Sunday, December 9, 2012

Pear Gorgonzola Pizza

Soft, golden crust.
Cheesy goodness.
A sweet and savory combination.

It's food made for a party, a breakup, a night out on the town, and finals week.
Especially for finals week. Those two words makes me sick.
Yep, it's finals time here.

Meanwhile, I am going to enjoy my pizza, thank you very much.

Pear Gorgonzola Pizza

1 pizza crust (preferably in dough form...I used a gluten-free one*)
Olive oil, garlic powder, dried basil
6 ounces sliced provolone or Mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 cups loosely packed spinach leaves
1 Bosc pear, thinly sliced
2 ounces chopped walnuts
2 1/2 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives (or green onions)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Place pizza crust dough on a pizza pan or stone. Spread some olive oil, garlic powder, and dried basil over the crust (to taste), all the way to the edges. Cover the crust with provolone cheese. Top cheese with spinach leaves. Place Bosc pear slices onto the spinach. Sprinkle with walnuts and Gorgonzola cheese.
Bake pizza in the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and crust is lightly browned.
Remove from heat. Top with chives and slice to serve.
*If using a gluten-free crust, pre-bake the crust for about 8 minutes (until puffy), lay on the toppings, and then bake for another 6-8 minutes. If your crust is sticky, place parchment paper between the crust and the pan.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

[fresh] Green Bean Casserole

Don't you love Thanksgiving?
It's that one time of year where you can eat as much as you want and be a glutton, and NO ONE can say anything about it.
Turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, yams, corn, salads, stuffing, cranberry sauce, rolls, pumpkin pie, and green bean casserole. 
Yes, green bean casserole. Despise it if you must, but it's one of my favorites.
While growing up, my mom made it the classic way: canned green beans, canned cream of mushroom soup, and fried green onions. I loved it.
However, now that I am older, wiser, and my tastebuds are more mature, I have moved on to fresh green bean casserole. I'm beyond the out-of-the-can mentality. Go me.

This year for Thanksgiving, my husband and I are traveling to Hawaii with his family. 
Since we won't be able to have a traditional feast on the actual day, we decided to celebrate Thanksgiving this past Sunday.
We ate with my husband's family and relatives. Honestly, the entire time I was sad that I wasn't with my own family, but it was still a wonderful dinner. Usually I make all the dishes at my own home, but this year I didn't get to do that :(
At least I got to make this green bean casserole.
Here are some of the pies I made last year...[omgoodnessdroolingrightnow]

Okay, time to get serious. Here is my fresh, real, super duper green bean casserole.

[fresh] Green Bean Casserole

Makes about 10 servings

For the fried onions:
2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

For the green beans:
2 tablespoons salt
2 pounds green beans, ends trimmed, and halved
4 quarts of water

For the cream of mushroom soup:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound white button mushrooms, wiped clean and broken into ½-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
Salt and pepper, to taste
5 tablespoons flour
1½ cups chicken broth
1½-2 cups heavy cream


For the fried onions:
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the onions, flour, bread crumbs, salt, and garlic powder. Toss lightly to thoroughly coat the onions with the flour/bread crumb mixture. Spray a baking sheet lightly with cooking spray and spread the onions out in an even layer. Bake the onions for about 30 minutes, making sure to toss the onions occasionally during baking to allow for even cooking. Once the onions are cooked, remove them from the oven. Decrease the oven temperature to 425 degrees F. (This is the temperature you will bake the casserole at.)

For the green beans:
Fill a large bowl with ice water, set aside. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Stir in the salt. Stir in the green beans. Cook the beans until they are bright green and crisp-tender, for about 6 minutes. In a colander, drain the beans. Then plunge them immediately into ice water to stop them from cooking. Once cooled off, transfer the beans back into the colander, to dry them off.

For the cream of mushroom soup:
Add the butter to pot you just used for the green beans, and melt it over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook this for about 6 minutes. (The mushrooms will release moisture and then the liquid will start to evaporate.) Add the flour and cook for about 1 minute (make sure to stir constantly). Stir in the broth and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add the cream and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until the sauce is thickened. (Don't forget to stir!) This should take about 15 minutes. Stir in more salt and pepper, to your liking.


