Monday, June 24, 2013

A few summer recipes

1st of all....happy belated 4th anniversary to my sweet husband and favorite person in the world. 

How has it been 4 years since this day?  I thank God every day that we ended up together on this crazy adventure of life.

Josh was actually off in VT for a guys trip on our anniversary AND I sent a round of shots to he & his friends, so I think I get the wife of the week award.  I was glad to have him home last night -- it hadn't been just us at home in about 10+ nights.

A few recipes we have been eating around the Otto household:

"Raw" Chocolate Truffle Bites

When my sisters, Bailey & Allie, were in town last Sunday we made these and I couldn't get over how good they were.  We didn't make them quite as "raw" and healthy as the original recipe calls for, but still healthier than some alternative sweet treats.  They call them brownies, but we rolled them into little balls and I don't think I'd ever make them another way now.

Original recipe here.

How we did it:

1 c. pecans (could also use walnuts)
1/4 c. + 2 T. raw cocoa (I cheated and used Hershey's)
Dash of vanilla
1 T. brown sugar (we added this)
1/8 - 1/4 t. sea salt (+ more to taste if you want the sweet / salty combo)
2 T. almond or peanut butter (we used natural peanut because it's what we had on hand)
10-12 pitted & chopped dates

In a food processor blend the nuts - careful not to blend too long or it will turn into pecan butter.  Add cocoa, sea salt, brown sugar & vanilla and blend until it's all combined.  Add peanut butter and blend well.  Begin adding the dates (roughly chopped) a little at a time.  You may have to scrape down the sides to make sure it's all blending together.  At this point the mixture will be sticking and clumping together.  If it is too crumbly and not holding together, add a few more dates.

We then rolled in little bite sized balls and put in a mini muffin tin in the refrigerator for about 20-30 minutes.  So good!

We then put a tiny bit of powdered sugar on them just to make them a tiny bit sweeter.  I'd recommend adding the powdered sugar right before serving.

Baked Bacon with Honey & Cracked Black Pepper
1 lb. bacon (we used the thickly sliced kind)
Cracked pepper

Again, something Bailey and Brandon have enjoyed when they needed a little treat on their paleo diet.  Line cookie sheet with aluminum foil.  Spread one layer of bacon - drizzle bacon with honey & lots of freshly ground pepper.  Put in oven and set to 375 degrees (Bailey advised you don't preheat the oven when cooking bacon this way...who knew?).  Since we purchased the thickly sliced bacon it took a while so we ended up turning up the temperature at the end to crisp it up a bit.  I am a pork lover and was in heaven!

Oven "fried" Squash
Egg whites
Lots of S & P
Cracker meal

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line cookie sheet with aluminum foil.  Spray well with olive oil cooking spray.  Slice squash into round pieces.  Season well with S & P, dunk in egg whites and make sure they are wet on both sides, then dredge in cracker meal.  Place squash in single layer spread out on cookie sheet.  Spray tops with the olive oil cooking spray.  Keep checking every 10-15 minutes - if looking dried out spray more of the olive oil spray.  Flip a few times so they brown nicely on both sides.  This usually takes about 45 minutes - 1 hour.  Add more S & P to taste.

My mom and I made this last Saturday night when I was home in Charlotte.  We served with a watermelon & mint salad (made champagne vinaigrette  and bourbon glazed grilled chicken.  It was the perfect summer meal.

Grilled Peaches with Blackberry Butter & Mint

After the above summer dinner, we finished it off with this dessert.  Another one I had to share.  

Peaches, pitted & halved
1 stick butter, softened
Pinch of sugar
A few T. chopped mint, plus a few pieces to garnish (optional)
Peach non-fat yogurt (optional)

I softened about 3/4 stick of butter and then added a few handfuls of blackberrys to the food processor and blended it together.  I then added just a pinch of sugar.
We "grilled" them inside on a grill pan so they wouldn't taste like our chicken.  We sprayed the flat side with a little olive oil spray and put on the grill pan on medium heat until they browned nicely.  

Immediately when they come off put a spoonful of the blackberry putter in the pit hole.  We then sprinkled some chopped mint on top and garnished with a mint leaf.  We served ours with non-fat peach yogurt.

On of my husband's aunts passed away on Friday at the young age of 55.  We are off to the funeral tomorrow and I'm praying her family (including 3 sons and 5 sisters) and friends can find peace.  Thinking of all of you during this difficult time!


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Weekend with Gertie

I met my new "niece" last weekend and she is the cutest piglet I have ever laid eyes on.  I was also so happy to see my middle sister, Bailey, and her boyfriend -- I cannot believe it had been 6 whole months!  Move back to the South please.

Warning: If you aren't interested in dog pictures, you should go ahead and stop reading now. :)

Gertie in the ladies lounge with my new pillows (post to come).
My favorite bulldog mama, April, came over to meet her too.
Can a family get much cuter than this? (their cocker spaniel was back in Boston)
We tried Olivia's flower dog accessories on tiny Gertrude -- looks like someone is ready for her parents to get married!

She is only 14 weeks, but we are already talking about her having puppies.  Get on the list now -- it doesn't get cuter than this.


Friday, June 7, 2013

UK Trip Recap

I don't know what happened, but I somehow skipped the full month of May.  I guess because I didn't think there was anything too noteworthy to share.  We've been doing things around the house, but not to much we've done ourselves so didn't seem fair to share.  Cooking has been a lot of the same, etc.  Life is good for us though and we are very thankful for God's blessings.

Anywho, we went on a trip to the UK and spent time in London, Cotswolds, Turnberry, St. Andrews, Highlands & Edinburgh so I thought I'd share a few photos for friends & family.  I will try to get back to more regular posting if anyone is still reading along!

A great much needed trip and it was nice for it to be just the two of us (although we missed that little dog to death!).

I'll be back much sooner with another post!