Four Bean Salad with Dill Vinaigrette

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Hello all ūüôā

I was on a mini hiatus which I feel awful about but it has been a crazy, crazy few weeks. ¬†And it’s only getting crazier from here on out.

First off, I have finals all this week and next week. Then my graduation ceremony.  Then my graduation party.  Then moving.  And then college.  Plus everything in between.  AHH!

Only two more months and I’ll be laying on a beach in Hawaii…

But until then, I have to keep up with my normal daily life.  Eating right, working out, etc. etc.  Sigh.

Luckily, it hasn’t been too difficult to eat right some of the creations I’ve been coming up with lately. ¬†Seriously, I’m on a roll. ¬†Expect some awesome recipes when I get around to blogging them (again, hiatus, sorry).

But first, I’ll start off with my four bean salad.

This salad was perfect alongside grilled chicken and asparagus for dinner and then a turkey and pepper jack sandwich the next day.  It pretty much goes with everything summer-y.  Which is awesome because I am in the summer mood!  Seriously, how many more days of school?

The reason I chose 4 beans instead of the traditional 3 is simple.  The beans were on sale 4 for $5.  And I used cannellini and navy beans in place of green beans just because I like the taste better.

I’m quite complex aren’t I?

Ingredients:

1 can kidney beans

1 can garbanzo beans

1 can cannellini beans

1 can navy beans

1/2 c. apple cider vinegar

3-4 Tbs. olive oil

1 1/2 Tbs. honey

2 tsp. dried dill (you can replace with fresh)

2 cloves garlic

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. parsley

1/4 tsp. ceyenne pepper

1/2 tsp. lemon juice

2 tsp. dill pickle juice (optional, but highly recommended)

Drain and rinse the beans in a colander.  Mix together in a big salad bowl.

Whisk together the remaining ingredients.  Pour over beans and mix together.

You can serve it immediately or after a day or two.  I like to let it marinate the beans for a day before I eat it because it makes it so much more flavorful!

It’s quite possibly the easiest recipe and it tastes so good! ¬†You could also add onion, celery, or whatever else you want.

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Let me know what you all think of this recipe!

XOXO Sara

How to Shrink TOMS and Why Tuesday is Not my Friend

This title may sound weird but it is definitely true.  Tuesday is not my friend.

But not just this Tuesday, every Tuesday. ¬†Tuesday to me is the Monday to most people. ¬†If that makes sense. ¬†Why do I despise Tuesdays so much you ask? ¬†Because on Monday, I can accept that I have to get up at an ungodly hour, try to put on my makeup still half asleep, eat a breakfast I’m not hungry for, and then spend 4 ¬†hours at school before completing the numerous tasks I have to do at home.

But then I have to do it again on Tuesday?!  Ughhhhhhh.

If I could choose the events that occur throughout my Tuesday, it would include these activities (in no particular order):

Eat Chinese food (preferably for breakfast)

Blog.

Have somebody bake me a cake that is not myself.

Buy clothes.

Stare at my ceiling.

Eat Chinese food.

Eat cake.

Eat ice cream.

Make a craft I’m not obligated to make.

Write a song.

Eat Chinese food.

Sleep all day.

Watch “Friends”

I wish life were like that. ¬†However, since it’s not like that I try to make the best out of my Tuesday.

Things I found particularly good that made my Tuesday a little better:

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Making these confetti cupcakes.  They were so delicious (sorry, no recipe.  Then there would be no reason for my cupcake business ;))

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My piano.  Because I love my piano.

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Running shoes.  Because even though the thought of working out makes me cringe, I feel so much better afterwards.

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And lastly, the summer weather. ¬†Only about 14 days of school left and I’m ready!

Clearly, this is my new attempt to make the hard days a little better, so if I post these once in a while, just work with me here.  Okay, now what you came here for.  How to shrink TOMS!

This year for Prom I decided to wear TOMS with my dress. ¬†I bought them but when I tried them on they slipped right off my feet like flip flops ūüė¶

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Sorry about the pictures.  They were taken at night time.

I wanted to shrink them in the wash, but I guess that will tear them to pieces. ¬†Which I expected. ¬†I mean, come on, handmade shoes won’t hold up being thrashed around in a medal cylinder.

