Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Krusteaz Baker's Dozen

One of my favorite things that I get to do as a food blogger is to work with brands and collaborate to make fun recipes. I love being able to experiment with new products that I have not yet tried before! Some times products work for my family and sometimes they do not. And I will have to admit when I do work with brands most of the time my 1st recipe that I create is not the recipe that I end up sharing with you all. I try a couple and share my favorite! Lots of experimenting, tweaking and trying is involved! And that is why I like it! Its not just the same ol' average recipe that I am serving my family. It is something different.

A little over a year ago I created my very first recipe for Krusteaz. I was sent a box with some of the most popular mixes and some of their new mixes. And that is where my  Soft Artisan Beer Pretzels came about.

After that and a few meetings with Krusteaz pr company I was chosen to be apart of their Baker's Dozen Brand Ambassadors. Where I get the chance to try out their new products and create with some of their most popular products! I will also be traveling in September to visit the Krusteaz facilities in Seattle. 

And over the past several months I have created some fun recipes for them. Like....

So as you can tell I have had some fun creating recipes for them! And luckily I am able to create even more recipes for them this year. I have already been having fun baking away and have 2 fun and amazing recipes all ready for you all! So just you wait! Plus this year they have even more great products coming out that I can't wait to introduce you all too! So hopefully I can introduce you all to some fun and delicious ways to jazz up a box of Krusteaz mixes!

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Vanilla Bean Creme Brûlée

Creme Brûlée is my favorite dessert in the whole world. Like honestly it is! Whenever I go to a restaurant and they have it I have to order it no matter how stuffed that I am. My mom taught me how to make creme brûlée. She pretty much has taught me almost everything I know about cooking so I should say that about every recipe. But this one especially. So if you are a creme brûlée lover like myself you have got to give this recipe a try! 

Vanilla Bean Creme Brûlée 
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 vanilla bean, split & scraped
1/2 cup sugar + 6 Tablespoons
1 cup milk
6 large egg yolks

Heat the heavy cream, milk and vanilla bean in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Place egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat until pale yellow in color and all of the sugar has dissolved. Temper about 1/2 cup of the cream mixture in the egg mixture and whisk vigorously to incorporate well. Add the remainder of the cream mixture to the bowl and whisk vigorously to mix. Strain the brûlée base through a fine mesh sieve and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come up half way on the sides of the ramekins. Place the pan in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 30 minutes turning the roasting pan around after 15 minutes for even cooking. To test for doneness, jiggle the pan slightly to see if the custard is set, if so, remove from the oven and let cool at room temperature before placing them in the refrigerator for 2 hours to completely cool.

Once the brûlée has cooled, evenly spread a teaspoon of sugar over each ramekin and using a blowtorch, caramelize the sugar to form a candy coating. Be sure to keep the blowtorch moving in a circular motion to prevent the sugar from buying. Serve once the sugar has cooled and is hard like candy. Top with fresh berries.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Cajun Trout

The other night it was my husband's birthday and I wanted to take him some place extra special. I will admit before my husband met me he did not know or appreciate good food. That all changed when he married into my family. My family thrives on good food. We love cooking good food and we love going to tastey new restaurants and enjoying good food!

So my husband and I ventured out to Scottsdale and went to Prado at the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia. We were blown away by their amazing costumer service. Their staff made an impeccable impression on both of us! Right when I got there I received a sweet letter and a gift every foodie would appreciate! Good quality olive oil, balsamic vinegar and olives. (Don't worry I will share more about the olive oil later in my recipe!) We then enjoyed some yummy yummy food! My favorites out of everything were the caramelized cauliflower, burrata salad, branzino, and the carrot cake! After dinner my husband and I walked around the grounds of the hotel and sat next to the fire pit that they had. What a great memorable night! Here a few pictures of what we had so you know what you are getting when you visit there next time you are in Scottsdale, Arizona!

