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    Average: 3.3 (3 votes)
So as you all have probably realized – I am obsessed with peanut butter. I found this recipe online and the great thing about it is that it is 21 Day Fix approved so it’s a great treat for those trying to watch what they are eating but still craving something savory. I decided to whip up this treat for my husband and I while we were stuck at home during the Blizzard of 2016! We ended up getting over 3 feet of snow!  This bark was super easy to make and only took a few minutes
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Rosemary Ginger and Apple Berry Crumble

26 August, 2014, 0 comments, on

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Yes, it’s a mouthful in the literary sense, but well worth the gastronomic effort! With only a short time to throw something together for a Memorial Day party, I decided to make a crumble. I adore fruit crumbles, for their yummy from your grandma’s kitchen flavor and texture. They also scream American summertime to me, and on Memorial Day I could think of no more appropriate dessert to make!

As the title suggest, this is not your granny’s cobbler, well at least not mine. I have been growing herbs on my deck, and the rosemary was begging for a non-traditional role to play. I have also recently been on an Asian kick, so I decided to make use of some ginger I had on hand.

strawberries, blackberries, berry, berries

ginger root, ginger, rosemary, herbs

I peeled and cut 5 large apples, and combined with 1 qt of blackberries and 1 qt of strawberries. Next I chopped about 2 tsp of fresh rosemary and grated 1 Tbsp. of fresh ginger. I combined the rosemary and ginger with the fruit, and sprinkled with 2/3 cups of sugar, and 2 tsp of cornstarch. Now this was starting to look, and taste fabulous. Yet, I had to take it one step further by adding ¼ c of Bullet Bourbon! A quick taste of the filling made me fall head over heels in love, thankfully my roommate wasn’t around to witness this! Folks, remove the cornstarch, and you have the great beginnings of some Sangria fruit here, but I digress.

apple, fall

bulleitt bourbon, ginger, rosemary, crumble, fall

No crumble is complete without that beautiful oat topping. For the topping I pulsed ¾ cups of old fashioned oats, and ½ cup of flour in the blender, with 1/3 cup of brown sugar, and 1 tsp of sea salt. Next I transferred to a bowl, and cut in 1 stick of chilled butter.

I placed the fruit in a 9x13 pan and then sprinkled with the topping, and baked at 375 for approximately 60 minutes. The results were mouthwateringly delicious! The rosemary and ginger served to add a new depth of flavor, and complimented the strawberries and blackberries beautifully. I strongly suggest serving this with vanilla ice cream, or vanilla infused homemade whipped cream. Enjoy!

ginger rosemary apple berry crumble

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Not Your Momma’s Grilled Chicken

20 June, 2014, 0 comments, on

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The changing of seasons always inspires my cooking. With the warmer weather finally upon us, I have been very excited to try new grilling recipes.  This recipe was inspired by my ardent love for fresh dill and citrus!

Here is what you’ll need:

ingredients

1 (3-5 lb) whole chicken.  I strongly recommend organic not only for the health benefits, but because the taste is so much better!

1 lemon

Approximately 1 cup of chopped fresh dill

1 quart of buttermilk

4 cloves of fresh garlic

Salt and pepper

Pour the buttermilk into a large bowl (large enough to marinate the chicken).  Slice the lemon and add to the buttermilk along with the dill and grated garlic, and season generously with salt and pepper.  Place the chicken in the bowl, cover and leave it to soak up the glory for 8-24 hours!  

brined chicken

Be sure to remove the chicken from the fridge 1 hour prior to cooking, so it can warm up.  I have found the best method for cooking a whole chicken on the grill is to butterfly it, which will also lead to beautiful browning of all the skin as well.  You will need a sharp knife or good kitchen shears, but basically all you need to do is remove the backbone so that it will lay flat.

brined chicken, recipe

recipe brined chicken

Fire up your grill!  I prefer a charcoal grill for the flavor, but it is a little harder to keep at a consistent temperature.  I highly recommend banking your coals to one side so you can have an area of indirect heat to cook the chicken and better control the temperature.  Be sure to grease the grill surface with Crisco to avoid the skin from getting stuck.

brined grilled chicken recipe

Now you are ready to cook this bird!  Before placing the chicken on the grill be sure to season the skin side with more salt and pepper.  Place the bird over the indirect heating area and place two bricks (wrapped in foil) on the top to weigh it down.  Cover and cook rotating at least once.  Depending on the size of your bird this will take 45 – 75 minutes to cook.

brined chicken grilled recipe

salad cherries feta cheese pecans

The end results were delicious.  The brine served to infuse the chicken with a beautifully refreshing flavor and helped to keep it moist during the cooking time.  I threw together a salad of romaine lettuce, fresh cherries, dill (can’t have too much!), feta cheese, and some chopped pecans and dressed it with a citrus poppy seed dressing.  There you have it folks, the perfect way to enjoy a summer’s eve.  

Drink.Eat.Relax!

-Emily

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Bacon Vodka 3 Ways!

