Friday, September 28, 2012

Always something nifty at the AHML

Everyone knows I live in Arlington Heights.  But not everyone knows that I love libraries.  I started volunteering at a library when I was in middle school and then got a job at the same library when I turned 16.  It was a great job, especially since I loved to read.  Before moving back to the Chicago area, I'd always worked in a library.  ALWAYS.

The libraries here are a lot different than the county systems I'm used to in other parts of the country.  In the suburbs of Chicago, the libraries aren't part of a county system.  They are either village or town libraries.  That's the case here in Arlington Heights.  The AHML is a really big library with lots of things always going on.  There are always programs and special events.  The library also buys pretty much anything you might want to read, watch, listen to or play.  This makes it a great "third place."

What is a third place you might ask?  Its a place in the community besides work or home where people come together.  AHML is a great example of this and will be even more so next year when they finish their huge remodeling process.  The new library director has really taken this concept to heart in his remodeling plans.  There will be more meeting rooms and areas for teens to study.  Also a bookstore for the Friends of the library.

You can also find nifty things on display like this flower balloon.  I was at the library yesterday and admiring the creativity and complexity of the balloon flower display at the desk.  I actually mentioned how much I liked it to one of the staff.  While they didn't know who actually made the balloons, she took this one out of the arrangement to give to me!

If you don't already use your local library, I definitely recommend you stopping by to check it out.  Libraries have changed in the past 10 years.  They are now more like extremely active community centers.  You never know what you might find there. :)

Not Just Another Whiskey: Spicebox Whisky

I've never been a big fan of whiskey.  To me it kinda tastes and smells like paint thinner.  Not at all pleasant.  Needless to say I was intrigued to learn of a whiskey made with three different kinds of vanilla and yummy spices.  Even more excited when Spicebox offered to send me some to play around with.

Spicebox whisky is made in Canada.  So it's actually a rye whiskey which is aged 3-6 years in bourbon barrels.  Spicebox is actually pretty new also.  It hit the market and bar scene about a year ago to rave reviews.  From what I've heard, Spicebox will be your new favorite whiskey once you give it a taste.

I was still skeptical that I would actually taste the vanilla or the spices, but oh my goodness you can smell the vanilla the minute you crack open the bottle.  Along with a hint of spices.  Spicebox actually has a vanilla and spice taste to it.  It's actually quite good.  A little strong for me to have straight up, but I can definitely see how it would appeal over other whiskeys.

Not having a point of reference taste wise for whiskey, I took a sample over to the neighbor for a more informed opinion.  After telling me that showing up on his doorstep with a bottle of whiskey asking for a taste test was the oddest thing that's happened to him before.

He did say the whiskey was quite good.  Actually the best he's ever tasted.  The vanilla and spices were intriguing.  It was definitely something that he'd want to drink again.

From all this I can tell you that if you like whiskey, Spicebox is definitely something you should seek out and give a try.  It's an entirely different taste from other whiskeys and will definitely exceed your expectations.  

So go out and pick up a bottle of Spicebox because its great naked.  After you do, make sure to check back because we'll be posting a slew of yummy drink recipes for you to try out.

Susie Savors: Really, I don't know anything about whiskey.  So, I have no comparison to make.  However, it was not unpleasant as I expected, because whiskey doesn't exactly have a good reputation with most females my age.  The vanilla overpowered most of the other flavors, but I could detect the spicy kick of pepper.  Not exactly my usual drink but I wouldn't say no to more.

*This is a sponsored post.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

Thursday, September 27, 2012

U.S. Cellular Hello Better

Does anyone truly love their cell phone company?  While I am fairly happy with my cell phone company there are things that I don't like about it.  The main thing being that every time you get a new cell phone you have to sign a new 2 year contract.  This particularly irks me because I've been a customer for quite a while and always pay my bill on time.  One would think that should lead to little perks like not needing a 2 year contract every single time you get a new cell phone.  Obviously I'm a loyal customer and shouldn't that be rewarded in some way?

Other than that I'm fairly happy with the company I currently use.  They've got great customer service, always replace my phone when it breaks and I never drop calls.  This company isn't U.S. Cellular, but I have heard great things about them.  This summer they launched the Hello Better campaign which promises to fix a lot of the things people hate about their cell phone companies.

U.S. Cellular's reward program is one way to do this.  It rewards you with points for a variety of things, including your monthly plan.  These points can then be redeemed for things like new phones, overage forgiveness or voice mails translated into texts.  All nifty things to show appreciation of you as a customer.

