Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Grilled Balsamic Maple Marinated Chicken Thighs

Coming back from a full week of training and busy weekend activities always makes the beginning of my week feel very lethargic. I keep telling myself that the long holiday weekend is almost here!

Meals like this make lethargic days a little better. Easy, delicious and simple to prep. I love grilling in the summer and when my local grocery store had 8 packs of chicken thighs on sale for $2 I jumped all over the deal. Normally, I prefer chicken breasts, but the boneless skinless chicken thighs were just as delicious (Ron prefers dark meat liked it more). Kellen, surprisingly, wasn't a big fan of these and told me that it tasted burned. I am thinking the char from the sugar in the syrup was a little too much for his taste. I really liked the flavor combo of balsamic and syrup, but you can't win 'em all with a toddler!  

Do you have any fun weekend plans? I am off work on Friday and play volleyball Thursday evening....the chance of Thursday night shenanigans is looking high.  We are heading to Door County for the weekend, but it is my friend Emily's birthday and they are tubing down the Wolf River on Friday morning, and I am try to see if I can swing staying in town a little longer to go. Kellen is pretty excited to go to our cottage because that means a trip to The Farm! In past years, he has fallen asleep before the fireworks started and I am excited for him to join the fun this year.

Tonight, my friend Emily's little girl is coming to play. I need to do a little garden work and am going to put the littles to work helping me pull beets for a salad this weekend! Thankfully, both kids like to get down and dirty and I know they will love it. 

Is anyone watching the Scream t.v. show on MTV tonight? Scream was such a big movie when I was a pre-teen/teenager and I can't ignore it for nostalgia sake! What about True Detective??? So different than season 1, but I am liking it so far.....I can be such a t.v. addict sometimes. 

Have a great day!


Ingredients

1/3 cup olive oil
8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 springs of fresh thyme


Instructions

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together oil, syrup, vinegar, salt and pepper. Place chicken in a large resealable bag. Place thyme in the bag and pour in the marinade. Toss gently to coat. Allow chicken to marinate for at least 4 hours (I prefer 8 to overnight). 

Remove chicken from bag and discard the thyme and used marinade. 

Heat grill to medium heat and grill chicken until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Remove from grill and serve immediately. 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Weekly Meal Plan 6/29 - 7/5

This past week and weekend were crazy-ville! 

I was at a training for work in the Wisconsin Dells from Wednesday to Friday night...... so exhausting. I love learning new things professionally, but almost 3 days away was enough for me! I am lucky enough to work with a few amazing ladies, and it was great to spend time with them in between the training sessions. I got home from the Dells around 5:30 and got home to my sweet boys. We grabbed tacos for dinner and I hit the pillow early because I was attending another meet-up on Saturday in Milwaukee. 

The meet-up in Milwaukee was all about personal growth and experience. I have been an avid reader of January Harshe's blog Birth Without Fear since I first found out I was pregnant with Kellen. I don't know about you, but when I was pregnant I needed to read AllTheBirthStories. I seriously gave me a sense of peace and made me feel more prepared as to what would be in store for me. If you are a regular reader, you know that birth empowerment and education is something I feel very passionate about and am always wanting to discuss and learn more about. I find other women's experiences fascinating and different paths people take to be very interesting. Besides my own knowledge, I find nothing more amazing than a woman (or family) that owns their path to becoming a mother. From my own experience, I know that it is a crazy road that forever seems to change all the time. 

So guess what I was up to?!?!?!?!? 

Yep, I went to the Milwaukee meet-up and it was as amazing as I had hoped it would be. I went with my very good and wonderful friend/doula Emily.  The speakers were great and I was lucky enough to hear the ladies of The 4th Trimester Bodies Project. I really enjoyed them because they history of their project was so interesting and the message of body positive perspective was so inspirational. If you have not checked out their photos it is worth a peek. The project is about mothers (in many different capacities), and how different and beautiful bodies worldwide. 

We also heard from Abby of The Badass Breastfeeder.  She was a kickass presenter and blogger. Her work to normalize breastfeeding is incredible, and her blog is an amazing resource for any breastfeeding mom or family. 


Another one of my favorite parts of the meet-up was the healing circle. There were 6 women in my circle and we talked about everything. It was really special. I think everyone who has tried to get pregnant, adopted or given birth has had to deal with many different challenges because of the vulnerability and unpredictability that exists in all of those things. If you are friends with me on Facebook you probably read about my breastfeeding journey and know some things about my birth with Kellen. There are so many layers to my experience as a mother, some are unique and some aren't, but at some point I will share them with you once I am ready.  I love to hear birth stories and would love to read yours if you feel like sharing! 

My group healing circle:


At the end we got to hear January's birth story for each of her 6 children. It was so interesting how each one was so different from a c-section to a hospital birth to a home birth. Very inspiring. Emily and I got to meet January at the end and it was so cool to meet someone in person that you have followed online for years.  If you have a chance to go to this meet-up in your city, do it!!!!!


