portuguese sweet bread

Another installment of Easter food that is coming at you about 349 days too early.

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An Easter tradition in our family used to be wearing coordinated outfits lovingly made by my mom.

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Yes I actually was one of the ugliest children in the world.

The GS informed me that one of the Easter traditions in his family is Portuguese sweet bread. He described it as “I don’t know, Erin, it’s like regular bread I think but it has a hard boiled egg in it.”

Challenge accepted.

Like all things, I did exhaustive research on said bread and settled on a recipe to serve as my inspiration. I picked this one mainly because it was a braided loaf which looked exciting and adventurous.

That recipe has raisins in it but no egg, so I had to make some adjustments.

The GS gave me one of those nifty egg timers once that you put in the water with the eggs and it changes color to tell you when they’re soft boiled or hard boiled.

This egg timer has been used once, unfortunately placed in a pot of boiling water with a frozen filet mignon steak by a beloved friend of ours who will not be named and who was more than a little inebriated at the time, just looking for a midnight snack.

I haven’t actually seen the egg timer since then, but I use this method for perfect hard boiled eggs every time.

Then I dyed the eggs to throw into the braid to make it pretty and festive.

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Other than that, I pretty much followed all of Natasha’s instructions, except I used closer to 6 cups of flour than 6 1/2. I also made it into one giant loaf into two separate ones, which resulted in a slightly under-cooked middle so I would probably make it two loaves next time.

And there will be a next time. The bread is so soft and buttery and not too sweet. It sort of reminds me of pretzel bread but it’s fluffier. I can’t wait to eat it toasted this week, slathered in Kelly’s Nutella since she’s out of town.

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I loaned her my Kindle for the trip so that seems like an even trade.

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dr. pepper glazed easter ham

Happy Easter friends!

Here’s where I tell you all about the great food I made for Easter after it’s already over and you’re no longer looking for Easter meal ideas.

It’s cool, just bookmark it for next year.

My family is in Charleston for Easter which makes me very jealous, and the GS is from Rhode Island which is kind of a hike to go up just for the day. So I decided to make us a feast!

I went shopping for a ham on Friday and was typing out an angry text to the GS like “UGH this grocery store is so ghetto all of the hams are already pre-cooked.”

Jokes on me. A quick Google search told me that all hams are already cooked. That’s what makes it a ham, apparently.

Forgive me for my blasphemy, Harris Teeter.

I guess people always buy them pre-cooked and then add their own glazes, sauces, and/or pineapple rings and maraschino cherry arrangements. I went with a glaze recipe from my girl Ree Drummond. I had to cut it in half because she used basically a whole pig, and my ham was only 8 pounds.

Only 8 pounds. For two people.

We went all over the place looking for Dr. Pepper for the glaze and every store ONLY HAD DIET. I asked Ethan if he thought they were all out of regular Dr. Pepper because everyone was using it to glaze their Easter hams, and he looked at me like I was insane. Fair.

I finally found it at Royal Farms this morning, where I entered looking like a psycho because I taught Body Pump in all neon clothing today as an homage to Easter egg colors. Luckily Royal Farms, unlike Harris Teeter, actually is kind of ghetto so no one really gave me a second look.

In addition to the delicious ham, I also made roasted asparagus, garlic mashed potatoes, and a Portuguese sweet bread which I’ll share with you later this week.

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This is what I used for the glaze:

1 1/2 cups light brown sugar

1/4 cup spicy brown mustard

2 tbs apple cider vinegar

1 cup Dr. Pepper soda

I combined the brown sugar, mustard, and vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat until it started to bubble. Then I added the Dr. Pepper, and lowered the heat to a simmer. I let it cook for at least 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it reduced. Then I let it sit for a while and cool- it thickened up more in this phase.

I tented my ham with aluminum foil and baked it at 300 degrees for an hour. Then I pulled it out, brushed the glaze all over it, and put it back in the oven at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes without the foil.

You can definitely cook it longer in the initial phase- my packaging said 13-15 minutes per pound which would have been closer to 2 hours. I only pulled it out early because I had other uses for my oven and didn’t really care if it was completely heated through because, oh yeah, it was about 10 times more ham than we actually needed.

I do recommend buying a ham that isn’t already pre-sliced, because then it will probably dry out. The Pioneer woman made diagonal cuts in hers and stuck in a bunch of fresh cloves but I skipped that step.

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Delicious and Easter-y. I think we may have a lot of leftovers.

soy ginger chicken thighs

Hey guess what! My thesis defense is Tuesday.

Am I ready? Ehhh..

Do I care? Ehhh…

I just got comments back from my committee on my document and one of them basically questioned the purpose of the entire study so I just clickety clicked “Delete Comment” on good old Microsoft Word and breezed past that hiccup.

