Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Beer Cheese Brat Chowder #10DaysOfTailgate

Welcome to our final day of our tailgate! Thank you for sticking around and joining in the fun! On this final day I want to thank Camilla of Culinary Adventure with Camilla. This lady has worked so hard to put this event together and deserves many round of applause- head over to her blog and show her some love!

Here's what the rest of the team brought to the table...

Beer Cheese Brat Chowder by Cheese Curd In Paradise
Ducky Joes by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Ducky 13 Bean Soup by The Not So Cheesy Kitchen
13 Bean Chili by Miss Laura’s Kitchen
Za’atar Spiced Cashews by The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
Chicken & Potato Stir Fry on the Grill by Debbi Does Dinner Healthy

Boston Lager Cupcakes by Sew You Think You Can Cook

I wanted to save one of my favorite recipes for last. Beer cheese soup is really popular in Wisconsin (for obvious reasons) and I had never made it until recently. There are a few key things that I feel make a great beer cheese soup: sharp cheddar, lite beer, chicken stock (not broth), lots of black pepper.....and in this case bratwurst.  This recipe is everything that remind me of home on a cold blustery Sunday afternoon. Rich, cheesy, salty and filling....delicious.  Ron, Kellen and I devoured this soup and Kellen asked for seconds!

This has been a blast and I want to thank all of our sponsors for allowing us to use their products and create an amazing prize package for our readers.  I have another giveaway from our sponsors in an upcoming post so stay tuned! Please do not forget to visit our sponsors and enter to win an amazing prize pack! 

Thank you for joining me and #10DaysofTailgate! 


2 Tbl olive oil
2 Tbl butter
1 medium white onion, diced
2/3 cup diced carrot
2/3 cup diced potato
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cup beer (I used Miller Lite)
1 cup 2% or whole milk
2 1/2 cup chicken stock
4 cooked bratwurst sausages, halved and sliced
2 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1/2 cup shredded or diced american cheese
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper (add a little extra if you love pepper)
Salt, to taste


In a dutch oven or soup kettle heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add onion, potato and carrot to the pot, and saute till onions vegetables are tender.  

Stir in the flour till veggies are evenly coated. Whisk in the beer, milk and chicken stock. Allow the soup to come to a slow simmer and thicken while stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. 

Add brats and cheese. Stir to melt cheese and warm brats. Season with salt and pepper. Allow soup to bubble on medium low for about 5 minutes.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Weekly Meal Plan 9/29 - 10/5

Happy Monday (night)! I am a little behind today!

This weekend was filled with fun with our family and friends. On Friday night we celebrated my nephew's 6th birthday with Indian food and dinosaur cake. Kellen tried chicken tikka masala for the first time and was a big fan! I love that he is into trying different foods and am enjoying it while it lasts (is it wishful thinking to say forever???). We got our nephew Junior Monopoly, Guess Who? and a robot savings back to start saving his allowance for his bigger wants.  

On Saturday, my friend Kayla and I headed up to Door County to enjoy the weather with the kids. First stop was The Farm, followed by lunch and finally a trip to the orchard and pumpkin market in Egg Harbor. 

He was afraid to do this in the beginning of summer!

The corn is as high as an elephant's eye!

I always miss this view in the winter....

On Saturday, we headed to Appleton to try the Basil Cafe with my friend Amanda. We tried the red shrimp curry, Pho and another spicy noodle dish- it was amazing. Kellen also tried Pad Thai and loved it all!

On Sunday, we went to a Packer party/ gender reveal for our cousin's (It's a boy!) and loved watching the Packers beat on the Bears. It is always an extra treat to see them beat Chicago.....sorry to my Bear loving friends and readers! 

Tonight we are heading to dinner at one of our favorite places with our friend Melissa and then relaxing for the evening. The rest of the week is pretty low key and we are looking forward to a Thursday night Packer game, taking photos of the cousins on Friday for fall and a day of fun with our nephew as part of his 5th birthday gift (and out for Thai later). 

Have a great week!

Here is what is on tap: 

Monday: Out to Plae Bistro
Tuesday: 7-Up Pork Chops, Wild Rice and Saute Mushrooms
Wednesday: Bacon Pierogie Bake and Green Beans
Thursday: Go Pack Go! Grilled Honey Curry Chicken, Couscous and Green Beans
Friday: French Onion Grilled Chicken, Parmesan Spinach Orzo and Broccoli
Saturday: Spicy Beef Chili
Sunday: Out for Thai

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Grilled Chipotle Ranch Chicken Wings #10DaysOfTailgate

Welcome to another day of tailgating- and football Sunday no less! 

