Tag: ARWB Foodie Friday

Shana Chaplin: Chorizo and Goat Cheese Stuffed Pork {Foodie Friday}

I love cooking, but all too often my work schedule, family obligations and household management chores keep me from enjoying the process.  The holidays allow me the opportunity to slow down and experiment in the kitchen.  I love getting lost in cookbooks and magazine pages filled with sensual and decadent looking entrees and desserts.  Holidays are my favorite times to experiment, try something a little extravagant-after all the house is decked out and there are plenty of people to share in the feast!  
 
My Chorizo & Goat Cheese Stuffed Pork Loin evolved from a holiday recipe I tried one Christmas.  My family had their fill of turkey and ham and wanted something a little different. The recipe I tried that Christmas was good, but as I began to “tweak” it I landed upon this version and have to say the sweet and spicy version hit home!  READ MORE
 
Chorizo and Goat Cheese Stuffed Pork Loin via Shana Chaplin for ARWB Foodie Friday
 
 

 
I am a wife, mother to twin daughters, sister, daughter and aunt to nine. I love faith, home and family. I grew up missionary kid livin
g in Japan and Morocco. I now live in the South. My home is my haven and I seek for it to be the same for all who enter. I have returned to full time work after 17 years as a stay at home mom. I now serve as the Deputy Chief of Community Engagement & Faith-based Partnerships. As I wait for God to unfold His plans in His time I seek to be faithful and to live life fully, keeping home my priority and sharing it with those I hold near and dear.

Brittney Lee: Slow Cooker Beef Tacos with My Brother’s Salsa

Celebrating the Flavors of Arkansas

 

Our life is busy these days. Along with working full time, I also teach Zumba two nights a week, teach Bible study on Wednesdays, my husband works odd hours, and I’m pregnant and exhausted. Getting a delicious home-cooked dinner on the table can be tough.

One way I make life and dinnertime a little easier is slow cooker recipes. We love making taco meat and using it different ways. The first night we might have traditional tacos. Then I might make enchiladas or quesadillas with some of the meat. Then we might make a pasta dish with the final leftovers. Using the slow cooker is a great way to cook a bunch of yummy protein at once.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the salsa slow cooker tacos, but using My Brother’s Salsa puts a tangy spin on it. Created in Bentonville, it’s a fresh, delicious alternative to other jarred salsas. I like that they are smoother and almost act more likea sauce. My house smelled AMAZING while these were cooking. In fact, I tried to nap on Sunday afternoon while they were cooking, but the smell was so good that my stomach kept growling and I couldn’t nap! My Brother’s Salsa has a big variety of options to try. I used fire-roasted salsa for my tacos, but I think the traditional or tomatillo would be great options.


slow cooker taco ingredients

I enhanced the salsa flavor with a few spices and added a can of tomatoes and chilies for some texture.

You can use frozen or fresh roast. While I used beef, I’m sure you could use pork or chicken.

ingredients in slow cooker 

Brittney Lee: Slow Cooker Beef Tacos with My Brother’s Salsa

Ingredients

  • Beef Roast. Mine was a 3 lb. top round roast and it was frozen.
  • 1 jar My Brother’s Salsa
  • 1can Rotel, undrained
  • 2 tablespoons dried minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon chipotle powder (depending on how hot you want it!)

Instructions

  1. Top the roast with all the ingredients and set the slow cooker.
  2. If frozen, cook 6-8 hours on low or 4-6 hours for fresh roasts.
  3. Cook until the meat is tender and shred it with a fork.
  4. Mix the shredded meat into the sauce.
  5. Use the meat however you would for tacos.

Notes

We like ours on corn tortillas with cheese, Cholula sour cream, and guacamole. They would also be great with just onions and cilantro, like a street taco. Or you could make taco salads, nachos, or enchiladas. Go crazy!

http://arkansaswomenbloggers.com/brittney-lee-slow-cooker-beef-tacos-with-my-brothers-salsa/

slow cooker beef tacos

brittney-lee-headshot

Brittney is a native Arkansan with a love for bright lights and big city. She often escapes her 20-acre home in a small town to shop, eat and catch a concert in the big city nearby. She blogs about her life, her faith, her adventures, her dogs and her country home at Razorback Britt.

 

 

 

My Brother’s Salsa was founded by ARWB member Helen Lampkin.

Jeanetta Darley: First Fruits From the Garden {Greens}

Celebrating First fruits from the garden: Greens

Rainbow Swiss Chard

The weather is just starting to warm up.  We are free of the frosts and freezes.  Well, we hope we are! Fingers crossed.  But we are ready for our gardens and to start enjoying those fresh homegrown or farmers market vegetables.

