Friday, December 30, 2011

Foodie Penpals #1 December 2011

So I'm quickly learning that the virtual food blogging community is pretty cool! First by going to the Foodbuzz Festival and now by participating in a program called Foodie Pen Pals! I had a few pen pals growing up always enjoyed getting a letter in the mail. To this day, I still look forward to picking up the mail everyday and hoping there is some real people mail tossed in with all the junk. The Lean Green Bean's Foodie Pen Pals came to my rescue just at the right time!

I was so excited to come home and find a package from my December pal: Kayla from the blog Sprouty Buns. I heard about this program when I was in San Francisco at the Foodbuzz Festival from Sarah and I thought it was such a neat idea. Basically, bloggers/or foodies are matched and then mail each other a foodie care package. With, a $15 limit it is a fun way to have a modern day pen pal! If you want to see what others got go here.

Kayla is a healthy foodie that has a fun blog at Sprouty Buns. She was so sweet and emailed me saying sorry about the duct tape use on the package! Kayla, since I'm originally from Alaska it's no problem at all! We use duct tape all the time! Here's the fun package of goodies:

A nice note from Kayla


She said in her note that she sent some of her favorite things!

Kayla, we think a lot alike.....


What a wonderful box of goodies! Kayla said she is a Popchips addict and I have to admit that I really love them too! The BBQ flavor is really yummy. They are baked not fried! She also included my favorite Nut butter maker: Justin's. These little single serve packages I also take when traveling on tour!   This year  of  2011, I discovered Larabars and one of my most favorite flavors is Cashew Cookie, which was in the box. A new one to me is the Kind bar. I've seen them but haven't bought one of their fruit & nut bars so I'm excited to try it once rehearsals start up again. I grew up eating fruit leathers and Barabara's products. The oatmeal snackanimals look quite tasty. 

Dark chocolate is my favorite too! Especially high percentage ones like 70%!

I've tried a few Tasty Bite products but this one: Lentils with garlic, cumin, & cardamon looks divine!



Kayla thanks again for all the goodies! Your pantry I have a feeling looks a lot like mine does! Great healthy minds think alike! I had great fun too putting together a package to send to Laura at Joyful Shimmy.



If you would like to have a Foodie Pen Pal:

And now it's time for some details about Foodie Penpals.  In case you’re a new reader, here’s a reminder of what the program is all about:
-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal! 
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. *US Residents only please at this time- hopefully we can expand soon!*
If you’re interested in participating for January, please send  an email to Lindsay at theleangreenbean@gmail.com and include the following information:
-Your full name
-Your email address
-Your blog name/address
-Your twitter handle (if applicable)
I will need to hear from you by January 4th as pairings will be emailed on January 5th!




So glad I participated this month! I can't wait for January!






CIAO,

BETSY

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas with A Dancer In The Kitchen {Giveaway Winners}

Well, the last week has been very full of love. Full of time well spent being with my family and loved ones, eating lots of great food, sharing wonderful gifts, lots of laughs, and then tears when saying goodbye. This year my husband and I were fortunate enough to be in the same place as most of our immediate family. My brother was the only one who came from out of state. He flew in to Utah on Christmas Eve, and after traveling all night on a red-eye flight he was such a good sport and had a great spirit the whole day! This was the first time in 10 years that I have lived in the same state as my parents for a Christmas holiday. They recently moved down from Alaska, rented an apartment and are trying out "wintering" in SLC for awhile. My dad is still flying back to AK to work but it has been a true blessing having them here. I did a lot of baking leading up to actual Christmas day! Now, I'm planning my New Year's Eve food but I wanted to share a few recipes of things I have made. You could make these things next year, for another holiday, or even just anyday of the year!






Christmas Eve was spent at my In-Laws house. We opened gifts then had a great lasagna dinner. My parents came over for dinner and we played some great rounds of catchphrase and laughed a lot. 



This was a goodie Santa left in my stocking!

My husband and I have our own tradition of having Christmas morning brunch together and then opening gifts. This year I made whole wheat cinnamon rolls from Sarah's blog (her pictures are much prettier than mine!!) and a vegetarian egg casserole served with a tomato-basil salad & fresh berries! We always get out our china and usually we have mimosas or Prosecco but I forgot this year! I love cinnamon rolls but usually I like them more with frosting. The glaze on these is jut enough sweetness to balance out the hearty flavor & texture of the wheat. They are a treat and a healthier choice! I love the addition of using agave nectar to sweeten them.








Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls 

Ingredients: 
For Dough: 
1 cup warm water 
2 t yeast 
2 t sugar 
1 1/2 cup AP flour 
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour 
2 T Earth Balance (or butter) 
1/4 cup vanilla agave nectar 
1/2 t salt
For Filling: 
1/4 cup Earth Balance, softened (room temperature) 
1/4 cup brown sugar 
1 T cinnamon 
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
For Icing: 
1 cup confectioners sugar 
2 T Silk Nog
1/2 t vanilla
1. Combine warm water, sugar and yeast in bread machine and allow the 
yeast to “proof” for 10 minutes. 
2. Combine the dough ingredients after the yeast “proofs” and knead the dough until it’s smooth and elastic.  Then cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours.
3. When dough is ready it will be a tiny bit sticky coming out of the bread machine- sprinkle with a little flour before you try to roll it out.
4. Roll dough into a rectangle (around 12 inches or so)
5. Brush on softened Earth Balance, sprinkle the brown sugar, cinnamon, and chopped nuts evenly over the dough.
6. Roll the dough into a log and slice into 16 pieces for regular sized cinnamon rolls or 8 pieces for gigantic cinnamon rolls.
7. Arrange pieces on a baking sheet, cover, and let rise for about an hour, or until they’re doubled in size.
8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes before icing.
9. To prepare icing, combine confectioner’s sugar, nondairy milk, and vanilla in a bowl. Drizzle icing on top of cinnamon rolls.
  (*recipe slightly adapted from Sarah Snacks)

Vegetarian Egg Casserole


Ingredients:


4 links of Field Roast Smoked Apple Sage Sausage
6 eggs
1 Tbsp white onion
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
1 1/2 cup skim milk
1 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
5 slices whole wheat bread or 10 slices sourdough baguette
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp Herbs de Provence
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

In a skillet, crumble & saute Field Roast sausages, onions, and green peppers in olive oil for about 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Add in garlic and saute 2 minutes.  Layer sausage mixture in the bottom of a 9"x 9" pan. Cut bread slices into 1 inch strips and layer them across the sausage, or lay sliced baguette slices over sausage. 

In a small bowl beat the eggs and milk. Add in Herbs de Provence, salt & pepper. Pour egg mixture evenly over the bread slices. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. 

Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 35 to 45 minutes (I had to bake it 45 minutes) until golden on top.



Santa must think we like beer..... 

I hope you all had peaceful holiday celebrations! We keep our tree up until December 6th because we celebrate Old Befana Day (an Italian holiday!). In other news the giveaway winners from the last post are:

Tiffany and Ellen!!!!!

Ladies I enjoyed hearing about your favorite holiday cookies. It made me want to bake some sugar  & almond cookies.  Please send me your email addresses and I'll send you your spatulas! 



CIAO,
,
BETSY

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sugar Plum Cookies + OXO Good Cookie Spatula GIVEAWAY

 Happy Holidays! With only four days left until Christmas, it's almost here. The first night of Hanukkah was yesterday and I hope my good friend Becky was enjoying some delicious latkes. Growing up, her family always had a wonderful Hanukkah party that we would attend, and to this day I remember the delicious latkes (Becky, I need to get your recipe!). So how does a Dancer In the Kitchen, with lots of time off and no pay, bring on the holidays:  She bakes, cans, and cooks of course! (Recipes coming, I promise!)

The Baking:

Since I'm a dancer, let's get started with some Sugar Plum cookies. If you are familiar with The Nutcracker, it is a truly beautiful and magical traditional ballet that features the Sugar Plum Fairy. I got to learn the en pointe (toe shoes!) variation one time and it's always been a favorite. However, until this week I never actually knew what a sugar plum really was.

Since, I've been home during the day I've been able to catch up on episodes of ABC's The Chew. This is a show that "celebrates and explores life through food." It has a great group of co-hosts and some wonderful recipes as well. If you aren't home during the day you can watch episodes on their website and get all the recipes from the show.

They made sugar plums the other day and knew I had to try to make them! They are messy to make (so if you wear rings take them off!) but I kinda enjoy that part of baking. I guess this isn't really baking because all you do is toast the almonds in the oven but more baked cookies will come later! These are healthy holiday sweets, kinda! You do use powdered sugar but you also use fruit and honey as a natural sweetener. The citrus zest and cinnamon smell delicious as you are making them. The final product reminded me sort of some fruit & nut bars I've tried.  However, the taste really reminded me of panaforte, an Italian fruit & nut dessert which my husband and I love. These are kind of like fruitcake balls....but Sugar Plums sound much more magical and dancer like!!





Sugar Plums


INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cup almonds

  • 1/4 cup honey

  • 2 teaspoons orange zest

  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

  • 1 cup dried apricots (finely chopped)

  • 1 cup dried figs (finely chopped)

  • powdered sugar (for rolling)




  • DIRECTIONS:










1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Put almonds on baking sheet and toast in oven for 10 minutes. Once cooled finely chop almonds.
(I used a food processor)

2.  In a mixing bowl combine honey, orange zest, lemon zest, and cinnamon. Add chopped nuts, apricots and figs and stir until everything is well combined.

3. With a spoon begin making balls out of the mixture (should be golf ball sized). Roll each ball in powdered sugar and then place in an airtight container lined with wax paper. These can be served immediately or stored in the refrigerator until needed.
(*slightly adapted from The Chew)

The Giveaway:


If you came to visit my kitchen, you would find a lot of gadgets by OXO. Their products are functional, easy to use, and well made. Right now, they have this adorable limited edition "be a good cookie" silicone spatula created to increase awareness for the charity, Cookies for Kids' Cancer.  In 2007, Cookies for Kids' Cancer was founded by two OXOnians (OXO employees!) whose son was diagnosed with pediatric cancer. Through this cause,  they wanted to help raise money for pediatric cancer research though local bake sales. Over the past four years, they have raised over $2.5 million dollars, pretty remarkable! 

