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Food

Food is more than just something you put in your mouth to your fuel your body. Food is an adventure, a shared experience with someone you love, it’s traveling to a distant part of the world and it brings people together.

In our family are foodies. I come from a long line of foodies. We were taught to try everything and I’ve raised my daughters to try everything twice.

Here I will review different restaurants, share recipes and try foods that you may otherwise have never heard of or known about. My goal is to share all the good we discover and give my readers, and my family, exposure to different kinds of cuisines and tastes.

Food is something that connects all humans. We all need it. We all love it. The more we understand the foods of different cultures, the more we can understand it’s people and the world can always use a little more human understanding.

Farmer's Market Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Spring is here. We’re a month out from the end of the longest virtual school year ever. The girls and I have all been working hard to make it off this struggle bus of pandemic living.  We’re in full survival mode and right now, survival means adding something to look forward to each and every day, even if that just means something as simple as a facial mask or some new recipes.

Jump to Recipe

We should have never left the house for spring break. What should have been a welcome reprieve from our pandemic isolation ended up with us catching a severe case of senioritis. If you know, you know. Think the last 2 months of pregnancy…get out. The worst part is that I have to be the adult and encourage my girls to just hang in there, it’s “almost over” when all I want to do is quit. Talk about mom faking it until we make it.

Disclosure: This is a compensated post in partnership with S.Rosen’s Baking Company. But all opinions and love of grilled cheese are my own.

To break up the monotony, I’ve been trying to get us safely out of the house more often. With the nice weather, that means more trips to outdoor venues, even if it’s just walking around the neighborhood pathways or the local Farmer’s market. But in doing so, that means not just fresh air but tiny, new adventures. Baby step adventures in travel, exploration and food and that feels just the littlest bit “normal” and I am here for it. Life feels new, fresh and exciting right now (just because it feels like normalcy may be possible again in the near future) and it hasn’t felt that way in a long time. I feel hopeful.

Delicious Farmer's Market Sandwich Recipes for the Whole Family, grilled cheese

Since we’re spending more time at the local Farmer’s market anyway, why not try some new recipes Farmer’s Market Inspired Grilled Cheeses?

Springtime is here and we’re craving something fresh. While all those fresh veggies can be absolutely delicious, they may not be everyone’s favorite food at the table. Though growing up, my mom’s grilled cheese was my favorite thing to eat. In fact, I couldn’t eat anything else during the first 6 months of my 1st pregnancy. Thankfully, my mom was happy to oblige and I’m happy to oblige my girls when they ask for my grilled cheese sandwiches.

But what about those fresh veggies you just bought at the Farmer’s market? Enter a unique mashup of grilled cheese and fresh veggies. These modular recipes bring together everyone’s favorite comfort food, grilled cheese with garden fresh veggies in easy to modify recipes. You can easily and quickly leave out select ingredients and customize each sandwich as needed for certain family members. Though we’d suggest NOT leaving out the bread and cheese – that could be a bit difficult.

Farmer’s Market Inspired Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipes

Fresh Asparagus and Spring Pesto Grilled Cheese

Ever feel like poor asparagus only gets used one way? Thrown on the grill and that’s about it, but we think this springtime veg is far more versatile than that! The key is cutting it up into bite size pieces to make this grilled cheese a fun, seasonal creation.
Servings 1

Equipment

  • Skillet
  • Panini Maker

Ingredients
  

For the Spring Pesto:

  • 2 Tbsp Toasted pine nuts
  • 1/4 Cup Olive oil
  • 6 Tbsp Grated parmesan
  • 1/2 Tsp Roasted garlic
  • 1 oz Fresh Chives

Per Sandwich

  • 2-3 Stalks Asparagus ends snapped off and sliced into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 Slices Havarti cheese
  • 1 Slice Prosciutto torn into bite size pieces
  • Mayo to your liking
  • 2 Slices S.Rosen’s Farmer’s Market White Bread

Instructions
 

  • Prepare the pesto (this can be done the day before). Combine the pesto ingredients in a blender. Pulse until you reach the desired consistency.
  • Sauté asparagus pieces for 3 minutes on high heat, until you see it begin to brown. Take off heat and transfer to a separate bowl, stirring in 1-2 Tbsp. of the pesto (depending on how strong you want it). 
  • Heat skillet or panini maker to medium (we really like cast iron for this if it’s available, but if not, use a non-stick pan).
  • Assemble the sandwich: one slice of Havarti, top with the prosciutto, then the pesto coated asparagus, and more slices of cheese. Top with the second slice of bread after spreading a thin layer of mayo on it. If you’re making multiple grilled cheeses, assemble them all before you start griddling.
  • Place the sandwich mayo side down in the skillet. Spread mayo on the bread slice now facing up and cook 3 minutes, or until bread is toasty brown.  Turn and repeat.  Your stove top and pan may require slightly different cooking times.

For the sweet and savory Farmer’s market sandwich lover

Arugula Blueberry Grilled Cheese

Fresh Arugula and Local Jam Grilled Cheese

Maybe one of the most fun items to pick up at the farmers market is local jam, and with family favorite cheese Muenster, this combination creates a tasty and easy-to-make grilled cheese.  The arugula adds a nice peppery counter balance to the jam and makes this a more sophisticated sandwich for adults. As for the jam, we recommend the following flavors: blueberry, blackberry and apricot, but we encourage you to try your favorites! 
Servings 1

Equipment

  • Skillet
  • Or Panini Maker

Ingredients
  

Per Sandwich

  • High quality jam of your choice
  • 3 Slices Muenster cheese
  • Arugula Handful
  • Mayo to your liking
  • 2 Slices S.Rosen’s Farmer’s Market White Bread

Instructions
 

  • Heat skillet to medium (we really like cast iron for this if it’s available, but if not use a non-stick pan)
  • Assemble the sandwich: One and a half slices of Muenster (rip the half slice into pieces and spread around the slice), spread jam over cheese, and add a handful of arugula. Top with the second slice of bread. 
  • Spread a thin layer of mayo on this slice. If you’re making multiple grilled cheeses, first assemble them all before you start griddling.
  • Place the sandwich mayo side down in the skillet.  Spread mayo on the bread slice now facing up and cook 3 minutes, or until bread is toasty brown.  Turn and repeat. Your stove top and pan may require slightly different cooking times.

