Opinions on food, drink and articles/TV shows involving them

I was having some friend over for my birthday and we were having a potluck. The theme was comfort food and I wanted to make something hearty and filling. Lately, I’ve been really enjoying Tasty videos on Facebook. Basically, they make cooking look like it goes really fast and easy because they speed up the videos. Nevertheless, it’s great to see a recipe make in a minute!

While browsing Facebook one day, I saw the video for Beer and Cheese Pretzel Bites. While watching the video, my mouth began to water and I knew I had to make this for my party. You can view the video here:

They were definitely as good as they looked, but they were slightly difficult to make. I had my husband and brother helping me and here are some things I’d recommend:

  1. Allow the cheese to harden just a little bit before putting them inside the pizza dough
  2. Try to make sure all the sides are covered after covering the cheese with the pizza dough. Any seams that are coming apart slightly will be coming apart more when you put them in the boiling water
  3. To close the seams on the pizza dough before boiling them, squeeze and twist the pieces together
  4. Although it’s tempting because cheese is so good, don’t overfill the pizza dough with cheese. It will result in cheese spilling out the sides, which will become worse while boiling them and even worse in the oven.

Those are my tips for making perfect Beer and Cheese Pretzel Bites. I give them 5 stars. You must try them!

 

Let me start this post out by saying that I hate eggs. That’s right, I had been traumatized as a small child (in my preschool) and forced to eat eggs (and I did not like them then). That said, I have begun to try eggs in various preparations. I’ve found that if the eggs are disguised enough, I don’t mind them so much and sometimes even enjoy them.

When I saw this video I was extremely intrigued. 

I figured you can’t go wrong adding cheese, bacon, and chives to disguise the eggs. I was absolutely right! Yes folks, this REALLY is as tasty as it looks in the video. I enjoyed runny-yolk egg-looking eggs filled with cheesy goodness and baconnnnnn!

Here’s what the egg whites look like after you whip them and add your desired fillings. I whipped the egg whites by hand like they did in the video, but it took a long time with both my husband and me doing it. If you have a hand mixer or kitchen aid mixer, use it…unless you need the extra exercise! Also, make sure to make a little indent in the egg whites before baking them to make room for the egg yolk.

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You bake them at 400 degrees for 3 minutes. I baked them a couple minutes longer because they were not browned at all after 3 minutes. All ovens are different. Watch them during the 3 minutes, if they start to brown, add the egg yolks. If they don’t, cook them longer. Mine spread out some, probably because I used pepper jack cheese (in addition to parmesan). The pepper jack cheese was more moist than the parmesan, so probably made the egg whites flatten slightly. Below is the halfway point of cooking, where you add the egg yolk. They look like eggs, still. Scary!

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And, the finished product! (cue heavenly sound)

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And the other 5 finished products! The eggs continue to cook slightly after you take them out of the oven, so these are best eaten immediately. They are so tasty, you likely won’t have to worry about leftovers, and they would not make good leftovers anyway.

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My husband added some pepper to his.

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And I barely had enough time to snap a picture before he ate it all!

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As I said, we thoroughly enjoyed these. I was actually surprised how much I liked them. I give them 5 stars and highly recommend you make them in your home soon!

I still can’t believe how much I liked these… but I’m getting used to the idea.

Homemade Granola

I’ve wanted to make granola for a while. When I searched for granola and the first search term that came up was Alton Brown’s recipe, naturally I had to try it!

Here’s a picture of the granola right out of the oven. Look at that nice golden color!

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I had to make some modifications, however, because I was making it partly for someone with celiac. Many nuts in this country are contaminated with wheat (processed in facilities that also process wheat), so I left the nuts out. I substituted part of the oil for coconut oil and substituted the raisins for dried cranberries, but the gist of the recipe is the same.

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My husband and company decided that it tasted even better mixed with plain yogurt.

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Here’s the recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/granola-recipe.html. I’d probably put a little less brown sugar and maple syrup next time to cut down on the sweetness, but I’d still give it 5 stars!

One of the joys of having a garden is being able to use fresh, ripe, produce for my cooking adventures. Armed this a lot of tomatoes, I had to make something tasty with them!

The other evening, I made a roasted tomato sauce. Here’s a link to the recipe: http://www.theslowroasteditalian.com/2011/06/oven-roasted-tomato-sauce.html 20150818_194728

These pictures were taken after the tomatoes came out of the oven. I don’t have any of the finished product, but I just used an immersion blender to blend these and voila, instant tomato sauce!

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The main thing I would add to this recipe is a little more salt. Other than that, this recipe is absolutely amazing and have used it multiple times with the abundant tomatoes in my garden! 5 stars

I had a craving for macaroni and cheese and just happened to have bacon in the fridge, so I thought this would be a wonderful combination. I used Costco bacon

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And Annie’s Mac and Cheese

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There aren’t many things better than this:

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And for the finished product!

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Hoping I made you drool!

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Garden

After moving into a house last year, I was finally able to have a garden. Last year, we moved in April and there wasn’t enough time to plant (and plan out a space for all the wonderful veggies I wanted). I really wanted to plant everything from seed, so last year my potential veggies would have been frostbitten before they had a chance to get started!

This year, with the help of my mother-in-law and my mom, we were able to clear a patch of land from the grass that was there and keep it (mostly) weed-free! We put up a mesh fence supported by several posts to keep the deer out. We also put rocks on the bottom to “deter” the rabbits. However, it took us a while to realize that the rabbits had chewed through parts of our mesh fence and were getting into our garden.

This year, we ended up with potatoes, cabbage, broccoli, beets, carrots, tomatoes, green/red/jalapeño peppers, acorn squash, zucchini, lettuce, spinach, and countless culinary herbs! I also planted yellow squash and cucumbers, but unfortunately they never came up.

So, what have I been making with these vegetables? One of my favorite creations is sautéed beet greens. While you’re waiting for the beets to fully grow, you can eat the greens. I sautéed the beet greens on medium heat with coconut oil. Then added curry powder and salt and pepper to taste. (Side note: I also tried this same recipe with kale and it did not taste good. I’ve decided that kale does not go with coconut oil. We all have to learn our lessons!)

There was quite a while where I had so much zucchini, I had no idea what to do with it. I sautéed it many times, then decided to try something different. I thinly sliced the zucchini length-wise and then cut it a couple times to make strips similar to fettuccine. I sautéed the zucchini with olive oil and added salt and pepper to taste, then added pasta sauce on top. Of course, it’s not a complete substitute for pasta, but it’s a great, healthy option. 3 stars

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My next zucchini adventure involved bread: Paula Dean’s Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread. 4.5 stars Get the recipe here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/chocolate-chip-zucchini-bread-recipe.html

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Everything so far has been really tasty! I love being able to go outside to go grocery shopping…err…harvesting. It’s definitely one of the best feelings ever!

Relay foods

I wanted to join a CSA last year, but by the time I realized I wanted to do this, many of them were no longer accepting new shareholders. Never fear, relayfoods.com is here. A friend recommended this service, where you can pick up groceries you order from one of several pick up locations.

You simply go online and pick the produce (and other food items you want) and choose a pick-up location near you. It was very convenient for me, as there was one on my way home from work. This was a great way to purchase organic produce. You can also purchase other grocery items, which is an added bonus.

Relay foods has produce boxes, where you can get a selection of produce that’s in season and you can get local boxes that include a variety of local items, such as honey, barbecue sauce, etc. While living in DC, this was a great option to use, since we had no space for a garden to grow all of the vegetables I wanted.

Check it out: https://www.relayfoods.com/welcome They often have promotional codes to save on your first order, so check for that too!