Saturday, May 20, 2017

Peruvian Chicken and Rice

My favorite restaurant in the world closed last year.
I'm the kind of person who loves and appreciates good food and adores trying new restaurants, so to say this little hole-in-the-wall Peruvian place was my absolute favorite is saying a lot.

While I'm sure the rest of their menu was scrumptious, the only dish on the menu I ever ordered for myself was their Adobo Arequipeño.  Flavorful stewed pork served over mashed sweet potatoes alongside rice and adorned with pickled red onion.

I came close to shedding a tear when I realized I would never be able to eat it again.

I've done my share of googling looking for a suitable replacement for that recipe ever since the restaurant closed and sadly I've yet to find one that resembles what I used to order closely enough to attempt it at home.
This makes me sad.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Freezer Caramel Drizzle Pie

Picture this:

It's hot.  It's humid.  You have company coming and you have zero desire to fire up that oven and heat up your house.
Oh, that day is coming soon, my friends.
Summer is coming.

Cookies, cakes, cobblers, traditional pies, and most of your standard desserts are obviously out unless you want to go the store-bought route, right?

So, what's a girl (or guy) to do?

Freezer pie is what you're going to do.
Ok, I won't be presumptuous- freezer pie is what I think you should do.  :-)

Greek Orzo Salad and Warm Days Ahead

Can you believe that it's almost summer?
School's almost out, the weather is beautiful, and I'm ready for a few months of fun with the kids full of pool days and adventures.

As much as I love bundling up and being cozy in fall and winter, there's something about summer that just makes my soul sing.  I adore the feeling of the warm sun on my (sunscreen coated) skin.  I love spending time with my kids that doesn't involve packing school lunches and homework.  I love spending time with friends and family enjoying each other's company while my husband grills.

Which of course, is just another excuse for me to cook!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Making Memories and Easy Breakfasts

My daughter sits on the counter, the light streaming through the window picking up the gold in her hair as her feet dangle below her gently tapping on the counter as she wiggles.

She picks up the spice jars one at a time, gently opening them and breathing in lightly to take in the aromas.

When she first began this ritual she would ask me questions from across the house.

"Mom, what does coriander smell like?"
"Why doesn't cream of tartar smell like anything?"
"What's dry mustard?"
Watching her, its hard not to draw parallels to the memories of time spent on the floor of my grandma's house in Wisconsin digging through her button jar, asking questions about all of the interesting pieces in her collection.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Quick and Easy Pizza Crust For Hungry Kids

My daughter loves slumber parties.
She loves throwing them, she loves attending them.

What girl doesn't, right?
It's not until you're a boring adult that the thought of the insanity that is a a house full of excited, noisy, crazy girls gives you a bit of a headache.
So what is a mom to do?

Herd them.  Herd them like cats.
Keep that energy channeled folks!

At least that has been my philosophy.  Keep those little munchkins busy!

A few fun games with dollar store prizes are a given- both a wonderful time-killer and a great way to redirect the kiddos when things get a little crazy.

Personally, I like crafts.
Crafts are fun.
Crafts are time-consuming.
Crafts double as favors the girls can take home.
Generally speaking, crafts are fairly inexpensive (woohoo!).

Friday, March 10, 2017

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Stuffed Cupcakes

My daughter wanted a special cupcake to bring to school for her classmates this week- something all the kids would like.

Over the years I've noticed that she kind of enjoys talking up my cooking skills to her friends and teachers so I knew that I had to make something special to live up to the hype!  I went on the hunt for a new recipe that would be fun and kid-friendly.  After an exhaustive search of Allrecipes, Google, and Pinterest I finally settled on a recipe for cupcakes stuffed with chocolate chip cookie dough.

Um...hard to go wrong with that one, right?


So how does one go about making a cupcake filled with cookie dough that doesn't bake and leave you with, well, a cookie-filled cupcake?

You make the cookie dough ahead of time and freeze it.
That way the cupcake bakes around it but doesn't bake the cookie dough itself.

Brilliant, no?

