Norwegian Lefse

I originally posted a recipe for lefse in 2015, but I decided to update my post this year with my great-grandma’s recipe!  It’s 100% the best Norwegian lefse I have ever had.  Also, you may notice some older pictures mixed in with the new ones.  On one hand, I really wanted some new, pretty pictures of my lefse. but on the other hand, I love the old photos of my brother and I making it together.  Enjoy the rare blonde-college-era Sara pics 😉

An overhead image of a stack of Norwegian lefse on a white linen placed on a marble counter next to a red and blue floral rolling pin, jar of purple jam, and white bowl of Demerara sugar. Continue reading “Norwegian Lefse”

Croque Madame Galettes with Everything Crust

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It’s a rare Sunday when I’m actually human enough to have a proper brunch before noon.  Beyond the mandatory sleeping in portion of Sundays, I also have to lay in bed scrolling through my phone, drink a cup of coffee, and snuggle my dog on the floor for thirty minutes all before putting on my face and some real pants.  Luckily, I think Sundays always feel like morning until it starts to get dark and the anxiety of the next work day looms over me.  So, brunch usually happens anywhere between 12:30 and 3 in the afternoon which means I get to sleep in and skip all the Sunday-brunch crowds.  Win-win!

On the off chance that I have my shit together before noon on a Sunday and don’t think I can handle the weekend brunch crowds, I make breakfast at home and eat while cuddled up on the couch watching Friends for the hundredth time.  Usually, it’s just a bagel or cheesy eggs + lots lots lots of coffee.  However, every once in a while I will have my shit so together that I even have ingredients at home for a fancy brunch!  Those are few and far between, but they are sometimes totally real and make me feel like an actual grown up.

I think I would like to make it a new goal to get up at least one Sunday a month and have a fancy brunch.  Maybe I’ll even get into doing yoga on Sundays?!  Would that make me an overachiever?  It sounds a little meta….

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This past week(end), I had probably the worst cold of my life.  I felt like one of those wavy inflatable tubemen, but instead of being filled with air, I was actually filled with mud and also I was at the bottom of a swamp.  I practically drowned myself in cough medicine and Gatorade, and I ate whatever I wanted since I was feeling sorry for myself.  After watching approximately 200 episodes of The Office, I finally peeled myself off the couch and managed to get out of the house long enough to get some good coffee.  Also, I’m sending many blessings to past Sara, because when I opened my freezer, I had some of these mini galettes wrapped up!  (Ugh, past Sara can be a real MVP sometimes).  Since it was the first warm day we’ve had in ages, I swigged some Dayquil and enjoyed these galettes with plenty of fresh coffee at our local arboretum.

These galettes are super easy and a fun play on the French croque madame.  When I was in France this past summer, I was utterly obsessed with croque madames and ham and cheese baguettes.  Why is it that the French can make a ham and cheese sandwich so amazing and mine taste like they came out of a vending machine?  Anyways, I decided to take these ingredients and combine them with another one of my favorite French treats – the galette.  If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I’m totally obsessed with galettes, so it was about time that I made a savory version.

Oh, and I put everything bagel spice on the crust, because I pretty much want everything bagel spice on everything in my whole life.

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Croque Madame Galettes with Everything Crust
Makes 4 large servings or 8 small servings

Ingredients

2 – 9 in. pie crusts, store-bought or homemade
1/4 c. dijon mustard
8 oz. ham, thinly sliced
6 oz. swiss cheese, sliced or shredded
5 eggs
1/4 c. everything bagel spice*
Sliced chives, for topping

Preheat oven to 350* F.  Divide pie dough into 4 equal parts, and roll them out until they are about 6 inches in diameter.  Spread 1 Tbs. of dijon in the middle of each crust.  Place 2 oz. of ham and 2 slices of swiss (or 3 Tbs. shredded) in the middle of each crust.  Fold the crust edges over.  It doesn’t have to be perfect since they are supposed to be rustic!

Mix 1 of the eggs with about 1 Tbs. of water.  Brush each of the crusts with the egg wash, and sprinkle each galette with 1 Tbs. of everything bagel spice.  Bake for about 15 minutes.  Remove the pan from the oven, and break 1 egg over the top of each galette.  Bake for about 10 more minutes, or until the white is set and the yolk is still fairly runny.

Sprinkle each galette with the chives and serve!

Notes

*To freeze, wrap each galette in tinfoil and store in an airtight container in the freezer.  To reheat, throw the wrapped galette in a 350* oven for about 30 minutes.
*I have a jar of everything bagel spice in my cabinet, but if you’re not one of those people, you can mix together 1 Tbs. poppy seeds, 1 Tbs. sesame seeds, 1 Tbs. dried garlic, and 1 Tbs. dried onion together.  Sometimes, I use a mix of black and white sesame seeds for fun!


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xo Sara Lynn

*Song of the day: Heart in a Cage by The Strokes

Ginger Old Fashioned

Updated September 2019: How to make a ginger old fashioned with bourbon, ginger bitters, and of course, a classic twist.

An overhead image of two ginger old fashioneds on a marble counter next to a lemon, bar spoon, green bottle, and bottle of bitters.

