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Keepin’ it local | Dave’s Coffee Syrup

1 May

Image

Keepin’ it tasty, keepin’ it local…

Dave’s Coffee is a small family owned craft coffee roaster based in Rhode Island. They are certified organic and do everything by hand, the old fashioned way. I bought some of this coffee syrup at a food show Kate & I went to last December and have been tinkering with different uses and recipes for it.

All in all Dave’s Coffee Syrup is just that syrup, a thick sticky bottle of deliciousness. Hand roasted in small batches, cold brewed organic coffee and simmered with natural cane sugar. Yum!

Here are three ideas I have tried, tasted & approve… enjoy!

Homemade Coffee Soda

Ingredients

12oz seltzer water

3 TBS Dave’s Coffee Syrup

Steps

1. Fill 16oz mason jar or pint glass with ice
2. Pour in seltzer water, you can make your own with a Soda Stream or use bottled seltzer
3. Stir in coffee syrup

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Vegan Coffee Egg Cream (adapted from Babycakes NYC)

Ingredients

2 TBS Dave’s Coffee Syrup

3 TBS vanilla soy milk

5oz seltzer water

Steps

1. Pour soy milk and coffee syrup into a tall glass and stir well to combine
2. Continue to stir vigorously while adding seltzer

Notes
1. For the best results, make sure the seltzer and soy milk are well chilled.

ImageSlow Cooker Marinated Pork Tenderloin
serves 2

Ingredients

1 – 24oz frozen pork tenderloin

1 medium onion roughly chopped

1 32oz box chicken broth

1 12oz bottle of ginger beer

1 TBS Dave’s Coffee Syrup

1/2 TBS Sriracha (hot garlic chili sauce)

1 TBS apple cider vinegar

1/4 c Trader Joe’s Soyaki (equal parts soy sauce & teriyaki sauce could substitute)

1/4 c ketchup

1/2 TBS smoked paprika

1 TBS grill seasoning

5 – 6 garlic cloves (peeled and smashed)

Steps

1. Roughly chop the onion and line the bottom of the center of the crock pot.
2. Cover your pork with salt and pepper and place on top of the onion, this will keep the bottom of your pork from getting chewy during the cooking process.
3. Whisk together the rest of the ingredients in a medium sized bowl and pour over the pork in the crock pot. The liquid should almost completely cover the pork.
4. Cook on HIGH for 2 hours, then reduce the cooking temperature to LOW for 4 hours.
5. Once the cooking time is complete, remove the pork from the crock pot, slice and serve.

Notes
1. If you need more pork for your meal, then double the amount of pork and use the same amounts of liquid in the above recipe.
2. To adjust the heat level, add more smoked paprika and Sriracha.
3. The outcome was a really moist, tender and flavorful protein.

For more info on Dave’s Coffee or to order some coffee syrup follow this link to Dave’s Coffee online shop.

Braving the Storm | Blizzard Survival Tips

8 Feb

The predicted blizzard of 2013 is supposed to rival the blizzard of 1978 where friends report to me that they had no school for weeks and that people were lined up for miles to stock up on gas. In January of 1978 I was 2 years old and don’t remember anything, other than a photo that my family has of me, well the Jess toddler version, bundled up and propped up on a mountain of snow that was higher than my Aunt Katie’s ranch style house.

Fast forward to modern-day me, boss by day, happily married and mildly obsessed with my cat and two boston terriers. Kate is out-of-town in Arizona on business and she was supposed to fly home tonight.. mid-week she realizes that this is not going to happen. Logan is closed, there are no flights going into Boston, so instead of being trapped in an airport in Arizona all weekend, she is going to be here…
kate

Well, not exactly in San Francisco, but in Los Angeles to stay with our friends Addie & Channing since she couldn’t get a flight to the east coast. This leaves me to brave the storm alone, well not exactly alone I have to take care of our little fur family on this solo mission. So this post is dedicated to my plans to remain sane and occupy myself and the pets during this blizzard in between getting to and from work tomorrow.

