Ally's Sweet & Savory Eats: April 2010

Friday, April 30, 2010

Farmers Markets 101

It's that time of year! Many farmers markets have their grand opening this Saturday here in the Midwest (we are jealous of you that get them year around!)

Did you know that Iowa has more farmers markets per capita than any other state in the nation? Yeah, I was surprised to hear that as well. We don't usually have more of anything per capita, unless you count corn or pigs!

If you are a seasoned veteran or a first-timer attending a market this weekend, here are 5 easy tips to help you get through the crowds, and let you leave feeling good about your purchases.

1. Go Early, Go Late - if the market opens at 7 a.m. be there when the bell rings. If you can't make it early, plan on heading there during the last hour. This is for many reasons. Getting there early will you get the best pick of the crop, and sometimes less of a crowd. Nothing will be picked over and you'll have free reign to chose whatever you want. On the other hand, getting there late can bring in the best deals. Remember, farmers want to get rid of everything, so they don't have to haul it back home. Bargaining comes in handy towards that last hour. Offer to give them $10 if they'll let you "fill your bag". More often than not, they will.

2. Know Your Seasons - become familiar with what grows in what season in your area. In Iowa, we would never buy sweet corn right now, because we all know it doesn't get picked until July/August. So if sweet corn is available, it had to be brought from somewhere else...probably far away. Whatever fruit/vegetable you see at every booth, is more than likely in season. Every farmer has tons of it, and they want to get rid of it, as they are probably up to their ears in it.

3. Cash & Change - come prepared with cash and quarters. Stop at the bank or ATM the day prior and stock up on $1, $5, $10 and quarters. This will be appreciated by the farmers, especially if you can give them exact change. It makes their lines shorter and their lives easier. Some booths do accept debit and credit cards, but don't count on it.

4. Bring reusable bags - this is a simple one right? Put your cloth bags in your car the night before so you don't forget them. Many growers supply plastic sacks, but really do we need them?

5. Plan meals ahead - if you walk into a market and start purchasing random items, you will come home look at your stash and inevitably not have any idea what to make with it all. Plan some meals and snacks out before you head there. Go to the market looking for certain items, then you will not be disappointed when you come home.

By following these simple steps, your farmers market experience will be great! And lastly, have fun! Make a day out of it - go with girlfriends, do lunch afterwards, enjoy being outside, and don't forget to buy yourself a treat.

I mean, what is a farmers market trip without a chocolate filled croissant, a fresh baked cookie, or bag of freshly popped popcorn for the ride home?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cinnamon Zucchini Muffins

Did you read my Wish List from last night? If not, check it out...and tell me your wishes:)

Today is supposed to be a glorious day here in Iowa, mostly sunny with a high in the 70's. Not to shabby. Little man and I will definitely be spending our time outside. Let's hope this weather continues as we have a family wedding - OUTSIDE - on Saturday. These always make me nervous. As far as I know, there is no Plan B if it rains. So rain stay away!

So, are you a muffin lover or hater?

I'm a lover. And the husband is a lover too...I think he's eaten about 3 a day of these since I made them. This recipe is another variation to my base muffin recipe. I use it for every muffin I ever make, they always turn out moist and delicious.

Cinnamon Zucchini Muffins (makes a dozen)
2 egg whites
1/4 c. canola oil or applesauce
1 c. yogurt (I used vanilla flavored)
1/2 c. flax seed
1 1/2 c. flour
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 1/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 T. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
1 c. shredded zucchini

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin pan or muffin liners (I've done it with and without liners and they turn out fine each time). Mix wet ingredients, add dry ingredients and gently stir to combine. Fold in zucchini. Bake 18-20 minutes and immediately remove from the muffin pans.

Here are some of the other variations I've made:
Banana Nut

What can I say, I'm also a banana lover. If you don't have zucchini on hand, throw in whatever your little heart desires. Trust, me they'll turn out fine. Before I leave my foodies, I'm roasting my first chicken today. Help! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. And tune in tomorrow - it's Farmer's Market Time!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My Wish List

I don't usually do two posts in one day, this is rare, but I have some free time - dinner done, little man napping, husband running an errand.

Quiet house.

I saw this Wish List idea on another blog the other day and it made me laugh out loud reading some of the responses. It's simple, list 5 things you need/want and explain why. They can be simple, extravagant, or much needed.

Here are mine:

1. A new camera. I'm sure you are all literally bored to tears with some of my blurry, out-of-focus, flash induced pictures. What can I say...I am still using the same camera my husband and I bought the night before we left for our honeymoon almost 4 years ago.

