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Posted by on May 15, 2015 in Come Together | 0 comments

Zoodle Primavera Salad

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I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m a part of a vegan supper club that meets bimonthly-ish. The food is superb (even if you’re not vegan), and the conversation is always stimulating. Last night, we had a dinner for the record books. First of all, our outdoor setting and weather were PERFECT (see photo below)! Secondly, the hostess and company were amazing as always. Finally, the food was light and fresh – the kind that leaves you feeling great no matter how much you stuff yourself. And that’s exactly what we did! I put my spiralizer to good use to create a spring “pasta” salad, and everyone seemed really into it!

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Zoodle Primavera Salad

3 large zucchini, spiralized or julienned (I used this a Paderno – I got it 50% off!!!)

2 carrots, julienned and chopped in one inch pieces (I used an OXO – the spiralizer cores the veggie, and I feel like you lose too much of the carrot.)

1 cup frozen peas (or fresh, if you have it)

1/2 small white onion, chopped

Small bunch of asparagus (I used part of a grocery store bunch – about 8 large stalks, bottoms trimmed and peeled, chopped into 1-inch pieces)

I cooked everything in batches on high heat for a layered effect. It also helps if everything has space to get browned nicely, because we all know brown food tastes good! But feel free to throw everything in there or even eat some of the ingredients raw, if you prefer.

In an oiled skillet on high heat, add zucchini and cook until nicely browned and tender. Stir regularly. Remove from skillet and add to serving bowl.

Add more oil if needed/desired, then add carrots, onions, and peas – brown/tender/stir/bowl. Same story with the asparagus for the top.

Add a vinaigrette of your choice – I made a simple one with olive oil, white balsamic, salt, pepper, fresh herbs, garlic, and mustard. Keep in mind that if you cooked with oil, you might want to pare back in your dressing recipe to keep everything balanced. I love to use a mason jar to shake, shake, shake, and then pour the dressing on top.

Refrigerate until ready to serve and lightly stir to incorporate dressing while keeping layers intact. Delish!

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Other recipes pictured: 

Sun-dried Tomato, Mushroom, and Spinach Tofu Quiche from Oh She Glows

BBQ Lentil Lettuce Wraps with Tangy Slaw from Blissful Basil

Thai Quinoa Salad from Foodie Crush (Subbed chili sauce for fish sauce to make vegan.)

Triple Chocolate Ganache Vegan Cake was from Khan’s Desserts in Nashville, Tennessee. It was BEYOND!

Here’s our NEW Pinterest board with past favorites, ideas, and our favorite blogs for inspiration.

 

 

*This post is not sponsored, just sharing my personal equipment.

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Posted by on Nov 14, 2014 in Come Together | 1 comment

#BlogsgivingDinner: Freezer-Friendly Turkey and Rice Casserole (Leftovers!)

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Is your elastic holding up? I hope you’ve saved room for dessert and other goodies (hello, after-dinner drinks) today! Oh and leftovers…which might be as good as the first act.

Dessert

Grandma’s Pecan Pie from The Wetherills Say I Do

Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting from My Cooking Spot

Gluten-Free Apple Berry Crumble from Twin Stripe

Paleo Pumpkin Pudding from Wit Wisdom Food

Cranberry Almond Coconut Bars from Love & Flour

Torched Marshmallow Pumpkin Pie with Olive & Sinclair Chocolate from The Local Forkful

Poached Pears with Salted Maple Caramel Syrup from Home at Six

Sweet Potato Pie from Think Fruitful

Nutella Pumpkin S’mores Tart from bethcakes

Gluten-Free Acorn Squash Spice Bars from I Cook. I Eat. It’s Life.

Drunken Pecan Pie Bars from The Speckled Palate

Butter Pecan Cupcakes from The Speckled Palate

After-Dinner Drinks

Slow Cooker Cranberry Apple Cider from A Savory Feast

Cranberry Bourbon Granita from Feast + West

Leftovers

Cheesy Potato Croquettes from Hello Little Home

Leftover Stuffed Egg Rolls with Cranberry Dipping Sauce from Cake ‘n’ Knife

Freezer-Friendly Turkey and Rice Casserole from Betty Becca

Stuffed Crescents with Thanksgiving Leftovers from My Cooking Spot

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a blast this week. I’m proud to share this experience with such talented people from far and wide (10 states across the U.S. + Canada!). Aren’t you glad you didn’t have to drive or fly all that way for all of this delicious food? 