Add the cooked green beans to the soup and stir until evenly coated. Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish. Evenly distribute the green bean mixture into the dish. Bake at 425 degrees F, for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with fried onions. Bake for another 5-7 minutes, or until top is golden brown and sauce is bubbling around edges. (Feel free to sprinkle on some cheddar cheese--I did this and loved it). Serve immediately from the oven.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Coconut Curry Noodle Soup

Tonight was so much fun.
  1. Devin and I only spent 1 hour at the store buying groceries, rather than the 2 hours we wasted last week. Go us!
  2. I made a really good coconut curry soup for dinner.
  3. Devin loved it, and ate 3 bowls of it. Score.

As you can see, my night was quite wonderful :)

Oh, and did I mention that we ate by candlelight?
Hahaaa...what can I say? We are hopeless romantics? (or at least Devin is)

Coconut Curry Noodle Soup

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped shallots (or onions)
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Thai curry paste (yellow or red or Panang) 
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon Thai hot chili sauce
  • 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup (1/2-inch cubes) peeled red-skinned sweet potato
  • 1 cup (1/2-inch cubes) red potato
  • 1/2 pound rice stick noodles
  • 1 skinless boneless chicken thigh, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 cup (coarsely chopped) red bell pepper
  • 1 cup (coarsely chopped) green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

  1. Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in curry paste, curry powder, and sweet chili sauce. Add 1/2 can coconut milk. Stir until thick and fragrant, about 1 minute. Add remaining coconut milk, broth, fish sauce, and sugar; bring to a boil. Turn off heat, but leave a lid on to keep warm.
  2. Cook diced sweet potato in a pot of boiling water (or in the microwave) until soft. Strain water and set aside in a separate bowl. Now cook the diced red potato in that same pot of boiling water (or in the microwave) until soft. Strain water and set in the same bowl as the sweet potato. Use that same pot to boil the rice noodles for about 3-5 minutes (until barely tender). Strain water from noodles and set aside.
  3. Bring coconut broth to low boil. Add chicken, bell peppers and sliced onion. Place lid on saucepan and cook on medium to medium-low heat, until chicken is cooked through (about 10 minutes). Add sweet potato, red potato, and rice noodles; stir to heat through, about 1 minute. Divide noodles among bowls. Garnish with green onions and cilantro. Eat up!
**Inspired by this recipe.

Monday, September 24, 2012

apple cinnamon pancakes (gluten-free & dairy-free)

Good morning!
Today I woke up with a goal: I was going to eat apple cinnamon pancakes for breakfast, no matter what. My life depended on it.
When I looked in my fridge, I found this delicious pancake batter, just begging to be cooked up. Already-made pancake batter? How did that get there? 
[Okay, so actually I made these pancakes for dinner last night. They were so good that I dreamed about them. Yes, I had sweet pancake dreams. And just so you know, pre-made pancake batter is like the best thing in the world, because it makes life so easy. And life should be easy sometimes. Well at least I think so.]

Isn't this just the greatest sight in the whole world? Pancakes--delicate, bubbling, lovely golden pancakes. It's hard for me to wait until they're done. Sometimes I try to pick them up with my hands and I burn myself. Apparently I never learn because I do it every single time. [I'm pretty pathetic.] 

I thought that by adding apples, the pancakes would be underdone and all gross with soggy apples. Boy oh boy, was I ever wrong.

Brown sugar, apples, and cinnamon? You can't have one without the others. It's impossible, I tell you.

Two? Only two? You have got to be kidding me. You will need at least 5 more to be satisfied.

That's much better.

I was inspired by this recipe to make these.
My version is better, of course :)
Just  kidding, but really...mine is better.

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes (gluten-free & dairy-free)

  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 cup white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup corn starch (or potato/arrowroot starch)
  • 5 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk (or soy/coconut/rice milk)
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 apple, cored and chunked

  1. Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, and the wet ingredients in a smaller bowl (but leave out the apple pieces). Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ones. Stir with a whisk, for about 30 more seconds. Set aside the batter. (Note: if your batter is looking too thick: add more milk; if it is too thin: add a shake of xanthan gum or a bit more rice flour.)
  2. Heat up a griddle/skillet on medium-heat. Spray griddle with oil. Use a 1/4 measuring cup to make your pancakes. Once you pour the batter on the griddle, lay apples pieces on each pancake, sprinkle them with brown sugar, and then shake on some cinnamon (sparingly).  
  3. Let the pancakes cook until you see bubbles forming on the outside. Once more bubbles form, flip the pancakes immediately. Let them cook on the opposite side (apple side) for only about 1-2 minutes. 
  4. Remove them from the griddle, top them with butter (or margarine), and drizzle them with pure maple syrup.

