Thursday, December 30, 2010

Gowalla Taste of Lakewood

Are you on Gowalla yet?  It's like Foursquare but a little bit cooler!  What I like about it is that you can create trips.  There are trips for all kinds of things...Disney, Pub Crawls and Foodie Adventures.

iKeith and I sat down one day and made up a trip for our little suburb.  Lakewood Colorado!

The Yard House
TOTTS (Talk of The Thai)
Jose O'Shea
240 Union
Little India (best Indian)
Twisters (best Fast Food)
Lakewood Grill
Szechuan Chinese (best Chinese)
Westwood Grill (best Huevos Rancheros)
Taste of Denmark 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Yorkshire Pudding Popovers

These popovers were light, fluffy and the perfect mate to the Prime Rib! I fell in love with them and I'm trying to think of other things to make them with.

Yorkshire Pudding Popovers
adapted from Steamy Kitchen and Cooks Illustrated

3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups milk, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon table salt (1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt)
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
3 tablespoons beef fat (from your Prime Rib Roast or bacon grease)

1. In large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and salt. Sift in the flour in three stages, each time whisking until flour disappears before adding in more flour. Let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes and up to 3 hours.

2. When the prime rib roast is finished, spoon out 3 tablespoons of beef fat. Turn oven to 450F.

3. Stir 1 tablespoon of the beef fat into the batter.

4. In a muffin pan, fill each cup with 1/2 teaspoon of the remaining beef fat. When oven has reached temperature, place muffin pan with fat into oven for 3 minutes until smoking hot.

5. Carefully take out pan (careful! it's hot!) and pour batter into each cup, filling to 2/3 full. Immediately return to oven and bake for 20 minutes. Do not open oven door during baking, or the Yorkshire Puddings will collapse. Reduce heat to 350F and bake an additional 10 minutes until golden brown.

6. Remove from oven, pierce each Yorkshire Pudding with toothpick to allow steam to escape and prevent them from collapsing.

Carmelized Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Bacon

I was in such a rush to get dinner on the table Christmas Day that I didn't take pictures of any of the food.  Food Blogger FAIL!  But you wasn't my fault.  My cooking partner...misjudged what time he needed to start the meat...and it put us very behind schedule.

I think I know why Martha divorced her husband.  I think they prepared Christmas Dinner together!

Just kidding. 

These Brussels Sprouts are delightful. Fresh, sweet and bacony. Is bacony a word? I love things that are bacony. Bacon could be one of my favorite foods.

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Bacon
adapted from Food Network

6 cups water
2 pounds fresh Brussels sprouts
5 pieces bacon, minced
1 red onion, medium dice
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup fresh or dried cranberries
Freshly ground black pepper

In a large pot, over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Salt the water and add the Brussels sprouts. Cook the sprouts until almost done, about 8 to 10 minutes.

In the meantime, in a saucepan over medium heat fry the bacon until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove bacon from the pan to a plate lined with a paper towel. Crumble the bacon and set aside.

Leave the bacon fat in the pan and add the red onions and 3 tablespoons of the butter. Saute until the onions are translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the red wine vinegar and brown sugar and cook until the liquid is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.

Drain the Brussels sprouts from water and add to pan with the onions. Stir to coat and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Stir in the reserved bacon and cranberries. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste, and transfer to a serving bowl to serve.

Christmas 2010 Appetizers

Cream Cheese Roll Ups

2 jars Hormel dried beef (found in canned meat section)
1 8 oz tub WHIPPED cream cheese
1 can diced green chilies

Mix cream cheese and chilies together.  Spread into piece of dried beef and roll up! Chill for at least 3 hours. These can be made 2 days ahead of time.

Blue Cheese Dip

2/3 cup sour cream (can be fat free)
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

Whisk sour cream, blue cheese, vinegar and cayenne in a small bowl.  Chill for 2 hours before serving. Serve with cut veggies and can also be used to dip hot wings.

Rheinlander, Steve's and Marczyk's OH MY!

We were so excited to be back in Denver for Christmas this year!  Not just because this place is home to us but because of all the great food choices.  We had a lot of help making our Christmas great and I can't wait to tell you about them.