The meet-up was at a birth center in Milwaukee and an amazing thing happened during the beginning.  There was a first time mom that was at the center to birth her baby and it was born during the conference.  She allowed us to softly sing Happy Birthday to her baby girl with the door cracked. I don't think there was a dry eye in the room. 

There were also cupcakes at the end.....yummy! 

I got home around 8 p.m. (after a trip to Trader Joe's) and we ordered pizza and relaxed. Kellen was at my in-laws and I was lucky enough to sleep until 9:00 a.m...... seriously that never happens! The remainder of the day was laundry, gardening and grocery shopping.  Perfect and relaxing! 

This week I do not have a lot on the agenda, but am getting ready for a fun weekend in Door County for the 4th of July! 
Here is what is on tap: 

Monday: Loaded BBQ Grilled Chicken Sandwiches, Grilled Veggies and Fruit 
Tuesday: Tater Tot Casserole and Green Beans
Wednesday:  Penne with Mini Meatballs and Creamy Pesto Feta Sauce and Salad
Thursday: Out
Friday: Door County
Saturday: Door County
Sunday: BLT and Fruit

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Sour Cream and Chive Mashed Potatoes

This is the time of year a corner of my yard is slowly over taken by an army of chives. I love chives and try to find different ways to incorporate them into our meals while they are fresh and plentiful. 

Sour cream and chive is a great flavor combination and I absolutely love it with potatoes. One of my favorite ways to enjoy the flavor combo with potatoes is with wedges and a dipping sauce. However, this time I decided that I wanted to try the combo with mashed potatoes. My boys and I loved these potatoes and it went perfectly with our grilled marinated pork chops and grilled asparagus. I will certainly be keeping this side dish on rotation as long as my yard is full of chives! 

Today I am at training for work and my boys are going to enjoy shells and cheese for dinner with a little grilled kielbasa. I think they like the special treat when I am not home for dinner! We have also been enjoying Ron's father's day gift- a new bike trailer for Kellen to ride in. Kellen wasn't too sure about the trailer at first, but really enjoys it now. Ron told me that Kellen sits and chats with him the entire ride. Ron has started doing bike races/rides with a friend and hopefully Kellen can join the fun in his trailer in an upcoming ride. 

Have a great remainder of the week everyone! Wooohooo tomorrow is Friday! 


Ingredients

2 1/2 Lbs russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/2 stick salted butter
1/2 - 2/3 cup milk (I use 2 %)
3 Tbl sour cream
1 - 2 tsp salt (to taste)
2 1/2 Tbl chopped fresh chives (+extra for topping)


Instructions

Boil potatoes till tender. Drain and place in a large mixing bowl.  Add butter and sour cream and mix with an electric mixer while slowly adding the milk. Stir in the chives. 

Season with salt and pepper and top with additional chives if desired. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Italian Sub Soup With Toasted Garlic Bread Floaters

A few months ago my friends and I had a soup swap. I brought Thai Chicken Curry and Butternut Squash Soup and it was delicious. However, my friend Amy brought  Rachael Ray's Italian Sub Soup with Garlic Floaters and I have had it on my "to make" list since our swap. I love italian subs, but we don't eat them often and it is hard to find a really good one  like I see my friends eating out East in my area. 

This soup is really easy to put together. The only think that takes a little time is making the garlic bread floaters, but that is still pretty minimal. On a side note, I didn't know how easy making croutons on the stove top was- why did I buy them all these years? I knew that Ron and Kellen would be all over this soup because of the meats and the floaters. Naturally I was right and them both gobbled up the soup. Kellen told me: " this is yummy hot soup- I love the hot soup".  He is so cute.  

So how does the flavor match an italian sub? It tastes a lot like it! It is actually a little strange how much it reminds me of that hearty sandwich. I think the addition of arugula and the floaters give the soup the extra boost to give the soup greats flavor. This soup is really filling and we loved the leftovers heated up for lunch the following day. I can't wait to make this again once the weather cools down in a few months! 

Today, I am getting ready for a work conference later this week. I have meals ready for Ron and Kellen and need to get myself packed! Tonight, I am stopping at the gym before coming home to make dinner and get ready for the week.  I actually have two conferences this week, one is for work with my State organization and the second is the Birth Without Fear conference for my own interest. It will be a busy, but educational week for me! 


Ingredients

2 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 lb mild italian sausage
1/4 pound piece stick pepperoni, diced
1 ham steak, diced (about 1/2 to 3/4 lb)
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 (15-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
Salt and Pepper
6 cups chicken broth
1/2 pound gemelli pasta 
1/4 cup olive oil
5 cups cubed crusty bread
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
4 cups arugula, trimmed and coarsely chopped 


Instructions

Add olive oil and sausage to a soup pot and cook over medium heat. Brown and crumble the sausage, drain off excess grease and add the ham and pepperoni. Cook meats for 2 minutes and add peppers and onions and cook and 2 or 3 minutes. Add diced tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Add chicken broth and bring stoup to a boil. Stir in pasta and cook for 8 minutes (or al dente). Make croutons while pasta cooks.

