Saturday, May 30, 2015

#HotSummerEats: A Preview, A Thank You And A Fantastic Giveaway!

Welcome to #HotSummerEats Preview! 

Hot Summer Eats is here. Rallied by Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla, a talented group of 18 food bloggers will be posting recipes for a week. From June 1st through June 8th, we hope to inspire you for your summer grill dates and cookouts, provide you with ideas for your beach bonfires, and get you planning those ice cream socials and cocktail hours. Not only will you find over a hundred summery recipe posts, but you can enter to win our awesome giveaway, courtesy of some amazingly generous donations from sponsoring companies. See details below.


The Sponsors
(with links to their homepages, in alphabetical order)

The Prizes
BenBella Vegan will provide one winner with one print copy of each of their Spring 2015 releases: Love Fed, by Christina Ross (March 2015); PlantPure Nation Cookbook, by Kim Campbell (March 2015); Plant-Powered Families, by Dreena Burton (May 2015); Happy Herbivore Guide to Plant-Based Living, by Lindsay S. Nixon (May 2015); and China Study Quick & Easy Cookbook, by Del Sroufe (May 2015).

Casabella will provide one winner with a trio of kitchen gadgets that are perfect for summer entertaining: a set of two large ice cube trays; a citrus juicer and reamer; and a cherry pitter.

Gourmet Garden will provide one winner with each of their stir-in pastes (basil, chili pepper, cilantro, dill, Italian herbs, garlic, chunky garlic, ginger, lemongrass, oregano, parsley, and Thai seasonings), each of their lightly dried herbs (basil, chili pepper, cilantro, ginger, and parsley), and two Gourmet Garden logo coolers.

Not Ketchupwill provide one winner with a prize pack of four fruit ketchups - Blueberry White Pepper, Cherry Chipotle, Spiced Fig, and Smoky Date.

Quirk Bookswill send one winner a copy of their cookbook Summer Cocktails by Maria Del Mar Sacasa, photography by Tara Striano.

Spicely Organics will send one winner their Backyard Barbeque Gift Box.

T.Lish will provide one winner with each of the three current flavors: Sweet Garlic, Asian Sesame, and Chipotle.


Members of the Sauceology Group have donated a summery prize pack that includes six delicious products. You will receive either the Calypso Kick or Island Thyme Spice Rub from Caribeque, Garlic Goodness Hot Sauce and Chai Curry Chup from Intensity Academy, Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette from Out of the Weeds, Guava Girl Gourmet Grilling Sauce from Pirate Jonny's, and Southern Gold Barbeque Gold Sauce from Voodoo Chef.


The Giveaway


***Disclaimer - Thank you to #HotSummerEats sponsors BenBella Vegan, Caribeque, Casabella, Gourmet Garden, Intensity Academy, Not Ketchup, Out of the Weeds. Pirate Jonny's, Quirk Books, Spicely Organics, T.Lish , and Voodoo Cheffor providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for#HotSummerEats without additional compensation.All opinions are my own.***

Friday, May 29, 2015

Raspberry Habenero, Bacon and Blue Cheese Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Today, I am bringing you another recipe from PRiMO Specialty Foods featuring one of their signature preserves- raspberry habenero. In my previous post, I talked a bit about PRiMO's spicy sweet preserves and olive tapenades for cooks, entertainers and food lovers and how amazing they are!  The preserves I received are fantastic and I would love to try the other flavors such as, blueberry jalapeno, blackberry serrano and spiced cherry.  

My previous recipe was a tall Triple Stacked Spicy Club with Bacon, Avocado and Raspberry Habenero Aoli and it was out of this world tasty! For my second recipe, I wanted to try something a bit more savory and hearty. It is no secret that my family loves pork tenderloin, and I thought the preserves would be a perfect partner with a blue cheese and fresh chive stuffing. I decided that the final flavor to my stuffed tenderloin was bacon. Like I have said before, I love raspberry with bacon, but blue cheese might take the cake for me when joined with bacon! The slightly sharp flavor from the chives is perfect to cut the salt from the bacon and cheese while complimenting the sweetness from the preserves. Stuffing a pork tenderloin can seem intimidating but, trust me, it is so easy! My go-to method is a cut lengthwise down the center of the tenderloin to within 1/2- 1 inch on the bottom. Next, I open the tenderloin like a book; cover with plastic wrap and flatten to 1/2 - 3/4 inch thickness. Add the ingredients and roll it up- easy as pie. 

