Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Holiday Cheese Crisps

Tis the season for more appetizers falalala............
The holidays are bustling with parties. And what is always at a good party?
Booze!  Oh wait, appetizers!
I am not short on appetizer recipes but, am always intrigued by new ones.
I love watching YouTube videos and have for as long as it's been around.
I even used to make them!  Don't waste your time looking for them they are long gone & deleted. LOL!
Ok so there is this fabulous girl on YouTube that I recently started watching, she does a variety of videos, home decor, fashion, diy's, food, make-up, hair. Just about everything.
She is so to darn cute & talented!
There is a video she did on holiday entertaining and this appetizer was on there.
It is a piece of cake to make and I'm sure you can adjust it to your liking also.
Say your not a cheddar fan (you might want to see a doctor about that) use a shredded swiss, or whatever you crave.
Feel like something a little garlicky?  Sprinkle on a little garlic salt.  Spicy, a little chilli flakes.
Play around with it.
What I'm sharing with you today is pretty basic.
I grew herbs in the garden this summer and boy did they grow! I froze some, dried some and replanted some in the house.
I love having them on hand and got to use them in this easy bite.

Here is what you need:
Shredded cheese, I used cheddar
Shredded parmesan cheese
*sesame seeds (optional)
(like I said try a different cheese, spice, seasoning)

How to make them:
Get that oven warmed up!  Preheat to 350.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
If you can shred your own cheese do so, it tastes better and melts better.
Sprinkle the first cheese evenly over the parchment paper
Now sprinkle your parmesan cheese over that
Next your parsley, sesame seeds or whatever seasonings you choose to use.
Make sure the cheese is spread pretty evenly and that there are small pocket openings where you can still see some parchment paper, that helps to keep it crispier.

Bake for approximately 11 minutes.
Keep an eye on it, watch for the outer edges to start crisping.

Remove and let cool.
The next part is kinda fun, start breaking it apart.  Making different shapes.

This Christmas I will be hosting for my family and it's an appetizer Christmas!  Imagine that :)
I will be making a huge crudite table, these will go great in several glass tumblers on that table!
Can't wait!  Hope you enjoy & have happy holidays & a Merry Christmas!

*I almost forgot to tell you the YouTube girls name!  Check her out it's MissLizHeart

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Herbed Yogurt Dip

So I came up with this over the summer (seems so long ago!).
We were having an impromptu bbq and I was trying to get together dinner without having to go to the store.  
I had potato chips and no chip dip, I mean come on that's like salt & pepper, peanut butter and chocolate, cheese and crackers.  You just need it ok!  
Alright it might just be me, I am a dipper :)
I try to use my garden ingredients as much as I can while I have them fresh.
Another staple in my house the last couple years would be my favorite, Chobani Greek Yogurt.

(totally not sponsored but hey if they want me to do some more appetizers with the yogurt, hit me up Chobani!)

Do you know how Grandmothers give you a recipe?  Well that is kinda like this one, a bit of this -  a dash of that.  But, I will do my best to sum it up for you all.  Can't be that hard!  
Also use what fresh herbs you like or have on hand, change it up to your liking!  

I went out and cut some of the last of my herbs this afternoon to make this freshing dip for you all. 

What you need:
5.3oz Chobani Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
1/4 tsp salt (I used pink himalayan, my cousin Tracy got me hook on to it)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice, fresh
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon chives, chopped
1 Tablespoon parsley, chopped
I used 3 leafs of oregano, chopped
(this summer I had basil - today I did not.  Use as much as you like)

How to make it:
Finely chop all your herbs, add in the rest of your other ingredients.  
Serve with potato chips, pita, vegetable sticks.  
I bet this would also be good in a gyro or topped on a burger! 
They world is your oyster kids!  (that does that even mean??? LOL)

Hope you enjoy!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Door County Vaca

       (yup thats us- this is at the end of the beach where we stay, we take this photo every year)

Another successful trip to Door county, WI!
Ok if you're new here, Door County has become my annual fall trip, this is my fourth or fifth year?
Now our adult plan is to move to Ely, MN when our last child is grown, this house of our is just WAY to much space for us and we want out of the city.
They can come with us, I'm not ready to be an empty nester!
Door County is giving Ely some good competition in our eyes!
Could I live in WI??  UM heck ya I'd fit right in, I love beer & cheese - it runs thru my veins!
SO back to the trip, we have a few "have to stops" on this trip.
One being the cheese shop duh!  That is right next to a wine store, every store in Door County has wine tasting, these people are pros they start at 10am!  GOSH DARN people how do you cope the rest of the day!?  HAHA!!!