Here's what the rest of the team brought to the table today...

‘Da Bears in ‘Da Blankets by Sew You Think You Can Cook
Jalapeno Popper Deviled Eggs by Debbi Does Dinner Healthy
Philly Cheese Steak Eggrolls by Cooking In Stilettos
Ketchup & Mustard Glazed Meatballs by Culinary Adventures with Camilla

Chipotle Ranch Chicken Wings by Cheese Curd In Paradise
White Chicken Chili by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Italian Sausages with Fire Grilled Peppers and Onions by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Saucy Maple Leaf Duck Sliders by Making Miracles
Three Pepper Burgers by Eliot’s Eats
Chipotle Mustard Pork Chops by The Pajama Chef
Cherry Chipotle Drumsticks by Summer Scraps

Salads in Jars by OnTheMove-In the Galley

Today I am bringing you a delicious wing recipe using a product from our sponsor, Gourmet Garden. Gourmet Garden was kind enough to send participants 12 different herb products for this challenge. It was one of the few products I have used in the past and found it to be really great. I like that the products are a stir in and extend the herbs shelf life, but don't sacrifice the fresh flavor.  I find that using dried herbs in a recipe does not always cut it (especially when marinating), and I thought this was a perfect chance to incorporate  the herbs into my chicken wings. The ranch I was using already has herbs, but I wanted to up the flavor of my wings with garlic, oregano and parsley.  The marinate is spicy and full of flavor from all the different herbs- perfect for grilled chicken.  Grilling wings can be a little tricky because you want to cook them long enough to crisp the skin, but not completely dry out your wings. I always think it is important to use a marinate with a little fat from oil to keep the meat moist as they grill.

My friend Emily came over to test out the wings and they received two thumbs up from all three of us! They kids had an alternate dinner because the chipotle is pretty spicy! Kellen is a spicy food lover, but I give to him in small amounts so he doesn't over do it. We are lucky to have a pretty open-minded eater- he tried Pho last night for dinner!

Today we are headed to Ron's parents for the PACKER game. The whole family will be there because we have a special baby news announcement from our cousins at half time! Woohoo!

Happy football Sunday everyone and here is to a Packer win against the Bears! 


2 1/2 lb chicken wings and drummies (about 25-30 pieces)
2/3 cup ranch dressing
2 chipotles in adobo sauce (+ 1 Tbl adobo sauce)
1 Tbl Gourmet Garden Chunky Garlic or 1 Tbl minced garlic
1 Tbl Gourmet Garden Oregano or 1 Tbl fresh finely chopped oregano
1 Tbl Gourmet Garden Parselt or 1 Tbl fresh finely chopped parselt
2 Tbl olive oil


In a food processor, add ranch, peppers, adobo, garlic, herbs and oil. Pulse till smooth. 

In a large resealable bag add wings and chipotle ranch. Allow chicken wings to marinate for 4-8 hours. Remove chicken from marinate and discard remaining marinate. 

Heat grill to medium heat and grill wings 5 minutes on the first side. Flip the wings and allow them to cook 4-5 minutes.  After the initial cooking, rotate and flip wings for an additional 3-4 minutes or until the skin gets crispy and slightly charred. 

Remove wings from grill and serve immediately with a side of ranch. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Loaded Baked Potato Beer Dip #10DaysOfTailgate

Happy Friday and welcome to another day of tailgating! 

Here's what the rest of the crew brought to the table...

Diablo’d Cheesy Bacon-Onion Pinwheel Rolls by Things I Make (for Dinner)
Spiced Kofta with Carrot Karma Yogurt Dip by Culinary Adventures with Camilla

Baked Potato Beer Dip by Cheese Curd In Paradise
Hot Caramelized Onion Dip by Eliot’s Eats
Healthier Buffalo Cauliflower Dip by The Spiffy Cookie
Dunkin Duck, Cheesy Bacon and Ranch Dip by A Day in the Life on the Farm

Honey Grilled Chicken and Vegetable Kebabs by Debbi Does Dinner Healthy
Thai Chicken Skewers by Sew You Think You Can Cook
Bacon Cheeseburger Soup by From Gate to Plate

Grilled Parsley Potatoes by Curious Cuisiniere
Grilled Vegetables by Summer Scraps

Pumpkin Bars by The Pajama Chef

Do you love dips?

