Ally's Sweet & Savory Eats: April 2012

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Nacho Taco Pizza

Here in the Midwest we like to combine things.
Tacos + Pizza = A mean, delicious combination.

nacho taco pizza (

If you live in Iowa {which most all of you don't, or for that matter even know where it is}, you know of the pizza chain Happy Joe's.  They claim to be the home of the 'taco pizza'. They invented it and now shout to the world that theirs is the best.  In my family, we like to say Zeno's Pizza, my hometown's pizza joint, has the best taco pizza.  But I digress. 

For whatever reason we love taco pizza here in the Midwest.  I'm not sure if other places around the country even eat it?  If you are one of those, you need to print off this recipe STAT.  It's a keeper.

Friday night, it was just the kids and I, and what better thing to do on a Friday night than make it homemade pizza right?  Not knowing if the kids would like this kind, I also made a much more plain version for them, although the little man was snagging the tomatoes off of my slice.

We all know pizza isn't the healthiest dinner option, but by god, it is usually the tastiest! You need have to top this pizza right at the end with crushed Doritos.  It just adds a cheesy, crunchy goodness. If you love Mexican food and love pizza, we'll it's a no-brainer that you'll love this version.

nacho taco pizza (

Nacho Taco Pizza

1 pre-made pizza crust or homemade dough
1/2 c. taco sauce
1/3 c. refried beans
1/2 lb. taco seasoned ground beef
1 tomato, finely chopped
2 c. shredded iceburg lettuce
2 c. shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheese
1 c. crushed Nacho flavored Doritos

1.  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
2.  Using a baking stone or baking sheet assemble the pizza as follows: crust, refried beans, taco sauce, ground beef and cheese.
3.  Bake the pizza for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.
4.  Immediately top with shredded lettuce, tomatoes and crushed Doritos.
5.  Serve warm.

Then dig in.  It's messy.  Have a fork in hand to gobble up all the toppings that will inevitably fall back onto your plate.

Or lap.

Who likes un-traditional pizza like this?

nacho taco pizza (

Friday, April 27, 2012

Parmesan Potatoes Au Gratin

These crispy, creamy, drool-worthy potatoes need to be on your table.  I found this recipe in my Taste of Home magazine last month and anytime I see a recipe with 7 ingredients or less, I'm game.  And three of those ingredients are seasonings.  I adapted it a little to our tastes and it came out great.

Technically this dish has potatoes, cheese and whipping cream.  That is it.

If the whipping cream thought has your pants tightening already, calm down, it's okay, you'll be fine.  It only requires 2 cups and it's not like you are drinking the stuff straight from the carton.  In my opinion a little good, full-fat dairy, won't kill ya.

Parmesan Potatoes Au Gratin
2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 T. fresh thyme or 1 t. dried thyme
1/2 t. salt
1 t. pepper
2 lbs. potatoes, very thinly sliced
2 c. heavy whipping cream

Combine first four ingredients.  In a 8x8 greased baking dish, layer a third of the potatoes and 2/3 cup cheese mixture, then repeat the layers.  Pour whipping cream over the top and sprinkle with the remaining cheese mixture.

Cover and bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes.  Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees.  Uncover; bake an additional 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown.  Remove from oven and allow to cool/stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Please excuse our mess.

And the tangle of electrical cords I see jumping out to me in these pictures.

The other night the husband and I sat on the couch and watched the kids pull every-single-toy out of the toy box in our family room.  The husband was having heart palpitations just watching the mess unfold, and shockingly it wasn't bothering me, as they were entertained with it for a full hour and it allowed us to have a conversation while they were busy.

It's amazing what treasures they were excited about after digging and finding toys they hadn't seen in months.

Note to all friends and family.  Please no more toys.  We are overloaded.  We live in a small house and we just don't have the space.  I think these pictures are evident of that.  Sorry, if that sounds mean, but we'd much rather get clothes or books.  Those things I can handle!

Any other mothers out there feel that way?  Too much stuff just stressed me out.

