Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wholesome Wednesday: Sesame Chicken with Mushrooms

I don't think I need to mention it again, but I absolutely love one dish dinners!  Completely and totally.  There's just something about not having to make lots of different things when you're making a meal.  My love of one dish meals probably comes from having tuna noodle casserole a lot as a child.  Knowing me, I probably liked it because of the potato chips on the top.  

We love stir fry meals where you don't throw everything except the kitchen sink into them.  I've learned from experience, my mom's idea of stir fry, that you should focus on a few key ingredients.  Sesame chicken with mushrooms is a great example.  

This is something we've been eating more of recently, one dish dinners to go over rice.  This one was perfect because we had a multitude of mushrooms in the fridge.  The recipe wanted us to use snow peas as well, but we skipped that.  Instead, we topped ours with some sprouts (at least I did, someone doesn't like them).  I think that added a nice crunch and fresh taste.

Sesame Chicken with Mushrooms

1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut in strips
2 garlic cloves, minced        
1 tablespoon cornstarch            
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon sesame oil                  
a dash red pepper flakes    
1/4 teaspoon sugar
3 teaspoons sesame seeds            
1/4 cup vegetable oil        
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 lb sliced fresh mushrooms
2 tablespoons soy sauce              
1 tablespoon dry sherry
Handful of sprouts (optional)

In a medium bowl, combine chicken strips, garlic, ginger and crushed red pepper flakes.  Set aside.

In a large dry skillet over medium heat, toast sesame seeds until lightly browned.  Remove from pan and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine chicken broth, soy sauce, dry sherry, cornstarch, sesame oil and sugar.  Stir well.

In skillet, heat 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil over high heat.  Add chicken and cook for 3 minutes.  Remove from pan.

Lower heat to medium high and add remaining 2 Tbsp oil to pan.  add mushrooms and cook till starting to get tender and brown.  About 3 minutes.

Add chicken, sesame seeds and cooking sauce to the pan.  Cook over medium heat till sauce thickens.

Serve over rice and sprinkle with sprouts if desired.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Chicago Breweries: Beer Bread Project 2013

We posted a couple of weeks ago about a special new project at Rosie Discovers.  This year we're touring breweries in the Chicago area.  Why are we touring them you ask?  Well over the holidays we got this great idea to make bread with craft beers.

Had I ever made beer bread before?  Well, no but I have a basic understanding of how to make a great loaf of bread.  With this knowledge, I've been experimenting and working the kinks out of my yeasted beer bread recipes.  My hope for each bread recipe is to bring out the flavors in the beer.  To make each loaf special.  I'll be sharing these recipes with you along the way, so make sure you come back to check them out.

Here are photos of a few of my practice loaves.  The first is a Spaten Doppelbock, which is a dark German beer.  This bread wasn't too bad, but not quite right.  The dopplebock was still sour despite the sugar I added.

The second was a Sam Adam's Coastal and the only quick bread I made.  I don't know if the Sam Adam's is just an icky beer, but my loaf turned out like a flour tasting hockey puck.  Definite yuck.  I used a King Arthur Flour recipe and it just wasn't good.

The last is a Summit Saga IPA.  This made a pretty good bread with a citrus taste to it.  It wasn't a particularly strong beer, so it tasted more like a bakery sandwich bread.

The first brewery we're featuring is Church Street Brewing Co. in Itasca, IL.  Let me tell you, they were incredibly kind and patient with us.  They walked us through pretty much the entire brewing process.  It's a bit more involved than you might think.  :)  We're going to have 4 (that's right FOUR) different breads made with their beers and spent grain.

Make sure to follow along as we hope to get to work with most of the breweries in the Chicago area.  Also feel free to leave the name of your favorite brewery in the comments below to make sure that we contact them.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Disney Rockin' Ever After on Ice @ Allstate Arena

This past Wednesday night we went to see Disney's Rockin' Ever After at the Allstate Arena.  I have to say for a week night and the show not starting till 7 pm, the place was packed!  I was surprised to see it so packed as the show was 2 hours long and my parents never let me stay up that late on an elementary school night.