If you're on the lookout for a cell phone company that will appreciate your business check out the Hello Better campaign at U.S. Cellular.  From what I've read you definitely won't be disappointed in what they have to offer prospective customers.

 *I participated in this sponsored post campaign for One2One Network. All opinions stated are my own.*

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Covergirl & Olay Review

Recently I got asked by bzzagent if I'd like to try out the new Covergirl & Olay makeup.  I'm always up for trying out new beauty products.  :)  While I'm not quite old enough to need age-defying makeup I was excited to try it because it has Olay in it to make it more moisturizing.  I almost always have dry skin in the colder months.

The Covergirl & Olay tone rehab foundation is not as moisturizing as I had hoped.  I normally apply liquid makeup with a brush but this pretty much turns to a thick powder when you pump it out of the bottle.  So by the time I apply it to my skin it has a powder finish.  It tends to make my skin feel dry and tight.  

The Covergirl & Olay pressed powder is less drying than regular powder.  That's an improvement in my book over other powders.  But the compact itself isn't very sturdy and doesn't lock shut.  I had left it on the bathroom counter and when the cat knocked it over it shattered into a bunch of pieces.  I've had other compacts survive the cat.

So all in all the Covergirl & Olay products probably aren't the best for me.  I have extremely sensitive skin that at times is dry and this makeup wasn't moisturizing enough.  It also didn't stay matte looking for more than an hour even on a cool day.  :(

*I was sent these products for review from Bzzagent.  All opinions are my own.*

Boozy Peanut Butter Cup Recipe

Is there truly anything better than peanut butter and chocolate?  How about if you add coffee and vodka?  I don't know if better is exactly the right word.  The coffee and vodka enhances the chocolate and peanut butter.  Or ultimately a yummy frozen boozy treat.

This drink has Lulu B. Chocolate Martini, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, coffee and Capella Flavor Drops.  Using Lulu B. Chocolate Martini and Capella flavor drops are a great way to enjoy a cocktail with less guilt than a regular cocktail.

Boozy Peanut Butter Cup

1 ounce Lulu B. Chocolate Martini
1 scant cup crushed ice
1 1/2 ounces coffee or espresso
2 teaspoons vanilla instant pudding powder
2 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
1 ounce heavy cream
3 drops Peanut Butter Capella Flavor Drops
3 drops Double Chocolate Capella Flavor Drops
2 drops Espresso Capella Flavor Drops

Put all ingredients in a blender.  Blend till slushy.  Pour into two glasses and serve.

Susie Savors: Peanut butter and chocolate is our favorite.  Hands down.  This is just a bit of happiness in a cup.  Quite literally, if you drink a few you will be feeling better.  This is by far our favorite type of drink, tastes so good you think you're not consuming alcohol.  The burn is completely gone and all you have left is the flavor of the chocolate vodka.

*This is a sponsored post.  All opinions and thoughts are my own.*

Monday, September 24, 2012

Healthy Nutty-Ella Baked Oatmeal Recipe

Y'all already know how much we love baked oatmeal at my house.  It's absolutely amazing.  You can make extra and easily heat it up in the microwave and its just as amazing as if it just came fresh from the oven.  I have an extra special treat in this recipe.  Capella Flavor Drops!

What are Capella Flavor Drops you ask?  They're a great way to add amazing flavor to anything you make.  I'm going to be bringing you quite a few recipes featuring these powerhouse drops.  You literally only add a drop at a time to flavor whatever you're doing.  They are honestly that concentrated.  If you're at all like me, flavor is important to you, but you also want to watch what you're eating.  These drops are a great way to do this as they have no fat, no carbs, no gluten, no calories and no sugar.  That means they won't actually alter anything but flavor in your recipes.

The first thing that popped into my mind when I got the opportunity to use these drops was to make a healthy nutella-like baked oatmeal.  Nutella is a big fave at my house (some people have been known to hide it away so they don't have to share).  While I love nutella and hazelnuts are good for you, I don't love all the fat that comes with it.  I thought using these drops would be a great way to bring that taste to a baked oatmeal.  I've also added some butter flavored drops as there isn't really any fat in this recipe and they give it the illusion of being a rich treat.

