Coming Attractions: Summer School

(c) Hans, [2]

(c) Hans,

After a very restful semester off from classes, they are beginning again in June. I’m actually kind of excited to go back! (I say that every semester, regardless of how long the break was. I don’t know why I expect any differently.)

I’ve decided to only do two classes per semester from now on. It’s going to take me longer to finish, but it will also preserve my sanity, so I think it’s worth it.

The two I’m taking this summer are Meal Management and Management Principles. Continue reading

Recipe Review: Greek Yogurt Pancakes from Pioneer Woman

As per usual, when I’m looking for weekend brunch recipes, the PioneerWoman  comes to the rescue!

The Pioneer Woman rocks. She is the second food blogger I ever started following like 8 years ago (the first was Smitten Kitchen, who ultimately led me to Pioneer Woman via her version of Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon roll recipe). In a world of health bloggers*, Pioneer Woman is unafraid of butter, beef, and sugar. It’s pretty great. Any time I want a recipe that will wow my guests or that is 100% comfort food, she is the first one I check.

So when I wanted to try a new recipe for weekend brunch, she was obviously my go to.

She came out with a new cookbook last year called Dinnertime. Despite the name, she has an entire section called “Breakfast for Dinner,” to which I turned in my hour of need.

The first recipe in the section is called Greek Yogurt Pancakes. Since I love Greek yogurt, and pancakes are my all-time favorite breakfast food, I decided I need look no further.

The recipe is fairly simple and is very easy to alter to be gluten free. Just use GF flour (Pillsbury All Purpose is my favorite) and GF yogurt (I like Dannon or Oikos). One thing I really like about this recipe is that you can make all kinds of flavors by changing the yogurt. I did vanilla, strawberry, and banana ones.

They’re an absolute breeze to whip up. My only concern was that they were a little difficult to flip, even in my Teflon pan. They got all squinched up like an accord is  when I tried to move them. The best trick I found was letting them cook longer than I thought they needed to. Using my most flexible spatula also helped.

The pancakes were heavier than regular ones, obviously – not as lift and fluffy. But they had the most fabulous flavor – bright and creamy and tangy and sweet. The other major benefit is that, since they have so much protein in them, they stuck with me and kept me fuller a lot longer than regular pancakes do.

Overall, these pancakes lived up to Pioneer Woman’s rep. They were insanely delicious, quick and versatile, filled me up, and were even good frozen and reheated a few days later. I’d be happy to eat them for breakfast, brunch or dinner any time!

Review: Gluten Free Pillsbury Muffins

Normally I hear about new gluten free products pretty far in advance, on account of the number of gluten free and food blogs I read. But I had heard nary a whisper of Pillsbury’s latest GF offering: ready to eat muffins!

As per usual when I run across some unexpected gluten free good fortune, I pretty much lost my sh*t. I was perusing the freezer case at Giant Eagle, debating between fake sandwich bread and fake rye bread, when I saw the boxes. At first I didn’t really give them a second look, because I’m just not used to seeing something so delectable looking in the GF freezer case. Often, sadistic grocery store managers put yummy looking gluteny stuff in the same case as GF stuff, so I’m used to just skimming the case for labels I recognize and ignoring everything else.

I don’t know what made me do a double take on that lucky afternoon, but thank goodness I did!

There were two varieties: blueberry and chocolate chip. So obviously I got one of each.

The muffins themselves are a decent size – about half the size of the palm of my hand. Here they are pictured with some tea cups for reference:

Pillsbury suggests the following method for serving the muffins:

The bright red, capital letters crack me up…I imagine them being shouted by a TV announcer. REMOVE!! muffin from wrapper. Muffin may be HOT!!!

So of course I followed the very emphatic instructions to sample one of each with my breakfast. I decided to do it fancy: plate all my food like a restaurant and have a nice breakfast feast.

The chocolate chip ones have a really robust taste. They’re a little sweet but also have a nice, almost savory undertone to them. They had a really nice crumb and were very moist (if you can forgive the use of a fairly disgusting word). These were buttery and smooth and delicious.

I was a little disappointed with the blueberry ones, though. They were denser and almost had a raw quality. They weren’t actually raw, but they didn’t have a very good mouth feel and were heavy instead of light and pillowy. Don’t get me wrong; they were better by far than most ready-to-eat gluten free muffins I’ve tried in the past (with the exception of Whole Foods Bakery stuff, which is out of this world). But they weren’t as good as the chocolate chip ones. I’m wondering if the blueberries affected the texture as it heated up. Next time, I’m going to let it sit on the counter and defrost naturally and see if that makes a difference.

Overall, I’m still crazy excited about these little guys. It’s so encouraging to have mainstream companies coming out with new GF products. Being able to eat like normal people do makes life so much more enjoyable. Today at work, everyone was eating from the new Cinnabon, and I was happy as a clam with my chocolate chip muffin. Who knew such dreams could come true?



Summer To-Do List (plus where I’ve been)

Sunny background. Vector

(c) maksim pasko – (text added by emilystarblog)

Hey everybody! I know, it’s been a while again. I’ve had a lot going on since Easter – starting a new job, digestive issues, lots of doctor’s appointments (many of my yearly check-ups are scheduled for this time of year – some were to do with the aforementioned digestive issues, though), working a ton, and oddly, selling a lot on my Etsy site (which has kept my fingers flying).  There will be some posts on some of these things coming up with more details, but for now..

…here we are, together once more. Continue reading