2019 – A Year to be Better

Happy New Year!

I have taken a tiny hiatus because I was spending some quality time with my fiance (it was amazing). But now school is starting back up and it’s time to get back into the rhythm of things.

Now, I’m not one to make resolutions but there are some things that I have been wanting to change in my life and I’m going to share those with you!

  1. Read a book a month
    1. When I write it down or say it out loud it doesn’t really sound like much of anything, but it is. My fiance has this amazing ability to read through so many books and honestly, I’m jealous. I used to be that little girl in elementary/middle school that had the biggest & heaviest book bag because it was filled with books. But that’s just not the case anymore. My room is still filled with books, but now it takes me so long to get through them. Now I am determined to finish one book a month. For January I am starting with Once an Eagle by Anton Myrer. I’ll let you guys know how it is in Feburary!
  1. Go to more fitness classes
    1. Thankfully, I have access to free gyms and free fitness classes and I haven’t taken advantage of them. So for 2019, I want to get into shape and be the best that I can be physically. So classes that I will be attending with be TurboKick, Cycling and yoga!
  1. Maintain control of the food I eat
    1. This one is hard for me, I love to eat…. EVERYTHING. But it is important to me to eat foods that are good for my body. So my fiance and I have eliminated bread (except sourdough), dairy, alcohol and desserts. So we are loving sourdough bread and eggs right now.

I hope you all have an amazing New Year and if you have any resolution type ideas for this year feel free to share!

Love,

Homemade Bread!!!!

So yesterday I decided it was the day to make some bread. I don’t really have much going for me right now besides work and hanging out with my dog, so on my days off I’m always cooking. I was reading some things about how the bread that we’re used to isn’t real bread. And it’s extremely true, bread in the store is filled with preservatives to mass produce it and because of how bleached it is, there are basically no nutrients in it. I love bread and I’m quite positive I will always love it and never be able to give it up. So I made some. My favorite bread right now is Ezekiel Bread (I wrote about it in my blog post about 2 months ago in Must Have Items!) It’s a great bread, it’s made out of wheat, barley, lentils, spelt and so on. But I don’t have any Ezekiel Bread right now.

****Even though I’m always cooking, I’m not that great of a cook. Most of the things I make I only eat because no one else likes it and I’m pretty much experimenting with different things. But this bread was AMAZING.****

It’s basically “Italian” bread because of the herbs I used to crust it but you can skip this part and only make the bread or crust it with anything else (i.e. cinnamon sugar and so on).

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of bread flour
  • 4 cups of All purpose flour (I used unbleached flour)
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 3 cups of warm water (I microwaved the water until it reached 110 degrees)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of instant yeast

FullSizeRender(8)

** For the crust**

I basically eyeballed it, it really depends on what you like. For example I love garlic so I used a little more of that. Do it how you like it! But roughly I used these measurements.

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic

I used this to both coat the bread and use as a dipping sauce.

IMG_8559

So to start:

I dissolved my salt for the bread into the warm water. Once dissolved, I put it into my mixing bowl, I added all of the yeast and all of the bread flour and only about 2 cups of my all purpose flour. I mixed it on low. Once it comes together I slowly added the rest of the flour, about 1/2 cup at a time.

Once everything is mixed I coated my counter with flour and kneaded the bread for about 5 minutes. I grabbed my pot that I was going to use to cook the bread in and coated it with oil so my bread doesn’t stick and plopped my bread into there. **make sure all of your bread is coated with the oil.** I then covered it with plastic wrap that also had oil on it. Then on top of that I put a dish towel and placed it into the cabinet for an hour to rise.

After an hour it definitely rose! This is when I got really excited, it was finally looking like real bread!

I preheated my oven to 350 degrees and took my bread out of the pot to knead it just a little more, probably about 4 minutes. Placed it back into my pot and got a brush and coated the bread, generously, with my oil mixture. I then popped it into the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the crust is nice and golden brown.

Once out of the oven, I coated the bread a little more with my mixture and it is done!!!!

It was so good, I was so proud of myself with this one. Definitely one of the best things I’ve ever made. It wasn’t hard, it just takes some time. I think it’s really good for people to know how to make such simple things such as bread. Get back to the basics and make your own things, or at least know how to make it. It was 1000000000% better than store bought bread, seriously try it out for yourself!

If you tweak the recipe and do something different let me know! I’d love to hear about it.

I hope you guys have a great Tuesday,

-Love Nicole ❤

FullSizeRender(9)

Healthy Lemon Bars

When my grandmother would come visit when I was younger she would bring tons of cookies from her little Italian cookies to fudges to lemon bars. They were absolutely heaven. Sometimes during the holidays she would mail us tons of cookies and let me tell you, they did not last. For most of us, grandmothers cooking is always the best and nothing could compare. (I hope one day my grandchild feel the same about my cooking)

I decided to give lemon bars a try. I googled and looked over tons of recipes for lemon bars and it’s really simple but honestly it’s sugar on sugar on sugar. It’s like I couldn’t escape it. The closest thing to a non super sugary recipe I found was this “paleo” lemon bar thing and it just wasn’t what I wanted. Finally I decided to pick and choose ingredients that I wanted to use. Disclaimer: Unfortunately these are not your grandmothers lemon bars.

Ingredients for the crust:

  • 2 cups of ground oats (I used my nutri-bullet to ground them)
  • 1/2 the amount of zest from those same lemons
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 stick of room temperature butter (1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 1/2 cup of lemon juice
  • The rest of your lemon zest
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of ground oats
  • 1/2 cup of lemon juice (About 3-4 lemons)

IMG_8444 IMG_8445 IMG_8448(1)

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees-

To start I grounded my oats in the nutri-bullet, it look only about 5 seconds. In my blender I added all my crust ingredients and blended it on low. Then I placed it on my pan, padded it down and placed it in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to cool it down.

IMG_8446

While the crust was cooling I decided to make my filling. Literally it’s just placing all the ingredients in the blender and mixing it. But I always have a problem with over mixing so I put the blender on low and slowly add in the eggs.

Once the 10 minutes of cooling down is over for the crust, I placed the crust in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the crust is lightly brown.

After the crust was done, I placed it back into the refrigerator for about 20 minutes to cool down before I placed the filling on it. The filling has eggs in it and I did not want to risk possibly cooking the filling by putting it on the crust as soon as it came out of the oven.

Once it was cooled down I placed the filling on it and popped it into the oven. It took probably only 15 minutes, at most, to be ready. After it was done, I took it out to cool. The last step is to powder confectioners sugar over it and it needs to be cool or else the sugar would melt.

All you need is patience.

Once it was finally cooled down I powdered the sugar over it and I swear using this sugar on anything seriously transforms it.

Despite them not being the traditional lemon bar, they were good and I am actually very proud of them.

IMG_8451

I hope you guys can try these out and if you guys have any comments or questions let me know!

Hope you guys have a great Friday afternoon,

-Love Nicole ❤