2. A vacation. Related to #1. Our last vacation was that honeymoon almost 4 years ago. I think I deserve one. And I'm not talking about a weekend trip to the next state over. I want one that requires a plane ride.

3. A vacuum. Yep, I said it. I want a vacuum. Ours died about 3 months ago and I am currently using our Shop-Vac. Yeah, the thing you use to clean up BIG spills, like basement floods or sawdust from construction work.

4. A new set of pots and pans. We are down to two pots and one large skillet. For a foodie like me, this is very disheartening. Just the other day another one got thrown in the trash as the non-stick coating was entering our food.

5. A pedicure. My last one was when I was almost 9 months pregnant, last August. Not sure why I even got it as I couldn't see my feet...but it felt good. Other than the person sitting next to me asking, "are you having twins?"

So, there it is, my Wish List.

What is yours?

A Healthy Fried Rice

Happy Hump Day!

Today is filled with our walk session with my good friend and her baby, some errands, pulling weeds, and working on another little secret project. Don't you wish you were me? Exciting stuff, I must say.

The other night I got thinking about Chinese food. When you order do you get fried rice or white rice as your side? I usually order white rice, thinking it is healthier than the oil-laden fried rice. Am I right? Who knows. Of course, if they have a brown rice option (which they usually don't) then I order that.

What do you order?

This thought, got me thinking about fried rice and that I've never made it! To find a recipe I turned to the tried and true Better Homes & Garden, trusted cookbook. I'm pretty sure everyone either has a copy of this cookbook, or has seen it in their mom's kitchen. It is America's #1 Cookbook since 1930...

Upon looking at the recipe, it actually wasn't too bad for ya! And I made it even healthier by swapping out white rice for brown, adding in some more veggies, and limiting the oil.

Pretty darn good! Laura, if you are reading this, I will be entering it into your Meatless Monday roundup. Plus, head to her site, as she's having a giveaway!

Healthy Fried Rice
2 eggs, beaten (I used our farm fresh eggs!)
1 t. soy sauce
1 t. sesame oil or canola oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 t. cooking oil
1/2 c. thinly cut celery (I used asparagus, as I had no celery)
1 c. sliced mushrooms
2 c. cooked brown rice
1 carrot, diced or shredded
1/2 c. frozen peas
2 T. soy sauce
1/4 c. sliced green onion (I used yellow onion)

In a small bowl combine eggs and the 1 t. soy sauce. Pour sesame oil into wok or large skillet over medium heat. Add egg mixture and garlic. Cook to scramble, then remove from pan. Pour cooking oil into wok and return to medium-high heat. Stir-fry celery/asparagus for 1 minute. Add mushrooms, carrots, peas, and onion and stir-fry an additional 2 minutes or until crisp tender.

Add cooked rice and additional 2 T. soy sauce. Cook and stir until heated through. Add cooked eggs and stir for another minute until fully heated through.

*Any other additions can be added to this dish - hot sauce, red pepper flakes, etc.

Now, when I make stir-fry, this side dish will be accompanying it! Perfectly done, without all the added stuff you just know restaurants throw in.

And FINALLY, Sweet & Savory Food now has a Facebook page! Become a FAN here.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Baked Mashed Taters

My internet has been failing horribly the last few days, with technicians in and out of our house daily it seems, so let's hope I get through this post without it dying...

So, remember the other day I said the husband had worked many extra hours last week and I thought he deserved a nice meal?

Although, really, when doesn't he get a good meal?

Anyway, we grilled pork chops, had roasted asparagus in the oven, and our new favorite baked mashed taters. I'm not sure why I haven't come up with this dish before, as it is so easy, and tastes so good.

I think it was, I always had a problem with getting all the LUMPS out of my mashed potatoes. Anyone else have this problem?

If so, I have the solution. Use your Kitchen Aid mixer, with the large whisk attachment. Works like a charm! It fluffs these babies up in no time. So far I've made this side dish twice, and no lumps have been found.

Baked Mashed Taters (certainly double this recipe, for a larger family)
3 large baking potatoes, cut into thirds
1/2 c. unsalted butter
1/2 c. sour cream or plain yogurt
1/4 c. milk
1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 T. parsley
1 t. garlic salt
1 t. pepper

Place cut up potatoes in a pot of water and bring to a boil. Cook until fork tender. Meanwhile mix all other ingredients and place in bottom of mixer. When potatoes are done, drain and put into mixer. Mix on medium speed until smooth. Transfer to a baking dish and bake in oven for 30 minutes, removing lid last 15 minutes to get a nice crunchy crust on top.

