Just stopping in to say “Happy Independence Day!”
Last night, Farmer Ben and I practiced our right to grill and had a pretty delicious meal of chicken hot dogs, vegan beer brats (I’ve been really digging Tofurky brand sausages lately-Ben thinks I’m such a weirdo!), zucchini, radishes, scallions and hot sauce-dipped pineapple.
Everything was delicious… but we probably went a bit overboard for two people (We also had cheese and baguette).
Luckily, I have lots of leftovers to eat while Farmer Ben is feeding the masses today. I may have eaten some for breakfast, paired with some iced mango-black tea I found at Trader Joe’s earlier this week.
Honestly, I can’t complain about this day one bit… it started with delicious food and some quiet time before doing some work. That feels like a total win!
Anyway, remember to take a moment to thank those who serve and protect our freedom today!
Have a safe and happy holiday!
What are you doing to celebrate the 4th?
Can we talk about food today? It feels like AGES since I’ve posted about …well anything, but specifically food!
So today, how about a recipe? This is great for company because you can make it ahead of time. And it involves bagels… So you really can’t go wrong, in my opinion.
I know Thanksgiving is tomorrow… But this is more of a Black Friday/Small Business Saturday recipe….
Farmer Ben and I were shopping last week and our grocery store was having an insane sale for a random ten minutes… 6 bagels for $1!!!!! It was such a good sale that we bought a dozen. Is there even a question on whether or not one should buy bagels when they are less than 17 cents each? I didn’t think so.
Anyway, we ended up giving ½ dozen to Ben’s dad and step-mom who are in town visiting and had bagels for breakfast one morning… and then I had people over on Saturday and needed counter space, so I moved them to the top of the fridge and promptly forgot about them until yesterday. Needless to say, they were starting to get a little hard.
Now, if you know me, I HATE wasting food. So I perused our cookbook collection to see if I could find a way to use them up. Farmer Ben said he would use them in stuffing, but I had a better idea.
Bagel Pudding. I love traditional bread pudding…but I also love breakfast. Savory breakfast…I’ve been eating a lot of sweet stuff lately and we had all of these delicious garlic/onion/sesame bagels to use up. I’ve also been on a major casserole kick lately, so this was a perfect way to keep that rolling…not to mention, it is stupid easy to make!
This is slightly adapted from the Pioneer Woman’s Breakfast Bread Pudding (from her cookbook).
Everything Bagel Breakfast Pudding
4 savory/salty bagels that are a couple of days old.
2 + TB butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound veal chorizo (but breakfast sausage will also work!)
1 cup of half and half or whole milk
Salt/Pepper/Smoky paprika to taste
1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
Optional: add your favorite veggies (peppers, spinach, beans, etc)
What to do:
*If you’re using fresh bagels, lightly toast them and let them sit out for a few hours to dry out…
Cut bagels into chunks (I cut mine 4 ways both directions, no need to slice) and set aside.
Place 2 tbsp. butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once melted, add in your onions. Cook until nice and soft (I caramelized mine because Ben’s a weirdo and only likes disintegrated onions, but as long as they are pretty well cooked, that will also work).
Remove onions from skillet, placing into a small bowl, and set aside.
Put sausage into the same pan, breaking up as you cook it. Let brown. Remove from heat. If you have a lot of grease, drain it (this will depend on your sausage).
While your sausage is cooking, whisk together your eggs, cream and spices in a large bowl. I went very light on salt as the chorizo and bagels I used were pretty well flavored, but again, this is to your taste.
Grease a 2 ½ qt casserole dish with remaining butter.
Layer half of your bagel pieces in the dish.
Add half of your sausage and onions.
Top with half of your cheese.
Repeat bagel, sausage, onion and cheese layers.
Pour your egg mixture over dry ingredients. This part is a little scary, but it will fit!
Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight/for a few hours.
The next day… pre-heat oven to 350 (you’ll want to take your casserole out of the fridge so it warms up as well). Once pre-heated , place casserole in the oven, still covered. Bake for 20 minutes.
