Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sharing Values with Scott, Art and a Movie

Everyone has toilet paper rolls.  Did you know if you save them that you can make something gorgeous?  Something like this?  It takes me a bit longer to save them as I use Scott Bath Tissues because they have 1,000 sheets per roll.  With just glue dots hot glue gun (let's face it glue dots suck), empty Scott rolls and spray paint, you too can make something this gorgeous!

We're talking super simple to make.  If you're as exacting as me, cut your empty rolls into 1/2 inch pieces, arrange artfully (you can see some of our earlier attempts on our Google+ album), hot glue together for extra stability and spray paint.  Easy Peasy!

I grew up using Scott Bath Tissues and Scott Paper towels.  My dad always wanted to live in the middle of nowhere by a big city.  When you live in the middle of nowhere, there are no sewers.  When there are no sewers, no you don't have an outhouse, but you do have a septic system.  A septic system is like having your own little sewer treatment plant in your backyard.
That's where Scott comes in.  Years ago, there weren't too many choices TP wise when you had a septic system, due to the fact that not all toilet paper breaks down the same.  Scott, as far as I know has always been septic system safe.  Hence why its always been one of my favorite brands.  Even though I now live in the Chicago suburbs, where they have sewers, I still choose Scott products.  

One of the reasons I choose Scott bath tissue over other brands is that it is such a great value.  I mean, honestly, what other brand of TP boasts 1,000 sheets per roll?  If you figure cost per square, #ScottValues always comes out ahead.  That and there is almost always a coupon available.  

Not only is Scott a great value, but currently you can find specially marked packages at Walmart with this awesome Vudu sticker on them.  Behind the sticker is a $4 promo code to watch a movie online through Scott Shared Values.  We're not talking an old, been released forever movie, but current ones like Jack Reacher or Beautiful Creatures.  While we're not real big on TV at my house; we do watch movies.  

 This is what you'll see when you go to redeem your Vudu credit.  We chose Jack Reacher, Susie and I have been dying to see it.  We're big Lee Child fans, so this was the perfect movie for us.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Macy's Celebrates Asian Pacific Heritage Month with Far East Movement!

Got plans this Thursday?  I do!  I'm heading down to Macy's on State Street to see Far East Movement and celebrate Asian Pacific Heritage Month.  They'll be performing at 12 pm this Thursday, May 30th.  Talk about a great way to spend your lunch hour!  If you're a fan of the Fast and the Furious movies, you've probably heard FEM before.  One of their songs, Round Round, was in Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.

The first 250 people to make any $50 or more junior's or young men's purchase during the event will get a digital photo with the band and a special music swag bag!  You can also visit between now and May 31st to for a chance to win a trip for two with VIP experience to the International Secret Agents Concert in Long Beach, CA courtesy of American Airlines and a $1000 Macy's shopping spree!

I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere provided me with compensation for this post about Macy's.  However, all thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Cookina Barbecue - Awesome 2013 NRA Show Product

I was lucky enough to attend the #NRAShow this year.  While there I met a brand called Cookina, who was kind enough to give me this awesome Cookina Barbecue reusable cooking sheet.  Now I love to grill in the summer, but I hate how dirty my grill gets.

Cookina Barbecue is absolutely perfect for this.  It's a thin teflon sheet that you place on top of your grill grates to keep food from sticking to your grill.  The awesomeness of Cookina is that it not only keeps your grill clean, it also still makes those distinctive grill lines on your food.  You don't need to use any oils or fats when you cook with Cookina either.  That's absolutely amazing!

I'll definitely be writing about Cookina more when I finally use it, but I wanted to share about one of the awesome things I got at the #NRAShow.

*Cookina gave me this product at the 2013 NRA Show.  All opinions are my own.*

Friday, May 17, 2013

Boulevard Brewing Company Nutcracker Ale Bread

By now y'all know that we're kinda digging this whole beer bread thing we've got going on at Rosie Discovers.  So far we've enjoyed hitting up breweries in the Chicago area, even if we started out knowing next to nothing about beer.  :)  This next recipe isn't from a Chicago brewery beer, but a single bottle we picked up as part of an assortment during our practice phase.

Boulevard Brewing Company in Kansas City, Missouri puts out this awesome holiday brew called Nutcracker Ale.  It just had this nutty quality that called for a loaf made with nutmeg.  Someone in this house absolutely adores nutmeg!  The bread turned out to be a moist, flavorful loaf that was awesome toasted or in a sandwich.

