Tuesday, August 9, 2016

#BaconMonth Peanutbutter Bacon Balls

Disclaimer: This is part of a sponsored event. I received complimentary products from Torani and Lodge, who have also provided giveaway gifts to our readers.

After a slight delay due to my own scatterbrained-ness, here's my first contribution to #BaconWeek, run by the lovely Julie of Bread Booze Bacon!

Check out my intro post for a full list of bloggers participating, as well as to enter the drawing for a whole mess of awesome prizes from our sponsors: Torani and Lodge! I've loved Lodge for a long time, so I was thrilled to get this frying pan from them! Not only is it great for cooking bacon, but it's my favorite thing to take camping as well.

Strangely enough, I really enjoy putting bacon into desserts. It's an unexpected savory flavor that really cuts up the richness of something like truffles. And peanutbutter is always the perfect companion to chocolate... add in some bourbon... and you have a total winner here.

Before we get to my recipe, check out the other awesome recipes from #BaconMonth!

Bourbon Caramel Bacon Jam from Bread Booze Bacon
Jalapeno Bacon Fritters from Around My Family Table
Loaded Tater Tot Casserole from Kleinworth & Co.
Peanut Butter Bacon Balls from Forking Up
BLT Frittata from Cooking in Stilettos

Peanutbutter Bourbon Bacon Balls
  • 1 cup peanutbutter
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1.5-2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 1 tbsp Torani Bourbon Caramel Syrup
  • 4 strips bacon, cooked to crispy and crumbled
  • 2 cups dark chocolate

-Mix together the peanutbutter, butter, syrup, and half of the bacon. Slowly add the confectioner's sugar until a soft dough forms. It should be just barely sticky.

-Form into balls and put in freezer while you melt the chocolate.

-Melt chocolate over a double boiler, or according to package instructions in the microwave.

-Dip the cold balls into the chocolate and put on wax paper to set. While still wet, sprinkle the remaining bacon bits over the truffles.

Monday, August 1, 2016

BACON MONTH! A Month of Recipes Starring Your Favorite Food



Guys. I am SO excited to be participating in this awesome month dedicated to one of my favorite foods: BACON! All month I'll be posting bacon-centric recipes with a whole bunch of super talented bloggers!

Here's this year's Bacon Month team:
Bacon Month 2016 Participants
Christina | It Is A Keeper
Ashley | Forking Up
Ashlee | Ashlee Marie
Matt | Nomageddon

What's Bacon Month? I'll tell you! Every Tuesday and Friday in August we'll be sharing crazy good bacon-centric recipes to delight your taste buds and probably effectively kill your diet. You can find links to all the posts being shared each day in your favorite blogger's recipes.

Recipes start August 2nd!

Click here to see last year's recipes
And look! There's more! GIVEAWAYS! Torani and Lodge have both sponsored the Bacon Month event with their fantastic products (you'll be seeing them throughout the month) and they've also each donated a $100+ prize for our readers. All you have to do is enter the giveaway(s) you want to win using the forms below. At the end of Bacon Month, winners will be chosen. What could be better than bacon and goodies??? GOOD LUCK!

  Winners will be chosen by September 3rd and notified by email. Winners will have 48 hours to confirm prize receipt or a new winner will be chosen. Any entries from "giveaway accounts" or that cannot be verified will be disqualified. Prizes are distributed directly from Torani, Lodge Cast Iron, and WLOW Media LLC respectively. Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and PayPal are in no way associated with this giveaway.
Torani Prize Pack
12 bottles in your choice of flavors along with 12 pumps, one for each bottle.
Must be 18 years of age or older. Giveaway open to US residents only.
Torani FORM
Lodge Prize Pack
$100 Gift Card for Lodge Cast Iron
Must be 18 years of age or older. Giveaway open to US residents only.
Lodge FORM
PayPal Prize Pack
Must be 18 years of age or older.
PayPal Cash FORM
TORANI GIVEAWAY FORM a Rafflecopter giveaway LODGE GIVEAWAY FORM a Rafflecopter giveaway PAYPAL CASH GIVEAWAY FORM a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, July 21, 2016

What I've Been Eating - Fast Casual


Disclaimer: I was offered a free meal at each of these places in exchange for social media coverage. However, I am highlighting the following places in a blog post because I truly enjoyed them and would recommend them for anyone interested in fast casual fare in the Austin area.

