Saturday, December 29, 2012

Cranberry Pistachio Cookies

This recipe popped out at me when I was flipping through one of our local grocery store flyer's.
We all make sugar cookies and short breads for the holidays (ok, not EVERYONE does) but I just loved the addition of pistachios and cranberries.  Festive no?
Then I realized they are rolled in coconut as well, like snowflakes :)

MUST MAKE

They were so tasty that I even brought the recipe to work and we started making them for the customers there too!



I didn't embellish this recipe at all, wait, I did, I didn't have coconut extract so I increased the vanilla by 1/2 tbsp.
I think I'll take some time and tweak it a little the next go round but until such time I really encourage you to try these just as they are!

Here's the recipe from Sobey's:

1 c. room temperature butter
1 c. sugar
1 1/2 tbsp pure vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, room temperature
2 1/2 c. flour
3/4 c. flaked sweetened coconut, divided
1/2 c. dried cranberries, chopped
1/2 c. pistachios, chopped
 
I your stand mixer, cream together butter, sugar, vanilla and salt until smooth. Scrape down sides of bowl, add egg and mix well.
Slowly add flour, coconut, cranberries and pistachios.
Divide dough in half and, using a piece of parchment paper, roll dough into logs about 1 1/2-in. thick and 16-in. long. Roll each log in 2 tbsp of the remaining coconut, lightly coating outside of dough. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 30 min.
 
Preheat oven to 350F .
Use parchment paper to line baking sheet. Unwrap dough and slice into 1/2-in. thick rounds and place on prepared baking sheet, spaced about 1 in. apart.
Bake on middle rack of oven until firm, but not golden, about 12 min. Remove from oven, transfer cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely
 
They don't spread so if you want a larger cookie make your logs larger in circumference.
 
Enjoy!
 
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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Blueberry Cream Cheese French Toast Bake

We have a tradition on Christmas morning.
We eat a LOT of food at the in laws house.
Certainly no lack of calories consumed on December 25th EVER and it always starts bright and early.

This year I decided to help out the cause by adding a little french toast bake that I like to make in advance and pop in the oven to have a great weekend brekkie (its perfect for hectic Christmas mornings).
Ensuring to make a small portion as we have other breakfast options this meal is great for 4 or 8!


You will need:
1 crusty baguette
1 1/2 c. half and half cream
1/2 c. 1% milk
couple teaspoons brown sugar
8 eggs
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 c. maple syrup
2 c. fresh blueberries
1 pkg. cream cheese, cubed

Cut your baguette into cubes.  Mix the cream, eggs, milk and cinnamon together with the maple syrup.
Using a 9x9 dish make sure to butter it on all sides.  Place half of the bread on the bottom, dot with half the cream cheese cubes and half of the blueberries.
Pour half of the egg mixture on top.  I like to push down the bread to soak in before starting with the next layer.
Repeat.
Put a layer of tin foil over top and place in the refrigerator overnight.
Preheat your oven to 350F and bake for about 45min - 1 hour.
You will know when its done when it puffs up and is set in the middle.

Enjoy!!  Serve with maple syrup or blueberry syrup!

We listened to:  Rod Stewart's Merry Christmas Baby CD while enjoying our meal :)


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Friday, November 16, 2012

A Little Nog with Your Cheesecake?

So there I was, shopping alone, midday (which incidentally doesn't happen often) when I sauntered around a corner nearly knocking into a huge display of canned goods.
Pretty sure I was in the zone.
You know, the "what are we having for dinner million thoughts in your head" zone?
I'm not the only one
Tell me I'm not the only one!

Composing myself,  I looked up and there, in front of my eyes was EGG NOG.
Oh lordy.
Tis the season.
The creamy, eggy, sweet and nutmegy season.
I love this time of year.
Why do they only sell egg nog in the fall/winter?  I mean eggs are sold year round?!
I think we should start a protest.

What do you think happened next?
Oh, you're so wrong, I didn't walk away.  That thought briefly crossed my mind because I can and have made my own nog
But it was there.
GLARING at me.
How could I resist?

I brought it home and clearly labeled it "MOM'S" (meaning if you even THINK about touching this I will hunt you down and torture you as only a mom can do)
I poured myself a drink and I knew the rest was only to be used for this:


Yup
Cheesecake + Egg Nog = LOVE

Using this shortbread cookies recipe I added freshly grated nutmeg into the mix for a more festive flare and then crushed them all up so that I could have a shortbread crust.
(ya crazy right....make cookies to use them as crust - THE ZONE)
You could certainly use graham crackers or other cookies if you desire.

The recipe was inspired by a recipe found on Martha Stewart's website (pfft of course it was)
Trust me, if you love cheesecake and you have a fondness for the nog this is the perfect dessert for you!

I'm Listening to:  Cough Syrup - Young the Giant
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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Things I am Thankful For - Giveaway

I don't need a holiday to remind myself of all the wonderful things in my life and I am sure you don't either but the extra day off is awesome isn't it?

Sometimes things that happen in life which seem to be the WORST in the world (at the time) end up being the most remarkable gifts and you realize you are so thankful it happened the way it did - I said sometimes.

You wanna know what I'm thankful for?

My parents.
Even though they were hard nosed while I was growing up and I thought I hated them with every fiber in me, that was my teenagerism talking and really, they were awesome.  They loved me, they disciplined me, they tried to teach me real honest values and I am pretty sure they did a fantastic job because now my son is pretty darned good too.

I wake up each morning. 
I might not like getting up, I may have aches and pains and internal struggles but I'm alive, I get to see my Mr. and son, I get to talk to my friends and loved ones.

For my husband. 
Many moons ago he accepted not only me but my son into his life, he became the father my son never had (or rarely had I should say).  He always tries to impress me, support me, pick me up when I am down.  He pretty much is my rock.  I love him for who he is even with his movember 'stache.

My senses.  ALL of them. 
I have a friend who lost her sense of smell and taste after a terrible accident that she wasn't expected to recover from and I am reminded every time I see her just how lucky I am to still have those (and the others too).  I couldn't imagine trying to remember what things tasted or smelled like!  PS Sarah I love you and when I eat beans I'm glad you cant smell :)

That brings me to my friends. 
I am SO thankful to have a handful of really really good friends who surround me.  Without them I'm not sure I could have survived getting married as calmly as I did ;)
They helped me through some tough times and I hope they can say the same for me because I would do anything for them!

I am also extremely grateful for the friendships I have gained through the online blogging community!
Of course we talk about food, we help each other find recipes, we encourage, we support, we discuss, give tips and ideas but we also become much more than just "online friends".  We talk about our lives, we know what our kids (should we have any) look like or what their names are, we know what's coming up next in their lives, vacation plans etc.  Just because I may have never met any of them in person (YET) it doesn't matter.
They've got my back and I them!  Which incidentally brings me to my dear friend Carrie from Carrie's Experimental Kitchen.
She has officially created a cookbook, a real life cookbook!!


I am THRILLED for her!  Its one of my dreams to have one someday and to know someone personally who has had a published book is invigorating for me.
I ordered one. 
She signed it (you know, for when she's super famous and I really need to remind her who I am teehee).
I received it....and LOVE IT!
Beautiful photos, wonderful dishes inspired by the Mediteranian.  A fantastic addition to my collection and I have already started taking notes.


Carrie has graciously offered to send one of YOU her new cookbook.
Trust me, its fantastic, you want need it!!

So in order to win your very own copy of this cookbook you simply need to tell me:

What you are most thankful for?

