Spicy Ranch BLT Braid

Well hello there!! I apologize for the lack of posts last week.

Gabriella and I went up to Jacksonville to visit my parents and Craig was actually out of town for the while week for a work conference. I figured while he was gone it would be a perfect time to visit my family & friends in my hometown.

It was such a nice time, and Gabriella did AWESOME! Remember how I was just talking about all of the attachment issues coming back? Well, much to my surprise she did GREAT with my parents and friends. My Mom watched her for me for a bit one day so that I could shower, and she was fine. The second she saw me though she started crying for me. But the whole ‘out of sight, out of mind’ is key for her.

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LOVE this little chick!

It truly is AMAZING how fast she is growing. My Dad kept commenting on how she would be walking in no time. A few times he would look at her and gasp and I was like what is going on??!?! He thought for sure she was about to start walking! Smile 

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She LOVES her walker, which is above. (please notice those chunky thighs. O.M.G. I just can’t get enough of them!) She constantly wants to walk walk walk. No more stationary toys- I actually packed up her jumperoo, exersaucer, and another walker that you actually put her in. She does not like anything that confines her, girlfriend likes her independence. Winking smile

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Seriously, HOW is that my LITTLE girl!?!?! She looks HUGE! Ahhh, slow down Gabriella, SLOW DOWN!!

Anyways, while I was home I got to thinking of some of my favorite meals that my Mom used to make when I was growing up. One of them happened to be this vegetable chicken braid. It was just a mix of vegetables, chicken & spices wrapped up in crescent rolls. It was delicious- just the mixture always tasted so good and I always loved learning that was what we were having for dinner.

I was craving that thee other night, but wanted to kind of mix things up. After looking on Pinterest for a bit, I got an idea and went from there.

With it I created….

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Spicy Ranch BLT Braid

(adapted from this recipe)

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 slices

Ingredients:

1 cup chopped cooked chicken

1 cup shredded 2% cheddar cheese

3/4 cup crumbled cooked turkey bacon

3/4 cup 2% Plain Chobani

1 package Spicy Ranch seasoning (1 oz. package)

1 package reduced fat refrigerated crescent rolls (Pillsbury 8 oz.)

shredded lettuce

diced tomatoes

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Instructions

  1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the chicken, cheese, turkey bacon, Greek yogurt and Ranch seasoning. Set aside.
  2. Open the crescent rolls. Lay out the dough on a non stick baking sheet. Press together all the seams. Cut small strips 1 1/2 inches apart along both sides. Leave about a 3 inch row in the center that is uncut. Spread the chicken mixture down the center evenly.

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    3.  Cross the strips over each other in a braid pattern. Press the end together. Bake at 375* for 20 minutes.

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    4. Top the braid with lettuce and tomato before serving. Cut into 8 pieces.

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Instead of using mayonnaise like the recipe my Mom has, I subbed in Greek yogurt. I used 2% Chobani, but I’m sure you could also use fat free. I just thought the extra milk fat may make it a bit creamer.

The recipe says it makes enough for four…well, I guess that depends on how hungry you are. Craig and I polished off everything but a tiny little slice. We both really enjoyed it, and it was one of those meals that doesn’t leave you feeling stuffed.

Quick, easy meal for the WIN!

Enjoy your Monday! Gabriella and I have some big plans this week, and we are very much looking forward to it! Open-mouthed smile

Red Velvet Cheesecake

If you follow me on Instagram (hollynotarange), you know that I spent my weekend in the kitchen. My favorite place to be!

I don’t know if I have mentioned it on here before, but I actually have my own baking company. (VERY small!- and I just do stuff in my personal kitchen) I don’t advertise, everything is by word of mouth. The way I actually got started was just by sending food into Craig’s work. Whenever we had leftover sweets, I would send them along with him just so that they weren’t in the house. Whenever there are sweets here I found them hard to resist, so I’d rather get them out! Winking smile

Anyways, a couple of years ago Craig’s group asked if they could just pay me to bake a bunch of stuff for their Christmas party, that way they didn’t have to worry about making or buying anything. Once I did that, I had people ask me if I had a company and if I did if they could order stuff from me. It made me so happy to hear that my baked goods were getting rave reviews and that people want to hire me to bake for them. SIGN ME UP!!

…and so that is the story of how ‘Hollywood Sweets’ came to be!

