Like Father, Like Daughter

If you know me, you know I like to eat. It’s really not a secret. And, if you know my dad, he likes to eat, too. I’m pretty sure that’s where I got it from. What can I say…like father, like daughter!

Tonight, my dad and I got to share our love for delicious food during a fun father-daughter dinner date! We left the house with the idea of going to Happy Hour somewhere, getting a few drinks and splitting a few appetizers, but, that soon flew out the window. Once we got to the restaurant that we intended to attend Happy Hour at, we saw that they offered a 3 course dinner Monday through Thursday for just $25! We were sold.

Although we weren’t eating off the Happy Hour menu, we made sure to get our drinks off of it! I ordered a Grey Hound to start. This is one of my go-to drinks: the combination of grape fruit juice and vodka is fabulous.

While sipping away, we got down to the work of deciding on our 3 courses!

I skipped the first course in favor of ordering one of the dessert options instead.

To start, I had the Caesar Salad

It was delicious! I even ate the anchovie on top. It was my first time trying one, and I have to say, it was pretty good!


I am really not a huge meat lover, and don’t get the urge to order red meat often, but for some reason, the Top Sirloin was totally calling my name tonight

It ended up being a great choice because everything on the plate was amazing! Not to mention, it was the perfect sized portion for me.
I mentioned that I forwent the first course in exchange for ordering dessert. This was a no brainer for me…I would so much rather have dessert than another appetizer. Bring it on!

My choice was the Caramel Apple Tartin, an inverted apple tart topped with Dulce de Leche and Vanilla Bean ice cream. Waaaaaaaaay better than any appetizer could be!

My dad and I had a great night out, and I really enjoyed spending some quality one-on-one time with him.

Mmmm….my tummy is quite full and happy now, time to relax and digest! Good night!

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WIAW

Welcome back to another…

My morning started with a repeat…Strawberry Cheesecake oats!

I feel like this is my breakfast in every single WIAW post, but this is actually the first time I have eaten oatmeal since being home. I have been on a serious cereal and yogurt kick lately! I think my time away from oatmeal made this bowl taste especially tasty!

After digesting, I went to the gym for spin class! Still can’t get enough!

Lunch today was a tasty one…perfect post workout fuel!

I had a bowl of chicken and veggies with honey sesame sauce over orzo pasta

Paired with a super juicy orange on the side.

Dinner came together thanks to the addition of some Easter leftovers

Homemade Split pea soup with ham and a dollop of greek yogurt on top!

Delicious and thick, just like it should be!

With ths soup alone I think I met this month’s WIAW challenge of “serving up an extra cup of veggies”!

I didn’t realize it until I was writing this post, but I used the same bowl for all three meals I ate today. I swear I used a new, clean bowl every time!!

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Triple-Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake

In last night’s Easter recap post, I shared a picture of the dessert I made for our family dinner.
Delicious, moist, and bursting with blueberry and lemon flavors, the cake got two thumbs up from everyone sitting around the table.
Although Easter has come and gone, this dessert is the perfect ending to any spring or summertime meal.

Triple-Lemon Blueberry Cake

Ingredients

For cake
2 cups plus 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon pure lemon extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened about 20 minutes out of refrigerator
1 1/2 cups white sugar
4 large eggs
For Icing
1 cup soft unsalted butter
2 teaspoons lemon zest
5 cups icing sugar (or 6 cups for sweeter version)
4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
6 tablespoons whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract
2 tablespoons water
pinch salt
Yellow food coloring
Directions
For Cake
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare three 8″ round cake pans with parchment paper, butter and flour. Sift dry ingredients into medium bowl.
2. Transfer 1 tablespoon flour mixture to larger bowl. Add fresh blueberries and toss to coat them with flour. Set remaining flour mixture and blueberries aside.
3. Stir whole milk, sour cream, vanilla extract, lemon extract and lemon zest in small bowl.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar, until pale yellow and very fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, until well combined.
5. Mix in flour mixture alternately with milk mixture, starting and ending with flour mixture. Stir until just combined. Gently fold in blueberries. Divide batter equally among 8″ round pans.
6. Bake cakes until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on racks for about 10 minutes, then invert onto racks until completely cool
7. Frost with Zesty Lemon Frosting
For Frosting
1. Cream butter and lemon zest in bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, about 3 minutes.
2. Slowly add icing sugar, mixing on low speed for about 2 minutes.
3. Add remaining ingredients and beat on med-high for 3-4 minutes until very fluffy.
4. Add food coloring color and then beat until blended. Add until desired color is achieved

Happy Easter!

My day has been filled with a lot of quality family time, starting with brunch out this morning, and and early dinner hosted by by parents this evening. Of course, a day filled with family also means a day filled with amazing food!

And a few glasses of champagne!

My mom made a spread full of all the traditional favorites, including an apple, pomegranate, walnut and goat cheese salad

Steamed asparagus

Scalloped potatoes, sweet potatoes and of course, ham!

I made sure to get a bit of everything

And this year, I also volunteered to make a few contributions.

My first contribution? Hot Cross Buns!

