About Katie Trojanowski

http://www.whattodowithlemons.com

Posts by Katie Trojanowski:

DIY Hand Lettered Jewelry Tray

DIY Jewelry Tray

HELLO FRIENDS! I’m Katie, remember me???  Do you also remember when I said this was my favorite & easiest DIY of the summer, that would be on the blog?  Well, if you follow me on Instagram, you’d know that I said that…eight weeks ago.  I’m so sorry for the delay, and I hope you haven’t been holding your breath!  I took a little Lemons hiatus to focus on my day job and a few other things – but I’m back, and so excited to (finally) share this DIY with you! You will see that it is simple to complete, but looks very elegant and professional when it’s finished.  Your friends might not even believe you when you tell them you made it yourself!

For this craft, you will need a ceramic dish, shallow bowl, or mug, scissors, tape, a pencil, colorful (or not so colorful) oil based markers – I used Sharpies – and a good quote typed on a plain white sheet of paper. [Libations, music, and rooftop crafting session, “optional”]

Decorated Jewelry Tray Sharpies

Start by picking your ceramic item and your quote/text.  For once in my [indecisive creative-juice process] life, I knew exactly what I wanted to make, and exactly how I wanted it to look – although I did have some adorable alternative ideas…stay tuned for another post?? (Let us know in the comments section, or by following us on Instagram!)

I picked up a plain, white, ceramic appetizer plate on sale at Target, and used black and gold sharpies.  After deciding what I wanted to write on the tray, I typed/printed it out so that I could get started.  If you don’t find a font in your word processing program that you like, I’d suggest that you check out DaFont.com – it’s free, and has hundreds of cool choices.

Jewelry Organizer Sharpies

Once you have all of your supplies, it’s time for the magic trick that will make you seem like a crafting wizard – carbon copying.  It’s by far the EASIEST way to transfer a font to a surface – no complicated stencils or skillful freehand here!  Take the printed quote, turn it over, and scribble on the back of the paper with a pencil (only where the letters are).  Next, turn the paper over, and cut/tape it to your surface wherever you’d like the words to be. To make the transfer, outline the letters with the pencil by drawing over the print.  Peel the paper off, and voila!

Carbon Copy DIY Font Sharpies

Now that you’ve got your letters down, take your marker and get to work!  One point to make about oil based markers – they are a little fickle.  Make sure you use them according to package directions, and be prepared to be patient and allow time to dry before you do any touch ups.  Also, don’t press too hard, else you might take the marker off of the ceramic after you’ve put it on!

Sharpies on Ceramics

To finish my tray, I added a gold trim by outlining the rim.  Feel free to add any doodles or other images as you see fit!  I tried to follow a less-is-more mentality for this DIY, knowing that when it’s in use, most of the “hard work” I put into it would be covered.

I love this craft, and this quote.  It’s impressive, and motivational all in one.  I think something that Hayley and I have learned over the course of this past year of blogging is that there will be ups and downs and lefts when you want to right, and most if it will be out of your control, but if you love something or if you think you might love something and you just can’t stop thinking about what will happen if you try it, sometimes you just have to take that leap of faith and just GO FOR IT.  Failures will happen and posts will be missed and life will get in the way, but nothing should stop you from following your dreams!  And let me tell you, we love this blog.  It’s a hodgepodge of our creative portfolios and current life interests, and it means the world to us that we get to share our dream with you.  [We especially love it when we interact with you all! Tell us everything! You’re likes, dislikes, what you want to see more and what you want to know about us…we’re open to it all!]

Emotional interlude over…better late than never, am I right?

P.S. A big shout out and THANK YOU to my PIC, Hayley, for holding down the fort while I was gone.  She is a creative genius, and also a wonderfully supportive friend.

Upcycle Jewelry Tray

Chewy Blueberry Cookies Two Ways

cookie exchange cookie recipe

 

C is for <chewy blueberry> cookie that’s good enough for me! Well, they’re actually good enough for not just me, but to share with the internet world as well! I set out on a cookie journey experiment to come up with a sweet, chewy, but not flimsy cookie dough recipe that would remind me of summer, and man did this do the trick. These cookies use a combination of sugars, and an additional egg yolk to keep them moist & chewy and obviously divine. Basically, I’ve come up with jacked up versions of white chocolate chip macadamia nut and lemon tea cookies with my new secret ingredient…dried blueberries.

dried blueberry cookies

I’ve been addicted to cookies and a non-discriminatory dried fruit consumer for years, but never thought of combining the two (aside from that traditional oatmeal raisin, which I don’t actually ever make). You heard it here first, friends. Dey goooood. They’re smaller and sweeter and more flavorful than your average raisin, and have an added tartness that pairs them well with a sweet cookie. Plus they’re chewy, and the cookies are chewy, and blueberries are summer and raisins are fall, and it all just makes sense.

Ingredients:
-2 cups all purpose flour
-½ t baking soda
-½ t salt
-1 cup butter, unsalted (2 sticks) room temperature
-1 cup light brown sugar
-½ cup granulated sugar
-1 egg + 1 egg yolk, room temperature
-1 T vanilla extract
-1 ½ cups of dried blueberries
-½ a bar of good quality white chocolate
-a few handfulls of macadamia nuts
-1 lemon
-1:1:1 ratio of brown sugar to flour to butter, optional (2T each)

how to pack brown sugar

Instructions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cream together the butter and two sugars until fully combined and airy. Add in the eggs (save the white for breakfast later?), and vanilla, and mix until just combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add this dry mix into the wet mix until fully incorporated – don’t over mix, ever! Next, stir in all of tbe blueberries.

blueberry cookie dough

Here’s where things get interesting. I separated the dough into two, because I wanted to experiment with the same base cookie but two different recipes. Originally, I thought one would fail and one would be succesful, but as it turns out lady luck was on my side and they were both delicious! Feel free to follow the recipe out for both cookies by separating the dough, or just pick one flavor and go with it! Be sure to double the add-ins if you aren’t separating the dough, so that the flavor combination is just right.

white chocolate chip macadamia nut blueberry cookies

For the macadamia nut cookies – chop up the chocolate and nuts and add them to the cookie dough base. Using a spoon or mini ice cream scoop, drop the dough onto a parchement lined cookie sheet (about 1 ½ T of dough) with some space in between so they can spread out. Bake for 12-14 minutes, then cool.

cookie dough balls edible

ice cream scoop cookie dough

chewy cookie recipe

white chocolate chip blueberry macadamia cookies

For the blueberry lemon “cobbler” cookies (the fan favorite) – add in the juice of lemon, and stir. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. This is important. I didn’t do this the first time, and the added liquid from the lemon made them spread so much thinner than I had expected! They will be thin regardless of cooling time – and still so so so so perfectly chewy – but the refridgeration helps keep them at just the right texture. While they are baking, mix together that “optional” 1:1:1 combination until it looks like crumb cake topping, and at the 8 minute mark, sprinkle it on top of each cookie. It doesn’t look perfectly like a crumble when they are done baking, but that added buttery-sugar mix is divine. I also sprinkled on some coarse sugar for texture. In total, these cookies bake for about 10-13 minutes.

blueberry cobbler cookies

Both versions were delicious, and so easy to make. The key here is to find a base dough recipe with a flavor and texture that you like – that is also sturdy enough to handle hefty add-ins or a little extra liquid – and experiment! This was the first time I made this base recipe and definitely not my last. What combinations should I try next? Let me know in the comments below, or by commenting on our Instagram @whattodowithlemons!

blueberry lemon cobbler cookies

Summer Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips

 Strawberry Salsa Recipe

 

Another bright, summer celebrating, share with friends recipe comin’ atcha! We’ve got a new sweet & healthy remix to a summer party staple – move over chips & queso!!!

This is not my original idea – one of my best friends (and sorority little) used to bring this to movie nights and other social gatherings, and it was the perfect treat – Thanks LAURA :)  Sweet and light,  this fruit salsa hits all the major bases of versitale entertaining.  Its customizeable, and great for individuals with food allergies – plus, it’s a guilt-free-eat-all-day treat that is so satisfying, and so unpresent at most get togethers…you won’t ever have to worry about someone else bringing this recipe to the party…and you can make it in advance!  Left overs make great cereal, yogurt, and ice cream toppings, if you’re lucky enough to have any.

 Healthy Fruit Salsa

Ingredients:
-Your favorite seasonal fresh fruit!
-Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips OR a DIY sweet pita chip – see recipe ideas under the instructions below!
-Citrus juice, Mint leaves – optional

Healthy Summer Dessert Recipe

Instructions:
Buy, wash, and dry your fruit. I used one pint – minus a few, for quality assurance/side snack purposes – of strawberries, one white nectarine, one yellow nectarine, and some blackberries to top it off.  When picking your fruit, always go for seasonal bunches and when you can, local and organic! (ugh, she said organic – re: be kind to the bees! and yourself).   Also try and choose fruit that’s either just ripened or still slightly firm, that way you can dice it up and mix it around without it turning to mush.