Mustard Greens

The first fruits from the garden that we can get our hands on are greens.  Mustards, Collards, Kale, Chard.  I love a mess of greens.  But truth be told I did not grow up eating them.  I didn’t learn to cook greens until after I was married.  I looked questionably at the dark green leaves boiling with chunks of salt pork looking very much like a swamp witch’s brew.

Collard Greens

I plant my greens early in the year under hoop houses.  This helps keep them a bit warmer and protect delicate leaves from any heavy snow.  When I cook my greens, I don’t boil them.  And there is always bacon involved.

mixed greens jeanetta darley

 

Jeanetta Darley: First Fruits From the Garden {Greens}

Ingredients

  • 2 gallon bags of greens (mustards, collards, kale, and or chard)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 8 slices of bacon
  • Minced garlic, salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Wash and dry greens. Remove the tough vein and stem of all but the chard. The stem is very tender when cooked and adds texture and a bright accent color to the dish. Chop or tear greens into 2 inch strips or pieces.
  2. Slice the onion.
  3. Cut the bacon into half inch pieces.
  4. In a large stock po,t cook the bacon and onion over medium high heat until everything starts the brown.
  5. Add the greens. You may have to do this in stages as the greens cook down.
  6. Add garlic, salt and pepper.
  7. Stir and cook for 20 minutes until greens are tender
http://arkansaswomenbloggers.com/jeanetta-darley-first-fruits-from-the-garden-greens/

 

Jeanetta Darley sidebar photo

Jeanetta is an artist, blogger, and sometimes homesteader.  She’s addicted to coffee, her garden, and chickens. You can see her art and read more stories at JeanettaDarley.com.  Or follow her on social media @jeanettadarley. 

Lyndi Fultz: A Gadget Adventure {Foodie Friday}

#FoodieFriday

Let’s go on a gadget adventure.

I am a sucker for a good kitchen gadget while at the same time ruthless at eliminating redundancy. The two go hand in hand, surprisingly. One speaks to ensuring you have the right gadget for the job and one speaks to eliminating waste. Less is more and more is, well, sometimes awesome.

Let’s go on a gadget adventure, shall we?

1. Purge, purge, purge.

It is time to open up those kitchen drawers. Yes, plural. Do you have drawer after drawer after drawer overflowing with multiples and curiosities? Take an honest assessment. Dump everything out and put aside the gadgets that you use every day. Those go in the drawer with most accessibility. The rest go into two piles: keep and discard. And by discard, I mean giveaway to family, friends, or a thrift store.

 crazy jumbled gadget drawer

 

2. Explore, explore, explore.

Let your fingers do the exploration via the Internet. Been to Williams-Sonoma’s site lately? How about Sur la Table? Anthropologie? J.B. Prince? Check out what is available and popular by browsing the reviews. People are honest. Love it or hate it, they will always let you know.

Get out and touch it.

You’ve been dreaming about that new heat resistant white rubber tong set, haven’t you? Got a store close to you that has it? Get out and check it out. Feel it. Would owning it replace something that you already have? If so, purge, purge, purge the original. Would owning it add a nice new twist to your life? There’s your answer.

4. What the heck is that?

Many different regions, nationalities, and ethnicities have unique gadgets that are special to them. That doesn’t mean that we cannot partake. The darling Scot’s spurtle dates back to the fifteen century and could also be your answer to perfectly lump-free oatmeal on Sunday morning. You’re welcome.

5. Use it or lose it.

Did you purge some and keep some? Did you explore sites that made you hit the “buy” button? Did you get out, touch, and cha-ching the register? Did you decide you really needed the Ethiopian clay pot? Okay, great! Now comes the old adage, “use it or lose it.” All the gadgets in the world won’t add a bit of spice or pizazz to our lives if we don’t start using them. Get on it already!

While these are just five tiny ways to get started on your own gadget adventure, they are really only just the beginning. It is time to start a revolution. Hold up our hands with our half-burned wooden spoons, our slightly bent salad tongs, and those super-cute-I-promise-I-will-use them poached egg holders. The time is NOW to start moving forward. Are you ready?

Go-go-gadget-go. 

Lyndi FultzLyndi Fultz, nwafoodie

Arkansas Women Blogger member Lyndi Fultz writes about living and eating well from her life in beautiful Northwest Arkansas at nwafoodie. Much of her blogging inspiration comes from this gem of a place, which she refers to as the proverbial land of milk-and-honey. Read more related to cooking, entertaining, gadget suggestions, ingredient explorations, local finds, local restaurant treasures, kitchen tour spotlights, and always with a healthy and simplistic approach.

http://nwafoodie.blogspot.com/

Brittney Lee: Celebrate Church Suppers and Hash Brown Casserole

Celebrate Cooking Together

One of the highlights of my week is Wednesday night church supper. I don’t know that it’s inherently Southern – I’m sure there are churches outside of our region that do weekly meals. However, at our church, it feels like the most classically Southern thing I do each week.

