Foodie turned blogger. How'd that happen?

Sweet Potato and Beef Pockets – Gluten Free

0 Paleo Sweet Potato and Beef Pocket Sliders 7

When you go to the store, there’s a good chance that you’ll pick up at least one package of ground beef. But then what do you do with it? It seems that all too often the ground beef turns into spaghetti sauce, a casserole, or meatballs. I’ve got nothing against these meals… as a matter of fact, I really like them… but have you ever stopped to wonder how many other things can be made with ground beef? One time I got a “Ground Beef” cookbook, in hopes of getting a lot of new ideas. Unfortunately, I think I learned how to make 4 different spaghetti sauces, 12 different casseroles, and more meatballs that you can shake a stick at. Which, when you think about it… If you shake a stick at a meatball, you may end up with a shish kebab ;-)

0 Paleo Sweet Potato and Beef Pocket Sliders 6Two days ago, I was thinking about dinner (I know…shocker!). Anyway, I knew that Kenny had a pound of grass-fed beef in his fridge, and I wanted to see what I could make with it. So after work, I stopped at the market and I picked up a sweet potato, green onions, baby Romaine lettuce, and a few jalapeños. By the way, I had absolutely no idea what I was going to make, but those lovely organic ingredients just looked good to me that day.0 Paleo Sweet Potato and Beef Pocket Sliders 1 Continue reading

Capers, Fruit, and Batman?

sweet and Tangy Caper Chicken 3

 ♥ I love capers
But, I only started loving them about 6 years ago. Before that, whenever I’d go to buy olives or marinated artichoke hearts, I would wonder what those little green peas in the jar next to them tasted like. Then I finally put two and two together when I was eating at an Italian restaurant. Ah HA! The little green pea thingies really weren’t peas! They were… um…. they’re….well, they kind of looked like miniature pickled brussels sprouts, only not… but… “Excuse me, ma’am… could you tell me…what exactly *are* these little round things? Oh! Capers! So THAT’s what they taste like!” Finally!

Sweet and Tangy Caper Chicken 3

The only downside is, that capers are one of those things that unless you actively try to find new ideas for them… you end up making a lot of Chicken Piccata or Fish with Caper Tartar Sauce. LOL

So… I bet that maybe some of you who have eaten capers forever still aren’t quite sure which plant they stem from (pun intended). Well, I’ll be honest – I didn’t know either till I did a little snooping. I’ll tell ‘ya what I found, and then next time you’re out to dinner and you order something with capers, you can amaze your friends with your infinite culinary knowledge ;-) Continue reading

Jalapeño Meatballs

Jalapeno Meatballs with Jalapeno Cream Sauce

Jalapeno Meatballs with Jalapeno Cream Sauce

When you were little, did you like spicy food?

I remember that my favorite restaurant growing up was Maya’s in Santa Barbara. It had delicious mexican food, and I loved their beef flautas. It was a very special place because sometimes after an orthodonist appointment, my mom would take me there for lunch before I had to return to school. What is it about restaurants in the middle of the day when you’re a kid? They become instantly magical. Of course, I’d also choose to go to Maya’s when given the chance for a Sunday afternoon lunch. I remember the waitresses in their pretty embroidered peasant blouses and brightly colored tiered skirts, bringing out the fresh warm crispy tortilla chips and salsa. Maya’s salsa was cooked down to a deep red color and had bits of onion and pepper in it. Being the little kid, I’d try it by putting about a quarter inch of my chip into it and fanning my mouth once I had the courage to taste it. Then there was my mom. On more than a few occasions, I remember her ordering an extra dish of salsa and eating it with a spoon. She’d comment that she wasn’t as interested in the chips, so she’d have “soup” before her meal.

I think I inherited that gene for sure. It seems the older I get, the more I love spicy food. I’ve been on this jalapeño kick lately…. where I want to put jalapeños on everything, whether they should be in a food or not. Don’t worry, I haven’t put them into cookies… yet.  Anyway, I’d recently won some capers from Jeff’s Naturals’ Facebook page, and when I told them how much I love their Sliced Tamed™ Jalapeños (here’s a link for my Jalapeño Cottage Pie), they sent me a couple of jars of their newest product, Diced Tamed™ Jalapeños.  Last night I came up with a  meal to make for Kenny and his 16 year old son, Cody, which incorporated this new diced treat. I hope you like it! Continue reading

Get Well Salad – feeding a cold and a hungry tummy!

