Frozen Foods

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These are three snacks I love keeping stocked in  my freezer when it’s warmer outside.  Something sweet, something salty, and something sour.  And apparently all green.

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Green grapes easily turn into the perfect frozen treat when washed and put into snack baggies for easy transfer from freezer to pool bag.  You may not eat edamame frozen (or at least I don’t), but I always have a bag in my freezer.  I prefer the edamame in the shell at snack time, because after a  quick boil, a small sprinkle of sea salt, and a few minutes to cool down under cold water, they completely satisfy my craving for a salty, butter bite.  I’m a huge fan of all popsicles, but at home you’ll almost never find our freezer without a box of Lemon and/or Lime popsicles.  They make my sour taste buds very happy (my favorite are dryers outshine bars).

Happy Snacking!

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Cilantro & Parsley Fizz

Want something a little sweet, a little herbalicious, and very refreshing?!  Try this tasty combo.  As the days warm up I’m constantly on the hunt for new ways to wake up my taste buds and zap my thirst…it’s dry here in Colorado and you really have to stay hydrated.  This is the perfect fix for both! I love these to herbs together, but you can mix it up a bit, using other herbs like mint (like a virgin mojito),  or basil.  Get creative with it, and enjoy!

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Walk to Breakfast

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I love being able to get around this town by foot, and living in an area that really allows us to do so.  Last Sunday we took advantage of the sunny, but brisk weather, and walked to the Mayor of Old Town with two good friends of ours, for a casual breakfast and cocktails.   This was my first time having breakfast at the Mayor, and after trying the Sweet and Savory breakfast sandwich, I must say I’m a huge fan.  It’s maybe one of the best breakfast sandwiches I’ve had.  It kinda reminded be of a more sophisticated Mcgriddle (those little suckers use to always get me on morning car trips on our way to the mountains for snowboarding) but this one had much better ingredients (of course) and didn’t leave me feeling greasy.   The guys had phenomenal B&G (biscuits and gravy) which I couldn’t help but steal bites from.  The delicious bloody marys, served with a shot of locally brewed porter, were just icing on the cake, or maybe I should say they just spiced up the morning.

The best mornings are those spent slowly, in good company, with good food.  I hope everyone is having a great weekend filled with both. (and getting your green ready!)

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Umami, a Local Eatery on Wheels

UmamiTruckI finally got to try one of our local food trucks! It was a delicious experience.  I had seen Umami parked in front of my favorite breweries many times before, I just never got an opportunity to give it a go until recently.  Even though I wasn’t very hungry I couldn’t resist trying the Thai Nachos with pork, and the Edamame tossed in soy ginger and sea salt.  This was kind of a food truck teaser, and reminder, that when the weather gets a bit warmer, to go hunt down a Fort Collin’s food truck.  I definitely will be back to Umami, wherever the Avion may be parked, to try their Bahn Mi Sandwich! Yum!

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415

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It is always fun to show friends or family from out of town around Fort Collins.  This past week my cousin met several of his friends here in Colorado, and we invited them to stay with us for a few days.  Like us they all appreciated amazing food and good drinks so entertaining them was easy in a town that offers a lot of both.   Restaurant 415 is a newer restaurant to Fort Collins, but its reputation for fresh, delicious, & creative dishes has made it one of my must share restaurants with visitors.  Plus it’s unique to Fort Collins, and the kitchen uses ingredients that are locally sourced.

The menu has so many options that make my mouth water, making decisions can almost be impossible.  I was delighted when the entire table agreed we had to try my recommendation of the Papa’s pizza as an appetizer, it never disappoints.   We all ordered a different sandwich off the menu, sharing bites, because choosing just one was very difficult.  I also just love a meal where food is shared as part of the experience of enjoying good company and excellent food.   However I was very happy with my order, the Provinçial, with added bacon of course. Yum. But each one was delicious in its own right…and affordable.  I may be back to visit, sans guests, sooner than later.

