October 29, 2012

Pork Ribs


I ran the monster dash 10 miler on Saturday with two of my girlfriends and I am still sore. I'm foam rolling and icing like crazy! I will post about the race later this week and include the full training program I followed since I have gotten a few e-mails on it!

While I was running I did a lot of thinking - I swear it's the best way to work things out. I won't list off everything I thought about, but food was definitely one of those things. I was craving many things - and I was mentally making a grocery list. I was on a girls trip in Florida - as you know, and I came home to many gifts all over the house that told me my husband missed me. I also found proof that I do all of the grocery shopping!

First thing I thought of was my MIL's ribs. We had them a few years ago at the cabin and Mike never quite stopped talking about them. So, I pulled out the recipe and went to town! This recipe is putsy, but it makes the best ribs, so just make them on Sunday when you have more time to spend.
 

You should buy about 1/2 rack of ribs for each person you are feeding. I went with only one rack this time around because my husband talked me out of two. I like leftover a lot - and he doesn't - unless it came from my mother's house. 

Ingredients in the rub:
1/4 cup paprika
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon celery seeds
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon chili powder

  1. Mix together and rub over the ribs. Place in the fridge for at least an hour - overnight makes them even better!
  2. When you've refrigerated them to the extent you're able to, preheat your oven to 250 degrees and bake the ribs for four hours
Ingredients for BBQ sauce:
2 slices of bacon
1 spring of fresh thyme
1/2 white onion, minced
2 cups of ketchup
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup of molasses
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 tablespoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoons freshly cracked pepper
  1. Fry the bacon in a frying pan, until good and crispy. Add in the onion, thyme and garlic, cooking on medium heat until the onions are translucent and golden.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir together until well mixed. Heat through on medium until it starts to bubble. Then turn to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Remove the bacon, then slather the ribs with the sauce and enjoy!
  4. Serve with your favorite sides. I did mashed potatoes and broccoli.


These require forethought - but not much effort and they are SO worth it - go ahead, try 'em.

October 26, 2012

Girls Weekend


I’ve been MIA – and I’m so sorry! I’ve gotten phone calls, tweets and texts asking what’s going on! Turns out – I did it again - I went on a vacation with the girls and didn’t get a single picture of all of us together. {We seriously need to get better about this ladies!}

We hit Florida this time – my in laws have a great place right on the ocean and were nice enough to let us use it for the weekend. (Thanks again Bob and Rita!! J)

We got really lucky with the weather – 80 degrees and not a cloud in the sky the entire time we were there! The view from the balcony…


My MIL somehow convinced us to hit a hole in the wall karaoke bar our first night there – I can’t even begin to tell you what it looked like and we were immediately noticed since there were only 12 people in the whole place. There was plenty of singing and dancing – but for everyone’s sake I’ll leave the incriminating evidence cute pictures and video on my phone. It turned out to be the perfect way to start the weekend.

There were late night nachos, runs on the beach, card games, a trip to busch gardens, Canadians, daiquiris and more shots than I care to admit. My favorite thing that we did was keeping track of the hilariousness that is... us. We wrote down our favorite quotes and moments, which made the reminiscing even easier - I highly recommend that for your next trip!

 

{proof that we do in fact - read!}

 Want to see more pictures? Follow me on Instagram here.
Whenever I get on a plane to come home I try to think about the trip I just took - my favorite parts, least favorite parts, what worked and what didn't. What I can do to make my next trip better, etc.
The truth is, this time, as I sat there in the airport I was just grateful for these five wonderful friends. These girls came into my life three years ago when I needed them - when we all needed someone and I am so damn grateful we found each other. Erica, Anne, Nicole, Krista, Ellen - I love you girls.
Oh and readers - I promise promise promise - new recipes next week!!

October 17, 2012

Hasselback Sweet Potatoes

 
I have been watching a lot of Ally McBeal lately – do you remember that show?? I want Calista Flockhart’s lips, seriously. My sister and I decided to watch it again since we hadn’t seen it since we were kids. (seriously, Netflix it!) Well, that was almost two months ago and I’m four seasons in… this has nothing to do with anything other than the fact that I find myself saying things like “bygones”and hearing barry white. It’s hilarious.
Also, I realized this week that I’m totally the type of person who talks about fictional characters as if they are real people and I often find myself referring to other bloggers as “my friend” even though we’ve never met in real life. I’m weird, I know.
 