But first....our Christmas Menu (recipes will be attached later)

2010 Christmas Menu

Pickled Herring (from Marczyks Fine Food)

Smoked Prime Rib (from Marczyk's)
Dirty Rice with Elk Italian Sausage

Snowman Cake (from Rheinlander's German Bakery)

We were really excited to visit a bakery that we'd found right before moving to Utah in 2006. It's located in Old Town Arvada and has the most delicious cookies and treats. They have something for everyone...sugar free, gluten free and coffee and cookies. Their service is amazing! We were walking around looking at everything and one of the employees asked if she could get me a cup of coffee while we looked. LOVED THAT! iKeith really wanted a Yule Log but the kids fell in love with a Frosty cake. So we got both!

 While we were in Old Town Arvada we discovered a little gem called Steve's Meat Market.  It's right next to the bakery and it has some really special items. This is not your average meat store....they specialize in processing wild game but they also have some items available to purchase that are made from Elk and Buffalo meat.  We selected Elk Italian Sausage and Summer Sausage (this went great with the cheese we picked up at Marczyk's).  We were incredibly impressed with both and can't wait to get our hands on more! They also sell Exotic Jerky, Steaks, hamburger and Buffalo meat.

Marczyk's Fine Food

Our last stop was Marczyk's Fine Foods in Denver.  My brother in law Robert insisted that we had to get our Prime Rib from there and he finally wore me down and I did as he asked.  I called them up to order it and there were many choices.  I told the nice man what I was going to do to it (smoke) and how many people were coming to my house and he helped me make a decision.  Awesome customer service!

When we went in to pick up our meat...we were blown away by the beautiful store!  Not only is it pretty...but they pack a lot of great stuff inside and many items for the home cook that wants the best ingredients. There was a really nice man giving cheese samples that were to die for!  I loved them all....but we really wanted something to go with the Elk Summer Sausage we'd bought and he helped us pick out 4 great choices. Manchego, L'Edel de Cleron, Stilton Colston and Prima Donna.  GREAT customer service! We also found Pickled Herring which made my husband's Christmas complete!  And it was really good.

Can you believe that I didn't get a picture of our beautiful Prime Rib?  We were so excited to eat it that we didn't snap a pic.  Next time....

Monday, November 22, 2010

Appetizer Spoons

I think I've just found my new obsession!

Appetizer Spoons and Amuse-Bouche!

It all started with these super cute spoons on a bambo tray from West Elm.

I also like these Trudeau Novella Spoons from Amazon.

I really like the look of these Windermere metal spoons with the curved handle from Gourmet Settings.

And then I saw these adorable stainless steel spoons from Crate and Barrel and I fell in LOVE!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Chocolate Cream Cheese Pie

Love the Pie

When I saw that Tidymom was having a Pie Party, I knew that I had to participate...and I knew the pie I needed to make is the one that's been on my mind for more than 16 years. 

When I was growing up my Dad got his pilot's license and many of his practice flights took him to the Cheyenne Airport. There was a little restaurant a few blocks away called The Owl Inn that had the most amazing Chocolate Cream Cheese Pie.

The last time I had a slice was in 1994.   I really, really miss that pie!

I decided that I'm accomplished enough in the kitchen now to figure out how to make it....or at least come close.  I came extremely close!  One bite and I was 14 years old again!

I am not good at pie's a skill I need to work on so I just use Pillsbury unbaked pie crust and bake it myself. Easy Peasy!

Chocolate Cream Cheese Pie
inspired by The Owl Inn

  • Pie Crust, purchased or homemade 

  • 2 8oz blocks of Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 container Cool Whip, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon Pure Vanilla Extract

  • 1 1/2 cups Chocolate Pudding, purchased or homemade
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips

  • 2 cups Heavy Cream
  • 1 -2 tablespoons Sugar
  • 1-2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract

Bake the crust in a 9 inch pie pan according to package directions.  Cool.

Layer 1:
Beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar in a stand mixer with the flat beater.  Once it's incorporated, add the cool whip and vanilla extract.  Put cream cheese mixture into cooled pie crust.  Chill for one hour.

Layer 2:
Apply the chocolate pudding to your cream cheese layer and then add a layer of chocolate chips.

Layer 3:
Make Whipped Cream.  Put cold heavy cream  in mixing bowl.  Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract per cup of cream, and 1 to 2 tablespoons of sugar  Adjust to taste. With an electric hand mixer or a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat cream.  Start slowly -- if you set it on high at first, you'll have cream all over the place. Set the mixer so it goes as fast as possible without splashing.

