May 31, 2012

Southwest Couscous

Is cous cous one word "couscous" or two "cous cous"? I don't know - and, I've seen it both ways, which makes it so confusing!

Anywho - cous cous cooks up REALLY fast - I should make it more often. Today our kitchen counter top is being installed! I cleaned out all the lower cabinets yesterday and it took serious effort. I am shocked at how much we have jammed into the few cabinets we have. I need to seriously clean many, MANY items. That will be my entire weekend - ugh. But, I can't wait to show everyone the transformation!

This recipe came from GUILT - I seriously ate everything in sight on our vacation and I came home feeling all jiggly. I needed something light and full of things that are good for me!

Ingredients:
1 cup of dry cous cous
1 red pepper, chopped
1 poblano pepper, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1/3 red onion, minced
1/2 can of corn
1/2 can of black beans
2 cloves of garlic
1 handful of cilantro, chopped
1 pound of chicken - I used boneless, skinless stir fry pieces - you can just cut yours into pieces
Lime juice and avocado slices for serving

Make the cous cous per the directions - 1 cup of water, 1 teaspoon butter, pinch of salt - bring to a boil. Then add the dry cous cous. Remove from heat and cover - fluff with a fork. It takes about 5 minutes. I did this first and I left the pot covered on the stove without the heat on.

I chopped the red pepper, poblano,  jalapeno, and red onion. I added these ingredient to a skillet and heated them on medium with about a teaspoon of salt and pepper. After about four minutes I added the garlic and cilantro. Stir well and cook an additional two minutes. Add this mixture into the cous cous pan and stir. Place the lid on top of the pot again.

Fry the chicken in a skillet - drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. When cooked through Plate the cous cous with the chicken on top. I hit it with lime juice and I actually found avocado to top the cous cous with.

This recipe serves 4 - I swear I will get better at putting more detailed recipes up!



Enjoy!

Did I mention the facebook page?? You should like it!! :-)

May 30, 2012

Red Lodge, Montana

Long post alert! If you follow me on instagram, this will be a post of pictures you've probably seen! I also  feel I should point out that Susie now has a facebook page - you should definitely go "like" it! :-)

I believe I have said this before - but visiting Red Lodge, Montana is one of my favorite vacations. If you have never been - you REALLY need to go.

When we got into town the first thing we did was stop by the local brewery. They have awesome micro brews. I obsess over the Helio Heff - I love the wreck sandwich - ham, turkey, roast beef, provolone, banana peppers, lettuce, mayo and mustard - it was heaven.


We left stuffed and so happy to finally be in town. We hit the grocery store and went up the mountain to the house. The weather on memorial weekend is historically rainy and on the cold side. This year we got in town to 8 inches of snow on the ground, and an additional four falling overnight! No complaints - it's gorgeous with snow!


We woke up Sunday morning to more snow! We went into town for lunch and ate at this place called the red box car. It's basically a drive up restaurant - one of those hole in wall places that makes the best burgers in town!


I had the taco salad - made with fritos - freaking delish! Mike had the double cheeseburger. I also had a root beet float - I almost cried it was so good. I haven't had frozen yogurt in YEARS - it tends to make me pretty sick so I avoid it. Milk allergies are the worst.


While we were in town - I HAD to buy my favorite treat on earth - chocolate covered cherries. These are the best ones I've ever had - the Montana Candy Emporium has every possible kind of old fashioned treat! I ate half a pound of these... oops.


Mike spent the afternoon shooting targets while I was inside reading... ok, and having another helio heff beer!


Mike brought back flowers for me! Hand picked! No idea how he found them under all that snow, but it was cute - and he was so proud that he found them!!


Views from the deck - gorgeous!!



... And the big surprise of the weekend...


I was inside on the phone with my MIL - Mike was sitting outside on the deck, reading a magazine, and listening to music - Before I know it he's jumping up and waving his arms to get my attention. Sure enough I bear just comes walking up the driveway and right up to the house - like he was coming over for lunch!

It took a while before the adrenaline wore off! We did many other things I haven't mentioned now. But, we had a ball. Red Lodge is a wonderful small town, everyone is so nice - the food is good, the beer is good. And when the weather is nice there are a million places to hike.

