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Sunday, September 24, 2017

Apple-Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal #appleweek

 *Disclosure: I received product to sample from ­­­­­Pyrex and Flavahan's Oatmeal.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Today’s #appleweek recipe is sponsored by Flavahan’s Oatmeal and Pyrex.

I was so excited to combine oatmeal and apples for this event!  And once I saw the absolutely gorgeous pie plate from Pyrex, I knew that I wanted to try my hand at another delicious baked oatmeal!

I was a oatmeal hater until I stumbled upon a fantastic baked pumpkin spice oatmeal a couple years ago (it’s a texture thing).  Then I created a salted caramel mocha version last year (drool), so I wanted to pull back and make a “not stuffed with chocolate” version this year.

Welcome to #AppleWeek 2017!

Welcome to #AppleWeek 2017!

This week is a celebration on all things apple!  Carlee from Cooking with Carlee is our wonderful host plus, we’ve got some amazing sponsors who are giving away some super amazing prize packs! 

So scroll through, take a look at the prizes, enter the giveaway, and stay tuned for all sorts of amazing apple recipes this week!

Prize Pack #1 from Rodelle:

A baker's dream come true! This delicious prize pack includes premium vanilla products, gourmet dutch-processed cocoa and specialty extracts. Items include: Pure Vanilla Extract, Gourmet Dutch-Processed Baking Cocoa, Gourmet Vanilla Extract, Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans, Organic Vanilla Extract, Organic Chocolate Extract, Almond Extract, Vanilla Paste, and some fun baking supplies to whip up your next batch of goodies with! Prize Pack #2 from Dreamfarm and Casabella:
Items include: a 2 'n 1 veggie brush a clip n strip shears a set up levups a set of levoons

Prize Pack #3 from Flahavan's Irish Oatmeal:

Prize Pack #4 from Pyrex and Chicago Cutlery:

Prize Pack #5 from Rainier Fruit:

A prize pack from Rainier Fruit including a box of freshly farvested Rainier Fruit apples, a stainless steel apple slicer, apple corer, "Baked with Love" ceramic pie pan, copper apple loaf pan and a $25 Williams Sonoma gift card!
Prize Pack #6 from Veggie Wash:
A prize pack from Veggie Wash
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

4-Ingredient Honey Caramel Sauce

Welcome to this month Fantastical Food Fight, hosted by Sarah at A Fantastical Sharing of Recipes!  This month’s theme is honey!

There are many directions to take with this amazing ingredient!  I love it!

Ultimately, I was reminded of a honey caramel ice cream topping I had once and was determined to try to replicate it!

When I found a recipe for a super easy 4-ingredient caramel sauce, I knew I had to try it!

The caramel sauce wasn’t quite what I had in mind when I set out – it is even better!  It has an intense toffee flavor that has me licking spoonfuls of the stuff!  It is so decadent!  It is phenomenal drizzled on ice cream or apple slices!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Quick & Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup #SoupSwappers

Soup Saturday is up again and yours truly is hosting!

Since school and fall activities started up just a few short weeks ago, I thought “Quick Weeknight Soups” would be a great theme for this month!

Even though my boys are still in elementary school, some evenings get so hectic!  Going back to working part time should help alleviate some of the craziness, but I know there will still be nights when fast meals will be a must!

I’ve made a couple versions of Chicken Tortilla Soup over the years, and while I love the fresh tomatoes version, it is a bit more time consuming.

This version (which also includes some beans for heartiness) is on the table in 15 minutes.  It is lightning fast but super delicious and flavorful!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Grecian Chicken & Orzo

One skillet meal time again!  Don’t you just love these?  Fewer dirty pans and the meals are always crazy fast and super delicious!  This one is not different!

Tomatoes, mushrooms, lemon, and olives make up the flavor profile of this dish and it’s absolutely stunning.  Even people are aren’t very keen on olives (read: my entire family) with enjoy this time (they’ll just pass on the garnish thankyouverymuch).