Thats it!  Wait, that's not it...you should leave your email address so I can get in touch with you if you win.
This is open to the residents of the United States of America as well as Canada.  (sorry international friends!)
Once completed the winner will have 48 hours to respond to claim their prize and send mailing details.  Should we not hear back a new winner will be selected.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Monday, October 22, 2012

Chicken & Broccoli Mac n Cheese

Wanna make me happy?
Put a big bowl of creamy mac n cheese in my face.  I'm a simple gal.
It ranks up there with one of my favorite meals - a heaping bowl of mashed potatoes and gravy (nope, not even kidding, simply mashed potatoes, its been done)

Just pass me a fork.
ahhh who am I kiddin, I use a spoon, you can hold wayyyy more on a spoon.

I never bake it with a crumb topping as I have seen others do, the creamier the better.
Usually the sauce is seasoned with dry mustard, worchestershire, salt and pepper, simplicity at its finest.
And there's nothing better than the traditional sharp cheddar cheese either.
Except when you're into experimenting.
Not the kind like when you're in high school and someone passes you a glass and says here, try this - that's unsafe
This, totally safe.  And good.  Really good.
Unconventional but hey, that's what cooking is all about right?

This takes the kid friendly, comfort promoting dish you may be accustomed to and adds a little "adult" flare.


I'm listening to:  Jack & Diane, John Melloncamp
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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Gobble Gobble - Happy Turkey Day

It is a National Holiday here in Canada this weekend - Thanksgiving.
Tradition dictates turkey to be served.
Now don't get me wrong I am a HUGE fan of the bird that makes me want more gravy and potatoes piled high on my plate but sometimes that adds a few extra inches on my waistline.
So maybe I'll save some room by not going for seconds and having one of these little creatures instead?!



I peered these on Pinterest (love the creativity of people!) from the Kellogg's site and knew this was something easy, fun and could certainly engage my teenager with.
We worked together at the dining room table, smushing, stuffing, coating and just maybe eating a bit of the krispies while we worked.
Ahhhhh bonding....it was so much easier when he was little.

We even popped in a little pumpkin spice to kick up the "Thanksgivingness"

Who doesn't love a rice krispie treat?
We do!
Enjoy :)

We listened to:  DJ Got Us Falling in Love - Usher ft. Pitbull  (dont tell Little Ugh I told you he likes that song!)



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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Ravioli in a New Light - Deconstructed Pesto

Ever want to take something and dismantle it and put it back together in hopes that it would spring back to life?
I once tried to help an old boyfriend put together a car from the frame up.
There were missing pieces, a lot of swearing but in the end it ran well (I refuse to say that a 1981 camaro is a good looking machine).

As I sat perched on my dining room chair staring at some pesto chicken sausages that we picked up on one of our trips to the Mennonite butchers I got to thinking.... I could eat that with just about anything but I loved the idea that it had pesto all intertwined with the chicken.  And then I remembered the camaro.  Presto (teehee).
What about a sauce that had all the flavors of pesto but not in the traditional sense?
So out of my chair I bounded and into the kitchen a went.

It worked.
It was delicious.
We will have it again.


It was quite simple to prepare.  A few steps really.

Getting your sauce ingredients ready


Along with your ravioli stuffing


And I even cheated - I used wonton wrappers and then made em all pretty like with my pastry cutter!


Hope you'll try this out and enjoy it like we did!

I'm Listening to: I Love Rock n Roll - Joan Jett & the Blackhearts (1981)
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Thursday, September 13, 2012

One More Reason to Love the Farmers Market

SQUEEEEEEEEE
Ok, I needed to get that out!
I'm better now.
No, wait, SQEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.
Ok NOW I'm good.

What's so exciting?
The Farmers Market of course!
Ive mentioned before just how much I love them, I wish we had year round ones in my area because I'd be there weekly come  hell snow or high water.
We still go weekly to pick our "veggie of the week" although now we're nearing a point where we've pretty much tried everything they've got to offer, except kohlrabi....I'm still a little hesitant.

We have a few markets that are in close proximity to my house (3 actually) but the most convenient and bountiful is the Pickering Town Centre Market which runs weekly on Tuesday's, May-October (OMG its almost done, sigh).
I think Tuesday is a perfect day to head to the market, it allows you to have fresh veggies and fruit all work week long!
They are open later for the after workers who want to pop in to perhaps pick up dinner items and the location couldn't be better....its in the MALL parking lot!
Shop for shoes, shop for squash, win win really.

So why else am I so excited?
Because they had a recipe contest, I entered.
I became a finalist, one of 3.
They had a local culinary school take our recipes and create them for judges.
I WON!  SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!

Please note I just came from work, thank goodness they didn't take a full body shot or they
woulda got the flour and buttercream on my pants :)

I mean, I like my food, the boys say they love my food but now 3 professionals confirmed that this dish was truly worthy :)
SQUEEEEEEEEEE


The recipe entered was a dish I like to prepare in the summer with veggies straight from the market, the balsamic vinegar caramelizes when it bakes down and adding the smooth creamy goat cheese really amps up the flavor profiles!
If you'd like the recipe you can click here

Thanks to the Pickering Farmers Market for hosting such a fun opportunity!

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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Goin Green - Healthy Smoothies for Life

I BOUGHT A VITAMIX!!!  (about a week ago but I've been lazy at posting, sorry)

Overpriced you say?
Maybe.  If you don't have one.
I thought the same thing....even though I wanted one.
BAD.

So here we were, walking around Costco and what do I peer?
A little stand with a big presence.
A woman, calmly and excitedly making soup, making ice cream, making rice flour passing the samples around.
I must have stood awestruck for a good 10 minutes (the whole time the Mr. is glaring at me, glaring at the price chart, glaring back at me).
That's it.
I'm roped in.
I can't help it.
I wanted it.
I bought it.

Now, what should I name it?!?!
Is it a male presence in the kitchen perhaps, because its rugged, tough, dare I say sexy?
Yup, its definitely a male.....stay tuned on his name.

So now put him to good use.
I figured the first step was to see what all the hype about making smoothies with this machine was about - that and its likely best to start with something less intimidating when you don't know what to expect from the machine itself.
I had bought a magic bullet because I saw the infomercials and people swore by them, I hated it.  It never broke down my ice for my cocktails the way I wanted it to be, it liked to overheat a lot it was a mess to clean....so glad I no longer need this device!!

So lets get down to the green (and I don't mean how much I spent, its a sore spot)


The beginning of a love affair.  It REALLY REALLY does what it says its going to do!



Here's what was in our very first GREEN smoothie.

handful of grapes
1 stalk celery, halved
1 in. round piece of pineapple (core or not)
1/2 an orange, most of the rind cut off (but left some on for nutritional value)
handful of spinach
1 c. ice
That's it

Starting on speed 1 and slowly moving to 10 then the "high" switch blend for about 45 seconds.
Could that really be all it takes?
Yes!

And....drink your fruits and veggies family :)




It is pretty easy to be green Kermit....
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Monday, September 3, 2012

A Summer Fairwell....

Ya right.
I'm not giving up on summer yet.
This gal is gonna wear white even though we're passed Labor Day!
Rebel, I know.

We're still BBQ'in.  There's no reason to stop.
We actually just invested in a propane deck heater too, which not only will be nice for the cooler evenings but for when we want to bbq in the dead of winter!

