posts may contain Amazon affiliate links, which earn me a small commission when you buy (but doesn't cost you anything extra). Occasionally I receive free products and/or run sponsored posts—this will always be stated clearly in the post. Thank you for supporting this blog.

This website contains some quotations, excerpts, and screen clips from copyrighted material. These uses fall well within the copyright doctrine of "Fair Use".
Saturday, May 31, 2014

The BEST storebought + 13 homemade Coconut Macaroon Recipes to try on #NationalMacaroonDay

Klara's Gourmet Macaroons and a National Macaroon Day recipe roundup
Here I go again, celebrating a food holiday. I suppose I enjoy "celebrating" them so much more than actual holidays since the stress factor is zero. I mean, find a food you love, and there is bound to be a day set up for shouting it out loud. Case in point, today is National Macaroon Day.

Okay, so here's the funny thing - growing up, coconut macaroons were one of my favorite treats, but I didn't eat them all that often. They were one of those special things that my dad would bring home every once in a while. There was just something about that sticky, soft, gooey center set inside a delicate crisped shell...

...yet, I haven't eaten one in years. Until a few weeks ago, that is, when Klara's Gourmet offered to send me a few boxes of their cookies. It's no surprise to me that Klara's Chewy Coconut Macaroons were named as a finalist in the "Outstanding Cookie" category in the Specialty Food Association’s 2014 sofi™ Awards (winners will be announced on June 30, 2014). Why is it no surprise? Because - and I do NOT say this lightly - these were THE BEST coconut macaroons that I've ever had in my life. Hands down.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Dulce de Leche Paletas

Dulce de Leche Paletas with Cinnamon and Vanilla Beans
This month for she made, ella hace, Leslie and I are sharing PALETAS aka my absolute favorite way to kick-off summer! It is about this time every year that I announce The Summer of the Popsicle, but this year I'm running behind. I'm still hoping to bring it back this year, but no definite plans yet.

And yet, this is already the second ice pop recipe that I've shared this month (the first being my Strawberry Pink Moscato Ice Pops). The popsicle making itself hasn't slowed down.

Speaking of popsicle making, my good friend and she made, ella hace partner-in-crime, Leslie told me that she and the kids made like FIVE types of paletas over the past weekend. It's really no wonder that I dig this chick so much.
Friday, May 23, 2014

Carrot Cake Blondies inspired by Bridesmaids | #FoodnFlix

Carrot Cake Blondies
For the past few years now, the Food 'n Flix crew has managed to sneak some sort of wedding-related movie into our movie picks during wedding season. This year is no exception. We're kicking off that time of year with Evelyne's pick this month - Bridesmaids!

Bridesmaids, of course, has both of the usual suspects: cake and booze. What would a wedding be without them? But there are some other fun foodie aspects woven into the background if you're looking for them. While watching the film again (I hadn't seen it since it first came out), I wrote down things like:

  • Brazilian food ...but, not so appetizing when relating to the horribly disgusting and ridiculously funny "bathroom humor" scene. I passed on that idea.
  • Pink Lemonade ...inspired by the beautiful, fresh, and breezy lemonade offered to Annie as she arrives (still in her car) at Lillian's bridal shower.
  • Ginormous Heart-Shaped Cookie ...but then I'd have to put it on an easel and beat it up (it'd be too hard to resist).
  • Artichoke Dip ...because apparently Annie's mom makes a mean one.
  • Tuna Fish Salad with Maple Syrup Just no.
  • Scotch ...mmm, Scotch.
Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Shrimp Fettuccine in Creamy Hard Cider Sauce

Shrimp Fettuccinne in Creamy Hard Cider Sauce
I have this lofty goal of streamlining my liquor shelves. Although I've always cooked and baked with booze without a second thought, I started making a point of doing so a while back. You see, one of the benefits of being a food and beverage writer is that oftentimes, free bottles of booze show up at your front door. The (very small) downside of that is that those bottles can start to take over.

So yes, adding the booze to the food I'm making has become quite deliberate. Yet, the amount of bottles seem to be increasing instead of decreasing. Of course, the fact that I also buy booze of my own accord doesn't help. But you can hardly blame me for not being able to resist a good deal.

