Brazilian Cheese Bread {and Big News!}

Happy New Year! New year, new blog look! A special thanks to Holly of the Healthy Everythingtarian for giving away a blog header design and to Lindsay for hosting the giveaway!

Besides a few wordpress issues that prevented me from posting, a lot has happened in the past few weeks…

First, I ran my first 10k!

10k

Then I aced my finals for my first semester of grad school and hopped on a plane to New Hampshire.

After packing up all of Luke’s things to move him down to Texas, we drove up to Kennebunkport, Maine for a couple days. And then this happened…

Engagement

Engagement Kennenbunkport

We’re engaged! It was my dream proposal watching the most beautiful sunset we’ve seen in Maine. Talk about the best (early) Christmas present ever!

The day after the proposal we unfortunately had to leave Kennebunkport so that we could begin a week long road trip from New Hampshire to Houston, with stops in NYC, Virginia and Nashville. However, on our way back to New Hampshire, Luke insisted we stop at a new restaurant in Newmarket, NH – the Pao Cafe. Their speciality is sandwiches made with Brazilian cheese bread. If you’ve never heard of Brazilian cheese bread, it’s sort of like a popover but way better. I’ve had it many times at Brazilian steak houses and have always loved it.

What I didn’t know was how easy it is to make and the fact that it’s gluten-free. The secret ingredient is tapioca flour. Luke and picked some up and got baking!

brazilian cheese bread

Success on our first try!

This is seriously my favorite bread ever. Five ingredients and salt. Five minutes (or less) prep and 20 minutes in the oven. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to discover this in my kitchen! You won’t regret it.

brazilian cheese bread food processor

First, preheat the oven to 400 and put all of your ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is well combined.

brazilian cheese bread pre baked

Then pour them into a muffin pan (about 2/3 full) and pop them into the oven for about 20 minutes, until golden brown and puffy.

brazilian cheese bread cooling

Let them cool for about 5 minutes.

brazilian cheese bread

And enjoy!

Easy Brazilian Cheese Bread

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2/3 cup 2% milk
  • 1 1/2 cups tapioca flour
  • 2/3 cup grated cheese (any kind, fontina and cheddar work great)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt (or more to taste)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Put all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until combined.
  3. Pour the mixture into a greased muffin pan and fill each cup about 2/3 full.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown and puffy.
  5. Let cool for five minutes or so and enjoy!
Posted in Fitness, Gluten-free, Half-Marathon Training, Recipes, Running | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

The Christmas countdown has officially begun! I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving, but I’m one of those people who likes to skip right over Turkey Day and move onto the most wonderful time of the year! I proudly admit that my decorations have been up for a couple weeks already. December is my most favorite month!

Though I’m not sharing a Christmas recipe today per say, it is green and would make a great side dish to bring to your holiday party…

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Onions & Bacon – yum!

It’s no secret that I love brussels sprouts, but this has definitely become my new favorite way to make them. I often make brussels sprouts shredded and sautéed (as opposed to simply roasted). While it is time consuming, I almost always prefer shredded sprouts to whole or halved sprouts. This recipe came about while I was experimenting in the kitchen. I decided to add a little brown sugar to the brussels sprouts to see if they would end up with a sweet and salty caramelized flavor.

It worked! The caramelized onions and bacon add just the perfect additional amounts of sweetness and saltiness. If you think you don’t like brussels sprouts, this is one of those recipes that might change your mind! Feel free to add nuts or dried cranberries – I think they would add some good flavors to the dish as well.

I’m not going to lie, this isn’t the quickest recipe. Shredding brussels sprouts takes time and patience, but I find it worth it. I’ve also been told you can throw them in a food processor instead of shredding them by hand. I haven’t tried it yet, but if I do I’ll let you know if it works.

Again, if you don’t think you like brussels sprouts, try these! And if you do, well, you don’t need any convincing do you?

First, cook your bacon. Tear it into small pieces and set it aside. Then, dice an onion.

Use a little of the leftover bacon grease (or olive oil) to caramelize your onions. Add a teaspoon of brown sugar and cook them over medium low heat for about 20-25 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare your brussels sprouts! First, wash them, trim the ends off, and peel off the outer leaves.

Then, shred them! I cut mine in half first, and then slice as finely as I can.