Our weekend was pretty tame in comparison to years passed.  We hung out at the cottage with the family and then we bypassed rushing cottager traffic and jetted home earlier so we could fiddle around at home and I got some much needed fridge clean up time.
I like to make batches of items, like a squirel hoarding for winter.
This weekend was homemade burgers.  Some stuffed with cheese, some ladden with caramelized onions and of course a few peppercorn burgers made their way to the freezer too.

What goes with hamburgers?
Yes, corn does too.
Even better is steak fries!
BIG
DELICIOUS
OVEN BAKED (gasp!)
Smooth on the inside and crispy and flavorful on the out, just the way they should be!

I hope you enjoyed your last long weekend of the summer too!

I'm Listening to: The Last Day of Summer, The Cure
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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Watermelon & Coconut Cupcakes - Kid Approved!

Guess what.
I received a watermelon in the mail!  In a big box!
Who gets those?
This gal!
That's not all I received...a few aprons, a couple of new cutting boards and this awesome watermelon knife was also part of the package sent by the National Watermelon Promotion Board in search of some kid friendly original watermelon recipes and carvings.



This request sparked some creative juices flowing (and some watermelon juices running down my chin too!) and I have happily come up with something any kid would love - a cupcake!
Yes, there are watermelon cupcakes out there in Google land but there aren't any that have a coconut filling!
This screams beach, refreshing, summer!

This recipe needed to be kid friendly but also mom/dad friendly.  Normally I would make my cupcakes from scratch but not everyone has time for that so I did the next best thing - I enhanced a store bought mix using ingredients you already have in your house.

You will need:
watermelon
cake mix
flour
sugar
sour cream
butter
eggs
powdered coconut milk
icing sugar
blender or food processor
fine mesh sieve
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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

WHO Forgot to Take Out the Meat?

Shoot.
Totally me.
Seriously though guys, I know I am the only person who knows what the kitchen looks like in our house but why is it always my fault when there's nothing to eat?
Likely because this mentality has been passed down for generations. 
Way to go June Cleaver.

SO blame the mom, there's no thawing carcass on the counter.
I guess the mom gets to create something out of, um, hmmm, *digs in the cupboard and back of fridge wildly* quinoa!!

June never cooked with that before.
Me - 1, Mrs. Cleaver - 0!

Now how to make this into a complete meal you say?  Ha, I think I said that about 50 times while pacing the hallway. 
You know what I really wanted tonight?
Chicken parm.
I wanted it because we picked up the most awesome local"ish" buffalo mozzarella and I made a marinara sauce the other day.
Way to go not taking out the chicken!
hmmmmmmm......I wonder..........
You guessed it, I was ready to try something new tonight.
I should really do this more often.  Dinner tonight was AWESOME!


FAUX Chicken Parm, and I still got to use the buffalo mozz and my marinara!

So I do need to tell you it took some time, not like waiting for a cake to cool time but there are some steps.
First you need to rinse or soak your quinoa (I used red and white)


Then of course you need to boil it and let it cool a bit (20+ minutes).
Incorporate ingredients, form, fry and finally top with sauce/cheese and melt in the oven (15+)
Now the combining of ingredients etc. step could likely be scaled back if I had done this before, there were a few minor revisions and near catastrophes.  I'll give you the clean version.

Enjoy!

I'm listening to: Lonely Day - System of a Down
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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Fruit Eruption Muffin - Copycat Recipe

Ok, I don't know why people call it a 'copycat recipe' when in reality we all know that the fine establishments we find dishes to re-create at home don't give us their recipes to copy.
So lets just say this is a "made my own version of your idea without any instruction" recipe shall we?

For some this may be a fantastic new muffin recipe you have to try because you've never seen anything like it (and in that case, I made it up all on my own HA HA) but for others, you have heard, seen or eaten a "fruit explosion" muffin from Tim Horton's before.

If you follow my fan page on Facebook, you might have recently seen me post that I don't often make muffins. I see them floating around on pages/blogs and every time one catches my eye I think, hell ya, I've gotta make muffins. 
And then I go about my business and it never happens.
Kind of like when you think to yourself I should really clean out the fridge.
Out of sight, out of mind.
Then I woke up this morning, smoothied (like juiced only creamier LOL) and had a whack load of energy so on top of the other 75 things I wanted to do today, making muffins was at the top of the list!
So I did!

I used the base of my award winning (for reals) blueberry muffin recipe (because if it ain't broke don't fix it), added in some oatmeal, created a fruit mixture to put in the middle of the muffins and made these!


And yes, they are exploding with goodness!


Enjoy!

I'm listening to:  Kid Cudi - Pursuit of Happiness
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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Kid Friendly Watermelon Soup


Oh sitting on the stoop, big ole wedge in hand, juices dripping down your arm - that symbolizes summer for me for sure!

Now what kid feels the same about eating their veggies?
Mine does but he's a weirdo.

I wanted to create a kid friendly variation of my previous watermelon soup recipe for the National Watermelon Promotions Board, one of two recipes I am submitting for their Kid-tastic Watermelon Blogger Challenge.
Their request was quite simple.  An original recipe featuring watermelon that would get the kiddos excited about them....

No need for messy stickiness for this recipe!  You can drink it, with a spoon, slurp it up from a bowl, endless possibilities really and it doesn't even need to be for the youngens either.
This would be a perfect tag along to your family picnic or bbq.



Here's what you'll need for about 6-8 servings *bowls*

1/2 watermelon cubed
1 cucumber peeled and cubed
1 tsp olive oil
1 med. yellow pepper diced finely
1 med. red pepper diced finely
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 cantaloupe, cubed to bite sized pieces
salt and pepper to taste

Now, you can add other colour peppers, onion, other veggies or fruit but these are the ingredients I chose to use.
First puree watermelon and oil in batches in a blender or food processor. Pour juice through a strainer to make a clear liquid and add to a separate bowl.
Take a small handful of each of the other veggies *not fruit* and pulse. Pour this into the watermelon juice to give it a little consistency.
Simply add the rest of the fruits and veggies to the juice bowl, salt and pepper if you wish and cover. Refrigerate at least a few hours so the flavours merry together.
Easy, tasty, and slightly weird but definitely worth trying!

This post was supported by the National Watermelon Promotion Board by means of supplying a watermelon and tools in order to create and prepare a dish for their review.
The recipe was created by me, tasted by the family and requested to make again!




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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Pineapple n Heirloom Tomato Salsa! Guest Post - Its Yummilicious

Hi everyone! I'm tickled pink that Katrin asked me to offer up a recipe for all of you. I think she's absolutely wonderful (and I'm sure you agree, or you wouldn't be here), so when I heard that she needed some help this week, I jumped around and waved my arms like a crazy girl until she picked me. You should know that I'm a bit obsessed with helping others. I love the smiles it brings when I can help remove some of the heavy load from the shoulders of people that I care about.
This past Saturday, I spent a couple of hours at my local farmers market. I can't even begin to describe how giddy it made me to walk up and down the streets. I loved being able to chat with the local farmers. The Wisconsin weather has taken a huge hit on the crops around here. We had virtually no snow last winter and the spring and summer have been outrageously hot. Spring crops like cherries were virtually non-existent, and the poor corn, beans, and zucchini are just scrawny and dried out. About the only crops that haven't suffered too terribly bad are the tomatoes. Many of the farmers grow them hydroponically or in hot houses, so we've had some luscious looking beefsteak, plum, and cherry tomatoes. Even the heirloom turned out well, so I definitely took advantage of the situation and bought some gorgeous yellow ones. I wanted to use them in a dish where they would become the shining star, so this salsa recipe was just the ticket!

