Tuesday, September 1, 2015

I am turning 31

Oh my it is September. September is my favorite month. I look forward to this time of year every year. But in all honesty it really took me by surprise. How is it September already?  Besides the obvious favorites of apple and pumpkin goodies, hooded sweatshirts and colorful leaves Septembers marks my birthday month. 

I am turning 31 next week. Do I feel old? Yes and no. I will always look forward to birthdays, mine and everyone else's. Life definitely changed this year with the arrival of Olivia. And although I struggled sometimes with these changes (like a night of no sleep followed by a long day at work) I truly enjoy the direction my life has taken. 30 was a great year and I am looking forward to what I and my family are going to experience this next year. 

As part of my celebrating I intend to treat myself to a few goodies. My birthday and Christmas lists are ongoing. I add to them throughout the year in anticipation of these big events. You know, I want to be helpful in case family members need some ideas.  I don't think I will ever be too old for gifts. So for those of you who might want to treat me to something special next week, here are a few recent favorites.

Cookbooks! I have my eye on two this year. Dinner for Two by Julie Wampler and Grandbaby Cakes by Jocelyn Adams.

I have been holding out on a spiralizer for months.  OXO just came out with this small handheld version

Zoodles here I come. 

And this marble slab from Sur la Table. I see it fitting in perfectly with our new kitchen.

I also want about a bizillion things for the house. But a new couch probably isn't going to happen for my birthday. 

Now I just need to decide on a birthday cake.  

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Trail Granola Clusters #thebookclubcookbookCC

Oh man have I been baking up a storm since the oven was back up and running. Plus the sink works and we have a DISHWASHER. I tell you I am in heaven.  I forgot what it was like to have a dishwasher. 

Today I have a yummy granola recipe for my August posting in The Book Club Cook Book.  As I mentioned last month this is a group where  each month a new book will be chosen from The Book Club Cook Book, a cook book that has recipes from many popular recent and older novels. The goal of this club is to pick a book a month and either make the recipe from The Book Club Cook Book or another recipe inspired by the novel. 

If you are interested in join see this post from Camilla, our leader.  There is a giveaway at the bottom of this post for The Book Club Cook Book.  For August our host is Andrea at Adventures In All Things Food. She choose Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods. Although I have read other Bill Bryson books I had not read this one till this month. I thought this was kind of funny since this has been on my dad's bookshelf for as long as I can remember. Growing up we did a lot of nature vacations and walked portions of the AT. Being little we never did much but I felt like I could relate to some of Bill's more traumatic experiences. Nature and I don't seem to get along all that well when we are together.

Last month a member mentioned noting all the food mentions when reading the book. I thought that was a great idea and did the same as I read A Walk in the Woods. I was not expecting so many mentions of Snickers and Hostess cakes. In fact in time I read some of the book I was suddenly craving all sorts of junk food. Not so much the noodles though. It struck me that if I ever (not that it is really a potential) undertook such an adventure I would have planned way better food options. Primarily granola. So that is what I made for you today. 

Granola. Nutty Trail Granola. With cluster. Since clusters are way easier to eat when you don't have utensils. 

Trail Granola Clusters

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Keywords: bake breakfast snack oatmeal hazelnuts pistachios
Ingredients (1 gallon bag of Granola)
  • 6 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup slivered or sliced almonds
  • 1 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Stir to combine.

Whisk the oil and the honey together. Pour over the oats mixture and until the whole mixture is moistened. Pour into a large jelly roll pan in a single layer.

Bake for 20 minutes, stirring once. Bake for 10 more minutes and remove from the oven. Let it sit until it starts to cool - this helps keep the clusters.
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If you are interested in participating see this information post from Adventures In All Things Food

And be sure to check out some of the other bloggers joining in on the fun. 

A Day in the Life on the Farm      
Adventures in All Things Food    
Cheese Curd In Paradise               
Culinary Adventures with Camilla             
Life on Food       
Mostly Food and Crafts 
The Pajama Chef              
The Spiffy Cookie             
Things I Make (for Dinner)           
Tortillas and Honey         

You can follow along with the hashtag #thebookclubcookbookCC on social media or check out the group Pinterest boad. Find out how you can join along with us below.

This month Andrea at Adventures in all Things Food, this month's host, is giving away a copy of the book.* Enter to win a copy of the cookbook so you can join us in future months, if you wish!

One of our lucky readers - US and Canada only! - can enter to win a copy ofThe Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp, courtesy of Tarcher-Penguin. Giveaway runs from August 1st till August 31st at 6 o'clock PM, Pacific time. Please see terms and conditions in the rafflecopter widget below. Many thanks to Tarcher Books. You may find Tarcher: on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Pinterest.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Disclosure: Andrea received a complimentary copy of The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp to use in this year-long project plus the opportunity to give a copy away. Opinions are our own. We received no further compensation for our posts.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Easy Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken

We have gotten pretty creative the last few weeks with our limited kitchen abilities. One of the things I have grown to love is the Crock Pot. Most people associate a Crock Pot with warm hearty meals in the winter. I am here to tell you that the Crock Pot is just as good in the summer. Hello no oven heat.  I made Slow Cooker Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches last week.  Now I have some good old buffalo chicken sandwiches. 

This recipe is so easy. You simply put some chicken breast into the slow cooker with buffalo sauce. We used Frank's.  You could the chicken for 4-8 hours depending on your settings. Then you shred the chicken and mix with a bit of butter and ranch seasonings. That's all. We had sandwiches but this would also be great for a pizza topping or nachos. The really are so many possibilities. This recipe feeds a crowd. Mr. J and I had plenty of leftovers which was just what we were going for. 

Our kitchen still needs a lot of finishing details but we are pretty much back up and running. That doesn't mean I am going to give up on our Crock Pot meals though. They are too good and easy to not have at least once a week. 

Easy Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 hours, plus
Keywords: slow-cooker entree chicken Super Bowl
Ingredients (serves 6)
  • 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 12 oz bottle Frank's Buffalo Sauce
  • 1 package Hidden Valley Dry Ranch Mix
  • ½ stick of butter
Put the chicken and the buffalo sauce in the crock pot and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4-5 hours.

Remove the chicken from the crock pot and shred it, using two forks.

Add the shredded chicken back to the crock pot, add the ranch mix and the butter, and stir until the butter is melted and ingredients are well-mixed. Cook for another 15-30 minutes.

Serve on a roll and your choice of cheese. We prefer blue cheese.
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