Showing posts with label Vegetarian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vegetarian. Show all posts

May 31, 2014

Watermelon Salad Stuffed Peppers with Feta & Bacon

In just under a week, I am headed to Eat Write Retreat.  This is its 4th year and my third time attending. I am SO looking forward to a weekend of learning, being surrounded with like-minded food bloggers and tasting whatever may be coming our way!

One of the brands that will be there is and we were asked to come up with a watermelon dish. I am crazy for watermelon, when I get a really perfect one I want to take it and hide in a closet and eat it up allll by myself.  Umm, that never happened...but it totally could!  A couple of our recipes will win a 2-3 video segment on how to prepare our dish.  If you see a video segment on Souffle Bombay will know I won...fingers crossed!!

Once I had a minute to think about what I would make, I instantly "saw" in my head mini peppers stuffed with a spicy watermelon salsa.  As I tinkered with this great summer pick-me-up, I decided to add some crumbled feta over top and I also added a little bit of crumbled bacon.

Oh-My-Gosh...the sweet, the salty, the crunch and the spice to me were a wonderful combination!  The beautiful burst of watermelon flavor that dances across your tongue bite after bite is incredible!  Not only would this be extremely refreshing appetizer at a summer BBQ this is also fabulous for people watching their waistlines!

I kinda love it!!

To me watermelon is one of the best things about summer, not only is it ridiculously can do SO much with it!  AND its a favorite of kids 2-to 102! Really!  If you love watermelon as much as I do check out their FB Page for recipes, watermelon sculpture ideas & more or follow them on Twitter!

I can not wait to serve this at the very next gathering we have or go to!  This is a quick dish to make, it is crisp, light, refreshing and can be either a vegetarian offering or with the sprinkling of a little bacon...not.  You can stuff all of your mini peppers before you serve them OR serve the mini peppers as "chips" and let people just scoop up the delicious watermelon salad....SO good!  Let me know if you try it out!!

Watermelon Salad Stuffed Peppers with Feta & Bacon

2 cups of chopped watermelon
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1-2 TBS minced jalapeno (depending on your heat preference)
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 TBS fresh lime juice
1/2 cup crumbles Feta cheese
1/4 cup crumbles crispy bacon (optional)
12 sweet little peppers (come in prepackages bags in produce area red, orange & yellow combo)

Gently toss the watermelon, cilantro, jalapeno, red onion and lime juice.  Halve your peppers, gently trim away the stem area and scoop out any seeds.  Fill each pepper half with a spoonful of salsa, sprinkle feta and bacon over top and enjoy!!   You can also set the watermelon salsa out as a dip alongside the pepper halves...almost like chips & dip.  Just sprinkle the feta and bacon over-top.

Colleen's Notes: The above recipe is just a guide, just like with salsa...there really is no recipe you need to stick to.  If you want more watermelon...add it, more or less heat??  Increase or decrease the amount of jalapeno.  I like to leave the stems and seeds in for extra heat.  If you don't like cilantro, omit it and maybe add in some parsley and or basil.  If you want it sweeter, add in a bit of honey or some chopped mango.  If you want it crunchier add in some bell peppers.  Take this wherever you want it to go, let me know what you come up with!  

My personal opinion about feta is to buy a brick of it vs the pre-crumbled package.  The brick is SO most and delicious while the pre-crumbled is much drier.  If you are lucky enough to have a farmers market by you (like I do) that sells fresh feta (multiple varieties too!!) THAT is what you want.


May 16, 2014

Balsamic Roasted Cherries with Goat Cheese

Sometimes I forget about fruit, I just forget it is there.  Then all of a sudden I have a perfect clementine, peach, plum or handful of grapes and my eyes go wide and I wonder why I don't eat fruit every single day. Then suddenly its back to forgetting about it again.  It's my own personal version of the Groundhog Day Movie.

I think I figured out why many times do you buy a piece of fruit just to get it home, bite into it and go blech! More and more I find that fruit from the supermarket is subpar,which really annoys me. so I seek out the best places to find it and really only binge on it when that particular fruit is in season.  

Cherries just started popping up everywhere and every bagful of them I have grabbed has been perfect, so perfect that I haven't really had much of a chance to cook with them - we just keep devouring them!  

My kids are completely fascinated by OXO's Cherry Pitter.  Ever since I got it a year or two ago they always have to pit their cherries before they eat them - its kinda funny and as an added perk, anytime I need cherries minions usually do it for me, lol!  Lucky for me I was able to both get a couple of cup fulls of cherries to myself and commandeer the cherry pitter to make these irresistible and luscious Roasted Cherries.  They are easy and take cherries to a whole new delicious level.  I have long been obsessed with cooked fruit - cooked fruit is one of my favorite things to eat, however my husband absolutely hates it...a lot, so I don't make things often with it because...ya know...I will happily eat almost all of it

Balsamic Roasted Cherries

2 cups fresh pitted cherries
2 TBS aged balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 TBS grapeseed or olive oil
1 tsp cornstarch
8 oz log of plain goat cheese
Crackers (My favorite are Stoned Wheat Crackers)

Vigorously whisk together the vinegar sugar, salt, oil and cornstarch in a medium bowl until combined. Add in your pitted cherries, toss them until well coated and allow them to sit for 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Place cherry mixture into a roasting dish and roast for 30-35 minutes (stirring every 10 minutes) or until cherries begin to shrivel, the juices start to thicken and they are bubbling (time will depend on the size of your cherries).  Remove from oven and allow them to cool completely (unless you wish to enjoy them warm over ice cream...yum!)  When ready to serve spoon the Roasted Cherries over the goat cheese alongside some crackers and dig in!

These keep well in the fridge in a sealed or tightly wrapped container for a few days.  I adore them served cold over a log of goat cheese or a hunk of brie but you can serve them alongside meats, on sandwiches, over ice cream or just straight up with a spoon (sshhhh).


May 14, 2014

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

At a picnic or a summer party, I love a good potato salad as much as anyone (especially if it has bacon and chunks of egg in it...mmmmm) however when its hot out I never seem to go for the heavier mayo-laden items.  Maybe its the "what if the mayo is going bad thing" or maybe its just that my body wants to eat less when its hot.  No clue.

