Sunday, December 29, 2013

#ShareJoy this Holiday Season with Starbucks

One thing I need in copious amounts during the holiday season is coffee.  I typically spend the 3-4 days leading up to Christmas Eve frantically baking.  This year was no different in that regard, but I had Starbucks new Holiday Blend to keep me going.  While I do love the holidays, they're crazy busy at our house.  We're responsible for the majority of the desserts and cookies at family gatherings, which don't get me wrong is great as you might have noticed that I love to bake.  However, it's hard to schedule everything out when you have one oven and limited fridge space and everything you decided to make that year is something new.  Let's be honest, every year I make new and over the top desserts for the holidays.  :)

Yet to get all this done I need coffee!  Having a cup of coffee forces me to take a break while refueling for more baking.  Starbucks sent me their retooled Holiday Blend coffee to make this all possible.  This year's blend consists of Latin American and Indonesian coffees which give you an herbal and maple-y cup of joe.  Perfect to go with all those cookies and other sweets!  They also sent some super cute holiday mugs to make things more festive around here.  I especially love that they are squat and round because my coffee stays warmer a lot longer.

Not only did this awesome package come right before the holidays, Starbucks also sent along an extra bag for me to share with one lucky reader!  If you need some holiday pick me up after your celebrations, use the rafflecopter form below to enter.  Contest open to 18+ US only.  Leave a comment below letting me know how your family celebrates the holidays!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, December 20, 2013

Essex Inn Chicago Field Trip Package - A Review

Tuesday night I had the opportunity to head downtown for an overnight stay at the Essex Inn and check out their Chicago Field Trip Package!  I've probably never told you, but when I was a teenager living in Louisville I volunteered at the Louisville Science Center for about 6 years.  I did everything from run the gift shop, to giving science demonstrations to training new volunteens.  It was a blast!  So I'm always thrilled to hit up one of the big museums downtown.  This made the offer of a free night at the Essex + Field tickets a no-brainer decision!!

Flash to Tuesday night, Susie caught a stomach bug and couldn't go with me.  The Aunt couldn't go as her yoga teacher was moving (lame excuse) but luckily my new BF was available.  So down to the city we headed.  I didn't leave as early as I'd have liked, but traffic wasn't awful heading down.  The Essex Inn is located at 800 S Michigan Avenue which is just a couple blocks from the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium or across the street from Grant Park.  My package included free parking, which rocked as parking can be an arm and a leg in downtown Chicago.

Checking in was a breeze!  The staff only required a form of ID and a credit card to get my room ready.  The Essex has 15 floors including a rooftop pool if you're so inclined during your stay.  They also have smoking and non-smoking rooms.  Not that I smoke, but I thought all hotels were smoke-free?  So if you're a smoker and visiting the Chicago area, this is the hotel for you.

My room was fairly nice.  Since Susie had planned on going with me, I had a room with two double beds.  I quite like the orange decor, but as you know we're partial to orange.  Also in the room was a working mini-fridge and a safe for your valuables.  I was concerned the room wouldn't be warm with a wall of windows, but it was toasty all night long. 

My bf ended up with a work emergency and had to leave shortly after we got some dinner.  Once again, I was all alone at the Essex.  But that's okay because sometimes you just need to relax and recharge alone.  I woke up to an absolutely gorgeous view of the Field museum!  I'm sure some of y'all saw it on my social media channels.

While breakfast wasn't included with my stay, Brasserie by LM is attached to the hotel and the front desk gave me 15% off my breakfast.  I had some pretty darn good pancakes with blueberries and coffee. 

Then it was time to hit the Field!  The Essex Inn provides morning shuttle service to the museum complex or you can choose to walk the 7 blocks if you're feeling ambitious.  As it's winter and was kinda windy Wednesday morning, I opted for the shuttle.  It was a quick trip and they dropped us off right at the Field's doors. 