The pork was so tender and flavorful from the fats from the cheese and sugar in the preserves! The bacon added a delicious crust and a little extra saltiness to the pork. My entire family, especially my two year old, gobbled this tenderloin up. My husband told me that he got a few comments on the delicious smells in the lunch room the following day at work. 

I want to give a big thank you to PRiMO for sharing your delicious product with me, my family and my readers! I love getting to try different products (especially products that I love!) and getting creative with dinner! Head over to PRiMO's website and check out they amazing product line. 


Ingredients

4 oz cream cheese, softened
3 Tbl PRiMO Signature Raspberry Habenero Preserves
1 1/2 Tbl fresh chopped chives
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 -1 1/2 lb pork tenderloin
Salt and Pepper
4 slices of bacon 
Kitchen twine 


Instructions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 

In a medium bowl, mix the cream cheese, preserves, chives and blue cheese together. Set aside. 

Pat the pork tenderloin dry. cut lengthwise down the center of the tenderloin to within 1/2- 1 inch on the bottom. Next, open the tenderloin like a book; cover with plastic wrap and flatten to 1/2 - 3/4 inch thickness.  Sprinkle tenderloin with salt and pepper (approximately 1/2 tsp each). 

Spread cheese mixture evenly over the pork tenderloin. Roll the pork tenderloin starting on one of the long sides. Secure with kitchen twine in three location, two towards opposite ends and one in the middle. Wrap the tenderloin in bacon and place in an oven safe skillet or baking dish. 

Roast the pork 25-30 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 155-160 degrees. Remove from oven and allow pork to rest for 5 minutes. Remove the twine with a scissors, slice and serve immediately.  

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Triple Stacked Spicy Club with Bacon, Avocado and Raspberry Habenero Aoli

Today, I am joining with PRiMO Specialty Foods to bring you a recipe featuring one of their delectable and unique signature preserves. PRiMO makes spicy sweet preserves and olive tapenades for cooks, entertainers and food lovers!  PRiMO asked me to try their product and create a few recipes, and I was thrilled because I love preserves and their versatility. PRiMO has a delicious array of flavor combinations like, blueberry jalapeno, blackberry serrano, raspberry habanero and spiced cherry. Sounds pretty delicious right!?  I received a jar of raspberry habanero preserves, and I already had ideas buzzing in my brain. Besides amazing flavor combos, the preserves are natural, gluten-free, trans-fat free, dairy-free and vegan. 

I love the retro inspired packaging!


The raspberry habanero has a mild heat, but do not let that fool you because the heat creeps up on your palate slowly! I loved that I could taste the flavors of the peppers and the fruit without one overpowering the other and I was left with a sweet lick of burn on my tongue.  

I think when people hear preserves they automatically think toast or breakfast. My mind tends to go into the opposite direction and think of savory dishes that will pack a bigger punch with the addition of the sweet heat from the preserves.  One flavor profile I really like with raspberry is bacon and avocado. I know it sounds a little different, but the flavors work so well together because bacon add great smoke and salt, and the avocado adds a bit or richness.... perfect combo in my book.  I decided that the best way to get these flavors together was to create a sandwich. However, when I make a sandwich I don't just make a run of the mill sandwich. I make a tricked-out, piled high, go big or go home sandwich because is there really another way to go? I think not.  I opted to use the preserves in the spread so that the flavor was in each bite of the sandwich. I used mayo as my carrier and a heavy handed amount of the preserves to make sure that the raspberry was bright and the heat was present. In addition to the raspberry habanero spread, I used bacon, avocado, pepper jack cheese, fresh tomato, lettuce, smoked ham and roasted turkey. 

My husband, son and I downed this sandwich and I know it is a good sign when there is a wave of silence at my dinner table.  I loved how all of the flavors melted together to give me sweet, spicy, salt, creamy, crispy and crunchy- does it get much better!?

Big thank you to PRiMO for sharing your delicious product with me and my readers! Head over to PRiMO's website and check out they amazing product line. Please check back tomorrow for another recipe featuring a PRiMO specialty preserve! 