In a large skillet heat 1/4 cup of olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add bread to garlic oil, toss and toast the cubes for about 5 minutes. Season the toasty cubes with red pepper flakes, oregano and lots of grated cheese.

Stir arugula into soup just before you serving. Ladle up the stoup into bowls and top with garlic bread floaters.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Bacon Cheeseburger Gnocchi Skillet

I must say that one-pot dishes are starting to become a regular thing around my house (like that is a bad thing....). Ron and I both work all day, and many times a hearty one-pot meal fits the bill perfectly. 

Recently, I made a Ham and Cheese Gnocchi Skillet and it was a big hit with both my boys. I decided to try a different twist on that idea by creating a bacon cheeseburger version. One of Ron's favorite things to eat is a bacon cheeseburger and he loves gnocchi- I knew this would a home run at dinner time!  Unfortunately, when I made this meal Ron came down with a the stomach flu and didn't get to try it right away. The poor guy was so disappointed, but once he felt better he brought it for lunch 3 days in a row. For a guy that does not like leftovers more than once it must have meant that the dish was that good. Kellen and I also loved this meal and I think Kellen was especially excited about the pickles. The child might (I said might) love pickles more than me, and it makes me so happy. Besides being delicious, this meal is really easy to make and cooks in one-pot (easy clean-up for the win!).  

I am really liking playing around with different gnocchi skillets..... I think of a chicken parmesan or pesto version for a future post might be in order!

Tonight, I am stopping at the gym before I head for to grill. The beginning of our week is pretty much unplanned because I have a conference coming up later in the week and won't have time to cook.  However, I have my boys stocked with shells and cheese and a little kielbasa....I think they will survive without me and probably enjoy that mac and cheese treat! 

Happy Monday everyone! 



Ingredients

1 1/4 lb lean ground beef
1 medium white onion, diced
8 strips of bacon, cooked crisp
1 Tbl ketchup
1 1/4 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream
16 oz package of Gnocchi
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1/4 cup sliced green onion
1 1/2  cup sharp shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh tomatoes

Garnish:
Sliced pickles
Ketchup
Mustard


Instructions

Brown beef in a large oven safe skillet over medium heat. Add onions to skillet and cook until tender. Drain excess grease from the skillet and return to heat. 

Add 1/2 the amount of bacon to skillet and stir. Add gnocchi to skillet, ketchup, water and heavy cream. Stir and let cook for about 6-8 minutes until gnocchi is tender and sauce has thickened. Season with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle with cheese on top and place skillet under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes until cheese is melted and starts to bubble.

Remove from oven, top with green onion, tomatoes and remaining bacon. Serve immediately with suggested garnishes. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Weekly Meal Plan 6/22 - 6/28


Good evening and Happy Father's Day! 

This weekend was beautiful and that was a happy break from the rainy weather we have been having!

We started off our weekend on Friday night with a fish fry and the bar I worked at before having Kellen. I love Nicky's (I should- I worked there for 10 years) and they have some of the best food in our area. If you are traveling to Green Bay/De Pere area (or live here), you need to stop in and check them out. After dinner, I realized I forgot my credit card and Ron ran back for the card (and a few extra drinks). I had plans with my friend Kayla to grab a drink at a new bar in our area after he returned home.  I love hanging with Kellen, but it was so nice for the two of us to get out of the house sans children! 

On Saturday, we were up early and picked up my Mom to go to the farmer's market. I grabbed a few different veggies and stopped for a case of Georgia peaches after the market.  After the market, we headed some and had subs for lunch followed by a nap for the wee one and grocery shopping for me.  After shopping, Kellen and I met my friend Amanda, her cousin and their children at the Wildlife Sanctuary and then out for mexican. Kellen was the youngest of the group, but the other kids were so sweet to include him in everything and make him feel part of the group- so sweet. After, dinner Kellen and I headed home to relax and Ron headed out for a bachelor party in Appleton.  I worked on laundry and a few blog things before calling it a night (and our cable box stopped working conveniently when I had it to myself....grrrr!).


                           On Sunday, we let Ron relax at home and met friends to pick strawberries. The bushes                                               were still a little green, but we got a few red beauties!


We headed home and picked up Ron for a quick lunch at Noodles & Co. before heading home for naps and prep for our evening cookout. My poor Dad came down with a stomach bug and wasn't able to join us for the cookout, but my Mom, sister and her boyfriend were able to join us! After the cookout, we grabbed ice cream and headed home to put Kellen to bed and watch Last Ship. 

Hope all the Father's out there are having a wonderful day!