Fruit Salsa Healthy Summer Recipe

Next, dice up your fruit into little cubes – layer in a bowl, gently toss (here is where you would add lime/orange juice if you want an extra POP of flavor, and a mint garnish), and serve!

 Summer BBQ dessert recipe

 

I used store bought pita chips, mostly for convenience purposes, but also because they’re just really good…

 Healthy Fruit Dessert Recipe

But, if you want to make your own, it’s simple! Take your favorite tortilla – this is a great idea if you have food alergies, or too many tortillas lying around – brush with coconut oil, sprinkle with a 1:1 ratio of sugar to cinnamon, and place on a foil lined baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for 8-12 minutes or until crispy.  Then break them up and serve!  You can always get creative with the flavors too, of course…try adding some more cinnamon sugar while they are still warm but after they’ve baked, or substitute some white sugar for brown sugar, add some nutmeg, mabye even some citrus juice! 

 Summer Fruit Salad Recipe
Guess I’m making more, because I definitely want to try that last brown sugar orange cinnamon combo. Remember our brownie batter hummus recipe? Let us know if you’d like more sweet & healthy summer recipes on instagram @Whattodowithlemons, and don’t forget to try and tag your creations using the hashtag,  #WTDWLemons!

Crispy Kale & Maple Roasted Chicken Sliders

Kale and Roasted Chicken

KALE. (Not Beyonce’s sweatshirt, we’re talking vegetables here). To be honest, I don’t love kale, and the feeling has been mutual.  That is, until I did some travelling and enjoyed some kale as a side dish to crunchy maple waffles and fried chicken. Life. Changed.  The salty-soy earthy crunch from the kale was (surprisingly) an amazing flavor pair to the also crunchy very sweet maple wafles and savory chicken – it was a forkfull of deliciousness.  I knew right away I was going to make a sandwich out of it.  After all, why go through the tedious process of cutting the chicken, waffle, and kale into eatable pieces then stack them all onto a fork in perfect proportion THEN devour? Leaves too much time to decide not to eat the kale…no thanks.

Now, I didn’t use fresh kale, but think twice before you start knocking me for using frozen steam-ready kale…not only did I not have to look for a fresh bunch, but I also didn’t have to wash, de-stem, potentially blanch, and cut the kale before I used it. I did us all a favor here. Kale gets such a bad rep to begin with…so why not boost our confidence in it with a fun recipe? We’re breaking stigmas here, people. Let’s eat some KALE!

Kale Appetizer

Ingredients:
– 1 package frozen chopped kale
– 1 chicken breast, cooked
– 2T olive oil
– fresh, toasted cibatta rolls
– ½ T reduced sodium soy
– a few drops of Worchestershire sauce
– a few sprinkles of garlic powder
– 4t unsalted butter, room temperature (very soft – but not microwaved, please!)
– 1T pure maple syrup

Steamed Kale

Instructions:
Steam the kale according to package directions. While the kale is steaming, mix the maple syrup and butter together until completely combined, form into a log using plastic wrap, or keep it in the original bowl, cover, and refrigerate. (This can be done way in advance, and kept in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble the sandwiches, or until you need a topper for your chocolate chip pancakes…). Remove the kale from the package, set aside in a bowl to let it cool.

Crispy Kale recipe

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat – add 2T of olive oil, and when the kale is no longer scorching hot, add that in too. Be sure to mix it all around so the kale is covered in the oil and is spaced out in the pan. We want crispy kale, so don’t be afraid if it gets a little darker than usual – in total, you will sautee the kale anywhere from 12-15 minutes. About 8 minutes in, add in the soy, garlic, and Worchestershire – stir, and keep crisping! When you’ve reached a good texture, turn off the heat, and get ready to prep those sammies!

How to cook Kale

I toasted mini ciabatta rolls from the store as my roll, and I found this worked great. I also used a rotisserie cooked chicken breast from my local grocery store, which ended up being a huge success – what a time saver, and the roasted chicken flavor was exactly what I was going for.

Maple Butter Roasted Chicken

To assemble, spread some maple butter on each side of the bread, add some kale, then chicken, then kale, and then the top of the roll. I sliced mine in half again to make them super bite sized, and because I also wanted to see what it looked like… :)

Kale recipes

I’d say THAT was a success! Ever have a dish at a restaurant that you want to personalize and recreate? Or an ingredient that you just can’t figure out? Let us know on instagram, @whattodowithlemons or send us an email!  Oh yea, and EAT YOUR KALE!

Fried Kale Sandwich

 

 

Sweet and Spicy Beef in Endive Cups with Toasted Sesame Seeds

Toasted Sesame Spicy Beef Asian Endive

Remember the meat party that I attended last year?  (Hint: Browned Butter Bourbon Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies & Mini-Meatloaf Cupcakes)   Well, this year’s celebration marked the 5th Annual B.Y.O.M(eat) cookout, which means it was time for a new MEAT recipe!  I know that I cook with a lot with ingredients that “true” carnivores might not consider meat (i.e. chicken, turkey, eggs, fish…chocolate…), so here’s to you, meat lovers!  A sweet and spicy BEEF recipe comin’ your way!  I did break the rules a little bit…there are some non-meat vegetables in here – but it turns out there were some party guests with food alergies, and this was right up their ally!  Beggers can’t be choosers here, people…but I will say, these endive cups were enjoyed by all guests, myself included.  Fun, fancy, and of course, simple and delicious – did I mention I made the dish start to finish a half hour before the party, after a 4 hour NYC bootcamp morning adventure? What ELSE could you possibly need? MAKE THEM.
Endive Appetizer Easy

 

 Ingredients:

-1 lb ground beef (I used an 85/15 blend)

-3 large carrots

-3 large celery sticks

-3-4 smaller heads of endive – you dont’ want them to be too leafy

-5 oz mushrooms

-2T butter, unsalted

-1t garlic powder

-about &frac13; of a container of your favorite sesame dressing

-sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

-pepper to taste

-1T sesame seeds

Stir Fry in Endive Leaves

 

Instructions:
Clean, peel, and dice your vegetables – not the endive – and set aside.  In a frying pan, heat 2T of butter over medium heat, and add in the carrots. Sautee for about 3-5 minutes, then add the celery.  After another 3 minutes, add the mushrooms, and sautee another 5 minutes.  Turn the heat down to low, add in the garlic powder and pepper, stir, and continue to sautee until the vegetables are tender but not mush, which will be about another 3 minutes.  While the vegetables are cooking, fully cook the ground beef over medium heat (in a separate pan).  When the beef is completely cooked, add in the vegetables and the dressing, and reduced to a simmer.  Let the beef simmer for 5 minutes, add in the red pepper flakes, then simmer for another 3 minutes.  When done, turn the heat off and remove the beef from the stove – we’ll need it to cool for a few minutes before we add it to our endive leaves, so that it isn’t too messy.  While you wait, toast up about 1T of sesame seeds in a dry pan, moving the seeds around in the pan over medium heat for 5 minutes.  This would also be a good time to wash and separate your endive leaves, and get out a platter or tray to put them on.

PF Changs lettuce wrap copy cat

 

If you’re not going to serve this right away, no problem! Don’t assemble the leaves, and refridgerate the meat and endive until you’re ready.  Or, if you want this to be more interactive,  serve the meat in a bowl with the endive leaves on a platter, and let your guests serve themselves!  This can be served warm or room temperature, so it’s a great dish for a cocktail party (or B.Y.O.Meat party).

 

Endive Appetizer

 I was serving mine for a big crowd in a more casual setting, so I chose to assemble the leaves myself.  I added a heaping tablespoon (the type you use for coffee, not for measuring ingredients) of the mix to each leaf, and sprinkeled the toasted sesame seeds overtop.  Seriously, so simple, and so good. Like little asian tacos! Or PF Chang (beef) lettuce wrap copy-cats?!  What appetizers are you serving up for your BBQs this summer? Need ideas? Have something you’d like us to try? Let us know on instagram @Whattodowithlemons or email us whattodowithlemons @ gmail.com – our tastebuds will be waiting :) 
Sweet and Spicy Beef Appetizer

Brownie Batter Hummus

Dessert Hummus

 

May, what a whirlwind.  I traveled out of the country, I traveled accross the country, and I was sick – more than sick…ill – for about three weeks.  And considering my diet consisted mostly of saltines and white toast and my energy level was 0, I didn’t have many interesting things to share with you all! Consider this bowl of chocolatey goodness our little celebration – I’m back!

Healthy Chocolate Dessert Fruit Dip

 

There are a ton of recipes out there for cookie dough hummus, and let me tell you, they don’t disappoint.  And as much as I love that raw-dough taste, I’m a sucker for brownie batter.  I’ve definitely made brownies just so that I could lick the spoon, and I know I’m not alone in that indulgence.  This brownie batter hummus is the least time consuming recipe that I’ve ever made, and is so ridiculously delectably delicious (and nutritious!) that I think it’s going to be a part of my weekly grocery haul.

