Camp Blogaway

Is it possible to learn too much? Cause if so, I totally did. I had no idea sitting and listening to people talk could be SO exhausting! Someone I told said they would have fallen asleep during the 9 hours of hearing people speak on Saturday but there was no way that could have been possible! All of the speakers were so full of valuable information I didn’t want to miss a word!! I wrote nine pages of notes in tiny writing so I could fit it all in and wouldn’t forget a thing.

We got to sleep in cabins in the woods in bunk beds. Thankfully there were only three of us, so we all got a bottom bunk! My roomies (@PersianKitchen & @TarynJeffries) were friends from last years camp, but they took me under their wing and showed me the ropes, which was MUCH appreciated! Thanks girls! It was all much needed break from the hustle and bustle of city life!

Some highlights of the weekend were, of course, the swag bags (!!!)

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We had huge delicious meals and I ate myself silly at each one. I have no self control when it comes to buffets, I mean none, and although it wasn’t exactly a buffet, there was a ton of food being served and I had to try some of each thing! Image

And the most amazing thing of all? I lost a pound! For real! Of course, I could have worked it all off helping Officer Franklin push my cousin Katherine’s car uphill at 6’000 feet (in my gold glitter shoes):Image

Cute, right?! And soooo not practical for doing such things as:

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But I managed to be a bad ass and almost have my heart explode out of my chest! Ha! And of course that was all after this happened: Image

That’s my car on the left being jumped by @mistermartha! I can only assume that as I rolled into Camp Blogaway at 8 PM on Friday night after sitting in traffic for 4 hours (uh huh) I was a bit frazzled and left a dome light on. My husband asked me how I could not have noticed and I told him that his stupid dark tinted windows might have prevented me from seeing it!!

I met a bunch of super great food bloggers from all aspects and levels of food blogging. I met hobby food bloggers all the way to food bloggers who make a decent living. I’m inspired and ready to roll! Now if only I could hire a time manager…

Until next year Camp Blogaway!

 

@TarynJeffries

Hello Muddah! Hello Fadduh!

Here I am at Camp Blogaway
Camp is very entertaining,
And they say we’ll have some fun if we start wine tasting!

(I’m a terrible poet, but I know it)

I get to go to camp this weekend! Food blogger camp! I’m so excited! It happened suddenly and strangely, but I figure it was meant to be! I’m going to learn so much and get to meet a lot of people and I just can’t wait. But I’m going to have to wait a little, in traffic, as I make my way across the LA basin in rush hour traffic… on a Friday afternoon… but hey! It’ll be worth it!

The fam gets a break from routine and will enjoy some daddy/daughter bonding time. And I get a break from this blasted heat and go up to the mountains and hang out with my cousin, Katherine, from http://www.bombayblonde.com! Yay!

 

 

Crock Pot Turkey and Gravy

Here we go again with the turkey breast in the wrong month. But this time I got it all backward! I went into Whole Foods and saw they had turkey breasts so I bought one, except I didn’t have a recipe this time! I came home, googled crock pot turkey breast and came up with this delightful recipe. And it’s a low fat recipe if you follow the recipe correctly and aren’t rushed for time like I was… again… ode to life with a toddler! I went ahead and just made a fatty gravy because I literally didn’t have 15 minutes to make the gravy sauce. I didn’t have fresh sage either, which is a darn shame because sage is one of my all time favorite fresh herbs. Have you tried anything with brown butter and sage? It makes the world go ’round! But that’s for another time.

www.skinnytaste.com

I’d most definitely try this with mashed “potatoes” made with cauliflower. We’ve had those and they really are quite delicious! But because of our time crunch and the fact that I didn’t think ahead about a side, I mean come on, this was an impromptu buy, we just had regular mashed potatoes. I suppose that’s better than instant mashed potatoes, right? Oh and as crazy as this is, my Trader Joes had left over cornbread stuffing out on the shelf so I had gone ahead and bought some a few weeks prior, so I made that too. My husband was in heaven! I’d make this again and give it 4 stars. It most definitely was not a Thanksgiving turkey roasted in the oven, but a tasty mid-year Thanksgiving treat!

Crock Pot Turkey and Gravy

Adapted from skinnytaste.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter or olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped medium
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped medium
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp fresh sage
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4-5 lb whole bone-in turkey breast, skin on, trimmed of fat
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

Melt butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic and cook until onion is soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in flour and cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of broth and scrape up any browned bits and smooth out any lumps; transfer to slow cooker.

Stir in remaining broth, water, wine, sage, and bay leaves into the slow cooker. Season turkey with salt and pepper, place skin side up in the slow cooker, cover and cook 5 to 7 hours on low, or until the turkey reaches 165 degrees with an instant-read thermometer.

Transfer turkey to a cutting board tent loosely with with foil and let it rest 20 minutes. Let braising liquid settle for 5 minutes, then remove the fat from the surface using a large spoon or a gravy fat separator. Strain braising liquid into saucepan, discard celery, bay leaves and simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Discard the skin and carve the turkey and serve with gravy. Makes 2 1/2 cups of gravy.

 

Asian Salmon- Another Keeper!

