I’m Bad at Creating Recipes

I have two quasi-recipes for you today!

They’re both sweet, both freaking delicious, and…both lacking in measurements.

You see, when I cook anything new (this does not apply to baking), I either follow someone else’s recipe or I just make my own recipe by eyeballing the ingredients. I don’t measure or write down how much of an ingredient I put into it. I just throw things into the cooking vessel like a mad scientist until I think:

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Upon tasting, if the recipe leaves something to be desired, then I add that desirable something if possible. It’s usually one of three things that need to be added: salt, sugar, or liquid. For cooking, those things can often be added at the end of the cooking process somehow.

Thus, I suck at creating recipes, because I never have anything exact to share with you.

Nevertheless, I’m going to share two foods I made recently! They’re flexible recipes anyway, so you just be your own mad scientist and do what you will.

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Sweet and Spicy Roasted Sweet Potatoes

(aka the best roasted sweet potatoes I’ve ever eaten if I’m tootin’ my own horn, which I am.)

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  • 3-4 medium/large sweet potatoes, washed and chopped into 1-inch chunks (about 4 cups after chopping)
  • enough oil to lightly coat the potatoes (olive, avocado, or melted coconut oil works)
  • 2-3 tbsp maple syrup (depending on how sweet you want your taters)
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (more if you want a bigger kick in the taste buds)
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp kosher or sea salt
  1. Preheat your oven to 375F.
  2. Place the washed and chopped sweet potatoes on a sheet pan (lined with foil if you want easy cleanup).
  3. Pour/dump/sprinkle all the remaining ingredients over the potatoes. Try to distribute evenly.
  4. Use your hands to toss around the seasoned potatoes to make sure all they are coated with the flavorful goodness.
  5. Bake for 30-40 minutes, flipping halfway through. Baking time depends on your oven, the size of your chopped potatoes, and how roasty you like ’em.

Serves 2, with leftovers. Actually serves 4-5.

Note: All measurements are estimates. Follow recipe exactly at your own risk. Temperature and times are accurate.

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Strawberry Banana Almond Butter “Ice Cream”

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  • 3 frozen very ripe bananas
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1.5 tbsp almond butter (or peanut butter)
  • milk as needed
  1. Place frozen fruit and almond butter into a food processor or high speed blender with a small splash of milk (maybe 2 tbsp).
  2. Blend. Stop the blender and scrape down the sides as needed.
  3. Continue to blend and add small splashes of milk as needed to get the blender rollin’. Make sure not to add too much that the mixture becomes a smoothie.
  4. Be patient. The ice cream texture will happen.
  5. Serve up your creamy, dreamy, cold treat with a cookie, granola, more nut butter, muffin, chocolate chips, etc.

Serves 2.

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I understand that a lot of you are advanced-enough chefs to not need these recipes, but for those of you who need a little inspiration, I hope these sparked your interest!

This is why I say “nay” when my friends and family refer to me as a food blogger. That suggests that I know what I’m doing in the kitchen, but in fact, I just pretend that I do. I mostly make other people’s recipes and kinda make my own.

I like it this way though. Let the wind take you to where it blows! Or something like that.

P.S. banana soft serve checked off the food bucket list! 🙂

So tell me:

Are you an “eyeballer” when it comes to cooking, or do you like to measure everything?

What’s the best recipe you’ve created or tried recently? Please share!

Behind the Scenes #3: Feelin’ Festive

This week’s thoughts and random musings are being linked up to Amanda’s awesome Thinking Out Loud party!

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1. Christmas is in LESS THAN A WEEK. Last night I really got into the holiday spirit by celebrating National Bake Cookies Day for basically the whole evening. I was feelin’ some Christmas snickerdoodles (my favorite) and these Nutella cookies. I then proceeded to torture all my friends by posting a picture of the Nutella cookies on Instagram. Muahaha. I’ll be sharing them at school today though— I’m only a LITTLE bit mean. 😉

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Maybe the recipe meant 1 TSP of cinnamon instead of 1 TBSP? The cinnamon and colored sugar made for an interesting combo. They are tasty nevertheless.

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2. More Christmas awesomeness? These Christmas tree-shaped ravioli from Sam’s Club!

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Cuuuuuuuute. And delicious.

3. My family and I will be heading to Canada tomorrow to see all our relatives and friends for Christmas and New Year! Woot woot! I’m so excited. Not only do I love going to my other place of citizenship, but I also cannot wait to spend time with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins on both sides of my family!

