toasted marshmallow and coconut lemon bars

toasted marshmallow and coconut lemon bars via Drag it Through the GardenWarning: These toasted marshmallow and coconut lemon bars are super sweet, super sticky, and super yummy. And they are super easy to bake up. In fact, I baked these before class one morning (which is surprising considering it’s pretty hard to get me to do anything beyond what is necessary in the morning) and then proceeded to daydream about them all day until I finally ate one after classes. And they definitely lived up to my expectations.

It has been a while since my last post. Two weeks. Needless to say, I have been swamped.

Can they just give me my degree already? I am so over school right now. Like, seriously over it. I spent between 15 and 20 hours last week working on a lab report. For a one credit hour course. I have a class that has exams pretty much every Friday (10 for the semester). And they are not easy multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank exams. They’re take-two-hours-and-hope-and-pray-you-gave-the-right-answer kind of exams. Oh yeah, and they are only two questions long. Two hours? For two questions?

Unfortunately, I could probably keep complaining for a long time about school right now. And quite honestly, I am tempted to do it. But, I do not want to bore you all to death. Or make you annoyed with my whiny-ness. Good thing I have a lot of Easter candy in my living room so I have something to stress-eat. Maybe I should bake these lemon bars again.

Not a bad idea…

toasted marshmallow and coconut lemon bars

Makes one 8×8” pan

Ingredients:
1 19-oz. box lemon bar mix*
3 eggs
1 cup mini marshmallows
1 cup sweetened coconut
½ 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Grease an 8x8x2” pan. Press crust (in a bag in the lemon bar box) into the bottom of pan. Bake for 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk 1/3 cup water and 3 eggs together until homogeneous. Stir in lemon filling mix until smooth. Pour over hot, baked crust. Bake for 10 minutes.

Remove from oven. Sprinkle with marshmallows and coconut. Drizzle over sweetened condensed milk. Bake for an additional 14-18 minutes, until lightly golden on top. If the top starts to get too brown, cover with foil to prevent burning. Remove to cool. Chill in refrigerator for a couple hours to slice easier.

*Baking instructions follow Krusteaz lemon bars mix. If using a different brand, eggs, water, and baking time may need to be adjusted.

Source: Adapted from Inside BruCrew Life

 

penne with peas and bacon

penne with peas and bacon via dragitthroughthegarden.wordpress.comBasically, I love pasta. Pretty much any kind of pasta. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner pasta.

Well, maybe not breakfast, but you know what I mean, right? And bacon… who doesn’t love bacon? Put it together with some crispy peas and parmesan (and butter). Golden.

I was trying to think of something witty to write on here. Some weird story that had a hint of humor. But then I realized that I pretty much don’t do anything all day. Well, besides go to class or lab, eat, sleep, and watch TV.

I come to the realization that my life really is not that interesting a lot. Generally it’s during those moments when I think I am really funny and that I could have a TV show based on my life… something Kardashian-esque (admit it… you’ve thought the same thing about yourself!). But, then I realize most people probably don’t want to watch me in class all day or doing homework or pipetting chemicals into beakers.

I will admit that there are definitely times when I am the first one to laugh at my jokes. And sometimes the only person to laugh at my jokes.

But, hey, as long as I’m bringing a smile to someone’s face, even it is my own, I don’t mind. And sometimes a little bit of lightness is all you need to get through the day.

penne with peas and bacon

Makes 2-3 Servings

Ingredients:
½ lb. penne
4 slices bacon, sliced
¾ cup frozen peas
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish

Add pasta to salted boiling water and cook until al dente, about 12 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until lightly crisp around the edges. Increase heat to medium-high. Add in peas and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until peas are heated through and beginning to crisp a little, about 5 minutes. Add in butter.

Toss bacon and pea mixture with pasta and Parmesan. Serve with additional Parmesan, if desired.

gooey butter cookies

gooey butter cookies | dragitthroughthegarden.wordpress.comIf you are not from the Saint Louis area, you might not have experienced the delicious ooey-gooey-ness that is gooey butter cake. And if you have not yet had the pleasure of that wonderful cake, then I highly, highly suggest adding the ingredients for these gooey butter cookies to your next shopping list (if you don’t already have them in your pantry).

So, I’ve been absent for about a week and a half here, which might be surprising considering I have been enjoying the relaxation of Spring Break.

Scratch that. I have been busy writing my chemistry thesis, my Spanish thesis, a multitude of lab reports, and preparing for a presentation in front of a bunch of professors that I would rather not take part in. But, I also want to graduate, so… I guess I do not have that much of a choice in the matter.

I have been seeing all these photos of people going to beaches and far-away places for Spring Break. It makes me jealous. And here I am sitting on my couch deciding if I calculated the reaction energy correctly or not. I want a tan, too!