Towards the end of this adventure the Little Miss went ass-over-apple-cart into the toy box.  We thought it was absolutely hilarious.

She didn't.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wednesday Wishes

There are just some days you wish for things.  More time at home, more time with your kids, more time with your husband, more time by yourself.

Days that someone will cook, clean and do EVERYTHING for you and you can sit on the deck all day, in the sun, with a drink in one hand and a good book in the other.

And not be interrupted.

I do not think it is selfish for us women to think this way every once in awhile.  We are all human and we are all entitled to a little time off.

While I'm sitting on the deck, drinking and reading, I want this sandwich served to me.

Monte Cristo Sandwich - A Lovin' Forkful
And then later, once my drinks are drunk, I'm fried to a crisp and my book is finished.  I'll be served this ice cream.

On a silver platter.

Salted Caramel Ice Cream - One Lovely Life
What is your Wednesday Wish???

Monday, April 23, 2012

Strawberry Slab Pie

I love making this dessert, it is essentially pie in bar form!  The simple icing puts it over the top.

Oh lordy, look at these.  By far one of the best desserts I've made this year.  A couple of weeks ago, strawberries were on sale (still not quite here in season in Iowa), but I got them nonetheless.  The little man just finished the last few for breakfast this morning, so now we are fresh out.

One that note - I cannot get the little miss to eat fruit.  I'm losing sleep over this.  We are huge fruit eaters in this house and she just spits most of it out (minus bananas and oranges). Tips anyone???  I just keep putting it on her plate, every meal, in the hopes she'll finally get it.

Back to these bars.  Ever go to an event and have to choose between cake or pie?  Well, if they were serving these, you could have both.  The flaky crust and fruit filling reminds you of pie, but the icing makes you think cake.


I took a plate of these to work and some to daycare.  There was no way I was leaving a 15x10x1 pan of these in my kitchen, as the husband and I wouldn't have been seen for days and our kids would be running rampid with no supervision.

You lose all brain cells while eating these.  

No joke.

Strawberry Slab Pie

*Feel free to substitute any fresh fruit in this pie (apples, blueberries, rhubarb, etc.)
3 1/4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 t. salt
1 c. butter
3/4 c. 2% milk, plus 1-2 T.
1 egg yolk
2 c. sugar
1/3 c. cornstarch
8 c. fresh strawberries, sliced

Vanilla Icing
1 1/4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 t. almond extract
5-6 T. 2% milk

In a large bowl, combine flour and salt, cut in butter until crumbly.  Whisk 3/4 cup milk and egg yolk; gradually add to flour mixture, until dough forms a ball.  Divide dough in half so that one portion is slightly larger than the other, wrap in plastic wrap, store in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Roll out larger portion of dough on a heavily floured surface into a rectangle to fit the bottom of the 15x10x1 jelly roll pan.  Transfer to pan.

In a large bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch and berries, toss to coat.  Spoon onto pastry.

Roll out remaining dough; place over filling.  Fold over edges and sides to seal.  Prick top of pastry with fork.  Bake at 375 degrees for 45-55 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool completely.

For icing, combine powdered sugar, vanilla, almond extract and enough milk to achieve a drizzling consistency; drizzle over pie.  Cut into squares.

*If using frozen berries, thaw, and drain the excess liquid*

 Now, who would like a piece of pie?

strawberry slab pie (

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Where's the Crust? Pizza

This recipe goes way back to my early blogging days.  
With over 50K page views, I'm guessing you like different ways to eat pizza!  
This one sure is unique.

where's the crust pizza (

As my husband would say, while rolling his eyes, "you could eat pizza everyday".  Yep, he's right, and I'm not ashamed of it.  A big thanks to whoever made it so popular here in the United States. You have given me many, many meals.

This pizza is low-carb and gluten free.  I do not strive to eat things low-carb, but this dish falls into that category, so for those of you that do eat that way - here is one for you!  I saw this over on The Plain Chicken, who always has yummy dishes, so I knew I needed to try.