One day I was gazing at a couple of sweet potatoes in my root vegetable bin and thought hmmm, maybe I will make a sweet potato salad to go with dinner (burgers I think it was) so I did.  My mind immediately went to one of my favorite vinaigrette's - a honey lime vinaigrette that I use on a number of things. I really enjoyed the simplicity of this easy side dish and the way it highlighted the sweet potato.

This Sweet Potato Salad is a simple alternative to the traditional potato salad, plus it can stand up to the heat and as an added perk its less calorie laden.  I have never seen it offered at any gathering I have been to. Why not give it a whirl!

What else would you do with this salad to make it your own?

You could jazz this up more if you like by adding some small pecan pieces, additional herbs and maybe dried cranberries if you want.  If I added pecans, I would make these sweet and spicy pecans then give them a chop and add them in. You can roast the potato chunks or boil them (I think roasting brings out more flavor).

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
1 TBS olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
4-5 scallions, sliced thin

Toss sweet potato chunks with the olive oil, salt and pepper.  Place them in a single layer in a roasting dish and roast at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until fork tender.  Allow them to cool down to "warm". Sprinkle scallions over-top and toss with Homey Lime Vinaigrette Serve warm or at room temperature.

Honey Lime Vinaigrette

1 TBS Balsamic vinegar
1/2 TBS honey
1 TBS olive oil

1 tsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp minced garlic

A couple of shakes of Cayenne/red pepper (optional)
Salt & pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a mason jar, seal, shake vigorously and pour over your salad.  You may have to stir this a bit as well to get the honey to fully emulsify.


May 9, 2014

Tequila Avocado Salsa

How about a lunch, appetizer or a snack that takes less than 10 minutes to put together, is good for you and tastes great?

Today, I've got just the thing!  California Avocados are simply perfect right now, peak season for them is Spring till Fall.  Plus they are packed with heart-healthy fats and antioxidants, gotta love something that tastes that good and is good for you! I happened to have some beautiful avocados on hand one day last week...and my belly was telling me "ummm hello up there, its feedin' time", SO I rummaged around to see what I had on hand.  Once my eyes went to the beautiful avocados sitting on my counter, I knew they had to be involved.

So I diced them up, added some tomatoes, scallions (I always have scallions on hand thanks to this awesome kitchen trick) and then it hit me, I had no cilantro!  Lucky for me I had a tube of Gourmet Garden Cilantro in the fridge.  I can NOT tell you how many times that brand and those tubes have saved me and THAT makes me seriously happy! There is nothing worse than wanting to whip something or, or worse yet, being in the middle of making something when you do not have a crucial ingredient on hand.  I adore their products, they taste fresh and delicious, which blew me away back when I first tried them!  If you want to learn about Gourmet Garden, the varieties and just how great I think they are check out this post that I did about them here, you just have to love a brand that has a superior product, saves you time, money and when your in a pinch like I just "there" for you...I know I sure do!

This salsa hit the spot, and it was a nice change from guacamole (which I could eat every day) I happily nibbled away while I caught up on an episode of Survivor (how I would love to be on that show...just to see if I could stay "me".  However the thought of bugs nibbling away on me is what keeps me from ever applying...shiver!)

Like I always say with recipes...customize it to your palate.  

You want this spicy?  Add in some more jalapeno and their seeds, Sriracha or Cayenne pepper.

Don't want the tequila? Leave it out.

You want it creamier?  Mash up a few chunks of avocado, then toss it with the salsa.

Watching the waistline?  Then just a squeeze of lime and a couple of pinches of Kosher salt will do.

Tequila Avocado Salsa

Tequila Dressing
1 TBS Gourmet Garden Cilantro
1 tsp Gourmet Garden Garlic (or mash a garlic clove)
1 TBS tequila
1/2 TBS olive or grapeseed oil
1 1/2 TBS fresh lime juice
1/2 TBS honey
Pinch of Kosher salt

Combine all ingredients in a mason jar, when ready to use, shake well and pour over Avocado Salsa.

Avocado Salsa
2 avocados, diced
3 scallions sliced thin
3/4 cup chopped grape tomatoes
1 TBS minced jalapeno
Pinch of Kosher salt

Combine salsa ingredients in a bowl, toss with dressing and serve with chips, by itself or roll it up - burrito style and enjoy!

May 3, 2014

Greek Tomato & Feta Dip / Salad

THIS is one of my favorite things to eat AND bring to parties or barbecues.  It is simple, just 5 ingredients, however the flavors are in-cred-i-ble and truly addictive.  Everywhere I have ever brought it, people go crazy for it and the platter I pour it out onto is always scraped clean!  I say scraped clean because my favorite way to eat it is to drag a Stone Wheat Thins across and under...scoop up chunks of tomato, scallion and feta with just enough of the dressing and pop it in my mouth...then quickly do it again! Mmmm!!!

I never truly enjoyed feta cheese until this.

Weird but true.

You can eat this as a salad too...I would just go lighter on the dressing.

I think this is also a perfect picnic basket bring along.  Grab the biggest wide-mouth Mason jar you have and layer it up - so pretty!  Give it a good shake and turn it out onto a plastic dish and you have a beautiful salad or dip to enjoy while you are out and about...don't forget the crackers...or a fork and if you do...when no one is looking, just pour some into your mouth.  I can be our secret!

Put this on your must make list, pretty please!

Greek Tomato & Feta Dip / Salad

2  pints of grape tomatoes, diced
1 bunch of scallions, sliced thin (greens and whites)
1 block plain feta cheese (about 8-10 ounces)
1/2 cup olive oil or grapeseed oil
1 TBS teaspoon of Greek seasoning which can be found in your spice section the brand I always see is Cavender's its in a small salt shaker container and its white, yellow and red packaging - do not use the salt free variety)

In a large bowl combine your tomatoes and scallions. Break apart the block of feta cheese and sprinkle it over the tomatoes and scallions. In a mason or shaker jar, combine your oil and spice shake well. Pour it over your tomatoes, feta and cheese mixture and toss gently. Turn it out on a big plate or platter, spreading it around. This can be made an hour ahead. It holds up well and just keeps getting better tasting :) The more folks keep digging in with crackers or a spoon - the better it gets!  You can also assemble it in a jar as I did, just layer your ingredients, pour in your dressing, give it a little shake and bring it along with you.