We do. We absolutely love dips of all kinds at our house. Nothing screams football Sunday to me like chips and dips (well, besides bratwurst!). I am a non-discriminator when it comes to dip as well. I love hot,cold, meatless, meaty, spicy, mild, cheesy, baked, in a crockpot...whew...the list could go on and on, but I will cut myself off there and end with boozy.  Beer dip is really popular in our area and served at most parties and sporting events. I thought this was a perfect opportunity to jack-up this favorite dip.

I thought of the similar flavors of beer dip to a loaded baked potato, and my light bulb went off to combine the two.  Given that it was another opportunity to prepare and eat bacon- my husband was also thrilled.  We both loved the flavors of this dip! The traditional beer dip holds on strong, but is enhanced with the smoky bacon, sharp cheddar and bite from the green onions. I like to serve this with potato chips, but add a few pretzels as well for beer dip purists.

Tonight we are celebrating our nephew's 6th birthday! I can't believe the little dude is already 6! It feels like my sister just had him....sigh.... Whoever told me kids grown up to fast hit the nail right on the head- way too fast! Have a wonderful weekend everyone and stay tuned for Sunday- only a few more tailgate posts to go!


2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 packet ranch dressing mix
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2/3 cup beer
2 cup sharp cheddar cheese (reserve 2 Tbl for topping)
2/3 cup cooked chopped bacon (reserve 1 Tbl for topping)
1/3 cup sliced green onions (reserve 1 Tbl for topping)
Potato Chips and Pretzels


In a medium bowl, mix cream cheese, ranch packet, sour cream and pepper till smooth (I like to use a hand mixer). Slowly add in the beer till you reach desired consistency. Gently stir in the cheese, bacon and green onions. Place in fridge for about 30 minutes.

Remove from fridge and transfer to serving dish. Top with cheese, bacon and onions. Serve with potato chips and pretzels. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Green and Gold Grilled Chicken (Green Curry and Pineapple) #10DaysOfTailgate

Welcome to the tailgate!

Here's what everyone brought to the table today...

Crock Pot Mango Hot Wings by Curious Cuisiniere
Cheesy Pulled Pork Egg Rolls by From Gate to Plate
Herbed Deviled Eggs by Culinary Adventures with Camilla

Amaretto Spiced Apple Cider by The Spiffy Cookie

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus by Debbi Does Dinner Healthy

Turducken Meatballs by Miss Laura’s Kitchen
Meaty “Beast Mode” Baked Beans by OnTheMove-In the Galley
Chicken Apple Bratwurst Burgers by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures

Grilled Green Beans, Mushrooms, and Duck Bacon by The Pajama Chef

Ron and I are lovers of any type of curry. I love incorporating it into different dishes and marinates. Normally, I prefer red curry to green, but I wanted to make a play on a green and gold chicken to represent the Packers for the #10DaysofTailgate.  As you know, I am a big fan of grilled pineapple in any dish and I thought it would work perfectly with green curry to create a delicious chicken marinate.  I really loved the sweet and spicy flavors of this chicken and the grilled pineapple is a fantastic addition, as usual. Even if you are not a fan of the green and gold Pack (what are you thinking!), you will love this variation of grilled chicken.

Our tailgating challenge is just at the halfway point and it has been so much fun hearing from all of you and seeing the different recipes other participants are coming up with!  I hope you stay with us the rest of the week and keep looking at what fun and delicious recipes are yet to come! Don't forget to enter the giveaway and visit our sponsors!

Tonight, my friend Emily and her daughter are coming to watch the new Law and Order from Wednesday night. I am so excited! Facebook had been blowing up with all sorts of #savebabybenson posts and I am excited to see what all the hype will lead to (hopefully an awesome premier). 


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 can coconut milk (I use full fat)
2 1/2 Tbl green curry paste
2 Tbl soy sauce
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/8 cup olive oil
1 Tbl brown sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 Tbl chopped fresh basil
8 fresh pineapple slices


Combine coconut milk, green curry paste,soy sauce, pineapple juice,oil, brown sugar, garlic, salt, pepper and basil in a resealable plastic bag. Add the chicken to the bag, squeezing out as much air as possible, and seal. Gently toss to coat the chicken in the marinade. Place in the refrigerator and marinade for at least 8 hours.

