Sunday, June 30, 2013

Calgary, Alberta: An Update & Brew Review!

It's Canada Day ~ July 1st, 2013!!  So, I am sending love out to Canada today, especially Calgary, Alberta.  I am also doing a beer review on a few brews from Big Rock Brewery, located in Calgary....but first lets catch up on the situation there.

They were hit pretty hard recently with rising flood waters and emergency evacuations.  Now in the process restoring power and cleaning up the devastation, people are beginning to return to their homes and restore normalcy, those who were lucky enough to have a home to come back to, that is.  Thousands are still displaced, and will continue to be for a "significant period" (click here for newspaper article).

Click here for an aerial view of the rising water, taken about a week ago, on June 21, 2013.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Bluespberry Cobblers & A Moving Update

Bluespberry:  The intense fresh berry-flavored sensation achieved whilst combining fresh blueberries with fresh raspberries.  (Yes.  I made that word up.)   This Bluespberry (blueberry & raspberry) cobbler, however, is for real!!  Last week, I needed a quick dessert for last minute dinner party.  Originally, I was going with a store bought angel food cake with fresh berries and whipped cream, then I found this recipe.

We have moved out of our downtown Edmonton apartment/condo, as mentioned in a recent post, and we are now in Regina, Saskatchewan.  The plan was to stop here for a few weeks, as S would be working out of this location for a bit, then continue 'Eastbound And Down' home to New England.  Weeellllll, we're gunna need a bigger boat...meaning:  we are going to be here a little bit longer.  Our cross-country road trip is now postponed until mid-September.  

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Loaded Sweet Potato Hash

Loaded Sweet Potato Hash:  it's what's for dinner...tonight, anyway.  Or, have it for breakfast...better yet, have it for breakfast-for-dinner.  Yeah, breakfast-for-dinner. Okay, let me start over.
Loaded Sweet Potato Hash:  it's what's for breakfast-for-dinner!!

It's hard for me to find a well rounded breakfast-y type meal for S (do not judge by the copious amounts of bacon on his plate).  He cannot eat eggs, so that excludes, like, 75% of most menus and meal plans.  Typically, if we have breakfast for dinner, it is a pancake meal, or our Hawaiian breakfast plate (again, minus the eggs).  So I thought I'd mix things up a little:  change traditional hash browns from white potatoes to sweet potatoes, add some sauteed peppers and onions, and "garnish" it with bacon. Obviously, S and I have a difference of opinion on the term "garnish".

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Arnold Palmer Drinks (and a tribute to Robert Palmer)

Arnold Palmer - a famous golfer who coined his favorite drink:  half lemonade and half ice tea.
Robert Palmer -  a famous singer-songwriter who coined slicked back hair, pale faces, and heavy eye and lip makeup for the models/dancers in his music videos.

So, what do these two men have in common, other than the same last name?  Not a damn thing.  Me, being me, always refers to the drink as a Robert Palmer, instead of a Arnold Palmer.  An Arnold Palmer, AKA a half and half, is simply half lemonade, and half ice tea.  It's also 'Simply Irresistible' (Click here for the music video).

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Overnight Yogurt Parfaits

Overnight Yogurt Parfaits are one of my favorite things.  At one point I was totally hooked on them; I was buying them from the local health food store, every day, on the way to work.  I wondered WHY they were so good?  Where they putting crack in them? Come to find out, they were using FULL FAT yogurt.  So, yes - to a chubby girl, full fat yogurt is crack!!  (Seriously, have you ever tried the regular Libertè Greek Lemon yogurt?  It has, like, 568 grams of fat per is wonderful!!)  I decided to try and make them on my own using 0% fat yogurt, plus I could then alter the yogurt to fruit & granola ratio more to my liking.

Because all the ingredients mingle overnight in the refrigerator, the excess moisture from the fruit and yogurt is absorbed into the granola, in turn, thickening the yogurt and making the granola plump and delicious (my nickname, FYI).  So if you are turned off by runny yogurt (like me), this is a good way to transform it.  I actually use Greek yogurt for my parfaits....needless to say, I could plaster holes in walls with the consistency it lends.  To each his/her own, right?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Vanilla Bourbon Strawberries

I learned early, as a child, that if you dip a strawberry into a little sugar it tastes mad, crazy-good - and it makes a lovely syrup.  At the time I had no idea what the term 'maseration' meant...I thought I was a Little Miss Wizard of strawberries!!  Fast forward 30+ years:  I'm still mixing strawberries and sugar, except now it's vanilla sugar, and now I am adding bourbon to the equation.  Vanilla Sugar + Bourbon + Fresh Strawberries = THIS INSANE BOWL OF SPIKED BERRIES!!  (sorry for the caps....I'll try and contain myself.  I promise.  Pinkie swear.)