As an adult seeing the show, its not quite as magical as for the kids.  Although, the kids in the audience were mesmerized by the show.  As soon as the show started, the entire arena was quiet.  There were four basic segments to the show; The Little Mermaid, Rapunzel, Brave and The Beauty and the Beast.

The costumes were outstanding!  Great attention to detail and color.  The props and lighting were quite well done too.

If you have time this weekend, definitely see a show at the Allstate Arena.  Or get tickets to take your kids to the show at the United Center next week.

*I am a Feld Family Ambassador, and in exchange for my time and efforts in attending shows and reporting my opinion within this blog, as well as keeping you advised of the latest discount offers, Feld Entertainment has provided me with complimentary tickets to Feld shows and opportunities to attend private Feld pre‐Show events.  All opinions are my own.*

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wholesome Wednesday: Kale Pesto

We absolutely love kale in everything!  Recently I had Andrew Weil's True Food cookbook and there was a  recipe for kale pesto.  Since we already love pesto, I thought combining the two would be right up our alley.  I wrote it down thinking it sounded interesting and promptly forgot about it.

Well last week, I had an abundance of kale I needed to use up and remembered that recipe.  First, I should remind you that pine nuts do not have a long shelf life.  If you don't pick them up at the store, make sure yours are fresh before you use them.  Otherwise the taste of your pesto might be a little off.  I forgot to test mine and they were a little stale, which did come through in the pesto.  Also if you don't have pine nuts (they are a little pricey) feel free to use an equal amount of another toasted nut.  Toasted walnuts are a great substitution here.  Second, this pesto really tastes better the second day.  Since its made with kale it stays the same vibrant green after storing unlike basil pesto.  No need to add an olive oil layer to the top.

True Food's recipe called for black kale (which I didn't have) so I used regular old green kale.  I also only made a half a recipe, which was more than enough for an entire box of pasta.
Kale Pesto

4 cups packed chopped fresh kale
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3-1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Fill a large bowl with ice water.

Plunge kale into boiling water for 3 minutes.  Using tongs, transfer kale to ice water.  After 3 minutes, drain the kale in a colander, then squeeze firmly to remove excess water.

Put kale and all ingredients except oil in food processor.  As you start to run food processor, drizzle olive oil in the opening.  Stop when you reach a pesto consistency.

I recommend you refrigerate overnight before use.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Crate and Barrel Sushi Mat

If you saw yesterday's post about making your own kimbap, you probably saw our sushi rolling mat.  It actually came from Crate and Barrel.  Today, January 21st, its on sale for $2.95 with free shipping!  Talk about a steal!

Now you have no excuse not to try kimbap at home.  :)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Kimbap: A Healthy Superbowl Treat! #CBias

Alison: We need to practice making our Superbowl treats.  What do you think we should make?  I think it should be something healthy.  All I ever see at parties is junk food or unhealthy choices.

Susie: Practice?  I don't think so!  Everything I make is wonderful!

Alison: Practice makes perfect!

Susie: Well, in that case we should make something already perfected!  Kimbap!  You can always use an extra excuse to make one of our favorite foods again!

Alison: Kimbap is pretty good, although I like it better freshly made.  Cold rice just doesn't do anything for me.  :(

Susie: Whatever, you're just picky and spoiled.  Not everyone gets warm food all the time.

Alison: I know that, but I still like it fresh!

Susie: For anyone wondering, kimbap is kind of like a sushi roll.  Only it's a Korean style with cooked meat in most versions.  Ours is a bit different with vegetables you'd find here easily.  Our recipe calls for bulgogi though which is yummy marinated meat.

Alison: Seriously!  So delicious that we have a hard time not eating it before we get to making the rolls.

Susie: I bet Mariano's would have everything we need to make kimbap.  I just checked the ad online and they've got Black Angus skirt steak on sale.

Alison: Lucky for me the Arlington Heights store is practically in my backyard.  The Mariano's in Arlington Heights is the very first store in the new grocery store chain.  It's been open about two and a half years now and pretty much no matter what time you go, the store is packed with customers.