This recipe makes 2 servings.  I typically bake mine in one cup ramekins.  I split the recipe between 4 of them because then you don't have to have an entire serving if you'd like to diversify you're breakfast.  You could easily half this recipe to make just one serving or bake it in a bigger dish.  Another note, you can use whatever liquid you like in this recipe.  I've used coconut milk, almond milk, milk and coffee creamer with great results each time.

Healthy Nutty-Ella Baked Oatmeal

1 cup oats (I use old fashioned)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup milk, water, liquid
dash of salt
1-2 tablespoons of sugar or coconut sugar
2 drops Butter Capella Flavor Drops
2 drops Double Chocolate Capella Flavor Drops
2 drops Hazelnut Capella Flavor Drops

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.  Pour into greased baking dish or ramekins.  Bake for 20 minutes or until firm.  Broil on high for 3-4 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Susie Savors:  I'm still not telling you where my Nutella stash is.  But, this is a good substitute.  Not exactly the same melt in your mouth textures, but for being oatmeal it's a pass. Plus with the drops we can control the flavors so there is no overload of one flavor over another.

*This is a sponsored post.  All opinions and content are my own.*

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Wholesome Wednesday: Quick Plum Jam Recipe

Did everyone see my plumarita?  I basically made a quick plum jam to flavor the drink.  Which made it taste amazing.  :)  I thought why not use the same recipe but increase it to make a quick plum jam!

I toyed around with an old tollhouse biscuit recipe on Tuesday morning, but the result wasn't pretty.  Just let me say the biscuits looked like crusted bloody eyeballs.  Great for Halloween, but not at all what I was going for. A bit under the weather this week, so Wednesday's post is a tad late. 

The plum jam is so easy to make.  The color is fabulous and it tastes fresh and not at all plummy.  :)  Not everyone in my house is a fan of plums, but the jam went over fairly well.  I will warn you that I like things tart when it comes to fruit, so if you want a sweeter jam by all means add more sugar.

Quick Plum Jam

3 ripe black plums, pits removed and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup water

Place all in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil and then simmer until fruit is soft and juices thicken.  Let cool slightly.  Use either a food mill or fine mesh sieve to strain mixture.  Serve immediately or store in refrigerator.

Susie Savors:  This one is not my favorite recipe, but it's alright.  I'm not the greatest fan of plums but this is palatable even for me.  It really is tart, but that adds the extra kick in the morning.  I had some on my toast and I was wide awake afterwards.  The color is nice and it's more moist than thick and spreads well.  An easy recipe if you want a spread that will keep a bit longer than a ripe plum.  

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Cococotini Recipe - Lulu B. Chocolate Martini

Remember I mentioned that the Lulu B. Chocolate Martini was fabulous plain?  Cause it is.  But I thought it might be even more amazing if I mixed it into some drinks.  Especially a drink with coffee.  :)

The very first thing that crossed my mind was coconut because it goes great with chocolate.  Then I needed something to thicken it hence the heavy cream, an added chocolate boost and some coffee to round it out.  I ended up with a yummy balanced chocolate, coconut, coffee martini.  With a little shredded coconut on top.

Cococotini Recipe

1 ounce Lulu B. Chocolate Martini
1/2 ounce heavy cream
1/2 ounce cream of coconut
1/2 ounce fresh brewed coffee
1-2 teaspoons chocolate syrup
5-6 ice cubes

Combine all in cocktail shaker.  Shake, strain and serve.  Easy peasy!
Susie Savors: The cococotini is rich with three of my favorites: chocolate, coconut and coffee.  A trifecta that mixes into a mouthful of cream and sweet.  The cream of coconut adds sweetness while the coffee cuts down on the sweet just enough.  The cream adds thickness to the mix.  The chocolate sings out the mellow tang.  A perfect mix for fall.

*This is a sponsored post.  I was sent this product for review.  All opinions are my own.*

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Plumarita Recipe - Lulu B. Fabulous Cocktails Margarita

If you've been following my blog, you probably saw my review of Lulu B. Fabulous Cocktails.  Well, this is my very first recipe.  :)

I wanted something fruity but natural to add to the margarita flavor.  I decided to try a shaken margarita with plums.  I haven't come across many plum drinks and thought it would make an awesome cocktail.  I wasn't wrong.

