Archives for November 2013

Popsicle Theater

Sadly, this post concludes my summer of being a Popsicle Blogger Ambassador. I wanted to share something adorable I found while poking around the Popsicle.com site….. Popsicle Theater. Take a moment to check out the crafty videos on fun craft ideas with popsicle sticks. Be sure to check out my past Popsicle® posts Popsicle Party […]

Remix Your Thanksgiving Leftovers

Thinking of Thanksgiving makes me giddy. The weird thing is that when it actually comes down to sitting at the table to eat Thanksgiving dinner, I am never hungry. I suppose grazing and tasting all day kills my appetite. Anyone else like that? Needless to say, there are usually a lot of leftovers of practically […]

An Oldie but a Goodie {Video Post}

Gotta love sisters. My lovely sister reminded me of this gem of a video I posted on my blog a couple years ago. We just watched it while waiting in the car line to pick up the kids from school and were literally crying. Soooooo, I thought I would share again….everyone needs a good chuckle, […]

Opal Apples. More than just the Apple.

Have you ever heard the story about a company and cried? Probably not. Well I have and it’s the the story about the Broetje Family, owners of  First Fruits,  the grower of the amazing Opal Apple(more on the apples later). Myself and a few other bloggers..(Katie from Katie’s Cucina,Kevin from Closet Cooking and the adorable […]

Chicken and Beans

Beans..beans the more you eat, the more you…..whaaa? I’m an adult? Oh, ok. I’ll stop. Seriously though, I don’t think we eat enough beans in general. They are soooo good for you. They have virtually no fat and zero saturate fat. They are also high in fiber and protein. [rss-cut} Dried beans sometimes get over […]

Herb Stuffing

What’s your style on Thanksgiving? Traditional or Risk Taker? Me, I’m a traditionalist allllll the way. I tend to make the same things every year, partly because I have my recipes and all the timing down to a T and everyone requests specific things. I have been cooking Thanksgiving for 25+ people for the last […]

2013 National Beef Cook-Off

I had the esteemed honor of being a judge for the 2013 National Beef Cook-Off along with a few other lovely ladies; Barbara Kiebel of Creative Culinary, Kathy Moore who writes Plugged into Cooking and Kristen Browning-Blas who makes her home at The Denver Post. We tasted 21 different beef dishes over 2 days and […]

ps_menu_class_0

Popsicle Theater

Sadly, this post concludes my summer of being a Popsicle Blogger Ambassador.

I wanted to share something adorable I found while poking around the Popsicle.com site…..

Popsicle Theater.

Screen Shot 2013-11-20 at 10.01.10 AM

Take a moment to check out the crafty videos on fun craft ideas with popsicle sticks.

Be sure to check out my past Popsicle® posts

Popsicle Party Roundup
Popsicle Crafts
Popsicle Pop Up Party
The Drippy Popsicle Cure
Popsicle Birthday

 

This post was created in connection with my appointment as an Ambassador in the Popsicle® Blogger program.

Remix Your Thanksgiving Leftovers

Thanksgiving Hand Pies 001
Thinking of Thanksgiving makes me giddy.

The weird thing is that when it actually comes down to sitting at the table to
eat Thanksgiving dinner, I am never hungry. I suppose grazing and tasting all day kills my appetite. Anyone else like that?

Needless to say, there are usually a lot of leftovers of practically everything. So the age-old question always comes up: what to do with Thanksgiving Leftovers? I say put them all together in a cute little hand pie. Anything in pie crust is perfection in my opinion.
I spruce up my leftover mashed potatoes by adding some Hidden Valley® Original Ranch® Dips Mix into them. The Hidden Valley® Original Ranch® Dips Mix gives the mashed potatoes that extra something special that they need to stand out in the hand pies.

And, because I am a big dipper, I just have to make some Sour Cream Ranch

Thanksgiving Hand Pies

Thanksgiving Handpies

Thanksgiving Hand Pies

Hidden Valley Dips- Ranch


 