Susie: They've got a phenomenal produce department.  Including lots of organic fruits and veggies.  For our recipe, we need carrots, cucumber and radishes.  But feel free to put your favorite veggies in yours.  Try to pick something you can cut thin and still has a crunch to it.

Alison: Mariano's also has an amazing butcher counter.  It's really, really big.  They have a large selection of meats, make their own sausage and will even steam your shrimp for you.

Susie: Most helpful, they immediately offered to cut us a pound when there wasn't a piece close in the case.

Alison: Mariano's also carries a good selection of local beers.  We've been checking these out more and more lately as we've been perfecting our beer bread recipes.

Susie: Another bonus, you'll notice that unlike some stores, Mariano's does tend to carry local brands like Revolution, Great Lakes, Two Brothers or Five Rabbit.

Alison: Other things you'll need for our kimbap recipe can be found in the Asian part of the International aisle.  We easily found sushi rice, seaweed sheets and mirin.

Susie: It's great that they actually have these items.  Or else we'd have to go out of our way to a specialty store.  Check out our entire shopping trip in our Google+ album.

Alison: Time to get home and get cooking.  Before heading home,  we had to pick up some beer and spent grain in Elk Grove. While on the way, we stopped to see the Elks.  They're right on Arlington Heights road not too far past the expressway.

Susie: Not a bad end to a trip.  Although, it's sad that I just figured out why it's called Elk Grove.  In my defense, I didn't grow up in the area around these elks.  Like someone I know...

Alison: I love the elks.  I used to see them when I was little too.  :)

Bulgogi - beef and marinade
1 pound beef, cut into thin strips (we used a natural NY strip steak)
1/4 cup low sodium sauce
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon mirin (can be substituted with cooking sherry)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion, grated or finely minced
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

2 carrots, peeled and julienned
2/3 cucumber, peeled and julienned
3-4 radishes, thinly sliced
2 cups sushi rice, uncooked
10 sheets of seaweed
bamboo sushi rolling mat or silicon baking mat

Place the beef in the freezer while you make the marinade.  This will make it easier to slice.  Combine all the rest of the marinade ingredients in a bowl and whisk.   Remove the beef from the freezer and slice thinly on the diagonal against the grain.  Add sliced beef to marinade and stir to coat.  Cover and place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the sushi rice.  Place rice in a fine mesh sieve and rinse under cold water until the water runs clear.  Place rice in large microwave safe container and add 3 cups hot water.  Cover and microwave either using the rice setting on your microwave or for 20 minutes.  We've found this the best method to make rice, it always comes out fluffy and perfect.  When rice is done cooking, remove from microwave and fluff with fork.  Set aside to cool.

After 30 minutes, remove marinated beef from the refrigerator.  Heat a large non-stick skillet over high heat, add half of beef mixture.  Cook without stirring for a couple of minutes, flip beef and add rest to skillet.  Cook until nicely browned and cooked through.  Set aside to cool

To assemble your kimbap:  Place a sheet of seaweed on your rolling mat.

Scoop two fairly good spoonfuls of sticky rice onto the bottom half of the seaweed sheet.  Thoroughly wet your fingers and spread rice into an even layer.

Add your veggies all across the rice.

Add a line of bulgogi.

Holding the end of the bamboo mat, start to slowly roll up the mat readjusting your hold as needed.  When the seaweed is completely rolled up, give it a final squeeze to firm up the roll.

Here's a quick video of how to roll up the kimbap.

All that's left is to slice the kimbap roll into bite-size pieces.  Use a serrated knife to easily cut through the seaweed.  This recipe makes 10 kimbap rolls.  You can easily cut each roll into 10 slices.  That gives you a 100 piece appetizer.

Susie:  The best part of this recipe is that it doesn't need to be entirely precise.  It'll still taste great because you're using raw vegetables with a marinated meat.

Alison: Ta-da!  A healthy Superbowl snack that will disappear during your party.

*I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ #CBias #SocialFabric All opinions are my own.*

Friday, January 18, 2013

Amazingly easy laundry tip!

