everyday food made simple

Whenever I tell people I’m a vet tech, it’s always inevitable that someone will say, “I’m so jealous! I wish I could play with puppies and kittens all day!”

I always smile at their response because:

  1. Contrary to public belief, vet techs do not play with puppies and kittens all day.
  2. As a matter of fact, I actually do not see puppies and kittens all that often.
  3. It’s really not all rainbows and unicorns – there’s actually quite a bit a lot (I mean A LOT) of poop, pee, vomit, and blood involved on a daily basis (that’s if you’re lucky).
  4. There’s also a lot of sadness and death that we see on a regular basis. However, at the end of the day, we love what we do and we wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

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The past few months, my coworkers and I have been taking care of a particular patient whom we have all grown attached to and fallen in love with. He stayed with us to get his medical condition under control while his loving parents dealt with some family issues themselves. They trusted us to take care of their baby boy, and we gave him all the love and attention he deserved: extra long walks, lots of ear and butt scratches, and lots of treats and cookies. He was such a happy dog that it was just too easy for us to fall in love with him. However, just earlier this week when I was about to go to bed, my coworker texted me and told me his family had ultimately decided to let him go, just a few hours after I said good-bye to him at the end of my shift.

I was devastated. I think we all were. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I realized I was attached to that boy more than I knew.

So how do we cope during times like this?

Well, some people curl up on the couch and cry into a pillow. [check]

Some people like to talk about it. [uh yeah no thank you]

Some people lay in bed and watch TV for hours on end.

Some people go for a run to temporarily forget the pain.

Some people reflect through writing. [check]

And some people sit down with a pint of ice cream and eat until they feel better. [check]

This peanut butter cup ice cream with brownie bits, to be exact.

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If we took a poll of America’s favorite flavor combo, peanut butter + chocolate has got to be in the top 3. That’s why this ice cream is the epitome of comfort food. Chucks of chopped peanut butter cups and brownie bits generously sprinkled throughout the ice cream – every bite is sweet, chocolatey, decadent, chewy, and crunchy. Oooooh yeah. It’s pure heaven, I tell ya.

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What’s even better is that this doesn’t require tempering of eggs, which means no risk of getting scrambled eggs! Just blend, chill, churn, freeze (and wait for what seems like eternity), and enjoy! And let me tell you right now – waiting for the ice cream to freeze overnight is pure torture!

The peanut butter ice cream base is so good that I could’ve slurped it all with a straw! I had to refrain myself from pouring it into a glass, topping it off with the mix-ins, and drinking it like a milkshake…

So go do yourselves a favor guys, and go make this right now. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

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peanut butter cup ice cream (with brownie bits)
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Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  2. 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  3. 2 and 2/3 cups half-and-half
  4. A pinch of salt
  5. A dash of pure vanilla extract
  6. 1 heaping cup (unwrapped) mini Reese’s cups, frozen and chopped
  7. 1 cup roughly chopped brownie bites (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a blender, combine the peanut butter, sugar, half-and-half, salt, and vanilla extract. Blend until smooth. Place in refrigerator and chill completely.
  2. Add mixture to ice cream maker and churn according to manufacture's instructions.
  3. Once churned, gently fold in the chopped peanut butter cups and chopped brownie bites with a spatula. Transfer to storage container and freeze overnight.
  4. Makes 1 quart
Adapted from Annie's Eats
Adapted from Annie's Eats
SIMPLE EVERYDAY FOOD http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
Recipe adapted from Annie’s Eats

© Simple Everyday Food. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or kindly link back to this post for the recipe.

I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th that was celebrated by spending time with family, nice weather, and plenty of good food! It’s funny that in our family, we (and by “we”, I mean “I”) usually plan an excessively long list of things I want to make for the holidays despite the fact that it’s usually the two of us. It’s not one of those “oh these are the things I want to make, but I probably won’t make everything”.  Noooooo siree! I’m the one who plans and executes. If I want to make it, I will make it.