Hello, my name is Sara Lynn, and I am a young NYC man living in the year 1958 a 20-something woman who loves old fashioned cocktails.  But you can call me Don Draper.

Today, I will be sharing my favorite old fashioned recipe, because it’s my birthday! And I will be celebrating with Bourbon, Angostura bitters, and orange peel all night long if I have my way.  However, I’ll try to sneak a lemon drop or Manhattan in, so I can feel like Carrie Bradshaw.  I may have an identity crisis at the end of the night, but so be it.  Tonight is for celebration and cake and drinks with my friends!

Last summer while I was in London, the beers and ciders became kind of mundane after my 200th IPA.  One night, a group of (other) Nevada students and I went to a bar down the road from our dorm where I asked the bartender if they could mix cocktails.  Ignoring the slightly dubious look in the recent high-school-grad-of-a-bartender’s eyes, I asked for an old fashioned, which he then responded with, “What’s in it?”.  It was then that I learned that English pubs are strictly for wine, beer, and cider.  Message received.

So, I had an old fashioned while I flew home to the states.

A side image of a man wearing a black apron dropping a lemon peel into a whiskey cocktail on a marble counter next to a bottle of whiskey and bottle of bitters.

From Tigger mug to crystal tumblers: the evolution of the ginger old fashioned.

My first old fashioned was made with Bulleit bourbon and served out of a Tigger coffee mug around Christmas time while it snowed outside.  That’s a true story.  I’ve come a long way since then, but I can’t say that scenario won’t reoccur.  I am in college after all, and sometimes Disney coffee mugs are the only vehicle for alcoholic beverages.  However, I still do not own whiskey glasses, so discount water glasses bought at Home Goods will have to do for now.  (2019 Update: I have graduated from college, and therefore, graduated from water glasses. We now own four whole crystal tumblers whoop whoop!)

How to make the perfect ginger old fashioned!

Another 2019 update: I have me a mans. And he knows how to make a damn good old fashioned. So, one weekend while he made me a ginger old fashioned, I took some photos, and now we have a great step-by-step tutorial! Thanks, Marc!

A man wearing black standing behind a marble counter topped with two rocks glasses. In the glasses are large ice cubes and they are next to a lemon and alcohol bottles.

For the ginger old fashioned, you will need bourbon or rye (I like Bulleit), simple syrup or sugar cubes, ginger bitters, and a lemon and/or orange.

Start with a couple of glasses. Obviously, crystal tumblers are fancy AF, but a small water glass or even a Tigger mug will do! Place a large ice cube in each glass. I got my mold at Target, but you can use regular ice cubes if you’d like.

A side image of a man in black pouring whiskey over ice in a rocks glass on a marble counter. The man is holding a bottle of whiskey.

Pour two ounces of bourbon over the ice.

An image of a man in a black apron making a ginger old fashioned by pouring simple syrup over an ice cube in a rocks glass on a marble table.

Pour one-quarter ounce, a.k.a. one teaspoon, of simple syrup over the whiskey. I prefer to pour the simple syrup in after the whiskey (as opposed to before), to keep the simple syrup from settling at the bottom of the glass.

A side image of a man in a black smock pouring ginger bitters over a ginger old fashioned on a marble counter next to a lemon and wood knife.

Add two to three dashes of ginger bitters.

A side image of a man in a black apron stirring a ginger old fashioned on a white marble counter next to a lemon and alcohol bottles.

If you have a swizzle spoon, now is the time to bust it out! Or, just use a regular spoon/iced tea spoon. Stir the drink until it’s properly chilled and a bit diluted, about 30 seconds.

A bartender wearing black twisting a lemon peel over two whiskey cocktails on a white counter next to a lemon and alcohol bottles.

Take a strip of lemon peel or orange peel, and twist it over the ginger old fashioned. If you use both, it’s called “rabbit ears”. Cute! Drop the peel in the glass for garnish.

A closeup photo of a ginger old fashioned on a marble counter with a man in black holding another cocktail in the background.

That’s it y’all! Ginger old fashioned complete.

Ginger Old Fashioned


A side image of a man wearing a black apron stirring a ginger old fashioned on a marble counter next to a bottle of bourbon, bottle of bitters, and green bottle of simple syrup.

Ginger Old Fashioned

If you're a fan of whiskey, you'll definitely want to try this ginger old fashioned! The ginger perfectly compliments the bourbon for a smoky, spicy, and perfectly sweet cocktail.
Prep Time 2 mins
Cook Time 3 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 1 cocktail

Ingredients
  

  • 2 oz bourbon whiskey (or rye, if desired)
  • .25 oz simple syrup (or 1 sugar cube*)
  • 2 dashes ginger bitters
  • Orange and/or lemon peel, for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Place a large ice cube, or a couple regular ice cubes, in a whiskey glass (or small water glass or Tigger mug).
  • Pour the bourbon over the ice cube. Add the simple syrup and ginger bitters. Stir for 30 seconds, until cold and properly diluted. Note: I add the simple syrup after the bourbon, so the simple syrup doesn’t settle at the bottom of the glass.
  • Twist the orange and/or lemon peel over the old fashioned. Tuck it into the side of the ice cube. Enjoy!