Oh well. I guess I’ll just put on some more bronzer than necessary and set my sights on summer.

gooey butter cookies

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients:
1 8-oz.package cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup), room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 16-oz.box butter yellow cake mix
3/4 cup powdered sugar

In a large bowl, cream together cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract, and egg. Add in the cake mix in thirds, mixing until combined between each addition. Chill for one hour to overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.

Place powdered sugar in a bowl or plate. Roll cookie dough into 1” balls and add into the powdered sugar. Cover the dough with sugar and place on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven for 11-12 minutes, until cooked through and lightly golden on the edges and bottom. Cool on baking sheets for a couple of minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.

hasselback potatoes

hasselback potatoes | dragitthroughthegarden.wordpress.comOkay, so I am willing to bet that you have probably already seen this of baked potato somewhere. But, I thought I would post the recipe (if you can call it that) just in case. Because this twisted baked potato is totally worth trying.

I particularly like it because (a) I can it with my hands (I don’t know if that’s how it’s meant to be eaten, but I find it way easier) and (b) it has more crispy edges than your traditional baked potato. And I could definitely use some more crispy edges in my life.

In other news, I am so happy this day is almost over. I hate Mondays. And not because it’s the first day of the week but because Monday is definitely one of my longer days of the week. Although it is one hour shorter than Fridays. Which is just great (note the sarcasm) because I start and end my week with pure awful.

Anyhow, I’m in class from 11 to 4 on Mondays. Which might not seem that bad. But I don’t have any break (no lunch people… well… besides a granola bar. But does that really count?) and it is pretty much a non-stop bore. No offense to any my professors or anything. But, they’re not exactly teaching the most enthusing of subjects.

So, this lack of lunch has led me to eat two dinners tonight. Yep. I have reached an all time low. Right after class I bought a taco salad. Which I convinced myself was healthy even though I know I’ve looked up the nutritional information on that before and it’s definitely around 700-800 calories.

Really? A salad?

Convinced that it was healthy, after doing a little homework and taking a shower, I decided I was hungry again and I really wanted something hot to eat since everything I’d eaten today was cold. So I proceeded to eat a 900 calorie pizza. Ummm…. oops?

On that note, I don’t know how people do raw diets. Don’t you want something warm? Or ice cream? Everybody wants ice cream.

hasselback potatoes

Makes 4 Servings

Ingredients:
4 large russet potatoes
2 tablespoons butter, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Starting at the end of a potato, cut slices into the potato widthwise as close together as you can get them. Try to cut as close as you can to slicing through the potato, but do NOT slice all the way through (if you do, no worries. Just prop the pieces up together during baking and you should be okay). Do this for the entire length of the potato.

Wedge butter pieces every so often in between the slices of the potato. This comes out to be about half a tablespoon of butter per potato. Drizzle with olive oil and rub down with salt.

Place in a baking dish and bake in the preheated oven for about 60-90 minutes, until the potato is cooked through and the edges are getting brown.

 

lemon poppy seed ginger muffins

lemon poppy seed ginger muffins | dragitthroughthegarden.wordpress.comI love breakfast food. (Muffins do count as breakfast food, right?) Maybe it is the carb-overload that happens in a lot of breakfasts or the combination of sweet and savory foods, but I could eat breakfast for every meal of the day. Seriously.

There’s something refreshing about lemon and ginger together. And as a breakfast food? With poppy seeds? Gotta love it.

I have this problem of not eating breakfast on the weekends until about 11. Which I don’t qualify as breakfast any more. It’s either that I start doing homework really early and just buckle down into it to get done as soon as possible or I go to the grocery store.

As many of you probably know, grocery store on an empty stomach never is a good idea. I should probably note the overflow of food in my cabinets at this point. Oops. But something weird happens when I’m hungry and go to look for something to eat. It’s like 90% of my food vanishes and I feel like I have limited options. There must be some science behind that because it just doesn’t make any sense to me.

lemon poppy seed ginger muffins

Makes 16 Muffins

Ingredients:
1 large lemon
About 3 inches ginger root, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plain yogurt
½ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
juice from 1 large lemon (about 3 tablespoons)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 12-cavity muffin tin with 16 liners, if desired, or grease.

Peel off yellow part of lemon (try not to get any white) using a vegetable peeler and chop up a bit. Squeeze lemon juice into a food processor or blender. Add lemon zest ginger, and ¼ cup sugar. Pulse food processor until a fine paste is formed.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and remaining ¾ cup of sugar. Mix in eggs, vanilla, and lemon-ginger paste. Beat in one-third of the flour mixture until just combined. Mix in half of the yogurt. Mix in one-third of the flour mixture until just combined. Mix in the remaining yogurt. Mix in the rest of the flour mixture. Mix in the sour cream. Stir in the poppy seeds.