You should’ve seen the list I made for Thanksgiving last year – it was ridiculous. I think I had 8-9 things on the menu just to feed the two of us, from appetizers to side dishes to dessert – we were covered in the event of a zombie apocalypse and we couldn’t leave the house for 3 weeks. There was so much food that we barely had enough counter space to put everything!

The big holiday itself usually gets a lot of attention and planning ahead, but not everyone plans for breakfast the morning after when everyone wakes up from the food coma. In case you’re still looking for a easy breakfast option for tomorrow, I’ve got you covered!

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These cinnamon rolls can be easily made the night before, so when you wake up and want breakfast, you only have to wait less than 30 minutes for a piping hot, fresh out-of-the-oven, mouth-watering, gooey, sweet cinnamon roll! And let me tell you, it’s totally worth the wait, because these are deeeelish!

Chocolate + cookie butter + maple glaze + fluffy rolls = it’s practically heaven! I could eat this every weekend.

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I’m personally a big fan of overnight cinnamon roll recipes, simply because I my stomach doesn’t have the patience to wait long for food in the morning. All the hard work is put in the night before, so all you have to do is throw it in the oven, make the glaze, wait, and enjoy the next morning – pretty easy, eh?

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[loosely coil the strips to allow room for the dough to rise overnight]

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This giant spiral cinnamon roll is so pretty to look at, and even more fun to eat. You can either cut it into wedges and serve it like you would cake, or you can do what we did, and peel off the strips as you go. I highly recommend the latter, simply because it’s always fun when you get to eat with you hands, and eating it this way kind of reminds me of tearing off little pieces of bubble tape gum from when I was little (remember those? The gum whose flavor only lasts 5 seconds?).

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giant spiral cinnamon roll with vanilla maple glaze
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For the roll
  1. 2 and 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  2. 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon salt
  4. 1 package instant yeast
  5. 1/2 cup water
  6. 1/4 cup skim milk
  7. 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  8. 1 egg, at room temperature
For the filling
  1. 2/3 cup chocolate cookie butter (I used Speculoos chocolate cookie butter from Trader Joe's), softened slightly by microwaving it for 10-15 seconds
  2. 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
For the glaze
  1. 1 cup powdered sugar
  2. 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  3. 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  4. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. To make the dough, set aside 1/2 cup flour. In a large electric mixer bowl, combine the remainder of the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast together. Set aside.
  2. In a microwavable bowl, heat the water, milk, and butter together until the butter is melted and the mixture is hot to touch. Stir the butter mixture into the flour mixture over medium-low speed. Increase the speed to medium, add in the egg and just enough of the reserved flour until the dough is soft, pulls away from the sides of the bowl, and is no longer sticky (I used the entire 1/2 cup, but you may not have to use it all).
  3. Knead the dough for 3-4 minutes on a lightly floured surface. Form the dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes. In the meantime, spray a 9" pie pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  4. After 30 minutes, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a 15x12" rectangle. Spread the slightly softened cookie butter over the top, then sprinkle the ground cinnamon.
  5. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into six 2" wide strips (cut the the long way). Loosely roll up one strip (kind of like a fruit roll-up) and place in the center of the pan. Wrap the remaining 5 strips loosely around the center one, starting each strip at the end of the previous one so the end product looks like a giant spiraled cake.
  6. Loosely cover the roll with aluminum foil and let rise in a warm, draft-free area overnight.
  7. The next morning, bake cinnamon roll at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until lightly browned. I covered the top with aluminum foil 15 minutes into baking to prevent excessive browning on top.
  8. Remove the cake and let cool for 10 minutes. In the meantime, make the glaze by whisking all the glaze ingredients together until smooth. Drizzle over the rolls prior to serving.
  9. Serve immediately, or cover it tightly with foil and store up at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction
SIMPLE EVERYDAY FOOD http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
Recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

© Simple Everyday Food. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or kindly link back to this post for the recipe.

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Has anyone else been sucked into the World Cup frenzy? Just like any other major international sporting event, the World Cup is one that I always look forward to, and this year was no exception.