Notes

*If you’re using sugar cubes: Use the handle of a wooden spoon to muddle the sugar cube with the ginger bitters. Add the ice and bourbon. Stir until cold and properly diluted, about 30 seconds. Finish with a twist. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Serving: 1cocktailCalories: 160kcalCarbohydrates: 7.7gSodium: 54mgPotassium: 6mgSugar: 1.5gCalcium: 2mg
Keyword cocktails, drinks, gingerbread, whiskey
Did you make this recipe?Tag @serendipitybysaralynn on Instagram!

As a bday present to me, please make this ginger old fashioned tonight. Or, order one at your favorite bar 😉

XO Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: Dreaming by Seapony

Blackberry + Mint Limeade

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Summer has now officially approached in Reno.  In my Vegas-days, I used to loathe summer and its dry heat that would exceed far past the low hundreds.  Now living in Reno, the weather is a gamble, meaning I can be a little more friendly towards the summer months depending on the day.  For instance, yesterday the high was 75*F, but tomorrow could be 105*.  Luckily, I’m not too far from SF, which pretty much always has a low chill and Tahoe, which may be warm, but at least you can cool off in the melted-snow water.  However, I’m a huge fan of BBQs, as I’ve mentioned in the past, and even though I’m working as both a marketing intern and barista, I’m taking this summer as an opportunity to eat plenty of good food, explore new Northern Nevada attractions, and not be in school for the first time in 3 years.  Plus, my birthday is in July, so that’s always something I look forward to!  I’m also stoked to try out some new BBQ recipes, starting off with a twist on classic summer Lemonade.  Hello blackberry-mint limeade!

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When it comes to the lemonade-limeade debate, I wholeheartedly lean towards the limeade side.  Actually, I’m not really sure there is such a debate, but if there were I would always go Team Limeade.  Now that it’s summer, I’ve decided to try out my own variations on limeade (and maybe even lemonade, we’ll see…), and I thought the perfect way to start off the limeade experiment would be to use a berry that’s not as highly recognized as its berry counterparts.  I love how shiny and succulent blackberries are, and when they’re mixed into a limeade, it makes this beautiful fuchsia hue that would perfectly complement a BBQ.  Also, I added mint, because I was feeling fancy.

Before I share the recipe, I will first start off with a confession, because I’m not perfect, and I’ll readily admit that all the time in most circumstances, such as this one.  For this recipe, I decided to use already bottled limeade.  *gasp*, I know.  From someone who really goes out of her way to not use prepackaged stuff, this may be slightly shocking.  However, I can already find delicious, sweet, fresh-tasting limeade in the juice aisle at my local grocery, and I own no type of juicer whatsoever, so prebottled limeade it was.  On the other hand, if you are one who feels so inclined to make their own limeade, I’ve found a recipe from a trusted source with good reviews here.

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This limeade is refreshing and easily adaptable if you’d like to try another berry or herb.  I prefer my limeade sweeter, so I use more syrup, but if you like yours a little more tart, I’d use less syrup or even muddle some blackberries and mint in the bottom of your glass and just use a tiny bit of syrup.  Also, I used 3 mint leaves in my original recipe, and I found that the mint was very strong.  I’d recommend using only 2 mint leaves so the blackberry flavors are noticeable.  The mint can be very overpowering, but you can always add some straight to your drink if you want more of that flavor later!

A side photo of blackberry mint limeade on a white table surrounded by blackberries, limes, and mint.

Blackberry + Mint Limeade

Refreshing homemade limeade with blackberry mint syrup. Perfect for summer sipping!
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 4 fresh mint leaves (or basil!)
  • 2 liters limeade or lemonade
  • 12 oz vodka optional

Instructions
 

  • In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, water, and blackberries. Bring to a boil, smashing the berries with a wooden spoon. Boil until the syrup thickens slightly, about 3-5 minutes. Strain through a sieve if you don't want blackberry chunks.
  • In a pitcher, combine the limeade or lemonade and the blackberry + mint syrup. Start with 1/2 cup of the syrup, and add more to taste. Stir in vodka, if using. Serve over ice with mint and blackberries for garnish.

Notes

This syrup can be made with a variety of berries and herbs. So far, I have tried mint and basil with great results.
While a loyal member of Team Limeade, I also have tried this syrup with lemonade and it tastes amazing!
I occasionally use store-bought limeade, but now I typically make my own lemonade or limeade so I can control the sweetness.

Nutrition

Serving: 1glassCalories: 271kcalCarbohydrates: 44.8gProtein: 0.3gFat: 0.1gSodium: 17mgPotassium: 38mgFiber: 0.8gSugar: 41gCalcium: 13mgIron: 1mg
Keyword berries, cocktails, drinks, lime
Did you make this recipe?Tag @serendipitybysaralynn on Instagram!

XO Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: The Other Woman by Devendra Banhart

Sweet Poppy Bread

Sweet poppy bread flavored with almond and drizzled with a light vanilla glaze.

