Saturday, January 31, 2015

Beer Candied Bacon

Oh yeah you heard me right!  Beer and Bacon!

AMAZING things together I tell you!

The beer I used for this is Lift Bridge Farm Girl. My husband and I made it to their awesome brewery last spring, you can read my review about some of the places we visited on that trip here Stillwater Minnesota Eats.

Beer is just not for drinking my dear friends you can also cook with it.

I have a bunch of appetizers you can make with beer, and this one was a great one to start off with.

What you need:
10-12 slices of thick bacon
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Lift Bridge Farm Girl Beer
1/4 Teaspoon Paprika

How to make it:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
Cook your bacon for 20 minutes on a tin foil lined baking sheet
Remove once done and place on a cooling rack until the bacon is completely cooled
Now line another deep baking sheet with parchment paper
Place bacon on that, cover bacon evenly with brown sugar (you know I'm singing that song in my head as I type this now and in my head I am a fantastic singer let me tell you!).
Next  give your bacon a little love and sprinkle it with the paprika
Now poor on that magic beer!
Bake this at 350 degrees for 10 minutes
Remove and let it cool on the racks again.

Now the only way to enjoy this is with a Lift Bridge Beer baby!

Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


Sorry today I don't have a recipe to share today,  I just wanted to give you all an update on a couple things.

I'm trying my best to improve my blog and my photos yugh that is a whole nother ball of wax (who says that anyhow?).

I've been reading articles, bought books and special lights (waiting for the husband to set those up) practiced, practiced, practiced taking photos.  I think if I get a good picture, it was pure luck!

I have accepted that I just don't take good photos.  But I won't give up yet!

I am working on creating a few new recipes that I am excited about,  and will share with you soon!

I did make a really good one last night, I got 1, hubbie got 1,  I left the room for a bit came back and they were all gone!  My 12 year old ate them all!  So they are a winner people, you will like them!

So it's winter (duh) and I am going a little stir crazy already, I keep busy but, I want to get out more. Recently I have been circling things in my seed catalog and dreaming about my garden, getting the spring itch!

So a little bit more about me I will share with you is that 13 years ago we lived in a tiny little house on a large lot of property, we had 2 small children and another on the way.
Well we decided to build a great big house to raise our children in.
And here we are 2 children have flown the coop and we have 1 left in this great big empty house that we love so much.

My Babies (Samantha, Jackson and Alexander)

My son is in the 6th grade, and has been going to school from Kindergarten until now at the same school and will until the 8th grade.  We do not not like the High School choices in our area, So we have been considering moving to our next dream home.

We had a fun idea every weekend we can, we head a new direction in our state to explore cities.  This past weekend we went west, surprisingly we had never been west that we could remember.  Well needless to say we did not find any where that we really liked.

So our adventure continues, heck we have time!

Well there you have it, now you know me a little better.

"I'll be back" (in my Arnold Schwarzenegger voice, you know I had to Google that spelling!).

Friday, January 16, 2015

Cracker Crust Pizza

Kids can be such picky eaters!  My 2 older children will never give eggplant another chance for the rest of their lives thanks to me forcing them to eat it years ago when they were young kids.
And my youngest has a list of foods that he will eat that you can count off on both your hands!
And pizza is one of the top 3!
This pizza he is in love with and I have to agree the crust is perfect!

I tend to shy away from making breads, doughs , sweets etc.... I have not had the best of luck in that department.

This pizza crust was pretty much fool proof, that made me SO happy!  Pat on back!

I am still cooking my way through Amy Thielen's cookbook that I bought myself last summer, so glad that I did too!

In her book there is a tomato sauce that accompanies her Cracker Crust Pizza, I didn't try that with mine only because I have jars upon jars of my own I canned this summer. Yes I can, I started doing that 2 years ago I believe.  I grow TONS of tomatoes, usually 3 variations.  And plenty of other veggies.
Talking about my garden is making me anxious for spring to come!  I have been circling seeds in my gardening catalog recently.

