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Friday, May 28, 2010

The Cooking Channel!

All you foodies out there, have you heard?


There's a new food channel in town! It's called the Cooking Channel, and it's a sister channel to the Food Network! The Cooking Channel features shows that actually teach you how to cook! Julia Child and other classics are being brought back, along with new shows like French Food at Home, Bake!, and Chinese Food Made Easy. Check out all the shows here.

The station is replacing the Fine Living Network (FLN). The Cooking Channel launches on Memorial Day, Monday, May 31 at 7:00am! But check out the recipes now if you need inspiration for your Memorial Day barbecue!

Will you be watching?


: : By the way, this is our last post before we announce the WINNER of our giveaway! So go enter the giveaway here! We'll announce the winner Tuesday, June 1st! : :

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Chocolate Tofu Pie

I hope you're not sick of the healthy (well, healthier) desserts I've been posting (chocolate blueberry cake, secret ingredient flourless chocolate cake, saucepan fudge drops), because I've got another one for you, and it's a good one—I promise! It's a healthified version of chocolate cream pie, made with tofu...and you can't even tell!


I based my recipe off Alton Brown's recipe on foodnetwork.com, but I took out the coffee liqueur (which probably made the pie a lot thicker, but I didn't mind it). I also wasn't planning on making a pie, so I didn't have graham crackers for a crust. I got inventive and used Corn Flakes! It was actually pretty good, but I'd crush the Corn Flakes a little more next time.

Chocolate Tofu Pie

Ingredients:
2 cups bittersweet/semisweet chocolate chips (milk chocolate will be too rich)
1 block of silken tofu (I used Silken Lite Firm Tofu)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp honey

Directions:
Melt chocolate (I did it in the microwave—less mess—one minute, stir, then 20 seconds at a time until it's melted, stirring in between). Stir in vanilla.
Combine tofu, honey, and chocolate in a blender (or bowl using hand blender). Liquefy until smooth (this took a while for me with my hand blender—I didn't want any lumps of tofu). If it's too thick you could try adding a little milk or cream, or try adding the tofu "juice" leftover in the package.
Pour the filling into a prepared pie crust (recipe below) and refrigerate two hours, or until the filling is set.
Top with whipped cream, berries, or just eat plain!


Corn Flake Pie Crust

Ingredients:
1 cup crushed Corn Flake cereal (or Rice Krispies!)
1/4 cup sugar
6 Tbsp butter, melted

Directions:
Combine crushed cereal with sugar and butter. Toss to thoroughly combine. Press mixture firmly into a 9" pie plate. Chill one hour or until firm.
Original recipe here.

: : There's still time to enter to win a cook book! You have a good chance of winning! Go here to enter! Winner will be drawn Tuesday, June 1. : :

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Shredded Sweet Pork

You've probably been to Cafe Rio or Bajio (or one of the many other restaurants like them). And if you're tried their pork, you know it's AMAZING! Well, this recipe tastes BETTER than the restaurants! It's true, just ask my family who came over for dinner! We ate the pork in tacos (with homemade tortillas of course), but it would work in burritos, enchiladas, or a salad like the restaurants.I put pineapple in it (like Bajio) because my Dad loves the pineapple in Bajio's pork. It was a great move. I made my recipe by combining a recipe from Favorite Family Recipes and My Girls' Kitchen. I think it includes the best from both recipes. Hope you like it!

Shredded Sweet Pork

Ingredients:
2–3 pounds pork (I used a pork roast)
1 cup water
Garlic salt
2 small white onions, chopped
1–2 Tbsp vegetable or canola oil
1 Tbsp salt
1 can diced green chilies
1 16 oz. bottle of Dr. Pepper or Coke (NOT diet)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp to 1 packet of taco seasoning
1 large can of red enchilada sauce
2 small cans of pineapple

Directions:
Place pork in crock pot with half the bottle of soda and 1 cup of water (more or less as necessary), add garlic salt. Cook until done (don't let it dry out), about 3–4 hours on high or 6–8 hours on low, or until it shreds easily.
Drain juices and shred pork with two forks. In a large saucepan/pot, saute onions in oil until soft, 3–4 minutes. Add salt, brown sugar, enchilada sauce, Dr. Pepper, pineapple JUICE (reserve the pineapple until the end), taco seasoning and green chilies. [At this point, I used an immersion blender in the pot and blended the chilies and some of the onions a little.] Simmer together for one hour and pour over shredded pork, or just add to shredded pork in crock pot on high for one hour. Add pineapple chunks 10–30 minutes before serving. Can be used for tacos, burritos, salads, quesadillas, etc!

