Weekend Recap & Homemade PSL Recipe

Gooood morning, lovely people! I hope that you're feeling refreshed and rested after the weekend! My weekend was a good one, with my sister being home for a good part of it and getting to celebrate my mom's birthday. 

Friday

On Friday night my sister, one of my good friends, and I headed out for a drink at the Copperhead Saloon, a nearby bar with speciality cocktails. I got the Maginot Line cocktail that was a mixture of Death's Door Gin, Creme de Apricot, fresh lemon, simple syrup, and Molleto Prosecco. It was light, refreshing, and delicious!

copperhead_saloon_menu

We called it a night after just one drink to head home to sing an early happy birthday and eat cake with my mom. Her birthday was on Sunday, the 9th, but who turns down early birthday cake? Not the Fergusons ;P

Saturday

On Saturday morning, my mom, sister, and I got up early to head out for a day of shopping. Our intention was to go look at some bridesmaids dresses for Alie's wedding, but it turned into more of a jean shopping day. I don't know about you guys, but when I walk into Nordstrom and see 25% off signs on their high end denim brands like Paige denim, I beeline for those racks immediately! I mean, how often does Nordstrom discount that kind of stuff? Pretty much never. So, we got kind of distracted and I think by the end of trying things on we had about twenty pairs of jeans in our dressing room, oops! We may not have picked out a bridesmaids dress, but we all got a nice pair of jeans :D

After we left the mall, my sister and I dropped off my mom at home and picked up our dad for some last minute birthday gift shopping for my mom. We were going for a coffee theme since she just got the Ninja Coffee Bar from my dad for their anniversary and picked her up some seasonal coffee beans from Brew Haha (our local coffee shop), a coffee grinder, glass mugs that she wanted, Starbucks vanilla syrup, and a hazelnut syrup. She pretty much is ready to open up her own coffee stand on our street now, haha. 

coffee_rippedjeans

We got home from shopping just in time to wrap my mom's gifts and get changed for dinner, and before we knew it we were on our way to The Farmhouse for our reservation. The Farmhouse is a quaint little restaurant with old wooden tables and chairs, candlesticks, and homey decorations. It has a really cute and cozy feel. The food there was absolutely delicious, complete with warmed rolls, mushroom soup, and salad with homemade balsamic dressing. I chose the Surf and Turf as my entree because why not have a taste of everything when you can? We ended the dinner sharing the ricotta pound cake with strawberries and fresh lemon curd which was so, so yummy! 

mom_birthday_oysters
mom_birthday_family

Once we got home (with extremely full bellies) my mom opened her gifts and cards. Does anyone else get cards from their dogs for birthdays or is that just us? Alie and I get a kick out of picking a card out to give our parents on their birthdays from Munchkin and Lola. This year we picked out this card: 

pug_card

The head and eyes bobble around as you move the card, which is pretty hilarious to our pug-obsessed family. After my mom opened her gifts and cards, Alie headed back to her and Mike's place and the rest of us called it a night and went to sleep.

Sunday

On Sunday morning (my mom's actual birthday), my mom and I experimented with all of her new coffee accessories. The grinder worked perfectly and we had fun making homemade Pumpkin Spice Lattes and drinking them out of our fancy glass mugs :) If you have a coffee maker and a Frother you can easily make this delicious treat at your house. Here's the exact ingredients that you'll need:

pumpkin-spice-latte-recipe
  • 3 tablespoons ground coffee
  • 1/2 cup milk (we used vanilla soy milk)
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, plus more for garnish
  • Pinch of salt

The steps you'll take are:

  1. Following the measurement above, place the ground coffee into your coffee maker. 
  2. While the coffee is brewing, place the remaining ingredients in your glass Frother. Microwave on high for about 1 minute. Remove from the microwave, secure your Frother lid, and pump the Frother 15-20 times. 
  3. When your coffee is brewed, pour into your mug and then gently pour frothed mixture over brewed coffee. Sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice and then enjoy!
pumpkin-spice-latte
homemade-psl

I never realized how easy it is to make speciality coffee drinks at home...I may get wayyyy over caffeinated because of this! 

