Monday Randomness: The Thing About Vacations

I am still on my social media fast for a few more days, but I thought I would share what I have been up to.

I wish I could say I accomplished lots of home DIY projects during my time off over the holidays.

But let’s be honest: all I wanted to do was eat fudge and binge watch TV in my pajamas.

At one point Joe left for a errand and when he returned at 5pm I had already put my pjs on for the evening. He said, “Isn’t a little early for those?” Don’t worry, I set him straight.

During my time off I did discover two new favorite things.

The Serial Podcast.

And the cooking show Nigellissima (found on Hulu and the Cooking Channel).

The great thing about podcasts is that I can work on cleaning out my pantry while listening which I actually did while eating fudge. 2014-12-15-serialsociallogo

Nigellissima is sorta seductive in it’s production, but I have already made her meatballs with sauce. They were divine! So I will suffer though the lounge-esqe music in order to get those low-maintenance recipes.

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I hope you had a great holiday season.

Have a great week!

Recipe Review: Sriracha Roast Chicken with Sriracha Gravy

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I came across this recipe for Sriracha Roast Chicken Recipe with Sriracha Gravy on the White on Rice blog a couple months ago and have not been able to get it out of my mind since.

I like a roast chicken and all, but the thought of brining and then basting with Sriracha sounded too good to be true.

So I decided to give it a whirl last week.

And it was DELICIOUS!!

So good, spicy, juicy, and incredibly flavorful, as a good roast chicken should be.

It was kind of a cross between BBQ chicken and buffalo chicken wings.

I made a couple adjustments to the recipe because #1 I really don’t care for cooking whole chickens #2 I can’t just leave a recipe unchanged. It’s against my creative nature.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did, and don’t skip the overnight brining step. It’s SO worth it.

Sriracha Roast Chicken with Sriracha Gravy

adapted (slightly) from White on Rice

Ingredients:

  • 4 bone-in chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar (use distilled white vinegar for gluten free)
  • 1/4 cup Sriracha (use less if you prefer less spice)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce (use Tamari for gluten free)

Gravy Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock, heated to a near simmer

Directions:

  • Rinse chicken and place in a large stock pot. Cover with a water and add salt and brown sugar. Cover and place in fridge for at least six hours or overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 425° F.
  • Remove chicken from brine and pat dry. Season the chicken with pepper.
  • Thoroughly mix the oil, ketchup, rice wine vinegar, Sriracha, brown sugar, and fish sauce in a bowl.
  • Baste the chicken with the Srirarcha mixture. Place chicken in a shallow baking dish and cover with foil.
  • Roast for 20 minutes. Remove foil and baste chicken again with sauce. Return chicken to oven, uncovered, and roast for another 25 minutes, or until juices are clear when you cut into the breast or the temperature in the thickest part of the breast reads 165°F when probed with a thermometer.
  • Remove the chicken breasts from the oven and allow to rest for at 15 minutes.
  • Pour the remaining  juices from the baking dish into a small saucepan. Add the remaining Sriracha mixture to the saucepan. Over medium/high heat, whisk in the flour. Whisk in the chicken stock and simmer until the gravy thickens, about 4 minutes.
  • Serve the chicken breasts with the Sriracha gravy.

 

  • Note: I think this recipe would also work great with boneless skinless chicken breasts, just reduce the cooking time by 5-10 minutes.

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100 Days of Real Food Cookbook Review and a Giveaway

Winner Announced: Jennifer B. you were randomly selected by random.org.

I will send you an email to get your contact information.

Thanks everyone for participating.


Well I promised a cookbook giveaway so here it is.

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I am so happy to have the opportunity to review this collection of recipes for Lisa Leake at 100 Days of Real Food.

But this is not just any cookbook; it is more like a text-book(especially if you have children) for simple clean eating.

I did not read any recipes that would be difficult for even novices.

And I will say that most of the recipes are very simple, and at least for my taste buds might require some pizzazz.

But then I am not one to stick to a recipe anyway.

Regardless, I am all for reducing processed foods and cooking from scratch.

wpid-img_20140830_133759.jpg

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I tried the recipe for cinnamon raisin bread.  And I actually made it three times. Once as the recipe was written and once substituting 3 bananas and chocolate chips for the applesauce and raisins, once as muffins.

