So I got ambitious with all the fall festivities and decided to try this Pumpkin and Brussels Sprout Gnocchi. While this was a fun dish to try for the fall, it didn’t turn out exactly how I thought.
I really enjoyed the pumpkin flavors along with the gnocchi and seeds. I got the packaged brussels sprouts from Trader Joe’s which I cut up and simmered. I recommend getting the tray brussels sprouts which you can steam ahead of time. I felt like not all of mine were fully sauteed, but the onions ended up burning for some reason. Also, I need to remember not to add the red pepper flakes. This ended up being way too hot for me. When I reheated, it wasn’t too bad, but the first tasting was definitely spicy.
Additionally, with all the ingredients and time involved, was this truly worth it? I ended up spending around $20 to get all the ingredients, so it wasn’t a budget conscious meal (pumpkin seeds alone cost $6). I was able to get 2+ meals from it, so technically, it had some legs. Though, my apartment still smells of the onions and brussels sprouts. While this was an ambitious fall meal, it’s not something I would make on a regular basis.
With fall being the season for all things apple and spice, I decided to take advantage of an easy recipe I saw on Pinterest. I mean, just spice cake mix + applesauce, you can’t go wrong!
These muffins were super easy, I just mixed the ingredients and popped into a greased muffin pan. They were very moist and were still good a few days later. Also, I loved how it made a dozen muffins, not too many to deal with overall.
The only downside was that it was hard to spoon the batter into the pan, so I cut a ziploc bag to pipe it in. Otherwise, these were delicious and I’d definitely make them again!
I made the mistake of buying another bag of butterscotch chips when I already had some in the pantry. So, what could I do with all these extra chips? I quick search on Pinterest and I found an awesome recipe for butterscotch cookies! I love cooking with pudding mixes, the cookies always turn out so soft. These were no different. My whole kitchen smelled like butterscotch and these were so soft and delicious.
Myself and my co-workers devoured these and I can’t wait to make them again. Luckily I still have more butterscotch chips and pudding to make these again soon!
Recently, I feel like more and more people were going to Iceland. I had a layover there last year and just knew I wanted to go back. I saw there were cheap direct flights with WOW Air and decided to take a chance with a solo trip for Labor Day. I had such a good time!
View of Reykjavik
Though Iceland is expensive, their tourism is booming and so convenient for travelers. Upon arrival, I took a shuttle to The Blue Lagoon, which then took me to my guest house later. So convenient! Since my flight got in around 4am, it was nice to get a chance to relax in the geothermal pools. I even got a massage while floating in the water which was bliss!
The Blue Lagoon in the morning
After getting a shuttle to my Airbnb, I decided to do my own little tour of downtown Reyjavik. I tried an Icelandic hot dog, stopped by a local bakery, checked out the Tjornin Lake, and took in the view from the top of the Lutheran church.
The Icelandic Hot Dog, love the sweet mustard!
Pretty view of the lake
Pretty scenery of downtown
My cozy Airbnb room
After a long day, I decided to take an early night in my cozy room. The next morning, I got up early for my Golden Circle Tour with GeoIceland. It’s called the Golden Circle because of the golden grass that lines the route.
Crazy geyser that made me jump whenever it erupted
I really love this photo
Pretty rainbows and waterfalls
The countryside was beautiful
After the tour, I had myself a nice dinner (delicious lamb!) and participated in a pub crawl that night to meet other travelers. They even have a popular place called “American Bar” that turns into a club at night. I slept in the next morning and rested up for my horseback riding tour that afternoon.
Cloudy day horseback riding through the lava fields
Me with my horse Mani
Yummy sushi meal I treated myself to that night
With just a half day left, I decided to check out the free walking tour of the city to make sure I didn’t miss anything. I didn’t hurt that the tour guide was very attractive. I also got one last hot dog, because Iceland
Pretty view of the Lutheran church
Overall, I loved Iceland! I was afraid that going solo was going to be lonely, but I had such a good time traveling at my own pace. Plus, the weather as beautiful and not too cold. I only wish I had one more day to head south and do a glacier hike. Maybe on my next layover!
I had a large amount of cherry tomatoes left over from making goodies for my book club last week. With some pasta on-hand as well, I decided to find a meal option where I could combine the two. I came across this recipe on Epicurious: Pasta with 15-min Burst Cherry Tomato Sauce and decided to give it a whirl.
The recipe was really simple — make the pasta as directed, then heat the tomatoes in oil until they burst. The overall result was really delicious and the sauce coated the noodles perfectly. The only critique I have is that the sauce was a little oily for me, especially when I ate this for leftovers. Also, all those bursting cherries made a mess all over my kitchen. It took awhile to clean the oil off my counters and floor. Next time, I will use a cover for my skillet!
I’ve been looking for a way to use up the spare whole wheat macaroni I had in my pantry. My mom had passed it along to me since she didn’t like it. I’m definitely more of a shell or penne girl myself. Luckily, I had this Creamy Greek Yogurt Mac & Cheese recipe pinned from awhile back. This was the perfect chance to try it out!
I really enjoyed the technique of straining the pasta over the spinach, allowing it to wilt. Less dishes to wash is always better for me! With wheat noodles and Greek yogurt instead of a creamy sauce — this makes for a healthier dish! I’m sure it would work with other vegetables added as well. I recommend adding another cup of spinach, two didn’t seem like enough to distribute evenly.
The only criticism I have is that the onion and garlic powder was too much for me. I don’t think I would add it next time. This dish is also great for leftovers, it lasted 3 meals for me and tasted great 3 days later!
You can’t deny these cookies are visually appealing. When I saw the colorful M&Ms, I knew I had to try these Chocolate M&M Cake Mix Cookies. Though, given that I am a peanut butter lover, I decided to do peanut butter M&Ms instead!
The awesome thing about cake mix cookies is that they are just so darn easy to make. You just mix all the ingredients together and pop them in the oven (I used water instead of Hershey’s syrup). You don’t even need to use a standing mixer, I used a spatula