Poppy Bread with Almond | Serendipity by Sara Lynn
How to make vanilla glaze.

As we speak, I am sitting in one of my favorite coffee shops writing a blog post.  I swore I would never be this person, but considering my absolute love for coffee shops I have expressed countless times in the past, it was bound to happen at some point.  I’m even wearing a cardigan and my Warby Parker Buddy Holly-esque glasses. The National’s older albums are playing in the background.  It’s almost too cliche to handle, yet I didn’t drag in a typewriter, and I have never claimed that I identify with Hemingway on a spiritual level, so I’m still passable.

However, I am knee-deep in caffeine right now, which is making me remarkably honest, so it’s confession time.  This is not my first visit to a coffee shop today…but it might be my second.  Now, before you judge, first let me tell you that my finals today range(d) from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. And I only got a few hours of sleep last night. In my personal opinion, my multiple coffee shop stops are a little more excusable now.  I’m glad I got that off my chest.

Perfect poppy bread recipe.
How to make a loaf cake!

If I was a good little student (which I am I swear), I would be studying right now, but I have coffee-drank myself into some full blown anxiety, so I’ve decided studying would only create harm.  However, an hour before a final exam, you either know your stuff or you don’t, and I have decided that I know business law.  I understand contracts!  I understand corporate liability!  And the Commerce Clause!  It’s all going to be okay….!!!

And while I have drank enough coffee for the caffeine to suppress my appetite and make me feel full, I still can only think about food.  Specifically, this poppy bread.

Easy loaf cake with poppy seeds, vanilla, and almond. | Serendipity by Sara Lynn

My aunt made this recipe a few years ago, and in that instant, I fell in love with poppy bread.  It was like eating cake without the frosting, which is actually how I prefer my cake, but it was deemed more socially acceptable.  The recipe only has ten basic ingredients. And the batter can be whisked up in literally five minutes if you believe hard enough like I do.  Plus, if you have a mini loaf pan (not kidding, mine weighs like, 8 pounds), it makes the cutest tiny loaves of bread to distribute to friends and family. Which is obviously more fun than muffins.

A few notes: 1. Please use 1 c. + 2 Tbs. of oil in the recipe.  Last time I made it, I accidentally only used 2 Tbs. and it led to a rather disappointing product. 2. I prefer to make a simple syrup (1/4 c. sugar + 1/4 c. water heated until boiling) and brush it on the bread hot out of the oven.  It keeps the bread tasting fresh. However, this is not necessary, especially if you’re drizzling it with vanilla glaze! 3. This needs to be served with plenty of softened butter.  Hot poppy bread + melty butter = <3 <3 <3

(And on a completely different note, a guy at the next table just told his friend that he met a girl that “didn’t have the best face, but he couldn’t get past her midriff”.  PSA: If you’re going to be a caveman, please be one in your head or in private but not in a room full of intelligent, beautiful women shooting you death glares.  Oh the joys of living in coffee shops!  You hear some interesting stuff for sure).

Poppy seed bread that only needs 10 ingredients and 10 minutes!

Sweet Poppy Bread with Almond


Sweet Poppy Bread with Vanilla Glaze

Soft, sweet poppy seed bread with a drizzle of vanilla glaze. Perfect with a cup of coffee for a snack or breakfast!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Course Bread & Dough
Cuisine American
Servings 12 slices

Ingredients
  

For the bread…

  • 3 cup AP flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup + 2 Tbs. canola oil
  • 2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract

For the glaze…

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla or almond extract

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350* F. Butter and flour a 1 lb. loaf pan. Set aside.
  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. In a medium bowl, stir together the eggs, milk, canola oil, sugar, poppy seeds, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Gently fold the flour mixture into the sugar mixture in two batches until just mixed.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake, checking for doneness at 50 minutes. It may take up to 1 hour + 15 minutes to bake. It will be ready when a cake tester comes out clean. Flip the loaf onto a cooling rack and let it cool to room temperature.
  • While the loaf is baking, prepare the glaze. Mix all the glaze ingredients together until smooth. Add more milk if the glaze is too thick. Pour over the cooled loaf and garnish with more poppy seeds.

Notes

For my husband and friends with nut allergies, I use only vanilla extract, but I prefer half almond, half vanilla for myself.
If you want to add a little zhuzh to the glaze, you can mix in some lemon or orange zest!

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 413kcalCarbohydrates: 48.7gProtein: 3.3gFat: 23.9gSaturated Fat: 2.5gCholesterol: 44mgSodium: 222mgPotassium: 131mgFiber: 0.4gSugar: 42.9gCalcium: 84mgIron: 1mg
Keyword bread, breakfast, brunch, vanilla
Did you make this recipe?Tag @serendipitybysaralynn on Instagram!

XO SaraLynn

*Song of the Day: Baby, We’ll be Fine by The National

Almond poppy seed bread with vanilla glaze.
Almond Poppy Seed Bread | Serendipity by Sara Lynn

Deconstructed Chicken Pot Pie

(Updated 10/6/2019) An easy, deconstructed chicken pot pie made with plenty of fresh vegetables, thyme, parsley, and topped with buttery puff pastry!

