Thursday, July 2, 2015

what's in season | July

July is when the local produce really starts to come into season!  Check out the list below!

{Blue Moon Farms where I get all of my garlic!}

Local produce available in July:

Brussel sprouts (beginning)
Cabbage (beginning)
Cantaloupe (mid)
Cauliflower (beginning)
Greens, variety
Onions (late)
Plums (late)
Summer squash
Watermelons (late)

What produce are you looking forward to getting?
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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

monthly munchies | July

Hello July!  So glad to see you since local produce becomes more abundant, but the heat also goes up.  :(  Thank goodness July is National Ice Cream Month!

{I love eating red grapes; not a fan of white grapes}

So what's in store for the blog this month?
  • I scream; you scream.  We all scream for ice cream!  I'll be sharing some homemade ice cream recipes!
  • I'll be taking a week off the blog just because I need a break from it, work, and life, but I'll take two out of three.
  • Delicious, healthy weeknights meals will be coming your way!
Do you have any plans for July?

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

wasabi noodles

As I was cleaning out my fridge, I noticed that I had a large bottle of wasabi so I went and searched for some recipes.  I was hesitant to make this recipe since wasabi is very spicy and hot, but we absolutely loved it in this dish.  I used more than I ever would have guessed (3 tablespoons!), but add a little at a time if you are apprehensive.  I don't like my food too spicy, but this was prefect.

wasabi noodles
{wasabi noodles}

wasabi noodles

makes 4 servings

8 ounce, weight dry noodles (soba, udon or rice)
2 tablespoons sesame seed oil
1 pound beef, cubed
1 pound sugar snap peas (local)
3 tablespoons wasabi
1/4 cup honey (local)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup fresh lime or lemon juice
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
Fresh cucumber, cilantro and green onions, chopped (optional)
  1. Cook noodles according to package instructions. 
  2. Drain noodles. 
  3. Heat sesame seed oil in a pan until hot; add beef and sear on one side.
  4. Cook beef until done.  Turn off heat.
  5. Add sugar snap peas, wasabi, honey, soy sauce, and citrus juice to meat.  Taste and add more wasabi if desired.
  6. While still warm, gently toss with noodles. 
  7. Garnish with sesame seeds, cucumber, green onions, and/or cilantro, if desired.
  8. Serve.
This dish was originally vegetarian, but The Hubby needs meat.  I would eat this without meat.  Just whisk together the dressing ingredients and add to hot noodles.

Do you like to eat wasabi?
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Monday, June 29, 2015

pork larb with coconut rice

I know what you are thinking--what is larb?  It's a dish from Thailand characterized by minced meat (pork is a rather fatty meat when ground so I stuck the pork chops), coconut rice, fresh mint and basil, and lettuce.  The Hubby said that he loved it after eating about 3 bites!  I adored this recipe too especially since it can be a quick weeknight meal (making the rice ahead of time is a BIG help!)

pork larb with coconut rice
{pork larb with coconut rice}

pork larb with coconut rice

makes 4 servings

1 cup brown rice
14 oz coconut milk
2 tablespoons sesame seed oil
1 pound pork chops, cubed
2 cloves garlic, minced (local)
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1 tablespoon lemongrass, minced
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 cup carrots matchsticks
1 cucumber, seeded and diced (local)
1 red or white onion, thinly sliced (local)
2 tablespoons mirin (sweet rice wine but can substitute sugar)
2 tablespoons ponzu or soy sauce
3 sprigs mint stems, leaves removed and chopped (local)
3 sprigs basil stems, leaves removed and chopped (local)
1 lime, cut into wedges
1 head Boston or bibb lettuce, washed (local)
sesame seeds (optional for garnish)
  1. Cook rice with coconut milk until done.  You might need to add more water as is cooks, and it's best to do this step ahead of time or soak the rice for faster cooking time.
  2. Heat sesame oil in pan unti lhot.
  3. Add pork and sear on one side; continue to cook pork until done about 10 minutes.
  4. Add garlic, ginger, lemongrass, chili flakes, and lime juice.  Cook about 3 minutes.
  5. Turn off heat and add carrots, cucumber, onions, mirin, ponzu, and half of mint and basil leaves.
  6. To serve, place lettuce leaves on a plate and then top with rice.  Top with pork mixture and serve with lime wedge.
  7. Enjoy!
Technically larb can be made with any meat.  I have not tried it yet, but we will since we both loved this so much.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

