Dessert / Recipes

Happy New Year!

01.03.13

Happy New Year Everyone!

Cranberry Caramel Sauce

Here’s to hoping that 2013 brings good things; like puppies, cupcakes, and thunderstorms (yes, I am one of those weird people who loves thunderstorms) warm/dry weather in Seattle.  Did you make any new years resolutions?  What were they?  This year, I chose resolutions I think are really do-able:

  1. Drink more water.  I’m one of those people who rarely ever drink plain water.  I was always a soda drinker.  Whenever I’d go like a day without soda, my body would freak out… not a good sign.  So I’ve convinced myself I’ll be healthier if I drink lots of water and elliminate the unneeded calories, sugars, and caffeine.  I’m kind of hoping I’ll be more energized too… we’ll see.  I’m setting the goal for myself to drink about 40 fl oz of water each day.  My new Brita water bottle is my best friend!
  2. Go to the gym.  I know, I know, this is EVERYONE’S resolution.  But I really feel like when I’m traveling I should be using the gyms in the hotels.  It’s almost like having a free membership and I LOVE free stuff.  I love couponing to get stuff at reduced rates, I love searching for awesome deals, and I ESPECIALLY love getting stuff completely for free…. like the 7up ten, A&W ten, and other soda’s Safeway is offering for free this week  (I’m going to use the root beer one to make pulled pork tomorrow).  Regardless, business school taught me about opportunity cost so let’s face it: I’m practically LOSING money by not using these gyms.
  3. See Seattle.  My final resolution is to do at least one activity in Seattle each week.  I feel like I have this vast amount of knowledge about Seattle in the form of tourism books, friends (Deb), and websites like LivingSocial, Groupon, and Cheap Bastard Seattle, and I’m not utilizing to it’s full potential.  So I want to do at least one thing a week from one of those sources, for example: last week Deb told me and Frankie about these gingerbread houses in the Sheraton hotel, a few blocks away from me.  We went to see them and they were really cool.  I need to get out more and do more.  Especially on the days where there is no rain (for some reason, Seattle has really good weather when Frankie visits… we think that means he should stay).

Well, there you have it.  Those are my main ones.  I have a few other ones that I’m not holding my breath about, like bake more, post more, walk more, eat healthier.  BLAH, BLAH, BLAH.  This is a FOOD blog people, the chances of me actually sticking to an “eating healthy” routine are about as probable as me never eating this delicious Cranberry Caramel Sauce again.  So that’s obviously a 0% chance.  I like clogging my arteries and stuffing my veins with sugar… who doesn’t?

By the Spoonful

I originally made this sauce for Thanksgiving, because who doesn’t love a non-traditional twist on the cranberry element of the holiday.  But it’s just so ooey, gooey, and wonderful, that I think I could keep a jar in my fridge all year long and eat it by the  spoonful on ice cream or something.  I know you all are like me and irrationally hoard keep a healthy stock of cranberry sauce and cans of pumpkin in your pantry that you will probably never need, JUST IN CASE you might need it for some abstract recipe.

Cranberry Caramel Sauce on Icecream

All I’m saying is you never know, you NEVER know.  So, break out a can of cranberry sauce that you hoarded stashed away and prepare for a crazy ride.  My first attempt at making this completely failed, as in I ended up with a seized up mess and a burnt finger.  I cried like a baby  put my big girl pants on and marched down to target where I bought burn ointment… learn from my mistake: follow the directions.

Cranberry Caramel

Caramel Cranberry Sauce

Yields: 16 oz                Prep Time: 4 Minutes                Cook Time: 20 Minutes

Ingredients

1 1/2 Cups of Sugar
Pinch of Salt
14 oz Jellied Cranberry Sauce
1/2 Cup Water
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
4 Tbsp Butter

Procedures

Gather ingredients and open the can of jellied cranberry sauce.

Combine sugar and salt in a skillet and melt over medium heat without stirring for four minutes. Then swirl the mixture until it is dark amber, approximately four more minutes.

Add cranberry sauce and water to mixture and whisk until syrupy, four minutes. Add vanilla extract and butter and whisk for another four minutes.

Puree the mixture in a blender.

Serve sauce immediately or store in refrigerator for future use. If sauce is stored in the refrigerator, heat in microwave until warm before serving.