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I made this casserole last year, and it was almost better than the real deal on Thanksgiving day. And the best part is that you can easily freeze it for later. It’s a delicious, hearty dish (and a little break from the flavors of Thanksgiving, if you’re burned out). I served this to my toddler, and he gobbled it up…so it’s even kid-friendly, too!

And since I mentioned the smoked theme, the turkey I’m using was smoked, but it’s not as big of a deal in a casserole format. There’s enough going on that the smoke flavor doesn’t really come through. I’m sure however you cooked your turkey (or chicken – if it’s another time of the year – or heck, rotisserie, anyone?), will work – and taste – just fine.

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Freezer-Friendly Turkey and Rice Casserole 

2 cups prepared grain of your choice (white or brown rice, quinoa, barley, etc.)

Around 1 cup leftover turkey (or chicken), shredded or chopped in bite-sized pieces

1 cup frozen veggies (peas, carrots and peas, spinach, vegetable medley, etc.)

Here’s where you create your own destiny. If you have leftover gravy (you’ll need about a cup), then throw it in with 1 tsp of Italian seasoning and some salt and pepper. This element binds the casserole together and makes it creamy and delish!

If you don’t have any leftover you can make this recipe for “cream of” soup sub, or for a for a dairy-free version (like I used in what’s pictured):

2 T olive oil

2 T all purpose flour

1 cup chicken stock

1 t Italian seasoning (or herb blend of your choice – I bet Ms. Dash would be good, too)

Scant 1/2 t salt (I always under-salt things I know my toddler will be eating. You may want to add a bit more)

Freshly ground pepper

Optional: Add 1/8-1/4 (or more – to taste) of mild curry powder for a completely different taste profile from Thanksgiving. Curry is so warming and comforting, and I love to add it to dishes like this (chicken noodle soup, chicken pot pie, etc.)

Add oil to small skillet on medium heat. When oil begins to warm, add flour and whisk often until it starts to bubble for a minute or two. Add stock in small increments, letting sauce thicken after each addition. Season with remaining ingredients.

To prepare the casserole:

Mix all ingredients together and pour into a small casserole dish. You can top with cheese or breadcrumbs or both, if desired. From here, you can bake at 350* for 20 minutes or until heated through and bubbling or freeze for later, if you’re absolutely sick of the tastes of Thanksgiving. Hopefully, this format will change up your leftovers enough to trick you into a few more meals, but if you can’t bear it, then it will hang out waiting for you – a tasty, warm, healthy — and easy — meal come December or January.

Notes: Amounts can be adjusted depending on how much Thanksgiving fare you have to repurpose. The version shown is dairy-free using the second option/recipe for sauce noted above. It’s got extra breadcrumb topping from the mushroom entree from yesterday – an herby, garlicky mixture with day-old bread run through the food processor (This option won’t freeze as well though. It’s best to freeze the casserole plain and add something on top later when you heat it up). When reheating, preheat the whole dish with the oven, and cooking time may take a little longer. If you’re not planning to go the freezer route, 1-2 chopped hard-boiled eggs are good in it, too. My mom puts eggs in her gravy so that’s what would be in there if I’d used leftovers. Eggs don’t freeze as well though so plan accordingly.

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Posted by on Nov 10, 2014 in Come Together | 10 comments

#BlogsgivingDinner: Sassy Salmon Dip

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I’m so happy to be participating in the #BlogsgivingDinner Progressive Dinner Party this week! I met the sweet organizers at Food Blog Forum Asheville, where this whole thing came to life. These gals have done an amazing job organizing this event, and I know all of my comrades are going to come up with some tasty dishes to turn your Thanksgiving on its head! Read on to see all of today’s recipes and stay tuned all week! There are 20 awesome blogs sharing 52 recipes. I hope you’ll find some new bloggers to love on and some new dishes to try as well!

Susannah from feastandwest.com, me, and Meghan from cakenknife.com

The idea is based on the old-fashioned progressive dinner party, in which you’d eat each course at a different guest’s home. Each blogger is bringing one or more dishes to the party on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of this week, so be sure to stop by each one and get some inspiration for your own Thanksgiving meal.