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(the black lines are personal information, they don’t actually look like that Winking smile )

Craig is the one who thought of a name for my business, and he also coined the tag line ‘sweet treats for your sweet tooth.’ Quite a creative husband that I have. Smile I ordered some business cards and he gave them to people at his office that asked for my information, and I’ll leave them on community billboards occasionally just to see if I can also get some business that way.

On Friday I got a call requesting baked goods- she wanted something with red velvet (but not an actual red velvet cake) & something chocolate. So I got to work thinking of different recipes, and options for her to choose from.

She ended up going with Red Velvet Cheesecake & Salted Caramel Brownies.

I got the cheesecake recipe from Food Network, and then decided to make a cream cheese frosting for the top.

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Red Velvet Cheesecake
(recipe from here)

Ingredients:

For the crust:

1 1/2 cups finely crushed chocolate wafer cookies (I used Chocolate Teddy Grahams)
5 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt

    For the filling:

    4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
    1 1/4 cups sugar
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    2 tablespoons all purpose flour
    4 large eggs
    1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
    1 teaspoon red food coloring

    Directions

    Make the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mix the cookie crumbs, melted butter, sugar and salt in a bowl. Press into the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Put the pan on a baking sheet and bake until set, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely.

    Make the filling: Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Beat the cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until smooth, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the flour, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Transfer 2 cups batter to a bowl; stir in the cocoa powder and food coloring. Pour the red batter into the crust, then pour the white batter on top. Using a spoon, pull some of the red batter up from the bottom of the cake and swirl. Bake until the edges are set but the center is still wobbly, about 1 hour, 20 minutes.

    Turn off the oven but keep the cake inside to cool, 20 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan (don’t remove the springform side), then transfer to a rack to cool. Refrigerate at least 4 hours before slicing.

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    Once the cake was completely cooled (I let in cool in the refrigerator over night), I decided to frost it. It was for a birthday, and I hated that it cracked. (Even though a lot of commenters said the same thing happened to them- they said thankfully it doesn’t effect the taste Smile )

    Cream Cheese Frosting

    Ingredients:

    4 oz. cream cheese (1/2 of a block)
    4 oz. unsalted butter (1/2 a stick)
    2 cups powdered sugar
    1 tsp. vanilla

    Directions:

    Beat the cream cheese & butter together in a mixing bowl- I put it on medium high speed and let it mix for about 2 minutes. After two minutes, turn the mixer down to low & mix in the powdered sugar one cup at a time. Once combined, beat in the vanilla. I then just let it mix on high for about a minute so that it was nice & fluffy.

    I took half of the frosting & added about one teaspoon red food coloring to it and left the other half the original color. (white)

    I put both frostings in sandwich size ziplock bags, and snipped the corners to create pastry bags. Then I got to frosting- I did one ring of white, then one ring of red- alternating until the cake was covered.

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    I took a knife & ran it through the frosting- about 1/2 inch apart in horizontal lines. I ran it through one way, and then through the other way (hopefully that makes sense) to create a swirled pattern.

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    ^love how you can see the layers- with the chocolate crust, cream cheese filling & then frosting.

    I have to admit, I tried a tiny bit of the cream cheese filling, I always like to make sure things taste ok before I sell them. I do NOT even like cheesecake, at all, but obviously I could tell if it tasted bad. You guys, the filling in this is BEYOND delicious! I mean it was the PERFECT filling, in my opinion, not too cheesy or dense, but fluffy and subtle. I cannot wait to make just a standard cheesecake with this filling, my sister (who is OBSESSED with cheesecake) will LOVE it.

    As for the Salted Caramel Brownies, I used a recipe I found on Smitten Kitchen.

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    One thing I learned is that making homemade caramel is HARD. …and frustrating! I don’t know if there is another recipe that I could follow when making it that makes it a bit easier, but I was this close to throwing in the towel on these.

    I was able to use about half of the caramel I made (the other half had chunks of sugar in it- which happened AFTER I had melted the sugar), but one thing I can tell you is that homemade caramel is 1000 times better than store bought.

    I don’t normally like caramel, or things with caramel, but I had to try a piece of this just to make sure it was edible. Winking smile Oh my goodness it was SO good- so creamy & just melts in your mouth. I suppose all of that time making it was worth it!

    These brownies were actually for an engagement party, so I got to work decorating.

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    I couldn’t find my pastry bag for the life of me, so the letters came out a bit thicker than I wanted, but you gotta do what ya gotta do! Winking smile 

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    The little heart brownies were double chocolate brownies, just to add some variety.