Chickpea Dip for Dessert

Ingredients:

-1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

-½ cup water

-2T sugar, or more to taste  (I used 1T sugar and 1T coconut nectar, but agave would work too!)

-5T unsweetened cocoa powder

-2t vanilla extract

-chocolate chips, nuts, or any other mix-ins

 

Instructions:

Put all of the ingredients – except the mix-ins – in a food processor, or high powered blender, and blend until smooth – about 2 minutes.  Fold in the mix-ins, and eat!

Healthy Chocolate Chickpea Dessert

“S” for sharable superfood snack…but I’m probably not sharing…

 

Chickpea Brownie Dip

I let mine chill for a few hours in the fridge to let the flavors come together – it took every bone in my body – but you don’t have to!  This dip is good on fruit, bagels, toast, yogurt, ice cream…you name it.  I’d love to pair it with some cinnamon sugar crispy pita chips for that mexican-spiced hot chocolate flavor, or even add some marshmallows and dip in good ol’ grahams!

 

 

Roasted Strawberry Sangria with Basil and Cucumbers

Strawberry Basil White Wine Sangria

Sangrias are like the ice cream sunday of cocktails.  You can throw basically anything you have, like, or want into the mix, and it (almost) always tastes really good.  Take roasted strawberries, lime juice, basil, and cucumbers for example, and mix them with rum and wine.  Off the bat, it doesn’t sound like it would be too appealing – basil wine? – but oh was I pleasantly surprised – yes.

I wanted to try a new cocktail for mother’s day, and combine a few of my mom’s favorite flavors into a drink that she would like. Spiked strawberry lemonades and white wine spritzers have been her celebratory drinks for quite some time now, so I decided to put my own spin on things and make a sangria!

Traditionally, Chardonnay is used in white sangria, but I don’t like Chardonnay so I used Pino Grigio.  Feel free to use the wine that you like.  I also added more rum than normal, partially because I knew I wanted to cut the drink with the bubbly seltzer, but also because I really wanted that sharp bite of liquor to pair with the basil.  I’ve also seen a lot of recipes with added sugars or syrups, but I also don’t like that.  We’re already combining two alcohols here, people…no need to add sugar to the hangover.  I mean mix.

Strawberry Recipes

Ingredients:

Makes about 1.5 gallons of sangria…2 if you include the fruit mixture

-2 pints strawberries

-6 limes

-1 large english cucumber

-1 bunch fresh basil

-2 1.5L bottles of white wine – I used Pino Grigio

-2 (or 3) cups light rum

-2 liters seltzer

-ice to serve

Strawberry Cucumber Lime Cocktail

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees…we’re going to cook us up some Sangria!  While the oven is heating, wash your strawberries, cut off all stems, and slice them into threes.  There’s no real thickness you’re looking for – just try to keep them all about the same size.  Spread the strawberries out on a cookie sheet, so that none are overlapping, and bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes.  You’re looking for the berries to create their own, juicy syrup. Sort of like what you would get if you added sugar to the berries and let them sit a while, but much thicker, and with a REALLY enhanced strawberry flavor.

Confession…the first time I tried roasting strawberries, I ate the entire 2 pints in about one day via a large serving spoon.  They’re good.

Roasted Strawberry Syrup

While the berries are roasting, de-stem and chop your basil, and slice the cucumber.  Again, no rhyme or reason to the thickness, just try and keep everything about the same size. I’d say my strawberries and cucumbers were about a quarter of an inch, or slightly bigger, in thickness.

Oven Roasted Strawberries

When the strawberries are done, use a rubber spatula to immediately spoon them from the pan, along with the syrup they made, into a glass/ceramic bowl.  Be warned, if you don’t do this while the berries are still hot, you’re going to be scraping them from the bottom and won’t be able to harvest any of the syrup, and you’re really going to miss out on that flavor.

Strawberry White Wine Sangria

When the berries are cool, squeeze the fresh lime juice over top, and stir.  Add this mixture to your pitcher, pour over the wine and rum, mix, and let sit in the refrigerator for anywhere from an hour to overnight.  About an hour before serving, add the basil and cucumbers – we want them to be an added brightness with a hint of earthiness, and to not be too overwhelming. Serve over ice.

Strawberry Basil Cucumber Drink

To be honest, it was REALLY hard to photograph this drink for a ton of reasons – time of day, glassware, party commencing without me – and also because the beautiful red roasted berries begin to turn transparent after soaking in the liquor, which does’t look super cute on camera.  But trust me, it was gone in a flash, and it was delicious. Next time, I’m thinking I might have guests strain their sangria into their glasses, and use basil, cucumber, strawberry infused ice cubes instead – fancy fancy.  I’ll have to make this next time Hayley and I get together – have you seen her beverage posts?  Check out our Mixology section, because they are awesome.

Basil Cucumner Sangria

How are you treating your mom, or special lady in your life? Let us know, and tag us @whattodowithlemons on Instagram with your creations!

 

 

 

Pan Seared Citrus Scallops with Mango Quinoa

Scallops with Soy and Cilantro

It’s been so long since my last seafood post!  That’s largely because I don’t crave seafood in the winter, but also because I don’t like cooking seafood in larger quantities.  Reheating fish (in my opinion) never tastes as good unless repurposed into some other dish, and as you can tell from my previous posts I’m not into high-maintenance cooking.  So while this recipe might deviate from my typical “bulk/freeze mentality” entries, I promise it is just as simple to make.  This dish is the perfect easy-entertaing yet elegant meal that will be sure to impress your guests. 

Sea scallops are typically larger than bay scallops, so you will only need 4-6 per person.  I remember that little fact because you’d think sea scallops would be smaller (and bay would be bigger), but they aren’t…good one, right?  However you choose to remember the difference, your local fish monger – or good frozen seafood section – will be able to help you figure out how many you will need per guest.  Scallops are definitely a treat due to convenience, expense, and delicate silky wonderful taste, so let’s cook them right, shall we?

Ingredients:

-1 lb Sea Scallops, fresh or thawed

-olive oil

-citrus seasoning blend

-1 lime

-1 cup mango, fresh or frozen

-1 cup quinoa, uncooked

-1 zucchini, chopped

-1T garlic, minced

-reduced sodum soy sauce

-Worcestershire sauce

-fresh clinatro, for garnish

 Easy Pan Seared Scallops

Instructions:

Cook the quinoa according to package instructions.  While the quinoa is cooling, pour 1-2T olive oil to a small bowl, and sprinkle over 1T citrus seasoning blend.  I like this McCormick fiesta blend – it has a great bold flavor, and I can use a ton of it without having too much sodium (I do add my own salt).  Heat a large skillet over medium heat, dip each side of the scallop in the oil/seasoning blend, and cook in the skillet for 3 minutes on each side.  They cook pretty quickly, but I’ve found that medium heat gives you enough time to get that good crisp sear on the outside without overcooking them.  I like to plate the scallops over a mix of soy and worcestershire sauce, some freshly squeezed lime juice, and a cilantro garnish.

Citrus Scallops Lime Cilantro

When the quinoa is cooked and still hot, add the mango, chopped zucchini, garlic, and a little soy/worcestershire sauce, and stir.  I also added some chopped (turkey) bacon to mine… because scallops and bacon…and also some more lime.

Spicy Scallops and Mango Quinoa

How long does quinoa take to cook, 20 minutes?  So all in I’d guess this recipe took about 25 minutes to make. Rachel Ray would be so, so, proud.  If, for some reason, you’re not sure that you’ll have 25 minutes to prepare a meal for your guests, you can absolutely make the quinoa the day before!  This cuts the cooking time down to about 6 minutes, plus a quick prep.  So in that case, 10 minutes stand between you and a brag-worthy meal.  Trust me, you can do it!

 

BBQ Pulled Crock Pot Turkey with Apricot Glaze

Crockpot Low Fat pulled BBQ

It’s BBQ season!  And if you’re a 20-something living in an apartment, not having a grill can be really upsetting.  Sunshine and smoke-charred foods are such a natural pairing, and without access to a barbecue it can be tough to recreate that match.  Enter, crockpot..and a little help BBQ sauce, of course.

This recipe requires three ingredients.  Three.  All of which are commonly found at your local grocery store, and very inexpensive. The sweetness from the apricot preserves allows the tang from the BBQ sauce to shine through, and even makes the sauce thicker than your typical pulled-pork recipe.  Plus, it’s a whole new spin on how to eat turkey (and keep it juicy), and will definitely be a crowd pleaser at any outdoor event.  Did I mention there’s almost zero fat in this recipe, and you get up to double the serving size and protein power for the same caloric value as a standard pulled pork recipe?  Or that it can be made ahead of time, frozen individually or in bulk, and requires 15 minutes?  Wins, all around.

Ingredients:

-2 lbs. turkey tenderloin (or turkey/boneless, skinless chicken breasts)

-2 cups of your favorite BBQ sauce (I love Stubbs!)

