Sophisticated S’mores

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Yeah. I went there. Straight to the core of delicious-ness. I used to think I hit the jackpot of all things s’more when I replaced the Hershey Bar with a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. (If you haven’t tried that you should. Immediately.) But this is Justin Timberlake, bringing sexy back, in a private jet, packed with your favorite people on earth, headed straight for Bora Bora, type of good.

Take that jackpot.

I’m not even going to talk anymore. I’m just going to give you the recipe.

Sophisticated S’more

sophisticated smore ingredients

Ingredients

graham crackers

marshmallow(s)

Nutella

1-2 tbsp caramelized coconut chips

Directions

If you do not know how to make a s’more by the time you’re able to read…shame on your mother!

But I will let you know my method to this messy, but totally worth it, dessert.

  1. Place a small spoonful of Nutella on one graham cracker and  little on the other.
  2. Sprinkle the caramelized coconut chips on top of the Nutella.
  3. Add the marshmallow (and I prefer two marshmallows per s’more… crazy, I know.)
  4. Smash that bad boy together and enjoy life.

 

 

 

Paleo Egg Muffins

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It’s officially day 9 of our Whole30 journey. If you don’t have time to click on the link, that’s 30 days without dairy, grain, added sugar, legumes, soy, alcohol, vegetable oils, grains and processed foods. (Gulp.)

I can’t say a bagel with delectable cream cheese (preferably from the heaven sent ovens of Gotham Bagels) hasn’t been tempting and a Friday night isn’t the same without my wine and cheese. But it’s only 30 days. 4 weeks. 4 Sundays. I’m already through two of those Sundays and it will be all said in done before Thanksgiving.

The preparation has been challenging. (Hours in the kitchen prepping on the weekends.) The grocery bill higher than it used to be. (No more cheap fillers.) And have I failed mentioned how much I love carbs? I set out to do this with no weight-loss goals, but if it happens you won’t hear me complain. What really set this in motion is that I’m really sick of looking at a menu and ordering the sandwich because I think it will be more filling than the salad. I’m over my delicious but slowly becoming mundane recipes. This forced me to hit the protein and veggies hard & jump out of my comfort zone.

Hopefully by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, I’ll be satisfied with a plate of veggies more often than not and my sleeves will house a few more tricks in the kitchen.

The best decision I’ve made so far is the purchase of Well Fed. Not only an entertaining read but it’s full of AH-MAZING recipes. In one short week I’ve already fallen in love with the Waldorf Tuna Salad, Velvety Butternut Squash & her Turkish Chopped Salad. All of the aforementioned recipes turned this skeptic into a lover, eager to devour them again. The woman knows how to use spices and she does it in a way that makes me laugh out loud while whisking away. Many of my friends and family will get this cookbook for Christmas.

Second best decision: Locking up all off limits items in my kitchen and fridge. I didn’t toss them, but I put the non-refrigerated items in suitcases we won’t be using for the 30 days and taped off drawers in the fridge. (Hard core. I know.)

My biggest concern with this 30 day adventure… what the heck will we eat for breakfast? (My second worry: drinking my coffee black, but that has been surprisingly simple, thanks to good coffee.) Melissa provides an amazing brunch recipe in Well Fed that we’ve had on Sunday mornings but all of our non-weekend breakfasts have to be quick as we head out the door. So I made up these bad boys.

Paleo Egg Muffins

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Ingredients:

  • coconut oil (for greasing the muffin tin)
  • 1 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
  • ½ of a medium onion, diced
  • 2 large portabella caps, diced
  • 5 oz kale, chopped (I take the easy route and nab the bags at Trader Joes)
  • ½ cup broth of choice
  • 1 lb ground beef or breakfast sausage
  • 8 eggs
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Grease the cups of a muffin tin and preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. Heat the ghee up in a large pan over medium heat.
  3. Place the kale and the broth in a medium pot over medium heat. Cover and let set for 10 minutes.
  4. Once hot, add the onion and mushroom. Cook until onion bits begin to brown.
  5. Remove from pan and put into another bowl.
  6. Brown the beef or sausage in the pan.
  7. In a separate medium sized bowl, whisk the eggs, adding as much salt & pepper as you prefer. (I use my stand mixer for this one and whisk them to a t.)
  8. Divide the browned meat among the wells of the muffin tin evenly.
  9. Do the same with the veggies.
  10. Then the eggs. (I use a ½ cup measuring cup to ensure even distribution. Let the kale hang out of the top a bit. It will get good and crunchy!)
  11. Bake at 350º for approximately 25 minutes, or until the tops begin to brown.

