Monday, December 31, 2012

Silver Dollar Pumpkin Pancakes

Happy New Year's Eve! Any big plans, big resolultions? I plan to eat some good food, try to  keep one eye open to see the ball drop and then rest my swollen feet all day tomorrow. This is the first year I'm not making any resolutions since I plan to be focusing all my energy on my baby girl but I'd love to hear what your resolutions are...and have you kept any from past years? I have not. I always start with the best of intentions and then about 3 days in the motivation wears off.

If you're looking for something yummy to make for breakfast tomorrow or for lunch if you plan to sleep until noon like me, these pancakes are so delicious. The size is just perfect and makes them so much easier to flip than the large pancakes I'm used to making. They even make good leftovers. I popped a few (ok six) into the microwave this morning and they heated up nicely.

The recipe is from one of my favorite bloggers. I'm sure you've heard of her- Ree at Pioneer Woman.
A couple things- I didn't have cake flour so I just used all-purpose. I also added 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed to the batter as I do with all my pancakes and waffles. Enjoy!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Trader Joe's Mexican Pizza

Somehow I have managed to avoid Taco Bell my entire pregnancy. This has been soooo hard since I love their Mexican pizza but I knew as soon as I had one, I'd be in the drive-thru everyday ordering another. I especially love my pizza smothered in extra hot sauce and extra tomatoes. Oh the deliciousness but so so unhealthy. When I saw this homemade version on Pinterest I loaded up my grocery cart with all the ingredients that day and made it for dinner. Success! It's really good and I love that I can buy organic ingredients and grass-fed beef while still satisfying a craving.
Was there anything you avoided during pregnancy because you knew you couldn't have just one?

Mexican Pizza Recipe

by Trader Joes Recipes
Yield: 2 Mexican Pizzas
Prep time: 20 min | Cook time: 25 min


  • 1/2 pound Trader Joe's Ground Beef or Ground Turkey
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 15-oz can Trader Joe's Traditional Style Fat Free Refried Beans
  • 4 9-inch flour tortillas
  • 1/2 cup Trader Joe's Chunky Salsa, or your favorite salsa
  • 2 cups Trader Joe's Lite 3 Cheese Blend
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup Trader Joe's Extra Large Black Pitted Olives, sliced


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Place meat, onion and garlic in a skillet over medium heat. Cook until beef is evenly browned. Drain off grease. Season the meat with chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper.
  3. Coat 2 pie plates with non-stick cooking spray. Place one tortilla in each pie plate and cover with a layer of refried beans. Spread half of the seasoned meat over each tortilla and then cover with a second tortilla. Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
  4. Spread half of the salsa over the top tortillas. Top each pizza with half of the cheese, tomatoes, green onions, and olives. Return the pizzas to the oven, bake until the cheese is melted, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Slice each pizza into 4 pieces and serve.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Eggnog Muffins

Guess what was sold out at the store when I went in search of ingredients for this recipe...eggnog. Well, plain  eggnog at least. I improvised and picked up a carton of pumpkin spice eggnog which gave the muffins a nice flavor. These are best served the morning you bake them. I had a few leftover the next day and they got a little too dense for my taste.

Pumpkin Spice Eggnog Muffins
adapted from King Arthur Flour

1/4 cup (1/2 stick, 2 ounces) butter
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) sugar
2 large eggs
2 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I used 1/2 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon eggnog flavor or 1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) eggnog or half and half

1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar
1/2 cup (2 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon eggnog flavor, optional
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) butter, melted
I added 1/2 teaspoon each cinnamon and ground ginger
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a muffin tin with 12 paper or silicone muffin cups, and grease the cups with non-stick vegetable oil spray; this will ensure that they peel off the muffins nicely.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar till smooth. Add the eggs, beating for several minutes and scraping the bowl, till the mixture is smooth and light colored. Beat in the baking powder, nutmeg, salt, and eggnog flavor or vanilla.

Stir the flour into the butter mixture alternately with the eggnog or half and half, beginning and ending with the flour and making sure everything is thoroughly combined. Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared muffin cups.

Stir together all of the topping ingredients JUST till crumbly. Stir gently, and don't overmix; you don't want to turn this crumbly topping into a solid mass. Sprinkle the topping over the muffins.

Bake the muffins for 20 minutes, or until they're a pale golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and serve warm, or at room temperature.
Yield: 12 muffins.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Hot Spinach Dip

Oh my goodness, Christmas is actually over. Where did the time go? It went by so fast and now I'm a little sad. I love having everyone together. The laughter, music, good food and just being with family. It's a wonderful way to live and I wish we could do it all the time. But, life has to resume to normal.
Are you working today? I am. The freeway was completely empty as is the parking lot at my building. You know what wasn't empty on my lunch break?....Target. Way too many people at Target when all I needed were a couple things but almost all checkout lanes were open so I didn't wait too long. Are you braving Target today for all the 50% off Christmas decorations?