Each time the recipe turned out well. Just be careful not to under/over bake it. I had a hard time telling when it was finished baking.

But it was definitely better tasting than this stuff.

wpid-img_20140829_192805.jpg


Okay now for the fun part.

I am giving away a copy of the cookbook this week. Winner will be chosen Thursday evening, 9/4/14.

Two ways to enter:

#leave a comment below with the best recipe you have ever made.

#share the giveaway on facebook, twitter or instagram, then leave a comment below that you did.

Feel free to enter once a day.

Thanks for reading, and thanks to 100 Days Of Read Food for sponsoring this giveaway.

100 Days of Real Food Cookbook Review and a Giveaway

Well I promised a cookbook giveaway so here it is.

wpid-img_20140827_165901.jpg

I am so happy to have the opportunity to review this collection of recipes for Lisa Leake at 100 Days of Real Food.

But this is not just any cookbook; it is more like a text-book(especially if you have children) for simple clean eating.

I did not read any recipes that would be difficult for even novices.

And I will say that most of the recipes are very simple, and at least for my taste buds might require some pizzazz.

But then I am not one to stick to a recipe anyway.

Regardless, I am all for reducing processed foods and cooking from scratch.

wpid-img_20140830_133759.jpg

wpid-img_20140830_135026.jpg

wpid-img_20140830_143659.jpg

I tried the recipe for cinnamon raisin bread.  And I actually made it three times. Once as the recipe was written and once substituting 3 bananas and chocolate chips for the applesauce and raisins, once as muffins.

Each time the recipe turned out well. Just be careful not to under/over bake it. I had a hard time telling when it was finished baking.

But it was definitely better tasting than this stuff.

wpid-img_20140829_192805.jpg


Okay now for the fun part.

I am giving away a copy of the cookbook this week. Winner will be chosen Thursday evening, 9/4/14.

Two ways to enter:

#leave a comment below with the best recipe you have ever made.

#share the giveaway on facebook, twitter or instagram, then leave a comment below that you did.

Feel free to enter once a day.

Thanks for reading, and thanks to 100 Days Of Read Food for sponsoring this giveaway.

Recipe Review: The Only Creamed Spinach Recipe You Need

I have always been a huge fan of creamed spinach.

I will also admit that my first experience tasting it was at a Boston Market.

…but the last time I ate it was at a Ruth’s Chris which keeps my foodie image intact.

I have experimented with 5+ recipes with sad results.

But I came across this recipe from Huffington Post last week, so I decided to give it one more try.

My verdict is that it’s perfection. So simple and tasty! And just dying to be included in your next steak dinner…

Or chicken dinner, or whatever floats your boat.

But I adapted a few things for ease.

Enjoy!

Simple Creamed Spinach

Simple Creamed Spinach

adapted from The Only Creamed Spinach Recipe You’ll Ever Need

serves 4

  • 1 package frozen spinach, defrosted
  • 2 Tbsp salted butter
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbs all purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • dash of salt

Once the spinach is defrosted, squeeze out the excess water from the leaves. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a medium skillet (I used a cast iron skillet). Add the garlic and onion, and cook until just soft. Add in the flour, stirring it together to form a paste. Slowly whisk in the milk and cook until thickened. Stir in the parmesan, spinach, pepper and salt.

Once the spinach is heated through, serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve. This recipe can be made 1 day in advance. Reheat uncovered for 30 minutes at 325°F.

Click HERE for the printable recipe.

 

My Christmas Menu- 2013

I am expecting that our Christmas festivities will be like last year.

We will spend Christmas Eve with my mom’s family for dinner including the flaming fire-hazard yule log, exchange gifts with my siblings and parents later in the evening, and then attend the midnight Christmas Eve service and communion at the church I grew up in.

yule log collage

Then Christmas Day, Joe and I will exchange gifts and have Christmas breakfast. I think I am going to make the cheesy bagel French toast from the new The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays cookbook.

Bagel

The kids and some of Joe’s family will come over in the afternoon to open gifts and snack on some yummy food (and maybe watch Despicable Me II if I get my way).