Boulevard Brewing Co. Nutcracker Ale Bread

1 (12 oz) Boulevard Brewing Co. Nutcracker Ale
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup spent grains
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1 cup bread flour
1 cup oatmeal flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
14 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup raw sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast

Traditional Method:  In a saucepan; combine beer, butter and spent grains.  Heat on low until mixture reaches 115-120 degrees.

In a mixer add: flours, zest, yeast, salt and sugar; mix well.  Add heated beer mixture.  Mix on low until dough comes together.  Change to a dough hook and knead for 8-10 minutes.  Dough will be extremely wet.  Don't worry.  :)

Form dough into a ball and place in a well oiled container or bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise till double in size.

Bread Machine Method:  In a saucepan; combine beer, butter and spent grains.  Heat on low until mixture reaches 115-120 degrees.  Add ingredients in order preferred by your bread machine.  I add mine like this: egg yolk, salt, heated beer mixture, zest, flours, sugar and yeast.  Set bread machine to dough cycle and start mixing.  *Note:  I've yet to have to add any moisture to this as its a very wet dough, but I always make sure the ingredients are fully incorporated before I leave the bread machine to do its thing.*

Finishing Directions for Both Methods:  Punch down dough and shape into a loaf to fit in a greased 9 x 5 inch pan.  Cover with a damp towel and allow to rise until double.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until loaf reaches 180 degrees.  Remove from oven, remove from pan and allow to cool on rack.

*A trick I've recently learned, if your dough seems to wet and sticky after its first rise is to fold all four sides in, cover the bread with a bowl and allow to sit for 5 minutes.  Do this twice in a row.  The dough should then have more structure and be easier to form into a loaf.*

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Quick and Easy Crust-less Skillet Chicken Pot Pie with Gnocchi

I love, love, love chicken pot pie!  But I hate that it always has a ton of calories and a ton of work involved.  When all my brothers and sisters used to live at home, the recipe I used to make actually used a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.  That's a seriously huge chicken pot pie!  It took quite a while to put together too.  Too much time for the boys to practically eat the entire thing in one sitting.  :(

I'm always trying to find a quicker, easier, low-cal version. I'm pretty sure this is it.  We're talking chicken pot pie goodness in about 30 minutes.  Quicker if you cheat and use already cooked chicken.  That's pretty darn fast.  You won't miss the crust either!  The gnocchi totally make up for that.  I just wish the gravy didn't detract from their gorgeous purple color.

*Update*  Susie requested this for dinner again last night.  This time I added half a pound of green beans and a small head of broccoli.  It was just as yummy and I loved the added veggies.  So feel free to experiment with whatever veggies you have on hand.

Crust-less Skillet Chicken Pot Pie with Gnocchi

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/2 small onion, diced
3 medium carrots, coin sliced
1 cup frozen peas
2 cans (14.5 oz) low sodium chicken broth, divided
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon sage
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 pound gnocchi

Cut chicken breasts into small cubes.  In a large skillet on medium-high heat, melt butter.  When melted, add cubed chicken and cook until browned.  When almost browned, add onion and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add carrots and cook 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Slowly pour in 1 1/2 cans of chicken broth, stir in thyme, rosemary, sage and poultry seasoning.  When broth comes to a boil, drop in gnocchi.  Turn down to a simmer, cover and cook without stirring for 10 minutes.  Add 1 tablespoon cornstarch to remaining chicken broth and whisk to incorporate.  When gnocchi are cooked through, add peas and slowly stir in cornstarch mixture.  Continue cooking until sauce thickens and peas are heated.  Dish into bowls and serve.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Bestest Cheese Ball Ever!

OMG!  This is the very best cheese ball I've ever had.  I was looking for something tropical for my Bigelow Tea Life of Pi Oscars Party and this recipe from Just a Pinch fit the bill.  :)

The mixture of cheese, pineapple, apricots and candied ginger were absolutely perfect on crackers.  The next morning it was a huge hit with scrambled eggs wrapped up in a tortilla.  Major yum!

Party Time Tropical Cheese Ball

1 package cream cheese, soft
1 (18.25 oz.) crushed pineapple, drained
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/2 cup crystallized ginger, chopped
shredded coconut

Combine cream cheese and pineapple in a medium bowl, mix well.  Add everything else but the coconut and mix well.

Empty the ingredients onto a large sheet of plastic wrap, roll into a ball and seal.  Refrigerate until firm.  Unwrap and roll in coconut.  Serve with crackers or with hot scrambled eggs and a tortilla.  :)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

How to Make Cottage Cheese with Sour Milk!

I don't think we've yet talked about my love of cottage cheese.  That's definitely an oversight!  I absolutely love cottage cheese, but I'm pretty darn picky about it.  A lot of varieties I don't like because they are just too salty.  I also prefer the higher fat varieties.  I know, I know that isn't the healthy choice but it's how I like my cottage cheese.