Here’s how I shrunk my TOMS the easy way!

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Rinse your TOMS with hot water trying to avoid the leather part. ¬†This will be really hard to do, and you will probably stop caring and give up. ¬†It’s okay, it will dry. ¬†They might stink a little though, so use some odor powder to rid of that!

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Set them out where it is hot! ¬†Since I’m in Vegas, that was not difficult. ¬†Next time though, I will dry them outside. ¬†I just did it in the garage, and it was not as hot as I expected.

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When they’re dry, put them on! ¬†They should shrink about 1/2-1 size. ¬†If they are any bigger than that, return them.

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Here’s a picture of my and my boyfriend on Prom. ¬†You can’t see my shoes but this is the dress they went with. ¬†I’m so excited to see the pictures taken by our photographer! ¬†Really can’t wait.

Also, it’s already 107 degrees in Vegas. ¬†IN MAY! ¬†This is getting crazy. ¬†If you’ve never been in extreme heat like that, then you know why I’m so distraught.

Hope you all have a wonderful Tuesday ūüėČ

XOXO Sara

Fudgy Brownies with Cookie Dough Topping

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Hello everyone!

Let me just start off by saying that these are delicious.  I started with my fudge brownie recipe and then experimented with the cookie dough top until it came out how I wanted.

This weekend is prom, so when I was trying to decide what I was going to make for our post prom bonfire, I decided it had to be something chocolate-y and classic.  And thus cookie dough topped fudge brownies were born!

I taste tested one today (just to make sure they weren’t poisonous, of course) and they were delicious! ¬†I know my friends will approve. ¬†Plus, they were so simple to make so they’re great for a last minute dessert for a pot luck or a party.

Check out the end for vegan and gluten free options!

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They make about 15 big brownies, but they are super rich so I would make them smaller, maybe about 24 squares.  It really is hard to finish a whole one.

Ingredients:

Brownies:

3/4 c. cocoa powder

1/4 c. vegetable oil

1/2 c. semi sweet chocolate chips

1 1/2 sticks butter

2 c. sugar

3 eggs

1-1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 c. flour

3/4 c. nuts, chocolate chips, etc. (optional)

Cookie Dough:

1 stick butter

3/4 c. white sugar

1/4 c. brown sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 c. flour

1 pinch salt

1 Tbs. milk (if needed)

1/2 c. chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350* F.  In a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder and oil until it resembles melted chocolate.

In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter and chocolate chips until smooth.  Add the cocoa powder mix until incorporated.  Stir sugar in the butter and chocolate until it starts to slightly dissolve.

Mix eggs and vanilla into the mixture until it’s not separated. ¬†Whisk in flour and nuts/chocolate chips if you’re adding any. ¬†I personally did not.

Spoon into greased 9×13 pan and smooth until it is even.

Bake for about 25-30 minutes depending on your oven.

Meanwhile, for the cookie dough, combine butter and sugars. ¬†Cream until the sugar is almost completely dissolved. ¬†Here’s where it gets tricky. ¬†If you don’t want it to be grainy, you will have to mix it for quite a while. ¬†However, since most of the cookie dough that we love eating straight from the bowl is grainy, it will taste more genuine if you don’t. ¬†I like mine slightly grainy because it reminds me of baking cookies with my mom when I was little, but of course go with your preference.

Next add the vanilla, flour, and salt. ¬†If it’s too thick, add the milk.

Fold in the chocolate chips.

To assemble, you can do like I did, cut the brownies, and just spoon a few blobs of cookie dough on there.  You could also spread it out across the whole brownie pan and then cut it.  Either way rocks!  Garnish with more chocolate chips.

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I’m not kidding when I say that these are the most chocolate-y fudgy brownies ever. ¬†They’re my go to recipe for any brownie recipe and everyone always love them. ¬†Plus, with cookie dough. ¬†Yes. (By the way, the last picture was my attempt to show you how truly fudgy they are. ¬†I don’t know if it worked, but at least take my word!

  • Gluten Free: Replace AP flour with rice flour, coconut flour, quinoa flower, etc.
  • Vegan/Vegetarian: Replace eggs with applesauce or tofu. ¬†Replace dairy milk with coconut milk. ¬†Use vegan chocolate chips in place of regular.