As you can see, my pork was really saucy. I don't think that's a bad thing though!


We served this with cilantro lime rice (from The Food Nanny cook book), black and refried beans*, and every taco topper you can imagine: tomatoes, salsa, sour cream, avocado, fresh limes, cheese, lettuce, and cilantro. Delicioso!

*Here's an easy way to make canned beans taste homemade and WAY better: add chili powder, cumin, and garlic salt (or your favorite Mexican spices).

: : And don't forget to enter our giveaway to win your very own copy of Liz Edmund's The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner cook book! : :

Monday, May 24, 2010

Double Chocolate Coconut M&M Cookies

If the name didn't catch you, this picture will:

[Yeah, you're going to want to enlarge this image.]

Whoever had the idea to make a chocolate cookie with coconut, chocolate chips, AND coconut M&Ms, AAAAAND rolled in coconut is a friggin' genius. Wish I would have thought of it first. Thank you, A Bountiful Kitchen, for posting this awesome recipe! I think I made them even more awesome by using half special dark cocoa and half milk and half dark chocolate chips. To DIE for.

These cookies are seriously AMAZING. Moist, chewy, almost brownie-like on the inside, filled with chocolate and chewy coconut. The toasted coconut on the outside makes a crispy shell. Divine.

A few testimonials from family who tried them:
“I think these are my new favorite cookies. Ever.” - Mom
“I love the crispy coconut on the outside.” - Dad
“These cookies are even better once they cool! They get chewy on the inside!” - Stew
“Sure, I'll have another one, but I've had like four already.” - Teresa
“Um yeah...I'll be needing this recipe asap!” - Melanie

So there you have it. Have I convinced you to make these yet?? Here's another picture just in case:

Double Chocolate Coconut M&M Cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used 1/4 cup regular and 1/4 cup special dark!)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup coconut M&M's (about 6-7 packages with the green M&M's picked out, or about 4 with the green M&M's)
1 cup chocolate chips (I did 1/2 milk and 1/2 60% cacao!)
1/2 cup flaked coconut, unsweetened
coconut for rolling cookie dough

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375º. Beat butter until softened. Add sugars and beat until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time. Mix in vanilla. Add flour, cocoa, soda, powder and salt and mix until just combined. Add M&M's, chocolate chips and coconut and mix again until just incorporated.
Pour some coconut on a plate. Scoop balls of dough, roll in coconut and place on a baking sheet lined with a silicone liner (or parchment, or just ungreased). Bake for 8–10 minutes (I did 10), or just until cookies are set. Let cool on pans for 5–10 minutes until they hold their shape when lifted off. Then move to cooling rack.

This recipe makes almost four dozen cookies! I'll probably half it next time, unless I'm feeding a crowd.

: : There's still time to win a cookbook! Go here to enter if you haven't already! : :

Rating: The Orange Peel

While in St. George, we visited The Orange Peel smoothie shop for breakfast before we headed to Las Vegas. They also serve bubble tea (haven't heard about it? It's interesting—click here) and self-serve frozen yogurt (who doesn't these days? But hey, I'm not complaining, I love frozen yogurt!).

Inside there was a prevalent sign posted saying "no photos" were allowed, so we tried to sneak one on the way out.

Inside it's a pretty typical smoothie shop: bright colors, the smell of fresh citrus, and whirring blenders behind a glass counter. They do something different than typical smoothie places with the packaging though:
The lid is sealed shut in a machine, then you poke a giant straw through it. This is how bubble tea is packaged (before The Orange Peel did it, like in Taiwan), but it's cool to have a smoothie that will not spill as easily!

They have over 30 flavors, not including bubble tea smoothies. We got their two most popular flavors, Big Kahuna and Brazilian. Stew got the Big Kahuna, which was the sweeter of the two and had pina colada, strawberries, and banana. Lindsey got the Brazilian, which was more tart and had passionfruit with strawberries and peaches. We each thought the flavor we picked was the best (it was fun to keep switching smoothies though).

