Sunday, August 30, 2015

Minnesota Sushi

I know what you thinking Minnesota Sushi?!  What the hell is that! HAHAHA!
Some people just know it as the pickle roll-up.  Kind of a Minnesota staple food for any shower.  Baby shower, wedding shower.
I think this appetizer has been around since the 50's.
I almost feel silly writing a blog about this but if you have not had it you need to try this.
The odd combination is really addictive you can not just eat one.
Before you know it you will be popping them one after another into your mouth!
So if you plan on sharing these little bites, make sure you make plenty!

Also this is a good one to get the kids to help you with, really simple.
Ok don't laugh but here is what you will need:

1 Jar of pickles (whole or spear)
2 packages of Buddig Beef, this is a lunch meat (pretty inexpensive)
1 package of cream cheese, softened
1 jar of yellow mustard

There are 2 ways to make it:

If you want spear roll-ups
It would be best to buy spear pickles for this, if you only have whole pickles just cut it into 4 spears.
Layout 1 piece of Buddig Beef
Carefully spread out a nice layer of cream cheese on top of the beef
Squeeze out approximately a 1/2 tsp of mustard on top of the cream cheese
Lay out the pickle on the end of the beef, and roll up.
Pop into your mouth & enjoy!

If you want round roll-ups:
Ok you want to make a round , more sushi looking roll-up
You will be using a whole pickle for this (I did not have any on hand for these pictures)
Lay out your meat, slap on some cream cheese, slather on some mustard and roll up your pickle with the meat.
Now cut this into circular discs.  Resembling the sushi shape.
You may want to put toothpicks into these for easy eats, if not thats ok :)

What did I tell you, easy as 1,2,3!

This reminds me of Spam Bites, cream cheese and meat appetizer.  mmmmmmm........

Hope you enjoy!

*And yes I know it looks and is nothing like sushi.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Bacon Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies

Best of both worlds sweet and salty!
This is just a revamped version of my original chocolate chip cookie you can find on the blog-a- rooney!
They are seriously so amazing so moist and gooey, I thought how could it even get better!?!
Well I'm here to tell you it is possible.  One day I thought add some bacon and a little sea salt.
OMG amazing!!!!!!

So here is the original cookie. mmmmmmm....

AND... Drum roll please!!!!!!

Bacon Sea Salt Cookie from heaven!!

Hope you try them!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Fancy Endive Spoons

OH fancy fancy (can you hear me singing that?! Use your best fancy voice).
Endive what a fancy little "lettuce".  So if you're looking for an appetizer that will impress just by sight, look no further!
Endive has a lovely shape and texture just perfect to hold a cheese spread, the lettuce is acting just like a spoon, amazing!  Sarcasm in my tone there.  Oh don't even get me started on the sarcasm in this household.
You should feel good about eating this appetizer, it's part vegetable! wink wink.

What you will need:
4 oz cream cheese, softened
4 oz goat cheese
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
4 oz can black olives, chopped
1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
3 Tablespoons chopped walnuts
2 heads of endive lettuce, washed & end trimmed off

How to make it:
Super easy!
Pull out your food processor, if you don't have one grab a spoon and start mixing!
Mix all the ingredients, except the lettuce.
Wash and dry your endive, trim off the end.
Peel the leaves off one by one.
Scoop your desired amount of cheese mixture onto the larger end of the lettuce.
I did about a tablespoon onto each of my leafs.
Serve right away or chill in fridge until ready to serve.

I had some leftover cheese mix, I saved that in the fridge and thought it would be a nice cracker spread.

This bold cheese mixture reminds me of a spread I make named Tuscan Dip, check it out

Hope you enjoy the fancy Endive Spoons, don't forget to up your pinky up while eating them ;)

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Vacation Time!

Just came back from the best week ever!  We LOVE Ely, Minnesota!
It is so peaceful there and just gorgeous!  Entry to the Boundary Waters, I'm sure you have all heard of the Boundary Waters right?!

There is so much to do there.  Tons of hiking trails to check out. One trail we hiked was Kawishiwi Falls Trail really beautiful waterfalls on that one.

 You want to go fishing well you came to the right place umm land of 10,000 lakes and there is no shortage in Ely.
Canoeing, kayaking just to name a few.
Winter is a whole other story snowshoeing, skiing and ice fishing!

We rented a cabin on a beautiful little lake named One Pine Lake.  A pretty peaceful lake not much traffic at all.
You know how most places you rent come with a guest book? One woman described the cabin as living in one of the adorable Door County shops (Door County another place you need to visit!), it was magazine worthy.

Along with the cabin came the usage of a canoe, paddle and fishing boat.  Also a speed boat at extra cost.
We brought along floaty beds and got used every single day!  It just dawned on me why my shoulders are aching this week, all that paddling I did last week, it was a blast!