This salsa is light and refreshing, with just a tiny bite from the diced Chile peppers. Depending on how spicy you like your food, you could also use diced jalapeno peppers or even something hotter like habeneros. I served this over broiled Haddock and it was awesome, but it would make a perfect snack with some chips or crackers, too!

SPICY YELLOW TOMATO & PINEAPPLE SALSA Yield: 4 cups 2-3 Heirloom (yellow) tomatoes, seeded and medium diced 1 cup fresh pineapple, diced 3 Tablespoons fresh pineapple juice 2/3 cup red onion, finely diced 1 fresh jalapeƱo, Serrano, or Habanero pepper, seeded and minced 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste Combine all ingredients except salt, pepper, and basil together in a non-reactive bowl and refrigerate 2 hours, stirring occasionally to allow the flavors to combine. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Top with basil and keep chilled until ready to serve.
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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Searching for Lite Rye Bread

Bavarian Light Rye, toasted, peanut butter.
Makes my mouth water every time.

I'm still searching for that spectacular recipe - if you have one PLEASE do share!

I managed to wrangle a decent lighter rye bread recipe from a good foodie friend, Becca from Its Ymmilicious a little while ago and I have been holding on to this one for dear life - I have it saved on my computer, backed it up and even printed it because its pretty darn good.
NOT my Bavarian but a tasty lighter rye (no caraway) version.

Thanks Becca for answering my call!!
She even typed it from her textbook "On Baking - A Textbook of Baking & Pastry Fundamentals, 2nd Ed.; Sarah R. Labensky; Pearson/Prentice Hall 2009"  how great is she?

Trust me, it should be on your list of things to make if you like rye breads
Just look at this!


Now how can you say no to that?
I didn't think so.

Enjoy!

I'm listening to (the song that is stuck in my head for weeks now) Whistle - Flo Rida
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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Lovin the Lima Bean

My dear friend Terra from Cafe Terra and I were chatting about foods some people said they didn't like after I posed the question on my facebook fan page. One of the culprits was the lima bean. We both concluded it has been a lonnnng time since we've had one and rarely do you see posts about them.
That was it, we decided to each create a lima bean hummus recipe and post together on the same day.
See below.
Now the term "hummus" actually means chick peas so TECHNICALLY this isn't a true hummus but whatever its my variation of hummus.


First things first - monkey see, monkey DO NOT DO!

Now that I got that off my chest I should probably elaborate for you.
Long story short, I haven't had a lima bean in my vicinity since I was probably 10 years old.  I never cooked them, my mom did - remember this information for the next part of my post.

I tried to poison the Mr. with cyanide, or so he tweeted anyway.  This is not accurate people.
I did not intentionally give him something to make him sick!
I did not poison him.
I did not try to kill him.
Lima beans, actually a lot of beans when raw are toxic, so says Google/Wikipedia/everyone I know but me.....you're supposed to boil them first. 
Who knew?
Apparently everyone but me.

When I started out creating this recipe I decided to use frozen limas.
I did not boil them.
I used them straight from the freezer.  They are likely blanched anyway right?
THEN I did some research on other lima bean recipes because you know what, I kinda like em now.....which is when I discovered I probably shouldn't have eaten my creation, or given it to the Mr. to eat about a cup of it.  *remember, I have never made them, my mom did*

For the next 4 hours I wasn't sure if the heavy feeling in my tummy was because I was going to die of cyanide poisoning or because I felt so guilty and so stupid for NOT knowing I should have cooked them first.  It was the latter....we're still alive.
Lesson 1 - always boil your beans (kidney, lima etc.)
Lesson 2 - don't tell the other half you may have poisoned him/her because now they wont EVER try anything they haven't ever eaten before or be leery of what you cook.
Lesson 3 and the most important one - you can most certainly make the most delicious hummus using lima beans!!
I bet you're gonna love this (we did and even the second batch that was safer to eat too!)
Now, you should go and check out Terra's post too!!

I'm listening to:  Beautiful Disaster - 311

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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I Forgot the Buns!!!

Ever wander through the grocery store, list in hand and something catches your eye and you say to yourself "you know, I feel like (insert whatever here) and pick it up?
Well, you are not alone!
This weekend I passed buy the "BBQ" section and peered some good ole hot dogs.
The last time we had them was when I made the "shnazzy dog" post - January! (weird time to have a hot dog isn't it?)

So I threw them in the cart and kept on truckin.....
It was near dinner time and a fear came over me.
We aren't having hot dogs tonight family, I was misguided through the store by pretty boxes, meats and candy.
I forgot the buns!!!!

So, run to the store you say....sure, I suppose that would have also been something to do since its a whole 1/2 km from my house.
But I bake and cook right so I suppose now was the perfect excuse to just make them!

I used King Arthur's Flour recipe, halving the recipe and adding a little jazz with some garlic powder (not garlic salt) to the mix. (about 1 tsp.)  I also combined the water and milk into 1 step.  Please click the link for their recipe and DO add some of the garlic powder, it just adds a little something extra :)

I found them to be soft on the inside, a little crispy on the outside (because of the egg wash) but they didn't rise for me as I thought they would - you know, like a store bought hot dog bun - huge, puffy, almost too much bread kind.  Don't take this to mean they were flat, they weren't, not by any means.
For us this was perfect since we normally buy the flatbread style anyway....we don't like excess bun.
You judge for yourself.....



The rise time was about an hour and a half and bake time about 20 minutes.  Needless to say you'd likely want to know in advance you forgot the buns :)

Enjoy!

I'm listening to:  Hunger Strike - Temple of the Dog

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Savory Strawberry Post - BBQ Sauce

Who says strawberries have to be a desserty, snacky item?
Not this gal!
I have a few thousand berries sittin in the freezer and because they take up a tad bit of real estate I thought it was high time something needed to be done with them.
Ice cream, been there, smoothies, done that, jam, a few jars kickin around.....
BBQ sauce maybe?  Why not right?
So I did a google search to see what I was up against.  Yup, its been done before, no need to reinvent the wheel.
But I did.
I didn't listen, I used my own ingredients, my own measurements.
Cooking with taste buds - that's how I roll.
Pulling out all the things normally used in a BBQ sauce, ketchup (I didn't think to buy strained tomatoes earlier), mustard, dry mustard, vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, pepper, spices, I realized I have never made a BBQ sauce before, not really sure what the ratios should be so we winged it!
There were a few hundred taste tests, and a comment like "it tastes like the sauce you put on top of our meatloaf" therefore some additional things added, because its not meatloaf sauce honey, that's just ketchup and brown sugar with a touch of spices......amature bahhhh.....
Finally,

I found a taste I was happy with.
Sweet with a kick of smokey heat.  Not one that burns your throat on the way down but one that dances on your taste buds a little after the sweetness subsides.
It was perfect on my grilled chicken breast!
Please pardon the approximations - as mentioned it was to taste so start with mine and adapt to suit yours!
I'm Listening to:  Chattahoochee - Alan Jackson

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Be the Change You Want to See in the World - Giveaway CLOSED

Ghandi.
A small man with a big voice.

I try to live each day without hatred, be kind to everyone I meet whether it be at the gas station, in a grocery line, the bank, online, wherever and I like to Pay It Forward when I can.
What does paying it forward mean to you?

For me, its simple, its better to give than to receive.
It doesn't mean you need to spend a lot of money, heck, sometimes the best way to help doesn't involve monetary gifts at all!  You could mow your neighbours lawn every now and then, ask a friend if they need a lift somewhere, volunteer at a local charity/not for profit organization etc.  There are SO many ways to help someone else out without expecting something in return!