As the cream thickens, turn the speed up. As it gets foamier, start checking for a soft peak, which is what you want. The peak should bend over at the top when you remove the whisk.

Add the whipped cream to the top of your pie.  Chill for another hour before serving. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Coffee Talk: The Press Coffee Company

My little boy doesn't like the Library so we like to go on adventure walks.  We've recently become addicted to letterboxing so a nice hot chocolate and a coffee are a welcome treat.  Unfortunately...on this day, it was only 50 degrees in Colorado and our walk ended early so we headed over to Belmar Shopping Center to The Press Coffee Company.

On the menu:

  • Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie
  • Hot Chocolate with Whip Cream
  • Drip Coffee

The cookie was a hit and the Hot Chocolate was delicious!  The Press is one of my favorite places to get coffee because it is always good and piping hot.  Plus there is a lovely seating area and nice music playing.

Press Coffee on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Coffee Talk: Whole Foods

I have a passion for coffee. I like Starbucks but I also like to check out Non-Starbucks coffee shops because there is so much great coffee out there in the world. I've been visiting some local shops so I thought I'd document them here.

Good Cookie
Every week I take one of my kids on a date.   The one who is not on a date goes to spend two hours with Nana.  We've been doing it for several weeks and once the temperatures got started to include a stop at a local coffee shop.

On this outing with my daughter we had been to the Library and then we went to Whole Foods for a few groceries.  What a bonus that they have a coffee shop located right next to the bakery!

On the menu:
  •  Blueberry Fritter
  •  Chocolate Chip Cookie
  •  Hot Chocolate with Whip Cream
  • Allegro Coffee
I selected the fritter because Mallory wanted a doughnut and this was the closest thing they had to one.  Imagine that!  No doughnuts at Whole Foods.  I was skeptical about it but it was great!  In fact...Mallory took a bite and let me eat the rest.  She was very happy with the cookie.  Mallory gave the Hot Chocolate 2 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Caramel Apple Muffins

You may recall a couple weeks ago I sent Pumpkin Chocolate Chip muffins to my husband's office and his bosses wife also sent in muffins. Well....last week I decided to try again and was sure the universe wouldn't jack me around twice.

I got this recipe for Caramel Apple Muffins from my friend Sue and I thought...YES, these will be great! children did not like them. Too sticky and too sweet.

Hubby's co-workers loved them! YAY!

Caramel Apple Muffins
Adapted from Taste of Home

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup 2% milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 teaspoons Spice Islands®, All Natural, No Corn Syrup Added, Pure Vanilla Extract
1 cup chopped peeled tart apple
12 caramels, chopped

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, whisk the egg, milk, butter and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in apple and caramels.

Fill paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Combine topping ingredients; sprinkle over batter.

Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cake portion comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Serve warm. Yield: 14 muffins.

Since my kids didn't care for the sweet and sticky Caramel Muffins...I decided to try a different recipe for them. These were a hit and I discovered that I don't like nutmeg.

Apple Oatmeal Muffins

2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup uncooked quick-cooking oat
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tart cooking apples, cored,peeled,and chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Grease a 12 cup muffin tin. In a mixing bowl, lightly beat eggs; add milk and oil, stirring until just blended. Stir in flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon, mixing until only just moistened (do not overmix).Gently fold in the apples.

Spoon batter into the muffin tin, dividing evenly among the cups. Bake in a preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Cool in pan 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling. Serve warm or cool; store unused portions in an airtight container.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Lobby American Grille

 Brunch is the slutty sister of Breakfast. She wakes up late, boozes it up & slathers herself in Hollandaise. A hot mess! ~ @morocca on twitter

So this is what happened. iKeith was working very late hours and coming home well after I'd gone to bed for several days. Saturday morning, I discovered that to celebrate a job well done...the night before, he went to The Lobby with his team. I'd been wanting to go to The Lobby so we made a last minute decision I made him take me to brunch. I went to my handy yellow file folder where I keep important papers and I produced a gift certificate that I had purchased a few months ago when they were on sale for 80% off.

I didn't know anything about The Lobby American Grille when I bought the certificate but it sounded nice. This could end up being the best decision I've made since I accepted iKeith's proposal of marriage back in 2004!
The Lobby

We went to their website and made a reservation and then spent a little time looking at the brunch menu. This is when we got really excited!

