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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Cardamom Ice Cream Root Beer Floats

Cardamom Ice Cream Root Beer Floats
A little over a week ago, I visited Seattle for the first time. I was there to attend IFBC (International Food Bloggers Conference), but also to see this city that's been on my list of "must visit" places since I fell for a little band named Pearl Jam so many years ago. I packed a lot of good stuff into two and a half days. There's so much I want to share, but it takes me time to process and sort. I'll be dividing my experience up into bits and pieces and sharing them with you over the next few weeks (or so), starting today with an unassuming little root beer float.

It was actually the burger that I was after. That morning, Bea and I had visited the Space Needle. Being the good friend that I am, I forced her to go to the top. She insisted that she'd rather just sit underneath, sipping from a bottle of something wrapped in a paper bag. She informed me that she did not like heights. So I informed her right back that I didn't either, but there was not a chance in hell that I was going to leave Seattle without viewing it from above—tourist trap or not (for the record, it's so much more than that). Let's just say she thanked me for being so...persistent.

But I digress. The Space Needle is a story for another day. My point being that while we bought a ticket for it, we decided to take advantage of the discount you receive when buying a ticket to the Chihuley Garden and Glass at the same time. The plan was to come back once it started to get dark, though. So we hopped back on the Monorail after walking around the Pike Place Market district for a while on Saturday evening. Our plan was to check out the museum (not technically a museum, but that's what I'm calling it) and hightail it back to the hotel in plenty of time to spend time at the Taste of Seattle and Gourmet Fair that closed out that night of the conference.
Monday, September 29, 2014

Funny Girl cocktail | #FoodnFlix

Funny Girl Cocktail for #FoodnFlix
There's a reason I'm always so proud of myself when I complete a Food 'n Flix challenge early in the month. It's because I've given myself time to digest, if you will. I've watched our chosen movie at least once, brainstormed, thought of an inspired dish. This month is not one of those months. As a matter of fact, I'm sliding in waaaaaay under the wire. There are advantages to being "the creator".

I had every intention of posting at least on time this month. I knew the end of the month was set to be extra busy, so I rented Funny Girl from library at the beginning of the month...and wound up returning it without watching it. Grrrrr, I hate that. I just never found the time in my day, and didn't want to pay out the wazoo for it, so back it went. So, fast-forward to the end of the month...and renting it again. Apparently I spaced the due date, because I rented it a day or two before the actual post was due. With my post-trip scatterbrain, I just couldn't get together what I wanted to make. And I wanted to make the obvious—Filet Mignon with Sauce Bordelaise, in honor of the famous exchange between Nick and Fanny:

Speaking in French, Nick orders "filet de boeuf, sauce bordelaise".
Fanny remarks,  "I would have ordered roast beef and potatoes."
To which, Nick replies with a smile, "I did".
Sunday, September 28, 2014

Spicy Carrot-flecked Chicken Sliders

Buffalo Chicken Sliders
This is one of those times that the photos just don't do the dish justice. That's my fault. I've been so preoccupied this week. That always happens when I return from a trip—it takes me a few weeks or so just to get my brain and my surroundings back on a schedule. But despite the lousy pictures, these sliders are too tasty, too perfect for game day, and too simple not to share with you during our #10DaysofTailgate event.

Basically, they're just chicken meatballs. You could make them a bit smaller and crowd them onto a long crusty bun for a buffalo sub. Or just take one and center it on a slider bun for easy grab-n-go bites. Okay, I know it looks like even the slider bun is too big for these little guys, but once you actually give 'em a smash down to prepare them for a bite, the meatball spreads and fills up that extra space you see.

These could be made using your favorite hot sauce, but if you can get your hands on a bottle of Carrot Karma Hot Sauce by Intensity Academy, that is without a doubt, the way to go. Made with only a few natural ingredients, it is carrot-based, and therefore leaves beautiful orange flecks of sweet heat (there's also habanero in there) throughout the chicken and on the bun.
Saturday, September 27, 2014

Potato Chorizo Breakfast Casserole

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Simply Potatoes. All opinions are 100% mine.
Potato Chorizo Breakfast Casserole
Today I'm partnering with Simply Potatoes to bring you a recipe featuring part of their refrigerated, prepared potato line. Since I already use these products in my own kitchen, I'm happy to have the opportunity to share them with you today. If you're not familiar with Simply Potatoes by Crystal Farms, they are a fresh (never frozen) potato product made with real ingredients that located in the refrigerated dairy section of the grocery store.

