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November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!



Happy Thanksgiving! 

Hope you all have the time of your lives spending the holiday with family and eating turkey and stuffing and all things Thanksgiving. 

Be thankful!!!!

Peace, and bacon grease!

Crockpot Cranberry Sauce with Apple, Orange & Crystallized Ginger

Happy Thanksgiving!

I know you all are probably with your families and friends eating delicious turkey and watching parades, but I've got a recipe I wanted to share with you.
Today I'm sharing a trusty, easy, leave-it-to-the-slow-cooker cranberry sauce recipe.

You're already busy enough on Thanksgiving day, right? Why add to the stress when you can let your crockpot do the work on this delicious Thanksgiving side item?!

And it's fancy because it has apples in it, along with a hint of orange and ginger. Sounds good, eh? Well, it is!

Crockpot Cranberry Sauce with Apple, Orange & Crystallized Ginger
from Cookin Canuck
  • 4 medium Gala apples, peeled, cored, quartered & sliced
  • 1 (12 oz) package fresh cranberries
  • 5 tablespoon brown sugar (or more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger
Place all of the apple pieces and cranberries in a large bowl and stir in brown sugar and orange zest.

Pour orange juice into the bottom of a large crockpot and add the apple mixture.

Cover, turn the crockpot setting to low, and cook for about 8 hours, stirring occasionally and breaking up the apple slices and cranberries with a wooden spoon as they soften.

Stir in crystallized ginger. Taste and add an additional tablespoon or two of brown sugar if too tart.

Serve warm or room temperature.

Printable Recipe


Perfect alongside some succulent turkey, gravy, and stuffing. Also perfect for leftover casseroles and sandwiches. Let's just say it's perfect.

Have a happy happy Thanksgiving! 

Are you guys braving the Black Friday shopping?? I'm contemplating it... 

Peace, and bacon grease!


November 26, 2013

Mashed Potatoes with Bacon and Caramelized Onions

Thanksgiving is in the air!


With only a couple of days until Thanksgiving, of course I had to post some last-minute Thanksgiving recipes! You know me. Queen of procrastination. 

Well, at least I'm bringing you potatoes. BACON and potatoes. CARMELIZED ONIONS and BACON and potatoes. Sorry I'm not screaming at you. I'm just really excited about bacon and caramelized onions.

The world is complete.

Potatoes, bacon, and caramelized onions are just a few of the things I'm thankful for in my life.

Along with my sweet fiance who I love spending everyday with, my amazing, strong mother, my doting father, my goofy brother, my beautiful niece, my cute chubby cat Romeo, all of my friends, my cozy home, my education, my job. And of course food in general.  

I mean, food is one of the few things I look forward to everyday. You too? I wake up thinking about what's for breakfast, after I eat breakfast I'm thinking about lunch, and after lunch I'm already daydreaming about dinner.

Food DEFINITELY goes on that list of things I'm thankful for. As do these Mashed Potatoes with Bacon and Caramelized Onions.


Mashed Potatoes with Bacon and Caramelized Onions
from Cookin Canuck

*Serves 4-6
  • 3 strips of bacon
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, minced
  • 2 lbs Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
Place the bacon in a large skillet set over medium heat. Cook the bacon until it is golden brown and crispy. Transfer to a paper towel to drain. Crumble and set aside. Discard all but 1 teaspoon of the bacon fat. Add the olive to the bacon fat and set the skillet over medium heat.

Add the onions and cook and cook until the onions are golden brown, stirring occasionally. Add the fresh sage and cook for 1 more minute.

Place cubed potatoes in a large saucepan and cover potatoes with cold water. Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt and set saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes. Drain potatoes, return to saucepan and set over medium heat, stir the potatoes until dry, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and cover to keep potatoes warm.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine milk, butter, remaining salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir occasionally until butter is melted. Reduce heat to low. Using a heat-proof rubber spatula, stir the potatoes into the milk mixture, mashing until completely combined. Stir the caramelized onions and bacon into the mashed potatoes. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if necessary.

Printable Recipe


It's easy to forget that we really are blessed. AMERICA, we are blessed! With the people in our lives, the things, the food. So many blessings.

Let's cherish them and be thankful. Today. And everyday.

Peace, and bacon grease!

November 22, 2013

Obsessions + Confessions

Time for my current obsessions! Plus any confessions that I must share with you!


I die for short ribs

Is there anything more beautiful than this glorious Oreo Fudge Cheesecake? Nope, nada. 

I'm not usually a meatloaf person, but Buffalo Chicken Meatloaf? Heck yeah!

Chris is the grill master, he can even grill a Thanksgiving turkey!

Fried chicken-scented candles? Lord have mercy yesssssss. 

Fall will be over soon. So I'm cramming in all things pumpkin while I can! Savory and sweet pumpkin recipes!! Ever since we made these yum-yum Savory Baked Pumpkin Flautas, I have a whole new outlook on the use of pumpkin in recipes!

