(Disclaimer: I am working in partnership with the KRAFT brand and I am receiving compensation for my participation in this campaign. All thoughts/opinions are 100% my own)
I love this time of year when my local farm stands are open on road sides around my little water-tower town. Little pop up markets here and there. I stop in as much as possible. A) I love supporting my local farmers when I can B) I know where the food comes from and that’s is going to be fresh and freshly picked. Plus ehem have you seen farmers lately? Not to mention they’re incredibly knowledgeable. Go ahead ask them about their food. They love it.
Have you noticed a grilling theme going on? Gold star for you if so. As soon as it warms up I’m all about throwing anything and just about everything on the grill. Including vegetables. Sometimes I even get a little crazy and sprinkle them with sugar. Glorious I tell you. Glorious caramelized crunchy outsides. Pass the plate please.
I don’t know why I have been hesitant to embrace the flavor combination of beans and eggs before. Before now I should say. Honestly, I don’t know why this flavor combination works, all I know is that it does. I think it falls under the crazy but true tab. I’m going to be making up for all the time I passed on this amazing dish. Silly girl. It’s going to breakfast and brinner (breakfast for dinner) for a while now. I hope my family likes it as much as I do.
Apparently spring doesn’t know it’s spring because we’ve taken a u-turn and appear to be right back into winter. Who authorized this? Obviously I am not happy about this. I’ve had to turn the heater back on and pull out all of the scarves and boots I had put away for the season. The only good thing from this colder weather is I can enjoy soups a little longer. Silver lining. Silver lining. Now all I need is a silver spoon. Kidding. Kind of.
There are so many things to love about pasta. I could literally go on for days about it, but mmmmmm better not. Instead I’m going to tell you one reason I love it (delicious is obvious). Versatility. If you tell me you get bored with pasta I won’t believe you. There are too many shapes, sizes, and sauces for that. Like this spicy jalapeno popper pasta. I took an appetizer we love, hello jalapeno poppers, you all know and love them and turned it into a pasta dish. Those hot little beauties are pretty hard to stop popping. This pasta, no different.
One of my absolute favorite vegetables is asparagus. I love it steamed, roasted, grilled or sauteed. I like it cooked just enough so it still has a little bite to it. Al dente if you will (mushy is not a term I’m going for with asparagus). I fell in love with asparagus in Italy. My neighbors grew white asparagus. I watched year after year as they tended to these long mounds of dirt, and then one year, up popped the most beautiful asparagus I have ever seen. It was worth the wait. Most good things are. These days white asparagus is not easy for me to come by so green it is. When it’s fresh and in season I grab as much as I can. I’m not picky I like it: grilled, baked, roasted even sauteed. The smaller, skinnier bunches of asparagus are absolutely perfect for sauteing.
I have a bean problem. On any given day you’ve find at least 5 varieties of beans in my pantry (of course that doesn’t rival the ridiculous amount of pasta shapes in my pantry – last count 15) That’s a lot of beans (and pasta). But that is OKAY with me because we eat them all the time. One of our favorite things to make with beans are bean burgers, black bean burgers to be more specific. I will always be a carnivore (I love bacon way too much) but sometimes I do crave a veg burger. Truth.
The incredible edible egg. It’s such a little powerhouse (good things DO come in small packages) and it just happens to be one of the star ingredients for the Easter season. With good reason. It’s incredibly versatile. When I think of eggs, deviled eggs immediately come to mind. They are a classic appetizer and they go with everything. This classic version uses McCormick bold ground mustard to wake up the flavors and then it’s finished with what else paprika (anyone else thinking of Blue’s Clues? Just me. Okay. Moving on.). Food should be flavorful and these little bites of bliss definitely are. Go ahead and try to eat just one.
I’m kind of over winter. There I said it. I’m not cut out for colder temperatures. I’m not fan of bundling up and wearing so many layers I look like a marshmallow. I’m more of a light scarf and flow-y shirt with jeans kind of girl. Cute open toed wedge sandals and accessories mandatory. Can you tell I’m ready for spring? Until then I’m still firing up the oven and baking warm melt-y carb-ed out goodness to warm me up.
I’m not sure what took me so long to jump on the couscous train. I suppose better late than never eh? Regardless I’m glad I finally did. It is pretty incredible. Little balls of pasta-liciousness bursting with flavor. Almost like savory boba balls (you know the ones in bubble tea or at the fro-yo shop) without the liquid burst. Okay not at all like boba balls I just also happen to like those. A lot. Like I have a 7 pound jar in my Amazon cart right now. I don’t kid about food. Ever. What else do I love? Mushrooms. Mushrooms plus Israeli couscous = happy happy happy.