Survival tips and/or preparation suggestions:

1) Rations: be sure you don’t wait until the afternoon of a snow emergency to get back up food and supplies. In the event that it has come to that, you will find that everyone in your city is in the same supermarket and that all of the milk, every single last drop will be gone. The best part about being a bachelor in a blizzard you can get supplies to make home-made pizza, Italian subs, and even double stuffed Oreos in order to help comfort you through the storm.

2) Pets: Make sure you have enough food and litter to last you 3 – 5 days. Provide them with plenty of blankets for warmth and added coziness during snuggling times. (see photo below)
stevie blanket
2) Pets Continued: Peanut Butter is your best ally. Place peanut butter in a Kong toy or hollow bone chew toy and this will keep your pup occupied for hours!
bone
3) Electric Devices: These days no one has a home phone, so be sure to charge your cell phone. This will prove to be useful in two ways, communication obviously, I mean Twitter, Facebook, Words with Friends, but also how else are you going to Instagram those cute photos of all the pets snuggling through the storm?

4) Bake: Most people have gas stoves these days, so kill two birds with one stone: bake something delicious to make someone elses day or enjoy baked goods during those 6 episodes of Grey’s Anatomy that you will probably get sucked into. Baking will also help keep your apartment or home warm too!

5) Netflix: Catch up on your Netflix instant queue, with a decade of Law & Order Special Victim’s Unit, or a documentary made by the former drummer of Hole, or the BBC Sherlock series on-line what else does one need?

So here’s to hoping we all stay warm, calm and collected during the storm. I know Kate will! Miss you 🙂

Tiny Bites, Big Flavors | Turkey Sliders

4 Feb

Saturday afternoon at work I had thought of the perfect idea for dinner on Sunday night, Super Bowl Sunday night. I knew I would have to do some convincing when it came to getting Kate on board, but I was up for the challenge. You see neither one of us are sports fans, so I knew I couldn’t approach it from that angle. Quite frankly I know I was more excited in Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl, especially since it features adoptable dogs that need homes and uses this event to promote adoption. P.S. We didn’t get to watch that much of the Puppy Bowl because Ollie was so into it, he kept standing in front of the TV on his hind legs and barking along with the puppies, cute, but not conducive to apartment living, ha!

My goal Super Bowl Sunday menu was going to feature all game day themed appetizers. Yes! As I had predicted Kate wasn’t into it, but as she often does she humors me and my crazy themed meal ideas. On one condition, that the menu items had to be healthier versions. Got it, the challenge was on.
I found this amazing hot spinach and artichoke dip recipe on Skinnytaste.com it was amazing. We paired it with Stacy’s Simply Naked Pita chips that were on sale at Shaw’s yesterday, bonus. As an added tip, because Kate had her contribution to the meal cooking in the oven, we made the dip and baked it in the toaster oven my parents gave us for Christmas and it came out perfect.

Kate wanted to make her Mom’s stuffed mushroom recipe, so we had those as well. Upon returning home from grocery shopping she realized that she didn’t buy the French Onion Soup packet that her Mom’s recipe called for, to substitute she finely chopped some shallots, sautĂ©ed them and added some garlic salt to the recipe and they were amazing.
On to our main course…
sliders
Turkey Burgers with Sriracha Aoli

Ingredients
1lb Ground Turkey

1/4 c Panko breadcrumbs
3/4 small white onion grated
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp grill seasoning
3 dashes of Worcestershire Sauce
1 egg
2 TBS Dijon mustard

Steps
1) Place ground turkey into a medium size bowl

2) Grate the white onion directly into the ground turkey in order to get all of the onion juice into the mix

3) Add the remaining ingredients

4) Combine with your hands

5) On medium heat, heat a medium-sized skillet drizzled with 1 TBS of olive oil or sprayed with non-stick spray

6) Form the slider patties, make them approximately 3″ in diameter and 1″ thick

7) Cook for 3 minutes on each side, a meat thermometer should read the internal temperature as 165 degrees.