sweet tea brined chicken

I've always wanted to try sweet tea brined chicken, and when I decided to do a week with iced tea, I thought it was a perfect time to try this recipe.  I am kicking myself for not trying it sooner because it was AWESOME!  Plus it was so easy!  This is perfect for your next BBQ!

sweet tea brined chicken
 {sweet tea brined chicken}

sweet tea brined chicken
{brining the chicken}

sweet tea brined chicken

makes 4 servings

2 family-size tea bags
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup kosher salt
1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 lemon, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, halved
2 (6-inch) fresh rosemary sprigs (1 tablespoon dried rosemary or 1 tablespoon dried thyme works as well)
1 tablespoon freshly cracked pepper
2 cups ice cubes
2 pounds chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
green onions, chopped and optional for garnish
  1. Bring 4 cups water to a boil; add tea bags. Remove from heat; cover and steep 10 minutes.
  2. Discard tea bags. Stir in sugar and next 6 ingredients, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cool completely (about 45 minutes); stir in ice. (Mixture should be cold before adding chicken.)
  3. Place tea mixture and chicken in a large container appropriate for marinating. 
  4. Place in fridge and chill 24 hours. 
  5. Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade; pat chicken dry with paper towels.
  6. Grill chicken until done, about 15-20 minutes.
  7. Serve.
Have you ever tried sweet tea brined chicken?  

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

mint iced tea

I first had mint tea at my favorite Mediterranean restaurant a few years ago, and I am obsessed with mint tea now.  I would have to say it's my favorite!  I love the mint because it is so refreshing and cooling, and on a hot summer day, that is just what you want.

mint iced tea
{mint iced tea}

mint iced tea

makes 2 quarts

3 family-sized tea bags
7 cups water
10-20 mint leaves, local
1/2 to 1 cup sugar or local honey
additional mint leaves for serving
  1. Make tea by bringing 3 cups of water to a boil and adding tea bags.
  2. Steep for 3 minutes.
  3. Add mint and steep for 2-3 minutes; remove mint leaves
  4. Add remaining 4 cups of water.
  5. Serve immediately over ice or for best results let set overnight.
I definitely make more flavored teas than this because I get bored easily.  I even had a thought as I was making my last pitcher of tea as to how good using brown sugar instead of regular sugar would be.  I'll experiment and get back with you!
Do you have any favorite additions that I should try?  
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Monday, June 22, 2015

ginger honey iced tea

It's officially summer, and it's HOT!  I really, really dislike the heat/humidity of summer because trying to keep cool is a monumental tasks sometimes (usually involving sitting around in front of a fan in the AC with cold drink in hand).  I love drinking tea, and in the summer it becomes iced tea.  As I made a few of my favorites, I thought that I would share them with you so you can make fancy ones for your next soiree!

ginger and honey iced tea
{ginger and honey iced tea}

ginger and honey iced tea

makes 2 quarts

3 family-sized tea bags
7 cups water
1/2 to 1 cup honey, local
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
lemon (optional for garnish)
  1. Make tea by bringing 3 cups of water to a boil and adding tea bags.
  2. Steep for 3 minutes.
  3. Add honey to taste.
  4. Add ginger.
  5. Add remaining 4 cups of water.
  6. Serve immediately over ice or for best results let set overnight.
When I took this photo I completely forgot to add the lemon, but it still tasted great anyway.  I love this because the ginger adds some depth to the tea while the honey keeps it from being syrupy sweet (I characteristic I strongly dislike in my teas).

Do you like iced tea?  Do you add any flavorings or are you a traditional iced tea drinker?