Thursday, March 9, 2017

BLT Unwrap & Roll And More Belgioioso Fun

I'm such a sucker for a fun appetizer- extra points if it's super simple.  Even more extra points if it's low carb.  Still more extra points if it includes bacon, amiright? :-)

This recipe is a winner on all fronts.
Plus I got to use Belgioioso cheese again, which always makes me happy.  Remember when they sent me that selection of cheeses after they hosted our wine and cheese tastings in Des Moines?
My cheese drawer has never been happier- 
I so love that stuff!

This afternoon Allrecipes reached out to its Allstars and asked us to check out some new recipes that Belgioioso had posted.  Well...I was hungry and on my way to the store anyway, so the timing was kind of perfect. :-)

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Mushrooms and Writer's Block

I made these mushrooms over a month ago, easy.
I've been trying to figure out what to write about ever since!

Generally when I post something I have some sort of loose association between the recipe and life that gets me writing.  Not going to lie- I've got nothing.

I thought about a tie-in with the marinated mushrooms that my mom makes for their Christmas party every year.

I thought about mentioning that I've always kind of wanted to buy one of those mushroom growing kits.
*yawn again*

Gotta be honest guys- I've got nothing.

Nothing except for one delicious recipe, that is.  ;-)

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Tennessee Sausage 'N Cheese Dip

When I was perusing the list of McCormick's 50 Dips for 50 States I was immediately drawn to the recipe for Tennessee Sausage 'N Cheese Dip.


Well, we've discussed before my family's love of queso.  It's not at all uncommon to find a bowl full of Velveeta and Ro*Tel melted together for a quick and yummy cheese dip on nights when I serve Mexican food, but sometimes I like to mix it up.  My husband and daughter are especially partial to Mexican White Queso Dip and I've made Chili Cheese Dip at times too.

I knew they'd definitely be on board for this sausage-loaded version!

To be honest I've never seen a version of cheese dip quite like this one.  It's a riff on the classic Velveeta and Ro*Tel combo- but this one includes sausage and a packet of pork gravy mix.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Jersey Disco Fry Dip

I have such a fun Allstars assignment this month, guys!

I get to work with McCormick- you know the spice company.  They've created a bunch of game day dips- one for each state.  Yep, 50 Dips for 50 States.  We're talking Smoked Salmon Dip for Alaska, Lobster and Spinach Dip for Maine, Cincinnati Chili Dip for Ohio...you get the idea.

While I definitely don't have the time- or the metabolism- to make my way through all 50 of them in one month I've made a couple of them already and I plan on making my way through a bunch more because most of them sound so fun!

I started out this weekend with Tennessee Sausage 'N Cheese Dip and Jersey Disco Fry Dip and we enjoyed both of them.  More about the cheese dip in my next post- lets lead with the disco dip, shall we?

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Best Apple Pie You'll Ever Eat

When I was a kid I absolutely hated pie.
(Except lemon meringue, that is.)
In general I just didn't like any cooked fruits- no cobblers or pies or fruit-filled pastries for me.
Crazy, I know.  I had a back yard absolutely loaded with fruit trees (apricot, peach, plum, cherry, pear, apple...) but my mom had no luck getting the loads of leftover fruit we always had to deal with into me in the form of dessert.

My tastes have certainly matured over the years!
In fact- while generally speaking I don't have much of a sweet tooth- pie is my favorite dessert by far.

Cherry pie.  Berry Pies.  Apple Pie.  Pretty much any pie or cobbler or whatever you put in front of me is going to be difficult to turn down!

Lets just say that at this point I have plenty of experience with pie baking.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Let's Talk Pie Crust

This is one of those posts that I have been wanting to share for a long time- a very long time.

There have been a couple of things getting in the way of that- first of all, when I make pie crust for desserts I am generally serving it to a crowd.  While some of my close family know I'm a crazy picture-taker that doesn't mean that I want to stop the festivities and make people wait for their pie while I get that perfect shot.

The second problem is that when I make pie crust for savory pies, like Chicken Pot Pie, I generally serve it for dinner- which might sound irrelevant but for a large portion of the year that means the sun has already gone down...which means the lighting isn't great for picture-taking either.

