Saturday, June 30, 2012

Slow Cooker Honey Balsamic Pulled Pork Sandwiches Recipe



I knew when I first stumbled across this recipe, I just had to make it! I am a huge vinegar lover, especially balsamic and knew it would make a great sauce. I'm always looking for new slow cooker recipes too. My apartment gets so hot in the summertime and it's always nice not having to use the oven.

This recipe is so easy and so flavorful! I love the sweetness from the honey and brown sugar, and richness from the balsamic. It's even better when you top it off with some yummy homemade coleslaw. The sauce is amazing and I know it would also be good thrown on some chicken and baked in the oven. Use your imagination, this one is a winner!!

Slow Cooker Honey Balsamic Pulled Pork Sandwiches (print recipe)

What you need:
1- 2 1/2-3 pound pork roast
1 cup onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup green pepper, diced
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1 cup chicken broth
buns

Sauce:
1 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup ketchup
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper

Directions:
Place roast, onion, garlic, green pepper, thyme, rosemary, and broth in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 9-10 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. 

When pork is almost ready to be pulled start making the sauce. In a medium saucepan, combine all of the sauce ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. 

While sauce is simmering, remove pork and veggies from the slow cooker. Drain broth. Pull pork apart with two forks, and return pork and veggies to slow cooker. Mix in the sauce, and cook on low for 1 hour.

Serve on a bun, topped with coleslaw!

If you liked this recipe, follow the Hot Eats and Cool Reads board on Pinterest here!

Recipe Source:
Better Homes and Gardens (slightly adapted)


Restaurant Review: Lucrezia Cafe in Chesterton, Indiana




I absolutely adore amazing little restaurants like the Lucrezia Cafe in Chesterton, Indiana. We were on our way out to my sister's house in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for an annual vacation, and we decided to stop off in Chesterton to grab a bite to eat. As soon as you pull off the freeway, you see a huge cluster of fast food and chain restaurants. Ish. In the middle of all that mess, I saw this small sign that said "historic downtown" and I knew we had to see what this downtown had to offer!

After driving and passing by a few restaurants and cute little shops, The word Italian caught my eye on the front of this charming little house. I had my Stepmom Monica, pull in the alley, and we walked up to a very nice and cozy patio where we decided to sit after being in the car for hours.

We were immediately greeted by the servers and seated. I especially loved this patio. It was surrounded by beautiful trees and a little fence, making it so relaxing and serene. The inside was very cool as well. The servers were very attentive, refilling the bread basket as soon as it was empty. The olive oil on the table was herbed and so incredible tasting, making it very addicting. They also had a lunch menu available, and since we were seated before 3pm, we were able to take advantage of the half portion lunch meals making it a great value. 

I ordered the Fettuccine with Salmon in Lemon Dill Sauce. It was astounding. The lemon flavor in the sauce was intense, and the salmon was so tender and flavorful. I highly recommend this dish!


 My nephew Michael ordered the Spaghetti with Meatballs and he said they were very good as well.


 Monica, my Stepmom, ordered the special for that day, Fettuccine with Shrimp, Broccoli, Cherry Tomatoes, Roasted Garlic in Asiago Cream. She said it was a delightful blend of pasta, veggies and shrimp. I have to agree. (I had to try a bite!)

  
 Here is Ella enjoying her Minestrone Soup. I swear this little girl could eat soup all day, every day!


 If you are ever in this area, please stop by this unique restaurant. They also have a store next door selling some of their foodie items. You will be very impressed with the great food and service. I am so glad we stopped by!

You can find Lucrezia Cafe here:
428 South Calumet Road
Chesterton, IN 46304
219-926-5829

Their Facebook page is here!
Their website is here!


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Creamy Coleslaw with Pickles Recipe



This is my first time making coleslaw. It's just not something I think of making often. Well, I decided to make some pulled pork sandwiches, and I knew I had to come up with a coleslaw recipe to go on the sandwiches. I also remembered my Dad saying he loves Popeye's coleslaw because it has pickles in it, so I knew that was gonna be my special ingredient. 

I absolutely love how this recipe turned out. I initially wanted to use Miracle Whip, but then after I got home from grocery shopping, and realized I had none. I had to go with mayo. It was fabulous and turned out just the way I imagined it would. The flavors are all great together and it topped my sandwich perfectly. This is a great recipe to bring to your next barbeque! Enjoy!!

Creamy Coleslaw with Pickles (print recipe)

What you need:
1- 1 pound bag coleslaw
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup dill pickles, diced
2 cups mayo
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper

Directions:
Put the coleslaw, onions and pickles in a large bowl. In a separate smaller bowl, combine mayo, sugar, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper and mix well. Pour sauce mixture over coleslaw and mix well. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Stir before serving. 