Now, of course, there is no reason you have to put these in the oven. They are essentially done after you mix, but I love the crispy top it gets in the oven. Plus, you can do these up ahead of time, and just stick in the oven to reheat if you are waiting for something else (i.e. pork chops) to finish on the grill.

These would also work to be reheated in the crock pot? What do you think?

What is your favorite way to eat a potato?
I'm not going to lie, a good crispy french fry is probably my favorite! Don't pretend you don't eat them.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Iowa Blogger Meet-up at The Red Avocado

Before I chat about my lunch date yesterday, thanks to everyone for the helpful hints on planting a successful garden! If you read my post yesterday, I talked about my deck garden that I am starting this spring/summer. Let's hope it grows...

So yesterday afternoon I meet 3 other Iowa bloggers at The Red Avocado for lunch. A very hip, and trendy vegan restaurant. My first! If you can imagine there aren't too many vegan restaurants here in Iowa. After all, we are the land of beef and pork (and corn).
(Me, Erin, Kate & Christina)

My good friend Erin drove in from Des Moines, and Christina and Kate lived right in Iowa City. It was such fun! Neat to here their stories, what foods they like/dislike, what other food blogs they read, etc. Life long friends I'm sure (even though I was the oldest one there by seven years...)

Here are some pics of our food. I had the veggie burger with home fries and of course homemade mint chocolate chip ice cream for dessert. It was my first veggie burger (I know...) and it was pretty good. I will admit, I would have loved for a big juicy tomato and pickle, and maybe more of their "sauce" to accompany it, but overall pretty good!

Great afternoon with the "girls".

Last week I had promised my Brown Bottle Lasagna recipe. Not sure why I am saying "my" recipe, because I got it from my good friend Lori. I would like to think she snuck into their kitchen late at night and stole it, but if we all know Lori, that would NEVER happen. She doesn't break rules.

I am officially naming this my new lasagna. Out with the old recipe, and in with the new. It's a keeper! And I plan on using this sauce for my spaghetti as well, it's really good!

Meat sauce: 1 lb. hamburger, 2 cloves garlic, 1 T. parsley, 1 T. basil, 1 t. salt, 28 oz. can tomato sauce, 2 6 oz. cans tomato paste, 1/4 lb. thinly slice ham, 1/4 c. diced carrots

Cheese Mixture: 12 oz. cottage cheese, 2 beaten eggs, 1 t. salt, 1/2 T. parsley, 1/2 c. parmesan cheese, 1 lb. shredded mozzarella cheese

Brown hamburger meat, add all other sauce ingredients, simmer at least 45 minutes. Layer meat sauce, noodles, cheese mixture, etc. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 min.

Helpful hint: I made two small pans (one loaf, one 8x8) out of this recipe. Stick one in the freezer and you have an instant meal for one of those nights to crazy for dinner prep.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Please Let My Garden Grow

It's Sunday and I don't usually post anything on Sunday, but I have some free time and just realized I haven't told you about my soon-to-be garden!

Let's hope it grows.

Please keep your fingers crossed.

This is the first full summer in our house, and since our yard space is limited, I have decided to do a deck garden. I've seen them done and they are seem to work just fine, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed mine works too.

Here's the package for my seed starter, which have now been planted. According to the package, it will take 6-8 weeks for them to get big enough for me to transplant in my pots.

And here is my veggie/herb line-up.
I didn't want to plant too much in case this is a HUGE failure, so I went with the veggies we eat the most and the herbs I use the most. I hope to get a large enough yield to make The Biggest Diabetic Loser's Baja Salsa, jar my own dill pickles with the cucumbers, can my own spaghetti sauce, and get enough zucchini to bake ump-teen loaves of zucchini bread and muffins.

What can I say...let's pray.

The husband picked up a large bag of organic potting soil yesterday for me, so I think I'm ready, just need to wait until after May 1st to plant, as that is when "they say" Iowa is out of the frost forecast. We'll see.

In other news, guess what I'm doing today?

Me, and three other food bloggers (Kate, Erin and Alicia) are meeting for lunch at The Red Avocado. I can't wait! I've never eaten here before and I've never met two of the bloggers. I'm sure fun will be had! Full review to come...

Have a great Sunday everyone, and Happy Birthday to my nephew Hunter!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Internet Down

It's amazing how addicted, if you will, we are to the internet? Ours has been down since Thursday afternoon, and now it is back up temporarily...we'll see.

So, just wanted to say I'm still alive and kickin! Was planning on posting Brown Bottle Lasagna on Friday, but that will have to wait until Monday - stay tuned! Pictures didn't turn out that great, but the taste did.