Here is what is on tap next week: 

Monday: Rosemary Ranch Grilled Chicken, Couscous and Grilled Veggies
Tuesday:  Roasted Garlic Risotto with Sausage and Peppers
Wednesday: OOT for Work (Frozen Pizza for the Boys)
Thursday: OOT for Work (Shells and Cheese with Peas & Kielbasa for Kellen and Ron)
Friday: Out
Saturday: Out (I will be in Milwaukee for the Birth Without Fear Conference.... I am soooo excited!)
Sunday: Thai Chicken and Pork Lettuce Wraps and Cucumber Salad

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Pineapple Rosemary Cocktail

I Time for June's Crazy Ingredient Challenge! 


The theme for this month is pineapples and rosemary. When the ingredients were revealed I immediately thought of a drink. Rosemary is a strong flavor, but I thought pineapple was bold enough to meet it halfway. I decided the best thing for my drink was to make a syrup with the rosemary. I used a standard base for the syrup and let the rosemary sit in the warm syrup to get as much flavor as possible from the herb.  I picked vodka for my poison because it has a very neutral flavor and, I wanted to focus on the flavors of the challenge ingredients.  To my drink, I added a little pineapple juice and served the finished product chilled over the rocks.

The verdict on this odd couple? Sooooooo yummy! The pineapple and rosemary were great together and the syrup mellowed the rosemary just enough to leave a light flavor with the pineapple juice. I would make this again in a second, and can't wait to share it with my herby drink loving friends! 

Today, I am heading to the farmer's market with my mom and Kellen to grab some veggies. This afternoon I need to devote to some laundry (blah), but my friend Amanda and her kids are coming in the evening for a trip to the Wildlife Sanctuary and then out for tacos. Amanda is in the State Assembly and is a busy lady/mom. I have known her for years and adore her, and always get excited when we get to spend time together. Now that we both have kids it is fun to include them in our adventures!  

 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! 


Ingredients

rosemary syrup:
2 springs of fresh rosemary
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup water

1 cup vodka
3 cups pineapple juice
Ice


Instructions

To make the syrup: combine all ingredients on the stove top and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat cover and allow the syrup to sit 15-20 minutes. Strain and allow it to completely cool. 

Mix together the syrup, vodka and juice. Fill 4 pint glasses with ice and pour the drink over the ice. Garnish with fresh pineapple or rosemary if desired. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Blueberry, Basil and Goat Cheese Galette

Welcome to June's What's Baking!

The theme for this month was baking with fruit and I was stoked because I love anything pie or in the pie family when it comes to desserts. It is no secret that I am a big fan of making galettes and thought this was the perfect opportunity to show off one of my favorite pairings- fruit and cheese.  Last weekend at the Farmer's Market I picked up 2 quarts of blueberries and a small wedge of  4 month aged Beemster goat Gouda, and knew this would be a delectable combination of flavors and textures.  My final touch to the flavor combination was chopped fresh basil. My basil plants are so beautiful right now and were the perfect addition to this dish. If you have not attempted a galette to not be intimidated because they are wonderfully easy and look very impressive. A galette is basically a free formed pie and the flavor combinations are endless, and fun to play with! 

This was a dessert that I did not share with Kellen and Ron, but it was shared with my girlfriends last weekend over bloody mary's while my friend Tracy was getting ready to leave for L.A. My girls all enjoyed this dessert, and there was only a slice left when I headed home. I loved the sweet berries, creamy cheese and the fresh pop of flavor from the basil.....I wish I had a slice right now! I am sure Kellen and Ron would have loved this, but sometimes you need to share to love with your friends! However, I still have a little cheese left and will have lots of berries this weekend and perhaps another galette is in order...maybe peach this time??? 

Berry season is finally here and I can't wait to get picking/buying this weekend. Georgia peaches are also arriving in truck this week and I know my sweet Kellen will be over the moon. Gypsy Fruit contacted me regarding their upcoming haul from Georgia and Michigan and were kind enough to give me flyers and coupons for their pick-up sites this weekend! If you are in the area please send me a message on Facebook or via e-mail, and I can get the flyer to you to get a great price on delicious fruit! Thank you Gypsy Fruit for including me and my area readers!

I hope everyone has fun weekend plans- we are starting our Friday night with a fish fry and an Old Fashion! 


Ingredients

1 pie crust (I used a pre-made from our bakery that I keep in stock, but you could make our own)
2 1/4 cups blueberries
2 Tbl granulated sugar
1 Tbl cornstarch
1 Tbl chopped fresh basil
1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp water
2 tsp raw sugar, for sprinkling
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
Chopped basil, for garnish


Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. 

In a medium bowl, combine blueberries, sugar, basil and cornstarch. Set aside. 

Stretch (or roll if you made your own) your pie crust on lightly floured parchment paper.

Place berries in the center of the crust. Make sure to leave about 2 inches boarder around the outside to fold over. 

Fold the crust edges up and over the blueberries (I tucked as I circled the fruit). 

