Friday, June 29, 2012

Foodie Friends Friday Linky Party & Fish Tacos: I'm Hooked!


Have you ever had a fish taco?

Oh my heavens! If you haven't, you are truly missing out.

Do you know where I was first introduced to fish tacos?

Alaska!

I ate at a restaurant in Anchorage, Alaska called Humpys Great Alaskan Ale House. And yes, the same Humpys that man vs. food performed at on the Food Network Channel.

The only plus that the fish tacos in Alaska holds over mine.....Fresh Halibut!
Mine are frozen breaded cod fillets......HA!!

But, I can still pretend I am at Humpys enjoying that fresh catch.


This is what I did to put together my (think Humpys) fish tacos:

I baked the cod fillets according to package directions
Placed two fillets (they were small) on a spinach vegetable tortilla
Topped the fish with chopped tomato
Heated black beans
Arugula
Shredded cheese (mine is pepper jack)
Topped it off with awesome chipotle salsa
And folded it in half
This recipe is linked to:


So, to leave you with that bit of info, it is now time to move forward with my very first LINKY PARTY.
I am sitting here in front of the computer just staring at the screen, mouth hanging open, and not one single clue at how to begin this.
I am used to posting recipes and pictures. And I've recently accomplished sharing other blogs (and I think I'm pretty darn good at it). Through the almost four years of blogging I've been doing, I have realized that blogging is not about me.....It's about a whole community of bloggers, a whole cyber space of foodies, food lovers, bakers, chefs, and everyday moms, or dads that are searching for that ever perfect recipe, or meal.

Now to GET THIS PARTY STARTED......Let me introduce you to some of the hard working bloggers that I have grouped with and are hosting this party:
The group is called Foodie Friends Friday, and you can pick up our blog button over there ---------->
See it? It's right there on the right hand side of the computer screen. Yup, the button with the oranges. An orange sliced in half to share with a friend. It's good to share with friends. Grab some friends (and recipes), and maybe share your own.

Here is some of the Foodie Friends Friday family:
The Chief and creator of Foodie Friends Friday - Tracy Iseminger (Busy Vegetarian Mom)
http://www.robynsviewathome.blogspot.com/
http://www.saucygirlskitchen.com/
http://www.passionepercucina.blogspot.co.uk/p/welcome.html
http://everythingkitchensink.blogspot.com/
http://whatscookingintheburbs.blogspot.com/
http://www.fromcalculustocupcakes.blogspot.com
http://marlys-thisandthat.blogspot.com/
http://cookiescakesandbakes.wordpress.com/
http://www.fromcalculustocupcakes.blogspot.com
http://cupcakesandkalechips.com
http://wifeofthecolonel.blogspot.com/
http://www.CafeBlueRidge.blogspot.com
http://chefpickykid.com
http://www.familyfoodfinds.com
http://www.bringingpleasuretothekitchen.com/
http://www.cindysrecipesandwritings.com
http://www.djssugarshack.com
Now, let's link up cyber world bloggers.......Show us what you got (or cooked), (or baked), (or created).....

Here are a few directions and rules for the Linky Party:


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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

It's A Good Hot: Chipotle Salsa


I made a recipe (Onion Green Apple Quick Pickle) that called for chipotle chiles en adobo. All I needed was the sauce.
So, now I'm looking at a whole can of chipotle chiles with no idea what to use them in.
What does a blogger do when they are stuck with one ingredient to find uses for?

They do a search.

And that's exactly what I did. With the information that I gathered, I came up with this amazing salsa.


I threw everything together, blended it, and ended up with something truly amazing. To me this is more like a sauce than a salsa. But it can be used either way. It's good on corn chips, and it's going to be REALLY GOOD on fish tacos.

Keep an eye out for upcoming fish tacos.