Now, about the food - Thanksgiving prep round 2 is in full swing - side dish style. Sweet potatoes have always been a favorite of mine – my mother tells me that I ate so many of them when I was a child I turned a little orange… or maybe she just thought I would turn orange? Either way, I loved sweet potatoes.
There are nights at our house when dinner doesn’t turn out, and microwaving a sweet potato ends up being dinner. Protein is probably better for you, but sweet potatoes are super foods, so I refuse to feel guilty! 
Ingredients
3 medium sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons chopped pecans
2 tablespoons craisins
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
  2. Slice your sweet potatoes down to a square shape and slice thinly, place in ramekins and drizzle with olive oil. Then cut the butter into cubes and sprinkle across the four dishes.
  3. Bake for about 45 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with the brown sugar, craisins and pecans, cover with tinfoil and place back in the oven for 15 minutes
  5. Serve 'em up!
 
 
Man, this post bounced around, are you still with me? Good.

October 16, 2012

Salted Caramel Apple Pie


You guys – I finally slept!
I have had the hardest time sleeping for a little over a month! I used to be that person who was out like a light the second her head hit the pillow. Lately, I’ve been easily woken up in the middle of the night, and then I’ve been unable to get back to sleep! Or I’ve been woken up because of a bizarre-o dream and then I’ve been up for a few hours before being able to go back to sleep. Anyway, on Sunday night my husband sent me to bed at 7:30pm. Don’t get me wrong, I knew I was tired, but I didn’t think there was any way I was going to fall asleep that fast.

Well, what do you know, I was immediately out and I slept 10 hours straight (!) can you believe it?
 
Then, I got up for the day and Monday wasn’t very kind. Got in my car only to realize I needed to fill up (I hate doing that before work) I quickly pulled into the gas station up the street from my house and as I start filling up and I hear a click. I didn’t think anything of it at first. Then, I go to get back in my car and realize I was locked out of my car. Thank God I had my phone in my jacket pocket. Hubby promptly rescued me.
Then I thought, well… I’ll go to Starbucks and get me a pumpkin spice latte to turn this whole day around. Nope, Starbucks was closed for construction. Don’t get me wrong – they served up black coffee. But, that was totally not what I had in mind. Off to work I went in a very strange mood – trying to predict if it would be a good day or a bad day. (For the record, it ended up not sucking.)

I used to work at a daycare center back in high school - it was the perfect job for a teenager. The hours were short - no weekends, no nights. I worked with Jessica and found out pretty quickly that she has a sweet tooth! This is a recipe she made almost a year ago that I have been dreaming of recently.

My in-laws took Mike and I to Stillwater with them a few weeks ago - we went wine tasting and picked up apples along the way! Honey crisp apples are the.best. don't let anyone tell you otherwise. I am a complete and total apple snob. My husband always thought I was a little crazy about it, until he tried this batch! He asked me repeatedly what they were and when I was buying more. I love when we agree!

So, I had apples and a recipe for apple pie. Oh and high standards - My SIL apparently makes the best stone fruit pie! I've never had it, but I don't doubt that it's phenominal! Jessica made hers with home made caramel and store bought crust. I did the opposite!

Forgive me on the picture - all were iPhone photos... it was a long day and I just wanted to eat the pie!!



Ingredients in the pie:
6 large apples, peeled and sliced thinly
1 and 1/4 cup caramel sauce - I used Williams-Sonoma salted caramel sauce - because it's the best stuff on earth - not even kidding!