Increase the heat on the onions to medium heat and add the shredded brussels sprouts and a tablespoon of olive oil. Stir everything around. Then add two tablespoons of brown sugar, a teaspoon of salt and the garlic powder. Continue stirring the sprouts around for about 5 minutes.

Then add the bacon bits and stir for another minute.

Enjoy!

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

Serves 4.

Ingredients:

  • About 15 large brussels sprouts
  • 1 onion, diced and caramelized
  • 5 slices of bacon (turkey bacon works great too)
  • 2 tbsp and 1 tsp of brown sugar, divided
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. First, cook your bacon. Tear it into small pieces and set it aside.
  2. Dice an onion.
  3. Use a little of the leftover bacon grease (or olive oil) to caramelize your onions. Add a teaspoon of brown sugar and cook them over medium low heat for about 20-25 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, prepare your brussels sprouts! First, wash them, trim the ends off, and peel off the outer leaves.
  5. Then, shred them! I cut mine in half first, and then slice as finely as I can.
  6. Increase the heat on the onions to medium heat and add the shredded brussels sprouts and a tablespoon of olive oil. Stir everything around. Then add the remaining two tablespoons of brown sugar, a teaspoon of salt and half a teaspoon of garlic powder. Continue stirring the sprouts around for about 5 minutes.
  7. Then add the bacon bits and stir for another minute.
  8. Serve and enjoy!
Posted in Brussels Sprouts, Gluten-free, Recipes, Sides | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Healthy Pumpkin Oat Pancakes

Good morning! I feel like I haven’t written a recipe post in ages. I’m back today with a super easy and healthy breakfast recipe that encompasses everything good about the fall season.

Pumpkin Oat Pancakes! (I had a bit of a photo failure here… Poured way too much maple syrup and the cinnamon came out super fast. I couldn’t wait to share the recipe though, so these photos will suffice for now!)

These gems are made from old fashioned oats, greek yogurt and pumpkin. As I said, healthy and delicious! In addition, they’re gluten-free. I made them on a whim last weekend and will definitely be making them again. There are many ways to add pumpkin to your breakfast, but this may just be my new favorite!

If you’ve never made oat pancakes, they’re a bit denser than regular pancakes – not as light and fluffy.

But equally tasty and as easy as 1, 2, 3!

First, place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.

Then form the batter into desired shapes and cook over medium heat for a few minutes, flipping every minute or two.

Top with maple syrup and cinnamon and enjoy!

Healthy Pumpkin Oat Pancakes

Serves 2.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. Spoon the batter into desired shape and size onto a skillet over medium heat.
  3. Flip a few times until cooked through.
  4. Top with maple syrup and cinnamon and enjoy!
Posted in Breakfast, Gluten-free, Recipes | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Half-Marathon Training and Giveaway Winner

Good morning! October has been a busy month. Last weekend was all about this lady’s wedding in Las Vegas:

Congrats again to Avigail and Charlie!

One big sister’s wedding down, and one to go – my sister’s wedding is in less than two weeks!

In between these weddings I’ve been writing papers like crazy. And running!

Speaking of running, it’s about time for an update on my Zooma half-marathon training.  After lots of googling and reading, I decided to follow one of Jeff Galloway’s training plans, specifically the Disney Princess plan (even though that’s not what I’m running). It seemed like the plan I could both best manage as a beginner and fit into my schedule. My major concern with the plan is that it only has you do a long run every other week and the distance jumps are a little high from week to week. I may modify the plan by doing a long run every week (for example, adding in a 4.5 miler in between the 4 miler week and 5 miler week).

My cross-training will be mostly yoga and barre classes this fall. I bought an amazon local deal for barre classes and I’m loving them! I’m always sore the next day. They also remind me of ballet and being a kid, making the classes more fun!

I skipped the first two weeks of the training program because I had been running consistent with those weeks already.  I began in week 3 which called for two 30 minute runs and one 4 mile run.

I would like to increase my speed a bit during the 30 minute runs, but my focus on the long runs is just to finish them. 4 miles was the longest I’ve run outdoors yet and I was very happy finishing in just under an 11 minute pace! Cooler weather definitely makes my runs easier. We got a cool front this weekend, so I ran my 4 miler with temperatures in the low 50s. I even busted out my long sleeves! I’m hoping the fall weather finally sticks around in Houston as it’s almost November.