Now onto the cajun trout. Each and every family member in our house loves fish! Like it is super weird. My kids eat fish like normal kids eat chicken nuggets. They love it! When I made this easy easy fish my kids ate their piece plus mine. I was pretty upset that I didn't get my whole helping of fish haha. But hey if my kids want 2 servings of fish I will take it!!! This was actually the first time my kids have ever had trout. After my husband and I tried the branzino whole fish straight from the Mediterranean Sea with tail on it and all from Prado. I figured I should venture out a little more in the fish department. And let me tell you I am so glad that I did because my kids just loved it!!!

So first I took my fish and put it skin side down on a baking sheet and brushed my new olive oil from Prado on the top of my fish. Let me tell you that there is a different in good quality olive oil! So go out and get some. At least to use every once in a while! Try this kind! Ok back to the fish, I then sprinkled the fish with cajun seasoning (I did it lightly because I wanted my baby girl to eat it but if you family handles spice you can add more) and turned on the oven to broil mode. And placed the baking sheet about 4-6 inches from the heat and baked for 4-5 minutes or until the fish flakes easily. Top with fresh parsley and serve! Easy and Fast!

If you don't have any cajun seasoning or can't find any at a store close to you here is a recipe for one!

Cajun Seasoning
1 Tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dry mustard
pinch of cayenne pepper

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Watermelon Cooler

Watermelon and summer go hand in hand in our home! My kids go through about a watermelon a week in the summertime. I almost always have one in our home for days when my kids are playing in the water or swimming that day. Just a easy and refreshing snack for them!

 It is the last week of school for my kids and the weather has just been amazing! So that only means one thing...more time to spend outside before the dreaded summer heat hits! Our grill is about to hit its peak where we spend a lot of our time cooking on it instead of heating up the house with the oven. And when the grilling happens it is always fun to have a summery drink to go along with the food. This drinks just happens to be just that! I recently received a Blendtec blender and have absolutely loved it! They even have some great deals going on if you are looking to invest in a good blender! Here is a link so check it out! So check it out!

Watermelon Cooler

3 cups watermelon-chunked and seeded
1/2 pint lemon sorbet
1/2 tray of ice cubes
2 Tablespoons purple grape juice

Place all ingredients in a blendtec blender and pulse until ice is chopped. Then continue to blend on high speed until smooth.

So whip this drink up to kick off your summer and you will not be disappointed!

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Friday, May 15, 2015

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

Slow cookers should be a staple in every single home. They make the hard and busy days easier. And the making cooking easier when you want it to be! I am not going to lie I have used plenty of jars of spaghetti sauce in my life time. They are cheap and easy. But with this recipe it is almost as easy as opening a jar of spaghetti sauce and pouring it over noodles. It just takes a little more prep because it does take time to simmer in the crockpot. But it will be worth it!

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce
14.5 ounce can petite Italian diced tomatoes
28 ounce tomato sauce
15 ounce can "extra thick and zesty" tomato sauce
6 ounce can tomato paste
1 medium onion, cut in large pieces
1 stalk of celery
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and cut in half
1 /2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 bay leaves
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
1 Tablespoon dried basil
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoons Italian seasoning
pinch of red chili pepper flakes
4 Tablespoons butter

Add all ingredients (except butter) into a medium sized crockpot and cook on low for 5-6 hours. Remove bay leaves. Take an emersion blender and blend up the onions, celery and bell pepper. Once it is all blended together and smooth add in butter and stir.

Italian Meatballs

2 pounds extra lean ground beef
4 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons dried sweet basil
3 Tablespoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon oregano
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Italian bread crumbs

In a bowl mix together ground beef, eggs, salt, minced garlic, basil parsley, oregano, and parmesan cheese. Once it is all combined well together grab some bread crumbs and slowly add some until the mixture is firm enough to form balls. Fry them in a dutch oven. You can save the grease and flavor your spaghetti sauce. Or if you are adding Italian sausage to your spaghetti cook the sausage in the leftover meatball grease.

