Monday, November 19, 2012

Roasted Red Pepper Loaf

Who loves cheese? And spinach? And roasted red peppers? And bread?

Hopefully you said "YES" to all of these questions! 
If you did, do I have a GREAT surprise (well not really a surprise since you've already seen the photos...but oh well!)

I introduce... 
Roasted Red Pepper Loaf! 
It combines spinach (doesn't add much flavor, but a whoooole lotta moistness), roasted red peppers (which add a great bite), and mozzarella (sooo much depth!) with bread-and really what about bread is bad?

Nothing. That's what. 

So-onto the recipe!

3 1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup mozzarella
5 oz. cooked spinach
1/2 cups lukewarm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 bell peppers (roasted)
1 tsp. sugar (or the equivalence)

1. Proof yeast - add 1 pkg. (2 1/4 tsp.) fast acting (aka quick rise) yeast to 1/2 cup warm water. Let sit a few minutes - if bubbles form, your yeast is good to go!

2. In the meantime... you can get started prepping your lovely bread add-ins
 (these may seem quite lengthy and not worth the hassle...but believe me-when you bite into a warm, soft and moist piece of this bread, you will be glad you went through the 'trouble')

-For the spinach: if you do not buy the frozen pre-cooked and shredded kind you will need to do this yourself. For fresh spinach leaves: bring water to a boil and throw in a handful of salt to flavor it. As this is heating-get a bowl of ice water ready. Toss in your 5 oz. of spinach (usually 1/2 a bag of spinach leaves) and allow the spinach to cook for 1-2 minutes. When the spinach becomes a bright green, it's done! As soon as it is done boiling, remove spinach leaves and place in ice water. After a few minutes here, drain, squeeze out ALL the water you possibly can and run a knife through the spinach a few times-or run through a food processor. 

-For the roasted peppers: Take 2 bell peppers (or any peppers, bell will provide a nice sweet flavor with a little bite!) wash them, and cut in half. Remove any seeds and the stem. Place skin side up on a baking sheet. Broil them in the oven on your highest setting (I had mine at 500*F) for a few minutes - they are done with the skin becomes blackened. Don't worry-you haven't burned them-this was suppose to happen! Remove immediately and place in a plastic bag, seal the bag and wait.... After about 10-20 minutes, you can remove the peppers from the bag, and the blackened skin should peel right off! Now all you have to do is chop the peppers into small pieces and you're done!

-For the cheese: remove from bag, measure out 1/3 cup, call it a day! 

3. After add-ins are ready and yeast is proofed, you will mix the add-ins into the water/yeast mixture and stir well. 

4. Add to a stand mixer (or larger bowl) and add in the sugar and salt

5. Slowly begin adding your flour. Knead for 6-8 minutes (4-6 with a stand mixing doing the kneading)

6. Dough will be slightly wet to the touch 

7. Place in a greased bowl and cover with a dry kitchen towel. Allow to rise until doubled - about 1-2 hours.

8. (If making an Artesian style loaf-if not, skip to the last half of step 9) Place a oven stone into an oven and set to 450*F. Place a cookie sheet on the lowest rack in oven as well.

9. When doubled, remove from bowl and shape into loaf - I made mine into a Artesian style loaf by forming a large ball and cutting an 'X' slit in the top. I then topped with more mozzarella cheese. But, if you'd rather-you can just form into a 9x5 loaf and place in a greased and floured loaf pan. Let this loaf rise 10-20 minutes.

...add cheese if you'd like! -and really, c'mon-who wouldn't like?!

10. Remove your oven stone from the oven and gently slide loaf onto its center. 

11. Pour 1 cup water onto the cookie sheet in oven. Place your oven stone with bread back into the oven. 

12. Let bake 30-40 minutes - crust will have a dark, golden color.

13. Remove from oven and remove from oven stone immediately - transfer to a cooling rack. Let cool before slicing. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Peanut Butter Honey Bars

If you can't tell, I'm a little extremely obsessed with granola and its various forms... Granola bars, granola chunks, alright-I though I could come up with a lot more forms of granol when I first started writing... but uh-I've got nothing. 
However, that does not diminish that amount of love I have for granola bars and just plan ole granola people! I LOVE it! ...does the bolding of the word love make it more convincing? 
Right beside granola in my heart, is (as we all know) peanut butter! Well...actually ice cream may be right in between them-but they're pretty close in proximity! 