And now on to the recipe...
I made hot spinach dip that I had Pinterested (is that a word now?) for last night's Christmas festivities. It was delicious and I would know since as the pregnant lady I devoured half the dish on my own. I served it with Triscuits and really good artichoke/garlic spiced tortilla chips that I found at Fresh & Easy. Also, I used frozen spinach that was prechopped- definite time saver.

Hot Spinach Dip (Martha Stewart)


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, plus more for baking dish
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 pounds spinach, cleaned, trimmed, and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 6 ounces reduced-fat bar cream cheese
  • 3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 dashes hot sauce, such as Tabasco
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • Baguette slices, breadsticks, or crackers, for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a Dutch oven or large pot, heat oil over medium. Add onion and garlic; cook until lightly browned, 5 to 8 minutes.
  2. Add spinach in two additions, letting the first batch wilt before adding the next; cook until completely wilted, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a colander; drain, pressing to release all excess liquid.
  3. In the same pot, warm milk over high heat. Whisk in cream cheese until melted, about 3 minutes. Add spinach, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and 1/4 cup mozzarella; stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into a lightly oiled 1 1/2-quart shallow baking dish; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella.
  4. Bake until bubbly and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve hot with accompaniments, as desired.

Cook's Note

The recipe can be assembled through step two up to three days ahead, then covered and refrigerated; it can also be served as a side dish. Two 10-ounce packages of frozen spinach can be substituted for the fresh. Thaw according to box instructions, drain well, and chop.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Breakfast Tips

Breakfast is one of my favorite meals and I can't go more than 30 minutes of being awake in the morning without eating. This usually means I'm chugging down a bowl of cereal while getting dressed in the mornings but if I keep myself organized and I don't hit the snooze too many times I can pull off a decent yummy breakfast.

If you like a nice frothy latte in the morning but are too rushed to stop by Starbucks, I have a solution. You will need a couple of handy tools though. First one being an espresso maker. I have a stove-top one that works great and you can get it on amazon for about $20. Next you'll need an immersion blender. I use this for all kinds of things but mostly for frothing milk. You could certainly buy a milk frother but I prefer tools that do more than one thing.
The night before, setup your espresso, a pot for your milk, and the immersion blender. The less you have to do in the morning, the better. After you've stumbled out of bed, make your espresso, heat milk (I find skim milk makes the most foam) to just before boiling and if you like sugar you'll want to add it to the milk once it's heated to dissolve well. Once your milk is heated, use your immersion blender and blend until you have as much foam as you like. Pour milk into your mug, add espresso, then top with foam. Delicious! I promise it only take about 10 minutes.

Quick breads are a life saver in the morning. I make a loaf once a week. There are tons of amazing recipes on the web. The one above is blueberry lemon which I fail to remember where I found the recipe for. Sorry.

Corner Bakery Style Swiss Morning Oatmeal. This is cold oatmeal which you can prepare the night before (except for the banana, please don't add that until the morning). My own version above is rolled oats, vanilla yogurt, silvered almonds, strawberries, dried blueberries, banana, a little raw sugar and some skim milk to thin it out. So good!

One of my favorite tips, pack your hot oatmeal in travel mugs. It will keep it hot while you're on your way to work. This way you can make proper oatmeal in the morning without relying on those sugared packets of instant oatmeal. My favorite hot oatmeal- I cook the oats in skim milk, then add chopped apples, a little vanilla extract,  chopped walnuts and top with maple syrup. Yum!

Do you have any breakfast tips to share? 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Earl Grey Tea Latte

Wow, only a few more days left until Christmas. Are you ready? I'm enjoying every moment of my last child-free Christmas but also so excited that next year there will be presents under the tree for my baby girl.

Since the start of this wintery season, I've been making myself an Earl Grey tea latte almost every morning. I originally saw Bobby Flay make one on his show Brunch at Bobby's and I've been hooked ever since. It's a great less caffeine alternative to coffee for any pregnant mommies out there or if you're looking for a change from your usual espresso latte.

How easy is this?...
1 cup water
1/2 cup skim milk (or whole if you're feeling indulgent)
1 tablespoon raw sugar
1 Earl Grey tea bag
Heat water and milk to just before boiling, stir in sugar, steep tea bag for approx 2 minutes and enjoy!

I submitted this to Foodie Friends Friday. You can find lots of other yummy recipes and vote for mine