After your first bite, you will feel like you have died and gone to heaven.
Plus your house will smell like autumn, cinnamon, apple pie, and all things good.
And who doesn't want that?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

one time i got engaged.'s been a while. And by a while, I mean a long time. But you see, life has been a little crazy with school ending, summer beginning, getting engaged :) and all the other crazy things that come with wedding planning, including finding a place to live.

Let's start back at the beginning...
Devin and I met through friends: my roommate (Rachel) was dating his roommate (Jeff), and they wanted to set us up. Apparently they thought we would be "perfect for eachother"...and you know what? They were right! After that first date, we were both intrigued by one another. I invited him to some parties, and we went on a few more dates, and the rest is history. In the infancy of our dating, we went to the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City and pretended to be a newly married couple staying at the hotel, in which we got free hot chocolate for being newlyweds. I felt guilty for "stealing" the hotel's hot cocoa, but Devin welcomed in the free gift. I guess you could say that the Grand America has held a special place in my heart from that day forward.

After dating for many moons, we toyed around with the idea of marriage. We were both so very much in love with each other, that we knew that we wanted to get married one day. More time went by and we got more serious about this wedding idea. I showed him a few pictures of rings that I liked. My only request was this: make it untraditional. (If there is one thing that I loathe in life, it is the "normal" and "popular" thing that people have and do.)

April 21st was a busy day. I had a photo-shoot that I was involved in (makeup gal), and our little Jeffy and Rachy were getting married. Remember those two? Yeah, we pretty much love them. I told Devin that I would be done with the photo-shoot at 2 PM. Around 5:30 PM is when I actually got done. As soon as I got home, we went to Jeff and Rachel's wedding reception and then I had to drive to Salt Lake to stay the weekend with my best friend, Katie. Overall, Devin and I only got to see each other for 2 hours that day (not mentioning the very few hours I got to spend with him during that week). Needless to say, as I was driving away from Provo to Salt Lake, I was feeling very emotional. All I wanted was to spend time with my man, and I couldn't get even that.

I finally arrived in Salt Lake at 10:30 PM, exhausted from the day, sore from wearing heels, and heartbroken from not being able to be with Devin. Katie helped me unload my luggage. "How are you doing?" She asked. "I am so tired." I replied. After showing me around her uncle's house, she said that we were going to go with her cousin to go get some candy. My thoughts: Seriously? All I want is to go to bed. But I didn't want to appear as some lame boring person, so I said "sure!" and we were on our way. Before I knew it, we were pulling up to the Grand America. I thought it was so funny that this was the same place where Devin and I spent our "mock marriage" date. Unfortunately, the candy shop was closed. I was super bummed because I had gotten my hopes up about getting candy. Katie's cousin piped in, "Hey, I hear that the gardens are beautiful here. We should go check them out!" At this point, I was so tired and out of it that I didn't care what we did. I just wanted to get this adventure over with and go to bed.

As we walked out to the gardens, I noticed that there were candles lit everywhere, even in the pool of water. I exclaimed, "Wow, that is so pretty. There must have been a wedding going on tonight." We continued to walk on the pathway. When we turned the corner, I could not believe my eyes. There was Devin, sitting on the curb, with a ukulele in his hands. I knew what was coming next. My head started to spin and suddenly everything felt like a dream. Am I really here? Did I just fall asleep and dream that I came with them? I began to back away from Devin, seeing but not believing. "Come back here!" He said playfully. I tried to walk back to him, but I ended up just walking in circles, repeating the same line over and over..."Is this really happening? Am I dreaming?" Devin walked toward me, playing his ukulele and singing the words to Ingrid Michaelson's song: Light in Me. The song was finished with me singing along with him. He looked at me with those honey-brown eyes of his and flattered me with an assortment of memories we have shared thus far. Before I knew it, he was on bended knee, proposing to me. I said yes quietly at first, and then repeated with a loud "yes!" I was so twitterpated the whole time, that I did not notice his roommate, Wil, recording us on camera. It was definitely one of the most surprising moments I have ever had in my life. I still smile when I think about it.