Preheat grill to medium heat. Grill for about 5-6 minutes per side.  Remove chicken from grill and while it rests quickly grill the pineapple to give it a slight char.

Serve over rice or couscous.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Ultimate Bacon Burger #10DaysOfTailgate

Welcome to another day of tailgating!

Here's what the rest of the team brought to the table...

Pretzel Sticks with Two Sauces by Eliot’s Eats
Cherry Chipotle BBQ Pork Nachos by The Spiffy Cookie
Duck Poppers by CafeTerra

Cranberry Gin Fizz by Culinary Adventures with Camilla

Corn and Cheddar Dip by Sew You Think You Can Cook

Ultimate Bacon Burger by Cheese Curd In Paradise
Cincinnati Turkey Chili by The Pajama Chef
Smoky Date Pulled Pork by Curious Cuisiniere

Just Ducky Baked Beans by A Day in the Life on the Farm

Linebacker-Sized Chocolate Chip Cookies by Things I Make (for Dinner)
Rocky Ledge Bars by Debbi Does Dinner Healthy
Pear Poppy Snails {Birnen Mohn Schnecken} by The Not So Cheesy Kitchen
Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies by Love and Confections

Are you a bacon lover? Well, I did an amazing thing with bacon. I have been creating this burger in my head for awhile now, and am happy that it has come to be reality. Disclaimer: your house will smell like bacon for days after you make these babies.... in our case we were kind of excited about that. I took just over 2 pounds of bacon and used it to make the different components of these burgers. I think the best method is cooking all of the bacon so it is ready and you can use it as you go. I think Ron fell more in love with me when I call him on the way home from the store and said "honey, cook all the bacon in the house". Music to his bacon lovin' ears.

I started by grinding bacon for the burger patties and the aoli. I did it in separate batches to measure for the recipe, but it could be ground all at once.  I find that grinding the bacon over chopping is preferable because it is smaller and gives more bacon flavor through out the entire burger.  I also used the ground bacon in the aoli with a bit of roasted garlic, but if you do not have roasted garlic fresh minced works well too.  The burger with the aoli, melted cheese and crispy bacon on top is the perfect burger for a bacon lover! I think that you could easily add grilled or fried onion or any veggies and have a great result. However, we stuck to bacon, bacon and bacon on our burger. In my opinion, the sauce makes the burger and is fantastic for dipping potato wedges and veggies as well.

To test for the burger to insure they reached desired temperature of 160 degree F I used a handy gadget from our sponsor ThermoWorks. ThermoWorks sent all participants a digital thermometer called ThermoPop. ThermoPop is a rotating pocket thermometer which allows the user a good angle to read the temperature in any position. ThermoPop also gives a reading within 5-6 seconds which is great when you are cooking over a hot grill! Another plus they come in a variety of fun colors (mine is red).

Thanks for joining me at our tailgate party! Please visit my fellow tailgaters for more delicious recipes and don't forget to enter the giveaway!


10 pieces of bacon, cooked crisp and ground
2 lb ground beef
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

for aoli:
2/3 cup mayo
1-2 cloves roasted garlic (you can read my method here) or 1 clove minced garlic
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
4 pieces of bacon, cooked crisp and ground
1 Tbl BBQ sauce
1/4 tsp white pepper

6 Hamburger buns, grilled
6 slices of American cheese
12 strips of bacon, cooked crisp


In a small food processor combine ground bacon, mayo, garlic, lemon juice, bbq sauce and white pepper. Plus till evenly blended. You could do this by hand, but make sure the garlic is finely diced.  Remove sauce from food processor and set a side.

In a large bowl, gently mix beef, bacon and spices till loosely mixed together.  Form into 6 burger patties. Heat grill to medium high and grill 3-4 minutes per side or until thermometer reads 160 degrees F at the thickest part of the burger.  In the last minute of cooking, place one slice of cheese on each burger. Allow cheese to melt and remove burgers from the grill. Quickly toast the split buns on the grill (about 30 seconds to 1 minute) and remove.

To assemble the burgers, spread aoli on both sides of the bun. Next place burger on the bun and top with bacon. Crack a beer and devour. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Brat Bites with Spicy Mustard Dipping Sauce #10DaysOfTailgate

Welcome to another day of our tailgate!

Here's what the rest of the team brought to the table...