As always the Field is a wonderful experience in and of itself.  Seeing Sue is mind-blowing every single time!  For me the Ancient Egyptian exhibit brings back memories of museum lock-ins during my volunteen years.  All the cool kids chose to spend the night in the mummies tomb at the Louisville Science Center.  Not that we did a lot of sleeping during those lock-ins!  I'm kinda sad the museum has since been remodeled and the mummies tomb is no longer something visitors can experience. 

Being so close to the holidays, the Field actually wasn't that crowded and I was able to wander around and take some photos of things that caught my eye.  Then it was back to the Essex to pick up my bag before heading home.  Another cool thing about the Essex is that they'll watch your bags after you've checked out but still want to enjoy the city.

All in all the Essex Inn is in a fantastic location for those wanting a great escape from everyday life.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

My Carmex Is Whimsical

There are certain things a woman does not wish to go without.  In winter especially, the cold in Chicagoland is biting and changes rapidly.  So, when we got new carmex moisture plus, I was thrilled!  Finally, a new Carmex that may just solve any appearances of the dreaded chapped lips of winter cold.

Let's be honest, we can't always have perfect lips on our own.   It doesn't help when the ultra fabulous Miss Rosie wants to go outside at this very moment.  So, when you have the opportunity to protect your lips with a swipe of this Carmex, well there are no downsides.

My favorite design in their newest collection is Whimsical.  Fortuitously, I took their quiz and I got whimsical as my design.  I would was glad to see that my style was obvious to others, although I tend to love more bold colors.  Of course, while I love the four styles of their limited edition moisture plus collection, I'd love to see one that reflected my love for Fantasy with an out of this world design and flavor to match!

So, why not try your luck and enter to win your own set of Carmex!  They are giving away a set of their Limited Edition Moisture Plus because when you want to find your favorite lip balm from your purse, let's be honest you carry more one flavor, you want to be able to see it easily for a style that compliments your own!  Now, you can find that lip balm with ease because with a case like these you'll always love it!

This is going to be a flash giveaway!  To enter leave a comment below telling us why you need some Whimsical in your life by 11 pm CMT Thursday December 19th, 2013.  Make sure you leave a way to contact you as I need to submit a winner tonight.  Contest open to 18+ residents of the Continental US.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Roasted Quinoa Stuffed Pork Loin

Being that winter has finally arrived in the Chicago area, I've been wanting to do a roast to get more in the holiday mood.  Specifically a rolled and stuffed pork loin filled with yummy things like quinoa, mushrooms and healthy greens roasted with some parsnips, potatoes and carrots.  A dish like this always means winter to me.  There's something comforting about pulling a roast out of the oven and knowing everyone will love it.  Stuffing it means that you have even less work to do while it cooks, because this is a dinner that will enhance itself as it cooks in the oven.  All the goodness of veggies and mushrooms and quinoa and wine to highlight the pork and when someone does the hard part for you, then it's smooth rolling in your kitchen.  

I just knew Sunset Foods would have everything I needed to make this amazing dish.  Including a butcher who will custom cut your meat for you!  I needed a 3 lb pork loin roast tri-fold cut, while this is something I could do myself having the butcher do it for me makes my life a lot easier.  In just a few minutes my roast was cut, packed up and ready to go.  I love that Sunset is willing to go the extra mile and custom cut meats on demand for customers.

For this particular recipe I also wanted a wine I could use in the gravy to enhance the dish and also serve with it.  The staff at Sunset foods is incredibly knowledgeable and after asking what I wanted to use it for, was able to recommend a 2012 De Loach Pinot Noir for my dish.  Since I primarily drink whites, I never would have come across this wine on my own.  It's also insanely reasonably priced at $9.99 a bottle!