We decided to start with the Glazed Doughnut French Toast for the four of us to share. We all loved the crispy sweetness of the doughnut batter and I preferred the blueberry jam as a topping. My children thought the maple syrup was the best!
Glazed Doughnut French Toast
Hubby and I were excited to find Bottomless Mimosa's on the menu and they went perfectly with everything we ordered. I recommend sharing. (The food...not the Mimosa) There are so many great choices on this menu that it will be impossible for you to make a decision.

I went with the Bacon Jalapeno Frittata...they had me at bleu cheese, which I didn't think would go very well with Jalapeno but it surprisingly does!
Bacon Jalapeno Frittata
My husband was very happy with his Poached Eggs with Blue Crab Spinach Cream Sauce and was regretting his decision to share with me. This could easily be a favorite of mine because the sauce is so delicious. iKeith wanted to lick the plate but I reminded him we were in a nice place and just because he drank 3 mimosa's did not mean he could act like a 3 year old.

Eggs with Blue Crab Spinach Cream Sauce
Our 3 and 4 year old....loved their pancakes and our waitress (Heaven) was great with them.

It had more bacon...kid couldn't wait for the picture to be taken.

The Lobby American Grille
2191 Arapahoe St
Denver, Co 80205

The Lobby American Grille on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 25, 2010

Skillet Ziti

I have a new Colorado friend and her name is Deb.  I found her on my friend Stacey's blog when she was blogging about being a neat freak.  Deb's comment made me fall in love with her because she is a lot like me.

She posted this recipe a few weeks ago and I've been very excited to try it because it seemed easy but better than just pasta and sauce.

My entire family loved this dish and it's something I could easily make for my extended family too.  Throw a salad and some garlic bread on the plate with it and it's an almost gourmet meal!

Skillet Ziti
adapted from America's Test Kitchen and Deb at Not Inadequate

1 tablespoon oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 28-ounce can water
12 ounces dried tube pasta
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk (or cream)
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese

This recipe needs to be cooked in an oven-proof skillet that is at least 11″ in diameter.

Preheat oven to 425°

To a cold skillet, add oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cook on medium about one minute, until fragrant. Then add tomatoes, 1 can of water, pasta, and salt. Turn heat up to high and bring to a simmer. 

Cover and reduce heat and continue to cook at a simmer.

Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is done. When the pasta is done, stir in milk and parmesan cheese. Top with mozzarella cheese. Transfer skillet to the oven and bake for 10 – 15 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and brown.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Until last year...I shunned all things pumpkin.  Except for pie.  I really like pumpkin pie.  I turned up my nose at pumpkin bread/cookies/muffin/cupcakes and Pumpkin Spice Lattes.

I didn't know what I was missing!

I accidentally bought some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies for my kids and my pumpkin ban was over!

Pumpkin now means tasting fall to me!  I love it!

UPDATE: I sent these muffins to my husband's office yesterday.  I really want them to like I decided if they thought his wife was a kick ass cook that would help. Turns out...the bosses wife also sent in Pumpkin Muffins.  What are the chances?  Mine disappeared...and there were still many of her's left at the end of the business.  I think I won.

Pumpkin Chocolate Muffins
A Connie Weiss original recipe!

1 2/3 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup melted butter
1 1/4 cup plain pumpkin (not pie filling)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, salt, baking powder and soda.

In another bowl, mix together butter, pumpkin, eggs and vanilla.  Add this mixture to the flour mixture and then fold in the chocolate chips.

Spoon into a lined muffin pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.  Store covered for a few days....but they won't last that long.

Menu Plan: October 18-23

I'm so glad that the temps are finally signaling that Fall is finally here! I was really happy with the One Pot Oktoberfest that I made last week. It tastes great with a nice German beer!

I'm excited to start baking! I made Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins this morning and they were delicious! Recipe will be posting later today. My daughter who is 3 years old can't wait to start helping me out in the kitchen and she wants to make a pie. A Banana Cream Pie!

