Monday, April 25, 2011

Strawberry Shortcake Trifle

I first created this lovely dessert last June. My mother in law always requests strawberry shortcake as her birthday dessert. I volunteered to make it, but much to my chagrin (though not my surprise- these are tricky!) my biscuits didn't rise.

Rather than toss the bunch and start over, I tore them into pieces, threw them in a bowl and layered in sugared strawberries and homemade whipped cream. And so, the strawberry shortcake trifle was born.

I volunteered to bring a dessert for Easter and immediately thought of this. Plus I said I'd make it for Nick's aunt for her February. Well, better late than never.

If you wanted to make this easy-peasy, you could get yourself those biscuits in a can. Grands Flaky Layers is my canned biscuit of choice- how much do you love banging that can on the counter? Don't lie!

I decided to go all fancypants and make my biscuits from scratch. I used the Pioneer Woman's recipe which is in her PHENOMENAL cookbook. It's so good, in fact, I won't share it. Nope. You'll just have to your own copy here.

I did take pictures of the process, so please enjoy. Don't drool on your keyboards.

Standard biscuit procedure here. Use a pastry cutter to cut in some butter and shortening (for shame! I know, but I swear it made a difference.)

Throw in some buttermilk and stir 'til raggedy.

Dump it out on a floured surface and roll to your desired thickness. Mine were kind of a mishmash since I knew I was going to rip them all up anyways.

Check out those flaky layers, y'all. I knew these bad boys were gonna rise before they even hit the heat.

Gather up the scraps and repeat the above steps.



Good lord these were good. Good enough to eat a "test" biscuit. Had to make sure it was...flaky enough. It was.

Wash off some berries. I used 4 pounds.

Glamour shot!

Dish lady diva approves of the sugared berries- I added 1/2 cup.

Stir it up and let it hang for 10-15 minutes- you want those juices flowing.

Line up your dishes and sprinkle some biscuit in each. If I had a trifle dish, I would have used that.

Instead, I thought, "Single serve! Too cute!"

Ha. It was cute until they clanged to holy hell on the drive over. Potholes + wine glasses = stress.

Easter miracle!? None of them broke.

Top the biscuit layer with some berries. Add a dollop of whipped cream. Repeat as desired.

I got 12 servings + a large mason jar out of 1 biscuit recipe + 4 pounds of strawberries + 2 1/2 containers of Cool Whip...

I seriously contemplated not coming clean about the Cool Whip. It's not even dairy!! But y'all deserve the truth and the truth is the two stores I went to were OUT of heavy whipping cream.

Cross my heart, hope to die.

Assembly instructions:

Cook up some biscuits- I used one recipe of the Pioneer Woman's buttermilk biscuit. YUM.

Tear them up into bite sized pieces.

Wash and slice up 4 pounds of strawberries. Add 1/2 cup sugar and stir 'til all berries are equally coated.

Whip up your cream or buy the frozen stuff. Add some vanilla or sugar if you like things extra sweet.

In a trifle dish, or if you're not traveling by car, in a wine glass, layer the biscuit first, berry second, and whipped cream. Repeat as many times as you want.

Garnish with half a berry if you're feeling cutesy.

Eat. And share. If you want to.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Eggplant and Zucchini pizza

I've been channeling my inner Sandra Lee these days, taking help from a bag or the freezer aisle. Training for a half-marathon keeps me busy and makes me hungry so there's been lots of simple and tasty meals at our house.

Trade Joe's has some amazing ingredients that aren't full of preservatives so I can use them guilt-free. Latest find- the marinated and grilled eggplant and zucchini, as seen here.

I chopped it up, sliced some mozzarella, stretched some ready made whole wheat pizza crust, and topped it with leftover marinara and the chopped veggies. Added some shitakes for pizazz!

For extra crunch, top your rimmed baking sheet with cornmeal. Keeps the crust from sticking and adds some authenticity!

Bake at 425 for 25 minutes until crispy and ooey-gooey!

Slice and serve with leftover Harvest Grain salad- oh, and some red wine. Yes, please!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Run, Betty, Run

Sorry, couldn't resist.

I've been a running fool these days. I started training for a half-marathon back in December and despite a few setbacks I've been steadily gaining endurance and strength.