The main reason that I keep them on hand is because they're so darn convenient. I've mentioned this before, but my oldest child is a potatoaholic. He would happily eat them for every meal of the day, if I made them. So, you can probably guess that hash browns are an often-requested breakfast dish in my house (and not only by him). I like to keep a bag or two of Simply Potato hash browns in the fridge to meet this request. School morning are generally pretty rushed around here, and the simple fact that I can open a bag, pour the already shredded potatoes into a hot skillet with a bit of fat, and serve up them up in mere moments makes me happy.

But Simply Potatoes goes beyond hash browns for a weekday breakfast. You can find them in all forms, from diced to sliced to wedges—and with all  manners of "seasoning" (O'Brien, Garlic and Herb, Southwest Style, Rosemary & Garlic). Should I even tell you that they also have different varieties of mashed potatoes? That means everything from leisurely weekend meals to holiday sides to breakfast-for-dinner to weeknight supper side dishes are at your fingertips!
Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sticky Mango Mustard Glazed Duck Meatballs

Sticky Mango Mustard Glazed Duck Meatballs #10DaysofTailgate #meatballs #duck
I'm not usually one to hide an ingredients, or tell my family it's something other than it is. However, if I'm using something that I think they may turn their noses up at, I probably won't tell them what it is if they don't ask. Case-in-point, these meatballs. They're tender, lightly spiced duck meatballs in a sweet, spicy, sticky mango mustard glaze. Sounds good, right? My guess is that half of you said yes, the other half held back because they were made from duck. Why is that?

I think it's just because duck isn't a meat that everybody grows up eating (and is therefore accustomed to it). Duck is often dismissed as a special meal (read, holiday meal) meat. If you know me, you that's an assessment that I just don't agree with.  Duck doesn't have to be a roasted, laquered whole bird garnished festively—though that is a happy picture. Try working instead with something as simple as ground duck, and using it where you would normally use beef, pork, or turkey.

Now, just in case this is your first time here (or you weren't familiar with the fact), I am a Maple Leaf Farms (duck) Ambassador. I'm not paid to say good things about duck, my opinions are all my own. But lest you think I'm only saying good things about duck because I'm an ambassador, you can flip that around and say I'm only an ambassador because I like to say good things about duck.
Saturday, September 20, 2014

Spiced Fig and Garlic Chicken Wings

Spiced Fig and Garlic Chicken Wings #10DaysofTailgate #chickenwings #appetizer
Whether you're enjoying them outside the stadium, plucking them one by one from a huge foil pan, or getting messy inside during the game, wings are one of those ubiquitous game day foods. Some like them spicy (hand raised), some like them sweet (okay, I'll raise a hand here, too), some like them bathed in garlic (both hands and both feet raised), but you're hard-pressed to find somebody who doesn't enjoy a good chicken wing. Vegetarians—sssshhhhh. You can have cauliflower "wings" instead; I won't deny you.

So, since today is the official start of the #10DaysofTailgate, what better thing to share than a finger-lickin' batch of wings? These particular wings are simple. Beyond simple. With only three other ingredients (one of which is optional), I should probably say embarrassingly simple. But hey, they're too good not to share. Plus, they feature one of our awesome #10DaysofTailgate sponsors, Not Ketchup!

Spiced Fig = Instantly Smitten. This fruit ketchup is slightly tangy and slightly sweet, and my bottle is entirely empty. I rinsed it out and put it back on the shelf, but as of yet, it's not automatically regenerating. And for some reason, I couldn't get the idea of combining it with garlic and slathering on wings out of my head. So, that was exactly what I did.

The #10DaysofTailgate Kick-off (aka "The Program")

Our #10DaysofTailgate sponsors #tailgating #gamedayfood
How fun is it to have a kick-off to reference during a tailgating event! Just me? That's okay, I'll take it. Arm raised, cutting a tornado in the air, chant growing ever-louder, and then BOOM - let the game begin!

Today I'm joining a group of amazing bloggers and awesome sponsors to bring you a ten day tailgating event, hosted by Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla. Each day we'll be featuring recipes fit for game day, from drinks and appetizers to meats and side dishes to desserts—and everything in between.

But not only do we have good food and drink to share, we also have some fantastic products to give away! Our sponsors have generously donated all sorts of things that will come in handy on game day. Whether you're a grill-master, a condiment queen, or a side-dish sourcerer, we've got something elevate your game all season long!