Have you ever been the recipient of a pay it forward gesture?
How great does it make you feel?
I hope the answer is awesome enough to want someone else to have that same feeling!

I received an email from a wonderful foodie friend today.  We have never met in person although I feel like I've known Robin for decades.  We bonded over food, we exist as friends because of so much more.
Today she sent me a "thanks for being supportive" gift.  A gift that was so unexpected, so sweet, and so very thoughtful!
We chatted briefly about it, she was paying it forward to me because "she appreciates me" - I love and appreciate her, and I support her because of that - this is where my post becomes my pay it forward.
Her generous gift to me I feel would be best given to someone who also does things out of the goodness of their hearts.

So this is I guess a giveaway, to you, my friends to show you how much I appreciate you.
I ask that you be upstanding, honest people in your comments.  If you say you are going to do something, do it!



Fine print and info:
You will need to post a comment below with something you will do to pay it forward in the coming 2 weeks (of course you could send a follow up message on how it turned out - we love feel good stories!) or leave us a story of how you have been a recipient of a pay it forward and how it made you feel.  THINK, come back and post if you cant come up with anything right away!

Make sure to leave us your email address in your post.
Share this with your friends, and even people you don't know!
Although the winner receives a gift certificate for igourmet.com which only ships to the US and some other areas doesn't mean you cant enter, because remember, its about giving, not receiving!

Our rules:
Submissions must be in no later than 6pm EST on August 31st 2012.
We will need to use a random number generator to be fair to everyone.
We will send the gift certificate via email to the selected winner by September 3rd 2012.

Alright guys, lets make some unknowing people happy!!!
xo
Katrin

THIS GIVEAWAY NOW HAS BEEN CLOSED AND A WINNER HAS BEEN CONTACTED.  PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTINUE TO POST YOUR RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS!
(Sept. 2, 2012)

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Kickin Up Your Green Beans - Vinaigrette Styles

I love me some green beans, but I don't know about you but I find they can be a rather boring side dish material.

Now, there's been a post about frying your beans, hiding them in a frittata, even adding merging them into a salad with potatoes and goat cheese here on the blog but I needed, no wanted something more.
Beans are a plentiful bounty at the markets lately so why not showcase them?

Enter the most amazing accompaniment, bacon, and you cant go wrong, right?
How bout double smoked bacon?  Whole grain mustard?
Catch your attention yet?
What about now.....



AHHHH yes, the crispy bacon, the tangy vinegar, the beautiful green....
I present to you the smoked bacon vinaigretted bean.
Simply prepared, amazing flavor.

Now, if you don't have double smoked bacon, its OK, I don't normally have it either - use a good quality one instead.  I used red wine vinegar, if you don't have that, use cider or maybe even balsamic would be nice!
Play with your food, and flavors!!
Enjoy

I`m Listening to: Walking on Broken Glass - Annie Lennox

To create this recipe:
1 lb green beans trimmed
4-5 thick slices double smoked bacon
1 1/2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. whole grain mustard
1 small onion, diced finely
1 - 2 tbsp. olive oil

Start by trimming your beans, and blanching them in a pot of boiling salted water for 3-4 minutes.
Use an ice bath or run under cold water to stop the cooking and let cool.
Cut your bacon into slivers (I like mine a little thicker) and fry on medium heat until crispy.
Drain and set aside.
Save about 2 tbsp bacon grease and toss in your onion for a minute or two, until softened.
Stir in your vinegar, mustard and oil - FYI its a pungent smell, clears the nostrils quick!
Toss in your green beans and bacon, turning to coat them all.
Serve warm.


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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Corn Cakes with Chipotle Yogurt Sauce

Did you see the Chipotle Yogurt Sauce?
Its PERFECT for the corn cakes I'm about to share with you.

I had to make em.
My dear friends mommy turned a milestone age 2 weeks ago and I was in charge of making them for her party.  They were gobbled up quicker than free gas!  Naturally they should be shared with my family too!  Not the gas, just the cakes.

Now these ones differed slightly than the ones I made for the soiree *using Bisquick*.
I didn't have any of that nor cornmeal on hand but I did have a box of Jiffy corn bread mix.
Honestly speaking, we picked it up on our wedding road trip, never using it before for anything so I was flying blind.
The texture was wonderful, they held up very well with the frying, and as mentioned, they accompanied the chipotle sauce swimmingly!

I roasted off some ears of corn on the bbq but using canned corn would work too.
Enjoy!

I'm Listening to:  Yellow Ledbetter - Pearl Jam

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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Chipotle Yogurt Condiment

Variety is the spice of life right?
Well, how bout a smokey, spicy sauce to accompany some onion rings or fried chicken?

That's what we did tonight.
Actually, it started out as a sauce for some corn cakes. 
But since I made fried chicken and onion rings as well, it migrated.
It made my rings happy!

Who needs ketchup?  Not this gal!
Now, if I can remember what was in it so that you can enjoy it too we'll all be happy campers!
Truth be told I didn't measure - I went by taste so please feel free to add or omit where you like, because remember, everyone has different pallets.  Amounts are approximations :)

Lets go!

I'm Listening to:  Wonderful Tonight - Eric Clapton


Chipotle Yogurt Condiment


1/3 c. yogurt
1/4 c. mayo
2 tsp. chipotle in adobo
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. paprika
pinch of chili powder

Chop up a little chipotle but use the adobo as your base.
Add this to your yogurt and mayo.  Mix well to combine.
Start adding in your spices, tasting as you go.
Thats it....
:)


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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Warm Balsamic Potatoes & Green Bean Salad

Potatoes are a staple in many homes.
You can boil them, mash them, fry them, saute them, bake them, BBQ them but I love a good roasted potato.
One that is caramelized out and soft on the inside, brings me to my knees!

I recently decided to use some balsamic to form a glaze before roasting, then paired it with some blanched green beans and added in some wonderful local herb infused goat cheese for a lovely side to our meal.
Heaven!

This could easily be a cold side too, a great accompaniment to a picnic lunch!

Enjoy

I'm Listening to:  Real Love - Mary J Blige

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Friday, June 29, 2012

Jealousy in a Cookie

Rocky Road ice cream hands down is one of my favorites.
Rocky road cookies, now those make ice cream jealous.
The only way to make them friends again would be to add a little ice cream INSIDE the cookies and make an ice cream sammie.
I left them enemies.

When I needed a chocolate fix yesterday I picked myself up, walked into the kitchen, opened my cupboards and started pulling out random ingredients.
I WILL EAT CHOCOLATE.
Oh, a little baggie of chippies (stuff a handful in my mouth), ohhhh lookie here, a few hazelnuts kickin around.  OH chocolate marshmallows, ok, Ive got it.
Hence the cookie.

I have an old recipe I like to use but I doctored it, added a few things to it and behold.....

Oh ya, chocolate craving fulfilled!


I'm Listening to:  Freebird - Lynard Skynyrd

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Faux Pasta and a Meatless Dish

Meatless Monday.
If you're friends jumped off a bridge would you?
How bout you just try to make 1 meatless meal ANY day of the week....why does it have to be Monday?  Just because it rolls off the tongue?  Because it seems a lot of people out there do it too?
BAH, I have Mash Up Monday's - that rolls off your tongue too but that doesn't mean I think you all should make a creative mash up meal on Mondays.  (wait, maybe I do haha)

Can you tell I don't like to conform?  Maybe I should post this tomorrow since today is Monday? HA

Our farmers market season is back full swing, actually, its been on for just over a month or so now and we're back to "pick a veggie" week.  This is when I ask the fam what fruit or veggie we either haven't had, or hardly eat and I try to create a dish with it so we can fall in love with it all over again.
This past week it was eggplant!!
Our last eggplant dish was the parm.  It didn't wow the crowd, I took it off the rotation.  BUT THIS DID!