Tracking my progress in an Excel spreadsheet makes me a huge nerd, but it is also super satisfying. I started off logging 7.1 miles in my first week and on track to run 19 this week! In total, I've logged 109.6 miles since December 27- give or take a mile or two. This is nothing short of a miracle, especially considering I was the girl walking the mile in 4th grade while my tyrant of a P.E. coach yelled at me. Cue the tears.

How could you yell at that face?? I miss those blond, tan days. (Full disclosure- I'm like 5 in this picture. Not 9. Just age this cuteness by a few years and make my hair darker. Got it? That's me at 9.)

I ran my first 5k back in October in the world's worst running shoes. Well, technically they are cross-trainers, so it's not their fault that they caused massive knee pain. In November I bought a pair of Nike Frees which I loved. However, after months of training, it was time to upgrade.

The Husband and I visited the Greater Boston Running Company at the Derby Street Shops in Hingham on Monday to get me some new sneaks. I bought a running jacket from them in January and loved their awesome customer service. This time was no different. Sales dude took tons of time to get to know my running style and feet- did you know that my left leg may be shorter than my right?? Me either. And I'm a wicked bad supinator. It was a thoroughly enlightening trip.

I left with a pair of Asics Gel-Speed Star 5 in Turquoise, size 9.5. Big feet run in my family, as does a tendency to laugh extremely loudly and at inopportune times. Just saying.

You can find them here.

Kicked some serious asphalt in these this morning- ran two miles at a 10:22 pace. Clearly, I'm never going to qualify for Boston but I sure do love running. Especially in the morning before work. Helps me not smack people.

Post-run time was spent doing a whole lot of stretching and some yoga poses.

Gill really likes to participate in yoga time. His favorite pose is downward dog, though he does a mean upward dog, too. But his new favorite pose??

Pigeon! Check out his back leg! The dog is ridiculous and strangely supportive. Thanks bud!

Time for breakfast- oats with pear, flax, chia, and almond butter and a shower! In that order.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Harvest Grains Salad


During my weekly grocery shop yesterday at my fave- Trader Joes- the demo lady was preparing this delicious dish. This salad comes together quickly with a few ingredients.

I had never used the Harvest Grains blend from TJs- totally sold! Israeli cous cous is chewy goodness.

Harvest Grains Salad

1 bag Harvest Grain blend
1 bag green onions/scallions
1 jar fire roasted red peppers- I just used a fresh orange bell pepper
1 bag ABC trek mix- almonds, blueberries, cherries, and golden raisins
1 lemon
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare harvest grain blend according to directions using water. Set aside.

Slice green onions and bell pepper. In a large bowl, combine the ABC trek mix, harvest grain blend, green onions, and bell pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and add the juice of one lemon. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Smashed Banana Sandwich

I've been running a lot lately, training for the Run to Remember Half Marathon at the end of May. I'm relatively new to running, but have been exercising pretty regularly for the last few years. I made the connection last winter that more exercise = less stress so I've been pretty hooked since.

My favorite pre- and post-run fuel is bananas + peanut butter + toast. The combination gives me all the carbs, protein, and fat that I need to power through a tough workout.

Plus, it's delicious.

It won't, however, give you enough energy to stay awake after you run 5 miles and then go to a 1:15 minute power yoga class- napping is a must.

Pretty proud of my five miles this morning- my longest run in weeks. I won't lie- there was some walking going on. Still not sure I understand how someone can keep their body running for more than 3 miles at a time- how is that even possible??

Anyways, this version is a bit fancier and probably a little too exciting to be eaten before a workout. No one likes a gurgly tummy while exercising. Ouch.

To make this version, smash up one ripe banana with a couple tablespoons of your favorite nut butter. Toast bread, smear smashed up banana on the toast and top with apple slices. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon for flair and an added anti-inflammatory bonus!

Another combination I tried this week- toast topped with pumpkin pie spice almond butter (my one true love), apple slices, and sharp cheddar. Broil to melt the cheese and devour. YUM!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

If you've got 15 minutes to put throw some ingredients together, and another hour or so to watch t.v. and let the magic can have these boys.

Oooh baby baby....oooh baby baby. Recipe here. Thanks, Mama Pea!

Once you're done devouring them hot from the oven, save one to top your oatmeal the next morning. Heaven.

In other news, I am no longer afraid of yeast. Expect to see more goodness such as this.

Happy Saturday!