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Please excuse the lack of photos in some of my older posts as I am trying to slowly go back through and add the photos that were accidentally deleted

October 31, 2012

October Foodie Penpals

You knew I'd be back for more Foodie Penpals, didn't you? I joined last month for the first time and knew I'd be back month after month. It's so fun shopping around for the perfect foodie items for your specific penpal! I realllllly think you wanna be a part of this.













I received my package from Colleen, who is actually vegan! She said she had fun shopping around for my items because it was a bit of a challenge since I'm a meat-loving girl lol. But she knew I liked strawberry and pineapple so went with that theme, and I'm glad she did! Plus pumpkin, which I recently discovered that I love.

 



















First of all, I have been craving fig newtons!! How did she know!?! But whenever I look at the price tag I'm not too happy. So I was wayyyy excited to get some strawberry fig newtons from her. 

















I also received an all natural snack called Strawberry Crisps, which I had never seen or heard of before. No additives or preservatives. They are freeze-dried strawberries with the water removed. They were very tart!!


















I haven't tried these Fruit Flats yet. They are strawberry fruit bars. All natural and healthy! I really need to start eating like Colleen!

 
























I also recently discovered that I dig tea. Well, some tea. Not just straight up unsweetened tea. It's gotta have some flavor to it. So to go with the pumpkin theme, she sent me some Sweet Harvest Pumpkin black tea. Pumpkin flavored tea?! I know I love my pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks so I knew I'd love this too. And the smell when I opened it... man, pure heavenly pumpkin scents embraced me! I did need to add some sugar to it though. You know me. 




















More pumpkin... I also got these salted roasted pumpkin seeds. Never had em before, but I had never been a fan of sunflower seeds growing up when all the kids were chewin and spittin em out. (ew btw, why would I want to do that with my food?!). So I was a bit hesitant about these pumpkin seeds. I dunno why though, because now I'm slightly addicted. They are just little salty bits that are perfect for snacking on. I'm snacking on them right now as we speak, actually. Wait, we aren't speaking. But you catch my drift. I've already begun looking around for recipes to use them in also. Anyone?
























Since she knew I liked pineapple, she sent me some pineapple preserves from Wegmans. I've never had pineapple preserves but it sound pretty amazing. Can't wait to try it.


























She enclosed a cute little card with a sweet message inside. 


 















And a final shot of my foodie package. Good stuff.

 




















Colleen is also from the Buffalo, NY area. I hope you are doing ok amongst the hurricane! We'll be keeping you in our thoughts. Stay safe!!!


*I sent my package to the lovely Rona. Check out her blog to see what I sent her this month!

Peace, and bacon grease!


October 25, 2012

Graham Cracker Candy {Week 5 of The 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats!}

Hi there.

Here's to Week 5 of The 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats, hosted by Brenda at Meal Planning Magic. I missed last week because I thought I had until the end of the day Saturday, but when I came to link up that evening, the linky was closed :( 

So I just pushed this post back to week 5. 

I had some graham crackers to use up after making that S'mores Fudge a couple weeks ago. So this recipe made perfect sense to make. 

I didn't use almonds, but pecans instead cuz that's what I had on hand. I only used half a cup because didn't wanna go into nut overload. I also didn't slice them... I chopped them up in the food processor. Next time I would just slice them though so they are more visible in the photo!


Graham Cracker Candy
slightly adapted from Korean American Mommy
  • 1 Cup Salted Butter plus 3 additional tablespoons of butter
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar 
  • 1/2 Cup Sliced Pecans 
  • Graham Crackers
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil so that it hangs over the edges of the pan and spray with nonstick baking spray. Arrange graham crackers to fit the entire baking sheet.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter on medium-high heat and add the brown sugar. Stir and bring to a boil. Continue stirring until the sugar dissolves and the consistency turns into caramel.

Lower the heat to medium-low, stir in sliced pecans, and cook for a minute stirring constantly. Turn off heat and evenly spread the mixture onto the graham crackers. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before breaking apart.

Store in an air tight container.



This stuff is so good. Kinda reminds me of some crack that I love, minus the saltiness from the Saltines. I did manage to take some over to my brother. But I ate all of the rest.

All of it.




Linking up here.

Peace, and bacon grease!