Roasted Quinoa Stuffed Pork Loin

3 lb pork loin roast, tri-fold cut and pounded flat
1 lb parsnips, peeled and cut into 2-3 inch chunks
1 lb carrots, peeled and 1 grated for stuffing, with remaining cut into 2-3 inch chunks
28 oz mixed color potatoes
6 cloves garlic
1 inch piece of ginger
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 springs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 oz quinoa, rinsed well
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 lb button mushrooms, sliced
5 oz mixed power greens (kale, spinach and chard)
1 medium onion, 1 tablespoon minced remaining onion cut into chunks
2-4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup water
2 large eggs, beaten
butchers twine 3-5 foot piece
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 cup DeLoach Pinot Noir

First start by making the herb paste to put on the outside of your roast.  In a food processor or strong blender, mix together the garlic, ginger, rosemary, thyme and 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Set aside.

Next make the quinoa.  In a large saucepan melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and cook onion until softened, about 5-6 minutes over med-low heat.  Once onion has softened, add grated carrot and cook 1-2 minutes.  Add quinoa, 2 cups chicken broth and 1/2 cup water bring to a boil reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.  Once quinoa is done move it to a large heatproof bowl to cool.

In a large skillet, melt remaining 2 tablespoons unsalted butter over medium heat.  Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally until they release their liquid.  Add power greens and cook until wilted.  Add this to your quinoa along with 2 beaten eggs.  Mix well to incorporate eggs and this will form your stuffing.

Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Before you start on your pork, in a large roasting pan combine your root veggies with 1 cup chicken broth and place in oven for 10 minutes.  The veggies take a bit longer than the pork to cook.

Now for the pork, taking a large piece of plastic wrap open up your pork on it with the fat side facing down.  Cover with another piece of plastic wrap and using a rubber mallet, beat pork until its more uniform in thickness, about 3/4-inch thick.  Remove top plastic wrap and spread with quinoa stuffing making sure to leave a 3/4-inch border.

Now comes the fun part, roll up the pork with the stuffing inside.  Tying it can be a little tricky and some stuffing will escape, but it will turn out fine.  Leaving a 3-4 inch tail, make a loop large enough to go around the roast.  Carefully slide under and around roast, tie twine fairly tight.  Go down about an inch further down the roast and holding that inch length on top, loop the rest of the twine under and around the pork to form a circle.  Tie this to the inch you were holding on top.  After doing this once it will go a lot faster.  Continue until you get to end of pork roast.  Taking remaining butchers twine and run under bottom of roast coming back up to your tail at the other end.  Tie both ends together and snip away excess.

Coat roast with herb paste and place on top of roasting veggies in the oven.  Continue to cook for 15 minutes at 450, then reduce heat to 325 and cook 30-45 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees.

Remove pork from oven to rest for 10 minutes, tent with foil.

During last 10 minutes of roasting, place remaining stuffing in oven proof dish and bake for 20 minutes at 325 degrees.

After your pork is roasted, drain any accumulated juices and chicken broth from roasting pan into a small saucepan.  Mix cornstarch with pinot noir and add to saucepan after the broth mixture comes to a boil.  Cook until thickened.  Slice pork roast and serve with veggies, stuffing and pinot noir gravy.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

First World Problems: Did You Smell Something?

We've recently started going to food swaps.  Last time we had a visit from the Marshmallow Fairy and got delectable Salted Carmel Marshmallows!  They are beyond phenomenal in hot cocoa or plain.  As such, when we heard they were going to be at the food swap in Winnetka, we knew we had to schedule it in so we could get more mallows!  More!

We decided to can some of our apple filling which we have been altering for various apple recipes.  Only when you find a pot in the basement that might have been in your house for more than twenty years you may be in for a surprise.  As were we, as we heated up water in this canning pot which was going completely normal until the water started to get closer to a boil.  There was a funny smell and we realized that the formica next to the stove was melting!  There is a black spot the size of a silver dollar next to our stove!  We had no idea that it would melt at all.  We boil pots of that size all the time on that burner, but they're not nearly so old.  We had no trouble using another pot to can our apple mixture, but it was certainly a hair raising moment.