Tonight since we are both home it's pork chops, roasted potatoes and asparagus, and carrot cake for dessert! Figured since the husband worked really, really long hours this week he deserved a treat.

See ya Monday!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Healthy Snack Options on this Earth Day

Good morning y'all!

I feel bright eyed and bushy tailed this morning, completely refreshed. What a nice feeling! And today is Earth Day. What are you doing to help out the environment?

At our house, today is the first day we'll be purchasing our eggs from a local chicken farmer, rather than buying them at the grocery store. I'm rather egg-cited (sorry, I know that's lame)about it! Considering my husband eats three eggs every morning for breakfast, there is no way these eggs will go unused. I will also be planting my seeds starters for my outdoor deck garden.

So, last night on PBS they showed the award winning documentary Food, Inc. All I can say is WOW. It really made me re-think where we purchase our meats, diary, etc. If you haven't seen this, be sure to check it out. It's a thinker...In honor of Earth Day today, I thought I'd give you three healthy snack options.

I know there are many of you out there that go to work each day, or at least pack a child's lunch each day, and you are running out of options. Or you are getting bored. These three snacks are ones we eat at our house, with two of them being a great go-to snack and the other one a hair indulgent, but good nonetheless.

Baked Apple Chips
1 apple, sliced thinly
1 t. sugar
1 t. cinnamon

Coat apple slices with cinnamon/sugar mixture. Spray a baking rack with non-stick spray and place on top of a baking sheet. Place apple slices on the rack and bake at 250 degrees for one hour, or until crispy. Store in airtight container.

Ranch Chicken Dip
1 block neufchatel cream cheese, softened
1 can shredded chicken (or cooked shredded chicken)
1 t. parsley
1 t. seasoning salt
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. onion powder
1/8 t. dried thyme
1 t. dill

Mix all ingredients together and chill. Serve with crackers or sliced veggies.

Homemade Granola (we eat this as cereal!)
4 c. oatmeal
1 c. wheat germ
1/2 c. flax seed
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. unsweetened coconut
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1/2 c. sliced almonds
1 T. cinnamon
1 1/2 t. salt
1/3 c. canola oil
1/2 c. honey
1 T. vanilla
1/2 c. water

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In large bowl mix together oatmeal, wheat germ, flax seed, brown sugar, pecans, almonds, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl combine wet ingredients. Pour wet ingredients over the dry and mix until coated. Spread in large, greased baking pan or roasting pan. Bake for 45 min, stirring every 15 min. or until toasted. Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Hopefully these three snack options give you some new ideas. Head on over to Foodie Giveaway for a very Earth Day related contest!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Brown Rice & Veggie Casserole

Let me start out by saying, I intended for this meal to be "meatless". Now, everyone knows I'm a carnivore, but I think having at least one meatless meal a week will not hurt anyone. Except maybe my husband.

Like I said, my intentions were to fore go the meat, until I saw one lonely leftover chicken breast sitting in the fridge, just begging for someone to eat it. As you know, it is hard for me to throw leftovers away...unless it's been eaten by the mold goddess.

So, this one lonely chicken breast got shredded and thrown in this dish.

I'm sorry.

BUT...definitely make this dish full of veggies, as it tastes just as good!

Brown Rice & Veggie Casserole
1 c. brown rice, cooked
1 can green beans
1/2 c. chopped carrots
1 can reduced sodium cream of chicken soup
1/2 c. skim milk
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 t. garlic salt
salt/pepper, to taste

Cook rice accordingly. In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients and stir in cooked rice. Place in greased casserole dish and bake for 35 min. at 375 degrees, or until bubbly and browning on top.

This can be served as a simple side dish, or as a main course - I'll let you decide. And certainly throw in whatever veggies you have on hand, green beans and carrots are just what I had to use up!

For all you meat lovers out there, do you try and eat at least one meatless meal a week?

We try...but usually I have to sneak it around the husband, as he would think the world is ending if some form of beef, chicken or pork doesn't arrive at the table.

Reminder, this is the last week to vote for me in the Mom Blogging Contest!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Crockpot Italian Chicken

So yesterday was actually a semi-productive day. Laundry, walk, errands run, caught up on my shows (Real Housewives of NYC & Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution), and dinner simmering in the crock pot.

Anyone else just love I am probably the only one on the face of the earth without DVR or Tivo, so I have to rely on the Internet to get caught up on my missed shows! And yes, that includes my trashy T.V. (Real Housewives...) To only have the money they have! Not really...