For starters, there are sweet Southern ladies, most of them grandmas, who gather during the day on Wednesday to prepare the meal. The menu rotates, and they do have the option of a healthy choice grilled chicken salad for anyone watching their waistlines. These workers spend hours diligently chopping, sautéing, and preparing the meal for our church.

After work and school, slowly a crowd gathers in our gym. By 5 p.m., the smell of the meal is overwhelming. You can always tell what’s for supper long before you ever get to the buffet line.

A crew of servers happily fills plates while those waiting in line catch up on life. We are treated to Southern fare – chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes, poppy seed chicken with green beans and bacon, and the crowd favorite – breakfast for dinner. On that night, we are treated to biscuits, gravy, and everyone’s beloved hash brown casserole.

hash brown casserole

Once we fill our plates, we gather around big tables to talk, laugh, and share life while breaking bread. We make trips to the dessert table and choose from a plethora of goodness including homemade pies, cakes, bread pudding, cookies, and my favorite, a Butterfinger ice box pie. We drink lemonade and sweet tea. We help feed each other’s babies. We watch kids as they play around the periphery of the gym. We hug the senior adults like they’re our grandparents. We hear about work, about life, about cars breaking down, and kids having fits. It’s around these tables and these meals that we share life together. It’s the best gathering each week.

I managed to wrangle the top secret hash brown casserole from our head chef, Monica. She makes enough to feed 100+ people each week, but she gave me recipe to make enough for our family. It’s great for breakfast or as a side dish. We love it with a roast or ham. I love it leftover for breakfast. I just love it. It’s easy. It tastes great. And it reminds me of sharing so many meals with my church family whom I love.

Church Supper Hash Brown Casserole
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Ingredients
  1. 2 lbs frozen hash browns thawed (either microwave them or let them thaw in the fridge)
  2. 16 oz. sour cream
  3. 1 10.5-ounce can cream of mushroom soup
  4. 1 10.5 -ounce can cream of chicken soup
  5. 2 Tablespoons dried onion flakes
  6. 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  7. 1 cube chicken bouillon (liquid bouillon may be substituted)
  8. 2 teaspoons black pepper
  9. 2 cups crushed corn flakes
  10. 1/2 cup unsalted butter
Instructions
  1. Mix hash browns, sour cream, soup, onion flakes, cheese, bouillon, and black pepper.
  2. Spread in a greased 9 x 13-inch pan.
  3. Bake at 350 for 1-1.5 hours until bubbly and potatoes are soft.
  4. Melt butter and mix in corn flakes.
  5. Sprinkle casserole with crumb topping and bake uncovered for an additional 15 minutes until browned.
Note from Debbie
CREAM OF MUSHROOM SOUP SUBSTITUTE
Ingredients
  1. 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  2. 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  3. 1/2 cup any broth (beef/chicken/vegetable
  4. 1/2 cup milk
  5. mushrooms, chopped and sauteed (how ever much you desire)
  6. salt and pepper to taste
Directions
  1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat.
  2. Stir in flour a little at a time until smooth, then remove from heat.
  3. Add broth and milk a little at a time, whisking to keep mixture smooth. Stir in mushrooms.
  4. Return to heat and bring sauce to a gentle boil; stir constantly until sauce thickens.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. CREAM OF CHICKEN SOUP SUBSTITUTE
Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons butter
  2. 2 tablespoons dried onion flakes (or 3 Tablespoons fresh)
  3. 1⁄2 teaspoon minced garlic
  4. 1⁄4 cup milk
  5. 1⁄4 cup heavy cream
  6. 1 cup chicken broth
  7. 1⁄3 cup flour
  8. 1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
  9. 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
Directions
  1. Over medium heat combine butter, onion, garlic, milk, heavy cream, and chicken broth in medium sauce pan until combined.
  2. Add flour, salt and pepper and stir until it thickens. (About 3 minutes).
  3. Just add more flour if you want it thicker.
  4. Use in any recipe you need it for.
Arkansas Women Bloggers http://arkansaswomenbloggers.com/
brittney lee headshot

Brittney is a native Arkansan with a love for bright lights and big city. She often escapes her 20-acre home in a small town to shop, eat and catch a concert in the big city nearby. She blogs about her life, her faith, her adventures, her dogs and her country home at Razorback Britt.
 
Follow Brittney:

Julie Kohl – Celebrate Working Better Together In The Kitchen

Celebrate Cooking Together

I can be a bit of a control freak. (Okay, a LOT!)