    Now we have leftover brownies, from the pan that I was cutting the hearts out of, and we have officially overdosed on them. Every time we walk near the kitchen we find a reason to go in to have a little piece of one.

    Oh and while I was taking pictures of the food my little kitchen assistant could not get to the plates fast enough!

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    I have NEVER seen Gabriella crawl so fast. Speedy Gonzales!

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    She was mesmerized by the cheesecake. She kept trying to stick her little hand in there, but I quickly pulled her away. Smile

    Guess it’s a good thing I have a long run planned this morning after a weekend of sweets!

    Do you like cheesecake? If so, what kind? If not, favorite type of cake?

    Are you as in love with everything salted caramel like me?? (And it’s funny because I don’t like caramel. I have issues Winking smile)

    Stuffed Salmon & NEW Workout!

    Good Morning!

    Boy do I have a recipe for you today. But first, let me share the workout I have been promising to give you.

    This is a workout for the gym, but many exercises can be done at home using dumbbells. It is a combination weight workout, along with cardio exercises (these exercises are in purple). It is designed to keep your heart rate up while doing weight exercises. – means more fat & calorie burn!

    Arms/ Abs/ Calves

    Bicep Cable Curls: 3 x 12
    Super Set Overhead Triceps Press: 3 x 12

    25 Jumping Jacks

    Cable Rope Hammer Curls : 3 x 12
    Super Set Triceps Pushdown with Straight Bar: 3 x 12

    20 Squat Jumps

    Bosu Ball Crunch, pulling weight behind your head using rope attachment on cable machine: 3 X 25
    Super Set Weight Oblique Side Crunch (use plate): 3 x 15

    15 (or as many as you can) burpees with jump at the end (I know, they suck 😉 )

    Incline Sit ups holding a plate: 3 x 12
    Super Set Incline Twisting Oblique Twists holding a plate: 3 x 10 (each side)

    25 Plié Squat Jumps

    Upright Rows using straight bar on cable machine: 3 x 12
    Super Set Barbell Shoulder Press 3 x 12

    20 Skaters (each leg)

    Dumbbell Lat Raises 3 x 12
    Super Set Front Raises (can use plate instead of dumbbells): 3 x 12

    10 Tuck Jumps (tuck knees into chest while jumping)

    Standing Calf Raises (I used a weighted bar on the squat machine): 3 x 15
    Super Set Seated Calf Raises: 3 x 15

    Sprint 1/4 of a mile on the treadmill– as fast as you can, which will probably not be too fast since it IS the very end of your workout- you are probably pretty tired by now.

    Most of the exercises can be found online, but if you do have any questions about the moves, let me know! I will get back to you ASAP!

    Now, for that recipe. Lately I have been on a salmon kick. I LOVE it. I can’t get enough of it. My favorite FAST way to prepare it is to season it with salt & pepper, then top it with a couple of tablespoons of raspberry jam & top it with a few chopped pecans. I bake it at 425 degrees for 15- 20 minutes, depending on the size of the piece of fish.

    Now because I had a little bit of extra time last night, I found a new salmon recipe on Pinterest. (thank goodness for Pinterest, right?!)

    I ran across Stuffed Salmon with Sriracha Cream Sauce. My mouth started watering at just the NAME of the recipe.

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    My pictures may not be as pretty as the original source, but I guarantee it tasted just as good! 🙂 The original recipe is found HERE– this is NOT my creation! I have copied the recipe below and have added in what I changed.

    STUFFED SALMON with SRIRACHA CREAM SAUCE

    TERIYAKI MARINADE INGREDIENTS

    1 tablespoon cornstarch

    1/4 cup cold water

    1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce

    1 cup water

    5 tablespoon packed brown sugar

    1/2 tsp ground ginger

    1/4 tsp garlic powder

    2 tablespoons honey

    TERIYAKI MARINADE DIRECTIONS

    1. in a small bowl, combine cornstarch & 1/4 cup cold water. stir until cornstarch is dissolved; set aside

    2. in a saucepan, combine 1 cup water, soy sauce, ground ginger, garlic powder, brown sugar & honey; bring to a simmer

    3. When liquid is simmering & brown sugar has melted, add the cornstarch/water mixture & simmer until thick enough to coat a back of a spoon (do not over thicken!)