Transfer the parchment to a baking sheet. Brush dough with egg wash and sprinkle evenly with sugar.

Bake for 35-40 minutes.  Top the galette with crumbled goat cheese and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the fruit center is bubbly and the crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and top with chopped fresh basil. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

One-Pot Baked Ziti

Pasta is such a comfort food for me. My favorite pasta is pretty simple: meat, cheese and a red sauce. I love making pasta for my family because it is always a big hit, and makes great leftovers for lunches the following day at work. 

One-pot meals are a favorite of mine because there is minimal mess and less clean up time means more time to hang with my family after work. I also like the lower dish load (especially on my nights to do dishes!). Baked ziti is a favorite of mine, and I have seen many different recipes for it so I opted to make my own one-pot variation on this weeknight favorite.  In my recipe, I use a blend of ground beef and sausage, but you could easily use turkey or not blend your meats (you could certainly make is vegetarian as well). When I made this I used a marinara sauce from Trader Joe's, but you could use a homemade or your favorite store brand. I loved how easy this meal was but, what I loved even more, was how much Kellen dug the pasta. He dug into his plate and even asked for a second helping of the noodles. Ron and I also loved this pasta and, as predicted, it made great leftovers the following day! 

Tonight, I am stopping at the park with my friend Kayla and I am headed to dinner with a few of my girlfriends. I mentioned my friend Tracy's move to L.A. in my meal plan post, and tonight we are grabbing a pizza and cocktails at Rustique to send her off in style. I am going to miss her so much, and am so proud of her for pursuing her dreams! I also can't wait to visit! After dinner, I think we are going to grab a few cocktails at the Bottle Room (they have great wine flights). I am sure there are going to be lots of laughs tonight and a few shed tears. It is amazing to have wonderful friends in your life. 


Ingredients

1/2 Tbl olive oil
1/2 lb ground beef 
1/2 lb Italian sausage (mild or hot will work)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb uncooked ziti pasta
24 oz marinara sauce (jarred or homemade will work)
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 Tbl grated Parmesan
3 Tbl grated Roman
1 1/2  cup grated mozzarella 


Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees .

In a dutch oven or other heavy bottom pot, add the olive oil and cook the beef and sauce till no longer pink. If there is a heavy amount of grease, drain a bit from the pot. Add the garlic and gently stir in the uncooked pasta and marinara sauce. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper if desired. 

Add the water and the cream. Stir well. Bring to a slow simmer and cook for 6-7 minutes or until pasta begins to soften. Top with cheeses and cover. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and serve with a crisp green salad and crusty bread. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Steak Enchiladas with Jalapeno Cream Sauce

Enchiladas are one of my favorite things to eat and I normally like a red sauce on mine, but when Jaida at Sweet Beginning posted a recipe for Steak Enchiladas with Jalapeno Cream Sauce with rave reviews I immediately bookmarked it for a future meal plan. 

A few months ago we purchased a 1/4 of a cow and have all kinds of different cuts of meat in our deep freeze and I knew our sirloin steak would be perfect for this recipe. I loved how easy this was to put together and it was even quick enough for a weeknight meal.  Ron, Kellen and I both loved these enchiladas (the kids loves a little spice!).  I loved the tender thinly sliced steak steak with the spicy, rich and creamy jalapeno sauce. I also loved the fresh punch from the chopped cilantro on top of the warm enchiladas. I would put these on my meal plan in a heart beat, and you definitely need to give them a try because you will be licking the dish clean!  

Tonight, we are hanging around the house and doing a little grilling.  I am working on a new chicken thigh recipe coming at you soon, and it is way yummy! We has a ton of rain last night and several streets were flooded and I am going to do a little tending to my plants and hoping that nothing got a little too flooded. On Sunday, I notices that a few of my plants had flower buds and I will be so sad if they got a little too water logged to survive! One of my co-workers told me to put a bit of mulch around the base of my tomato plants since we have had so much rain to help soak up a bit of the wetness and prevent rotting. In other gardening news, my basil is loving the weather and doesn't seem bothered by all the rain- it must know how excited I am to make pesto in the coming weeks! I also have a bit of rainbow chard, salad bowl lettuce and butter crunch that are all loving the weather, and least I will have some survivors if it keeps raining! Any gardening enthusiasts have tricks or tips to keep my plants a safe in the rain?  The are in a raised bed and our yard slopes down and I am hoping that it will help with drainage. 

I will let you know how it turns out, and till then- make these enchiladas! 


Ingredients

1 Tbl olive oil
1 large jalapeno, minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups of heavy cream
1/3 cup of sour cream
1 Tbl olive oil
1 1/2 -2 lb sirloin steak
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp chili powder
2 Tbl finely chopped cilantro
10-12 tortillas (I used flour)
2/3 cup Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
1/3 cup chopped cilantro, for topping


Instructions

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add jalapeno and garlic and saute for just under a minute until fragrant. 