I have a feeling she might bring it up again in the defense.

Instead of focusing on that I’m thinking about what I’m going to wear to it- heels only look professional if you can stand in them steadily. I’m also deciding where I’m going to do my celebratory drinking once it’s all over.

Assuming I pass which, really, is up in the air.

In the mean time my whole family is going on vaca to Charleston for Easter and I can’t go because, wait, I’m still a student. This is getting really old.

Also I found out that my contract for my residency in Rochester still hasn’t gone through which is excellent now that I’ve signed a year lease starting June 1st.

The moral of the story is, my life is in shambles. Let’s keep laughing about it and eat some chicken.

I’m going to be honest, I didn’t measure anything. I usually don’t when I cook (only baking- chemistry at its finest) but my estimates here are going to be especially rough.

Soy Ginger Chicken Thighs

one package boneless skinless chicken thighs (mine had 5 in it)

about 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

about 2 tbs low sodium soy sauce

about 1/4 cup olive oil

a little grated fresh ginger (maybe 1/4 – 1/2 inch?)

2 cloves grated garlic

about 1-2 tsp honey

Whisk all of this together and toss it with the chicken. Let it marinate for at least an hour.

Sear both sides of each chicken thigh in a skillet. Pour the remaining marinade over the chicken in a baking dish an let it finish cooking in the oven- I did it at 425 (only because I was simultaneously roasting asparagus) for about 10 minutes and it was fully cooked.

Top with chopped scallions and enjoy! I served it with the asparagus and some brown rice.

This is a great summer marinade for any protein and would be good on the grill too.

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True to form, I took one picture and inhaled it.

 

whole wheat Greek flatbreads

I talk about a whole lot of nothing in these blog posts.

Somehow I failed to mention (almost four months ago) when I found out that I’ll be moving back to the CNY in June to do my fourth year residency at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

I think it’s somewhat ironic that I applied to 10 places all over the country and the fates are dragging me back toward Kevin, camp, and convenient Wegmans locations.

I’m really excited though, it will be an awesome experience and I get a PAYCHECK. It will likely work out to being less than minimum wage given that I’ll be the audiology department bitch for the year, but it’s more money than I make now which is 3 Body Pump classes a week. You do the math.

I went home for the weekend so that my mom and I could scope out apartments in Rochester. I agonized over the decision to the point where it was obnoxious. I was between two places  in the same building: one was significantly smaller but neat and tidy, the other was big but looked like it belonged to a hoarder. Same price.

It involved fighting almost all of my instincts to go with more space over the one that was clean with the appropriate amount of furniture.

The property management lady promised that it would be professionally cleaned and repainted before I move in.

So soon enough you’ll be seeing food pictures from a new kitchen, and I may have to switch up my style given that I’ll really just be cooking and baking for one- no easy way to pass off leftovers on the GS.

He’s convinced he’s going to starve without me.

The GS is actually the inspiration for this post. He’s in Florida on a mancation and sent me a picture of a pizza they ordered and I had to have it. Especially since when he sent me the picture I had just eaten leftover broccoli macaroni that was 4 days old.

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I know Sheila has demonstrated that you can pretty much put any assortment of ingredients on a pizza and it will taste good, you get it. But here’s another concoction for your pizza repertoire, easily made into single servings!

Whole Wheat Greek Flatbreads

makes 4

for the pizza dough

2 1/4 cups warm water

3 1/2 tsp dry active yeast

1 tbs honey

3 1/3 cups whole wheat flour

1 1/2 tsp salt

toppings

1 can artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed

2 roasted red peppers

1/4 red onion, sliced thinly

bunch spinach, rinsed and chopped

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup marinara sauce

mozzarella cheese & feta cheese

Combine water, yeast and honey and let it sit until foamy. Stir in the flour and salt and knead for 5 minutes or so until smooth- you may need to add more or less flour, I would start with 3 cups. Let the dough rise covered in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours.

Divide the dough evenly into four sections. Spread into whatever shape you like. Spread your marinara, top with a sprinkle of mozzarella. Top with diced artichokes, roasted reds, spinach, red onion, and feta.

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Bake at 375 on a greased baking sheet or pizza stone for 30 minutes or until the crust is golden and crunchy.

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He’s still in Florida, so I spy my dinner for the next three nights.

turkey sloppy joes

Let the countdown to AudiologyNOW! 2015 begin. San Antonio, TX here I come.

Seriously I had the greatest time ever at my ear nerd conference. Aside from the fact that I was surrounded by like-minded people who want to talk audiology anytime and all the time regardless of sleep deprivation and blood alcohol level, everything was FREE.