This post isn't going to have a picture.  :(  I know its incredibly sad.  It's also not about cooking or baking or alcohol.  It's about laundry.  I know not really something I've talked much about.  But everyone does it.

Anyway, I was at the store earlier this week and met a woman who told me the best way to get your clothes clean and keep the colors bright was to use ammonia and vinegar when you wash them.  I'd always heard adding vinegar to your laundry worked like a natural fabric softener, but never a thing about ammonia.

I figured I'd give it a whirl as I had both ammonia and vinegar in the house.  This is easy peasy to do.  When you add your detergent to the washer, add a cup of ammonia and run a regular wash cycle.  Add your vinegar to the rinse cycle like you would a fabric softener.  When you take the clothes out of the washer they will smell slightly like vinegar, but it will be gone after you dry your clothes.

I added a dryer sheet to the dryer, force of habit, but I'm not quite sure that I'd have needed it.

You'll be amazed at how great your clothes feel.  :)  Using this leaves no lingering smells in the laundry.  Which I absolutely love.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wholesome Wednesday: Chicken Tetrazzini - The light version :)

My great aunt Alice used to make chicken tetrazzini for us fairly often.  I never realized it was an adapted recipe from the Joy of Cooking from the May 2, 2001 Chicago Tribune until we asked about the recipe.  As we love everything in it (I mean what's not to love?  It has a creamy sauce, mushrooms, chicken and pasta baked till creamy.) this recipe is a staple in our household.  I'm actually surprised I haven't shared it with y'all before now.

It does make a large amount, about 8 servings, takes some time to prep and makes a ton of dishes.  But this recipe has a great taste and turns out practically perfect every single time.  Another thing I should mention, I'm pretty free and easy with the ingredients.  You really can't do a lot to mess up this recipe.  I've used margarine instead of butter, skim milk instead of half and half, extra spaghetti or extra veggies.  Whatever I happen to have in the fridge.  One thing I cannot stress enough is to taste the bechamel sauce before you mix in the mushrooms and pasta.  We like a lot more nutmeg than the recipe calls for.  Sometimes I almost grate an entire nutmeg into the sauce.  Definitely taste it before throwing it all together for the oven.

Tonight I added the rest of the spinach lingering in the fridge.  If you hadn't seen it you never would have known it was there.  Could not taste it at all.
Here the tetrazzini is ready for the oven with its freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Chicken Tetrazzini

5 tablespoons unsalted butter (I use margarine if that's what I have on hand)
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup flour
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) chicken broth
1 1/2 cups whole milk or half and half
1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and shredded into pieces
3 tablespoons white wine (optional)
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
8 ounces spaghetti, cooked (I've been known to use 12 oz of veggie to use the whole box)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I grate it fresh on top, rarely use an entire 1/2 cup)

Melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium high heat in medium skillet.  Add mushrooms; cook stirring often until tender, about 5 minutes.  Set aside.  If you were going to add spinach or kale, do it after the mushrooms release their liquid.  Add spinach to the pan and cook until wilted.  By then the mushrooms should be cooked through.

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat in large saucepan.  Whisk in flour.  Cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute.  Whisk in chicken broth.  Whisk in milk.  Heat mixture to simmer, whisking constantly until thick and smooth.  Cook 1 minute.  Stir in chicken and wine.  Cook 1 minute.  Remove from heat.  Stir in nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in mushrooms and spaghetti.
This is what you'd call an action shot.  :)  I asked Susie to bring the camera as I wanted to take a photo before I baked and she started snapping them while I was grating.  As you can see my counter is cluttered with stuff.  That pile of newspaper in the back is a gorgeous french crystal trifle set I just got and can not wait to use.  :)
Pour mixture into a greased 9 by 13 inch baking pan.  Sprinkle top with Parmesan cheese.  Bake until sauce is bubbly and cheese is golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Disney On Ice: Rockin' Ever After

Disney on Ice is coming to the Chicago area!  I don't think I've ever been to a live Disney show, so this will be an adventure.  You've got two opportunities to check it out in the Chicago area and tickets include free parking!  Now you haven't got an excuse not to take the kids.  :)

Show Description:

Disney On Ice presents Rockin' Ever After! Get ready to rock out with some of the most magical idols of all in a musical showcase that features the hottest tunes and talent from across the kingdom in Disney On Ice presents Rockin’ Ever After
Jam to a Scottish jig as a group of royal contenders from the latest Disney•Pixar film, Brave, competes to win the heart of headstrong, sharp-shooting Merida, making her ice debut! Experience a show-stopping performance as Sebastian breaks out of his shell for one night only to make waves with Ariel.  A chorus of harmless hooligans from Tangled unleashes musical mayhem when they get a visit from the sassy and spirited Rapunzel and her charming ally Flynn.  And, get your feet moving as the Beast and his castle’s enchanted entourage take center stage in a spectacular show for Belle. 
It will be a rockin’ remix of royalty when Disney On Ice brings this superstar line-up to Chicagoland!  
Playing Allstate Arena Jan. 23-27 and United Center Jan. 30-Feb. 10 with FREE PARKING in all official arena parking lots.  Get your tickets today at Ticketmaster!
My readers save 40% on weekday shows and 20% on weekend shows and holidays with promo code MOM3.
Allstate Arena Jan 23-27: Save 40% or 20% with promo code:  MOM3
United Center Jan 30 - Feb 10: Save 40% or 20% with promo code:  MOM3
*I am a Feld Family Ambassador, and in exchange for my time and efforts in attending shows and reporting my opinion within this blog, as well as keeping you advised of the latest discount offers, Feld Entertainment has provided me with complimentary tickets to Feld shows and opportunities to attend private Feld pre‐Show events.  All opinions are my own.*

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Whole Wheat Honey Oat Rolls

Honey, whole wheat and oats are some of my favorite things.  Separately they taste great, but mix them together in a roll and they are amazing!

I've been tinkering with this recipe, wanting to increase the whole wheat flour and oatmeal while still ending up with a tender, yummy roll.  I really think you're going to like these.  :)

I'm sorry there's only one photo, they turned out to be more popular than I thought.  That always means the recipe is a winner!

As always I used my bread machine to mix the dough.  This makes my life so much less stressful and more likely to bake bread.  If you don't have one, I highly suggest either getting one or asking for one on your local chapter of freecycle.  I've had mine about a year now and could not imagine making dough without it.

Whole Wheat Honey Oat Rolls

2 cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup old fashioned oatmeal
2 packages dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup honey
5 tablespoons butter, divided
1 egg

Add the ingredients to your bread machine in this order: milk, egg, 4 tablespoons butter, salt, flours, oatmeal, honey and yeast.  Set your machine to the dough setting and let it run.  (This is why I absolutely love my bread machine!  I only ever use it mix dough, but it comes out perfect every single time!)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan.  When your bread machine is done with the bread cycle, turn out onto a floured surface.  Knead briefly to work the air bubbles out of the dough.  Divide the dough into 24 equal pieces.  Shape each piece into a ball, easiest way to do this is to pull all the edges underneath to make the pieces round.  Place in pan and set in a warm place to rise, about 30 minutes.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20-22 minutes or until rolls are golden brown.  Melt remaining tablespoon of butter and brush over rolls.

Friday, January 11, 2013

*Psst* We've got a Secret!


We've been keeping a secret the past couple weeks!  It was an idea that came to us during the holidays.  Something that will involve local businesses and make something new all at the same time.

Can you guess what it is?  :)

Okay, okay I'll give you a hint.  It involves local breweries.  Any guesses?  Need another hint?  It involves artisan beer.  Still nothing?

Over the next couple months we're going to visit some of the local breweries to learn all about them and make bread with their beer.  Isn't that awesome!?!?

The idea came to us over the holidays when one of our cousins put a bottle of Revolution's Fistmas in with his grab bag gift.  We thought, wouldn't it be neat if we could work with some local breweries, there are a ton in the Chicago area, to make yummy bread with their beer.  All the relatives thought it was a great idea.

