Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July's Foodie Pen Pal Reveal

It is that time of the month again where I get to reveal to the world my foodie pen pal for July.  Heather from Ohio had me as her pen pal. 

I was super busy for two weeks straight and out of town when my box arrived.  Let me just say it is a great feeling to get a little box of goodies waiting for you after traveling for work.  It was a great surprise!  

Local Raw Honey - I have been getting more and more into honey.  Mix it in tea. Use it as a sweetener in baked goods.  Eat it by the spoonful. Yes, this will get some use.

Chipotle Chocolate Cookies - Heather said these were a last minute decision and I am so glad they made it in the box. I opened these first thing.  In fact the in the photo above the bag is empty :)  They were had the consistency of soft animal crackers with a rich chocolate taste with an occasional bit of pepper. I love them!  Plus they were elephant shaped - so cute.

Woman sauce :)  My husband just laughed at this one.  It is made of jalapenos and I am sure we will be topping our nachos with this sauce within the week.

Montgomery Inn BBQ Sauce - Mr. J loves himself some BBQ.  He has been asking me to grill BBQ chicken for weeks and lucky for me this sauce found its way in the mail.  I meant to take a picture but we ate it before I realized I had not photographed our meal.  It was delicious! Heather said it was from a famous BBQ joint and that  if ever in Ohio we have to try it out.  Little does she know that we might take a trip to Ohio just for a BBQ visit.

Being from Ohio she knew all about the Cincinnati Skyline Chili.  Little did she know that we have watched TV shows from afar sample this Ohio delicacy.  She sent a recipe and I cannot wait to cook up a pot.  It is complete with five ways of serving.  

  1. Just the chili
  2. Chili served over spaghetti
  3. Chili served over spaghetti with grated cheese
  4. Chili served over spaghetti with grated cheese and onions
  5. Chili served over spaghetti with grated cheese, onions and beans
Mr. J and I will be eating for a week straight and probably feeling the effects for a month.

Thanks so much Heather; it was a great box!

On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.

You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!

The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!

You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)

Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.

Foodie Penplas is open to US and Canadian residents. Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We've determined things might get too slow and backed up if we're trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. 
If you’re interested in participating for August, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.
You must submit your information by August 4th as pairings will be emailed on August 5th!

The Lean Green Bean

Monday, July 30, 2012

Spicy Shrimp with Lime and Cilantro

Today I am feeling rather blah.  The weekend was nice as weekends always are because for one there is no work involved, at least not the 9-5 office type work.  

But it rained a lot.  Our night on the town ended up in a noisy restaurant with a bad server.  

We cleaned.  

Now it is Monday.  A whole week ahead of me.  More rain in the forecast.

I need a bit more spice in my life right now.  

Do you ever cook for how you feel?  We made spicy shrimp.  It helped.

Think soft shell tacos or rice bowls. This recipe is so versatile.  We went the Mexican route but you can see with the spices (curry and cinnamon) you could take it Indian style too.  There was lots of flavor and it was super quick to make.  The longest part was deveining the shrimp.  Thanks Mr. J! This is his pet peeve - tails on the shrimp when you are trying to eat.  Of course if you are not so finicky, you could make your diners devein their own shrimp.

Spicy Shrimp with Lime and Cilantro

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Keywords: saute entree shrimp

Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • chopped cilantro
Combine salt, paprika, cumin, curry powder, cayenne, and cinnamon. Sprinkle over shrimp and toss to combine.

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high. Add shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until opaque throughout, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve shrimp with cilantro, lime wedges, naan, and yogurt if desired.
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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Weekend Edition: Rain, Rain, Go Away

Friday night started with the movie "we bought a zoo" courtesy of Netflix.  At the end Mr. J thought we to should buy a zoo.  Bad way to start a weekend.

We went tomato picking both days between the massive rain showers. I think we got a good haul.

There was also massive amounts of clean up to be done throughout the apartment. So much so that we ended up spending $30 at target just for stocking up the cleaning supplies again. 

Rain makes pancakes for breakfast that much more enjoyable.  Chocolate chip and blueberry.  Yes, they were good.

Recipe coming.

Here is what I was up to this week:

Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday's Favorites

This is a favorites kind of Friday. It has felt like Friday every day since Tuesday.  Let's just say that is NOT a good way to go through the week.  