Farmer’s Market Sandwich that will fill you up

Bacon Chard Grilled Cheese

Chard, Apple and Bacon Grilled Cheese with Red Pepper Sauce

Chard always feels like that vegetable you should eat, but exactly how seems to be an issue. The answer is a grilled cheese! We also realize that chard might be a tough sell for some members of the family, but if you omit the chard, the resulting bacon and apple is still a classic grilled cheese combo.

Equipment

  • Skillet
  • Or Panini Maker

Ingredients
  

For the Red Pepper Sauce:

  • 4 oz. Jarred roasted red pepper 
  • 2 oz. Toasted slivered almonds 
  • 4 oz. Tomatoes (we used fire roasted from a can to keep it easy)
  • 1 Tsp Paprika
  • 2 Tbsp Parsley
  • 1 Tsp Roasted garlic

For the Chard

  • 1 Bunch Chard (rainbow or swiss)
  • 2 Tbsp Apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp Neutral oil such as canola

For the Sandwich

  • 2 Slices Bacon cooked until crisp
  • 3 Slices Gouda cheese
  • 1/4 Apple thinly sliced

Instructions
 

  • Prepare the red pepper sauce (this can be done the day before).  Combine the ingredients in a blender. Pulse until you reach the desired consistency.
  • Prepare the chard in a medium sauce pan with a lid.  Heat pan to medium and add oil.  Once heated, add chard by the handful. It will cook down A LOT.  Stir the chard, apple cider vinegar, and salt. Cook for 6-7 minutes. Take off heat and set aside.
  • Heat skillet to medium (we really like cast iron for this if it’s available, but if not use a non-stick pan).
  • Assemble the sandwich: one slice of Gouda first, top with bacon, then the apple, two spoonfuls of sautéed chard, and finally, more sliced of cheese.  Top with the second slice of bread.  Spread a thin layer of mayo on this slice. If you’re making multiple sandwiches, assemble them all before you start griddling.
  • Place the sandwich mayo side down in the skillet. Spread mayo on the bread slice now facing up and cook three minutes, or until bread is toasty brown.  Turn and repeat.  Your stove top and pan may require slightly cook times.  
  • Serve with red pepper sauce for dunking.

Just remember, life might feel a little weird and different right now but you can still do some things that are “normal” like a picnic in the backyard with the people who live in the house with you or just take a delicious sandwich to the deck and eat by yourself, if you’ve had too much “together time” this pandemic. Either way, what’s your favorite fresh, Farmer’s Market sandwich recipe?

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easiest way to get protein without eating meat

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

I was a vegetarian for 10 years. To be honest, I am not a huge fan of meat even now after going back. It just isn’t my vibe. Sure, I love the occasional steak, burger, fish or chicken but mostly, I prefer anything else. I’ve taken a lot ethics and animals classes, joined PETA when I was 18 and it’s hard for me to enjoy eating pretty much anything with a face but I’m not here to pull anyone over to the vegetarian side. I just know that I’m not alone.

A lot of people are starting to think seriously about how much meat they eat on a daily basis. Some people have ethical concerns about how much animal products they eat, others are aware of the environmental impact of farming for meat, and others realize that a lot of meat in the diet simply isn’t healthy. Yes to all of this for me.

However, most people rely on meat for the vast majority of their protein consumption, which is crucial for healthy muscle growth amongst other things. So, what can we do to get the protein we need without as much meat or none at all?

A teaspoon of powder is all it takes

We all know the nutritional benefits of milk in the diet, with the calcium, iron, and other additions it has for your diet. However, making one replacement can help you not only get the same calcium but also add some protein to your morning glass of milk. Soybeans are a tremendous source of complete protein, meaning they have both protein and the amino acids that typically go with it in animal sources of protein. Of course, milk isn’t the only way to have your soy, but it’s an easy replacement to make and it tastes great.

All that power in one little bean

If you’re looking to live a healthy, active lifestyle and you need plenty of protein to make sure that your muscles are regenerating and growing as they should, then powdered protein may be something you’re familiar with. However, this article tells you all you need to know about a potential replacement that doesn’t rely on animal products: rice protein powder. Not only can it help you up your protein throughout the day, but it can also help you replace meals if you’re trying to cut down on your portions.

Get nutty with it

Although not quite the same as soybeans (since they are not complete sources of protein), you should also look at the various ways you can use nuts more in your meals. This can include salads, soups, desserts, and snacks throughout the day. Peanuts have, per gram, the highest amount of protein out of all of the nuts. However, walnuts and hazelnuts also pack plenty of protein in their punch. What’s more, they also have a lot of those heart-healthy unsaturated fats. You shouldn’t eat more than roughly 30g of them a day, however.