-1 cup apricot preserves

(That’s it)

Easy BBQ Pulled Crock Pot

Instructions:

Put turkey (or chicken) in crockpot, pour over BBQ sauce and apricot preserves.  Turn crockpot on high for 10 hours.  When the time is up, shred the turkey in the crockpot so that the meat can absorb all of the sauce. (That’s it…I know, right?)  I let mine cool overnight, then portioned it out to freeze.  I’ve since had enjoyed this pulled turkey on many occasions, and so far my favorite has been over juicy veggies and greens, with a little corn and cheese, of course.

Healthy Summer BBQ Salad

I will say, this freezes/reheats perfectly, and is a great alternative to the grill.  If you choose to freeze this recipe in bulk, I’d recommend using an oven-safe dish, and allow the pulled turkey to heat back up in a 350 degree oven until warm.  For individual portions, I use small freezer bags, then put the frozen turkey on a dish in the microwave for a few minutes to defrost (no bags in the microwave, please).

High Protein BBQ Recipes Freezer

What recipes help you get your grill-time fix?  Let us know, and find us on Instagram @whattodowithlemons!

 

 

 

 

Lighter Brunch Quiche

Vegetable Pie Recipe

Breakfast post alert!!! (Surprised?)

The weather is warming up, and restaurant patios are opening.  We all know what that means…brunch season is here!  I love a good breakfast/brunch outing, but I also love eating healthier and that can be tough when you’re out with friends.  Thankfully, cooking healthy is easy, affordable, and contrary to popular belief, FLAVORFUL.  Bring the BYOB to your place for a change, and serve up this lighter spin on a brunch staple.  Throw whatever vegetables you have on hand into this lower-fat version of a classic quiche, and enjoy an extra mimosa (or two three) instead!

Egg White Quiche Recipe

Ingredients:

– 1 Wholly Wholesome Organic Whole Wheat Pie Shell

– 1 16 oz. carton of egg whites

-10 oz package of mushrooms

-4 cups raw spinach

-1 bell pepper

-1T minced garlic

-½ T olive oil

-reduced fat feta, asiago, or other cheese to top

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Take your pie shell out of the freezer, and let thaw.  I placed mine on my preheating oven, to help speed up the process.  Next, chop up your vegetables – including the spinach – and heat a large skillet on the stove over medium heat.  Add olive oil, minced garlic, and vegetables – sautee until the peppers are soft and the spinach has wilted.  Remove the sautéed veggies from the heat, and let cool until at room temperature – be sure not to mix anything that is too hot with raw eggs, or else you might start cooking them!

Whole Wheat Breakfast Quiche

When cooled, add the veggies to the thawed pie shell and place on a baking tray. Carefully pour the egg whites over the veggie mix – it will look like you won’t be able to fit all of the egg whites, but you will!  Cook for 30 minutes, then shut the oven off and keep the quiche in the cooling oven for another 15 minutes.

Low Calorie Brunch Recipe

You can enjoy this quiche warm, room temperature, or my favorite, cold!  It’s a great make-ahead dish, and can even be frozen after it’s cooked! I know that you can freeze casseroles and other dishes with cream and cheese, but I prefer not to when it comes to egg based recipes.  I did, however add some crumbled feta to my serving…because you just can’t have a quiche without cheese.  I picture this quiche on a brunch table with fruit, some grilled/roasted asparagus, and a strong cocktail.

Low Calorie Vegetable Quiche

Now, if you’re NOT looking for a lighter recipe, substitute the egg whites for 4 eggs and about half a cup of cream or a cup of crumbled/shredded cheese.

Classic Gooey Lemon Squares

     Lemon Squares for Easter Spring is here, and here at WTDWLemons we are excited.  This week, I’m sharing an appropriately lemony inspired recipe that will brighten up your palet and have you smiling for spring.  (Insert something whitty about lemons and the blog title, here.)

What to do with Lemon Juice

I’ve been making these bars for years, and I have no idea where I got the recipe from.  It’s possible I made it up, it’s possible that I did not.  I do know that the extra lemon juice and vanilla were personalizations, but as for the rest of the recipe…we can all just thank the dessert gods for this one.

Classic Lemon Bar Recipe

In any case, these squares are classic, and a necessity to any springtime celebration.  In the words of my Dad, these bars don’t stand a chance when it’s time for dessert.  Make these, eat them all, make them again, and maybe share.

 

Ingredients:

For the base:

-1 cup flour

-¼ cup powdered sugar

-½ cup (one stick) butter

-1t vanilla extract

For the lemon custard:

-1 cup sugar

-4 T fresh squeezed lemon juice

-2 eggs

-½ t baking powder

-¼ t salt

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line a 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper.  To make this recipe, we will start with the base.  Cream together the flour, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until well blended.  Gradually add in the flour until you have a sticky, cookie-like batter.  Using a greased spoon or floured hands, gently press the batter into the lined pan until you have a thin, even layer.  Bake for 10-12 minutes – don’t worry about underbaking here, as we will be adding the lemony goodness and baking again!  Warning: This is not the easiest thing to do.  The base layer for these bars is thin by design, so there isn’t much batter to go spread around.  If you’d like a thicker base, simply double the ingredients and follow the same instructions.  In any case, it will be hard to spread – keep some extra flour on the side to coat your hands while working.

Cutting Lemon squares

After the base has cooked and while it is cooling, we’ll make the lemon layer.  Add all of the custard ingredients to a bowl, and mix until frothy and light in color and texture.  I used my stand mixer for both portions of this recipe, but a hand mixer will do just fine.  Pour the lemon mixture over the slightly cooled base, and bake the squares for another 18-22 minutes.  I’m a chronic underbaker by choice, and opt for colser to the 18 minute mark.  You’ll notice that the top layer will puff up a bit and brown in the oven – don’t panic! The brown color is coming from the caramelization of the sugar and lemon juice, and the poof will de-poof.

Classic Lemon Square Recipe

Allow the bars to fully cool; before cutting – I even throw mine in the fridge for an hour or two.  They are sticky, but it is so worth it.

Best Lemon Bar Recipe

Countdown Calendar

  DIY Countdown Calendar

I LOVE COUNTDOWNS!  Seriously.  I love calendars and organization and planning and lists and fonts, and countdowns are just an exciting way to put all of those things together.  I think that for me, it’s all about that feeling of anticipation.  I’m a serial daydreamer, and thinking about future adventures lets my imagination run wild and just gives me a serious case of the smiles.  I also think that countdowns have some serious mood boositing powers…they help feed into the “today might be tough but it’s one less day until that fun something you’ve been waiting for” attitude which was beyond needed this winter. It may be tough to get up that extra hour earlier for Dayligh Savings, but hey…only 74 more days until Memorial Day Weekend!

For this craft, you’ll need a frame – new, or recycled – chalkboard paint, acrylic paint, paint brushes, painter’s tape, a ruler or lined cutting board, and something to put in the frame. 

 old frame calendar

 

Start by creating a shape for your chalkboard on the glass of the frame using painter’s tape.  I made a rectangle in the top third of the glass, but you can put it anywhere you’d like.  I also had a lined quilter’s board that I used to keep my edges straight.

 Paint Chalkboard on Glass

 

Next, paint on the chalkboard paint accoriding to directions – remember my WTDW Chalkboard Paint post?  Take a peek back at how I painted on glass in that tutorial – it’s easy, I promise!

Paint Chalkboard on Glass Frame

While the paint is drying, play around with some fonts for “days,” which will be positioned under the chalkboard.  I hand drew my letters – re: DIY Calligraphy – but you can print them out too! 

Paint on Glass Frame Font

Once the paint is dry, peal back the tape, position the “days” lettering under the glass where you’d like to paint, and go for it!  Paint usint a small brush, and dont be afraid to put two coats on there…just have patience, and let it dry!

Reverse Trace Glass Letters

Paint letters on glass by tracing 

And while that’s drying, chose what background you want for your countdown!  I chose bright white/pink-red striped cardstock because it looks bold and reminds me of beach umbrellas – after all, my countdown is to MDW.  This is another reason why I love this craft – just like the changing numbers, you can also change the background!  Maybe you have a photo of a memory, a concert ticket, or something else that reminds you of the event you’re looking forward to. I love “anything goes” crafts!

   chalkboard paint on glass

What are you counting down to?  Tell us @whattodowithlemons on instagram!

Recycled T-Shirt Work Out Tank Top

DIY gym tank top

There is nothing more exciting than some new gym gear.  Ok, settle people.  I can feel the side-eye shade through the inter web and I get it.  But seriously…I want you to honestly tell me that when you go out and buy some new sneakers, tank tops, leggings, etc., you don’t get even the slightest bit more motivated to do something active.  That’s what I thought.  Now let’s talk DIY.

For this project, all you need is a baggier shirt (long or short sleeve), and a pair of scissors.  We’ll be using truly sophisticated measuring techniques and precise trimming here – just kidding, this is really not a mark/cut kind of thing, so I included a lot of pictures to take you through the process.  Don’t be afraid to mess up – any frays will even out with a wash, and non-symmetric lines will disappear once we tie the back.  Let’s start with the neck!