Baked Corndog Nuggets with El Diablo Honey Mustard by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures


Bacon CheeseburgerEgg Rolls by Things I Make (for Dinner)
Chicken Parmesan Sliders by Debbi Does Dinner Healthy
Cherry Chipotle Meatloaf Sandwiches by The Not So Cheesy Kitchen
Cherry Chipotle Meatballs by From Gate to Plate

SRC Surprise Recipe by A Day in the Life on the Farm

Cinnamon Puppy Chow by The Pajama Chef

My recipe uses an ingredient from one of our generous sponsors, El Diablo Mustard. El Diablo has many different types of spicy mustard flavors including, mango, steakhouse, habanero, chipotle, jalapeno and Texas chili. I used El Diablo's jalapeno mustard to create my dipping sauce (amazing!).  If you do not have this mustard you can use regular brown or yellow and a bit of diced hot pepper of choice. I really liked the different flavors of the mustard and, aside from jalapeno, loved the steakhouse flavor! I think it could make an amazing sauce if you added a bit of blue cheese to a burger or a steak sandwich.

I have to confess that these started a bit of a fight at our house. You see Ron was working at the lab and I had every intention of saving him a few of these babies for when he came home....... but I didn't. In fact, Kellen and I ate them all.....oops. I promised him I would make them again since he was bummed about missing out on these tasty munchies. They are a fun play on pigs in a blanket and the sauce is the perfect tangy & spicy companion. 

Thanks for joining me at our tailgate party! Please visit my fellow tailgaters for more delicious recipes and don't forget to enter the giveaway!


5 grilled bratwursts
1 package of seamless crescent rolls

 for sauce:
1/2 cup mayo
3 1/2 Tbl El Diablo Jalapeno Mustard (3 Tbl mustard of choice with 1/2 tsp diced jalapeno)
1 tsp finely chopped parsley 
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp white pepper


Place all sauce ingredients into a medium bowl. Mix well and set aside.

Pre-heat over to 350 degrees.

Slice each brat into five equal pieces. Cut crescent dough length-wise and roll dough around the brat. Cut the dough when it circles around the brat piece and press to seal.

Place brats on a cookie sheet and bake 10-12 minutes or until golden.

Serve immediately with mustard dipping sauce.

Makes 25 bites. 

Weekly Meal Plan 9/22 - 9/28

Happy Monday!

We had an awesome weekend and I am sad it is over!

On Friday, we celebrated our nephew's 5th birthday with a kids run, pizza and cake. We were going to do the outdoor lanterns, but it was a bit too windy. 

My pizza lover:

On Saturday, we were up bright and early to head to Lake Geneva to visit with friends. Kellen had a sleepover with his grandparents and his cousin was over for the day as well.  They are a year apart and Kellen gets loves when he has a chance to play with her. Once in Geneva we headed out on a boat tour (with a bar) to go around the lake. It was a lot of fun to hear about the history or the old mansions and enjoy bloody mary's. 

After the boat ride we bummed around town and stopped for a few cocktails before heading to dinner at an Italian restaurant. We finished the night with a bottle of wine at our friend's house before calling it a night. This is the first year that I have spent anytime in Lake Geneva and it was so much fun!

On Sunday, we headed home and to my parents for the Packer game (no comment) and then home to make some weeks and hang with my friend Emily and her daughter. 

This week we are heading to Appleton to help my friend Amanda  and go out for Thai. Emily is also coming over on Wednesday for the Law and Order SVU premier! I love SVU (and am team bring back Stabler!) and can't wait for the new season. I am also getting excited to see the new season of Survivor, American Horror Story and Walking Dead. This weekend we are celebrating my nephew's birthday on Friday, Dinner with our friends Amanda and David on Saturday (I am also hoping to sneak in a trip to the park) and a Packer party with a surprise thrown by our cousin's Stacy and Scott on Sunday. I love when there is so much to look forward to! 

Have a great week!