Overall we liked it. It's a little pricey: $3.99 for a 12-ounce smoothie, but we'd go back again (especially if we had a full punch card for a free smoothie, like we did this time—buy 10 get one free). But it didn't stand out too much from say...Jamba Juice (maybe if we got bubble tea smoothies it would have, but we've had bubble tea before and think it's just kind of weird).


We did notice that their frozen yogurt prices are (currently) cheaper per ounce than Krave, another self-serve frozen yogurt place. So visit The Orange Peel next time you're in St. George if you want something cool and refreshing! We probably will!

: : And if you haven't entered our 100th post giveaway, do it now!! : :

Thursday, May 20, 2010

100th post GIVEAWAY!

For our 100th post (took us long enough to get there, I'll blog more, I promise) we decided to give a little gift to one of our readers. This blog isn't big enough for companies to give us free things to give away, so we bought it ourselves. We think you'll really love it, because we do! Can you guess?

Hint #1: It has to do with food and cooking (duh!).

Hint #2: It had a pretty big role in our dating/food life (see our very first post).

Figured it out yet?? No? Okay, we'll tell you...


It's an autographed copy of The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner!! Learn more about The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner and Liz Edmunds here. And check out the new app where you can make your own "Nanny Meal Plan," there's a lot more of Liz's recipes online!

The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner: Easy Family Meals for Every Day of the Week

We love this cook book and want to share it with you! Already have a copy? No problem! You can give it as a gift!


You can enter to win this giveaway up to three (3) times. Here's how:

1. For one entry, leave your name in a comment (if you're worried about leaving your whole name, first name and last initial will work).
: : For example:
Jane Doe

-OR- Jane D.

2. For a second entry, leave a comment telling us a favorite recipe you think we should try, favorite restaurant we should visit (or one you haven't been to that you want us to try), OR a kitchen/food tip. Make sure to leave your name!
: : For example:
Jane Doe. Try my special chicken! Here's the recipe: [recipe here]
-OR- Jane D. You've got to try New Thai Cafe on 7800 South!
-OR- Freeze peeled ginger in a ziploc bag if you don't use it all. It's a lot easier to grate when it's frozen! Jane Doe

3. For a THIRD entry (we're making this too easy, right?!), "follow" our blog with Google. This is different than adding us to your Google Reader or RSS feed. Go to our blog, scroll down, and on the right hand side you'll see the "Follow" button (if you're already a follower, you don't have to do this part). Then leave us a comment stating your name and that you follow us. We'll check to see if you're a follower.
: : For example:
Jane Doe- follow!


So that's easy enough, right? Just to clarify, you need to leave three DIFFERENT comments to be entered 3 times, so don't put all the info in one comment. Please note that your comments might not show up right away, we have to "approve" them first. We will delete over three comments per person.

The winner will be chosen by random.org on TUESDAY, JUNE 1st! We'll post the winner and they'll have three days to email us their contact info. You've got 12 days! Get to it!

More recipes coming soon!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Rating: Twenty Five Main

So it looks like Lindsey miscounted our number of posts because we had a "draft" that hasn't been posted yet. So PSYCH on the 100th post giveaway, you'll have to wait one more post! How about a restaurant/cupcake review in St. George instead? Okay? Okay.

On our trip to St. George a couple weeks ago, we ate dinner at Twenty Five Main with Stew's parents. Twenty Five Main is another "hip" cafe that hopped on the cupcake-craze wagon. They serve sandwiches, pizzas, soup, paninis, salads, breakfast, smoothies and of course, cupcakes.

The inside is cute but a little cheap-looking. The menus are on the wall and you order before you sit down, which can be a little hard if you have serious menu indecision (like Lindsey) and there are people behind you waiting.
We got our food pretty fast, but were slightly disappointed when it was put in front of us. The portions were fairly small. Dad ordered the BTA (bacon, tomato, and arugula) panini, but can you even see the filling between this bread?