What did you all do for memorial day?

...Now, I'm off to clean out our kitchen cabinets for the installation TOMORROW! I feel like I have waited forever for this!!

May 25, 2012

Roasted Chickpeas

Lately Mike has been putting Chickpeas on EVERYTHING - salads, ground beef tacos, etc.we always have them in the house so I can make hummus, but when I eat them plain or on something I want them to be crunchy for some reason. I was poking around over the last couple of days and apparently roasted chickpeas are the new thing. So, I had to try them. You don't have to feel bad about this snack - garbanzo beans are insanely good for you!

Ingredients:
1 can of garbanzo beans (aka chick peas) drained
1 and 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lay the chickpeas out flat and roast for about 30 minutes tossing twice. When done, pour into a bowl.

This is just the version I created - I think they would be good with lemon, salt and rosemary, or cilantro lime and crushed red pepper flakes, or even just cinnamon and sugar, etc. Make your own version - just use the beans and the olive oil and tweak the rest!


I'm off to pack for our weekend trip to Montana - still not sure how I was talked into it with all the birthday's and things going on this weekend.  Sunday is my dear friend Kelsey's birthday and ABBY'S - I know she doesn't know it's her birthday because she's a dog, but I still feel bad I won't be here to spoil her. And Monday is Kelly's birthday!

Would it be weird if I packed these roasted chick peas as a snack for the plane??

I'm prepping food for next week before I leave as well - our kitchen will be under construction when we get back, so I'm trying to make things we can simply heat up! I can't wait to show pictures of the kitchen's progress. We've gotten quite a few other house projects done I can't wait to share as well. More soon!

In the meantime - I hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend!

May 24, 2012

Bacon and Jalapeno Cornbread

I have hated cornbread - always. I think it was a texture thing when I was little. So, when I was out with my husband about a week ago and we were enjoying drinks and the nice weather... the waiter came by and Mike orders cornbread. I was a little miffed. I knew he wasn't going to eat it all himself, and I don't really like it. I just thought, well, that's going home with us. Reluctantly I took a bite - I was blown away. (Insert a reminder here that you don't hate everything you used to hate when you were a kid just because you haven't had it since!)

It was awesome... the outside was dark and crunchy and the inside wasn't grainy it was delish and spicy - which made me so happy. Plus, there was honey butter. Which just made the whole thing better. I went home DETERMINED to make cornbread. How hard can it be right?

Ingredients for the cornbread:
2 cups yellow cornmeal
2 cup of flour
1 and 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon baking powder
2 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups of milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten

4 jalapenos, minced
4 slices of bacon
2 tablespoons butter

Fry up four slices of bacon in a skillet - set aside. In a large mixing bowl mix together all the ingredients (cornmeal to eggs) it should be well beaten and mixed together. Then, slice up your jalapenos - mincing the shell only - the ribs and the seeds have the most heat, so avoid those if you don't want it to be too spicy! I de-ribbed and seeded all but one - added the seeds in from one jalapeno only. Then I sliced up the bacon into little bits and folded both the jalapeno and the bacon into the mixing bowl.

I then heated my (10 inch)  cast iron skillet with two tablespoons of butter in it and I swirled the butter all the way up the sides of the pan. When the butter was fully melted, I poured the mixture from the bowl into the cast iron skillet.

Bake at 425 for about 30 minutes.

Ingredients for the butter:
2 tablespoons of stick butter, room temperature
1 heaping teaspoon of honey
1 dribble - not a spash (very scientific I know) of vanilla extract

Mix together - I only made a small amount because I didn't want tons of honey butter leftover! It was just Mike and I for dinner! And yes, I put the butter in a shot glass when it was complete - did I mention that we are classy over here!?


So, the cornbread turned out AWESOME - perfectly flavored, and not too spicy. BUT, it had that texture I hate, so I'm going to have to try other recipes! Anyone have one that doesn't crumble and acts more like bread than cornmeal??


Enjoy!