Well our very first visit is this afternoon.  We're going to Church Street Brewing Company in Itasca.  Definitely check back next week for a post about our visit and some yummy bread recipes!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wholesome Wednesday: Irish Lamb Stew

I have always loved lamb stew.  Always.  I love the gravy and the carrots and potatoes.  There's just something about it.  Even though its a fave of mine, I'd never tried making it.  Rarely do we have lamb as no one really seems to like it but me.

But when Susie and I stopped at Jewel earlier this week, they had packages of lamb marked down.  Perfect time to try my hand at lamb stew.  I mean I've made pot roasts for years, so a lamb stew couldn't be that difficult.  After doing some recipe research, I cobbled together a recipe that would work with the ingredients I had on hand.

One thing to keep in mind if you're going to try this stew, you need to make it the day before.  Lamb stew needs a day in the fridge for the flavors to blend together before serving.  Trust me, it will taste so much better the second day.  :)

Irish Lamb Stew

1 lb cubed lamb stew meat
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
4 slices bacon, cubed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons sugar
2 cups chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon rosemary
6 good sized red potatoes, cut into chunks
6 carrots, cut into chunks

Combine flour, salt and pepper in a bowl, toss with cubed lamb.  Set aside.

Fry bacon in a dutch oven until crisp.  Remove to a paper towel lined plate.  Drain pot, reserving bacon fat.  Return 1 tablespoon bacon fat to the pan along with 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Add the lamb and brown on all sides.

Add the onion, and cook several minutes till beginning to soften.  Then add garlic, cooking till fragrant about 30 seconds.  Pour in wine and stir to combine.  Add the bacon back to the pan with sugar, stock, bay leaves, thyme and rosemary.  Mix well and bring to a simmer.  Cook covered about 1 hour.

Once the lamb is tender, add the potatoes.  Cover and cook about 10 minutes.  Add carrots and cook covered about 20 minutes or more until veggies are tender.  Cool and refrigerate.

Next day, remove dutch oven from fridge and heat on extremely low heat for about 30-40 minutes.  You may need to add more stock or water to keep stew from sticking to dutch oven.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Bacon Spinach Mushroom Quiche

Have I told you that I'm one of those people who rarely plan a meal in advance?  Well I am!  When grocery shopping I tend to get items we typically eat and then plan meals around that.  Even though I'm buying what we like, I still manage to make new meals fairly often.

Typically in my fridge, which is packed to the gills, you'll almost always find mushrooms and either spinach or kale.  Fairly healthy ingredients that you can use in a variety of dishes.  This recipe comes from a need to use up said mushrooms and spinach.  I'd already used them in a stuffing dish (that rocked, but I forgot to photograph) and lasagna.  I wanted something a little lighter for dinner since we've been inundated with cookies and other desserts from the holidays.

Bacon Spinach Mushroom Quiche

bacon fat
2 cups spinach
4 slices of bacon
2 cups mushrooms, chopped
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon sage
5 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup water
1 cup shredded cheddar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Make a single 9-inch pie crust.

Cook bacon in non-stick skillet until crispy.  Remove from skillet to paper towel lined plate.  Set aside.  Remove half of bacon fat from pan.  Add onions and cook until softened.  Then add mushrooms and cook until they release their liquid.  Add spinach, cook stirring frequently until spinach wilts.  Remove from pan and allow to cool.  Add cooled, crumbled bacon to spinach mushroom mixture.

In another bowl, whisk eggs and then mix in sour cream and water.

Sprinkle half of cheddar cheese in bottom of pie crust.  Top cheese with mushroom spinach mixture, pour egg mixture over top and sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese.

Place quiche in oven and then lower the temperature to 350 degrees.  Bake 30-35 minutes.

Susie Savors: Honestly, quiches are easy and quick for a meal.  We don't make them that often, I really don't know why.  This is going to change because we loved this recipe so much that it was gone at the end of dinner.  NO leftovers.  Not exactly a surprise since we love all the ingredients.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Dial Complete Foaming Hand Wash Review

Before all the holiday madness at my house I got this package in the mail from Dial.  Inside were two super cute holiday bottles.  I rarely decorate inside the house for the holidays, but these were just too cute not to use.