The crust is made from cream cheese, Parmesan cheese and eggs.  Weird?  Maybe a little, but shockingly it works.  After you bake the crust, it will look like this:

where's the crust pizza (

You could say this dish is more like a casserole, or some classic comfort food, but either way it is pretty good and will for sure be making the rotation in our pizza nights, when I'm too lazy to make my own dough.

Which isn't very often, as I love homemade dough, but there are days when the kids are crazy, I'm short on time and trying to get in a drink of water between diapers, snacks and cleaning up spills is my priority.  Mothers of young know what I mean.

where's the crust pizza (

Where's the Crust? Pizza

1 (8 oz) package of full fat cream cheese, room temperature
2 eggs
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup pizza sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
toppings - pepperoni, ham, sausage, mushrooms, peppers, etc.
Garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350.

Lightly spay a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. With a handheld mixer, mix cream cheese, eggs, pepper, garlic powder and Parmesan cheese until combined. Spread into baking dish. Bake for 12-15 minutes, our until golden brown. Allow crust to cool for 10 minutes.

Spread pizza sauce on crust. Top with cheese and toppings. Sprinkle pizza with garlic powder. Bake 8-10 minutes, until cheese is melted.

I turned the oven to broil for a few minutes at the end, just to get it extra crispy.

The little man LOVED this pizza, and asked for more the next day for lunch, when of course it had all been eaten.  

He takes after his mother.

where's the crust pizza (

Thursday, April 19, 2012

My Mom's Potato Salad {kind-of}

If you want a dish to feed a crowd, and have the crowd be happy with it, this is the dish.  My brother and I both have summer birthdays and our #1 request for our birthday meal (when we are home) is burgers on the grill, baked beans and my mom's potato salad.

And birthday cake of course.  But that is another post.

We had company this past weekend I recreated that meal.  The weather was decent and I needed to feed a crowd.  I changed up the original ingredients just a tad to make the dish gluten free for my mother-in-law.  And honestly, it tasted exactly the same.

The longer this potato salad sits (in the fridge of course) the better the taste gets.  The next morning the husband had another helping around 10:30, as he just "couldn't wait" until lunch.  The day after that I had some leftovers and he frowned at me, like all the leftovers should have been solely designated towards him. 


My Mom's Potato Salad
6-8 good sized potatoes
7 eggs
1/2 onion, diced
2 T. vinegar
2 T. sugar
3 c. mayo {Hellmans}
1/4 c. mustard
dash of hot sauce
1/2 c. chopped dill pickles

In a large pot, place peeled potatoes and eggs, cover with water and bring to a boil.  Boil until potatoes are fork tender and eggs hard-boiled.  Around 25-30 minutes.  Drain in a colander and allow to cool.

Meanwhile mix together all ingredients for the dressing (mayo, mustard, vinegar, sugar, hot sauce, pickles).  Add seasonings to taste, about 1/2 t. each, more if it needs it.

When potatoes and eggs have cooled, dice and place in a large bowl.  Add in dressing and toss to combine.  Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.  Top with more paprika and parsley.  Chill overnight or for at least 4 hours.

Now, I expect all my readers to make this dish sometime this summer.  You have to.  I'll be asking.  People will love ya!

So, either last week or over this past weekend I noticed my page views had reached over 1/2 million readers.  One half a million.  That is just unbelievable to me.  I'm not one to 'check the stats' often, but when I noticed that milestone I smiled.

Kind of crazy to think that a little idea back in December of 2009, has come to this.

Thank you.  You know who you are.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Peanut Butter 'n Fluff Brownies

We ate well at our house over the weekend.  When family comes to town, don't you just tend to make more and more delicious things?  We did.

Including these brownies.  So, so simple.  While cruising the grocery store on Friday (with two kids, mind you) I came across marshmallow fluff on sale.  Now, I rarely buy the stuff unless I'm baking my s'mores bars, but when they have two ginormous jars on sale for 2/$1.00, I couldn't pass it up.

I knew I needed a dessert for company and was thinking brownies.  Then I was thinking brownies with fluff mixed in.  Then I was thinking peanut butter.

