downtown Chicago with one of my besties, congrats to her on her first big girl job!

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Went cake tasting for the wedding! Yumm cake

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Also, lots of good food made by me and eaten out. Many hours spent in the gym. I have a 10 miler planned at the end of May with my Dad. It will be his first big race. I’m pretty pumped for him. It’s been too cold to run outside, still in the low 40s, so there have been many miles clocked on the treadmill. I’ve been loving my Nia classes. For those who don’t know what that is-it is a sensory based movement/dance class that uses moves from latin dances, lyrical dance, tai chi, and more. It is great to dance it out once a week. Love it! I’ve been trying to squeeze in more weights and yoga to tone up but I tend to slack in these areas.

That is a lot of random in one go. I have a few recipes I want to share here on burgers n berries. Hopefully those will be coming shortly after this!
What has been new with you since I was last in the blog world?

 

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Beer Braised Chicken and Pumpkin Muffins

Yeah looking at that title I might run the other way. They don’t sound like they would go well together but that’s okay because they weren’t for the same meal time!

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Yesterday my co-worker Kelly and I are were charge of snack for our monthly staff meeting. I have been dying to break into a can of pumpkin and offered to make some pumpkin walnut muffins. Kelly put together some caramel dipped apple slices. Obviously we went for a bit of a fall theme here. The muffins were a huge hit and my co-workers couldn’t believe I had just “thrown them together” without a real recipe. Lucky for you guys I wrote down the recipe as I went.

For dinner, I threw together an extremely easy make it and leave it dish. Beer braised chicken thighs. Aldi had chicken thighs on sale and I picked some up because I was there for there all things pumpkin sale. This was another sort of tag-team dinner as I went to yoga with my sister. I prepped everything and cooked it all so all Alex had to do when he got home from his run was turn off the stove and he could eat whenever he wished. He was a great fiance and waited until I got home from yoga so that we could eat together. Pretty cute of him.

To make the muffins I mixed two types of sugar (granulated and brown sugar) with whole wheat pastry flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, and pumpkin pie spices in my KitchenAid mixer.

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In a small bowl I mixed 1 can pumpkin puree (15 oz), eggs, greek yogurt and vanilla extract

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Then the wet got mixed into the dry and mixed together. Once just combined I added in the walnuts and mixed it together before spooning the mix into the muffin tins. The muffins got baked at 350 for about 30 minutes.

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Pumpkin Walnut Muffins (Makes 26+ muffin depending on how high you fill the tins)

3 C whole wheat pastry flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 C granulated sugar

1/2 C packed brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp all apice

dash cloves

1 can pumpkin puree

4 eggs

1 C greek yogurt

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Mix first 9 ingredients together until well combined

2. Mix last 4 ingredients together and combine well

3. Mix the wet into the dry until just combined then add in the walnuts. Stir a couple of times to distribute the walnuts

4. Spoon into muffin tins until about 2/3 full.

5. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 28-30 minutes

Nutrition Facts per Muffin: 160 calories, 28 gm carbs, 3 gms fiber, 16 gm sugar, 4 gm protein, 4 gm fat (heart healthy ones!), 4% DV calcium, 6% DV Iron

Expect more pumpkin recipes over the next few months. I have two more cans in my cabinet right now and I would love to get even more! Love me some pumpkin. Also, apologies in advance as Alex and I are sharing a computer right now (his broke) which means less time for me to blog. Hopefully he will have a computer again soon.

What is your favorite way to use pumpkin? Any recipes you want to see this fall?

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Italian Quinoa Stuffed Portabellas

Hi every body. Hope everyone had a great weekend. I had two of my best friends come in to visit this weekend. We hadn’t seen each other since June for Sarah’s wedding and it had been entirely too long. Thanks to both of them for making the drive! I  know it can be a slow, long drive. We spent the weekend eating deliciously salty, not the healthiest food and I personally enjoyed every minute of it. Except now my stomach may hate me. This week my goal is more veggies and less salt which is quite the opposite of this past weekend. Just want to point out all three of us are dietitians. See it is OK to have a splurge every so often. Even we do it! Below is the breakfast Amanda and I split on Sunday. It was a steak and eggs benedict with Parmesan hollandaise. Absolute heaven! Good thing we split it because I was stuffed after only half.

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Since Alex and I moved in together I have implemented a meatless monday dinner rule in our house. It is just a simple way to get more veggies and explore with alternative protein foods. Tonight’s dinner highlighted quinoa, pronounced keen-wah. Though I love the football commercial where they pronounce it Key-no. I die everytime I watch that commercial. ugh kills me. Quinoa is a wonderful grain. It is gluten free, packed with vitamins and minerals, considered an anti-inflammatory food and a complete protein. It is a great alternative to rice or wheat products such as cous cous. I used quinoa to make an Italian stuffing for some mushroom caps. This would be great to scale down to an appetizer size by stuffing it into small button mushroom caps instead of large portabella caps. Just a thought!