10k Race

I signed up for a 10k (my first) in December to give me a “stepping stone” goal to work on before the half. On December 1st, I’ll be running the Trafigura Home Run. My goal will be to finish – and to finish in under a 12 minute pace would be great (but we’ll see!).

That’s about it for my training right now. I’ll try to update sporadically!

Handana Giveaway Winner

Lastly, the winner of the Handana giveaway is Jill! Jill, email me at afterdinnerdance@gmail.com with your mailing address and I will get your Handana out to you!

Posted in Fitness, Giveaway, Half-Marathon Training, Running | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese and WIAW #24

It’s time for another round of What I Ate Wednesday – I’m pretty excited to share my latest fall recipe this week!

Thanks again to Jenn for hosting WIAW. For those of you who don’t know, Jen over at Peas and Crayons hosts WIAW every week – check out her blog for more information on it and to find some new blogs to read.

Before we get to the rest of my eats, here’s the star of the show:

Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese!

So delicious. And so easy to make. No need to get it from Dunkin Donuts or Trader Joe’s! What’s the secret? Pumpkin butter! It’s basically a two to one ratio of cream cheese to pumpkin butter and a bit of pumpkin spice. Here’s the recipe!

Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese

Makes enough for 2 bagels.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp of cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin butter (recipe here)
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Directions:

  1. Let cream cheese soften at room temperature for about 30 minutes (makes it easier to mix).
  2. Add the pumpkin butter and pumpkin pie spice and stir to combine.
  3. Enjoy!

Breakfast

Breakfast was a delicious sesame bagel from New York Bagels topped with pumpkin spice cream cheese. It was amazing after my 3.5 mile run! (By the way, if you missed Monday’s running post, check it out and enter the giveaway!)

Lunch

Lunch was a chopped spinach salad with apple, cheddar cheese, chicken, and walnuts. The first salad that I ever liked was from this place called Chop’t in DC. Basically, they chop up all of the ingredients really small so that you get a piece of everything in each bite. My recreation wasn’t quite the same, but it was decent.

Snacks

I had two afternoon snacks. The first was really good grapes from Central Market.

Later I had an apple topped with some pumpkin butter.

Dinner

Dinner was a soup made by my Mom with zucchini, carrots, spinach, tomatoes, sausage and quinoa. I don’t remember the name of it, but it was good!

Finally, I ended the night with a glass of sauvignon blanc and the presidential debate. And that’s what I ate Wednesday Tuesday! I’m off to Las Vegas tomorrow for a fun filled wedding weekend and, knowing the bride, lots of delicious food!

Posted in Gluten-free, Recipes, WIAW | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Zooma Half-Marathon and Handana Giveaway!

I have some exciting news! I can’t believe I’m actually putting this in writing, but I am signed up to run a half-marathon! 13.1 miles! I will be running the Zooma half-marathon in Austin, Texas in March.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

In addition, I’m serving as an ambassador to the race! I first heard about Zooma races through Peanut Butter Fingers. When she tweeted that they were looking for ambassadors and I saw that there was an Austin race, I decided to apply. I thought it would be a great push for me to actually run a half-marathon if I got accepted. I honestly didn’t think I would be accepted since I am a beginner, but I was! So now I’m committing myself to training to and giving it my all. My goal is to finish. I’ll be running and going as fast as I can, but I’ll definitely be taking walk breaks (I may even try the Jeff Galloway method). Hopefully I will finish the race, love it and make a better goal for my next race.

Where is my running at right now? Well, I haven’t talked too much about running on my blog lately simply because there hasn’t been much to tell. I haven’t stopped running, but it’s been too hot in Houston and, until recently, I’ve only been running about 2-2.5 miles 2-3 times a week. Now the temperatures are finally beginning to drop and I’ve been increasing my distance a bit and making sure to run three times a week. It’s safe to say that building up to 13.1 miles is going to be very hard, but I hope I can do it!

If you’re in the area or want to take a trip to the great state of Texas and run the race with me, registration is officially open! The half-marathon and 5k are on March 23, 2012. The course will take you through the beautiful Texas hill country and there will be a post-race party catered towards women with mini spa treatments, wine tastings, live music and more. It looks like fun to me!

Handana Giveaway!

What better way to celebrate my goal of running 13.1 miles than a running giveaway?! I recently got in touch with Katie at Handana after seeing a handana reviewed on another blog. What’s a Handana? Good question!