Don't lump it in a bowl or on a too small plate - you want to spread it out in a thin layer. Also don't use the pre-crumbled's to soft.

Serve with Stoned Wheat Thins (in the blue favorite cracker) or your favorite simple tasting crackers or French bread slices. 

Colleen's Notes: The better the tomatoes, the better the dip.  Block feta is firmer that the crumbles, for this you really want to crumble your own.  You can use plum or Roma tomatoes for this as well, I just prefer the texture and look of grape tomatoes.


April 24, 2014

The Perfect Caprese Salad

I can never get enough of tomatoes, well good tomatoes that is!

My sister (who knows me too well) rolls her eyes at me whenever we are out for a meal, because she knows what's coming.  If I am thinking of ordering something with tomatoes (as I often do) I always ask the server "how do the tomatoes look?"  "Can you take a look at them and see if they are red and ripe?"

Hey...a tomato lover needs to know!  If my order shows up with under-ripe or mushy tomatoes, I'm-not-gonna-eat-them.

A well made Caprese Stack is one of my favorite things on the planet (so is a perfectly made BLT). Tomatoes, beautiful mozzarella cheese, basil and balsamic reduction and my "secret" ingredient, who needs Calgon to take you away when you can have that!  The better the ingredients, the more magical the result.

To see how I make this as well the secret to the perfect Caprese Stack - visit Musings of a Housewife where I have contributed this recipe.

What's your favorite way to eat a tomato?


April 21, 2014

Homemade Sour Cream & Onion Potato Chips

Hi its me Samantha!

Do you like potato chips? If you do, keep reading this.

Today, I wanted to tell you about making your own potato chips!  I wondered about how to do it since I really like them so much and asked my mom about it.  She said that we could make them together over spring break, so that's just what we did.

Guess what the first thing you need is?   Yup...a potato!

But first you have to decide what flavor you want to make.  I think everyone loves potato chips (right?) my favorite is Sour Cream and Onion!  My mom doesn't let me get them very much because she says that they have too many ingredients she can't pronounce on the bag.  So I knew I wanted to make them first and eat as many as I could!

You can try to slice your potatoes very thin when you want to make chips but using a mandolin makes it SO much easier!!  Have you ever used a mandoline before?  When you use a mandoline, slicing is easy and fast you just can't believe it!

I learned about using a mandoline because my mom is in charge of doing the father-daughter dance at school each year and this year she decided to do a Luau theme.  I helped her make 62 pounds of her Pulled Pork and then we made 25 pounds of her Sweet and Spicy Cucumbers (they are SO yummy).  We started slicing the cucumbers and it was taking FOREVER when all of a sudden my mom said "oh wait, let me get my mandoline"! After that it went super-fast.  She taught me how to use it and taught me how to use it safely but she really didn't like me using it since it was old and not that good for kids.
When we decided to make potato chips, she told her friends at OXO this story and they were really awesome and sent me one of their hand-held mandolines to try and it was really easy to use and my mom said she felt safer with me using that one.  It was way easy, all I had to do was slide, slide, slide a potato over it and ba-bam, there were the slices I needed for the chips!  OXO also send me a 3 quart mixing bowl for soaking the potatoes and these easy to use tongs for getting them in and out of the pan. Thank you OXO!

Guess what??  OXO is going to give one of you the same thing!  YEAH! One of you will get this set to help you make your own potato chips (and many other things too).

Come back tomorrow and see something else I used my mandoline for...Hint - its SO pretty and its good for you too!

After we sliced the potatoes, we soaked them in water for 30 minutes to help get the starch out (which mom says makes them more crisp).  Then we dried them.  We got a pan ready with oil and a thermometer.  Once the thermometer got to 350 degrees, we put them in and 2 and 1/2 minutes later we had potato chips!!! My mom also wanted to make a flavor, she decided she wanted something sweet and spicy (she LOVES sweet and spicy), we also made Sweet & Spicy Potato Chips using only 2 ingredients - Cajun seasoning and brown sugar.

I went a little crazy with seasoning the Sour Cream and Onion Chips in the first batch (but I still liked them -a lot!). The second batch of chips burned a little bit (because we let the oil get to hot), but the 3rd, 4th and 5th batches were perfect!  My mom, dad and brother went crazy for the Sweet & Spicy Chips!

I think kids can be a big help when you want to make potato chips BUT they need to stay away from the pan when the potatoes go in and are cooking - it is dangerous.

Do you want to try and make your own potato chips?

What flavor would it be?

Next time I make them I want to make a salt and vinegar chip for my cousin..that's her favorite!
See you next time!

Here is my mom!

Samantha did such a great job listening to what we were going to do.  As you know, she helps a lot in the kitchen and prepares a number of dishes on her own.  Chips however are not something she can yet do on her own (at the age of 9) the oil is just to dangerous for little helpers.  However watching what happens at a safe viewing spot is a delicious science lesson!  We almost always use our deep fryer for frying anything, but for this I wanted her to "see" the process and transformation.

Here are ways kids can help make Homemade Potato Chips:
  • Washing the potatoes
  • Help slice the potatoes,  teach them how to use an easy and effective hand-held mandoline like this one from OXO.  You lay out the safety rules and they will follow.
  • Come up with flavor combination ideas
  • Keep a watch on the temperature
  • Fill the bowl to soak the potatoes with water and a bit of salt
  • Blot the potatoes dry
  • Season the chips once they are out
  • And the 2 best....Taste testing and proudly handing out the finished chips!

And of course clean up...getting kids in the kitchen show's them planning and follow through. Once they are finished the pride they have on a task accomplished and the creation of something they can enjoy and even better - share or gift is - priceless and a life-skill they will never forget!

Oh and "Dear Lay's Potato Chip People...I KNEW I was right when I said you needed a Sweet & Spicy Potato Chip last year! The Sweet & Spicy Chips were ridiculously good!! 