Next have to stop would be - White Fish Dip!!!  Stuff is amazing!  You can find it in Gills Rock.

When we got to Door County the colors were not very vibrant, but the last couple of days they sure did pop!  
Just an FYI - I AM the master at spotting dear, you SO want me on your team!

The first night we were there we had a bonfire/weenie roast on the beach - it was AWESOME!

It was Fall Festival time, or like the locals call it "Fall Down" Festival!
Sister Bay is CRAZY busy - we got to see the goats having lunch on the roof again.

Lunch time @ Grasses Grill , OMG awesome grass fed burgers (did you think I was gonna order something new??) And Look they made a flower on my bun - cute!
Another lunch we had, we stumbled upon last year, just taking different routes all over the peninsula, basically that is what we do - drive and drive and drive, stumbling across hidden gems, and looking at all the scenery!  
We had a conversation with this elderly man smokin' outside this place, he had seen our license plates were from Minnesota he asked from where, he lived there up until 20 years ago he moved to Door County & Loves it!  I bet he does!
We shared the breaded mushrooms, humongous (not with the old man, just ourselves haha)!  And had a bowl of chili - YUM
Came across this Door County Candle shop, I do not suggest going in here if you are prone to migraines!  Pretty cool though you can watch them work away making candles.

Door County Brewery is where it's at kids!  Husband told me a funny story about one of the beers here, was named after a local man who would visit the local watering hole, bring his boombox with him and play polka music.  The Polka King Beer was born!  Isn't that a hoot?!

Found this really cool sculpture garden/gallery - wow people are so talented!  You walk a path thru the woods and look at some amazing work. (Edgewood Orchard Gallery)

I have more photos from there, I'm not sure where they went!  But there are huge metal sculptures, horses, wolves, Elephants just amazing!  

I think our favorite place to eat is in Sturgeon Bay, Kitty O'Reillys an Irish joint.  Good food and fun atmosphere.  Husband ordered this appetizer - Irish eggs, not my favorite but I've liked everything else I tried here.

If you didn't know Packers and Vikings are rivals, we are in Packer territory while in WI.  Hubbie wants to go to a sports bar (Greycastle) and watch a football game, hope they don't hurt us!  
Oh bummer they lost :(  Maybe we were bad luck!  
The bartender passed out Packer Backer Shots to everyone.  
Oh we also ordered poppers here, they were YUMMY!

I'm gonna throw in a few pic's here to wrap it up - if your still with me?!  
One of many shops on the main roads, where they sell wonderful canned goods (Kolspey).
So many gorgeous farms! 

Oh so many wineries, gift shops and eateries.  This is a wonderful distillery!
Found these sassy towels there.  
Another stop, a gallery, winery-vineyard, gift shop - you can also get on a trolly here to take a tour of the area.

There are so many things to do in Door County, and we have only just begun to discover them, I totally suggest you vacation here!  You can thank me later :)

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Blistered Jalapeno, Lime & Tequila Relish

I adapted this smoky relish from a new canning & preserving cookbook I picked up at a Labor Day sale this year.
Adapted as in I don't follow direction well all the time and make it up as I go :)
Oh mama this relish has some serious kick!
I can see my husband enjoying this with a little cream cheese on a cracker or a nice crusty bread topped off with this kickin' smoky relish! I'd try it too but he is more of the spicy lover in the family.

Ok so if you want to make it Angie's adapted way this is what you're going to need.  If not pick up the book and make it according to them :)  Pickled & Packed

What you need:
4 large jalapenos or like me I had 8 small jalapenos
2 purple onions, sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic, minced
sea salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons tequila
3 tablespoons honey
1 lime, the juice
3 tablespoons olive oil

How to make it:
Add a bit of oil to a pan, get that pan nice and hot, blister the jalapenos until blackened.

Set aside to let cool.
Turn the heat down add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan
Put your onions and garlic into the pan, sprinkle with sea salt
Cook for 5 minutes
Add in your remaining ingredients.

