Treat Yourself Tuesday

Well it is time for another round of Treat Yourself Tuesday! Thanks to Becky over at Olives ‘n Wine for the link up!

TreatyoselfIt has been awhile since I have done one of these, but with the traveling I did last month I sure did a lot of treating myself!

This included sunbathing in Phoenix,

hotdog(BTW have you seen the blog Hot-Dog Legs? No? It’s hilarious)

having lots of girl time in Whistler,

photo 4(4)and over indulging in the Christmas baking that I did on the weekend.

I love the concept of this weekly link up because especially around the holidays, it is easy to get swept up in spending money, getting stressed out, and letting the weather get you down. It is important for your sanity, and for the people that are around you too, that you take some much-deserved “me time” and do something that you enjoy. Whether it be getting a hot drink and browsing a book store, having a bubble bath, spending more time at the gym, or even something as low-key as watching a cheesy rom-com. Do whatever makes you happy, because in the end the only one that will suffer if you don’t take care of yourself is you.

Have an awesome Tuesday!

Tell me: how have you treated yourself lately?

xo T

 

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A Sunday of Baking

As previously warned, I did not have too much planned for this weekend other than Brian’s Christmas party and doing some baking on Sunday. The Christmas party was okay. It is always nice to have an excuse to see Brian get all dressed up (he looks really good in his new dress clothes), and a free meal is always a winner in my books. 

Saturday was filled with errands and very very cold weather. One day last week, we were colder than the North Pole. HOW IS THAT FAIR?! Saturday was one of those days where you walked outside and you could feel your nose hairs freezing. Disgusting but seriously true.

Sunday however was awesome. Jo and I conquered (yes conquered) six recipes in about three hours. Boom. I had never made any of the recipes before either so we both thought this was pretty impressive. And because we powered through all the recipes so fast, I only managed to get one photo from our whole baking day experience. 

TurtlesPathetic I know. And I call myself a blogger. 

But this photo was during the making of my favourite recipe of the day so that counts for something I think right? Yes I ended up making the Pretzel Turtles from The Pioneer Woman. This recipe is gold I tell ya, and super easy to make just a bit time consuming. I would highly recommend it, especially if you have a turtle-loving partner like I do. 

We also made homemade bits ‘n’ bites from a recipe that Jo’s mom uses all the time and is super easy as well. It is just two packets of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix with 1.25 cups of oil mixed with whatever snacks you like. We used goldfish, pretzels, shreddies, cheerios, and mixed nuts. Since we made a batch for each of us, the ratios vary because Jo doesn’t really like cereal and I do so she added more goldfish and I added more cheerios and shreddies. After mixing everything thoroughly in a roasting pan, pop it in the oven for an hour at 325 degrees, stirring every 10 minutes. 

These chocolate crackle cookies were probably the hardest recipe that we did and I am not entirely sure they were worth all the time it took to make them. They involved a lot of refrigeration time and a lot of mess with the use of icing sugar. By the time these cookies were done, I had icing sugar EVERYWHERE in my kitchen and so far the reviews on them have been “meh”. The do look pretty cool though so that is a plus. 

choco cookies - 2(source)

We also took a stab at shortbread cookies. They took a lot of time as well and they were just okay. Neither Jo or I had ever made them before so were kind of blind when it came to desired dough consistency and things like that so they tasted like shortbread in the end, but it seemed like we were missing something when were trying to roll the dough out and make shapes. Jo used to work at a store that made their own treats so she showed me how to make caramel popcorn balls. First she made her caramel out of corn syrup and brown sugar (I think that is all she put in there, I was too busy getting icing sugar everywhere to notice the measurements) in a pot over medium-high heat. I had made a big batch of popcorn on the stove so that was already waiting for her too. She then combined the caramel with the popcorn, shaped them into softball-sized balls and put them on parchment paper to cool off.

WARNING: the caramel is VERY HOT and will stick to your hands and burn when you are trying to shape them. I helped with the first batch and maybe made about three before I chickened out. Another trick that she used to help with the stickyness/skin-burning  is to lube your hands up with butter. For real it helps even though tons of hilarious innuendos will ensue during this process. The laughter will help you forget that you are losing the first layer of skin on your hands too so that is an added bonus. 