Fall also means sweet potatoes. These Pulled Pork Stuffed Sweet Potatoes look so good and filling enough to be its own meal! 

And these Sweet Potato Fries with Andouille Gravy and Pimento Cheese. Insane.

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching! What are you guys making? How about a Blue Cheese Tart with Cranberry Chutney?

Grad school is no joke. Not only am I always tired, stressed, and have no time for things I enjoy like blogging, I also am making less money because I have to work less at my job, and more at my intern site where I MAKE NO MONEY! What is with this rule that interns don't make money?! Hello, we work our butts off. I feel like I'm working the hardest I have in awhile (ever?) and not getting paid for it majorly sucks. I just keep telling myself this will be over in a year or so and just have to hope that it will all be worth the struggle in the end.

I'm starting a new set of classes tomorrow morning. Yep, Saturday. That's another reason grad school sucks. Classes all day on Saturdays. Saturdays should only be for shopping, relaxing, drinking, and other fun things.


That's all for now!

Hopefully I'll be back soon with some recipes :)

Peace, and bacon grease!

Restaurant Review: Hops House 99 at Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg, IN

I love being invited to try new restaurants! We really enjoyed our time at Final Cut's Sam Adams beer tasting event at Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg, IN, so when I was contacted to review a new restaurant inside Hollywood Casino, I couldn't pass it up!

Yep, a new restaurant/bar called Hops House 99. The theme is beer, beer, and more beer. They've got 99 brews (yes 99 brews!!!), 31 HD TV's, and food. Beer, football, and food, yes please! This has got to be a man's heaven.


It's got a nice bar area, and a huge dining area in back. We sat in the dining area. So spacious, soooooo many big screen TVs, tables and booths. We loved the look and feel of the place! And of course football was on. Winning.

Don't you just love these glasses?!? I do I do.

The menu features bar-type appetizers like nachos, fried pickles, wings, quesadillas, and more. Salads and soups grace the menu. I was this close to ordering their Fried Chicken Cobb Salad. When we go back, I'll definitely try that. They've got burgers and sandwiches. A few entrees like Fried Chicken, Ribs, NY Strip. Sides like waffle fries, sweet potato waffle fries, baked beans and more. And desserts like Cheesecake, Pecan Pie, and Dark Chocolate Brownie. I want it all!!!

We weren't really sure how this works, but figured if they are asking us to review the restaurant, we'd need to try an appetizer, an entree for each of us, and a dessert. 

First up, the appetizer. These Beer Cheese Fries ($6). They are everything. Waffle fries, first of all, are my favorite kind of fries. Sometimes though, when drenched in bacon and cheese, they can be soggy. But these were perfectly crispy. Piled with bacon, cheddar jack, and scallions, with a side of ranch sauce. I ate all of these. Every single bite. And there was a ton. I'd say that's a good amount for what you pay.

Since I didn't try one of their 99 beers, I definitely wanted to try their 99 Beer Battered Cod ($14). Beer-battered fish is one of my favorite things in the world when the batter is perfectly crunchy and beery. Beery? Is that a word? I make up my own words a lot. Anyway, it came with a side of cole slaw and tartar sauce. That batter was delicious - crispy with that perfect beer batter flavor. And the cod was plump and cooked well. Entrees come with a choice of 2 sides.  I chose their Mac and Cheese, and Bourbon Barrel Baked Beans (all sides are $3 a la carte). We both liked the baked beans but neither of us were fans of the mac and cheese. The mac and cheese tasted like it could have been a beer mac and cheese but I wasn't diggin the taste.

PJ ordered a sandwich - The Hot Chick ($9). It's a spicy chicken sandwich served with spicy mayo, vinegar slaw, and banana peppers. The only thing is, PJ isn't a huge fried chicken fan, especially on a sandwich with bread. There was no description that it was a fried chicken sandwich. If he'd known that, he wouldn't have ordered that. He said it was just ok because of it being fried, but said the flavor was good. Fried chicken lovers may love it though! His sandwich came with a side of waffle fries.

Now for dessert. PJ always wants to order bread pudding, so bread pudding it was! White Chocolate Bread Pudding ($5), at that. It was delicious. Decadent, sweet, smothered in sauce and whipped cream. What a way to end the night!

For the most part, we loved our food! Only downsides were PJ's sandwich, and the mac and cheese. But the appetizer, my cod, the baked beans, and dessert made up for that!

Our waitress was very nice too (maybe because she knew we were reviewing the restaurant, but nonetheless, pleasant). She was informative about the beer menu and checked in on us often to make sure that our food was good and that we had refills. They didn't have Dr. Pepper though, that's always a bummer, so PJ got pink lemonade and I got water. Can we just send a memo to all restaurants in existence and tell them that it is now a mandatory law that they serve Dr. Pepper? Someone make that happen, k?

Head on over to Hops House 99 for some good food, good beer, and a good time! Just try not to lose all your money in the casino.

Peace, and bacon grease!