It’s basically a sweat band that wraps around your hand and wrist. Unlike a normal sweat band, it’s not bulky or uncomfortable and you can hardly notice you’re wearing it. When I run outside, I often struggle to keep the sweat off my face, especially in the Texas heat. Obviously you can’t run outside with a towel, so this is a great alternative.

I tested it out on all of my runs last week. Verdict? I loved it! It’s comfortable and highly functional. I also wore it to my yoga class. I don’t do hot yoga, but my class is at a hot yoga studio and the flow classes are generally about 85 degrees, so I get very sweaty. My Handana was a lifesaver in yoga – especially because it can be hard to grab a towel when you’re in yoga poses!

All in all, I highly recommend a Handana for anyone who likes (but doesn’t like) to get sweaty. That’s why I’m giving one away to a lucky reader! How can you enter? Just leave a comment about how you like to get your sweat on. I’ll use a random generator to choose the winner and announce the lucky person next week.

If you don’t win, you can purchase your own Handana at myhandana.com. If you like them on Facebook, you’ll be able to keep up with all of their great deals and promotions. Good luck!

Posted in Fitness, Giveaway, Running | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments

Pumpkin Granola

Happy Friday! For me, this is a fabulous Friday because my grad school midterms are over and one week from today I will be in Las Vegas with Luke for one of my best friends’ wedding! I am so excited to be a bridesmaid and can hardly wait! I will be watching Father of the Bride this weekend to fully prepare :) .

To make my Friday even better, I went on a 3 mile run and came home to a delicious breakfast of pumpkin yogurt and, you guessed it, pumpkin granola!

Pumpkin butter (recipe here) is truly the most essential ingredient for all fall recipes. Pumpkin granola might just be my favorite use for pumpkin butter, but there are so many that it’s hard to say! As long as you have pumpkin butter on hand, this granola is super easy to make and you’ll have a healthy and delicious fall inspired snack in a flash. I added pepitas (pumpkin seeds) to this batch, but you can make it plain or add anything you that looks good – almonds, raisins, etc. – be creative!

First, preheat your oven to 325 and mix together the oats, pepitas (if using), cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl.

Next, stir in the pumpkin butter, honey, and canola oil.

Spread it out evenly on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 325 for 25-30 minutes, flipping a couple times.

Let cool for 30 minutes and enjoy!

Pumpkin Granola

Makes about one medium mason jar.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup pepitas (optional, almonds would be great too!)
  • 6 tbsp pumpkin butter (recipe here)
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp canola oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and pepitas (if using).
  3. Stir in the pumpkin butter, honey, and canola oil.
  4. Spread the mixture out on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 325 for 20 minutes, flipping a couple times.
  5. Let cool for at least 30 minutes and enjoy!

*Note – the granola will harden as it cools. You may think it isn’t done after 20 minutes, but it will be once it cools!

Posted in Brussels Sprouts, Gluten-free, Recipes, Snacks | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

What I Ate Wednesday #23 – Green Pumpkin Smoothie

Another Wednesday has rolled around – time flies when midterms start creeping up on you!

This month, What I Ate Wednesday is all about making use of all that pumpkin lying around to concoct some healthy treats (at least that’s how I see it!). Like this one…

We’ll get to the recipe for this green pumpkin smoothie in a minute!

I’ll be making plenty of healthy pumpkin snacks and treats this month, that’s for sure! I won’t, however, be giving out anything but candy on Halloween. I know most candy is full of sugar and crazy processed, but I just don’t think you can take candy out of Halloween. I don’t want to be the house kids skip because they’re giving out apples instead of snickers. But until October 31st, I’ll keep my healthy focus!

Thanks again to Jenn for hosting WIAW. For those of you who don’t know, Jen over at Peas and Crayons hosts WIAW every week – check out her blog for more information on it and to find some new blogs to read.

Breakfast

Breakfast was nothing other than overnight oats – pumpkin of course! I’m still perfecting the recipe, but adding real pumpkin (in addition to pumpkin butter) is definitely the way to go!

Lunch

Lunch was a green pumpkin smoothie before I headed off to class. Now, I know that may sound incredibly weird. Not to mention, the green color isn’t too appetizing (but you could say it’s spooky!). The taste, however, is like liquid pumpkin pie! Word of advice: it’s really filling! It’s definitely more of a meal than a snack.

