Holiday, Recipes

Homemade Chocolate Truffles

Happy hump day! How is your week so far? I’m halfway done with my truck following trip and I’m surviving. Being at work before 5 am is rough to say the least. Have a wonderful day 🙂

On Thanksgiving, Alex’s mom asked if I could bring a chocolate dessert. I set the bar pretty high for myself with the cake I made so I knew I had to do something good. Since I knew there would also be two pies, I wanted something small but good. I opted to try my hand at homemade truffles! The amount of recipes I looked at was unreal. I didn’t find one I was in love with so I took a little bit from a few and created this recipe. It’s much easier than I thought but does take a little bit of time as the chocolate sets so just keep that in mind.

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Ingredients

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8 ounces semi sweet chocolate (a little 2/3 cup of chocolate chips)

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, I used 60% cocoa

1 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon prepared coffe3

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

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Put all of the chocolate into a bowl.

In a saucepan, warm the heavy cream until it starts to boil. Stir to avoid any film developing on top.

When it starts to boil, remove from heat for 20 seconds. Pour over chocolate.

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Stir until the chocolate completely melts. It will look clumpy at first but keep stirring.

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Place in fridge for 1 hour to harden and cool once completely melted and smooth.

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Once hardened, take out and roll into bowls. I found it easiest to use a spoon then roll with my hands.

Place in the fridge for 20 minutes to harden.

At this point, you can serve them as is or top them. I chose to dip them in chocolate and top with sea salt. But you can really do whatever you think is best: powdered sugar, cocoa powder, sprinkles, use what you want!

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Note: I also made a batch that were mint. For the I took out the coffee and vanilla extract and used mint extract instead. The consistency was a little different but they were still delicious.

Question of the day: Have you ever made homemade truffles?

Daily Happenings, Recipes, Running, Weekend

Knocking Off Christmas Movies

Happy Sunday! How is your weekend so far? Yesterday was fairly relaxing which is just what I wanted. I hope you have a wonderful day 🙂

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Saturday started off with a 6 mile run. I unintentionally turned it into a progression run and got faster every mile (oops!). With an average pace of 9:47 (the goal was 9:45-10:30) I did fairly well. The last two miles were a 9:37 and 9:34 pace which is awesome. Slowly making the long runs get faster, woohoo! Side note, does anyone else skip gloves and just pull their long sleeve over their hands to keep them warm?

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When I got home, Alex was still in bed so I stretched and foam rolled while we chatted. Apparently I stuck (tmi?) because Alex said I should shower. Ya know, because I totally planned on going around in my sweaty running clothes all day 😉 After getting dressed, I got some food in my belly that Alex cooked for us. Bacon, eggs, tea and a glass of milk was the perfect fuel to get me ready for the day.

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I basically ran out the door after eating to make it to the nail salon on time. For Alex and his twins birthday, her gift was that I would take her to get a manicure as my treat. This was the first time the three of us (their brother’s fiance joined us) were able to go. His sister was so excited to have a mini girls day and it was a great way to relax and chat without his parents or brothers around. I opted for a semi-dark purple from CND. I don’t know the name of it since the salon I go to just numbers them, sorry!

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Afterwards, I came back to clean up from breakfast and tidy the apartment. Alex was out getting his car reregistered and once that was all complete we were both hungry. We headed out for lunch and planned on getting Subway but somehow ended up at a pizza place. Any guesses on who was driving?! None of the specialty pizzas were up my alley (picky eater problems) and they had no plain cheese (how?) so I just got a slice of pepperoni and a slice of sausage. Long story short I should’ve just gotten a side salad instead of the sausage…Apparently it’s easy to mess up a simple slice, even if I’ve had it before and it was good.

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After lunch, I headed to Target. We needed some more hot sauce for dinner and Christmas gift bags. I found a ton in the dollar section that were in packs of two for $1 and super cute! I picked some of those up then came home to wrap Alex’s family’s gifts. Now we have actual presents under the tree instead of fake ones.

Once wrapping was all done, I got on the couch to read more of “They Both Die at the End”. I’m liking it a lot so far and am curious how the plot thickens. Random characters are getting added in and I have a feeling a bunch of these small people’s stories are going to converge.

