Monday, September 29, 2014

5 Cookout Essentials

My 5 most important food items to have at a good cookout.


5 Cookout Essentials:  My 5 most important food items to have at a good cookout.



Man Crates, gifts for men, contacted me to write a post about 5 things I think are essential to have at a cookout. Man crates is trying to make gift buying for men easy.  There are all kinds of categories to please just about anyone.  I think many women would like to receive a "man" crate too.

So I realize the typical time for cookouts is ending with summer but I live in Hawaii so we can cookout year round.  Also I think you can cookout anytime you want you don't need special weather for it although I understand not wanting to be outside in the cold winter...but winter is not here yet so go outside and enjoy it while you can.

When it comes to cookouts I don't think you really need any special equipment but there are some food items that I think everyone likes to see at a cookout.

1.  Beverages


Beer is always the first option for me and most people who consume alcohol but for those who don't I think Sweet Tea is a must.  Growing up in the south we always had sweet tea (brewed in a glass pitcher in the sun) during the summer.  It was always Lipton and had a lot of sugar in it.  Now I choose healthier green tea and less sweetener like this:

How to Make Cold Brewed Tea:  Green Tea:  A simple tutorial for how to make cold brewed tea.  No boiling water required and results in a smooth and tasty tea.
Cold Brewed Green Tea

 

2.  Chips and Dip


Everyone loves chips whether tortilla or potato it's always great to have an easy snack while waiting for your burger to cook.  I have many recipes for dips and salsas but this is my favorite:

Loaded Baked Potato Dip:  A dip made with sour cream, green onions, cheese, and bacon bits.  It's like a loaded baked potato on a chip.  #footballsnack #gamedaysnack
Loaded Potato Dip

 

3.  Hot Sauce


My husband loves spicy foods and if he could he would add his favorite hot sauce to everything.  We always have Sriracha on hand but this is the family favorite (it's made by friends of ours from TX):

Ass Burn Sauce:  Hell goin' in Hell goin' out
Ass Burn Sauce
4.  Jalapenos

Still on the spicy theme my husband loves jalapenos.  He always likes to add them to his burgers or even hot dogs.  He'll really put them on just about everything.  Whether raw, pickled, diced or sliced he loves them in all forms.  Here is an easy recipe to make your own pickled jalapenos:

Pickled Peppers:  If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, how many pickled peppers did Peter Piper pick?  I don't know, but I do know that this is a tasty and festive looking gift for any pepper lover.
Pickled Jalapenos


5.  Cookies

I don't know many people who don't have some kind of sweet tooth and when eating outside it's easier to have a quick hand held dessert like cookies.  These are traditional but my husband's favorite:

Chocolate Chip Cookies:  soft and chewy cookies studded with semisweet chocolate chips.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
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Friday, September 26, 2014

Bacon Jam

Bacon, onions, and maple syrup cooked into a jam.  A great football snack, party snack, or just a snack on your own.


Bacon Jam:  Bacon, onions, and maple syrup cooked into a jam.  A great football snack, party snack, or just a snack on your own.



I've been interested in trying bacon jam for a while.  The first time I saw a post about it I was intrigued and knew that eventually I had to make it.  When one of my favorite video blogs, Food Wishes by Chef John, made bacon jam I was sold.

Bacon Jam:  Bacon, onions, and maple syrup cooked into a jam.  A great football snack, party snack, or just a snack on your own.

I love the Food Wishes videos.  Chef John makes it all look simple, he explains recipes well, and he's humorous.  I could watch those videos all day.  I watched the Bacon Jam one quite a few times until I decided I had the general recipe and techniques down and I set out to make my own.

Bacon Jam:  Bacon, onions, and maple syrup cooked into a jam.  A great football snack, party snack, or just a snack on your own.

Since this was my first time trying this recipe, and my husband was out of town, I made a much smaller batch that was just for me.  I had a half of a pack of bacon and one onion so that is what I used, keeping with the general instructions from the food wishes video.  I think it turned out great and I can't wait to make a bigger batch next time we have people over.

Bacon Jam

modified from Food Wishes

Ingredients:

1/2 pound bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1-2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
fresh cracked pepper
dash dried thyme

Bacon Jam:  Bacon, onions, and maple syrup cooked into a jam.  A great football snack, party snack, or just a snack on your own.


Chop the raw bacon roughly and cook, in a large sauce pan, until very crispy.  Remove bacon to paper towels to drain.

Mean while pour off all but about 1 Tsp of the bacon grease and cook the onion, with some salt, in the same sauce pan.  Cook onion at medium heat until very soft.