PS--I use so much ginger in my life that I get it pre-minced, and I LOVE it.  Buying it like this also is less hassle and time-consuming.  I got this little jar at Good Foods co-op.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

hoisin chicken udon noodles

As I hinted at yesterday, I was cleaning out the freezer.  I also did the fridge and pantry and found a bottle of hoisin sauce (a sauce native to southern Chinese cuisine).  I went online to find some recipes, and I stumbled upon this gem.  It was quick, easy, healthy, and completely addicting.  Both The Hubby and I literally fought over who would take the leftovers.  We ended up compromising and splitting the last bit.  I have made it twice since with the same result.

hoisin chicken udon noodles
{hoisin chicken udon noodles}

hoisin chicken udon noodles
from jo cooks

makes 4 servings

8 oz of dry udon noodles
1 pound chicken thighs, boneless and skinless, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 pound vegetables
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 green onions, chopped
  1. Cook noodles according to package directions.  Drain well and immediately rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil and sesame seed oil in a large skillet or a pot and add chicken pieces and cook until chicken is no longer pink and starts to brown slightly. 
  3. Add ginger, garlic and vegetables and cook for a couple more minutes until vegetables begin to get tender.
  4. Add soy sauce, hoisin sauce, chili flakes and chicken broth, stir and bring to a boil. 
  5. Add noodles to the pot and cook until noodles are heated through. 
  6. Garnish with green onions and serve hot.
  7. Enjoy! 
I love it when a recipe comes together this easily (with little to no modifications), and I am even more excited to blog and share it with you lovely readers!  Have you encountered recipes like this?

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Monday, June 15, 2015

lemon cranberry muffins

I was cleaning out the freezer, and I noticed that I had some cranberries left over from Thanksgiving.  I hopped online and searched for cranberry muffins since it has been a while since I have made muffins.  I found this recipe for lemon cranberry muffins so I made them.  They were delicious so I am sharing them with you.  See the pattern?  LOL

lemon cranberry muffins
 {lemon cranberry muffins}

lemon cranberry muffins
 {those cranberries!}

lemon cranberry muffins

makes 24 muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
3⁄4 cup sugar
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 cup fresh cranberries, halved
1 cup milk
1 egg
1⁄4 cup oil
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Stir flour, baking powder and salt together.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir the sugar and the lemon zest together, and stir into the flour mixture.
  4. In a measuring cup, mix the lemon juice with the milk and let sit for a few minutes before whisking in the egg and oil.
  5. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. 
  6. Stir until ingredients are moistened, then fold in the cranberries.
  7. Scoop into lined muffin cups, about 2/3 full, and bake 18-20 minutes, making sure that finished muffins pass the toothpick test.
  8. Enjoy!
I have to warn you that these are tart; everyone at work loved them, but they did mention that they were tart (don't expect anything too sweet from me ;o) )

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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

French onion soup

So what do you do when you accidentally buy two bags of 5 pound onions in one week?  You find recipes that are onion based so you don't waste those onions.  This recipe was the first that came to mind, and it was so delicious that I ate it for several days AND had enough to freeze two servings for another day.

French onion soup
 {French onion soup}

 {the plain soup on the left and covered with cheese on the right}

French onion soup
from smitten kitchen

makes 8 servings

1 1/2 pounds yellow onions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
3 tablespoons flour
2 quarts beef broth (use a mushroom broth for a vegetarian dish)
1/2 cup dry white wine or dry white vermouth
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons cognac or brandy