Chipotle Salsa (sauce)

1/2 c. vegetable broth
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
2 canned chipotle chiles en adobo (that is two peppers, not two cans)
1/4 of a sweet onion
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
Just a pinch of ground allspice
1/4 c. fresh cilantro
Juice from a half of a lime
2 TBS olive oil
Salt and crushed black pepper to taste


Place the broth into a blender. Add to the blender, tomatoes, chipotle chiles, onion, garlic, oregano, cumin, allspice, cilantro, oil, and lime juice. Blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
You can also add this to a sauce pan after blended and add shredded chicken. Heat until hot. Use the chicken for the meat base in tacos.
I will be trying that right after I make my fish tacos......

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Monday, June 25, 2012

It's Not The Size That Matters: Mini S'more Cookies


These are the tiniest cookies I have ever baked.....but the flavor that is packed into these little cookies is out of this world fantastic.
In this cookie's case, it's not the size that matters.


I found this recipe at Two Peas & Their Pod. I made a few changes, but nothing so drastic that it would make a difference.
I have been staring at this bag of Lucky Charm marshmallows for weeks now, and finally found something that I could put them in.
Marshmallows + graham crackers + chocolate = S'mores

I used the Goldfish S'more mix for the graham cracker ingredient. Yup, I used the whole bag. It's okay though, the bag is small. The Goldfish S'more mix already has mini marshmallows in it, and I went ahead and crushed them with the little Goldfish crackers.
The more marshmallow, the merrier......


I used my smallest cookie scoop (I think the tsp. size) to place the cookie dough on the baking sheets.


Pressed each one lightly and placed a Hershey's chocolate kiss on top. Most of these went to a bake sale, and the left-overs were inhaled by my son.


You can tell how small they are when you compare them with a quarter. One bite wonders.....

This recipe is linked to:



Mini S'more Cookies


1 c. graham cracker crumbs (Goldfish S'more mix)
1 1/4 c. bread flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. butter, room temp
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. mini chocolate chips
1/2 c. Jet-Puffed vanilla Mallow Bits (Lucky Charm marshmallows)
Hershey's Kisses


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, whisk together the cracker crumbs, flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.


In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add in egg and vanilla and mix until combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.


Stir in the mallow bits and mini chocolate chips. Roll a tsp. of cookie dough into a ball. Press lightly on the dough ball and place a Hershey's kiss on top (press lightly). Continue making all the cookies.
Place the cookies on a cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Bake for 6 - 8 minutes, or until cookies are set. Cool on the baking sheet for a couple minutes before removing to wire racks.


This recipe is linked to Melt in Your Mouth Monday

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Friday, June 22, 2012

And The Winner Is........


DRUM ROLL PLEASE........


The winner of the Hamilton Beach mini blender is:

Who also operates a blog of her own (stop over and say 'Hi')

Who was drawn lucky number 22 from Random.org

Who loves music

Lives in the bluegrass state

And loves children

Okay, okay.....I will give you the name of the lucky winner.

(Don't you just hate that when someone gives a speech before the prize is awarded?)

The lucky winner is:

Wendy Troyer

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Foodie Friends Friday: Coconut Macaroons


No, it is not Christmas!

It is Foodie Friends Friday.

But, since I mentioned Christmas, I will have you know that these Coconut Macaroons are going to be added to my cookie Christmas gift boxes this year.

Just say'n!


I am representing Dawn at DJ's Sugar Shack. Dawn hosts a Linky party on Tuesdays called Whatcha' Whipped Up (how cute!).






Make sure you head over there on Tuesdays to get in on the action, and spread your best creation all through the cyber world.

Dawn has some awesome recipes on her blog, and her little Coconut Macaroons caught my eye. You can find her recipe here.

And something really COOL that Dawn provides for us forgetful bloggers, or recipe searchers; she has a tab that lists most of the blog parties for every day of the week. Sure does make my life less stressful.

I followed Dawn's recipe exact, except for adding the candied cherry on top (place cherry on top before baking).
You have got to make these sweet little things. For some reason I can't stop eating them......

Thank you so much Dawn for being an AWESOME blogger.

This recipe is linked to:




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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fruit Flies! Strawberry/Banana Muffins with a hint of Mocha


Ha! Lookie there! I finally killed those bananas!