Our first Christmas, I planned and served a BIG meal only to find out that everyone had eaten before they came :(

So this year I am planning not to plan. That’s one of the biggest lessons I am learning as a step-parent. Be flexible. Even when it’s not fun or convenient.

Anyway, I am preparing appetizers and finger food that is easy and is mostly served room temperature ( and that will taste great as leftovers!).

Wanna know what I am making?

(Click on each photo for the full recipe)

Pineapple Shrimp Teriyaki Skewers, The Pioneer Woman
Ham and Swiss Sandwiches, Buns in my Oven
Tortellini Skewers, The Pioneer Woman
Skinny Buffalo Chicken Dip, Skinny Taste
Watermelon Pico De Gallo, The Pioneer Woman
Foodie with Family
Cinnamon-Chocolate Fudge, Giada De Laurentiis

And in case you are worried I won’t be making all of this for Christmas Day. I may take some of it to our church group party on Sunday night.

Now to just beat the crowds to the grocery store to get all the ingredients.

Merry Christmas!

Recipe Review: Nutella Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars

I don’t know about you but I keep seeing these good looking bars all over facebook and pinterest so finally I broke down and made them.

Photo Source– Money Saving Mom

And wow are they good and filling!

No Bake Nutella Bars- perfect after school snac

I made mine in a small baking dish(maybe 1 1/2 qt?) lined with parchment paper.

Once the bars were cooled, I cut them into small squares, 1 1/2 in .

And then I put them in the freezer for safe keeping until I needed a little pick-me-up snack.

They are full of good fats, protein and fiber.

And I think they would make a great after school or after workout snack.

To see the original recipe click here.

Here is the modified recipe I used.

Nutella Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars

  • 3/4 cup Nutella
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (you could also substitute butter)
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt the peanut butter, Nutella, honey, and coconut oil over medium-low heat in a saucepan on the stove.

Remove from heat once it’s melted together and add in the oats, chocolate chips, nuts, and vanilla. Stir together until the chocolate is completely melted.

Pour into a greased (or parchment lined) baking pan and cool in the fridge (for at least 3 hours).

When the mixture is hardened, cut into bars. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Enjoy.

Disclaimer: These bars are of full of ingredients that are good for you, but they are not diet food, ie don’t eat the whole panful in one sitting because then you will need to eat diet food.

Variation: Before I use oats in baking, I like to toast them (like in this recipe) on a baking sheet at 400 degree for 15 minutes . It gives the oats a little more texture and flavor.

If you like this recipe, try my butterless chocolate chip cookies.

Butterless Chocolate Chip Cookie- heart healthy

Recipe Review: Healthy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins

The Domestic Lady - pumpkin chocolate chip mini muffins

I have been on the hunt for a low cal option for a breakfast muffin.

I stumbled across this recipe from Skinny Taste the other day, and I knew this was the recipe I had been looking for.

The muffins are ultra moist, low calorie, and high in protein after I made a few changes.

One of the changes I made was using almond meal for half the flour; it is simply ground almonds which taste great and add protein.

If your local grocery store does not sell it, you can make it my simply run raw almonds through the food processor, but don’t over mix because you will end up with almond butter.

Healthy Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Mini Muffins

adapted from Skinny Taste Skinny Mini Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup almond meal (can use whole wheat flour or all purpose flour if you prefer)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 15 oz can of pure pumpkin
  • 2 tbsp virgin coconut oil (or canola)
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • baking spray
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a mini muffin tin with paper liners or spray with oil for easy removal.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, almond meal, sugar, baking soda, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, and salt with a wire whisk. Set aside.

In a large bowl mix pumpkin, oil, egg whites and vanilla; beat at medium speed until thick. Scrape down sides of the bowl.

Add flour mixture to the wet mixture, then blend at low speed until combined; do not over mix. Fold in chocolate chips.

Pour batter into prepared muffin tin and bake on the center rack for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the tins immediately.

Let them cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Makes 28 mini muffins.

Store in refrigerator.

The Domestic Lady - pumpkin chocolate chip mini muffins

http://www.notjustahousewife.net/2013/10/show-me-what-ya-got-143.html