If you liked this recipe, follow the Hot Eats and Cool Reads board on Pinterest here!

Book Review: Antebellum: A Novel by R. Kayeen Thomas



Description from Goodreads:
A thought-provoking novel about African-American culture seen through the eyes of a famous rapper who is transported to the days of slavery and forced to experience it firsthand. When Moses is sent back in time, he finds himself a slave forced to live the life of his ancestors. A rapper in current time, Moses must confront the reality of the African-American experience as slavery challenges everything he holds dear from his fellow rappers and their lyrics, to the executives and their motives. Antebellum is the hard-hitting, gritty story of Moses. From rap superstar to broken slave and back, Antebellum will have readers on the edge of their seats and keep them talking long after they put it down.

More about the book from the author:


 My Thoughts:
I am a huge fan of books about slavery, so when I first read the description of this book, I knew that I needed to read it. R. Kayeen Thomas does a great job combining urban fiction with historical fiction in this novel. 

Moses, the main character, who's also known for his very controversial name, is a popular rapper who lives life for music, women, drugs, drinking etc. The fast life is leading him down a very rocky road. He gets shot by a rival rapper's crew and during his coma he gets transported back into slavery.

I cannot even describe the torture and pain Moses had to endure as a slave. It is so heartbreaking to know these horrible things happened in our history and how some of these brave souls survived. Life on the plantation was well described and very real feeling. I also loved how the past and present time were tied together. Overall, I thought this book was phenomenal and I cannot wait to read the sequel. The author did a great job!

I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars

*I received this book from the publisher, Strebor Books, to read and review. The opinion is my own, and not influenced in any way.*
 


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Creamy Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas Recipe



I am on a huge spinach kick lately! This is my third recipe in the last few weeks using it! This recipe turned out so good. The combo of the chicken and spinach, along with the Mexican spices were perfect. I also loved the white sauce instead of the traditional red sauce. It had a unique flavor, and is really quite healthy compared to typical cream sauces. I hope you enjoy!!

Creamy Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas (print recipe)

What you need:
1 pound ground chicken
1- 10 ounce package of frozen spinach, thawed and liquid strained
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions, plus extra for garnish
3 cloves garlic, minced
1- 16 ounce carton sour cream
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cumin, divided
2 teaspoons chili powder, divided
1 1/2 cups milk
1 4 ounce can diced green chiles
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced
12- 7 inch flour tortillas
2 cups cheddar cheese, divided
salt and pepper

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet, cook chicken, green onions, garlic, 1 teaspoon each chili powder and cumin, salt and pepper until chicken is cooked through. Remove from heat and mix in spinach and 1 cup cheese. Set aside.

In a bowl, mix sour cream, yogurt, salt, 1 teaspoon each chili powder and cumin, milk, green chiles, and cilantro until thoroughly mixed.

Mix half of the sauce mixture with the chicken and spinach mixture. Take one tortilla, and spread chicken and spinach mixture across the tortilla, and roll it up. Place seam side down in a 9x13 baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Spread remaining sauce over the enchiladas and top with the remaining cheese. Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes, or until heated through. Serve with green onions sprinkled on top and with your favorite salsa on the side.

If you liked this recipe, follow the Hot Eats and Cool Reads board on Pinterest here!

Recipe Source:
recipe.com (slightly adapted)



Sunday, June 24, 2012

Magic Crust Custard Pie Recipe



OMG, where has this pie been all of my life?? I am a huge custard lover and this Magic Crust Custard Pie totally hits the spot. It is so smooth and creamy and so easy to make! My five year old daughter even loved it! She said "You need to make this more often, Mom!"

These simple ingredients are always in my pantry and fridge, so I know if I need a quick dessert, I can always rely on this recipe. Even though you blend all of the ingredients together, somehow the flour settles, and makes the crust for the pie. I love the crunchiness of the browned sugar on the top. Yum! You will love this one!


 Magic Crust Custard Pie (print recipe)

What you need:
1/4 cup butter
4 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
1 pinch salt
2 cups milk (I used 1%)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup all purpose flour
nutmeg

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Put all of the ingredients in a blender. Blend for 30 seconds.

Pour into a 9 inch buttered pie pan. Sprinkle with nutmeg.

Bake for 45 minutes.

If you liked this recipe, follow the Hot Eats and Cool Reads board on Pinterest here!

Recipe Source:
Just a Pinch (slightly adapted)



Thursday, June 21, 2012

Chicken and Rice Casserole Recipe From Scratch (No Cream Soup!!)



I have been craving a good, creamy chicken and rice dish for awhile now. This one turned out great and even better, you don't have to use any canned cream soups to make it! It's all from scratch!! Woo-hoo!

