Thursday, January 30, 2014

First Look For Charity Chicago Auto Show Gala Food Preview

About a week ago I was lucky enough to head to McGrath Acura in Chicago to nosh on some of the treats that are going to be available at the First Look For Charity's Chicago Auto Show Gala on February 7th.  Haven't heard of First Look for Charity?  It's a fantastic organization that raises money every year for a slew of local charities including:

100 Club of Chicago, Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Joliet, Clearbrook, The Cradle Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Franciscan Community Benefit Services, Franciscan St. James Health, Ray Graham Association for People with Disabilities, Illinois Spina Bifida Association, JDRF, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, March of Dimes, Misericordia, Special Olympics Illinois, Turning Pointe Autism Foundation, the Jesse White Tumbling Team.

The First Look for Charity Gala is going to have some pretty amazing food choices including gluten-free this year.  From pulled pork to sweet treats and even organic alcohol choices, you'll find all that and more at the Auto Show Gala this year.

Here's a few sneak peaks of some of this amazing food:

As far as I know you can still purchase tickets to the First Look For Charity's Chicago Auto Show Gala on their website.  Tickets are $250, but they are for a great cause.  You'll also get to see American Idol's Lee DeWyze perform at the Gala.

I'll be there this year!  If you make it, tweet me and I'll make sure we instagram a photo!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Disney on Ice Let's Celebrate Review

Wednesday night I had the opportunity to attend Disney on Ice at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont. It's always interesting to attend cause you get to see Disney in a whole new light and lets face it going to the ice capades is fun no matter what age you are!

This show focused on a variety of celebrations from a very merry unbirthday party to things like summer.
We got to see Disney's main characters like Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy and Pluto along with some new ones.

Like Lilo and Stitch!  This is the first time I've seen them in a Disney show and it definitely made me smile.

If you're looking for a treat for the kids this weekend or even next week, take them to Disney on Ice's Celebrations show.  They'll definitely have a blast seeing all their favorite characters!

Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookie Cheesecake

Years ago when I used to be a librarian, I went through a cheesecake phase.  Meaning I made a large variety of cheesecakes, especially ethnic ones.  While this recipe doesn't fit that bill, it does fill the cheesecake void.  I love that this isn't the classic chocolate or regular cheesecake.  I don't see a lot of butterscotch recipes either.  The same plain cheesecake recipe surfaces but I prefer having the flavor already in my slice.  Not that I have a problem with cherry cheesecake, but that it's messier than I'd like.  The fruit flavors are best done simply so they don't always give off a great impression outside of their season.  This is perfect for winter when finding fresh fruits in season is a little more difficult. 

This recipe is from the Better Homes and Gardens Baking cookbook.  It turned out pretty darn well, but was a bit sweet for me.   I changed the nuts to almonds.  I'd also recommend changing the 1/2 cups of sugar to 1/3 cups and reducing the amount of butter in the crust to 1/3 cup also.  When baking the crust, butter leaked out all over the baking sheet.  This doesn't typically happen when I make a cheesecake and reducing the butter will fix this issue.

Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookie Cheesecake

3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
3 eggs
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup almonds
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup butter,  melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel
1/4 cup milk
1 1/4 cups butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  For the crust, in a food processor combine oats, almonds, 2 tablespoons brown sugar and cinnamon.  Pulse, pour in melted butter and pulse.  Remove 1/4 cup of the mixture and set aside.  Press remaining into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan and 1 inch up the sides.

Beat cream cheese, granulated sugar, remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar, flour, vanilla and orange peel with a mixer until combined.  Beat in milk until smooth.  Beat in eggs, stir in 1 cup butterscotch pieces.  Pour filling into the pan, spreading evenly.  Sprinkle with reserved oat mixture and 1/4 cup butterscotch pieces around the edge.  Place springform pan on baking sheet.

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a 2 1/2-inch area around the outside edge appears set.

Cool on a wire rack completely and then chill several hours in the fridge before serving.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Baked Ziti-Rito

Ragú recently asked me if I wanted to put my spin on one of their recipes.  Of course I was up for it!!  I picked their Ragú No Boiling Baked Ziti to jazz up.  I wanted to do something not too complicated but I definitely wanted a change from the traditional Ragu Italian taste.  I actually considered several things before I decided on a mexican type dish.

I wanted a dish that I could make with ingredients I typically have on hand.  Nothing too fancy, but something full of flavor.  While it is traditionally used to make pasta; I thought I could use the Ragú® Old World Style® Traditional Sauce to add in flavors you would typically find in a burrito or taco.  Each jar of Ragú® Old World Style® Traditional Sauce is packed with 11 juicy tomatoes, making it richer, thicker and just taste better.  With some good cheese and heat from jalapenos, the new spices were set.  Instead of using water, I substituted milk which adds creaminess to the dish.  I wanted the texture to remain moist even though this is baked ziti, but with a juicy twist.   I know there is more than one way to cook a tomato but Ragu makes it simple by letting you do less of the work. 