Cut the neckline of a t shirt

Visualize the new neckline – you’ll want to cut the TOP layer of shirt, starting along the seam where the shoulder meets the neck.  Use your hand as a guide – hug the seam at the beginning, and gradually angle your cuts so that the neckline is about 2″ deeper than the original neckline in the center of the shirt.

Cut Neck off t shirt

Fold the cut part of the shirt up, and cut along the BACK seam – we have a new neckline!

Next, align your pinky to the neckline and your middle finger to the shoulder seam to use as your cut guide.  Cut the sleeve (both layers) starting on the inside of the armpit seam, up through the shoulder seam.

cut sleeves off t shirt

Fold the shirt in half, and use your already cut side as a guide to cut the next sleeve off.

make sleeveless tank

To make the back more like a racerback tank, you have to cut off a bit more of the BACK layer. Start at the armpit again, and cut in an elongated “<” and “>” fashion, so that you end up with something like the left photo, below.  To get rid of that overhand of the front layer, cut another inch from the FRONT layer on both sides.  I used my scissors to “score” the shirt, creating a line to follow.  Repeat on both sides.

DIY gym shirt

The transformation is already unbelievable.  SUCH an upgrade from the super wrinkly, neglected, sad old red-league baggy T.

DIY gym tank

To shape the BACK neckline, cut a “V” shape into the BACK layer only.  I stopped at the center point, and folded the cut piece over the non-cut piece as a guide. We’re almost done!  Now we just need to tie the back.  Using a scrap sleeve, cut a “string” of shirt – make sure to cut out any seam pieces from the ends.v neck t shirt DIY

Lay the string in between the two layers of shirt, at the smallest part of the racerback.  Tie one knot around the back tightly, wrap the strings around the middle, and tie twice more, finishing with a bow.

upcycle t shirt

And that’s it! You’re done.  A brand “new” workout tank.  I have 3 4 of these tanks now, and can only see more of them in my future.  They are wash/dry-able too, and require no special treatment.  Just be warned, they will become slightly more revealing with the first wash, so don’t be afraid to cut more conservatively for your first shirt until you get the hang of it.  Also, feel free to try the shirt on at any point in the process so that you can see how it is forming!  Remember you can always cut more, but you can’t cut less.

Tag us in your new shirts on Instagram, @whattodowithlemons, pin us on your boards on Pinterest, and give us a shout out on Facebook/Twitter!  #Flexfriday has never looked so good!

DIY racerback tank top

 

Winter Greens with Citrus Thyme Dressing

Blood Orange Tangerine Salad Dressing Recipe

It’s CITRUS SEASON!  Here at Lemons we are so so excited for citrus season.  It brings a ton of brightness to our foods – in taste and in presentation – and helps us dream of warmer weather while we’re stuck in this winter tundra.  Plus, lemons are a citruis fruit, so it’s almost like a celebration for us…and as I’m sure you can see, we love to celebrate.

 Orange Honey Dressing

I love love love vegetables, and I’m not ashamed of it!  So many people think it’s sarcasm, but as my sarcastic/joking skills are not resume worthy, I can assure you it’s the truth.  But in the winter time, all I want is BREAD.  Anything bread-y.  And dense and rich and carb-centric.  Another wonderful thing about citrus?  It is an amazing compliment to lighter proteins and (almost) all vegetables, and starts to pull us out of our carb-induced hybernation and into the fresh and even raw foods that we enjoy in the spring and summer months.  In this case, we’re complimenting sweet citruis and raw honey with sharpness of fresh shallots, and keeping it winter appropriate with the bitterness in the greens and warmth from the thyme. 

Swiss Chard Salad Recipe

 

Ingredients:

-fresh juice from 4 small citrus fruits – I used 2 blood oranges and 2 honey tangerines

-2t raw honey

-1 shallot, divided

-2-4T extra virgin olive oil – this just depends on how light you want to make the dressing

-2t dried thyme

-salt and pepper to taste

-winter greens – I used swiss chard

Orange Thyme Salad Dressing

Instructions:

(If you’re making the salad and not only the dressing…) Wash your greens!  When choosing your greens for this salad, pick something in season and hearty – for winter, that means dark, leafy, and nutrient PACKED!  I chose a mixture of white and red swiss chard.  I love the texture of both, and the color and earthy flavor of the red chard – it’s almost beet like.  The white chard is much more mild in it’s earthiness, so if you’re not a fan of anything remotely similar to beets, stick with the white.  Plus, its a good winter green that is still enjoyable raw!  If chard’s not your thing, try kale, escarole, collard greens…anything that looks fresh.  Just keep in mind, some greens are best when cooked, and some leafy stems are just not fun to eat (i.e. kale).  Not sure what green to use? Ask your produce man, or better yet…ask us!!

Swiss Chard Chopped

I washed, rinsed, and de-stemmed the chard, keeping the stems for later on.  Stacking the leaves on top of one another, I tightly rolled them almost like a sleeping bag and cut the chard into ribbons.

How to Cut Swiss Chard

Next, juice your citrus.  I don’t have any type of citrus juicing tools, and find that a good squeeze works just fine.  If your fruit is a little stubborn, try using a fork like a traditional reamer.  Remove all seeds using a strainer or fork. 

 Healthy Citrus Salad Dressing Recipe

Add the honey, and whisk.  I’m LOVING raw honey these days – the texture is almost like gooey table sugar but the taste is sweet and floral.

 Raw Organic Honey Recipe

Next, mince the shallot, and add half to the bowl.  Crush the dry thyme in your palm, and add all spices to the bowl, whisk.  Finally, add your olive oil, and you guessed it, whisk again.  At this point, you can pour the dressing over the greens and mix, or you can store the dressing for use, later.  If you are using the dressing in a hearty-greens salad, it’s perfectly OK to make this dish in advance and let it sit in the refridgerator.  Winter greens are very strong and will actually benefit from this pseudo marinating technique both in texture and in flavor.

 Healthy Dressing Swiss Chard with Shallots and Citrus Juice

 

Heat the rest of the shallot in a little olive oil in a sautee pan.  Chop the stems of the chard – which will look like celery and rubarb stalks – and sautee in the pan for a few minutes, just to slightly soften and remove some bitey bitterness. 

 Citrus Salad Recipe Winter Greens

Add the stems to the dressed salad, mix, and enjoy!  This would pair wonderfully with roasted chicken, walnuts and cranberries, or heighten the earthiness with beets and goat cheese!  How do you eat your greens?? Let us know!!

Kitchen Sink King Cake for Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras King Cake

Happy Mardi Gras, Friends!!! There is nothing we love more at What to do with Lemons than fun – and tasty – traditions, and Mardi Gras has been something we’ve celebrated together for years.  One of our good friends would get a king cake delivered to her dorm room every year to celebrate the season – we’d all get a good laugh in about how much she’d wished she didn’t get the apple kind, and then all indulge in this sweet treat in hopes of finding the baby for good luck.  As you can imagine, the cake never lasted very long in her dorm room, but the fun of it all became one of our favorite memories.  There are a “few” other religious aspects to this tradition, but for us girls it was all about that cake. And the luck!
 

Cinnamon Roll Cake

had to keep the tradition alive, so I set out to make this EASY recipe – all you need are a few standard ingredients, and you’ve got yourself one delicious treat.  Think giant gooey cinnamon roll here…yes.

Cream Cheese Frosting Pecan Cinnamon Roll Ring

Ingredients:

-refrigerated not sweet dough – I used pizza crust

-butter

-brown sugar

-cinnamon

-vanilla

-candied pecans

-cream cheese

-sprinkles – purple, gold, green

 

Instructions:

Preheat your oven according to the dough package instructions.  Using a rolling pin, gently roll the dough out on parchment paper into a big square.

Pizza Dough Sweet Roll

Mix 1 cup brown sugar and 1-2T cinnamon in a bowl.  Brush the entire dough surface with melted butter, and sprinkle with sugar – you may/may not use all of it, and that’s ok! Use your own discretion.  Chop up the pecans, and evenly top the sugar mixture with the nuts.  Using the parchment to help lift the dough, roll it up in cinnamon roll style, and pinch the seam shut.

Pecan Cinnamon Roll Cake.IMG_2693

Next, transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet, and shape the dough into a circle.  Brush the outside of the dough with more melted butter, and bake in the oven according to the time on the dough package, about 8-12 minutes.