Nutritional Data

Serving Size: 1 oz
Calories: 132          Carbohydrates: 29g          Fat: 3g          Protein: 0g

Sprinkles

Searching for that Christmas Feeling

12.21.12

I just haven’t been in the Christmas mood lately.  Which is really weird, because I’m pretty sure I have Christmas-Movieitus.  It’s a disease.  I just made it up and self diagnosed myself but whatever, I’m an expert.  I know I’m an expert because I’ve probably sat on my couch and watched a million Christmas movies over the past month… seriously.  Every time I want to do something like write a blog post, organize my pictures, edit the pictures from abroad that Frankie has been relentlessly hounding me about patiently waiting for over the past two years I just decide to sit on my couch and watch a Christmas movie. 

I keep thinking that they will put me in the Christmas spirit… but they don’t.  So then I tried to make Christmas cookies… it’s just not nearly as fun without your family.  It’s almost like Seattle is against me being in the Christmas spirit.

The closest I’ve been to the Christmas spirit all season was at the Tree Lighting in Magnolia.  I went with Deb’s family and we walked around and it was just a good time.  They lit their tree and the stores give out food and drinks and wine.  We all know I downed classily drank the wine… let’s be serious.  Nevertheless, I was only in the Christmas Spirit for a few hours. 

Maybe it’s the weather.  Maybe it’s not being home.  Maybe it’s knowing that Christmas just won’t feel like Christmas this year with my parent’s divorce.  I feel like I’ve given up on Christmas.  It’s sad, but it’s true.  Reality is slowly sinking in.  I’m an adult now, and the magic is gone.  So what do you do when you hit the quarter-life-Christmas-crisis?  Watch Christmas movies and try to get the magical feeling back or spend a full day listening to “Today’s Christmas” on Pandora.  I lead an exciting life.  The Justin Beiber N’sync Christmas album will forever be a favorite of mine.  Don’t try to pretend like you weren’t jamming out to Mistletoe last October when it came out.  You weren’t?  It was just me? Me neither.

Anyway, I hope you all are having a much better Christmas season than I am. 

I’ve had a post about wine written for about two weeks now, and I was just about to put the pictures in and post it but then the Connecticut shooting happened and it suddenly felt so much less important.  I’ll post it eventually, but the tragedy really hit me hard.  I hope those families are able to find some peace at the worst times in their lives. 

So that’s it.  I don’t have a recipe I want to put in here.  I just wanted to let you know where I’m at.   Yesterday I freaked out and almost cried trying to get last minute gifts for everyone… transporting Christmas presents cross country is not an easy feat.  I’m flying home today, which means I get to see my boyfriend soon!  Hopefully he’ll be able to fix me… he always does.  He’s coming to Seattle for New Years… I’m pretty excited.

Here’s a mistletoe yankee candle, because they always make me feel better.  And they smell EXACTLY like a Christmas tree… its the only way I can get over having a fake tree :)

Mistletoe

Recipes / Sandwich

The Official Month of Bacon

11.21.12

I know, I know… I’ve been gone.  I could sit here and make up excuses about how I was in Alaska for two weeks straight with choppy internet and then flew home to have Thanksgiving with my family and my amazing boyfriend… but we all really know what happened: I got busy.  However, I’m back.  Not only back on this blog, but back in Seattle, and back as me.

I always feel so much more like myself after I go home, and I truly think it has a lot to do with seeing Frankie.  He’s pretty amazing, and awesome, and so, so supportive of me…all the time.  I also know he’s reading this because he listened to me and subscribed to get emails every time I post something new on here (aww… such a good boyfriend).  I don’t know how he does it, but he makes me happy every day.  When I go home to see him, it’s like I click into place and suddenly remember who I am.  It’s refreshing.

I’m refreshed.  And back.  If you’ve been following my Twitter, you know I also have a new look:

A new look, AND new stuff to share?  I must have a fever.  I’m losing it.  IT’S JUST GETTING CRAZY NOW.

I know everyone is in Thanksgiving mode (I am too… don’t be fooled), but I really think November should be declared the official month of bacon.  At least on this blog, it should.  I know we’ve talked about my love of bacon previously, here, but I don’t think you understand just how intense this affair I’m having with the food is.  I may or may not be putting bacon on questionable things… hmmm are you intrigued?  Don’t you worry, I’ll tell you ALLLLLL about my little experiments with bacon, soon enough.

But not today.

Yes, I am a tease.

