Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Roasted Green Beans

You know it's fall when I start roasting things....  These beans were just begging to be roasted since they are the last of the season.  So I obliged!  They were crispy and delicious; The Hubby and I ate them with our hands (no shame!).

Roasted Green Beans
 {Roasted Green Beans}

Roasted Green Beans
 {Getting ready to be roasted!}

Roasted Green Beans
{Crispy and ready to eat with your fingers (I won't tell)}

One year ago:  Spaghetti
Two years ago:  Peanut Butter Cookies

Roasted Green Beans

Makes 4 servings

2 pounds green beans (local), ends trimmed
1 medium onion (local), sliced
2 cloves garlic (local), minced
3 tablespoons of olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 450.
  2. Mix beans, onions, and garlic in a bowl with the oil until everything is well coated.
  3. Spread on a baking sheet in an even layer and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Roast for 30-40 minutes watching carefully so they do not burn (I did it once!); turn pan and beans halfway through cooking.
  5. Serve.
Do you like roasted vegetables?  It's my favorite for fall!

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Monday, September 29, 2014

Pineapple Lime Grilled Chicken

With the weather being so nice out, we are trying to get the most out of our grill right now.  This was a delicious chicken breast just to eat on it's own--that's right, no sauce or anything!  The chicken was sweet but tangy--just perfection!

Pineapple Lime Grilled Chicken
 {Pineapple Lime Grilled Chicken}

Pineapple Lime Grilled Chicken
 {I marinaded it during the work day, but it can be done the night before}

Pineapple Lime Grilled Chicken
 {I served mine with Brussels sprouts and a rice concoction that was not a hit}

Pineapple Lime Grilled Chicken
from Tori Avey

2 pounds chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
1 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano (or 3/4 teaspoon dry)
1 teaspoon salt (for salted kosher chicken, use 1/2 tsp)
Pinch of cayenne pepper
  1. Place chicken in a container safe for marinading.
  2. Mix remaining ingredients together and pour over chicken.
  3. Marinate for at least 2 hours, but up to overnight; I did it for about 10 hours.
  4. Grill until done.
  5. Serve.
Are you still grilling when there is nice weather or have you already retired your grill for the year?

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Food for Thought

I am suffering from a book hangover this week; I can't stop thinking about the story, and I get emotionally worked up every time I do.  I read "The Killing Jar" by Gloria Nixon-John and Robert "Skip" Noelker about a 15 year old boy, Ted Lynch, who killed his 7 year old neighbor during a psychotic break-down in 1978 Kentucky and was sentenced to death at the age of 16.  He was diagnosed with schizophrenia about 1 month after the killing, but he NEVER received treatment.  The book focuses mainly on the trials and background of the boy who was abused and starved most of his life.  This book is based on a true story; Ted Lynch did not contribute to this book; his psychologist contributed, and it has lots of court transcripts, interviews, newspaper articles, etc.

Why do I get so upset?  So many of Ted's family, friends, neighbors, etc testified that they knew the boy was being starved and how his mother abused him (verbally and emotionally), but instead of helping Ted, they just stopped all contact with the family.  How pathetic is that?  Instead of helping the poor boy by reporting the mother's actions to authorities, they just walked away.  How can you not help when you babysit the kids and the mother leaves instructions that each child will only receive one slice of bread with one tablespoon of peanut butter PER DAY? Plus, the mother leaves only enough food in the house for that instruction.  How can you not think that it is not abuse or starvation?  How can you live with yourself?

I guess that I have hope and faith in human beings, but with this book, I'm a disappointed and just a bit mad at the world.  Then I get to thinking about all the bad stuff happening in the world right this very minute, how many people are just walking away "because it's easier", and I get so angry at mankind.  Why must we hurt others?  I don't understand cruelty or revenge.  My revenge has always been to never give that person another thought, to not waste another minute second on them.

So this week my food for thought has several aspects: mainly, if you see or seriously suspect abuse, please report it!  Don't turn a blind eye!  The other is just to be nice to one another.  I know that I have a problem with this sometimes, but I am making a conscious effort to be kinder to everyone.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Brie en Croute

My family loves cheese.  My mom and I share a special fondness for brie, and when I introduced her to this Brie en Croute, that just made her life (not exaggerating).  Brie en Croute simply means that it is wrapped in a pastry dough, baked with a sweet or savory sauce, and then served with crackers.  We make this a few times a year because it is so indulgent, but completely worth the food coma afterwards!