Pork & Peanuts in Lettuce Cups
Leftover Fried Rice


Beef Stroganoff (kids choice)

Grilled Chicken
Spaghetti Squash

Skillet Ziti
Garlic Bread

Grilled Ribeye
Twice Baked Potatoes
Banana Cream Pie

Monday, October 11, 2010

Oktoberfest in a Pot

This dish is really good served over egg noodles. For the kids, I just gave them egg noodles with butter, and cut up a couple pieces of Brat. I didn't think I'd enjoy the sauerkraut.

One Pot Okoberfest
adapted from Whole Foods

1 tablespoon butter
1 (12-ounce) package The Original Brat Hans Original Bratwurst, cut into 2-inch chunks
11/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
2 teaspoons dried dill, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 pound fresh button mushrooms, quartered
4 tablespoons light sour cream
3 tablespoons German mustard*
1 (32-ounce) jar sauerkraut*, rinsed and drained

Melt butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup broth, 1 teaspoon dill, pepper and onion and cook until onions are softened and golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, add mushrooms and cook until they’ve released their juices, about 5 minutes more. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining 1 cup broth, sour cream and mustard. Add to pot, along with sauerkraut; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until fragrant and thickened, about 10 minutes more. Sprinkle with remaining dill and serve.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Menu Plan: October 10-16

I'm soooo excited that the temperatures have finally dropped in Denver! I spent the weekend cooking and I'm looking forward to making some muffins for the kids this week. Using my kitchen is so much more fun when I'm not sweating my $ss off.

I also discovered that my husband becomes amorous when I wear my pink and brown apron. I think I'll look for a Betty Draper style dress and see what happens.

Here's my menu for the week!

Sunday: One Pot Oktoberfest
Monday: Chicken Breast and Salad
Tuesday: Eggs and Black Beans
Wednesday: Chicken Cordon Bleu with Spagetti Squash
Thursday: Taco Meat and Refried Beans
Friday: Leftovers forgot to put them in the fridge. :(
Saturday: Ribs and Curried Lentils

 See more menu's at I'm An Organizing Junkie!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Corn Chowder with Chilies

My brother in law Andrew invited us to dinner tonight. I sent him a text message and asked if there was anything I could bring. He said yes and sent a list:

  • hamburger
  • hot dogs
  • a starch

Wow...I guess I'M buying dinner!

I sent another text and asked which members of the family were going to be attending. He told me to plan for 9 people. I then asked if he had buns? Nope.

Yesterday, Ree told me to make this fabulous chowder and since I do everything Ree tells me too....I thought it would go great with our burgers since the temps finally cooled off here in Colorado. Did you see on the news? Our mountains got their first snow of the season.

So...I whipped this up in my little apartment kitchen and I'm taking it to my in laws house. I hope they like it....I'll let you know.

By the way....I ate a whole bowl of it right after I cooked it and it's so yummy and perfect for fall.  I think I'll be making this a lot this winter.

Corn Chowder with Chilies
adapted from The Pioneer Woman

3 slices Bacon, Cut Into 1/2-inch Pieces
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 whole Yellow Onion, Diced
4 Cups Corn
1 1/2  whole Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce, Finely Diced
1 whole 4-ounce Can Diced Green Chilies
32 ounces, fluid Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1-½ cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1 ½ teaspoons Kosher Salt (more To Taste)
3 Tablespoons Corn Meal OR Masa
¼ cups Water

Add bacon pieces to a pot over medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes. Throw in diced onion and stir, cooking the onion for  4 minutes. Add butter and melt. Add corn. Stir and cook for one minute. Add both kinds of chilies and stir.

Pour in chicken broth and cream. Add salt. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low.

Combine cornmeal (or masa) with water. Stir to combine, then pour into the chowder. Cover and cook for 15 minutes over low heat. If chowder needs more thickening, add another tablespoon of cornmeal mixed with water. Cook for another ten minutes.

Serve with crusty sourdough bread or in a bread bowl with a dry Riesling.  Fabulous!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Curried Lentils

I've mad a lot of beans lately for my slow carb diet....but I hadn't tackled lentils.  I like lentil soup so I was sure I'd like them prepared any other way.  I was right!

I also love curry so I thought this would be a great way to prepare them.  Even my kids liked them....although they were not sure about them to begin with.

Curried Lentils

1 white onion, chopped
2 carrot, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 apple, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup uncooked lentils
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
4 cups water

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low/medium and cook until done, about 70 minutes. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Slow Carb Diet: Eating Out

I love to eat at restaurants! We eat out quite a bit and I was so excited the other night when we went to The Elephant Bar and I found something that I could eat on the Slow Carb Diet!