October 22, 2012

October's Secret Recipe Club - Black Bean Corn Salsa

It's that time of the month again.

Time for The Secret Recipe Club.

This month I was assigned to Denise's blog, Creative Kitchen. There were some yummies for sure, but I decided on something simple yet sounded so good. Her black bean corn salsa.
























I made a few modifications... only one can of black beans, and a little more red onion and lime. I seasoned generously too. 

Do you guys like the orange and black tortillas for Halloween? I couldn't pass them up at Meijer.



















Black Bean Corn Salsa
adapted from Creative Kitchen
  • 1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 can mexican rotel
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Dash or two or three of sea salt 
Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl and mix well. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Make the day before to allow flavors to mix together. Serve with tortilla chips.

Printable Recipe



















We really loved this quick and easy salsa! PJ was sure that it wouldn't be anything special because we were using canned ingredients, but he and I both were surprised at how much we enjoyed it! So much flavor, and a spicy kick from the rotel.

I will definitely be taking the rest of this for lunch this week.


Peace, and bacon grease!


October 17, 2012

Strawberry Margarita Squares {Eating the Alphabet Series}

I'm joining the Eating the Alphabet challenge this month, and the letters are S and/or T. In case you forgot,  it's gotta be a fruit, vegetable, or legume/grain.

Sure, I found tons of delicious tomato recipes, and even sundried tomato recipes.

But in the end I chose the always-delicious strawberry.

























  
Why? To make these.

 


















 

Strawberry Margarita Squares. 

 
























I love me some lime, but PJ doesn't like it to be overwhelming. I agree, maybe next time we could cut back on the lime a bit. And next time I'd definitely up the pretzel amount. It barely covered my 9x13 pan! I love the crunchy contrast, as well as the addition of saltiness, so I definitely want more crust next time. I also preferred it more frozen. After letting it sit out for 15 minutes, it softened up quite a bit. So depends how you like it, if you want it soft like cool whip, set it out before serving. If you want it to be a bit more on the frozen side like me, just serve immediately from the freezer. 




















The recipe below will include my suggested modifications of less lime and more pretzels!

 
















Strawberry Margarita Squares
adapted from Kraft
  • 2 cups crushed pretzels
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup pureed strawberries
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tub (8 oz) Cool Whip whipped topping, thawed
  • sliced strawberries, for garnish

Mix pretzel crumbs and butter in a bowl. Transfer to a 13x9-inch pan. Press onto bottom of pan to form a crust. Refrigerate until ready to use. 
 
Combine condensed milk, pureed strawberries and lime juice in a large bowl. Gently stir in the Cool Whip; pour over crust.

Freeze for at least 6 hours. If desired, remove from freezer and set at room temperature to soften slightly. Top with sliced strawberries when serving.
 
 
Printable Recipe

 

















Won't you join us next month?  :)


Peace, and bacon grease!





October 12, 2012

S'mores Fudge {Week 3 of The 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats!}

Hello hello! 

Here's to Week 3 of The 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats, hosted by Brenda at Meal Planning Magic. Please join us. You've got 9 weeks left!
 
So I made some more fudge. 

S'mores fudge, in fact.


 

What a genius idea! 

Only, I mixed the marshmallows in way too much, that they became incorporated into the chocolate and you can't even see them in the photos. But Baking Bites photos is amazing - in focus and you can see those marshmallows and graham crackers so crisply!

 

So next time I make it I'll only fold the marshmallows in gently and not overmix. 

S'mores Fudge
slightly adapted from Baking Bites
  • 18 oz semisweet or milk chocolate (or 3 cups chocolate chips), chopped
  • 1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 2 cups chopped graham crackers
Line a 9-inch square cake pan with lightly greased aluminum foil.

In a double boiler or large pot, combine chocolate, sweetened condensed milk, butter and vanilla extract. Cook, stirring frequently, until very smooth. Stir constantly to prevent scorching, if cooking in a pot.

Fold mini marshmallows and graham cracker pieces into the chocolate mixture with a spatula. Do not overmix. Pour into prepared pan and press into an even layer.


Allow fudge to set at room temperature for 4-6 hours. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container.


Printable Recipe






















 



I am really loving this series. It brings me joy to search and search for the perfect treats to make. I have a whole list of possibilities!