Pecan Brown Sugar Cinnamon Roll

While the dough cooks/cools, heat 1 package of cream cheese in the microwave until easily mixable – I did this in 30 second intervals.  Add a heaping quarter cup of white sugar and a few drops of vanilla extract and stir.  Spread the frosting onto the outside of the cake, and decorate in traditional Mardi Gras sprinkles.  Then EAT…don’t forget that.  It is Fat Tuesday after all…

Fat Tuesday Recipe

I called it the kitchen sink recipe, because I used stuff I (mostly) already had.  Aside from the dough, I almost always have everything else.  So, I threw it all together and was actually pretty surprised as to how well it turned out! Sweet, sturdy but not soggy, and perfect for the celebration.  OK, maybe not perfect.  I didn’t have a baby, but I did have a mini wrestler figurine, so he was our lucky trinket for the year. *Note – if you’re participating in the hidden baby aspect of this recipe, cut a small slit in the COOKED cake, and place the baby in after you’ve already COOLED the cake but before you’ve frosted it…don’t cook the baby.

Baby King Cake Recipe

I made this recipe in about 40 minutes total, before jumping on a plane to meet up with some friends last week…you have no excuse not to try it.  I’d eat it for breakfast or dessert, and it’s definitely bead worthy, if you catch my drift.  How’d you celebrate Mardi Gras this year? Let us know @whattodowithlemons on Instagram!!

Perfect Fudge Brownies

Heart Brownies for Valentine's

I started making these brownies about 4 years ago, for one of my best friend’s 21st birthdays – in fact, they’re still called “Ashley’s 21st Brownies” in my recipe book!  Shout-out to Ashely, our fellow blogger and fashionista, featured in our Constellation Tights Post – follower her blog, AUGoldStandard, she is incredible.  Ok, back to the brownies.  They are the chocolate-iest, densest, fudgiest, most delicious perfect brownies I have ever had.  Ever.  And I’ve had my fair share of brownies.  If you like cake-like airy, light, artificially tasting brownies, well then these just aren’t for you.  These brownies are everything. And they are the only recipe you’ll need to celebrate Chocoholic’s Anonymous Day.  I mean Valentine’s. Whatever.

Chocolate Chip Brownies Recipe

 

Ingredients:

-1 ¼ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
-1 ¼ cups sugar
-¾ cup plus 2T cocoa powder, unsweetened
-¼ t salt
-1T vanilla extract
-2 large eggs
-½ cup flour
-half of a bag of mini-chocolate chips, semi-sweet

Fudge Brownie Ingredients

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350. In a glass bowl, combine butter, sugar,  salt, and cocoa powder. Heat over a double boiler, stirring until ingredients have melted together but are still slightly gritty. Remove from heat, and let the chocolate mixture cool. When the batter is still warm – but not hot enough to cook your eggs – add the vanilla, and mix until just combined. Add each egg one at a time, and stir until the eggs are incorporated – don’t over mix! Next, add in the flour, and once again, stir to combine. This last step shouldn’t take you more than 30-40 stirs. We want to keep these brownies dense and fudgy! Add in the chocolate chips, and stir until the chips are sprinkled throughout. “Pour” this thick batter into a parchment lined 8×8 pan, and spread it around with a spatula until you have even thickness. Bake for 20-25 minutes – it’s ok to keep them slightly under-cooked. Less stirring + less cook time = PERFECTION. There isn’t much flour in this recipe – these are not cake-y – so there won’t be much batter left on the spatula…but the batter will stick to a wooden spoon, just FYI.  Taste testing is important.

Fudge Brownie Batter Homemade

Remember when I said these brownies are thick and fudgy?  Well that means they need to be cooled before you cut them, or else they’ll just get stuck to your knife, and you’ll end up with less squares for sharing and more scraps for snacking…not like that’s a bad thing…

Fudge Brownies No Mixer

 

I usually cut my brownies into squares, but you can use most cookie cutters to make shapes in your brownies – I’d avoid anything with thin/delicate areas, as they will break off and you’ll end up with a headless brontosaurus, not like I tried that or anything.

Brownie Heart

This time I used heart cookie cutters – it is Valentine’s Day after all!I I allso melted up some white chocolate chips and decorated a few brownies, just for some added color and fun.

Valentine's Day Dessert

Do you also remember when I told you to make the blondies that week?  Yea, welll, this time I’m “suggesting” that you make these right now, and I mean right now, like…ASAP.  And, if your Valentine’s Day plans are anything like mine…sharing is optional.

 

What To Do With: Juice Pulp

 
Juice Pulp Recipes

Did I mention I got a juicer for my birthday? 2014 was the year of kitchen gadgets, and I’m NOT upset about it.  It saves a ton of money for someone who enjoys a good juice – NYC juices are $$$.  One thing about my juicer – and there’s only one thing – that I don’t love, is that there is just so much pulp left over after I’ve juiced all my vegetables, and I don’t always know what to do with it.  Composting would be great, but I don’t have that resource where I live.  And there are only so many times you can add the pulp to eggs…why not stretch the buck – and the nutrition – of these veggies into some other, more fun, recipes???

Juice pulp from Juicer Recipes

I juiced 3 cucumbers, one package of celery, one package of carrots, one large bag   of spinach, and one large head of romaine.  I also juiced half a pineapple – sometimes I like a little sweetness to my green juice.  Keeping my carrot juice separate, I mixed all of the green juices together, added the pineapple juice and one container of unsweetened coconut water, and ended up with a TON of delicious juices for the week, and with these recipes, I really stretched out the value of these veggies – aside from the peels from the carrots, I didn’t throw out anything.

Fresh Cucumber Relish

1) The Easiest Relish…Ever!

This is the only “recipe” that I know that takes less than 30 seconds, and is perfect every time.  Mix the cucumber pulp with some pickle juice from your favorie pickle.  Refridgerate overnight. That’s it.  It’s like pickle up-cycling!

Green Vegetable Spread

2) Roasted Vegetable Tapenade

Take one cup of the spinach, celery, and carrot pulp mix, and all of the romaine.  Add some fresh minced garlic and 1T olive oil, and roast in a 350 degree oven on a sheet pan for 20 minutes. When the vegetables have cooled, add them to a blender or food processor with salt, pepper, any other seasonings you like – I added some onion powder – and another 1T of olive oil. You’ll end up with a flavorful and nutritious spread for crackers, paninis, or even other veggies to dip in!

DIY Veggie Burger Recipe

3) Quinoa Edemame Veggie Burgers

I impressed myself with this one.  Take the rest of the spinach, celery, and carrot pulp, and warmed it in a pan with some olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper, just until the flavors came together – about 5 minutes.  Once the mix is cool, add a cup of cooked and cooled quinoa, just shy of a cup of shelled edemame, and one whisked egg.  Stir all of these together – I used my hands – and refridgerate a few hours.  Form the veggie mix into burger shapes, and freeze in a single layer on a sheet pan.  When the burgers are frozen solid, move them into a freezer safe container or bag for long term storage.  I’d recommend reheating these burgers in a sautee pan.  I served my burger on a toasted Ezekiel sprouted english muffin with a smear of Trader Joe’s tzaziki and a simple watercress side salad.

 Quinoa Veggie Burger Edemame Juice Pulp

Do you have any favorite recipes, or recipes you want us to experiement with? Let us know in the comments!  Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and now announcing, TWITTER!

Fudgy Butterscotch Blondies

Perfect Blondie Bar Recipe

Prepare yourself, for the best and only blondies recipe you will ever need.  Ever.  Unlike other blondie recipes, this bar style dessert will NOT remind you of a cookie.  They are the EXACT texture of the dense, fudgy, most wonderful brownie of your dreams (recipe for that one to follow).  The only difference between these heavenly squares and their brownie cousin is the chocolate factor.  My sister doesn’t like chocolate – I KNOW, I know.  I don’t get it either.  To be honest, I felt bad for her.  Not only because she misses out on all the wonderful chocolate recipes out there, but because she also misses out on that texture element – and after a ton of experimentation, this sinful recipe was born!   Do yourself a favor.  Buy the ingredients. Make these blondies. Don’t share.

White Chocolate Chip Blonde Brownie Bars

Ingredients: (for an 8×8 pan)

-1 ⅓ cup flour

-1t baking powder

-1t ground cinnamon

-¼t ground nutmeg

-¼t cream of tartar

-½t salt

-1 cup brown sugar, packed

-1 stick unsalted butter

-1 egg

-½-1T vanilla extract

-½-1 cup both white chocolate chips and butterscotch chips

*see some of our other baking posts for flour/vanilla measuring and mixing techniques!

Butterscotch Blondies

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350, and line an 8×8″ baking pan with parchment paper.  If you don’t have parchment, butter and flour the pan to prevent sticking.  Measure all dry ingredients in a bowl, whisk to combine, and set aside.  Cream the butter and sugar until well combined.  Next, add the egg and vanilla and mix until it looks like the second image above.  Gradually add in the flour mixture until just combined – don’t over mix! Add the chips and stir by hand, then scoop this heavy sticky batter into your pan and (patiently) spread it out until you have an even layer of deliciousness.

White Chocolate Chip Brownies

Bake for 20-28 minutes, until the middle is just set (remember, not cookies, brownies).  When the top is glistening but slightly brown, take the pan out to cool.

Homemade Blondies Recipe

When cooled enough to handle, lift the parchment out of the pan and slice your bars – try not to take a bite. I dare you.