Chop the cooked bacon more finely and then add it back to the pan with the onions.

Add the maple syrup, vinegar, thyme, pepper, and a splash of water.  Continue cooking until everything is well browned and jam like consistency.

Serve at room temperature with crackers or bread (I had cheese with mine too because I love cheese).  Makes 2 servings.

Enjoy.

Bacon Jam:  Bacon, onions, and maple syrup cooked into a jam.  A great football snack, party snack, or just a snack on your own.



Linked to:  Pretty Pintastic, Best of the Weekend, Sat Night Fever, Share it Sun, See Ya in the Gumbo, Merry Mon, Two Cup, Lou Lou Girls, Teach Me, Tickle my Tastebuds, Brag About It, Whimsy Wed


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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Great Idea Thursdays 67

Welcome everyone.  Krista, from A Handful of Everything, and I would like to bring you:


Starts: Wednesday @ 6:00pm EST  Ends: Sunday @ 11:59pm 

We will be pinning every entry to pinterest.  Follow our board.



Here's what I've been doing since last time:


Now for my features from last week...in no specific order (I also share these on GooglePlus, facebook, and twitter. Make sure you check out Krista's page too.  She has different features.

6 Minute Taco Shells from Harvard at Home Mom

Spicy Buttermilk Brownies from The Hungry Goat

Frankenstein Treats for Halloween from Chloe's Celebration (Most viewed)

Uses for Apple Peelings from Little House Living
Most Viewed:


Creamy Spinach Artichoke Dip from DIY Faerie

On to the link party.  Here are the usual rules.

*Please follow your host and co-host on any or all social media 

Host:  Krista from- 
 photo twitter_zps88bd9661.png  photo pinterest_zps8e7192c4.png  photo facebook_zps7e73c851.png   photo googleplus_zpsc749eee2.png  photo bloglovin_zps7b8b0a10.png







Co-Host:  Me Joybee--









*Grab a party button and put it somewhere on your blog (or text link back to us).

Joybee, What's for Dinner?

*Click on at least two other links and please leave a comment (I know I love getting comments).

*Remember to link directly to your blog post not just your home page.

Now lets party.  Enjoy.



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Monday, September 22, 2014

Lentil Caprese Salad

A lentil salad with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette. It's great as a side or a light lunch.


Lentil Caprese Salad:  A lentil salad with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette. It's great as a side or a light lunch.



I got the idea for this salad from Pinterest.  The recipe I saw was for a Caprese Pasta Salad from Simply Scratch.  It looked amazing and she used little mini mozzarella pearls and orecchiette pasta.  I wanted more fiber in my salad so I decided to try using lentils and I didn't have the mozzarella pearls but I always have string cheese in the fridge so I used that instead.  I loved the salad I stored it in the fridge and had it for lunch all week.  It looks the best when it's freshly made as the basil wilts over time but it still tastes great.

Lentil Caprese Salad:  A lentil salad with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette. It's great as a side or a light lunch.

My pictures are of the salad after it sat in the fridge for a day.  The basil is not as vibrant green as it started but I made this on a rainy day so I had very little natural light in my apartment.  I don't have any fancy photo lights just some lamps and overhead lights that don't look good in pictures so I waited and took my pictures the next day when I had sunlight.

Lentil Caprese Salad:  A lentil salad with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette. It's great as a side or a light lunch.

Lentil Caprese Salad


Ingredients:

1 cup dried lentils
1 1/2 - 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 cup fresh basil, cut julienne
2-3 mozzarella string cheeses, sliced
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Lentil Caprese Salad:  A lentil salad with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette. It's great as a side or a light lunch.

Rinse lentils and pick through to remove any rocks or debris.  Bring lentils to a simmer, in a sauce pan, with 2 cups of water or broth (you can add a clove of garlic to the water if you like).  Let simmer, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes or until soft.  Drain lentils an set aside to cool.

Meanwhile prepare all of your other ingredients and then just toss everything together.  Serve immediately or store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Makes 6 servings.

Enjoy as a side dish or a light lunch.

Lentil Caprese Salad:  A lentil salad with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette. It's great as a side or a light lunch.



Linked to:  Two Cup, Lou Lou Girls, Teach Me, Tasty Tues, Tickle my Tastebuds, Whimsy Wed, Wonderful Wed, Yuck Stops Here, Cook, Craft, Share, Full Plate, Plant based potluck, Eat Create, Freedom Fri, Foodie Friends, Best of the Weekend, Pretty Pintastic, Sat Night Fever, Share it Sun, Merry Mon, See Ya in the Gumbo


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