New flavors and combinations that I can throw in a granola bar are constantly going through my brain.... it's a curse really-I should probably maybe definitely be using my time so oh...I don't know... study for my next Chemistry 109 exam... but what fun is that?!

The newest edition to the granola bar family in my cookbook is Peanut Butter + Honey. Not a new combo by any means-but certainly a delicious classic!

These bars are sweet and crunchy with just a small hint of salt from the peanut butter that leaves you craving more...

3/4 cup rice krispies
3/4 cup puffed rice (if you don't have this, feel free to use more oats or cereal)
1 cup dry oats
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
2 TBSP. nuts (any kind-I used cashews but whatever you want!)
2 TBSP. flour
2 TBSP. soy nuts
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Mix together all dry ingredients & grease a small cake pan (say 8x10 or something around there-doesn't really matter, however thick you want them)
2. Heat honey and peanut butter on the stove (or in microwave if you must... :)
3. Bring to a very low boil and immediately remove from heat 
4. Stir in vanilla extract 
5. Add heated honey/peanut butter mixture to dry ingredients and mix well
6. Place a piece of wax paper/parchment paper over the granola bars in your pan and press down very hard! *

7. Place in frig for a few hours
8. Cut into desired sizes - I made 12 good sized bars
9. Wrap in plastic wrap, or just eat! 

~Bars will stay good for about a week - or you can keep them in the freezer and take out when ready to enjoy. (they will thaw in about 1/2 hour)

*To really make these bars stick together I highly highly recommend jumping stepping on top of your pan to really press the mixture together - you could also get a small child to help you out with this! 

Time to make more!

p.s. - go check out this product review of Beanitos chips and sign up for the giveaway! Who doesn't love free chips?!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Jay Robb - my new boyfriend!

Guys... I have a confession to make.. 
I'm in love.
He is a wonderful wonderful man -
He's creative, wants the best for me and makes me very very happy!
His name is Jay Robb

...ok ok ya-it's a company (the guy is real of course) but no-I've never really met him or anything...

But I have tried his products, and I'm in love with all of them! Does that count? :)

I was given the amazing opportunity to sample so of Jay Robb's products and am soooo impressed!

The first products I tested were the protein bars -

one bite...

two bites...

three bites...


I have NEVER - EVER in my entire life had a protein bar that tasted soooo good! The cashew coconut tasted like a Girl Scout Somoas cookie (without the chocolate). I inhaled it-YUM!

Their protein powder is also delicious! (recipes using the powder coming shortly!) But I just can't get over how amazing the protein bars are-so let's focus on those right now k? 

Alright, I think we allll know where I'm going here-DELISH! They didn't taste like a protein bar at all - they tasted like a candy bar! A delicious candy bar! My favorite was definitely the cashew coconut - but each flavor I tried were amazing as well. I also had the fudge brownie (I thought it was great, and I'm not a huge chocolate fan!) and the peanut butter bar as well (obviously I liked this one!)

Texture: They were nice and thick and left me feeling satisfied, not hungry! They had a nice crunch from the nuts scattered throughout the bar.

Nutrition: ...just take a gander at what Jay Robb has to say: "I've raised the bar on bars and created the JayBar—a great tasting protein bar without sugar, corn syrup, casein, artificial sweeteners, maltitol, acesulfame-K, evaporated cane juice, aspartame, or sucralose!"  —Jay Robb

I think that says it all! Each bar has about 230 calories, 5g fiber, and 14 grams protein! They have no cholesterol to boot! 
4/5 <- only because they had a little more saturated fat than I would like to see...but that's the only thing I could really find wrong with them!

Overall: 4.75/5 
I LOVED these and will definitely be looking to get myself some more! So delicious!

You can tell Jay Robb is concerned about the health and wellness of all his customers and really has a place in his heart for nutrition. I am excited to see people so happy with their lives - and so focus on their faith as well. On the 'About Jay Robb' page he states:
"As for my success, I give all the glory to God. "

 How amazing and respectable!
Thank you Jay Robb for creating stand up products from a stand up company!

