Normally around this time each year, I come down with a case of the January blues. Grey, dreary skies coupled with the bitter cold make me want to crawl under the blankets and hibernate until spring returns. Instead, I’ve been so busy that I can hardly believe we’ve come to the end of the month…not a bad thing, in my opinion! To keep me going, I’ve been making sure to keep well-hydrated since the air is so cold and dry. In addition to plain old water, the new Wellness Brewed K-Cup packs are a perfect way to get some extra vitamins into your diet, too. With two coffees, two teas, and two fruit brews to choose from, there’s something for whatever mood you’re in. My current favorite is the blood orange star fruit green tea – I can’t get enough of it!
I also have a promo code for you today: BEWELL8121 will give you 15% off Wellness Brewed K-Cup packs at Green Mountain Coffee from February 1st through the 20th. I’m thinking about stocking up on some of the antioxidant blend coffee, as well as some more of that delicious tea. What’s your favorite way to keep hydrated in the winter?
Full disclosure: I am a paid Keurig K-Cup Ambassador, however the opinions expressed here are all my own.
Today, you’ll find me guest posting over at Jamie’s amazing baking blog, My Baking Addiction. To read the full post and recipe for Neapolitan Cupcakes, head on over to Jamie’s site – her blog is filled with deliciously addictive sweet treats, so make sure to add her blog to your reader and take a look around while you’re there! Happy Tuesday!
In line with my goal to blog more, I’m making a few changes to spruce things up around here. In all the years I’ve been food blogging, I can’t say I’ve ever actually gone “prop shopping” – I’ve always simply used the plates, silverware, and what have you that I have around the house. And while I don’t plan to accumulate so many things that I end up needing dedicated shelves for it all, I thought it would be a good idea to throw in some new, cute things. I’ve also decided to stop taking step-by-step photos of every recipe step – instead, I plan to include a few process shots for those who have always found the steps helpful. By doing that, I’m hoping I’ll be able to take better photos (since I won’t have quite so many to take) and therefore make a more helpful and beautiful blog for you, my lovely readers. I hope you enjoy the changes!
Now that that’s out of the way, on to the chocolate! Today, I’m sharing these one-bowl decadent dark chocolate brownies. These are probably the fudgiest (is that a word?) brownies I’ve ever made – even more so than these nutella crunch brownies. After baking them for 30 minutes, I had to let them cool almost completely so that I could get them out of the pan intact. I used some oversized 60% cacao chocolate chips for the chunks, although you can certainly chop up your favorite dark chocolate bar and toss in the pieces. Then, to help balance out the bitterness of the dark chocolate just a bit, I swirled in some homemade raspberry jam. Make these soon for the chocolate-lover in your life!
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Toward the end of October, you may have noticed me tweeting with the #nydairyfarmtotable hashtag. That’s because I went on a day trip right here in upstate NY sponsored by the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council. The purpose of the weekend was to benefit local dairy farmers by encouraging the consumption of milk and dairy products. So, off to a local dairy farm we went – and I was incredibly excited to be joining fellow bloggers and friends Amber of Bluebonnets and Brownies and Kate of Food Babbles! After a short drive by bus to Noblehurst Farms, a seven generation multi-family farm, we all climbed aboard a hay wagon for a ride to visit a few of their 1,800 milking cows, passing some lovely fall views on the way.
I hope you all had a fantastic New Year’s! I’m very happy that the technical difficulties I mentioned in my last post are behind me – suffice it to say that my old web host managed to make things hard on me one last time before I was finally able to completely cut ties with them. With that said, I’m looking forward to the new year and many changes ahead. First I must warn you, though – as with last January, if you’ve come here looking for green smoothies and salads, I’m sorry to disappoint. I just don’t buy into the January health kick that inevitably fizzles out by February. I’ll be sticking to my usual mantra: everything in moderation – and I’ll continue to bake on! Not only do I find baking immensely comforting, but baking from scratch also enables me to avoid artificial preservatives, flavors, and of course allergens in store-bought foods, the last of which is big for me because of my peanut/nut allergy. Plus, I love having more control over my food so that I can bake and cook seasonally with local ingredients as much as possible. In that vein, today I am following up on last year’s food-related goals, as well as making some new ones for 2013. I hope that you’ll share yours in the comments, too!
So, here’s how I did on my 2012 Food Goals.
1. Eat more meatless meals.
While we didn’t stick to a rigid schedule of one meatless meal per week or anything like that, we did make a conscious effort to have more meatless meals last year than ever before. Since I mentioned that the hubby definitely loves his meat, I consider this goal a success, although I definitely think there’s room for improvement.
2. Eat more organic foods.
With the money we saved by going meatless more often last year, we were able to buy only local grass-fed and organic beef, so I consider that a huge success. Also, because of my new business that I started last year, I purchased organic vegetables frequently at the markets. And finally, while we had already switched to organic milk the year before, we also switched to local, organic eggs last year. I consider this goal a success as well, although again, there’s definitely room for more changes in the future.
3. Eat more local foods.
While we didn’t participate in a CSA this year since I was at the farmers markets each week, we definitely bought more local foods – from eggs and beef to fruits and vegetables to locally-made spices, maple products, sauces, and herb plants (that I managed to keep alive until winter!), I definitely began to replace as many store-bought foods around the house with their local counterparts as possible. In addition, due to my business, I formed a LOT of relationships with amazing vendors – so I definitely plan to keep buying local even through these cold winter months.
4. Preserve more foods.
I almost feel like it’s cheating to say I was successful on this one, since considering my business I certainly preserved more food than I ever have in years past. Of course, most of it didn’t end up in our pantry since I was selling my jams and breads at the markets – but I was able to sneak in a fair amount of canning just for us as well. Also, my mom bought me a pressure canner for Christmas, so one of my goals for 2013 is to start canning low-acid things like tomato sauce and vegetable soup. I can’t wait to get started!
5. Bake more bread.
Tying in with the previous goal, I also baked a lot more bread because I was selling it at the markets. I’m not sure I really baked a whole lot of bread just for us though, so I don’t consider this goal a success. I never did get around to finding the perfect sandwich loaf either, so this one is definitely going on my list of goals again.
With those things in mind, here are my 2013 Food Goals!
- Eat even more meatless meals.
- Tying in with #1, switch to organic butter and cheeses as well.
- Can low-acid foods using my new pressure canner.
- Perfect a wholesome sandwich bread recipe.
- Blog more. Although I posted less last year while I started up my business, I don’t forsee things slowing down at all – and, I’ve missed you guys! I’m definitely planning to be around more both here and at my business site, and I’m very excited about some upcoming changes.
Now, how about you? What are your goals for 2013, food-related or otherwise?
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