As mentioned I had dinner in the crock pot by 8 a.m. yesterday. This recipe comes from The Peppered Pantry. Another great little food blog that I came upon awhile back, check it out! This is the perfect dish for mom's on the go and families on the run, as it cooks while you are doing other things! (i.e. watching T.V on the Internet)

Crockpot Italian Chicken
boneless, skinless chicken breasts (use as many as you need, depending on your family size)
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce, or homemade
1 T. minced garlic
parmesan cheese
mozzarella cheese
spaghetti noodles

Spray interior of crock pot with cooking spray. Pour some spaghetti sauce on the bottom, enough to cover the bottom of the pot. Lay chicken breasts in (I put mine in frozen). Sprinkle garlic over the chicken breasts, and pour more spaghetti sauce in, enough to cover the breasts. Cook on low for 6 hours, or high for 4 hours.

When chicken is done, pour the spaghetti sauce out of the crock pot and into a baking pan. Lay chicken breasts in pan, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and cover with the sliced mozzarella cheese. This can then be baked right away, or put in the fridge if you are not eating until later (that is what I did!).
Broil on HI for just a few minutes, until cheese is bubbly. Serve with a side of spaghetti.

Can you say de-lic-ious? Such an easy dinner and sure to please everyone. Especially kids! And healthier than your typical chicken parmesan, as the chicken is not breaded.

I'm wondering is there anyone out there that doesn't use or have a crock pot/slow cooker?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Baptism and LOTS of Food

It's Monday.


I'm sure everyone is saying that, right? This weekend flew by. Family in town, little man's baptism, going here, running there, and well, here we are.

Saturday was spent on the move. But before we left the house, we needed a proper breakfast! Scrambled eggs (eggs, milk, shredded cheddar, salt, pepper) and homemade english muffin bread with strawberry jam. Can't beat this breakfast!

Although, I will say it didn't keep us full, so when we arrived at our destination that afternoon, a Jimmy John's stop had to be made! Shockingly, I hadn't had Jimmy John's in well over a was worth the wait.

What's your favorite sub shop?

We hung out at the hotel, where my husband's family was staying, most of the day. Little man did great! Such a trooper. Before we headed back that night, it was pizza time! Casey's pizza in fact. We all know my love for pizza.

Yesterday we were up early and moving! Our little guy got baptized with all the family in tow. It was such a nice service and he did well! Here's our loving family pic:)

Afterwards we all headed to the Iowa River & Power Company for a champagne brunch. All I can say is OH MY GOSH. The food was wonderful and the atmosphere and service was even better. I cannot even tell you all the stations of food they had...and so yummy! Here's my plate (okay, ONE of my plates).

And we cannot forget my mom's famous sugar cookies! Which of course she decked out for the occasion. I haven't tried one yet, because I am still FULL...but trust me I will!

So, that was our weekend in a nutshell. This week is a little more low-key, but I do have some good food to post about!
  • Brown Bottle Lasagna
  • Ranch Chicken Dip (which I forgot about last week!)
  • Baked Apple Chips
  • Brown Rice & Veggie Casserole
  • Crockpot Italian Chicken

Everyone have a great Monday!

Friday, April 16, 2010

And the winner is...

And the winner is #52 - Marci! From Mission Getting Healthy! Her blog is new to me, but not anymore! Be sure to check her out.
Can you believe that Marci and I just realized we only live about 30 minutes away from each other? Such a small, small world.

Marci I hope you enjoy Cupcake Heaven...and please post some pics of whatever cupcake you decide to tackle first! Email me at with your full name and mailing address and I'll get it shipped right away! Now on to other things, it's date night tonight at our house - dinner and a movie (at home of course). We are finally going to watch The Blindside. I know - last people on the face of this earth to see it!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bleu Cheese & Mushroom Turkey Burgers

So much to chat about today! Can I just say first I'm sore, weeding flower beds all morning and then a 3 mile walk with little man really used some muscles that haven't seen day light since last fall. Wait...I was pregnant last fall....okay, they haven't seen daylight in a long, long time. Anyone have any good stretches for hamstrings?

Now on to business. Don't forget to enter my GIVEAWAY! One reader will win a copy of the cookbook, Cupcake Heaven, by Susannah Blake. You have until tomorrow at noon - hurry up!

So remember the other night when I made Inside Out Buffalo Hot Wings? Well, I had bleu cheese left over, so I needed to come up with some way to use it. I already had turkey burgers on the grill planned for this week, so well you know where this is going...

Bleu Cheese & Mushroom Stuffed Turkey Burgers!!!