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I still haven’t gone to where the moose are…I want to.

4. The only thing that stinks about leaving for Canada is that I’ll be missing our dance school’s holiday party this Saturday. It’s this cute and fun little gathering of all the dancers and their families to watch some lovely, short pieces choreographed by the dancers themselves and some crazy, cheesy dances created by company members (juniors do a dance for the seniors, and seniors do a dance for “little sisters”). Ohh well. You can’t be in two places at once.

5. I forgot how much I love applesauce. I mean, I haven’t really had much of it since my nugget years, but I could totally get into it again. I had to buy some to make monkey bread, but there was still a lot left over. What to do? Mix it with yogurt to make a concoction that my little cousin used to eat and call “yo-sauce.” I can see why the toddler enjoyed it so much.

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Basically, I like baby food.

6. I did not do any homework at home yesterday. Classes were especially laid-back, so I could finish a lot of my work. And when I got home, all I really had to do was bake up a storm! That’s what homework should be in my opinion— baking to soothe the soul (and the belly) and to put smiles on people’s faces.

Ha. Wish me luck as I try to argue that one with my teachers.

7. I made it into a couple colleges so far— Northeastern and Drexel! I was getting antsy since so many of my friends were getting into their early decision schools (they’re freakin’ amazing—Duke, Colby, Tufts, Cornell, SUNY Geneseo, Barnard, and Connecticut College are some of the places they’ll be going to!). I didn’t apply early decision (which is binding if you’re accepted) anywhere, just early action, so I really just wanted to get something. I would check my email like a mad woman. Sometimes, I would see an email from a college, get super excited, and then see Happy Holidays from ___ University! Stop playing with my emotions. -_- But now I am grateful that I can at least go somewhere now!

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I was this dramatic when my friends got in. 🙂

8. I’m kind of upset that I didn’t take the opportunity to go sledding with my brother at all this year. He’s home only for this semester since he’s working through his Co-op program (at Northeastern!), so he’ll be going back to school in the new year. I might just cry. No more British accents or game nights 😦

9. No matter how much I put on lotion (actually….I don’t put it on THAT often…but still often), the skin around my fingernails is perpetually dry and gross. I’ve had visions of myself just sitting with my fingers immersed in a jar of cocoa butter or coconut oil. Tell me that would magically penetrate into the depths of my dermis and make it soft forever? Because I would do it.

10. Eyyy I have a school concert tonight! For some reason I keep forgetting about it… Probably because I’ve had to learn all the songs after school since Chorus didn’t fit on my regular school day schedule. Well, it should be a good one anyway!

Have a great Thursday!

So tell me: Did you bake cookies yesterday? What is your favorite cookie? How do you deal with dry skin in the winter?

15 Christmas Morning Breakfast Ideas

Can ya just imagine it now? You open your eyes on Christmas morning. Excitement, contentment, and joy immediately fill your body. You throw off the covers to head downstairs and meet the rest of your family in your pajamas.

Perhaps you go straight to the gift unwrapping, or you exchange “Merry Christmas” greetings to everyone. But soon enough, after you’ve spent a little energy just being excited that it’s Christmas, you might notice that your stomach starts asking for a treat to match the warmth, comfort, and sweetness of the season as well.

So here I have for you a roundup of some delicious recipes from other bloggers that you may want to make on Christmas morning! If you want to just spend time with your family and friends without worrying about cooking, there are some make-ahead recipes included too. I, for one, kind of want to make all of these. But that would sort of detract from the family time and whole moderation thing, right?

15 Christmas breakfast ideas

Enjoy!

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Overnight Mini Baked Egg Casseroles via Yummy Mummy Kitchen

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Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce on Toast via White On Rice Couple

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Easy Sausage Breakfast Strata via Weelicious

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Baked French Toast Casserole with Cranberry & Pistachio Streusel via Cookin’ Canuck

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Apple French Toast Bake via Minimalist Baker

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Bobby Flay’s Peanut Butter French Toast “Waffles” with Mixed Berry Sauce via Cooking Channel

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Pumpkin Spice Latte Quinoa Breakfast Bake via Healthful Pursuit

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Overnight Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls via Chocolate and Carrots

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Cornbread Waffles with Cinnamon Apple Compote via 84th and 3rd

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Eggnog Baked Oatmeal with Caramelized Bananas and Vanilla Bean Brown Butter via How Sweet It Is

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Easy Sweet Potatoes and Eggs via Edible Perspective

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Ham & Potato Frittata via Budget Bytes

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Overnight Eggnog Coffee Cake via Recipe Girl

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Christmas Breakfast Cookies via Yeah…Imma Eat That

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Cranberry Ginger Pull Apart Bread via Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes

Drooling yet? 😉

So tell me: What are you thinking of making on Christmas morning or as a special holiday breakfast?