Eggplant Cannelloni!
No meat, no pasta.  That's right, I said it. 
Grab a knife and fork, dig in.....it has the texture of a pasta dish but its all veggie (well except the filling)

Enjoy!

I'm Listening to:  Sade - Smooth Operator (thanks Boho clan for the reminder)


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Monday, June 18, 2012

Cream of 3 Mushroom Soup

I did it again.  I made a soup.
Only I didn't try it because of my detestation of mushrooms.  (that's the opposite of adoration).
However I adore my husband and he adores mushrooms as well as soup and so this recipe was prepared for him.  (aren't I the sweetest wife ever?)

It is a simple recipe as long as you have brandy (which I am sure you could substitute for red or white wine, maybe some whiskey even).  I suppose you could leave it out but I don't think you should, then again, what do I know, I didn't eat it.
Crazy enough there was a point in the cooking process where I WISHED my taste buds would erase themselves because my nostrils said MMMMM this smells like it would taste amazing! It didn't happen folks, no mushrooms nor soup crossed these lips, not this time, couldn't do it.

The recipe stems from one I found on the FoodNetwork site online and its creator was non other than BAMMMM, Emeril Lagasse.  I wish he still was on, I have fond memories of watching his shows.
There were a few substitutions, a few quantitative changes but otherwise followed.

From the reviews received, and not just from Mr. BM (I brought it to work and had the gals eat the rest of it up) this recipe is a winner, a keeper, a maker againer!

Try it out - you let me live through you on this one, tell me how you liked it!!

I'm listening to:  Payphone - Maroon 5 *because its catchy and I love a guy that sounds like a girl*

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Monday, June 11, 2012

Smooth Like Butta - Only its Caramel

What do you have on your sundaes?
Me?  Caramel!! 
You'd think I would eat hot fudge since I am addicted to chocolate but there's this little part of me that secretly loves the caramel probably a little more.

At work the other day we had a visitor, the property manager - duh, duh, duhhhhhh.
Actually, he came in to talk cakes, I totally lie, he came in to talk about the air conditioning unit but then he saw we had made 350 + cupcakes for an event and we could tell he wanted to devour one so we let him.
Then he asked if we could make him a specialty cake.  Hook, line, sinker!
Um, that's what we do sir.  Cakes.
Until he asked for a Torta Mil Hojas (in his best Chilean accent)
Torta Millionaire what?
A traditional Chilean cake.  Layers of pastry smothered in layers of Dulce de Leche.  Those Chili people know their way into my heart!  Swoon!

Alright, not something we've done before so me, the R&D manager (nice title eh?  We came up with it to make me feel special) decided it should be tested out.
First thing's first, the dulce de leche. 
He didn't want it coming from a jar, so, this post is how you can make it at home with very little effort!

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

It's Like Super 8 Up in Here!

Best thing about staying at some hotel/motels - waffle breakfast!
You know, shuffling downstairs in your jammies, hair all unkempt, with 30 other people you don't know, don't care to know and will never see again to line up to make your own breakfast.  Hot, crispy, waffles.
Pour, close, flip, wait for the beep! Hey, nice slippers!

So when we received a Cuisinart Breakfast Station as a wedding present this past weekend I nearly felt like I was back on the road, driving to Florida for the wedding all over again.  The wedding is over but this keeps my memories alive!
Pour, close, flip, wait for the beep - HOORAY!

They should make a song about waffles.  I already made up the dance, but only my kitchen walls got to see it.

Since I have never made waffles before I scoured the Google, asked for insights from my Facebook friends but ended up deciding on the Cuisinart recipe that came with the appliance since it was my first time.  My maiden test run was a success!  I didn't even have any goopiness out the sides (which I assumed I would).  I added a few things for extra flavor and used buttermilk but kept the proportions given.
I suppose next time I will read the entire directions so that I a) don't need to make 10 waffles for 2 people b) I make sure I have all my bowls set up and c) don't have to wait for my batter to be used.
This recipe is yeast based and therefore needed time to set up.  When you're hungry and want waffles this is not the recipe for you, you need to wait 1hr after you've prepared your batter before you start cookin but once you do, you've got crispy outside and fluffy inside goodness!

Enjoy!  We did!

I'm Listening to:
WAFFLE SONG!

Classic Belgium Waffles


1 1/2 c. water divided
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1/3 c. + 2 tsp. sugar
3 c. sifted flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
3 large eggs, separated
1 1/2 c. buttermilk
8 tbsp. butter, melted then cooled
2 tsp. veg oil
2 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla

Start by melting the butter and set aside to cool.
In a pot, heat 1/2 of the water (3/4c.) to lukewarm.  Dissolve yeast with a touch of the sugar and let stand until the mixture foams, about 6-7 minutes.
Beat the 2 of the egg whites until stiff peaks form and set aside

In a bowl sift together flour, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.
In another bowl add the water/yeast mixture and the egg yolks along with 1 of the whites as well as the sugar and stir to blend.  Add the remaining water, milk, melted butter, oil and vanilla and stir until smooth.

Add the liquid to the dry and beat until smooth.


Fold in the remaining egg whites and let the batter stand for 1 hr., stirring every 15 minutes.


Preheat your waffle iron, pour about 1/4 c. into the centre and using a spatula even it out - I started with the little cup provided with my waffle iron but found that it wasn't quite enough so I guesstimated as I went along.
My machine beeps when ready - I hope yours does too!  About 3 minutes or so.
DONE!
We topped ours with a simple pear compote (brown sugar, lemon juice, nutmeg and pears boiled for a minute then simmered for 10 or so)




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Monday, May 21, 2012

Fluffy Pancakes - You Know You Waaaant Them

Goal - the fluffy pancake, like the huge stack you get at your favorite diner.
Mission - complete.

I believe it is a combination of buttermilk (acid) and the use of both baking soda and powder that helps to perk those puppies up.  Now dont quote me, I failed chemistry but whenever I have used all 3 together the result is what I am always after.

So this past weekend I was up. EAAAARLY.
The boys still snug in bed.
I might have made myself some pancakes (with chocolate chips no less).
That's right, I said I made them for myself!
You might say that's selfish, I say, you shouldn't sleep in :)

This recipe does make enough for 3 good sized pancakes for 3 people.  You could make them smaller for 4 and add some bacon and eggs 'n such but when we have them we only have them.  With a side of syrup.  Maybe a few slices of banana or strawberries.
I did save a few for them when they arose but they werent warm, the butter didnt melt over the top for them like it did for me (insert evil grin here)

Enjoy

I'm Listening to: Dance Again - Jennifer Lopez ft. Pitbull

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Soup, Me? Yes. Pigs Do Fly

Folks
Hell might have frozen over.
I made and ATE soup today.

I know right?  Betty Martha doesn't eat soup!
It started off well, then I got to the point where I didn't know if it was going to taste good.  I HAD to try a smidgen. (its just like gravy, its just like a sauce, its going to be good, please make it down my throat)  Man, where are my guinea pigs when I need them?!