You can make your own vanilla sugar.....but when you see at HomeGoods for only 3 bucks, you buy a couple of bags.  Right?  Alternatively, if you have a real nice vanilla extract on-hand, you could use that along with sugar and bourbon.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Black Bean (Ninja) Brownies

Sshhhh!  Don't tell anyone there are beans in dese ninja browneezzz!
Ninja brownies, because I had to move stealth-like through the kitchen - as to not attract unwanted attention - while I opened, rinsed, and drained a can of black beans.

Once I started whirling them around in the food processor, I could ninja no more.  As if the sound was a mating call, right on queue S popped his head up from the couch like a prairie dog.

S:  Whatcha making?
Me:  Brownies.
S:  Oooohhhhh, brownies.  What kind?
Me:  Good ones.

That seemed to satisfy his curiosity.  Thank goodness he has the attention span of a puppy on the weekends; he crams a weeks worth of TV, reading, internet searches,  and you tube videos into 2 days.

This was my first attempt at bean brownies and I have to admit, my expectations were pretty low.  I mean, come brownies.  I was pleasantly surprised, as was S!!  I didn't tell him about the beans until after he ate the brownies.  I did tell him they were a new, chocolaty, chewy recipe I was trying (technically, this was no lie).  They reminded me of Little Debbie's Cosmic Brownies, minus the chemicals and artificial stuff - come on, we've all had one before, right?  They were moist, fudgy, and chewy....all the fine qualities a brownie should have.  Obviously they were a hit - I'm lucky I snapped this pic when I did.

I originally found this recipe on Pinterest....which led me to Foodista....where I then learned that this recipe was by Andie Mitchel, CanYouStayForDinner....but I could not find it on her website.

Would I make them again?  Yes.  Absolutely!  I did only use 1 egg plus one egg yolk, as opposed to the two eggs plus one egg yolk - foods that are too eggy bother S, as mentioned before :)

Click HERE for the recipe, and try beans in yo' brownies!!

Please visit my Link Party page to see where I have shared this post.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Pastene Five Minute Marinara (w/ Five Second Marinara Option)

I kid you not!  Preheat a pan, prep the ingredients, and you can make this marina in just five minutes.  If that's still not quick enough, I'll even throw a five second version your way!

I haven't bought jarred tomato sauce in over 10 years, not for pasta or pizza.  This is my go-to recipe for a quick, easy, and fresh tasting marinara sauce.  I am totally brand loyal when it comes to canned tomatoes; not all are created equal.  I have tried many, many other brands, both gourmet and generic - NONE have ever matched the quality and consistency of Pastene "Kitchen Ready" crushed tomatoes.  This is the brand my family used in their deli (as mentioned in my RI Pizza Dough post); it is the brand recommended in my Bacon Bucatini & Meatballs post, and it is the brand used for the marinara in my Fugetaboutit fact the marinara for those burgers is this recipe!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Tropical White Chip Cookies (AKA: Moving Day Cookies)

These Tropical White Chip Cookies are also know as 'Moving Day Cookies' in our house.  Tropical due to the ground banana chips, fine ground coconut, and dried pineapple bits.....Moving Day Cookies because I had handfuls of all these ingredients and needed to use them up, as mentioned in a previous post.  These are now S's favorite cookies, and he would "like a plate of them EVERY DAY!!"

The ground banana chips and the fine ground coconut are actually a by-product of a kitchen FAIL(!)  I had attempted to make nut-free Macarons by grinding my own flours made from banana chips and unsweetened coconut flakes.  FYI, grinding coconut flakes in a food processor yields coconut butter, NOT coconut flour, and ground banana chips don't really have flour-like qualities.....go figure.  Needless to say my Macarons were a flop...they were more of banana and coconut flavored meringues. Good thing I saved the pulverized crumbs in Ziploc bags from my failed Macarons, or I never would have had the idea to make these cookies!  

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Garlic Edamame

Garlic Edamame has two stories that go along with it; the first about an organic farmer, and the second about a country club in Lanikai, Hawaii.  Consider this a bonus post, two stories for the price of one! 

For the longest time I bought shelled edamame, in frozen brick-like form, thawed it and either roasted them or added them to rice and soup dishes.  I knew edamame beans were soybeans….I thought they were a specific type, a certain variety of soybeans.  I didn’t realize that edamame beans are simply soybeans in the early developmental stage - small tender beans in the pod.


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