Ingredients


1 1/2 Tbl mayonnaise
1 1/2  Tbl PRiMO Raspberry Habanero Specialty Preserves
3 slices sourdough bread, lightly toasted
1/2 a very ripe avocado, mashed
4 slices bacon, cooked crisp
2 ripe tomato slices
Romaine lettuce
1 slice pepper jack cheese
3 thin slices of roasted turkey
3 thin slices of smoked ham


Instructions

In a small dish, mix mayo and preserves till smooth

Spread preserves on the two outer pieces of bread. On one slice, add ham, tomatoes and 2 slices of bacon. On the other slice, add cheese, lettuce, turkey and bacon. Spread mashed avocado on both sides of the remaining third slice of bread. 

To assemble, place slice of bread with turkey on the bottom, followed by the bread with mashed avocado and topped with the slice with ham. Secure with toothpicks if desired. Slice in half and serve immediately. 

Makes 1 sandwich.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Bacon Cheddar Shrimp Cakes with Kale Pesto Aoli

Do you love the show Chopped? I few months I go I posted a recipe for Grilled Pesto Chicken Bacon Sandwich with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce for the Chopped at Home contest. The rules were simple and the same as last time- create a dish using the following basket ingredients: Sargento Chef Blends 4 State Cheddar, kale, oyster crackers  and bacon.  Being from Wisconsin, cheddar cheese is one of my absolute favorites and I was happy to see it listed along with Vermont, New York and California.  

When I initially saw the ingredients for the challenge I was excited about all the possibilities, but knew that the ingredients were calling for seafood. My first thought was crab, but it seemed to easy and I opted to make a shrimp cake to show off the challenge ingredients. I love the flavors of bacon and shrimp together and knew the cheddar cheese would give the cake a little additional salty tangy richness to the cake.  I know that many times seafood/fish and cheese get a bad rep, but it is worth your while to make an exception for this dish. I made this recipe adaptable and it can be shared as an appetizer with small cakes or larger cakes for an entree. If you are serving it as an entree it would make a delicious sandwich or topper for a salad with the kale pesto drizzled over the top.  

My family loved this dish when I served it as an appetizer and the plate was just about licked clean! 

If you want to enter, check out Food Networks page for Chopped At Home. The first round ends June 29th, and then voting for the semi-finalists of round three starts. I am sure it is another long shot, but I figure why not throw my hat (or shrimp cake) in the ring!

Tonight, I am prepping dinner for a small get together with our friend tomorrow evening, and doing a little baby shopping because they recently welcomed their little girl to their family!


Ingredeints

3/4 cup mayo
Juice from 1/2 a medium lemon
1 1/2 Tbl chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbl Dijon mustard
1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
1 egg
1 lb raw shrimp, finely chopped
4 strips crispy bacon, chopped
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
3/4 cup crushed oyster crackers

Vegetable Oil, for frying

for kale pesto dipping sauce:
3 cups chopped kale
2 tbl toasted pine nuts
3 clove garlic
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup mayo
salt and pepper, to taste


Instructions

In a medium bowl, whisk together mayo, lemon juice, fresh parsley, Dijon, old bay and egg.  Gently stir in the finely chopped shrimp, bacon and cheese.  Finally, fold in the crushed crackers.

Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.  With your hands make 10 medium cakes for an appetizer or 4 large cakes for an entree. Place cakes on the baking sheet, and chill 30 minutes to an hour. 

While shrimp cakes chill, combine kale, lemon juice, pine nuts, and garlic in a food processor. Pulse till just combined and drizzle in olive oil as food processor runs. Remove from food processor and whisk in the mayo. Season with salt and pepper is desired. 

Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Fry the shrimp cakes, about a minute or two per side until golden brown and shrimp is pink. 

Serve shrimp cakes immediately with a side of kale pesto sauce for dipping. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Asparagus and Gruyere Tart

I look forward to asparagus season pretty much the entire year. My parents frequently bought fresh asparagus while I was growing up, and I absolutely love it. My in-laws grown their own asparagus and we are so spoiled to have them share it with us! I also like to grab a few bunches when I am in Door County from a local farmer because their asparagus is really thin and perfect for a tart like this one. 

I made this tart for my family when they joined us for dinner and it was fantastic. I love gruyere cheese and adding flaky pastry and fresh asparagus is a gigantic bonus!  This appetizer is so easy and can be easily doubled if you have more guests (or if you just want more for yourself!). I find that the cook time seems to be a little unpredictable and I like to start checking the bottom of the pastry around the 20 minute mark till it becomes golden brown and flaky. 