I am not a fan of banana bread.....

Wait!

Please don't leave....

Give me a chance to explain....

Banana bread to me is so traditional. So common. So everyday. So plain.

I like to kick things up, make changes, and offer new ideas to kill those dreadful brown bananas. You know, the ones that don't get eaten, and they sit on your kitchen counter or in your fruit basket until they draw fruit flies.
Well, swish those flies away, because this recipe is fantastic!


The inspiration for this recipe came from Baking and Cooking, the Tale of Two Loves. When I came across this recipe and the words 'raspberry swirl banana', I knew I had the answer to my banana dilemma. Thank you so much Becky for inspiring me.
I had strawberry jam in the fridge and bananas that were drawing fruit flies. Perfect combination! But wait! Chocolate is scrumptious with strawberries and bananas. Right? Right!

One thing I would do differently when I make these again.....I would make a hole in the muffin batter to place my jam. While they were baking the jam ran off of the top of the muffin. Thank goodness there was a little left on the top after the baking process.

Hold on.....I now have to clean the burnt strawberry jam from my oven......


Okay, I'm back!

Now for the recipe:

Strawberry/Banana Muffins with a hint of Mocha
Inspired by: Baking and Cooking, the Tale of Two Loves

1/2 c. fruit spread (I used home-made strawberry jam)
1 3/4 c. flour
1 pouch VIA Iced Coffee (Starbucks)
1/4 c. cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. sugar
1 c. ricotta cheese
2 eggs
1/4 c. canola oil
A splash of vanilla
1 c. mashed ripe bananas (about three whole bananas)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Whisk together dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl.
In a mixer bowl, mix sugar, ricotta cheese, oil, vanilla, and mashed bananas. Mix well. Add eggs one at a time mixing well after each addition.
Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the well. Stir lightly just until everything is incorporated. Do not over mix.
Line a muffin tin with paper liners and fill each cup with muffin dough. I fill mine almost to the top of the papers. Make a whole in the batter of each cup and add about a teaspoon of strawberry jam.
Bake in preheated oven for 15 - 18 minutes. When wooden pick tests clean, they are done.

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Hamilton Beach Mini Blender Giveaway

A'lil Country Sugar has successfully climbed over 750 fans!! WOOP! WOOP! And it's all thanks to you, the fans, and the wonderful blogging community.

It's time for a giveaway!
The next one will be 1,000 fans, so spread the word.

The giveaway consists of this awesome Hamilton Beach min blender. I am so in love with mine and I thought it would be a perfect item for a giveaway prize. 


I use mine for protein shakes, smoothies, and pictured below are some of the food items I've created with it. It is just the perfect size.
It also comes with a lid that allows the blender to become a portable cup. Just twist the blender off the base and you have protein shakes on the go. Smoothies on the go. Etc.....
Clean up is easy, and that is very important to me.



Here are the rules to enter:

The contest will run four days (starting today), Monday through Thursday, and the winner will be drawn on Friday (and comments after Thursday will not be counted). 
One stipulation: U.S. and Canada participants only please.

Two ways to enter (one entry per person):
1. Leave a comment at my blog (this post) telling me what you make in a blender. If you leave a comment at my blog, please leave an email address so I can contact you.

2. Head to my facebook page ('like' it if you haven't already) and leave a comment on the page saying you are entering the blender giveaway.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy!!

The winner will be drawn by Random.org

Good luck to everyone who enters!

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Sometimes It's Gotta Be Quick: Onion Bagel Pizza


Sometimes our busy schedules force us to eat, prepare, and think 'quick' when it comes to food.
Yes, even a die-hard food blogger has to think 'quick' sometimes.....
What do you get when you have a package of onion bagels, pizza sauce, mini pepperonis, and cheese?

A mini pizza of course!

That wasn't suppose to be a joke.....it's for real! Mini pizza in a quickness.


Onion bagel
Pizza sauce


Mini pepperonis


Cheese


A 400 degree F. oven for 8-10 minutes, and BANG! Instant pizza in a quickness....