I will honestly say it was one of the best burgers I've had in a long, long time. And much healthier! Trust me, even if you are not a bleu cheese or mushroom fan, you will still eat these. Those flavors don't overpower, they just somehow make the burger have tons of taste and extra juice!
Bleu Cheese & Mushroom Turkey Burgers
1 lb. ground turkey
1 c. crumbled bleu cheese
1 c. diced fresh mushrooms

Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix gently with hands. Divide into 4 sections and flatten into patties. It will make four mid-sized burgers. If grilling on an outside grill make sure to spray the grill with non-stick spray, as these babies will want to stick! Cook 8-10 minutes a side, not flipping the first time until the meat pulls away easily from the grill.

My toppings of choice? Homemade focaccia roll, sliced tomato, dill pickle relish, mustard and ketchup. Yum!
You need to put these on your weekly dinner menu. No pressure. I'm just saying.

A quick recap - enter my GIVEAWAY, try these burgers, and don't forget about my Mom Blogging Contest, still time to vote!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cupcake Heaven GIVEAWAY!

Today mark's my 100th post! I really wonder what I've chatted about 100 times...and more importantly I've wondered if you care!

To mark this gigantic, monumental, time in my life, it is only fitting to host my first GIVEAWAY! I am giving away one copy of the cookbook, Cupcake Heaven by Susannah Blake. If you are a dessert lover, or better yet a cupcake lover, this cookbook is for you.
I cannot tell you how many varieties of cupcakes are in this cookbook, not even mentioning how beautifully they are decorated. It is really, quite impressive.

Here's how you can enter. Remember, each comment you leave is a separate entry. Giving yourself a total of 5 chances!

1. Leave me a comment telling me your favorite cupcake flavor.
2. Become a follower of Sweet & Savory on your Google Reader.
3. Become a follower of Sweet & Savory on facebook.
4. Add Sweet & Savory to your blogroll.
5. Link this giveaway on your blog.

There are your 5 chances! You have until 12:00 p.m. CST on Friday, April 16th to enter, when I'll randomly choose a winner. Remember please leave a comment for each separate entry, and if you already are a follower on facebook, or already have me on your blogroll, just tell me in the comment section, it will count!

Important - I will announce the winner Friday, April 16th, so make sure to check back to see if you are the winner!!!
*Contest open to U.S. and Canada residents only*

And to leave you with a snapshot into my ever-so-exciting-life, below is Dukie, our black lab, who refuses to give up the peanut butter container to his sister Kata, the golden retriever. This went on for about an hour yesterday.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Inside Out Buffalo Hot Wings

Holy crap you guys....this recipe is a keeper.

When I reached out to y'all a couple of weeks ago for some new dinner ideas, I received this one. If you love buffalo wings, blue cheese and all things naughty like that, you'll love this dish. And guess what? It only requires 3 main ingredients - sans the salt and pepper. Who doesn't love that?

And well, minus me practically throwing one across the kitchen (toothpicks can be a $%&@!), all went well with this dish. I highly recommend.

Inside Out Buffalo Hot Wings
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (pounded thin and cut in half)
1 bottle of your favorite wing sauce
bleu cheese crumbles

In between two sheets of plastic wrap, pound chicken breasts to 1/2 in. thickness. Season with salt and pepper. In baking dish, pour enough wing sauce to coat the bottom of the pan. Place 1 T. of bleu cheese in middle of chicken breast, roll up and secure with toothpicks. Place in pan and brush with more wing sauce.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 min. Try to prevent yourself from slathering on more wing sauce or additional bleu's hard. Please ignore my sauce laden plate, I'm telling ya, these were slippery little devils!

With that said, this is my 99th post and that only means my 100th is getting close. It will be a GIVEAWAY! The first here at Sweet & Savory!

Stay tuned on Wednesday for your chance to win.

Here's a hint - CUPCAKES. That's all I'm saying.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Coach's Oats & Weekend Recap

This past weekend was spent in my husband's hometown for a wedding. We had a good time, but of course Sunday came to fast and now Monday is already upon us.

Does anyone else just love food at weddings? Um...and free beer? I know I'm not the only one out there that enjoys it. My mom and her friends also judge a wedding by how good the cake is. Don't ask.

I will say this weekend's cake was yummy! I only tried the pink version, which reminded me of jello poke cake, but I still have no idea what flavor it was...maybe raspberry? Regardless, it was so good that the husband took a plate "to go" style for the 5 block ride home. Yes, he has problems eating in the car, late at night, without utensils.

So getting home yesterday, I had all intentions of going and doing my grocery shopping but that didn't happen. So today it is.

I kind of have an unofficial rule that if we've been gone all weekend I don't cook that night when we get back. So dinner last night was a "fend for yourself" meal. The husband had eggs and I had oatmeal. I know, riveting, right?