Tonight, I am headed to the gym and then home to do a bit of house work. I am also finishing up a few recipe for a blogging event and giveaway starting next week! Stay tuned! 


Ingreidents

1 puff pastry sheet
3/4 cup grated Gruyere
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp olive oil
20-30 asparagus spears (this will depend on thickness)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Drizzle Olive Oil


Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. 

Allow the puff pastry to thaw for about 30 minutes or until it can be easily unfolded. Unfold the puff pastry and place it on the baking sheet. Mix the mustard and 1/4 olive oil. Brush the pastry with the mustard mixture. Evenly spread cheese over the pastry and arrange asparagus evenly over the top. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil.

Bake 20-25 minutes or until dough it light and flaky, and bottom of dough it golden brown. Remove and cut into 8 wedges. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Weekly Meal Plan 5/25 - 5/31

Happy *late* Monday!

Today was a good opportunity to reflect on the members of our military who gave their lives. Just over a year ago, Ron and I had the privilege to pay our respects at the American Cemetery in Normandy, France. With certainty I can say it is one of the most moving places that I have had the opportunity to visit. It is a very large place seated on top of a hill overlooking Omaha Beach. It is the final home to young men and women, and a place that comes to my mind frequently during days we recognize our fallen, our veterans and those currently serving. My family and I thank you for your service and ultimate sacrifice. 


This weekend we headed up to Door County to spend time at our cottage. The end of May always feels like the start of the summer and Door County quickly come to life. We spent most of our at The Farm and relaxing by the lake. Here are a few photos from Saturday, Sunday and Monday:


Checking out the grounds.


Meeting a new friend.


Riding the tractor (the favorite). 


Feeding a new friend.


A baby pony!


The goats were so little and cute!


Puzzle time (his Dad got into a puzzle till 3 am the same night)!


Rhubarb Honey Sangria at Parador in Egg Harbor (I must replicate this)!


Our view from the top of the stairs..... It never gets old! 

This week I am getting to the gym and getting stuff done around the house. I am also playing volleyball and we have friends coming for dinner with their little girl on Thursday. On Friday, my co-workers are having a fish fry and I am hoping to get outside with Kellen most of the weekend! 

I hope that everyone had a lovely and relaxing weekend!

Here is what is on tap: 

Monday: Stuffed Pork Tenderloin, Cous Cous and Salad
Tuesday: Voodoo Chef Roasted Garlic Stuffed Grilled Pork Chops, Wild Rice and Asparagus
Wednesday: Guava Girl Grilled Bacon Wrapped Chicken, Red Smashed Potatoes and Asparagus
Thursday: Grilled Chicken Caprese, Pesto Risotto and Grilled Asparagus
Friday: Out for Fish
Saturday: Slow Cooker Roasted Tomato Caprese Chicken Sandwiches, Wedges and Salad
Sunday:  Brats, Beans and Grilled Veggies

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Cilantro Lime Rice

Time for May's Improv Cooking Challenge!

The theme for this month is cilantro and lime- so many possibilities! I recently made a Creamy Tex Mex Slow Cooker Chicken and needed a delicious rice recipe to serve it over. I am a big fan of Chipotle and thought their cilantro lime rice was a perfect side, and perfect to share for this challenge! I opted to use Skinny Taste's recipe (with a few adaptations) for the rice and it was spot on to the Chipotle favorite!  Normally, for these challenges I like to create my own recipe, but this one was too good and too easy not to share with you. My favorite part of this side dish is the use of the fresh herbs, and I can't wait to make it again with a bunch of garden fresh cilantro.  Like I said, I used this to create a burrito bowl, but it would be equally delicious inside a burrito or as a side for a delicious grilled fresh fish. 

Speaking of gardens. I had a little incident last night/this morning. So, early Wednesday morning there was a frost advisory and, since I just planted my garden, I made a mental note to cover my plants and put the pots in the garage. However, the night got crazy and I FORGOT. I woke up this morning to dead peppers, tomatoes, zucchini and basil. Arrrrrrrggggghhhhh!  Thankfully, not everything was lost and I only need to replant a few of the more fragile vegetables. Darn you late May frost....... I guess my Friday night will be a little bit busier, and you better believe that I won't forget again!  

Tonight, I am heading to the gym for a quick workout, then home for dinner and off to my Thursday night volleyball game! 

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 fish and avocado! 