Disclosure: This was not a sponsored post.  Samantha and I are huge fans of  OXO and use their products in our cooking every day.  OXO was generous to provide Samantha with a 3 piece set for her potato chip making experience as well as provide another set for a giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Homemade Potato Chips 

1 TBS salt
2 Russet Potatoes
2-3 cups canola oil
Seasoning of choice (see below for Sour Cream & Onion and Sweet & Spice Recipes)

Fill a large bowl with cold water and add in 1 TBS salt, stir the water. Decide if you want the peel on or off for your chips (we chose to keep it on).  Slice your chips thin (if you happen to have amazing knife skills) or use a mandoline.  We tried all 3 settings on the OXO mandoline and decided that we liked setting 2 the best for our chips.  Place your potato slices into the water and allow them to sit for 30 minutes.

Remove potato slices from the water and place them on to paper towel lined baking sheets.  Blot them dry with additional paper towels.

Place 2 inches of oil into your chosen pan - make sure the pan has enough room and additional space on the sides to carefully fry the chips.  If you are using your deep fryer fill it to manufacturers recommendation. Once the oil reaches 350 degrees, carefully place your potato slices into the oil (I carefully slid them in from a small colander).  The oil will immediately bubble.  Carefully move the potato slices around with tongs so they don't stick together and they brown evenly.  Once chips are done to your liking about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes (depends on size, thickness and oil temperature) remove them and place them on a paper towel lined baking sheet or cooling rack.  Season immediately.  These are best enjoyed the day you make them.

Tip: Watch your oil temperature between batches.  We burned our second batch because the oil was too hot.  Allow the oil to cool down a bit then bring it right back up to where you need it.

Homemade Sour Cream and Onion Potato Chips Seasoning
-adapted from Jeff Mauro aka The Sandwich King

1 TBS dried buttermilk
2 teaspoons onion salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp sugar
1 tsp dried chives

Combine above ingredients and blend with a mortar and pestle or place them in a small bowl and let the kids blend it well with their fingers.  Sprinkle seasoning over your chips as soon as you remove them from the oil.

Tip: For less salt only use 1 tsp onion salt and add 1 tsp onion powder.

Homemade Sweet & Spicy Potato Chip Seasoning
-Colleen Kennedy/Souffle Bombay

2 TBS Cajun seasoning
2 1/2 TBS brown sugar

Combine above ingredients and blend with a mortar and pestle or place them in a small bowl and let the kids blend it well with their fingers.  Sprinkle seasoning liberally over your chips as soon as you remove them from the oil.

Enjoy and happy crunching!!

 & Samantha

April 14, 2014

Giant Deviled Egg

With just 6 days left until Easter, many of us are planning what to serve or bring to the big dinner, as well as how to decorate and add the extra touches that make our holidays memorable.  My friend Heather (Real: The Kitchen and Beyond) and I gathered 26 bloggers to share some of their Easter Entertaining Ideas with you!

From Jelly Bean Trees to a Giant Deviled Egg, we've got you covered!
To make this even more memorable, we have some amazing giveaways as well for a few lucky readers! There are prizes from John Boos (maker of incredible cutting boards, butcher blocks and more), The Spice House (my favorite on-line destination and THE place for amazing spices), Wilton Armetale (maker of both beautiful and functional serving and grill ware), Divine Chocolates, (a fair trade, farmer-owned chocolate company) & The Tree Hut (natural body products that do what they say! Follow along via #AllThingsEaster on social media this week, and visit our Pinterest Board “All Things Easter” for more ideas.
4 years ago, I attended my first in-person food blogger event - I met bloggers in person for the first time, made some friends, learned a few things and ate well!  One friend I made that weekend  was Jackie, aka The Diva That Ate New York, who brought to the event a Giant Deviled Egg (the event was called The Big Summer Potluck - so we all brought a dish...SO fun).  I have no clue what she called it, I actually didn't even taste it but the memory of the fun of it left an impression on me so I thought it would be a perfect thing to share this Easter!

Make it with your leftover eggs or make it just because anytime - I remember this quickly disappearing not a scrap of this was left, people loved it!  Add bacon, hummus, guac - whatever you like...Make it your own!  Deviled eggs are always a hit and delicious on their own BUT scooping up some of the egg whites and the yolk mixture with your favorite cracker takes the yum-factor to another level!  Above I used 12 Extra Large Eggs, however you can use any amount of eggs you choose,  -Before mt family devoured ate it, I actually made some fresh Guacamole Dip and topped it with that.  It-was-ridiculously delicious!

I really don't think I need to give you a recipe for this, just the idea.  Make the deviled egg part they way you normally do.  However, in case you do need/want a you go :)

Giant Deviled Egg
12 large/extra large hard-boiled eggs
Mayo to your liking (about 3/4-1 cup)
1 tsp dry mustard
Salt and pepper
Paprika (just a dusting)

Separate the yolks from the eggs.  I have found that if you hold an egg in your palm and gently slice just a bit of the white - not cutting into the can pop the yolk out with almost no residue.  Which makes your while pure white.  If you do have residue, just rinse off the remaining whites or gently wipe them.  Place yolks in a small bowl and whites on your cutting board.

Dice whites up into bite sized chunks, set aside.  Mash yolks with a fork until no large bits remain, add the mayo, mustard, salt and pepper and mash until combined and creamy.  Add more may of necessary.  Grab a platter, mound the yolk mixture in the center, surround it with the egg white chunks, sprinkle with paprika and chives and serve with crackers.  Enjoy it!!

And now for a fabulous giveaway! The kids aren't going to be having all the fun this Easter! Two of you will win one of the amazing prizes below!
One of you will win this a-mazing Signature Spice Box Set from the Spice House (wait till you try the Vulcan's Fire Salt!) as well as this incredibly gorgeous John Boos Maple Cutting Board with Stainless Steel has handles! Swoon! 
Prize Pack #1

And one of you will win a delicious Bakers Spice Box from the Spice House (the Chicago Sugar will change your life!), this gorgeous set of decadent chocolates from Divine Chocolate, this beautiful Egg Tray from Wilton Armetale and this awesome Tree Hut Duo of Shea Body Lotion and Sugar Scrub - time to pamper yourself!

Prize Pack #2
Check out all the posts in this fun, delicious and creative All Things Easter Event:

Ideas for Leftover Easter Eggs

Giant Deviled Egg | Souffle Bombay

Easter Breakfast Recipe Ideas

Easter Breakfast Casserole | How I Pinch A Penny

Lemon Blueberry French Toast Bake with Lemon Mint Cream | O'Boy! Organic

Dutch Baby | The Naughty Mommy

Easter Dinner Recipe Ideas

Scallion & Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes | Musings of a Housewife

Baked Cheesy Broccoli & Rice Casserole | We're Parents!?