Deconstructed chicken pot pie | Serendipity by Sara Lynn
Pot pie made with puff pastry.

PSA: Please be nice to college students, we are in the midst of midterms and life is a lot to deal with right now!!!!!!!

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been a giant ball of college-related anxiety which has led me to staying up into the early hours of the morning working on business plans and marketing research studies while living off of scrambled eggs with toast.  I’ve also been fighting the early stages of a cold by popping obscene amounts of Vitamin C and drinking Immune Boosting Tea.  The cabin fever is getting to a Jack Nicholson-level that makes me dream of hiking and Tahoe beaches and weekend roadtrips to San Fran.

In times like these, I find the only cure is to take a couple of hours to indulge comfort food, a sleeve of Milanos, and a lighthearted tween movie, normally of the Disney variety, although that is not required.  My choice of the moment is Princess Diaries.  But I digress.  What I’m really here to talk about is the comfort food component.

How to use puff pastry.

My comfort food of choice: easy, cozy deconstructed chicken pot pie.

Today, we have chicken pot pie that has been deconstructed, because there’s less time between preparation and consumption, and also puff pastry is the jam.  I developed the recipe randomly one weekend with ingredients I had sitting around in my fridge, and I will never look back.  As far as I’m concerned, chicken pot pie is the best food to cure sadness, and also it’s the best way to say goodbye to the winter season.  While this is not necessarily a “traditional” pot pie, it has all of the components. Chicken, veggies, thyme, crust, warmth, happiness. And you’re probably eating it snuggled up in a blanket while watching a movie.  I *highly suggest* making this one last time before BBQ season officially hits.

How to make deconstructed chicken pot pie

This is a very easy pot pie recipe! It’s one of my favorites for the weekend, because it only takes like, an hour total. I prefer to make little mini chicken pot pie cocottes, but it’s not necessary. You can also make this a one-pot deconstructed chicken pot pie if you feel so inclined! You just have to boil the chicken and potatoes, saute the veggies, and thicken the sauce. After, top it with buttery puff pastry! And then dig in while it’s way too hot, burn your lip, and have the *ultimate* chicken pot pie situation.

Also, this recipe is easy to switch up! Use whatever veggies you have laying around. You could do broccoli or green beans or mushrooms if you’d like. I kind of think mushrooms have the texture of a slug, so I avoid them. But do you!

And speaking of mushrooms, you could totally make this recipe vegetarian by subbing chicken for mushrooms and using veggie broth! Super easy. Have fun. Get creative. Go crazy, girl.

(On another note, if you know anyone interested in funding a coffee shop/bakery or a weekend vacation, or you have some secret knowledge that I’m a princess and therefore deserve to be in the far away land of Genovia wearing pretty ballgowns and living in a castle instead of studying my brains out in college, you know where to find me).

How to make individual casseroles.

Deconstructed Chicken Pot Pie


Notes: This will feed six people if you have other sides involved. If you have big eaters, this will probably only feed four.

Make it vegetarian by subbing the chicken for mushrooms and using veggie broth!

You can also use regular pie dough if you prefer that over puff pastry.

You can use ramekins or cocottes. I like Staub and Le Creuset. These are the cocottes I used for this recipe.


A very closeup image of a white bowl of chicken pot pie topped with puff pastry on a marble counter.

Deconstructed Chicken Pot Pie

This quick stovetop chicken pot pie with puff pastry crust is one of my favorite cozy meals! This pot pie is super simple and makes for a lovely weekend dinner.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 egg, whisked with 1 Tbs. water (a.k.a. egg wash)
  • 1 lb chicken breasts or thighs
  • 3 small gold potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, small dice
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1/3 cup peas
  • 1/3 cup corn
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Grab 6 ramekins/cocottes to make mini chicken pot pies. To make a one-pot recipe, make sure you have a deep 12-inch pan.
  • Place your puff pastry on a floured surface. Roll out any cracks in the pastry with a rolling pin. Using your ramekins as a guide, cut out six rounds. (If you’re making one-pot chicken pot pie, you can just leave it as a big rectangle). Place the puff pastry rounds/rectangle on a baking sheet, and brush with the egg wash. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until a deep golden brown. Set aside.
  • Place the chicken breasts (or thighs) and potatoes in the 12-inch pan, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cook 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are fork-tender and the chicken is cooked through. Drain the chicken and potatoes. Then, cut the chicken in bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
  • Wipe the 12-inch pan clean, and place it back on the stove over medium-high heat. Melt the butter in the pan, and add the carrots, celery, and shallot. Cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender and starting to brown on the edges, about 8 minutes. Add the peas, corn, and garlic, and saute for about 30 seconds, until the garlic is fragrant.
  • Sprinkle the flour over the vegetable mixture, and cook for a minute or two. Then, slowly whisk in the chicken broth and milk, until the mixture is smooth and starts to thicken. Add the chicken, potatoes, thyme, parsley, salt, and lots of pepper. Taste, and season as necessary. Let the mixture simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Divide the chicken pot pie filling between the six ramekins. Top with the puff pastry rounds, and serve! For the one-pot version, place the puff pastry rectangle on top of the filling. Cut into 6 slices, and serve. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 381kcalCarbohydrates: 31.6gProtein: 28.1gFat: 16.1gSaturated Fat: 7.8gCholesterol: 90mgSodium: 354mgPotassium: 815mgFiber: 3.2gSugar: 4.6gCalcium: 89mgIron: 3mg
Keyword autumn, chicken, dinner, main meals, pie, winter
Did you make this recipe?Tag @serendipitybysaralynn on Instagram!

