Monday, June 29, 2015

Grilled Cheesesteak Pizza

I was so happy to have Red Gold Tomatoes invite me again this year to their "Summer Grilling Giveaway".  The party started on June 24th, running through July 22. Red Gold and Laura's Lean Beef are giving away a Large Big Green Egg each week.... AND.... 800 insulated tote bags. 

 To get the party started at our house, they sent a delicious sample kit of tomatoes, an insulated bag, and a $10 coupon to Laura's Lean Beef! I tell ya, I love the bag. Living as far in the sticks as I do, I needed a bag to help me keep my cold stuff cold on the drive home! My coupon for Laura's Lean Beef will be in my purse for our next trip to the cities.... so excited to try this line of products!

I also got a selection of Recipes from Red Gold Tomatoes. The one that caught our attention was the Grilled Cheesesteak Pizza. I have never tried grilling a pizza in any method, although I read of lots of people doing this. So... this was it, the push I needed. Let me tell you. LOVED IT! Perfect summer meal. I only had the stove on for 5-10 minutes, so this is a great way to keep the heat out of the house on hot days. Truckin' Man grilled up the steak for me while I prepped the veggies. I assembled the pizza, and on to the grill it went. I was a lil' bit nervous about it, but it was a success! We will definitely be grilling more pizza's this summer. Thanks to Red Gold Tomatoes for the great recipe and getting us to try something new!

Disclaimer: Red Gold provided me with tomatoes, insulated tote, and Laura's Lean Beef coupon for participating in the "Summer Grilling Party", but all opinions are my own.

Grilled Cheesesteak Pizza (Source: Red Gold)

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 roasted red bell pepper, sliced into strips
1/2 Vidalia onion, sliced
1 14.5 ounce can Red Gold Diced Tomatoes, drained
1/2 tbsp dried oregano
5 ounce Laura's Lean Beef Sirloin Steak

Pizza crust (I used a premade crust recommended for grilling)
2 tbsp Red Gold Tomato Paste
2 ounces Provolone Cheese, shredded
2 ounces Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional)

In large skillet, heat extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add peppers, onions and drained tomatoes. Cook until onions are soft. Sprinkle oregano over veggies and set aside.

Grill steak until medium done. Let rest, then slice in thin strips. Reduce grill heat to low.

Spread tomato paste onto crust. Top with tomato mixture, sliced steak, and cheese. Place pizza in grill (set at low heat) and close lid. Cook for about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Remove from grill and sprinkle with parsley, if desired.


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Monday, June 15, 2015

This 'n That

It's been pretty busy around the home front, 
but not so busy that I haven't snapping pictures here and there. 

I found this little nest in one of our shrubs. So pretty!

 A couple weeks ago we visited Jung Garden Center in Madison. I absolutely love this store. 
The selection of seeds and plants is amazing!

I found this little "egg" in the yard a couple weeks ago. We were both puzzled as to what it was. After some research, I found what I believe to be the answer. It's an Oak Apple Wasp Gall. 

All the rain is leaving us with a very damp dog!

Our little chicks are growing up. Another couple months, and I should be bringing them home!
(Only three of these little ones are ours)

They are finally getting used to going outside!

What's new in your neck of the woods?

Friday, June 12, 2015

Apple & Pork Breakfast Bites


Today is the big reveal day for Freaky Friday Recipe Swap! A group of fabulous bloggers, 19 of us, were assigned a blog to cook/bake from. Tons of delicious recipes were tested and are now being shared! It's been top secret, and today we all share! Fun, right? 

I was assigned to a blog that was new to me, so it was really fun getting to know Angela at LeMoine Family Kitchen. Angela has so many amazing recipes, and she likes a lot of the same types of food that I do, so it was really hard narrowing down what to make for Freaky Friday!

I finally narrowed it down to two, and made them both. Sweet & Savory Pork Breakfast Bites, and Southern Hoe Cakes. Wow... what a delicious breakfast we had! I had been reading in several places lately about Hoe Cakes, so curiosity finally got me. They are kind of like a cross between corn bread and a pancake.
Definitely a dish that will be on our table again.