Remove foil and bake another 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted, and casserole is firm and crispy.
Eat immediately. This will also reheat well.
Happy Thanksgiving, Shopping and Long Weekend, Friends! Cheers!
Happy Tuesday! I figured I’d stop in and share my latest obsession: Creamy Cheesy Dip/Spread (made in about 5 minutes with a blender). Seriously… I think I’ve made this dip about 5 times in the last month (3 times for social gatherings and 2 times just because I couldn’t stop thinking about it). I make it a little differently each time, but this way seems to be my favorite.
And if you have these ingredients… how can you go wrong, really?!
This is super easy to make and can be made with so many different flavor combinations… serve it with some sliced baguette, a good dip chip or some veggies… I’m also loving it as a spread on sandwiches.
Sorry for the lack of photos… but I didn’t think that blended cheese would photograph well.
Noelle’s Creamy Dreamy (cheesy) Dip:
*adapted from a cream cheese box–I can’t find it on the Organic Valley website or I would link it for you.*
- 1 package cream cheese, softened.
- 1 (8 oz) brick cheddar cheese (I am a big fan of Cabot Extra Sharp)
- 8 oz. Plain Greek Yogurt/Sour Cream
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 tsp. onion powder or chives.
- 2-3 tsp. smoky paprika
- a pinch of sea salt
- a few good cranks of black pepper
- Juice of half a lemon (optional)
Grate your cheddar cheese.
Add all ingredients into food processor/blender–EXCEPT your cream cheese and lemon juice. Pulse until everything is chopped/well combined.
Add in remaining ingredients and pulse for a few more minutes until everything is incorporated.
Scrape into a bowl and cover. Refrigerate for an hour or so before serving–this allows the flavors to really come together.
Want to add in some veggies? Throw in some broccoli, spinach or kale.
This dip is real good. Please try it!
Today’s #elf4health challenge is to “share my expertise.” Obviously, because I’m a Renaissance Woman, this is hard. I’m really good at many things, such as tripping up stairs, running into furniture, jam sessions while driving, spilling stuff all over myself and rocking second-day hair, but I didn’t think any of these were what Elle & Lindsay had in mind.
I tossed around a few other ideas.
So, back to the drawing board I went… and I came up with something really good–and super useful–to share with all of you and my fellow elves.
Yes. I am a not-so-secret photo–bombing expert. I realize that I’ve already written two posts on this, but what can I say? it’s kind of a big deal. AND, what better time of year to ruin carefully planned photo sessions with your loved ones than Christmas/New Year’s parties???
So, here is Noelle’s Notebook’s Photo-Bombing Refresher Course:
1. Pick your victims.
We all know THAT person. You know, the person who HAS to take the perfect photo… they need to stand “just so,” to hide their muffin top or do 2341354134135245 retakes until they finally look better than all other parties in the photo. OR, they have to document EVERYTHING (seriously, do you need to take a picture of Uncle Charlie eating a piece of celery?).
This person is almost always the one I pick…probably because sometimes I am that person (Farmer Ben can attest to this).
2. Plan your entrance.
Depending on the location, I have a few different approaches… at a party, I like to casually dance up behind the subject of the photo–slide to the left, you know? If the subject is sitting down, I prefer the walk-by… OR, I just quietly creep into the background. Your photographer is key to this step because if they so much as let out a chuckle, your cover is blown.
3. Find your motivation.
Are you the photo-bomber who tries to go unnoticed with the blank stare? Or do you go big–arms, eyes and all? I am typically the “make the most horrendous face possible” girl, but to each their own. The important thing is, once you figure out what you’re going for, you have to commit…
There’s no turning back in photo-bombing–you only have seconds to ruin the perfect photo.
Find the quickest way to flee once the camera flashes…this could be as simple as turning around with a sweet spin move, or as complicated as leaping over a couch. Just remember to plan ahead and act natural.