One boy. One girl. 100 candles. One camera. One ring. 3 sneaky friends.
But most of all...I am just so excited to marry the love of my life :)

Devin is my best friend.
He is my sous chef. 
He is my lover.
He is the best kisser (after me, of course).
He is my heart, my soul, and my life.
And I cannot wait to spend forever with him.

The tricksters who fooled me.

The ring: Devin designed it himself :)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

peanut butter cookies 'n' cream granola bars

Is it Christmas already?

It must be...
Because why would there be a ribbon, a box, and even a note addressed to me?

Santa is real, guys.

He's got to be! Then how else would this Kitchenaid appear out of nowhere?

For me, Christmas really did come early.
A few days ago, I was went to one of my favorite restaurants (Molly's) and it was chaos. The line was long to get food, the place was packed, and there was excitement in the air.
What in the world was going on?
My friend Rachel was working and she told me that it was Molly's birthday. To celebrate they were giving out a prizes, giftbags, gift cards, and even a Kitchenaid Mixer. Just at the sound of those words: "Kitchenaid Mixer", my heart began to race. Oh if only I were lucky enough to win that.
"You want to put your name into the drawing?" Rachel asked Devin and I.
"Sure," was our reply.
We put in our names and thought little of it.
A few hours later, I received a phone call. "Is this Sarah Hinckley?" the voice said. "Yes..." I replied slowly. "You won the Kitchenaid." the voice chimed. I couldn't believe my ears. All I remember thinking was: no way, no way, no way...
There was just no way that I was that lucky.
But I was.
I blame it on fate.
Fate wanted me to win that Kitchenaid.
It's not like I have been trying to win one from every blog giveaway for months now.
Ha. Never.
Molly's wanted me to go to their restaurant so they could get a picture.
This posed a problem, since I don't own a car. Thankfully, my friend Lauren saved me.

Let's just say that this week has been amazing.
So many great things have been happening.
I will list just a few:
  1. I won a Kitchenaid, duh!
  2. I was asked to do makeup for a photoshoot this Saturday.
  3. I am modeling in a photoshoot this Saturday...(not sure if this is a good thing or not yet).
  4. Finals week is over. Bring on summer!
  5. My bestest friend Katie came back from Canada for graduation and I get to see her. Yay!
  6. I made peanut butter cookies 'n' cream granola bars. NOM NOM NOM.

And now I get to tell you all about these delicious granola bars...
I am so excited :D

Step 1: Buy Hershey's Cookies 'n' Creme and Milk Chocolate bars.

Step 2: Open the chocolate bars.

Step 3: Lay them on a cutting board.
Wait a sec...who ate my chocolate?!!
I swear, people these days.

Step 4: Chop up the chocolate.

Step 5: Make some peanut butter goolash.

Step 6: Stir it real good.

I mean it, real good.

Step 7: Prepare your dry stuff.

Step 8: Stir in the peanut butter goolash.

Step 9: Add in the chocolate! Woo! Party!

Step 10: Press into a pan and put in the freezer.

Granola bars in 10 simple steps. Whoever thought it could be so easy?

Peanut Butter Cookies 'n' Cream Granola Bars
  • 2 1/2 cups chocolate crispy rice cereal
  • 2 cups oats
  • 1 cookies 'n' creme chocolate bar (1.5 oz)
  • 1 milk chocolate bar (1.5 oz)
  • 2/3 cup honey, melted
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

  1. In a large bowl, stir together the rice cereal and oats. Set aside. Spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with oil.
  2. Chop your chocolate bars. Set aside.
  3. In a medium size bowl, mix together the honey and peanut butter. Heat this peanut butter mixture in the microwave for 30 seconds to one minute (just until bubbling), then remove from microwave and stir in vanilla, salt, and cinnamon. Pour over the cereal and oat mixture. Mix well.
  4. Stir in the chopped chocolate.
  5. Press into the prepared pan (really hard). Stick the pan into the freezer for one hour (this step is vital to how your granola bars turn out). 
  6. Remove from the freezer and cut into bars.
  7. Store granola bars in a gallon-size ziploc bag.

This recipe make a pretty big batch of granola bars. About 24.

So get them while you can...they won't last long.

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