  1. Make your crust first!
  2. Peel and slice all of your apples and set them aside
  3. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees
Ingredients for the crust:
2 and 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup butter, cold
1/2 cup of buttermilk
1 tablespoon water

  1. Combine flour and sugar in a bowl and stir together
  2. Cut your butter into cubes while it's still cold, and add it to the bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix together until the butter is coated completely. Useing a pastry blender, cut the butter further into the dry ingredients - if you don't have a pastry blender, move onto the next step - I promise your crust will still turn out!
  3. Dump all the ingredients in the bowl out onto your clean countertop. Using a rolling pin - roll the butter flat. It will be flaky. Then scrape the whole mixture back into your bowl. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from the freezer and add the buttermilk and water. Using your hand mix together in the bowl.
  5. Knead the dough until it's well combine. Cut into two parts and place back in the fridge for one hour.
  6. Roll out the bottom half to be about 1/4 inch thick. place in your 9 inch rounch pie pan.
  7. Fill with your apples, and roll out the other half of the dough. You can do it anyway you want - I did a lattice pattern. Slicing the dough thinly and weaving together on top of the apples.
  8. Heat the caramel sauce for about a minute and pour over the top of the pie - slowly so it doesn't overflow in the pan.
  9. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, and then turn the oven down to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 35 minutes.
I topped mine with cool whip and extra caramel sauce. If you want a clean slice you should wait about an hour before tryin to serve it - believe me it's torture, but it's pretty!!


Side note: I haven't even remotely started decorating for the holidays and I'm feeling really guilty about it... add that to the list of things I need to get done!

Side side note: I'm already listening to Christmas music in my car. Hellooooo Michael Buble!

October 12, 2012

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Bites


I have a wicked case of writer’s block. I have written and re-written posts multiple times this week, and yet nothing has been published here. I don’t seem to have anything useful to say, and wordless Wednesday posts are only fun when there are more than just a couple pictures.

So, I’ll go with what I’ve been up to … In case you hadn't heard this past Saturday was my birthday, oh and I absolutely love my birthday so you all know I started the countdown weeks ago.

Last Thursday I went out with my book club girls - we decided to hit Figlio's since it has finally re-opened. The food was fantastic, and of course the company was better. I hope people continue to go there all the time so it never has to close again! Exactly 8 days until the six of us are reunited again, only this time we will be in Florida. I seriously cannot wait.

 
Friday I had my annual birthday massage - seriously, best tradition ever. Then I had dinner with my family. It's funny - you can always tell what you've been into lately based on the presents you get for your birthday. This year it was running gear galore! I have never been so excited. Dinner was a Broder's, I think it's become a favorite with my family! We like pasta - especially the home made kind. Bonus about having an October birthday - PUMPKIN cheesecake was on the menu! Yes. A thousand times yes. (Oh and my in laws bought me a pasta maker, so you better BELIEVE I’m making fresh pasta ASAP)


 
Saturday I woke up and ran 8 miles - in your face. I was so damn proud of myself. I had a good excuse not to go (hello, it was my birthday) but training still happened. I would like to think I can officially call myself a runner now. Before I knew it we were ready for dinner at another favorite - 112 eatery. I love that place with my whole heart. The chef there has convinced me to like gnocchi, but I'm pretty confident that no one makes it better than him. After dinner we went and had drinks with friends, and even my baby sister showed up.

 
Did I mention that my loving husband forgot to get me something prior to my birthday so he decided to take me food prop shopping the day of?? Check out this stash! Seriously, best mistake ever.

 {you can tell that I'm not the type of person who gets upset about turning another year older.}

Best birthday yet I'd say. I would also say that I am still catching up things, it's been a busy week! No one ask me what I'm doing this weekend, the answer is sleeping.
 
Anywho, this recipe is one my mom has made a few times when we get together with our family. These little suckers go really fast! Mike likes these more when my mom makes them - I apparently made these a bit too spicy, you'll see why.
 
 
Ingredients:
Adapted from Paula Deen
1 lb. chicken breasts - boneless and skinless
1 lb. package sliced bacon
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons chili powder - I didn't have chili powder. Oops. So, I used 1 tablespoon cayenne, and 1 tablespoon chipotle powder - this explains why Mike thought they were too spicy and why I LOVED them!



  1. Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Mix together spices in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Roll the bits of chicken into a slice of bacon and cut when the slice of bacon just overlaps itself around the chicken. Secure with a toothpick.
  3. Cover with the spice mixture
  4. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.
*Bonus: Cover the chicken with the spice mixture first, then wrap in the bacon, then cover in the spices again. Yepp, I went there. Probably another reason my husband thought it was too spicy!