May 22, 2012

A Day in the Life

One of my blogger friends - Rachel over at Rachel Cooks has started a new series called "A Day in the Life" where she has interviewed food bloggers from all over the place. You get a glimpse into our lives, what a typical day looks like, where we shoot, how we come up with ideas, etc. Pretty cool huh!? What's even better is that she chose me! Head on over here and show her some LOVE!


*Believe me, I know it's a cliche to use your wedding photos everywhere, but since I JUST got married and JUST got the photos back I'm allowing myself to use them! :-)

May 21, 2012

Monday

It's Monday again - I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

Mike had Friday night off - this doesn't happen very often these days, so we went to Happy Hour with our friends Chad and Lindsey... and, we got home around 2AM. We love them for this reason (and many more). We met up with plenty of other people throughout the night, and had a great time getting to catch up!


Mike at Happy Hour - seriously so happy in the 90 degree weather. Do you like his strategically placed wedding band in this one too? It looks like it was on purpose, but I swear this wasn't posed!!

Saturday I ran to the grocery store and came home to a package on the front porch - I was SUPER excited to find that our wedding album came! I used snapfish - it's really nothing insanely fancy, but I freaking LOVE it. Mike and I both looked at it a number of times. We would love to go back and do it all over again.


Saturday night my oldest friend got married! Both he and his bride were giddy, it was so sweet to see! We realized shortly before the wedding that Mike's cousin actually knows the bride and was also going to the wedding, so we got to see family and celebrate with friends from high school!

Sunday was a classic Sunday - I did a whole lot of nothin. Chores around the house - spent more time than I care to admit cleaning/organizing our closet and doing laundry. I had apparently been avoiding this for some time.

Sunday night we curled up in bed and watched The Vow - the one with Channing Tatum. (and by "we" I mean me - Abby and Mike curled up and fell asleep) I had wanted to see the movie for a while, but I try not to drag Mike to these chick flick type movies - these are set aside for girls night out. That way I'm not forced to see anything I don't want to see either! I heard mixed reviews - I actually really liked the movie, but I hated the abrupt ending. I wanted to see them get back together and Paige regain her memory! Oh well.


I want to call out two posts that I have already read this morning and LOVE by other bloggers I know:

Christina Main of Sweet Lavender Bake Shoppe posted this - it's an honest post about what it's really like to be a blogger, and her opinions on what's happening in the blog world. I love when people are honest in their posting. Sometimes as a blogger you shy away from giving too much of yourself away to this virtual world. I might not have the same experiences as her (I'm still very naive as far as the blog world goes), but I'm proud that she had the courage to write her honest to goodness opinion. Side note: If you have a child's birthday party coming up - find her on Etsy here - she makes the GREATEST treats, they are so cute! The hello kitty cupcake toppers are my favorite!

On a less serious note - Meghann over at Meals and Miles posted this about a race she ran this past weekend - NAKED. Yes, she ran a 5k naked. I think it's awesome. I give her major props for this. I'm struggling to run a race with clothes on I can't imagine one without clothing - you go girl!

Enjoy!

May 17, 2012

More Chobani Love

So, you know how I mentioned that I finally discovered Chobani? I came home from work yesterday to an AWESOME surprise...

{Thank you Chobani!!}

After my post I exchanged e-mails with Lindsay over at Choabni. Come to find out that Chobani is 95% lactose free which explains why it doesn't make me sick as a dog! This is very exciting for people with milk allergies!


So, aside from just eating Chobani for breakfast, I have been using it to add protein to snacks! I saw this recipe by Kristy over at Sweet Treats and More AGES ago - she seriously posted it January 9th and I've been meaning to make it ever since - broiled grapefruit, doesn't that sound amazing!?

Ingredients:
1 grapefruit
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 dash of chipotle powder - I love kick, Kristy's recipe calls for cinnamon if you don't like Chipotle
1 tub of vanilla Chobani

Cut the grapefruit in half, run your finger between the rind and the segments and pull them out. Sprinkle the brown sugar and chipotle on top. Broil for just a couple minutes until the brown sugar is melted. Plop the vanilla yogurt on top and devour every single bite!





Enjoy!