It's called the Kona BBQ combo platter! It consists of ribs, chicken and shrimp with a side of beans. It's also supposed to come with rice but I asked for extra veggies and the one's that came were so good!

Another great plus...this meal is so large that I took half of it home and ate for another meal.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Cookbook Review: The Pioneer Woman Cooks

I got this cookbook yesterday and I spent the evening and most of this morning reading it from cover to cover.

Yes, that's right.  From cover to cover.  If you aren't familiar with The Pioneer Woman...but really, who isn' should know that she is a ranchers wife living in Oklahoma with her Marlboro Man and her 4 kids.  And a bunch of cows, horses and dogs.

It's not just a's a story/picture book about her life on the ranch and the people she shares it with with recipes thrown in.  It was a joy to read! 

Her recipes are for the most part simple good food.  Nothing fancy...because she lives on a ranch!  I read some of the recipe titles out loud to my husband and we're excited to cook some of the dishes together....if we can both fit in the galley kitchen!

You'll be seeing some of her recipes here....stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Slow Carb Recipe: Ham Hock and Navy Beans

I'm trying the latest diet craze called The Slow Carb Diet. I've tried every diet known to man and I didn't want this one to be left out so I have to give it a go. So far...I haven't lost much weight, but I feel better and I'm sleeping better.

Carbs just might be evil.

My taste tester (my husband) really liked this meal and he didn't even add anything to it. I do think he missed having bread with it but he'll get used to it!

If you want to know more about the plan that I'm following, you can check out my fitness blog...Fat to Fit Mommy.

 Ham Hock and Navy Beans

4 (1/2-pound) ham hocks, scored
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup minced yellow onions
1/2 cup minced celery
1/2 cup minced green bell pepper
1/2 cup carrots, diced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 pound navy beans, rinsed, picked over, soaked overnight and drained
8 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt

In a large, heavy stockpot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the ham hocks, onions, celery, bell pepper, carrots, red pepper flakes, oregano, thyme and bay leaves, and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, and saute for 1 minute. Add the stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer covered for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Add the navy beans and stir. Continue simmering over medium-low heat for 45 minutes to one hour, or until the beans are almost cooked and ham hocks are very tender. Season with salt and continue cooking 15 to 30 minutes, until beans are done and ham hocks are beginning to fall apart.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sketch Wine Bar

I turned 40 years old on Saturday. My husband bought us tickets to the opening night performance of Dead Man's Cell Phone at the Curious Theater and when I was looking for places to grab a bite to eat beforehand...Sketch Wine Bar came up.  Located in the Baker Historic Neighborhood of Denver, Sketch is a fun little neighborhood bar with a small patio.

It sounded like the perfect place because it's a wine bar that serves cheese and sliced meats and I love cheese. When we arrived we discovered that it was happy hour and it lasted until 7pm! Awesome!

After spending 4 years in Utah behind the Zion felt naughty to sit in front of this wall of wine.  I adjusted and enjoyed discovering a new favorite wine with the help of Ben who gave me a sip of a couple choices to pick from.  I decided on Layer Cake Shiraz which seemed appropriate for my birthday and my husband tried both the red and white Sangria.  Just a note here to let you know that after the second glass of Magic husband agreed to take me to Italy.  If you want something from you husband...take him to Sketch for a couple drinks!

They have a nice little seating area but we sat a the bar.  We loved the simple lines and color scheme.  It feels classy and special without feeling stuffy.  And the staff made us feel like we were regulars.

We tried two kinds of meat.  We loved both of them...but I really liked the taste of the capers with the Caropccio of Beef. And those skinny bread sticks are a great accompaniment.

Jamon Serrano
Carpaccio of Beef*
Carpaccio of Beef
We ended up trying all of the cheeses that they had available that night and our favorites have a * next to them.  The Delice De Argental was so creamy and buttery!  I can't wait to try and it find it at one of the local cheese stores.

Manchego El Toboso from Spain
Aspen Ash Goats Milk from Longmont Co
Bleu De Lacquein from France*
Roomano Pradera from Holland
Delice De Argental from Bourgogne, France*
Lamborn Bloomers Goats Milk from Basalt Co
Sheep Riccota from California*
Vella Dry Jack from Sonoma California

Bleu Cheese

Delice De Argental

Sketch Wine Bar ended up being the perfect way to begin our evening and we wish we had a hip, neighborhood bar like this near our home.