So this is what you will need to make Amy's Cracker Crust:

3/4 Cup Cool Water
1/4 Cup Canola oil
1 Teaspoon fine sea salt (I used sea salt, it did not say fine)
1 Teaspoon sugar
2 Cups flour + Flour for your work space
Parchment paper

How to make it:
Preheat your oven to 500 degrees, with your pizza plate or cookie sheet in the oven.
Start by adding the first 4 ingredients into a bowl and mix well.
Add in 1 cup of flour and whisk until smooth.
Add your next cup of flour and blend in with a wooden spoon.
Flour your work space (a clean surface) and knead your dough for a good 5 minutes.
Now divide that dough into 3 sections making 3 round disk shapes.
Place those onto a wooden surface (cutting board).
And cover with a kitchen towel from 30 minutes to 3 hours. I waited 45 minutes because I had a hungry kiddo and had to get cooking.

Take a sheet of parchment paper and lay down a disk of dough, lay another piece of parchment paper on top of your dough, now start rolling until the dough is approximately 12 inches.
I was hoping my dough would be a round shape like a pizza but I ended up with an oval shape but you know what it tastes the same once it's cooked!
Brush your dough lightly with olive oil and pinch the outer edges of the pizza dough inwards.
Time to start building your pizza! My son's favorite part.  His pizza's take a hot minute to make, sauce, pepperoni and cheese!  But you put any toppings you like on yours sausage, peppers, mushrooms etc.

Bake your pizza for 15-18 minutes

Hope you enjoy, we did!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Smoked Salmon

I'm a lucky girl!  One of my husbands clients recently took a fishing trip to Alaska and brought him a big bag of salmon filets!
The other weekend it was finally over 0 degrees so we started up the grill and decided to smoke some salmon.
Actually it all started the day before I put the salmon in a brine, and that consisted of:

*1Cup water
*1 Cup brown sugar
* 1/2 Cup Maple Syrup
* 1/3 Cup Kosher Salt
And some extra Syrup for basting

What you want to do is mix all those ingredients and place into a plastic container or plastic ziplock bag then add your fish.

You would want to have that marinade for 24 hours.

After that 24 hours is up it's time to start the smoking process.

But first place your fish on a metal grate, such as a cooling rack and pat it dry.  It needs to dry out, don't worry the fish won't go bad it's filled with all that salt now. Let it dry for an hour.

We used our wood burning grill, get your grill warmed up to 100 degrees.  We used maple wood to smoke the fish.

Start cooking your fish scale side down , shut your grill lid (DUH!) and let that go for 2 hours, brush with more syrup and crank it up to 140 degrees.
Repeat the first step brush with syrup and cook for another 2 hours
Guess what time it is!?  Nope not time to eat it.  Time to baste with syrup and crank up to 175 degrees, cook for 2 more hours!
Are you drooling yet?!  I was!
Yeah once those 2 hours are up it's time to grub!

I make a plate with the delicious smoked salmon, an aged Irish Cheddar and Sour Dough bread we just ripped apart and devoured.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Lyndale Smokehouse

It's been awhile since I have done a restaurant review!
Now don't go thinking I have not been out to eat since the last one because that is far from the truth!
Friday nights hubbie and I try to make it a point to make time for each other and go out to dinner, we have tried new places but mostly we stick to our favorites :)
I came across this new place on totally accident, I was leaving Ulta (girls gotta have her make-up!) on my way home I spotted the word Smokehouse and when the heck when did that go in there I thought to myself!?
This restaurant named Lyndale Smokehouse is located in a Four Points by Sheraton.

The hotel had a total makeover recently, and it looks really nice.
As well as the smokehouse, really nicely decorated and clean.
It has a small bar you can sit at and a large wall with all window seating, it's actually a pretty small place.
There was barely anyone there on a Friday night hummm maybe word has not gotten out yet that it exists.

Needless to say we had pretty fast service.

We started off with jalapeno corn bread with a honey butter, very good super moist and not to spicy.

Hubbie ordered the smoked brisket sandwich. He got the sweet potato fries to go with that and there were homemade pickles but as you can see in the picture he ate them right away :)  He really enjoyed that.

I had a caesar salad, half portion.  Very good, I don't know how you can screw that up anyhow haha...

And for my main dish I ordered the Macaroni and Cheese, the choice of cheese was wonderful and the noodles were cooked perfectly.  But I have to say the smoke flavor was a bit overwhelming.  I don't know if that was supposeD to taste that way or was it because most everything in the kitchen is smoked it just rubbed off on the Mac and Cheese?

Prices were good.