Pretty bad gag reflexes on this gal so I was a bit concerned.  I mean, how do I serve soup to the others as I am making horrible noises in the kitchen??  Totally all in my head, I know.
Easing slowly into this was the key.  Coat the back of a spoon, smell it.  Yup, smells great!
Ok, now just stick your tongue out just a little....teeeeeny lick.
Dear god its in my mouth!
And I like it.
Wait, its good, stick the spoon in again.  Lip smacking.  Hey, this is really good!

I'm not reformed.  This is only the first go round so if you see me post more soups they HAVE to be good enough to make since I ate it.
Even Little Ugh, who inadvertently detests soup because of me enjoyed it, the Mr. BM loved it too! 
Oh, and don't tell them there was no cream in it!  Thickener?  Cannellini Beans :)

Here's what we ate:  Cauliflower, Leek and Cheddar


Enjoy!

I'm Listening to:  Take it Easy - The Eagles

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Monday, May 7, 2012

Blackberry Sourdough Struesel Coffee Cake

So, I'm on this new adventure with my sourdough starter.
It started about a month ago.  I'd never had a starter before, but I've had my fair share of sourdough bread (carb freak) so I thought HEY why not!  Everyone else seemed to be doing it.
If my foodie friends jumped off a bridge however, I would take photos for them *from the ground*.

I got a simple starter recipe and placed it in a mason jar and waited my 7 days.
I dont know about you but waiting for something you already know about is torture!  I try to be patient in daily life but I'm not perfect and that is one trait I am constantly working on.  Funny story, I was so impatient that I was phoning people I knew who bake occassionally to see if they might have a starter (that I could take some from them) SEE not patient....

I made some breads, obviously.
But I wanted more.
There's got to be other things you can use this for right?
I started searching the Google.
Coffee cake?
Heck ya, why not?  People use sour cream in them right....similar maybe?

Ok, now to spruce it up a little...I had bought a can of blackberry pie filling (thats right Canadian friends, I said blackberry!) which I have NEVER seen in my parts.  Originally I was going to make tarts with it but hey, this seemed like a worthy cause.
I opted not to use a lot of it in fear that my lonely can would be wasted on an experiement.  I know now that it works and works well!  And I kick myself for only buying ONE can! 

The batter is thick, like a soft bread dough before adding the rest of your flour but dont fret it will turn out.
The end result was fabulous!  And I plan on making other variations of this in the near future!

Enjoy!
I'm Listening to: Army of Me, Bjork


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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Confession - No Longer a Virgin (of Chicken Salad)

Can I share with you that I was officially a chicken salad sandwich virgin until I made this meal.  I really have no idea what made me think of making it.  I always had this pre conceived notion that chicken salad sammies were gross.  You are probably shaking your head right now, maybe even your fists.  But listen, I have good reason.

Pretty sure my Nanny tried to make me eat one when I was a kid and I refused.
She had used chicken in a can.  Like tuna.  It just didn't seem right.
In fact, my nanny liked everything in a can, or a box.  She hated to cook, and it shined thru.
Worst.  Memory.  Ever - spam (can), a large tub of potato flakes (box) and creamed corn (can) dinner.
I shudder.

Actually, because of her (rest in peace) every time I am in a restaurant and I want mashed potatoes I am VERY inquisitive about the nature of their processes.  If the server even hesitates when I ask if they are REAL mashed potatoes I wont eat em and then black list that establishment.  She made me a food snob without even knowing it!

So what made me want to eat it now?
I have no idea.
Actually, maybe I was trying to abolish my fears and use up my leftover chicken in ways I normally wouldn't have. 
Fears gone, well, wait, I still fear eating it at someone elses house if they don't know how to cook.  That's beside the point, point here is if you like chicken salad sandwiches (or even if you think you don't) you really need to check this recipe out.
I used Greek yogurt and some bottled Greek dressing along with the usual Greek salad/chicken salad suspects and popped it into a pita.
VOILA!
OPA!

I'm Listening to:  Blaze of Glory - Bon Jovi

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Are We There Yet? Road Trippin

Shoot,  where do I start?
Mom, where are we?  How far are we now?  You just passed the rest stop, I had to go!
Can we eat, I'm hungry (that was more from the Mr.) How far are we now?  C'mon, who was that?Sorry, open your windows....yup, road trippin with boys.

We're HOME!  Thank GOODNESS!
Naaaa, in all seriousness our road trip to Florida from Toronto was pretty great, minus the lack of veggies in my diet while driving.
We ONLY stopped at fast food restaurants on the way there - we were trying to conserve time and sanity really.
The boys were in their glory with all the burgers/sliders/fries/pop they could find.  Me?  I missed my apples and bananas and salads (truth be told, I just missed my kitchen).  It didn't phase them a bit.

Here is a brief overview of our 2.5 days of driving:

Friday April 13th, midnight - Leave Toronto (so sleepy, cant sleep in the car)
Stop in Grove City - 5am - sleep for 4 hours (thank goodness for Microtel Hotels and the manager who gave us a discount since we were only there a few hours)
Get up, first stop, McDonald's breakfast - me, a bagel with egg and cheese, Little Ugh, pancake breakfast, Mr. BM a steak and egg breakfast sandwich??!!  We don't have THOSE in Canada!  (first sighting of things Canadians miss out on)
DRIVE, get gas and snacks
pretty sure we don't have this flavor in Toronto

DRIVE, go to the bathroom, get refreshments so that we can hear more "you just passed a rest stop!"
DRIVE, get gas, snacks, bathroom and drinks
Friday night 7pm - stop in Huntersville North Carolina, check in (favorite hotel on the trip, the Comfort Suites)
Stop in to Cook Out.  I was completely in awe of their value menu.... chicken anyone?


We all got burgers, personally I figured it was the safest food to eat on a road trip (I have a fear of needing to use the washroom NOW when driving)  Aside from the amazing prices (we all ate for under $15.00) I wasn't wowed.
But I do have to say the milkshakes were to DIE for.  Freshly hand made. Go check out their website, they have more than 30 flavors!
Little Ugh had a mint chocolate chip and I had a banana berry - each were LOADED and mine was chalk full of chunks of berries and bananas, I needed a spoon at the end to eat my fruit (YAY, FRUIT!)

Swim and a sleep to be rested for our trek to Atlanta (and Georgia`s largest flea market stop).
Saturday April 14th
Drive - stop into the flea market.  I don't know where you live but just outside Atlanta they sell roosters and chickens at theirs!
Ever see Friends? Joey and Chandler have a duck and a chicken....it took everything to convince the Mr. that we cannot bring a rooster across the border!

Ok, back on the road to Atlanta.  The Mr and Little Ugh's home away from home.  They visit Falcon's training camp yearly in August so of course they had to stop and show me where the stay, eat, shop, take pictures, pee.  We stopped into Dick's and Sports Authority so that they could buy Falcon gear on the cheap.
Gas up, back on the road to Tifton where we spend the night.
We ate at Zaxby's.  Pretty impressed with this little fast food chain.  All things chicken.
I had a salad.  Yup, needed some veggies.
Sunday April 15th
ALRIGHT its check in day!
Get up, breakfast of champions - yogurt and oatmeal!  I like the hotels that provide you a free brekkie :)
Driving straight to St. Petersburg!  But first, a stop at a roadside welcome to Florida center to pick up a couple oranges - YAY fruit


Drive a teeeeeensy bit farther, itching to just get to our destination
Pull up to our rental house for the week around 3pm, pay the kid to unload the PACKED truck while we enjoy the views from our balcony.....


