everyday food made simple

I am determined to make as many lemon-flavored recipes as I can before the summer ends. In case you missed it, here are some of the “summery” recipes I have made within the past 3 months:

overnight blueberry sweet rolls with lemon glaze

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lemon poppy seed loaf cake

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lemon gooey bars

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And now I present to you: lemon poppy seed muffins!

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My breakfast eating habits seem to go in phases. I tend to eat a lot of the similar things for breakfast weeks in a row, then I’ll get sick of it, move on to something else, and eat that for a few weeks until I get sick of that and find something else to obsess over. A few weeks ago, I was eating breakfast burritos every morning like they were going out of style, then it was smoothies.

Lately, it’s been muffins. Specifically, homemade muffins.

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These muffins are not only delicious and require no fancy electric mixer, but they also freeze very well, meaning that you can make them in huge batches, freeze them, and reheat them in the mornings when you’re rushing out the door. What I have been doing is taking a few out to thaw out in the fridge overnight, then heating them up in the microwave the next morning.

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Reheating them doesn’t take away any of the textures of flavors! The insides remain moist while the muffin tops remain crunchy thanks to the sparkling sugar topping (the best part of a muffin!). Every bite is is citrusy and lemony, while the earthy poppy seeds pop in your mouth. The different textures create a delicate balance, like a well-rehearsed dance in your mouth… are you salivating yet?

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One thing to note before making these is to make sure everything is at room temperature. Make sure your melted butter is not scorching hot and has cooled down prior to adding the eggs – unless you’re a fan of scrambled eggs in your lemon poppy seed muffins…. the batter will also be pretty thick, so roll up your sleeve and use those muscles! BUT – do not overmix! Overmixing will cause the muffins to be dense and dry and not as tasty.

Fill the muffin tins about 3/4 full and generously sprinkle the tops with some sparkling sugar. If you do decide to freeze them, throw them in the microwave and heat until the insides are completely heated through prior to serving.

lemon poppy seed muffins
  1. 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  2. Zest and juice of 1 lemon, separated
  3. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  4. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  5. 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  7. 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  8. 2 eggs, at room temperature
  9. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  10. 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  11. 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  12. sparkling sugar, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a muffin pan with liners and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingertips until fragrant (or until the sugar granules are moist). Add in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, thoroughly whisk the Greek yogurt, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice, and melted butter together. Pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture and stir just until combined. DO NOT OVERMIX (the batter will be thick). Gently stir in the poppy seeds. Divide the batter evenly into the muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full. Sprinkle tops with sparkling sugar, if desired.
  4. Bake for 16-18 minutes until the tops are just starting to brown, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before removing them onto a wired cooling rack to cool completely.
  5. Muffins can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days at room temperature, or frozen to be eaten at a later date.
  6. Yield ~15 muffins
  1. If reheating the frozen muffins, each microwave is different so the time it takes to reheat may differ.
Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
SIMPLE EVERYDAY FOOD http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
Recipe adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

© 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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I’m not sure when my addiction to coffee began. Just a few years ago, coffee was a treat to myself every month. Now the smell of coffee invigorates my soul and awakens my foggy brain every morning at 4:30. And somewhere along the way, it became a necessity to start my day.

I became one of those “don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee” kind of people.

I used to laugh at Brian when he would complain about getting caffeine headaches, but it wasn’t until I got my first caffeine headache did I realize it was “a real thing”, and oh man I will never think of “having a caffeine headache” as a joke anymore. It’s serious business, folks.

Prior to my coffee addiction, chai tea lattes used to be my drink of choice when I would visit coffee shops. The combination of the tea, the spices and the creaminess of it was enough to keep me awake and going for the rest of the day. Now that my caffeine tolerance has gone up significantly ever since I entered the “real world”, a chai tea latte is only enough for an afternoon pick-me-up.