I am trying to find inner peace.  Yes, I know it sounds corny but I am really trying to think of the positives of things.  It's hard.  Instead I find myself finding distractions.  Distractions are much more fun.

Here are my distractions for the week:

 Right?  I don't think I need to go into more details about this Topper Mill.

This new line from Crate and Barrel has a Dansk® Kobenstyle White Baker. The handles are so cute!

And I am really wanting to decorate our bedroom differently.  Mr. J needs to hide the paint. 

Cooking classes...fun right? I want to take some.  Sur La Table offers a variety but the closest one is over an hour away. I am kind of desperate though.  Way worst than the painting issue.  I will take this on a day to day basis.

Tea towels.  I love them.  I think they might make me as happy as a new hand bag.

Speaking of a hand bag...

 I want this one...it is on sale. I am not going to lie it will probably happen this weekend.

Happy Friday! It is officially here.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Peach and Blackberry Crumble

If you know my blog at all you know I have a few rules that I apply to my eating habits.  One rule for me is dessert must have chocolate, minus maybe a special scoop of coconut or banana ice cream.  No need there.  Regardless there are very few exceptions to that rule.  Very few.

I like rules.  Ways to live by.  I think rules make things easier.  If there is not chocolate dessert, I won't eat it.  

However this summer I have been loaded with berries and other fresh fruit.  I cannot get enough. 

Again, I eat them nonstop but I wouldn't consider these desserts, just snacks.  After going a few weeks with lots of sweet treats being consumed I decided to take a break from desserts.

OK, yes, there was a package of delicious chocolate cookies that came in the mail. Somehow they disappeared in only a few days. 

Anyway, Mr. J likes fruity things too.  I made a crumble with peaches and blackberries.  I cut back on the sugar and it was still super sweet.  Super sweet in a really good way.

This was a bit of a ramble post. Here is the recap:
  1. No chocolate = No dessert
  2. No dessert rule = Make a fruity crumble
  3. Eat said crisp for breakfast and it is not dessert :)
Got it?

On a completely different note I need to learn the difference between a crisp, a crumble, a buckle, and a cobbler.  Seriously so many options!  Do you know?

Peach and Blackberry Crumble

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
Keywords: bake dessert summer

Ingredients (serves 8)
    For the Filling
    • 1 1/2 pounds peaches (I used frozen)
    • 2 cups blackberries
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
    • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
    For the Topping
    • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 1/4 cup light-brown sugar
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
    • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make the filling: Combine peaches, granulated sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch, and salt. Transfer to an 8-inch square baking dish.

    Make topping: In a large bowl, using a mixer, beat butter and brown sugar on medium until light and fluffy. Add flour and salt and, with your hands, mix until large pieces form. Scatter over filling.

    Bake until center is bubbling, 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool 20 minutes before serving.
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    Wednesday, July 25, 2012

    Bacon, Blue Cheese and Bibb and WIAW

    Normally I am surprised that it is already Wednesday. This week I just want to ask, is it really only Wednesday? 

    Certainly it must be Friday already. Sadly no. 

    I was a little embarrassed to post what I ate this week since in my head I lacked major veggies. I know I have been eating fruit but I just felt like I was lacking veggies.  Turns out I was wrong.  There was a lot of greens going on, starting in the morning with a green monster smoothie complete with banana and peach.

    Spicy shrimp tacos for lunch.  So good.  So unexpected.  Recipe to come.

    Dinner was a salad.  A fairly unhealthy salad.  

    I have a new obsession with Boston bibb.  The leaves are so sweet.  Crisp.  Try it!

    I thought adding blue cheese would make Mr. J happy.  He thought bacon would make him happy.  Both happened.  

    It was good but not too healthy.

    At least I got my greens.

    Exercise for the day is 30 minutes upright bike, 30 minutes elliptical.  If time allows I need to get in some sit ups.  Funny how I used to be super good about always fitting these in.  Now almost never.   Do you ever say, I will just do this at home?  Well, it never happens at home.