I must admit, this isn’t a new recipe. I’ve had this one for years and years and years and we love it! I am trying to figure out how to get fish in our diet a minimum of once a week and this is usually my go to when I’m in a pinch. I always have everything on hand, especially since some of the ingredients are on the exotic side and I don’t use them in anything but this. (As a side note, I don’t add the cilantro. I never have it on hand (the aphids LOVE it when I have it in my kitchen window herb garden) and my husband claims he doesn’t care for it).

allrecipes.com

 

So now that I’ve admitted that, I’ll now admit something else. This recipe was originally entitled “Halibut with Rice Wine”, but I call it “Asian Salmon”!!! Halibut is just so expensive, salmon is just so good for you and it has a lot of asian ingredients in it! Black bean sauce, mirin, rice wine vinegar… not your common pantry items, right?

I’ve made this recipe for many guests and everyone always raves about it. It’s just so flavorful, it’s hard not to like it. I steam some rice and broccoli and call it a meal. The sauce tastes good on every thing!

Some of the ingredients are odd, but I swear they’re worth every penny. You’ll buy this stuff and use it once a week in this recipe!

Halibut with Rice Wine

Adapted from allrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 shallots finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon black bean sauce
  • 1/2 cup mirin (Japanese sweet wine)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 6 (4 ounce) fillets salmon  skin removed
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Directions

Heat oil in non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Cook shallots and garlic gently until fragrant, but not brown. Stir in black bean sauce, rice wine, and soy sauce. Bring to boil and cook until reduced by half. Remove from heat, and stir in vinegar; set aside.
Pat fish dry. Rub with sesame oil and sprinkle with pepper. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat, and lightly oil grate.
Grill fish for about 5 minutes per side, or just until cooked through. Sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with sauce poured over top.

 

Un-refried Refried Beans- 5 Stars!

Happy Cinco de Drinko!  I hope you all have plans to toss back a margarita or two to celebrate this fabulous day! Because I plan to (chug) sip a margarita or two, I know I’m not going to want to fix dinner cause I’ll be in re.lax.a.tion mode “AH YEAH!”. Here’s an amazing recipe for you to put in the crock pot and then you won’t have to think about dinner after you’re all in vacation mode.

cinco-de-mayo-saguaro

These are amazing. I make them a lot. One of the few recipes I’ve repeated, which pleases my husband to no end! They are so easy and SO flavorful, it’s hard not to want to make them for an easy meal, like burritos!

P.S. Sometimes I forget to look at the menu in the morning and then am scrambling to make these in the afternoon (like today for instance…). If you don’t have a big family or are simply using these as a side, halve all the ingredients and it takes half the time to cook!

 Un-refried Refried Beans

Adapted from allrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 1 onion peeled and halved
  • 3 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 fresh jalapeno pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 9 cups water
Directions

Place the onion, rinsed beans, jalapeno, garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin into a slow cooker. Pour in the water and stir to combine. Cook on High for 8 hours, adding more water as needed. Note: if more than 1 cup of water has evaporated during cooking, then the temperature is too high.

Once the beans have cooked, strain them, and reserve the liquid. Mash the beans with a potato masher, adding the reserved water as needed to attain desired consistency.

 

Creamy Lobster Pappardelle- It’s a Keeper! And, HAPPY MAY DAY!

I found another 5 star recipe! It was ah-mazing! AHHHHH-MAZING! The only problem is, of course, the cost of the lobster. It’s definitely a splurge so we won’t be indulging in this recipe very often, but I’ll definitely start keeping my eye peeled for sales. Oh, and Trader Joes recently had frozen lobster tails so I’ll have to inquire about the regularity of those!

www.myrecipes.com

It was a crazy easy meal to make so it’s not just a weekend meal. How fancy would you be telling people Friday morning that you had lobster for dinner last night? Ahhhh yeah.

So basically you start boiling the water for the pasta. Then you boil the wine mixture, boil the lobster (which by the way, I’ve never cooked before), reduce the sauce and it should all come together at about the same time. I’m telling you, easy.

One other perk: the lobster was scrum-didli-icious and would stand alone really well if you just wanted to be fancy and serve lobster tails to your guests!

P.S. Don’t forget to get a bouquet of flowers, leave them on someone’s doorstep, ring the doorbell and run away!

Creamy Lobster Pappardelle

Adapted from Cooking Light

Ingredients

1 (8-ounce) package uncooked pappardelle (wide ribbon pasta)

2 cups dry white wine
1/2 cup no-salt-added chicken stock
1 thyme sprig
3 (5-ounce) American lobster tails
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream (I just used milk, because that’s what I had)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

Preparation

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.
  2. While pasta cooks, bring wine, stock, and thyme sprig to a boil in a large skillet. Add lobster. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until done. Remove the lobster from pan, and cool slightly. Remove meat from lobster tails; coarsely chop.
  3. Add oil, salt, and pepper to wine mixture in pan; bring to a boil. Cook 14 minutes or until reduced to 1/2 cup. Discard thyme sprig. Stir in cream. Add lobster meat and pasta to sauce. Cook 1 minute or until sauce coats pasta, and toss. Sprinkle with parsley and thyme. Serve immediately.