Today’s courses include cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and soup. We’ll be posting to social media with the hashtag #blogsgivingdinner, if you want to follow along there, too.

Cocktails

Carolina Apple Sidecar from Think Fruitful

Bourbon Cranberry Lemonade Fizz from bethcakes

Krupnikas Ginger from I Cook. I Eat. It’s Life.

Appetizers

Cured Meat Platter from Wit Wisdom and Food

Baked Camembert with Cranberry Walnut Crust from Cake ‘n’ Knife

Ginger Cran Apple Chutney from Love & Flour

Brandied Grapes with Cheese from Glamour Girl Gourmet

Shrimp Sweet Potato Mousseline from Home at Six

Cranberry Goat Cheese and Butternut Squash Crostini from The Wetherills Say I Do

Maple Pecan Baked Brie from My Cooking Spot

Sassy Salmon Dip from Betty Becca

Baked Brie with Cranberry Chutney from The Speckled Palate

Butternut Squash Crostini from Chez CateyLou

Gluten Free Holiday Cheese Board from Twin Stripe

Soups

Butternut Squash Soup with Cornbread Croutons from Club Narwhal

Creamy Wild Rice Soup from Hello Little Home

Pumpkin Soup with Bacon Roasted Chickpeas from Feast + West

You’ll notice a theme in all of my recipes for this event…the smoker, and that’s because my husband does a *bomb* job (hello, 1990s) with everything he puts in it. We worked together to bring you three tasty delights, but you don’t have to have a smoker to make these incredibly tasty dishes. I’ll give you tips on how to make all my dishes without if you don’t have smoking equipment (or for hints on how to get the smoked flavor in a variety of ways you can just go here). I promise it’s all worth it for the flavor you get in the end though if you go the smoking route!

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If you need more smoker info…this is our bible. See, it’s well-loved.

I don’t even know where to start with today’s recipe. It. is. BEYOND. SO good! I was almost going to skip this round, when Mr. J said, “Are you crazy!?!? You have a delicious appetizer at your finger tips.” And he was sooo right. Your Thanksgiving guests deserve this appetizer to get the eating party started. Put on your stretchy pants, and let’s get to it! Here’s the shortie version of how we prepare the salmon (toddler shark not included):

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Buy a quarter salmon fillet or half of a flank for the amount shown above. You can have a nice salmon dinner with veggies and quinoa, and then use the leftovers to make the dip. Set salmon out of the refrigerator 20ish minutes before cooking for it to come up to room temp. Brush with olive oil and season as desired. We use kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, and a spice blend meant for salmon.

Soak apple wood chips (about 4 cups) in a bowl with water for 1 hour before smoking and strain the water before using. In an upright smoker preheated to around 225*, smoke salmon for 45-60 minutes until the salmon temps internally at 145* (or flesh is opaque and flakes easily with a fork – FDA).

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Sassy Salmon Dip

Adapted from thetasteplace.com

2 cups cooked salmon*

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese (softened or not – I blitz mine with a blade in the food processor)

1 T lemon juice (I’ve used both bottled and fresh)

1 T finely chopped onion (or grated if you don’t have a food processor)

1 clove garlic, minced (or rough chopped for food processor)

1 T horseradish sauce (Mine is Publix brand. This is like mayo mixed with horseradish. Straight up horseradish is fine too, but you’ll need a smaller amount. The source recipe says 1 t.)

1/2 t salt

A few shakes of hot sauce (to taste). I use Frank’s and about 5 shakes.

1/t T dried dill or 1 T of fresh

1 heaping T of dried parsley or 3 T of fresh

Freshly ground black pepper

In the bowl of a food processor** fitted with a blade attachment, mix all ingredients except for salmon, until well combined. Transfer to a serving or storage bowl (one with an air-tight lid), and incorporate the salmon gently by mixing by hand with a spoon. As you stir, the salmon will break into smaller pieces, leaving you with a good texture in the end. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour – or up to overnight – before serving for flavors to combine. Serve with crackers or cucumbers…just try not to eat it with a spoon.

 

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Notes: I have made this dip dairy free with the Tofutti brand cream cheese replacement, and it was dandy good.

This post contains NO affiliate links or sponsorships. Just sharing what we love.