Starting this blog almost a year ago has brought many changes to our eating habits. I have cut out most processed foods and try to make almost everything from scratch. It is so much easier than I ever thought and we eat so much better than before. I love it!! Hope you enjoy as much as we did!

Chicken and Rice Casserole (print recipe)

What you need:
2 cups raw chicken breast, cut into cubes
1/2 cup shredded carrots 
1 cup white minute rice
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
1 cup onion, diced
5 tablespoons butter
3 cups milk
1/4 cup flour
salt and pepper

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a glass 9x13 baking dish, combine chicken, carrots, white rice, 1/2 cup cheddar and parsley. Set aside.

In a medium sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and saute for a few minutes. Add flour and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring. Add milk, salt, and pepper, and heat cooking for about 4-5 minutes or until mixture slightly thickens. Pour milk mixture over the contents in the baking dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Bake for about 45 minutes or until chicken and rice are cooked through. 

If you liked this recipe, follow the Hot Eats and Cool Reads board on Pinterest here!

This recipe was shared at:
Creative Thursday at Michelle's Tasty Creations
Piece O Cake at Loving This Crazy Life
Recipe Linky at Newlyweds
Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen's Country Cottage
Whatcha Whipped Up Wednesday at DJ's Sugar Shack
Toot Your Horn Tuesday at Love Bakes Good Cakes
Tuesday Talent Show at Chef in Training
Makin You Crave Monday at Mrs Happy Homemaker
Mealtime Monday at Couponing and Cooking
Mix it Up Monday at Flour Me With Love
Church Supper at Everyday Mom's Meals
Weekend Potluck at The Better Baker


Monday, June 18, 2012

Apricot Fruit Tart Dessert Recipe From The Disney Channel



If you have a child who watches the Disney Channel often, then you've probably seen this recipe on a TTI commercial. My daughter has been begging me to make these for last month or two, so we finally got all of the ingredients and made them! 

She pretty much had the commercial memorized, but I googled the recipe just to make sure we had the baking instructions correct. You can read Megan's blog post here, with her original recipe, and the cute story of visiting Farmer Eric's Garden of Fruit.

We loved how these fruit tarts turned out and they were so fun to make! My daughter had a blast rolling out the dough, and assembling them just like Megan did on the commercial. She was disappointed we didn't have the mint leaf to finish them off, but that was quickly forgotten when she started making them!

This is such a fun recipe to make with the kids and I'm sure we will be trying them again! Have fun!

Apricot Fruit Tart Dessert (print recipe)

What you need:
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
sugar
raspberry jam
3 apricots, sliced into wedges
2 raspberries

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle sugar on each side of the puff pastry and roll it out on a floured surface until it measures 12x12 inches.

Put a cereal bowl upside down on the pastry, by the corner, and cut around it with a knife to make a circle. Repeat with the other corner. You should have 2 circles from 1 sheet of pastry.


Place pastry on a cookie sheet and sprinkle lightly with more sugar. Spread raspberry jam evenly over the pastry circle.


 Place apricots around the pastry in a circle. Place 1 raspberry in the middle of the pastry. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Easy Garlic Cheese Bread Recipe



I'm always looking for and trying new garlic bread ideas. This recipe is easy and has great flavor too! I love the convenience of using refrigerated pizza crust. It's a huge time saver! The prep is quick and within 20 minutes, you have a great side dish or appetizer. We also love making these for a snack. Enjoy!!

Easy Garlic Cheese Bread (print recipe)

What you need:
1- 13.8 oz tube refrigerated pizza crust
1/4 cup butter, melted
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh basil or parsley, minced
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup shredded parmesan

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Press dough onto a cookie sheet. In a small bowl, combine butter, garlic, and basil or parsley. Spread butter mixture evenly over the dough. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until crispy and browned on top. 

If you liked this recipe, follow the Hot Eats and Cool Reads board on Pinterest, here!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Book Review: Fear of Falling by Susan Kiernan-Lewis



Description from Goodreads:
When Matt and Sarah Woodson take a much-needed vacation with their ten-year old son, John, their intention is to find a relaxing, remote spot to take a break from the artificial stimulation of their busy world back in Jacksonville, Florida. What happens within hours of settling in to their rural, rustic little cottage in a far-flung spot on the coast of Ireland is an international incident that leaves the family stranded and dependent on themselves for their survival. Facing starvation, as well as looters and opportunists, they learn the hard way the important things in life. Can a family skilled only in modern day suburbia and corporate workplaces learn to survive when the world is flung back a hundred years? When there is no internet, no telephones, no electricity and no cars? And when every person near them is desperate to survive at any cost?

My thoughts:
When I first read the summary of this book, I just knew it was a book I had to read. It really makes you wonder what you'd do in Matt and Sarah's situation. Their peaceful family trip to Ireland, turns into a nightmare when a nuclear attack prevents all electronics and cars from working. They are forced to live a lifestyle they know nothing about and have to survive in a lawless and dangerous world.