Cheesy Potato Casserole | Coupon Cutting Mom

Easter Dessert Recipe Ideas

Peanut Butter Eggs | Real: The Kitchen & Beyond

Toasted Angel Food Cake Parfait | What the Heck's a Bonbon?

Easter Lemon Cookies {Allergy Friendly} | Chockababy

Individual Lemon Meringues | Pandora's Deals

Peeps in the Pond Trifle | Opera Singer in the Kitchen

Rice Krispie Pops/Chocolate Covered Pretzels | A Grande Life

Easter Cocktail Recipe Ideas

Raspberry Beer Float | Teaspoon of Spice

The Peter Cottontail Cocktail | Can't Google Everything

Bunnytail-tini | Mommy Snapped

Easter Decorating Ideas

Easter Printable | Diapered Daze and Knights

Easter Centerpiece | The Vintage Mom

Jellybean Tree Centerpiece | Look What Mom Found

Easter Gift Ideas

Allergy Friendly Non-Toxic Easter Basket | Mom-Blog    

Naturally Dyed Wooden Easter Eggs | Inspired Family

Sugar Free Easter Basket Ideas | philly fun 4 kids

Easter Fun

5 Easter Activities for Kids | Mama Teaches

Taking Great Easter Photos | Life with Kaishon

Frugal Easter Basket Ideas & Menu

Easter Egg Pass | A Life in Balance

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We would like to give a huge thank you to the companies that made this give away possible! Thank you to John Boos for the beautiful maple cutting board, The Spice House for their spice and baking gift sets, Divine Chocolate for their luxuriously rich Fair Trade Chocolate gift basket, Wilton Armetale for the elegant egg plate, and Tree Hut for the body scrub and lotion.

March 21, 2014

Broccoli Dip

Spring has arrived!  I know so many of you are extremely happy about that fact, and don't get me wrong...there is nothing like a perfect spring day, but my family and I LOVED all the snow this winter.  We had so much fun! The fires, the food, the snow fun, all the wet clothes constantly about, the board games, the sledding!  I personally was hoping for just one more big storm, so we could go "extreme" sledding again, since we found some amazing sledding spots this year.

Spring gets everyone outside and moving.  We run/walk/bike, we get our properties cleaned up and our gardens in order.

I am a gal who is always on the move.  I talk fast (really fast), I move fast...I never seem to sit still for long. However, last weekend I slipped and fell.  Just a simple slip in my girlfriends kitchen as I was demonstrating how my grandmother had recently fallen when a door hit her...and whoop...a second later I was on my butt. I KNEW I had hurt myself instantly, I had felt my knee kind-of go in two directions as I went down.  Fast forward to today - 6 days later.  I am on crutches and have a knee brace with metal rods down the sides.  I tore my MCL and possibly damaged my ACL.  IF the ACL is damaged, surgery is required but I will not know that for a few weeks.  Apparently my knee is giving my Ortho Doc mixed signals.  Half say the ACL is damages, half say its ok.  He is befuddled and says "I always know whats going on, this time I don't...I'm annoyed". Leave it to me to make his life more interesting, lol!

I will never take my knees, legs or any part of my body being in working order again for granted! The whole crutches thing is SO annoying...How can a gal with 2 kids keep the weight off of a leg?  I can't cook with crutches, food shop, clean, carry anything etc.  I go up and down the stairs on my butt (which my kids find amusing), the simplest of tasks take forever and then after, my knee is killing me.  I keep telling myself the better I do at not using my knee, the quicker this will be behind me.  Don't get me wrong...I will take this situation a million times over rather than something life-threatening to myself, kids or husband. Gladly.  I just never realized how much I would be compromised without the full use of my legs.

Since I will not be able to get outside and exercise as I like to once the weather is nice, I will have to focus on eating a little bit healthier knowing that summer is just around the corner.  So to kick that off, here is a dip that I think is both refreshing and light.  Something I enjoy munching on and don't feel so guilty about.  Its perfect for spring & summer!  I came across the idea for Broccoli-Guac a couple of years ago over on Domestic Fits who was inspired to make it after hearing Chef Ludo Lefebvre speak of making it.  I put my own twist on it and here it is.

Broccoli Dip

3 cups chopped broccoli
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped (if you want heat, leave in some or all of the seeds)
2 stalks green onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, quartered (depending on your preference for garlic)
A big pinch of Kosher salt
Black pepper to taste
A squeeze of lemon
1/4 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt

Brink a pot of salted water to a boil and cook your broccoli until its past done and mushy. Drain your broccoli and blot it dry.  Meanwhile, place all other ingredients in your food processor and process until smooth.  Once your broccoli is ready, add it in and pulse until smooth.  Chill and serve when ready with veggies, tortilla chips, pita chips or whatever you like.

Colleen's Notes:  Do I think you can add Asiago or Parmesan cheese to this...yup!  Do I think you can add some perfectly ripe avocado to this...Oh-huh!  Play around with this and let me know what you come up with.

If you like a good dip as much as I do, check out these favorites:  5 Ingredient Hot Onion Dip (the easiest and most addictive hot dip you can possible prep in 5 minutes flat), Greek Feta Dip (this is always a hit) or this 10 Minute Tapenade (so easy and crazy good).

September 25, 2013

Spicy Grilled Cole Slaw

I have been saying all along that I just didn't want this summer to end, but we all know that it did. Turns out that, its ok, I guess I forgot the beauty of a picture perfect fall day and hey, NOT having to vacuum the pool isn't a bad thing!  Today is another of those incredibly beautiful fall days - it's gorgeous out!  Lucky me, I had a chance to meet a fellow food blogger friend, Mary Kay, for lunch in beautiful New Hope, PA this afternoon. We toasted ourselves on our recent recipe win with what turned out to be a better bottle of wine than we expected...but that is another story.  Talk about an adorable town and the perfect place to be on picture perfect days - that town (and the town of Lambertville just a short walk over the bridge on the New Jersey side) is a place you need to check out if you are ever in Bucks County, PA To meet a friend for about maximizing a perfect fall day.

