Friday, February 28, 2014

Parmesan Pepper Popcorn

The Oscars are this weekend which is something that quite frankly I'm a little surprised I even know about.  Even when I worked at a movie theater, I never knew anything about what movies and actors were nominated.  Now, I've managed to know even less about them.
This year, all that I know about the nominations, I learned from reading the Skimm this morning.  Do you get their daily email?  If not, you definitely should.  Most of the time, it's the only reason I know anything about the news (Utah's not so into reporting on the world...or the facts).

If you watch the Oscars and the nominated movies every year, then you're probably much more apt to have a viewing party, in which case, you need some food.  And what movie-centered event would be complete without popcorn?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Cheddar Apple Bacon Quesadilla

I almost exclusively do my grocery shopping at Krogers stores.  When we were Boulder, I shopped at King Soopers and now that we've moved to Utah, the name has changed to Smith's, but it's all the same thing.
I use the same value card when I check out.  I get the same discount on gas and the stores are generally laid out in the same way (like all grocery stores really).  I also use their online coupons which are loaded directly onto your value card and then once every month or two they send me a packet of "personalized coupons" in the mail.
These are based on your spending habits which is always kind of enlightening.  There are three things I am guaranteed to get coupons for: limes (due to my cocktailing habit, I'm sure), cheese (duh), and bacon.  This basically tells me we should probably cut back on the sodium, carbs, and alcohol, but I don't really see that happening anytime soon.  So, in the meantime, I'll just keep making quesadillas for lunch every day.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Chicken with Rosemary Cream Sauce

Chicken can be really boring.  I feel like we always have a couple chicken breasts in the freezer though so when it comes time to decide what to make for dinner, it usually has to incorporate the stuff.

Usually, this means chicken parmesan, grilled chicken salads, or chicken carbonaro.  Maybe chicken tacos.  That rotation gets boring really fast.

When I first googled different options for cooking with chicken, it was basically all the same again.  Either breaded and fried or grilled...maybe with a marinade first.  On the other hand, there were recipes that sounded good but required way too much time to make after a long day at work.  I wanted delicious, easy and fast!  Maybe asking too much, but in the end, I found it anyway, so I guess it all worked out.
There are really very few recipes that I try and then they make it into the rotation.  Maybe they'll become a once or twice a year type of thing, but this rosemary chicken I could eat at least once every month.  Probably more.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

365: Week 8

February 17 | Don't know if you know this, but this game can last forever.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Jalapeño Popper Dip

You know what I like?

Instant gratification.

I like mixing up some ingredients, putting them in the oven, and then eating it.  There's very little waiting around.
In my 26 extremely wise years, I've learned that not everyone's as into this as I am.  Some people like to procrastinate.  Well, I don't know if they like to, but they do it anyway.  In some ways maybe that's a good thing.  You get to do what you want.  Now.  I just couldn't deal with the stress of putting things off though.

It's already stressing me out that I haven't done my taxes yet.  I got my W2s like 3 weeks ago now!
So, if you're like me, this recipe is for you.  Jalapeño popper dip won't leave you hanging.  You'll know exactly what's going on as it starts to heat up and brown in the oven.  The smell will tell you when it's getting close to being done.  You'll know the whole process from the very beginning all the way to the end.  And that whole 'process' only takes about 35 minutes.  Plus, in the end, you get the reward!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sausage and Peppers

Today, I have a really simple and satisfying meal for you that you can make either in your crockpot or on the stove.  I like to make a big batch of it so I'll have leftovers for a couple days for more sandwiches.

The next day, it's also a good idea to cut up the sausages and serve it over spaghetti.  Austin likes to put it in eggs or grits in the morning for breakfast but he makes weird/poor decisions when it comes to breakfast foods.
I like my sausage and peppers heavy on the onions and peppers part.  You need the sausage for sure, otherwise it's really just spaghetti sauce on a bun, but pile on those toppings for me!

I also make mine with the spiciest sausage I can find.  Sometimes it's hot italian, sometimes chorizo.  Again, use what you like and what you have.  There's really no strict rules when it comes to a meal like this.  Which is the way it should be in my opinion: you do what you want.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Peanut Butter Pretzel Fudge

There was a time in my life when I crashed a book club on the reg.  I wasn't a member, I didn't really know the people in it (besides my sister), and I don't think anyone (again, besides my sister) ever knew I was coming.

While that all might sound kind of bad, or at least weird, I did read the books in preparation, I did help my sister set up and clean afterwards and I actually talked about the book.  My sister hosted all of their meetings, there were never more than three of us who had even attempted to finish the book in time, and no one brought food to share.  It wasn't a great book club.
Or it wouldn't have been, except that my sister likes to entertain and she's good at it.  She'd make all these little appetizers and set them out on the serving platters she got for her wedding.  She'd offer everyone a drink as soon as they walked in the door.  Really, just the basics, but still more than I'm used to.  

One book club meeting stuck out to me.  I don't have any clue what the book was, but I do remember the pie (duh!).  She made a peanut butter pie with a pretzel crust.  Brilliant!  Peanut butter pies (just like peanut butter fudge) is usually just a little too sweet.  Add in the salty, crunchiness of pretzels for the crust and wow!  