Then I fell into a sugar induced brownie thinking coma.

Finally I dreamt up these Peanut Butter 'n Fluff Brownies.  Short on time?  These are for you.  All it requires is your favorite, quality brownie mix, peanut butter and a jar of fluff.

Peanut Butter 'n Fluff Brownies
1 boxed brownie mix
1 large jar marshmallow fluff
1 c. peanut butter

Cook brownies according to package directions, in an 8x8 baking pan.  When cooled, mix together fluff and peanut butter, stirring until swirled together.  Frost onto the brownies.

Keep covered and store in a cool place (fluff has a tendency to slowly melt) or in the fridge if desired.  We kept ours on the counter and only in the morning did I notice the fluff starting to ooze down the brownies.

But, guess what?  That didn't hinder the taste or stop us from eating them!

Try these soon.  You will not be disappointed.  That is unless you do not like marshmallows or fluff.  But, who would that be?

Sunday, April 15, 2012


My Saturday night started out like this.  Bellied up to the bar at Graze, sipping a blueberry martini.  If you know me, not my usual Saturday night.

But, gosh sometimes you just need a change of scenery.

With the in-laws in town, a girlfriend and I headed to Iowa City for a much needed night out (and by night out, I mean home by 9:30 p.m.).  Hell-raisers, I tell ya.  I never, ever drink martinis, usually just a beer or wine girl, but I was feeling frisky.  Quite possibly one of the best $9 drinks I've ever had.

After walking around a bit, we landed at Givanni's, devouring this plate of crostini.  We both agreed, we could eat this all night, every night and maybe for our very last meal.  It was that good.  Crispy bread, buffalo mozzarella, roasted tomatoes, basil, pesto and a balsamic glaze.

I definitely need to recreate it.

What's best about many of the restaurants downtown is they make a promise to use as much local and fresh meat and produce as they can.  You can honestly taste the quality.  I wish more restaurants did this.

This lasagna was out of this world.  And huge.  Filled with homemade sausage, ricotta, spinach and love, it was wonderful.  This kiddos ate my leftovers the next day for lunch.  Sadly, I got none.

The rest of our evening including a 40 minute scenic tour of a parking ramp.  We got lost.  Could not find my car ANYWHERE.  After two trips from the 4th floor down and back up, we realized....

We were in the wrong ramp.

Genius.  Once we got to the right ramp, there was my car smiling at me.

Happy Sunday!  We are off to church, then a day of relaxing.  Stay tuned for homemade potato salad, peanut butter fluff brownies and a very, very unique style of pizza.

Good eats!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Doing It All, Accomplishing Nothing

I recently came across an article talking about the influx of Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Blogs and social media all the like.  It can be overwhelming.

I have accounts with all of them.  I check all of them daily.  I see what moms are creating homemade dishes daily, crafting homemade versions of store bought items for their children all with a smile on their face and a clean, ironed shirt to match.

We all know this isn't reality.

Many nights I am lucky to get dinner on the table in an orderly fashion and bathe my children before landing in a giant heap on the couch by 8 p.m.  But, I feel I deserve those nights, because some days I am really on top of it.  We will accomplish more before noon than most college students who are just waking up.  I will have dinner prepped before lunch is even a thought and the kids will be happily playing outside with me watching them from the kitchen window.

The point is - we all have our days.  Good and bad.  What posts you see on Facebook and what new DIY project you see on Pinterest, really doesn't matter in the end.  Our kids don't care.  They don't care if Mommy has on a clean shirt or has showered for the day.  They just care if they get a big hug and a kiss.

Yes, I blog a few times a week.  I cook a LOT from scratch because I feel it is important.  I tackle DIY projects.  Some are a hit, some fail.  Yes, I try and be a happy homemaker when I'm not working part-time.

But, I often fail.  Just like you.  Don't think because I have a blog with faithful readers that I'm perfect.  Far from it actually.

We as moms often give each other enough guilt, it's crushing.  In the end our kids are just happy to be with us.  As the husband often says "Just sit down, relax."  I need to listen to him more. 