Followed by the dog being unsupervised which led to a foot licking frenzy.  She has a fetish and licks non-stop.  So, then we had a dog who was bleeding all over the kitchen.   Rosie certainly was not cooperative.  She wanted to be in the kitchen near all the smells but she was stubbornly wanting not to be cleaned.

We found out that we cannot make coconut butter in our new ninja blender.  The blender is too powerful and the coconut was too dry.  So, we had a messy blender with stubborn coconut that I wanted to put on my toast but could only stare at longingly.  Oh, fresh bread with coconut butter is marvelous for breakfast.  Alas, we are without coconut butter.   Hard times they are here.

As always the cat continues his nightly terrors.  He runs from room to room wanting to snuggle with a human.  For some reason, he does not like being kicked.  He will run out of the room and then return shortly afterwards.  He is most fickle.  Thus, causing all the heat to escape from the room with a humidifier running.  He has taken to creepily staring as well.  He goes from human to human when hungry and meows and hopes for signs of awareness.  Then, he will settle to stare at Susie as she sleeps.  He can sit still for hours staring waiting for her to wake up which can start earlier than dawn.

So that was our crazy week!  How was yours?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Cappuccino Cravers for The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2013

When we heard about the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2013, we knew we wanted to participate.  While we had no idea what we were in store for in return, some surprises are more than you expect.   Getting mystery cookies in the mail makes the entire month of December feel like Christmas!!  I really don't think there's a better way to get in the holiday spirit.  We ended up with three very different kinds of cookies, which rocks because who besides Susie wants the exact same kind of cookie all the time?  

Here is our recipe for our Cappuccino Cravers.  Someone's favorite at our house to the point that they didn't want to send them away.  There was some cookie snatching going on in our house until it was made clear that there would be some left at home.  You can't make cookies in our house and expect to get away with distributing them without leaving a few extra behind.  Of course, when you only make a recipe once a year this tends to happen more elaborately.  You try hiding a few dozen cookies without detection; it's not easy.

This recipe comes from one of our neighbors.  The first time it was made it was a hit at our house. To the point that every year during the holidays when these are made they tend to mysteriously go missing.  Of course, it takes a while to be noticed because we generally go cookie crazy.   There will be dozens upon dozens of freshly baked cookies at our house.  Sometimes you just don't want to share, but when you do you hope others will love your cookies as much as you do!

Cappuccino Cravers
2 squares (2 oz) unsweetened chocolate
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee crystals
1 teaspoon water
1 egg

Chocolate Dip
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons shortening

Stir semisweet chocolate in small heavy saucepan over low heat until melted.  Remove from heat; cool slightly.  In small bowl stir together flour, cinnamon and salt.

Beat 1/2 cup shortening and butter in large mixing bowl until butter is softened.  Add sugar and brown sugar and beat until fluffy.  Stir coffee crystals into water to dissolve.  Add coffee mixture, melted chocolate and egg to butter mixture.  Beat well.  Add flour mixture.  Beat until well mixed.  Cover and chill about 1 hour or until easy to handle.

Shape into two 7-inch rolls.  Wrap and chill at least 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Cut rolls into 1/4 inch slices.  Place on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 10-12 minutes or until edges are firm and lightly browned.  Remove and cool.

Heat chocolate chips and 3 tablespoons shortening in small saucepan over low heat until melted.  Stir occasionally.  Dip 1/2 of each into chocolate mixture.  This works better if you tilt the bowl at an angle so you have a deeper chocolate pool to dip into.

Place on waxed paper to cool until chocolate is set.  You can skip the chocolate dipping if you prefer.  It depends on if you like to mix coffee and chocolate together.