    Bacon and Blue Cheese Bibb Salad
    by Emily Morris
    Prep Time: 10 minutes

    Ingredients (serves 2)
    • 1 head Boston Bibb lettuce, rinsed and quartered
    • 1/2 quart grape tomatoes, halved
    • 1 cucumber, sliced and quartered
    • 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
    • 1/4 cup ranch dressing
    • 4 slices bacon, fried crispy and crumbled
    Fry bacon; set aside to cool.
    Place 2 quarters of the Boston Bibb on a plate. Repeat on second plate. Top both with tomatoes and cucumbers.

    In a small bowl combine ranch dressing and blue cheese crumbles. Distribute dressing between the two plates.

    When bacon is slightly cooled, cut into fine crumbles with knife. Top both salads. Serve with bacon slightly warm.
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    Tuesday, July 24, 2012

    New England Clam Chowder

    We never come back empty handed from Maine.  In fact at times the car is stuffed so full it is questionable if all of the doors will shut completely.  

    Hold your breath and slam the door shut.  This weekend it wasn't quite as bad.  We did acquire a few of my childhood relics.  I have a box of old school CDs and lots of pictures.

    On the food front we got a mini cooler, something we have lacked for a while.  We filled it for the car ride home.

    Pizza and brownies.

    Not bad for a car ride snack feast. 

    We also managed to bring back a container of my dad's chowder.  He makes the best chowder.  The recipe makes quite a hearty batch and they typically freeze smaller portions for a later use.  In order to help them out we more than willingly offered to take some off of their hands.

    New England Clam Chowder

    by Emily Morris
    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Cook Time: 15 minutes

    Ingredients (serves 6)
    • 3 slices of bacon
    • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
    • 3 large russet potatoes, peeled and dried
    • 1 C bottle clam juice
    • 2 7 oz canned minced clams
    • 2 C milk
    • 2 C half and half
    • 1 Tbsp flour
    • 1 Tbsp butter
    • 1 tsp salt
    • pepper, to taste
    • chopped fresh parsley
    • oyster crackers
    Place a small frying pan on medium heat and let it get hot. Add bacon and cook until crisp. Remove slices to cool and break into small pieces.

    Put 1 Tbsp of bacon fat into a large stockpot and heat pan on medium heat. Add the chopped onion and saute, stirring often till soft. Add the potatoes, bacon pieces, clam juice, and 1 C of water and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer for 10 minutes.

    Increase heat to medium and add the clams and juice. Add milk and half and half and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

    In a small bowl mix together butter and flour until completely combined. Add to soup mix and stir until chowder becomes thick. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let the chowder come to a boil one more time, then remove it from the heat. Serve hot and topped with parsley and oyster crackers.
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    Monday, July 23, 2012

    Walter's in Portland, Maine

    After a hard day of packing and moving everyone needed some good fuel. We initially wanted to go somewhere close by but that place was closed for summer vacation.  We were a little bummed. What restaurant closes during the Maine summer tourist season?  I guess everyone needs a break at some point.  We will be back.

    The closure resulted in us going to the Old Port.  This section of Portland, Maine is amazing.  Narrow, brick streets are loaded with cute and unique shops and restaurants.  We found Walter's,. an old favorite of my mom.

    It was my first time here.  The restaurant itself was a bit fancy.  I felt out of place in my nasty moving grime.  Hopefully our waitress didn't notice.

    We got some calamari for an appetizer. No photo here. I was starving at this point and we all jumped right in.

    CRACKLIN’ CALAMARI tomatoes, slivered red onions, baby greens in a lemon balsamic dressing with parmesan

    SHORT RIB all day Okinawan braised, purple Peruvian mash, glazed rainbow baby carrots, sweet and spicy natural jus

    My dad got the short ribs. He likes short ribs and ate these right up.  Mr. J got a sample and his description was super tender and really moist.  My kind of meat.

    ANGEL LOBSTER whole lobster, garlic white wine, chili flakes, San Marzano tomatoes, basil leaf, angel hair

    My mom ended up being the only one with lobster.  We all laughed at the market price of this meal.  We saw a sign just down the way for 2 for $5. Yes, two lobster for five dollars.  Let's just say this wasn't $5 and certainly didn't have two lobsters worth of meat.  We chuckled that it was because they shelled it but then the dish came with shell still around the tail pieces.  Regardless the meal was heaven to my mom so the price at that point really didn't matter.