I love big fat sloppy bucatini pasta. They do make twirling challenging (you know how much I love a good twirl), and a little slurping is necessary but I’m okay with that. I understand in some cultures that slurping noodles is not considered impolite at all, instead it’s considered to be quite the compliment. So slurp on. Maybe not going as far as “Lady and the Tramp” style, we’re looking for a happy medium here. Right? Right.
What is it about pizza that makes it so darn irresistible. The cheese, the crust, the shape, the endless possibilities for toppings, sauces and stuffed crusts? I don’t see how one could ever get bored with pizza. It’s a blank canvas for creativity. I know we all have our favorites, my hands down favorite is pizza margherita. It’s one of the few tomato based sauces that I gravitate to. Typically I like my pizza white. A little drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkling of salt and pepper and then the toppings. Despite being a carnivore through and through, when it comes to pizza I usually go veg. Go figure. Well unless there’s bacon around and that’s just going to happen. Bacon doesn’t count right? Right.
Did you happen to see those skinny RANCH chicken tenders yesterday? It was made with our homemade ranch dressing. We’ve lightened up our usual recipe by substituting the mayo with Greek yogurt! It’s thick, creamy and in my opinion beats mayo any old day of the week. It still has all of the zing and tang that you expect from ranch dressing just lightened up. Which lets face it I totally need, I’m already dreaming about skirts and shorts and sunshine. Where are you groundhog? Sigh.
I’m a dipper. It’s true. I like to dip things. It’s just part of who I am and come on let’s be honest it’s just fun. Guacamole and hummus are two of my favorites (not that I’d turn down queso, ever). Do you know that hummus is easier to make than guacamole? It is. My KitchenAid food processor does all the work for me. No chopping, no mincing. I just chuck all the ingredients into my food processor and press the button. Besides being obviously good for you, making it at home means you can make it just the way you like it. Thick or creamy. Heavy on the lemon juice. All up to you.
I visited Chicago for the first time last month. I have to say I wish I’d had more time to hang around and get to know the windy city (which btw she was) a little better. Outside of working almost non-stop while we were there I did manage to squeeze in time for a lip smacking good meal at The Purple Pig. Ehem, here is where I take a moment to tell you that I (we – actually I dined with the loverly Meredith and Leslie) paid for our meal before I wax poetic about it.
Coffee. I have to have it. Plain and simple. It’s not pretty when I don’t. I love it in the morning, rubbed onto my steaks, ask a facial scrub (yep) and even in cocktails. You know that coffee liqueur that starts with a K and ends with lua yep this is a pretty awesome knock off if I say so myself. Until recently, I didn’t realize you could make so many of my favorite adult libations at home but you CAN and should. Besides tasting amazing it will save you a bundle. Now you can get those shoes you’ve been eyeing. You’re welcome.
I love shrooms. It’s true. I love them in all their shroomy forms. From the oh so common versatile button to uppity truffle. I love them all. Now if only I could afford the uppity truffle but alas I’ll have to settle for truffle oil around these parts. I mean I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth, just that spoon you see there in the photo which I happen to have lifted borrowed from my parents house last visit. Technically my Dad insisted that I take it (in case my Mom happens to be reading this, remember I’m the favorite child). Champagne taste on a beer budget. I’m afflicted with it.
You can never go wrong with baked brie. Period. It’s one of those appetizers that’s easy elegant and won’t stick around for long. It’s great at a party (New Year’s Eve maybe?) or heck just because. You can go au natural and serve it baked with just a side of crackers or you can get a little more fancy schmancy and try this baked brie with cajeta sauce with fruit and nuts. It’s kind of a show stopper in the appetizer department and couldn’t be easier.
I’m not sure why pizza always pops into my mind on Friday’s but it does. Not that it’s not fantastic any other night of the week because it is, but there’s just something about eating pizza on Friday night. Now that has me wondering how much busier pizza delivery guys are on Friday? Hmppph. Seriously though, why order a pizza when you can make one yourself. Might I also add, in less time and for a whole lot less money. Saving money is always good in my book so are options.
One of my favorite things to do is to take an ingredient and do something unexpected with it. Like cookie dough for instance, cookies are fantastic and are getting a lot of attention right now, rightly so ’tis the cookie exchange season not to mention cookies for Santa and all, but how about taking cookie dough and turning into to say a dessert pizza just to shake things up? Now we’re talking. It’s basically one giant cookie topped with your tummies momentary desire.