Monday, September 4, 2017

Teriyaki Beef Stir Fry

Stir Fry is always a big hit in my house.  I love it because it is packed full of veggies yet so flavorful that the kids eat them all up without complaint.  

Actually, I take that back, Spud is slowly convincing himself that mushrooms make him gag because they don’t taste like anything.  Except, of course, for the ones he mistakes as chicken and eats without issue.  Ummm…ok.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Chicken Bacon Ranch Skillet #InternationalBaconDay

Ok, so Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta salad is a delicious summertime staple, whether you buy it at the grocery store or make it yourself (note to self: umm…get on that).  So why not make a tasty, quick, one skillet dinner version? 

Especially when it’s International Bacon Day?  Heyo! Why not indeed?

This was also one of those “I took chicken out of the freezer this morning, now what?” moments when I walked into the kitchen at 5:00 with no plan whatsoever.

I tossed the chicken in the pan to start cooking and started rooting through the refrigerator.  When I came across some leftover bacon (don’t ask me how leftover bacon managed to happen – I have no idea), an idea started forming and Chicken, Bacon, Ranch Skillet is where it ended up about a half hour later!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Puppy Chow #FoodnFlix

I’m running in at the last minute again for this month’s Food‘n Flix recipe!  Where does the time go?!?

This month’s flick was hosted by Courtney at Fictional Fare who chose the movie Second Hand Lions.

I saw this movie years ago, but I didn’t remember a whole lot of it, so I was excited to rewatch with my foodie goggles on!  I almost watched this one with the kids, but the reviews were slightly iffy for my sons’ ages, so I decided against it.  After rewatching, I think they could have watched it, but there was some mild language and definitely some violence, so I’m happy with my choice.

In this movie, Walter gets dumped with his two uncles for the summer by his flighty, neglectful mother, Mae.    Walter’s uncles are shrouded with mystery.  Also, they love hunting or just shooting things in general (especially traveling salesmen) and that’s eventually where the lions come in.

The uncles order a lion for some hunting, but inadvertently purchase a sickly ex-circus lion.  Walter convinces them to let him nurse the lion back to health and more antics ensue.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Eclipse Pizza #DarkRecipes #SolarEclipse

It’s solar eclipse day!

Do you live somewhere where you get to experience this phenomenon?  Are you traveling?  I’m a bit too far north to experience the eclipse in totality this time, but I will get to see the partial eclipse and you can bet I’ll be catching some footage online!

To celebrate this unique phenomenon, some of my blogging friends are cooking up some eclipse-inspired recipes and treats today!

My Dark Mojito would have been perfect for this event (are you counting?  That’s the second event that recipe would’ve been perfect for!), but I posted it *just* before this event came on my radar.

But that’s okay, because I ended up making something the whole family could enjoy and give my kids a science lesson at the same time – eclipse pizza!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Zuppa Toscana (Olive Garden Copycat) #SoupSwappers

This month’s Soup Saturday Swappers is hosted by Heather from All Roads Lead to the Kitchen, who chose the theme: Copycat Soups!

Now I’ll be honest, I almost never order soup when I go out, so this was a challenge for me.  I already shared my Copycat Campbells Tomato Soup recipe back in January and I wasn’t sure if I would think of something for this challenge.

Then I remembered Zuppa Toscana.  This one is an Olive Garden favorite – though I’ve never actually had it at Olive Garden!  I’ve always made the homemade copycat version – perfect for this challenge!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Tiramisu Cupcakes

It’s time for this month’s Fantastical Food Fight, hosted by Sarah at a Fantastical Sharing of Recipes!  This month, the theme is rum!

You guys, I have made so many rum based cocktails this summer (Frozen Banana Daiquiri, Mermaid Martini, & Dark Mojito), I was fresh out of ideas for this one!