There is a little prep work for this recipe as you've got to cook the plums with some sugar and water before you're able to use them in the drink.  It's definitely worth the work though.  The plumarita is sweet, tart and definitely compliments the Lulu B. Margarita.   Totally forgot to mention that I absolutely love the color!  It's absolutely gorgeous, hence all the really big photos.  :)

Another thing I should mention is that while I'm a former master barista, I've never worked with alcohol before.  So this a totally new area for me and I'd love some feedback on my recipes.

Plumarita Recipe

1 ripe black plum, pitted and roughly chopped skin left on
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/4-1/3 cup water

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Simmer till fruit has softened and released its juices, 5-10 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly.  Run cooked mixture through a food mill or strain through a fine sieve pressing with the back of a spoon.

Drink Instructions:

In a cocktail shaker combine 1 1/2 tablespoons pureed plum mixture, 1 ounce Lulu B. Margarita, 3 ounces pineapple juice and 5-6 ice cubes.  Shake to combine.  Strain into glass and serve.

Susie Savors: By far one of the best margaritas I've had. Plus knowing we used fresh fruit with this low calorie alcohol and I'm guilt free.  Not to forget that it pares down the strength of the Lulu B. Margarita so it had a smooth finish.  The color is fabulous.  It captures the changing colors of summer into fall.  A dark lush plum color to please your eyes as well as your mouth. Overall, a success that we hope to repeat in further recipes.

*This is a sponsored post.  All opinions are my own.*

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Lulu B. Fabulous Cocktails Review

Anyone who actually knows me, knows that I'm an extreme light weight when it comes to anything alcoholic.  While I get tipsy quite easily I never get hungover.  It's genetic.  :)  I'm quite lucky in that regard.  I also love a tasty drink.

So I was thrilled to get to review and do some recipe development for Lulu B. Fabulous Cocktails.  If you're not familiar with them, Lulu B. Fabulous Cocktails are ready to drink, guiltless cocktails.  They're reduced calorie versions of popular mixed drinks.  There are four Fabulous Cocktail flavors Chocolate Martini, Margarita, Cran Cosmo and Mojito.  I received the chocolate martini and the margarita.

The chocolate martini is absolutely fabulous.  It's amazing just as it is and only 48 calories per serving!!   I'm definitely going to find a way to work it into some drink recipes.  I'm thinking coconut, coffee and caramel for sure.

The margarita is a little strong on the tequila taste for me.  Drinking it straight isn't really an option.  I'm thinking mixing it with fruit will definitely make it into a favorite.  The margarita is only 38 calories per serving!!

Both have such unique tastes and it's still hard for me to believe that they're so low in calorie.  The low calories makes Lulu B. Cocktails an easy choice for a yummy indulgence.  :)

I forgot to mention that you can find where to buy them here.

Susie Savors: Right off, I could tell what these flavors lack in calories they make up for in taste.  Strong, bold flavors with a kick of alcohol. It won't be difficult to pair the tang of lime or the sultry chocolate to create some mixed drinks.

*This is a sponsored post.  I was sent this product for review.  All opinions are my own.*

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wholesome Wednesday: Coconut Pound Cake Recipe

I've always loved pound cake.  Growing up, we frequently had Sara Lee frozen pound cake.  Actually we always had a lot of Sara Lee things because both my parents grew up in Chicago and were used to having it.  Typically we had it with strawberries and Cool Whip both of which were also frozen.  So it was a dessert that you could always have on hand.

I also love all things coconut.  I actually wish that Baker's Coconut would make bigger bags.  :(  I go through them pretty quickly.  Coconut is good for you too.  Although I'm not sure its as good for you when you have it in oatmeal with caramel and chocolate.  But it tastes soo good and you're eating oatmeal!  LOL

Anyway, why not combine the two in a super yummy pound cake?  That's exactly what this recipe has done.  A cobbled together pound cake recipe with some added coconut.  A major yum!  I also see having grilled slices topped with fruit and whipped cream.  Below, you'll see it paired with diced fresh peaches and peach whipped cream.  YUM!

Coconut Pound Cake

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk
2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup shredded coconut

Cream butter and sugar, until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time mixing till incorporated.  Add vanilla, mix.  Mix flour and baking powder in separate bowl.  Alternate adding flour and milk, starting and ending with flour.  Mix well.  Add coconut, mix.

Bake in a greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pan at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake 20-25 minutes more.  Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes.  Then remove from pan and cool completely before serving.  (I used a 8 x 4 inch glass baking pan, because none of my other pans are exactly 9 x 5 inches.)

