Monday, February 29, 2016

Duluth

Cabin fever time!
I sense spring right around the corner, but not quit yet!
We got a nice day and decided to head up to Duluth from the Twin Cities for the day, only a couple hour drive.
Decided to take a self guided brewery tour as well as a couple other stops on this visit.
Let's start off with my HAVE it stop at Northern Waters Smokehaus, where we split a smoked salmon bagel basket, that comes with kettle chips and a pickle.  My kind of a breakfast!  SOOOOO good.


Alright, got a little fuel in us let's, head up to Gooseberry Falls for a quick hike!  



First brewery of the day will be Castle Danger, located in Two Harbors.  
A little to early for me to be drinking but hubbie is all about the brewery's and trying new beers.  

 
A very nice place.

Next on the list would be, Bent Paddle.  The evening before they celebrated their winning of the brewers of the year!  The bar area is pretty cozy.  Lots of games to play while your enjoying some beers.  I got a sweet sweatshirt from them, I'm wearing it as I type, it's SO comfy! 


Okedoke - NEXT, the founding father of all MN breweries, who sadly does not get much recognition.
We got there just as a tour group was starting their tour, we got in on that.
They are only open to the public on the weekend, otherwise it's brewing beer only time.
It's a married couple running the place, I do believe he said for the last 30 years! 
They were SO nice! They it seems as though they know everyone in the beer business, so informatable!  Husband was on cloud 9 talking to this fella.  While I tried beers that were totally out of my normality realm, because of them I found out I really like beer on nitro!   Great place, please visit & show them some love!  
*they also make root beer (pick up some for the little man)



Final stop Canal Park Brewery, Starving at this point!  
This place as some good food as well as some good beers.
Great location, fun people watching.  
We anchored down in the bar at a hightop table and decided to share the tomato artichoke dip with bread.  It was pretty good, I thought perhaps they may have wanted to melt the cheese first but whatever, I was not complaining.


Next, we split the beet & gorgonzola salad, very fresh and delicious.  


During this time we enjoyed a couple beers, fresh refreshing beers. 

Finally hubbie and I split the "15 Barrel" Reuben sandwich, we chose sweet potato fries with that. This is not just any reuben, no sliced lunch meat here you get a big cut of some fantastic corned beef.  I want another just thinking about it!


That just about wraps it up!
Visit Duluth, you will have a great time!

*I have written about Duluth before, you can read that here Explore Duluth , this article will give you some other places to stop at while your in Duluth.













Sunday, February 28, 2016

Buffalo Chicken Quesadilla


Caramelized Onion, Smoked Gouda, Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas!
WOW this combination should win some sort of award or something!
I totally did this on the fly one day when my daughter came over, I offered to make lunch and this is what I came up with.
Quesadilla's meal? Appetizer? Yeah whatever you want it to be :)


What you need:
1 1/2 chicken breasts - shredded, I used rotisserie chicken
1 1/2 Tablespoons of buffalo sauce, I used Franks
1/2 onion, sliced
2 cups, smoked gouda, shredded
4 tortillas, I used the smaller ones
1 tablespoon butter & olive oil


How to make it:
Melt the butter and olive oil, get those onions caramelized .  Can you smell that!?  One of the best smells ever!
While the onions are cooking, shred that chicken, add in the buffalo sauce add in the onions



Lay down a tortilla add some cheese add some chicken add some more cheese on top of that now top it off with another tortilla.
Watch for the underside to brown, taking a spatula carefully flip over the quesadilla and cook until the cheese is melted and tortilla is browned.
Remove and cut into 4 triangles.
This amount will make 2, being 8 slices total.

You can eat this plain, top it with sour cream , salsa or dip into ranch.  Whatever you like!


Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Cranberry-Chili Meatballs


I was looking for new appetizers to make for football games & to use one of my many crock pots (I have 6!).
And I came across this recipe.
It's combination of flavors sounds awesome & I get to use my crock pot!
So I have not tried these yet but I thought I would share (I'm sure they are good).

This is what you need:
1Jar of of chili sauce (12 oz)
1 Can of jellied cranberry sauce
1/2 Cup of brown sugar
1/2 Cup of lemon juice
1 96oz bag of Italian styled meatballs

How to make them:
Combine chili sauce, cranberry sauce, brown sugar and lemon juice to your slow cooker & stir.
Add the meatballs, stir.
Cook on low for 4 hours stirring occasionally.