Ah, the problems of a crazy photo-taking blogger. :-)

Anyway, when my husband asked me to make an apple pie for a family gathering this past weekend I decided to go ahead and snap some pictures before we brought it.
I might have even cut out a slice of pie for picture taking purposes and replaced it before we left.
It's family...I'm sure they don't mind.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

RSVP's and the Decline of Common Courtesy

Birthdays have changed since I was a kid.

When I was little you picked a date, sent out some invites, kids showed up with presents for cake and ice cream.  There was never a question as to whether or not people would attend or not.
Was I the most popular kid in school?
Not at all.  I was totally middle ground when it came to popularity.

These days I'm terrified of my kids' birthdays.  

This is how it goes:
Invites go out.
No one RSVP's.
The day of the party I tremble with fear, hoping that ANYONE will show up.
A handful do- the kid is happy.
My alternate plans in the case of no one showing are abandoned.
At least that's how things have gone down thus far.
It sucks.

It's not that they are outcasts- they're not at all.
This is just the way things are these days, at almost every party for every kid I've ever been to.

There seem to be two exceptions: the über  popular kids and the kids whose parents have sprung hundreds upon hundreds of dollars for the A-list Birthday locations.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Very Valentine's: Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Treats

How in the world is already almost Valentine's Day?

I'm so behind, you guys.

While I grabbed gifts for the kids and put them up as soon as the Valentine's stuff hit the stores I have absolutely no idea what to get for my husband.  It's really too late to order anything and honestly I generally make him a sweet and sentimental gift anyway- but I'm at a loss.
I have exactly four days to figure this one out.

While I may not know what to do for my husband, the kids and I have already played around in the kitchen with some holiday-inspired treats.  In the past I've made a variety of pink baked goods- Pink Sugar Cookie Bars, Pink Pinwheel Cookies, super yummy Pink Snickerdoodles, even Pink Marshmallows.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Super Snacks for the Super Bowl: Sausage Stuffed Jalapeños

I think we've been over my penchant for stuffing things in jalapeños when I'm looking for a low carb option.

Kind of the perfect, flavorful vessel for getting goodness into your mouth when crackers and chips are off limits, you know?

Since my husband and I have been doing the low-carb thing again since the beginning of the year I definitely found myself exploring my jalapeño options when I was looking around for Super Bowl options this week.  I didn't want anything breaded and to be honest I've done the bacon thing.

Super Snacks for the Super Bowl: Lasagna Stuffed Mushrooms

Well guys, another Super Bowl is in the books- for the blog that is!

Every year the week before the big game gets a little crazy with people flocking to those Super Bowl friendly game-day recipe- by the time Super Bowl Sunday rolls around the traffic is at a fever pitch.
Then come kickoff?
Total drop off until the next day when things get back to normal.
Honestly every year I find it kind of hard to turn away, it's just so much fun to watch.  :-)

This year was no different, though I do have to admit that I really slacked off this month when it comes to posting new recipes.  I normally spend the month of January ramping up and sharing new fun foods with you guys for your party planning but this year my low-carbing took a bit of the wind out of my sails.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Super Snacks for the Super Bowl: Giant Party Sandwich

I'm a child of the 80's.  Part of that weird little in-between generation that is on the tail end or just past Gen-X and before the millennials came along.  We grew up alongside technology- I was both closely acquainted with the rotary phone and the owner of a pager (ha!) followed by that classic Nokia cell phone in high school.  My childhood memories are full of scratch-and-sniff stickers, Jell-O Pudding Pops, and Smurfs.

Oh..and The Cosby Show.
Despite the connotations of the name "Cosby" these days,  I loved that show growing up in the 80's.  I grew up with Rudy, thought Theo was kind of cute, and believed that Denise was just the coolest.

It was right up there with The Golden Girls for me.  :-)

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Quick and Easy BBQ Chicken Pizza

When Allrecipes asked some of it's Allstars to come up with new recipes using the Panasonic Countertop Induction Oven they gave us a few requirements, two of which were that the recipe had to have no more than 5 ingredients and be done- start to finish- within 30 minutes.

