Tuesday, September 27, 2011

First Trip to Trader Joes

I got to go to Trader Joes this weekend!! And to add bonus points, it was with my mom, sister, aunt, and cousin and they love food as much as I do.  We had so much fun.  I walked around the perimeter of the store first, then I walked up and down each aisle, up one side then down the other to make sure I didn't miss anything.  I'm pretty sure I bought one of each of everything they had to offer.
This isn't everything.  I kept trying to get everything together for a picture and just couldn't manage it.  I kept forgetting 1-5 items.  I was tired, okay.

Booze, baby!  Ginger beer for Moscow Mules (my girl Oprah's favorite drink), 3 Buck Chuck, and Trader Jose.
Grocery items, some of which I needed anyway and some of which I just had to take home.  2 salad dressings- Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette and Champagne Pear Vinaigrette with Gorgonzola (OMG!), fancy cherries, better 'n peanut butter, Trader Joes pizza sauce, Gouda cheese, Munster cheese, whole wheat pizza dough!, almond milk, and spicy jalapeno chicken sausages.
Sweets and junk.  Reduced fat cheese puffs (total hungover impulse buy), Fiberful fruit bars, dark chocolate pistachio covered toffee (ah-mazing), smashed smores, vanilla something caramels, chocolate frozen banana bites, brownie batter, and dark chocolate with caramel and sea salt.

Believe it or not this isn't even everything.  I had so much fun there!  The only thing they didn't have was Kombucha tea but I won't bring that up because I don't want to be a Debbie Downer.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Chili + Corn Muffins + Apple Cake

Yeah, it's totally fall around this neck of the woods.  It's stormy and rainy today and I was so happy we went to the store before the nasty weather rolled in.  We planned for the ultimate "first weekend it really feels like fall" kind of weekend.  I'll give you three guesses on what we planned to make.

Chili, duh.

We made Breeze's famous chili!  And corn muffins (I'm not talking about Jiffy here).  And apple cake.

Since you'll be making all this tomorrow, here are the recipes.

Chili- There is no recipe, but this is the general outline of how we make chili.

Black beans
Chili beans- medium and mild
Kindey beans
Red beans
Fire roasted diced tomatoes
Chili diced tomatoes
Tomato paste
Tomato sauce
Orange pepper
Yellow pepper
Red peppers
Green peppers
Pickle juice (this is the secret ingredient that makes all the difference)
3 lbs. ground beef
Salt and pepper

Brown the meat with the onion.  Add everything together in the crock pot on high for a few hours or until heated through.

Corn Muffins
Adapted from How Sweet Eats Blog
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup creamed corn
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 egg
1/3 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 jalapeno, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 425.
Stir together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a bowl.  Add the cream corn, melted butter, milk, cream, and egg.  Mix it all together.  Fold in the grated cheese and jalapenos if using.  Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Caramelized Apple Upside Down Cake
Adapted from Food Network
1 stick butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash nutmeg
1 apple, thinly sliced
For the cake
6 tablespoons butter, very soft
1 cup sugar (I only had 1/2 cup white sugar left so I used 1/2 white, 1/2 brown sugar)
2 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare the cake 9 inch round cake pan by buttering the bottom and the sides.

In a small saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  After everything melts together, let boil for 30 seconds.  Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan, scraping all of the mixture with a spatula evenly into the pan. Place the apple slices on top.

Now make the cake.  Beat the butter and sugar until creamy.  Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth and fluffy (about two minutes).  Add in the dry ingredients and beat 10 seconds.  Add the milk and beat until until fully mixed, about one minute.  Pour the batter on top of the apple slices.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Flip the cake over onto a plate.

To review-
Corn Muffins
Apple Cake

Enjoy!  And try not to do this!
So we put too many chili ingredients in the crock pot.  Our bad.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Let's Talk About the Weather

I have super conflicted feelings about this weather.  I'm okay with it being this wonderful outside as long as we have a few more outrageously hot days.  I need to get my fix before the heat is gone.  Plus, the ragweed has come out in full force.  Welcome back to a wonderful piece of nature that ruins my life.  I had to get a shot in my butt cheek yesterday to try and ward off the pollen's power.  And I had no time to prepare for it. Looking back it was probably best not to tell me any more than two minutes that the shot was coming or I guarantee I would have rescheduled it!
Anywho, back to the weather.
The one thing I do love about this weather is grilling.  It always seems to be associated with summer but who wants to cook outside when it's a million degrees outside?  Not my hubby.  So now that we have these amazing temperatures, we get to grill again!
On tonight's menu, we had cheeseburgers from outside and roasted broccoli and asparagus from inside.  That's what we call teamwork!

Step One:
Our burgers were a modified version of Breeze's favorite recipe.  I used ground beef, bits of bacon, Worcestershire, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

Step Two:
Roasting vegetables is the best way to cook any veggie, I swear on it!  Just spray down some asparagus and broccoli pieces with some olive oil, sprinkle salt, pepper, and garlic powder and pop it in the oven at 450 for 20-25 minutes or until the burgers are ready.