Here is what is on tap:

Monday: Out for Thai
Tuesday:  Lighter Lasagna Soup and Garlic Bread
Wednesday: Crabcakes, Old Bay Potato Wedges and Cauliflower
Thursday: Grilled BBQ Ranch Chicken, Cheesy Potatoes and Green Beans
Friday: Nephew's Birthday Party
Saturday: Out with Friends for Indian
Sunday: Packer Party with Leckers and Spaghetti and Meat Sauce, Garlic Bread and Salad for Dinner

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Loaded Baked Nachos Supreme #10DaysofTailgate

Hey Tailgaters (and fellow food lovers)! For the next 10 days I am joining with 21 other bloggers to bring you delicious and tantalizing recipes to bring to your tailgate during the #10daysoftailgate.  In my intro post I gave you all of our amazing sponsors's information and the rafflecopter entry information. Please stop over to enter and check out all the amazing sponsors

The first recipe I am bringing to you is Loaded Baked Nachos Supreme because who doesn't love nachos on game day!?  For this recipe I used a sponsored product from Intensity Academy  called Carrot Karma, but you could use your favorite hot sauce in place. Carrot Karma is a totally different type of hot sauce, but fits right into the flavor profile for these nachos. Carrot Karma has  mild/medium heat with flavors of fresh carrots, habaneros with a touch of lime. 

When building these nachos I went with my family's favorites: beef, beans and tons of cheese! I layered the chips and toppings to ensure that each bite was filled with delicious toppings. Ron, Kellen and I devoured these nachos before the game even started! I love baking nachos because the chips stay crisp,  but are warm and delicious- covered with melted cheese. This recipe appears to have lots of steps, but it is really easy and each step very simple and quick. 

Thanks for joining me in kicking off our tailgate party! Please visit my fellow tailgaters for more delicious recipes and don't forget to enter the giveaway!

Here is what everyone else is dishing up today:

El Diablo’d Lamb Lollipops,Culinary Adventures with Camilla

Cheesy Bean Dip, Making Miracles

War Eagle Sangria, Sew You Think You Can Cook

Chili, A Day in the Life on the Farm

Soft Pretzels and Buffalo Cheese Dip, Things I Make (for Dinner)

Spiced Fig and Garlic Chicken Wings, girlichef

Baked Mac and Cheese  with Bacon Pretzel Topping, Debbi Does Dinner Healthy

Baked Blueberry Pork Egg Rolls , The Pajama Chef

Deviled Egg Potato Salad, Cooking In Stilettos

Garden Fresh Salsa, Eliot’s Eats

Peanut Butter Pretzel Brownies, The Spiffy Cookie

Gazpacho Shooters with Spicy Shrimp, OnTheMove-In the Galley

Pineapple Salsa, The Not So Cheesy Kitchen

Asian Duck Sliders, Curious Cuisiniere

Pineapple Chile Lime Wings, The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen

Spicy Strawberry Bourbon Shooters, CafeTerraBlog

Devilish 7-Layer Dip, Miss Laura’s Kitchen

Iowa Sunrise, From Gate to Plate


For Meat:
3/4 lb ground beef
1/2 medium white onion, diced
1 Tbl hot sauce
1/2 cup water
1 Tbl flour
1 recipe taco seasoning (see below)
Taco Seasoning:
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. dried Mexican oregano (or regular oregano)
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. black pepper

For Beans (you can buy them already made if you like): 
1 Tbl olive oil
1/8 cup diced onion
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 15 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2/3 cup chicken stock

For Salsa:
3 roma tomatoes, diced
2 Tbl diced white onion
1 Tbl diced jalapeno
1 Tbl chopped cilantro
pinch of salt
pinch of cumin
Juice of 1/2 a lime

For Guacamole:
1 ripe avocado
2 Tbl of salsa

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Monterrey jack cheese
Sliced green onion
Sour Cream
Sliced Black Olives
1 bag or tortilla chips


Pre-heat over to 375 degrees.

In a bowl, mix salsa ingredients together.  Cover and let it rest in the fridge till ready to use.

In a large skillet brown ground beef and onion. Drain excess fat and stir in water, hot sauce, flour and taco seasoning. While the mixture thickens make the beans. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet. Add onions and cook till tender. Stir in the garlic powder and chili powder. Add the beans and stock. Gently mash with a fork. Stir until smooth and warmed through. 

In a 9x13 baking dish, layer half of the chips. Top evenly with half of the taco meat, beans and cheese. Top with remaining chips, taco meat, beans and cheese.  Place in over and bake 10-12 minutes or until cheese is melted.

While the nachos bake mash an avocado with 2 Tbl of salsa. Set aside. 

Remove nachos from oven. Top with black olives, salsa, sour cream, guacamole and green onions. 

Brown Sugar Apple Basil Muffins

Time for September's Crazy Ingredient Challenge!