Don't get me wrong, I still check all my social media "accounts", but I am going to try and not give myself such guilt over it.  My kids don't give a lick about the latest food trend, homemade oven cleaner or newest craft project. 

I'll tackle them in due time.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Girl's Night Out in Flowers

The following post is from guest reader Patricia Hall, who comes all the way from London.  Yes, I have readers from everywhere!  Enjoy this post about hosting a girl's night with food, drinks and flowers!  It's gotten me excited about hosting a summer party with my girls:)

The air is warm and soft, the trees are budding, and the delicate perfume of flowers floats through the air. It seems as though winter is finally over and the earth has begun to thaw. What better way to celebrate the advent of spring by taking advantage of the beautiful weather and hosting a girls' night in your home garden? Imagine: a blooming garden, a sunset, a pitcher of flower-inspired drinks, and a table adorned with spring appetizers and gorgeous flower displays. With only a little effort, even the busiest women can host a girls' night out in flowers.

Catering Your Own Garden-Inspired Girls' Night Out

The possibilities are endless when it comes to deciding what kinds of appetizers, dinner treats, and cocktails to serve at your garden-style girls' night out. You can choose among the many vegetables and fruits coming into season, such as strawberries, apricots, fiddle heads, peas, or asparagus, among others. Each fruit and vegetable lends a distinctive flavor to your desired appetizers. To make a truly exquisite appetizer arrangement, however, consider impressing your friends with divine dinner treats and cocktails accented with flowers, such as the options below. To simplify your shopping trip and improve the taste of your dinner treats, order flowers online to find the best prices and highest quality.

Flower Appetizer: Roasted Sunflowers with Ricotta and Herbs

This dish is healthy and delicious, as well as a beautiful dish. Simply remove the stems from four sunflowers, toss them gently with a cup of dry white wine, a half cup lemon juice, and a half cup olive oil. Sprinkle them with sea salt, white pepper, parsley, thyme, and basil. Fill them with ricotta mixed with lemon juice and herbs. Sprinkle a liberal amount of bread crumbs on top, and roast them in the oven at 450 degrees for 7-10 minutes, or until the bread crumbs are browned. Garnish with sunflower petals and serve.

Flower Drink: Rose Mojito

Rose Mojito
A refreshing cocktail for hot afternoons, your guests will love the Rose Mojito. To prepare, fill two glasses with crushed ice and muddle in several stems of mint, slices of lime, and rose petals. Combine 1 ounces of rum, 1.5 ounces of rose water, and 1 ounce of fresh lime juice in a shaker and shake for at least 10 seconds. Strain the mixture into the glasses and top with club soda. Garnish with a rose petal.

Flower Drink: Wild Hibiscus Margarita

Wild Hibiscus Margarita

This classic Mexican cocktail takes its inspirations from the garden for a unique and sweet-tasting combination. Fill four glasses with crushed ice. Combine 1 cup of silver tequila, 1 cup of fresh lime juice, and a quarter of a cup of hibiscus syrup in a cocktail shaker. Strain the mixture into the ice-filled glasses. Garnish with hibiscus flowers, and enjoy!

The Elegant Touches: Floral Decorations and Party Favors

What would a garden-inspired girls' night out be without garden-inspired decor? Set a playful mood to your party by arranging flowery decor in your garden for your guests to enjoy throughout the evening, and surprise them before they leave with flower-inspired party gifts. If you're pressed for time, you may opt to order flower arrangements online or purchase gifts online, so that both the decor and gifts come ready-made straight to your door. If you're feeling creative, however, you may want to consider picking your own flowers and then taking the additional time to turn them into something unique to you and your guests. Below are some suggested ideas to get you started.

Floral Decorations: A Little Goes A Long Way

Anything can serve as a vase to hold your flowers, but what you choose depends on your budget, what you have readily available, and the sort of mood you want to set. For example, paint recycled cans your favorite color and fill them with daisies or daffodils for a playful, country-style floral arrangement. If your tastes lean towards classic feminine options, fill glass vases with roses or tulips. Remember that certain color flowers have certain connotations; For example, red roses imply romance, whereas yellow roses imply friendship.