I started by putting 1 cup water, 1/2 cup quinoa, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, a pinch of red pepper flakes and a pinch of salt into a pot and cooking according the the quinoa’s package directions.

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Once it was cooked I mixed in chopped up sun dried tomatoes, basil, olive oil, a little more salt and gave it a mix before adding in some goat cheese. After stirring in the goat cheese well I spooned the mixture into the portabella caps. At this point I covered it with plastic wrap and shoved it in the fridge. I prepped it early while Alex was running because tonight was my first night back at Zumba. Late last week Alex and I joined our local YMCA with my sister and tonight I gave a class a go. I had high expectations as, if you remember, I loved my zumba instructor at my home gym. Unfortunately this class did not live up to my expectations. My search for a new zumba class continues.

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Around 7-715 I had Alex preheat the oven and then throw the mushrooms in for about 15-20 minutes to cook. First tag teamed dinner was a success other than him leaving them in a little long.  A couple of the sun-dried tomatoes got a little burnt but we could pull them off and it was perfect.

We served our mushroom caps with a simple side salad. I am loving on Ranch dressing right now. Cannot get enough. Yum!20131007_194100

According to Alex, this meal was good. Not his favorite Meatless Monday meal but I enjoyed it immensely. I could have eaten another one but wanted to save room for some pumpkin ice cream which I am savoring slowly as I write. MMMM to all things pumpkin.

Italian Quinoa Stuffed Portbelaas (serves 4-5)

5 portabello caps (I grabbed two packages at TJs)

1/2 C dry quinoa

1 C water

1/2 tsp garlic powder

pinch red pepper flakes and salt

1/2 C chopped sun dried tomatoes

2 Tbsp thinly sliced basil leaves

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2-3 ounces goat cheese (crumbles would work better than a log like I used)

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Combine water, quinoa, garlic powder, red pepper flakes and salt in a small pot. Cook according to quinoa package directions

2. Once quinoa is cooked, add in sun dried tomatoes, olive oil and basil. Stir well to combine.

3. Add in goat cheese and mix well.

4. Spoon mixture into the mushroom caps

5. Bake 15-20 minutes until the quinoa mixture is heated through and portabellas are warm and soft.

What is your favorite way to stuff mushrooms?

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The Big Build 2013

Happy football Sunday every day. Hope your team(s) did better than mine. I’m hoping the Bears will have a good season but we may need to just consider this year a building year with the new coach. Its rough to watch your team stink it up for three and a half quarters before finding their groove. Just cannot make up for a whole games worth of mistakes in about 4 minutes. I’ll leave it at that.

Yesterday Alex and I had the privilege of helping out at a service event at my hometown church. We attended this event last year and I could not wait to do it again. It is called the Big Build. Over the course of 3 hours, the 10+ teams built a total of 91 walls for a duplex. The house is going to two families in Indiana who are in need of a home.

We started the morning with breakfast and a short prayers service followed by instructions on building headers and lining up wood on walls. Once we were given a pep talk each team headed out to their station and grabbed the wood to the first walls they would be building.

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Our team consisted of Alex, my parents, little brother, two men from our church and myself. Last year, I was little to any help because it was so cold and the nails would not go into the wood. With the warmer weather this year, I was able to hammer more! Made me feel more worthwhile this year. One of the rules of the build was no power tools. The leaders wanted us to build it with our own strength and hands. It made it more rewarding that using power tools. Last year I was in charge of writing the bible verses or words of hope or strength on the walls. Here are some views of the teams in progress.

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Once all of the walls were built the teams began standing up half of the duplex. Each home had 2 bedrooms, a kitchen, dining room, living room and bathroom along with adequate closets/storage areas. The other half got loaded up in the truck.

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Once everything was either loaded or standing we were able to tour the inside and see our work. We had some kids working to add the bible verses or words of love to the walls this year. My mom and I wrote on most of our own walls but the kid’s walls were my favorites.

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Can we say too cute for words? My favorite is the bless this tree one! It was a great way to show the love put into these houses. The new owners will likely not see these words added within their walls but will hopefully feel the love, prayers, and fellowship put into the building of their home.  This is one of my favorite community mission events we hold each year. Being able to see the fruits of your labor standing there in the parking lot of your church is amazing.

The house was left standing throughout church today so that the entire congregation could tour and see what their fellow members had built with their own hands. I’m already looking forward to hopefully doing this event next year! I say hopefully because it will likely be the weekend before our wedding and who knows what kind of errands/meetings we will be doing at this time.

What is your favorite mission trip/event that you have been able to experience?

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