Family Recipe: Strawberry Bruschetta

Strawberry Bruschetta: An Easy, Light Breakfast Treat | via givinguponperfect.com

Okay, after all my talk about S’mores (on Facebook) and delicious but not exactly diet-friendly recipes (on Wednesday), I thought we’d better end the week on a lighter note.

Get it? LIGHTER note? Because this recipe includes fruit? And no bacon? Right.

You might have noticed that I labeled this a “family recipe.” When I’ve done that in the past, we’ve been lucky enough to have a guest post from my talented and hilarious brother. (No, I’m not biased. I’m a completely objective big sister.)

Today, however, it’s just me.

Strawberry Bruschetta: An Easy, Light Breakfast Treat | via givinguponperfect.com

But I’m sharing a recipe from a friend I consider family, so I decided the label fits. I met Brittany (and her husband, Josh) at choir practice several years ago. Nine years? Could it be that long ago?

ANYWAY. I liked them right away and it didn’t take long for us to become good friends. Over time they became the kind of friends I consider family, the ones I love unconditionally and will do anything for – like drive hours just to meet for a quick, chaotic lunch (with our kids, which is where the chaos came from). We’re visiting them in a couple weeks, and I can’t wait to see them. They are family.

So this is a family recipe.

Strawberry Bruschetta: An Easy, Light Breakfast Treat | via givinguponperfect.com

A couple years after I met Brittany and Josh – after I’d gotten good and attached, you know – they moved about three hours away. I should have seen it coming, since they were here for Josh to finish school and missed their family who still live – you guessed it – three hours away.

As you might have guessed, I’m not a fan of their decision to move away from me. And since I had decided they’re friends-like-family, I basically refused to say goodbye – and try to visit them as often as I can.

And when I do? Brittany almost always makes this strawberry bruschetta for us.

(And jalapeno popper dip, because in addition to music, board games and immature jokes, the four of us also share a love of our favorite cheesy, spicy dip.)

Strawberry Bruschetta: An Easy, Light Breakfast Treat | via givinguponperfect.com

When we visited our friends last summer and Brittany served us peach and strawberry bruschetta (and I gushed over it, AGAIN), it dawned on me: I could make this, too! Really, the recipe is simple enough that Annalyn could help me.

See? Family recipe!

And boy, was Annalyn excited for us to do a little cooking! She’d helped my mom make strawberry jam, so she now fancies herself some kind of strawberry-dicing expert. I found that to be a little bit of an exaggeration, but she was so proud of herself that I didn’t dare criticize her chopping skills.

The best part of this recipe was doing something new with Annalyn – and the fact that it reminds me of my friends. But second best is how simple it is. It really only takes a few minutes to make a delicious (and sorta, kinda healthy? Not as unhealthy?) breakfast!

Strawberry Bruschetta: An Easy, Light Breakfast Treat | via givinguponperfect.com

Strawberry Bruschetta

1 long, skinny baguette
3 tbsp butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
6 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup strawberries, diced

Slice the baguette into 24 pieces. Lightly butter and sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar (mixed together). Toast in oven until sightly browned. (I toasted mine for about 10 minutes on 450 degrees.) Mix together cream cheese and sugar. Spread sugar mixture on pieces of toast and top with strawberries. Then try not to eat ALL THE PIECES and ruin your fantasy of a semi-healthy breakfast.

A few notes: You can find fancier versions of this dish all over the internet. Unsurprisingly, I prefer this simple recipe. Also, I used Neufchatel cheese (you know, the “33% less fat than cream cheese” cheese), and you can substitute powdered sugar for regular sugar if you’d like. Finally, all these measurements are approximations because, again, that’s how easy this is.

Do you have favorite dishes you share with friends?

WFMW: Trying New Recipes

45+ New Recipes I Want to Try in 2015

I love Pinterest. One place to save all the great ideas I find and things I want to do? Count me in! Thousands of pins in, as a matter of fact.

Of course those thousands of pins are sorted into dozens of specific boards, but it can still be overwhelming to sift through them to find what I need at any given moment. Like, for instance, when I want to try a new recipe. Since I don’t always want to scroll through several hundred delicious pins, I created a new board specifically for this purpose: Recipes to Try in 2015.

I was really proud of this idea. But then, I attempted to put my new recipe-testing system to work. And, well, it hasn’t worked out all that great. I’ve been foiled by unproductive grocery trips (i.e. I forget to buy all the requisite ingredients AGAIN.), cancelled dinners, and that pesky decision to sign up for Weight Watchers again. (You might notice that I don’t pin a lot of diet-friendly dishes…)

Still. I’m not giving up. I really do want to try new recipes more often. And despite something going wrong about three out of every four times I attempt a new recipe, it’s not a bad plan. It turns out that it’s just not an easy one!

That’s why I’m still pinning new recipes, hopeful I’ll get the chance to try a few of them soon. And in case you’re curious about which recipes I’m going to try (although you know I’ll probably tell you about the ones that turn out well!), here’s the list (so far!).