*Of course, I recommend smoked, but I guess you could get your cooked salmon any old way. Like in a skilled, grilled, leftover from a restaurant, etc. But just keep in mind that the better your salmon tastes going in, the better your dip will taste in the end (GIGO). The source recommends day-old smoked salmon, to give the flavors a chance to set, so keep that in mind as you prepare for this recipe. Another beautiful thing…make it ahead to have one less thing to do on feast day.

**If you don’t have a food processor, make sure your ingredients are in good shape going in. The cream cheese will need to be soft, and the garlic and onion will need to be minced/shredded. Put everything in a bowl and stir, stir, stir, stir, stir, stir, stir (the old fashioned way), until everything is combined. Then, add the salmon. Rest. Drink some water. Enjoy your dip. The end.

 

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Posted by on Jun 1, 2014 in Come Together | 2 comments

Our Day on Nolensville Road

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My bounty from Our Day on Nolensville Road

I’ve been wanting to check out the food culture on Nolensville Road in Nashville for a while. Last weekend, I finally got the chance along with my friend Marie and our sons, and it was a lot of fun…and very tasty, too. We went to four markets and enjoyed a delicious lunch.

Azadi International Food

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I learned about Azadi on a recent Bizarre Foods America episode featuring Nashville spots. The primary culture in this store is Kurdish, as we learned from speaking to the woman in the bakery. I called them because I couldn’t find their hours anywhere, and they’re open 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. on Saturdays.

Video tour of Azadi (it repeats toward the end)

The highlight of this market was the bakery. It was a very up-close-and-personal space. It felt like we were “in the back” with the ladies (and one guy) as they kneaded and baked the bread. There was literally flour stacked to the ceiling, and a cool oven with fire up both sides. We purchased a half dozen football-shaped loaves, and they were still warm. They were incredibly delish! The woman who packaged them for us suggested toppings peanut butter and jelly, but we ate the majority of them straight up or as cinnamon toast (with coconut oil, cinnamon, and sugar).

After the bakery, we walked each aisle taking in the freezer section, the meat department, the produce section, and the interior aisles with lots of spices and interesting canned goods. I bought some tahini (sesame seed butter) to try…you can use it almost like peanut butter, and it’s a staple ingredient of hummus. This recipe caught my eye this week, too.

 

K & S World Market

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Top: We took turns taking pics with the boys and our carts.

Bottom (L to R): Marie poses with food she’s most familiar with (Lays chips). Marie displays something we’ve never seen before: a chocolate mixer. Stacks of rice in large bags – many types to choose from.

There is no primary culture in this store. It is truly an international market…every aisle features an new type of cuisine. It was a great experience overall, however, my only negative about this store (that I hope was a fluke on the day we visited) was an unpleasant odor in the produce section, which was in the front door. My eyes wanted to look at the expanse of fresh veggies, but my nose said “get the heck out of here.” Interestingly, the bustling fish market located inside smelled better. There were huge creatures in tanks, crabs and crawfish inside boxes moving around, and several aisles of refrigerated cases full of sea life. There were some unique and beautiful fish for sale there. I got some noodles, fresh corn tortillas, a sushi mat and rice paddle, hot sauces (including sriracha), and sesame oil. There were many kinds of rice and soda to peruse. The customers were as varied as the food inside.

 

International Farmers Market

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This was probably my favorite store. It is an international market so a lot of cultures are represented, but I observed a strong presence of Mexican and Korean influence. Not surprisingly, there was a great fresh produce selection. I got dark red beets, a package of white and purple “beets” that I believe were actually turnips, and Japanese sweet potatoes with purple skin and white flesh. E liked them! The store was clean and organized, and the cashier was nice and chatty.

 

Patel Brothers

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Patel Brothers didn’t open until 10:30 a.m. so it was our last shopping stop. It’s hard to miss the big green signage out front. There was a nice produce section in this store. I especially enjoyed looking through the spices, dried beans/legumes, and various flours here. It was a very neat and orderly, and the white shelving reminded me of being in Ikea. I purchased some cumin, and I look forward to using is as it’s one of my favorite flavors to cook with. It was probably the smallest store, and it was easy to get in and out quickly as we were ready for lunch.