5. Have fun.
This one should be obvious but sometimes we forget. I realize that photo-bombing is serious business–Just remember why you’re doing it and the fun will follow.
Finally, because I love this photo so much, here is my finest photo-bombing moment (thus far):
To read Photo-Bombing Part I, click here.
To read Photo-Bombing Part II, click here.
Let’s chat! Are you an expert at anything? Discuss. What are some of your favorite photo-bombing techniques? OR are you a victim? Share your story.
In my last post, Dad, Eileen, Gary and I were in Saranac Lake getting our local food on… I managed to pick up a few goodies….
After bringing Farmer Ben a surprise coffee, I took Gary and my Dad for a long walk on a bike path by the lake. It was hot…and sticky.
I then rushed home to clean-up and make some more delicious eats….
Here is what I whipped up….
What you’ll need:
- 1 baguette…preferably local
- 4-5 cloves of garlic
- 2 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for drizzling on bread
- 2 large tomatoes (or 3-4 small-medium)
- 15 fresh basil leaves (approximately)
- 1 tbsp. or a splash of balsamic vinegar
- Sea salt and cracked pepper to taste
- 1 avocado
What to do:
- Preheat oven to 350
- Mince garlic.
- Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat, add garlic. Stir…cook garlic until it softens-do NOT let burn. This won’t take long. Pour garlic and oil into a metal mixing bowl and set aside.
- Chop/dice tomatoes (this will be depend on how big you want your chunks to be–side note: chunks is not an appetizing word.) Add to mixing bowl with garlic and oil.
- Also, if you don’t want soupy bruschetta, drain some of the juices before adding to bowl.
- Chop basil. (tip: stack some leaves on top of each other, roll them length-wise and slice into thin strips) Add to mixing bowl.
- Add in remaining balsamic, salt and pepper and stir. Set aside
- Slice baguette on the diagonal into 1/4 -1/2 inch slices. Place on baking sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil.
- Place in oven and let brown. Meanwhile, dice up your avocado and add to the bruschetta mixture–do NOT do this until ready to serve.
- Remove toasted baguette from oven and top with bruschetta mixture.
If you’re feeling extra naughty, grate some parmesan over the top.
Serve immediately and enjoy!
Garden Delight Pasta
(Or…trying to use up all the veggies on your counter/in the fridge pasta)
What You’ll Need:
- 1 lb whole wheat pasta (I used angel hair)
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion (or 1/2 a giant onion like I used…), diced
- 1 medium zucchini, chopped
- 1 medium eggplant, chopped
- 6 large kale leaves, sliced (I just ripped it up)
- 2 large Swiss Chard Leaves
- 2 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped (about 1-2 tbsp.)
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 large tomato, chopped (or, if you have leftover bruschetta mix, that will work too!)
- 3 oz. goat cheese (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
What to do:
- Heat water for pasta and cook according to package
- While your water is boiling….
- Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.
- Add in onion, until it starts to soften.
- Add in zucchini and eggplant, stirring occasionally, be careful not to let veggies stick/burn. Reduce heat to medium low. (This should take about 10-15 minutes, depending on your veggies/size of pan)
- Add in Swiss chard and kale, cover and let wilt. Stirring occasionally.
- Stir in cooked and drained pasta (it should be hot) and mix in remaining ingredients.
Remove from heat and Serve hot. Makes 4-6 servings.
Favorite seasonal meal? How do you use up all of your leftover veggies? Goat cheese in pasta, yes or no?
Stay Tuned for Scenes…Part 3!
Coming off a long weekend is really hard. It’s Wednesday, but my body thinks that it’s Tuesday…and my brain just really wants it to be Friday again! Combine that with the food hangover from eating…everything… yikes! See the dilemma?
Anyway, Ben and I were super blessed this weekend as we had family visiting. My dad and his wife and their good friend Gary rolled into town on Friday night. I picked them up on Saturday morning and we took a leisurely drive to Saranac Lake, NY…about an hour away.