{Or you can follow my Pinterest board. I’d love to connect with you there!}

Recipes I Want to Try in 2015

waffles

pizza bake

That’s the [very long already!] list. Trying new recipes works for me!

What’s the last new recipe you tried?

 
Works for Me Wednesday :: Giving Up on Perfect

It’s time for Works for Me Wednesday. I’m looking forward to your tips, tricks, ideas and inspiration! If this is your first time linking up with WFMW here, PLEASE read the guidelines I shared in this post. Highlights include linking your specific post, not the front page of your blog, and making sure to include a link back to this site in your WFMW. Thank you!!

 

WFMW: Oreo Magic Brownies

Recipe for Oreo Magic Brownies

As I was working on some blog planning today, I realized that I missed a big day. National Oreo Day was last month, apparently. And we missed it!

Since I love all things Oreo and cookies-and-cream-flavored, this is indeed sad. Since I’ve rejoined Weight Watchers, this is probably for the best. (Although, looking at this completely objectively and logically, Oreo Day DID take place well before my first WW meeting…)

Still, once I got Oreos on the mind, I couldn’t stop thinking about all the delicious Oreo desserts I’ve made. It’s not a good idea for me to make one right now, but that won’t keep me from sharing an AMAZING recipe with you. YOU can make it!

(Please. Let me enjoy these brownies vicariously?)

So, let me introduce you to Oreo Magic Brownies. “Magic,” because they are magically delicious. SO GOOD. Seriously. Make them now! (And then tell me about it. No, wait, don’t. No! Do! Tell me how good they are!)

Oreo Magic Brownies

Original source: Cookies & Cups

1 box brownie mix and ingredients needed according to the package directions
1 (16.6 oz.) package Oreo cookies, divided equally into thirds, coarsely chopped
1 (8 oz.) tub of Cool Whip, thawed in fridge
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tbsp vegetable oil

Prepare brownies just like the package says, then add 1/3 of the chopped Oreos. Bake according to your package directions, and then let the brownies cool completely. Mix the cream cheese, powdered sugar and Cool Whip together, then add in another 1/3 of the chopped Oreos. Spread this mixture on top of the brownies.

Melt the chocolate chips and oil in the microwave (medium for about one minute should do it, stirring every 30 seconds or so). Spread or drizzle melted chocolate over the cream cheese layer, and then sprinkle the remaining Oreos on top. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

And then? Then ENJOY. Happy belated Oreo Day!

Do you like Oreos?

 
Works for Me Wednesday :: Giving Up on Perfect

It’s time for Works for Me Wednesday. I’m looking forward to your tips, tricks, ideas and inspiration! If this is your first time linking up with WFMW here, PLEASE read the guidelines I shared in this post. Highlights include linking your specific post, not the front page of your blog, and making sure to include a link back to this site in your WFMW. Thank you!!

WFMW: Make-Ahead Mini Quiches

Recipe for Make-Ahead Mini Quiches via GivingUpOnPerfect.com

I am not a morning person. [People who have lived with me, feel free to hashtag that with #understatement...]

I’m not. I like staying up late and do it even when I shouldn’t, even when I have to get up early (or what morning people call “late”). So mornings are not my friend. But I’ve learned that breakfast – that meal that insists on taking place in the hateful morning – makes or breaks my day.

At least when it comes to diet. If I eat a lousy breakfast – or, even worse, skip it altogether – I can guarantee I’m not eating a salad for lunch or a piece of fruit for a snack. I probably won’t even drink any water. And by the evening, I’m bloated and miserable and so frustrated that one more day was wasted with bad health choices.

But if I start the day with a good breakfast – something healthy that will stick with me, keep me full for a few hours – I’m a whole lot more likely to make better choices throughout the rest of the day. And who doesn’t want to make more healthy choices?!

The problem is that, even though I know all this, I still hate mornings. And dragging myself from bed to couch (or bed to nursery to couch) is the best I can do for those first 30 minutes or so of my day. So cooking up a plate full of protein (aka, scrambled eggs and turkey sausage) or whipping up a low-fat fruity smoothie? IS JUST TOO MUCH WORK.

Still, I need to figure this thing out. I can’t keep driving through McDonald’s and wondering why the scale only moves up. Plus, I need to do better for my girls. I need to feed them better (not that they’re complaining about cheerios or chocolatey protein breakfast bars), and I need to set a good example for them. All that said, I’ve been on the hunt for healthy make-ahead breakfast solutions the past few months.

The first make-ahead breakfast recipe I decided to try was for “Omelet and Potato Breakfast Bites.” After researching the definitions of “omelet,” “quiche” and “frittata” (Yep. That’s how dedicated I am to providing you with the best information. Or, I’m a nerd. Whatever.), I decided these lean more toward the quiche end of egg dishes.