Baked Ziti-Rito
1 lb ground beef
1 Jar (1 lb.  8 oz.) Ragú® Old World Style® Traditional Sauce
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5 oz) can corn, drained
1 ( 4 oz.) can chopped jalapenos, drained
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
8 oz. uncooked ziti pasta
sour cream, optional for serving

Brown and drain ground beef.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease a 9 x13 inch baking pan.  In a large heatproof bowl combine ground beef, Ragú® Old World Style® Traditional Sauce, whole milk, black beans, corn, jalapenos, chili powder, cumin, 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese and 8 ounces uncooked ziti and stir well.  Pour into the 9 x 13 inch baking pan and top with remaining shredded cheese. 

Cover with foil and bake 45 minutes.  Remove foil and bake 10 minutes more.  Remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Baked Ziti-Rito is definitely going to become a new tra-dish at our house!  It was a hit with the entire family.  Looking for a new tra-dish at your house? Check out Ragu on Facebook for more easy and delicious Authentic Italian recipe ideas.  

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Scheduling-Do you need it?

Being a blogger, this past holiday season you might have been gifted a brand new DSLR camera or other fancy piece of blogging equipment.  If you did, that's fantastic!!  What about insurance though?  Your new equipment is automatically covered under your homeowner's or renter's policy, but have you heard of Scheduling? 

When my dad bought me a brand new DSLR for my blog a few months ago, the first thing both my parents suggested was to schedule it on the insurance policy.  Insurance has always been a foreign language to me, but both of my parents worked in the industry so they've kinda got the inside scoop.  I called my local Allstate agent to make sure I understood before sharing with y'all.

While your new equipment is covered under your home owners/renters policy if your, lets use camera as an example, is stolen you'll have to pay a deductible before you'll get a check for the camera.  You'll also have to provide receipts to establish the value and its not covered against breakage.  Now I don't know about you but a $500 deductible would seriously eat in to my blog fund.  Also if I happened to, knock on wood, drop the darn thing it wouldn't be covered.  Which it being close to Seven's massive 25 pounds is a serious possibility.

Here's where scheduling saves the day and gives me huge piece of mind.  If you schedule your equipment on your insurance its covered against theft and breakage (ie, if you dropped it).  If either of these things happen, you won't have to pay a deductible in order to get a check to replace your camera.  You also won't have to provide receipts to establish the value of the item because you have to provide those when you schedule it.  So there won't be a huge time gap from when you make a claim to when you get your check to replace your equipment.

Scheduling each piece of equipment will add charges on top of your regular insurance.  For example, my Nikon D7100 and lens is scheduled for about $45 a year.  For me that's a no brainer expense because without that insurance I couldn't afford to replace my fancy camera.  Your scheduling costs will vary depending on the cost of the item you're insuring.

Let me say I'm not an insurance agent, I just have some in the family that give me the inside scoop.  Ask your local insurance agent about scheduling your fancy blogging equipment today.  You'll feel much better after you do!!

Disney On Ice Let's Celebrate at AllState Arena Jan 22nd

Are you a big fan of all things Disney?  We kinda are at my house so I was excited to see an offer to attend Disney On Ice's Let's Celebrate in exchange for some promotion.  Even though I'm not a little girl anymore, I still love Disney movies.  There just isn't anything like them even today.

If you've got a Disney fan at your house, here are all the details about Disney on Ice being in the Chicago area the next two weeks!

Allstate Arena in Rosemont Jan 22 - Jan 26 & United Center in Chicago Jan 29 - Feb 9 

It's one colossal party on ice, with all your favorite Disney friends! Join Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse as they celebrate a Very Merry Unbirthday Party with Alice and the Mad Hatter; Mardi Gras with Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen; a Royal Valentine's Day Ball with the Disney Princesses; a Hawaiian luau with Lilo & Stitch; a winter wonderland with Woody, Jessie and Buzz Lightyear; a Halloween haunt with the Disney Villains and more in a magical medley of holidays, celebrations and festivals from around the globe.  Come join the party when this spectacular ice show visits your hometown!

Parking is FREE in all official arena parking lots. Visit official arena websites for more information.