XO SaraLynn

*Song of the Day: Maps by The Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Homemade Bagels

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About once a year, I get a strong yearning for summer.  The long days off, laying on the beach at Lake Tahoe, wearing light sun dresses and messy up-dos to keep the hair off my face, the smell of beer & cheeseburgers on the grill, Slurpees, riding bikes, bonfires when it starts to cool down at sunset, going on holiday, fireworks.  The time normally comes around late January/early February.  The holidays are over, so the snow isn’t lit up by Christmas lights, and comfort food feels too rich and loses its appeal.  Winter break has passed, and I’m back in school for “spring” semester, which is really just a tease, since it’s still 40* or below outside, and I’m tired of wearing the same sweaters and coats I’ve been wearing for months.  I stare longingly at my bikinis and dream of taking a roadtrip and going on hikes.

After a few days of missing summer, I normally resort back to my usual cold-dreary-weather-obsessed self, snuggle in my blanket with some hot tea, and watch a movie while the rain patters outside.  I indulge myself on the weekends with pot pie or roasted chicken, enjoy the cold Reno mornings surrounded by snow-capped mountains, and sip Guatemalas or Perus at the coffee shop.  Once summer comes around, I’m already dreaming of the brisk cold that sneaks in mid-September.

A couple of weekends ago, I went to Tahoe with a *special human* to see the snow on the lake, which I had never done before.  I took some pictures, and we climbed on rocks at Sand Harbor to watch the sun dip completely under the horizon, which was incredible, albeit slightly dangerous.  Kings Beach was filled with cute kids in puffy snow onesies and dogs prancing after tennis balls on the beach.  My faith in winter was restored, and bagels were consumed over coffee the next morning.

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Which leads me to the bagels.  Lately, with stormy clouds blanketing Reno on my days off, I’ve taken to trying out more difficult recipes that I’ve never attempted before.  Oftentimes, I find that the recipes are not as hard as I initially thought, and they taste much better and cleaner than their store bought alternatives.  Such was the case with these homemade bagels.  Seemingly intimidating, but actually so easy, and they take no more than two hours to make.

I’ve been staying off of the internet lately, mostly due to a recent computer update from a certain tech company, let’s call them Schmicroshoft (no names please), that refuses to connect my computer with my wifi, essentially leaving it unusable, and leaving me to try solution after solution to no avail (but also because people keep talking about politics on social media).  Long run-on-sentence short, I spent 2 hours on the phone with said company, and my computer still isn’t fixed, which is why I haven’t gotten the opportunity to share this recipe until now.  But I promise, it’s probably one of the most successful recipes I’ve made, and it’s versatile enough to add whatever ingredients you want.  Use an egg wash, and sprinkle the homemade bagels with seeds, garlic, onion, cheese.  Mix in blueberries or chocolate chips.  Take one straight out of the oven, toast in under the broiler for a few minutes, and smother it with a thick slab of butter or cream cheese.

Don’t forget the coffee.

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*Bagels require high gluten flour, or they do not come out nearly as well.  I easily found bread gluten at my local bulk grocery, but if you cannot find bread gluten, you could also use high-gluten flour.

*If you top your bagels with seeds, onions, garlic, or cheese, you will need to brush them first with an egg wash (1 egg mixed with a little water).  If you want blueberries or chocolate chips, you can mix them straight into the dough!

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XO SaraLynn
*Song of the Day: It’s Real by Real Estate*

 

Cinnamon Rolls

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[Update 1/12/16: I made these rolls last weekend for the first time since I posted this recipe.  I changed the recipe up a little bit for experimentation, and ended up liking the new recipe more.  I added more butter (yikes, I know), tried traditional scalded milk instead of buttermilk, and used a different icing.  The original recipe is in the body of the post, and the new recipe is on a recipe card at the bottom of the post.  The new rolls are more fluffy, but if you prefer the old recipe, it’s still there, no worries!  I also updated some new pictures, since my photography has gotten significantly better (but still left the old ones with instructions and whatnot).  Hope you guys love!  Xo.]

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Guys.

These are so good.

Have you ever had like, a really really really good cinnamon roll?  Not like a Cinnabon one, but a really delicious, homemade cinnamon roll?  It’s a special kind of experience everyone should get to have.

I’m happy to report that you may now make your own if you truly wish to experience the phenomenon of eating an out-of-this-world cinnamon roll.

I have truly done it.  I have created the perfect cinnamon rolls.

They take pretty much all day to make, but they’re super easy.  I promise, you can make these!  Just make sure you have new yeast and everything is going to be okay.  You can do anything.