Hops House 99 on Urbanspoon

November 18, 2013

Spicy Crackers

Time for another month of Secret Recipe Club!


This month I was assigned to Rhonda, aka Giggles', blog The Kitchen WitchSo many good recipes! I wanted to make them all, and over time, I know I'll make a lot of them! Like her Featherlight Cheddar-Ranch Puffs which remind me of Red Lobster biscuits - Yum! And this Champagne Sunrise, I am a champagne FREAK! And Maple Rum Pecan Cupcakes with Candied Bacon??? I love all.of.the.things.  

But ultimately I chose this recipe because I'm all about a good dip or salsa during football games and for a quick snack, and what better way to jazz that dip up than with some spicy crackers!?!?

Be sure to use a deeper, narrower container rather than wide and shallow so that the oil and spices are more covering the crackers as they sit in the oils and spices overnight. The more shallow the container, the less the oil will cover the full surface area of the cracker. You'll flip midway through, so the crackers should be evenly and fully covered in the seasonings and oil, though not drenched. Also, don't stack the crackers so tight together... leave a little space between them so the oils and spices can get down in there and cover the entirety of the cracker and not just the top.

Now you've got yourself some extra-special crackers for dips, salsas, soups, whatever you usually use crackers for.  


Spicy Crackers
from The Kitchen Witch
  • 1 and 1/3 cup canola oil (do not substitute according to Aunt Pam)
  • 3 sleeves saltine crackers
  • 1 package Ranch mix
  • 3 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 3 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 teaspoon dried thyme
Stack the crackers standing upright in a plastic container that tightly seals, not overcrowding the container. 

Mix all spices and canola oil in a medium bowl. Pour evenly over the crackers, making sure the mixture gets down in the crevices so it will fully soak and cover the entire cracker overnight for 24 hours. Flip crackers midway through.

Printable Recipe

These crackers would be so good with Pineapple Salsa for that sweet and spicy contrast. Or with Avocado Salsa or Black Bean Corn Salsa. Definitely with some Bacon Spinach Cheese Ball. Like definitely. Or even with the most simplest Chipotle Ranch Dip.

And I KNOW I'll definitely be making her Grandpa Hoho's Shrimp Dip soon to go with these delicious crackers!

Check out my past Secret Recipe Club posts

linking up here.

Peace, and bacon grease!

November 16, 2013

Restaurant Review: Bruegger's Bagels' Fall Menu

Do you guys love fall like I do?

Within the past few years, I discovered my love of pumpkin. Which is so fall.

With fall comes caramel apples. And Thanksgiving and turkey and cranberry and stuffing and sweet potatoes.

Mmmm. I haven't eaten dinner yet and I'm making myself hungry. 

Well anyway. The point is that I love fall. I love the cool weather, the pretty leaves and trees. Fall is my kinda season. Until it starts getting cold of course.

So I was super excited when I was asked to review Bruegger's Bagel's fall menu. Will I?!?! I love Bruegger's AND fall. Win win.

PJ and I went for brunch one day to the Clifton location. He ordered the Roast Beef Cheddar Melt, with roast beef, cheddar cheese, pickled red onions & horseradish sauce on ciabatta. I tried a bite, and it was good stuff! I'm a huge horseradish fan especially paired with roast beef and onion. PJ would have preferred pepper jack cheese because he just wants everything covered in pepper jack cheese. But we both liked it and we'd both order it again.

I ordered their Chimi-Cheddar Egg Sandwich from there fall menu. It comes with egg, peppered bacon, cheddar cheese, green peppers and chimichurri sauce but they were out of green peppers, which I didn't want anyways. I really liked the chimichurri sauce. It maybe needed something a little more wet, like mayo, or more chimichurri. Bagels are thick pieces of bread and need something to counter all that bread and starch. Also I ordered mine on a plain bagel, but I asked for it on a ciabatta bread but they were out :(  Which seems to be a theme if you don't go early enough before everything is sold out. It would have probably been better on ciabatta, or a flavored bagel like the cheddar jalapeno, or cheddar pesto bagel, or any other bagel but the plain was just that... plain. Still good though.

I did try their Pumpkin Bagel with Pumpkin Cream Cheese from their fall menu. Yum! Their Cranberry Apple Bagel made a return to the fall menu and I loved that too. Perfect bagels for fall. Wish they had them year round!


Word of advice though: go early. By the time we went which was around lunch time, they were out of my favorite bagels like Rosemary Olive Oil and Cheddar Pesto, and PJ wanted Blueberry but they were out of those too. They also didn't have ciabatta bread for me, but did for PJ's sandwich.

I love everything about Bruegger's Bagels... their bagels, their hot sandwiches, their cream cheeses. Now all I need is one closer to my house!

Right now Bruegger's is selling Bottomless Mugs to benefit Children's Miracle Networks Hospitals so stop in and get your mug and help children in need, and get savings for yourself too! And be sure to try their tasty fall menu while it lasts!

Peace, and bacon grease!