And a Happy Mother’s Day to all you wonderful moms out there! ¬†I know I wouldn’t be anywhere without mine and I’m so grateful that I have her. ¬†I can’t wait to give her the gift she’s been wanting and spend the day with her! ¬†What do you guys do for Mother’s Day?

Also, let me know how you guys like this recipe!

XOXO Sara

Healthy Green Chile Cheese Enchiladas

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Hola.

I felt like I had to say that.  To match the theme of course!  This recipe is my (late) Cinco de Mayo meal.

Today is my only non-busy day this week so I decided to make cheese enchiladas for lunch. ¬†I try to keep it healthy so that’s what I did, of course.

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These were simple to make and only took me an hour total! ¬†I’m sure it could go quicker of course, when I’m not in the process of making it up.

Plus, it makes enough to last me for lunch for another day. ¬†That’s always a bonus! ¬†Served with beans and rice, these would make an awesome dinner! ¬†I only made half the recipe, for two people, so for a meal of four, make the whole recipe posted below.

I froze the extra sauce so that I can make more later!  I already want to eat my leftovers, but I will resist and work out instead (;

Ingredients:

Enchiladas:

12 corn tortillas

2 c. part skim cheddar cheese, shredded

1 8 oz. can green chiles, chopped

Sauce:

2 Tbs. olive oil

1 Tbs. flour

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 Tbs. chili powder

2 Tbs. dried onion

8 oz. tomato sauce

14 oz. chicken broth, low sodium

1/4 tsp. parsley

2 tsp. oregano

1/8 tsp. ceyenne pepper

2 tsp. onion powder

1/8 tsp. Tobassco

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Combine the olive oil, flour, and chile powder.  Mix together.  Add garlic to saute (you may need to add more oil).

Add the tomato sauce, chicken broth, dried onion, parsley, oregano, ceyenne, onion powder, and Tobassco.  Bring the mixture to a boil for 5 minutes.  Then reduce it to a simmer for 15-2o minutes.

Meanwhile, microwave the tortillas for 30 seconds so they don’t break when you roll them.

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Combine the cheese and the green chiles. ¬†You can’t really see the chiles, because they are at the bottom!

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Place about 2 Tbs. of cheese in the middle of a tortilla.  Roll it up and set aside.

When all of the enchiladas are rolled up.  Grease a baking dish and spoon some of the red sauce in the bottom.  Arrange the enchiladas in the dish.

Bake at 400* F for 8 minutes.  Sprinkle cheese over the top and bake until bubbly.

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These are awesome with lime juice drizzled on top and a little low fat sour cream. ¬†They’d be so good with shredded beef, pork, or chicken if you are a big meat lover. ¬†Yum!

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Alternatives

  • Vegetarian: ¬†These are already vegetarian.
  • Gluten Free: ¬†Replace flour in sauce with another thickening agent such as cornstarch.
  • Vegan: ¬†Replace cheese with veggies, beans, or tofu.
  • Paleo: Replace tortillas with kale, collard green leaves, or homemade Paleo corn tortillas. ¬†Replace cheese with beans, meat, or veggies.

I hope you find these as delicious as I do!

XOXO Sara

Healthy Baked Potato Chips with Low Fat Garlic Parmesan Aioli

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I had to take this picture with my iPhone during dinner because I couldn’t keep these chips away from my family long enough to get a decent shot.

They’re that good. ¬†My mom, who is trying to stick to mostly meats, fruits, and veggies couldn’t resist them. ¬†She can’t resist any potatoes for that matter. ¬†We call her the potato hoe. ¬†Is that dysfunctional? ¬†Don’t answer that.

Also, I don’t think anything is better than garlic aioli. ¬†Seriously, it’s good on fries, burgers, sandwiches. ¬†So much stuff. ¬†If it wasn’t frowned upon, I would eat it by itself.

Okay maybe not.  But still, I really like it.

To change it up, I added some parmesan and also made it low fat so that I could indulge without consuming mega calories.  As for the potatoes, I just got tired of roasted potatoes covered with garlic.  So I decided on chips.

The result was amazing.