So – Make-Ahead Mini Quiches it is! But, really, you can [obviously] call them anything you want. Just don’t call them late to breakfast. Oh, shoot! What a terrible joke! I tried to resist, you guys, I did.

ANYWAY. I tried these this week, and they are super easy and very tasty. Another recipe I read said that, no matter what other ingredients you add, green onions are a must. Since I didn’t have any on hand and found my mini quiches a teensy bit bland, I’m going to make sure I don’t make that mistake again. Or I’ll add bacon. Or BOTH…

Make-Ahead Mini Quiches

Make-Ahead Mini Quiches

24 tater tots
8 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1 cup meats and veggies, diced

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, then microwave the [frozen] tater tots. Grease muffin tin with baking spray, then put three tater tots in each cup. Smash them down (with the bottom of a small cup or, if you like, a baby bottle that you just washed because washing bottles never ends) into a potato crust. Bake for 10 minutes.

While the potatoes are baking, mix together eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper if you’d like. Once the potatoes are cooked, sprinkle meat and veggies in each cup. Pour egg mixture over each cup and top with shredded cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until egg is completely cooked.

I put turkey sausage and red pepper in my little quiches, but next time I’m definitely trying bacon and green onion. I’m also considering trying it without the tater tots (to make up for adding the bacon!). I refrigerated mine because I knew we’d eat them the next morning, but you can certainly freeze them and microwave individually for a fast, healthy breakfast.

Make-ahead breakfast foods definitely work for me!

What’s your favorite breakfast food?

 
Works for Me Wednesday :: Giving Up on Perfect

It’s time for Works for Me Wednesday. I’m looking forward to your tips, tricks, ideas and inspiration! If this is your first time linking up with WFMW here, PLEASE read the guidelines I shared in this post. Highlights include linking your specific post, not the front page of your blog, and making sure to include a link back to this site in your WFMW. Thank you!!

WFMW: Mango Salsa & Chicken Quesadillas

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Last week Annalyn and I did something fun. We went to a Kids in the Kitchen cooking class at the Culinary Center of Kansas City with the National Mango Board. And it was a blast!

Annalyn was So! Excited! to be doing something out of the ordinary, smack dab in the middle of the week – and that was even before she got a second smoothie and learned how to cut up a mango.

[Yes, I let her wield a knife. And yes, there’s an easy way to cut up a mango. You can find a video and instructions at the National Mango Board website.]

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Annalyn’s a bit of a nerd – I mean, good student – like me, so she loved learning facts about this new-to-us fruit. [Yes, that's right. Not only had my daughter never eaten mango, but neither had I. I feel like I've probably had mango-flavored something or other, but an actual piece of fresh mango? I hadn't had the pleasure.]

So, before we got to do any actual cooking (but after trying a delicious mango banana smoothie!), we learned a few things about mangos.

First, we learned that mangos are low calorie (just 100 per cup), and provide 100% of your daily vitamin C, 35% of your daily vitamin A and 12% of your daily fiber. Next we found out that mangos are available year-round because different varieties are in season at different times of the year. They are actually the world’s most popular fruit!

Lastly, we learned how to pick a good mango. It turns out that the color of a mango isn’t the best clue. Red doesn’t mean ripe. Instead, to find a ripe mango, squeeze it gently. A ripe mango will feel slightly soft like an avocado or peach. You can find out more about our new favorite fruit at www.mango.org.

Next up? The cooking part of the cooking class! We made chicken quesadillas and enjoyed them with a sweet and savory mango salsa. It was SO good.

The quesadillas were pretty basic (but still delicious): chicken with salsa or tomato sauce with adobe peppers, green onions, red peppers and shredded cheese. You can find the step-by-step recipe at the National Mango Board site. The star of the show, as our teacher said, is the mango salsa.

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Here’s the recipe for that mango salsa:

1 medium jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded and minced
2/3 cup diced red bell pepper
1/3 cup diced red onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large ripe mangos, peeled, pitted and diced

Stir together all the ingredients in a big bowl. Refrigerate overnight if you can; the salsa gets better the longer the ingredients sit together.

Oh, by the way, Adrienne wasn’t about to be left out of our cooking class/mango excitement. I used my newly acquired dicing skills to cut up a mango for her the next day. She could hardly eat it fast enough and was Not! Happy! when it was all gone!

baby with mango

Trying new foods, cooking classes, and mangos work for us!

Have you tried any new foods lately?

Disclosure: This post and our participation in the cooking class is part of a campaign with The Motherhood. All mango love and excitement is my own, though!
 
Works for Me Wednesday :: Giving Up on Perfect

It’s time for Works for Me Wednesday. I’m looking forward to your tips, tricks, ideas and inspiration! If this is your first time linking up with WFMW here, PLEASE read the guidelines I shared in this post. Highlights include linking your specific post, not the front page of your blog, and making sure to include a link back to this site in your WFMW. Thank you!!