Sometimes that’s a good thing, and sometimes it backfires on me.  

When it comes to the kitchen, I am a MAJOR control freak.

Early on in my marriage that backfired on me.

I come from a family that spent a lot of time together in the kitchen. We cooked and cleaned together. We hung out in the kitchen. Most family gatherings revolved around food and meals. Making food and eating food together was an important part of our lives.

My husband’s family was not into cooking and gathering around food like my family.

When we spent the first night in our home just after getting married, I planned an elaborate special breakfast. Holidays are always big affairs with menu planning for weeks in advance even if it’s just the two of us. I’ve been known to go all out for special dinners in the middle of the week.

Richie, who would have been happy with fried chicken every night when we first married,  always thought this was a bit strange, but smiled and went along with it. 

He enjoyed the chaos (and the food) from the comfort of his living room chair.

I expected Richie to step into the kitchen with me.  To help cook. To help clean. Or at the least, offer to do the dishes if I did all the cooking.  

Richie had never cooked more than a piece of toast, and his lack of understanding how things worked in the kitchen wasn’t entirely his fault. So, I invited Richie into the kitchen to help.  We were still in “honeymoon” phase, trying to please each other, attempting to figure out how things worked.

But things didn’t go as expected.

I expected more. I expected knowledge. Basic understanding of how to slice an onion. How to load a dishwasher.

I got angry when that didn’t happen. There was frustration. There were words. Ugly words. There were tears.

It did not go well, to say the least.

Sixteen years later, the kitchen is still a place where we don’t quite jive yet.  Recently, we’ve tried to rectify that.  

Here are five tips to work better together in the kitchen.

  1. Start Simple
    If you’re working with someone who is new to a kitchen don’t throw Beouf Bourguignon, at them the first time out of the gate. Start simple with things like sandwiches or breakfast.
  2. Learn Together
    Take a cooking class together. Watch some kitchen technique videos on YouTube. Watch a show on the Food Network and then recreate the recipe together. 
  3. Swap Jobs
    If you cooked, your spouse/significant other should do the dishes.  But this should also be reciprocated. 
  4. Meal Plan Together
    My husband seems more excited about helping in the kitchen if it is a meal he is excited about.
  5. Release Control
    There really is more than one way to slice an onion and more than one way to load a dishwasher.  The dishes will still get clean and the food will still taste great even if the pieces of onion are sliced into 37 different degrees of thickness.

 

Whitney Sutherland: Cabbage Madeleine {Foodie Friday}

Cabbage Madeleine from Whitney Sutherland

I grew up as the child of Midwestern parents living in the South and my childhood was a perfect blend and meld of two distinct American cultures.  I was born in the South and they had lived in the South for several years by then and had adopted many Southern traditions including the holiday food traditions of New Year’s Day.  There is much folklore of how the food traditions of New Year’s Day started but many people celebrate the start of a New Year with a meal that includes Black Eyed Peas and Greens which ensure Good Luck and Good Fortune for the New Year.   

Vegetables were always present at our meals and my Mom would tell you that we were fairly good eaters willing to try a variety of vegetables.  The truth was that my Mom had a secret for ensuring that we would eat those veggies – cheese!  For example, broccoli was always served with a little cheese and seasoned salt on top.  While we were fairly open to eating veggies, we were not so adventurous to eat true Southern Collard Greens.  Instead our Greens on New Year’s Day were cabbage and my mom’s secret weapon was present for our cabbage with a gooey cheese sauce and a little bit of spice that she combined as a cabbage casserole. 

Her cabbage casserole was something she adapted from a traditional recipe for Spinach Madeline.  Here is her adaption and recipe for Cabbage Madeline.  It’s not too spicy and it goes perfectly with Black Eyed Peas and Ham for your New Year’s Day dinner.  

Whitney Sutherland: Cabbage Madeline {Foodie Friday}

Ingredients

  • ½ head of cabbage – chopped into 1” pieces
  • 4 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoon flour
  • ¼ Cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup evaporated milk
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • ½ teaspoon celery salt
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup to ½ cup shredded Pepper Jack cheese
  • Optional topping: Breadcrumbs and cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Steam the cabbage until it is cooked and reserve the liquid.
  3. In a saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour until it has a smooth texture.
  4. Add the chopped onion and cook until tender and gets translucent.
  5. Add the evaporated milk and stir constantly until it begins to thicken. (If additional liquid is needed, add in small amounts from the reserved cabbage cooking liquid.)
  6. Stir in the garlic salt, celery salt, white pepper, and Worcestershire sauce along with the Pepper Jack cheese.
  7. Continue to stir until the sauce is a smooth texture and the cheese is melted.
  8. Combine the cheese sauce with the cooked spinach.
  9. Pour into the prepared casserole dish. If desired, top with breadcrumbs and finely shredded cheddar cheese.
  10. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until bubbly.
http://arkansaswomenbloggers.com/whitney-sutherland-cabbage-madeleine-foodie-friday/

 Foodie Friday Mother's Day photo
 
Getting to Know Your ARWB Foodies
 
 What food reminds you of childhood? 
 Grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwich – this was one of my mom’s signature sandwiches and always makes me think comfort food. It’s ooey and gooey and delicious!
 
