Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Spicy Giveaway

As the title suggests, I've got a giveaway for you. If you're still out there.
I was given the opportunity to try Spike's Gourmet Natural Seasonings...10 of them to be exact!



How's a person supposed to choose? I'm sure I'll be experimenting with them quite some time.  

Last night I used the 5-Herb Magic on my chicken.


It was nothing short of delicious. I also sprinkled some of the Garlic Magic on my mashed potatoes, and that wasn't too shabby either. 

If you'd like to be the proud owner of 10 jars of deliciousness as well, just leave me a comment letting me know what the most unusual Christmas meal you've ever had was.  

Contest will end at midnight December 3rd, and I will randomly select and announce a winner on the 4th.  Be sure I have some way of contacting you!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

No Knead Bread

You know you've seen it, and most likely you've made it. I've been eyeballing it quite some time myself. But seeing as I was given the opportunity to review a Kitchenaid 4Qt Cast Iron Dutch Oven, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to go ahead and make it. 


Turns out the Kitchenaid Dutch Oven is the perfect vessel in which to bake this glorious, rustic, delicious loaf of no-knead bread. 
Aside from being shiny and beautiful, it's definitely heavy duty. Made to last a long time....most likely it will outlive me and everyone I know. 
The interior is said to be porcelain enamel, but it's dark, so you don't have to worry about staining. 
And for me, the 4 Qt is the perfect size for my small family. Just right for a big, but not big enough to feed an army, pot of chili or beef stew. 



And check this out, the lid doesn't have a knob on top, so you can flip it over and use it as a grill pan! I haven't tried this yet, but it looks cool.  

And the bread...well, it's hard to go wrong with homemade bread. My daughter said it tasted like "restaurant bread".  I think that's a good thing.  It is pretty easy, since you quickly mix the ingredients together then leave it alone for about 24 hours.  If you haven't tried it, I highly recommend it. 


No Knead Bread (from Babble)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 2/3 cups warm water
In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, and salt. Add the water and stir until it comes together – the dough will be very sticky and shaggy-looking. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a plate and set aside at room temperature for 18 to 24 hours.
Transfer the sticky dough onto a well-floured surface and dust the top with flour. Fold the dough in half, and then form the dough into a ball by stretching and tucking the edges underneath. Top with a floured towel and let rise on the countertop for another hour.
When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 450F with a heavy lidded casserole or pot inside. Carefully remove the pot, turn the dough into it, cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until golden and crusty; another 15-20 minutes. Cool slightly before cutting into it. Makes 1 loaf.

   Be sure to check back with me early next week for a giveaway of a spicy nature :)

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Vegan Lemon Meltaway Balls


I just wanted to share these fun little plant based cookies with you.  The recipe comes from One Green Planet. 



Since they're raw, they're pretty easy to make. Some of the ingredients may not be something you'd normally have around.  I've been making some almond milk (see last post) and saving the leftovers for almond meal.  And I did the same with some coconut milk.  

So they turned out pretty tasty.  They're not too sweet, kinda tangy, and really do melt away.  They give me a bit of something sweet with a little less guilt.

Here's the recipe. 
  • 1 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/3 cup organic raw coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon pink himalayan salt
  • 1 – 2 tablespoon organic maple syrup (or raw honey for non-vegan)
  • 3 organic lemons (fresh squeezed juice)
  • 2 teaspoons organic vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup organic coconut oil (melted/liquid)
  1. Put all ingredients into a food processor and process until well combined.
  2. Take out about a spoonful at a time and roll them in the palms of your hand into a ball shape.
  3. Leave them plain or roll in shredded coconut flakes, almond flour, or powdered sugar (not raw).
  4. Put them in the refrigerator to firm for about 10 – 15 minutes.
  5. Keep them in the refrigerator until ready to serve because they will get soft if left out at room temperature as the coconut oil melts.
  6. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Almond Milk

Hi! Is anyone still out there?  Let's just check.