1 tablespoon grated raw onion
1 to 2 cups a mixture of Swiss and Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon butter, melted
12 to 16 1-inch thick rounds French bread, toasted until hard
  1. Melt the butter and oil together in the bottom of a 4- to 5-quart saucepan or Dutch oven over moderately low heat. Add the onions, toss to coat them in oil and cover the pot. Reduce the heat to real low and let them slowly steep for 15 minutes
  2. After 15 minutes, uncover the pot, raise the heat slightly and stir in the salt and sugar. Cook onions, stirring frequently, for 30 to 40 minutes until they have turned an even, deep golden brown. Don’t skimp on this step, as it will build the complex and intense flavor base that will carry the rest of the soup.
  3. After the onions are fully caramelized, sprinkle them with flour and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the wine in full, then stock, a little at a time, stirring between additions. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
  4. Bring to a simmer and simmer partially covered for 30 to 40 more minutes, skimming if needed. Correct seasonings if needed but go easy on the salt as the cheese will add a bit more saltiness. 
  5. Stir in the cognac. 
  6. Preheat oven to 325. Arrange six ovenproof soup bowls or crocks on a large, foil-lined baking sheet. Divide the soup among six bowls. 
  7. To each bowl, add 1/2 teaspoon grated raw onion and a tablespoon of grated cheese. Stir to combine. 
  8. Dab your croutons with a tiny bit of butter and float a few on top of your soup bowls, attempting to cover it. 
  9. Mound grated cheese on top of it; how much you use will be up to you (I recommend 1/4 cup for each bowl).
  10. Bake soups on tray for 20 minutes, then preheat broiler. 
  11. Finish for a minute or two under the broiler to brown the top lightly. 
  12. Grab pot holders, and serve immediately.
Although it does take some work, this would be an excellent recipe for a dinner party since the soup can be made ahead of time then easily reheated/cheesed (yes-that's a verb) with little fuss on your part.  Have you ever had French onion soup?

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Monday, June 8, 2015

spicy Thai chicken noodle soup

I've been hearing about this craze about Blue Apron.  If you haven't heard of them, they are a company who provides all the raw ingredients for meals delivered right to your door (aka taking away grocery shopping and meal planning for 3 meals per week).   I did not try their services, but I was interested in the recipes that they have on their website.  So I went through the recipes and downloaded what I wanted to make.  This is the first recipe that I have made, and it was fantastic!  Even The Hubby loved it!

spicy Thai chicken noodle soup
 {spicy Thai chicken noodle soup}

spicy Thai chicken noodle soup
{add green onions, cilantro, and more lime juice if you want!}

spicy Thai chicken noodle soup
from blue apron

makes 4 servings

8 oz chicken thighs, boneless, skinless, and cubed
3 1/2 oz udon noodles
1 pint white mushrooms, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 pepper, thinly sliced
1 lime, zested and juiced
3 cups chicken broth
1-2 teaspoons red chili flakes
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 green onion, white cut into slices and green cut at an angle into rings
1 lime, cut into wedges
2-3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
  1. Add 2 teaspoons of sesame seed oil and heat on medium-high until hot.
  2. Add chicken and cook until browned on all sides.
  3. Add mushrooms, pepper, white part of green onions, garlic, ginger, and lime zest; cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Add chili flakes, chicken broth, and Worcestershire.
  5. Heat until boiling, and simmer for 5-7 minutes
  6. Add udon noodles and cook until tender (about 8 minutes).
  7. Stir in lime juice.
  8. To serve, garnish with green part of onions, lime wedge and cilantro.
  9. Enjoy!
Have you tried Blue Apron or a service like it?  Although convenient, I would miss doing the meal planning and grocery shopping myself since I love it (it would be tempting some weeks though!).

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

strawberry summer cake

What to do when you have a 1/2 gallon bucket of fresh-from-the-farm strawberries?  Besides prolifically thanking the in-laws, you gorge yourself and make cake.  I saw this cake recipe from my favorite food blogger and promptly made it because I knew it would be delicious.  Shocker--it was!