This spatula would make a great stocking stuffer if you need any last minute gifts! When you buy this limited edition spatula, 50% of the profits go to benefit Cookies for Kids' Cancer. 
You can purchase the spatula at Bed Bath & Beyond or Amazon. Please check out www.oxogoodcookies.com where you can find even more ways to help this great cause. If you can host a registered bake sale or fundraising event, OXO will match all proceeds up to $100,000 from the sales until December 31st. You can also send fun virtual cookies to help spread the word to your friends and family.


My holiday gift to you: TWO readers will each win one "Good Cookie" Spatula!!

To enter: Leave a comment below answering this question- 
What is your favorite holiday cookie?

For extra entries you can do the following:
1. Follow me on Twitter: @dancerkitchen
3. Subscribe to A Dancer In The Kitchen by email or RSS reader

Leave a seperate comment for each entry. If you already follow me on any of the above just leave a comment saying you do! You can get up to 4 total entries! The giveaway will end December 26, 2011 at midnight. (US residents only)


*As part of the OXO Blogger Outreach Program I received free products from OXO.






Saturday, December 17, 2011

Behind The Scenes Of A Ririe-Woodbury Show #1

 Wow! I cannot believe that Christmas is just one week away! The show was already last weekend and it was a great run. We had sold-out shows on Friday and Saturday nights, which always makes us dancers feel good. We received nice reviews from the Salt Lake Tribune and Slug Magazine. I have the next four weeks off from work or in reality I am laid off from work for four weeks. It's a little hard not to get paid around Christmas time but luckily I got most of my shopping done earlier in the year. This last week I thought I would have done more blogging.....but I've been catching up on rest, taking yoga classes, going to movies with my mom.....it's been really nice. I promise the next post will have a recipe and a giveaway!! For now I wanted to show you a little recap and a behind the scenes look at the show we just did!
Photo: Stuart Ruckman 


The lobby poster for the show.

Special thanks to all of our donors.


The dressing room for the Black Box Theatre w/ our costumes.

My knee was pretty bruised and hurting, Arnica gel to the rescue!

All of the RW gear for sale!

Our backstage goodies: bananas are great before a show! Also, water, grapes, hummus, trail mix. 

My lunch in between the two shows was a Tabouleh Quinoa Salad from Squatters Brewpub

The Black Box Theatre Stage at the Rose Wagner Center for the Performing Arts.

Me. taking a photo in the mirror just because. 
Below are some great photos of the company by Will Thompson. 
Some are from rehearsals earlier this season:







Finally, a celebration dinner at Red Rock Brewpub after the last performance:

With my husband, mom, and my mom's good friends who came all the way from Alaska and California to see her and the show! Rosie, Charlotte, and Cindy (taking the picture!) you ladies are awesome! Of course, my husband and mom are too! It was such a great weekend of dancing. Dance is such a natural high for me. Being on stage and performing for live audiences is why I love what I do. It's always bittersweet when a show run ends. That's why you dance the best you can and be present in every moment of each performance. I hope everyone takes some time in this busy season to try to be present in each moment....it's not always easy but instead of letting the stress win over, take a moment to breathe and remember: Every single moment you are writing the story of your life. Make it a good one!



CIAO,
BETSY

Monday, December 5, 2011

Show Week Begins With Pumpkin-Cranberry Muffins! {Giveaway Winners}

Source

Hello! I enjoyed my weekend up until the last minute because this week will be very busy as we enter into our Tech/Show week for Ririe-Woodbury's December show Prism. The picture above appeared in the Arts section of The Salt Lake Tribune with this preview article of our concert. I'm the one on the far right being lifted! 

Here is the poster for the show! It's a great evening of dance and the collaboration of Charlotte Boye-Christiansen's new piece featuring actor/comedian Ethan Phillips who played Neelix on the Star Trek Voyager Series is quite entertaining. 
source
  Show weeks can be very draining because as dancers all of our hard work everyday goes into performing our shows the best we can. I always need a lot of sleep and to maintain a healthy diet. I whipped up a batch of these pumpkin muffins yesterday morning so there would be leftovers to snack on during the week. Unfortunately, these were so good that I think there is like one left and even though it's only Monday....it's time to make another batch!



Pumpkin-Cranberry Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (about 6 3/4 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk (No buttermilk? Just mix 1 cup milk with 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice)
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • large egg
  • 2/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries, chopped (such as Craisins)
  • Cooking spray

Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, and next 5 ingredients (though cloves); stir well with a whisk.
  • Combine granulated sugar and next 5 ingredients (through egg) in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 3 minutes). Add flour mixture to sugar mixture; beat at low speed just until combined. Fold in cranberries.
  • Place 12 paper muffin cup liners in muffin cups; coat liners with cooking spray ( I made mine without liners). Spoon batter into prepared cups. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Remove muffins from pan immediately; place on a wire rack.




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