Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Whiskey Maple Syrup

I am obsessed with syrup! I want to eat it, I want to make diy syrup, I even have learned how to tap a maple tree and collect sap so I can make the real stuff! (Coming soon to S4Y!)

I kind of remind myself of that scene from the movie Elf. ..
Just call me Buddy!

Needless to say, I have been going through bottles and bottles of maple syrup lately... I'll put syrup on just about anything.

The exciting news is I have a quick and easy DIY syrup recipe to share. ..that includes whiskey! What could be better than Syrup + Whiskey + Bacon?! Pair this whiskey maple syrup with some delicious bacon (or spaghetti) and your day is made!

It's so easy, my husband and I actually made a huge batch and gave it to our friends and family for Christmas a few years ago. It was a hit!   

What You'll Need:

1 cup water
1 and 1/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp Whiskey (I used Bushmills)
1 tsp maple extract or imitation maple flavoring

yields about 1.5 cups of syrup!

 How You'll Do It:

In a saucepan, whisk all ingredients together and bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Whisk occasionally and simmer for 20-25 minutes until syrup has thickened.

Serve warm or store in an airtight container in the fridge!

Real Maple Sugaring is coming soon to the search for yum! You won't want to miss this! But for now this diy syrup recipe should hold you over!  

Friday, March 20, 2015

Fusilli with Chicken, Asparagus and Tomatoes

Happy Spring! Although, if you live in New England like me, it doesn't feel like Spring quite yet with all of this snow and cold weather! But warmer days are just ahead (let's hope)!

I'm ready for warmer weather, but not ready to give up those one pot comfort dinners that I love so much during the Winter. So I wanted to share one of my favorite one pot Spring dinners that brings together comfort and fresh seasonal produce: Fusilli with Chicken, Asparagus and Tomatoes.

It comes from the cookbook Simple Fresh & Healthy, A Collection of Seasonal Recipes by Linda Hafner. Where I grew up, Hafner's Farmer's Market is a staple for the best locally grown, farm fresh, seasonal produce. My friend got this cookbook for me one summer when I was feeling especially homesick. I might not have the fresh upstate NY produce at hand, but with the recipes in this book I can have a little taste of home whenever I need it.

What You'll need:

8 ounces fusilli pasta
1 Tbs olive oil
1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast, finely cut into 1/4 inch strips
1 cup asparagus,  sliced in 1 inch pieces
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs chopped fresh basil
2 Tbs white balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1. Prepare fusilli according to package directions, timing it so that pasta is ready to drain when chicken and vegetables are cooked.

2. Sprinkle chicken strips with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken and asparagus and sauté for 5 minutes.

3. Add tomatoes and garlic. Sauté for 1 minute and remove from heat.

4. Drain cooked pasta and add to skillet. (When draining pasta, reserve a cup of cooking water. Add a little at a time if the final mixture seems too dry). Stir in basil, vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Divide into four portions and garnish each with a tablespoon of cheese. This recipe is best cold or at room temperature.

Serves 4.
Each serving supplies:
Calories(kcal) 438, Protein 36 (g), Carbohydrates 49 (g), Dietary Fiber 4 (g), cholesterol 72 (mg), Fat 11 (g), Sodium 406 (mg)

For more great Spring recipes, + Summer, Fall and Winter recipes, inspired by seasonal upstate new york produce, check out Linda Hafner's Simple Fresh & Healthy, A Collection of Seasonal Recipes!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Cheesy Potato Soup - 5 Ingredient Crockpot Soup Recipe

We are stuck in a never ending winter here in New England! Record snow and record cold temperatures have me constantly craving warm, hearty meals. And what's heartier than a good potato and cheese soup?! And since it's always fun to have a reason to use the crockpot, I whipped up this easy, five ingredient recipe using mine!

Cheesy Potato Crockpot Soup

What You'll Need:
1 carton (32 oz) chicken broth (4 cups)
1 1/2 cups chopped onions (about 1 large onion)
5 cups diced peeled potatoes (I used about 6 russet potatoes)
12 slices of yellow American cheese (8 oz)
3 tablespoons cornstarch

optional toppings: scallions and crumbled bacon bits 

How You'll Do It:

1. Place 1/4 cup broth in separate container and refrigerate. In crockpot, mix chopped onions, diced potatoes and remaining broth.

2. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.*

3. Increase heat to high. In small bowl, mix cornstarch and reserved broth until smooth. Add to cooker, stir. Cover, heat to simmering and cook 10 to 15 minutes longer or until thickened.

4. Break sliced cheese into pieces and stir in  crockpot until well melted.

5. If desired, top with bacon bits and/or scallions - Enjoy!

*if you are looking for faster results, I'm sure this recipe would be just fine cooking at a higher temperature for a shorter amount of time. But since I only made it the painfully slow way, you'll have to play around with the timing yourself! But if you do, I'd love to hear how it goes!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Spinach, Mushroom and Feta Crustless Quiche

I have been wanting to try a new breakfast dish that I can make ahead of time and heat up for a few easy weekday mornings or even for a crowd for our ski weekends in VT!

So I have been searching Pinterest for just the thing! And I think this Spinach, Mushroom and Feta Cruststless Quiche I found pinned by Budget Bytes is perfect! Great for me to quickly heat up and enjoy by the slice during the week and great for an easy ski weekend breakfast for everyone! And, turns out it's easy and cheap to make and delicious too!

I had A LOT of fun making this with my son! It was our first time cooking in the kitchen together (while he was awake and alert). It made me even more excited for all of the fun we are going to have in the kitchen together in the years to come, just listening to music and experimenting with food.. and eating it! 

Spinach, Mushroom and Feta Crustless Quiche

What You'll Need
4 large eggs
8 oz mushrooms - thinly sliced
1 box frozen spinach (10 oz) - thawed
1 cup milk
2 oz feta cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1 garlic clove - minced
salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. Cook mushrooms and minced garlic in skillet coated with non-stick spray on medium-high heat. Saute mushrooms for about 5 - 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper as desired.

Next, drain excess water from thawed spinach and combine with cooked mushrooms and garlic. Add feta cheese. Spread onto the bottom of greased pie dish.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, parmesan. Sprinkle with pepper. Pour this mixture into the pie dish over the spinach, mushrooms and feta.

3. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese over the top. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown on top and the center is solid.

Enjoy! OR Cover and refrigerate to be heated up and enjoyed at a later time :)

Monday, February 2, 2015

Greek Yogurt Pancake Recipe

About 1 week before I had my son, Chobani reached out to me about participating in their #MadeWithChobani project. The challenge was to create a unique, healthy recipe using Chobani yogurt as a key ingredient. That was over a month ago.

Well today, as my son turns 1 month old, the stars finally aligned and I was able to create the recipe I had been planning.

As I watched my little man drift slowly into a deep mid morning nap, I was torn between joining him in getting some precious Z's or making coffee and having breakfast. My rumbling tummy won as usual and as I went into the kitchen I realized I finally had all the ingredients to make the delicious greek yogurt pancake that I have been dreaming up for a month now. And well, it was worth the wait. And guess what? Super easy!

So without further ado, my Chobani Recipe Challenge creation:

Greek Yogurt Pancakes

What You'll Need:
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp sugar
1 egg
1 personal size container of greek yogurt - any flavor you want! 
    **I used indulgent raspberry and dark chocolate Chobani greek yogurt and it was delicious!
1 tbsp canola oil/butter (for frying pan)

1. Start heating canola oil in frying pan/griddle over medium heat.
2. Mix the rest of the ingredients together until well blended.
3. Pour mixture into pan/griddle. As soon as you start to see the side facing upwards begin to bubble, flip over. As soon as that is cooked, just move to a plate, Add some butter, syrup and your favorite pancake toppings! Although not pictured here, I highly recommend some whipped cream!

Why I love this greek yogurt pancake recipe and why I think you'll love it:
This recipe is very easy to make, it's fast AND you only need a few ingredients that you probably already have. While I do love to use Aunt Jemima's whole wheat pancake mix from time to time, I love that making pancakes from scratch is really just as easy - and delicous! 
I also really love how cutomizable it is :)  With so many greek yogurt flavors to choose from,you can have strawberry greek yogurt pancakes, blueberry, coconut, double chocolate chunk, etc...so many greek yogurt pancake flavors to try!

