One of my favorite memories with my grandma back in the day was going to dinner at Chili’s. My mom would order a salad, my sister would order chicken fingers, and my grandma and my dad and I would all order the baby back ribs, which inevitably brought on a rendition of everyone singing the famous jingle (with bar-be-que sauce!).
But before we dove into our messy main courses, every now and then we would get the treat of ordering the famous “awesome blossom”. Or as other restaurants call it, a blooming onion. I found out later that this deep-fried onion topped the charts at the time for the most unhealthy thing you could order at the restaurant, but boy was it good!!! We all loved dipping those onion petals in that heavenly sauce — so much so, that we were often completely full before our entrees arrived! Oh, to have the metabolism of a kid. :)
One of my favorite discoveries of the week was raw marinara sauce. It tasted almost identical to traditional marinara sauce, but like so many things raw, it literally just took the push of a button on the food processor and the sauce was ready to go in seconds! I also snuck in a few extra ingredients, like a red bell pepper, a carrot, and lots of fresh basil. And if you’re feeling fancy, you can also throw in some sun-dried tomatoes. But overall, I was completely in love with this raw marinara sauce. Look forward to making it again soon even after I’ve returned to my old “cooked” ways.
This past weekend, I had the privilege of traveling to Roanoke to gather with a bunch of food bloggers for the first-annual Mixed conference. I will be posting more photos and stories of the event soon. It was a total blast!
One of the highlights of the weekend came as a total surprise to me. My Roasted Vegetable Macaroni & Cheese ended up winning a midnight mac ‘n’ cheese contest sponsored by Dreamfields Pasta! I was more than a little shocked, and have no doubt that my face turned beet red as I walked up to receive the prize. But they were awesome, and even gave me a red sash, black feather boa and a little tiara. So fun! :)
As I’ve mentioned before, I am not a huge fan of cold weather. I’m all for living in a place with the four seasons, and love the beauty of a freshly fallen snow. But when it comes to any form of shivering or a red nose, I would trade that for the sweltering summer heat anyday. I just do not like being cold! But alas, since I have chosen to make my home in the Midwest, I have learned to get through my winters. And one of the things I most look forward to is a warm bowl of homemade potato soup.
Oh my goodness. I think the reality of planning 2 back-to-back trips before leaving the country for 3+ weeks is finally settling in.
It is only the beginning of the week, and I have already pulled two ridiculously late nighters and have been buzzing around a million miles an hour during the days trying to check things off my to-do lists. No complaints — it has already been a wonderful autumn and I’m completely excited about what’s ahead these next two months. But I’ve come to accept that spare time and sleep are definitely going to be a little limited right now, so I’m trying to soak of moments of joy and relaxation whenever they can be found!
Ever since I posted my hummus-crusted chicken recipe last month, I have been itching to try some more creative recipes with hummus.
So in honor of Thanksgiving, and my complete love of all things mashed potatoes, I decided to try an experiment this week — hummus mashed potatoes! Yep. Instead of adding in loads of sour cream or heavy cream or, really, any kind of cream to make these “creamy”, I just stirred in a little butter, salt, and a big batch of hummus. And believe it or not, it worked!!!
When I was a kid, our extended family used to love meeting up for big dinners regularly at our neighborhood Italian restaurant, DeFazio’s. Everyone would order these huge steaming plates of delicious pastas, salads, sides and more. And Yours Truly would order…”plain spaghetti”. Oh yes. I was the token picky eater in the family. And no thank you, I did not want to “just try it”. ;)
Luckily, though, everyone at DeFazio’s always received a steaming bowl of minestrone soup as an appetizer. And over the years, I began to grow more and more fond of this yummy pasta soup, even though I would have had a small heart attack at age 10 if anyone had told me that there was zucchini snuck in there!
Any of you Instagram followers will know that I had the pleasure of spending last week in Iowa with a bunch of stellar farmers and bloggers learning all about…CORN! Lots and lots and lots of corn! It was a fabulous experience (which I will be telling you about soon in another post!). But ever since then, I have been craving this salad I adore from one of my favorite local KC restaurants, Urban Table, that it sprinkled with the most delicious roasted corn. They call it the “Shrimp Buena Terra Salad”. I call it…one of my favorite salads EVER.
Seriously. I know that food bloggers are supposed to be all adventurous and everything, but this salad was the first dish I ever ordered there and I love it so much that I may have ordered it every time since. SO GOOD. So after a year, I finally decided I should try making it at home. And I must say, my little homemade rendition seemed to be pretty spot on!