    HANGER STEAK sugar snap peas and local shimeji, big red demi glace, hand cut frites, smoked chile ketchup

    Yes, there are some snap peas under that steak.  Good ones at that; I stole a few from Mr. J's plate.

    TWIN FILETS chile relleno taquitos, kumquat avocado salsa fresco, ancho demi glace

    I had the twin filets of beef.  Everything about this meal was good. The steak was nice and tender.  The taquitos were filled with cheesy, hot peppery greatness. It melted in your mouth.

    My biggest problem was that the restaurant was freezing with the A/C blasting but they had a gas fired fire place cranking at the entrance.  I work with facilities.  Heating and cooling at the same time is just no good.  Just sayin'.  If that doesn't bother you, go right ahead and visit.  The food is definitely worth the trip.

    Walter’s. Two Portland Square, Portland, ME 04101

    Saturday, July 21, 2012

    Weekend Edition: Kimball Farms and Packing

    Even though I was gone all last week, I still needed to go to Maine this weekend.It is going to be a solid 7 nights not in my own bed.  I guess there are worst things. 

    My parents are down sizing and we were off to help pack.  Certainly helping is the least we can do after them helping me move four times in the last five years.  Plus they promised me lobster :)

    We got stuck in some major traffic on Friday night through Massachusetts.  Thank goodness there is ice cream stands in the summer.  Kimball Farms is a good one.  We tried to miss the traffic with a longer dinner...
     and dessert on the road.

    And now without further adieu...

    Here is what I was up to this week:

    Friday, July 20, 2012

    Friday's Five: Fashion

    I got through periods of some serious shopping impulses. This past week was hard.  I wanted to go shopping big time. 

    I am actually trying to downsize my material things. I feel like there is way too much clutter in my life. No new things is part of the process.  

    I wasn't in the mood for the process though. I was in the mood to shop.  Somehow I got through my phase.  Maybe?  At least I got through the week. 

    Here are some of my finds for Friday's Five Fashion Edition:

    Anthropologie Native Birds Dress

    Thursday, July 19, 2012

    Easy Cheesy Zucchini Bake

    Do you have lots of zucchini yet?  We have tons. 

    Tons I tell you.  So much that I thought it might start growing all over again in the fridge.

    I like zucchini but I don't love the stuff.  Grilled zucchini, yum.  Sauteed zucchini, OK. Maybe I just haven't found the right recipe.

    A girl can only eat so much grilled zucchini.  Last week I was done.  I was eating it with quinoa, on pizza,and plain with lunch and dinner every day.  Too much grilled zucchini.

    I then found this lovely little recipe for baked zucchini.  Baked zucchini with lots of cheese.  Sounds good right?  It was good.  I just might be in love with zucchini now. 

    Easy Cheesy Zucchini Bake

    by Penzeys Back to School 2011 Catalog
    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Cook Time: 45 minutes

    Ingredients (serves 4)
    • 2 medium-sized zucchini, cut in slices or half-moon slices
    • 2 medium-sized yellow squash, cut in slices or half-moon slices
    • 2-4 T chopped fresh basil (or even less, depending on how much you like the flavor of basil)
    • 2 T thinly sliced green onion
    • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
    • 3/4 tsp. garlic powder
    • 1/2 cup + 1/2 cup low-fat white cheese (I used Pizza Cheese, which is a low-fat blend of Mozzarella, Provolone, Romano, and Parmesan)
    • 1/2 cup coarsely grated Parmesan (I would use a little less if you only have the very finely grated Parmesan from a can)
    • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8" x 8" baking dish with olive oil spray. Wash the squash and cut in slices or half-moon slices. Wash basil, spin dry or dry with paper towels and finely chop. Slice green onions.

    Combine the sliced squash, chopped basil, sliced green onions, dried thyme, garlic powder, and both kinds of cheese and stir together until the veggies are coated with cheese and the herbs are well-distributed. Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Put the mixture in the baking dish and bake uncovered for about 25-30 minutes.

    When the zucchini is nearly cooked through, take the casserole dish out of the oven and sprinkle over the remaining 1/2 cup of grated cheese. Put the dish back in the oven and bake 10-15 minutes longer, or until the cheese is melted and nicely browned and zucchini is fully cooked. Serve hot.

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