strawberry summer cake
 {my only regret with this cake--it could have used more strawberries!}

strawberry summer cake
{served with powdered sugar and some whipped cream}

strawberry summer cake
from smitten kitchen

makes 8-16 servings (depending on how you slice it)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
7/8 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg (local)
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound strawberries (local), hulled and halved
  1. Preheat oven to 350. 
  2. Butter a 9- or 10-inch spring-form or cake pan.
  3. Whisk flour or flours, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl. 
  4. In a larger bowl, beat butter and 7/8 cup sugar until pale and fluffy with an electric mixer, about 3 minutes. 
  5. Mix in egg, milk and vanilla until just combined. Add dry mixture gradually, mixing until just smooth. 
  6. Pour into prepared pie plate. 
  7. Arrange strawberries, cut side down, on top of batter, as closely as possible in a single layer (though I had to overlap a few to get them all in). 
  8. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over berries. 
  9. Bake cake for 10 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 325 and bake cake until golden brown and a tester comes out free of wet batter, about 50 minutes to 60 minutes.
  10. Let cool in pan on a rack. 
  11. Cut into wedges. Serve with powdered sugar and/or lightly whipped cream.
Next time I make this (and I know that I will), I will definitely put an impossible amount of strawberries on it.  I spaced mine prettily, but next time I will show no hesitancy.

What are you doing with this year's strawberries?

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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

what's in season | June

The farmer's market really starts beginning to pick up in June, and I couldn't really be more excited! 

{not the best quality since it was taken on my phone (strawberries from the in-laws, onions, beeswax, and greens}

The market is getting more and more crowded the later you come so to get the best produce, go before 9:30 AM.  Here's what to look for in Kentucky this month:

Asparagus (I didn't see much last week, and it is winding down according to some of the farmers I spoke with)
Beans (type varies)
Blackberries (late June)
Eggplant (late June)
Greens (type varies)
Okra (late June)
Green onions
Peaches (late June)
Summer squash
Strawberries (early June)

What are you most looking forward to eating?  I can't decide, but I do LOVE peaches!

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Monday, June 1, 2015

monthly munchies | June

Can you believe that we are already halfway through 2015?  It seems like just yesterday, we were celebrating the new year and all the possibilities that it holds.  Now it's summer which means summer getaways, picnics, family time, local produce and all kinds of other exciting things!

monthly munchies june
 {cherries are one of my favorite snacks especially when they are on sale!}

What's happening in June here at a girl eats world?  Nothing too exciting actually, or at least nothing too exciting planned.  I will be doing a week dedicated to iced tea because I haven't done anything with it yet!  I even have a recipe for sweet-tea brined chicken--WHOA!  Then I'm getting ready to make some recipes for July 4th and ice cream recipes for next month!

Do you have any fun plans for June?

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

coconut brownies

Coconut and chocolate....  Need I say more?

coconut brownies

coconut brownies
coconut brownies
from two peas and their pod

makes 16-24 servings (depending on how you slice them)

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups Dutch-process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup coconut oil, melted
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
4 large eggs, slightly beaten*
2 cups chocolate chips
2 cups coconut flakes, divided
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. 
  2. Grease a 9″ x 13″ pan and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. 
  4. In a large bowl, combine melted coconut oil with sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves. Add in the eggs and stir until smooth. Stir in vanilla and coconut extracts. 
  5. Slowly add in the dry ingredients. Stir until batter is smooth. Stir in chocolate chips and 1 cup of coconut. 
  6. Pour the batter into prepared pan. 
  7. Top batter with remaining coconut.
  8. Bake the brownies for about 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. 
  9. Remove pan from the oven and cool on a rack before cutting and serving.
  10. Enjoy! 
*Just eggs makes these brownies more cake-like.  For a fudgier brownie, use 3 eggs and 1/4 cup milk.

Really--just go make some!  It'll be your new favorite brownie!