5.0 from 4 reviews
Thanksgiving Hand Pies
Author: 
Recipe type: dinner, main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Use up your Thanksgiving leftovers with these cute little hand pies spruced up by Hidden Valley Original Ranch Dips Mix.
Ingredients
  • 1 package Refrigerated Pie Crusts (2 9" pie crusts)
  • ⅓ cup Mashed Potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon tablespoon Hidden Valley® Original Ranch® Dips Mix
  • ⅓ cup cooked Turkey, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons cooked Carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped Parsley
Egg Wash:
  • 1 Egg
  • ½ teaspoon water
Ranch Dip:
  • ½ cup Sour Cream
  • ½ tablespoon Hidden Valley® Original Ranch® Dips Mix
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Unroll each pie crust on a lightly floured surface and cut out a total of 14-16 rounds (7-8 from each pie crust) using a 3″ cookie cutter. Place half of the rounds on the cookie sheet.
  3. In a small bowl mix together mashed potatoes and the ½ teaspoon Hidden Valley Original Ranch Dip mix. Spoon ½ tablespoon mashed potato mixture and ½ tablespoon chopped turkey onto the pie crust rounds, making sure you leave ¼-inch around the outer edge clean. Evenly distribute carrots and parsley over the turkey.
  4. Make the remaining pie crusts slightly bigger (so they will fit over the filling) by pressing with your fingers. Dip your finger in water and run it around the clean edge of the filled pie round. Place another pie round on top and gently press down. Using the tines of a fork press down on the edges to seal them.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together egg and water. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the tops of the pies with egg mixture. Poke 1 or 2 slits on the top of the pie so that steam can escape as it bakes.
  6. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Mix sour cream and remaining dip mix together, and serve on the side of the pies. Serve warm.

See my recipe on the Hidden Valley Site HERE.

I am a proud Hidden Valley Blogger and have been compensated for my time. All opinions are 100% mine.

An Oldie but a Goodie {Video Post}

Screen Shot 2013-11-19 at 6.15.30 PM

Gotta love sisters.

My lovely sister reminded me of this gem of a video I posted on my blog a couple years ago.

We just watched it while waiting in the car line to pick up the kids from school and were literally crying.

Soooooo, I thought I would share again….everyone needs a good chuckle, even though it will be at my expense.

Opal Apples. More than just the Apple.

Opal Apple

Have you ever heard the story about a company and cried? Probably not.

Well I have and it’s the the story about the Broetje Family, owners of  First Fruits,  the grower of the amazing Opal Apple(more on the apples later).
Myself and a few other bloggers..(Katie from Katie’s Cucina,Kevin from Closet Cooking and the adorable couple Lindsay and Bjork from Pinch of Yum  had the wonderful opportunity to visit the Broetje family in Prescott Washington on their 5,000 acre farm.

Opal Apple Trip

Untitled

 

The story begins when Ralf Broetje was 15. He remembers hearing a missionary from India speak about the hunger and suffering of children and thought…wouldn’t it be nice to grow an apple orchard  and help children someday?

Opal Apple

Fast forward many years after marriage, he and his wife Cheryl borrowed enough money to purchase a small cherry orchard, that has now turned into a 5000 acre orchard producing apples, pears and sweet cherries.

Opal Apple

One would think that their orchard is their life. Yes, in a way it is, but their orchard has allowed them to do the thing they love the most…give back.

Their mission…“bearing fruit that will last” (John 15:16)

I can not even begin to touch on all things this giving family does for others…but I will give you a little snippet.

Visiting their farm was truly eye opening. The word Servant Leadership came up many times, as this is how they believe in running their company. They recognize that each person has a gift to share with the community and that many times they simply need an opportunity to be able to explore, develop and share these gifts in unique ways that strengthen the common good. They treat their employees like family. No, really, they do. They have BUILT an entire community ( called Vista Hermosa and Tierra Vida) for their worker to live and grow. The family has built homes, apartments, stores, a church, a school, a school for troubled boys, daycare and many other amenities for any of their employees to utilize. The Broetjes want a sense of community within their company.

The philanthropy branches out much father than the farm. They have many international partners that they have personally seeded….PLEASE take a moment and look at their work in foreign countries and locally in the US HERE.

I could seriously go on and on AND on about all the good that the Broetje Family and First Fruits does, but your eyes would get tired of reading. So when you have the time click on all the links I provided in this post, prepare to be inspired by their charitableness.

Soooo, The apples…..Opal Apples more specifically. Have you had them? Oh.Heavens. They are divine.

Opal Apple

Most people have never heard of them.
They have a beautiful bright yellow skin with a crispy, crunchy, sweet and tangy flavor. They are by far the best apple I have ever tasted. Another one of their amazing attributes is that the Opal apple naturally resists browning. No browning means they are perfect for lunchboxes and perfect for fruit platters. The Opal Apple season is December- April. They will soon have their “Find Opal” page up and running so you can find them locally.

(Red Delicious Apple pictured below)

Opal Apple

We had all had such a fun time in the field, attempting to pick apples.

First we watch the pros….

Opal Apple

Opal Apple

Opal Apple

Opal Apple

Now it was the “Unprofessionals” Turn…

Opal Apple

Opal Apple

Opal Apple

Opal Apple

Opal Apple

Notice Katie’s jacket pockets….she smuggled quite a few Opal apples..

Opal Apple

Oh hi.