4th of July Daisies


Before They Go, Treat Your Guests With Floral Gifts

Guarantee that your girls' night out will be an evening your guests won't be able to forget by giving your friends something to take home with them. The possibilities are many: if your friends are interested in crafting and gardening, for example, give them flower seeds or starter plants to put in their own gardens. If your friends are interested in fashion, give them necklaces adorned with glass flowers or fabric flowers to wear in their hair. Consider including with each gift a small bouquet of flowers and a handwritten note from you, thanking them for joining you in a truly special evening.

Floral Parting Gift

About the Author

Patricia Hall works part-time for an online florist in the uk and loves to surround herself with flowers at any given point of time. Even in her free time she loves to involve herself with everything flora and fauna.

'To me there is nothing more beautiful and global as the language of flowers - it is the easiest to understand all around the world in the same way. That is one reason why I truly admire flowers for what they represent in some ways - unity of all mankind!'

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Lady's Cheesy Mac

My kid's keep tabs on all of our neighbors.  The Little Man promptly tells me when "Scottie" is home, when "Joe" is leaving for work and when people are walking their dogs, moving their lawn or just driving by in a large truck.

Someday he might be the head of the Neighborhood Watch Committee.  He's that good.

This was yesterday as the husband was mowing the lawn and they were ubber-interested.  To the point where when he started the backyard, we had to go sit on the deck and "watch" Daddy.  Have you ever watched someone mow the lawn?  It's rather boring.

And don't you wish adult women looked that cute in spandex leggings???  She teeters around like she owns the place.

She kinda does.

While the lawn was getting cut, this was baking in the oven.  My new favorite and EASY mac-n-cheese.  I used to go through all the fuss of making a roux, hyperventilating that the flour got cooked out, and then sometimes having a dish that tasted, well, not so tasty.

And then Paula showed me hers.

It doesn't require a roux and is super simple.  As you can see I mixed and matched a few different noodles I needed to use up, but she didn't mind.  She's forgiving.

The Lady's Cheesy Mac
2 c. elbow macaroni
2 c. grated cheddar cheese
1/2 c. grated Asiago cheese
4 T. butter, melted
2 eggs
1 c. whole milk or evaporated milk
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish.  In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil, cook pasta until al dente.  Drain pasta and mix with cheeses and butter to combine.

In a medium bowl, combine remaining ingredients and pour into noodle mixture, stir well.  Pour into baking dish.  Bake 30 minutes, topping with more cheese if desired last 5 minutes of baking.  Serve hot.

See that ooey, gooey goodness?  I served it up with some baked chicken and a simple lettuce salad.  Easy Sunday meal.

I almost forgot!  The winner of my Michael Pollan: Food Rules book giveaway is...

My food rule...Keep an open mind and try at least one bite.
Tess - email me and I'll get your book shipped out this week.  Happy reading!  Didn't win?  Well, did you enter?  Can't miss out on these giveaways folks!
Have a great Monday!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Iceberg Wedges with Homemade Ranch Dressing

Did you enter my giveaway yet?  There is still time!  I will be choosing a winner on Sunday.  Click here for a chance to win!

So, in my opinion, there is nothing better than a cold, crisp salad when the weather starts getting warm.  I know, I know, iceberg lettuce isn't exactly raining in the nutrients when compared with other types of lettuce, but I still love it.

And what makes this dish even better is the dressing.  Homemade dressing.  I am not above eating store bought dressing or dressing made out of a mix, but gosh, once I made it this way, I may just never go back.

Don't be chinsey, with this dressing either.  It needs to seep into all the crevices of the wedge.  Nothing is worse than a salad with no flavor.

Or a salad without crisp, crumbled bacon.

Don't forget the bacon.