    SRIRACHA CREAM SAUCE INGREDIENTS

    1/4 cup Sriracha sauce

    6 oz. Fat Free Greek Yogurt

    3 tablespoons condensed milk

    SRIRACHA CREAM DIRECTIONS

    1. in a medium bowl, combine Sriracha & Greek yogurt & whisk well

    2. add condensed milk & whisk until fully incorporated; add more condensed milk for a milder taste & more Sriracha for a spicier taste

    STUFFED SALMON W/ SRIRACHA CREAM SAUCE INGREDIENTS

    2 salmon filets

    teriyaki marinade (recipe above)

    sriracha cream sauce (recipe above)

    2 tbsp low fat cream cheese (room temperature)

    green onions (thinly sliced)

    sesame seeds

    cooking spray

    STUFFED SALMON W/ SRIRACHA CREAM SAUCE DIRECTIONS

    1. in a baking/marinating dish, place salmon filets & add  3/4 cup teriyaki marinade. let marinade reach about 1/2 of the sides of filets. marinade in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to overnight

    2. preheat oven to 400 degrees. meanwhile, line a baking dish with aluminum foil & spray with cooking spray; set aside

    3. on a cutting board, slit the sides of each salmon filets making a long pocket/envelope; do not pierce through the other side!

    4. insert about a tablespoon of cream cheese into each pocket; do not overstuff or the cream cheese will seep out during baking

    5. in the prepared baking dish, place stuffed salmons & sprinkle a nice amount of sesame seeds. cover the baking dish & salmon filets with another sheet of foil & bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until salmon is cooked all the way through

    6. Take out fish & turn on broiler. Broil fish for about 3-5 minutes, or until fish is SLIGHTLY browned around edges.

    6. Once fish is broiled, place in a serving dish & drizzle with sriracha cream sauce, some of the remaining teriyaki marinade & garnish with thinly sliced green onions

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    Seriously my pictures do NOT do this dish justice. It was DELICIOUS! & SO WORTH the additional time is took to prepare. A lot of the recipe is based on personal taste, like if you want to add extra sriracha to the sauce and how much of the sauces to drizzle on the fish. I know it looks like a LOT of steps, but it really is pretty easy overall.

    Well this post has been a TON of text and very few pictures, so with that I MUST include a picture of Gabriella that just makes me smile.

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    Silly little girl. 😉

    Do you have a favorite salmon recipe? Please feel free to link away!

    Brown Butter Peanut Butter M&M Blondies

    Good Morning!

    I have come to realize that my blog has slowly turned into more of a Mommy blog. I apologize, kind of, for that. You see whenever you have children, they do turn into a HUGE part of your life. So it’s hard to NOT talk about Gabriella whenever I write a post. I also realize that not everyone is interested in what my daughter is up to on a daily basis. 😉

    But I will do my best to try to mix it up a bit more- with some recipes & workouts. I have a whole list of workouts that I have made up, I just haven’t put them on here yet. They are coming!

    Today I have a recipe to share with you. It’s not my own, it’s from one of my favorite baking websites that I have mentioned on here many times…Sally’s Baking Addiction. Trust me, just one look on her site & you will want to make EVERYTHING.

    To be honest, I really don’t bake often, only because it’s just Craig & I and the last thing we want is a bunch of sweets laying around. But this week we have guests, my in laws are in town, and I always like to have some kind of goody! 🙂

    After spotting some Easter M&M’s in the store this past weekend, I knew I had to find a recipe to use them in.

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    After searching around on Sally’s site, I found THE recipe- Brown Butter Pretzel M&M Blondies. Now, I was wondering after reading the recipe what kind of impact the brown butter actually made. Let me tell you, it’s HUGE. Seriously. You MUST brown the butter. It gives the blondies SO MUCH FLAVOR. I really had no idea what a difference browning butter makes to the flavor of butter.

    The only thing that I changed about the recipes was the I used peanut butter M&M’s instead of the pretzel M&M’s. And to be completely honest, the only reason was because Craig & I did a number on the bag of pretzel M&M’s that I had. Oops 😉

    Brown Butter Peanut Butter M&M Blondies

    makes 16 blondies

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter
    • 1 cup dark brown sugar (packed)
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 2/3 cup peanut butter M&M’s

    Instructions

    1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly. Remove from heat immediately when the butter begins to turn brown (about 6 minutes). Pour browned butter into large mixing bowl. Stir in brown sugar. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.
    2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8×8 square baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
    3. To the cooled down butter/sugar mixture, stir in egg and vanilla extract. Add flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in peanut butter M&Ms.
    4. Pour into prepared baking pan and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned. Allow blondies to cool for at least 1 hour and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container for up to 10 days.