Opal Apple

The beautiful Opal

Opal Apple

The First Fruit Facility was so very interesting.

Apples far as the eye can see.

Opal Apple

Lots and lots of sorting.

Opal Apple

Opal Apple

Opal Apple

I am honored to have met the Broetje family and to have learned all about their full hearts.

**Travel expenses were paid. I was not required to post about my trip**

Chicken and Beans

Chicken and Beans

Beans..beans the more you eat, the more you…..whaaa? I’m an adult? Oh, ok. I’ll stop.

Seriously though, I don’t think we eat enough beans in general. They are soooo good for you.
They have virtually no fat and zero saturate fat. They are also high in fiber and protein.
[rss-cut}
Dried beans sometimes get over looked. People go the “convenient route” and grab a can of beans. Not that there is anything wrong with canned beans, but dried beans are just as easy. Some beans just require a little bath in some boiling water for a bit, like the recipe I created below.

Of course I choose Hurst’s Great Northern Beans.

Don’t forget to take a peek at my other recipe I developed for Hurst’s Beans….Split Pea with Ham and Bacon

Screen Shot 2013-11-11 at 2.51.33 PM

Chicken adn Beans 001

5.0 from 1 reviews
Chicken and Beans
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner, main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4
 
Chicken and Beans with tomatoes and spinach.
Ingredients
  • 1¼ cups Hurts's Great Northern Beans (1/2 package of a 20 oz bag, save the remaining beans and seasoning for a later use)
  • 1½ lbs. Boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts, dried with paper towels
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Parsley, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh Sage, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh Thyme, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh Rosemary, finely minced
  • ¼ teaspoon Coarse Kosher Salt
  • 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 pint Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 oz. fresh Baby Spinach (1/2 of a 6 oz. bag)
Instructions
  1. In a medium stock pot, cover the beans with 2" of water, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 1½ hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 400.
  3. Drain beans and place in a 9 x 13 pan. Season beans with olive oil, salt and pepper, toss to incorporate.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together butter, parsley,sage,thyme,rosemary and ¼ teaspoon salt.
  5. Rub the chicken breasts with the herbed butter mixture.
  6. Add the chicken to the top of the beans.
  7. Arrange the tomatoes and garlic around chicken.
  8. Bake for 40 minutes or until juices run clear and internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
  9. Remove chicken to a plate, cover with foil to keep warm.
  10. Add spinach to hot beans and toss several times to wilt.
  11. Return chicken to pan and serve.

**I was compensated by Hurst’s Bean Company for recipe development, however all opinions are 100% mine.**

Herb Stuffing

Herb Stuffing

What’s your style on Thanksgiving? Traditional or Risk Taker?

Me, I’m a traditionalist allllll the way. I tend to make the same things every year, partly because I have my recipes and all the timing down to a T and everyone requests specific things. I have been cooking Thanksgiving for 25+ people for the last 13+ years. Now this year I am a little bit sad because if you remember, we sold our house and are temporarily in an apartment while we build our new home. So, I have ZERO room for people. That means I can’t cook this year and honestly it makes me VERY VERY sad.

Since I can’t make my Thanksgiving spread, I am going to share my stuffing recipe with you.
Stuffing is a touchy subject. People have their specific stuffing they make. I posted the question on my Facebook Page and got lots of answers like Pork Sausage Stuffing, Turkey Stuffing, Stuffing with fruit and nuts, Cajun, Cornbread and many others. Feel free to share your favorite in the comment section.
For me, again I am a Traditionalist. I have been making my stuffing the same way for years and years, basically the same way my Mom did….lots of fresh herbs, onion, celery and LOTS of real butter.

I have always dried my own bread from fresh bread and then cut into cubes for my stuffing. However,  Pepperidge Farm has come out with UNSEASONED Cubed Stuffing. Hooray! One less step for me. No more drying my own bread. And another thing I love about their Unseasoned Cubed Stuffing is it is made with toasted white and wheat breads.

Below you will find step by step photos on how to make my stuffing. It’s Easy Peasy!!

Herb Stuffing

Melt 4 tablespoon butter in a pan.

Herb Stuffing

Add onions.

Herb Stuffing

Add celery.

Herb Stuffing

Mix and sauté for 10 minutes, until softened.

Herb Stuffing

Add your flavorings.

Herb Stuffing

Stir and cook for an additional minute.

Herb Stuffing

The Star of the Party!

Herb Stuffing

Herb Stuffing

Add your mixture.

Herb Stuffing

Mix to incorporate.

Herb Stuffing

Next you need a good chicken stock and 2 eggs.

Herb Stuffing

Mix your eggs right into the chicken stock.

Herb Stuffing

Pour the egg/chicken stock mixture right into the bread. MIX WELL.