1000 Degrees Pizza
So, to be honest, this is the third build-your-own pizza place I've been invited to. And while I've politely Instagram-ed my experience at each, I'm honestly not a huge pizza person, so I wasn't super jazzed about those experiences. However, 1000 Degrees Pizza is no ordinary pizza joint. Yes, it's build-your-own (are those trendy right now? There's SO MANY!) but something about this one is just worlds better than the rest. For one, the crust is perfect. Many quick pizza joints fall victim to a soggy or under-cooked crust. Or they use that whole "flatbread" situation which is cheating. 1000 Degrees uses hand-stretched dough that is baked in a wood-fired oven and it is crisp and chewy at the same time. The sauces are fresh and flavorful, as are the toppings. I got a BBQ chicken pizza and it was one of the best I've ever had.

I've been so side-tracked by ramen lately that I totally forgot my first love bowl: Pho. However, maybe it was the 100 degree Austin weather or just my own need for spice, but what truly stood out here for me were the noodle and rice bowls--don't get me wrong, the Pho is perfectly satisfying, but what really stood out to me were those bowls! We tried the Pat's Plate (marinated pork shoulder, jasmine rice, fried egg, be still my heart) and the Lemongrass Beef bowl and both were amazing. So much flavor! We also very much enjoyed the "Banh Mi Sliders" which actually were bao with banh mi fillings. We will definitely be back for all of these items soon, and once the cold weather hits we'll be back at those Pho bowls.

Modern Market
I mean, they say it best on their own website: "great tasting, healthy food made from ingredients you can trust for a reasonable price"--and it's exactly that! Plus their motto, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” They also serve pizzas (the Bacon Corn, omggg) but my favorite thing was actually the salads. They're just so fresh and unique. I was a huge fan of the Farmer salad, which has mixed greens, roasted Red Bird chicken, grapes, feta, roasted corn, almond, champagne vinaigrette. Their sandwiches were also incredible--I wish I had a location closer to my office, I'd lunch there all the time! Basically, everything on their menu is great. And their dedication to sustainable produce is awesome. The owner was telling me that their goat cheese is produced by a single farm, and Modern Market provides over 50% of the farm's revenue for the year. Plus their menu has options for every diet.

Be sure to check their websites to see if there are any locations near you!

Monday, July 18, 2016

FFFB Mystery Box Challenge - Chipotle Pecan Chicken with Cold Couscous Salad


The Fuckin Fab Food Bloggers are at it again! We sent each other Mystery Boxes for our #WhatsIntheBox Chopped-esque challenge. I sent a box to Matt of Nomigeddon and I received a box from Julie of Bread, Booze, Bacon.

Here's my video of my unboxing, which I originally posted to our #FFFB Facebook group:

So my items were... Israeli couscous, bacon jam, and pecans. All from one of my favorite stores: Trader Joe's. Delicious! But how to combine them? What to do, what to do... First I wondered if I could somehow make a dessert. Perhaps use the couscous as tapioca? But the couscous was a little too savory for that.

Then the idea came to me to make a cold couscous salad. Light, refreshing, and summery! But I wanted a more substantial meal last night, so I decided to kind-of cheat and make two separate components to the same overall meal.

I made pecan crusted chicken drumsticks (with chipotle mayo as the binder) with the couscous salad and made the bacon jam into a vinaigrette for the salad. The result was extremely tasty! I never would have put these things together, but they paired beautifully and I made a delicious salad with chicken.

Check out the rest of the FFFB crew's recipes, too!

Chipotle Pecan Chicken with Cold Couscous Salad
  • 5 chicken drumsticks
  • 1/2 cup mayonaise
  • 1 cup honey roasted pecans (I used about 1/4 cup of almond meal as well)
  • 1 tbsp chipotle sauce (the liquid from a can of chipotle peppers)
  • 1 1/3 cups Isralei cous cous
  • 1 vegetable boullion cube
  • ~1 cup chopped veggies (I used cucumber, shallot, carrot, tomato)
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp bacon jam
  • 1 tsp chopped shallot
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic

-Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the chicken drumsticks with the mayo and the chipotle sauce in a zip bag. Set aside for 10 minutes.

-Pulse the pecans and almond meal in a food processor until fine. Roll the mayo-coated chicken in the mixture and place onto a well-oiled wire rack on top of a cookie sheet.  Spray liberally with olive oil. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken reads 165 degrees F and the juices run clear.

-Prepare the cous cous according to the package (equal parts water plus the boullion cube) and let cool completely. Stir in the feta and the chopped veggies and refrigerate until cold.

-Prepare the vinaigrette: mix together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, bacon jam, chopped shallot, and garlic. Shake vigerously. Pour about 1/3 cup of the vinaigrette into the couscous.