Ingredients

4 cups cooked basmati rice
Juice of 1/2 a lime
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped
2 tsp vegetable oil


Instructions

Place cooked rice in a medium bowl, combine chopped cilantro, lime juice, rice, salt and remaining oil and toss until completely mixed. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

BBQ Chipotle Mango Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Time for May's Crazy Ingredient Challenge!


The ingredients for this month are chipotle and mango. I was really excited when Dawn unveiled the ingredients in the beginning of the month because I love all of the possibilities with sweet and heat. Considering that it has warmed up in Wisconsin my thoughts immediately went to my grill and a pork tenderloin. I have been hankering for barbecue and I knew that mango and chipotle would be perfect partners for my barbecued pork. I love grilled pork and with the char from the barbecue I am in heaven!  Besides being delicious, I loved how quick this recipe is for a easy weeknight meal. Many time I marinate my pork before I put it on the grill, but I opted for wet rub with a bit of seasoned olive oil followed by a heavy brushing of barbecue at the end of grilling, and finished it an extra drizzle of sauce. The result was a juicy, spicy, sweet and tangy pork tenderloin AND 3 happy full bellies! I served my pork tenderloin with a fresh arugula salad, but I can't wait for corn to be in season because it would have been perfect with a salty buttery grilled ear of corn. 

Today, I am finishing up a training for work (here is a link a local news station did on the training yesterday) and my friend Emily is coming for dinner and a little play time in the evening. I am also going to make a quick stop at the gym for a little weightlifting after my training wraps up. I was planning on enchiladas for dinner, but the idea of pizza is slowly creeping into my brain..... 

If you are interested in joining our challenge, stop over to Dawn of Spatulas on Parade to say hello and to get more information.  I am excited to see what everyone else made, and what next month will bring! 

**I also need to give a special birthday shout out to my Sister and belated birthday shout out to my Sister In-Law! Happy Birthday Rachel & Julie!!!**


Ingredients

1 (about 1 - 1 1/4 lb) pork tenderloin, trimmed
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 Tbl olive oil
1 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce
1/2 cup ripe diced mango
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce +1 tsp adobo sauce


Instructions

Whisk oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder in a small bowl. Rub into pork tenderloin and set aside. 

In a food processor or blender, add mango, bbq, peppers and adobo. Pulse till smooth and set aside. 

Heat grill to medium-low heat. Think of the tenderloin as having 4 sides. Cook the pork 4-5 minutes per "side" (you can test with a meat thermometer to ensure it reaches desired temperature). During last 2 minutes of cooking brush all sides with sauce. Remove from grill and allow the meat to rest for 5 minutes.  Slice and serve with extra sauce drizzled over the top.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

I Love Paris

Like I said yesterday, in a few weeks I will be participating in a new blogging/giveaway events called #HotSummerEats.  One of the generous sponsors is Quirk Books. As I said yesterday, Quirk Books is a company based in Pennsylvania and publishes 25 titles per year.  As Quirk Books says, "every title is a labor of love" and some of the bloggers were fortunate enough to receive one of their publications. I received "Summer Cocktails" by Marta Del Mar Sacasa. 

Yesterday, I shared a recipe for a lavender infused white wine spritzer called, The Lazarus.  Today, I am sharing a twist on The Lazarus called, I Love Paris. The drink is very similar but uses Rosé wine. Rosé is a light pink wine (color coming from the red skinned grapes) that varies in sweetness from region to region. I prefer a dry wine, but you could use sweet if you prefer.  I really enjoyed this drink and it's cute name! I don't often drink Rosé, but I really liked the slight bubbles and light flavors. The flavors from the lavender syrup were delicious and the bubble from the wine and club soda were a delicious pair. 

Like I said, I loved the name of this drink and I had to serve it with my macaroon tea towel! When I was in Paris last May with my family one of my favorite stops was at Ladurée to get a box of macaroons. I remember there were tons of flavors and it was hard to choose just one! However, I am partial to the salted caramel, pistachio and lemon! I have a wonderful memory of Kellen inhaling a lemon macaroon and licking his chubby fingers before digging into the box to try and find more cookies! 

So, the moral of this story is: buy a box of macaroons, make this drink and pretend you are in the Tuileries Garden under a shady tree..... makes me wish I was back in Paris right now! 