....The Jay Robb Co. did not pay me in any way to write this review. I was given the products free of charge to write a review free of charge. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012


Need a new crispy, crunchy snackalicious alternative to greasy potato chips? ...well then - you my friends are in the right place!

I was blessed to receive a sample of Beanitos chips to review - and boy oh boy were they good! 

I took them to a Husker football party (GO 'SKERS!) and people loved em! Though we were all a little nervous to try a snack made with ingredients such as beans (obviously...), flax, whole grain rice... But to our delightful surprise - they ROCKED!
Mmm Mmm!
Great with some salsa!

By the way - Huskers won this game in a last minute play! Yay! :D

But getting back to the chips...

Taste: Delightful! I figured these chips would have no greater taste than a spoon full of beans, but I was proven wrong! (I realize it may come as a shock to most of you that I was wrong, but it does happen - not very often, but maybe once or twice a decade... ) Both the cheddar cheese and chipotle BBQ flavors had a little kick that we all loved! The black bean and pinto bean & flax had a more mild, but wholesome and hearty flavor. They go great with dip - especially one with a Southern or Mexican flavor!
Verdict: 4/5

Texture: At first, I wasn't sure what I thought about the texture of these little snackers, but after one, I couldn't stop myself! They are thicker than a regular chip - but that makes them amazing for dipping! They also have a denser crunch to them - but not in the way that makes you think of something that is stale! No no no my friends - in a good and hearty way!
Results: 4/5

Nutrition: Beanitos are loaded with fiber (20% of your daily value in 10 chips!) that is 3x the amount in regular chips, 4 grams protein, and healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. They are free of corn, wheat, soy, potato (not that any of those are particularly bad for you - but helpful for those with certain intolerances), no trans fat, cholesterol and low glycemic. Needless to say - they have a pretty good nutritional make-up. For more info on their health facts check this out.
(....drum roll...) 4/5

Overall: Great tasting snack chip that goes amazingly well with salsa! ...I just can't get over that delightful combo! They have a great nutritional composition and hearty texture! You won't be sorry if you chose these treats for your next trip to snack-land! 

Guess what?! It's your lucky day! Beanitos is kind enough to supply me with a giveaway!!! All you have to do is:

1. Pin to Beanitos on Pinterest here
2. Become a follower of Bliss

....if you do these two things-leave a comment below and I'll enter you for the giveaway! Contest ends - December 1, 2012-so go go go!!! 
The winner will get a box of Beanitos! It's a great prize so enter away people! :D

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Psalm 139 ~ Wonderfully Made

"Lord, You have examined me, and know all about me,
You know when I sit down and when I get up.
You know my thoughts before I think them.
You know where I go and where I lie.
You know everything I do.
Lord, even before i say a word, You already know it..
You made my whole being;
You formed me in my mother's womb.
I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
What You have done is wonderful.
I know this very well.
You saw my bones being formed as I took shape in my mother's body."

Wow... Pretty intense stuff. While this may seem a little odd on a recipe/fitness site, it was something I have wanted to talk about for a long time, and tonight was the time! 

I'd like to focus on this particular part: "I am fearfully and wonderfully made"

God made us, each and every one of us - the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Master of the universe created my body (and yours), in His perfect vision. Does that mean we are all a size 00? No! Does it mean we all have long flowing wavy trestles and glowing bronze skin? No! It means God created us in a beautifully unique way. His Way.

God knows what our body should look like, only He truly knows because He is the one who created us. How foolish of me to try and go against His perfect will. It will only lead to problems.

While this is much much much easier said (or typed) than done, it is definitely something to think about. 

I pray that Jesus will guide me (and anyone else who may need this guidance) in listening to my body. Truly listening to what God wants for it. I pray that every day I will treat my body, mind and soul in the way God would want His temple of the Holy Spirit (which each and every one of our bodies are) treated. Only then will my body be able to do all God has planned for it - and how amazing those plans are! Lord, please help us all to accept and love ourselves the way You always have and always will