Sketch is also open for breakfast and makes a great cup of espresso according to the tattooed woman that sat next to me at the bar that didn't know what a sister wife was.  Also, Wednesday is Wino night with Happy Hour all day long and a DJ playing at 9pm.

Sketch Wine Bar
11 W. 1st Ave
Denver, CO 80223

Sketch on Facebook
Sketch on Twitter

Sketch on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Marco's Coal Fired Pizza

On Saturday we went down to see my husband's new office and we decided to try one of the restaurants that he walks past every day.

My children love pizza so that is always one of our first choices when choosing a restaurant and we wanted to find a replacement for our favorite Utah pizza joint.

I was pleasantly surprised with Marco's Coal Fired Pizzeria.  It's not your average's gourmet with the finest ingredients. See the menu here.

I convinced my husband that we should try the Staten Island Pie...Genoa Salame, Fresh Mozzarella, Pecorino Romano and San Marzano tomato sauce.  We asked for Prosciutto to be put on it too and it was amazing! 

Coal Fire Oven
My favorite bites were one's that had a piece of fresh basil on it....and the freshly grated parmigiano and red peppers.  Perfect! 

They also brought out balls of pizza dough for the kids to play with...we appreciated this so much!

I was thrilled to see that they had Prosecco on the wine menu and the addition of this Italian sparkling wine to my meal made it feel like a party!

My husband tried the Guava Mojito and he liked how refreshing it was.  He claims he can make these at home.  I'm going to insist that he does!

Guava Mojito

They also have an adorable outdoor patio with a fire pit.  I would have loved to sit outside but it was 90 degrees and our children were already melting.

Marco's Coal Fired Pizzeria
2129 Larimer Street
Denver, CO 80205

Marco's on Twitter

Marco's Coal Fired Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Red Beans and Rice

It's been awhile since I cooked something that I absolutely loved and couldn't wait to make again. I've been trying to come up with recipes that are inexpensive to make and that will stretch into several meals. This is my new favorite!

All of the ingredients came to $11.01 and that comes $3.67 per meal. You have no idea how excited that makes me! I wish I had a picture...but we were so excited to eat that I didn't get to take one. Next time...

Red Beans and Rice
adapted from Tyler Florence

1 pound dried small red beans, picked over and rinsed.
2 smoked ham hocks
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
3 bay leaves
4 garlic cloves, chopped
Red Pepper Sauce
2 Andouille sausages, cut into 1 inch chunks
4 cups cooked white rice

Place the dried beans in a large pot and cover with water. Soak the beans overnight.

Drain the beans and return them to the pot along with the ham hocks, adding just enough water to cover (about 2 qts). Add the onion, celery, green pepper, cayenne, thyme, bay leaves, garlic and several shakes of red pepper sauce. Stir to combine and then simmer, uncovered for about 2 and a half hours. Add about a cup of water towards the end.

Mash about a cup of the beans to make the broth thicker. Toss in the sausages and cook for another 30 minutes to heat them through. Adjust the seasoning (more cayenne) if needed. Serve the red beans in a bowl with white rice, corn bread and a beer.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Feta Chicken and Zucchini

I thought it was going to rain this afternoon so I'd be safe using my oven. It didn't and now it's hot in the apartment but the dinner was soooo good! Half of my children really liked it.

Feta Chicken with Zucchini
Adapted from Real Simple Magazine

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lemon
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 medium zucchini
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup (about 2 ounces) crumbled Feta

Heat oven to 400° F. Drizzle 1/2 tablespoon of the oil in a roasting pan. Remove the zest from the lemon in thin strips. Thinly slice the lemon. Place half the slices in the pan.

Rinse the chicken and pat it dry with paper towels. Place it on top of the lemon slices and season with 1/8 teaspoon of the salt.

Slice each zucchini in half lengthwise, then slice each half into 1/4-inch-thick half-moons. In a bowl, combine the zucchini, pepper, and the remaining oil, lemon slices, and salt; toss. Spread the zucchini mixture around the chicken and sprinkle the Feta over the top.

