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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Patriotic Pie #CookoutWeek

You guys, I’m so excited!   It’s summer, it’s almost July, and today kicks off Cookout Week!  TONS of bloggers are banding together with sponsors to bring you a week filled with deliciousness!

But more on that in a bit.

First let’s talk pie.  July isn’t July without a patriotic dessert of some sort.

And pie is totally my favorite!

This year, I wanted to take pie to the next level – with red, white, & blue – stars & stripes – the whole nine yards!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Squash Blossom Quesadillas

Remember a few weeks ago when I wanted to make something with squash blossoms, but I had just planted my garden and there were none to be had? 


Squash Blossoms!

I love summer!

Around the same time, I started reading The Secret Book of Frida Kahlo (for September Cook the Books Club).  And I watched the movie, Frida (for September Food ‘n Flix) and became mildly obsessed with Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo.  After reading a fictional book and watching a movie about her life, I was desperate for facts.

So I found a massive but fascinating biography about FridaKahlo AND I bought the book, Frida’s FiestasFrida’s Fiestas is a book of recipes and stories of Frida Kahlo as remembered by her step-daughter Guadalupe Rivera.

After reading a fictional account of Frida’s life, and following it up with an interesting, “just the facts, ma’am” biography, reading a story by someone with a very personal connection to Frida Kahlo was really neat.  It filled in the gaps left by the other two books, and made Frida a real person.

Frida’s Fiestas features color photos focuses on a year in Frida’s household and the parties and holidays she cooked for and celebrated.  Then it’s followed up with full color photos and recipes (supposedly recipes that Frida herself actually prepared).  There are also many photos of the Frida Kahlo museum and some of Frida’s artwork.  It’s really a neat read!

As I was reading the book, I quickly realized that these are truly authentic Mexican recipes, meaning a) my family will never eat this, b) the recipe could feed an army, and/or c) I’m never going to be able to find those ingredients locally.

Then fate smiled upon me.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Chocolate Banana Waffles

It’s breakfast for dinner again in my house.

When I ask the kids for dinner requests for the week, pancakes or waffles are almost always suggested.

More specifically, Spud requested Chocolate Waffles.  We’ve been on the quest for chocolate waffles for quite some time.  Chocolate waffles are tricky, because most chocolate waffles are dessert waffles, calling for brownie mix and a scoop of ice cream, or 4 ounces of chocolate, tons of sugar.  

Several months ago, I found a recipe for “healthy” chocolate waffles.  They called for whole wheat flour and cocoa powder, and just a bit of sugar.  I was very skeptical (cocoa powder can be pretty strong), but I gave it a try. 

They. Were. Awful!

Absolutely disgusting and completely bitter.  The boys and I muscled through a serving each, but no one went for seconds and the leftovers went in the garbage (it happens.)

So the quest continued.  This time, I only used a little cocoa powder, and let mini chocolate chips take care of the chocolaty piece (I used ¼ cup, but I think next time I’ll knock it down to 2 tablespoons).  I let bananas and just a dash of honey take over for the sweetness.  Then I thought, hey, let’s not go all the way and make add some extra protein into these waffles?

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Caramelized Onion Rolls

Let’s talk hamburger buns!

I love love love having homemade buns for burgers, pulled pork sandwiches, and the like.  Usually I just make my grandma’s 2 hour buns (or more likely, the whole wheat version), but sometimes I was something a little different, like the slight hint of caramelized onion in the bun!  It can easily elevate a plain old burger!

We’re also going to talk nerdy books today, because I read the behemoth of a book that is The Food Lab, by J Kenji Lopez-Alt.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Mexican Street Corn Salad

I love simple side dishes in the summertime!

This corn salad actually used corn that I blanched & froze last fall (that’s why the kernels are quite as plump).  The corn was lightly roasted with some onions, jalapeƱos, and garlic then mixed with a simple dressing!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Summer Salad Sandwich

Today’s recipe is inspired by this month Cook the Books Club pick, hosted by Claudia at Honey from Rock.  Claudia chose the novel Scarlet Feather by Maeve Binchy.

In CtBC, participants read the chosen book, then make and share something inspired by the book.  Click the link for all the details to join in the fun!

The novel follows Cathy Scarlet & Tom Feather as they begin their exclusive catering business in Dublin.  The book plods a long a bit (but not in a bad way), kind of like real life.

The only thing is, that while I was interested in the characters and their outcomes, the book really wasn’t all that exciting.  It didn’t grab me or elicit any emotion (other than the fact that Neil (Cathy’s husband) is narcissistic jerk!)  There were also a TON of side characters introduced with just small snippets to get the reader interested, never to be mentioned again.  I honestly thought that maybe this was the first book of a series (one of those that follows a different family member with each book) and that these characters would play some important role later on.  But alas.

I think the book would have been much stronger if that had been the case.  The book also could have done with an epilogue (what happens to Cathy & Tom?!?!  Ack! We’ll never know!)

Anyhow, I didn’t hate the book, but I didn’t love it either.  It was just ok.  I won’t be running to check out more Binchy books from the library, but I won’t actively avoid her either (oh yes, I do have a shunned author list).

Since the book follows a catering business, there is plenty of foodie inspiration, especially earlier in the book (later on it’s the same dishes mentioned over and over again – Cathy & Tom do have their favorites).

Initially, I had planned to make Yorkshire puddings, which turns out to be what I’ve always called popovers.  And they’re totally on my bucket list, but they seem like more of a winter project, to that one is tabled for now.

Since it is spring and yummy fresh produce is available, I decided to make my take on a Summer Salad Sandwich.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Crazy Brownies #SecretRecipeClub

It’s time for June’s Secret Recipe Club Reveal!  In SRC, members are secretly assigned a blog, search the archives, make something delicious and reveal!  If you’d like to join, click that link & check out all the details!

This month I was thrilled to be assigned Rebekah’s blog, Making Miracles.  I’ve admired Rebekah’s recipes for ages (we’ve participated in many blogging events together) so I was thrilled to have an excuse to try one out!

Rebekah not only blogs delicious recipes, but she is also a surrogate mom, helping families achieve their dream of having a biological baby and blog about her experience.  What an amazing gift to give to someone else!

I am always drooling over (and pinning) Rebekah’s amazing dessert recipes, so I knew that’s what I wanted to make!  My husband’s all-time favorite desserts are brownies, so when I saw the recipe for crazy brownies was intrigued.  Then I saw that the recipe called for 1 ½ cups of assorted candies.  My eyes instantly shifted over to “the bowl”. 



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