While I am enjoying watching some of the Olympics, that is not what today’s post title is about. (Just wait and you’ll see.) I think that every now and then everyone deserves to feel like a queen, king, prince, or princess. This post will give you several ways to indulge your inner royalty.
The first way that I wanted to discuss treating yourself like royalty is brought to you by your local Starbucks. For the month of August, Starbucks is once again hosting their treat receipt program. Here are the details in their own words: “Save your morning receipt and come back the same day to a participating Starbucks after 2 pm and get any handcrafted cold grande (16 fl. oz.) beverage for $2.00 (plus tax where applicable).” Now that is definitely a good start (and middle) to a royal day.
Another great way to treat yourself like royalty is to kick your lunch up a notch. Since I get to eat dinner with my husband every day, I tend to be a little lackadaisical about cooking for just myself. I often eat whatever leftovers need to be finished or something simple like peanut butter on a piece of bread. On our last visit to Panera, I had half of a Mediterranean Veggie sandwich, and I was inspired to recreate it for a simple, healthful lunch at home. Panera describes its sandwich as “Zesty Peppadew™ piquant peppers, feta cheese, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and cilantro Jalapeño hummus on our Tomato Basil bread.” I tweaked it just a little for myself, and I would encourage you to also adjust it to your own tastes. My first thought was to make it with a delicious lemon hummus that I’d made a few years ago. The hummus recipe is easy to whip up in just a few minutes, and you’ve probably got most of the ingredients in your pantry. If you don’t have (or can’t find) tahini, you can definitely substitute some sort of oil; it will not really affect the taste or texture. (BTW, this hummus is delicious with fresh green beans!) I think that this hummus makes the sandwich very bright and summery, but you could use another type if that’s what floats your boat. Since I didn’t have Panera’s delicious tomato basil bread, I found a great tomato basil tortilla that I used instead. (Be careful with these as some of them can taste very artificial. If you can’t find a good wrap, I’d say you could use any artisan bread or regular tortilla.) Those were the two biggest adjustments. (I don’t like raw onions, so I’d had them left off of my original sandwich; obviously, I didn’t put them on my wrap either.) Then I loaded my wrap up with fresh cucumbers, red bell peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, and some crumbled feta, and thoroughly enjoyed my special treat. What are you going to put in yours?
Lemony Hummus (from Taste of Home)
2 cloves peeled garlic
1 15 oz. can rinsed, drained chickpeas (For a really smooth hummus, you can also remove their skins. Go here for more information.)
1/4 c. lemon juice (I like to zest the lemon before I juice it. For an extra kick of lemon, you can add the zest in with the juice.)
3 tbsp. water
2 tbsp. tahini
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1. Process the garlic in the food processor til minced. (I prefer to grate it over my chickpeas using a microplane.) Add the remaining ingredients; cover and process til smooth.
On a little side note, we were out with friends this past week, and I got to try fried pickles for the first time. I already love pickles, so I’m not at all surprised that I love them fried. What was surprising is that my hubby enjoyed them too! He does not like the texture of most pickles, but these were sliced thinly and fried crisp, so he really enjoyed them. I’m just giving you fair warning that these might become a new obsession of mine.
Since you’ve so patiently waited, I’ll tell you what brought about this flush of royalty (shameless pun intended!), this week’s movie choice was The Princess Diaries. This has been one of my favorite movies for such a long time, and I’m happy to finally be able to share it with y’all. The story line sounds simple, Mia (Anne Hathaway), an awkward, shy, 15-year-old girl’s life is changed when she finds out that she is heir to the throne of a small European country (Genovia). And that’s where simple stops. (See proof here.) She is the last of the country’s royal line and is their only hope to continue their monarchy. Her grandmother, the queen (Julie Andrews), takes on the challenge of grooming Mia to rule. There are makeovers, etiquette, diplomacy, and many life lessons to be learned and a lot of fun to be had along the way. I love this movie because it’s got everything: comedy, a little romance, family, some “drama”, a fun soundtrack, and a plot that can teach, inspire, and gladden. I really love this whole movie, but I especially love Mia’s reaction to finding out she’s a princess, the princess lessons and makeover, and when Mia teaches Lana a lesson. If you’re already a fan of this movie, you probably know how many funny lines there are. In case you haven’t seen it yet, here are a few of my favorite lines: “Just in case I’m not enough of a freak already, let’s add a tiara.”, “I can’t do this, I’m a girl.” “What am I, a duck?“, “No bobbing of the head, please. It’s not a doggy on a dashboard.”, “Thank you for being here today.”, and “I am invisible. And I am wet.”
What I hadn’t really realized about this movie was how little eating goes on in it. After watching it, I still didn’t have anything that I could really do a recipe on. I decided to make queen-worthy treats with things I had in the house. I still had some strawberries and the Biscoff, so I decided to make a loaf of Strawberry Bread and some No-Bake Biscoff Cookies. The Strawberry Bread recipe was so easy to put together and turned out to be a great breakfast treat. It’s very tasty spread with butter, but I’d also like to try it again with a glaze.
Strawberry Bread (from Martha Stewart)
5 tbsp. + 1 tsp. softened butter
1 pint rinsed, hulled, quartered, mashed strawerries
1 3/4 c. all-purpose flours
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8×4 inch loaf pan. In a small saucepan, bring the strawberries to a boil over medium heat. Cook, stirring, 1 minute; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt; set aside. With an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, and eggs in a mixing bowl til light and fluffy. Alternate adding in the flour mix and 1/3 c. water, beginning and ending with the flour. Fold in the strawberries.
3. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing top. Bake til a toothpick inserted in the center comes out cleanly, about 1 hour. (Check the bread after 45 minutes and cover with foil if it’s getting too dark.) Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove and cool completely on a wire rack.
The No-Bake Biscoff Cookies were delicious, but I couldn’t taste the Biscoff as much as I’d hoped. And as tasty as they were, I still prefer the chocolate/pb combo of my regular skillet cookies. (Though these are a great option for someone with a nut allergy.)
No-Bake Biscoff Cookies (from Brown Eyed Baker via Sugarcrafter)
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. butter
1 pinch salt
3/4 c. Biscoff spread
2 tsp. vanilla
3 c. quick-cook oats
1. Combine the sugar, milk, butter, and salt in a 4 quart saucepan. Bring the mix to a rolling boil and let cook 1 minute without stirring. Remove from the heat.
2. Add in the Biscoff and vanilla; stir til smooth. Fold in the oats. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto wax paper; let cool til set.
I’ve definitely felt royal having so many treats around the house, but I’m not sure it was good for my waist. Do calories count for royalty?