Turkey Burgaloaf

turkey burgaloaf 3

10 THINGS THAT ROCK MY WORLD

  1. My apple TV. This miraculous device connects my itunes world to my big screen. Between Netflix, HuluPlus and my iTunes movie purchases, I should be thankful it doesn’t count the amount of hours you watch on it.
  2. Pitch Perfect. On an unsuspecting Sunday Fat Amy entered my life and I haven’t been the same since.
  3. This crazy elephant toy my dog can’t get enough of.
  4. This cup. I fell in love so I got one for everyone for Easter, filled them with jellybeans (Starburst flavors, of course), and still get thank you’s for the kind introduction.
  5. A Kammok. Literally rocks. my. world. (I should add it’s not even mine. But it was the best gift I could have gotten a boy, ever.)
  6. iCloud reminders. Work to-do’s. Grocery lists. Event tracking. Simple. Elegant. Always available on my phone or my computer. I couldn’t ask for more.
  7. Yurbuds. You finally put on your running shoes and head out the door. You’re mid stride, feelin the burn but the song your blasting keeps you moving UNLESS your earbud falls out. Yeah. That doesn’t happen with Yurbuds.
  8. Quarterly.co. Not only do I have a subscription to Food52, but when in doubt, best. gift. ever.
  9. This Rally. Someday. You will be able to track me on this adventure. And provide my mother with her fill of worry in place of the grandchildren I have yet to provide her with.
  10. Despicable Me 2. And I haven’t even seen it yet!

I’m, of course, also a big fan of Turkey Burgaloaf. (Coin termed by Michael Tyler, whom you’ll soon hear from with our summer time root beer tastings.)

turkey burgaloaf

Turkey Burgaloaf

adapted from The New Best Recipe Cookbook

Ingredients:

½ medium onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tbsp olive oil

1 lb ground turkey

1 egg

½ tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

1 tsp ground dijon mustard

¼ cup greek yorgurt

¾ cup oatmeal

¼ cup cilantro, chopped

4 slices bacon

½ cup ketchup

½ cup brown sugar

4 tsp apple cider vinegar

Instructions:

  1. Cook the bacon on medium heat in a medium sized shallow pan. Once cooked, set aside and dispose of most of the bacon grease. Leave a small amount for cooking the burgaloafs.
  2. In another skillet, heat the olive oil, onions, and garlic until the onions are almost translucent. Once cooked, allow to cool.
  3. Mix the onion mixture, turkey, eggs, slat, pepper, mustard, yogurt, oatmeal and cilantro together until well combined. Roll into 4 balls and flatten lightly.
  4. Combine the ketchup, brown sugar, and vinegar together over light heat.
  5. Cook the loafs over medium head, covered, until cooked through, flipping when necessary.
  6. Top with glaze & bacon.
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Goat Cheese, Pork, Roasted Pineapple & Habanero Salsa Sandwich

Long time, no see.

Goat Cheese, Pork, Roasted Pineapple & Habanero Salsa Sandwich

I’m going to be real honest.

The reason for my lack of blogging is 100% pinterest’s fault.

Not only does is suck you in for an incredulous amount of time, but really… between the decadent salted, peanut butter & chocolate cakes, the incessant work out quotes and the pretty pretty perfect parties… where the heck does a girl find the time to do… anything?

Don’t ask me. I’m the one that hasn’t blogged in 7 months.

With that confession, hanging out there in the open, I feel as though I owe you something extra special. And I’m confident if you put these ingredients together, I’ve more than made up for the lost time.

Goat Cheese, Pork, Roasted Pineapple & Habanero Salsa Sandwich

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Ingredients:

(Makes two sandwiches)

4 slices bread, lightly toasted (I like Madison Sourdough Bread Company)

4 tbsp goat cheese

2 green onions, chopped

4 slices raw pork loin, sliced into ½ inch slices

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

4 tbsp Roasted Pineapple & Habanero Dip (Thanks, Coleen Gerkhardt!)

salt & pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil & toasted sesame oil, together, in a shallow pan on medium heat.
  2. Lightly season the pork with salt and pepper.
  3. Pan sear the pork until cooked through, approximately 10 minutes, turning after about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove pan from heat and let cool a bit.
  5. Spread the goat cheese on the toasted bread, sprinkle with the green onion and top with the roasted pineapple & habanero dip.
  6. Add the pork and try not to eat too fast.

