thursday things – new years diets, ben and jerry, and baymax cookies

new years someecard

Happy Thursday, everyone!

If you’re still working on that New Year’s diet, good for you! You’ve made it halfway through the month! If not, then who cares? That’s what next year is for!

Chipotle is trying to help you diet (and warming your heart) by nixing carnitas at 1/3 of their locations due to animal welfare violations at one of their main suppliers.

Even science is trying to make us feel better by saying that we don’t need to diet every day… We just need to work two days of mini-fasting into our routines to reduce our appetites and burn up stored fat.

In case you’re STILL not convinced, let us discuss again why you definitely should not wash your raw chicken… Now with germ-o-vision!

Real Simple provides the ultimate food storage chart, though I’ve never seen onions last two months at room temperature in my house… Perhaps if I lived in the tundra.

Lucky Peach, that fancy magazine from Chef David Chang, went global on the interwebs – check it out for “a tossed salad of weird and original stories and ideas,” but I’m mostly looking at those killer ramen recipes… just sayin.

I found my new favorite way to read the news.

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And my new favorite way to smite my enemies

Ben & Jerry’s announced my new favorite ice cream flavors their new core flavors for 2015 … AND THEY’RE AWESOME.

Cadbury fans are freaking out about the new creme filling in their Cadbury eggs. Don’t worry, guys, it’s only in the UK. Your US eggs are safe (for now).

3D-printed desserts are now a thing…

Rachel Ray shows us how to resuscitate our stale bread, though I haven’t tried it yet so I can’t vouch for it.

With my birthday coming up in March, if anyone wants to make me some of these Baymax cookies to cry into while I say “goodbye” to my 20’s, I will love you forever.

peppermint bark

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Since I couldn’t share my holiday basket recipes with you in December (that would have spoiled the surprise for the recipients!), I’ve decided to share them with you in January! Here’s a quick peek at what we’ll be covering…

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  • Gingerbread blondies
  • Peppermint bark
  • Parmesan-thyme crackers
  • Cheddar crisps
  • Cinnamon-apple bourbon
  • Toffee chip shortbread cookies

Today’s topic: Peppermint bark.

The first time I had peppermint bark was years ago at Williams Sonoma and at almost $30 a pop I limited myself to their free samples and other, cheaper, knock-off varieties of the holiday treat. While I was thinking about what to put in my 2014 baskets, I realized that I still had a good amount of Chocoley laying around and thought it would be perfect some holiday bark!

You can use any chocolate you like, of course, but I’ve already told you about how I love the snap of Chocoley’s Candy Molding formula, which makes a nice sturdy base for this bark without having to temper the chocolate at all. Just melt and pour, then top it with some white chocolate and a generous sprinkling of crushed candy canes on top and voila! You have a whole sheet-pan of peppermint bark for a fraction of what you would pay for the tiny bit you get from Williams Sonoma one!

peppermint bark

Ingredients

  • 14 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 14 ounces white chocolate, chopped
  • 3 candy canes, chopped or crushed

Instructions

  1. Line a sheet pan or 9-by-13 pan (for neater corners) with aluminum foil and/or parchment, smoothing out any wrinkles.
  2. Melt dark chocolate over just steaming water in a double boiler. (Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals at 50% power, stirring in between each session).
  3. Stir in the peppermint extract and pour into prepared pan, spreading to form an even layer. Set in the fridge to firm up while you melt the white chocolate.
  4. In a separate bowl, melt the white chocolate in the same manner as the dark chocolate (it may take less time).
  5. Remove dark chocolate layer from fridge and pour white chocolate over the dark chocolate layer, spreading the white chocolate to form an even layer. Sprinkle with candy canes and return to fridge for about 10 minutes to set up.
  6. Set on the counter to continue firming up, about one hour, then cut into desired size chunks.
  7. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
http://wee-eats.com/2015/01/11/peppermint-bark/

 

thursday things

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I just want to let you know that I wrote you a long, beautiful Thursday Things post today… and then my computer bugged out and ate it. I would try to re-create it but now I’m just sad and tired and defeated, which is how I’m sure a lot of us are feeling one whole week into our New Year’s resolutions. ;) So, I put a picture of an adorable owl at the top of this post to cheer myself up. Isn’t he the cutest?

If one of your resolutions is to be more healthy, close your eyes for a second because this butter mill will blow your mind (and likely increase your butter consumption exponentially).

You may, however, want to add avocados to your grocery list, as a new study just showed that eating an avocado a day can decrease your bad cholesterol by up to 14% in just five weeks.

We happen to be participating in another Whole30 this January, and we aren’t the only ones.