    Notes

    RECIPE SOURCE: sallysbakingaddiction.com

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    These were FANTASTIC!! Like I said before, the browned butter is KEY!

    And of course, because I CANNOT go a post without a Gabriella photo…I had to show you what she did when I put the blondies next to her, she was longingly looking at them.

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    (PLEASE notice her belly button. It’s mandatory 😉 )

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    Poor girl wanted to try one SO bad.

    Then she got mad at me because I wouldn’t let her have one, and look what she did. Knocked them RIGHT over. Notice that hand mid swing.

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    That’s the it wasn’t me Mommy! look.

    Love that girl to pieces.

    If you are looking for an Easter dessert, I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend these. I think they would be a hit with anyone, which is sometimes hard to find with a dessert.

    Have a great Thursday…some of you may have off tomorrow- ENJOY!! 🙂

    Baked Pancakes

    Sundays are always my favorite cooking day of the week. I know that sounds strange, but I’ll explain.

    Sundays are the day of the week where we have a big breakfast, and then we skip lunch (or have a small snack) & have a big dinner. I always love trying new recipes on Sundays, since I have extra time to spend in the kitchen. Another benefit- I have Craig for Daddy duty. 😉

    Weekday meals are usually easier meals, since we both just want to relax on the couch after a long day. No sense spending extra time in the kitchen, at least in my opinion.

    Yesterday I tried another Pinterest recipe. Yep, it got me again. 😀 I just like that website a bit too much.

    I wanted something other than the traditional pancake or waffle recipe…and I considered making my baked oatmeal recipe, but then I had another idea. Baked Pancakes. I had remembered seeing a recipe that I had ‘pinned’ that was for a baked pancake, so I thought I’d give it a try.

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    I copied the recipe below from THIS website & I followed the instructions exactly, I just sprinkled mini chocolate chips on half of the batter.

    Pancake Squares
    (from Big Red Kitchen)

    3/4 cup milk
    2 tbsp melted butter
    1 large egg
    1 tbsp sugar
    1 cup flour
    2 tsp baking powder
    1/4 tsp salt

    Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease an 8×8 baking dish. In a large mixing bowl, beat together milk, butter and egg. Add sugar, then gradually beat the flour in. Carefully stir in the baking powder and salt. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Serves 4-6.

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    The way to a man’s heart, serve him THIS for breakfast:
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    I put the chocolate on Craig’s half and topped it with real maple syrup, and I ate the pancake squares plain (no chocolate) & topped with real maple syrup & cinnamon.

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    I know mine might not look as pretty, but it sure tasted good.

    Not sure if I have mentioned my little cinnamon obsession. It’s BAD. I mean I got through the HUGE containers of cinnamon from BJ’s/ Costco about one a month. EEK! I put it on EVERYTHING. From apples, to pears, to my favorite combination (which I am currently not eating because of Lent) is vanilla frozen yogurt drizzled (hate that word) with melted peanut butter, sprinkled with a TON of cinnamon & topped with chopped honey roasted peanuts. If you do anything today, please try that. You can thank me later 😉

    One thing I really liked about this recipe was how fluffy the baked pancake ended up.

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    It reminded me of those PERFECT pancakes that you can only get from a breakfast restaurant. I don’t know what it is, but there is something special that they do to pancakes at a restaurant. No matter how hard I try, I can never make them EXACTLY like my favorite breakfast restaurant. (Keke’s) I mean, don’t get me wrong, I can make a mean pancake…but it will never be as good as Keke’s. They are a little crispy around the edges & BIG & FLUFFY in the middle. My mouth is watering just thinking about them. YUM!

    Nothing like pancakes to start your Sunday on the right foot. We had a very busy weekend- Craig did a bunch of house stuff & I took care of all of the cleaning, laundry & all that fun stuff. 😉

    Oh, random question, does anyone know if I can take any medicine for a head cold while breast feeding? I am very sick- I THINK I may be on the mend…finally. I have just been taking Tylenol, but I really don’t think it’s doing any good. But I don’t think I can really take anything else. I have a race this weekend, and would really like to be feeling 100% if I can. Please cross your fingers & say a little prayer for me, if you don’t mind. 🙂

    Well, I’m off to get some work done. Let’s make this a good week!! 😀

    First Ever WIAW

    Yesterday was a VERY big day in the Notarange household. Our little lady turned THREE months old! I cannot believe it. I know I say it all of the time, but seriously, WHERE does time go?!