Brie en Croute
 {Brie en Croute}

Brie en Croute
 {Getting the ingredients together}

Brie en Croute
 {Top the Brie with your favorite fruit jam--I used a Pineapple Habanero Jam my mom had from CostCo, but I've had t with strawberry, raspberry, and peach jams before!}

Brie en CrouteBrie en Croute
 {Wrapping the Brie in puff pastry and decorating it (not necessary, but pretty)}

Brie en Croute
 {Baked Brie}

Brie en Croute
 {Serve the warm brie with crackers}

Brie en Croute

Makes 8 servings

1 package puff pastry, thawed
1-13 oz wheel of Brie (60% cream)
1/2 cup fruit jam, jelly or preserves (strawberry and raspberry are traditional, but I've had it with several different fruit spreads and loved them all!)
1/2 cups nuts (optional and almonds are best)
Milk (optional but makes pastry shiny and caramelizes it)
  1.  Preheat oven to the temperature on the puff pastry box.
  2.  Unwrap puff pastry and place one on a baking sheet.
  3. Place Brie on the puff pastry and cut the puff pastry into a circle around the Brie leaving about 1 inch of dough all around (I used a pizza cutter).
  4. Remove Brie and place the second sheet on the baking sheet.  Then place cut dough on top, and cut the dough into a circle. (You should have two circles in similar shape to wrap Brie)
  5. Remove one dough and place Brie on top.
  6. Add fruit spread and nuts.
  7. Place second dough on top and pinch the two seams together.
  8. If decorating, cut from the excess dough.  Using a brush, brush the top with milk and add decorations then coat with milk.  Or if not decorating, you can still coat with milk to get a shiny baked surface.
  9. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until puff pastry is browned.
  10. Serve with crackers.
This is perfect for parties because you can prep this ahead of time and then pop it in the oven as an appetizer or even dessert!

Do you have any deliciously indulgent recipes that you only make at certain times of the year?

The winner of the garlic press is Leah!  An email has been sent to the winner!  Congratulations and thanks for reading and supporting me!

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Pleasing Your Palate | Fall

Since today is the first official day of fall (I am almost jumping out of my skin!), I thought that I would share some of my favorite fall recipes.  Yes, that includes pumpkin recipes!  I have so many more fall recipes to share with you in October, but these should hold you over until then!

Annie's Apple Cake

Apple-Cranberry Bars

Argentine Beef Stew

Italian Stewed Chicken with Fennel and Cannellini

Pumpkin and White Bean Stew

Pumpkin Bars

Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Roasted Cauliflower with Brown Butter Crumbs

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

Spiced Cider

White Bean and Ham Bone Soup

How about you?  Are you dreaming of fall and all of those recipes that you only eat during the fall?

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Bourbon Pecan Pound Cake

It's Monday....  What better way to start out the week than with cake?  I didn't think so either!

Although I made a delicious savory recipe with bourbon, Bourbon Mushroom Sauce, I just really couldn't help myself when I saw the recipe for this pound cake.  Needless to say, my family devoured it when I brought it for a coffee and cake visit one Sunday.  The cake was light and tasty--not too sweet--and the bourbon glaze (I'm talking straight-up bourbon) was perfection.  The roasted pecans?  Blew this cake out of the water!  Just go make this cake!!!

Woodford Bourbon Pecan Pound Cake
 {Bourbon Pecan Pound Cake}

Bourbon Pecan Pound Cake
 {My empty Woodford bottle :( time to replenish!}

Bourbon Pecan Pound Cake
 {I *might* have been eating on this as I took the pictures....}

cake batter
 {About to bake the cake}

{In my kitchen, I get to lick the spoon, and I enjoy every minute of it!}

Bourbon Pecan Pound Cake
from Gourmandistan

Makes 12 servings

1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
6 eggs, room temperature
7/8 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon bourbon whiskey
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted and cooled
1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup bourbon whiskey
  1. Preheat oven to 325° F.
  2. Spray non-stick in a bunt pan and flour it. 
  3. Sift salt, baking powder, soda and flour together, then set aside. 
  4. Stir bourbon, vanilla, and buttermilk together, then set aside.
  5. With an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy. 
  6. Gradually add the eggs mixing well after each addition.
  7. Then alternate adding the flour mixture and buttermilk in 3 parts starting and ending with the buttermilk. 
  8. Stir in pecans. 
  9. Bake in center of oven for about 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. 
  10. Let the cake cool on a rack for about 15 minutes, then remove from pan. 
  11. While cake is cooling, prepare the glaze by melting the brown sugars, butter and water together. Bring to a full boil. Remove from heat, stirring in the bourbon when the glaze has cooled slightly. While the cake is still warm, spoon the glaze over its surface.
 Now that I am out of bourbon, I think that I have sufficiently celebrated Bourbon Heritage Month! 

Thanks to Cake of the Week for hosting this Baking with Spirit challenge!

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Food for Thought

I am seriously missing my best friend right now.  If only I could hop on a plane and see her, but for now, long, nonsensical phone calls will have to do.
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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Black Bean, Cucumber and Feta Salad

I'm still squeezing out as many fresh salads as I can because although I love cooler weather, the produce selection goes down dramatically. This salad makes the best of the last of the corn around KY.  The cucumbers have gone out of season, but this was still delicious!