My sister and I got into soccer way back in 2002. Unlike the U.S., every time the World Cup rolls around, it’s a big deal in Taiwan – all sorts of World Cup-related merchandise can be seen around every street corner. My sister and I’s favorite team (even til today) is Germany. I remember we’d set our alarms and wake up at 3 a.m. to watch them play. Because we lived in a small apartment, we’d tip toe around the house in the middle of the night, trying to rub the sleepiness away from our eyes, and muting the TV because we were afraid to risk waking up our parents and getting sent back to bed. We’d watch in silence, whispering to each other during the game, and silently cheer on our team. After the game was over, we’d put the remote right where we found it and sneak back into bed, waking up the next morning tired and exhausted (yeah, we had it down to a science).

Sounds crazy, but at that time, it was all so worth it.

For the past two World Cup games, I had to watch them by myself here in the U.S. while my sister caught the games back in Taiwan. We still watch the games, text each other about the results, and cheer on our team together. Some things just never change.

Now, onto this recipe..

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Can I just say how good this loaf cake is? The cake itself is soft and moist, the lemons give it a sweet yet tangy flavor, and the poppy seeds inside almost pops in your mouth. None of the flavors are heavy and overpowering – every component does its part to make this a light, summery recipe. The glaze on top is really optional, although I do highly recommend it as it adds an extra punch of lemon flavor to it, and the fact that no on ever turns down a layer on yummy sugary glaze on top of any kind of dessert.

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The best part? You can eat it for breakfast, as a afternoon (or mid-morning) snack, or even as a light dessert after dinner. I placed it under the “breakfast” category simply because I ate it more for breakfast as opposed to dessert, even though no one ever said you can’t eat cake for breakfast…..

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lemon poppy seed loaf cake
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For the cake
  1. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  3. 1 and 1/2 tablespoons lemon zest
  4. 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  5. 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  6. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  7. 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  8. 1 egg, at room temperature
  9. 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  10. 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  11. 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
  12. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  13. 6 tablespoons milk
For the glaze
  1. 4 tablespoons powdered sugar
  2. 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  3. 1 teaspoon milk
  4. 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9x5" loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, poppy seeds, lemon zest, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the oil, egg, and vanilla extract. Mix to combine. Then whisk in the sugar, yogurt, and lemon juice until thoroughly incorporated. Alternate between adding the flour mixture and the milk (I added 1/3 of the flour, 1/2 of the milk, 1/3 of the flour, 1/2 of the milk, then the remaining 1/3 of the flour).
  4. Pour the batter in the loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. If you notice the top is browning too fast, cover the pan with a tented tin foil after the first 30-40 minutes.
  5. Cool the pan for at least 15 minutes, then turn onto a wired cooling rack to cool completely.
  6. While the cake is cooling, prepare the glaze by whisking all the glaze ingredients in a small bowl. Drizzle over the top of the cooled caked. Cake may be sliced and stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Adapted from Amy's Healthy Baking
SIMPLE EVERYDAY FOOD http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
Recipe adapted from Amy’s Healthy Baking

© Simple Everyday Food. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or kindly link back to this post for the recipe.

I don’t know about the rest of the country, but the weather here in Minnesota has been nothing but gorgeous the past few weeks. Every day has been sunny with a few puffs of clouds in the sky, and somewhere between 75-85 degrees. After a long, brutal winter, I was more than ready to dust off the boxes where my summer shorts and tank tops have lived for the past 7 months and bring them back into my regular clothing “circulation”. It’s always a monumental day when I deem the weather warm (and stable) enough to pack up my winter boots, and put all my scarves, gloves, hats, and jackets away in the closet…. it signifies the arrival of warmer weather, longer days, shorts and flip flops, grilling, ice cold lemonade, and everything summer is about.

You know what else is a universal icon of summer? S’mores.

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For someone who doesn’t care for camping, I really am a big fan of s’mores – I even have an entire section in my recipe book dedicated to all things s’mores! It’s without a doubt my second favorite flavor combination of all time. It lands in 2nd place because nothing – I mean nothing – can top mint + chocolate in my world. Whoever decided to sandwich a toasted gooey marshmallow with some chocolate in between graham crackers is a genius.