Would I make it a point to go out of my way to eat here?  No I don't think so but I would give it another chance maybe try a smoked meat.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Maple-Lacquered Bacon

Last summer while on vacation I bought myself a new cook book, Amy Thielen, Midwestern Table chef and author.  Like me she is a Minnesota girl.
Even my husband watches her show with me, he loves all the Minnesota stuff about it from the chopped wood, homemade firepit grill to all the local products she grows or buys and of course her awesome cooking.
It's fun we can relate so well to her show!
So this weekend I decided to make her Maple Lacquered Bacon with crushed peanuts

What you need:
1 Package of a nice thick bacon, approximately 12 pieces
1/4 Cup Maple syrup
1/4 Cup salted peanuts, crushed
Parchment paper

How to make it:
Preheat your oven to 375
Line your baking sheets with parchment paper
Dip your bacon into the maple syrup and coat well, I was going for a Minnesota theme with this appetizer so I used this Maple Syrup produced in Hamel, MN.

Also I found a this bacon from Duluth, MN.  If you have not been there go, it's an awesome city, beautiful views and lots of good eats!

Lay it onto your baking sheet and sprinkle with pepper

Bake for 20 minutes
Flip the bacon and continue to bake for 10 -15 minutes
Put your peanuts into a sandwich bag and roll over them with a rolling pin or whatever you can find to crush them.

(Do you like my Rooster coffee cup?  My Grandma gave that to me for Christmas one year.  I call it my cock cup haha! Sorry TMI am I over sharing? Yes I can be a weird-o)

Once that 15 minutes is up flip bacon  and if you desire to at this time sprinkle with your crushed peanuts.

We just munched on this throughout the day this weekend, it was so crunchy just an awesome flavor combination!

Hope you enjoy them!

*I'm calling this an appetizer but this could be a breakfast food too!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Chipotle Hummus

It's that time of year again where you want to better yourself by eating cleaner and exercising.
Lets see how long this round will last!  I don't think you have to completely change your whole diet and stop eating burgers and pizza if that's your thing and starting eating only carrots or anything just make better choices once in awhile.
But who am I to talk I'm a cheese-a-holic!
For Christmas my sister made all these awesome gifts for me and one of them was a chipotle salt, I have been craving homemade hummus with carrots and I thought what the heck I'm gonna throw some of that chipotle salt in there, that was a great decision!
It gave it an extra kick, nothing like fresh hummus, way better than store bought.

I have never looked at the grocery store for chipotle salt, but I did Google it and you can buy it but if you are interested in making your own here is a recipe on the Food Network Site.

What you need is:
15oz can Garbanzo Beans, well drained and rinsed
3 Tablespoons Tahini
4 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Cloves garlic
1/2 TSP Chipotle Salt

How to make it:
Drain and rinse your beans well, get all that unnecessary salt off of them, right ladies bloats you up!

And toO much is not good for your ticker over time (like you didn't know that already..)
Once you're done with that,  add them to your food processor and then add your remaining ingredients.
Pulse until smooth, you may end up adding more olive oil.

Serve these with pita bread or chips, vegetables or these wonderful crackers my mother in law turned me on to, in the healthy part of your grocery store or in the deli called Multi-Grain Crackers. Sea Salt made by Crunchmaster, wonderful!


Sunday, January 4, 2015

BBQ Cheese Ball

Happy New Year!
Did you have a fantastic new year, go to a party?  Eat some good foods?!
As usual I made my Cowboy Caviar, it's suppose to be good luck to eat black eyed peas to ring in the new year.  My family is very superstitious (thanks to my Grandma LOL).
We also had a make your own pizza buffet, that went over really well with the kids.
Lastly we munched on this BBQ Cheese Ball.
 I'm getting full just thinking about all that food!

Here is what you need:
8oz cream cheese, softened
1 Cup shredded cheddar cheese
5 Green onions, chopped
1/3 Cup of your favorite BBQ sauce
5 Slices bacon, crumbled
1/4 Cup pistachios, chopped

How to make it:
Super Easy!
Mix the cheeses with the BBQ sauce and approximately 3 of the green onions and 3 slices of the bacon.
Roll into a ball and pop into the fridge for 20 minutes (make sure to wrap it in plastic wrap).
In a bowl mix the remaining bacon, onion and the nuts

Once your 20 minutes is up roll the ball into the mixture and serve with crackers!