I'm so picky about my cottage cheese that I really only like TWO brands, Land O'Lakes and Lucerne.  Out of all the brands out there, those are the only two that I like.  I'm super lucky that when we moved here from Seattle a few years ago, that Safeway and Dominick's are the same company.  This meant they carried my absolute favorite brand of cottage cheese, Lucerne.  Lucerne is actually the Dominick's house brand.

When we lived in Seattle, I lived right down the road from a Lucerne dairy.  I don't think that's why I love the cottage cheese so much, but it was nice to see the cows that made it almost every day.  I love the Lucerne brand of cottage cheese so much that when I have a special price on Just 4 You, I've been known to buy as many as four large containers.  :)  I can eat that much cottage cheese in about two weeks no problem.  I eat cottage cheese for snacks, breakfast with fruit and use it in a variety of dishes.

About two weeks ago, I was at Meijer and they had gallons of their house brand organic milk marked down to $.63!  Talk about an amazing deal!  I bought two of them and then was too busy to actually use one of them up before it went sour.  I'd read somewhere that you could use sour milk to make your own cottage cheese.  Since I can't buy organic cottage cheese for $.63, I figured I'd give it a go.

I found a recipe on The Self-Sufficient Home Acre, that used sour milk, vinegar, salt and cream.  Since I had a gallon of sour milk, I made a bigger recipe and winged it a bit.

Cottage Cheese

1 gallon organic or regular sour milk
3-4 tablespoons white vinegar
salt to taste
cream or whole milk

Pour milk into a very large pot and heat on medium heat until temperature reaches 185 degrees.  I used a candy thermometer to measure the temperature.  This is going to take about 15-20 minutes.

In the meantime, line a large colander with 3-4 layers of cheesecloth.

Once the sour milk reaches 185 degrees, take it off the heat, remove the thermometer and stir in 3-4 tablespoons of vinegar.  Stir and watch the curds form.  Once the curds and whey have separated, slowly pour into cheesecloth lined colander.
That's the whey making the curds look so yellow.
Once most of the whey has drained, gather edges of cheesecloth and squeeze out excess moisture.  Be careful when doing this as the curds are still extremely hot.  If you have sensitive hands, you might want to let them cool a bit before squeezing.  (This wasn't really a problem for me as I used to be a master barista and pretty much have heat proof hands)

When curds are fairly dry, crumble into a bowl.  Drizzle with cream, whole milk or half and half adding salt to taste.  Store in the refrigerator up to one week.  Makes about 3 cups.

Didn't I tell you it was easy?  For me this is going to be my new go to cottage cheese!  Especially since Meijer regularly marks down their milk super cheap.  Although, I still love Lucerne cottage cheese I can't pass up making my own for less than a dollar!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Chicago Breweries 2013: Atlas Brewing Company

Finally, we are all caught up with our beer breads.  Our next stop was Atlas.  They are a brew pub with a 7 barrel system.  Their beers were a little more traditional.  The interior truly felt like a place you would want to go for a drink.  The dark ceilings and dark furnishings put your mind into a relaxed state.   No need to worry about pretenses here.  Just relax and enjoy the food and drink!

If you haven't been to a brew pub before, then this is your chance.  Perhaps you've had a meal based on wine pairings, well the same works with beers.  Only you're going to get a much better experience, at least in our opinion.  You can see the brewing room while at the bar.  It makes for a great experience while dining knowing exactly what you're getting because everything is made in house.

You may even get a chance to see them in action, as we did.  Although, that is probably a bit unlikely seeing that while brewing they are incredibly busy cleaning and making sure everything goes the way they want it.

The menu is not lazy either with a wide variety of normal bar foods such as burgers and fried pickles, while adding on the unexpected fresh mussels.  If you stop in, then odds are you will not regret it.  Of course, their variety doesn't stop with food as they carry a few staple brews such as their Andromeda Milk Stout and kicking things up a notch with limited brews such as their Intemporelle Holiday Abbey Quadruppel.

We were lucky enough to get their Intemporelle Holiday Abbey Quadruppel and some of their Bentley's Bitter.  The Intemporelle Holiday Abbey Quadruppel is a dark Belgian ale that is cognac infused in french oak.  Featuring fig and carmalized raisin with a hint of spices and oak.  Bentley's Bitter is a English pale ale with English malt, hops and yeast.  The beer is fruity with a dry finish.

First up, we made a loaf using Bentley's Bitter combined with oatmeal, whole wheat flour, spent grain and lime zest.