Monday, May 23, 2011

Risk and Reward

I have decided to take more chances. One of those chances was entering to host a party sponsored by Food Buzz and Cost Plus World Market. Since I love Cost Plus World Market, I figured, "What the heck, might as well give it a shot instead of my usual 'they wouldn't take my proposal attitude'". So when I got back that they accepted my proposal, I was shocked and very excited. I'm already at Cost Plus World Market at least every few weeks, so a sponsored post was amazing.

So we had originally planned to have friends over, who hadn't met C yet. I had the whole menu planned and ready to go when we got the call. They couldn't make it. So since I had already started the drink and the food, I thought, "You know what, we are still going to have something. Just the 3 of us." It was finally nice out and I wanted to celebrate that. So we continued on as planned, with one, minor yet delicious, substitution.

As you can see, I made a ton of my fake out sangria, because I like it to sit and let the flavors muddle together. So I figured, "Might as well go with it, and let it finish muddling." I made a large dent in the final consumption so not all was lost. :)

And I love the dispenser that I used. I had been pining over it for a while, thanks to the mason jar craze that is hot right now. Now that I have it, I really want another. It was already a hard sell to P as it's something I don't need blah, men and their practicality.

Now everything you see here, minus the silverware, is from Cost Plus including the table and chairs. Told you I love them. Even if it wasn't a post sponsored by them I would be singing their praises. It's honestly a one stop party shop for me. If I'm going to a party or throwing one they have everything I need.

Ok. back to the dinner. After the success of pork a palooza, we have decided to have a yet unnamed burger event and we are testing burgers for it. So this weekend the test burger was 'Big Blue'.

And originally we were going to make potato chips, but since it was just the 3 of us (and only 2 of us were actually eating) we decided on baked zucchini fries. Which were amazing I can't wait to make them again.

The Big Blue Burger
For the patty
1 lb of ground beef I like to use 80/20 when I make burgers
1 tsp salt
1 tsp olive oil
1 tablespoon bread crumbs
1/4 tsp freshly cracked pepper
Mix to combine form into 3 patties stuffing about 1 1/2 table spoons of blue cheese into each patty.
Cook the patties over a pre heated grill about 8 minutes a side or until medium.

For the sauce
1/4 cup mayo
1/3 cup blue cheese
Stir to combine and let sit in the fridge until ready to serve. This can be made in advance.

For the Onions
1 onion, really thinly sliced
2 tsp of balsamic vinegar
1 tsp olive oil
Cook the onions in the olive oil until they are just starting to get some color on them then add in the balsamic vinegar and cook for another 2 minutes. Set aside until the burgers are ready.

Take a pretzel bun and put a generous amount of sauce on both sides and place a leaf of lettuce on the bottom bun and some balsamic onions on the top. Place the burger on the bottom bun and carefully top with the top bun.

Zucchini fries
4 medium to large zucchini cut into sticks
1/2 Cup of milk
1 cup of bread crumbs
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp Brady street cheese sprinkle
1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese grated
Pinch of salt
A few grinds of pepper

Preheat oven to 425. Spray 2 baking sheets with non stick spray. Combine the bread crumbs, onion powder, garlic powder, cheese sprinkle, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and set to the side.

Dip the zucchini in the milk and the dredge in the bread crumb mixture, lay out on the baking sheet with a little space between them repeat until all are done.

Bake for 25- 30 minutes rotating the pans once half way through the cooking.

Fake Out Sangria
I need a better name for this so I’m taking suggestions!
1 64oz container of lemonade
1 bottle of prosecco
2 cups of raspberry vodka – you could use another flavor that works with the fruit you use.
Assorted fruit – I used 1 lemon, 1 orange, 2 limes, 3 peaches, reserve some for the glasses.

In the bottom of the serving container you are using place the fruit in the bottom and muddle or mash it so that it releases some of its juices. Then add in the lemonade, and vodka and chill in the fridge. Right when your guests arrive, put in some ice and the prosecco and serve. I like to put some fruit in the glasses because it looks nice but I know it bothers a lot of people when there is fruit floating in their glass, so completely up to you.
Cost Plus World Market has, in my opinion, some of the best Italian soda around. I like their Orange Passion Mango flavor, so I thought it would make great ice cream float, which would be really refreshing on a day like today. And those straws in the jars; they are reusable. So cute and environmentally friendly? It's a win win.

So P, C and I had a great Welcome Summer Party.