Sriracha Aoili

Ingredients
1 tsp Sriracha (hot garlic chili sauce)

4 TBS light mayonnaise
juice of 1/2 lemon
dash of salt

Steps
1) Combine the Sriracha, mayo, and lemon juice in a small bowl

2) Season to taste with a dash of salt

Notes:
1) We used Sara Lee dinner rolls for buns and they were the perfect size

2) To melt cheese on your sliders, once the burgers are done cooking, remove the pan from the heat, add one half of a slice of your favorite cheese to the top of each burger and place a sheet of aluminum foil over the pan, be sure to fold the foil in half so that it looks like a tent prior to covering the pan, this will keep your cheese from sticking to the foil.

3) The portions were two sliders per person and there was a little more than half of the ground meat mixture left last night, so tonight we are having ground turkey soft tacos in order to make our leftovers count.

4) For best flavor spread the aoli on each side of the bun, the bottom that the meat will sit on as well as the top to help anchor the greens.

Enjoy!

Two For One | Shredded Chicken & Enchilada Sauce

28 Jan

Make it count Monday, two recipes in one blog post. My ever thrifty self has been trying to meal plan on my day off and make the majority of our meals at the beginning of the week in order to have stress free healthy meals during the week when work is in full gear.

I’ve been using these simple principles:
– Cook at least one protein in the crock pot. Why you ask? Here are my tips… I can stretch one protein such as pork tenderloin, boneless spare ribs, chicken breasts, steak tips, etc. into about 2 -3 meals for Kate and I. Of course I get creative mainly because I can’t stand having the same thing over and over. One week we had steak tips cooked in the crock pot that we had with mashed sweet potatoes and kale chips, which then turned into asian spiced steak tacos with corn soft tacos and fresh lime juice.
– Save your money! Using the crock pot to cook at least one meal a week will save you money on utilities. One of my favorite crock pot recipe blogs, A Year of Slow Cooking, listed that there is documentation that suggests that a slow cooker uses approximately $0.02 of power per hour and that the monthly cost of using a slow cooker is $1.17. The slow cooking method of crock pots lends itself perfectly to less expensive cuts of meat that can be tough if not cooked using the low and slow method.
– Save your time! I only make slow cooker meals that require little to no prep ahead of time. That means less prep time, less dishes, and more time to spend with Kate and the pups 🙂

This week I made the recipe below originally posted on The Honest Company Blog.

Easiest Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken
serves 4

Ingredients
3 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (fresh or frozen)

1 16oz jar of your favorite salsa
1 onion finely chopped

Steps
1) Pour 1/3 of the jar of salsa covering the bottom of the crock pot

2) Layer the chopped onion over the salsa

3) Nestle the chicken breasts into the onion and salsa that is covering the bottom of the crock pot

4) Cover the chicken breasts with the remaining 2/3 jar of salsa

5) Cover and cook fresh chicken breasts on LOW for 7 hours. If you used frozen chicken breasts cook on HIGH for 6 hours.

Notes:
1) I used fresh chicken breasts and came out amazing, super moist and tender. Yum!
2) The salsa I used was Spike’s Salsa and it was the medium variety, but feel free to use whatever suits your heat level. I discovered Spike’s Salsa one week when it was on sale at the grocery store, it is really good and costs a fraction of the other bigger named salsa brands.
3) I removed the cooked chicken from the crock pot and shredded it using two forks, it basically falls apart on its own so you could use your hands if you want.
4) To store it, I placed the left over shredded chicken in a food safe storage container, we use these Anchor Hocking True Seal glass containers, then I added about 1/2 – 3/4 cup of the reserved cooking juices that were at the bottom of the slow cooker. Only use enough to mix into the shredded chicken to keep it moist.

sauce
Tonight I’m turning the left over shredded chicken into an Enchilada Casserole using a homemade enchilada sauce I made this afternoon.

Here’s the recipe:

Roasted Tomato Enchilada Sauce
inspired by America’s Test Kitchen

Ingredients
1 TBS canola oil

1 14.5oz can of Organic fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 onion diced
3 garlic cloves minced
1 Fresno chile finely diced, seeds and ribs removed
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp sugar
2 TBS salsa
1/2 c water

Steps

1) Heat oil in a 1.5 – 2 QT sauce pan using med/low heat.