You see, there was this amazing local food festival going on in conjunction with the Saranac Lake Farmers’ Market. It was the Farm 2 Fork Festival. Click here for more info. Basically, it’s a celebration of local growers and producers…and lots of delicious food, demonstrations and workshops.
It was $10 for a ticket and you got to try a lot of good food, made by locals–right up my alley! Unfortunately it as a bit of a dreary day, but that didn’t stop us from getting our localvore on…
Anyway, here are some photos….
Anyway, as you can see…I had a really good time strolling around the market, eating and hanging out with the family…but that’s not all that we did this weekend! Stay tuned for more scenes….
How was your long weekend? Any big plans for September? What did you eat this weekend?!
As you know, yesterday the hubby and I celebrated two years of marriage. Here’s a little recap.
For breakfast, Farmer Ben made cinnamon swirl French Toast with mascarpone and his homemade strawberry topping…along with some super strong French Roast. Divine.
I had planned on making a special anniversary dinner, but between working like a mad-woman, wedding things and an unexpected trip to my mother’s house after work, I had neither the time nor the ambition to cook anything last night.
Luckily, we had a gift certificate to use at a local fancy-schmancy restaurant.
I hurried home after visiting with my mother and hurried to get all dolled up. I also need to mention that I love having short hair because it literally cuts getting ready time in half. The perks of having an awesome hair stylist.
Ben came home and saw that I was dressed up and asked where we were going.
He later admitted that he wanted to jump up and down and yell, “Yes! We’re going out!!!”
I’ll let you imagine that for a moment.
Anyway, after making a quick reservation and giving Ben some time to get ready, we headed out the door.
This was our first time at this restaurant and it did not disappoint. Unfortunately Ben wouldn’t let me take any photos of our food, but I will tell you that it was delicious and we will be going back. We started our with a bottle of Spanish red…obviously, my pick.
I forced Ben to take pictures before our wine came out.
forced politely asked our server to take a picture of us on our anniversary, we each received a complimentary glass of champagne. Winning!
Anyway, I’m sure you’re interested in what we had for dinner. I know that’s all I would want to know….
The house smoked salmon. And complimentary olives, baguette and butter…all were devoured.
Ben ordered an elk steak special and oh my goodness it was good.
I ordered twin filets with tawny port and a gorgonzola demi…totally worth it. I have a weakness for gorgonzola, so–completely unlike my normal dining experience–I knew exactly what I was going to have within two minutes of looking over the menu.
Both of our entrees came with smashed potatoes (not the bagged kind that most restaurants get!), carrots and green beans topped with REAL Hollandaise. Yum!
For dessert, we split the crème brulee. Again, fantastic.
Although the prices were higher than most places in the area, it was totally worth it…even if we hadn’t had a gift certificate that covered most of our bill. Maybe it’s because I work in a restaurant, but I didn’t find anything over-priced, especially for the quality of the food.
The food was good and hand-crafted, the service was excellent and the atmosphere was perfect for a quiet dinner for two–not too casual and not overly pretentious, either. We left with full bellies and happy mouths.
Overall it was a perfect evening.
If you’re in the area and looking for a great restaurant, check out Anthony’s Restaurant and Bistro.
What about you? Where do you go to celebrate? What is your go-to meal when you order? Do you take forever or do you know right away? Are you an obnoxious photo-taker like me? Wine: Red or White? Domestic or imported?
Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for today… I won’t be posting too much over the next few days at it is wedding weekend for our dear friends! I can’t wait for the celebrations. So, happy early weekend!
I wanted to make the Lean Green Bean’s Frozen Yogurt Bites, but I didn’t have any granola on hand…and I didn’t feel like making any.
took everything out of the cupboard that was almost gone and dumped it into a bowl improvised. I think I did pretty well…but I’ll let you be the judge.
These bites are so easy to make, it’s just silly. Seriously, I can’t even call this a recipe. I’m going to give you two ways to make these, the first what I actually made and the second, what I would have done if I had these items on hand.