Completing your proteins

Soybeans tend to be one of the few most readily available sources of complete proteins, which is why they’re the easiest to recommends. Others, such as rice and nuts, do not contain the amino acids that are also essential and typically come with animal proteins. However, there are other vegan sources of amino acids that you can incorporate in your diet. If you’re ever worried that you’re not getting enough, you might also want to consider using amino acid supplements just to top you up. Getting it through your diet is more widely recommended, but the option is there just to err on the side of caution.

Getting the protein you need is possible without eating as much meat. Hopefully, the tips above help you see the alternatives to getting your protein when milk isn’t the.

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If you Wouldn't Drink Paint Thinner while Pregnant then Pass on Decaf coffee, clean label project

Do you love coffee? Is it something that’s part of your daily routine? I’ve been drinking cafecito bombon since I was a tween and sneaking sips from my dad’s mug since before then. Coffee has always been comforting in my life. Even now, one of my favorite things to do is sit on the back deck with the Big Guy and sip coffee over conversation or make TikToks while dancing around the kitchen with my teens sipping our whipped coffees. It doesn’t matter if it’s hot or cold, caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee is comfort and enthusiastic support on all days and in all the ways.  But what if you found out that your coffee had toxic chemicals in it? Worse, what if you were pregnant and found out that your decaf coffee had paint stripper in it?

Disclosure: This post is a sponsored campaign in partnership with the Clean Label Project. All opinions and pregnancy experience is my own.

When I was pregnant, I kicked my coffee addiction. I gave up caffeine completely. A few times, I did treat myself to a decaf Frappuccino. We lived in Tennessee, 600 miles away from our parents. Some days during pregnancy, I really needed to be comforted and I thought it was safe to treat myself to a small decaf coffee. Was I wrong?

READ ALSO: Unexpected Pregnancy at 40

My mom has a heart condition. She doesn’t drink caffeine because it’s bad for her. She drinks decaf coffee twice daily. A lot of older people drink decaf coffee because caffeine is bad for them. Pregnant women drink decaf because caffeine is not great for development. There are several different kinds of medical and mental disorders that encourage those diagnosed to switch to decaf because it’s “better for you”. But what happens when the very thing that you are told to be healthier is terrible for you?

READ ALSO: Things no one tells you about pregnancy

Clean Label Project recently released findings on methylene chloride (the active ingredient in paint strippers), which is found in popular decaffeinated coffee. Clean Label Project has filed lawsuits against four national brands for false and misleading advertising and labeling. These brands claim that their decaffeinated coffee products are “pure and natural.” In contrast, Clean Label Project’s study showed that methylene chloride was detected in the decaffeinated coffee products of these brands.

I’m not saying that you can’t drink coffee. I love coffee. Just ask my Nespresso account. Seriously, coffee is still warm and comforting to me but, as I’ve gotten more label savvy in the past year thanks to my recent health scares, I am also more discerning about what I put into my body. There are always healthier options, we just need to be aware of all the facts and ingredients.

 

So what’s going on with decaffeinated coffee? Removing caffeine from coffee generally involves one of two processes: water-based vs. solvent (chemical) based. However, the FDA currently allows methylene chloride to be used in the coffee decaffeination process and brands are not required to disclose which decaffeination process they use on their labels.

 

 

Clean Label Project tested 25 popular brands found in major retailers for the presence of methylene chloride. Ten brands tested positive. The onus is on the consumer to demand chemical-free decaffeinated coffee.

 

The thing is we have enough to worry about when we’re pregnant or elderly or just trying to take care of our health without having to go in search of all the hidden dangers of every single thing we ever want to eat or drink. There shouldn’t be secret chemicals in our food that can poison us or cause harm to our unborn babies. You don’t have to just take it. You can take action and Detox Your Coffee.

If you Wouldn't Drink Paint Thinner while Pregnant then Pass on Decaf coffee, clean label projectIf you Wouldn’t Drink Paint stripper while Pregnant then Pass on Decaf coffee. If you don’t think paint stripper is acceptable in decaf coffee, use your voice to contact your favorite brands and demand that they make it safer.

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Thanksgiving recipes, thanksgiving dinner, cranberry orange relish, thanksgiving sides

Growing up, cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving dinner meant a gelatinous cranberry-ish colored substance in the form of a can. Really, it was like eating canned jelly. It was all I knew and I loved it. I’ve always been a sucker for a bit of sweet with my savory, as evidenced by my cranberry and brie bites addiction. I had no idea there was even such a thing as homemade cranberry orange sauce.

However, when I met the Big Guy, on our first Thanksgiving at his mom’s house, I tasted what could only be called cranberry orange heaven. It was absolutely nothing like the canned stuff that I had believed to be cranberry sauce for my entire previous 20-something years. It was like my mouth was tasting cranberries for the first time ever.

READ ALSO: How to Roast the Perfect Turkey

My mother-in-law bought a prepackaged deli style cranberry orange sauce by a company called Indian Trail. The little tub of sweet-tart-citrus deliciousness was magnificent and the flavors were incredibly vibrant. It was like eating color. The texture was jellied but not gelatinous. It was full-bodied compared to the canned stuff. To be honest, it was almost a dessert.

A couple of years later, the Big Guy and I were married and living hundreds of miles away from our families so we decided to host our first ever Thanksgiving dinner. It was all brand new. I was excited and terrified to take on the undertaking but it was time to make our own traditions, he and I. I finally felt like an adult. Just my husband and his wife and no parents around to do all the heavy lifting.

We made a list and made sure to include everything that we wanted in a Thanksgiving dinner. We were able to move away from the stove top stuffing and canned “cranberry sauce”. The one side dish that  I knew that I really wanted to keep from our mothers was the Indian Trail cranberry orange sauce. Only, when we got to the store, we couldn’t find it anywhere. After a frenzied scouring of the internet to save my Thanksgiving dinner ( because I was not above having my MIL overnight me the sauce from home) I found out that Indian Trail went out of business.