Ingredients
(makes 1 drink)

1 oz lavender syrup
4 oz chilled Rosé wine
Splash of Chilled Club Soda


Instructions

To make the syrup: 
In a small sauce pan whisk together 1 1/2 cup water and 1 cup sugar. Bring to a simmer and allow sugar to disolve. Add 1/4 cup dried culinary lavender. Remove from heat and allow lavender to soak for about 10 minutes. Strain and allow syrup to cool. Once cool, store in the fridge in an airtight container. 

Place syrup in a wine glass and add the Rosé wine. Top with a splash of club soda and enjoy!

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Lazarus

In a few weeks I will be participating in a new blogging/giveaway events called #HotSummerEats.  Like previous events I have done, there are tons of great prizes and many generous sponsors. 

One of these sponsors is Quirk Books.  Quirk Books is a company based in Pennsylvania and publishes 25 titles per year.  As Quirk Books says, "every title is a labor of love" and some of the bloggers were fortunate enough to receive one of their publications. I received "Summer Cocktails" by Marta Del Mar Sacasa. The books is specifically recipes for, you guessed it, summer inspired cocktails. I couldn't have been more excited to dive into this collection of fresh, innovative cocktail recipes. I love trying different cocktails and am always scanning the drink menu at a restaurant to try something new and different.  When I was scanning the different recipes I had one thing I was really hoping to find- recipes using lavender syrup. I recently made some syrup with some dried culinary lavender and loved the flavor.  Thankfully, I came across the recipe for a drink called The Lazarus and I was sold. 

The Lazarus is a type of a wine spritzer. However, it is not a wimpy wine spritzer by any means (sorry spritzer fans)! The drink uses a dry white wine and the unique flavors of the lavender syrup and the splash of club soda make this different than any wine spritzer I ever tried! I loved that it wasn't too sweet and the floral syrup was perfect with the dry wine. I served this with my Mother's Day brunch (lavender lemonade for the kids!) and my family absolutely loved it! 

Tune in tomorrow to get another delicious and lavender inspired cocktail recipe! 


Ingredients
(makes 1 drink)

1 oz lavender syrup
4 oz chilled dry white wine
Splash of Chilled Club Soda


Instructions

To make the syrup: 
In a small sauce pan whisk together 1 1/2 cup water and 1 cup sugar. Bring to a simmer and allow sugar to disolve. Add 1/4 cup dried culinary lavender. Remove from heat and allow lavender to soak for about 10 minutes. Strain and allow syrup to cool. Once cool, store in the fridge in an airtight container. 

Place syrup in a wine glass and add the white wine. Top with a splash of club soda and enjoy!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Weekly Meal Plan 5/18 - 5/24

Sunday is here already?! I feel liked I was just writing my meal plan last week and Poof! another week has gone by. 

After a chilly week, this weekend was delightfully warm and perfect for garden planting!

On Friday night, my sister in-law, brother in-law and their kids came for dinner and to celebrate my sister in-law's birthday a few days early. They are from Appleton, but were in town because she is running the half marathon on Sunday. We feasted on grilled brats, a few different deli salads, grape salad and a birthday cookie cake for dessert (plus a few grapefruit margaritas). The kids were so cute and had a blast running around the backyard and playing with Kellen's playset.  After they left, Ron and I relaxed with a t.v. show and put Kellen to bed. 

On Saturday, Kellen and I headed to Appleton for Ron's cousin/goddaughter's wedding shower (Kellen was having an overnight with Ron's parents). It was lovely and it was fun to see everyone. The bride-to-be was glowing and beautiful (as usual!) and I even got to snag an extra cupcake to bring to Kellen.  I headed home shortly after and Kellen stayed for a sleepover with his grandparents and cousin. Since it was still early, Ron and I headed to the greenhouse to pick up our plants and got the garden and pots completed! Ron even had time to build a great cage to keep the critters out.




In the evening, we cleaned up, ordered subs, finally watched Taken 3 and headed to bed early.  So relaxing!

On Sunday, I headed to the gym and to the grocery store before we headed out to get Kellen. The remainder of the afternoon was odd jobs around the house, rain storm and ribs on the grill once the sun came back out. 

This week we are getting ready to head to Door County! I am really excited because it finally feels like summer when it starts to get warm and we head up to the cottage. Kellen has been begging to go to the cottage for weeks now, and I am really excited. 

Have a great week! 