Whisk in the heavy cream and sour cream till smooth. Bring to a low boil and add cheese, salt, pepper, chili powder and cumin. Stir and cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the cilantro.

Season steak with salt, pepper and cumin. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet and heat over medium high heat. Add the steak and cook 3-4 minutes per side or until it reaches desired temperature. Remove from heat and rest for 10 minutes. Slice steaks in very thin slices and set aside. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spoon about 1/4 cup of the sauce into the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. 

To assemble the enchiladas, place a sprinkle of cheese on the part of the tortilla closest to you and top with a few slices of steak. Starting with the side closest to you, roll the tortilla up. Place into the baking dish, seam side down and repeat with remaining tortillas and filling. 

Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas and top with remaining cheese. Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and top with chopped cilantro. Serve immediately.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Weekly Meal Plan 6/15 - 6/21

Good Evening! 

Hope everyone's weekend is going well and you have nice weather to enjoy! The weekend always goes by way too fast and Monday is here before I know it. As much as I enjoy my job I would love to work less hours to have more time with my family- especially during the summer! 

This weekend was nice and relaxing! On Friday, my friend Emily's little girl came to play and we took advantage of the lovely evening. I crashed early so I could get up early and go to the farmer's market. 

On Saturday morning we were up early and ready to meet our friend Emily and Kyle at the market with they little girl. She is so previous and has a beautiful head of thick dark hair! I picked up some veggies for the week and we feasted on crab rangoon and bubble tea before heading home.  


A bit later, we headed with friend to our friend Kayla's house to play on their new water slide. It looked so fun and the kids loved it even if the weather was bit on the chilly side!  It started to rain and we headed home for naps and cleaning.


  After nap my friend Melissa and her family stopped in for a grapefruit margarita, conversation and laughter on their way back from picking up their kids from Grandma'a. Melissa is a dear friend of mine and we met because does the same job I do, but for a different county.  Later in the evening, we made dinner, put Kellen down and watched a movie before heading to bed. 

On Sunday, I was up early to head to the gym and bake a new galette recipe to bring to my friend Tracy. Tracy and I have been friends since high school and she is moving to L.A. next weekend. She a few girlfriends over for bloody mary's and to see if there was anything we wanted out of the things she can't bring to L.A. (she only has her cars worth!). I have two lovely new pictures to hang and they will serve as a happy memory because I am going to miss her!  Right now, I am working on a few blog things, but am going to get started on out steaks for the grill. I am also super excited for tonight because we are going to see Jurassic World!!!!!!!!!! I have been looking forward to this for almost a year (yes, I know I am a giant loser) and can't wait to go! 

This week is a little busier than last week. I am getting together with friends to wish Tracy a final goodbye on Wednesday (sniff), Thursday I have volleyball and between a few visits to the gym and weekend plans I know the week will go quickly! 

Have a great week- here is what is on tap:

Monday: Maple Balsamic Grilled Chicken Thighs, Couscous and Salad
Tuesday: Burgers with Caramelized Onion, Bacon Brie Burgers and Potato Wedges
Wednesday: Out with Girlfriends & Tuna Noodle Salad for Ron and Kellen
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Rosemary Ranch Chicken, Grilled Veggies, Quinoa and Salad
Saturday: Out
Sunday: Brats and Cheeseburgers, Potato Salad, Corn, Fruit and Green Salad

Friday, June 12, 2015

Rhubarb Honey White Sangria

I promised a delicious sangria recipe yesterday and I am here to deliver! 

Like I said yesterday, this recipe is based off a drink I had a few weeks ago and needed to create at home. I love sangria and white sangria is one of my favorite drinks. However, one of my annoyances with white sangria is that it needs to be the "sweeter" option at my restaurants. Many time is is loaded with juice and imitation peach or raspberry flavors- no thank you. I really like my sangria on the dry side and loved the tartness provided by the rhubarb. The honey is a great addition because it gives a slight sweetness, but doesn't remind me of fruit juice.  I like to use pinot grigio in my sangria, but if you like sweeter a moscato or pinot gris would be delicious as well. 

This drink was amazing and I loved enjoying it on my patio cocktail hour on a Saturday evening. The flavors are refreshing and the combination gives a unique twist with the addition of the rhubarb. I can't wait to make another batch of this sangria with my last bunch of rhubarb from our garden. 

This weekend we do not have a lot planned, and that is a happy variation to the busy weekends on the horizon. Tonight, my friend Emily is going to stop over for dinner and to let the kids play. On Saturday, we are making a trip to the Farmer's Market and then Kellen and I are going on a pool play date. On Sunday, I am having bloody mary's with my friend Tracy before she leaves for L.A. in a few weeks! On Sunday evening my parents will be back in town and we are hoping to get to Jurassic World! I have been counting down the days since last year and could not be more excited to see the movie. My sister is also a Jurassic Park lover and we have been talking about it like crazy! 

Have a fantastic weekend! 