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

coconut bread

My favorite food blogger posted this coconut bread, and I went home and made it without question.  I have a weakness for fruit breads like banana and pumpkin.  Now I can add coconut to the list!  This bread only carries a hint of coconut which makes jellies, jams, peanut butter, Nutella, etc the perfect pairing!

coconut bread
 {coconut bread}

coconut bread
 {can you see the coconut flakes?}

coconut bread
 {I tried it with both peanut butter and Nutella--both delicious!  Also just toasted with some butter--excellent!}

coconut bread
from smitten kitchen

makes 1 loaf

2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup granulated sugar
5 ounces sweetened flaked coconut (about 1 1/2 cups)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted or melted and browned, if desired
Vegetable oil or nonstick cooking spray for baking pan
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and vanilla.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Add sugar and coconut, and stir to mix. 
  4. Make a well in the center, and pour in egg mixture, then stir wet and dry ingredients together until just combined. Add butter, and stir until just smooth — be careful not to over mix.
  5. Butter and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan, or coat it with a nonstick spray. 
  6. Spread batter in pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, anywhere from 1 to 1 1/4 hours. 
  7. Cool in pan five minutes, before turning out onto a cooling rack.
  8. Serve in thick slices, toasted, with butter and confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, nutella, butter and honey--the possibilities are endless!
What spread would you use with this bread?

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

coconut curry fish

I've always loved eating coconut, but apparently I was in a coconut kick for a week or two so this week is unofficial coconut week here at a girl eats world!  I've got some delicious recipes lined up starting with this curry dish!

I am always trying to get The Hubby to eat more fish.  He prefers white, lean fish so I make it as often and in different ways to see how he really likes it.  He loved this recipe; he said that all the flavors worked really well together.  Bonus--it can be made in about 40 minutes!

coconut curry fish
 {served over rice}

coconut curry fish

makes 4 servings

1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon lower-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 (14-ounce) can light coconut milk
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
3 oz tomato paste
1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon chili flakes
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
4 (6-ounce) halibut fillets
3 basil and/or mint sprigs, with stems removed and chopped
Rice, cooked
  1. Combine all ingredients except fish and basil, in a medium saucepan over high heat, whisking until smooth. 
  2. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer until reduced to 3/4 cup (about 25 minutes). Remove from heat. 
  3. Add fish and cover.
  4. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until fish flakes and turns opaque.
  5. Serve over rice with basil/mint sprinkled on top.
Have you tried coconut in a savory dish like the above?  Did you like it?  If you haven't tried it, would you?  I'd love to hear from you!

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Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day

In the midst of grilling, hanging out with family, opening the pool, laying out in the sun, and generally ushering the summer into our lives, let us remember what this day is for: for those brave men and women who gave their lives so we can do all those things.  Let us take a few moments today to honor their sacrifice.

I forgot the reason for the holiday, and I hope that this reminder helps you to remember as well.

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

burgers | gouda, bacon and bourbon onions

I had this burger at a local restaurant, and I fell in love and became obsessed.  I ate this burger about 3 times in the last month, and it just keeps getting better and better.  I daresay it's my favorite with beer cheese being a close second.

gouda, bacon and bourbon onions
{gouda, bacon and bourbon onions}

gouda, bacon and bourbon onion jam

Gouda cheese
Bacon strips, cooked
bourbon onion jam
condiments like mayo and sweet mustard
  1. Place cheese on burger to melt.
  2. Construct rest of burger.
  3. Enjoy!
Have you ever had to replicate a burger you had at a restaurant?  I must confess that as I was doing research on  different topping combinations, I found some interesting ones!  I might get brave enough to try them in the future!

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

burgers | pizza

The Hubby suggested this burger variation.  He had it at a restaurant once a few years ago, and he wanted to try it at home.  I was game; I wasn't sure if I would like it.  Boy, was I wrong!  I might like it better than actual pizza.... (too much bread in most cases and in my opinion)

pizza burger
 {view from the top}

pizza burger
 {pizza burger}

pizza burger

homemade pizza sauce
  1. Place hot pizza sauce on burger and place cheese on top to melt. 
  2. Top with pepperonis.
  3. Enjoy!
Do you have any strange toppings that you like to put on burgers?

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Monday, May 18, 2015

pleasing your palate | Memorial Day side dishes

It's a week until the official start of summer begins (although it's been blistering already here in the bluegrass....).  I know that we will all be grilling out this weekend so below are some ideas for easy grilling sides and make-ahead desserts!

baked beans

beer cheese
beer cheese (for those burgers!)

frozen berry cake

grilled asparagus
grilled corn

grilled potato packs


pasta salad


 ribboned asparagus salad

What do you have at your Memorial Day cook-ou?