Note: Yes, Chobani provided the yogurt used in this post. The opinion I hold of the Chobani brand is all my own, I bought numerous tubs of yogurt before these were sent, and I will buy numerous more. I would never write about a product I didn't actually like.

May 16, 2012

Rainbow Cake

My parents divorced when I was young - my mother is so not going to be thrilled that I'm writing about this - but oh well. My little sister and I switched houses for years, so naturally we became really close. It always sort of felt like it was us against the world. I told her my secrets, and she promised not to tell. She always wanted to race - and win. It worked. We worked. Why am I telling you this? Well, on May 5th my baby sister, who I swear is still only nine years old - GRADUATED college. I am so proud.


I sat in the bleachers and cried like a proud big sister. This post has officially gotten too sappy. Anywho - she also just got her first place. I wanted to send her home with something that she could eat - is anyone surprised by this? No. Why aren't we surprised? Because food = love. I didn't want to send her home with just anything - I wanted to send her home with something AWESOME. Cake seemed appropriate. Layer cakes have been a trend in the blogging world lately. Table for two recently made this one, sweetapolita made this one, and iambaker made this one - you get the point. But, when I came across this one by Love and Olive Oil - I KNEW it was the cake for Tay.

It's putsy, but it was so much fun to make, knowing that I would show up with a REALLY tall white cake and she would cut into it thinking "chocolate" and see 6 layers of rainbow delisciousness! Needless to say she freaked out.

I have to apologize for the crappy pictures. I was terrified of moving the cake around too much in case it fell. 8 inch round - stacked 6 high, my anxiety was high. So, here's to another post with amateur iPhone photos!

Check out the awesome pictures on Love and Olive Oil of the cake - and find the recipe here. Did I mention that she made it for her sister too?? :-)



Enjoy!

May 15, 2012

101 Update and Wedding Tips

I'm late on this one - I know, I know!!

101 in 1,001 updates for April:
 

13. Start the kitchen re-model - finally!! We have a new microwave, new knobs on all of the cabinets and the countertops are being cut in the next week and we will (hopefully) have everything installed within three weeks!
14. Have the side door replaced - Side door ordered including a new storm door - arrives June 5th, then we can get it installed!
21. Organize storage room - completed.
26. Main floor bathroom - paint or wallpaper - found wallpaper, need to get it ordered, then my MIL is going to save the day and help me put it all up.
59. Consistently walk Abby at least 3 times a week for a month - completed. The weather has been amazing.
60. Eat at 5 new restaurants (5/5) Bar Abilene, Kinsen noodles and bar, Smack Shack, Phsycho Suzi's, Tilia - Completed.
81. Cook something with venison - Venison Meatballs - check them out here.
83. Create a wordless Wednesday post – this means LOTS of pictures - completed. Check it out here.

Oh and now that our wedding if over I have gotten a lot of questions about wedding tips - here are my top 6 - or at least the ones I can think of now, I will update if I come up with new ones!
1. All songs should be shortened to two minutes - the ones in the ceremony and especially the first dance songs. You really have no idea how long 3 minutes and 40 seconds is until you are standing or dancing with all eyes on you.
2. When people tell you that you are the most beautiful bride you should really come up with a response other than "I KNOW" keep in mind... some of these people will be meeting you for the first time. You don't want to leave them with the wrong impression.
3. Once you make a decision, stick to it - once you start changing your mind everything becomes infinitely more stressful.
4. While you are in the planning stage go to a movie, go to a bar, remember to do something that doesn't revolve around your wedding every once and a while.
5. Remember that no one will do anything without you on your wedding day. Don't rush to move to the next thing, enjoy your moments. Immediately after the ceremony I flipped off my shoes, put on flip flops and asked for help with my train. I had no reason to rush, but I didn't want to hold anyone up. This is a ridiculous concept as the bride. Who freaking cares if you hold people up!?

6. Have someone in your wedding party buy a cooler and pack it full of sandwiches, chips, pop and bottled water. We got back to our hotel room and we were STARVING. We spent the better part of the following 30 minutes trying to order a pizza - all of which were closed.

May 11, 2012

Banana Stuffed French Toast


This week has been busy - all of our weeks have been busy lately. So, once again I am VERY happy that it's Friday.