Then I did my Coffee-Infused Butter experiment (oh yes, you definitely need to click that link & check it out – Science!) and I knew right away that the coffee-infused butter and resulting buttermilk were destined to become Tiramisu Cupcakes and Coffee Cream Cheese Frosting – yaaaassss!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Homemade Puff Pastry #JuliaChild

Did you know that today would be Julia Child’s 105th birthday?

In honor of the culinary great’s birthday, I joined a few of my blogging friends to cook up some Julia-inspired recipes.

Where better, I thought, than to start off by reading Julie and Julia

And wow.

What a disappointment that was.  I really should have researched the book more before picking it up.  I naively assumed that the book would chronical more of Julia Child’s life (rather, the author’s narcissistic narrative was abruptly interrupted by an unrelated imagined scene from Julia Child’s younger years).  Instead the book followed miserable secretary, Julie Powel in her pursuit to cook all of the recipes from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year.  What was meant to be endearing and comical simply wasn’t.  Basically, Julie flounders through life hating her job, she claims to be happily married but treats her husband like garbage, and has the housekeeping skills to make most maids turn heel and run. 

Oh, and there weren’t any recipes *cries*

Needless to say, I wasn’t a fan.

But what I gleaned from the book was a) what I really wanted was a memoir/biography about Julia Child (this was so not it), b) I want to check out Mastering the Art of French Cooking from the library (it’s always checked out!) and c) butter.

It seems that most of the recipes in both books include copious amount of butter, which got me thinking of one of my bucket list recipes: Puff pastry. 

It’s one of those ingredients that seems to show up time and time again.  I feel like I’m constantly passing over recipes that use puff pastry, because I just don’t want to buy the frozen stuff.  I don’t know why, but I just don’t like the idea of frozen pastry dough!

So without even ever having experience with frozen puff pastry dough, I decided to tackle the homemade version!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Coffee-Infused Butter

Last month, I was at a pre-bachelorette party luncheon for my soon to be sister-in-law when suddenly the conversation turned to kitchen experimentation.  Namely, one of the other bridesmaids had heard about coffee-infused butter.

That got my gears spinning.

How to infuse butter with coffee?

My mind immediately went to cold brew coffee.  With cold brew coffee, coffee grounds are placed in room temperature water overnight, then strained out.

So I wondered, could the same processed be used with heavy cream, with the end goal of making homemade, coffee infused butter?

Well, there was nothing to do but try!   I stirred the grounds into the cream and refrigerated it overnight. 

The next step was fraught with difficulty.  Heavy cream is very thick.  And heavy cream mixed with coffee grounds has a bad attitude and doesn’t want to strain out.  At All.

I quickly discovered that my cheese cloth was too loose of a weave and let coffee grounds through.  Paper towels weren’t sturdy enough for all the squeezing involved, and the mixture was too thick to go through a fine mesh strainer.

I eventually did my best with the cheese cloth, then strained and strained and strained again through a fat skimmer until the grounds were removed from the cream. 

In the future, I would recommend using (new) nylon pantyhose or something else with a similar tight weave for straining.

Despite all the difficultly, I finally arrived at the beating stage and I was sweating again.  What if the fat molecules in the cream had bound to the coffee grounds and this was an exercise in futility?

Monday, August 7, 2017

Steaks with Bourbon Mushroom Sauce

Usually my family is steak purists.  A good cut of beef, salt, pepper, and the grill.

But sometimes that steak deserves an amazing sauce to go with it.  This is one of those days.

These steaks are topped with an amazing mixture of caramelized onions, mushrooms, cream, and a splash of bourbon, just because.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Chicago-Style Hot Dog Cups #TailgateParty

Okay, how is it already August?  Where did the summer go?

The boys and I have been thoroughly enjoying our summer but it has gone way too fast!

With August here and school just around the corner, that means it’s almost tailgating season! 

I was inspired (again) by one of those facebook food videos!  The one I saw was for hot dog cups!  Too fun!