Allstate Arena in Rosemont, IL. Jan 22 - Jan 26, 2014
United Center in Chicago, IL. Jan 29 - Feb 9, 2014

Save 40% on all weekday shows and Save 20% on all weekend shows using code MOM. Get Your Tickets Now-

Weekday is defined as any show Monday through Thursday or Friday matinee, not including holidays. Discount does not apply to Front Row or VIP seats. No double discounts. Service charges, handling, and facility fees may apply.

*I was provided tickets in exchange for a sponsored post.  All opinions are my own.*

Monday, January 13, 2014

Turducken - A Mythical Meat Makes Celebrations Easy

Being a food blogger, I've had a lot of crazy foods like snails and alligator.  Wait, I had those way before I morphed into a food blogger.  Needless to say I'm not one to shy away from trying something new if its food.  That brings us to today's post!  Turducken, that mythical meat treat, is for some the holy grail of meats.  While I'd heard of Turduckens before and even seen a frozen one, I'd never actually had one.  So when The Original Turducken asked if I'd like one for my holiday celebrations, I didn't hesitate to say yes!

Then I kind of panicked because they asked me to pick one up locally instead of sending me one.  I had no idea where to buy one as I hadn't seen one just sitting out in the meat case before.  Luckily the company was nice enough to track down that the Shop N Save in Des Plaines had Turduckens in stock.  I called to make sure they would save me one.  The manager didn't even know turduckens were real, let alone that his store carried them!!  He actually told me he thought they were a myth.  :)  I had a brief moment of panic when picking it up because once again no one knew what I was talking about.

If you've never heard of Turducken let me tell you a little about it.  A turducken is a turkey that's stuffed with a duck and chicken breasts that are stuffed with stuffing.  That's a lot of stuffing in things for one piece of meat!  Except for the legs and wings on the turkey, each bird is completely deboned so what you're getting is one solid hunk of meat.  So there's a lot less waste with a turducken than your typical Thanksgiving turkey because you aren't wasting all that space with bones. 

Since a turducken is solid, you've got to prep and cook it a little differently.  The Original Turducken site told me it would take about 5 days to defrost my bird (mine actually took about 4).  They also recommended cooking it at the extremely low temperature of 220 degrees for about 10 hours straight.  Only bonus to this slow cooking method is that there is no need to baste your bird. 

Last Sunday I got up at about 7 am to start roasting my turducken.  It's super easy to do because you just need to put it in the pan.  The turducken comes trussed up and pre-spiced, while they recommended covering it for the first 2-4 hours I didn't go that route.  I probably would have if I'd used the regular oven, but I always roast turkeys and chickens in my 1940's Westinghouse electric oven.  This baby is a lifesaver!  I've previously roasted turkeys in it and they've alway come out juicy, gorgeous and no fuss.  For some reason (I am not science minded) birds roasted in this baby never get overly brown like they are apt to do in a regular oven.

After popping my turducken in the roaster, I went back to bed as there was no reason to stay up because at such a low temp I didn't need to baste the bird.  Fast forward about 9 hours later.....that last degree to reach 165 is absolute torture!  I cheated a bit and cranked up the roaster to about 325 to make it go a bit quicker at the end.  I was surprised to see hardly any grease or juices in the bottom of the roasting pan.  I mean there was literally less than half a cup to make gravy with!  I improvised with spices and chicken broth, but this is something to keep in mind when making your turducken.

To go with our fancy turducken I made a simple quinoa and amaranth stuffing with mushrooms and spinach, mashed potatoes, salad and brownies.  Our feast was ready, the family assembled and eager to sample this mythical bird!

Turducken is unlike anything I've had before!  It's like a turkey mostly, but also tastes like bird meatloaf.  There are so many flavors in there from all three birds and the stuffing.  I kept hearing it tastes like liver (I have no idea where that came from) but to me it just tasted like turkey. 

In closing let me say this, if you've ever been squeamish or unsure about roasting a turkey for a holiday meal I'd definitely recommend going with a Turducken.  It's a breeze to cook, I mean what else can you toss in the oven right after opening besides a tray of frozen lasagna or a frozen pizza, and will definitely impress your guests.  From now on Turducken is going to be my go to meal if I'm looking to treat and impress my guests!

Holidays - The Love/Hate Relationship

If you've noticed its been pretty quiet over here at Rosie Discovers, at least on the blog front.  I didn't intend to take a blogging hiatus this holiday season but with the baking, family time and two unexpected deaths it just happened.

But things are getting back to normal I swear!  We're starting tonight with a post about Turducken, that mythical meat treat, which isn't easy to find.  Plus an entire slew of things that are raring to go!

To keep up on all the latest Rosie Discovers happenings plus photos of Rosie and Seven, make sure to follow us on our social media channels: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!  I'm always sharing what we're up to or what Rosie and Seven have gotten into.