Now, there are a lot of fun things you can do with the CIO but staying within those guidelines really allowed us to highlight just how wonderful it is for quick and easy meals.

I went with pizza because, well, I love pizza.

Aaaaallll kinds of pizza.

What's not to love, right?

White pizza...veggie pizza..Hawaiian pizza (pile on the pineapple please!), froufrou pizzas with fancy toppings...thick crust, thin crust, in between crust...

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Quick and Easy Caprese Chicken

When I took my fun trip to Des Moines for Allrecipes in September we were given the chance to watch an episode of Allrecipes' Dinner Spinner TV show before it aired on TV (the episode we saw featured my friend and fellow Allstar Angela, you should check her out at Dancing With My Father and Salt et Lux - she is one incredibly talented lady!).  One of the things that caught my eye right off the bat when we were watching that first episode was that the contestants were using a kitchen appliance I'd never seen before- the Panasonic Countertop Induction Oven.

 I was intrigued.
Ok, so this thing is crazy guys.  It combines direct induction and instant double-infrared heating.
Science, guys.  I had to Google it.

So according to Wikipedia, "Induction cooking heats a cooking vessel by magnetic induction, instead of by thermal conduction from a flame, or an electrical heating element. Because inductive heating directly heats the vessel, very rapid increases in temperature can be achieved."

Also according to another article I found, double-infrared heating means that it uses "dual quartz and ceramic elements so it heats up fast."

Friday, January 13, 2017

Sausage Breakfast Crescent Rolls

I know I just said yesterday that I was doing the low carb thing again.

I am.

In fact, that's the reason I found myself with extra breakfast sausage in the fridge that I didn't want to eat and didn't want to waste.

A couple of nights ago after a busy day of popcorn making and poor meal planning my husband and I decided to do breakfast for dinner.  We made up a big batch of thick cut bacon and breakfast sausage and he made me an omelet that would make most people weak in the knees.

Sadly, I'd take a scramble loaded with veggies over a heavy meat-loaded omelet any day of the week.  That's just me.

I just couldn't eat one more bite of breakfast meats and I spent the next two days staring at the leftovers and trying to figure out what I was going to do with them before I had to toss them.  My husband had moved on to other foods and neither of us really wanted to finish them off.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Tex-Mex Migas Go Low Carb

Every time I get off of a low carb diet I kick myself.

I would never endorse one diet or another but I can tell you that for me, personally, it works.

When I stop watching my carb intake it's never long before I regret my decision and I kick myself for ever stopping.  Once I hit my low carb stride it's easy for me to keep it up, it's just finding that stride that is so frustrating.
I want all the foods.
All of them.

That first week or so of low carb I get a little hangry.  I think it's even more difficult for me then a lot of people because I'm quite content not eating meat at all most of the time.  I don't get excited about a steak or a thick pork chop or whatever like most people do and until I get in the swing of things I get pretty frustrated.

I found myself craving migas pretty hardcore a few days ago and I just couldn't get the craving out of my mind.  Eggs, peppers, onions, jalapeños...oh, and tortilla chips.  All served on warm tortillas- personally I like nice corn tortillas best, but that's kind of beside the point.

Migas are heaven on a plate.  A Tex-Mex meal that I could eat any time of day or night.
I didn't just want them, I needed them.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Crescent Pizza Rolls and Much Needed Kiddo Time

Guys, it's been such a wonderful Christmas break.

My shop has been on vacation for two weeks.

Two weeks.

That just doesn't happen.  But I've got to tell you...I needed the breather.
I needed to slow down and enjoy my kids.
I needed to tickle them and cuddle with them and watch Christmas movies with them.

It's so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day.
The frustrations of being pulled in a million directions at all times and trying to do it all well.

I have enjoyed every last second with my kids.
Haha just kidding.  Not every last second, I'm not quite that much of a super mom.  I try...and I fail.
But I did enjoy almost every second with my babies.  They're getting so big so quickly these days and I honestly try to savor every minute.
It's been a great couple of weeks.  :-)