Black Bean, Cucumber and Feta Salad
 {Black Bean, Cucumber and Feta Salad}

Black Bean, Cucumber and Feta Salad
 {Mixing the salad together}

Black Bean, Cucumber and Feta Salad
 {From the top}

One year ago:  Chocolate Mousse

Black Bean, Cucumber and Feta Salad
from the kitchn

Makes 8 servings

2-15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
3 ears corn (local), cut from the cob
1 cucumber (local), finely diced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 small onion (local), chopped
4 oz crumbled feta
1/3 cup lime juice (about 3 limes)
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  1. Combine the black beans, corn, cucumber, cilantro, onion, and feta in a large bowl and toss until mixed evenly. 
  2. Add lime juice and cumin, stir, and taste. 
  3. Add salt and pepper and adjust seasonings to taste (might need to add a dash more lime juice).
  4. Chill for at least one hour before serving but preferably overnight. 
Are you holding onto summer?  

Thanks for Lisa's Kitchen and Tinned Tomatoes for hosting this vegetarian contest!  Check out their website for other delicious recipes!

PS--Don't forget to enter my giveaway!

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Bourbon Mushroom Sauce

What better way to celebrate Bourbon Heritage month than consuming some bourbon?  Not a bourbon drinker?  Yeah--me neither.  I'd rather eat it!  So I celebrated by making this spoon-licking good sauce for grilled steak and pork chops (I seriously licked the spoon--twice)!

Bourbon Mushroom Sauce
 {Bourbon Mushroom Sauce}

This couldn't be easier if your significant other handles the grilling (The Hubby is the greatest!).  If not, you can always sear the meat in the pan first, and then make the sauce! 

Bourbon Mushroom Sauce
 {Gathering ingredients}

Bourbon Mushroom Sauce
 {Finished sauce}

Bourbon Mushroom Sauce
 {Top view--served with steamed broccoli and roasted garlic toast}

One year ago:  Marble Cake with Ganache

Bourbon Mushroom Sauce

Makes 4 servings

2 tablespoons butter
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
1 onion (local), sliced
2 tablespoons bourbon
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  1. Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat with the butter. 
  2. Add in the mushrooms and the onions and sear (cook until golden brown on one side).
  3. Pour in the bourbon, chicken broth, and mustard. 
  4. Turn heat to low and let simmer for 2 minutes. 
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Just before serving, pour over the steak.
Bottom's up!  Or fork's up is more appropriate!

PS--Don't forget to enter my giveaway!

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Birthday Giveaway

Today is my birthday!  I always have looked forward to my birthday because it means fall is on it's way, and I LOVE fall!

{This basically sums up my view on birthdays, or any day really}

This year I decided to giveaway one of my absolute FAVORITE kitchen tools: a Pampered Chef Garlic Press!

pampered chef garlic press giveaway
 {The Pampered Chef Garlic Press}

pampered chef garlic press giveaway
 {After almost two years of almost daily use, it still looks and works like brand new!}

pampered chef garlic press giveaway
{Garlic press side view}

I received this garlic press as part of my bridal shower gifts, and I love it's full metal design.  I grew up with a Pampered Chef garlic press, and I couldn't image cooking with out.  If you want to learn how to peel garlic like a chef, view my tutorial!

Enter below for a chance to win!  This giveaway ends on Tuesday, September 23, and the winner will be announced on Wednesday, September 24.  Good luck and thanks!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Open only to US residents over the age of 18.  Pampered Chef did not sponsor this post and all content is my opinion.

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Friday, September 12, 2014

Food for Thought

I started back at the yoga studio this week.  After 6 months of trying to do it at home, it wasn't working.  I enjoyed it so much (and it's so good for me mentally and physically) that I am just going to breath, trust, let go and see what happens.  I don't have much of a plan because now my time is even more crunched, but I approach my to-do list by prioritizing what I need to do and learning to be okay with not getting everything done immediately (an endearing quality no doubt).

Besides the planner in me sometimes doesn't like a plan :o)
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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Cajun Chicken Caesar Salad

I don't know why it took me so long to put this combination together, but I have been seeing it several times on Pinterest.  It's easy, fast, and the perfect summer meal.

Cajun Chicken Caesar Salad
 {Cajun Chicken Caesar Salad}

Grill Cajun Chicken
 {Grilled Cajun chicken}

Caesar Salad
 {Caesar Salad}

Cajun Chicken Caesar Salad
 {Cajun Chicken Caesar Salad}

One year ago:  Chocolate Syrup (like Hershey's)

Cajun Chicken Caesar Salad

Serves 4

2 pounds chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
1 bag romaine blend lettuce
1/2 cup Caesar dressing
Parmesan cheese, optional for garnish
  1. Preheat grill.
  2. Sprinkle Cajun seasoning onto chicken and grill until done, about 25 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine dressing and salad in a bow.
  4. Toss to coat salad with dressing.
  5. Serve salad sprinkled with cheese and one to two pieces of grilled Cajun chicken on top.
Do you have any easy and fast summer meals that you make?

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