2) Start to cook onion, garlic, and chile in the heated oil to soften about 5 mins.

3) Add remaining ingredients and stir.

4) Bring sauce to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.

5) Simmer covered for 15 minutes.

6) Remove pan from heat, using an immersion blender submerge into sauce and blend until smooth. If you do not have an immersion blender a food processor or blender would work just as well.

7) Enjoy!

Notes:
1) The enchilada sauce recipe is totally vegan and low-fat!
2) It will freeze well in a freezer safe storage container, try using a canning jar just remember to leave approximately 1 inch of room in the jar before screwing on the lid.

 

Make My Morning | Easy Dairy Free Baked Oatmeal

13 Jan

baked oatmeal

My first post of 2013, making changes and organization continues… are you sensing a theme from our tiny household? Last Fall I got into making a large baked oatmeal recipe that Kate and I would take pieces of for breakfast to have at work during the week. It was addictive and I made it several times, each time mixing it up a bit and changing the fruit I added to it. I even got Kate’s dad, Denny, into making it and eating it!

Needless to say, after a while I got sick of baked oatmeal every morning, and I stopped making it. That was last year and with the new year, Kate asked me to start making it again in order to get back into healthier habits 🙂 Below is the recipe I created for 2013 and even made dairy free and gluten-free! The best part about this recipe is that it can all be made in one bowl, easy to put together and even easier clean up.

Dairy Free/Gluten-Free Baked Oatmeal

Ingredients
2 eggs
1 c soy milk (I used vanilla that is what we had on hand)
1/3 c maple syrup
1/2 c apple sauce
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 c walnuts (chopped)
1/3 c shredded coconut
2 c frozen berries (I used blueberries and blackberries)
1/3 c dried cranberries
2 c rolled oats (I used gluten-free rolled oats from Trader Joe’s)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder

Steps
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2) Spray a 9 or 10 inch pie plate with nonstick spray

3) In a large bowl whisk together all of the wet ingredients

4) Add the remaining ingredients to the wet mixture and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula

5) Pour mixture into your prepared pie plate

6) Bake for 40 – 45 minutes until golden brown

Notes:
1) Kate loved this recipe, but I found that it was too dry for my liking.
2) Denny loves his baked oatmeal more moist, he usually adds double the amount of milk to the recipe, I’m sure this would work with this recipe too.
3) Try topping this recipe it with 2 TBS of melted Earth Balance non dairy spread right when you take it out of the oven.
4) Serving suggestions: top with maple syrup, or Chobani Greek yogurt (if you like dairy), or pour some warm soy milk on top.

Happy and healthy 2013!

Pantry Dinner | Crock-Pot Pork Tenderloin

12 Nov

Slow cookers are the old-fashioned wave of the future, they are an old standard that is seemingly in everyone’s household, but that are seldom dusted off and utilized.
A few winters ago I decided to try to use ours more. For a few reasons: there seems to be fewer and fewer hours in the day, they are really cost-effective and the energy you use to make a meal that will last 2-3 meals is far lower than the gas we’d use to cook the same meal in the oven, and it is the perfect vehicle for cooking any of the frozen proteins that we have stored in our freezer bought on sale for a cold winter night.
The recipe below was made completely of ingredients that we had on hand in the pantry and in the freezer.

Crock-Pot Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients
1 Frozen Pork Tenderloin or Center Cut Pork Loin
1 Onion (rough chopped)
3 – 4 Cloves Garlic (smashed)
2 Bay Leaves
1/3 cup German Mustard
1/3 cup Dark Molasses
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Allepo Chile Flakes
1/2 tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1 TBS Light Brown Sugar
2 TBS Cider Vinegar
1 cup Hard Cider (nonalcoholic cider or beer would be fine)

Steps
1) Spray the inside of the crock-pot with nonstick spray

2) Place the onion, garlic and bay leaves in the bottom of the slow cooker. Put the frozen pork tenderloin on top of the cut veggies.

3) In a separate bowl whisk together the remaining ingredients and then pour over pork.