Baked Salmon with Lime-Dill Yogurt Sauce

Have you ever had that feeling? One hour your fridge is fairly empty. Then you go to shop at your favorite store–Costco, Trader Joe’s, Publix, the farmer’s market, whatever– and your fridge is full to the brim with SO MUCH FOOD that you become overwhelmed. I experienced this a couple days ago after my mom came home from Costco and Stew Leonard’s. I know, my issues are unusual. I put some requested items on the grocery list, but she basically came back with enough stuff to set up a farmer’s market of our own. For some reason, I feel like I have to think of a bunch of ways to help use up all the food so that A) it doesn’t go bad B) we don’t get bored eating the same things all week C) I have an excuse to actually use at least a few of the bajillion recipes I have bookmarked on my toolbar.

Here are just some of the goodies she picked up:

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Cowboy caviar! We shall see if this compares to the TJ’s version.

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Sweet deal on Wheat Thins. Everyone is loving those Sundried Tomato & Basil ones!

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No dried figs, but no-sugar-added dried apricots were available! 

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Avocado oil. We’ve never used it before, but I guess my mom wanted to see if it was good! Any suggestions?

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Vanilla beans! I’ve never worked with real vanilla beans before and these are HUGE. I’m thinkin’ vanilla bean scones 😀

Aside from the lovely products above, my mom also got a plethora of fresh herbs–basil, dill, and cilantro. I absolutely love using fresh herbs whenever possible because they add such an aroma and flavor that dried herbs just can’t live up to.

Here are some recipe contenders that could help use up them greens:

Roasted Tomato and Caper Pasta Sauce via Yeah…Imma Eat That

Copy Cat Chipotle Cilantro Brown Rice via Fit Foodie Finds

Avocado and Basil Bruschetta via Little Ferraro Kitchen

Avocado and Chicken Caprese Salad via Iowa Girl Eats

Did those make you hungry? Yeah, I thought so.

A couple years ago, my aunt and uncle made a fantastic salmon with lemon-dill yogurt sauce, and I fell in love. Salmon is one of my favorite things ever, and it’s oily nature paired so well with the fresh herbs and cool, creamy sauce. Occasionally, I still dream think about it, so I decided to take advantage of the fresh dill to make it myself!

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Baked Salmon with Lime-Dill Yogurt Sauce

by: Alison @ Daily Moves and Grooves

Serves: 8-10

For the salmon:

  • ~3 lb. fillet of boneless, skinless salmon
  • juice of half a lime (or lemon)
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 2-3 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
  • 4 tbsp. chopped fresh dill

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Lay out the salmon on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper* and add lime juice, salt, pepper, and dill to the fish. Use your fingers to distribute the juice and seasonings, then let it marinade for 3-5 minutes. Cut the salmon into fillets of desired size or keep it whole. Place in the oven and bake for 9-12 minutes if you cut it into fillets. Bake for 15-20 minutes if you kept it whole. **

For the yogurt sauce:

  • heaping 1/2 c. plain or 2% Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil (may omit if using 2%)
  • juice of 1/4-1/3 a lime
  • 2 tsp. mustard (I used spicy brown, but any kind would work)
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 4 tbsp. chopped fresh dill

Mix all ingredients together.

Notes:

*We used a cedar plank that we soaked in water overnight to bake the salmon, which was wonderful, but definitely not necessary.

**We like our salmon medium-rare, so we cook it for the shortest time possible (still making sure it’s not completely raw though!). If you like it more well-done, cook it longer. Also, I kept it whole this time, but I would recommend cutting the salmon into smaller fillets. That way it can cook faster and you can remove thinner pieces sooner so that they don’t overcook.

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Before going into the oven.

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That sauce….yes, I even put it on my brown rice.

Ahh it was utterly delicious! Please let me know if you try this out. My whole family loved it and I am just happy that I didn’t drop the salmon or anything freaky like that. I will certainly be making this again (…and again and again)!

So tell me: Do you ever get that overwhelmed feeling when there’s so much food in the fridge? Any fun grocery finds recently? What do you like to make with fresh herbs?