Monday, September 15, 2014

Spiced Butternut Squash Soup

Oh boy, do I have butternut squash on my hands. As someone who rarely uses squash, I really didn't know what to do with it. The only logical thing I could think of was soup.

Butternut squash has kinda a sweet flavour, so the next step was to decide what to pair it with. Should I play off the sweet and add cinnamon and cloves, or add onions and garlic for contrast?

The latter won. And I'm glad it did. This soup had a flavour profile that blew me away-- curry, garlic, carrots, onions, sriracha, and (wait for it........) peanut butter!

I'm sorry, guys... I just couldn't resist adding a tablespoon. It's totally optional; add it if you like love adore fantasize over peanut butter. And before you add it in, let me warn you: that little bit adds quite a punch!

Spiced Butternut Squash Soup
3 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 medium white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 tbsp sriracha sauce
1 tbsp peanut butter (optional) 
1 tbsp. Curry powder
1/4 cup basil leavers (fresh)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups milk (I used dairy milk, 2%)
  1. In a large soup pot, steam all ingredients except for the milk in the broth until soft (about 30 minutes). Allow to simmer for about 20 minutes on low, stirring occasionally.
  2. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  3. Blend in batches with milk. Make sure each batch is blended with milk, for example, it took me 4 batches, divided into 1/2 cups of milk.
  4. Return to pot and bring back up to temperature. If it seems too thick for you, add some more broth.

Enjoy it! I know I did!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Life in Pictures: Wisconsin

Welcome to my very first Life in Pictures Link Up!
Last week, I was invited by Linda to join the Life In Pictures Link Up. Basically, it's a bunch of pictures from your day or week with as little text as possible. Click on the graphic below to access the link up! 

I normally don't do much of anything super interesting on a daily, so I thought I would show you all some pictures of my vacation I took in Wisconsin last week! Can you all guess where in Wisconsin I was?

Fit Fed and Happy

Well that's it! I hope you enjoyed the pictures! This is my first link up ever, so sorry, Linda if I did it wrong, and thank you all for reading looking! Comment below what you think!
<3 Danielle

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Easiest One Pot Mac 'N' Cheese

Ahh the joys of being a kid. I remember spending every morning watching Sesame Street, and on occasion, Mr. Rodger's Neighborhood.

Often, in the afternoon in the summers, I'd go outside and swing on the swing set shared by my siblings and I, or I would ride my bike down to the playground near my house. When I was lucky, my best friend would be allowed to come over and we'd jump rope.

Winter time was all about sledding. My backyard was sloped, forming the perfect sledding hill. When sledding grew old, me and my brothers and sisters would build snow forts and wage war on each other, with snow balls as ammo. Then when our cheeks and toes were so frozen that we couldn't have anymore fun, we'd go inside and sip hot chocolate by the wood burning stove.

Ahh the joys of being a kid. But wait, there was a terrible part of my childhood. A dark and murky shadow over the highlights of my youth: boxed macaroni and cheese. Blah! Back then, I though it tasted fine. But check the side panel of the box. That list of ingredients? Don't be ashamed if you aren't able to read them, the list and contents of that list are waaaay too long!

So today I am going to share with you a recipe for macaroni and cheese that really does not take much, if any, longer than the boxed junk! This is so easy in fact, that you won't believe that it's at least 1000000 times better than it's packaged  cousin.

The Easiest One Pot Mac 'N' Cheese
3 cups elbow noodles, uncooked
1/3 cup milk of choice ( I used 2%, cow milk)
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
6 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt to taste

  1. Cook elbow noodles according to package in a 4 quart saucepan. Strain when done and leave in collander.
  2. In the sauce pan, melt the butter and stir in first the flour to make a roux. Then stir in the milk. Once the milk is very hot, but not yet boiling, stir in the cheese. Continue to stir until melted and sauce is thick, seasoning with salt. 
  3. Return the noodles to the pan and toss with the sauce. 
Enjoy your Mac 'n' Cheese!
<3 Danielle

Layered Berry and Banana Baked Oatmeal

Okay, so I am sorry-not-sorry that I am sharing two oatmeal recipes in a row. These are just sooo amazingly delicious, and I wanted to post them before the fruits go out of season!

My grandma grew up in the Great Depression, and to this day, she does not waste anything. Absolutely nothing. Not an exaggeration.