Sara Lynn: motivator and cinnamon roll goddess.

Maybe that’s a little dramatic.  Maybe it’s not.  Maybe you should make these cinnamon rolls and let me know if you think that I’m a cinnamon roll goddess.

A disclaimer about the following pictures:

1. My nail color randomly changes from red to sparkly pink because I got my nails done while the dough was rising.  I highly recommend you find something time consuming to do while you wait because cinnamon rolls take a long time to rise and a long time to make in general (but still so worth it).

2. The pictures change from good quality to bad quality because, again, they take a while to make and I ran out of daylight.

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Shall we get started?

Cinnamon Rolls:

1/2 c. warm water

1 package instant yeast

1/2 c. + 1 Tbs. sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 c. buttermilk

1 egg

1/3 c. melted butter

4 1/2 c. flour

Filling:

1/2 stick butter

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. white sugar

2 1/2 Tbs. cinnamon

Pinch salt

Icing:

4 oz. cream cheese

2 Tbs. butter

1 1/2-2 c. powdered sugar (depending on how sweet you like your icing!)

1/2 tsp. vanilla

2-3 Tbs. milk, to thin

Pinch salt

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First, you’re going to want to mix together your warm water, yeast, and a tablespoon of sugar.  Set it aside to double in size!

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Mix 1/2 c. sugar, flour, and salt in a bowl.

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Nice and doubled!  Yay!

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Mix together buttermilk, egg, and butter.

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Add half of the flour mixture until it’s incorporated.

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Add the yeast mixture and stir together.

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It might not mix very well because it’s going to be very lumpy and thin like pancake batter.

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Mix in the rest of the flour and knead a few times with your hands.

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Knead until smooth and beautiful.

Set aside in a warm place covered with plastic wrap or a towel.  Let rise for 1-2 hours.

*insert random photo and nail color change*

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Once it has risen, punch the dough a few times.DSCN4128

Roll until about 1/8 inch thick.

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Brush with melted butter.

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Mix together cinnamon, sugars, and salt for your filling.

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And spread it all around!

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Roll it up.

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Brush it with more butter (sorry cholesterol).

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Cut into rolls that are about 2 inches wide.  You should have about 8 pretty ones.

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And a few not so pretty ones 🙁  Oops!

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Brush a parchment lined casserole dish with more butter.

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Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon and sugar.

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Line the cinnamon rolls in the casserole dish.  Set them aside, covered, to rise for another hour or two.

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Look how pretty!!!  (That top left one is so sad.  Poor little guy.  Still delicious).

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Bake at 350* F for about 14-16 minutes, or until a light golden brown.

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Meanwhile, mix together the icing!  Whip butter and cream cheese together until incorporated.  Add sifted powdered sugar and vanilla.  Thin with milk.

(Uhm, is this not just the worst picture you’ve ever seen?  Did I even try?  Just trust me, it’s a delicious icing).

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Yay, they’re baked and beautiful!

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Spread frosting over warm cinnamon rolls.

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Hell yeah.

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Do you see that cinnamon filling?  Oh my gosh.  I might go grab one of my extras from the freezer right now.  They’re sooooo good.

Which reminds me, if you have too many because you made 11 cinnamon rolls and you live by yourself, just go ahead, wrap them in some plastic wrap individually and then place them in freezer bags.  They’ll stay good for a few months and you can indulge in cinnamon bun goodness whenever you want!

Go make these.  Right.  Now.

cinnamon roll recipe

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* Notes*:  1. I use my mixer with dough hook, but these can also be made with a mixing bowl and wooden spoon!  I’ve done tries both methods and either works! 2. If your dough won’t rise, try heating oven to 250* F, turning oven off, and placing covered bowl of dough in warm oven (make sure bowl is oven proof!).  Leave alone for 2 hours.  3. If dough still won’t rise, your yeast is probably old.  Buy new yeast and start again.  4. Rolls can be made one night, and baked in the morning!  Just form the rolls and let them do their second rise in the fridge overnight (8-12 hours).  In the morning, remove from fridge, and let warm up for about an hour.  They will take longer to bake (upwards of about 30 or 40 minutes, so don’t worry if they don’t bake quickly!  Cover with foil halfway through if they start to brown too much.)

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*Song of the Day: Won’t You Come Over by Devendra Banhart

Girl Scout Samoa Nanaimo Bars

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Hihihihihihihi.

Have you ever had one of those days where you feel like nothing goes right?

And then you realize that literally everything you’re sad about is just a bunch of first-world problems, and nothing is actually wrong and you’re just being a princess about everything…?

Because I had that kind of day on Friday.

First, I woke up really early (at like, 6 a.m.  On my day only day off…) and could literally hear my next door neighbor’s TV.  Please note: I live in a house.  Not an apartment.  Not a condo.  A house.  And I could hear their TV.  Because only at 6 a.m. do I have superpower hearing.  After laying in bed staring at the wall for a few hours, I got up and *attempted* to do my hair and makeup, but no matter what I did, I looked like a hot mess.  After about 1 1/2 hours, I finally was able to make myself look how I do every single day.  It just took twice as long..  I finally decided that I would grab lunch and watch movies.  But then I dropped my lunch on the ground 1 bite in (and ate it anyways because at that point, I had no limits).  I also couldn’t find half of my Disney movies.  So to solve that problem, I had a meltdown.

