Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Chocolate Chip Cake

The faculty room is a place of gathering in our building.  Our staff enjoys monthly thematic potluck days; this month, we had a baked potato bar in celebration of St. Patrick's Day. I signed up for salsa.  Early morning baking doesn't really agree with me.  One of our amazing staff signed up to make this chocolate chip cake.   When I carried on about how good it was, she replied, "I whipped it up in 5 minutes; it's one of my mom's recipes."  The next day, I found the recipe on my chair (if you are trying to give something to a teacher, put it on the chair; the desk usually is covered in piles of stuff).

After reading the book Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin, I started following her suggestion of celebrating holidays with a fun breakfast.  Her suggestions included buying colorful paper plates and something simple like coloring the peanut butter.  I have enjoyed making a special occasion and breakfast for my family.  But this year, the time change hit me hard. I went to bed on 3/16 thinking, "Well, we can use the green polka dotted plates.  And there will be a few chocolate coins."  At 4:00 AM, the dog decided he needed to go out. As I stumbled around the kitchen, I figured I'd make something for breakfast since I was up.  I could find nothing.  Then I remembered Jill mentioning that there were few ingredients and the cake was fast.  So...I needed to find the recipe.  In my teacher bag. Pre-coffee, it took me more than 5 minutes; I still wouldn't say early morning baking agrees with me.  But the kids loved it!

INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 bag chocolate chips
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Grease 9 x 13 dish.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together.  Add sour cream, vanilla, and eggs. Mix well.
  3. Add flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Mix well.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine 1/2 cup sugar with cinnamon. 
  5. Pour half of batter into the dish. Sprinkle half the sugar mixture and 1/2 bag of chocolate chips.
  6. Pour remaining batter on top.  Sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips and sugar.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes.



DIFFICULTY: Easy!
TIME: 10 minutes prep; 30 minutes baking
SOURCE: Jill, my awesome coworker








Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Black Bean Feta Quinoa Bowl

I don't often get the time to shop (other than for groceries), but due mostly to Easter shopping, I have been in a few stores recently.  What have I noticed?  Bathing suit buying season is upon us.  Who in their right mind wants to stand in front of a mirror under fluorescent lights in March after a comfort-food induced hibernation period?  Scary stuff, if you ask me.  But, my latest trip to the store did give me a bit of a reality check...it is time to start being a bit more mindful of what I am eating.  I am so looking forward to the fresh veggies of my CSA this summer, but in the meantime I am trying out some new flavor-packed recipes that have a bit of a healthy spin.  No sacrifices here...I love quinoa, black beans, corn, and anything topped with Feta.  This was a hit with my family (especially when I served it with multi-grain tortilla chips).

INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 3/4 cup golden quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 ounces baby spinach
  • One 12-ounce bag frozen sweet corn kernels, thawed
  • Two 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 to 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, torn, for garnish
DIRECTIONS:
  1. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat the oil until shimmering, about 2 minutes. Add the onion and saute until browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 2 minutes more. 
  2. Add the stock and quinoa and mix until fully combined. Add the cumin, cayenne, and some salt and pepper.
  3. Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed. Add the spinach and gently toss with the quinoa until wilted.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the corn and black beans. Crumble the feta over the top and garnish with cilantro.



Difficulty: easy
Time: ~35-40 min total
Source: www.foodnetwork.com