So, have you been wondering why grown adults continue to consume a liquid that's designed to fatten up baby cows?  I kinda have.  I've discovered I kinda like almond milk. 
But how does one milk an almond?  It has no...well, you know.  


It's actually pretty easy...here's the how-to.

Get about a cup of almonds (raw and unsalted) and soak them in about 2 cups of water 24-48 hours.
Drain off the soaking liquid, then add the almonds and 2 1/2 cups of water to a blender, and blend the heck out of it.  
After blending strain the liquid from the almond pulp using a cheesecloth, or they actually make a special nut-milk bag just for this purpose. Save the left over pulpy stuff and dry it out in a low oven (200F) for about an hour or so, and you have almond meal!
I hear this keeps in the fridge about 3 days, and it's not homogenized so you'll get some separation....just shake it up.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bacon Mac

Isn't it weird how kids who are crazy for mac&cheese don't really like the real thing?  And the same kids who also like bacon don't like it when you put it in their mac&cheese?  Oh well....more for me!




I found this recipe at Cooking Light.  Does it really make it lighter just because I found it there?  Maybe, maybe not.  I'm sure there are way worse macaroni and cheese recipes out there, but I found this one completely delicious!  In fact I'm about to go get some of the leftovers for lunch right now.  But before I do, here's the recipe so you can do the same.



Ingredients

  • 3 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 12 ounces strozzapreti or penne pasta
  • 4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups skim milk, divided
  • 2 cups finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 slices center-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • Cooking spray

Preparation

1. Preheat broiler.
2. Bring 6 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil. Add pasta; cook 8 minutes or until al dente; drain.
3. Combine flour and 1/2 cup milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Gradually add 1 cup milk; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; let stand 4 minutes or until it cools to 155°. Stir in 1 1/2 cups cheese. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, onions, hot sauce, pepper, and bacon; stir. Add pasta; toss. Spoon into a 2-quart broiler-safe dish coated with cooking spray; top with 1/2 cup cheese. Broil 7 minutes.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Chocolate Kahlua Toffee Trifle

If you have a sweet tooth the size of Texas, this may be the recipe for you.  And if that sweet tooth likes things just a little boozy, then you're definitely in luck.



This is about as easy as falling off a log (but hurts a lot less).  Once you get the cake made, you're home free.  The hard part is letting it chill once it's all put together.  



If you're feeding this to children, you might want to decrease the Kahlua content just a little, it's quite powerful.  My kids didn't seem to mind :D


Here's the recipe...make and enjoy!
(from Yummly.com)

1 box cake mix (devil's food)
6 ozs instant chocolate pudding mix
2 cups milk
1 cup kahlua


Prepare cake according to box mix and cool.  

Cut the cake up into cubes.

Combine pudding mix, milk and Kahlua.

If it is too runny, set it aside in the fridge to allow it to thicken for 20 minutes.

It will make it easier to work with.

To assemble, use a pretty straight-sided glass bowl or trifle bowl.

Layer the bottom with 1/2 the cake cubes making sure to line the sides of the bowl


Pour 1/2 the the pudding over the the cake layer making sure to spread it to the side of the bowl so you can see the layer.

Spread 1/2 the Cool Whip on top of the pudding mix in the same manner.

Sprinkle 1/2 the Skors bits on top of the Cool Whip.

Repeat the layering with the rest of the ingredients ending with the Skors bits on top.

Chill overnight before serving (yeah, right)
16 ozs cool whip (fresh whipped cream)
1 package english toffee (skor english toffee bit or 6 skor candy bars crushed)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Seven Sporadic Questions: BrownievilleGirl

I'm very excited to bring you a featured blogger for Seven Sporadic Question from across the pond for the month of November. 



 Eleanor from Ireland is the face behind Brownieville Girl, and I've been watching her blog for quite some time.  I love visiting her site for the delicious food and the warm, inviting atmosphere.  Let's get to know her a little better. 


 
 !