These truffles are super easy to make and requires no baking at all! All you really need is a food processor, which means they’re quick… and you won’t even have to make your house any hotter by turning on the oven. I modified the original recipe by adding several squares of graham crackers into the Oreo/cream cheese base, just to amplify the s’mores flavor, and let me tell you, everyone thought these were deeeelicious!

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It even has a little mini marshmallow surprise inside when you take a bite out of it!

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I have made several different kinds of truffles in the past, but these hands down take the crown – they are without a doubt the best tasting truffles I’ve ever made. It’s a bold statement, but that’s how good they were. They were so good that Brian alone ate 4 of them one day when I was at work, and I ended up having to make another batch of them to share with my coworkers!

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Oreo s'more truffles
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Ingredients
  1. 15 original Oreo cookies
  2. 6 graham cracker squares, divided
  3. 2.5 oz low fat cream cheese
  4. ~11 mini marshmallows
  5. 8 oz chocolate CandiQuik
  6. ~2 tablespoons marshmallow bits (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, pulse 2 squares of graham cracker squares until it turns into fine crumbs. Place in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. In the same food processor, pulse the Oreo cookies and the remaining 4 graham cracker squares until roughly crumbled. Add in the cream cheese and pulse on HIGH until the mixture comes together. The mixture turns into a doughy consistency and should not be crumbly - you should easily to able to form them into balls without it falling apart in your hands.
  3. Roll the mixture into balls (about 1-1.5 tablespoon each) and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Take each ball and make an indentation in the middle with your thumb, and place a mini marshmallow in the center. Reform the truffle mixture back into a ball, making sure the mixture encases the mini marshmallow entirely. Repeat with the rest of the truffles. Place the truffles in the refrigerator to chill.
  4. While your truffles are chilling, make the candy coating: using a double boiler, melt the CandyQuik until smooth. Working one truffle at a time, place a ball in the CandyQuik while spooning the chocolate over the truffle with a spoon. Gently lift the ball up with a fork and gently tap off the excess candy coating.
  5. Place the truffle onto the baking sheet and immediately garnish with graham cracker crumbs and marshmallow bits. Repeat with the rest of the truffles. Return decorated truffles into refrigerator to chill. Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 5 days (if they even last that long).
  6. Makes 11 truffles
Adapted from Crazy for Crust
Adapted from Crazy for Crust
SIMPLE EVERYDAY FOOD http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
I personally love to use CandyQuik to coat all my truffles. You can also use the Wilton candy melts or Almond Bark if those are the kind you prefer. I also personally prefer to melt all my chocolates and candy coatings over a double boiler rather than throwing them in a microwave or directly over a heat source – I’ve tried microwaving them in the past, but they just never seemed to work as well for me as using a double boiler. However, if you have better luck than I do with a microwave or over a stove, feel free to do it that way – it’s probably faster anyway :)

Recipe adapted from Crazy for Crust

© Simple Everyday Food. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or kindly link back to this post for the recipe.

After close to a two-month hiatus from SEF, I’m glad to announce that I’ll start posting more on a regular basis! In the past few months, I’ve successfully passed my boards, settled into a nice routine on the new job, read a few books, and finally had some time to relax and not stress about anything. It was nice, but I’m excited to be back – SEF has been a little neglected and could really use a little TLC…

Last year, I conquered my fear of baking with yeast, and successfully made my first ever homemade cinnamon rolls! Ever since, I’ve made several different renditions of some sort of breakfast “rolls” on weekends both Brian and I have off together. These blueberry sweet rolls are perhaps one of my favorite ones I’ve made so far!

Yep, you’ve heard me correctly – juicy blueberries bursting with flavor, combined with a sweet tangy lemon glaze.. it’s practically heaven!

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Just like the cinnamon rolls I’ve previously made, these are also overnight sweet rolls, meaning you won’t have to get up extra early for any type of prep work.