The ingredients for this month are apples and basil. I skipped out on August's challenge mainly because I did not get thing together in time to post! This time since we voted to use two ingredients that I absolutely love I couldn't wait to make my recipe.

We are lucky enough to have two apple trees and a pear tree in our backyard and I am always trying to come up with different recipes once apple season arrives. I decided to stay pretty traditional and make muffins because I love apple in breads, and I knew Kellen would love them.

I loved the flavors of the apples with the basil! I am a big fan of strawberry and basil, but apple and basil is providing some serious competition. The basil is very subtle but, adds a light peppery flavor to the muffins which works really well with the brown sugar.

Today we are headed to Lake Geneva for a little R&R and a boat ride with a few of Ron's college friends. We are also headed to an Italian restaurant for dinner! Kellen is hanging with his grandparents this weekend and will be sufficiently spoiled with hugs and tractor rides.

If you are interested in joining our challenge, stop over to Dawn of Spatulas on Parade to say hello and to get more information. 


1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar (+ 3-4 Tbl for topping)
2/3 cup oil
2/3 cup unsweetend applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tap baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
2 cups diced apples
1/4 cup diced basil


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and ginger. Set aside. 

In a mixing bowl (you can use stand or hand held), cream sugars, oil, applesauce, vanilla and eggs.  Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet. Finally, gently fold in the apples and the basil. 

Spoon batter into lined cupcake pans. Sprinkle tops lightly with brown sugar. Bake for 30-35 minutes. 

Makes 18 muffins. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

#10DaysofTailgate Preview (and a Fantastic Giveaway!)

Welcome to #10DaysofTailgate! We have nearly two dozen bloggers with over one hundred recipes scheduled to inspire you through an entire tailgating season. Think chicken wings, skewers, sweet nibbles, and cocktails. The event runs September 20th through September 30th. Just remember, your fork does not go into your monitor no matter how much you might want to taste some of these dishes!

 Okay? Get ready...get set...Go! Let's start with a huge - HUGE! - thank you to our event sponsors who have graciously donated prizes for our readers. These sponsors have contributed great prizes for a gigantic giveaway. We have an incredible giveaway for this event. There are fourteen different prize packages which are detailed in the rafflecopter. The rafflecopter is below and will go live on September 20th. Please check back, if you're reading this before our kick-off.

Our #10DaysofTailgate Sponsors
in alphabetical order with links to their homepages

Our #10DaysofTailgate Bloggers
And...THE giveaway!
Terms & Conditions
Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment with What's your favorite tailgate dish? Many more ways to enter in the Rafflecopter widget [below].

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream

Time for September's Improv Cooking Challenge! 

The theme for this month is milk and honey. I originally was planning to make a cake, but ice cream won the battle. Ice cream winning with me is always a bit or a surprise for me considering cake would almost always be my first choice.... except ice cream cake...blah. 

Recently, I have seen a bunch of different recipes using coconut milk as an ice cream base. I love coconut milk and thought that that was a perfect occasion to give it a try. I whipped up the base very quickly during an afternoon at our cottage in Door County. I used an immersion blender because we do not have a stand blender up there, but I think either would work just fine.  I also opted to use honey as a sweetener over sugar and added a bit of cinnamon.  The ice cream took about 5 hours to freeze and needed a few minutes on the counter before scooping.  Even though it is getting a little cool for ice cream in Wisconsin it is nice to have a quick treat that can be whipped up when the craving hits! 

We are getting ready for a fun filled weekend our nephew's birthday party, visiting friends in Lake Geneva and (hopefully) a Packer win! Tune in tomorrow for a special post on an amazing tailgate party and giveaway!

If you want to join the fun of the Improv Cooking Challenge visit Lesa of Edesia's Notebook for details! 

Stay tuned for next month's recipe using Peanut Butter and Chocolate!


14 oz can full-fat coconut milk 
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/8 tsp cinnamon
Pinch  salt


Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and blend with an immersion blender (you could also use a regular stand blender). Transfer ice cream to a freezer safe container. Place in the freezer for 4-6 hours, or until firm. Once firm, remove and serve (it may need to sit for a few minutes before it scoops easily). 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Baked 3 Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese is really the ultimate naughty comfort food isn't it? it also happens to be a favorite of Mr. Kellen these days. 