Roughly chop up your jalapenos and add into mixture

Cook for 10 minutes, be careful not to burn them.
Place into a clean container.
Should keep in fridge for a couple weeks.
Or feel free to process in a canning water bath for 20 minutes.  That will keep for a year.

*if storing in the fridge make sure to let it cool before placing in the fridge.

Top this on a burger, meatloaf, sandwich, or what we most likely will be doing is slathering a bit of creamy cheese on a warm slice of crusty bread and top with this smoky, spicy jalapeno relish.


Sunday, September 25, 2016

St. Paul Food Truck Fair

Fun fact about Angie, did you know I was an Yelp Elite?!  All bow to Angie.   KIDDING!!!!!!!!!!!!  
No really, Yelp is pretty cool.  I do use it often, I like hearing what people think of establishments.  I found great places off of Yelp!  George the Dragon, my new nail place, Envy Nails.
You make friends, find out about cool events and so much more!  
Being an Elite I entered a contest and won free beer tickets to the upcoming St. Paul Food Truck Fair at Mears Park. 
Who doesn't like a good food truck!  There were 31 of them there!  SO many choices!
Beer, food, a band, dancing, products, games and tons of awesome people watching!  What a fun time.
Hubbie and I shared everything we ordered so we did not over do it, cause that would be really easy to do with all those wonderful choices!
Here is what we ate.

Let's start off with my favorite food truck around, I have had this meal a few times now.  The Fried Green Tomato BLT from The Moral Omnivore!  Seriously if you see this truck, get the BLT!  

Ok Hubbie's turn to pick, we tried a bourbon bacon grilled cheese, sounds great right?  Well it was pretty basic, and they totally skimped on bacon, I swear there was one piece on this sandwich. 

What a cute name for a truck Panini Pinups.  I have a friend who lives in Hawaii, so we had the Hawaiian panini in honor of her (she has no clue lol). This would include pineapple, spam and cheese, surprisingly very good!  Now all these sandwiches are just halves we are not splitting a whole sandwich over and over. I can't eat that much! 

Right next to the panini truck as an Asian truck, mama loves a good egg roll, these did not disappoint!

Hubbies choice again, he picked a pulled bbq brisket sandwich, Sorry no photo, he really liked it.  I thought it was ok.

I was hoping to find an Indian taco, I have never had one before, they look SO good!  This is a stock photo.

Also once at a food/beer festival at out local Bachman's one year we had loaded fries from a food truck, and I can't for the life of me remember what truck it was.  but they were AMAZING!!!!  
I didn't find them this day :(  

So that about wraps it up, that was a pretty great event!  

Monday, September 19, 2016

Lakeville Brewing Company

It's been a long time I feel like since I wrote a date night review.
Well there was the vacation reviews in Grand Marais.  But, nothing local.
I had heard of the Lakeville Brewery coming to town last year, from my daughter while we were having a girls day downtown Lakeville (cute little town).
Finally hubbie and I made it to the brewery.

Youngest was at a birthday party for a few hours so, we took full advantage of those few hours!
Speaking of kids, this is a pretty family friendly brewery.
There is a yard with picnic tables and some yard games you can enjoy in the warmer season.
Seems to be plenty of parking too.

Dinner time!

We started off with an appetizer, shocker - right!?!?!  We ordered the bacon spinach dip, it was good but very salty for my liking.

Hubbie ordered the pressed reuben sandwich with sweet potato tots, I got to try a bite, it was really good!

I ordered the house burger basically it is a california cheese burger.  Very well cooked.  Nothing really to special.  The fries were soggy.

Now the beer that was really good!  My first beer was a heavy beer, with a lingering sweet aftertaste, Milk Stout on nitro.  I could definitely only have one of those.

Next I had their lightest beer, now those go down real easy, the Wet Hopped IPA
Hubbie had the IPA & a 210 IPA

He also ordered a growler, they do not sell growler.  This is what you get.  I'd call this a 40oz , should have come in a paper bag.  Kidding!

I'd come back here and drink the beer, seems like a fun place!  

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Baba Ganoush

Baba Ganoush is a very similar Mediterranean dip to hummus, made with eggplant.
I was sneaky and tricked my daughter into eating it, she loved it. But, claims to hate eggplant.  Poor kid just can't trust her sneaky Mom anymore! haha.......