4) Cook on LOW for 7 – 8 hours.

Notes:
1) Spray the measuring cup with nonstick spray before measuring molasses and it will help that sticky stuff come out with ease.
2) Our Pantry meal was rounded out by frozen green beans that are a great economical and tasty option for two reasons: they are flash frozen just after they are picked to preserve freshness and you can often find them on sale for .99 cents for a 1 pound bag.
3) Sweet Potato Orzo “risotto” made in just 15 minutes with 4 ingredients: chicken broth, Earth Balance, salt and pepper. If you don’t have flavored orzo, mashed sweet potatoes would be delish as well!
4) To amp up the sweet potato orzo “risotto” add in chopped walnuts and dried cranberries. Y-U-M.

Trick or Treat | Handmade Howl-o-ween

31 Oct

Kate and I have a great relationship. She’s the maker to my baker. We have a lot in common, but we balance each other out.
Perfect case in point Halloween…. I love Halloween, I love the decorations, the costumes, pumpkins, Halloween candy and most of all throwing a Halloween party.

Every year I come up with the idea for “our” costume, a couples costume usually that entails hours of crafting and several yards of felt. Kate humors me and every year slaves over “our” costume and in true Kate fashion it always comes out perfect. Again, Kate and I have a great relationship. She tolerates watching the “Goonies” with me on the eve of Halloween, she spends hours hand sewing costumes we’ll wear for one night, and she does it mainly because it makes me happy.

This year she crafted my idea for Stevie and Ollie’s costumes too.. taking Stevie’s crate rest into consideration we came up with this…



No Boston Terriers were harmed in this photo shoot.

Stevie the lion and Ollie the lion tamer wish you all a Happy and Safe Halloween from our vintage circus to yours have fun!

Anytime Appetizer | Make Your Own Herbed Olives

25 Jun

As a child my summer days and nights were spent surrounded by adults, most notably my grandparents and my aunt. Entertaining, screen house entertaining that is, was in my family’s blood. I remember the roar of the laughter, the smell of the barbecue and the tiny ceramic vegetable shaped trays filled with “pickies” lining the tables. Pickies are what my family calls appetizers, small bites of goodness served to tide you over for the meal. In the summers there were a variety of them, most notably stuffed celery, crabbies (that can be another blog post on its own), and black and green olives.

I never quite have figured out if the word “pickies” is a New England thing, growing up north of Boston and spending summers at Hampton Beach, or if it was just a word that only my family used, which now I have started using with my own little family.

Here’s an easy crowd pleasing pickies recipe that could be made year round, although I’m sure it would be a Summer hit. *screen house not included*

Lemony Herbed Olives

Ingredients

1 jar Organic Green Olives (I used Cat Cora’s Kitchen)
1/2 fresh lemon
Sprigs of fresh Rosemary (from our container garden)
Sprigs of fresh Thyme (from our container garden)
2 cloves Garlic
Salt and Pepper
Organic California Olive Oil (or whatever your favorite good quality olive oil is)

Steps

1. Drain the liquid from the jar of olives and place olives in a small bowl.
2. Set aside olives and roughly chop the rosemary and thyme.
3. Peel the garlic cloves and smash with the edge of your chef’s knife to release the oils and flavor.
4. Toss the olives with the rosemary, thyme, and garlic in the small bowl.
5. Squeeze the juice of 1/4 of the lemon over the olive mixture.
6. Season with salt and pepper.
7. Slice the remaining 1/4 of the lemon and toss with the olive mixture.
8. Spoon mixture into the now empty jar that the olives were purchased in.
9. Don’t be afraid to really squeeze everything in there, it will be a tight fit.
10. Once the jar is filled, pour the olive oil into the jar filling it so the olives are covered in oil.

There you have it, your very own custom herbed olive mix!

Notes:

  •  You can use any combination of herbs that you wish. Be creative!
  • The cuter the label, the better they taste.. ok they taste great regardless, but cute labels don’t hurt.
  • Because I used fresh herbs that we are growing and doctored up store-bought olives, this crowd pleasing recipe is quite thrifty.