Here is where I found the recipe.
http://www3.samsclub.com/meals/
Now you know why it calls for 96 oz of Meatballs!

Creamy Avocado Sauce




Keeping with the healthy snacking choices.
I wanted to share with you all a fantastic creamy avocado sauce that I came up with.
Originally I shared this with you all in accompaniment with these kick butt chicken taquitos I made last summer, check them out you will love them!

You need to make this dip people!  You can use it in so many ways here are a few:
Dip your carrots, bell peppers, celery in it.
Try it with pita or tortilla chips!
Why not use it when you make tacos next?!
SO GOOD!

Ok so here is what you need:
1 Avocado
1/2 cup Sour Cream- use greek yogurt, it's a healthier choice! 
1/2 Jalapeno, diced (no seeds)
2 Garlic cloves, minced
Zest of 1 lime
The juice from a 1/2 lime
1 Teaspoon onion, microplaned (I know crazy right?!)
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1/4 Teaspoon black pepper
1/2 Teaspoon cumin

How to make it:
EASY!  Throw it all into a food processor, I used my magic bullet, just the right size.  I'd rather not have to pull out and wash my big food processor! 
Blend, Blend , Blend!
Chill until ready to serve!

Hope you love it!




Monday, February 22, 2016

Toasted Garbanzo Beans



Spring is right around the corner, we start shedding layers of clothing & I feel the need to start shedding some of that fluff you usually gain in the winter.
After hibernation FOREVER!
Sometimes I get tired of nibbling on carrots or nuts.  I want an alternative.
This little snack can be made in SO many different ways, add different seasonings according to your likings.
This recipe is just what I was feeling that day.

What you need:
15 oz Garbanzo Beans also known as Chickpeas
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp garlic salt
Fresh black pepper

How to make it:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Rinse off your beans well and drain

Lay them out on a baking sheet

Mix with the olive oil and seasonings
Add as much pepper as you want, I did about 8 twists on the pepper grinder, how ever that much may be!

Bake for 30 minutes

If I were you I would double this recipe!

You can just snack on them or try adding them to your salads.

Enjoy!





Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Uptown Lowry


What a great date night place! The Uptown Lowry.
I heard this was a hoppin spot, so I looked into making reservations first.  They do take reservations for parties of 8 or more.
But, you can give them your name and phone number and that puts you on the waitlist.
We love oysters and they have oysters, the Blue Point Oysters are insanely huge!

I had only ever had raw oysters, unless it was in a stew.
Lowry also had baked oysters, we chose horseradish-mustard baked oysters.  They are now my new favorite!

This date night we totally went all out and ordered so much food, just because we wanted to try so many things. It was awesome!
Next we had the beet salad, very good.  It was arugula, oranges, red and golden beets.

Followed up by the Buffalo Chips, potato chips smothered with pulled chicken in a buffalo sauce and chunky blue cheese dressing. Pretty good , a little salty for my liking.

Fish tacos anyone!?  Yes please, they were perfect!  Blackened Tilapia YUM! We split an order.

Alright we never order dessert, but what the heck at this point we are going to need wheelbarrows to get out of this place.
Chocolate cake with a fudge sauce poured over the top.  So delectable.

The beer choices were great.
They are also known for their whiskey.
The atmosphere was warm and friendly, very hip vibe going on there.
You're greeted by a beautiful warm fire, which is very nice when it's freezing outside.

Hope you check them out!




Thursday, February 11, 2016

Valentine Pimento Pops


Happy Valentine's Day!
What do you do to celebrate this holiday?  Do you make reservations?  Do you make a fancy dinner at home, or just another regular day???
I usually make a nice fancy dinner at home.
I think I can only remember one time we went out to dinner, it was so crazy busy.
This year will be spent at home.  Not sure what I will be making for dinner yet but we will be starting off with these adorable sweet little Pimento Valentine's day pops.

What you need:
1 cup Cabot Chipotle Cheese, shredded
1 cup Cabot Farmhouse Reserve Cheddar Cheese, shredded
6 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup mayo
2 Tablespoons black olives, chopped
2 Tablespoons pimentos, chopped
1/4 tsp garlic salt
A dash of salt & pepper
1 egg, whites only
2 Packages crescent dough
White Popsicle sticks, you can find these at the grocery store in the baking section, cooking store or party supply store.




How to make them:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Line a couple baking sheets with parchment paper.

Soften the cream cheese, shred your cheeses.

Combine the cheese, seasonings, black olives and pimentos.
You will have extra, spread it on a cracker!