You’ll learn to love it someday.

Today, I’m gonna share a more traditional bacon dish.  A bacon sandwich, if you will…

I’m going to teach you how to make the perfect BLT (I’ll hold the T… but you don’t have to, you get to keep the T).

Like most of my ideas, this one started from a picture I saw on Pinterest (I’m really enjoying all these shameless self promotions).  I saw this picture and was like: “omg”…  Yeah, that’s it.  I might have died a little bit inside for not thinking it up myself, but it was just a moment of me staring at the screen in awe of the genius that thought this up.

The bacon fits perfectly… which means you get a delicious bite of bacon in Every. Single. Bite.

And, yeah, I’m really into that idea.

So last night I sought out how to make this basket-weaved-bacon square:

I didn’t look at how they tell you to make it on Pinterest, I just experimented… not that it was that hard to figure out, but hey, I like to sound adventurous.  Anyway, I think my way is pretty cool because the bacon doesn’t sit in its own grease while its cooking (and then I get to tell myself its healthy-er, but who’s counting calories anyway… not me that’s for sure).

Anyway, I’m going to tell you how I made my sandwich, but let’s face it: everyone has their own preferences.  For example: I like a light layer of mayo on both pieces of bread, some people like no mayo at all.  You should make your sandwich the way you like it, people.

If you want to throw something else in there for fun, like avocado, you do it.  Get crazy!  More power to ya.  Just tell me what you try :)

Basket-Weaved BLT

Yields: 1 Sandwich                Prep Time: 5 Minutes                Cook Time: 20 Minutes

Ingredients

3 slices of bacon
2 slices of bread
lettuce
tomato
mayonaise

Procedures

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Place a cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet.

Cut the slices of bacon in half, to make six approximately 4 inch pieces.  Take three pieces and place them side-by-side on the cooling rack, to make a square.  Take the remaining three pieces of bacon and weave them, facing the opposite direction, through the pieces in the square.  The square should look like a weaved basket.

Place the cookie sheet in your oven and allow to cook for ten minutes, then flip the square and cook for another 5-10, until the bacon achieves your preference of crispiness.

Toast two slices of bread and spread a thin layer of mayonaise on each slice.  Place lettuce and tomato on one slice and the cooked bacon square on the other.  Manuever the slice of bread with the bacon square on top of the other slice and cut the sandwich in half.

Enjoy!

Sprinkles

Dinner at Deb’s

10.24.12

I don’t know what I would do without Deb… well to be fair I don’t know what I would do without the entire Doyle family.  I can tell you a couple things I know for certain I wouldn’t have: this apartment, tickets to Wicked with Cameron, tickets to the Wizard of Oz, a whollleeeee bunch of expensive jewelry I shouldn’t have bought (but am so glad I did), and a dish of curry chicken and rice to instagram (see below).

When I moved out to Seattle, Deb and her family graciously offered up their guest room to my mom and I, while we were apartment hunting.  Deb is good friends with my Aunt Jacky, who put us in touch with each other… THANKS AUNTIE.  After I moved into my apartment, and my mom went back to Rhode Island, I would have felt alone if it hadn’t been for the Doyles.  They are truly so wonderful and I consider them my Seattle family.  I try to make my way over to their house once a week, if at all possible, to spend time with them… and eat their food… alright, let’s be honest mainly to eat their food.  Ohhhhh, I’m just kidding… I go there for the cocktails too.

Going over to the Doyle household reminds me of home, and I can’t deny that its seriously nice to have people who care about me here.  Normally, a night at their house progresses like so: cocktails, cooking, cocktails, dinner, cocktails, dominoes (or occasionally a different game), cocktails, desert, and finally the TV show of the night (usually America’s Got Talent or The Voice).  Are you sensing a theme?  I am.  They really like their cocktails… and I really like their cocktails too, maybe thats why we get along so well…. hmmm.  Geoff makes a meannnnnn mojito, what can I say?

This week I had the pleasure of going to their house TWICE.  Oh boy, I’m getting crazy out here.  I headed over there on Friday for a jewelry party.  I spent wayyyyy too much money… but the stuff at Stella & Dot is just so cute.  I also ate wayyyyyy too much food (the berry salad was too good to pass up) and had the perfect amount of Reisling.  You win some, you lose some.  I won the right one.