*Edit*  Even seasoned bakers sometimes have flubs.  My pound cake looked gorgeous out of the oven, but after cooling it would not come out of the pan.  :(  So it ended up like this.

It looks awful, but tastes amazing.  :)

Susie Savors: This pound cake is a slight remix on the traditional recipe.  The minor changes meant that it is still rich and thick, yet there is a freshness added with the added coconut.  The new flavor adds a twist that is not too strong of a change an old favorite.  Besides, as I've mentioned before coconut is a great addition to any meal.  The nutritional benefits stand even in a dessert; there's a reason a third of the world relies upon this wonder nut.  It may just make you feel better inside and out!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Braided Spaghetti Bread Recipe

Let me start off by saying that I'm just as addicted to pinterest as everyone else seems to be.  But I tend to mostly look at food while on there.  I look at a lot of recipes but rarely write anything down, as I've found a lot of them use prepackaged ingredients or have too much fat in them.

Recently I came across this recipe on the Rhodes Bread blog which used Rhodes frozen bread dough.  I'm not a big fan of Rhodes bread dough because it always comes out soft and mushy when you bake it.  I decided to make my own bread dough, because everything is easy with the bread machine.  I also increased the spaghetti sauce, added 1/2 lb ground beef, used different cheese, an entire egg and garlic powder.  Phew!  That's a lot more changes than I thought I'd made.  Adding the garlic powder to the outside made it taste like the spaghetti was encased in garlic bread fresh from the oven.  :)  It turned out really well, everyone liked it.  Mine did expand a lot in the oven though.

Braided Spaghetti Bread

1 loaf bread dough (I can add recipe if anyone wants it)
6 ounces spaghetti, cooked
2 cups spaghetti sauce
1/2 lb ground beef or Italian sausage
1 clove garlic, minced
8 ounces shredded touch of Philly mozzarella
1 egg, beaten
grated Parmesan
garlic powder

Roll risen bread dough on parchment paper to 12-16 inches.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 10-15 minutes.

Cook pasta and drain.  Meanwhile, brown ground beef in saucepan.  When browned, drain and add minced garlic, stirring till fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add 2 cups spaghetti sauce, allow to come to a boil.  Remove from heat.  Stir in spaghetti, then place mix lengthwise down the dough from top to bottom in a 4 inch wide strip.  Cover with shredded cheese.

Make cuts 1 1/2 inches apart on sides of dough with in 1/2 inch of the filling.

Begin braid by folding up top and bottom strips towards filling.  Then braid left over right, right over left. Finish by pulling last strip over and tucking under.

Place on baking sheet.  Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with Parmesan and garlic powder.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Slice and serve.

Susie Savors: You can't go wrong with a one dish meal.  This is spaghetti and garlic bread all in one bite.  The bread to spaghetti ratio is just right, not too dry and not too juicy.  The outside is crusty especially with an extra layer of cheese while the inside is gooey.  Easy to make and this giant hot pocket will deliver the goods.  Overall, a new family favorite because food tastes better inside a fresh loaf of bread!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Have you heard of Raspberry Ketones?

So have you heard of Raspberry Ketones?  I never had till Dr. Oz mentioned it on one of his shows.  According to Dr. Oz, raspberry ketones is the aroma compound of red raspberries.  This compound regulates a protein called adiponectin which the body uses for metabolism.  Apparently one 100 mg pill is the equivalent of eating 90 lbs of raspberries.  Adding this supplement is supposed to help your body to burn fat which will help make your diet and exercising more effective.

I'm going to be trying these out.  I'll let you know what kind of results I get.  I already eat fairly healthy and this will encourage me to use the bike and the treadmill daily as opposed to every other day.  :)

Another thing Dr. Oz has recommended is Green Coffee Extract.  Green coffee extract uses chlorogenic acids to help your body block sugar absorption and burn fat at the same time.  Studies conducted have shown that just taking one pill a day and changing nothing else can allow you to lose 10% of your body weight in about 12 weeks.  While I'm not going to be giving this a try, I'd definitely be interested in checking it out in the future.

I'll keep y'all updated on my trial of raspberry ketones.  :)

Honey Mint Fruit Salad Recipe

Y'all know by now how I love to share recipes that I've found, tried and love.  :)  This is another of those.  I recently came across Savory Sweet Life.  Yet another cookbook.  You'd seriously be shocked at how many I peruse for inspiration.