NOOOOOOOOO! I was so disappointed. Obviously, our first Thanksgiving was doomed. All I wanted was to host the perfect Thanksgiving for our family. We had gotten too big for our britches and Thanksgiving was ruined. There would be no Indian Trail Cranberry Orange Sauce for us. Or would there?

READ ALSO: How to Make Sweet Potato Casserole

Come on, y’all know me. I’m a Mexican, not a Mexicant. I did a whole lot of research and some trial and error taste testing and guess what I did? I created my own Indian Trail copycat recipe. All the same flavor and texture made at my house in a matter of minutes. And you know what? The homemade, from scratch recipe, is even better than the Indian Trail sold in stores version because it is fresh. All the bursting with flavors I was referring to earlier is timesed by 100%.

Here is my recipe for copycat homemade Indian Trail cranberry orange sauce recipe.

Ingredients

1 bag (12 oz.) fresh cranberries

1 whole orange including peel/rind, seeds removed

1-cup sugar

Instructions

Chop all of the ingredients in a food processor or a food grinder and stir to mix. Refrigerate until ready to use. Be sure to let it drain a while to remove the excess liquid before mixing it with Jello. The entire time it takes to process this mixture is about 5 minutes.

Ingredients

2 (3 oz.) pkgs. raspberry Jello

2 1/2 c. boiling water

Cranberry Orange Sauce

1 cup crushed pineapple with juice

1 cup of finely Chopped Walnuts or pecans

Instructions

Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Stir in Cranberry Orange Sauce, pineapple and chopped walnuts. Pour into mold. Refrigerate until firm ( 4 hours). I usually make this the night before Thanksgiving.

READ ALSO: How to make an Easy, Elegant Thanksgiving Tablescape

Serve on Thanksgiving along with all of the traditional sides you love. Your family will thank you for it. This year will be year 15 that we’ve hosted and I just had a hysterectomy and we’re still cooking because I can’t go back to canned cranberry sauce and Stove Top.

What’s your Indian Trail Cranberry Orange Sauce side that you MUST have every holiday?

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Torani Pumpkin PIe Puremade sauce, cheesecake, recipe

If girls are supposed to be made of sugar and spice and everything nice, I think I just might be made up of 90% pumpkin pie spice, the fiercest and feistiest spices of all. Seriously, it officially falls. The nights are cooler. The days are shorter. It’s time for leaves to change, cozy sweaters and denim jeans with boots and all the things pumpkin pie spice.

Disclosure: This is a compensated post in partnership with Torani but all opinions and my love of Torani syrups and sauces are all mine. #ToraniPuremadeSauce

Cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts. There is something about rich, creamy, smooth cheesecake that makes it worth my carbs. It’s by far one of the most decadent tasting desserts out there.

Being that it is Pumpkin Spice season again, fall, I love to enjoy it as much as possible. I know some people think that pumpkin spice is overrated but I’d say to them, if being basic is wrong, I don’t want to be right. Bring on all the pumpkin spice. I’ll try it every which way you can bring it.

When there are no recipes out there to eat what you want to taste, I say create your own recipe and that is what I did. I decided what could be better than two of my favorite things married to one another in perfect flavor harmony. I hope you’ll enjoy eating it as much as I enjoyed making it.

Easy Vanilla Cream Cheesecake topped with Torani Pumpkin Pie Puremade Sauce drizzle

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter or margarine, melted

Filling:

  • 4 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs

Topping:

I love Torani Pumpkin pie Puremade sauce because it delivers amazing flavor with the ingredients I love. No
artificial flavors, no artificial colors and no artificial preservatives and it’s so easy to use. Add a spoonful to your coffee, cocoa, latte or dessert. The possibilities are endless.

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 450°F. Place a large pan filled with 1/2-inch water in the oven.
  • Make the crust:
  1. Mix graham cracker crumbs and cinnamon; add butter or margarine.
  2. Press crust onto bottom and 2/3 of the way up a 9-inch springform pan lined with parchment.
  3. Wrap a large piece of foil around the bottom of the pan.
  4. Freeze until filling is prepared.
  • To make the cheesecake filling: Use an electric mixer to mix cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, and vanilla.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Whisk eggs in a bowl; gently add to cream cheese mixture.
  • Blend the mixture until eggs are folded in but not overworked.
  • Remove crust from freezer and pour in filling. Carefully place the cheesecake into a preheated water bath. Bake for 15 minutes; turn oven to 350°F and bake until top of cheesecake turns golden, about an hour.
  • Remove cake to let cool.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  • Cut and serve, topped with Torani pumpkin pie puremade sauce drizzled on top for just the perfect fall dessert.

What’s your favorite autumn dessert?

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roasted orange and lemon chicken recipe, lemon chicken, chicken recipe, Easter recipe

I’ve been cooking dinner at home a lot lately in an effort to get healthy and save money. I’d say those are pretty good reasons for eating at home. It gives me a weird mom satisfaction knowing how much my family loves my cooking. These are people who enjoy food and are not afraid to tell you if it’s not up to par. When foodies are silent at the dinner table save for the sound of lips smacking, it feels like an accomplishment. My roasted orange and lemon chicken recipe shuts them right up and I love it.

I like to make meals that are as free from preservatives as possible. The more natural, the better. Farm to table, no additives or hormones is our jam. We’re Midwesterners so we do love our comfort foods that remind us of growing up and well, if there are leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch, even better. I want all of that but healthier. Comforting without the guilt. Know what I mean?