Ingredients:

Potatoes:

2 lb. red potatoes

2 Tbs. olive oil

Salt and Pepper, to taste

1-2 tsp. garlic powder (according to your taste)

1/2-1 1/2 tsp. onion powder (according to taste)

1/4 tsp. smoked paprika (or regular if you can’t find smoked in your local grocery store)

Preheat oven to 400* F.

Slice potatoes with a mandolin or on your food processor attachment.  Soak potatoes in ice cold water for 15-20 minutes.

See why here!

Drain the potatoes, dry them, and place them on a greased baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika.  Mix with your hands to make sure the potatoes are completely covered in oil and seasoning.

Lay them in a single layer on your baking sheet.  Bake them for 15-20 minutes, or until crispy.

Low Fat Garlic Parmesan Aioli

1/4 c. low fat mayo (I recommend Hellmann’s. ¬†You could try with Greek yogurt too but I haven’t!)

3 tsp. lemon juice

1/2 tsp. ceyenne pepper

1/3 c. Parmesan, grated

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 Tbs. olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine the low fat mayo, lemon juice, ceyenne, parm, and garlic.  While whisking, add the olive oil.  You may add some milk or some more oil to get the right consistency.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with the baked chips.

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You should be jealous!

Alternatives

  • Vegetarian: Use Greek Yogurt instead of mayo.
  • Gluten Free: You’re good (;
  • Vegan: Add Veganaise or homemade vegan mayo.
  • Paleo: Use zucchini instead of potatoes and Greek Yogurt instead of mayo.

Let me know what you think.

Stay Serendipitous!

XOXO Sara

Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake Muffins

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I wish I had that muffin right now.

Because I made them 2 weeks ago, and have been meaning to post the recipe since then.

And I’ve been a bad blogger. ¬†I apologize. ¬†I was sick all last week, which seems like the perfect time to blog if I hadn’t been sleeping the whole time.

But on another note, we finally got a new investment home my boyfriend and I will be living in for the next few years! ¬†We are so excited to start painting and moving. ¬†I also can’t wait to have such an awesome kitchen that I get to start cooking in. ¬†Nice and sunny for perfect food pics!

Back to the muffins.  They are super yummy, cinnamon-y, and kind of have a caramel undertone to them.  Everything is good about these muffins.

They took a little trial and error at first, but the muffins eventually became just right! ¬†The only downside is they fell a little flat which I wasn’t expecting. ¬†Apparently, I need to work on a little baking soda/powder ratio.

However, the flatness did not take away from the taste at all!  They are definitely worth a try for Christmas morning or brunch with your family.

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Ingredients:

Muffins

2 c. AP flour

1 Tbs. baking powder

Pinch of salt

2 tsp. cinnamon

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. allspice

2 eggs

1 c. sugar

1/4 c. melted butter, cooled

1/2 c. buttermilk

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 c. milk (about; I estimated a little)

Topping:

1 c. flour

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. allspice

1/4 c. butter, softened

1/2 tsp. vanilla

Cinnamon Swirl:

3 Tbs. butter, melted

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Glaze:

1 c. powdered sugar, sifted

2 Tbs. milk

1/2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat the oven at 350* F.  Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and the spices.  Set aside.

Whisk the eggs, sugar, and cooled butter together.  Add the dry ingredients, buttermilk, and vanilla.

 Mix the milk in lastly until just mixed.  The muffins will be dense if you overmix!

For the topping, mix the first four ingredients.  Then mix the butter and vanilla in until crumbly.  Set in the fridge.

Combine the brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon until the brown sugar combines into it.  Microwave for a few seconds if necessary.

To assemble, spoon the batter into lined muffin tins.  Using a toothpick, swirl 1 Tbs. of brown sugar/butter mixture into the batter, and top with 1-2 Tbs. of topping.

Bake the muffins for 12-14 minutes.

While the muffins bake, mix together the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla.

When the muffins are finished baking, drizzle the glaze over the warm muffins.  Then they are ready to eat!

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I really might need to make these again this weekend.  They take a little bit of time, but they are by far worth it.

  • Gluten Free Version: Replace flour with quinoa or rice flower
  • Vegan Option:

Let me know what you guys think.

Stay Serendipitous!

XOXO Sara