Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Applesauce Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream

Have you ever gotten those plastic tubs full of caramel that they sell in the grocery story by the apples?  The "Caramel Apple Dip."
That's the type of thing that I would pick up and I would eat the entire container of caramel spread out over a single apple.  Every teeny tiny bite of apple was literally dripping with caramel.  In my mind, it was a pretty healthy little snack.  It has an apple in it!  What's healthier than an apple?

These cupcakes are basically that after school snack in an even less healthy form.
Plus, the caramel is salted so you won't get that itchy tooth thing from it being so sweet.  (Oh, is that just something that happens to my family?  Must be genetic.)

Caramel and apple and spices and sweet and salty.  It's all good stuff.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Presently

First and last day out snowboarding this season.
She's not technically allowed in the bed, but she gets away with front feet.
Future home?
Made the skeleton for the hatch on our teardrop.
Austin's cousin cut us these really nice doors for our interior cabinet.
Cool to hear Margaret Atwood speak at the University of Utah with my mom and sister.
Rainy, spring days.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Peanut Butter Bacon Cookies

One night, Austin was making bacon for some reason (as if you need a reason) and I was eating an apple with peanut butter when I had the genius (if I do say so myself) idea of dipping a strip of bacon into the peanut butter.

It was as good as it sounds.
We tend to make our cookies with a little extra sea salt on top to balance out the sweetness, so adding the salty bacon to these peanut butter cookies made all the sense in the world.

If you're thinking that maybe it doesn't actually make sense to combine the two, first of all, you're wrong, and secondly just give it a shot.  You may just be pleasantly surprised by how well the two flavors meld.

Because of the meat product, I would recommend storing them in the fridge and eating within about a week...if they last that long.  Otherwise, freeze them for later.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Browned Butter and Lemon Popcorn

There's a group in Park City that shows independent films almost every weekend at a local theater.  They're usually a little bit old and a little bit weird, but they're fun nonetheless.  And even if not, they're a lot cheaper than the regular theater.  So, there's that.

The best part of it is the butter though.
They pop their own fresh popcorn right there in the lobby (of the library usually) and next to it, they have a crockpot full of real butter!  It's about 1 trillion times better than the oil that you find at your regular old AMC or Cinemark (I know because I used to work at one of those).

I really can't ask for more.

Well, I could asked for browned butter, but that seems a little demanding on my part.

When I'm at home, I'll keep browning my butter and topping with fresh lemon zest, but when I go to the theater, I'm just going to be overjoyed with real butter made from real cream which came from real cows!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Happy Hour: Blended Mint Margaritas

I don't know anyone who likes a margarita more than Austin.  On the rocks, blended, salt-rimmed, salt-free, from a bottle, fresh squeezed - whatever form it takes, he will order it, drink it and love it.

I, on the other hand, am a little pickier.
I don't like the uber-sweet mixes from the bottles and I don't really like them too tequila-y.  (But yes, I really do love tequila.  And sweets for that matter.)

Anyway, you don't care what I like.  You care what you like, and you'll like these margs made with all fresh ingredients, no added sugar or any other sweeteners, and the perfect blend of tequila and cointreau.  Yes, I know exactly what you like.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Ginger Carrot Soup

I really hate getting sick.  I know, so does everyone else, right?  (To be honest, I'm not totally convinced of this.  I actually think some people like the attention that comes from being sick, but maybe I'm just jaded and callous.)

I hate the physical symptoms obviously, but even more so, I hate that I can't go out and play.  When I got the flu earlier this month, it was hard to get up the energy to go to the gym or even just walk Dingo around the block.  And it was not a welcome change when I found myself getting winded walking upstairs.
Sure, it can be kind of nice to be forced to sit down, watch some tv, drink tea and slurp down some soup, but I can only take bedrest for so long.

For me, the time goes quicker when the soup is good.

Ginger and fresh vegetables are supposed to be good for your immune system - I don't really know if that's true or if it's just the placebo effect, but either way I'll take it.  This soup made me feel better!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

St. Patrick's Day Food and Drinks (and More Drinks)

My family is "Irish."  The quotation marks are important.  I think we actually have some sort of Irish heritage, but I've never visited the country, I definitely don't have a cool accent and I have no knowledge of any relatives that are actually from Ireland.

Still, my last name is Flinn and for that reason, I like to eat my corned beef and cabbage on New Year's Day and St. Patrick's Day.  I also like green things and soda bread.