READ ALSO: Avgolemono Greek Lemon Chicken Soup Recipe

Currently, my family’s favorite meal that I’ve been cooking is a simple, but delicious, roasted orange and lemon chicken with baked rosemary potatoes and steamed asparagus. I’m going on the record and humble brag that it’s scrumptious and almost obscene how easy it is to prepare. It’s practically idiot proof. I’m pretty sure I could teach my middle schoolers how to make this roasted orange and lemon chicken recipe and it turn out just as awesome as when I make it. It’s that easy. If you’ve seen my Thanksgiving how to roast a turkey recipe, you already know how easy it is.

roasted orange and lemon chicken recipe, lemon chicken, chicken recipe, Easter recipe

I’m going to be honest with you, Easter is right around the corner and I’m not a huge fan of the traditional ham dinner so I’m going to make this roasted orange and lemon chicken recipe. Who says we have to do things the traditional way? Create your own traditions. Eat what you want. You’re cooking.

Easy and Delicious Roasted Orange and Lemon Chicken Recipe

roasted orange and lemon chicken recipe, lemon chicken, chicken recipe, Easter recipe

Roasted Orange and Lemon Chicken Recipe

Easy to make ad deliciously moist roasted orange and lemon chicken recipe.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs
Resting Time 15 mins
Total Time 3 hrs 10 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 5-6 lb Whole Chicken
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 stick Unsalted butter
  • Olive Oil as needed, enough to cover chicken.
  • 1 Orange
  • 1 Lemon
  • Garlic Powder to taste

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
    Remove the innards from the cavity of the chicken.
    Put chicken in a roasting pan.
    Gently wedge your fingers between the skin and meat and slightly loosen.
    Place pats of butter inside the loosened area between skin and chicken meat.
    Slice the lemon and orange into slices.
    Place slices into the empty chicken cavity.
    Cover the chicken with olive oil and massage the oil into the skin. This helps to lock in the juices while cooking.
    Generously season the chicken with salt and pepper.
    After that, lightly sprinkle with garlic powder.
    Lastly, let sit for a couple minutes while you melt remainder of stick of butter.
    Massage melted butter onto the exterior of the chicken.
    Cover completely.
    Generously season with salt and pepper.
    Bake uncovered for 15 minutes in preheated oven, to lock in juices.
    Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
    Cover loosely with aluminum foil.
    Bake for about 30 minutes per lb.
    Remove from heat, and baste with melted margarine and drippings about every 45 minutes.
    Cook to a minimum internal temperature of 180 degrees F (82 degrees C).
    When done, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest 30 minutes before serving.
     
     
Keyword Roasted orange and lemon chicken recipe, lemon chicken, chicken recipe

READ ALSO: World’s Best Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe

I’m thinking of pairing my Easter orange and lemon chicken recipe with garlic potatoes, glazed carrots, fresh rolls, fresh cut fruit and deviled eggs. Sounds like the perfect dinner to me. What’s your favorite Sunday dinner recipe?

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Austin, Texas, How to stay weird like a local, DIrty Sixth, East 6th street, Things to do in Austin Texas, places to eat in austin, places to drink in Austin Texas, Places to listen to live music in Austin, How to enjoy Austin like a local

Have you ever visited Austin, Texas?  Do you know all the things to do in Austin, Texas? I haven’t been but it’s one of those places that I’ve always wanted to visit. Any city whose catchphrase is “Stay weird” is my kind of town. The Big Guy and I are big foodies, we love live music and trying new craft beers is sort of our thing. What’s not to love?

Next month, I’m attending Mom 2.0 and it’s in Austin, Texas this year. The conference falls the week before the Big Guy’s birthday. We haven’t been on a trip alone since having our girls. It’s long overdue. I’m bringing him with me and we are going to experience Austin like a local because this gal has a cousin and a few amazing friends who live in Austin, Texas. I’ve asked for some best of recommendations and made a few play dates for the Big Guy and I.

READ ALSO: Things to Do in Portland

Favorite places to eat in Austin, drink in Austin, listen to live music and stay weird like a local in Austin Texas

Jester King Brewery

Jester King Brewery is a world-renowned brewer of farmhouse ales and barrel-aged wild ales located on 165 acres of farmland on the outskirts of Austin, TX. Established in 2010, Jester King is an authentic brewer of farmhouse ales whose philosophy is to work in partnership with nature to create beer unique to our natural surroundings.

Whisler’s

Whisler’s is a rustic-chic watering hole featuring handcrafted cocktails & a patio with frequent live music shows. For a really authentic visit, venture upstairs for some Mezcal tasting.

The Last Straw
“Serving vacation by the hour on East Sixth,” is the mantra of  The Last Straw. I may have to move to Austin with philosophies like that being thrown around. Last Straw is a first come, first serve establishment so get there before you can’t. Rumor has it from locals that the Last Straw has amazing tiki drinks and snacks.

Cosmic Coffee and Beer Garden

Cosmic Coffee and Beer Garden features specialty coffee, locally brewed beer, craft cocktails, food trucks + live music in a permaculture inspired garden setting. Kids welcome before 9pm (21+ after 9pm please). Pets always welcome.

Radio Coffee and Beer

Radio Coffee and Beer was voted best coffee shop 2016, 2017 and 2018 by a local reader’s poll. It is known to the locals for a good beer selection but the highlight is the Vera Cruz tacos. I also hear that you must get yourself the mole taco because it is amazing.