The sky is the limit with these, so play around with your ingredients!
Fro-Yo Bites-2 ways:
First Way-What You’ll Need:
- 1 cup Greek Yogurt, I used Strawberry
- 1 small banana chopped
- ~1/4 cup flax-seed meal
- ~1/3 cup chopped cashews
- ~1 cup Heritage O’s (or Cheerios)
- ~1/3 cup cocoa nibs
Second Way-What You’ll Need:
- 1+ cup Vanilla Greek Yogurt.
- 1 small banana, chopped
- ~1 cup puffed/crispy rice cereal
- 1/2 cup pistachios, chopped
- 1/3 cup dried cherries, chopped
- ~1/4 cup cocoa nibs
- Optional: coconut flakes, to taste
What to do-Either Way:
Combine ingredients until everything is well coated. You may need to add another spoonful or two of yogurt, depending on your taste (I did).
Scoop mixture into ice cube tray and place in freezer until mixture hardens. If you don’t have a free ice cube tray, you can also line a pan with wax paper, freeze and cut into bars.
If you’re feeling adventurous, dip frozen bites into melted chocolate. Re-freeze. Definitely do this step with the second variety. Yum!
Makes 14 bites. Store in freezer.
I’ve been really into salads lately. Farmer Ben and I went grocery shopping on a rainy Monday night because I desperately needed to eat something green. We purchase Olivia’s Organics brand when the greens are out of season, they are an (awesome) east-coast based company. Check them out!
Since Monday, I’ve eaten approximately 47 salads. Now, I know this sounds crazy. But I get creative.
Yesterday, my salad consisted of leftover chicken, avocado, tomato (grown in VT!), radishes, red onion, sprouts, a Serrano or two…and some spring mix/spinach as an after thought.
You see, I belong to the school of thought that believes that the salad is not about the lettuce. It’s about the toppings. Some days, I’ll cover my greens with bleu cheese, other days, I’ll pick seeds, nuts and other crunchy goodness… Lately, I’ve been loving Serrano peppers and cranberries. Tomorrow it could be steak. Most of the time I have so much on my salad that I don’t even use dressing. That would be overkill.
I guess I’m just trying to say that salad is delicious.
Today, my greens are covered in a tasty pasta salad and a few other veggies.
I opted to use olive oil instead of mayonnaise (mayo would work just as well and probably be
more just as delicious) to make it a bit healthier. And per usual, I didn’t really measure, so this recipe is more of a guideline.
Easy Peas-y Pasta Salad
*Makes about five 1-cup servings (because if you’re like me, you usually have seconds).
What you’ll need:
- About 8 oz (half a box) of pasta uncooked. I used elbows.
- 1 can tuna fish, drained
- About 3/4 cup peas (I used the canned variety)
- Green Olives, pits removed and chopped, about 1/4 cup…or more.
- Spices of your choice, to taste (I used dill-lots, smoked salt-just a pinch, smokey paprika-about 2 tsp, garlic powder-a couple of pinches, and a lot of cracked pepper)
- 2 Serrano peppers, chopped (These are super hot, jalapenos would also work really well)
- 1/2 cup red onion, chopped (I left this out because a certain husband doesn’t like raw onion, sigh.)
- A few splashes of Worcestershire Sauce
- ~1 tbsp.Dijon Mustard
- ~1 tbsp. olive oil (enough to coat the pasta)
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
- A splash or two of balsamic vinegar (This was a brilliant afterthought…that I forgot)
What to do:
Cook pasta according to package. Drain and let cool (I stuck mine in the fridge to speed up the process).
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Using a fork, be sure to break-up tuna fish and stir.
Serve over a giant salad, as a side dish, or… right from the bowl.
*Nutrition Highlights According to MyFitnessPal:
265 calories, 31 carbs, 7 g fat, 16 g protein, 2 g sugar, 285 mg sodium, 27.5 mg potassium, 4.3 g fiber, 20.1 % Daily Value iron