Just like this blog post.

BANG!

Over with a quickness.....

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Dad Is Worth $250: $250 Cookie


It's Father's Day this weekend! What are you going to do to spoil that special Father in your life?

One place to start would be by making these awesome cookies. They are called $250 Cookies. Kind of strange huh?

I went to the kitchen to throw these together because I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. NOW I SEE!!
And Dad will forever love you! Need brownie points with Dad? This cookie will get you many......


These are some of the best cookies I have ever had in my life.....and there are many years 'in my life', so that says a lot.


Have you heard the story about the $250 Cookie recipe? I am giving you a link to the story. Go check it out and laugh a little.....Kind of a cute story.


The recipe in the article is a little different than the one I used, and I don't really think I want to make that many cookies.....My recipe gave me about 3 dozen.

This recipe is linked to:

And:



And:
Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
$250 Cookie

1 c. butter, soft
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
2 c. flour
2 1/2 c. oatmeal (blended in a blender to fine powder)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. chopped Hershey's Kisses
1 c. chopped fine pecans
1 c. chocolate covered raisins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Cream butter and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix together the flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder, and soda. Mix into the wet ingredients. Stir in chocolate, pecans, and raisins. Place dough in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and bake 2 inches apart for 8-11 minutes.

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Foodie Friend Friday: Ricotta Stuffed Tomatoes


Before I introduce you to what I have been doing lately......Have you tried the new Kraft Fresh Take for meats?
This is the new and improved shake 'n' bake.


All you do is coat your meat pieces with the mixture provided and pop them in the oven. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.......
For a side dish with my pork chops I chose ricotta stuffed tomatoes.

Now onto the information of what I've been up to.

I was invited to join a foodie group called Foodie Friends Friday. This group was created to help build up and introduce new and old bloggers. If you are a food blogger and you are interested in joining, just click here.
Every Friday the members of the group are joined with another food blogger to represent their talent. And let me tell you, there is a lot of talent out there. Just take a look at Walking on Sunshine.....

Today I am representing the Walking on Sunshine Blog. As I spent some time with Lois at Walking on Sunshine I read her 'about me' tab. That is the best way to get to know a blogger.
Lois introduces herself as just a wife and mom. But if you scroll to the bottom you will find an awesome story about the inspiration on her blog title. Yup, she pulled me right in. She is so much more than a wife and mom. She also loves to cook, bake, and blog. From one blogger to another, her loves are very time consuming, right along with caring for a family.
After I got to know Lois, I headed to her recipe tab. I didn't have to search very far and I found the word ricotta. I don't know about you, but I love ricotta. So, I chose to make Lois's Ricotta Stuffed Tomatoes.

One thing that I am faithful with, and I'm sure most of you appreciate it, I never post a recipe without trying it myself first.
These ricotta stuffed tomatoes are top notch in my book. They are so creamy and full of flavor. These will for sure be repeated in my house, and they make an awesome, out of the ordinary, non-traditional side dish.


All you have to do is cut your plum tomatoes in half and empty out the insides.
Turn them cut side down on paper towels and let them drain for a little while. While they are draining, throw together your ricotta mixture.


This is what they look like right out of the oven.
I kind of changed things up a little because I was out of red pepper flakes. This is what I did.....

Ricotta Stuffed Tomatoes

6 plum tomatoes, cut in half long ways, and insides scooped out

To make the filling:
15 oz. ricotta cheese
1/3 c. grated Parmesan/Romano cheese
1 TBS parsley flakes
1 tsp. Cajun seasoning
2 garlic cloves, grated

Mix all the filling ingredients together in a bowl. Set aside.

1 sleeve Ritz Garden Vegetable crackers, crushed.

Place cracker crumbs in a separate bowl and set aside. The left-over cracker crumbs can be put in a zip-lock bag and used for casserole toppings, or in meat loaf.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Fill tomato halves with filling and dip into cracker crumbs. Place on a baking sheet. I placed mine close together because they wanted to tip over. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

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