In the hopes that we share the same interest in Irish foods and green things, I've compiled this list of green drinks and of course threw in some corned beef and Irish soda bread for good measure.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Sweetened Mint Lime Rickey - Ok, this one isn't really green, but it's got mint and it's light and refreshing and pretty perfect for a springy, March day.
I like green drinks, but I don't like a bunch of food coloring.  This Kiwi Grapefruit Cooler is showing only it's natural colors.
Going Green Smoothie - there's nothing that will make you feel quite so healthy in the morning as a bright green smoothie.  (Pairs especially well with a yoga mat ;) )
In my opinion, Rosemary Gin & Tonic's are good anytime - you don't need a holiday for an excuse.
Kale Apple Smoothie.  Remember what I said about green smoothies and yoga mats.  Yep.  That again.
If you like spicy drinks, this JalapeƱo Lime Spritzer is the one for you.
Ok, Honey Beer Bread is not really Irish (well, maybe it is - I don't know), but I couldn't have a whole post about St. Patrick's Day and not include beer.  Throw a Guinness in this super easy bread recipe for a festive side or snack.
And, if you've got a little more time and you do want something traditional, Irish Soda Bread is the baked good to go with.
Crockpot Corned Beef & Cabbage.  'Nuff said.

Friday, March 13, 2015

In Celebration of Pi Day

Tomorrow is Pi Day, guys!  Do you know what that means?  Well, really it means nothing, but we can celebrate it anyway and if celebrating a holiday means eating a bunch of pie, then I'm in.

My mom and sister planned our Pi Day celebration this year so we'll be having chicken pot pie, banana cream pie and whatever I decide to bring to the shindig.  I'm still waffling between pizza and poptarts (they're both pies too!).

Sometimes I think we just need an excuse to invite friends over, stuff our pieholes and have a good time.  So here's your excuse.  Actually here are 10 excuses:

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Mocha Trifle

There's pretty much no food group I love more than cake.  Yes, in my head, cake is a food group.

For good reason too.  There are so many different flavors and really I think Michelle Obama and the FDA would agree with me on my recommendation of 1-2 servings a day.
I don't get all uppity about my cake either.  I pretty much like every type and in every situation.  I like it in cupcake, ice cream, cheese, sheet and layered form.  I especially love cake in a bowl.

A cake where you can see all of the pretty layers stacked on one another from the side of the bowl.  A cake where you scoop it out with a spoon and don't have to worry about pulling out the perfect slice.  That type of cake is perfect.

If you've never made a cake in a bowl (aka a trifle), now's the time! No stress about having it come out perfect.  No worrying about frosting it perfectly.  Mmm, it's just...perfect.  And if you have to start somewhere, you might as well start with a trifle that everyone will love and will definitely turn out well.  This mocha trifle is the one you're looking for.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Banana Cream Pie Milkshake

Back in November, we headed South after work one Friday night.  We drove for 6 hours through the flat, empty, sagebrush-filled land of central Utah and made it to the desert in time to set up our tent under the moonlight, then promptly fall asleep.

We climbed some rocks, we slept on the ground and then there was also that one moment where I had a panic attack at the top of a climb because suddenly it was just too hot.

Sometimes this happens to me and usually it's because it's hot and I'm tired and thirsty and mostly I think it's because I don't have enough calories.

It's embarrassing.
If I was smart, I would figure out how to always have a milkshake on hand.  That would solve the hot, thirsty and calorie-depletion problems.  Still working on it though.

End of that particular panic attack did end in a milkshake though.  One of the best milkshakes I've ever had.  It was at this little 'diner' in a strip mall and we were the youngest people in there by over 40 years, but when they said they'd put Nilla Wafers, bananas and whipped cream in my milkshake, I was sold.

Since it's a 6 hour drive through that sage brush, I figured I'd need to just make my own at home though.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Happy Hour: Sweetened Mint Lime Rickey

A few years ago, my family and I went on a safari in Kenya and besides it being the best time of my life.  Besides all of the animals.  Besides the perfectly clear, starry nights.  Besides the insane amount of quality, family time with very minimal bickering.  Besides the sheer bliss of being totally removed from everything.
Besides all of that, there were also 'Sundowners.'

Sitting around a campfire, looking out over the wide open, African sunset with a drink in hand was just the best.  It was the absolute best way to end the day.

What do you say we all adopt the habit of a nightly sundowner?  I know, I'm in.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Peanut Butter Ice Cream Topping

For the past 2 and a half years, I've had a helper with these recipes on the blog.  Sometimes she's really good.  She stays out of the way and does what I ask her to do.  Other times, not so much.

Her favorite ingredient is peanut butter so when it makes an appearance in a recipe, she gets pretty pumped about it and then her helpfulness really goes downhill.

After rereading the description, I'm starting to think I should get a new assistant.  But since she's my four-legged, furry friend I think I'll keep her.  Sometimes it's nice to have someone else helping out even if she does sometimes get in the way.  It's also nice to know that I'll always have someone that will like what I make. :)

I have a hunch your dog won't be the only one that likes this peanut butter ice cream topping though.*

Since I'm pretty much in an exclusive relationship with vanilla ice cream, I only tried it on that, but I'd imagine that pouring some of this warm, sweet, peanut buttery sauce over some chocolate ice cream would be divine.  I mean, chocolate and peanut butter.  That's a thing for a reason.

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