Let wedding week begin!
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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Guest Post With Simply Gourmet Photography! Carrot Cake

Sherron over at Simply Gourmet Photography blows my mind and makes me drool daily!
She has wonderful ideas and even more beautiful photography....I wish we lived closer so we could share desserts at nighttime and she could teach me her art over cake.

When I put out my call, Sherron was there.  She has a huge heart :)  You can Sherron on her Facebook page or over on her blog anytime!

We love carrot cake in this house, in fact Mr. BM asked for it this past year for his b-day cake.  This post incorporates coconut and pineapples!  OHHH  a tropical flare :)

Thanks a million doll!
Take it away!!!
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Hi, my name is Sherron and I am the blogger and photographer at Simply Gourmet Photography.  I have been taking pictures for over 20 years.  It is a hobby of mine that turned into a passion that led to a career.  My focus in the last few years has been on food.
I love food, cooking and entertaining my friends and family.
I have only been blogging for 9 months and one of the first foodie friends I met was Katrin.  I love her sense of humor. I enjoy her recipes , reading about her adventures with her family (Mr. BM and her son).
I am so thrilled that she is so happy and marrying the man of her dreams this week.
In honor of Katrin and her new journey as a bride to be and, very soon, as a new bride, I wanted to share a cake recipe with you.  After all, who does not like cake?

They say that carrot cake is becoming the new IT cake of weddings.  I have read that carrot cake is called the Passion Cake.  WOW..those are big shoes to fill...ha ha ha.
This cake is filled with lots of yummy extras that make you feel as though you were on a beach sipping a drink with an umbrella...after all, it does have coconut and pineapple baked into every bite.


My small family could not possibly eat this entire cake and so I shared it with our neighbor who the next day declared it to be "the best carrot cake he has ever had!"...I don't know about you, but that's some pretty good feed back.
I encourage you to dive right in and make this delicious carrot cake for your next family get together, church function, or office meeting.
I would also like to wish Katrin the best week in Florida with her family.
My own wedding is still so fresh in my mind, even after 24 amazing years.
Congratulations Katrin and Mr BM......you deserve this happiness!

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Guest Post with Hun What's for Dinner - Slow Cooked Chicken Tostadas

Ahhh Cindy, a beautiful mother of 2 and a lucky woman of a chef husband...you'd think that would be daunting wouldn't you?  Not to her!
She pulls out all the stops and creates her family meals that I drool over all the time!
I have been fortunate enough to be a follower of hers on Facebook as well as her blog, Hun What's for Dinner.
Cindy was one of the first people to come to my rescue when I posted about having some guests post while I am away honeymooning (yup, that's right, we're finally married!) and I couldn't be happier!
Especially with this post.  Its going to be tested as soon as I'm back!!  I`m a HUGE Mexican fan - like I could eat it almost every day - I say almost because I happen to love pasta too...they have to both compete for my love....
So here it is, take it away CINDY!



Hi Everybody,

Cindy here, from Hun... What's for Dinner? I am super excited to be guest posting for Katrin today since she is away enjoying, what I hope is, a fabulous honeymoon. How exciting is that??

I first found Running with the Devil(ed) Eggs on Facebook. I was instantly drawn to Betty Martha's (Katrin's alter ego) wit and amazing recipes. The fact that she is a fellow Canadian, just makes me love her that much more, LOL.
One of the features I love most about her blog is the Mash Ups. She takes two ingredients, or foods, and puts them together to create something fabulous and mouth watering. So, when she put the word out that she needed help from fellow bloggers to cover for her (while she was celebrating one of the most awesome times of her life), I quickly volunteered.

Today I would like to share a recipe perfect for Cinqo de Mayo- Chicken Tostadas. We love Mexican themed meals in this house and have them at least 3 times a month. There is something about the combination of spices and cheese that make us love a good Mexican dinner. While one of our staples is tacos, I decided to switch it up a bit, and decided to make Tostadas. These are basically a crisp corn tortilla, topped with shredded chicken, cheese and any other favourite toppings you'd like. I decided to slow cook my chicken in the crock pot, with tomatoes, beans and great herbs. The result was flavourful, tender chicken. The kids totally flipped over these. The whole time we were eating, Mr.B kept mentioning how delicious it was. Queenie? Well she ate the whole thing without complaining, so that's a win in my book, LOL. I'm glad the kids have approved another Mexican dish, so we can broaden our repertoire.

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Guest Post with Carrie's Experimental Kitchen - Caramelized Bacon & Onion Clam Chowder

Have I got a treat for you folks!  Carrie over at Carrie's Experimental Kitchen graciously agreed to help me out this week while away getting married.  Actually, as of today I will already have been married for over 12 hours!!
I asked if she had anything soupy because, well, I don't eat the stuff and therefore you wont find many posts here about soup (although there is a couple that I will consume).  She didn't disappoint!
I can honestly say that I am going to make this (sans the clam because that's how I roll).  She may just have converted this soup hater!

She is truly talented, enjoys the kitchen and is super sweet!!  AND she's got a book in the works guys!!  Slightly jealous! Maybe she'll let me review it for her?!
Make sure once you check out this post you go on over to visit Carrie on her blog and let her know you loved her post too!
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Hi everyone, I'm Carrie behind Carrie's Experimental Kitchen and I am thrilled to be a Guest here today at Running with Devil(ed) Eggs!
I just love Katrin’s blog. She has such wonderful recipes, funny stories and a great taste in music (I especially love those Friday night Facebook Virtual Dance Parties!). Congratulations on your nuptials, and I can’t wait to see pictures of you as a beautiful bride. xo

And now, allow me tell you a little about myself…

I love looking around the kitchen, seeing what I have on hand and creating a meal that is simple yet delicious. I love the freshness of Mediterranean-style cooking and most of my recipes reflect that.  I have been married for 17 years and am the mother of two girls, ages 15 and 10, who I lovingly refer to as my food testing "guinea pigs". I reside in a small town in Northwestern NJ and graduated from Johnson & Wales University with a B.S. in Hotel/Restaurant Management.  I am also awaiting the release of my first cookbook called Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen: A Collection of Mediterranean Inspired Family Meals; which is scheduled to be released in the late summer, early fall of 2012.



And now for the recipe…

So here's a good one for you. I don't like ANY seafood nor can I eat bacon. So you're probably thinking "What possessed her to make this soup then?” It's ok, I haven't lost it...yet!
New England Clam Chowder happens to be my youngest daughter’s favorite soup but I never make it. Instead, we have to wait to go to Panera Bread on a Friday to get it for her (apparently they follow the "fish on Friday" rule all year long because that's the only day they ever have it on their menu) and then she only eats it out of a bread bowl. 
She was having a bad day at school so I thought I’d cheer her up by making this for her when she got home. It started off ok until my friend, who was here refinishing my wood floors, distracted me and I accidentally browned the bacon and onions too much. Instead of scrapping it, I continued with the process then made him taste it for me (I cook by smell and sight when cooking with seafood and it smelled ok so I think he was safe!). He said it was actually really good and liked the flavor the overcooked bacon and onions gave it, so that's how my regular clam chowder became caramelized bacon and onion clam chowder (that and as you can tell from the picture it's on the tan side vs. white). I also had my in-laws test it out too, and it got a "good" from my father in-law, which in his language means, "you can make it again".
You just never want an "ok" because then the meal is doomed!
My daughter was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed it as well. In no time, she was back to her old self.
Isn’t it amazing how food can change someone’s mood? I hope you like this soup as much as my family did.

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