Homemade Ranch Dressing
*Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
1/4 t. salt
1 garlic clove, minced
1 c. mayo
1/2 c. sour cream
1/4 to 1/2 c. buttermilk (depending on how thin/thick you like it)
1/4 c. chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 T. chopped fresh chives
2 T. chopped fresh dill
1/2 t. vinegar
1/2 t. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 t. paprika
1/2 t. black pepper
dash of hot sauce (optional)

Add all ingredients into a bowl and mix.  Stirring gently, adjusting the seasonings as needed.  Chill for at least 2 hours before serving, thinning with buttermilk if needed.

Oh my gosh, who doesn't want to dig right into this?

Don't forget enter my giveaway here!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Michael Pollan: Food Rules, Book Giveaway

I first read Michael Pollan's book Food Rules last summer after he appeared on Oprah, and after I watched the documentary Food, Inc. on public television.  Both opened my eyes to what my family is eating and/or not eating.

I did a little shopping at Barnes & Noble yesterday and picked up these two copies.  Yes, I've already read Food Rules, but I have yet to read In Defense of Food.  Reading about where our food comes from along with what food we are eating that really isn't "food", just fascinates me.

I'm a dork.

But, hey, at least I'm knowledgeable about our food system.

This book is an easy, quick read that is short, simple and to the point.  Here are a few "rules" he gives out:

"Don't eat anything your grandmother wouldn't recognize as food"

"Don't eat anything with more than 5 ingredients, or ingredients you can't pronounce"

"Don't buy food where you buy your gasoline"

"Eat meals together, at normal times"

Who wants a chance to win a copy of Food Rules?  I am not being sponsored by Pollan, nor the publisher, I am just being generous.

Each comment, will be a separate entry:
*U.S. residents only*
  • Tell me your favorite 'food rule'.
  • Follow Ally's Sweet & Savory Eats on Facebook.
  • Follow Ally's Sweet & Savory Eats on Twitter.
  • Follow me on Pinterest.
I will choose a random winner on Sunday, April 8th.  Think of this as my Easter gift to you!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Chili Lime Chicken Burgers

Yesterday was April 1st and I'm still not accustomed to this warm weather we've been having.  Usually April 1st still means spring jackets and rain.  This year has been the exception.  The kids and I were in shorts, t-shirts and sunscreen yesterday.

And sweat.

Did I mention sweat?  

After pulling a 35 lb. toddler and a 23 lb. one year old in a (let's say 30 lb.) wagon for an hour walk in unseasonably warm weather, it's no wonder I was sweating.  But, it was all in good fun.  Little Miss is usually nodding off by the time we get back and they both take good, extra long afternoon naps.

Just in time for me to dig into my stash of gossip magazines, catch up on Real Housewives of "somewhere", oh, and make these burgers.

Nothing says warm weather like firing up the grill.  I usually hand-off all grilling to the husband, but since he was busy mowing the lawn I took over.  And I will say, these turned out pretty darn good.

I bought a TON of fresh herbs at the grocery store Friday night and it is my mission to use them up in a variety of meals.  The flavor of fresh herbs really does bring out the taste in most meals.  Do you use fresh herbs?

I will admit, I have never, ever made a chicken burger.  But, I love chicken and I love grilling, so I figured I will probably love this burger.

I knew myself pretty well.

Chili Lime Chicken Burgers
*makes 4 burgers
1 lb. ground chicken
1/2 red pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, grated or minced
2 T. fresh cilantro
2 T. green onion
1/2 c. freshly grated Asiago cheese
juice of 1 lime
1 t. red pepper chili flakes
1 t. onion powder
1 t. pepper
pepper jack cheese

Mix all ingredients together and form into 4 patties.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, taking out 10 minutes before grilling.  Grill 7 minutes a side or until charred and cooked through.  When close to done, layer on pepper jack cheese to melt.

Serve on your favorite bun and with your favorite dipping sauce.  Mine being a homemade ranch (recipe to come!).

Guess what?  Tomorrow I'm taking a day-to-my-self.  Did you hear that?  No kids, no work, no responsibilities, other than meeting a girlfriend for lunch and a little shopping.

I haven't done this in ages.  It's hard when you have two little ones.

I'm actually a little gitty about it.