I am almost 20 years old and I cried over not being able to find my Disney movies.

Eventually, I decided to go grab a coffee, talked to a cute barista, and ended up at an 80’s party wearing a Risky Business costume.

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Me attempting to accomplish Tom Cruise’s “Old Time Rock and Roll” dance in my costume. And failing…

The day ended up pretty great, and I realized that I just needed to take a deep breath, and understand that my problems were really not that bad.

Because they weren’t.

But they were kind of funny and now you can mock me a little.

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Plus, I had these sitting in my fridge, so how bad could my day really be?

Since I know most of you are probably thinking, “What’s a nanaimo bar”, here’s a brief history:

The Nanaimo bar was invented in none other than Nanaimo, Canada.  That’s about all I know.  The actual dessert is made up of 3 layers.  The first is a no-bake crust made with chocolate, nuts, coconut, and graham crumbs.  The second layer is traditionally a custard buttercream, and it’s topped with chocolate.

But since it’s Girl Scout Cookie season (because obviously that’s a season), I decided to make them using Somoa cookies.  Which already have chocolate, coconut, and a graham-like texture.

Plus caramel which is never a bad thing.

As previously stated, traditional nanaimo bars have a custard buttercream filling.  Which is really good, but really rich, and really sweet.  To make it a little less dense, I decided to make a swiss meringue buttercream filling.  And add caramel to enhance the Somoa theme.

Result = something you need to make now.

Note: Please don’t be scared.  3 layers sounds like a lot.  Swiss meringue buttercream sounds intimidating.  SO NOT.  These are very easy and don’t require that much time.  Be brave, bakers.

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Ingredients:

Bottom Layer:

1/2 c. unsalted butter

3 Tbs. sugar

1/4 c. cocoa powder

1 egg, beaten

1 1/2 c. Samoa cookie crumbs, crushed + 1/2 c. chopped roughly for garnish

1/2 c. almonds, chopped

1 c. sweetened coconut

Caramel SMB:

3 egg whites

1/2 c. sugar

1 1/2 sticks butter, softened

Pinch salt

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 c. caramel sauce, homemade or store bought

Top:

4 oz. baking chocolate

1 Tbs. butter

For the bottom layer, melt the butter, sugar, and cocoa on the stove over medium heat.  When it’s combined, mix 1/4 cup of the mixture into the egg to temper.  Add egg mixture back to the chocolate mixture and stir over the heat until slightly thickened.  Remove from heat and stir in Samoa crumbs, almonds, and coconut.  Press into a greased 8×8 or 8×11 baking pan.  Freeze for 20-40 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1-2 inches of water in a medium sized sauce pan on the stove until it starts to simmer.  In a heat-proof mixing bowl, combine the egg whites and sugar.  Place mixing bowl on top of the sauce pan and stir the mixture until a candy thermometer reads 140-150* F.  Remove from heat, and whip egg mixture until stiff peaks form and mixture is cooled.  Add butter, 1-2 Tbs. at a time until frosting forms.  If it appears curdled, keep beating until it forms, or add butter 1-2 Tbs. at a time until the texture is creamy and smooth.  Add vanilla extract, salt, and caramel sauce.  Pour mixture and spread evenly over the crust layer.  Refrigerate until buttercream is firm.

While the buttercream firms, heat the chocolate and butter over low heat until melted.  Spread chocolate evenly over firm buttercream layer.  Sprinkle chopped cookies over the top, and refrigerate until chocolate is hardened.  Cut into bars, or bite sized pieces.  Bring to room temperature before serving.

Makes 16 large bars or 64 bite sized pieces.

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I hope you all had a wonderful Sunday.  I laid in bed until 11, went to my favorite coffee place, and watched Friends for hours.

What did you do?

SerendipitybySaraSig

*Song of the Day: Pedestrian at Best–Courtney Barnett

Chipotle Spiced Chicken Tacos with Cilantro-Lime Crema

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Hi guys!

I’m writing this post late in the night purely because there’s a good chance I’ll be on a small hiatus for the next few weeks.

Why?

Because I’m moving!  Yep, the past week all I’ve been doing is packing away.  We even got a 26 foot trailer to pack it all in.  Crazy!

So, about these tacos.  I’ve been craving Mexican food so badly the past few weeks but have yet to get it.  And even though what I’m really craving is deep fried chips with salsa, and globs of gooey cheese over shredded beef, this was a pretty good sub for a healthy dinner.

And just in case you’re wondering, my brother (and I quote) said these were “the best tacos he ever had”.  A nice compliment if I do say so myself.

The best part?  They’re sooo easy!  They only took me about 1 hour to make from prep to dish-washing, and some of it can be made in advance if needed.

Keep reading for the best tacos ever 😉

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XOXO Sara Lynn

*Song of the day: Beach Demon by Wavves