Here is what is on tap:

Monday: Pretzel Crusted Chicken with Honey Mustard Ale Sauce, Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Green Beans
Tuesday: Spicy Pork with Asparagus and Chili and Rice
Wednesday: Steak Enchiladas with Jalapeno Cream Sauce, Rice and Black Beans
Thursday: Cajun Ceasar Grilled Chicken, Creamy Parmesan Noodles and Salad
Friday: Out/Leftovers
Saturday: Door County
Sunday: Door County

Friday, May 15, 2015

Classic Lime Margaritas

Who is ready for a cocktail? I know that I am and Friday never seems to come fast enough! 

In my last post I shared an amazing recipe for margarita mix and now I want to share a great margarita recipe- perfect after a long day! 

Before Kellen was born I worked at a bar that made great margaritas and kept them on tap. One of the ingredients was fresh orange juice and I always thought it made all the different in the world. Many recipes will add an orange liqueur; However, I prefer a fresh orange juice because I think the flavors are better, but you certainly could use a little booze in place. Another fun variation to the orange juice is subbing in grapefruit juice or blood orange  for a fun twist! 

My sister in-law, brother in-law and kids are coming for dinner tonight and I have my fingers crossed for dry weather so we can enjoy a few of these babies while we grill. Ron and I are also planning on putting our garden in this weekend while Kellen is at his grandparents house for an overnight. Ron just finished planting another pear tree my sister bought me for mother's day (she is awesome and knows me so well!) and have the gardening bug! We have big romantic plans to plant the garden, drink margaritas, watch Taken 3 and order a pizza or Thai.....We are kind of boring these days, but I am pretty pumped. If we are feeling crazy we might go sing a little karaoke.  Like I said- wild child style. Ha. 

Check in next week because I was sent a new cocktail recipe book and have a few delicious treats to share with you next week! 

Have a great weekend everyone! 


Ingredients 
(for 1 drink)

1 1/2 oz silver tequila
1 oz freshly squeeze orange juice
1 1/2 oz margarita mix
Ice
Lime Wedges


Instructions

Fill an 8 oz glass 1/2 - 2/3 full with ice. Add tequila and pour in the orange juice. Top with margarita mix and stir. Garnish with a lime wedge. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Homemade Margarita Mix

When the air starts to warm up there is one drink that screams patio sipping to me, and that is the margarita.  When I was younger I was never a big tequila fan (unless it was body shots while I was sneaking into bars when I was 19). As I have gotten older, I have really started to like tequila and nothing tastes better than a ice cold rock margarita on a warm sunny day. 

I had never put much stock into making my own mix until I started reading Confessions of a Foodie Bride after seeing many delicious margarita recipes on our cooking board. I followed Shawnda's recipe for mix and it was so easy I kicked myself for ever buying a bottle of the pre-made stuff. Like I said, the mix is delightfully easy and makes a perfect amount to fill a quart mason jar with enough overflow for one test drink.  Ron and I loved the tartness from this mix ration and that it let the lime shine and didn't cover it with an overkill of sugar.  I will post my margarita recipe tomorrow- just in time for the weekend! 

Another great thing about making your own margarita mix is that you can adjust the amount you make to accommodate a big crowds or just a few cocktails for yourself and a few friends. Add in a few different juices and tequilas and you have yourself a party! 

Tonight, I am relaxing at home, working on the garden, watching SVU with my buddy Emily and working on a few blog recipes. We are planning on planting our garden this weekend, and I need to get everything organized so we are ready to go on Saturday! Kellen will be at his grandparents so we have plenty of time for a garden planting date... I think a few margaritas will be a perfect cool treat while we work! 


Ingredients

2 cups fresh lime juice (18-25 limes)
2 cups water
1 cup granulated sugar


Instructions

In a medium sauce pan, heat water and sugar to a simmer. Reduce heat and whisk to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and cool for about 5 minutes. Add the lime juice and whisk. Cool and store in a quart mason jar. The mix will keep 7-10 days. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Spicy Asian Turkey Burgers

Time for May Secret Recipe Club reveal! 


This month I recieved the blog Oh! You Cook!. The owner and author of the blog is Dena, librarian by day, blogger by night, and author of The Everything Kosher Slowcooker Cookbook.  Dena has tons a wonderful recipes on her blog such as: Green Breakfast Boost, Faux Pho and Thai Chicken. I had a hard time deciding what to make, but when I saw these Spicy Asian Turkey Burgers I was completely sold.  There were a few reasons why this recipe was what I selected from so many tasty choice, and it was that it had two components that Ron does not like. I should let you know that Ron was going out of town and this recipe was for my sister, nephew, Kellen and I while we painted my mom's mother's day gift.  Ron does not like mushrooms or turkey burgers aaannnndddd since he was gone and my sister and I love these things it was a perfect match. 