Now, onto a few technical things before you dive on in to make these this weekend:

  • When you toss the blueberries into the sugar/cornstarch mixture, it’ll seem like you’ll have a lot of sugar left on the bottom. Don’t panic! The blueberries will slowly absorb the sugar and cornstarch while you’re making the dough.
  • After you spread out the blueberries onto your dough, you’ll feel like there’s really not a lot of blueberry filling. The blueberry mixture will not completely cover the entire surface of the dough, and that’s totally okay. It’ll be plenty as you try to roll up the dough tightly – this really was the hardest part for me! They were harder to roll because the blueberries will seem like they have a mind of their own and would be rolling all over the place.
  • If you’re the impatient kind and can’t help but peek at how much your rolls have risen every two hours (ahem), don’t be alarmed if they don’t seem like they’re doing much after 4-6 hours. Because we’re using frozen blueberries in the filling, it’ll make the dough colder in temperature, therefore it’ll take a little bit longer for it to rise.

As the dough rises overnight, something magical happens: the frozen blueberries release their juices, and you get a delicious pool of blueberry juice on the bottom of the pan as a result. When you check on the rolls in the morning, you may notice the juices are practically half-overflowing to the top of the pan – this is okay! Because the juices will thicken as they bake, which is perfect if you like a little extra blueberry goo to go with your sweet rolls :)

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overnight blueberry sweet rolls with lemon glaze
Print
For the rolls
  1. 2 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon salt
  4. 1 package dry active yeast
  5. 1/2 cup water
  6. 1/4 cup milk
  7. 2.5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  8. 1 large egg, at room temperature
For the filling
  1. 1 and 1/3 cups frozen blueberries
  2. 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon cornstarch
For the glaze
  1. Juice from half a lemon
  2. 1 cup powdered sugar
  3. 1-2 tablespoons milk
Make the filling
  1. Combine the frozen blueberries, sugar, and cornstarch in a medium-sized bowl. Toss to coat and set aside. There might seem to be a lot of sugar on the bottom - don't worry!
Make the dough
  1. Set aside 1/2 cup flour. In the bowl for an electric mixer, combine the remaining flour, sugar, salt, and yeast together. Stir until combined. Attach the dough hook attachment onto your mixer.
  2. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, heat the water, milk, and butter together in the microwave until the mixture is hot to touch and the butter is melted. Pour the butter mixture into the flour mixture and stir on medium speed. Then add the egg and only enough of the reserved flour to make the dough. I used the entire 1/2 cup, but you may not use it all. You'll know you've added enough when the dough is soft, pulls away from the sides of the bowl, and is no longer sticky.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for 5 minutes. Place the dough ball in a lightly greased bowl, making sure all surfaces of the dough ball is lightly greased. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  4. While your dough rises, make the filling by tossing the ground cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl.
  5. After the 10 minutes, roll out your dough into roughly a 14"x8" rectangle. Give the blueberry mixture a final toss, and spread them evenly across the dough. Roll up the dough tightly and cut into 9-10 even pieces, about 1.5" each. Place into a lightly greased 9" pie pan, making sure you leave enough room between each roll for it to rise.
  6. Loosely cover the pan with aluminum foil and let it sit overnight, up to 12 hours, at room temperature. The rolls should have doubled in size when you check on them the next morning.
  7. When you're ready to bake them the next morning, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 25-27 minutes, covering the top with aluminum foil 15 minutes into baking to prevent excessive browning on top.
  8. While the rolls are baking, make the glaze by mixing the powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon of milk, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Add more milk if the glaze is too thick.
  9. When the rolls are done baking, remove from oven and drizzle them generously with the glaze. Rolls are best served warm and on the same day, even though they can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  10. Makes 9-10 rolls
Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction
SIMPLE EVERYDAY FOOD http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
My oh my were these good! Sweet, fluffy rolls with blueberries that are just bursting in flavor, combined with a tangy, sweet, tart lemony glaze – I can’t think of a more perfect way to start a morning!

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If you happen to have a few extra leftovers, place it in the microwave and heat it up for 10-20 seconds* until warm. The congealed blueberry juice on the bottom will liquefy again and the rolls will taste just as good as they were when they came out of the oven!

*the amount of time the rolls need to be microwaved may depend on the model and type of the microwave you have

Recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

© Simple Everyday Food. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or kindly link back to this post for the recipe.