The grocery store that I go to most often will sometimes have a cart near the check-out that is filled with marked down bottles of wine or beer. Would you be able to pass up a 6-pack of Hard Cider for $5.00? Crisp, bubbly, and refreshing...yeah, obviously I'm not.
Sunday, May 18, 2014

Lentil and Fingerling Potato Salad w/ Warm Bacon Dressing

This post is sponsored by the Idaho Potato Commission. All opinions are my own.
Lentil and Fingerling Potato Salad w/ Warm Bacon Dressing
This week the Sunday Supper Movement is partnering with the Idaho Potato Commission to bring you a menu full of Potato Salad Possibilities. We have so many mouthwatering variations, that I know you'll find some to add to your own menus throughout the next couple of seasons!

Now, let's talk potato salad. There are as many kinds under the sun as there are people. Some are coated in a creamy mayonnaise base. Others are infused with tangy vinegar. And then there are the ones that fall somewhere in between. Guess what? As long as they're made well, I love them all.

Growing up, German Potato Salad was my absolute favorite. My grandma made it all summer long, so those tender potato slices laced with onion, bacon, and zingy vinegar are ingrained in my soul. And back then, I didn't like mayo, therefore I didn't like mayo-based salads - so hers was the end-all.
Friday, May 16, 2014

Wild Rice and Onion Baguettes

Wild Rice and Onion Baguettes
Is today seriously the 16th already? Apprently it is. That means that it's time to reveal the Bread Baking Babes bread and kitchen of the month! Babe Karen of Bake My Day has chosen a bread that is fairly hands-off. It can be mixed and kneaded and then stored in the fridge overnight (or over a couple of nights), and then be formed, let to rise, and baked when you're ready: Wild Rice and Onion Bread.

Initially I planned to turn the dough into rolls and add them to my Easter bread basket. But that meal came and went in the blink of an eye. And I forgot. So, on to Plan B (which had not yet been thought out).

I toyed with making a boule or a sandwich loaf until I remembered my lonely baguette pan. I think it's been in the same spot for so long that I don't really see it anymore. Do you know what I mean? My eyes just sort of graze over it like it's part of the woodwork. Somehow I managed to actually see it, and then I knew my decision was clear. I needed baguettes.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Pasta w/ Black Garlic, Kale, and a Poached Egg

Pasta with Black Garlic, Kale, and a Poached Egg
I know that I must sound like a broken record when it comes to my #WeekdaySupper posts. Simple, real food is the best food. Especially when you're in a hurry. Of course, I also talk about preparation, but today's meal can be made without advance preparation and still be on the table in far less than 30 minutes.

I always have pasta in my pantry and eggs in the fridge. With the addition of only a few simple veggies, herbs, spices, and some oil, I've always got a great meal.

I recently bought a pound and a half of black garlic. That's a lot, by the way. So, I've been using it like crazy. Sliced very thin, and tossed sauteed with a bit of oil, a few red chile flakes, and a huge handful of baby kale, it made the perfect flavor-packed, yet super simple meal when added to some pasta.
Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Gingerbread w/ Orange & Bourbon inspired by Delicious!

Gingerbread with Orange and Bourbon inspired by Ruth Reichl's Delicious
In 1998, I picked up Tender at the Bone, and didn't put it down until I'd finished it. I'd heard of Ruth Reichl before then; I may have even read a thing or two and enjoyed it - an article, a cookbook. But I devoured Tender at the Bone with the voraciousness that only a person with permanent food-on-the-brain can. And Ruth Reichl's place in the top of my favorite authors list was cemented.

Now, it's sort of a funny story. This was before I started blogging or writing (publicly). I saw a sign up at my local library that the (then) new release would be their book club pick. I'd never participated in a book club before. When the day arrived, I toted in my already well-worn copy of the book, a pencil, and a few pages of notes. All about food. How could one read Tender at the Bone without an urge to head into the kitchen? I was about to find out.

To my utter shock and dismay, not a single one of the other 7 or 8 ladies mentioned THE FOOD even one time. Not once. Somehow, it didn't seem to even warrant a blip on their radar. I waited expectantly. And then, after waiting for all of them to finish sharing their thoughts, I spoke. Or maybe I gushed. Food IS my favorite subject, after all. I was seriously dumbstruck when all of these older (than me) ladies told me that they didn't even think about the food references. What was there to think about? It just was.
Sunday, May 11, 2014

Maple Almond Butter

Maple Almond Butter
Last year for Mother's Day, I shared some Lavender Shortbread Cookies that were inspired by my mom's dreams of running a lavender farm. This year, I decided to go in a slightly different direction and share something I love for Mother's Day. I mean, I'm a mom - so that's okay, right?