Easy Tiger

Easy Tiger Bake Shop and Beer Garden feature artisan bread, locally roasted coffee, house made meats, a full bar and more than 30 local and boutique draft beers. All of their breads, meats, sausages and charcuterie are prepared in house, as well as is their accompaniments, from Sauer kraut to mustard.

Craft Pride

Craft Pride is a unique Texas-only craft beer bar serving up the highest quality beer from regional breweries. Promoting the community’ commitment to supporting local business and sustainability, everything from the design, décor and construction to the local beer and wine selections. Craft Pride is a fun space for dedicated beer lovers and casual drinkers alike. It has an impressive 54 taps featuring Texas craft beers. The selection is said to be great. Also, Via 313 truck is in the back and has some of Austin’s finest pizza.

Bangers Sausage House and Beer Garden

Bangers Sausage House and Beer Garden has 30 House made Sausages and 200+ Beers on tap. At the end of the day, Banger’s is all about being a wonderful place to eat, drink and hangout. Not too rowdy, not too laid back, just a good old fashioned good time.

Homemade sausage, craft beer, pig roasts, beef jerky, pickled vegetables, spring days in Texas, Sunday brunch, and all forms of Americana and country music are a few of our favorite things.

They have a commitment to excellence and believe in the principle of hospitality. Located just a couple doors down from Craft Pride.

Licha’s Cantina

Licha’s Cantina is located in the heart of East 6th Street. Licha’s was named after the owner, Daniel Brook’s mom, Alicia “Licha” Rivera who was raised in Mexico City. The atmosphere is casual and familiar, like going home. When you’re there, they take care of you.

Inspired by the Mexican soul food that he grew up eating, Daniel Brook delivers fresh, thoughtful and authentic meals. According to my source, she’s obsessed with this place and everything on the menu is great. She recommends the queso fundido and vouches for the authenticity.

Suerte

The menu at Suerte combines local ingredients, thoughtful cooking techniques and the flavors of Mexico.  If you love authentic Mexican, Suerte is worth checking out. The set-up is charming with a full bar and a patio overlooking East Sixth Street. Suerte is the perfect place for everything from date night to big fiesta.

Hospitality prevails above all else, homemade masa reigns supreme and every day at Suerte is a lucky day.

Brewers Table

Brewers Table has beer as good as food as good as beer. It starts and ends there. Brewer’s Table aims to provide a place where food and beer share the spotlight.

With a considerate approach to the food and beer experience, creating a conversation between chef, brewer, and community, Brewer’s Table features 26 guest taps starring a few friends and favorites, a thoughtfully selected wine list and a full bar punctuated by craft cocktails inspired by the kitchen and brewing process. Sounds amazing to me and the locals agree.

Kemuri Tatsu-Ya

“Every bowl is like a warm hug from your mama telling you life is going to go your way.” – Kelsie Laing

Kemuri  Tatsu-Ya is winner of the 2017 Eater award for restaurant of the year.

Chefs Tatsu Aikawa and Takuya Matsumoto know what they’re doing when it comes to Japanese food. The evidence? Soothing warming bowls from Ramen Tatsu-ya. I have a foodie friend who said this is a MUST EAT.

For their follow-up trick, they decided to marry what they know best: Texas and Japanese techniques and ingredients. The result was funky, fun, and thoughtful Texan izakaya Kemuri Tatsu-ya, home to mash-up dishes aren’t gimmicky at all, like the rich Frito pie made with octopus fritters. As an homage to the address’ former tenant Live Oak Barbecue (whose smoked-stained walls remain part of the decor), the duo ventured into smoked meats. Because of Kemuri’s roots, that means everything from brisket (which even gets dressed up in a bowl of ramen) to ginormous fish collars. The restaurant rightly captured the attention and stomachs of Austin.

St. Elmo’s Brewery

St. Elmo’s Brewery was started by Tim Bullock and Bryan Winslow. Self-proclaimed not beer bigots, who like ALL the beer. They believe that every style of beer has a special place in life. St. Elmo is Bullock and Winslow’s effort to take you to all of those in places, in your mouth. Their motto is every day is made better with beer.

Soursop food truck is here for food. Soursop specializes in Pan-Asian bites.

Austin, Texas, How to stay weird like a local, DIrty Sixth, East 6th street, Things to do in Austin Texas, places to eat in austin, places to drink in Austin Texas, Places to listen to live music in Austin, How to enjoy Austin like a local

There’s lots of live music on East 6th Street or the “Dirty 6th” as the locals call it. This street is best on Thursday and Friday night. There are lots of rooftop bars and they shut down the street to traffic. Also, I’ve got it on good authority that The White Horse is a good time if you like country/bluegrass music with lots of dancing. From what I’ve been told by the locals, if you’re looking for a good time, Austin is the place to be.

What’re your favorite places to eat in Austin, drink in Austin, listen to live music and stay weird like a local in Austin Texas?

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simple, easy and delicious healthy Buffalo Chicken Pizza recipe, buffalo chicken pizza, buffalo pizza, healthy pizza, buffalo chicken pizza recipe

Want to eat all the food that tastes good but still want to be healthy? Want to look great in your bathing suit this summer but still want to eat chicken wings? That’s the quandary, right? We all want to look good and be healthy but we simultaneously want to eat whatever we want to eat, whenever we want to eat. This is possible if you’re a teenager but if you are over 25, 30 and certainly 40-years-old, you know that concessions have to be made.

Things like moderation, taste, salt intake, sugar intake, cholesterol points all need to be weighed. Do you know that saying, “A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips”? Well, sometimes you have to stop and ask yourself is that basket of French fries something you are willing to sacrifice your bathing suit body for?