With the paninis, you can either order a "micro" salad (which is really micro), or potatoes. Mom got the potatoes with her ham and cheese panini.
Stew ordered the smoked turkey panini with bacon and sundried tomatoes. The sandwich was good, he just wished there were more of it.
Lindsey was glad she got the "full" portion of the strawberry poppyseed salad.
Since we all have a sweet tooth, we had to get cupcakes. Stew ordered SIX cupcakes for the four of us to share. We cut them in fourths and sampled all the flavors.
Flavors from the top left going clockwise: Chocolate Strawberry, Vanilla Strawberry, Chocolate Vanilla, Peanutbutter Cup, Raspberry (or was it strawberry?) Lemonade, and Original Chocolate.
We thought the chocolate and the chocolate vanilla tasted almost the same. The peanutbutter cup was good, but the raspberry lemonade cupcake was our very favorite. The cupcakes weren't the best we've had, but they were a nice sweet ending to the meal. We decided the food portions were perfect if you also ate a cupcake after the meal. :)

So our rating was 70/100. Lindsey was slightly disappointed—mostly because her hopes were high for Twenty Five Main. We had a basic good meal, but it was nothing to write home about!


Thanks for the good company Mom and Dad! We had fun! The cupcakes helped too. ;)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Root Beer Cookies


These cookies are from Stew's childhood. Stew's friend's mom used make root beer cookies for them, and he got the recipe from her a few years ago. A few months ago he found the recipe when he was going through some papers, so we bought some root beer extract that sat in a cupboard. Last night, we finally decided to make them. They were pretty good warm, but the next day they are absolutely delicious!! Soft and slightly chewy, and a great root beer flavor that doesn't over power the "cookie" flavor. A nice change from regular cookies!
The recipe we used hardly had any directions, so we did them like most cookies (I've included my directions in the recipe).

Root Beer Cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1/4 cup buttermilk (or 1/2 tsp lemon juice filled to 1/4 cup with milk)
1 tsp root beer extract
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400º. Beat brown sugar and butter until creamy. Mix in egg, then add buttermilk, flour, root beer extract, baking soda and salt; beat until smooth. Spoon onto baking sheet lined with silicone liner and bake for 12–14 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for 5–10 minutes before removing to cooling rack. Top with root beer glaze (recipe follows).

Root Beer Glaze

Ingredients:
2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp root beer extract
2 Tbsp hot water

Directions:
Mix all ingredients together until smooth. Spoon onto cookies.

Try these next time you don't know what dessert to make! You won't be disappointed!

**This is our 99th post! Stay tuned for a (small—we're not rich here) fun giveaway coming up!**

: : UPDATE 5-16-10: We decided we like these cookies best from the fridge! Try it!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Oven BBQ Chicken

I've made this recipe three times in the last two weeks, twice for family. It's a great barbecue recipe and I love that it has veggies in it! Not only does it add some nutrition and make it healthier, but they add a lot of flavor! The second and third times I made it, I chopped the veggies smaller, but this picture is of the first time.

The original recipe is from Becoming Betty. I just took out the butter to make it healthier.

Oven BBQ Chicken

Ingredients:
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup ketchup
1 cup water
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/8 tsp pepper
8 chicken breasts (or chicken tenders, I use 3 tenders for every 1 breast)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350º. Saute onion, celery and green pepper in a little olive oil or cooking spray in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining ingredients, except chicken, and mix well. Bring mixture to a boil, then lower to simmer for 5–10 minutes (I found the longer you simmer it, the thicker the sauce; we like a thicker sauce). Remove from heat. Arrange chicken in baking pan and cover with sauce. Bake UNCOVERED for one hour, or until chicken is cooked through.

We've served it with baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, and rice; they are all good!

Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Rating: DW Bistro

Lindsey follows a design blog called Blonde Designs, who recently posted about a new restaurant, DW Bistro, which she designed the graphics for (logo, menu, etc). The simple modern design got Lindsey interested in the food, which also looked fantastic! Since we were planning a quick trip to Vegas, Lindsey begged Stew to go there; of course he obliged!

DW Bistro is about 15 minutes south-west of The Strip, and well worth the drive (even if you get lost a few times...not like we did or anything).

Lindsey got excited to eat right when we stepped inside. The restaurant is really modern and hip, using mostly a palette of orange and white. It feels fresh and fun.

Attention to detail is what makes this place feel so classy: matching flowers on the tables, contemporary artwork on the walls (by Pamela Nielsen), and unique lighting.
We opted to sit outside, since it was such a nice day.

So let's get to the food, right? Since it was Cinco de Mayo, they brought out complimentary chips and roasted tomato salsa. The salsa was different and SO good! Perfectly spicy.

[By the way, sorry for the bad photos, we didn't notice that our camera was on the wrong setting!]