And if you don’t have a Cost Plus World Market near you, check them out online.

Click here to shop the Cost Plus World Market eCatalog. You can find all of the items I used and honestly if you have been pining over a drink dispenser this one is amazing and won’t break the bank. So just buy it!

Disclaimer – I received a gift card from Cost Plus World Market and a stipend from Food Buzz for this post.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Keeping It Real

Normally I only show you what special things I bake up. But I have decided to start keeping it real. I don’t always have time to bake now because of C. But I always have time to make dinner during the week. Ok most days I do sometimes P has to do the cooking. So expect more of this and more of me keeping in real.

Like how I live on fewer hours of sleep than I ever remember.

How laundry in my house now accumulates over night to gigantic proportions.

How this blog and baking used to really important, now watching C learn to clap is the most important part of my day.

FYI she just learned last night I about died from cuteness.

Vegetarian Enchiladas
1 onion - quartered and sliced
1 green pepper  - medium dice
4 portobello mushrooms - medium dice
1 cup of frozen corn, thawed and drained
1 can of tomato sauce
1 16 oz container of salsa - as hot as you like it
1 cup of shredded quesadilla cheese, you can substitute cheddar
1 1/2 cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 bag of frozen spinach, thawed and drained
5 large tortillas
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large skillet put about a tablespoon of oil and cook the onions and peppers until the onions are translucent and the peppers are still just starting to get tender. Then set them aside in a large bowl. Add another tablespoon of oil and cook the mushrooms completely and add into the bowl along with the corn, black beans, and spinach. Season with salt and pepper. Add in 1/2 of the tomato sauce and 1/2 of the salsa into the mix and stir to combine. In a 9x13 pan mix half of the remaining tomato sauce and salsa on the bottom of the dish. Add 1/2 to 2/3 of a cup of the vegetable mixture into each tortilla and roll them up seam side down into the pan. Top with the remaining tomato sauce and salsa and sprinkle with the cheese. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes.
I use this recipe to use up left over vegetables I already have so feel free to change the vegetables up as you see fit.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Pork A Palooza 2011

First I would like to thank Roger Goodell  the NFL Commissioner for having me host Pork A Palooza 2011.

You may ask why am I thanking Roger Goodell the NFL Commissioner because he changed how the draft works. Every year we threw an NFL draft party now I understand most of you would understand why some one would throw a Super Bowl party or a party on a random Sunday to watch the game. However you do not live with my husband who is a football fanatic, we watch the NFL combine, we watch the draft (all 3 days), we watch every football game the Chicago Bears play, and we always have a Super Bowl party.

So when it would be draft day everyone would be at my house early on Saturday morning ready to eat what seemed like at least 10lbs of meat a person. They would then call each other the next morning and talk about the meat sweats they had the night before.

But the commish he changed things last year he made the NFL draft move to a Thursday night during prime time. This made it rather difficult to have a party because people have jobs, children and other obligations on Thursday nights so this year when the NFL draft was still on a Thursday I decided we should do something during draft season.

So I decided we were going to throw Pork A Palooza 2011, everything was going to be made with pork, drinks, desserts, you name it, everything was going to have a pork or pork by product in it.  So with out further ado I give you Pork A Palooza 2011.


Drinks -
Bacon Chocolate Martini
Bacon Apple Bourbon Fizz

Food -
Bacon Explosion Burgers
Ham, Brie and Fig Panini
Bacon Wrapped Blue Cheese Dates
Bacon Fat Cornbread
Ham Cheese and Chive Bread
Sonoran Hot Dogs
Chorizo Pozole inspired Soup
Roasted Cauliflower and Bacon Soup
Cheddar, Guinness and Bacon Spread
Pancetta Poutine
Pulled Pork Nachos

Desserts -
Bacon Truffles
Peanut Butter Bacon Cookies
Bacon and Beer Smores
Bacon Brittle
IMG_4874These are the dates which were amazing.
IMG_4887The Cauliflower and Bacon Soup, my personal favorite.
IMG_4912The Pancetta Poutine, a Real Crowd Pleaser.
IMG_4928The Bacon Explosion Slider, we ran out of these pretty quickly.
IMG_4916  The Sonoran, messy to eat but oh so tasty.
5598652637_c81f0285a8_b Ham Cheese and Chive Bread.

I didn't get pictures of everything as I was playing hostess and baby wrangler.
But this was the aftermath.
And Because this is already an awfully long post. I will be posting the recipes in another post.