I had received a sample packet of Coach's Oats from Marla at Family Fresh Cooking awhile back, so I figured this was the perfect time to put it to use. She's having a giveaway by the way...check it out!

Ever had steel cut oats? This was my first time, and they were good! So very creamy. I mixed in a doll up of peanut butter and a swirl of maple syrup. It was the perfection combo. Apparently, I also don't do dishes before we leave town, therefore I'm eating out of a kiddie bowl with polar bear child's spoon.

Well, I'm now off with little man to do some shopping. Check back later tonight as I'm making Inside Out Buffalo Hot Wings tonight for dinner!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Coming up on my 100th Post

Hey folks!

It's Friday! Our house today is as follows - library reading group, Walmart run, packing, leave for wedding this weekend. This wedding is the first of 7 we have, until they finally end in October. That alone fact just stresses me out. Not that I don't love a wedding, but that shows me how 7 of our weekends are already planned for!

I will be glad when ALL of our friends are married.

So, when I logged in this morning, I noticed this is my 96th post. Can you believe that? I started this blog in early December, now it's April, and somehow I've found enough food related topics to chat about 96 times.

I'm trying to think of something fun and exciting for my 100th post coming up next week! Maybe a giveaway??? Got any great ideas, send me them my way.

Remember last week when I did a shout out for dinner ideas? Well, I got some great ones! Sorry, no delicious recipe to chat about today, but here's a look into some of next week's eats. Need to do my shopping this weekend...
Well, everyone have a great weekend and I'll see you on Monday (think of me as I sit at ANOTHER wedding this weekend). Stay tuned for my 100th post - coming soon!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Nook & Crannies

While I was home a few days ago, I stole one of my mom's loafs of homemade english muffin bread. Well, actually she gave it to me.

I don't think I've ever met someone who doesn't like an english muffin. Whether it be to have as your "toast" in the morning, used as a sandwich, or as the crust for a mini pizza, in my opinion it is all good. The nooks and crannies in the muffin, make it all that much better....letting whatever you put on it, sink into those holes.
This recipe makes two loaves of english muffin bread. The loaves can easily be frozen and saved for later. This bread is SO GOOD. It's like having your english muffin, but just in bread form. The trick to getting it really good is toasting it dark or even twice. For some reason this bread only tastes better when it has that "crunch".

English Muffin Bread
2 pkg. yeast
1 T. sugar
2 c. milk
1/2 c. water
6 c. flour
2 t. salt
1/4 t. baking soda

Heat liquids and add to dry ingredients - mix well. Put into two greased loaf pans. Let rise in a warm place for 30-45 minutes. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

See how simple that is? You cannot fail at this recipe. Another great one for bake sales or to give as a gift!
Little man and I are taking our walking adventures on the road today. It's only a high of 52, so I really don't feel like bundling him up. Instead we are doing a Target (or Tar-Jay, if you will) run with another mom and her little guy. Then probably walk the mall like the old folks!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

I'm baaaaacccccckkkkk!

Little man and I had a good time at my parent's house, and I had a great time meeting up with some friends! We had dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, The Brown Bottle. I had their vegetarian lasagna and it did not disappoint. See my little to-go container? Yeah, that is what excites me the most....leftovers for lunch the next day!

Last night I made chicken enchiladas. This recipe came from one of my mom's friends a few years back and we've been making it ever since. It is so simple and easy and tastes even better the next day. It does contain a can of condensed soup that goes into the cream sauce, so for all of you out there that do not eat canned soups, I think it could easily be substituted with either salsa, or a homemade cheese sauce, if you are up for it.

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas
1 pkg. flour tortillas
1 can diced green chilies
1/2 diced onion
2 large chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
8 oz. sour cream
1 can cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup
shredded cheddar cheese

In a skillet mix shredded chicken with green chilies, onion and a handful of shredded cheddar cheese, until melted and heated through. Spray bottom of 9x13 casserole dish with cooking spray (or spread salsa on the bottom on the dish, that works too). Fill tortillas with mixture, roll and place seam side down in pan. Once dish is filled, mix sour cream and soup and pour over the enchiladas. Top with salsa and more shredded cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Serve with additional toppings of salsa, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, black olives, crushed tortilla chips, etc.

Yum! This is also a great dish to take to someone who has just had a baby, is sick, moving, etc., as it freezes really well. Usually I divide this into two smaller dishes and freeze half, but last night we were HUNGRY.

Don't forget to vote in my Mom Blogging Contest! Have a great hump day...