The super easy way to make these is to use refrigerated biscuits, but I made these kind of spur of the moment, so I ended up making my own biscuit dough this time.

I actually made 2 versions of these.  The first was the biscuit lining and the hot dog mixture only because I knew picky #1 and picky #2 would never eat the Chicago-Style toppings (actually, Spud ended up adding the pickles and mustard to his).

Then I went full Chicago-Style for me and Hubs.  So delicious!

These are a totally fun twist on a classic hot dog and great if you’re feeding a crowd!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Minion Multigrain Banana Pancakes

Hubs has been out of town for the last week and a half, so the little dudes and I decided to treat ourselves to a movie date!

We’ve loved the first two Despicable Me movies (and the Minions movie) so we decided to watch the third installment (the kids cracked up the whole time (it was pretty cute!))

Afterward, I decided to surprise the kids with Minion pancakes!

I adapted my favorite multigrain pancakes to make them banana pancakes (bananas are a throwback to the first movie - they didn’t show up this time!)

You guys – the kids were ecstatic!

Right away Spud shouted, “It’s Kevin & Bob & Stuart!”

Friday, July 28, 2017

Gourmet Burgers with Chipotle Mayo

It’s not summertime without a fantastic burger recipe!  Plus today it’s Nation Burger Day!

Today I decided to play around with some gourmet burger toppings, pairing up homemade chipotle mayo/fry sauce with provolone on the burgers.

They’re so delicious and perfect for those hot summer grilling days!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Roasted Blueberry Gin & Tonic (aka Unicorn Blood G&T) #NationalBlueberryMonth

Did you know that July is National Blueberry month?  The ladies from Festive Foodies hosted by Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm are getting together with an awesome blueberry bonanza!

I love tossing blueberries into my yogurt and I love me some blueberry pie, but they’re not something I cook with super often.

Luckily for me, I already had a recipe in the works for #PotterPotluck hosted by the Gingered Whisk for Fandom Foodies!  Because July 31st, as Potterheads know, is Harry Potter’s birthday!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Ice Cream Stuffed Watermelon Wedges

This month’s Food ‘n Flix is hosted by Chef Sarah Elizabeth who chose the 80’s classic, Dirty Dancing.

Would you believe that I had never seen Dirty Dancing in its entirety until now?  I was somehow under the impression that it was about a dance competition (uh, no) and found that I quite enjoyed the movie!

I’m not going to rehash the movie here, because I’m guessing that most have seen it (or aren’t interested) plus I’m terrible at writing synopses. 

Anyhow, I was inspired by the iconic phase “I carried a watermelon”.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Honey Mustard Chicken

This is one of my favorite chicken marinades.

It strikes the perfect balance between honey, mustard, and a delicious smokiness from the paprika!

I especially love serving this chicken over giant dinner salads.  Such a perfect summertime meal!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Peppermint Patty No Churn Ice Cream

Yay!  I’m finally back to participate in this month’s Fantastical Food Fight, hosted by Sarah at a Fantastical Sharing of recipes.  I sat out the last two months, because a) graduate school started and I felt like I was running around like a headless chicken and b) the themes really weren’t in my wheelhouse.  I love a challenge, but I’m just not into fruity desserts (the themes were cherry cobbler & peaches & cream).

But this month, for National Ice Cream month, the theme is Ice Cream! Whoop!

Dude was especially excited about this one, because he was eager to create a “mint ice cream like the store, mom” and add some peppermint patties.  And I was pretty excited to try a no-churn ice cream since my ice cream maker (which wasn’t very good in the first place) when kaput as I made my Fresh Mint Chocolate Chip Ice cream earlier this month.

“Ice cream like the store” means creamy (the first version was very crystalized due to ice cream maker issues) and minty, but not fresh mint minty, mint extract minty.  Oh, and plenty of green food coloring.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Chilled Borscht #SoupSwappers

Today’s recipe is filling two roles: first is Soup Saturday Swappers hosted by Paula at The Saucy Southerner, who chose the theme Chilled Soups.  The second is this month’s Cook the Books Club hosted by Simona from Briciole who chose the book Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Longing by Anya von Bremzen.