Ron's cousin came for a visit a few weeks ago to go over cloth diapers and all things baby.  Since she was brewing a little one I decided to make her a special treat.  I normally don't stick to a specific type of cheese blend for mac and cheese, and this time I decided a on few varieties for cheddar. 

The entire group loved this dish and using three different types of cheddar was a delicious variation.  Ron and I always go back and forth on what is better: stove top mac and cheese or baked. I think we are indecisive or the answer it whatever we are eating at the moment! In my opinion, the saucier and cheesier- the better. This is great as a side or as a meal on it's own- either way you will have smiles.

Good thing I am headed to the gym tonight for a little weight lifting! After the gym I think a little applesauce making is in order. Have a great day everyone!


4 Tbl salted butter
4 Tbl all purpose flour
2 - 2 1/2 cups milk (I like to use whole or 2%)
1 cup chicken stock (you could use vegetable or more milk for vegetarian option)
1 1/2 cup grated mild cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup grated medium cheddar cheese
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 lb large elbow noodles
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup panko bread crumbs
2 Tbl butter, melted


Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. 

Cook pasta according to package instructions, drain and set aside. 

In a large pot or dutch oven, melt the butter and whisk in the flour. Whisk for 1-2 minutes over medium heat. Adjust heat if needed to avoid burning. 

Slowly whisk in the milk and stock. Continue whisking and allow the sauce to thicken-slightly simmering-for 2-3 minutes over medium heat. 

Once sauce has thickened add the cheese 1 cup at a time (reserving 1/2 cup of the mild cheddar).  Whisk till all cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper. 

 Pour pasta into a prepared 9x13 baking dish (I use cooking spray).  In a large sealable bag toss bread crumbs and butter till evenly coated.  Top pasta with reserve cheese and spread bread crumbs evenly over the pasta. Bake 30 minutes uncovered. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Weekly Meal Plan 9/15 - 9/21

Happy Monday!

This weekend was a lot of fun!  On Friday, we hung around the house, picked some apples and grilled.  We kept things pretty low key because we had a busy weekend ahead of us. 

On Saturday morning we were up bright and early to head to Quarry Quest.

Quarry Quest allows kids and adults to explore a real quarry and try out the machinery. Volunteers work the different machiens and the kids get to sit with them, beep horns, and move the large equipment. They also get to pick rocks, try out fire trucks, make their own cement, climb sand piles, dig for fossils and take a ride in a dump truck.  We were so excited! 
Here are a few shots from our day:

(Kellen in the digger!)

We finished the day with a trip to the grocery store and dinner with Grandma at A'Bravo

On Sunday, I was up bright and early making a few things for the game and a few things for the home. I started a big batch of spicy beef chili so it could simmer until game time at 3:25 pm.  I also created a recipe for an upcoming tailgate challenge. To finish, I roasted a few big heads of garlic and made a kettle of bone broth. If you haven't made bone broth before it is really wonderful as the days get cooler and cold season approaches. It is rich in minerals, good for the gut and helps boost the immune system. I make mine with organic pastured chicken bones, but you could use bones from any healthy animal.  I like to use onions, carrots, celery, fresh thyme, fresh parsley, apple cider vinegar and lots of garlic.  The key is to cook it slow and low to draw out all the nutrients from the bones. Normally, I freeze some and keep some in the fridge for drinking daily.  I found that freezing in ice cube trays is best for quick thawing and use. 

We headed to my parents for the game with my friend Emily's daughter (they went to the game for their anniversary).  We were so excited to celebrate a Packer win! At first I thought that we might be in trouble, but the Pack rallied and took the W. 

This week life is a bit calmer, but her have a fun weekend planned! Friday is our nephew Drew's birthday party and on Saturday we are headed for Lake Geneva for the night to visit some of Ron's college friends! Sunday will of course be more football fun. This week I am am cooking up a storm in preparation for a tailgating challenge with an awesome prize package- stay tuned! 

Here is what is on tap:

Monday: Grilled Brats, Baked Beans, Cottage Cheese and Corn
Tuesday:  Beer Cheese Brat Soup and Salads
Wednesday: Ultimate Bacon Burgers and Green Beans
Thursday: Green Curry and Pineapple Grilled Chicken and Leftovers
Friday: Out for Pizza for our Nephew's Birthday
Saturday: Lake Geneva
Sunday: Go Pack Go! I am making Grilled Chipotle Ranch Chicken Wings

Extras: Brat Bites