Ingredients

1 bottle white wine (I prefer dry, but sweet will work too)
1 can plain sparkling water
1/4 cup vodka
1/4 cup triple sec
2/3 cup rhubarb honey syrup
Diced Rhubarb, garnish
Sliced Lemons, garnish


Instructions

In a pitcher, combine wine, sparkling water, vodka, triple sec and syrup. Stir well and chill. Fill glasses with ice and pour sangria over ice and garnish with diced rhubarb and sliced lemons. 

Recipes yields just over 1 liter.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Rhubarb Honey Syrup

Yesterday, I posted a recipe for the abundance of asparagus this time of year, and this recipe uses another abundant in season ingredient- rhubarb! 

Rhubarb is really popular in my neck of the woods and I see it in breads, cobblers, cakes, jam and the ever popular strawberry-rhubarb pie. Recently I was at a restaurant that used rhubarb in a sangria, and I decided that I needed to make my own version of the cocktail. I am planning posting the cocktail tomorrow, but I wanted to give you my method for the syrup first. 

I opted to follow a simple syrup ratio, but subbed in a little honey over the additional sugar.  I like to get rhubarb that is bright in color because it gives a beautiful bright color. This syrup is perfect for summer drink and I enjoyed it with a bit of lemonade and vodka, in sangria and in plain sparkling water. The hone flavor is perfectly balanced with the tartness of the rhubarb. 

Syrups are a lot of fun for boozy cocktails or a virgin drink. I love to keep them in my fridge to pull out for a unique drink, or to share with friends. Recently, I have made lavender syrup and cherry vanilla syrup.  I have a lot of herbs growing in my garden and am going to try out a rosemary syrup and a basil syrup to experiment even more with garden fresh summer cocktails! 

Tonight, I have volleyball and am heading there after work. My teammates are my co-workers and friends, and it is a blast playing with them every week. I have played bar league for almost 7 years and mainly co-ed. This is only my second time playing on a women's league and I actually like it a lot more than the co-ed. I have a blast with these ladies and look forward to our game each week.  


Instructions

2 1/2 cup chopped fresh rhubarb (I like it to be dark pink)
2 Tbl honey
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/3 cup water


Instructions

In a small sauce pan whisk together sugar, honey and water. Bring to a simmer and allow sugar to dissolve. Add rhubarb and simmer about 3-5 minutes or until rhubarb breaks up. Remove from heat. Strain and allow syrup to cool. Once cool, store in the fridge in an airtight container. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Bacon, Egg and Roasted Asparagus Salad

First, big thanks to everyone for commenting and entering the #HotSummerEats blogging event! It was a lot of fun and I can't wait to do another one! Congrats to all the prize winners! 

Asparagus season is going strong for a few more weeks in Wisconsin and I like to eat as much as I can before the season ends. Asparagus is always at our grocery store and usually looks nice, but the flavor is nothing compared to the seasonal local asparagus in our area. 

Normally, we grill our asparagus for a side dish, but my favorite combination is asparagus and eggs. I love a runny yolk over perfectly cooked asparagus- so delicious. Over the years, I see different variations of bacon, egg and asparagus salads and wanted to make my own version. I opted to roast my asparagus with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. I topped it with a thick sliced crisp applewood smoked bacon from Nueske's in Wisconsin (seriously the best bacon ever!), grated Romano cheese (I prefer this to Parmesan because it is a little sharper) and a large sunny side-up eggs.  I made this for breakfast on a morning that I was off work because I never have time to make egg on work mornings and, to me, nothing is better than an morning egg! I love how the yolk coated the asparagus, and paired with the sharp Romano and smokey bacon this was an amazing breakfast! 

Tonight I am hitting up the gym, and we are relaxing and enjoying the nice weather after a few days of rain. I need to do a little work in my garden and pull a few radishes- I can't believe veggies are starting to be ready for harvest. My salad bowl lettuce and butter crunch are doing awesome and my basil is loving the warm weather. I can't wait to see the tomatoes and zucchini start to grow! I never thought I would enjoy growing a garden as much as I do, but I love that we have our own fresh grocery store in our backyard! Coming up I will go into a little more detail on our garden, what we are growing and the method to our madness.  

Happy Hump Day! 


Ingredients

1 lb asparagus, woody ends trimmed off
1 1/2 Tbl olive oil 
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 eggs
1 /2 Tbl butter
5 slices thick cut bacon, cooked crisp and chopped
2 Tbl grated Romano cheese


Instructions

Arrange asparagus on a baking sheet and drizzle olive oil over the top and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast asparagus for 10 minutes at 400 degrees.

While the asparagus is cooking fry the eggs. Heat a pan over medium heat and add the butter. Add the eggs and cook till whites are firm and set and yolk is still runny.It is important not to have your heat too high or the edges will burn before the center has set. If you like an over easy egg feel free to give the egg a turn or cook yolk up for sunny side.