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    She is no longer a ‘newborn,’ she is officially a ‘baby.’ Kind of crazy if you ask me!

    With each step, I feel like we are learning SO much more about each other. I swear everyday we are learning a new quirk about Gabriella. She’s so funny & has me cracking up all day long. For the past few weeks she has been smiling like crazy (LOVE her smile) & she’s finally laughing!! A baby laugh is the sweetest sound in the whole world. The best part is that she is laughing at US! When she was younger, she would smile when she had gas. But now it’s at US- when we make funny faces, or when Craig dances, or when I sing. HA! A tune is something I cannot hold..and half of the time I forget the words to nursery rhymes, so I end up making them up…and G can’t stop laughing.

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    One of the posts that I plan on doing very soon are the changes I’ve noticed in her over the past three months- so be on the lookout for that one very soon! 🙂

    Anyways, today is a first here at ‘Everyday’s a Hollyday.’ I doing my very first ‘What I ate Wednesday.’

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    Thanks to Jenn at Peas & Crayons for hosting!

    This is a list of everything that I ate yesterday.

    Breakfast:

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    What the heck is that?! It’s what I eat everyday for breakfast (I’m very much a person of routine 😉 ) – It’s a banana cut in half with peanut butter in the middle, sprinkle with cinnamon, drizzled with honey & topped with something crunchy. (today is was Rice Krispies, but other times I will use granola, or another type of cereal)
    And of course coffee, iced coffee!

    Snack (Morning & Afternoon):

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    Animal crackers. Multiply that by about 5. Seriously. I can’t stop eating these. I eat them between meals when I need something quick to snack on. They aren’t too bad (calorie wise), and they are portable…which is key! I mean I do have a 3 month old to keep up with 😉

    Lunch:

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    (I feel like a Julie copy cat 😀 I know how much she loves her Tervis tumblers too!)

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    Smoothie made with:
    -2 cups almond milk
    -1 scoop vanilla protein powder
    -about 1 tbsp peanut butter
    -approximately 1 tsp cinnamon (I LOVE cinnamon)
    -HUGE handful of spinach
    -5 ice cubes

    Dinner:

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    Crockpot Pineapple Chicken with mixed vegetables

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    Super easy recipe:

    Crock pot Pineapple Chicken

    Ingredients:

    -about 2lbs. chicken tenderloins-1 cup pineapple juice
    -1/2 tbsp. minced garlic
    -1/3 cup soy sauce (I used low sodium)
    -1/3 cup packed brown sugar

    Throw everything in the crock pot, give it a nice stir, then cook on low for about 5-6 hours, or until chicken comes apart easily. (I just broke it into chunks)

    I served it with rice because it was a little runny, I think next time I make this I may only use 2/3 cup of pineapple juice….or I will add a little cornstarch to thicken it up. But it was nice & flavorful.

    I thought it might be good with peanuts sprinkled on- the whole ‘sweet & sour’ thing- but I preferred it without the peanuts.

    Dessert:

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    Edy’s half the fat vanilla bean ice cream. YUM! (& only 100 calories per half cup- can’t beat that) And because I was too lazy to take an actual picture of the bowl of ice cream I had…I just took a picture of the container. I had about a cup of it, sprinkled with cinnamon, LOTS of cinnamon.

    And there you have it, a day of eats from me. That was kind of fun…I may have to do it again next week.

    Hope you have a great day- half way there!

    PS: Anyone else watching the Bachelor? LOVE Sean! Totally was betting Alyssa would end up with him 😉 But my favorite so far is Lesley.

    Streusel Pear Coffee Cake

    Good Morning!

    It’s finally back to reality in these parts…well, kind of. I think we will be living on our Superbowl high for a while! 🙂

    But it’s back to regular blogging, and as promised I have a DELICIOUS recipe to share with you today.

    First I have to share with you the package that arrived at my doorstep Friday morning.

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    Oh Chobani, you spoil me!

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    I was SO EXCITED to tear into this package, but I never expected to see that cute spoon!

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    Adorable, right?! You better believe that I ate my Chobani with my new spoon that very day!