25 March, 2014, 0 comments, on

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For all of our bacon and cocktail enthusiast, you are in for a treat!  I was recently given the joyous task of creating three simple cocktails with bacon flavored vodka.  It was surprisingly easy and fun!  For this experiment I used the Bakon brand of bacon vodka, which to my knowledge is the only brand with this flavor.  For a little more about this unique vodka visit http://www.bakonvodka.com/

After a little brainstorming with a friend and a quick perusal at some recipes, I decided to make a Smoky Screwdriver, a Bacon Bloody Mary, and a Bacon Chocolate Martini.  Here are the results for you to try for yourself! In addition to the Bakon vodka you will need

Orange Juice
Bloody Mary Mix (I used George’s Bloody Mary Mix)
Crème de Cocoa
Milk
Ice
Jigger
Cocktail shaker

I set out to make the Smoky Screwdriver first.  I mixed 1.5 oz Bakon vodka with 3 oz of orange juice.  Shake over ice, and strain into a glass.

bacon vodka recipe

bacon vodka recipe

The results were great; sweet with a nice smoky flavor at the end!  The perfect drink to go with your brunch or breakfast.

Next I whipped up a bloody mary.  I shook 1.5 oz Bakon vodka over ice with 3 oz of George’s Bloody Mary mix over ice and poured into a glass.  I garnished with the classic celery stalk, but a beautiful piece of cooked bacon would be quite nice as well.  This was a delightful marriage of flavors.  George’s bloody Mary mix is spicey which paired very well with the smoky bacon flavor of the Bakon vodka. All in all, a great way to jazz up a classic cocktail.

bacon vodka recipebacon vodka recipe

I think I saved the best for last though folks!  For this final experiment I mixed 1.5 oz Bakon vodka, 1.5 oz crème de cocoa, and ¾ oz of whole milk.  Shake over ice, and strain into a properly prepared martini glass.  I found that the drizzled chocolate around the edges of the glass to be a must for this beauty, but do as you see fit. 

bacon vodka recipe

bacon vodka recipe

Well there you have it, bacon flavored vodka in three easy to make, fun to drink, cocktails.  Enjoy!

- Emily

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Grown Up Mac & Cheese

14 March, 2014, 0 comments, on

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What every man wants for dinner . . . grown up Mac n Cheese!

I recently went home to celebrate my dad’s birthday, and was faced with what on earth to make for dinner on a Monday night at a moment’s notice at 7 PM?  I’ll be honest, it wasn’t so much what to make pops for dinner (he’ll eat anything), but it was more of, what can I make that will be quick and easy, and yield amazing results.  My parents live on a farm, and we usually have an abundance of fresh cheese and pork, so I thought I’d start here.  Mac n Cheese is always a winner, so I set out to make the most decadent and grown up version possible with high quality basic ingredients that we had on hand.

ingredients, mac, cheese, recipe

I started by browning 1 lb Cedar Hill mild pork sausage in a cast iron skillet.  I chose to brown mine in the casings and slice it after cooking, but you could just as well brown it out of the casings and chop it up.

recipe, sausage, mac, cheese

Next I made a roux, which is equal parts flour and fat.  I chose butter as my fat.  I melted 4 Tbsp. butter and then added the flour mixing constantly, until just starting to lightly brown.  Next I slowly added 2 ½ cups of whole milk, again stirring constantly to avoid lumps.  I lowered the temperature and continued stirring occasionally until thickened.  

mac, cheese, recipe

Now came the best part: the incorporation of the cheese!  I chose a blend of three cheeses; provolone, parmesan, and my mom’s own special recipe – a cave aged cocoa cayenne cheddar.   I used a total of approximately 3 ½ cups of grated cheese.  I gradually incorporated the cheese at a low temperature over medium heat, stirring constantly.  

mac, cheese, recipe, whisk

After a taste, I decided to take this grown up Mac n Cheese a step further, by adding approximately 3 oz of Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey whiskey, which yielded a heavenly result!  The cheeses that I chose to blend were very sharp, so the honey whiskey served to mellow and sweeten the sauce. Visit http://www.jackdaniels.com/whiskey/jack-daniels-tennessee-honey for a description of this whiskey and for some other ideas of what to make with it.  

jack daniels honey mac and cheese recipe

Lastly I incorporated the sliced sausage, and 1 lb cooked and strained shell noodles into the pan with the sauce.  In less than 30 minutes I had a birthday dinner for dad that he really appreciated and time left to spend relaxing with the ones I love.  Enjoy!

jack daniels honey mac and cheese recipe

-Emily

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Lasagna Soup

7 March, 2014, 0 comments, on

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Well, I’m not really a soup lover, but the name of this soup caught my attention too much not to give it a try.  I am so happy that I did.  It was wonderful and it tasted just like its namesake – yet not as heavy in the stomach.  I served the soup with some buttered crusty Italian bread (You can never go wrong with that!)

Another plus side of the recipe – from prep to eating only took 30 minutes!  

Here are the ingredients for Lasagna Soup:

lasagna soup

Kosher Salt
8 ounces lasagna noodles, broken into pieces (about 10 noodles)
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 onion, chopped
½ pound hot or sweet Italian sausage, casings removed 
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
½ cup chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
¼ cup heavy cream or half-and-half
1 cup water

First bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the noodles and cooks as the label directs.  Drain; drizzle with olive oil and toss.

lasagna soup

Meanwhile, heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring until softened, about 4 minutes.  Add the sausage, garlic and oregano and cook, stirring and breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon, until the sausage is browned, about 4 minutes.  Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until darkened, about 2 minutes.

Add the chicken broth, tomatoes and 1 cup water; cover and bring to a simmer.  Uncover and cook until slightly reduced, about 10 minutes.  Stir in the noodles, basil, parmesan cheese and heavy cream (or half and half if you decided to take the “lighter” route); simmer 2 more minutes.

Divide the soup among bowls.  If desired, you can add toppings such as mozzarella cheese, grated parmesan cheese and/or ricotta cheese.

lasagna soup

ENJOY!

-Lisa

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