Monthly Archives

August 2011

Peanut-Walnut Butter

August 31, 2011

Since we have been married, Joey has been shocked at the amount of peanut butter I consume each week. When, like me, you eat a couple tablespoons of the stuff each day, it doesn’t last long. Instead of picking up another jar of Smuckers Natural Creamy Peanut Butter, I decided last week that it would be fun to start making my own nut butter again.

It’s an amazingly simple process to whirl together your own nut butter, and I love how easy it is to customize the blend based on your specific tastes or allergy restrictions. I’ve made pure walnut butter before, but felt that it was lacking something without the extra zing of salty peanuts or another more flavorful nut. So this time, I used a combination of walnuts and peanuts for a smooth, creamy and slightly salty spread that is perfect atop toast or served with sliced apples.

If you’re interested in some of the other combinations I’ve put together, you can see them here:
*Make Your Own Nut Butter
*Cashew Butter

Also, just a reminder that our Fund for Jennie Auction is open until 10 pm tonight! The bid for our baked goods gift basket is now up to $225. Let’s keep the bidding going! If you’re interested, you can find the auction HERE. And thank you all so much for your kindness and generosity. 

Peanut-Walnut Butter
*3 cups lightly salted peanuts
*2 cups unsalted walnut halves
*1/4 cup olive oil
*1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

*Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Blend for two to three minutes, scraping own the sides occasionally, until mixture is smooth and creamy. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Happy Cooking!


The Dog Days of Summer

August 30, 2011

Last week I had Friday off from work and got the opportunity to watch what really goes on in our house when the little princess rules the roost. Man, I tell you, it’s tough being a dog.

Hope you all had a wonderful day!


Homemade Almond Joy Candy Bars

August 29, 2011
Hey, friends! I hope you had a great weekend. My mom spent the weekend with us, which meant Joey and I spent the weekend trying to keep up with her. We played tennis, grilled out and went on an 8-mile run this morning. Exactly how I like to spend my weekend. 
For as long as I remember, I’ve been intrigued by the idea of making my own candy bars. I don’t really have a clue why, since I can’t remember the last time I ate a full-sized candy bar or purchased one at the store, but it’s intrigued me none the less. 
Of course making homemade Snickers intimidates the heck out of me, and don’t ask me how to recreate that filling inside a Milky Way. So to begin my candy bar making adventures, I stuck with something approachable: an Almond Joy. 
I suppose it’s only fitting that the recipe I found when I Googled ‘Homemade Almond Joy’ was from Joy the Baker. Trust me, her recipe does not disappoint. We’ve been keeping these babies in our fridge for the last week or so and I can only imagine they would make a great treat wrapped up in waxed paper and tied with a ribbon.  
Homemade Almond Joy Candy Bars
Recipe Courtesy of Joy the Baker 
*7 ounces sweetened condensed milk
*1 cup powdered sugar
*1 tablespoon vanilla extract
*Pinch of salt
*2 1/2 cups unsweetened flake coconut 
*30 almonds
*20 ounces good quality milk chocolate chips 
*In a large bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, salt and coconut. Stir until well combined. Refrigerate mixture until ready to use. 
*Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave, melting in 30-second intervals until it is completely smooth. 
*Form the coconut mixture into 30 oval-shaped clusters. Press an almond into the center of each cluster. 
*Place one coconut cluster on a fork. Use a spoon to scoop a bit of chocolate over the almond.  This will help the almond stick to the candy and not fall off during dipping.  Lower fork into chocolate and spoon chocolate over candy to coat.  Lift fork and gently shake to release some of the chocolate.  Scrape the bottom of the fork along the side of the bowl and place on the lined baking sheet.
*Allow chocolate clusters to harden, at least an hour. 
Happy Baking!


I’m Not a Fashion Blogger…

August 26, 2011
{Dress: Target this spring; Blazer: Forever 21; Shoes: Cole Haan via TJ Maxx; Necklace: Banana Republic; Glasses: Claire’s} 

…but I kinda wish I was. Although there are plenty of amazing, high-end fashion bloggers out there, it wasn’t until I started reading Kendi Everyday that I really got inspired. Kendi is so real, down-to-earth, funny, and she wears clothes normal people can actually find and afford. She’s totally my girl crush, can you tell?

I am, by no means, the expert when it comes to dressing fashionably. And the idea of posing for a camera makes me a little goofy…

I realize that you don’t come to Espresso and Cream for fashion posts, but if I posted an outfit every now and again, would you be terribly opposed to the idea?


Lemon Brown Sugar Chicken

August 25, 2011

Note: If you haven’t gotten around to bidding on the amazing gift basket we are auctioning off, you can do so HERE. The proceeds go toward a great cause and the basket is amazing!

No, your eyes aren’t fooling you. This is a picture, and a recipe for, chicken. But before you jump to conclusions, I should tell you that this chicken wasn’t for me, but for my husband. You see, Joey has no intention of going vegetarian, so we’ve fallen into a pretty nice routine when it comes to our ‘flexitrian’ lifestyle. I plan meals that are either vegetarian by nature or could easily be vegetarian, then think about how I will add in the meat-based protein for Joey.

This week, our meals are planned out something like this:
Monday: Ate at Texas Road House since we were in Des Moines for an appointment. They have great steamed veggies (ask for them without the butter) and baked potatoes (ask for it with the butter and sour cream on the side)
Tuesday: Dinner-sized salads with crumbled feta cheese, chopped almonds, steamed broccoli and tossed with a mix of balsamic and poppy seed dressing. Topped with beer-poached salmon.
Wednesday: Fajita night! Whole wheat tortillas, sauteed onions, peppers and mushrooms. Baked, sliced chicken breast simmered in taco seasoning. Chopped lettuce and tomatoes. Salsa.
Thursday: Burgers! Veggie burger for her and beef burger for him. Whole wheat buns and cheddar cheese. Steamed broccoli. Sun Chips for him.
Friday: Grub Plate: which will most likely consist of throwing together all the items we have in our fridge that didn’t get eaten during the week: a bit of sliced cheese, some crackers, sliced veggies and small salads with the last of our lettuce

This recipe for Lemon Brown Sugar Chicken, courtesy of Jenna over at Eat Live Run, was a big hit last week and sure to be a staple when I’m preparing chicken in the future. Joey’s a huge fan of Chinese food, particularly orange chicken, and said this tastes remarkably similar. The major differences between this and purchased orange chicken being that it’s much healthier and a whole lot cheaper to make. It’s a win-win, if you ask me!

Lemon Brown Sugar Chicken
Recipe from Eat Live Run 

*1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
*Juice of one large lemon
*1 tablespoon lemon zest
*1 cup flour
*2 teaspoons paprika
*1 teaspoon sea salt
*1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
*2 tablespoons brown sugar

*Preheat oven to 350°F.
*Using a meat mallet (or ice cream scoop), pound the chicken breasts thin. Set aside.
*Combine the flour, paprika and salt in a large shallow bowl and stir to combine. Dip the chicken breasts into the flour mixture to evenly coat.
*Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken breasts, cooking two minutes per side. You are just browning the outsides, not cooking completely through. Remove from pan and set aside.
*Pour the lemon juice into the pan and stir to de-glaze the pan. Put chicken breast in a casserole dish and pour lemon juice mixture on top. Sprinkle with brown sugar and lemon zest. Bake for 30 minutes or until temperature reaches 165°F.

Happy Cooking!