    & then I kept digging into the box for the GOOD STUFF….

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    YUM!! The new flavors- Pear (0%) & Banana (2%)! You guys, I had been hunting HIGH & LOW for these flavors ever since I saw they were released. I found the pear about a week ago, but I had yet to find the banana.

    The pear was love.at.first.bite! Pears are, by far, my favorite fruit. I typically eat at LEAST one a day. I cannot get enough of them. As for the banana, another HUGE HIT by Chobani. I don’t think they have made a flavor a don’t like! But these two flavors are topping the charts on my favorites. Pear has definitely taken over my #1 favorite spot, it was once dominated by black cherry. The 2% Strawberry banana & 2% Banana are TIED as my #2 favorites. Too hard to pick between the two. 🙂

    With all of the greek yogurt that was in my fridge, I got a REALLY bad itch to bake. As you know I LOVE substituting not so healthy ingredients in recipes with greek yogurt and I was on a mission to come up with a recipe using Pear Chobani.

    I had a few ideas go through my head, the first one being a pear breakfast bread, but I wanted something a little different than just bread. I mean, don’t get me wrong I LOVE all types of breakfast breads (especially banana bread), but I felt the need to branch out a bit.

    Then this came to mind….

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    Streusel Pear Coffee Cake

    (recipe adapted from this recipe)

    Ingredients

    • Cooking spray
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour or regular whole-wheat flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 4 tsp Truvia baking blend (or 3 tbsp sugar)
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
    • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
    • 2- 6oz. containers Pear Chobani
    • 2 egg whites
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 cup fresh pears, seeded and finely chopped, & divided
    • A dash of cinnamon, for topping, if desired
    • Powdered sugar, optional

    Directions

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8-inch square cake pan with cooking spray.

    Whisk together the all-purpose and whole-wheat flours, the baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, stir together the granulated sugar, cinnamon and walnuts. In a large bowl, beat the brown sugar, butter and 1 of the 6 oz. Pear Chobani containers. If necessary, use the back of a spoon to press out any lumps in the brown sugar. Beat in the egg whites, 1 at a time, beating until fully combined. Beat in the vanilla.

    Add the flour mixture in 2 batches. Then add the other 6oz. container of Pear Chobani. Stir until just combined.

    Spread half of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle half of the nut mixture over the batter and top with half of the pears, gently pressing them into the batter.

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    Spoon the rest of the batter into the pan, smoothing the top. Sprinkle the remaining nut mixture over the cake, and then finally the rest of the pears pressing them gently into the batter. Sprinkle with a dash of cinnamon, if desired.

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    Bake until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool slightly and then unmold and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.

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    Now I have some real feedback for you on the recipe! My Mom came down to stay with me & G Friday & Saturday night, because Craig was out of town, and we just had a girls’ weekend. 😀

    While I was baking this, the whole house smelled of cinnamon & brown sugar. Drool. But once it came out of the oven, I was so happy to see how much it had risen- it was nice & fluffy.

    I let it cool for a bit & then we dug in. The first thing both of us said was that it’s not OVER the top sweet. In our opinion, it was the perfect amount of sweetness. Sometimes coffee cake can be a bit too sweet, in my opinion, and you can only have a small piece without feeling like sugar overload. But not with this cake, it’s more of a subtle sweetness.

    But my Mom had a good idea, if you wanted to sweeten it up a bit- either sprinkle it with a bit of powdered sugar OR make a simple glaze with powdered sugar & milk- which you can just drizzle over the top. The two of us enjoyed it as is and we both thoroughly enjoyed it.

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    What I also love about the cake is that there is NO oil & minimal butter. It’s also full of protein from the greek yogurt and very low in fat. For one serving of the cake, which there are 9 servings in this recipe, the nutrition stats are AWESOME!

    Calories: 225, Fat: 3 grams, Carbs: 44 grams, & Protein: 8 grams.

    You cannot beat that! This is perfect for breakfast on the go- just make the coffee cake on the weekend & you have breakfast for the week! It’s also freezer friendly, so you could always make it & freeze half of it for later.

    This has to be one of the best recipes that I have ever come up with. It might be because I’m a little partial to anything pear, but I also thought it was nice & fluffy, with the perfect balance of sweetness.

    Please let me know if you try this recipe, I would love to hear what you think! 🙂

    Thanks again to Chobani for helping supply my Greek yogurt addiction. 😉