Cabot Crisps for the Chicago Food Swap

This past weekend we attended our second Chicago Food Swap and we made something delectable.  Cabot Cheese sponsored the food swap and picked two bloggers to make something with their products.  We lucked out and got picked!!  I've worked with Cabot Cheeses before and absolutely love their products.  A branch of my family actually lives in Barre, VT where Cabot is based.

I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to make, but knew I wanted it to be something with cheese.  There were two things I was debating either crackers or a farm loaf studded with cheddar.  I went with crackers.  I thought they'd be cute if I used the electric cookie press to make holiday shapes.  If I'd been able to find the electric cookie press, that is.  It's lost somewhere in the depths of the basement.  If you've ever seen my basement, you'd understand.  

So I tried to make cute holiday cheese-y crackers with the manual cookie press....lets just say it was a dismal failure.  They came out huge and way too thick.  That left me with hand rolling and cutting the cracker dough.  Let's just say there is a reason most people don't make crackers at home.  It's a lot of work!  Ours turned out great, I mean you really can't go wrong when you use Cabot Cheese, but I don't know that I'd make them again.  Or at least not enough to share!  They were easy until about the third batch when you want to just get them all baked, but you can only peel one cracker off the sheet at a time!  Next time, we will definitely try parchment paper instead.  The best part about this recipe is that you really get the cheesy goodness because the main ingredient is cheese!  No overly complicated recipe with loads of add-ins.  We like our cheese straight up with a slight crisp! We hope you enjoy our recipe for Cabot Crisps!  

Cabot Crisps

8 ounces Cabot Cheese of your choice, shredded
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-3 tablespoons water

After much trial and error, I used the food processor for the entire dough making process.

First using the shredding blade, shred your cheese.  Change out to the chopping blade.  Add butter, salt and flour to the shredded cheese.  Pulse until it forms a crumbly mixture. Remove top, sprinkle in water (you'll need 2 tablespoons for full fat cheeses and 3 tablespoons for low-fat cheeses) and pulse until a dough forms.

Now comes the fun part!  Get two good sized sheets of waxed paper.  Take a third of the dough, roll it out to between 1/8th-1/16th of an inch thick and cut with a pizza cutter.  Move each cracker by hand to an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Crackers will puff and turn golden.

Super Mario 3D Land Bowser's Castle Building Set

K'Nex sets are relatively new to us.  I suppose because we were always pushed towards doing our own thing.  While it's nice to be able to build whatever you want sometimes you need the extra push from a pro.  The handy detailed blueprints to build a tower any evil doer would want to inhabit.  Of course, this one is reserved for my arch-nemesis Bowser.

Complete with Princess Peach to rescue Mario from yet another kidnapping plot.  What do you mean it's the other way around?  Excuse me, this is my story I'm telling because I built this castle and I can kidnap whomever I like! Ahem, where was I?  Oh yes, while Mario was kidnapped again by Bowser, honestly he needs to stop asking for directions.  Doesn't everyone have GPS on their phones these days?

I followed him to this castle, what like you don't have child safety features set up for your kids? Mario just needs some extra care, it's not stalking I assure you.  Besides, he ended up needing my help after all.  What with those rotating flames? And the evil giant dragon who can fly?  Plus all of those elevators and floors?  He was bound to get lost the poor thing.  I mean, really, he has no GPS.  He probably got lost on account of him being tied up and all.  How would he have found his way out of that elaborate maze?  Luckily, Princess Peach was there to rescue him.

She sails in to save the day with jumping action.  She glides across the ramp with ease avoiding deadly traps and earthquake panels.  She is a skilled pink dervish and races to the top of the tower to battle Bowser.  Finally, using all of her might to earn that star!  Mario was grateful to be found yet again.  Maybe next time he'll listen to Princess Peach and plan his route ahead of time.  I doubt he'll find such an elaborately decked out castle next time.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

New Super Mario Bros. 2 Thwomps Building Set Review

There is little I have done with building blocks.  Honestly, as the girl child, I stayed away from them.  Or more accurately was told hands off by my older brothers.  The building was their domain and that was fine by me.  Mostly...I mean building is fun for all.