I have to tell you - I cringed immediately, anytime there's a title that  long, I nearly always find the book loathsome and pretentious. 

In the book, the author strives to meld a history lesson, memoir, and food into a seamless, touching story.

Instead, the book read like a dry textbook, followed by a memoir with too many people to keep track of.  I nearly quit reading a quarter of the way through.  I actually stopped about half way because I just did. not. care!

You can see my full review on GoodReads if you're interested.

However, I did get my foodie inspiration in the form of Borscht, which is mentioned several times as a warm winter meal and once as a light, chilled summer meal.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Huevos Rancheros Nachos

During the school year, I read the book, Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks with one of my 3rd grade reading groups.  It was a great book about overcoming bullying and being the new kid and self-acceptance and my students absolutely loved it! 

Plus, it was a total foodie book!

It was split into 5 sections, based on the school lunches, plus there were other mentions of the main characters’ favorite foods, like Huevos Rancheros!

I’ve always wanted to make Huevos Rancheros, so I decided to give them a whirl!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Copycat Qdoba Chicken Quesadillas

My family loves going to Qdoba.

We love the queso (enough to make a couple versions at home – here and here) and the chicken quesadillas!

Spud recently got on a Qdoba tear and decided that we needed to go there twice in one week (we typically eat out every couple weeks or so unless we’re traveling).

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Fresh Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

July is National Ice Cream month, so let’s kick things off with an ice cream social!

Spud and I love mint chocolate chip ice cream, so we decided to give that a whirl using the fresh mint we have growing in the backyard!

Things were going swimmingly until my ice cream maker (which is fickle at the best of times) decided to just plain old quit.  Dude (who wants to be an inventor when he grows up) dismantled it in the garage and found it riddled with cheap parts.  It’s a goner.

So I had to take my beautiful custard, toss it in the freezer, stir it every so often, and hope for the best!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Firecracker Jell-o Cups #Cookoutweek

It’s the last day of #CookoutWeek so I decided to end things with a BANG!

This is a super fun, super easy, kid-friendly 4th of July recipe!

Plus they’re super cute and look like they took a lot of time (but didn’t!)

I made them in a number of different glasses and I loved the different presentations!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Applewood Smoked Pork, Apple & Walnut Salad #cookoutweek

*Disclosure: I received product to sample from ­­­­Smokin’-O’s.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Today’s Cookout Week recipe is sponsored by Smokin’-O’s.

Smokin’-O’s using an awesome process to bring real wood fire taste to foods grilled on outdoor gas grills.  This family-owned business uses real, responsibly harvested wood with no fillers or glues to their unique product.  Check them out below!

Since Hubs in the grill master in our house, I handed him some pork chops and the Smokin’-O’s and let him have his fun!  He watch the handy instructional video and was able to get the Smokin’-O’s going on his first try.  He had a blast turning his outdoor grill into a smoker and I’m just beginning to think of the amazing smoky things we can make next!

We simply enjoyed the smoked pork chops the first day, then we made these delicious salads with the leftovers!  Yum!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Dark Mojito #cookoutweek #FoodnFlix

It’s #CookoutWeek Day 3 and today’s recipe is joining forces (at the last minute) with Food ‘n Flix!

This month, Evelyne from CulturEatz chose the movie Volver.

The movie is set in Spain and stars Penelope Cruz and guys.  It is a weird, weird movie.  I can’t even begin to give a synopsis, because it’s out there.  Also subtitles.

What I did get was mojitos.  And a middle of the night body dump.  And also I only had dark rum.  Therefore, dark mojitos!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Red, White, & Blue Nachos #July4Recipes #CookoutWeek

It’s the second day of cookout week, plus, the ladies at Festive Foodies are gearing up for the 4th of July with red, white, & blue colored foods!