Best butterscotch bars ever

Sometimes, I like to make these bars extra cinnamon-y – like snickerdoodle blondies – and replace the chips with cinnamon chips, add some more spice, lean towards the 1T side of the vanilla pour, and add a spiced whipped cream drizzle.  Is it time to eat yet?

White Chocolate Butterscotch Brownies

If you do nothing else this week…make/devour these blissful little squares.  You will feel more accomplished than you ever have, not to mention totally sweet-tooth satisfied.  I failed a ton of times until I came up with this recipe – I can’t WAIT to know what you think!

Dirty Rice with Roasted Chicken and Turkey Sausage

Turkey Sausage Creole Rice

“Dirty Rice” is a creole spiced dish that has earned it’s name from the brown-ish color the rice turns when you cook it down with seasoned poultry innards.  Now, as much of a eat-with-your-eyes kind of person that I am, I’m starting to discover that I’m also sensitive to how things are cooked, and what they are cooked with.  Something about changing the color of rice because it becomes “dirty” from livers and such just didn’t seem appealing to me, especially because I love the creole spices. 

Choosing black rice gives this recipe rich color, and replacing the protein with roasted chicken and sausuage adds to the smokey flavor of the dish – nothing dirty about it!

Black Rice Trader Joe's Recipe

Ingredients:

-chicken, cooked – I prepared boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the oven

-smokey sausage – I used turkey

-1 cup black rice

-1 zucchini

-1 red pepper

-half of one onion

-1 package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

-1T minced garlic

-2T olive oil

-2t creole seasoning

-¼ – ½ cup white cooking wine

-½ t cayanne pepper

-salt and black pepper to taste

 

Instructions:

Start by cooking your chicken –  I cooked my chicken in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes, brushed with some olive oil, salt and pepper – and cooking your rice according to package directions.  One that’s all cooking, chop up your vegetables.  I like a good half moon for the zucchini, a bite-sized dice for the peppers, and a finer dice for the onions.  I also ran my knife through the thawed, chopped spinach just to break it up.  In a large skillet, heat up the olive oil, onions, and garlic over medium heat,  Once the onions become translucent, add the rest of the vegetables.  Remember to stir so that all vegetables are coated and get equal time to brown on the hot surface.

Clean Eating Dirty Rice

 After about 8-10 minutes, add in the seasoning, stir, and cook for another 5 minutes.  Cube the chicken and the sausage, and add the sausage to the dish – cook another 5 minutes.  By now, your rice should be done. 

Zucchini Dirty Rice with Chicken Sausage

Add the rice, chicken, and wine to the pan, turn the heat to low, and cook for 10 minutes so that the flavors combine.

Dirty Creole Rice Low Fat

I’m so happy with how this recipe turned out – like most of my savory dishes, it’s simple and healthy, and packed with flavor.  And, it’s pretty flexible!  Use whatever leftover starch you have lying around – quinoa, orzo, riced cauliflower – or add to the flavor pallet with some rotisserie chicknen.  So long as you keep the seasoining the same and be sure to add a protein with some smokiness, you won’t be dissapointed!

Black Creole Rice

Chicken Broccoli and Orzo en Cocotte

 Chicken Broccoli Orozo and Parmesan

I must have been good this year, because Santa brought me some amazing kitchen gadgets that I can’t wait to use (and share!).  I’ve always wanted cookware from Le Creuset, and I fell in love with the concept of these little cocottes when I was at a restaurant out west.  All of the sides – roasted broccoli, cheesy potatoes, brussels sprouts – were served to the table en cocotte, and all of a sudden the dinner out with friends felt more like a meal with family.

They are like mini casserole dishes meet ramekins meet tiny dutch ovens. Did I mention they’re mini?!  But don’t be mistaken – they are marketed as “individual servings” but I think you can get a full meal out of a cocotte, or a side to share!

Cooking in Cocotte

Aside from the presentation, finishing off a dish by baking them in the cocottes really helps to meld all of the flavors together, and that’s where this recipe comes into the story.  My mom used to mix pan seared chicken, steamed broccoli, cooked orzo, chicken broth and spices together in a big pan and serve it to us on cold nights.  What better first meal to make in my new cocottes?

Ingredients:

 -1lb chicken breast

-1 head broccoli

-1 cup orzo

-4 cups chicken stock, unsalted

-minced garlic

1 T olive oil, divided

-salt & pepper, to taste

-parmesan

Instructions:

Start by cutting the chicken into bite sized pieces.  Heat a large skillet over medium, add 1 t of olive oil, and sautee the minced garlic – I used 2 heaping teaspoons.  Once the garlic starts to brown, add 1t of olive oil and all chicken.  Cook the chicken through, making sure to brown on all sides.

Pan Seared Garlic Chicken and Orzo

While the chicken is cooking, heat 3 cups of chicken stock in a pot, and cook the 1 cup orzo according to instructions on the package.  Be sure to slightly undercook the orzo, as you will be heating it later in the oven.  I like to use stocks instead of water to bump up the flavor.  When it comes time to drain the orzo, pour the leftover stock into a bowl – we’ll use it later in the dish.  Mix 1t of olive oil into the drained orzo to prevent sticking.  At this point you can also steam/blanch the broccoli, and start to prepare your cocottes!

Chicken Broccoli Orzo Broth

Preheat your oven to 300.  Layer the orzo, broccoli, and chicken into each cocotte, and pour overtop a few ladles of stock (use any from the extra 1 cup if necessary).  Top the cocottes, place on a baking tray, and heat in the oven for 10-15 minutes.  Finish each dish off with a sprinkle – or six – of parmesan.  When serving the cocottes, keep in mind they will be very hot to touch!  Chicken Broccoli Orzo

The cocottes really bring the flavors all together, in an almost stew-like way.  Can’t wait to see what else these little guys can do!

“Calligraphy” Cards

DIY Calligraphy Cards

Happy New Year!!  2014 brought me and Hayley some great memories – I ran a half marathon, Hayley moved into a new home, and of course, we started WTDWL and haven’t looked back!  It’s been a crazy adventure, and we are SO excited to see what this year has to bring!  And what better way to kick off our 2015 posts with one of our favorite things…Snail Mail!!!!  You already know we love all things handwritten and homemade, and we spend a lot of time writing letters, cards, and notes to friends.  You may also know that we really like to keep things simple and affordable.  There are already so many excuses out there that keep us from writing notes to friends – email, texting, social media, inconvenience – and those pricey Hallmark cards can just put us over the edge.

Thankfully, calligraphy is so in this year, and we’re taking full advantage of it with these DIY “calligraphy” cards.  They are the perfect rainy day, music binge, or just couch sitting activity – who doesn’t love a good doodle session?

Materials:

-blank cards, or heavy paper (like card stock, oaktag, or even manilla folders)

-envelopes

-sharpies, or other heavy inky markers (like staedtler fineliners)

-pencil with eraser

Instructions:

When hand-drawing your own cards, I think there are a few key things to focus on:

-Font(s)

-Doodles

-Theme

It’s a short list, but it’s an important list.  Design, colors, mediums used…none of those things really matter!  No one expects handwritten items to be perfect, and quite frankly, I think they look better when they are less perfect.  Though I do think my handwriting is pretty “neat,” my hand isn’t always steady and I’m definitely not a good “drawer.”  Calligraphy was so…intimidating to me.  I guess that’s sort of embarrassing to admit, but whatever its 2015 anything goes!  I’ve found with a few tricks, anyone can impress themselves and their friends with a fancy card.

Let’s start with themes/fonts.  FUN fonts, to be specific.  Stray away from the thin, delicate looking fonts.  The theme part of the card is incorporated here into the words you choose – if you’d rather not put words, the same idea applies to images! I start by writing out my word/phrase (image) in the shape of the font, but using one stroke.  Next, shape those letters into the font you chose.  You can do this by making the outlines thicker or adding dimensions.  I like using bold letter outlines.  Fill in any blank spaces, and move on to the next font.

Fake Calligraphy

Fun fonts have made my life one zillion times easier – there are no special pens involved, and by shaping each letter you have multiple chances to make it look cohesive.  And I’m not the only one who thinks so!  Check out what Hayley found on Cupcakes and Cashmere’s blog from last June – I didn’t know there were real calligraphy classes!!

Calligraphy without Calligraphy Pen

Don’t be bummed if you’re card looks too blank – that’s where the doodle comes into play.  Dots, circles, arrows, stripes, flowers, swirls – anything goes.  These are space fillers, and really make the card unique.  This is where theme can also be enhanced – choose images that represent the idea of the card.

Copy Cat Calligraphy Card

When I first started drawing my own cards, I just used a thin, black sharpie.  I think the black keeps the card looking neater, especially if you haven’t mastered steady handwriting.  For design inspiration, look to quotations, an object to trace, a favorite doodle, or holiday – and don’t be ashamed of using the image searches!  There’s nothing that a good clip art-doodle-google search can’t fix, especially when thinking about fonts.  I used cookie cutters in this thank you card that I got while in Disney with a friend – use a pencil to outline, erase the lines, and trace with marker!