So, I was little smug when we got some K'nex sets a few weeks ago.  I decided to start with the New Super Mario Bros. 2 Thwomps Building Set.  The building started and I got a little carried away in the same sense.  I love puzzles and this was a giant 3-D puzzle only with Mario for the theme.  I know you may not believe me but being able to make your own level for a Mario game is pretty amazing.

In about three hours, with I must say the worst assistants ever.  I mean, really how hard is it to hand me the red stick? It's red and a stick! Not hard to figure out.  Anyhow, they were easy to build.  The instructions don't even have words just pictures so you know that an eight year old could do it.  Only, I bet they'd have an easier time without my awful assistants.  The cat is not helpful.  He only wants to eat the pieces.

So, why not bring a little Nintendo cheer to your builder?  You will be impressed with the awesome display you find on your table!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Sassy City Chicks Sunday, Dec.15th from 12-5 pm

Are you in need of a girls-only event this weekend?  Have I got a treat for you! The Chicago Blogger Network was kind enough to set me up with a slew of VIP tickets to share with y'all.  

Here's a quick rundown of the event:  Shopping, cocktails, beauty and a giveaway....doesn't it sound like the PERFECT girls day out? Sassy City Chicks is coming back to Chicago for their holiday show on Sunday, December 15th, from 12-5PM at the Double Tree Magnificent Mile!  The event will be featuring top local designers and boutiques with INSANE discounts, so you can get that last minute shopping in, and of course a little something for yourself.  There will also be complimentary hair styling, threading, and more in their exclusive spa lounge.  And they'll be giving away a Kate Spade leather bag at the event! You can learn more about the girls only, 21+ event here.

To get free VIP tickets, enter the code "rosiesparkles" in the promo code box.  I hope to see you there!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

First World Problems: Help the Oven Is OVERFLOWING

It's true that our job as food bloggers means quite a lot of time spent in our kitchen.  We are cooking and then baking and mixing.  All for the sake of those few perfect shots and of course the excellent taste.

As such we have found ourselves on a winding path of food.  We recently started attending the Chicago Food Swap.  We'd been considering going for months but never had the time.  Since we finally went last month, we decided from our good haul that we would go again.  Only we didn't learn from experience quite yet.  Never ever plan an event the day before a food swap.  Even if we have our recipes selected, generally they are new and untested.

Not that they are going to go horribly wrong, just that sometimes we don't realize just how ambitious making seven different flavors of cheddar crackers by hand is.  It is a lot of work.  A lot of hours in the kitchen with lots of slicing and rolling and peeling and placing.  Detailed work, which while the recipe is extremely simple in terms of ingredients: flour, butter, water and cheese; the process is time consuming.  Especially when your plan falls through and you don't find your electric cookie press and the handheld one turns out to be unreliable crafting giant cookie crackers.  We opted to do them by hand.

This was better in terms of sizing our crackers.  For the most part they are squares or you can tell that they were the sad corners which just got the short end of the dough.  The next fiasco was in cooking all of these.  We had our oven on for hours non-stop.  We'd mix a batch, roll and cut and just manage to get all of the little squares peeled off the wax paper and onto the waiting pan.  Which meant that we were going on pan at a time in our oven.  The crackers would cool perfectly on the rack in the time it took to make a new batch, by then we were finally fast enough to keep with our pan rotations.