Try these at your next party - you will look like a rockstar.

October 8, 2012

Protein Packed Truffles


I deem these HEALTHY truffles! I bet you'd like to know how to make these wouldn't you? Well, the recipe won't be posted here - the recipe will be posted on one of my favorite blogs - Sweet Lavender Bake Shoppe - Oh, you haven't been to it? Well - skip on over and see the recipe and leave the lovely Christina some love.


Oh and mom - thanks for the braces.

October 7, 2012

Training Week 11

Well, last week's training sucked. My allergies were made my runs miserable. I stopped running at 1.75 miles on Monday and walked my butt back home. Friday was miserable - runny eyes - itchy everything - so, I caved and bought allergy tablets. Well wouldn't you know, I was suddenly a million times better. I was determined to run our long run on Saturday even though it was my birthday.

Surprisingly, the run went really well! It was cold outside - about 37 degrees, and I wasn't convinced I was going to warm up enough to get the whole thing done. By mile two we were both cruising and warmed up. 


We are a mile ahead still - so, this upcoming Saturday we are going to run 9 and then we have the awesome taper week! I am so looking forward to just 6 miles!


Exactly 13 days until my vacation in Florida - I seriously cannot wait.

October 6, 2012

Birthday

Today I am another year older – let the national holiday commence!!




I love my birthday – I’m convinced it’s the best day of the whole year. Believe me when I tell you that I even celebrate birthday month and birthday week just to stretch out the fun.

I can’t help it. My mom made our birthdays into a big deal when we were kids – we got to choose dinner and dessert, and she calls every hour on the hour to tell me exactly what she was doing the day I was born at that time. (Seriously). It’s awesome, even if I can pretty much recite the whole thing myself by now. The end of the story always puts us both in tears my dad announcing I’m a girl and my mom saying “really?? Check again” because she really wanted me to be a girl.
With my baby diter (sister) I was the one who wanted a girl – exclaiming “God wouldn’t give us a dumb ol’ boy would he!?”

Two years ago I found out that I share my day with none other than Lindsey! So, tonight we are going out on the town in celebration – of US


Does anyone have any fun birthday traditions??

October 5, 2012

Chipotle Fake Out

 
Any day of the week if you ask me where I want to eat it will be either italian or mexican. We just so happen to live really close to Chipotle, so when I'm starving already my husband knows better than to mess around with discussions over where to eat or pick up food from.
 
This past week my husband called me at lunch time and asked me "what's for dinner?" in a way that told me he was weighing plans he was invited to do based on what I was cooking for dinner. The truth is I had no plans, but the second I told him I wanted pulled pork he leaped into action. Asking me for a list of ingredients I needed and immediately ran to the store - it's facinating what the man will do for a dinner that comes from a crock pot.
 
I started thinking about all the ingredients we had in the fridge and pantry on my way home and magically came up with Chipotle "fake-out take-out". When I finally got home the smell coming out of the crock pot instantly made my mouth water.
 
Don't be fooled by a long list of ingredients, this was really easy to pull together!
 
 
 
Pulled Pork Dry Rub - recipe source here:
1 - 2 pound pork shoulder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon granulated onion
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon white pepper
Salt and Pepper
1 cup orange juice
15 ounces chicken stock
 
In a bowl combine all the spices together (excluding the salt and pepper) and set aside.
Cover your meat with salt and pepper on all sides, then cover with the dry rub mixture. Heat up a large frying pan, and when the pan is screaming hot sear all sides of the pork shoulder until it's good and brown.
Place the meat in the crockpot. Add the chicken stock and orange juice. Cook on high for about two hours before turning it to a lower setting.
Meat is ready when it's falling apart in the crockpot.
Take the meat out and pull apart with two forks
 
 
Cilantro lime rice:
2 cups of rice, cooked to your preference
1 cup of cilantro, minced
1/2 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon cumin, don't ask me why - it just felt right
Salt, to taste
 
Cook the rice per the instructions you have in front of you
Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine
 
Additional toppings:
Black beans
Sweet corn
Tomatoes
Cheese
Extra cilantro
Avocado
Guacamole
Salsa
Lettuce
 
I built my first two with a tortilla, and my third without - you build it your way - that's the whole point of "fake-out take out" meals!
 