Let me know if you try out the homemade PSL recipe! I'm still hoping to make that apple pie chai, and once I make it I'll definitely share the recipe. Happy Monday, guys, and thank you for reading today's post :)

Xo,

Jenna

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Crockpot Chex Mix Recipe

Hello, hello, party people and happy Hump Day! You're halfway through the week, woohoo! I hope that your week has gone well so far. Mine has been spent looking for more jobs to apply for, spending time on applications, and prepping for my guest lecture on Thursday. My research advisor asked me to lecture his two classes since he'll be away on business on Thursday, so I've been tweaking the presentation and practicing that a good amount! Wish me luck :)

In Monday's post I had told you that I was heading to hang with my sister and Mike to watch some football, and guys, for me football means one thing: snacks. To be honest, I'm not a huge football girl, but I do love the food that surrounds Football Sundays. Anyone else with me on this?? So, naturally I had to whip up some type of snack to bring along on Sunday! I was craving something salty and that's when Chex Mix came to mind. 

chex_mix_recipe

I made this Chex Mix recipe one other time during a snow storm last year, and it's extremely easy! If you've never made homemade Chex Mix before, you're missing out. It's much better than the store bought stuff flavor wise, and you can pick and choose what you put in it, which means if you leave all of the dark wheat chex in the Chex Mix bag usually (hi, that's me), you can choose not to put those in or include less of them!

I followed Gimme Some Oven's crockpot Chex Mix recipe as my general guideline, and made some tweaks here and there. Here are the ingredients you'll need:

  • 9 cups Chex cereal (I used 3 1/2 cups corn, 3 1/2 cups rice, and 2 cups wheat) 
  • 2 - 3 cups pretzels (I erred on the side of 3 cups)
  • 1 cup cheerios 
  • 1 - 2 cups peanuts (again, I was closer to 2 cups, the more the better, right?)
  • 1/3 cup (6 tablespoons) butter, melted and hot
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned salt 
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce (can we talk about how I can never say that right?)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)

You can really be creative with your ingredients - only have honey nut cheerios on hand, use 'em up! Want to add in some bagel chips instead of pretzels? Sub out almonds for peanuts? Be my guest! You can even add in some chocolate chips or festive m&ms (halloween colors, woo!) once the Chex Mix is done and cooled for a nice salty and sweet snack. Let's not get ahead ourselves thought - first things first, you'll want to pull out your trusty crockpot. We have THIS crockpot and really like it, so, if you're in the market for a crockpot you may want to check it out.

Alright, so don't turn your crockpot on yet. You'll just be dumping ingredients in for now. Start by throwing in your Chex, pretzels, cheerios, and peanuts. 

chex_mix_ingredients

Then, you'll want to melt your 6 tablespoons of butter in a bowl. Once it's melted you can add in your seasoned salt, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic powder. Whisk the ingredients together. 

Once you have it well mixed, you can pour the liquid over the your dry ingredients. Use a spatula (or your hands, just avoid hard wooden spoons since they could crush some of the ingredients) to mix up the ingredients to ensure the liquid has coated most of the cereals, nuts, and pretzels. After that go ahead and put the crockpot lid on, and set the it on low for 3 hours. You'll want to stir the Chex Mix once during the first two hours and then in the last hour you'll want to stir it two to three times to prevent burning. 

Once three hours have passed, you'll go ahead and dump your Chex Mix onto baking sheets or parchment paper to dry out (and maybe you'll snack on a handful in the process - I won't tell anyone!). 

chex_mix

After it's dried out, dig right in! Bring this recipe to your next get together with your friends, a football party, or pack it in your kid's school lunch. This also would make a great little teacher's gift, or a gift for anyone in your life. Like I said before, put some festive candies in their like orange and black m&ms for halloween, pour some into a mason jar, screw on the lid, and tie some ribbon. Voila, a cute, thoughtful, and homemade gift!

I hope you guys will try out this easy and yummy recipe! I think it's the perfect snack for Fall, and it doesn't hurt that it makes your house smell pretty delicious while it cooks in the crockpot :) 

Question of The Day: What's your go-to salty snack?

See ya guys next time!