Get Well Salad from SockmonkeysKitchen


This week I have had a head cold. It was pretty giant, and it’s almost over…however I must admit I’m very fortunate: the last time I had a cold was 26 months ago. I think a lot of that has to do with my choice of eating free range, grass fed, organic, etc…  snoopy
Anyway, Tuesday night was the first day I really felt like cooking. But, I just wanted something to make me feel better. My body was craving fresh yummy produce, so I started pulling things out of the fridge, grabbing things from the fruit bowl, and here’s what I came up with:
I’m calling it “Get Well Soon Salad”. Kinda catchy, isn’t it? Oh wait, I don’t mean that kind of catchy… 

Okay on with the recipe (full recipe is at the bottom):
The first thing I did was I cut up a nice free range organic chicken breast into bite-size pieces. I began to sauté it in some olive oil, and then added some powdered ginger, and a little pinch of salt. Continue reading

Springtime Tea Refresher

Picture yourself sipping this lovely drink on a warm spring afternoon.

Picture yourself sipping this lovely drink on a warm spring afternoon.

Spring is here!

Last Saturday, I was over at Kenny’s house, and when I looked out the window, I noticed the fruit trees had started blooming beautifully. I went outside to take a closer look. What a gorgeous site! However, the heat was waaaaaaay too overwhelming for a day in March! I remembered a beverage I enjoyed a while back and thought this would be the perfect day for it.

00I got out some Peach Tea, some Lucero White Balsamic, and ended up with a beautiful Spring (non-alcohlic) cocktail. This is one of those recipes that you don’t need to write down, because it’s so versatile. Sometimes I’ll use berry tea, or a sprig of rosemary, a tangy lemon tea, or spearmint leaves. But, to start you off, here’s the quick basic recipe:

Balsamic Iced Tea Refresher

16 oz. Hot Water
2 Tea Bags (any fruit flavor) Continue reading

No Fail Lasagna

This lasagna never lets me down!

This lasagna never lets me down!

Last week, Kenny’s Dad and Mom, and Uncle and Aunt were in town from Chicago. They are all such wonderful, kind people, and each day I looked forward to driving over to Kenny’s  house, and seeing them after work. On Saturday, my parents drove down from Santa Barbara to join in the fun. Ken’s kids were there too, so we have a full house… and I got to cook – yay! So the question was: what’s a meal that you can feed to 10 people, that is consistently good, and has a very flexible timing schedule? The answer: Lasagna! And it was a hit :)

I actually made two, since I wanted there to be leftovers for an upcoming lunch for the relatives. If you do make two, make sure to switch the placement of the lasagna pans halfway through cooking, so they both bake evenly.

Lasagna is always a good idea for feeding a crowd!

Lasagna is always a good idea for feeding a crowd!

I remember watching Mom make lasagnas when I was young, and as she would gingerly pull each cooked noodle out of the pot of boiling water, there would always be that one noodle that chose to break in half. And of course, if you didn’t use them instantly, you’d have a few that would stick like glue to each other. No wonder she didn’t make it all that often - I can’t blame her! But I really liked it a lot, especially the ricotta in the middle.

This is my favorite lasagna recipe, and it’s extra nice because you don’t have to boil the noodles first (whew!)

garfield 2

No Fail Lasagna

1 lb. Ground Bison or Ground Beef
3 bunches green onions, lower half only, chopped
2 Tbsp. Dried Oregano leaves, Divided Continue reading

Smothered Chicken

* Warning: You are about to fall in love! *

Smothered Chicken from Cindy Wright

About a year ago, I was going through recipes on the internet, and my eyes zeroed in on what I believe is the best blog name, ever. “Bacon, Butter, Cheese & Garlic”. Yes!  I mean, putting at least one of these ingredients into EVERY single recipe is a brilliant idea!  So I started searching through the various entrees and appetizers and my stomach started growling :-)