Have I ever told you that I DO NOT like sauerkraut?  Blech, now way, now how do I want to eat it or smell it.  Now cole slaw...THAT my friends is a different story.  I love it!  When it comes to vegetables, most of my life I only liked them raw.  These days I have found a way to prepare most veggies in a way I enjoy them, however I don't think that will ever happen with the krout!

I picked up a two gorgeous heads of cabbage last week.  One red and one green.  They were exactly the same size, so smartly compact and bursting with beautiful color that I couldn't resist.  I thought, "oh maybe I will sautee them with some pancetta for my husband" - he loves that.  But they sat in my kitchen for a bit and I almost forgot about them until the other night when I was grilling burgers (and not just any burger...wink...stay tuned).  I thought, I'm going to throw these babies on the grill to char them up a bit...why not?

Aren't they pretty in the setting sun?  

Coleslaw is one of those things that I think many of us enjoy year round - BUT grilled cole slaw...that seemed more fall/winter to me for some reason.  Maybe it was the gorgeous color of it, similar to the incredible leaf show mother nature puts on each year.  I wasn't in the mood for a mayo based slaw, so I started adding some of what I add for the base of my pulled pork and took it from there.  The result was really, really good.  Crisp, clean and crunchy.  It was even better the next day, my husband was going back to it at all hours for a couple days...a nibble here and a nibble there.  I think this will be my go-to slaw with subtle tweaks for the season and or dish I am making at the time. :)

Spicy Grilled Cole Slaw

1 small head of red cabbage
1 small head of green cabbage
2 bunches of scallions/green onions
2 jalapenos, minced (see notes)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
2 TBS chopped fresh parsley or tarragon
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or less/none if you are not into spicy)
Salt and pepper to taste

Optional: 1/4 cup of your favorite nuts toasted and chopped

Cut each cabbage into quarters.  On your well greased grill, grill your cabbages for about 3-4 minutes per side...all 3 sides.  Remove from grill and cool.  Remove core sections, slice thinly for slaw and place in a large bowl.  Combine your apple cider vinegar, sugar, parsley/tarragon, red pepper, salt & pepper and shake well.  Pour over slaw and mix well.  Allow it to sit at least an hour before serving.  Toss & serve.

Colleen's Notes:  Depending on your preference for heat either mince the whole jalapeno or remove the stems and seeds first.  Leaving the inside stem and seeds in will increase the heat level...something my husband and I enjoy. Add in some poppy seeds or matchstick slices of apples to transform this coleslaw into something else.  Perfect on a pulled pork sandwich or just by itself!  This is delicious made a day ahead!

I hope you enjoy it!  Let me know if you try it as well as how you customize it!

September 11, 2013

10 Minute Roasted Red Pepper & Artichoke Dip

Recently I entered this recipe in a fun contest that came out of this years The Big Potluck and I won 2nd place, whoohoo!!  I'm doing the happy dance!!

Not only is this a win for is a win for you too!!  How about a vibrant & healthy appetizer bursting with flavor for your holiday table (or anytime actually)?  This should please just about everyone...your gluten-free friends, vegetarians, vegans, folks with nut or dairy allergies,the health conscious & more!

Plus this makes a beautiful (and tasty) hostess or holiday gift!  Package it in a pretty glass jar with a recipe tag and some ribbon...ta-da!!

This Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke Dip seriously takes LESS that 10 minutes to make with the help of the super cool Gourmet Gardens Herbs. Their product is so smart!!  They take fresh herbs and get them into tubes, so that they are at the ready when you need them!  I don't know about you but so very often I need a herb and don't have it, so I improvise.  Plus, how many times have you bought a bunch of cilantro, parsley or basil for example only to use 1/4 of it and have no need for the rest.

Have you noticed Gourmet Gardens in your produce department?  They come in tubes, and are refrigerated. The choices are Basil, chili pepper, cilantro, dill, garlic, chunky garlic, ginger, oregano, parsley, Italian herbs, Mediterranean seasoning, taco seasoning, Thai seasoning and yes!! Lemongrass, which is hard to find!  How great is it to grab a tube, use what you need, for the flavor you are going for, and then put it back in your fridge for the next time the need arises!!

"Our herbs are grown in the rich soil of organic farms on the Sunshine Coast of Australia. Within 24 hours of harvesting they are simply washed, chopped, blended and packed into tubes guaranteeing their fresh taste and nutrition for up to 3 months". 

 -Gourmet Gardens

As an attendee of The Big Potluck, I did receive a fabulous mini cooler full of the Gourmet Gardens line to try out and was impressed!  To be honest,  I'm not sure if I ever would have grabbed a tube on my own so I am happy that I was introduced to them and now see the value both monetarily and as a time saver!  Not to mention that these are fabulous flavors to help in making dressings, sauces, soups and more!  I'm sold! 

Disclosure: I was not compensated to write this post...I just wanted to share my news and tell you of a good thing!

August 7, 2013

Spicy Grilled Mushrooms

" was a nice surprise." 

"Col, these are GOOD!  These are really good,  I wasn't expecting any heat and there it was, wow!"

This was the conversation my husband was having with himself the other night at the dinner table as he was downing forks full of mushrooms.

I had made a dinner that had nothing to do with BBQ but decided to throw the beautiful mushrooms I had picked up on the grill for whatever reason.  I am always changing up the way I give my husband mushrooms since he digs them so much.

Sometimes I am such a nerd and get all excited over how I think he or my kids will get excited about something I made them that I know they like.  It's just another way I show my love I guess! For example, my 11 year old son loves and I mean loves Churros.  He gets them at school once a week when they have them for dessert.  I have often thought about making them and surprising him but hadn't yet.  Until the other night. Literally at 10 PM I quickly whipped up a batch for him and the buddies he had sleeping over after a day spent canoeing.  When I called them to the kitchen the look on my son's face was worth a million dollars, he was thrilled.  He came back downstairs 2 more times to get another churro then gave me a great big hug! So at the end of the day, I am not sure who was more happy and satisfied...him or me.  THAT made me so happy!

Sometimes we go into something big or small all for someone else and WE end up with the moment, memory or know what I mean?

I didn't plan on taking a picture of these and sharing them, however after his reaction I thought some of you just might want to surprise the spice loving, mushroom loving man or woman in your life!