Herb Stuffing

Butter a 9 x 9 pan.

Herb Stuffing

Put the stuffing in the prepared pan.

Herb Stuffing

Pour one stick of melted butter evenly over stuffing. This is optional, but comeon’ it’s Thanksgiving. Give yourself a cheat day!

Herb Stuffing

Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. And you have the PERFECT Thanksgiving Herb Stuffing!!!

Herb Stuffing

 

5.0 from 4 reviews
Herb Stuffing
Author: 
Recipe type: Side dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
The perfect Herb Stuffing
Ingredients
  • 1 14oz. Package Pepperidge Farm Unseasoned Stuffing
  • 12 tablespoons Butter, divided
  • 2 large Celery Stalks, finely diced
  • 1 large Red Onion, finely diced
  • 3 tablespoons Fresh Parsley, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh Thyme, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh Sage, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon Fresh Marjoram, finely minced
  • 1 clove Fresh Garlic, finely minced
  • ½ teaspoon Coarse Kosher Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper
  • 2 cups Chicken Stock
  • 2 Eggs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Butter a 9 x 9 pan.
  3. Place the Pepperidge Farm Unseasoned Cubed Stuffing in a large bowl. Set Aside
  4. In a large skillet over medium heat melt 4 tablespoons butter, add celery and onion, cook for 10 minutes or until softened.
  5. Add parsley, thyme, sage, marjoram and garlic, cook for an additional minute.
  6. Pour the herb mixture over the cubed stuffing; mix to incorporate.
  7. Measure the chicken stock into a 4 cup measuring cup or bowl. Mix the eggs into the chicken stock; pour over the stuffing. Combine very well.
  8. Place stuffing in prepared pan.
  9. Melt the remaining 8 tablespoons butter; pour evenly over stuffing.
  10. Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes.

I have been compensated by Pepperidge Farm for recipe development. All opinions are 100% mine.

2013 National Beef Cook-Off

I had the esteemed honor of being a judge for the 2013 National Beef Cook-Off along with a few other lovely ladies; Barbara Kiebel of Creative Culinary, Kathy Moore who writes Plugged into Cooking and Kristen Browning-Blas who makes her home at The Denver Post.

We tasted 21 different beef dishes over 2 days and had to narrow them down to a winner in each category. Tough job, huh?

I wanted to share with you the links to the winning recipes and the Grand Prize winner.


 

In the Belt Tightening Category: (Click on the photo for the link to the recipe)

Harvest Steak and Quinoa Salad

Harvest Steak and Quinoa Salad

Mango Tango Tacos

Mango Tango Tacos

Italian Beef Pot Pie

Italian Beef Pot Pie

Balsamic & Blue Cheese Steak Sandwich

Balsamic & Blue Cheese Steak Sandwich

Apricot Teriyaki Beef Stir Fry

Apricot Teriyaki Beef Stir Fry

Korean BBQ Beef on Lettuce

Korean BBQ Beef On Lettuce


Crave-able Fresh Beef and Fresh California Avocado Category :

Cali-Caribbean Steak Street Tacos

Cali-Caribbean Steak Street Tacos

Beef Tacos with Pomegranate Guacamole

Beef Tacos with Pomegranate Guacamole

Cali-Avocado Steak Salad ******($25,000 GRAND PRIZE WINNER)******

Cali-Avocado Steak Salad

Tuscan Burgers & Avocado-Tomato Spread

Tuscan Burgers & Avocado-Tomato Spread

Tacos with Lime – Jalapeño Cream

Tacos with Lime- Jalapeño Cream

Lemon Grass Beef with Avocado

Lemon Grass Beef with Avocado


Real-Wordly , Real Simple Beef and Potato Recipe Category:

Mediterranean beef and Pesto Fingerling Fries

Mediterranean Beef and Pesto Fingerling Fries

Simple Spanish Beef and Potato Wraps

Simple Spanish and Beef Potato Wraps

Greek – Style Beef and Potatoes

Greek Style Beef and Potatoes

Simple Beef and Potato Skillet Ole’

Simple Beef and Potato Skillet Ole'

Bistro Steak and Mediterran Potato Medley

Bistro steak and Mediterran Potato Medley


Semi-Homemade Beef Recipe Category :

Pesto Steak and Artichoke Sandwich

Pesto Steak and Artichoke Sandwich

Korean Beef and Vegetable Bowls

Korean Beef and Vegetable Bowls

Pesto-Pepper Jack Sliders

Pesto Pepper Jack Sliders

Grecian Flat Iron with Quinoa

Grecian Flat Iron with Quinoa

A huge thank you to the American National CattleWomen, National Beef Council , The National Beef Cook-Off and McCormick Company for this wonderful opportunity.