 What is your favorite international cuisine?
Mexican – I love chips and salsa. It’s one of my favorite snacks and foods!
 
What is always in your refrigerator at home?
 Chocolate Milk
 
What is your go-to ingredients that you use time and time again?
 Olives – I love to add into sauces or as a pizza topping.
 
Do you have a favorite food indulgence?
 Dessert is my favorite indulgence!

What is your most used cookbook?
 Better Homes and Garden Cookbook

What is your favorite kitchen gadget?
Lemon/Lime Juicer
 
What is your favorite food meal to cook at home? 
 Chili
 
What is a cooking tip that you would like to share with beginning cooks?
 Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things. If you like a meal at a restaurant, take note of the menu description so that you can try to recreate it.
 
When you’re not cooking, what are your favorite pastimes?
 Running and triathlon

What else would you like us to know about you?
 Food helps me fuel a healthy and active lifestyle but that doesn’t mean it has to be bland. It’s fun to play with food and it’s an important part of my training plan to keep me race ready!
 
Connect with Whitney:

Talya Boerner: Roasted Carrots and Parsnips with Herb Butter {Foodie Friday}

Roasted Carrots and Parsnips

I found this recipe for roasted carrots and parsnips with herb butter in a Cooking Fresh magazine years ago, and it instantly became a favorite in our family. It pairs perfectly with any holiday meal—turkey, chicken, beef, or pork—and the vegetarians will love you. No kidding. 

parsnips and carrots peeled

 While this is not a low calorie dish—there’s butter, y’all—carrots and parsnips are loaded with goodness including phyto-nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and both soluble and insoluble fiber. In a sea of heavy holiday dishes (many that include cream of something soup), this side will be a definite bright spot on your table. 

roasted carrots and parnsnips with herb butter from talya boerner

 

Talya Boerner: Roasted Carrots and Parsnips with Herb Butter {Foodie Friday}

6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds carrots
  • 2 pounds parsnips
  • 6 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 4 Tablespoons minced shallots
  • 4 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
  • 3 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 3 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Peel carrots and parsnips and cut into two-inch sized matchsticks for uniform roasting. (Toss all the yummy scraps into the compost.)
  3. Since this is the most time-consuming part of the recipe, I like to do all my peeling and cutting a day in advance and store the veggies in the fridge.
  4. Toss carrots and parsnips in olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Transfer to a cookie sheet and roast in center oven rack.
  5. Stir every ten minutes or so until veggies are brown and tender (but not too tender), approximately 45 – 50 minutes. Keep an eye on this. Things can happen quickly at 450 degrees.
  6. While veggies roast, combine butter, shallot, herbs, and garlic in a small bowl and stir.
  7. Pour herb butter over vegetables, toss to coat, and serve immediately.

Notes

Note: Leftovers are fantastic in turkey or chicken potpie A word about ingredients. You may be tempted to skip the parsnips and use only carrots. Just don’t. Parsnips add a creamy sweetness to the dish. Now, on to the shallot. Shallots are not green onions. Shallots add depth and richness, and they are sweeter than green onions. They may be hiding at your grocery store, but seek them out. And the herbs? Even though your herb garden may be finished for the year, spring for fresh ones if you can. (If you do substitute dried herbs, remember dried herbs are much more potent than fresh so adjust accordingly)

http://arkansaswomenbloggers.com/talya-boerner-roasted-carrots-and-parsnips-with-herb-butter-foodie-friday/

talya crop 

Getting to Know Your ARWB Foodies

 
 What food reminds you of childhood? 
 Momma’s potato soup and cornbread. It’s a simple recipe that always reminds me of home. 
 
 What is your favorite international cuisine?
I like most any food made with simple, fresh ingredients, but if I had to choose, I’d select Mexican food. Street tacos with lots of cilantro – yum! 
What is always in your refrigerator at home?
Milk, minced garlic, cheese of some sort, white wine, beer, butter, eggs, cottage cheese. 
 

 

What are your go-to ingredients that you use time and time again?
 Olive oil, garlic, balsamic vinegar, sea salt.
 