Goat Cheese, Pork, Roasted Pineapple & Habanero Salsa Sandwich dip

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No Recipe and No Goodbye

It’s amazing to me how a single moment, decision, or breath can change the course of not only your life, but every single person who loves you. How if one person doesn’t take the time to think about the repercussions of a seemingly simple decision, it can turn a friendship or a family upside down.

I received any apologetic email from a friend the other day. One full of hope to rekindle a friendship. It stated, “I’ve started this email many times over, but it always comes back to I just don’t know what to say.”

Over the last 3 months, I’ve been doing the same. However, not with the hope of a rekindled friendship. My thoughts have been of my brother, who very recently lost his battle with cancer.

In the last 3 months I’ve seen my family fall. Simultaneously apart and together. There is nothing in life I value more than them. Nothing I would sacrifice more for. Nothing I would fight harder for. Throughout the years I have found the foundation of our family lies in the unconditional love my father provides. While we may not appear to be as close as some father/daughter duos, he has never let me down. Whether its come in the form of a shield-you-from-the-pain-of-the-world hug only a father can provide or a bonafide kick-in-the-ass, he’s been there. His love has taught me more than this blog has the capacity to hold.

My brother wasn’t perfect. He was packed full of flaws and imperfections, as we all are. In our attempt to say goodbye, my father confessed that my brother was a better father than he ever was. While I know just how big those shoes are to fill, I understood what he meant. My brother excelled at what matters the most. He was the kind of parent I someday hope to be. And it breaks my heart that someone, who was perfect at the one thing in life so many are deprived of, has been taken from my niece.

I’m struggling to find the meaning in this tragedy and hope that as we search, we will find a way to instill her with the values he had so eagerly intended. I’ve started to write this post a hundred times in the last 3 months and just can’t find a way to say goodbye. So I’m not gonna.

Bruschetta Pasta with Crispy Prosciutto & Parmesan

It’s days like today I am thankful I picked up a nasty habit… running.

Two months ago I was in Vancouver, Canada, on vacation, helping a dear friend with her 2 month old twins.  Yes…I’m aware the terms vacation and two month twins do not go hand and hand. Regardless, I was thousands of miles from the office, soaking up the Pacific Northwest with fantastic company. Out of thin air a “friend” sends me an email. It read:

“Interested? :)

www.race-brewers.com

The Inaugural Brewers Mini-Marathon is set to debut in Milwaukee at beautiful Miller Park on Saturday, September 22, 2012. The scenic route, giveaways and post-race tailgate party are sure to make this the most unique half marathon in the area.

My immediate thought: Absolutely not.

An hour later: What kind of friend asks someone to run 13.1 miles?

An hour and two minutes later: WHILE THEY’RE ON VACATION???

Now… I don’t exactly know what happened after that. I’ll go ahead and blame the Canadian air. Maybe those adorable faces I got to snuggle every day. Quite possibly the sheer joy I experienced as I blissfully inhaled my second-ever Japadog. All I know is I gave it a second thought.

Two months later, I’m training for my first half marathon. Yup. I’m going to run a distance I never thought these legs of mine capable of.

On my 32nd birthday.

The upside to training for a race like this: I have a few extra calories to consume.

Side-note: While I joke about this friend being less than spectacular, I feel the need to clarify just how much I adore her. She has quickly become one of my favorite human beings on the planet and not just because she loves food as much, if not more, than me. When you find someone who will run a 3 mile race with a cup on their head with you, give you a good book to read at the drop of a dime, and literally push you to go that extra mile, you keep ‘em close. Thank you Stephanie. I adore you everyday except Tuesday. And even then I know I’m blessed to have you in my life.

Bruschetta Pasta with Crispy Prosciutto & Parmesan

Ingredients:
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • ½ small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic glaze
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 slices prosciutto
  • ¼ cup parmesan
  • pasta of choice
Directions:
  1. Combine the tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil, olive oil, glaze, salt and pepper in a bowl and let the flavors combine for 1 hour.
  2. Pre-heat your oven to 350°. Place a sheet of aluminum foil on a baking pan. Lay the prosciutto flat and cover with another pan. Place 3 or 4 small mounds of parmesan on the top baking dish you have used to flatten the prosciutto. Bake for approximately 10 minutes, or until the parmesan discs are golden.
  3. Prepare your pasta as desired.
  4. Allow for your prosciutto and parmesan to cool until able to handle.
  5. Top your pasta with room temperature bruschetta mixture, crumbled prosciutto and parmesan disc.