The funniest thing. I was growing eggplant in the garden this year, I got about 5 eggplant then the plant stopped producing, not sure if that is normal?
I was struggling on finding ideas how to use them, or way to use them that we really liked.
Then I found this dip, sounds great but,  I had no more eggplants.  So I went out and bought one.  Checked in the garden the next day - and guess whats growing again?!  Yup more eggplant.

What you need:
1 large eggplant
1 large clove of garlic
sea salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoon tahini
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne
2 tablespoons greek yogurt (plain)
2 tablespoons cucumber, shredded (drained of water)
1 tablespoon feta
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

How to make it:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Cut your eggplant lengthwise, brush with olive oil and place face down on a tin foil lined baking sheet.
Bake for 1 hour
While that is baking, mix together in a food processor garlic, lemon juice, tahini, cumin , cayenne, greek yogurt, cucumber and feta.
Process well and set aside.
Once your eggplant is done let it cool enough to handle then next peal away the skin.
Discard the skin , place eggplant in a bowl and sprinkle with sea salt.  Cover with foil and let sit for 20 minutes, uncover and drain water from egg plant.
Place eggplant in food processor with your yogurt mix and blend well.
When that is finished add to a bowl and fold in the parsley.
Chill for at least two hours
Garnish with parsley if desired.
Serve with pita bread, pita chips and or vegetables.

Hope you enjoy!

* I adapted this recipe from Little Spice Jar's original dish.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Garden Update 1001

Recap on this year's garden, it's always a learning process.
This is my first year with the raised beds, that I seriously love.  It really helps cut down on the weeding. And I think it makes it more organized looking.

One thing that I learned it don't over crowd!
I don't know the exact measurements of the boxes but I put 6 tomato plants (or is it 8?) in each box, with thier cages, well when they grow to their full size it's really difficult to see and pick the tomatoes.

as you can tell they are starting to dry out & die (back fence)

Also good lord those Brussel Sprout plants get huge! I need to give them space and only plant them together.

And I am not 100% sure on this but I do not think that cucumbers like being planted with any type of squash.
I usually get a ton of cucumbers but this year just a few.  Bummer because these boys eat a ton of pickles!  And I'm totally addicted to taziki lately!

And Angie don't plant so much basil next year!  Good God I could have opened up a basil farm!
Right now my spaghetti squash is getting ready for me to pick it & I am SO excited for that!
I think I counted 17 the other day!

My FAVORITE thing to do with it is bake it with spinach, goat cheese and bacon!  OMG SO GOOD!!!!!!!
Another part of my garden I made was a seating area in the center surrounded by all the beautiful plants and 2 flower beds.

(the flowers in the back already had their day, came and went)

I never really got to experience sitting out there, due to the insane amount of bees and mosquitoes, also the direct sun light.  There is not much shade out there and dang it was hot in Minnesota this summer!  Maybe what I need to do is get a table with a little umbrella and a ton of citronella candles!  2017 GOAL!

(the spaghetti squash went crazy and escaped the garden - headed over to the rabbit hutch)

In the beginning of the summer my neighbors mulberry tree sheds in one of the corners of my garden & really contributes to that issue with the bugs.  Oh well what ya gonna do.
As I'm writing this it is mid September, at this point I basically give up on weeding.  I'm sick of it LOL!
I seriously offered my 13 year old $100 to be in charge of weeding next year, dang kid turned me down.  He hates it as much as I do hahaha!!!!

(broccoli just started!)

There were a couple new things I grew this year that I won't next year.
One being eggplant, we just don't get around to eating it much, and I'm just not a huge fan.  It's ok. There are many other veggies I would rather eat.
I would like to try my hand at asparagus and or horseradish but, I don't have the patience.  I would rather just get it at the farmers market when I needed it.

(check out that gorgeous color on the swiss chard! *tip you need to cage this - the rabbits love it)

2017 I want to try some baby potatoes, excited about that.
Also in 2017 I think I will skip on growing string beans, I like them but we just don't eat that many of them.

I am excited to experiment with new flowers and vegetables next year and see what 2017 has in store of my little suburban farm!
Stay tuned :)
And Happy Fall Y'all!

*what I grew
3 types of tomatoes - yellow pear, cherokee purple, roma
herbs - basil (2 types) chives, rosemary, oregano, dill
zucchini, winter squash, spaghetti squash
bell peppers - purple & green
swiss chard
lettuce variety
strawberries (rabbits ate them all)
banana peppers