Stencil Calligraphy

Disney Calligraphy DIY Card Cookie Cutters

My favorite cards are pretty busy – lots of doodles, and different font styles…can you tell?  What are your favorite card styles? Don’t forget to email us, tag us @whattodowithlemons, and use the hashtag #wtdwlemons with your creations!

 

Marsala Mushroom Bites

Asiago Mushroom Appetizers

It’s DECEMBER?  I know I’m not the only one wondering where all the time has gone… after all of the plotting and planning for new recipes to try this year, the “end of the year” work push has left little time for experiments,   I wish there was another month to make the season Merrier and Brighter, amiright? That’s where these little bites come in handy – (basically) three ingredients, and about 25 minutes, and you’ve got a warm and hearty appetizer perfect for any celebration. 

Ingredients:

-4 pillsbury crescent rolls, uncooked

-10 oz. mushrooms

-1T butter

-about ¼ cup red wine, or a little less

-salt and pepper, to taste

-asiago cheese, or other bite-y cheese (optional)

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350.  Stem, clean, and dice your mushrooms.  In a large sautee pan, heat 1T of butter over medium heat until the butter just starts to melt.  Add the mushrooms, stir, and sautee about 5 minutes.  Once the mushrooms start to brown completely, add the wine, and turn the heat to a simmer.  Allow the wine to reduce – this should take about 6-10 minutes – and remember to stir often.

Easy Mushroom Appetizer

While that’s going, open your crescent roll can and roll the dough on your counter.  Pinch the diagonal edges of the adjacent rolls together, and cut each 2-roll rectangle into 6 pieces.  Take each piece and lightly press into an ungreased/unlined mini-muffin tin, and wait on your mushrooms!

Sauteed Mushroom Pillsbury Bites

 When the mushrooms are done, allow them to cool for a few minutes so that they can absorb some of the sauce.  Then, take about a tablespoon or so of the mushrooms and place in each crescent rolled-mini muffin cup. I used a slotted spoon for this, so that there wasn’t too much liquid in each cup. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until brown.

I added some Asiago cheese shavings to a few of these little cups for an extra bite.  They are so buttery and delicious, and would make a great pair to a creamy soup, or an addition to your holiday apps spread!  I’m looking forward to making these again using leftover sauteed mushrooms after Christmas dinner…can’t wait!

Marsala Mushroom Bites

DIY Instant Oatmeal Packets

Budget Friendly Instant Oatmeal Packets DIY 

Can you tell I love breakfast now? Well I do, and I will warn you, breakfast posts will not stop, especially now that warm breakfasts are a necessity.  It’s December, and with the wind chill off the water I’m lucky if I’m not an icicle by the time I walk to work.  Knowing that I’ve got a warm breakfast (and my handy french press) to look forward to makes a cold morning much easier.  Oatmeal is a great option for breakfast, and a great bargain at that!  You can always pick up plain oats at a great sale price at the market, which is good for my budget but not so much for my palate – plain oatmeal... not exciting.  But, with a few extra ingredients and hardly any time, you can turn those plain packs into delicious ways to start your day!

Ingredients:

-Instant Oatmeal (I used gluten free)

-Dried Fruit (I like to use the dehydrated kind)

-Spices

-Sugar (optional)

-Ziplock bags

DIY Instant Oatmeal Packets

Instructions:

Figure out what sort of flavors you’d like, and set spices/fruit aside.  I found a great deal on dehydrated apple/blueberry and strawberry/mango mixes…two large bags for $2!  The catch? They are marketed as “toddler food.”  Don’t knock it until you try it – you’re more likely to find a sale on kids food as opposed to the other brands, and it’s really the same thing.  My flavor combinations were blueberry lemon peel, apple cinnamon, and strawberry mango.  Once decided, label your bags and put just shy of half a cup of instant oats in each one. Next, add in about ¼ cup dried fruit, and 1t of spices.  Here’s the breakdown for my flavors:

Blueberry Lemon Peel: Blueberries, 1t dried lemon peel (can be found in the spice aisle)

Apple Cinnamon: Apples, 1t cinnamon with a few shakes of ginger, clove, and nutmeg

Strawberry Mango: Just the fruit!

I wouldn’t reccomend pre-sweetening your oatmeal packs – they won’t be professionally sealed like the traditional packs, and I think adding the sugar will reduce the shelf life of your oatmeal.

DIY Gluten Free Instant Oatmeal Packets

When you’re ready to eat, just prepare as if it were plain oatmeal!

Holiday Cranberry Sauce – Fruit Juice Sweetened

Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Orange no Sugar

Every year at my family’s Thanksgiving table, we have two cranberry sauces.  A homemade version from my grandma, and the sliced canned stuff for my sister – she just loved it.  Tart cranberries are a great addition to a holiday table, and are a perfect compliment to all of the savory side dishes, but the traditional jelly-types can tend to be on the sweeter side.  Instead of sugar, this recipe uses (unsweetened, but very naturally sweet) orange juice and zest, brightening the flavor of the berries while keeping their tartness.  Three ingredients (plus some spices) and 15 minutes…that’s all you need to pull this recipe together!

Cranberry Sauce with Orange Juice no Sugar

Ingredients:

-2 cups raw, washed cranberries

-½ cup fruit juice – I used blood orange, but anything sweet (orange, pineapple, even apple) will work

-zest of 1 orange

-½ t ground cinnamon

-¼ t ground nutmeg

-¼ t ground cloves

Instructions:

Heat the berries and juice in a sauce pan over medium heat, and stir often.  Once boiling, reduce to a simmer.  After 10 minutes, add the zest and spices, and cook for 5 more minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.

Cranberry Sauce No Sugar

Serve like a traditional cranberry sauce, as a yogurt or ice cream topper, on cornbread, or pancakes!  I mixed some in cream cheese, refrigerated overnight, and added to my morning oatmeal.  It was tart and delicious, and just a little bit really boosted the flavor of the oats. I think I’ll be experimenting with fruit sweetened recipes in the future.  Next time, try adding the cranberries in a batter instead of a topping!

Cranberry Orange Cream Cheese

 

Cauliflower Quinoa Garlic Parmesan “Mac” & Cheese

Cualiflower Quinoa Garlic Mac and Cheese Bars

Cauliflower quinoa “mac” & cheese is a great alternative to a traditional au gratin holiday dish, or even a lighter side dish to be served with the leftover turkey the next day.  I used a larger baking dish, and spread the mixture out about ¾ inch thick, and cut it into bars. So far, I’ve eaten this dish with chicken, eggs, turkey, and roasted asparagus – it pairs well with everything.  Cheese and sneaky vegetables – who knew!!!

Cauliflower Quinoa Mac and Cheese Bake

Ingredients:

-1 head cauliflower

-¾ cup quinoa, dry

-8 oz. cheese (I used 50% reduced fat cheddar)

-1 cup milk (I used fat free)

-½ cup plain greek yogurt (I used 0%)

-shy of ½ cup grated parmesan cheese

-shy of ½ cup panko breadcrumbs, plain

-1t italian seasoning

-2T garlic onion puree

-cooking spray

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 375.  Start by cooking your quinoa in water (or broth) per the instructions on the package.  While that is cooking up, wash, chop, and “rice” your cauliflower.  To rice the cauliflower, place florets in a food processor and pulse until the cauliflower looks like, well, rice – it should be grainy and not too fine, so that it will be able to hold the cheese later on.  At this poiint, you can either quickly blanch the cauliflower to take away some of the crunch and flavor, or keep it raw.  I kept it raw because I like the flavor of cauliflower, and I thought it would be a great texture pair with the quinoa (I was right…but feel free to blanch if you don’t love the taste).  Grate your cheddar cheese, and season your breadcrumbs – set aside.  Next, add the garlic onion puree to the bottom of a pot, and heat over medium.  When the puree looks translucent and you can smell the garlic, add the milk and cheddar. 

Cauliflower Rice Mac And Cheese Healthy

As the cheddar begins to melt. add in the yogurt – stir, and heat until combined.  At this point, your quinoa should be done – remove from heat, and add to large mixing bowl.  When the cheese mixture is done, you’re ready to assemble.  Combine the quinoa and cauliflower, then fold in the hot cheese sauce.  Spray a glass baking dish (9×13) with cooking spray, spread the mixture evenly throughout, and press to remove any air pockets. 

Garlic Parmesan Cauliflower Quinoa Healthy Mac and Cheese

Sprinkle the top with the parmesan and seasoned breadcrumbs, and bake for 20 minutes or until the top starts to brown.  When its ready, remove from the oven and allow to cool before slicing into bars.

 Cualiflower Quinoa Garlic Parmesan Mac and Cheese

I made a lot of this dish my first go-around, and I was not dissapointed.  I ate some all week, and froze the rest – it reheats perfectly!