These burgers are really easy to put together and the flavors are big and delicious. I loved the texture of the burger and the zingy flavor of the mushrooms and onions. My sister and I loved these burgers and they reheated perfectly for lunch the following day. 

Thank you Dena for sharing this delicious recipe! Have a great Monday everyone, and don't forget to check out the other bloggers creations below! 


Ingredients

Cooking Spray (olive oil preferred)
1 small carrot, grated
1 1/4 lb ground turkey 
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup hoisin sauce, divided
1 tsp ground ginger
4 tsp low sodium soy sauce, divided 
2 tsp Sririacha sauce, divided 
4 oz white mushrooms,  thinly sliced
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion 
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
Juice of 1/2 lime
4 burger buns


Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with the foil; lightly mist foil with cooking spray.  Set aside.

Place turkey  and grated carrot in a large bowl.  Add  panko, 2 Tbl hoisin sauce, ginger, 3 tsp soy sauce and 1 tsp of Sriracha.  Mix gently with your hands until just combined. Gently pat together 4 patties. 

Bake cooked completely through, about 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. 

While the burgers are cooking, combine mushrooms, red onion (if using), sesame oil, lime juice and  remaining 1 tsp soy sauce in a medium bowl. Also, in a small bowl, mix together the remaining 2 Tbl hoisin sauce and 1 tsp of Siriracha. Set aside. 

Remove burgers from oven and place on a bun. Top with mushroom and onion mixture and drizzle of spicy hoisin mixture. 


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Weekly Meal Plan 5/11 - 5/17

Happy Mother's Day everyone! 

Since Kellen was born it still amazes me that I join in the celebration of celebrating all types of mothers. Mother's Day was always a celebrated holiday in my home as a child. My sister and I are both adopted, and having a mother like I am fortunate enough to have is worth celebrating. 

This weekend was busy, but lots of fun. On Friday, my friend Emily's daughter came for the evening while her mom was at a birth. The kids lucked out and we ordered pizza and watched The Rescuers: Down Under (thank you Netflix!). 

On Saturday, I headed to the gym for a quick workout before Ron headed to the lab for a few hours. After the gym, grabbed Thai with my friend Emily, picked up elderberry syrup from another friend and did a little grocery shopping before heading home for Kellen's nap. Our evening was pretty lazy. We grilled and I got ready for to host brunch the following morning.  I also got a few lovely photos of our crabapple tree in full bloom- I love spring flowers. 





There was also a bit of playing on the glider as well:


Today, I woke up to snuggles with my early bird Kellen and prepped for brunch. 

The brunch menu included:  
- Shrimp Cakes with Kale Pesto
- Three Cheese Egg Casserole
- Sausage
- Fruit Salad/Green Salad
- Asparagus and Gruyeye Tart
- Lavendar Lemonade/ White Wine/ Lazarus Drinks


In the evening, we joined my in-laws for a chicken dinner at a local supper club. It was delicious!

My sweet Ron gave me a lavender plant and a catnip plant! My mom gave a delightful assortment of oils and my sister got me a new pear tree for our backyard! I am spoiled. 

Now, I am winding down and working on a few blog postings before Ron and I pop in a movie. 

Just an extra special I love you to my mom for being the wonderful woman that she is- you are amazing mom!


And a super big I love you to the little one that made me a mother. This was taken shortly after he was born, and it was love at first sight. 



Here is what's on tap:

Monday: Slow Cooker BBQ Ranch Beef Sandwiches, Potato Wedges and Salad
Tuesday: Junk Yard Special and Roasted Green Beans
Wednesday: One Pan Baked Ziti, Garlic Bread and Spinach Salad
Thursday: Herby Brown Sugar Burbon Grilled Chicken, Rice and Grilled Veggies
Friday: Grilled Cheeseburgers, French Onion Grilled Potatoes, Cole Slaw and Fruit
Saturday: Out
Sunday: Cherry Chipotle Grilled Ribs, Baked Beans, Cottage Cheese and Fresh Fruit