 

Shish Kabob

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While we had the restaurant to ourselves, it was delicious lunch with good service. We were served soft pita wedges with a cilantro and feta salad. Marie and the boys had chicken kabobs with rice and cucumber and tomato salad. I found their kid’s menu items refreshing. There were a few healthy options as well as some more “American” choices for the less-adventurous eater. I had a falafel plate that was very tasty. My son really liked it as well. We ended up sharing each other’s plates. The boys played (the rules state that a friend’s toy is much better than your own), and we took selfies. It was a fun time.

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Photo credit: Nana

After lunch, we capped off the day with lap around the flea market (this is where the cow balloon hat comes in). It was a great way to spend a beautiful day in Nashville.

If you would like to plan a day like ours, here are few of the resources we used. There were many other places to explore, and I’d welcome the opportunity to spend another day on “The Road.” Let me know if you go!

The Road: A User’s Guide [Eating Our Way Down Nolensville Pike]

Best of Nashville’s Ethnic Eats

Alimentum Eat and Greet Tours (scroll down to Nolensville Rd. Tour with video)

A Handy Guide to Bizarre Foods’ Nashville Stops

Thanks to our friends for sharing this adventure and their photos with us!

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Posted by on Dec 18, 2013 in Come Together | 0 comments

Cheddar Bay Sausage Balls

Yeah, you read that right. Merry Christmas from me to you!
So I was looking for a unicorn of a sausage ball recipe. I searched and searched…
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1) Sausage ball recipe that doesn’t use Bisquick (I don’t have it in my pantry)
2) Sausage ball recipe that uses cooked sausage (Who wants to touch raw pork?)
3) Sausage ball recipe that contains cream cheese (Hell yeah, extra moisture)
At first, I pieced together a couple of recipes I found, and that batch was good enough. But it was missing something. It was missing that delectable richness of the little treat hailing from Red Lobster…Cheddar Bay Biscuits and Sausage balls are getting hitched, ya’ll. June nuptials are planned.
1 lb breakfast sausage (mild or hot, your preference…my preference is hot)

2-4 cloves of garlic, chopped

4 oz. cream cheese (1/2 package)
2 cups AP flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 cup milk
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
Brown sausage with garlic in a skillet on med-high (don’t drain drippings). Add in cream cheese, stirring constantly until melted. Transfer sausage mixture to a mixing bowl, and stir in remaining ingredients. Mix well.
Scoop sausage balls on a baking sheet (tip: use a liner like parchment paper, aluminum foil, or a Silpat for easy cleanup). Lightly roll in your hands to shape. Balls can be placed close together, but it’s best to leave a small amount of breathing room around each one.
Bake at 350* for 20-30 minutes until edges are browned.

Go ahead and double the recipe to use the whole package of cream cheese. These guys go fast!

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Posted by on Oct 1, 2013 in Come Together | 0 comments

First Birthday Cake: Dairy-Free Sponge

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My baby boy turned one last week. I can’t believe it. He’s still showing signs of dairy intolerance, so I had to find a good dairy-free recipe that also didn’t have too much this or that (insert arbitrary baby feeding rules here to your liking). This cake is “good.” I say that because I think it’s edible, and it’s a good starter sweet for a baby (as in it’s not very sweet). It’s very coconutty.  After that description, I’m sure you’re ready to dive right in…it did it’s job well for us, and that’s all that counts. Here’s what I did, if you’re curious.

In a small bowl:

2 egg whites (reserve yolks), beat until soft peaks form

In another bowl, combine:

¼ cup sugar

½ cup unsweetened applesauce

½ cup coconut oil

Mix with mixer until well combined.

 

Add 2 egg yolks

Add 1 cup AP flour, 1 tsp baking powder, and ⅛ tsp cinnamon

Mix with mixer until well combined.

Add egg whites to batter and softly combine with a spatula.

Pour batter into greased/floured baking pan. I used two 6″ pans.

350* until set

 

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The icing is really where it gets tricky when it comes to dairy-free. Whipped cream is an excellent first birthday icing, and buttercream is beyond delicious. Both of those were out for me. I loosely followed these instructions. I put 2 cans of coconut milk in the fridge. Opened them, scooped out the solids, and put in 1/4 cup of powdered sugar and a LOT of blue food coloring. Then I beat it with the mixer until it was light and fluffy.

To decorate, I made a cake topper to match our theme, threw on a 1 candle, and some festive dots (a la Little Cremes). It was a hit!

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P.S. Everyone else had butter cake cupcakes with buttercream icing (and sprinkles).

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