Check out what treats other bloggers made in the blog hop below:


Peace, and bacon grease!


October 4, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Fudge {Week 2 of The 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats}

It starts now, folks.

It is officially the start of Christmas baking. Only 12 weeks until Christmas! Ok ok, so that's still 3 months away. But you know it will be here before you know it, don't ya? The last couple of years I have been good about getting PJ some Christmas gifts early so that it doesn't all come down to a single paycheck come Christmas time. I need to get on that again.


So since there are ONLY 12 weeks until Christmas and I know you can't wait to start baking (I kid, I kid), why don't you join along in this fun challenge called The 12 Weeks of Christmas? 




Hiya! 

I had a post all set up for the first week of The 12 Weeks of Christmas (hosted by the lovely Brenda) last week, but fell ill and was too sick to link up all weekend or publish the post! Boo to that. Now here I am pushing my week 1 post back to week 2. I hate that I won't have 12 official weeks of treats, but that's ok. We all will survive.

The question is, how have you been surviving without this?

Pumpkin Spice Fudge.
















Not the prettiest fudge I've ever made. But very tasty. It was very rich and sweet and I loved the pumpkin flavor.






















Pumpkin Spice Fudge
ever-so-slightly adapted from Aunt Peg's Recipe Box

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 (12 oz) pkg white chocolate chips
  • 1 (7 oz) jar marshmallow creme
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or macadamia nuts (optional - I did not use)
Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish.  Combine the first 6 ingredients in a heavy saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugars dissolve, then continue cooking until the mixture begins to boil, stirring constantly.  Boil until a candy thermometer reaches the the soft-ball stage (234 ~ 243 degrees). This may take about 30 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the white chips until they are all melted and mixture is smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour into the prepared pan, and cool to room temperature. Cut into squares. Store refrigerated in an air tight container. 
 
Printable Recipe
  

I wonder if I could cut back on some of the sugar. I couldn't eat too much at once because it was so sweet! A little goes a long way.

Note, I also used a 9x9 inch loaf pan instead of a 9x 13 inch dish. I don't think I would have had enough mixture to fill the dish or I would have really flat fudge!






I can't wait til Christmas. Wait, yes I can. But this fudge can't! So make it now! And join in The 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats fun. 
















 

Peace, and bacon grease!


October 1, 2012

September Foodie Penpals + Cross That Off The Bucket List!

I have been so ill these past few days! Sorry to neglect the blog. I've missed you.

This month I participated in this amazing and genius program called Foodie Penpals, founded by Lindsay last September. It has been on my bucket list to have a penpal, and a foodie penpal at that?! I had to jump in on the fun.

FPP post Foodie Penpals


And I'm so glad I did! It was so much fun shopping for different local and unique items to send to my penpal. Now, the person I sent my package to is not the same person who sent me a package. I sent my package to the lovely Andrea O'Meara, and received my package from the oh-so-kind Marlys. I hope Andrea enjoyed her goodies, and I adored mine from Marlys!

 

















She read my about me section and found that I liked cookbooks. So she sent me a Yooper cookbook of recipes that Upper Michigan folks would make. I've already got my eye on a Wild Mushroom Soup recipe from it.




















She also read that I like caramel and meat (not together), so she got creative and found these deer droppings for me! Sike, these are really chocolate caramel balls :) And delicious at that!



















I didn't get an up-close photo of the other caramels that she sent, but they are in the whole-package shot. Soft, chewy, and so caramely. Just the way I like em.


She likes to explore African cooking on her blog, so I loved her hot pad from Ghana. Those beautiful African colors!


















She had also contacted me to see if I would like to try some African spices. Would I? Of course! Her letter to me also included some examples of ways she used the spices in her cooking. So thoughtful! Can't wait to put these spices to use!

























And lastly, her letter header had a beautiful photo of a lighthouse on Lake Superior close to her home. Lighthouses remind me of a little place called Kelley's Island up in Northern Ohio near Michigan, a major place in PJ's childhood and a place we've traveled to a few times.

I can't wait to get better to start cooking up some soups using those African spices! And those caramels and caramel balls are just about gone!

I'm so ready for next month! And here's to crossing another item off of my bucket list. Cuz you all know I love to do that.

Peace, and bacon grease!