You could also try juicing (or smoothie-ing)… though I can’t imagine living on only juice, adding one or two to your daily routine can definitely up your nutrients.

If you’re trying to cut your grocery budget, Food52 can help you spend less money on your favorite ingredients. With kitchen hacks for everything from buttermilk to self-rising flour.

Want to master your homemaking skills? Find out the correct way to load your dishwasher and how to clean 10 important household items.

If you just want to have more fun this year – you’re in luck because the games from your childhood (or, mine at least) are now online… for free! I’m going to ford so many rivers….

Or just watch this video of lions playing with Christmas trees… apparently pine trees are the lion equivalent of catnip. (Who knew?)

gingerbread blondies

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HAPPY NEW YEAR! I’m sure I should be focusing on green things and healthy recipes, but I made these gingerbread blondies over the holiday for my Christmas treat boxes and it would just not be fair for me to keep them from you.

I know exactly what some of you are thinking right now: “Gingerbread? Ew!” But, hear me out… I know that you think you don’t like gingerbread. You probably had a bite of a gingerbread house as it was under construction and spit it out in disgust, or ate the legs off of a tiny gingerbread man only to be disappointed by the flavor… or maybe you had a bite of some dry gingerbread cake that fell to pieces in your mouth.

I’m here to tell you that those, my friends, are not what gingerbread is really all about. These blondies, on the other hand, will redeem every negative gingerbread experience you’ve ever had in your life. They are soft and delightfully chewy and filled to the top with molasses and spices that will make your mouth do the happy dance.

I adapted the recipe from Mr. Eats’s favorite blondies.  I kept the basic ratios the same, but punched up the spices and added a healthy dose of molasses to make these babies really shine.

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gingerbread blondies

Ingredients

  • 2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • pinch ground cloves
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil and parchment. Lightly grease the parchment with cooking spray or butter.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the flour with the baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Stir to combine.
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars with an electric mixer until fluffy. (If you are using a stand mixer, you will want to use the paddle attachment)
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate the egg after each addition.
  5. Scrape down the bowl and add the molasses, beating until incorporated.
  6. Add the vanilla and continue beating another 10 or 15 seconds until it is mixed in.
  7. Add half of the flour mixture and beat on low just until moistened. Add the other half of the mixture and beat on low until just combined, being careful not to overmix. There should be no traces of white flour in the dough.
  8. Spread batter into the prepared pan - it helps if you moisten your hands and use them to help spread and pat the batter into place (it will be quite thick and sticky). Bake until edges are dry and the center is completely set, about 30 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the middle should come out clean.
  9. Cool completely on a wire rack and cut into squares.
http://wee-eats.com/2015/01/06/gingerbread-blondies/

gingerbread blondies pin

thursday things – my favorite wee eats recipes from 2014

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!  I can’t believe it’s already 2015 ~ 2014 was quite a year, so 2015 has a lot to live up to.

We already discussed YOUR favorite recipes of 2014 – now I want to share MY favorite recipes from 2014… in no particular order. Not because I didn’t try to rank them, I did. I just could not for the life of me figure out which order to put them in because I loved them all SO MUCH.

If you didn’t get around to making any of these in 2014, I definitely recommend putting them on your to-do list for this year!

The savories…

This red lentil daal – it’s so warm and hearty and perfect for cold winter nights.

red lentil daal | wee eats

My pain au Thanksgiving – which could really be stuffed with anything – but were SO GOOD that we basically ended up consuming an entire batch of croissants in less than week…

pain au thanksgiving | wee eats

These grain-free stuffed peppers from when I was on my whole 30 kick – I’ve been making them consistently ever since!

stuffed pepper wee-eats.com

This over the top lasagna grilled cheese – because if you haven’t eaten your pasta inside of bread, then you haven’t truly lived.

lasagna grilled cheese| wee eats

If just looking at that grilled cheese is making your arteries clog, try this Creamless Creamy Cauliflower Soup – it is to DIE for.

cauliflower soup | wee eats

 

 The sweets….

Pumpkin Cookies & Cream Ice Cream – which was an extremely difficult choice. Runners up included the salted caramel pumpkin roll and pumpkin pie bread pudding, but I didn’t want to pumpkin-out the list…

pumpkin ice cream | wee eats

The almond-stuffed galette de rois which, trust me, tastes WAAAAY better than it looks.

king cake | wee eats

These deligtfully adorable mini tagalong cheesecakes - runner up:  DIY Peanut Butter Eggs

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The Baked Bakery’s Sweet & Salty Cake that I made for my birthday

sweet and salty cake | wee eats

The even-better-than-girlscout-cookies samoa cookie bars

samoa cookie bars | wee eats