While this can be an admirable quality that many of us could use more of, it's almost obsessive on my grandma's part. She's walks around her house in the dark to save on the electric bill. Air Conitioning is only for  when company is over. Moldy cheese or bread? Cut off the mold, and eat the rest. But the killer is that after meals, she sweeps the crumbs fallen from the plates onto the table during the meal into her mouth.


I am not nearly that obsessive, but still,if there is a sane way to avoid waste, I try to take it.

So when I saw the bananas in the fruit bowl were on the verge of blackening completely, and the berries in the fridge were not getting any younger either, I decided to make them into a baked oatmeal.

And let me tell you, not wasting food never tasted so good (definitely a lot better than crumbs from a table)

Layered Berry  Banana Baked Oatmeal
2 Very ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 tsp. Baking powder
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tbsp. Milk
1/2 tsp. Vanilla extract
1/3- 1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup sliced strawberries
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a single-serving ramkin.
  2. Stir together oats, baking powder, and cinnamon. 
  3. Add milk, bananas, and vanilla to the oat mixture. Gently combine.
  4. In the ramkin, layer: strawberries, oatmeal batter, blueberries, strawberries, oatmeal batter, blueberries, oatmeal batter.
  5. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until center is no longer jiggly.
<3 Danielle

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal

Why, oh why is cherry season so short?

Why, oh why do cherries cost so much?

Oh the problems I have. When I do have cherries, I try make the most of them. However, usually my attempts are in vain, as I end up snarfing them down by the handful... oops!

But this year, I managed to save some for this oatmeal! And guess what? It was definitely worth it!

The juice from the cherries spread throughout the oats while cooking, letting off a subtle flavor that pairs well with the chocolate.

So if you have self control enough to save your cherries, try this out. It'll be worth it!

Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal
1/2 cup rolled oats
1.5 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1 banana, mashed
12 cherries, pitted and chopped
1 cup water
1/2 cup almond milk, or milk of choice
  1. In a small saucepan, heat all ingredients except for the almond milk until thickened.
  2. Add almond milk, then bring back to a boil and let thicken again.
  3. let cool slightly before enjoying!
Serves one


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Homemade Chicken Nuggets

Do chicken nuggets sum up anyone else's childhood? It's not just me, right?


Well, they were always my favorite. Whenever and wherever we went out to eat:
Burger King

.......Just to name a few. But that was before I was very health-consious, obviously.

These little gems I have for you today are much healthier, and baked. To be honest, I've never deep fried anything in my life. Grease just doesn't appeal. At all. I don't even remember the last time that I ate fast food!

Anyway, you should definitely give these a whirl, they are sooooooooooo much better than McDonald's. Although, I guess that's not saying much, but you get the picture.

Chicken Nuggets
2 cups cooked chicken breast, chopped
2/3 cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 eggs
1 tbsp. garlic powder
2 tbsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
2 slices bread (stale is good. if it is super stale, skip step no. 2)
2 tbsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt

  1. In a food processor, grind the chicken until it forms a thick paste. Add the eggs, 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 tbsp. garlic powder, 2 tbsp. oregano, and 1/2 tsp salt, and combine until everything is evenly distributed. Set aside.
  2. Dry bread out by toasting on low until very stale.
  3. Crumble bread into super small crumbs (this can be done in a food processor). mix with remaining ingredients.
  4. Take chicken mixture 1.5 Tbsp. at a time, form into a slightly flattened ball, and coat in breadcrumb mixture. Placeon a baking sheet lightly greased with coconut oil.
  5. Once all the chicken is used (you'll probably have leftover breadcrumbs. Just throw them away), bake in a preheated (400 degrees Fahrenheit) oven for about ten minutes, or until heated through and golden brown and slightly firm. Allow to cool slightly before enjoying!
I hope you like them as much as I do!

<3 Danielle

Friday, August 29, 2014

Thoughts are Stars

Inspired by the quote from John Green, I painted this piece of art several weeks ago on a day when I was feeling particularly scatter-brained. Lately I have been feeling inspired by starry nights and the moon.

There's just this overwhelming urge I get sometimes to paint an image I get in my head. Does anyone else get that?

I am extremely strong-willed. once an Idea gets into my head, theres only a very small chance of stopping me. For example, although I've never {successfully} sewn an article of clothing, around Easter, I got this idea into my head that I needed to sew myself a new dress. So I went all out. Not only did I sew my vintage-styled dress, but I also designed it. In fact, I was finally able to apply the calculus class I took to real life! But that's for another day. . . .

Whats inspiring you these days?

<3 Danielle