Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Balance Bar #BalanceShapeUp Challenge

I was given the opportunity to partner up with Balance Bar and Walmart to try a "new to me" product. I've heard of and I've seen Balance Bars in stores but I've never felt compelled to try them until now. In the past, I've eaten other protein bars and they all have a similar texture and taste. I'll admit, I was a little skeptical and didn't think I'd like these but I did! 

I was given a Walmart gift card to purchase Balance bars and other Summer essentials in the #BalanceShapeUp challenge. I chose these four flavors as well as some sunscreen, a Puddle Jumper for Hayden and some eos lip balm. I'm not a naturally athletic person but I try to eat healthy foods. I do have a major sweet tooth though. I was recently asked if I baked something everyday- when I was working on the cookbook I baked almost everyday but there's no way I have the time or energy for that. There are three of us in this house and we cannot consume that much dessert. I make one dessert once a week and my husband is an ice cream junkie, so our freezer is usually stocked. Every day around mid afternoon, I get a sugar craving. Sometimes, I'll have an iced coffee or a yogurt. sometimes I'll sneak an Oreo but lately I've been more mindful of my snacking. I still indulge in those treats but I've been replacing a sugary snack with a Balance Bar and a glass of water. Each bar has 13-15 grams of protein, vitamins and minerals. It not only cures my cravings but it keeps me full until dinnertime. 

I'm a big fan of chocolate, so I chose Double Chocolate Brownie, Chocolate Craze, Caramel Nut Blast and Honey Peanut. I went for the Caramel Nut Blast and chocolate flavors first and found they were kind of chewy and tasted like protein bars. But I was quite pleased with the Honey Peanut flavor. It had a softer, smoother texture and no vitamin after taste. I would definitely like to try other flavors and will be keeping some in my pantry as well as in my purse for days when I need a snack and don't want to cave in to fast food. Thanks Walmart and Balance Bars!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Getting Back Into The Groove

 I felt out of place the other day in my own kitchen. I took a few months off away from baking and blogging and I almost forgot how to do it! I post pics to my Instagram (monica_h30) account daily, but it's been awhile since I've actually picked up my DSLR to photograph a recipe with the intent to blog. It was exciting and kind of nerve wracking at the same time. Even hubby was surprised at what I was doing. It turns out, blogging is kind of like riding a bike. Or I assume it is, it has been YEARS since I actually got on one :-) I pulled props from around my kitchen and out of my vintage glass stash and it all came together. 

These scones came about because I had really ripe berries and heavy cream to use up. I put my spin on it and did things a little differently than the original recipe and they turned out delicious. They're also quite patriotic looking with their red, white and blue-ness! Once cooked, the strawberry flavor intensifies and produces little pockets of  jam-like goodness. The scone itself is barely vanilla and tender, with crunchy sugared tops. Enjoy with a pat of butter or whipped cream (or "keem" as Hayden likes to call it) and more fresh fruit. These are perfect for long, lazy weekends. 

Happy Memorial Day! 

StrawBerry and Cream Scones
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup chopped ripe strawberries
  • 1/3 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream plus more for brushing the tops
  • sanding sugar or turbinado sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, sugar and salt together. Mix to combine.

Add the cubed, cold butter to the flour. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the butter is pea sized and the mixture is crumbly. 

Gently stir in the strawberries and blueberries so that they are coated in the flour mixture. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla extract just until the mixture comes together. 

Place the dough onto a floured work surface and knead two to three times until a mass is formed, being careful not to over work the dough. Pat the dough into a flat disc about 10-inches wide and about 1-inch thick. 

Using a sharp knife, a bench scraper or a pizza wheel, divide the round into 8 equal triangles. Place the triangles onto the parchment lined baking sheet, about 1-2 inches apart. Brush the tops with additional heavy cream and sprinkle with sugar. 

Bake for 17 to 20 minutes or until the scones are golden brown. Cool slightly before serving. 

Makes 8 scones. 

This little booger hovers over me while I'm taking photos in the kitchen. He could not wait til I was done so he could dig in. I set my camera down and he helped himself to several fingers full of "keem". Then he said "take picture" and stuck out his tongue. He was very proud of himself! How could I resist those eyes and that curly top?

Pillsbury Bold Giveaway Wnner

The winner of the Pillsbury Bold Prize Pack is...

#18 Melody Stuckey from Stuckey Rhymes With Cookie! who said:

"Hmmm, it's a hard call. But, if I have to pick, it's a chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting. Yum!!"

That sounds delicious to me! Congratulations Melody! Please email me your mailing address so we can get your prize mailed out to you!

Thank you all for entering my giveaway!
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