It's something that (in my house) I, and I alone, love: almond butter. That's a good thing and a bad thing all wrapped into one little glass jar. It's good because that means I don't have to go thorugh the experience of craving some, and then going to grab the jar only to realize that it's no longer there. Because somebody else ate it all and didn't tell me so I could replace it.  It's bad for the exact same reason. It's there waiting for me to eat it. All. Every single time I walk by and spy it on the shelf or in the fridge. Oh, let me grab a spoon...

Really. I do that. It's entirely addictive. But in all fairness, I do the same thing with cookie butter. And chocolate hazelnut spread. Apparently I enjoy eating expensive spreadable things from a jar.
Friday, May 9, 2014

Spring Panzanella Salad w/ Balsamic and Spring Herb Vinaigrette

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Pompeian. All opinions are 100% mine.
Spring Panzanella Salad w/ Balsamic and Spring Herb Vinaigrette
Did you know that May is both National Vinegar Month and National Salad Month? Somebody totally planned that. And that's what I call great planning. I don't know about you, but my favorite way to dress a salad is with a vinaigrette, which is exactly why I'm excited to be partnering with Pompeian to bring you a simple, yet bright and tasty vinaigrette to enjoy over what may just be the perfect spring salad. If I do say so myself.

I've mentioned in the past how my favorite salads are the "salad as a meal" type of salads. Sure, I like a little roughage to close out a satisfying meal, but salads can be so much more than that. And personally, if I'm choosing to eat a salad as my meal, I usually opt out of heavy dressings, and instead choose a simple oil and vinegar-based one instead.

So, you're probably tired of hearing about the long, grueling winter that we had this year. So am I. But, it bears mention since we are just now beginning to see some glorious green vegetables starting to grow here in my part of the country, and we're already into May. After month upon month of frozen ground and either preserved or trucked in produce, I can finally find asparagus, baby greens, and even tender herbs bursting from the earth in my own backyard (or lining the stalls of my farmers' market).
Sunday, May 4, 2014

Strawberry Pink Moscato Ice Pops

Strawberry Pink Moscato Ice Pops
This month the Sunday Supper Movement is partnering with Gallo Family Vineyards to bring you some tempting recipes that feature one of Gallo's Moscato wines in honor of the upcoming National Moscato Day!

We could either use Moscato in our recipes or pair it with our dish. I knew right away that I wanted to infuse it into my dish. The biggest dilemma (for me) was choosing which of Gallo Family's three varieties of Moscato I wanted to use: white, red, or pink.

I enjoy all three, so my decision-making process really came down to my mood. It's only the beginning of May and spring is just getting underway here in my part of the country, but after such a long and toiling winter, I'm already thinking summer and sunshine!
Friday, May 2, 2014

Pretzel Croissants Challenge Answered - Bread Baking Babes and Buddies

Pretzel Croissants Challenge Answered - Bread Baking Babes and Buddies
In the middle of April, I announced that I was the Bread Baking Babes kitchen-of-the-month, and with that my bread choice - Pretzel Croissants. Many of the BBBabes rose to the challenge, you can see the results in this photo collage above.

Then I set forth the challenge for any and all bakers to join us in our folding, rolling, and most of all, patience endeavors! I issued a call for all would-be Bread Baking Buddies to try their hands at combining two of my personal all-time favorite bready-things and making them one.

Four brave (and ridiculously talented) souls rose to the challenge, and earned their BBBuddies badges this month. Let's just say, that not only did they attempt it, they knocked it out of the park! Here are this month's Pretzel Croissants by the Bread Baking Buddies.
Thursday, May 1, 2014

Toasted Coconut Oreo Cookie Balls

Toasted Coconut Oreo Cookie Balls
Sometimes it takes me a while to catch up with trends. I probably shouldn't admit that I've never made Cake Pops or Push-Up Cakes, and don't even get me started on the Macaron debacle! So, it should come as no surprise that I'm just now getting around to making Oreo Cookie Balls for the first time.

The story sort of starts with the classic "why mess with a good thing" debate. I grew up dipping old-fashioned Oreos in milk. The end. I wasn't even the kind of kid who liked to twist them apart and lick off the cream. Probably because I always thought (and still do) that the cream by itself is just too sweet. I did like the plain cookie, but if I ate it, I'd just be wasting the cream. See my dilemma?

But as my story usually goes, I give in. I succumb to the trend. I mean, a trend isn't a trend for no reason, right? People seem to like them. Plus, I like to try things at least once. Even if I'm a year or two behind everybody else.