READ ALSO: Delicious Avocado Toast Recipe

Now, I’ve lived in this world long enough to know that, yes, sometimes they are. Sometimes you just want to eat the French fries and that’s ok but you have to be willing to do the exercise. I think everything is fine to eat in moderation and I don’t believe in artificial sugars and preservatives. My family is foodies. We love traveling the planet and trying new foods and meeting new people. We are all about experiences and while I may not care so much about forever on my hips, I do care about missing adventures because I’m unhealthy or worse, dead.

It’s taken me years to realize that eating healthy doesn’t have to mean eating boring. It just means swapping out a few ingredients, cooking more and moving more. Nobody wants to be the person at the party watching everyone else eat and drink. And who likes to chew on celery while everyone else is snacking on buffalo wings at the tailgate party? It’s embarrassing and you feel singled out for trying to be healthy; you feel punished. I don’t like feeling on the outside. This is why I am taking some of our favorite recipes and making healthier versions.

READ ALSO: The Moment I Stopped Caring What Others Think about Me

Needless to say, my family doesn’t get to eat chicken wings or buffalo pizza as often as they’d like to.

That’s why I created a simple, easy and delicious healthy Buffalo Chicken Pizza recipe.

simple, easy and delicious healthy Buffalo Chicken Pizza recipe, buffalo chicken pizza, buffalo pizza, healthy pizza, buffalo chicken pizza recipe

Simple, Delicious and Healthy Buffalo Chicken Pizza Recipe

If you love pizza and you want to be healthy and not feel deprived, this simple, delicious and healthy buffalo chicken pizza recipe is perfect for the entire family.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
5 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Chicken Breast boiled and shredded or you can buy pre-cooked chicken breast chunks. We prefer to cook and shred our own but if you are in a hurry, pre-cooked works.
  • 1 Refrigerated Pizza Dough Wewalka Classic Pizza Crust is our choice
  • 4-6 ounces Part Skim Milk Mozzarella Again, you can use more or less, depending on your personal taste.
  • 1/2 cup Mild Buffalo Wing Sauce You can use medium or hot and add as much as you like. I use mild because I dine with children every day of the week.

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. 
  • Unroll the packaged refrigerated pizza dough on its parchment paper. I usually use a large cookie sheet for this, as it is a rectangular crust.
  • Spread your wing sauce across the pizza crust dough, going almost to the ends but not quite. The reason for this is that when the buffalo chicken wing sauce heats up it thins out and gets runny. By not going to the ends, you can prevent the sauce from running over the edges and ending up on the bottom of your pizza and transferring to your hands and clothes when you eat. 
    simple, easy and delicious healthy Buffalo Chicken Pizza recipe, buffalo chicken pizza, buffalo pizza, healthy pizza, buffalo chicken pizza recipe
  • Top the sauce with the shredded chicken, dispersing evenly throughout. 
    simple, easy and delicious healthy Buffalo Chicken Pizza recipe, buffalo chicken pizza, buffalo pizza, healthy pizza, buffalo chicken pizza recipe
  • Top with mozzarella cheese, using as much or as little as you like. 
  • Bake pizza for 20-30 minutes, until cheese is a stringy and golden brown.
    simple, easy and delicious healthy Buffalo Chicken Pizza recipe, buffalo chicken pizza, buffalo pizza, healthy pizza, buffalo chicken pizza recipe
  • When it is done, pull it out of the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes so that you don't burn your mouth when you bite into.
Keyword buffalo chicken, buffalo wings, pizza

simple, easy and delicious healthy Buffalo Chicken Pizza recipe, buffalo chicken pizza, buffalo pizza, healthy pizza, buffalo chicken pizza recipe

What’s your favorite recipe hack to make those delicious dishes we all love so much more healthy?

 

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Chocolate Chip Banana Nut bread recipe, banana nut bread, bread recipes, easy recipes, desserts, snacks, easy homemade recipes

There are some recipes that are so simple and so delicious that you practically want to punch yourself in the face for not making them more often. That’s how easy and obscenely delicious this chocolate chip banana nut bread is. It’s so basic that I can almost guarantee that you will have all the ingredients in your fridge.RIGHT.NOW.

We just survived the polar vortex in the longest month of the year here in the Midwest. I don’t know how the heck January can be eleventy billion days long but it was. I am sure of it. I was just whining to the Big Guy about how I was missing my mom. He looked at me and said, it’s been 4 weeks, not 4 years! What? Only 4 weeks? Maybe it’s been because of the holidays and the snow days but it really feels like January was so long this year. I’m just going to go ahead and call it; January is its own year.

READ ALSO: Easy, Delicious and Decadent Champurrado Recipe (Mexican Hot Chocolate)

But no fear. Snow days, winter breaks and polar vortex be damned, this chocolate chip banana nut bread paired with a cup of hot cocoa ( champurrado if you’re really feeling decadent) is just what we all need to warm up from the inside out. Nothing says happiness like a mouthful of warm deliciousness. Welp never thought I’d use that line on a bunch of moms in reference to chocolate chip banana nut bread but this is the one instance that statement might actually be true.

Now, back to this delicious and easy chocolate chip banana nut bread.

I know you’re thinking to yourself, banana nut bread is not that impressive. It’s just…BREAD! Only it’s not. It’s fresh bread that takes less than an hour to make from scratch and it is delicious. Bonus, the kids can help. Actually, it’s so easy, they could make it themselves.

I made it Wednesday when the entire of the Midwest was on polar vortex 2019 lockdown. We were all in the house and we needed a snack, so thanks to 4 very ripe bananas and a look-see around out pantry and voila, baked deliciousness. The entire loaf was gone by the end of the night.