This blog is the site for the creative, delicious recipes of Cindy Wright. She’s got a knack for coming up with things I have *loved* for the past 12 months, and I really wanted to share my favorite of her recipes with you. By the way, in case you are wondering… yes, your meal will come out looking like the photo. Seriously. And it will taste like heaven. Be prepared to lick your plate. Continue reading

Gluten Free Tomato Benedict

tomato benedict

Last weekend I was getting ready to make breakfast, and I wanted something really filling, since I had a busy day ahead of me. I didn’t want to have it full of carbs, and I needed protein. So, after looking around in my fridge and cupboards, I came up with this…and it was delicious!
(*recipe is below the graphic) Continue reading

Jalapeño Bacon Boats

Warning: Very Addictive!

Warning: Very Addictive!

When you go to a party, what type of snack do you tend to reach for first? For me, it’s generally savory. I love spicy… not the “holy cow, get me a giant vat of milk before my mouth incinerates” kind of spicy… but the kind where you go, “mmmm. ooh! nice little kick”. That’s what these are. Jalapeños as a whole don’t have a ton of heat, and when they’re cooked and a dairy item is added, nearly all of the spice is gone. But there’s a tiny heat that lingers. That my friends, is quite addictive, in my opinion. So, I thought I’d share a very simple recipe with you, so you can be the hit of your next party.

Jalapeno Bacon Boats

2 dozen jalapeno peppers
2- 8oz. blocks cream cheese (not the low fat kind!)
2 dozen slices of Trader Joe’s Nitrate Free pre-cooked bacon
1½-2 cups Shredded Cheddar

Slice ‘em!

The night before: after slicing the jalapeños in half, scoop out the seeds & then place in a large freezer bag; keep in refrigerator.

The night before: after slicing the jalapeños in half, scoop out the seeds & then place in a large freezer bag; keep in refrigerator.

As with any spicy pepper that’s got heat, please be careful when you cut into them. You can either choose to wear plastic or latex gloves, or just wash your hands really, really, really well after handling. And please don’t touch any part of your eyes or skin, or you may be burning up for a while afterward. Okay, now that that’s over, let’s get to work!  In order to make these cute little boats, slice each pepper lengthwise, trying to get half of the stem on each piece. Will they taste better that way? Of course not. Then why go to the effort? Cause it just looks better. ;)  Once they’re all sliced, carefully scoop out the seeds with a grapefruit spoon and make sure none of them land on the floor! Once they’re all seed-free, place them in a large freezer bag overnight. This will make your cooking day’s job all that much easier. PS: A huge thanks to Kenny, who scooped out all of the seeds in the peppers you see in this photo. :)

Stuff ‘em!

Fill the boats full of cream cheese

Fill the boats full of cream cheese

stuffing jalapenos

You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can fill the jalapenos, once you prepare the cream cheese properly!

Start by preheating the oven to 450°.  Make sure your two oven racks are evenly spaced. Lay out the jalapeños cut side up on 2 foil-lined cookie sheets. Here comes a great trick: Put the cream cheese in a Continue reading

Soup: The Ultimate Comfort Food

Sockmonkeys Kitchen:

(*Pssst…. make sure to click on “view original” for the recipes!)

Originally posted on sockmonkeyskitchen:

Ahhh, Winter… the perfect time of the year for soup!
Homemade Soup

Who doesn’t like a nice steamy bowl of soup?
I think each of us has that same memory of eating a bowl of soup, while watching Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color on Sunday nights. Or was that just me?

In any sense, soup is one of my favorite things to make.  However, I don’t think I ever make the same one, since I tend to grab whatever I have around the kitchen that day.

Today I’m going to walk you through the way that I make a poultry soup. So, on the menu is turkey and chicken. I suppose you could certainly make a duck soup, but I’ll leave that one up to you and the Marx Brothers.

I’ll give a few tips, a few ideas, and some photos of the different soups I’ve made recently. Most importantly: When you…

View original 1,299 more words

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