For only having that pie one time in my life, I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about it.  Finally, I thought about it enough to make an adaptation with this fudge.  Maybe sometime soon I can just make the pie :)

Sunday, February 16, 2014

365: Week 7

February 10 | It hasn't really felt like it this week, but it is still winter.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Shirley Temple

You probably all heard that Shirley Temple died earlier this week.  You probably knew more about her than I did.  I watched a few of her movies and I knew that she had pretty hair as a child, she became a diplomat later in life, and a sweet, tasty, non-alcoholic drink was made in her namesake.
For a long time, I didn't know that these were called Shirley Temple's.  When we would go out to eat for special occasions growing up, we would get to order them but they were called, "Kiddie Cocktails"  (which I mistakenly thought were, "Kitty Cocktails").  So, obviously a lot of things escaped me as a kiddo.

My 'Kitty Cocktails" always had to be "light on the red" as per my mom's request...I was a little bit hyperactive.  When I mixed myself a Shirley Temple the other day, it brought me right back to those dinners with my family and my grandparents.  I remember bouncing around in the seat on a serious sugar high and pretending like the fruit patterned wallpaper actually tasted like real fruit.
Now, I can see why I wasn't allowed to have as much sugar and red food coloring :)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Applesauce Bread (Bread Machine Recipe)

I told you a little while ago that I was going to start using my crockpot so I can eat real meals at work (as opposed to the dried apricots and pretzels that I'm having today).  Well, that hasn't quite happened yet.
Along that same vein, I really need to find my bread maker again.  I know that bread is not that hard to make by hand, but the fact is, it takes a lot more time and lot more attention.

While I really do love to knead bread and wait for it to rise, when I have the whole day to sit around at home, I also really love just having freshly baked bread with almost no work.  I also love putting all the ingredients into the bread maker and then going to the gym, showering, getting dressed and walking into the kitchen just in time to take a big, warm, steaming loaf out to cool.
The drawback to using a bread maker?  Dryness.  I don't know why it's so hard to find good bread maker recipes, but it's something I've really struggled with.  I also don't know why applesauce can make things that would normally be dry, not dry, but it seems to do the trick.  This bread has a little bit of sweetness from the applesauce, it's great with a little butter, or to make it more apple-y, I topped it with apple butter.

Monday, February 10, 2014

365: Week 6

February 3 | It's so western out in the backyard!
February 4 | Remember back when Austin and I went up to Yellowstone, well he also gave me this!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Salted Honey Popcorn

I don't remember if I told you this already or not, but my first job in high school was at the local movie theater.  I had to wear XXL t-shirts that advertised upcoming movies (like Fat Albert, just as one example).  I had to wear a baseball cap inside always.
And, I had to upsell.  If you don't know what upselling is, basically it's when the little acne-ridden kid getting your popcorn asks you if, "for just $0.25 more, you'd like to make that a large?"  You give in, walking with your tub of popcorn and bucket of Coke to your seat.  Then, you eat all of that popcorn and drink all of that soda and leave the theater with a tummyache :)

I pretty much hated that job.  The perks were minimal, the hours were not conducive to having a social life, and every night I left smelling like oil, popcorn, and "butter."  There was a pretty long period when I just couldn't eat any more popcorn.  Looking at it kind of made me sick to my stomach.
Things have changed though.  Now, I could eat it as a replacement for meals.  Now, I'm trying to find new ways to dress up the stuff just in case I ever get sick of good ol' butter and salt.  Salted Honey Popcorn tastes a lot like kettle corn but it's a little easier to make and it tastes more like honey, less like sugar (duh!).

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Frosted Mocha Drops

You ever have this super special family recipe that no one else knows and you have to guard it with your life?  Even when close friends ask for the recipe, you have to tell them that you can't share.  Sorry, not sorry.
Well, I am going to break the rule and share the recipe for these frosted mocha drops with you even though it's a very special, secret, Flinn family recipe handed down from my Grandma.  And who knows who gave her the recipe.

Well, I didn't.  Until the day that I did.

One day I was flipping through my Better Homes & Gardens cookbook (the checkered one that everyone has), and I found the exact. same. recipe.  It's not a secret.  It's not even all that special (besides in flavor).  And learning about this little bit of deception made me really wonder which other recipes "from Grandma Flinn" were really just taken out of a cookbook or a newspaper clipping.
Maybe it's better to just push it out of my memory, pretend like my Grandma was a genius in the kitchen, and not look too closely in cookbooks anymore.  No one wants to view their loved ones as liars, but let's be real, every liar's got a family too!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Apple Chip Cake

Can we all collectively drown our sorrows in cake for a day?  First of all, the Broncos lost the Superbowl yesterday.  Second of all, they looked like a high school team out there.  Third of all, my sister now gets to gloat that the team she was rooting for won.
Not only was it a bad game because "my team" lost, but because it was so lopsided, it was also unbelievably boring.  This is precisely why I watch hockey.  I will say that football food is better than hockey food though.  Actually, I don't know what hockey food is.  If I had to guess, I would say poutine?

In other sporting news, this weekend the Olympics start!  And you know there's no better way to support the (American) athletes than with apple pie chip cake!

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