Friday, January 30, 2015

My First Month as a Mom + Easy Snacks

I put my little 3 week 6 day old infant down in his bassinet after a 10:30 pm feeding. He slept an entire 4 hours and I swear woke up as a little boy. He felt heavier, fuller, with a thicker body, longer torso and limbs, bigger hands...even his hair seemed a little longer. Had his fleece onesie (already a 3 month size) even become a little snug? I think so!

I changed his diaper, nursed him then burped him and held him close for way longer than necessary before laying my sweet little slumbering baby back down in his bassinet. Who am I kidding? I was clinging to him for dear life, afraid that the next time he woke, he'd stand up and walk away from me a grown man!

Even after i finally managed to put him back down I sat there for way too long just watching him breathing and growing before my very eyes. I didn't want to sleep, even knowing he would be awake for his next feeding in 3, 2 maybe even 1 hour. I might have even been wishing a tiny bit that he would wake right back up so I could scoop him back into my arms and he could rest his cherub cheek on my shoulder and wrap his tiny arm around mine. What is sleep when you are so completely, helplessly in love anyways? I don't want to miss one precious moment with this perfect little man. The next day, at 2:53 pm, he would already be 4 weeks old.

Things I've Learned my first month as a mom

How to Live on Love. I quickly learned what living on love really means. Because there's no other way to explain how a human being can function on such little sleep for so many days! I have to giggle at posts I see on facebook of people complaining about only getting 4 or 5 hours of sleep...what's that even like?! That much sleep could keep me going for a week at this point!

Midnight snacks rule. Midnight snacks make nighttime feeds more bearable. Give yourself something to look forward to. Before bed, prepare a fully stocked nursing station wherever you plan on nursing the baby,. water, snacks, blanket, phone, charger, etc. That way, when the baby is ready and you rush to your rocking chair, you aren't left sitting there for 30+ minutes thinking of the water that's in the other room and how hungry you are! And, if you ask me, just go ahead and indulge. My snack of choice is M&Ms with Chex mix. Perfect mix of salty and sweet to occupy those long, dark hours. I would not have survived the first two weeks without a mug of this mix by the rocking chair. Snacking really helped to keep me awake.

Daytime snacks rule. I think you are probably catch onto a theme here. And it shouldn't come as a surprise that I clearly haven't stopped thinking about food!

The challenge with both nighttime and daytime snacks is it has to be something you don't have to refrigerate (unless your nursing area is complete with a fridge...which would be pretty sweet). I have spent some time finding great snack options to keep on hand for anytime feedings! Take a look at all of the yummy options on my Snacks Pinterest Board!
Make Lists. Between feedings, burping, spit ups, diaper changes, outfit changes, baths, laundry, snuggling, etc., you might get 5 minutes every other day to do one of the million other things you have on your mind. But add in sleep deprivation and chances are when you do have a second, your going to be brain dead and not able to remember anything you wanted to do. I started keeping a list on my phone and it really helps. I have made far better use of free time since doing that. As soon as I think of something I can't get to, I put it on the list and that way don't have to use brain power to try to remember what it was later on! Plus, it feels so good to check things off! Don't forget to put sleep, shower and eat on there for yourself.

Also, grocery lists. Since you won't be able to get out to the store yourself for a little while, you really need to be prepared to let someone else know exactly what you need - a list guarantees nothing is forgotten. Don't forget those snacks!

Cherish Every Single Second. No explanation needed. Being a mom is the best thing ever and babies grow way to fast (see above).

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Introducing the Newest Member of the Search for YUM!

I am beyond happy to announce Colin Robert Donovan officially joined me on my Search for Yum on January 2, 2015 at 2:53 p.m. Weighing in at 8 lbs 4 o.z. and 20 inches, he already has a huge appetite!

Although he's limited right now in his selection of cuisine...he loves spending time in the kitchen and is as enthusiastic as I am to get cooking and baking together! ...And so is our trusty sidekick, Roxy!

I am also happy to say that my gestational diabetes is gone and I have been making up for the last few months and indulging my palette with plenty of carbs and sweets!

It seems like just yesterday that I was announcing my big news with my new found love and appreciation of mocktails! As I now have a wonderful little assistant, you can expect to see some big and yummy things on the Search for Yum coming in 2015! We have some big plans! It's going to be a great year! Lots of deliciousness to come!