Remember the gorgeous fruit salad I posted photos of from my Sears Photography Class?  Well this is the recipe I used.  It's incredibly easy to throw together and tastes yummy!  Even if you go a little overboard on the mint like I did.  It was a lot of fruit, the entire fruit salad was gone the very next day!!  A definite recipe endorsement!!

Honey Mint Fruit Salad

juice of 1 lime
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons finely chopped mint
6-8 cups freshly chopped fruit

In a large bowl, whisk lime juice, honey and mint until well combined.  Add fresh fruit and toss.

I refrigerated mine for a couple of hours before serving as I wanted to make sure the flavors had a chance to meld.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wholesome Wednesday: Coconut Oatmeal Cookie Recipe

We love cookies at my house.  But we love them more when they're unusual.  I can easily see these becoming a favorite.  Not that they beat whole wheat peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip, but they're just such a different taste.  They're kinda like a macaroon without the chocolate on the bottom.

They're crisp, golden brown and still chewy.  I'm pretty sure that's all the coconut making them moist.  If you really need a chocolate fix, you could add half a cup of chocolate chips.  While working on these, I almost threw in some chopped up caramels.  However, I thought they'd end up too sweet.  I love the oatmeal in them too.  Let's face it I love just about everything with oatmeal in it.  :)

Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup butter or shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup oats
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Mix flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl and set aside.  Cream butter/shortening with sugars until light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla and beat well.  Add flour, oats, coconut and mix thoroughly.  Scoop with a tablespoon sized cookie scoop onto ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

This recipe makes about 30 cookies if you use tablespoon sized cookie scoop.

Susie Savors: Crisp and tangy these are a great treat.  They're healthy as far as regular cookies go, they do have oats with fiber and they help to control blood sugar.  With the added benefits from coconut, these are a guilt free pick me up.  The sweet is paired with the nutty coconut and complemented by the texture of the oats.  A mouthful of intrigue that will keep you sneaking just one more.  You won't be the only one.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Jucy Lucy Burger Recipe

Months ago we saw America's Test Kitchen do a segment on these burgers which had lots of gooey cheese inside them.  :)  I did make them for one of my meals in the SoFabU Sears Grilling Photography class.

For the class, we weren't posting recipes.  I think my brain would have imploded if I'd had to worry about recipes along with all the meals I was planning and photographing at the time.  I'm very glad I took the class because my photos have majorly improved but it was a lot of work.

The Jucy Lucy burgers were really good.  I haven't made them since the class, but we'll definitely keep them in rotation.  The trick is making sure the cheese is entirely encased and sealed in the ground beef.  I had a couple of burgers which I thought were sealed, but leaked a bit.

Biting into one and getting that gooey cheese is truly amazing.  So much better than a cheeseburger.  The meat also stayed moist and tender even after handling it so much.  If you're looking for a stand-out burger, this is it!!

Jucy Lucy Burgers from Cook's Country 9/07

2 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into rough pieces
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 pounds 85% lean ground beef
1 slice deli American Cheese (1/2 inch thick), cut into quarters

Using a potato masher, mash bread, milk, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a large bowl until smooth.  Add beef and gently knead to combine.

Divide meat evenly into 4 equal portions.  Using half of each portion, encase cheese to form a mini burger patty.  Mold remaining half portion of meat around patty to seal edges and form a ball.  Flatten ball to form a 3/4-inch thick patty.  Transfer to plate and refrigerate 30 minutes-24 hours.

Grill over medium heat till well browned and cooked through, 6-8 minutes per side.  Transfer to plate and tent with foil, let rest 5 minutes.

This last photo is a cooled Jucy Lucy burger.  But it definitely shows how much cheese is actually in these burgers!!  Just imagine fresh from the grill...definitely juicy!!

Late Wholesome Wednesday

Hate to say it, but this week's Wholesome Wednesday post is gonna be late.  As in not posted before 5 am on Wednesday morning.  If I'm lucky, it will be up by late wed. evening.  :(

There's really not much of an excuse besides the fact that the weather has been extremely humid here in Chicago the past 4-5 days.  When its that humid out I just don't feel like baking or cooking much at all.  We've grilled a few basic things, but nothing special to share.

Remember during my Sears class that I posted about Jucy Lucy burgers and that gorgeous fruit salad?  I'll  try to share those with y'all very soon.

I'm also excited to share that soon....I'll have some reduced calorie adult beverage recipes to share.  :)  That should make up for me being late.