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For dinner I made buffalo chicken dip! I noticed on the Frank’s Red Hot bottle there was a recipe. Alex and I figured it would be good and decided that would be dinner. I didn’t have all the ingredients so I modified it to fit what we did have. The recipe is below if you’re interested 🙂

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After dinner, we knocked another movie off our list! Alex had never seen “A Christmas Story” all the way through so that’s what we watched. Such a classic movie that everyone needs to see. When the movie was over, Alex asked if I wanted to play a video game so I said yes. We spent the rest of our night listening to Christmas music and killing zombies.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Ingredients:

1 package (8 oz.) of cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup Frank’s hot sauce (or hot sauce of your choosing)

1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup shredded chicken

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In bowl, mix together all of the ingredients with a fork. If you want, add some extra hot sauce and/or shredded cheese.

Place in a 1 quart baking dish and cook for 20 minutes.

Let cool slightly (so you don’t burn your tongue) and serve.

Question of the day: What’s your favorite Christmas movie?

Recipes

Pumpkin Bread

Hi friends! As promised in my Monday post, I am sharing my pumpkin bread recipe for you all today. I hope you enjoy it!

Is there anything more fall than pumpkin flavored everything? As you walk down the aisles at groceries stores you are bombarded with pumpkin spice everything. Personally I am not a pumpkin spice latte fan but I do love pumpkin bread!

This recipe is actually from my late grandmother’s friend. When I was 5, my paternal grandmother passed away. At some point during the days my family was in New York for the wake and funeral, her sweet friend brought pumpkin bread to us all. My memory here is a little foggy, but somehow she found out I couldn’t stop eating the bread so she sent the recipe to me back in Chicago.

Fast forward 15 years to when I was grocery shopping during my junior year at Rutgers. I saw pumpkin spice English muffins and thought about that pumpkin bread. I quickly texted my mom to see if we still had the recipe and we did! She texted me pictures and I’ve been making it the past two years without fail.

If you make this recipe please let me know what you think! I hope you enjoy it 🙂

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Ingredients

1-1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup pumpkin

1/2 cup oil

1/4 cup milk (I use 2% but use whatever you have on hand)

2 eggs

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon cloves

Directions

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all of the wet ingredients (pumpkin, oil, milk, eggs) and brown sugar in a bowl.

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In a separate bowl, mix the rest of the dry ingredients together.

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Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix. I find it easiest to do half at a time. The batter will be slightly thick.

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Pour the batter into a well greased bread tin. Put in the preheated oven and bake 40-50 minutes. Check if it is done by sticking a knife in the middle. If the knife comes out clean then it’s done.

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Let the bread cool before cutting a big slice and enjoy! As you can see, I couldn’t hold off before snapping a picture.

Question of the day: Do you like pumpkin bread?

 

Books, Daily Happenings, Recipes

47 Cookies Later

Happy Thursday! How is your week so far? Since I didn’t go into work until Tuesday, my days feel so off. I hope you have a wonderful day 🙂

Before we get into my Wednesday, I want to say happy birthday to Alex! I can’t wait to celebrate with you this weekend ❤

 

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Waking up, I completely thought yesterday was Tuesday (and I kept thinking it throughout the day). Vacation really threw me off! I got up and ready for work. Alex was kind enough to make me breakfast since he was making his as well. Bacon and eggs plus some cranberry green tea and milk.

Work flew by and I kept crossing things off of my to do list which felt amazing. During my lunch break, I wrote down a list for Target so that I didn’t walk in without a game plan. I even wrote down the aisle numbers for things I needed…don’t judge! By doing that, I don’t wander around the store to get things I don’t really need. I swung by there and the Dollar Store after work. Unrelated but the Dollar Store had awesome Christmas decorations if you are interested. I’m well aware that I sound crazy saying that when November barely started but I know they’ll be gone soon.

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When I was home, it was time to get serious. My office is having a potluck lunch and I signed up to bring cookies. So I whipped up two batches of my graham cracker chocolate chip cookies. To keep things simple and not crazy messy, I made one batch and cooked those while working on the second. Don’t ask me how but I managed to end up with 47 cookies. At Target, I bought these stacking cooling racks from Wilton and they’re awesome! I didn’t stack them but I tried it and its sturdy. It would be perfect if you need extra space on the counter.

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After baking for close to 2 hours, I was ready for food. While the last tray of cookies were cooking, I heated up leftover Chinese from Monday night. I mixed the rice, chicken and broccoli together to have one less pan to clean. With all of that in one pan, the potstickers went into the other. It hit the spot and was minimal effort which I loved after being in the kitchen for so long.