Weekly Deals | World’s Best Cat Litter Rebate

27 Apr

Disclaimer: Cat appears true to size, no magnification was used in this photo, he’s just big-boned!
Sitar came into my life in 1999, when he was 4 years old. His original owner was a friend of mine from work, who had bought him from a breeder, yes.. an intentional Maine Coon & Siamese mix. He was the only one in the litter that looked the most like a Siamese cat and fit in the palm of my friend’s hand.
Fast forward 4 years later and there I am the proud owner of what most described as a “lion cub!” Owning Sitar has always been a challenge. He is one of a kind, and let’s be real at one point he was the weight of two “normal” sized cats weighing in at a whopping 27 lbs. This leads me to this week’s deal: Litter.

I’ve always struggled with litter and Sitar, whether it be the size of the litter box, being too small of course. Or the fact that for some time I was forced to use a multicat litter for my one enormous cat, ha! Some brands track dust and others have clay that gets everywhere, not favorable in the least, especially in apartment living where we have limited space.
I first read about World’s Best Cat Litter on a local pet sitter’s blog and was intrigued. She had totally endorsed it and had posted testimonials from happy clients that she had encouraged to make the switch.

World’s Best Cat Litter is a natural clumping cat litter made from kernel corn. I’ve found that it is super absorbent and has stellar odor control, even in our tiny apartment office where the dreaded litter box is located. They often offer coupons attached to the bags of litter, online, as well as frequent rebate opportunities.

Currently they are offering a FREE bag rebate for any 7 or 8 lb bag. You just need to sign up on their website, print out the rebate form, include the original receipt, and the UPC bar code from the bag of litter you purchased.

Click HERE to take advantage of the World’s Best Cat Litter Free Mail-In Rebate Offer.
 

Weekly Deals | Alaway Eye Drops, Right Guard Deodorant & Scott Toilet Paper

17 Apr

Disclaimer: pup did not actually use any of the products posted in this photo!

When Kate & I met, almost seven years ago, I was living in a one bedroom apartment and my only “roommate” was Sitar, my then 9-year-old, 25 lb,  Maine Coon/Siamese cat. Little did Kate know that dating, then marrying me would be a “package deal” because if she was dating me, she was dating Sitar too…for better or worse. There was just one catch, she was allergic to cats (and we’re talking about an allergy to normal sized cats). We quickly discovered that if she was going to spend any time at my place she would have to take drugs to help with her allergy. One night I had the bright idea that she should take the Benadryl that was in my medicine cabinet to help. Oh it helped, but she promptly fell asleep on the couch. At first I thought it was me — maybe she was bored or not that into hanging out — but to my relief it was actually just drowsiness from the Benadryl! Ha!

These days she takes 24-hour non-drowsy generic Claritin and uses Alaway eye drops. Now that’s love.

This week’s deal via CVS Pharmacy

  1. Alaway: Original price: around $14/box. On sale this week for $9.99. Using a $4.00 coupon I cut out from the CVS circular in the Boston Globe on 4.15.12, my total cost was just $5.99/box.
  2. Right Guard Total Defense 5 Deodorant: Original price: $4.50/deodorant. On sale this week for 2/$6. I used a $2.00 coupon that I printed from redplum.com. Total cost = $4.00 for 2 deodorants. Also, with this transaction I earned $2 extra bucks for my next visit.
  3. Scott Extra Soft Toilet Paper: Original price: around $10. On sale this week for $6.99 (for a 12 or 18 pack). Using a $1.00 coupon I cut out from the Boston Globe on 3.25.12, my cost was $5.99. But wait…I still had my $2 Extra Bucks from my previous deodorant purchase! Including that, my total cost was $3.99 for 18 rolls of toilet paper! Woo hoo!!

Tips…

  • I always cut out coupons for household staples like toilet paper, paper towels, soap, etc. Even if you have enough the week you do your shopping, the coupons usually don’t expire for a few months so you can use them along with a sale at another time to save $$$.
  • To maximize my savings at CVS this trip, I split my order up into two transactions so I could make use of the Extra Bucks I had earned that day.
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