Monday, April 5, 2010

Greek Yogurt Pancakes

I wanted to change up my pancake recipe yesterday morning. Don't get me wrong, the recipe I use, we love, but I had some greek yogurt that needed to be used up and I was low on milk, so I invented these. They came out thick, fluffy and delicious! I strongly recommend adding yogurt to your pancake batter anytime, it just makes them all that more mouth watering.

Greek Yogurt Pancakes
1 egg
1 c. skim milk
3/4 c. greek yogurt
1 t. vanilla
1 t. salt
1 T. sugar
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1 1/2 t. baking powder
2 1/2 c. flour

Mix all wet ingredients together, and then combine with the sifted dry ingredients. It will be a pretty thick batter. Cook on hot griddle a few minutes a side, turning when bubbles start to pop and color is golden brown. Serve with butter, syrup, jam, fruit....whatever tickles your fancy!

Little man and I are headed to my parents today for a visit and then I'll be meeting up with some girlfriends later tonight. Grandma will be babysitting! So, I'll be back in the blog world on Wednesday. That reminds me, speaking of girlfriends. I just started reading The Girls From Ames last night. Has anyone else read? I can already tell it is going to be a good book. It makes me think of my life, as I treasure my girlfriends!

If you haven't yet, vote for me in the Mom Blogging Contest! You can vote once a day up until April 26th. Thanks a bunch!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Cereal Peanut Clusters & Broken Pipes

Wouldn't you know, just as we get one thing fixed in our house, another thing goes wrong. Is that what happens to everyone, or just us? We had our new air conditioner installed this week, only to discover a pipe froze over the winter in our crawl space and then broke...sending a "Niagara Falls" effect under our house. Ugh.

I simply thought our washer was leaking. Boy was I wrong. Luckily, we have an incredible friend, who also happens to be an incredible handyman. Him and his wife came over last night and he fixed it. I'm not even going to tell you how bad I felt that he had to spend most of the night under our house in the crawl space....wet...cold...muddy...all of the above.

So we treated them to pizza and a throw together dessert I made earlier in the day. Taking some advice from Kristen, over at Change of Pace, I went simple with this treat. Really you could throw just about anything in this cluster - different kinds of nuts, dried fruit, cereal. You know those bottom bits of crushed cereal you always have at the bottom of the bag? Those would be perfect.

Cereal Peanut Clusters
1 c. salted peanuts
1 c. shredded wheat
1 c. marshmallows
1 bag peanut butter/chocolate chips
1 T. canola oil

Place peanuts and cereal in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin or glass, just until the bigger pieces are broken up. In a saucepan on low, melt the marshmallows, peanut butter/chocolate chips and oil. Continue stirring until all chocolate has melted, but you can still see the marshmallows (they won't melt all the way). Stir in peanut/cereal mix and coat with the chocolate.
With a spoon, scoop out spoonfuls and lay on waxed paper or foil. When finished lay paper on a baking sheet and stick in the freezer so the chocolate will harden. Store in tupperware in the fridge or freezer to keep.

There is one problem with these clusters. You can't just eat one. Major problem.

Lastly, thanks for all the recipe ideas on Thursday's post, What's for Dinner at Your House? I've browsed over a few of the recipes, but plan to go through all of them this weekend. If you missed that post, or have any other ideas, feel free to attach your link!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

What's for Dinner at Your House?

I think I am the only one who can start getting a cold when the weather turns warmer. Yesterday the sore throat started and this morning, it is a full-blown sore throat and stuffy nose. Ugh...and it's supposed to be 80 degrees here today! I guess I'll just soak up the sunshine and hope for the best.

Last night we had all intentions of grilling out, but when the husband got home from work, he immediately went over to our neighbors to help them roof their house. I thought he was just going over to "see" if they needed help, but when I went outside I was greeted with him standing on their roof. Nice. And he's not so keen on heights.

I sure hope they help us later this summer when we plan to do ours. Hint. Hint.

So, the barbecued chicken, along with the roasted potatoes and garlic asparagus were put in the oven instead. I don't do charcoal grills.

It was a fantastic dinner!

Yesterday's consensus on my leftover chocolate fondue was to just make another dessert. Great, just what we need in this house! I'm debating on maybe making a cake or something for Sunday, since it's Easter and all. In case you wondered, most of you said NO to freezing it. You are probably right.

And now, here's my question to you. What's for dinner at your house tonight? I'm in a dinner rut. I need some new ideas. Help!

In case you need some help - the husband rarely goes a meal without meat, so it needs to have some version of fish, beef or chicken in it. Oh, and side dish ideas would be great to! Simply click on the McLinky icon below and add your favorite recipe.

I'll pick some to try out, I promise!!!