Hot cross buns are a traditional Easter side, but this was the first year they made an appearance in our household.
Traditional Hot Cross Buns


Ingredients
1 package fast-acting yeast
3/4 c. warm water (105-115*F)
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 c. butter, softened
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
4 c flour
1 c raisins
For Egg Wash
1 egg
2 tbsp water
For Icing
1 c powdered sugar
1 tbsp water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. In large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in granulated sugar, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, 2 eggs and 2 cups of the flour. Beat with spoon until smooth. Stir in cranberries, blueberries, cherries and enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle.
  2. Place dough on lightly floured surface; gently roll in flour to coat. Knead about 5 minutes or until smooth and springy. Grease large bowl with shortening. Place dough in bowl, turning dough to grease all sides. Cover; let rise in warm place about 1 1/2 hours or until double in size. (Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.)
  3. Grease cookie sheet with shortening or cooking spray. Gently push fist into dough to deflate. Divide dough in half. Divide each half into 8 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball. Place about 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Snip a cross shape in top of each ball with scissors. Cover; let rise in warm place about 40 minutes or until double in size.
  4. Heat oven to 375°F. In small bowl, slightly beat 1 egg and cold water; brush over tops of buns. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix all icing ingredients until smooth and spreadable. Remove buns from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Cool 5 minutes. Frost cross on top of each bun with icing.
  6. Serve warm.

They were a total hit with everyone, and will be an Easter tradition from now on!

But, I didn’t stop there! My second contribution appeared after dinner in the form of dessert


I made a Lemon-Blueberry layer cake decorated for spring

Just call me Betty Crocker
Dessert also got rave reviews!

Anyone else feeling like a marshmallow Peep right about now? Off to digest and relax a little bit more with the family.
Good night!

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Hamburger-Lover Approved!

It’s official, I have again become obsessed with spinning. The gym at my college didn’t have the greatest instructors, and the timing of the class schedule never seemed to be conducive to my school schedule, so spin had kind of fallen to the side during the past six months. However, now that I am back home and at my old gym, I am again taking full advantage of it!

Jason has been really busy with work lately, so tonight, I offered to help him out by making dinner. I have talked about eating healthy in a relationship to avoid “the boyfriend layer” and how to inspire your significant other to be healthier, but my man is, and always will be, a hamburger man.

I understand his love, and am willing to indulge him every now and then. Tonight, I did just that! However, I made it just a little bit healthier than your traditional burger and fries.

On the menu tonight was Cilantro and Spice Turkey burgers!

Cilantro and Spice Turkey Burgers

Ingredients
1.25 lbs lean ground turkey meat
2 Tbsp. fresh Cilantro, chopped
1 1/2 Tsp. ground cumin
1/2 Tsp. ground chipotle pepper
1/2 Tsp. salt

Directions
Preheat grill
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients
Mix well with hands
Form into 4 patties
Grill!

The burgers were a hit and hamburger-lover approved! I served the burgers on top on whole wheat buns with avocado and all the fixings. On the side, I had a serving of parsnip fries, and made Jason regular oven baked fries with Russet potatoes. I may have inspired him to eat healthier, but I don’t think the parsnip thing will ever catch on….

Why Would Jessica Eat This?: Turkey, like chicken, is a lean, white meat that is a great source of protein while also being low in saturated and total fat. Substituting this bird in place of red meat is a great idea because studies have shown that a larger consumption of white meat versus red meat decreases the risk of such diseases as Cardio Vascular Disease, Type 2 Diabetes and Colon cancer. Gobble, Gobble.

Gotta get to sleep….I have spin the the morning!

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Cookies and Cream Rice Krispies

Whoops….looked like I missed this week’s What I Ate Wednesday! I ate breakfast quickly and headed out the door to run errands with my mom, and then we stopped for lunch out at the Cheesecake Factory, and I was without a camera, so today’s eats are undocumented. Just FYI, Cheesecake Factory’s new Skinnylicious menu is awesome! I wasn’t expecting much from their “lighter” choices, but I ordered the veggie burger and was presently surprised. Cheesecake Factory is famous for their ridiculous portions and calorie-laden dessert, and it is for good reason…looking around at the dishes being brought out to neighboring tables, I was shocked at the amount of food! So glad I stuck with a smaller portion!

Since I didn’t have a day of eats to share, I thought I would share a special treat!

Cookies and Cream Rice Krispies!

I made these babies for the retreat that Jason and I went on this past weekend to share with the other couples, and they were a total hit!


Ingredients

6 c. Rice Krispies Cereal
1 package Oreo cookies, crushed
1.5-2 bags of mini marshmallows (use 2 bags if you like them to be more marshmallow-y)
3 Tbsp. butter
Directions
1.) Pour Rice Krispies into a large bowl (the largest you have! It makes a lot!)
2.) Grease a 9×13″ dish and set aside
3.) In a large ziplock baggie, crush Oreos, then combine in bowl with Rice Krispies and mix
4.) In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine marshmallows and butter and microwave for about 3 minutes, or until melted (You will want to watch this in the microwave, because the marshmallows expand and you wouldn’t want them to overflow)
5.) Pour marshmallow mixture into the Rice Krispie and Oreo mixture and combine well
6.) Place mixture into greased pan, making sure to even it out
7.) Allow to cool completely before cutting

These are super simple, yet super tasty. People were coming up to both Jason and I telling us how good they were!

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