Only by this time, we were hysterical.  Two of us in the kitchen, dashing from oven to counter to slicer.  It was madness as we tried to peel without breaking the pieces even smaller.  We were just saying words in front of cheese or crackers and laughing out of control.  Our sanity was pushed to the limits as the crackers took control of all we thought we knew about the world.  We had an oven which overflowed with cracker bounty.  Granted, they are delicious and cheesy.  Truly, they have more cheese than your average cheese cracker, but there were too many.   It was as if they multiplied in the oven as we moved them to the rack to cool.  For the longest time it seemed as if the amount of cheese we had yet to use was not changing.  We had a stack of cheese to use and the hours just ticked away and we despaired.  We were going to be cracker bakers.  Our family business had taken hold and I could see my children apprenticing in the cracker arts.  How to peel perfectly with your fingers.  How the spacing was necessary and precise.  How the timing was immaculate.  Everything flashed before our eyes as the crackers kept baking.

Then, this morning to our horror, we realized that our crackers had lost their crisp.  We had to start again the cracker baking.  We had to recrisp our crackers, this was much easier than an initial baking process, but it was still time consuming.  As our thousands of tiny crackers went back into the oven.  Finally, we were done and could manage to parcel them out into bags.  Hoping with all of our might that someone would want our cracker wares in seven different flavors in exchange for anything else because we are all cracked up.  No more crackers for us.  Too much of a good thing is enough to last us through the holidays.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Citrus Shrimp Fettuccine with Egg Sauce

There is one place we can always go when we want something good for dinner.  While we didn't pick up the What's for Dinner? which included Rosemary Salmon and Butternut Squash Risotto, something we'll keep in mind, we did find all the ingredients for our own recipe.  We fall into the same habits as I assume most of you do, making a marina sauce to go over pasta.  We wanted a change and so we took our usual pasta and altered our course towards the ocean.

We already know that Sunset Foods always has a miraculous large and freshly filled seafood counter.  While this time we didn't go for fish, we did pick out some tasty raw shrimp.  Sure there is a little work involved in cleaning them, but it's worth the flavors.  Especially when we procured some fresh produce to create a tasty marinade.  Our marinade kicked it up a notch to make our shrimp beyond delicious.  We went the egg sauce route to add richness without all of the calories of a traditional cream sauce.  The citrus also boosts the flavor while keeping it healthy.

The kale and mushrooms are a personal touch.  You could substitute them with any leafy green or even nuts of your choosing.  We like them best and so we knew it would seal the deal.  As we predicted the dish was a slam dunk.  The best part is that it was a one dish meal so we didn't need to cook anything else to go with it.

While this recipe has a lot of ingredients, don't let that intimidate you.  More than half of them are for the marinade and the rest of the dish is easy, peasy to throw together.  This ends up being a one dish meal, which are my favorite to make!

Citrus Shrimp Fettuccine With Egg Sauce
1 lb shrimp

1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
4-5 sprigs fresh parsley
1 bunch of fresh basil
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 one-inch piece ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil
8 oz bella mushrooms, sliced
1 pkg (5 oz.) kale
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup whole milk
3/4 cup grated parmesan
zest of 1 lime
1 pound fettuccine

In a blender or food processor combine: oregano, parsley, basil, olive oil, orange juice, lime juice, ginger, salt, pepper and garlic pulse to combine.  Toss with shrimp in a bowl and marinade for 30 minutes.

When shrimp are ready, bring water to a boil and start cooking pasta.  In a large skillet over medium high heat add olive oil and mushrooms, cook mushrooms until they start to release their liquid; 5-6 minutes.  Drain shrimp and discard rest of marinade.  Add shrimp to skillet and cook, 2-3 minutes until they start to turn pink.  Add kale and cook until it wilts.  Remove from heat.

While all this is happening, trust me you'll have time in between, whisk together egg yolks, lime zest, milk and 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese in a medium bowl.

Here's where things come together.  Before you drain the pasta, reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water.  You'll need this to loosen the egg sauce if it gets too thick.  Drain the pasta and add it to the pot with the shrimp.  Pour in the egg sauce and toss until sauce thickens.  Don't worry about the raw egg, the heat from the pasta and shrimp will cook it.  Add a 1/2 cup of pasta water and toss, if it isn't saucy enough add more pasta water.  Serve immediately.