This post will feature all of the info you need during the event, including a list of our sponsors and our list of giveaway items (plus the rafflecopter widget you'll need to enter for a chance to win). Let's just call this "the program". The parking lot officially opens at 9am ET today, so be sure to come back and check out the recipes. Now, I won't be posting a new recipe every single day during the event—that's what our group (team!) is here for.
Thursday, September 18, 2014

Crockpot Chicken Tinga Tostadas

Crockpot Chicken Tinga Tostadas
It's that time of year again. The time when days grow shorter, and activities stretch out longer. School really throws a wrench in things, doesn't it? By the time you've picked up the kids from their various practices, meets, games, and clubs it feels too late...or you feel too start thinking about dinner. Don't you love it when you actually planned ahead a wee bit? Just enough that, even as the kids are strong-arming each other to see who can get in the house first, a glorious scent fills the air in pushes back in greeting.

Yes, I'm talking about the beauty of a crockpot, people. If the welcoming blanket that envelopes the house isn't enough, the thought that dinner is basically done already will be.

I've mentioned plenty of times before that I think a keeping your slow cooker at-the-ready year-round is the way to go. It doesn't heat up the house in the summer, and it's cozy and comforting in cold weather—that's my kind of kitchen "tool" (one that doesn't gather dust). That being said, there is just something about using it when there's a chill in the air that makes using it feel right. It's probably nostalgia, and nostalgia is a powerful emotion.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Robert May's French Bread (a historical bread from 1660)

Robert May's French Bread (a 354-year old recipe) #bread
Well, the 16th is here once again, and believe it or not, I'm actually posting my Bread Baking Babes loaf on time. With my mind set on a trip to Seattle this coming weekend, I almost let the day float past without making it. But in light of my resolve to remember to slow down and bake bread, I took some time yesterday to make this simple (yet entirely appreciated) loaf.

Our host Babe for the month is Ilva from Lucullian Delights, and her assignment for us was one rooted deep in history—354 years to be exact. This French bread was originally published in 1660, in one of those glorious old cookery books that now take a bit of study to interpret, The Accomplisht Cook; or the Art & Mystery of Cookery by Robert May. And yes, accomplisht is the proper old-English spelling. The recipe saw a bit of a revival when it appeared in the pages of the 1977 cookbook English Bread and Yeast Cookery, by British cookery writer Elizabeth David (you may remember her being on the list of 50 Women Game-Changers in Food that I cooked through a couple of years ago).

Well, the BBBabes are making old new once again. Ilva invited us to bake this simple egg white-infused bread (not sure exactly what role the egg whites played, but I went with it)—the actual challenge lying not so much in the recipe itself, but in the decoration of the bread. We were to get creative with the presentation.
Monday, September 15, 2014

Peanut Butter Apple Raisin Waffles w/ Chia Seeds

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of National Peanut Board. All opinions are 100% mine.
Peanut Butter Apple Raisin Waffles w/ Chia Seeds + a Better Breakfast Month Giveaway
In celebration of Better Breakfast Month, I'm bringing something both nutritious and delicious to the table today. Packed with protein, fiber, and fruit, these waffles are inspired by one of my family's favorite snacks - crisp apples slices with a shmear of peanut butter and a smattering of plump raisins, or as we like to call them—ants on a raft. They're crisp on the outside and moist on the inside, plus they aren't too sweet (which makes them the perfect vehicle for a drizzle of pure maple syrup).

I'm excited to be partnering with the National Peanut Board today to highlight Peanut Butter for Breakfast! Now, I grew up with the old adage "breakfast is the most important meal of the day", a belief that I've passed on to my own children. Many people may think that's just something parents say to get their kids to eat breakfast, but it's based on good fact—especially if your breakfast includes a high amount of protein. Studies show that people who enjoyed a breakfast that included at least 35 grams of protein felt fuller, had fewer cravings, and even ate fewer high-calorie snacks later in the day. Starting the day by eating breakfast is also associated with weight loss and maintenance.