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So today I’ve made you the perfect afternoon pick-me-up for a hot day – chai tea latte popsicles! Only two ingredients needed and there’s really not a whole lot of science involved to make these… and they’re so fun to eat on a hot summer afternoon! I’ve been going to the freezer and having one of these every day after work. Whether or not the small amount of caffeine in it actually does anything to me, I don’t know; but at least my mind thinks I’m feeding it caffeine to last me a few more hours before bedtime.

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chai latte popsicles
  1. 1 cup chai tea concentrate (I used the Tazo brand)
  2. 1 cup skim milk
  1. In a medium-sized bowl (preferably with a pour spout), combine the chai tea concentrate and the milk.
  2. Pour mixture into popsicle molds, leaving about a 1/4-1/2" space from the top to give the popsicles room to expand when frozen.
  3. Freeze for an hour, then insert popsicle sticks. Freeze until frozen.
  4. Makes 10 popsicles
  1. To remove the popsicles from the molds, run warm water over the outside of the molds for ~30 seconds. Pull the popsicles straight up out of the molds - don't try to wiggle them out. Store in a separate container in the freezer.
SIMPLE EVERYDAY FOOD http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
© 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.

Is anyone else sad that it’s already mid-August and summer is coming to an end? Where did my summer go? I made a whole list of summer to-dos at the beginning of the summer, and there are so many things I haven’t got to cross off the list yet!

But let’s try to be positive here – even though summer is ending, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to be 20 degrees and snowing the next day (but you just never know in Minnesota). There’s always the Minnesota State Fair, all things pumpkin and apples and cinnamon, the beautiful fall foliage, and plenty of crisp fall days ahead of us!

But as long as it’s 80 and sunny, I will be clinging on to every last day of summer. This includes the making of all things that scream summer that are bursting in summer flavors! Like this lemon gooey bar.

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This lemon gooey bar tastes exactly what it sounds like – lemony and gooey. If I could’ve called it “The Amazingly Delicious Soft and Gooey Melt-In-Your-Mouth Lemon Bars”, I totally would’ve. Soft lemon bars sprinkled with plenty of white chocolate chips… every bite is melt-in-your-mouth amazing! I brought some to work to share with some lemon-loving coworkers and I’m pretty sure the pan was gone within the hour. Word sure travels fast around the hospital when there are sweets involved!

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These bars are made in a similar manner to the peppermint gooey bars I made last winter. If you haven’t tried those yet, I do highly recommend you do so sometime!

So you’re going to make the dough first, pressing half of it into the bottom of the pan. Then do a little bit of drizzling of some sweetened condensed milk and a bit of sprinkling of some white chocolate chips. Tear the rest of the dough into little pieces, pressing them on top. Don’t worry if the pieces don’t cover the whole pan completely – they will expand and stretch out once you put them in the oven.

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The entire process is super straightforward and simple, but you know what the most difficult thing about making these bars is? The waiting. I hate waiting, but believe me when I tell you these taste way better when you actually wait patiently for them to cool completely. I highly recommend running a few errands and getting out of the house while they cool so you’re not tempted to check on these bars every 3 minutes (not that I’m speaking from personal experience or anything… ahem).

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lemon gooey bars
  1. 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  2. 1 box (16.25 oz) lemon cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
  3. 1 egg, at room temperature
  4. 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  5. 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x9" baking pan with aluminum foil and spray generously with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Using an electric mixer, stir butter over medium speed until fluffy. Mix in the cake mix and egg. Beat until texture resembles cookie dough.
  3. Place about half of the dough in the bottom of the pan, press to form the crust, making sure all corners and sides are covered with dough. Sprinkle the white chocolate chips evenly over the dough and drizzle with the sweetened condensed milk. Drop balls of remaining dough evenly over the top. Press lightly. Don't worry if the entire surface isn't covered by the dough balls - the dough will expand once cooked in the oven.
  4. Bake for 28-32 minutes, or until the tops are slightly browned. Cool completely before cutting into squares. Once completely cooled, bars can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Adapted from Crazy for Crust
Adapted from Crazy for Crust
SIMPLE EVERYDAY FOOD http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
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.

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)
  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)
  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
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
  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.