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In Our Kitchen

1. potstickers & edamame for dinner at a friend’s (she made quinua stir fry…delicious)
2. coucous (the dish so nice they named it twice) salad topped with sautéed chicken breast 
3. pre-roasted yellow tomatoes, garlic, onion & jalapeños with parsley & olive oil,
finished veggies were served over wild rice
4. veggie sautée
5. steak & bacon
6. finished steak & bacon + mashed sweet potatoes
7. pizza & wine…because somedays you just want to chill
8. roasted spaghetti squash + butter & bacon
9. spicy tomato & bell pepper shrimp over roasted garlic risotto + roasted cauliflower

I believe I have mentioned before the lack a light in our place (only a few dozen times).  Trying to take quality pictures with the Nikon in the kitchen often proves very frustrating.  The task of getting pictures of the food we cooked, became more consuming than the cooking itself (turns out having a tripod set up in the kitchen while your multitasking a meal can be stressful).  Needless to say it took some of the enjoyment out of cooking.  Because of this, I have been unable to share the amount of food I would like to, despite many efforts.   I really wanted to be able to share the wonderful foods, and recipes, we make and experiment with, however I don’t want to sacrifice the pleasure I get from cooking.  I have come up with a solution until we get a space with more natural light.  With the use of my iPad I will be documenting our weekly kitchen endeavors through a simple shots.  It will be fun for us to see our eating habits change with the seasons, or the contents of our fridge.  We are big on using what we have on hand, making a meal up as we go, so don’t be surprised if you see a few dishes that seem discombobulated.  I’ll still be doing more recipe specific blogs, but this will save me from feeling I have let too many wonderful meals go unacknowledged, and I can share even more food here.  Yay more food! Plus who doesn’t like food collages.

Zombie Cake

While browsing cute boutiques in Seattle with my mom I came across these zombie finger puppets, (which I also found online here) and bought them, not knowing exactly what I was going to do with them.  While thinking about what holiday treats I wanted to make this year, I realized how cute, and creepy, these guys would be as toppers for a zombie themed Halloween cake.  I invited my friend Rae over to help me assemble the cake, which came together quickly and easily.  I cut corners on this one by using boxed yellow cake mix and store bought chocolate icing.  Everything else I used to decorate the cake I had on hand at home.   I made a two layered round cake so I was able to added a little more pizzaz by spreading raspberry jam and Nutella between the layers…yum!   Coconut dyed with green food coloring was a simple solution for our grass.  I hadn’t thought about making mounds of “dirt” for the zombies to be emerging from, but when Rae mentioned it I loved the idea.  We had cut off the top of the the bottom layer in order to make a flat surface for joining the two layers.  From the extra, slightly rounded and thin top layer, we cut the raised grave mounds.  Our tombstones were made from black card stock and a white colored pencil, they took us less than 5 minutes to finish.  Each grave got a zombie, which I propped up by first inserting a toothpick into the the cake, then placing the zombie over the toothpick.  As a finishing touch we added finely crumbled oreos, minus cream, to give the graves a more textured earth feel.  Bill gets credit for this idea, I didn’t even know we had oreos on hand.  The final result was so much better than I had anticipated.  These will definitely make a return next year, maybe as cupcakes? I would just need more zombies! Happy Halloween Everyone! Hope you have a spooky and safe holiday.




Still in Season

Feeling inspired by fruit today.  I want to incorporate fresh fruit into as many meals as possible for the next few weeks while everything is still in season!   Last night we had Apricot Mint Couscous that was killer.  I’m looking forward to my lunch leftovers already! We were too hungry, and the food was to good, so we didn’t slow down to take any photos.  But I promise it’s pretty amazing.  I added goat cheese and pine nuts to mine also.

This evening I’m going use the blueberries and cherries in our fridge to try out this new crumble crust.  (The pictures above were taken while making mini cobblers a few weeks ago).

How do you prefer your fruit? Savory or Sweet. Personally I can’t get enough of either.