-Serve hot chicken and cold salad together.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Makin Bacon Pancakes - Adventure Time Themed Dish for #ToonFood


Can you guess what my favorite cartoon is?

I'll give you a hint. I named my cats Finn and Marceline.

Adventure Time! I think it's one of the few shows that both adults AND kids can enjoy on the same level. It's smart and sweet while also being a whole lot of fun. So when the Nomicon blogger group decided to do a day of Toon Food, I knew what show I'd be representing!

But what to make? Jake's Perfect Sandwich (oh man I wanted to, but lobster soul is hard to come by!)? Princess Bubblegum Cupcakes? Treetrunk's Apple Pie?

Oh guys. Isn't it obvious?

Bacon Pancakes! And yes, I did sing this song the entire time. I amped it up with a splash of bourbon and some dark chocolate chips. And yeah, it's pretty bad ass. You could even say... it's Mathmatical!

Jake's Bacon Pancakes (Adventure Time)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled*
  • 1 tbsp apple pie spice
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 tbsp bourbon
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips

-In a small saucepan over medium heat, brown the butter--let it froth and boil until it turns a caramel color and smells nutty--then take off the heat and let it cool until lukewarm.

-Sift together the flour, apple pie spice, and baking powder.

-In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, milk, bourbon, and browned butter. Slowly add the dry ingredients, stirring constantly. Fold in the dark chocolate chips.

-Pour batter by the 1/3rd cupful onto a hot skillet. Cook each side for about three minutes, until golden brown. Serve with butter and maple syrup.

*for extra bacon flavor, leave the grease in the pan and cook your pancakes in it! I even subbed in a tablespoon of butter for a tablespoon of bacon grease.

And don't forget to check out the other awesome blogger dishes!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Austin Love and Cheesy Low Carb Chicken


Have I mentioned how much I love Austin?

No, really. I freaking love this place.

Most of the things I miss about Massachusetts can be summed up thusly: I miss friends, family, the beach, and autumn. Other than that, meh. I guess I could say I miss being surrounded by my same political party (#ReadyForHillary FTW! (don't hate me please)) but honestly... Austin at least is pretty forward-thinking. Otherwise... Austin is perfect.

I've just felt this awesome content-ness lately and a lot of it has to do with living here. Coupled with the magic that is lexapro it's really helped my depression a lot.

The heat has hit and people are beginning to hide away in their air conditioning. Meanwhile, I'm working on my freckly-as-feck suntan. As soon as I'm out of work I'm by the pool with a book. And probably not blogging as much as I should. I really need to get that content calendar back up and running...

Anyways. This involves turning on the oven, so maybe save it for a day under 100 degrees. But trust me, it's worth it. We've been making this at least once a week--it's the picky-eater fiancé's new favorite dinner! Plus it's relatively low carb, so it's sort-of diet friendly!

Cheesy Low Carb Chicken

  • 6 chicken thighs (bone in preferred)
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour (or regular, your choice)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 tbsp cajun seasoning
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp jalapeno ranch dressing (or ranch with a jalapeno smooshed in)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Mix together the eggs and jalapeno ranch, set aside. In a separate bowl, mix together the almond flour and cajun seasoning and set aside.

Roll each chicken thigh in flour. Then, dip in the egg mixture.

Sprinkle about a tablespoon of cheese on the chicken, then coat with the almond flour.

Place chicken in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with tinfoil. Bake for 30 minutes, until an internal temp of 165 degrees F is reached and juices run clear.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Boozy Pops - Peach Moonshine Iced Tea


The temps have finally hit 100 degrees in Austin, and so everyone is complaining. The summer before I got here, apparently there were 100 days of 100 degrees or higher.

Guys, I came from the friggin NORTH. I will deal with 365 days of 100 degrees just to have no more 0 degrees days. Plus the humidity here isn't half what it is in New England, so I'm grateful. Can you tell I'm not a fan of the cold?

Plus, I know how to cool off (and booze up!) when I need to: boozy popsicles. All you need is a shot or two, a pop mold, and some juice, and any cocktail you can dream of is available in popsicle form. Aren't shots more fun when you can down 'em in popsicle form!

Boozy Moonshine Pops

  • 2 cups iced tea
  • 2-3 shots peach flavored moonshine
  • 6 sour cherries

-Pour an equal amount of the moonshine into each popsicle mold, about 1/4 of the way full. Pour the iced tea to fill the mold nearly 3/4ths of the way full, and place a few cherries in each.

-Freeze until firm, overnight if possible.

-Gently squeeze molds and turn upside down to release popsicles, being careful not to pull the stick out without the pop (they will be soft, so being gentle is key!)