I think I’ve told you, eh, once or twice on this blog about how poor I am. It’s a sad state of affairs. So when someone is offering up a gigantic buffet and a massive open bar (and I mean open- not just Bud Light, red wine or white wine), I had to take advantage. One day we randomly had mojitos with lunch. Because why not?

I know you’re all waiting on the edge of your seats to hear about Smashmouth, which was amazing. I forgot how many songs they had in Shrek in the 90s. The lead singer has gone completely gray, but we were all wearing ear plugs so really we couldn’t make fun of anyone.

The following night we went to another hearing aid sponsored party at House of Blues in Downtown Disney. The Emerald City Band played and they were so good that I literally pulled out my phone during the concert to see if they do weddings.

Don’t worry, not engaged. Just out of curiosity. Unfortunately they only do “high profile” weddings, and we have yet to hit fame and fortune status with this here blog. I’ll keep dreaming.

Back to real life and real grocery bills, I’ve got a cheapity cheap dinner for you that’s juuust healthy enough to justify it as we hopefully start to move into some warmer weather.

Turkey Sloppy Joes, adapted from Ree Drummond

1 lb ground turkey (I used 93% lean, you can also use ground beef here)

1 medium sweet onion, diced

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 cup ketchup

1/2 cup water

1 tbs tomato paste

1 tbs brown sugar

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp dry mustard

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

dash of Worcestershire sauce

salt and pepper, to taste

4 Kaiser rolls

butter

Pour 1-2 tbs olive oil in a skillet and brown the turkey. You may have to drain out some of the water so that it actually browns and doesn’t just steam- I did.

Add the diced onion and garlic and stir, letting it cook for a few minutes until the onions get slightly translucent. Pour in the ketchup, water, tomato paste, and seasonings and stir together. Lower the heat and let everything simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Season to taste.

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Toast your kaiser rolls, and throw your sloppy joe mixture on there. I served these with  baked sweet potato fries.

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The turkey here isn’t dried out  at all it’s delicious and doesn’t taste healthy. I’m a believer.

white pizza with spinach and bacon

What do you have for dinner after a workout when it’s 8pm and you’re all alone?unnamed-2

Cereal?

Oatmeal?

A five dollar foot-long?

Let’s step up our game!

I made this pizza on one of those nights. My mom came home from being OUT to dinner and smelled the kitchen and warmed herself up a slice. “Delicious, could use some lemon, though.” I’ve created a monster.

This pizza is arguably easier to make than the lemon spinach pizza (linked above) and has those comforting flavors that we all know play so nicely together. Not to bring up the fact that is is March 31st and it took me twenty minutes to brush the snow off my car yesterday, but I declare this pizza a great Spring transition food.

We really have no fresh produce, but we’re tired of red sauce. Here’s your answer.

This is the recipe I followed.

I used fresh dough from Mark’s pizzeria (they’ll sell you fresh dough for a dollar-flat!) picked up on the way home from the gym. I was eating within the hour.

Have fun!

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PS That new series I talked about starting forever ago? It’s coming back next week.

 

healthy banana breakfast cookies (gluten-free!)

Maybe these should be called breakfast biscuits? I’ll admit that “cookies” is deceptive. They’re not all that sweet and certainly don’t have a soft, buttery crumb. They’re kind of like a granola bar and cookie made a biscuit baby.

That’s exactly it.

If you’re counting, this is my third “cookies with kids” post. You can see my culinary creations with other people’s children in posts 1 and 2.

This one’s a bit different than my past endeavors because we were making the cookies for my nutrition-conscious aunt’s birthday. Therefore, pleasing the child was not the name of the game here. Getting his focus using kinesthetics, incorporating math skills, and learning how to spell baking terms (flour versus flower) were the bonuses we were after this time. It was an exciting afternoon, indeed.

I made two batches of these cookies (I have a ‘one for you, one for me’ mentality when it comes to cooking for others…) and ate them for breakfast every day. See my other car breakfast of choice here.

Like the rest of the free world, I’m currently “watching what I eat.” Moving home this year has resulted in my scale telling me I’ve eaten too much for six months. I’d like to blame my mom, but instead I’ll blame my brain.

Speaking of my brain, I’m also TERRIBLE at remembering birthdays. Good thing I have this six year old around to keep me straight with family birthdays.

Baked goods like this are my saving grace.

Healthy Banana Breakfast Cookies

Original recipe from here.

Notes:

  • I used peanut butter instead of almond butter.
  • Don’t forget to flatten the cookies before baking.
  • I used some steel cut oats for added texture.
  • I subbed walnuts for almonds.
  • You can switch out berries/chocolate/nuts as you please!

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