July 23, 2013

Quick & Easy Sweet & Spicy Pickled Cucumbers

It's that time of year, when gardens both big and small are beginning to explode with a bounty of crispy, juicy goodness!   Now we see just why we toiled, sweated and nurtured our little plants!

I however have a black thumb, really, I do!  Just ask my husband, no wait...I changed my mind...don't ask him, It will be too embarrassing!!! The best yield I ever had from planting a garden was about 4 years ago - I planted a ton of stuff - waaaay too close together and barely paid it any attention.  Everything grew and I was up to my eyeballs in vegetables!  My next door neighbor, Amanda, who is a serious gardener (actually she's perfect at just about everything), just kept scratching her head and couldn't believe all that grew, lol!

That year, I decided to use some of the cucumbers and pickle them.  My husband is a big fan of pickles, and adores any spicy food.  My dad makes incredibly delicious Kosher pickles, so I wanted to do something different.  My husband flipped over these so been making them every year since.  They are a perfect & light accompaniment to any BBQ meal and they seem to be a go-to late night snack for my hubs.

Last year the deer took out my whole garden in 1 night, so this year, I am only growing a variety of tomatoes and peppers, as well as herbs in pots that I have sprinkled around our property. Other than that, I have my trusty blueberry bush & Fergie the fig tree.  That is it.  Even though I really have been trying to do all that I need to to get the most out of them (and keep them alive), our 2 resident groundhogs, Munchie & Crunchie, have really been up to no good.  I literally stood at my sliding doors and watched Crunchie eat a huge jalapeno plant down to a tiny stalk in under 4 minutes.  Ugh!  For the last 4 years my daughter had considered those two rascals, who live under our pool house, her pets. Oh well, she's happy that they are happy (and well fed) and I run an unofficial vegetarian buffet...its all good!

If you're looking for something to do with your cucumbers, try this!  It is ready to eat in about 18 hours, plus it makes a great hostess gift or food gift!

This is also a great way to cook with your kids!  The onions however might get to them (they make my daughters eyes tear like crazy - but she gets through it, lol).  Kids who have an understanding of a knife can help slice your cucumbers and just about any age can help pack the jars.  Then, they can proudly announce..."I made this and give jars away as gifts!!"

Do you have a favorite vegetable to pickle?  I would love to hear what it is if so!

After 18 hours:

July 2, 2013

Spicy Honey Lime Grape Salsa

Anyone who knows me (even a little) knows that I adore appetizers!  I don't know if adore is the right word for it...I need a stronger word, something timeless, sexy and strong.  I seriously could be content for the rest of my life eating only appetizers in one form or another...really!  They are just so fun, the choices are endless and many take little effort to whip up.

Who's with me on this??

When summer rolls around, I begin to crave lighter, often refreshing appetizers.  It's a plus in my book if they can hold up to the heat considering a big part of spring and summer involve outdoor BBQ's and gatherings.

Recently I made a Spicy Watermelon Salsa and that got me thinking about grapes and how they would be in a salsa, I knew I wanted it to be refreshing and have a bit of a kick.  I also knew I wanted a bit of crunch to the dish for a nice texture balance.  Within 48 hours of thinking of that and writing it down on my "ideas to make list" my cool & crazy friend Linda made one that I saw on her website.  Check out her recipe here. If you are ever looking for a fun cocktail to serve, you really need to check out Linda's site, she's got some good drinks!   Another friend Paula who cooks incredible Italian foods shared this amazing Raisin and Nut Agrodolce  back in May which includes grapes.  This is a dish I have never heard of and can't pronounce but I fell in love with at first sight!  (I really need to get my butt to Italy one day soon - and just eat my way through it...wouldn't THAT be glorious??  Or maybe I can pretend I am in Italy, eating,  just by pitching a tent outside Paula's kitchen and begging her feed me for 48 hours straight! A whole new world of food awaits!!

This is my take on a Grape Salsa and I am ridiculously happy with it, I hope you are too! 

This, my food loving friends...THIS Grape Salsa is something you reeeeal-ly need to make this summer, that is how much I enjoyed it.   This salsa is a flavor explosion!  It's what I call a party in my mouth!!  You've got sweet, spicy, crunchy all at once!  The key is beautiful, great tasting grapes - hold out for them.  Here are a few of my favorite summer apps, enjoy! Tomato Bean Bruschetta, Roasted Red Pepper Spread, Bacon, Tomato & Jalapeno Guacamole, Tomato Mozzarella Bruschetta, Creamy Guac Dip and for the kids, it's always a hit. Apple Salsa with Cinnamon & Sugar Chips!

June 10, 2013

Spicy Watermelon Salsa

Last weekend I attended the 3rd Annual Eat, Write, Retreat hosted by Casey Benedict of Kitchen Play and cookbook author Robyn Webb.  I had attended the first one in DC 2 years ago and really enjoyed myself. I learned a few things, made a few new friends and took in some of the sights of DC.  So when I heard it was coming to my birthplace, I immediately thought about registering.  Just before I did register, I saw that Tuscan Fields Farro was offering to send one lucky food blogger to EWR and I decided to try and go for it...why not?  Maybe I would be lucky and win.

So, I made a dish using Tuscan Fields delicious and easy to prepare farro and win I did!  I was so stinking excited when I found out!!  If you have never tried farro, you should!  Check out my recipe for Farro with Feta, Radishes, Peas & Chives - It makes a great lunch, side dish or dish to bring to a BBQ.

And THAT my friends is where my luck started!  Yup, I said started!! 

The dish above, in the photo, was inspired both by the gorgeous watermelons we were surrounded by all weekend at EWR and my friend Joe.  Joe loves to challenge himself in the kitchen.  He always shows up at neighborhood parties with something yummy in tow - who doesn't love a man that I right?  Memorial Day Weekend, he showed up with a watermelon salsa, something I had never seen before.  I immediately popped a scoopful into my mouth then one into my husband's mouth and it was fantastic!  It was refreshing, light and flavorful all at once!  I knew I had to try my hand at it.  I am not sure what he put in his, but I mimicked this one after pico de gallo.  Thanks Joe!