 

Pop-Tart Recipe: A Healthier & Homemade Recipe

Happy Hump Day! I hope that your week is going well so far. I'm writing this on Tuesday night and Women's Gymnastics is about to come on (my favorite Olympic sport, can I be an Olympic gymnast please, please, please?!) so let's just dive right into today's topic: a recipe for healthier pop-tarts!

halficedpoptarts

I don't know about you guys, but strawberry, strawberry frosted, and cinnamon pop-tarts were definitely in our pantry when I was growing up and I LOVED them. Strawberry frosted was hands down my favorite flavor. There's just something about strawberry pop-tarts after you toast them - the crispy edges with the gooey and delicious strawberry filling (oh. my. goodness)...is your mouth watering yet? 

I've seen homemade pop-tart recipes floating around Pinterest here and there, but I never saw one that I wanted to try out, until I came across Cooking Classy's recipe. Her recipe seemed easy enough, but I wanted to go one step further to make these just a bit healthier - swapping out all-purpose flour for whole wheat. 

If you aren't a big fan of the whole wheat taste, you could always do half regular flour, half whole wheat flour to tame down the wheat-y taste (or just stick with regular flour all together)!

Keep in mind that I haven't labeled these as a healthy recipe, but a healthier one. So, if you're craving a pop-tart - this is a much better and healthier choice than the store bought ones, with a lot less ingredients and sugar!

Alright, enough of me rambling on, let's get into the recipe! The ingredients you'll need are:

  • 2 cups + 2 tbsp whole wheat flour 
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar 
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (cold and diced into 1/2 inch cubes)
  • 4-5 tbsp ice water
  • 3/4 cup strawberry preserves (I used Trader Joe's organic reduced sugar)

For the icing (if you want to use it) you'll need:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp half and half, plus more if needed
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Sooo, how do you get this pop-tart party started? Here are the directions:

doughflour
  1. In a food processor (I used my trusty Vitamix), pulse together the flour, granulated sugar, and salt. Add butter and pulse mixture until it resembles a coarse meal (it won't really come into pieces at this point, just pulse into butter isn't still in cubes). Add 4 tbsp of ice water and pulse several times, if it doesn't come together in clumps add the remaining water. 
  2. Drop the mixture onto a clean, floured surface and gather it into a ball. You'll then want to divide the ball into two separate portions and shape them each into 5-inch discs. After that, wrap each disc in saran wrap and place in the fridge for 1 hour. 
  3. After an hour has passed, pull one of the discs out and roll it out on a floured surface to about a 13 by 11-inch rectangle. I had to add some water to the dough to be able to work with it, so you may have to too if you use whole wheat flour. Once you've done this, you'll want to trim the edges to get about a 12 by 10-inch rectangle, then you'll cut in half through the longness, then three cuts through the opposite. 
  4. Arrange three of the rectangles (you should have six at this point) and spread evenly apart on a greased baking sheet (or one lined with parchment paper). You'll then one to spread about 1 1/2 tbsp of strawberry preserves evenly down the center of your three rectangles, leaving about a 3/4 inch rim on all sides uncoated. Top each with another rectangle, sealing with your fingertips. You can then take a fork to the edges to make sure that they're sealed so no jam (or less jam) will ooze out during baking.
jamexposed

Next, poke the top center of each pop-tart with a toothpick four times. Then you'll cover the tray and transfer it into the freezer for at least two hours. Repeat this process with the remaining disc of the dough.

  1. Once two hours have passed, you'll preheat your oven to 375 degrees and pop those babies in for 25 - 30 minutes or until golden. Once they're done, pull them out of the oven and transfer them to a wire rack to cool. 

For the icing:

  1. In a mixing bowl whisk together all of the icing ingredients well and add more half and half if needed. You don't want your icing to be too runny, so don't go crazy with the half and half.
  2. Once the pop-tarts are cool you can spread them with icing and add some sprinkles on top - woohoo! 
icedpoptarts

I iced half of my batch, since my parents prefer the plain pop-tarts. I would definitely recommend toasting your pop-tarts before you dig in, so that you can get that nice gooey center, yum!

If you guys are wondering what was really going on behind the scenes while taking these pictures...

lolaandpoptarts

Lola was eyeing up the pop-tarts and then Munch came storming in and almost snatched one off of the cooling rack. Ohhh, pugs and food ;P

Thank you guys so much for reading today's post, and I hope that you'll try out this recipe! Let me know in the comments if you're a fellow pop-tart lover!

See ya guys next time!

Jenna