Flour your work surface.
Lay out your crescent dough, press the the divided areas together, sealing them together as best you can.
Using a heart shaped cookie cutter, make several hearts of the dough, you're going to need 2 per pop.
Lay down one heart, place a popsicle stick in the heart, on top of that spoon approximately 1 tablespoon of pimento cheese.

Lay another heart on top of the cheese filling, take a fork press and seal the pop shut.
This is actually a cocktail fork

Brush the edges and the top of the crescent heart with egg white.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes
Let them sit a few minutes before serving.



Hope you enjoy!!!



Here is another pimento cheese recipe from the archives. Pimento Cheese.






Monday, February 8, 2016

Mac's


Just got back from a girls week in Wisconsin Dells with my cousins.
Wisconsin Dells a little vacation city in the Midwest.
Lots to do and see, whether it be the summer or the winter.
And plenty of places to get your grub on.
My cousins suggested we meet up at a new restaurant called MACS, gourmet mac & cheese.
They have 3 locations.
And there is more than just mac & cheese, they have wedge salads, a few sandwiches and desserts.
The decor is very nice.

There is a cool digital menu, that will display the different photos of the mac & cheese.



I ordered the Memphis Mac, bbq pulled pork.



Hubbie ordered the Jalapeno Popper Mac.


My cousins got the Taco Mac & Mamas Mac.
All were wonderful!

The Mac & Cheese come in mini cast iron skillets.
We think they should do micro mini flights of their mac so you can try more than one while you're there!



I will for sure try them again.
Good find cousins!

A couple other places we ate that weekend.
On the nicer end of places to eat in the Dells area is called High Rock Cafe, we have been there a few times now.  So you know they are doing something right :)

I tried the Rasta Pasta, it was amazing!  Everyone that walked by our table was staring down my bowl!
We started with the potstickers, they were also amazing :)

Pickle in the middle.


Another dinner was at Monks Bar & Grill, more on the casual side, a sports bar.  Good food at great prices.


Monday, February 1, 2016

Sausage Stuffed Mini Mac and Cheese Bites


If you follow me along on my obsession with appetizers you should have learned by now that I have a great love for cheese.
So of course I follow Cabot Cheese on Instagram & Twitter, I mean don't you follow cheese companies on social media?!?
It was National Cheese Day (some people call it national Angie day) and Cabot was having a contest, and I was one of the lucky winners, a wonderful box of cheeses a lovely cheese knife also a wine bottle opener for me & a friend!  I was one happy girl! 


                                                             Thanks so much Cabot

Well besides eating the cheese straight up, of course I have to come up with some new appetizers!
And this is just the first.
I have heard of mac and cheese bites, but I thought I would do something a little more and stuff them with sausage.  
Also what I thought may be good would be a little slice of kielbasa in the mini cups of cheesey goodness.

So here we go!

What you need:
6oz sausage, I used Jimmy Dean
7oz elbow macaroni
8oz Cabot Farmhouse Reserve cheese, shredded
2 Tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups milk
2 Tablespoons flour
2oz cream cheese
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1 egg

How to make it:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
Cook your elbow macaroni, according to package, when finished set aside

Cook your sausage, do not over cook! Drain on a paper towel lined plate. I used to over cook all meats, hockey puck like texture, I have learned that is not how to cook meat now )  What you're looking for is a little pink, in the meat.  Because it will continue cooking once combined with the pasta.

Melt butter in pan on your cooktop, once melted whisk in flour, slowly add in milk, followed by your cream cheese and seasonings.

Once that is well combined add in almost all the Cabot shredded cheese, stir until all melted, now set aside
In a bowl add your noodles, stir in that egg.
Now pour in that awesome cheese sauce.
Look at this beautiful packaging! 

Woah mama, I know you wanna eat it now but, hold onto your horses.
Take a non stick mini muffin tin, if it is not non stick (do they even sell those anymore?!) spray that bad boy so they don't stick.
Using a small spoon fill the cups halfway with the cheese noodle mix
Next add a generous pinch of sausage

Fill the cup up with more noodles
Take a pinch of the remaining cheese and add to the top of the cups.

Bake at 400 for 20 minute
Turn on your broiler and cook another 5 minutes, keep an eye on it so they do not burn.
You are looking to brown the tops is all.



Now remove and let them cool for at least 5 minutes before eating.



They should slide right on out of the pan.
My boys LOVED them, they popped them one after another into their happy little mouths!



Hope you enjoy!!