Portobello Heaven

I am about to say something I never say.

I hit the jackpot on this sandwich.

I mean, this is devine. The kind of taste combination that just leaves me stunned, silent, and blissfully happy with a euphoric smile slapped across my face. I’d be happy if I found this gem at a local dining establishment. I’m like a kid in the candy store knowing I can make it at any time of day in my favorite sweats.

Let’s just put it this way. I wasn’t even very hungry when I put this together 3 hours ago. I made it to procrastinate reading close to 100 pages of pre-reading for a work meeting I have tomorrow. (Which is still hanging out, unread, on my counter… staring at me.) Then I started this blog. Now, rekindling memories of it’s delicious-ness, I kind of want another one. I’m half tempted to proclaim olympic gold in procrastination by making a trip to Sentry for some more portobello caps.

No joke.

Portobello Sandwich

Ingredients

good bread, sliced (I recommend Madison Sourdough Bread Company)

large portobello cCaps (5-6 inches in diameter)

avocado, sliced

red onion, thickly sliced

tomato (I usually use a sliced beefsteak, but I only had cherry tomatoes on hand today)

shredded cheese (I used a shredded roasted red pepper, but use what makes you smile.)

1/3 cup mayonnaise

½ lemon

2 cloves of garlic, minced (use 1 clove if you’re not a massive fan of garlic)

1 tsp dried thyme

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

salt & pepper

Directions:

  1. Mix the mayonnaise, lemon, garlic and thyme in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  2. Using a basting brush, baste the onion, portobellos and bread with olive oil.
  3. Grill the onion and portobello caps simultaneously. Flip after 15 minutes*.
  4. After an additional 10 minutes* top the portobello with the cheese and allow to melt.
  5. Lightly grill the bread.
  6. Slather some of the mayonnaise mixture on the bread. (Depending on how many sandwiches you make and your love of this concoction, you may have mixture left over.)
  7. Stack with the remaining ingredients, salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy.

 *Assuming you have a large portobello cap, about 5-6 inches in diameter.

Bad Mexican Breakfast Quesadilla

It’s true. I don’t speak a lick of spanish, I can’t handle my tequila, and I prefer sushi over tacos any day. By some standards, I’m kind of a bad Mexican.

It’s a bit of an ongoing joke I have with my friends. And it’s immediately apparent to those who share my heritage. But what can I do? I didn’t apply myself to my spanish class my sophomore year of high school (which I regret, often), tequila is the meanest substance on earth and sushi is just bangin delicious.

In my defense, I am only 25% Mexican. And I think the love I have for my family & friends, spicy food and cilantro make up for my lacking latina qualities.

When I went to the Madison Farmers’ Market this past weekend, the smoked trout sung to me. I love the combination of smoked fish, cream cheese and tomato. Like, ate it every morning when I was in San Francisco last month kind of love. Four straight days. Vegetable fritta? No thanks. Smoked salmon, tomato, cream cheese, caper & red onion please. Gruyère and carmelized onion breakfast bake? Sounds delish, but I’ll take the smoked salmon, tomato, cream cheese, caper & red onion please. Delicious breakfast pastries move aside… you know what this girl wants.

As I pulled the remaining amount of my fish from the fridge today; I had an epiphany. Breakfast + smoked fish + corn tortillas.

Heaven.

Oh. And it gave me an excuse to use some chives from my herb garden. More on that soon. And for the record, I do have a goal to learn the language in the near future.

Bad Mexican Breakfast Quesadilla

Ingredients:

3 egg whites, beaten

3 oz smoked fish

2 corn tortillas

1 tbsp cream cheese (I suggest whipped)

pinch of garlic salt

1 tbsp chives, chopped

½ tomato, sliced thin

salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Mix the cream cheese and garlic salt together in a small bowl.
  2. Whisk the eggs, salt & pepper in a bowl. Heat over a pan, scramble the eggs & set aside.
  3. Warm the corn tortillas on a skillet until lightly toasted.
  4. Spread the cream cheese on the tortillas, and stack the eggs, tomato & fish.
  5. Sprinkle with chives.
  6. Sandwich together & DEVOUR.
  7. Be thankful you don’t have to take gobs of photos of the dilla before you can devour. Seriously.