I decided the peppermint striped bottle would add a bit of holiday cheer.  There's nothing wrong with adding a little color to the bathroom.  The bathroom is already green so now we have the full effect of holiday colors.

It took a little while to retrain myself.  You are supposed to use it with dry hands and then rinse.  Now, it's easy to pump and rinse.

The best part is the scent.  It reminds of our favorite fruit.  The blood orange which keeps reminding me to hunt through the fruit drawer.  I forget that there are good things in there sometimes.  Not a bad effect from having clean hands.

*Dial provided a free sample of their Holiday Foaming Hand Soap so I could review them. However, all of the opinions expressed here are my own.*

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Wholesome Wednesday: Blood Orange Curd with Almond Crust

Every year at Christmas we bake.  It almost seems like our house is entirely heated by the oven.  It's pushing out cookies and other treats.  I am guessing that most of you don't have to mediate oven fights, but around here the oven is prime real estate.  Which is why this recipe was an easy pick.  Only a quick bake for the crust and the rest is done on the stove.  So, those fights for oven space can be left in the past.

We have had success with curds in the past.  They won't separate like a jelly or jam.  The texture is smooth and you won't find any large pieces of fruit while the rest is sad and fruitless.   The best part about this version is that it's made with blood oranges.  A favorite around our house because of their flavor and low acid content.  Citrus fruits can pack an acidic punch to my stomach and the blood orange is the mellow cousin between the navel and grapefruit.

The only downside to this recipe is that the crust will eventually get soggy from that curd.  If it were to last more than three or four days it won't pack the same bite as before.  Not too bad of a downside seeing as the flavor of the almond crust is beyond that of graham crackers or cookies.

This recipe is for a 14 inch tart.  Alison found it in a Year of Pies and we altered it to suit our tastes.  I found you'll need to add some cornstarch to the curd as no matter how long you cook it, the original recipe didn't thicken.

Candied Peel: 1 Orange       1/2 cup Water        3/4 cup Granulated Sugar

Cut top and bottom off the orange.  Make 4 scoring indentations through peel of remaining orange.  Pull off peel sections and set aside fruit.  Scrape out the pith with a spoon and discard.  Next, cut each piece into 1/4 inch strips.

Bring saucepan with water to a boil.  Add the strips and boil for 1 minute.  Then, drain in a colander and rinse under cold water.  Repeat 2 times.

Return empty saucepan to stove and add sugar and water.  Stir over med-high heat till sugar dissolves.  Turn heat to high and bring to a boil.  Add orange strips and reduce heat to low.  Simmer till soft and translucent about 15-20 minutes.

Using tongs, remove the peel and place on a baking sheet.  Allow to cool for 1 hour. Chop into 1/4 inch dice.  After dicing, make sure to toss candied peel with granulated sugar.  This will keep it from sticking.

Curd:    4 large eggs                                   10 tablespoon unsalted butter        1 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
            1 cup granulated sugar                    Juice and zest of 4 oranges (3 blood and 1 navel)

Place eggs in med metal bowl (to use as a double boiler later).  Beat well.

Fill med sauce pan with water (2 inches for double boiler) over med-high heat.  Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low.

To eggs, add sugar, butter, orange juice and zest and cornstarch.  Whisk gently till sugar dissolves.

Stir till mixture thickens about 15-20 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Transfer to lidded container and refrigerate until set.

Almond Shortbread Crust:  14 inch or 9.5 inch round tart
1/4 cup almonds, toasted                     1/2 teaspoon sea salt                 1 1/4 cup flour
10 tablespoon chilled unsalted butter    1/2 cup powdered sugar     1 egg yolk

Butter tart pan and set aside.

Place almonds, flour, sugar and salt in food processor.  Pulse until fully combined.  Stop before nuts form a paste.

Add butter and egg yolk to nut mixture and pulse till crumbly.

Press dough evenly into bottom and sides of pan.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees Farnenheit.  Bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown.  Cool.

Assembly:   Fill prepared crust with curd.  Sprinkle with candied peel.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

There you have it.  A somewhat healthy dessert for a family gathering.  Fairly simple in terms of technique and guaranteed not to monopolize your oven.