Two really cool challenges were a part of this years EWR.  One was the Amazing Apps Culinary Challenge hosted by California Figs, US Potatoes, California Ripe Olives and California Raisins - Each attendee was going to receive in the mail a box containing a secret ingredient that we needed to use in an appetizer - you would get either figs, potatoes, olives or raisins, I received potatoes.  One winner would be chosen based on a set criteria for judging and they would each win an iPad, an iTunes gift card, a cool  OXO Cookbook Holder and a $500.00 gift certificate to OXO!!  How cool was that??

The second challenge came from In The Raw - They send each of us a big bakers bag of their brand new Monk Fruit In The Raw along with their sugar cookie recipe.  They asked us to decorate the cookies anyway we chose.  They then would select their favorite as well as a second random winner and each would receive In The Raw products for a year and a beautiful Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer!

Saturday was in full swing with some fantastic speakers on everything from writing, to photography to learning all about the growing of mushrooms in the mushroom capital of the world - Kennett Square, PA (yup, store that one in your head for the day you just might need it in a trivia game).  Throughout the weekend Casey & Robyn were picking names out of a hat for random prizes...everything from baskets of baked goods to OXO tools & gadgets to a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer!  All of a sudden, they called my friend Heather's name...she won a $500.00 gift card to Calphalon!!  I was like "Oh!! Yeah Heather!!!" I turned around to catch her eye and give her a crazy wave when I heard my name called for the same thing!! AAAH!  That was so awesome!!! Just after that, In The Raw was there to announce the winners of the cookie contest and guessed it, I won that too!  I was seriously freaking out at that point!  They always say good/bad things happen in 3's.  Well "they" were right on the money for me! 1-2-3!

Check out the winning artistic cookie from Sherron, gorgeous!!

After we finished our sessions for the day, my roomie Renee and I headed to our room, where we had exactly 20 minutes before we needed to be back downstairs to head to the awards gala at the trendy Philadelphia restaurant in the sky - R2L.  I must have been a bit lightheaded from all the excitement because I decided to take a shower - yup...I had exactly 17 minutes to get showered, dry my hair, throw some makeup on and slip into a dress!  I actually did it!  I broke one of my fingers in the process (who knows) but I did it! lol!

We headed to R2L and when we got there there were tables of food hosted by the 4 sponsors of the Amazing Apps Culinary Challenge.  We had some great bites of potato, fig, raisin and olives apps!  I was so excited to see fresh figs - they haven't hit stores in my area yet and my fig tree is months away from bearing fruit, so I have to confess I ate at least 5 of them plain - they were stunningly de-lic-ious, I could have stayed and ate them forever!!  At the bar they were serving one of my favorite wines - Mirassou and they had my absolute favorite Mirassou Riesling, it was shaping up to be a great night! *Clink*

The moment arrived - they were about to announce the winners of the Amazing Apps Culinary Challenge, someone joked and said that I was going to win my category...I said "no way"!  A new friend Roxana said "come here Colleen, I want to rub you for luck"...and she did!  I was standing next to Carolyn of All Day I Dream About Food  (who was also a speaker on photography AND SEO - talk about talented) and she said "I swear if you win I am going to fall at your feet", she was so funny!

Potatoes were up first...then BAM!  They said my name.  I was like WHAT...ME???  The sweat came pouring down me, I started shaking like crazy.  I. Could. Not. Believe. It.  I was waiting for Aston Kutcher to pop his pretty little head out and let me in on the joke!

I really don't remember much...I was awestruck.  Carolyn really did drop down in front of me (it was hilarious) and then they called Roxanna's name for raisins - the girl who rubbed me for luck!  I thought I entered The Twilight Zone.  The next thing I remember was the doors opening and waiters filling the room.  They were serving trays and trays of the 4 winning dishes- my dish was being served at R2L.  How crazy is that!  Check out my winning recipe - Potato & Caramelized Onion Flatbread

I think I finally stopped shaking 90 minutes later.  I mean, I was actually embarrassed of my good fortune that day - so happy, grateful  and excited but in disbelief and somehow embarrassed that I won a bunch of stuff!  In life I am more of a giver than a getter if you know what I mean, so this was topsy-turvy!  I gathered my wits - congratulated the other winners, then headed out for a celebratory drink at DelFrisco's with my friend Lisa, who I hadn't gotten to chat with yet that weekend and we had a great time!

Here's the thing...I started my blog as a way for me to both leave a piece of myself behind for my kids and a way for me to do something a little creative when it came to my passion - cooking.  Doing "this" is mostly something I do alone.  Sure my daughter cooks with me a ton and my son does too from time to time and yes, we get to enjoy the fruits of my labor as a family - BUT nobody around me really "gets it" except funny enough my 8 year old daughter, so to win something in front of my peers for something I made, THAT was and is really something!  I am sure the 3 other winners felt exactly the same!  The excitement and joy on my kids faces once I got home (my hubs kept the secret) was priceless and somehow the iPad instantly became "the family iPad", hmmmm.  I'm still trying to figure that one out!

Check out the other winning dishes (and I have to say...I did in fact visit every website after all the app recipes went up, there were so many fantastic offerings!  Everyone did such a  great job!)

Figs - Heather's Phyllo Cups with Fig Compote, Goat Cheese Mousse & Pistachios
Olives - Joanne's  Black Olive Gougeres with Smokey Red Lentil Dip
Raisins - Roxana and her Raisin Cheese Crackers

Stay tuned...since I was so lucky last weekend, I am sharing the wealth so to speak!  I did a few crazy random acts of kindness following my wins and now it's your turn.  Next week I will have another installment of "Guess the Dish" and we will see which one of YOU get's lucky!! 

Sorry for the super-long post!  I had so much to tell!!  Click below for the delicious Watermelon Salsa Recipe!

Oh more thing to's so funny...I just have to!  Sunday morning as we were about to begin with the lineup of speakers...all of a sudden I hear "Colleen Kennedy...could you please come to the stage?" I was like..OMGosh what now??  The whole room began talking...I think they were all wondering the same thing!! Lol!

And then THIS happened:

Casey & Robyn decided to crown me "The Queen of Eat Write Retreat"  It-was-hilarious!!  You have to love that about people - the creativity, they funniness and the good feelings for others that they have!  Casey & Robyn have that in spades!  Thanks for the memories (as well as all that I learned and all the new friends I met)!!!  Thanks for sending me this photo Lauren!