 
Happy Friday y'all! 

October 1, 2012

The New Pumpkin Pie


Thanksgiving preparation has commenced over here at my house. Oh, you’re not ready? Too bad.

I have waited over a year to make this pie. I saw it here first and knew I had to make it. You see, there is really nothing better than pumpkin flavored things. They make me happy. So happy that on Friday I had a pumpkin spice latte, and a pumpkin muffin for breakfast. Oh and there might have been a slice of this pumpkin pie for “dessert” after lunch. Maybe.

This year I am throwing a (small) thanksgiving dinner for some of our friends. If you know me – you know this is huge, because I do NOT entertain. Unless of course you are a dude and friends with my husband and all you want is a beer and a clean set of sheets to sleep in. Then, there might be a place for you – oh and there are leftover in the fridge – just do you dishes. Yea, that’s the extent of my entertaining.

So, the fact that I’m actually going to have people over is huge. So, yes, I am already preparing. Starting with a new twist on dessert – this is the new pumpkin pie, I am telling you people you have to try this.
I didn’t make it exactly like Kristy did, because, well, I was having one of those weeks where things weren’t turning out. I tried the crust three times and failed. Then I prepped the filing thinking I would try it again the next day. Then I went to dinner with a friend and my husband calls to ask what the orange stuff is, because he knocked the bowl out of the fridge and it fell all over the floor… lovely.


I scrapped the whole thing and started over. Instead of Kristy’s crust – I used a pretzel crust; I figured the salty with the sweet would be awesome. I was right. Here’s the other thing, I wanted this to be like pumpkin pie instead of a sheet cake. You can make this however you want, but I used a 9 inch round spring form pan – there is only one problem with that – we weren’t about to eat an entire pie all by ourselves, and it’s not like you can put the pie back in the spring form pan once you open it, so just keep that in mind.

(You could use a 13x9 and have thin crust or you could go for a 9 inch square pan and have thicker crust and thicker filing or just use a 9 inch spring form like I did – up to you!)

So, below is what I ended up with.
Ingredient in the crust:
3 cups of salted pretzels
1/2 cup of brown sugar
10 tablespoons of butter - don't hate me
  1. Crush the pretzels either using a food processor or just do it the old fashioned way with a rolling pin and a plastic bag.
  2. Melt the butter, and add the three ingredients into a bowl and mix together well.
  3. Coat the bottom of a greased pan as evenly as you can, trying to make sure there are no gaps.
  4. Bake at 350 for about 18-20 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and set aside - you do not want to add any additional layers to this until it's completely cooled.
Ingredients for the cream cheese layer:
1 (8oz.) package of cream cheese, softened
1 cup of powdered sugar
1 and 1/2 cup of cool whip
1 dirbble of vanilla (about a teaspoon)
  1. Beat the cream cheese until soft
  2. Stir in the remaining ingredients until smooth
  3. Assuming your crust is cooled completely, spread this mixture over the top covering every inch
Ingredients in the pudding mixture:
2 (3.4 oz) package of pumpkin spic Jello pudding - find it here
2 and 3/4 cups cold milk
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon corn starch - to thicken it (you can skip this if you are using a pan other than a spring form one)

  1. Beat together all ingredients with a whisk.
  2. Set in the fridge to let it thicken - do not let your husband knock it on the floor while you are trying to enjoy a stiff drink with a friend!
  3. When set - about 15 minutes later - pour over the cream cheese mixture
Ingredients for the topping:
1 cup of cool whip
Nutmeg
  1. Spread the cool whip over the top
  2. Sprinkle the nutmeg all over
I made the whole thing and then I left it in the fridge - covered in saran wrap overnight. The next day I ran my knife along the outside edges and I popped the spring form pan, sliced it up and devoured it. Seriously people you have to try this!!

 
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