Are you into wild life?  Just driving around we passed by bucks, does, a wolf and so many eagles I could not count!  Even baby eagles amazing!  Oh almost forgot about all the loons our state bird, you will see and hear them on any lake you visit!

In Ely they have a wolf preservation (I have been there) and also one for bears you can visit.
Wild flowers every way you turn, like living in a painting.

At this point if you can not hear my passion for the northern country prepare yourself this is going to be a lengthy blog post.  I give you props if you make it to the end!

Only photo my 12 year old will let me take of him lately.

Our goal is to move into that area in the next 10 years.  Big change for all of us.  Hubbie and I both grew up in the Twin Cities and have lived there our whole lives.  But living in Minnesota you are always exposed to lake life, farms and wilderness.
My husband has more farming in his background and I northern living.

Being a big cook that I am, I had to check out the two grocery stores in the town and their prices.  Both had great deli areas one store had better prices than the other. I was a little surprised they didn't have higher prices.  There is another larger town an hour away that has most any store you would need. Target etc....

Most meals were grilled at the cabin.  But we wanted to check out some of the places that are closed in the winter but open in the summer.

Cajun Bacon Wrapped Shrimp, before we threw them on the grill

The Chocolate Moose was recommended to us by a previous Ely resident we met recently in Duluth, MN. The Chocolate Moose, what a cute name?!  Nice place, they had outdoor seating and a singer performing while we were there.  But we needed a break from the heat so we sat inside.  It was dinner time and we deserved some beer after all that hiking!

My son LOVES Root Beer and Ely is home to Dorothy Molter Root Beer, really cool story behind Dorothy, you can even go and visit her old home (we did that last winter).

We started of the with the walleye cakes (like crab cakes) they were wonderful!

The meals were also good.  But when it came to the bill, yikes!
I think that they need to have higher prices because of shipping the food way up there and only being open part of the year.

On to another review and that would be a new place totally stopped me in my tracks Gators Grilled Cheese Emporium!  Cheese glorious Cheese!
Really cute place, brand spankin' new and will be open year round.  Great prices too!
A grilled cheese menu, sandwiches, mac n cheese, salads and more.  A portion of the proceeds are donated to the local animal shelter.

Looking for a good cup of coffee? Try The Front Porch.  Very friendly people and great menu.

The Boys stopped into the Red Cabin Custard for a little cool off treat one day after a hike, they both loved it.

Ok one place we did not go to this trip (well we did stop in to buy a growler of beer) is The Boathouse Brewpub & Restaurant.  They brew their own beer, that changes all the time, food is great (at a great price) and the beer is good.  This time we tried the blueberry beer, it was awesome!

Ok last review!  Are you still here?!

We had dinner at Stony Ridge Cafe.  It's totally hidden up on a hill over looking a lake.
It's really a burger joint (other things on the menu) but they have 50 some burgers on the menu!
And there is a challenge burger!
If you go there I suggest you get the "wimpy" version of the burger. My burger was so big I thought I accidently took the challenge, the burger was a big as my head!  I could eat about a 1/4 of it.
But it was really good. Again, the prices are a little high.

There are more choices for places to eat but we have not checked them out yet,  But trust me we will :)

Tuesdays evenings is farmers market time, they have lots of vendors.  But most days I noticed there are vegetable vendors lined up on the main strip everyday.  That is way awesome to me!

So I suggest you rent a cabin or pitch a tent (get your mind out ot the gutter) light a fire and wait for those late night stars come out because they are breath taking, you will never want to leave Ely, Minnesota.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Dill and Mint Tzatziki

I spoke WAY to soon about wanting that garden of mine to grow, with all this heat it's growing like mad! ( I was going to say like a weed, but I hate weeds! haha!)
I have cucumbers coming out of my ears!
So today I made a new variation of tzatziki, it's awesome!
For a special little zip I added some mint, it is not overwhelming at all.
This batch will go a long away too.
You can use tzatziki so many ways.  Tonight I will be serving it with our dinner steak strips with grilled onions, peppers and pita bread.
You can dip crackers, pita bread, pita chips, on a burger, in a gyro my list could go on and on.
And bonus, it's good for you!

Here is what you will need:
1 Cucumber, grated and drained (it's ok if you have some chunks in there)
1 Cup lowfat plain Greek yogurt
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh mint
2 Cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Zest of one lemon
1/2 The juice of one lemon
1 Teaspoon olive oil
Dash of salt and pepper

How to make it:
So easy!
Mix everything together and chill till ready to serve!
I have a feeling I will be making lots more of this, this summer!

Hope you enjoy!