Once you have your sauce and your meatballs and Italian sausage all done and cooked. Combine them all in the crockpot or a large dutch oven. Cook your noodles as directed on the back of the box. Take the plate of cooked noodles and add scoops of sauce with the meatballs and Italian sausage. Then serve! 

Pair it with these breadsticks and Italian salad for a perfect dinner! 

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Lemonade on a Front Porch

There is nothing more relaxing then sitting on a porch sipping on a refreshing drink while your kids play outside with their friends! This time of year in Arizona all the neighborhood kids are roaming the streets. Give it a month or two and no one will be found out front and will have migrated to the back yard for the swimming pool! But for now I am so excited to enjoy this spring time weather.

A few months ago my flower beds were full of just dirt and our patio was empty. When I heard about a Wayfair campaign featuring porches I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Featuring a little sitting area and my Nana's favorite lemonade! My Nana was and will always be the sweetest person I have ever met. And her lemonade recipe will be just as sweet! 

But first I want to show you a few of the things I looked at for my front porch. There is nothing like having a good table and chairs or seating area for your porch. Then check out some fun pillows and cushions to add a pop of color.  Here is a helpful article on how to brighten up a porch and one about decorating with outdoor pillows. And then of course whats next is the best things for outdoor cooking!  

For even more ideas check out my patio idea board!

Now that you have a few ideas and some reading material to help you with your porch here are the before and after pictures of my porch and what I decided to do to give my porch a face lift. 



And now that you have all seen how I brightened up my porch now onto my Nana's yummy Lemonade recipe. The first time I made my husband this he was in shock. He actually instagramed it. haha He could not believe that people actually make freshly squeezed lemonade! Our family went through the whole recipe within 24 hours. Most of that was consumed by my husband! So whip this up and everyone will love you and be in awe as much as my husband was!

Nana's Lemonade

2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 quarts water
ice optional
lemon slices optional

In a large bowl or pitcher mix the water, lemon juice, and sugar. Stir very well until all the sugar is dissolved. Taste it to make sure you like the taste. If it is too sweet you can add some water or more lemon juice. Or if you like it a little sweeter (like my husband) add some more sugar teaspoon by teaspoon. Too acidic add water. Then add in some ice and lemon slices. Then serve!

*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post by Wayfair and I have been compensated. However all thoughts and opinions and the recipe are my own. 

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Easy Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Tacos

Buffalo Sauce is my weakness. I love it so so much. Whenever I order wings or chicken strips anywhere I have to ask for an extra side of buffalo sauce. I am also pretty picky when it comes to the flavor of different buffalo sauces. I have tried quite the variety of different brands. I would have to say that franks is my favorite brand for buffalo sauce....for now that is! 

My little girl and my boys even love to just eat this chicken plain. I try not to make it too spicy so that the whole family can enjoy it! My oldest son loves tacos and so this meal is right up his alley! I made it for my family and then a few days later took the pictures of it. My son saw me taking pictures and got all excited that we were having these tacos AGAIN for dinner! haha so I fed them again to  my family for lunch on a Saturday. My other two kids take a side of chicken with a cheese quesadilla. They don't love tacos like the rest of us! My husband had the chicken on a salad and I had my as tacos! 
This meat is very versatile. Can be served really anyway. Or even on rolls like I have shared before! Hope you enjoy this easy buffalo chicken as much as our family does! 

Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Tacos
4 large chicken breasts
1/2 of a 12 oz bottle of Franks Hot Wing Buffalo Sauce

1 teaspoons minced garlic

1/2 packet of dry ranch mix

Place all ingredients in crockpot and cook on low for 6 hours. After it is done cooking take out 2/3 cup of juice and set aside. Then shred chicken. Add some of the juice if you would like or you can dump it.

lettuce, finely chopped
avocado, diced
tomatoes, diced
ranch dressing
buffalo sauce

Grab a tortilla and place a handful of lettuce down. Then scoop up some buffalo chicken and add it on top of the lettuce. Top with avocado and tomatoes. Drizzle with ranch dressing. If you like it extra spicy add some buffalo sauce drizzle.

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