Adding peanut butter to your breakfast is a fantastic (and easy) way to get that protein into your morning meal. Even if you're in a hurry (and I know this from experience), it's simple to toast a slice of bread, and then spread it with peanut butter. Another quick and easy idea is to swirl it into some yogurt, with a palmful of chopped peanuts and some banana slices (even a few mini chocolate chips).
Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Chicken and Farro Whole Grain Empanadas

Chicken and Farro Whole Grain Empanadas
September is Whole Grains Month, and I am partnering with the Whole Grains Council as one of their selected "Make the Switch" bloggers. Our goal was to take a family favorite recipe and retool it by adding more whole grains. It's a contest for the participating bloggers (we can win cash prizes for the top votes), but if you drop by the Whole Grains Council website and place a vote for your favorite recipe—you'll also be entered for a chance to win cash ($500) and a big selection of whole grain foods!
September is #WholeGrainsMonth
So, now you're wondering what I did to make the switch to whole grains, right? Well, I started with my family's favorite empanada recipe. The original uses only all-purpose flour, so I substituted half whole wheat pastry flour in this version. It was still flaky and tender and melt-in-your mouth delicious. I actually think it may work well using entirely whole wheat pastry flour. That was my first "switch".

My second switch was in the picadillo filling itself. The original uses pork, but I switched it out for a combination of white meat chicken and farro (one of my 3 favorite whole grains). I decided to use half lean meat and half farro to make the picadillo because I wanted to ease everybody into the switch. I think I could've gone straight-up whole grain (no meat) in this instance, as well. The size and chewiness of the cooked farro really echoed the texture of our usual filling. I actually think that if they didn't already know I'd made the switch, they wouldn't have even guessed there was anything different.
Monday, September 8, 2014

Triple-Chocolate Brownie Cookies with Zucchini

Triple-Chocolate Brownie Cookies with Zucchini #OXOGoodCookies
As if the fact that they are studded with zucchini, white chocolate, and walnuts weren't tempting enough, these cookies also have the fudgy, chewy texture of a brownie. Let's just call that double-your-pleasure.

I've mentioned this before, but I thought it was worth saying again—I have some pretty great neighbors. For many reasons, but why I bring it up now is because of our little "food trade system" we've fallen into over the years. For the most part, they share raw produce and I share prepared food. This would be because they tend to their garden and even forage for mushrooms once a year, while I seem to spend all of my time in the kitchen developing and testing recipes.

They hand over large bags (seriously) of produce, and I come back at them with jars, boxes, and plates of jams, preserves, breads, and other baked goods. It's a fairly great system. I like to offer up  goods from my "wild garden" like grapes, mint, chamomile, compost squash, and wild garlic, but lately that's all I seem to have since time is something I'm always chasing and rarely catching up with. I've never been fond of running.
Friday, September 5, 2014

Lemongrass Chicken Dumpling Soup, a Dumplings All Day Wong tour stop

Lemongrass Chicken Dumpling Soup - Dumplings All Day Wong blog tour
I'll be the first to admit that my dumping technique (or lack of) needs work. Fortunately, there's plenty of opportunity for learning how to fold dumplings of all sorts in the new cookbook by Lee Anne Wong, Dumplings All Day Wong. Not does she show technique, she also shares recipes for several types of dumpling dough; perfect for those who can't find dumpling wrappers in the store (raising hand). Also perfect for those who like to try making their own everything—at least once.

Wong not only shares dough recipes, how-to make dumpling tutorials, and some classic dumpling dishes, the book is packed with fun and unusual combinations and dishes throughout. Plus, I'm pretty sure this is the best name for a cookbook EVER.

The dish that I'm sharing from the book today looks simple...and it is fairly simple. If you've never made dumplings before, pleating the dough is the only semi-difficult process in the recipe, and even that isn't too bad once you've fumbled through half of them. But don't let that fool you into thinking the flavors in this dish are also simple. They're not. They're in-your-face loud! Lemongrass screams from both the bright yellow (turmeric) chicken filling of the dumpling and from the unassuming broth.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Spiced Buttermilk Poached Pear Bread

Spiced Buttermilk Poached Pear Bread
The tender poached whole pears peeking out of this spiced buttermilk quick bread make it a real show-stopper, and I'm using it to conjure up autumn—crisp air, sweatshirts, apple cider, football, and bonfires.

This month's #TwelveLoaves theme of pears gives fall a nod, as well. As soon as I knew our theme, I knew what type of bread I'd be making. I have a similar version bookmarked in several places. Basically, it's a quick bread with poached pears taking center stage. It's pretty simple to switch up. It really just depends on what type of quick bread you want to pair with it.

Since I'm in that autumn state of mind, I wanted something speckled with warming spices, and thought that a buttermilk quick bread would play the perfect host. Combined with pears that were also quickly poached in a spiced simple syrup, it really does taste like cooler days.