Bake until the chicken is cooked through, 25 to 35 minutes.  Divide the chicken, zucchini mixture, and lemons among individual plates.  I served this with a side salad and a roll for the kids.

Fiber: 1.2

Menu Plan: Aug 30 to Sept 5th

Last week's menu didn't go as planned...hubby worked late a lot and I ended up ordering a pizza Friday night because I was too sick to cook. We loved the Cinnamon Bread that I made anding forward to cooler temps so we can do more baking.

What are you looking forward to making this fall?

Feta Chicken with Zucchini (from last week)

Red Beans and Rice

Grilled Chicken and Salad

Bronco Thursday
Pork Roast in Crockpot
Scalloped Potatoes

Calzones at The Calzone Factory

Spicy Pork Stir Fry with Green Beans


I'm linking up with Organizing Junkie this week...check out all the great menus!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Cantina Tacos from Taco Bell

I was so sick yesterday...

Today I didn't even want to eat but my husband suggested Taco Bell and I thought what the works for a hang over why not give it a try.

I saw that they have these new Cantina Tacos and you can get a combo to try all three kinds.

They are GREAT! It felt like I was eating something fact it's similar to something that I make for my family all the time. Plus, they give you a little wedge of lime to squeeze over your food. SO FRESH!

I just looked up the nutritional info and two out of three of these are very healthy. The one that isn't as healthy...I didn't like anyway. Skip the Carnitas one.

click on the image to see bigger

The steak one was my favorite and for 160 calories and 2.5 g of fat...I don't think you can go wrong!

*This is not an ad for Taco Bell...I just liked it and wanted to tell you about it.  Taco Bell didn't pay me  or give me free tacos. **

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Cinnamon Bread

Yesterday...I was sitting at my desk reading twitter when my new best friend Ree tweeted that she was enjoying some delicious Homemade Cinnamon Bread. Over the weekend, my new best friend Ree started following me after I made some witty commentary about her fallen tree. And because I asked her.

Ree doesn't know it yet...but we have a lot in common, but in reverse. She went from being a city girl to a country girl and I did it the other way around. I used to live in the country and deal with cows on my porch. Oh...those were the days.

It was only 56 degrees in Denver yesterday so as I scanned the list of ingredients I decided that I would also make this bread. I'm going to tell you right now that this takes all day. Dough has to rise twice. But it's worth it and it will teach your preschoolers a lesson in patience.'s not ready yet.

I had a situation where I couldn't find my rolling pin.  I believe it's packed and in the basement storage I used a can of beer from the fridge.  Sorry your beer is slippery honey!

Homemade Cinnamon Bread
adapted from Ree...The Pioneer Woman

1 cup Milk
6 Tablespoons Butter
2-½ teaspoons Active Dry Yeast
2 whole Eggs
⅓ cups Sugar
3-½ cups All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
⅓ cups Sugar
2 Tablespoons Cinnamon
Egg And Milk, Mixed Together, For Brushing
Softened Butter, For Smearing And Greasing

Melt the butter with milk. Heat until very warm, but don’t boil. Allow to cool until still warm to the touch, but not hot. Sprinkle (don't dump it in) yeast over the top, stir it gently, and allow to sit for 10 minutes.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix sugar and eggs with the paddle attachment until combined. Pour in milk/butter/yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add the salt and half of the flour and beat on medium speed until combined. Add the other half and beat until combined.

Switch to the dough hook attachment and beat/knead dough on medium speed for eight to ten minutes. If dough is too sticky, add 1/4 cup flour and beat again for 5 minutes.

Warm a metal or glass mixing bowl by running hot water into it, so it’s warm. Drizzle in a little canola oil, then toss the dough in the oil to coat. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and set it in a warm place for at least 2 hours.  Let it sit longer if you can.

Turn dough out onto the work surface. Roll into a  rectangle no wider than the loaf pan you’re going to use, and about 18 to 24 inches long. Smear with 2 tablespoons melted butter. Mix sugar and cinnamon together, then sprinkle evenly over the butter-smeared dough. Starting at the far end, roll dough toward you, keeping it tight and contained. Pinch seam to seal.

Grease a loaf pan with softened butter. Place the dough, seam down, in the pan. Cover it with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together an egg with a little milk, and brush over the top of your bread. Bake for 40 minutes on a middle/lower rack in the oven. Remove from the pan and allow bread to cool. Slice and serve with butter.