Do you have a favorite food indulgence?
 Chips and queso. Fried pickles and homemade ranch dressing.

What is your most used cookbook?
 My family cookbook with recipes from friends and family. I also love love love The Flavor Bible, but it’s more of a reference book than cookboo

What is your favorite kitchen gadget?
My chef’s knife.
 
What is your favorite food meal to cook at home? 
 Roasted vegetables (okra, green beans, field peas) served over Arkansas rice. I especially like to mix fresh mint with it. Delicious.
 
What is a cooking tip that you would like to share with beginning cooks?
 Read the recipe and measure ingredients before starting. 
 
When you’re not cooking, what are your favorite pastimes?
 Writing, gardening, reading, and playing with my dogs. 

What else would you like us to know about you?
 Clutter makes me crazy. I get up super early every morning to write. I love Christmas music and sometimes listen to it in the summer. I want to get a master’s degree from the University of Arkansas so I will have my name on Senior Walk. I wish I could play the fiddle. My first novel, The Accidental Salvation of Gracie Lee, debuts January 28, 2016! Yay.
 
Twitter: @gracegrits
Instagram: @gracegrits
Blog: www.gracegritsgarden.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GraceGritsGardening/?ref=hl
 

Britney Lee: Gluten Free Pecan Bites {Foodie Friday}

Brittney Lee of Razorback Britt 

A couple of years ago, my mom went gluten free.  She isn’t allergic to gluten, but she found that gluten aggravated some of her pre-existing medical conditions, so she cut it out. Gluten is typically found in most baked goods, as flour contains gluten. While there are gluten free flours, they behave differently when cooking. So for the first year or so, we had difficulty replacing some of mom’s favorite foods with gluten free alternatives. We struggled to adjust to the gluten free lifestyle, especially when it came to holiday cooking.  

Thankfully, over the years we have discovered some delicious gluten free dishes to add to our holiday table. We have found a cornbread mix that makes great cornbread stuffing.  And our local health food carries a wonderful gluten free baguette that pairs wonderfully with our cranberry cheese dip. And we’ve adjusted our chicken and wild rice casserole recipe to be gluten free. But one dish was the thorn in my holiday baking side: pie.  

My mom loves pecan pie, and we hadn’t found a gluten free pie crust either ready-made or homemade that was perfect for pecan pie.  Either the crust turned out too fluffy like a puffed pastry, or it was more of a graham cracker crust.  Nothing seemed right for the pecan pie. I wanted so badly to recreate the pecan pie flavor for mom.

I ditched the pie idea and went for something that hit the right flavor notes instead.  These gluten free pecan pie bites hit the spot!  They are sweet, have the traditional flavors of pecan pie, and are actually pretty healthy! You won’t feel guilty indulging in them all holiday season long! 

gluten free pecan pie bites

In my recipe, I used corn syrup to bump up the traditional pecan pie taste.  Every pecan pie I’ve ever made used corn syrup, so that’s what I used here.  If you want an alternative, you could try another liquid sweetener like maple syrup, molasses, or honey. The point here is for the liquid to be a sweetener and binder. The mixture needs to be sticky enough to hold together in a ball.

pecan pie mixture in processor

Even if you aren’t gluten free, these are an easy treat to make that your family and friends will love.  They make great snacks or party food! For a twist, you could drizzle them with chocolate to mimic the flavors in a chocolate pecan pie. They are beautiful stacked in a bowl or spread them out on a platter with fun party picks. Or eat them right off the pan. That’s what I do!

make pecan pie bites

 

Britney Lee: Gluten Free Pecan Bites {Foodie Friday}

18 - 20 pieces

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cups pitted dates
  • 1/2 cups pecans
  • 1/2 cup oats (make sure they are gluten free!)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup (honey, molasses, or maple syrup would work too)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Place dates and pecans in food processor until well chopped and blended.
  2. Add oats, cinnamon, vanilla, corn syrup and salt, and pulse until incorporated.
  3. Scoop out 2 tablespoons at a time and roll into a ball.
  4. Serve room temperature or cold.
  5. Refrigerate up to a week. Happy snacking!
http://arkansaswomenbloggers.com/britney-lee-gluten-free-pecan-bites-foodie-friday/
 

Adapted from this recipe

brittney lee headshot

 

Getting to Know Your ARWB Foodies
 
 What food reminds you of childhood? 
 My mom’s porcupine meatballs. Mom didn’t home cook a lot (and these DO have rice-a-roni and jarred gravy in them, so it’s not exactly home cooking) but it always felt like a meal she put a lot of love into. And it was delish! http://www.razorbackbritt.com/favorite-meal-moms-porcupine-meatballs/
 
 What is your favorite international cuisine?
 Mexican! I could eat salsa by the jar. I like the spicy, creamy, smoky flavors together. I also like that I can lighten up the restaurant versions at home with lighter ingredients.
 