READ ALSO: Day 14 of Winter Break, Kill Me NOW

Chocolate Chip Banana Nut bread recipe, banana nut bread, bread recipes, easy recipes, desserts, snacks, easy homemade recipes

Chocolate Chip Banana Nut bread recipe, banana nut bread, bread recipes, easy recipes, desserts, snacks, easy homemade recipes

Chocolate Chip Banana Nut Bread Recipe

Deborah Cruz
Easy and Delicious Chocolate Chip Banana Nut Bread Recipe
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Resting Time 15 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Servings 8 slices

Ingredients
  

  • 4 Medium Ripe Bananas the riper the sweeter
  • 3/4 cup Sugar
  • 1 EGG
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/4 cup Vegetable Oile
  • 1 1/2 cups All-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tbsp Ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 1 cup Chocolate chips
  • 1 cup Walnuts

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F 
  • Mash the bananas until smooth with a fork.
  • Whisk in the sugar, egg, vanilla, and vegetable oil.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  • Fold the dry mixture into the wet and mix just until batter forms. Don't overwork or it will become mushy.
  • Gently fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking loaf. Bake for 45-55 minutes. 
  • Bake at 350°F for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Let cool. Serve warm.
Keyword banana nut bread

READ ALSO: Homemade Peanut Butter and Banana Dog Treats Recipe

I hope you love this easy and delicious chocolate chip banana walnut bread recipe as much as my family did.

What’s your favorite snow day recipe?

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Champurrado, Mexican hot chocolate, Chocolate atole, Easy delicious and decadent champurrado recipe, recipes

Have you ever had a taste or a smell that reminds you of home? For me, that would be Champurrado and Suavitel. The smell of Champurrado wafting from the kitchen and the fragrance of Suavitel coming off the freshly washed linens. All I know is one sip and I’m a little girl again, home with my parents and my brothers and sisters sitting around the breakfast table eating pan dulce.

The champurrado was ( and if we’re being honest, still is) always perfect. I have no idea how my mom gets it so perfectly smooth (it’s like her secret for having the worlds softest towels. How does she do it?) it’s just one of those “mom things.” The pan dulce is always warm and the laughter is always intoxicating. It’s home and everything that I want my daughters’ to think of when they think of home. That warm nostalgic feeling of belonging and being loved.

READ ALSO: The Most Important things to be said Don’t Always Require Words

So what is this magical drink of my childhood that some of you have never heard of? It’s called champurrado or chocolate but it’s not like Swiss Miss. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Swiss Miss with marshmallows too. This just isn’t it. This is something more substantial.

What is Champurrado?

Champurrado is Mexican hot chocolate or chocolate atole.

Atole or Spanish, from Nahuatl ātōlli, also known as atol and atol de elote, is a traditional hot corn- and masa-based beverage of Mesoamerican origin. Chocolate atole is known as champurrado or atole. It is typically accompanied with tamales, and very popular during the Christmas holiday season. Maybe? But in our house, it was just called breakfast.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Atole Champurrado is deliciously spiced drinking chocolate that is sometimes so thick and rich you’ll need a spoon! That’s the champurrado that you’ll drink on Christmas morning. It’s flavored with cinnamon, star anise, and Mexican chocolate, but gets its velvety pudding-like consistency from masa harina. That is delicious, but that is not what we had for breakfast every day or we really would have all been diabetic. We drank a slightly lighter version.

READ ALSO: Delicious Summer Rum Cocktail Recipe

If you ever do find yourself in Mexico or a really good Mexican restaurant and they offer Mexican Hot Chocolate Atole Champurrado, get yourself some. It is delicious.

If you want to try it for yourself at home, my mama’s easy delicious and decadent Champurrado Recipe is perfect.

Champurrado, Mexican hot chocolate, Chocolate atole, Easy delicious and decadent champurrado recipe, recipes

Mama’s Every day Champurrado

Deborah Cruz
Easy recipe for Mexican hot chocolate, Champurrado.
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Servings 6 people

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 disk Mexican chocolate, chopped Abuelita or Ibarra
  • 2 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 1/4 cup masa harina (corn flour)
  • 4 cups Vitamin-D Whole Milk
  • 1/2 cup piloncillo/ or brown sugar Piloncillo is raw form of pure cane sugar that is commonly used in Mexican cooking. Unlike brown sugar, which is made by coating refined white sugar with molasses, piloncillo is pure sugar with no additives.)

Instructions
 

  • In a large saucepan boil water with the two cinnamon sticks.
  • Remove from the heat, cover and let the cinnamon sticks steep for 30-45 minutes (depending on how cinnamony you like your Champurrado.) 
  • Remove the cinnamon sticks from the water, return to a slow boil and add the chocolate. Bring to boil while constantly stirring the chocolate as it melts. 
  • Add the brown sugar or piloncillo. Whisk until well blended.
  • Slowly add the masa harina to the warm water, whisking until combined. 
  • Add milk and whisk until smooth and well blended.
  • Warm over medium heat just until boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, about 10 minutes or until chocolate is completely melted and sugar is dissolved, whisking occasionally. 
  • Serve immediately.
  • If the champurrado is too hot, pour it back and forth between two cups to cool it off. That’s what my mama did. 
  • Optional: Top with whipped cream. This is my daughters' preferred way to drink it. 

This champurrado recipe is perfect for cold mornings before school and work, long Sunday afternoons by the fireplace or for sipping just because around the dining room table playing board games with your family; filling the house with laughter and your hearts with love.

That’s what this Easy Delicious and Decadent Champurrado Recipe is to me.

It’s family.

What is a favorite food or recipe that reminds you of home?

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