Frozen Avocado Margaritas

It has been hot here the last few days and according to forecasts (which I honestly pay little attention to but often get updates from others while working behind the bar) it is going to stay that way for a while.  Our pets lounging habits prove to be the first indication of the arrival of the heat, sprawling themselves belly up on the floor in front our window fans, followed by my insane cravings for all things, fresh, fruity, and cold.   On one of our recent evenings off together I whipped up a quick batch of Avocado Margaritas to accompany the warm evening and the heat  of our jalapeño packed dinner.  One of my best friends had been raving about this margarita that she had while visiting Austin but for some reason we never replicated our own recipe (actually I think she did once or twice, but I sadly wasn’t there).  Now that I’ve had one I think I may me hooked. The avocado lends its creamy butteriness to the tart base of a margarita so perfectly, resulting in a flavor and sweetness that reminds me of key lime pie.  Enough talking about this delightful cocktail, because really once you’ve tried it, it’ll do all the self promotion needed to get you hooked too.

Ingredients (for 4 drinks) :

-4oz silver/blanco tequila

-2 oz triple sec

-fresh lime juice (I used the juice from 3 medium limes but you can add more of less depending on how tart you like your margs)

-2 oz cilantro-lime simple syrup (I make this at home and will do a tutorial soon, but you can use a basic simple syrup like this)

-1 avocado

-2cups of ice (I find ice ratios can be tricky so I always have extra on hand to add more if the consistency is to watery for me, I like thicker icy drinks)

-lime rounds/wedges for garnish

All the ingredients get added together in the blender and then blend away!

And because it was just the two of us, and these tasty guys can sneak up on ya, we saved the rest by freezing it in mini dixi cups to have as tiny late night treats or poolside.

Enjoy x

Lemon-Pepper Pasta with Asparagus

{minimal ingredients so the pasta’s flavor can stand out}

This recipe is full of fresh flavor and a cinch to make.   With the on set of warm weather I have been craving foods reflective of  clean, crisp summer eating, so it seemed appropriate to create a dish using just a few wonderfully paired ingredients.   Citrus is a flavor I always love in the warmer months so this lemon-pepper pasta I picked up at the farmer’s market provide the perfect base for a spring time pasta.  If you can’t find this particular pasta, I imagine that using regular pasta (whole wheat or white) would work too for this recipe, but I would ramp up the lemon and pepper flavors by adding more of both to the dish while cooking.  Also, while asparagus is in season currently, the bunch I bought at the grocery by my work was kind of woody, so I really can’t wait to try this with more tender, slender stalks of asparagus. I would probably skip my first step, boiling asparagus, if using more petit stalks. Enjoy! And let me know if you try it!

*this dish was perfectly paired with baked salmon and a lemon, dill, greek yogurt sauce. yummmmm

                    Ingredients: ( when I was cooking for 2  )

                -1/4 lb lemon-pepper pasta

                -1/2 lb fresh asparagus cut into smaller pieces 

                -4 large garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced

                -3 slices of lemon

                -1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil

                -spinkling of thyme, about 1/2 Tblsp

                -1tsp sea salt

                – shaved parmesan, if desired

To begin I flash boiled the asparagus.  I wanted to give them just enough time to soften, but pulled them out quickly, after about 5 minutes, so that they would still have some snap in the dish. Rinse with cool water and set aside.  Then in a medium sauce pan I began to heat the olive oil, garlic, and lemon slices over a low/medium heat to keep the garlic from browning.  I let these simmer together for about 15 minutes.  When the garlic is soft, and very aromatic, add the asparagus, thyme, and salt.  Let all the ingredients cook together for another 10 minutes or so, then reduce the heat to low/warm and cover.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a rolling boil and cook the pasta al dente, 10-12 minutes, stirring frequently.     Drain pasta.  

While still warm add pasta to the sauce pan with olive oil garlic, and asparagus, removing the slices of lemon with tongs first.  Toss lightly and serve. I garnished our dishes with fresh shaved parmesan.

And now you have a delicious spring inspired dish.

{bon appétit}