Green Pumpkin Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 2 handfuls of spinach
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/4 cup vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup apple cider
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin butter
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Directions:

  1. Put all the ingredients in a blender or immersion blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Enjoy!

Back to WIAW…

Between classes I had another Trader Joe’s brownie and oat bar. I’ll be buying these often!

Dinner

Dinner was crockpot Mexican chicken, rice, and a spinach salad followed by a glass of sauvignon blanc. We’re finally starting to get cool fronts in Houston and when they come, we take advantage of the weather and eat out by the pool. I can’t wait for the weather to stay like this!

And that’s What I ate Wednesday Tuesday! Hopefully I’ll have a new recipe up soon while I’m avoiding studying for midterms!

Posted in Gluten-free, Recipes, Smoothies, WIAW | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

What I Ate Wednesday #22 – Pumpkin Overload!

Happy Wednesday! What I Ate Wednesday Tuesday can basically be summed up by pumpkin this week. Since making my pumpkin butter earlier in the week (which made foodgawker by the way!!!), I’ve been going a little crazy and eating pumpkin butter at almost every meal. You can never have enough pumpkin, right? :)

Thanks again to Jenn for hosting WIAW. For those of you who don’t know, Jen over at Peas and Crayons hosts WIAW every week – check out her blog for more information on it and to find some new blogs to read.

Breakfast

After my short morning run (due to the gross heat and humidity today) I had some delicious pumpkin overnight oats with banana. I’ll be posting a recipe for them soon! I’m probably going to tweak my recipe and give them more pumpkin flavor by adding actual pumpkin to the mix. We’ll see!

Lunch

Lunch was amazing. This combination may sound strange, but I promise it is delicious! I made a quesadilla filled with pumpkin butter, cream cheese, and sliced banana. Seriously good.

In between classes I had a Trader Joe’s Brownie and Oat Bar. It was one of the very few things I picked up at the TJ grand opening in Houston last Friday (because it was a mob scene!). It was a good find and really tasty! When I got home, I snacked on an apple with, you guessed it, more pumpkin butter!

Dinner

Dinner was marinated chicken along with spicy roasted cauliflower (recipe here), sweet and sour butternut squash (recipe here) and brown rice. I’m so happy butternut squash is coming back in season!

Post dinner I had a bowl of ice cream topped with, yes, more pumpkin butter! The perfect pumpkiny end to a fall day!

If you’re a pumpkin lover, stay tuned for more pumpkin inspired recipes coming your way!

Posted in WIAW | Tagged , | 11 Comments

Pumpkin Butter: Hello Fall!

It may not feel like fall yet (at least in Texas), but it’s sure beginning to taste like fall! Nothing tastes like fall more than pumpkin, except maybe pumpkin and apples…

Pumpkin Butter!

And the smell… it’s like walking into a Yankee Candle store this time of year. There’s just nothing better than the scent of pumpkin and spices cooking in the kitchen!

I made my first batch of pumpkin butter last fall and I simply fell in love. I couldn’t believe I’d never had it before. I started adding it to everything. You wouldn’t believe the things you can do with this pumpkin goodness! Add it on top of ice cream or yogurt, spread it on toast or a homemade muffin, dip your hand-picked apples in it, make granola, add it to your morning oats…the list goes on and on! I’ll be showcasing some of my favorite recipes that use pumpkin butter soon, but first you need the prime ingredient!

Oh and did I mention it’s pretty healthy too?

Even better, it’s one of the easiest things to make. 30 minutes and some wonderful aromas permeating your house and you’ll have this quintessential fall condiment!

First, combine all the ingredients together in a medium sauce pan. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for about 30 minutes until it thickens a little bit. Stir frequently!

That’s it! Enjoy!

Pumpkin Butter

Adapted from SkinnyTaste

Ingredients:

  • One 29 oz can of pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling!)
  • 3/4 cup apple cider
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 cinnamon sticks (you can also use about 3 tsp of ground cinnamon)

Directions:

  1. Mix all of the ingredients together in a medium sauce pan.
  2. Bring it all to a boil, reduce the heat, and let it simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Enjoy!

This will last a few days in the fridge or you can freeze a batch because, trust me, you’ll run out and want more!

Posted in Breakfast, Gluten-free, Recipes | Tagged , , , | 20 Comments