The two themes merge perfectly!

This recipe was actually Spud’s idea!  He found the recipe in his High Five magazine and wanted to make it right away!

It’s a simple kid friendly recipe, but sometimes those are the best on crazy busy summer nights!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

#CookoutWeek Introduction & Giveaway!


Get those grills fired up... because it's #CookoutWeek 2017! This week, I'm joining forces with over 40 food blogger friends to bring you delicious recipes perfect for every backyard BBQ, picnic, summer party, or cookout. We also have a fabulous giveaway featuring products from the brands who have made #CookoutWeek possible! You can enter below to win:
  • From blog host The PinterTest Kitchen: $100 Amazon gift card, to use to buy all the supplies you need for your next cookout
  • From our sponsor The French Farm: A gift pack of gourmet products hand-crafted by small businesses and using only the finest ingredients - La Favorita Genovese Pesto, Caprichos del Guadalquivir Cadenera Orange Marmalade, and L’Abeille Occitane Lavender Honey
  • From our sponsor Smokin'-Os: A sampler pack of their "smokin'-os" wood rings, to help you add wood-fired, smokey taste to your grilled foods, even if you don't own a smoker
  • From our sponsor Primal Kitchen: $200 of Primal Kitchen goodies, including condiments made with avocado oil and bars and shakes with grass-fed collagen
  • From our sponsor Langers Juice Company: Your choice of 10 bottles of Langers Juice, with flavors including traditional Apple and Grape, as well as interesting mixes such as Pineapple Orange Coconut, Cranberry Blood Orange, and Mango Peach
  • From our sponsor True Made Foods: A 3-bottle sampler pack of sauces with real flavors made from real vegetables and less sugar - Ketchup, BBQ, and Veracha
This prize pack has an ARV of over $400! You have until July 1 at 11:59 PM to enter by following our sponsors and bloggers on social media:

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Stay tuned... remember, throughout the week, all of the participating bloggers will be posting delicious cookout recipes.

Here are all the bloggers who are part of #CookoutWeek 2017: The PinterTest Kitchen2 Cookin MamasA Day in the Life on the FarmA Kitchen Hoor's AdventuresAmy's Cooking AdventuresAshees CookbookBaking SenseBody RebootedBottom Left of the MittenChef Sarah ElizabethCook's HideoutCookaholic WifeCooking with SapanaEat, Drink, Be Healthy!FairyburgerFaith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered AccompliceFamily Around the TableFix Me a Little LunchFor the Love of FoodFull Belly SistersHezzi-D's Books and CooksHome Sweet HomesteadJoin Us, Pull up a ChairKate's Recipe BoxKelly Lynn's Sweets and TreatsLittle House Big AlaskaMy Southern Sweet ToothOur Good LifeOven Tales By SyamaPalatable PastimeRants From My Crazy KitchenSavory MomentsSeduction in the KitchenSidewalk ShoesThat RecipeThe Freshman CookThe Mad Scientists KitchenThe Pajama ChefThe Redhead BakerThe Saucy SouthernerThe Spiffy CookieThe Weekday GourmetTramplingroseTurnips 2 TangerinesUncle Jerry's Kitchen

As one of the bonus entries in the giveaway, leave a comment on this blog post... what is your favorite dish to eat at a cookout?

Grilled Asparagus with Balsamic Caper Vinaigrette #cookoutweek

*Disclosure: I received product to sample from ­­­­­The French Farm.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Welcome to Cookout Week!

My first post is sponsored by the wonderful people at The French Farm.

The French Farm brings the taste of Europe to the US by importing gourmet foods from small, family-owned businesses.

Check them out below on social media!

The French Farm sent me Balsamic Vinegar and Capers.

I decided that the two were a perfect match, so I tossed them together in an amazing vinaigrette for asparagus!

Grilled asparagus is the perfect side dish for any BBQ!



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