Last but not least, the easiest recipe of all, almond bark. All we (Jo) did was melt chocolate in a double boiler (we used a metal bowl over a pot of simmering water for all of our chocolate melting) then pour the melted chocolate over almonds that are laying on parchment paper. We (Jo) also sprinkled coconut on top for a garnish and some more flavour. We also decided to make use of the North Pole weather outside and put the almond bark in the BBQ to cool down and save us some space in the kitchen. Ingenious right? We thought so.

grease

 

So how was your weekend? Did you do any holiday baking? 

xo T

Back In The Groove

Well now that I am caught up on both recaps from my trips I am slightly embarrassed by how little I have to blog about. I really am not exciting as you all think I am but I try 🙂 This week I think it being dark when I leave work is really messing with me as I have been going to bed at like 8 or 9 each night and actually being super tired when I get to bed. Wild woman I know right?

knopedancing

 

This weekend sounds like it will be pretty low-key with one of the highlights being Brian’s work Christmas party is tonight (free dinner FTW!) and it is at a place that I haven’t been to in a really long time so I am looking forward to it.

My friend Jo and I decided that we wanted to channel our inner Martha Stewart this weekend and do some holiday baking this weekend as well. So far I am dead set on making this amazing deliciousness via The Pioneer Woman:

Capture (source)

Don’t they look awesome? And they sound super easy so that is a bonus in my books. I am at a loss for what else I want to make though. Brian always tells me to bake more but he never helps me eat it so I think the best things to look into making would be things that freeze well and nothing fudge. I hate fudge. It makes my teeth ache and tastes like I am chewing on straight sugar *shudder*. I was thinking maybe shortbread cookies of some sort or something? Any suggestions would be appreciated as I have been looking for recipes but I keep getting distracted by shiny objects on the internet.

Uhhh did anyone else know that shortbread is only made out of 3 ingredients? Butter, brown sugar, and flour. I think I could make these easily but I don’t know if I could eat them knowing what little nutrients they are made out of. Just reading the directions makes my ass feel bigger already :/

So tell me:

1. What do you like to bake during the holidays? Got any good recipes you can throw my way? 

2. Do you have any weekend plans that make mine sound super lame? 

Have a great weekend!

xo T

Mega Zucchini & Bean Brownies

I can honestly say that this weekend was the most baking I have ever done at one time in my entire life. It all started innocently enough with these giant zucchini Brian’s boss gave us

Zucch1

*please ignore my post yoga hair! I did a few wheel poses and you can definitely tell!

We actually got 3 zucchinis from his boss (brown banana added in for size reference :P)

Zucch2

Massive right!?

So on the weekend I made it my mission to bake away our surplus of zucchini. I started off by making four loaves of zucchini bread. That’s right, FOUR! I used this recipe minus the walnuts and it turned out really good! The only thing is that not having baked with real flour or granulated sugar in so long, I am having a hard time eating it and my stomach can definitely tell that I am not used to eating most of these ingredients. I pawned off one of the loaves on my parents and Brian and I are dropping off a loaf to his boss along with some zucchini brownies!

I made 3 batches of brownies this weekend. This recipe:

1 cup almond butter

1 1/2 cup zucchini (I put it in the food processor until finely chopped and then strained the water out by squeezing it in between paper towels)

1/3 cup honey

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 cup chocolate chips

Put batter in a greased 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish (I don’t have either of these sizes so I used my 9×13 for both recipes and they turned out fine) for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees until a toothpick comes out clean.

Zucch3

I also tried this recipe just because it made me really curious:

1 15 oz can Black Beans

3 eggs

2 tbsp coconut oil

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (I used regular sized)

1 cup zucchini, grated & pat dry

In a blender, combine everything except chocolate chips and zucchini until smooth. Fold in zucchini and chocolate chips. Put batter in a greased 8×8 pan (again I used 9×13 #rebel) for 30-35 minutes in a 350 degree oven until toothpick comes out clean.

Zucch4

I really lucked out because Brian had some friends over for fantasy football draft picks so I got to use them as my guinea pigs for these recipes. I was especially curious to hear Brian’s reaction to the second batch of brownies because he doesn’t overly like black beans and he really doesn’t like coconut or coconut oil. But lo and behold, his favourite brownie recipe was the one that contained both of those ingredients! The overall consensus was that the bean brownies, although had weird ingredients, tasted the best. The other brownies had a bit too much spice and tasted more like “an afternoon tea square” as one of Brian’s friends told me (don’t ask me how he knows what those taste like), whereas the bean brownies were super chocolatey and gooey but fell apart really easily. I made another batch of the winners for Brian to take to work today. His coworkers probably think I am some weird mad scientist in the kitchen but they have all never been on Pinterest (where I got the recipes from ;))

So in total I made 3 batches of brownies and 4 loaves of bread. Guess how many zucchini that used up.

One.

I still have two giant zucchinis left! Anyone want to help me out with some recipes?! PLEASE?

How was your Labour Day weekend?

What is your favourite way to eat zucchini?