 
1.  What inspired you to start blogging?

My new year's resolution for 2010 was to push myself out of my comfort zone.  My two passions were reading and cooking/food - so they were the obvious outlets for my new bravery!!!
 
My first step was to do a couple of book reviews on local radio - I was so nervous, but got such a buzz from actually taking the risk and not making too big (!) a fool of myself!!!!
 
The next step was to do something with food - I had been enjoying reading some fantastic food blogs, and decided to take the plunge - I was so nervous, would anyone read it, would anyone like my writing/cooking/photos?  I'm so glad I took the risk.



2.  What's your favorite thing to make for a crowd?


I have a HUGE problem when I'm faced with catering for a crowd - I just can't stop!!!!  I write a list and say "that's it, no more" - but then I sneak on an extra salad or three, and then a dessert or two more!!  Actually the family love this failing of mine - there are always loads and loads of leftovers!!




Beetroot salad and Couscous salad
 
I love to cook salads and cold meats and fish - and I always have to try out some new ideas.
 

Three Bean Salad
 
 Then it comes to desserts and I really go to town!!



Chocolate Roulade

One of my favourite things is to sit with a block of post-its and go through my cookery books deciding what to cook for an event - the best part is that I'm not constrained by my family's likes and dislikes - I can really go to town!!!!



3.  What's your favorite thing to make for just you?

I rarely cook "just for me" - I do so much cooking every day (since my sister's passing, I cook dinner for her children every afternoon and then come home and cook a dinner here) that my idea of the perfect "alone meal" is probably a slice of batch bread with loads of butter!!!

4.  If you could invite 3 famous people (living or dead) to dinner, who would they be?  Any particular reason?

That's easy - I would invite my late sister, my late father, my other sister and my mother (I know that's one person too many but how could I leave one of us out???)  Once we got past all the crying and sadness - we would have a ball, there is one thing I can say about my family and that is that they are great craic, it would be an evening full of laughs and fun.
 
This time last year I would have said that Dad, Nigella Lawson and George Cooney would be on the list - although I don't know if my father would approve of me flirting with George all night!!  Actually he'd probably be busy flirting with Nigella!!




5.  When you think of your childhood, do any favorite dishes come to mind?


I am very lucky because my mother was a fantastic cook - really adventurous, I remember in particular the time she made stuffed cabbage by deconstructing the vegetable blanching all the leaves, and reconstructing it with a meat stuffing - scrummy stuff, but really hard work!!
 
Our local green grocer used to dread seeing Mum coming - as she was always ordering vegetable he had never even heard of - it's hard to imagine now that Avocado Pears were considered exotic!!
 
That all said, my fondest food memories are Sunday Dinners - it was a wonderful family time, we would sit for ages over dinner and chat.  We always had a roast of meat - usually beef and delicious roast potatoes - yummmmmmm!





Roast Beef  and Roasted Potatoes

6.  What do you have in your kitchen that you just couldn't do without? (besides your stove/oven of course)

Oh this one is difficult - every time a buy a new item for the kitchen I tell myself that it is totally essential!!!!
 
I think that I'd have to say my favourite pots and pans (which are properly non-stick, I've had too many years of useless pans!), or maybe it's my knives, or my Kitchen Aid mixer (makes baking so easy) - I can't make up my mind!!!!!



7.  What's your favorite part of blogging?  Do you think you'll keep doing it for a while?


This is the easiest question of the lot - the best part of blogging is the feedback I get from the people who are kind enough to read my blog.  I'm slightly embarrassed to admit how much I hover waiting to see what comments come in!!!!!
 
I consider the time I spend writing my blog and visiting other blogs as my "me time" and I can't imagine ever giving it up!



Hope you enjoyed reading more about Eleanor and her delicious food! I know I did,  and I learned a new word..."craic"--"Craic" or "crack" is a term for fun, entertainment, and enjoyable conversation.  Now I just have to find a way to work it into my conversation :)