Evenly distribute the batter among the cups. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until golden and a toothpick comes out with only moist crumbs. Cool on a wire rack.

For the glaze, whisk together powdered sugar and lemon juice. Spoon over the top of each muffin while still warmed. 

Source: Adapted from Simply Recipes

sausage, mushroom, and parmesan bread pudding

sausage, mushroom, and parmesan bread pudding | dragitthroughthegarden.wordpress.comI am pretty sure Lauren was fully convinced of my craziness upon serving this meal. Bread pudding? For dinner? Without ice cream? Pretty crazy ideas in this household.

This dish definitely deserves one of those “Best of…” stamps of approval they put in magazines. Not that I don’t love every dish on here… I wouldn’t post them without my utmost approval But, this dish is something special. It’s savory, crunchy, and creamy all at the same time. Yum.

I swear I am not crazy.

I promise I am not certifiable, but some people might think I am crazy. Well, more ditzy than crazy… and trust me, that’s not by my own definition. But, I promise I know what I am talking about. Most of the time.

I wouldn’t necessarily call myself ditzy. Just smart… in a unique, not duct-taped glasses, frizzy hair, and nasal-y voice sort of way. And not smart in the way that I sound like I actually know the answer when I give you an answer. And let’s be honest, I never ever raise my hand in class.

I am just unique. And I am okay with that.

I am also okay with a second helping of this dinner…

sausage, mushroom, and parmesan bread pudding | dragitthroughthegarden.wordpress.com

sausage, mushroom, and parmesan bread pudding

Makes 10-12 Servings

Ingredients:
1 1-pound loaf of bread (I used challah, but use whatever you like), cut into 1-inch cubes
¼ cup plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
16 oz. Italian seasoned pork sausage, casings removed
6 tablespoons butter
12 oz. assorted mushrooms (I used all cremini), cut into bite-sized pieces
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup milk
8 large eggs
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375°F. Toss bread with ¼ cup olive oil, thyme, and garlic and salt and pepper to taste on a sheet pan. Spread out in a single layer. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, tossing occasionally so that all sides are toasty.

Meanwhile, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and cook through, about 10 minutes, breaking it up into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon. Remove to a separate plate.

Melt butter in the same skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, onion, celery, and bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables are tender and juices have evaporated, about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13” baking dish. In a large bowl, whisk together cream, milk, eggs, and salt and pepper.

Once vegetables are cooked, toss together toasted bread, sausage, and vegetables. Distribute in the prepared baking dish. Evenly pour cream mixture over the top. Bake in the preheated oven until custard is set and top is browned, about 60 minutes. Let sit for a few minutes before serving. 

Source: Adapted from Epicurious

 

gnocchi with beans and spinach

gnocchi with beans and spinach dragitthroughthegarden.wordpress.comPart three of meatless meals: Gnocchi with beans and spinach. Lauren made this gnocchi a while back and I was very thankful for a homecooked meal that I didn’t have to cook. Not that my mom doesn’t cook me dinner when I’m home. I don’t want momma to read this and think I’m telling the world she deprives me of food. Although if I were to look in the pantry right now, I’d say my choices would probably be pretty grim…

But, seriously, with meals like this, I could go vegetarian.

Okay, maybe I will take that last part back and rephrase: I do not miss meat with meals like this, but I certainly want it in some meal at least once per week. Is that too much to ask?

As I posted here about a week ago, I was set to begin the “Eat your Heart out” Diet on Wednesday. I went to the grocery store and stocked up on fruits and veggies for the first few days. And then, two-thirds into my fruit day, the first day of the diet, I could not do it anymore.

I’m a baby. What can I say? I never would have thought I would be saying that I got stuck on the fruit day. I love fruit! But… not so much for dinner. And not so much as the only thing to eat all day. The acidity and sweetness were killing me. Seriously. My teeth hurt.

So, I made a refried bean quesadilla for dinner and called the whole diet thing done.

I guess maybe I should just start trying to eat a little bit healthier instead…

gnocchi with beans and spinach

Makes 6 to 8 Servings

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 16-oz. packages dried gnocchi
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup water
6 cups chopped baby spinach
2 15-oz. cans diced tomatoes with Italian herbs
1 15-oz. cans white beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (use part-skim to cut down on fat)
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add gnocchi and cook for about 7-9 minutes, until lightly browned, stirring often. Transfer to a bowl.

Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add in garlic and stir often until it turns lightly brown, about 1 minute. Add in water and continue cooking until onion is fully cooked, about 4-6 minutes. Add in spinach and cook for an additional 2 minutes, until it begins to wilt. Add tomatoes and beans. Season with salt and pepper. Stir until combined. Bring to a simmer. Sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan cheese over the top and cover for about 3-5 minutes, until cheese is melted.

If you want, you can pop it under the broiler for of  to get nicely browned cheese on top.

Source: Eating Well