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

bourbon onion jam

So one day, I had this AMAZING burger at a restaurant (which I will share later this month during burger week).  Part of that burger was bourbon onion jam which I promptly went home and made.  We ate it on EVERYTHING--sandwiches, burgers, baked items, grilled items, etc.  I'm certain this will be your next favorite condiment.

bourbon onion jam
 {bourbon onion jam}

one year ago:  shaved asparagus pizza

bourbon onion jam
from salted and styled

makes 3 cups

2 large sweet onions, finely diced
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoons dried thyme
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup bourbon (your favorite)
  1. Heat a large pan over medium heat; add butter and heat until melted.
  2. Add onions and thyme cooking until onions are translucent.
  3. Add remaining ingredients to the pan and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  5. Cool and store in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.
  6. Put on sandwiches or over grilled items.  Use your imagination!
Pictured above the bourbon onion jam is on ranch baked pork chops (ranch dressing poured on pork chops and baked for 30 minutes or until done).

Have you ever had something at a restaurant and went home to make it?  It's not my first time and certainly won't be the last!  I made garlic butter lima beans and Cajun garlic bread from restaurant inspiration before! 

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

roasted asparagus with lemon feta vinaigrette

I made this dish for my mom for Mother's Day this year, and she raved about it as she ate it.  It's right up our alley--easy, simple, and delicious!  Plus, we used some foods from our local farmer's market which made it even better.

roasted asparagus with lemon feta vinaigrette
{roasted asparagus with lemon feta vinaigrette}

roasted asparagus with lemon feta vinaigrette
from GI 365

makes 2 servings

2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon mustard, Dijon or spicy
1/4 cup olive oil
4 tablespoons feta, crumbled
1 pound asparagus (local), washed and trimmed
4 eggs (local)
  1. Preheat oven to 450.
  2. Whisk together lemon juice, garlic, and mustard.  Drizzle the olive oil slowly, whisking all the while until the dressing is emulsified.  Set the dressing nd feta aside.
  3. Lay asparagus on a single layer of a parchment covered baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.  
  4. Roast 5-8 minutes or until tender.
  5. Meanwhile, fry eggs to desired doneness (I like mine over medium).
  6. Place asparagus on a plate, top with eggs, dressing and feta.
  7. Enjoy!
Your eyes aren't deceiving you--those yolks are ORANGE!  They were so delicious too!  How are you eating your local produce like asparagus?

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Monday, May 11, 2015

seared steak with roasted poblanos and onions

With this warmer HOT weather, I'm trying to keep my meals light and simple.  This Spanish dish of a steak covered with paprika and seared with peppers and onions with lime juice sounded refreshing and delicious.  It was!  We had this as our Cinco de Mayo meal last week!

seared steak with roasted poblanos and onions
 {seared steak with roasted poblanos and onions}

seared steak with roasted poblanos and onions
 {just a squeeze of lime juice and ready to eat!}

seared steak with roasted poblanos and onions

makes 4 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 steaks
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 onion, wedged
2 poblanos, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch strips (if you want more heat leave some seeds)
4 lime wedges
sea salt chunks
  1. Heat a cast iron skillet with oil.
  2. Coat both sides of the steaks with paprika and black pepper.
  3. Sear steaks in skillet until desired doneness.
  4. Add onions wedges and peppers browning until caramelized on one side. 
  5. Cook until tender.
  6. Place onions and peppers on a plate.  
  7. Top with steaks.
  8. Sprinkle sea salt chunks on steak and serve with lime wedge.
What kind of foods do you like to eat when the weather is hot?  I lean towards lighter food with tons of fresh vegetables.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

ribboned asparagus salad with lemon

I've personally always eaten asparagus cooked.  When I saw this recipes from a favorite food blogger to eat it raw, I was intrigued.  I made it for lunch right after buying some from the farmer's market last weekend.  My mom and I ate it ALL in one sitting.  Then I made more for her before going home so she had it for the week.  Needless to say, we are obsessed!