Cream Cheese and Roasted Garlic Twice Baked Potatoes

So.. I don’t know if I’ve told you guys, but I have a mean habit of meeting undeniably awesome people. If one could somehow be judged on having the best friends and family and made into an Olympic event, I’d be a gold medalist for sure. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s simply a gift. It’s obvious with my family, the friends I have managed to stay in touch with throughout my life (even after move after move after move) and now my job fits the bill.

Most recently I was reminded of this talent during my book club meetings. Yes. At my book club. For starters, I was invited to this book club by my best friend’s sister. I love my best friend but she lives about 3 hours away, so we don’t get to see one another as much as we’d like. Her sister lives here in Madison. After 15 years it’s impossible to not love get to know your best friend’s sister.  She is the kind of girl who comes up with a game titled Launchy Beery Swimmy for Beer Olympics. And yes, I just said Beer Olympics, but that’s another story for another post. When it came time to throw the ultimate baby shower, I couldn’t have asked for a better partner in crime. And her wedding was one for the books, even if the humidity and temperature tested us that August day. She was one of the happiest brides I’ve ever seen. You can see why we get along. Let’s just say there is always much learning and laughing when we’re together.

She introduced me to someone who, after reading my post about Roasted Cauliflower, sent me the recipe for celeriac puree. In an email. Having made it herself. She also managed to get continuing education classes for going to a wine tasting.

Brilliant, right? You can have your gold medals Michael Phelps. I like my gift more.

My life is kind of awesome. And so are these potatoes.

Ingredients: (makes 4 servings)

2 potatoes

1 tbsp butter

3 tbsp cream cheese

1 head of roasted garlic

¼ cup sharp cheddar cheese

2 tbsp milk

2 tbsp olive oil

salt & pepper

Directions:

  1. Scrub the potatoes clean, stab ‘em with a fork or knife few times and nuke them. (I keep it simple and use the ‘baked potato’ option on my microwave. Isn’t life grand?)
  2. Once the potatoes are baked and allowed time to cool to handling temperature, slice in half (whichever way you choose) and scoop out the core. Leave a thin layer of potato underneath the skin for stability. Place the guts of the potato in a mixing bowl.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 350°
  4. Add the butter, milk, cheese and garlic to the potatoes. Mix thoroughly. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Brush the skins with olive oil and sprinkle with a little bit of salt.
  6. Scoop the mixture back into the potato skins and bake until the tops get beautifully golden. I used mini-muffin tins.

Wedge Salad, my way

10 Things That Make Me Smile

  1. My family is healing wonderfully! My sister’s new nickname is speed bump and my brother just kicked cancer’s a$$. It was a rough couple of months but they came out better than ever.
  2. I just gave Skyd a much needed bath and haircut. I’m happy that is crossed of my to-do list.
  3. Tickets for my trip to Portland & Vancouver are purchased. I cannot wait to see those beautiful twins and give ‘em some Wisconsin love.
  4. My recent fascination with Citizen Cope. I check his site religiously to see if he’ll be in my radius.
  5. Trader Joe’s. I’m obsessed right now. And not because there is an incredibly cute boy who works there. I got my hands on some cookie butter.
  6. Iced Tea. I am attempting to give up soda. Not permanently, but drastically reducing my intake. I’ve had one soda in a week. If iced tea didn’t exist I wouldn’t make it.
  7. My niece’s friends. Last week I found out she’s got some great ones. Just seeing her laughing and joking with them left me utterly speechless. It’s a moment I’ll treasure forever.
  8. Pinterest. Thanks to it, I’m now completely obsessed with mason jars and pallets.
  9. I’m testing my green thumb this summer with an assortment of herbs. Mint for mojitos, basil for my bruschetta and cilantro for… everything.
  10. The 6th Annual Brewer Bash & my first Brewer game of the year in less than a week.

And now for the salad that made my day. My version of a wedge salad.

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Yes, I left out the iceberg lettuce. And yes, those are pickled beets. And sadly, in my excitement, I forgot to include the bacon. (Don’t forget the bacon.)

Ingredients:

  • Spring salad mix
  • Precooked, chilled asparagus spears
  • Pickled Beets
  • Tomatoes (Those look brown because they are! Kumatos)
  • Sliced Red Onion
  • Blue Cheese
  • Blue Cheese Dressing
  • Spiced Pecans
  • Bacon

Since this is a salad, I’m assuming you can put them all in a bowl and top accordingly. Let me know what you think because I’m obsessed with this flavor combination.

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