Divide asparagus between 2 plates. Next, layer chopped bacon and grated cheese over the asparagus. Top with an egg and an extra shake of freshly  ground black pepper, if desired. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

#HotSummerEats Grilled Beer Brats with Spicy Garlic Mustard

Today is the final day of #HotSummerEats! This week has flown by and I loved getting to create all kinds of new recipes for this blogging event! 

Being from Green Bay, Wisconsin summer is not summer with out grilled brats.  Brats a a big thing in our area and we grill them almost every other weekend, and you never see a grocery store with out charity brat fry every Saturday! Many of the meat markets in the area specialize with their own secret recipes for brats. Everyone has their own cooking method, but my favorite is a short beer bath followed by grilling over an open flame- char is the best part and gives the best flavor. I opted to make a little spicy mustard and sauerkraut with my brat and it was fantastic. I loved that added spice and the sauerkraut is always a tasty and traditional topper to a brat. 

This recipe uses two products from our generous sponsors: Gourmet Garden and Intensity Academy.

Gourmet Garden was kind enough to send participants 17 different herb products (stir-in pastes and lightly dried) for this challenge.  I was lucky enough to work Gourmet Garden's product in two previous blog challenges and was thrilled to have a chance to work with the product again. They are so generous and their products are amazing! Gourmet Garden sent bloggers 12 stir-in pastes and 5 lightly dried herbs. I love love the lightly dried herbs because they last 4 weeks after they are opened and keep a great fresh flavor. Check them out of FacebookTwitter and Instagram

The Intensity Academy was kind enough to send me a bottle of Garlic Goodness Hot Sauce. Intensity Academy is a Florida based, all natural, gourmet and hot sauce company. In the past 5 years, Intensity Academy  has won 53 awards for this tasty creations. I love trying different hot sauces and knew this sauce would be a great topper for my brat. I love that they provide a little bit of spice to the mustard and the garlic worked perfectly with the grilled sausage. Check out Intensity Academy on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

This week has given all kinds of amazing recipes to try, and great products from our sponsors (both products mentioned above are in the prize pack)! Don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter below (or click here to learn more about the prize pack!) and check out my fellow blogger's delicious recipes! Thank you for joining me celebrate #HotSummerEats! Special thanks go to Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla for working her butt off to make this a successful and fun event! Camilla- all of your hard work and time is soooo appreciated by everyone! Another big thank you is to our fantastic sponsors for making the event possible- you rock! 


Ingredients

5 brats
1 beer bottle (I like to use an ale)
3 cups water
1/4 cup stone ground mustard
1 Tbl Gourmet Garden Chunky Garlic Stir-In Paste
1 tsp Garlic Goodness Hot Sauce
2 cups sauerkraut, warmed
Brat Buns


Instructions

In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, garlic and hot sauce. Set aside. 

Place brats in a medium pot. Cover with beer and water. Bring to simmer and cook for about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and take brats out of the pot and place on a dry plate. 

Heat grill to medium heat and place brats on the grill. Cook for about 7-8 minutes rotating frequently. Brats should reach an internal temperature of 170 degrees. Remove brats from grill. Place in buns and top with mustard and warm sauerkraut. 



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.


Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin with Red Wine Herb Sauce

Time for June Secret Recipe Club Reveal Day!


This month I received Jessie Weaver's blog.  Jessie is a mom to three and a freelance writer.  She has a plethora of delicious recipes on her blog! As daily essential oil user I really liked her informative post on uses for therapeutic lavender oil. Her Mexican Corn Dip sounded amazing  we well, but when I saw a recipe for Pork Tenderloin with Red Wine Herb Sauce I was sold (I still have the corn dip on my list to make when corn is in season in August!). Like Jessie, I am a busy mom and love finding a new slow cooker recipe for my family to enjoy. I kept close to the original recipe, but I thickened the cooking liquids from the slow cooker to make a thicker gravy than an au jus. My family loved this meal and thought the flavors in the pork were delicious! Paired with the gravy it was a perfect and comforting meal. The leftover reheated nicely as well, and we always appreciate that for lunches at work the following day. 

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


Ingredients

3 Tbl dried minced onion
1 1/2 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp celery salt
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 cup dry red wine
3 Tbl soy sauce 
3-4 large cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 lb pork tenderloin, trimmed 
1/4 cup milk
1 Tbl four


Instructions

In a medium bowl,  mix all ingredients except pork. Place pork in slow cooker, pour liquid over the pork and turn once to coat.  

Cook on low 5-6 hours or until pork is cooked to 150-160 degrees. Remove pork from slow cooker and pour liquid into a medium sauce pan and remove the garlic cloves if necessary. Place pork back in slow cooker to keep warm. Whisk to get milk and flour to create a slurry. Bring juices to a simmer and whisk in flour mixture and allow it to bubble to thicken the sauce.

Place pork on cutting board and slice. Plate and pour sauce over the pork. Serve immediately.