I got my wedding photos on Monday and spent HOURS pouring over them I was so excited! They are absolutely gorgeous, and I am struggling to decide which to print and frame, which ones to send to grandma and which ones I want blown up into a giant canvas for our home.

Abby has been on walk after walk this week - which means she's been extra tired. We are making progress on our mini kitchen remodel, and side door project. Eventually I will get around to updating my list of accomplishments on my 101 in 1,001 - but that's neither here nor there.

One downside to being a food blogger is that cravings hit all the time. The weird thing this time is that I was craving bread I haven't had since I was kid and stuffed french toast like I had in Cali. So, this recipe ended up being a combination of the two.


Ingredients for the french toast:
2 slices of cinnamon bread
1 egg
1/3 cup of milk
1 banana, sliced

Mix egg and milk in a bowl, soak the bread on either side. Cook until browned. Slice the banana and place it between the two slices of french toast.

Ingredients:
1/4 brown sugar
2 tablespoons of stick butter, cold
1 tablespoon of uncooked oatmeal
1/3 cup of special k cereal, plain
Powdered sugar
Raspberries
Syrup, optional

Slice up the butter into chunks, and place in a bowl with the brown sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the brown sugar. It should be a crumbly texture when you are done. Then add the oatmeal and skepcial k and stir together. Pour the mixture onto the top of the french toast. Top with powdered sugar and raspberries.




Enjoy!

May 9, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

The toast that wasn’t given… to my husband – you are my best friend and my biggest cheerleader and I am a better woman for loving you.



















Vick Photography and Danza Del Sol Winery ... need I say more?

May 7, 2012

Toastadas

I swear it was Friday, and then I woke up this morning and it was Monday. I don't know how that happens so quickly, but I don't like it.

Anywho - Mike has been on a streak lately of demanding to be taken to new places to eat. Pressure is on me to choose something awesome every time. One day we hit the Linden Hills neighborhood, and a new place had just opened May 1st - The Harriet Brasserie we had no idea what we were in for, but we figured we'd give it a try. Come to find out it was only their second day of service! We started with the cheese plate, which was amazing. Then, I ordered the toastadas, Mike ordered something equally amazing, which I can't remember the name of right now.

We talked about the meal for a few days, so when I was struggling to come up with something awesome for Sunday brunch, this immediately came to mind. Mike was very happy with my fake out version - but you should all really try the real deal too! (Supporting local businesses is ALWAYS a good thing)

If you follow me on Instagram - you saw this:


Ingredients - for two toastadas:
4 corn tortillas
Olive oil
1/2 cup of refried beans
1 small roma tomato, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1/4 cup of red onion minced
1/3 cup cilantro, minced
2 fried eggs
Shredded lettuce
Sliced avocado
1/4 cup queso fresco - we ended up using shredded cheese, because I spaced at the grocery store and didn't get queso fresco!
I topped mine with lime juice and fresh cracked pepper - Mike did not! Either way - so good!!

First things first - you want to make those corn tortillas crunchy. Set the oven to 350, and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil on each side. Place on a baking sheet and bake until crispy - about 20 minutes. Don't over bake them (make them too brown) you want them to be flaky, but not impossible to cut through.

While those are baking, mince your jalapeno, red onion and roma tomato. Place in a small skillet with about a teaspoon of olive oil, and a teaspoon of salt. Cook on medium heat until the onion is translucent - about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Frying an egg was the part I was nervous about - I have never been that good with eggs. I think the trick is that the skillet has to already be hot before cracking the egg. Heat to medium high heat, add pam or olive oil or butter and then crack the egg. Cook until the bottom is completely white and with a spatula slide it under and then flip the egg over. I wanted a runny yolk - so I didn't cook it for long once it was flipped over.

On each plate I placed a small handful of lettuce. Then one corn tortilla, spread the refried beans on the top of that tortilla, then place the second tortilla on top. Sprinkle the jalapeno and tomato mixture on top. Then sprinkle the minced cilantro, add the fried egg on top - then add the sliced avocado, and cheese.



Enjoy!
 
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