ribboned asparagus salad with lemon
 {ribboned asparagus salad with lemon}

ribboned asparagus salad with lemon
{close up of the salad}

ribboned asparagus salad with lemon
from smitten kitchen

makes 4 servings

1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted and cooled
1 pound local asparagus, rinsed
1 lemon, halved
Olive oil
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, shredded
  1. No need to snap off the tough ends of your asparagus. Lay a single stalk on its side on a cutting board. Holding onto the tough end, use a vegetable peeler to shave off thin asparagus ribbons from stalk to tip, peeling away from the tough end in your hand. Discard the tough ends once you’re done peeling.
  2. Gently pile your ribbons on a medium-sized serving platter. 
  3. Squeeze some lemon juice over the asparagus, drizzle it with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. 
  4. Toss gently to coat. 
  5. Sprinkle with Parmesan and almonds. 
  6. Eat immediately. 
Have you eaten raw asparagus?  How did you like it?  Will you try this recipe?  (oh pretty please do!)

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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

what's in season | May

Yay May!  Local produce is beginning to make its way to the market, and I couldn't be more excited! 

 {My mom buying local asparagus over the weekend}

Here's what you should look for at your farmer's market:

Asparagus (already eating tons and have a recipe to share tomorrow!)
Kohlrabi (end of May)
Green onions
Peas (beginning mid-May)
Strawberries (beginning mid-May)
Turnips (end of May)

Have you been to your local market lately?  I personally cannot wait for strawberries to come in because I have a strawberry-rhubarb soda I am dying to make for my mom!Pin It

Monday, May 4, 2015

monthly munchies | May

I hope that you had a great weekend!  A royal baby was born, Derby was fun, and the weather was wonderful here in the bluegrass state!  I couldn't ask for much more!

{sometimes, what you need is strawberries, yogurt and chocolate instead of a real dinner}

Any way, what's happening this month?  I have some recipes lined up with coconut including bread, brownies, and curry sauce for fish (a bit obsessed with coconut for some reason....)  Also, I will be featuring some delicious burger combinations in preparation for your Memorial Day cook-out. 

Nothing else new and exciting really.  Getting a little personal here, but the last few weeks of life have been a wild (WILD) ride ending with us getting new car this weekend.  Needless to say my stress and anxiety have been through the roof over the last few weeks so I really didn't plan ahead much.  I should be much better this month with pre-planning for June!

I also went to see my doctor for a physical, found out I had gained about 10 pounds since last year, and promptly bought a fitbit (LOVING it by the way).  So this month I will be focusing on healthy dishes.  It won't be hard since local produce is beginning to show up at the farmer's market (check out my what's in season post tomorrow for May's produce list).

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Thursday, April 30, 2015

KY Derby | country ham balls

Kentucky has a great country ham scene, and why not highlight it with this delicious recipe?  Not only is it easy and delicious, the meatballs can be made ahead of time then baked when you need them!

country ham balls
 {country ham balls}

country ham balls
 {these are so delicious!  I have made them several times over the last 6 months, and they are always a favorite!}

country ham balls
adapted from Sterling Bits

makes 24-36 balls (depending on how you roll them)

2 pounds local country ham, diced into 1/4 inch pieces
2 pounds local pork sausage
1 1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 local eggs, beaten
2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon mustard
1 cup white wine vinegar
  1. Mix country ham, sausage, bread crumbs, and eggs together until well combined.
  2. Roll out meat mixture to golf-ball sized meat balls.  At this point, the meatballs can be cooked or frozen for future use.
  3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350.
  4. Meanwhile, combine brown sugar, mustard, and vinegar in a pot.  Boil until rolling and allow to boil for 2 minutes.
  5. Place meatballs in a 9x13 casserole dish and pour hot sauce over meatballs.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, turning balls at least once, or until done.
  7. Serve.
I hope that these and the other recipes that I shared this week will inspire your Derby party!

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