What is always in your refrigerator at home?
Liquid egg whites. Easy and healthy to whip up for any meal. I usually do mine with cheese and a little green onion. 
 
What is your go-to ingredients that you use time and time again?
The Cafe 1217 Cookbook from Cafe 1217 in Hot Springs. I cook the gingerbread muffins several times a year. 
 
Do you have a favorite food indulgence?
 Queso with chorizo. As if queso isn’t indulgent enough, let’s add some sausage and dip it with fried tortillas. 

What is your most used cookbook?
 The Cafe 1217 Cookbook from Cafe 1217 in Hot Springs. I cook the gingerbread muffins several times a year. 

What is your favorite kitchen gadget?
My slow cooker! I use it at least twice a week. I make soups, stews, roasts, and just about anything in the crock pot. 
 
What is your favorite food meal to cook at home? 
I love to cook steaks and potatoes. A nice steak with some garlic, and top it with blue cheese at the very end of the broil. A side of potatoes roasted with some garlic, herbs, and Parmesan cheese. 
What is your favorite go-to ingredients you use time and time again?
 Canned fire-roasted tomatoes. An easy way to add to the depth of flavor in my crock pot recipes.
 
What is a cooking tip that you would like to share with beginning cooks?
 Learn what you don’t know! Don’t be too scared. We all start somewhere. Watch the Food Network, watch Youtube videos, read blogs. Learn about common flavor combinations and kitchen skills. My mom wasn’t a cook, but I learned by watching the Food Network a lot as a teen. I would watch, print out the recipe, and play with it. I would add this, take out that (especially for spices or ingredients we didn’t have or I’d never heard of)…and figure it out. Don’t know how to cook an artichoke? Watch a Youtube video and buy an artichoke. Give it a try!
 
When you’re not cooking, what are your favorite pastimes?
 I enjoy Zumba, walking my dogs, and reading. I try to stay active so I can enjoy treats in moderation.

What else would you like us to know about you?
 I’m a foodie who loves to try new things. If it’s funky and on the menu, I’m ordering it. Hamburger with peanut butter? Delish. Pizza with pears. Awesome. I’m not afraid to try most anything once. Except rocky mountain oysters. I have no interest in trying those!
 
Brittney is a native Arkansan with a love for bright lights and big city. She often escapes her 20-acre home in a small town to shop, eat and catch a concert in the big city nearby. She blogs about her life, her faith, her adventures, her dogs and her country home at Razorback Britt.
 

Heather Disarro: Ginger Poached Pears {Foodie Friday}

It’s November, and if you are anything like me you are simultaneously overjoyed at and terrified of all the amazing holiday food that is just around the corner. Holiday food is incredibly delicious and, ahem, hearty to say the least. There is really no secret as to why once the holidays are over there is a big push for health and wellness in January; however, it does not have to be this way. While we should certainly enjoy some of those amazing goodies over the next few weeks we can also enjoy those same warm flavors without all of the decadence.

ginger-poached-pears-1Enter poached fruit, specifically poached pears. In just a few minutes you can enjoy a beautiful and flavorful fruit dessert and not feel even the slightest bit of guilt. How crazy is that? It is a well-kept secret, and one that I think we should be willing to share over and over and over again. These ginger poached pears take some of the warmest and most comforting holiday flavors and combine them all into a gorgeous dessert you will be proud to share.

 

 ginger-poached-pears-2

A few notes before we get started:

  • I like to use Bosc pears for this dessert. You will want a firm green pear so that it does not fall apart in the cooking process.
  • This recipe calls for a good amount of ginger; trust me, it is not a misprint. You want all of the warmth and spice that ginger provides to be infused into these pears, which means a lot of ginger is necessary.
  • You can certainly add other delicious whole spices – allspice, cloves, nutmeg, etc – but make sure they are whole and not in their ground state.
  • I like to quarter my pears for faster and more even cooking; however, if you want you can also halve the pears and use a melon baller to scoop out the seeds. Just increase the cooking time by a few minutes and test for doneness before serving.
  • A great accompaniment to this dessert is a drizzle of caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream, but these pears also make a great accompaniment to tarts, cakes and cookies as well!
  • The original recipe recommends cutting a circle of parchment paper and placing it over the pears; I have found many times that a coffee filter with a circle cut in the middle does the exact same thing in a fraction of the time.