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Once the kitchen was cleaned, I started doing some random chores around the apartment. To keep myself entertained, I carried this bluetooth speaker from room to room. It’s the best speaker and really projects the sound! Since I was alone, I decided to listen to some 90s music and jammed out. “Bye, Bye, Bye” by *NSYNC came on and got me thinking about the Super Bowl halftime show. Does anyone else wonder if they’ll make a quick appearance while Justin is performing??

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I finally sat down and pulled out my Nook. It’s been close to 5 months or so since I used it so I had to find the charger. Unfortunately I don’t know where it is, but I had a random cord that fit it so I could charge it a little and download two books. I opened up “Betrayal” by Fern Michaels to read first. Alex got home and I finally let myself have a cookie and a half with him. I was waiting for him to come home so that I didn’t eat a ridiculous amount. Self control for the win! We chatted for a bit before heading to bed.

Question of the day: What’s your go to music when you’re alone?

Books, Daily Happenings, Recipes, Travel

Finally Home + Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Happy Saturday! Alex and I have big plans to stay home, relax, and nurse him back to health. Poor guy has been dying all week from a cold and I feel bad I wasn’t home to help. Luckily, I’m back and can’t wait to do nothing. Have a fantastic day 🙂

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Yesterday started off with a 25 minute run on the treadmill. Running on the treadmill twice this week has reminded me of one reason why I don’t belong to a gym – I can’t run in a straight line. I know that sounds ridiculous but it’s true! I move a little to each side and have been in danger of falling off on multiple occasions. Running in the hotel gym also made it feel like 23896532 degrees since I swear there was no moving air in the room.

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I got ready quickly and finished packing before heading down to breakfast. I was hungry and didn’t want to be late for work since I needed to check out before leaving so I didn’t get a picture of my breakfast. My meal included an omelette, wheat toast and fruit. I missed fruit this week! Then it was time to say goodbye to my beautiful hotel 😦 I was definitely sad to leave because I absolutely loved the building. I will not complain at all if I need to go back to Michigan for anything as long as I can stay there.

Because of my flight, I was only in the office for about 2 hours before heading to the airport. It was a nice way to end the first week by going over a few things with my boss and figuring out that security mailed my badge back to New Jersey. My boss and I were so confused so hopefully it’ll be in my new building Monday. The drive to the airport was uneventful and I was finally able to listen to Russel Dickerson’s album. I love “Blue Tacoma” on it!

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The flight back was a little delayed due to some wind at Newark. I got nervous when the gate agent announced the delay because it was for an unspecified amount of time. We started boarding 20 minutes later and still arrived early so that was a travel win!

Alex requested some chicken noodle soup for dinner so I headed to the grocery story to pick up a few ingredients that we didn’t have on hand. When I got back, I unpacked aka put everything into the laundry basket, cleaned a bit, and chopped up the veggies for the soup.

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I had never made chicken noodle soup before so I was a little nervous going into it. Thanks to Google, I was able to compare a few different recipes and then I threw together my own. Why I was nervous, I’ll never know because it was so easy! Alex and I both had a bowl and a half and it really filled us up. Plus I made a big batch so we have leftovers for later this weekend.

We spent the rest of the night, hanging out on the couch and watching “Burn Notice”. This is probably what we’ll be doing all weekend but I have no complaints.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

What you’ll need

Half of a white onion (I froze the other half)

3 gloves of garlic, finely chopped

3 large carrots chopped

Half of a celery stalk (keep the tops with the leaves)

3-4 chicken breasts

Salt

Pepper

Basil

Oregano

Egg noodles

4 cans of chicken broth

Directions

Chop the celery and carrots and set aside in a bowl.

Chop up the onion (I made large chunks so I could pick it out of my bowl) and the garlic.

Add a small amount of olive oil in pot. Saute the onion until it gets tender, 4-5 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

While the onion is sauteing, cut up chicken into bite size pieces.

Add in the chicken, celery, carrots and chicken broth to pot. Stir. Put in basil, oregano (I used dried for both), salt and pepper to desire flavor.

Simmer for about 20 minutes until the veggies are tender and chicken in cooked.

Add in half a bag of egg noodles and cook for 15-20 minutes until the noodles are tender.

Place in a bowl and enjoy 🙂

Question of the day: What is your favorite type of soup to make? I want to fully capitalize on the cold months and learn a few more soup recipes.