It was hard to decide what to order, and since we knew we wanted to blog about this restaurant, we didn't order their Cinco de Mayo specials (although the jerk pork tacos were super tempting).

Lindsey ordered the Jerk Chicken Salad (which she was told was a favorite) with a creamy avocado vinaigrette that was unique and tangy and oh-so-good.
Stew ordered the Grilled Chicken Sandwich (with bacon, lettuce, tomato, and chipotle mayo), which came with sweet potato fries.
While we were enjoying our meal, Bryce (owner) came over and chatted with us. He asked how we found out about DW Bistro and was excited when he found out it was from Angie's design blog. He brought the executive chef over, Dalton Wilson (maybe that's where DW comes from?) to meet us too. Dalton has lived in Jamaica and New Mexico, and both places influenced the menu. What a unique spin! They were both very nice and we talked to them for a while.

Our waitress kept reminding us to save room for dessert. Since the portions weren't huge, we definitely had room (although, isn't there always room for dessert?). Bryce and Dalton suggested the carrot cake or lemon lime pudding for dessert. We would have gotten both, but decided to be modest (ha) and share the carrot cake.Let's have a moment of silence for this carrot cake.

...

...

Wow.

The BEST carrot cake we've ever had. Small chunks of carrot (obviously) and pineapple throughout the moist spice cake. Not just one, but TWO layers of melt-in-your-mouth-whipped-with-tender-loving-care cream cheese frosting. Top it off with a few shreds of fresh carrot (which we totally didn't mind eating with the cake) and RASPBERRIES (who would have thought?) and you've got the perfect dessert.

Finished off the meal with some Jamaican mints (the ginger flavor was surprisingly good!).


So after all that, here's how we scored DW Bistro:

Probably the highest score we've given a restaurant!! Service didn't score 100% because the server seemed...new. As for the price, I guess we're just used to Utah prices. However, the quality of the food far outweighed the quantity, and we feel that the price fit the high quality of the food. Too bad DW Bistro isn't in Salt Lake. I have a feeling we'd be regulars.

They'd only been open for four weeks, so we were glad we made it! Next time you're in Las Vegas, you need to go to DW Bistro. DW Bistro was the highlight of our Vegas trip. If only every meal could have been as good!

Thanks again, Bryce and Dalton!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Peanut-Crusted Chicken

I love macadamia nut crusted mahi mahi (which I should post the recipe for!), so when I saw this recipe for peanut-crusted chicken, I had to try it! The peanuts make for a crisp crust on the chicken, and it's baked, not fried! It has a great flavor to it (although next time I will not be adding salt AND using salted peanuts), and tasted very similar to my mom's buttermilk "fried" chicken (which I need to post as well), which is weird because it's coated with peanuts! It's not too peanut-y though. Thank you to Martha Stewart's "Fresh Flavor Fast" for the recipe.

Peanut-Crusted Chicken

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for baking sheet
3/4 cup roasted unsalted peanuts (I thought since I only had salted on hand that it would work, but my chicken turned out way too salty. If you use salted peanuts, don't add salt, and maybe try to rub off some of the salt—our meal was sodium overload!)
3 slices sandwich bread, stale is fine, torn into small pieces (I used 1 slice of wheat bread and some Panko I had on hand—worked great!)
Salt and pepper
2 eggs
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (1 1/2 to 2 pounds)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 475º. Pound chicken to even thickness so it cooks evenly. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet. In a food processor or blender, pulse peanuts and bread until coarsely ground. Transfer to a shallow bowl; whisk in the oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (unless you're using salted peanuts), and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
In a bowl big enough for a piece of chicken, lightly beat the eggs; season generously with salt and pepper. Add one piece of chicken, and turn to coat. Lift chicken and let excess egg mixture drip back into bowl; dredge in peanut mixture to coat completely, gently pressing to adhere (I even pressed more peanut crumbs on top). Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat with all chicken pieces. Bake (without turning) until crust is browned and chicken is just cooked through, 10–15 minutes. If the topping starts getting too dark, throw a sheet of foil over the chicken.
Serve with a nice green veggie (we love asp-pa-grass!) and some rice or potatoes, if desired.

: : By the way, if anyone reads this blog, we're going out of town for the week so I don't expect to be posting anything...but we'll probably have some restaurant reviews in St. George and Vegas. And I feel a giveaway coming up...we're almost to 100 posts!! So keep reading!