 

ginger-poached-pears-3

 

Heather Disarro: Ginger Poached Pears

8 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 large firm Bosc pears, peeled, quartered and cored
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup peeled and chopped fresh ginger
  • 4 cinnamon sticks

Instructions

  1. Combine the water, sugar, honey and vanilla in a large pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer, allowing the sugar to dissolve.
  2. Add the ginger and cinnamon sticks and stir gently.
  3. Carefully slide the pears into the simmering liquid, reduce the heat slightly, and simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and allow to cool in the syrup.
  5. Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream, whipped cream, or as a side to another delicious dessert.
http://arkansaswomenbloggers.com/heather-disarro-ginger-poached-pears-foodie-friday/

Based on David Lebowitz’s Poached Pear recipe (http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2009/11/how-to-make-poached-pears/)

 
Heather Disarro_1_Lowres2Getting to Know Your ARWB Foodies
 
What food reminds you of childhood? 
MY MOM’S MINESTRONE SOUP ALWAYS REMINDS ME OF COOL NIGHTS. WE LOVED SERVING OURS WITH CORNBREAD AND A FRUIT SALAD!
 
What is your favorite international cuisine?
THAT’S A HARD ONE! I WOULD HAVE TO SAY THAT I’M CONSISTENTLY IN LOVE WITH ITALIAN FOOD, AND MY HUSBAND AND I BOTH DREAM OF EATING OUR WAY THROUGH ITALY ONE DAY. I LOVE THAT IT’S BOTH FRESH AND DECADENT, AND ALWAYS MADE WITH LOVE.

What is always in your refrigerator at home?
 WE ALWAYS HAVE YOGURT, MILK AND STRING CHEESE! 

What is your go-to ingredients that you use time and time again?
WE’RE A GARLIC-LOVING FAMILY THROUGH AND THROUGH; I USE IT IN ALMOST EVERYTHING!
 
Do you have a favorite food indulgence?
 I ALWAYS LOVE CHEESECAKE, BUT A GREAT PIECE OF MEAT THAT’S BEEN PERFECTLY COOKED IS PRETTY FANTASTIC TOO.

What is your most used cookbook?
 SINCE I’M A FOOD BLOGGER I SPEND A LOT OF TIME MAKING UP MY OWN RECIPES, AND AS SUCH DON’T READ A LOT OF COOKBOOKS. BUT I LOVE MY AMERICA’S TEST KITCHEN COOKBOOK THAT I GOT AS A WEDDING GIFT; EVERY RECIPE IS A WINNER AND THEY ALL LEAVE ROOM TO BUILD NEW FLAVORS INTO TRADITIONAL DISHES.

What is your favorite kitchen gadget?
 I REALLY LOVE MY STAND MIXER AND MY BLENDER, BUT THE REALITY IS THAT THE MOST USED THINGS ARE MY FAVORITE CUTTING BOARD AND A SHARP KNIFE. AND MY HANDS!
 
What is your favorite food meal to cook at home? 
 IF I HAVE ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD I REALLY LOVE COOKING OLD-FASHIONED ITALIAN FOOD WITH SLOW-COOKED TOMATO SAUCE AND FRESH INGREDIENTS. I LOVE THE IDEA OF SLOWING DOWN THE PACE OF COOKING AND REALLY BRINGING OUR CHILDREN INTO THE PROCESS. 
 
What is a cooking tip that you would like to share with beginning cooks?
 MAKE SURE THAT YOU ALWAYS HEAT YOUR PAN PROPERLY – IF IT’S TOO COLD (UNLESS IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE THAT WAY) THEN THE FLAVORS AND TEXTURES DON’T DEVELOP THE WAY THAT THEY SHOULD!
 
When you’re not cooking, what are your favorite pastimes?
 I LOVE GETTING OUTSIDE AND HIKING, PLAYING IN OUR GARDEN, PAINTING, READING, AND CLEANING! ALTHOUGH IF WE LIVED CLOSER TO WATER I’D SAY FIRST AND FOREMOST SWIMMING AND PADDLEBOARDING!

What else would you like us to know about you?
 I’M FIRST AND FOREMOST A DAUGHTER OF CHRIST, WIFE AND MOTHER BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE. MY FAMILY IS WHAT INSPIRES ME TO CREATE!
 

Heather Disarro is a food-centric lifestyle blogger who is passionate about embracing the beauty that surrounds us with in our everyday lives. She is a Texan living the expat life in central Arkansas with her husband, son and two massive dogs. Heather writes her blog, Heather’s Dish, from an office filled with dust, dog fur, toys and plenty of love, grace and music.  She specializes in creating delicious and creatively nourishing recipes.  Cooking seasonally and with as many local ingredients as possible is an important component to Heather’s style of food, and she revels in the opportunity to bring the love of cooking to the world as a way to love others well!