The topic of this book is so intriguing. It shows you have to do things you normally wouldn't do, just to survive. The author did a great job in creating a realistic setting and storyline. You felt like you were right there with the family every step of the way. The book was great overall and I wish I had more time to read right now, because I didn't want to put it down and would've finished alot sooner. I definitely recommend this book! 

I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars!

*I received a copy of this book from the author to read and review. This has not influenced my opinion in any way.*
 

Recipe and Product Review: Spinach and Tomato Egg Bake With Gold'n Plump Chicken Breakfast Sausage



Chicken is something we cook with alot at my house, and Gold'n Plump is the brand we use most often because I like to support local companies and the quality is always great. They also offer such great coupons through their website, email, and newspaper. I was so excited when I received an email from Gold'n Plump asking if I would like to try their new line of Chicken Brats, Sausages, and Breakfast Sausages. I jumped at the chance to try and review them!

This recipe for Spinach and Egg Bake uses Gold'n Plump's Apple Maple Breakfast Sausages. I really liked the unique flavor of these sausages. They are alot less salty than pork breakfast sausages, and the chicken goes well with the spinach and tomatoes in this recipe. They are a much healthier alternative as well, which is always a plus!  These breakfast sausages would be amazing with pancakes, eggs, or french toast too! Three links are only 100 calories and these sausages are gluten and nitrate free! There are so many good reasons to buy them!

This egg and hashbrown bake turned out fabulous! We love trying new egg bakes and often eat them for dinner since I love to sleep in on the weekends. They also reheat well for a fast weekday breakfast. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did!


Spinach and Tomato Egg Bake With Chicken Breakfast Sausages (print recipe)

What you need:
1- 12 ounce package Gold'n Plump Apple Maple Breakfast Sausages, cooked according to package directions and cut into bite sized pieces
1 pound shredded frozen hashbrowns, thawed
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 1/2 cup white mushrooms, sliced
1 cup spinach, torn into bite sized pieces
1 cup shredded cheese, divided
1 cup tomatoes, diced
10 eggs
1 cup milk
salt and pepper

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 glass baking dish, evenly spreading hashbrowns on the bottom and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover the hashbrowns with onions, mushrooms, spinach, sausage, and 1/2 cup cheese. In a large bowl, beat eggs and milk. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper to the egg mixture and pour over top of veggies and hashbrowns. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top and bake uncovered for 45 minutes or until eggs are set. 

*I received the product above at no cost, but the opinion in this review is 100% my own* 

For other recipes using Gold'n Plump Chicken Breakfast Sausage visit their website here!

This recipe was shared at:
Cast Party Wednesday at Lady Behind the Curtain
Recipe Round Up at Gooseberry Patch
Recipe Linky at Newlyweds
Whatcha Whipped Up at DJ's Sugar Shack
Totally Tasty Tuesdays at Mandy's Recipe Box
Mealtime Monday at Couponing and Cooking
Tuesday Talent Show at Chef in Training
Makin You Crave Monday at Mrs Happy Homemaker
Breakfast Ideas at Yummy Inspirations
Mix it Up Monday at Flour Me With Love
Foodie Friday at Simple Living
Weekend Potluck at The Country Cook
Fantastic Thursday at Five Little Chefs
Creative Thursday at Michelle's Tasty creations
Showcase Your Talent Thursday at What's Cooking Love?
Piece O Cake Party at Loving This Crazy Life
Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen's Country Cottage



Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Rhubarb Cream Cake Recipe


My best friend Stacy, has been telling me about this delicious rhubarb cake her Grandma Mauer makes, for the last couple months now. We finally were able to get together, so I decided to grab a couple of bags of rhubarb out of the freezer to defrost, and we make this cake! 

This cake is oh so bad for you with a whole pint of whipping cream poured over the top, but the end result is fabulous. I am a huge custard lover, and this cake has a wonderful creamy custard flavor. This is a new favorite right along with the Rhubarb Dump Cake I posted a couple months ago. You and your family will love it, if you are a fan of rhubarb!



Rhubarb Cream Cake (print recipe)

What you need:
1 box yellow cake mix plus the ingredients to make the cake batter listed on the box
4 cups rhubarb
1 cup sugar
1 pint whipping cream

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix yellow cake mix according to package directions and pour into a greased 9x13 glass baking dish.

Sprinkle rhubarb evenly over cake batter, and cover evenly with sugar. Pour the whipping cream over the top. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until top is browned. Cool completely before serving and refrigerate leftovers.

If you liked this recipe, follow the Hot Eats and Cool Reads board on Pinterest here!