I also made my way over there yesterday night, after sitting in an hour of traffic, for dinner.  I sipped on my gin & tonic (who do I think I am?  she’s turning me into an adult drinker…) and helped set the table:

Here’s the thing about Deb: I put my full faith and trust in her when it comes to food and cooking.  When she told me we were eating curry chicken my mind flashed to the only time I’ve eaten indian food and was skeptical.  I was especially skeptical when she told me I would put bananas on it.  But then I remembered: it’s Deb.  Sure enough, not only did I love the curry chicken but, it’s pretty good with bananas.  My favorite toppings were the bacon and peanuts… I was stealing peanuts all night… I’m slightly obsessed right now.

Dessert was a scoop of vanilla ice cream with a warm cookie and a game of dominoes…. which I WON (obviously).

And now you know who Deb, Geoff, and Cameron are.  You’ll probably hear about them a lot more… sorry I’m not sorry.  You shouldn’t be mad, she gives me awesome recipes and tips!

Restaurants

Kaleidoscope Pizzeria & Pub

10.23.12

I have officially (not so officially) given up on trying to find flights home in November.  Well, that’s what I’m telling myself anyway.  The problem is that I keep asking myself: will I make it until Christmas?

I really, really don’t like the way my body responds to that question… shortness of breath, throat closing, the sharp pain in my heart.  Okay, okay that’s enough. Which is why I’m officially finished thinking about going home (kind of).

I need to think about something else… like pizza.  Ooey, gooey, delicious pizza.  Yumm.

Last week, I found myself in Southern Oregon for work.  I was staying at the Homewood Suites in Medford, but working in Grants Pass during the day.  Homewood Suites hotels are really nice because they provide their guests with breakfast, dinner, AND alcohol… who’s ready to paarrrttttayyyy?  In other words, I was super excited that I was able to save money and have fun with co-workers.  Let’s just say the hostess knew I liked my double glasses of Chardonnay.

The downside to staying at this magical place of wonder?  I didn’t get to try out very many restaurants while I was there.  We would go out to eat for lunch, but I didn’t find anything spectacular though.  But on the day we were leaving, to fly back to Seattle, we were able to eat lunch in Medford.  Boy, am I glad we did.

One of my co-workers has a friend who lived in Medford and recommended a few places to us.  Despite me and another co-worker craving Chinese, we all agreed that pizza sounded delicious.  As I was driving, the first thing I noticed about this place was the cool sign detailing its name… because it looks like the inside of a kaleidoscope!

Kaleidoscopes are pretty cool, at least they were… or I thought they were… WHATEVER.  They’re cool and Kaleidoscope Pizzeria & Pub is pretty cool too.  This place has awesome Yelp reviews and I totally understand why.  We walked in and the restaurant had this cool funky vibe, it seemed pretty easy going and laid back.  Brian and I split a medium (14″) pepperoni pizza ($15.75 ) and I had a caramel apple martini.  I’ve been a HUGE fan of the caramel apple martini since I had one in the SkyCity restaurant in the Space Needle.  This martini was exactly what I needed after a long day of hard work.  It tasted exactly like a caramel apple, and having actual caramel sauce in the glass was my version of a cherry on top of whipped cream.  I forgot to write down the ingredients, but you can bet I’ll be trying to make my own version soon.

The pizza.  Sighhhh. The pizza.  I know that’s what you all care about.  You’re probably like, what the heck who cares about the martini, BRING ON THE PIZZA.  The answer is: me, I care about the martini.  Since you’ve been so polite and patient… I’ll tell you about the pizza.  It was good.  And I mean really good.  By the way, this is coming from a girl who makes it her mission to try as many pizza places as possible and once dreamed about a road trip where I only ate pizza with my friend Brittany.  I take my pizza seriously.

There was the perfect amount of cheese, pepperoni, and sauce.  I didn’t feel like one ingredient overpowered the other in any way.  It was delicious, superb even.  At least one of the top two places I’ve had pizza on the west coast so far… I’ll re-try Zeeks (the other contender for numero uno) and let you know what I think ASAP.  The cheese was piping hot and gooey, which is the only way I can eat it, and the crust/dough was pretty top notch too.  I ate two pieces and was stuffed, I took my two other pieces with me on the plane all the way back to Washington to enjoy at 1am after bar hopping.  I wouldn’t have asked for anything more.

Next time you’re in Medford, Oregon hit this place up.  Its worth it.