Then the Breakfast Bites... Oh my gosh. I haven't run into a recipe like this before, and it is going to be in the menu often. These bites are perfect for making ahead of time and reheating. I don't know about your house, but we need more options like that the way our mornings are! From the spice blend, to the honey sweetness, topped off by the apples mixed in. It really is the best breakfast meat, aside from my love of bacon, of course.

What will I be trying next from LeMoine Family Kitchen? No Bake Peanut Butter Pie, of course!

Be sure to scroll down to the links below so you can see what everyone else made!
I wonder who made one of my recipes!

Apple & Pork Breakfast Bites (Source: Lemoine Family Kitchen)

1 lb. lean ground pork
1 apple, finely diced (I used Granny Smith)
1 Tbsp water
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp honey

Preheat oven to 385 degrees.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

In small skillet, add apples and water.  Cook over medium heat until just softened.  Add spices and honey. Saute for 2-3 minutes.  Remove apples from heat and cool completely.

Once apples are cool, add to pork and mix until thoroughly combined. Using cookie dough scoop, scoop mixture onto prepared pan, and flatten slightly.  Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden and cooked through.

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Monday, June 8, 2015

Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad and Deep South Dish Giveaway

Winner is Carla!  Congrats Carla...
Enjoy and please share with us how you and your family enjoy this cookbook!

I was thrilled when I was asked to do a cookbook review and a giveaway on Deep South Dish - Homestyle Southern Recipes by Mary Foreman.  I adore southern food, so I was so excited when the cookbook came and I got to dig in and start reading and trying recipes.

Most of the southern cookbooks I own are from the Carolina area. Mary of Deep South Dish is from the Mississippi Gulf Coast. It was interesting to this midwest girl to see the differences in cooking. Some of the differences were in ingredients, yet what surprised me most is the preparation methods being different in others. Whether it is a regional difference, or Mary's style, I like it! The more new twists I saw, the more I kept reading to see what her spin was on other recipes.

In addition to being a cookbook author, Mary also blogs over at Deep South Dish. Mary's readers know that she is always bringing something delicious to the table.  Her ingredients are easy to obtain for the most part. For some reason, here in rural Wisconsin, I can not find a decent cajun seasoning, so I have that on my shopping list for my trip to the "cities" in two weeks. Once I have that, there a whole other list of recipes I will be trying.

One thing I don't make a lot of at home is dishes with the whole chicken, because I just don't feel that I am good at them. So, when I found Southern-Style Baked Chicken (Page 130) in the cookbook, I knew I had to at least try it. Guess what? It rocked! First decent "whole" "bone-in" chicken I have made outside of the crockpot.

Next up was Grandma Mac's Southern Pound Cake (Page 200). So amazing! Ooh and the Mississippi Mud Cake (Page 204). I didn't have pecans in the house the day I made this, but still.... Amazing!

The recipe I want to share with you today is Mary's Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad. This is going to be my new go-to pasta salad. Simple and Flavorful.

To order a copy of Deep South Dish - Homestyle Southern Recipes by Mary Foreman, visit Amazon here.

To WIN your very own copy, leave a comment here telling me your favorite southern food, with your email address  If you have never made a southern dish, just tell me your all time favorite food. That works too. For an additional entry, comment on this link on my facebook page.
Open to U.S. residents only.

Deadline: Friday, June 12th 6:00 pm.CST

Winner: I will randomly choose a winner and announce it at the top of this post, and on facebook. The winner will also be notified via email; if the winner does not respond within 72 hours, another winner will be selected.

Winner is:    Carla

Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

6 slices bacon
1 carrot, grated
1-2 tsp water
2 cups uncooked small shell pasta
Olive oil
2/3 cup mayonnaise (the real stuff)
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 packet ranch dressing mix (Or 3 tablespoons)
1-2 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup young sweet peas (drained)

Cut bacon into pieces, about 1/2 inch. In skillet, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from skillet with slotted spoon.  Set aside on paper towel to cool.

In microwave safe bowl, lightly sprinkle grated carrot with water. Cover and cook on high for 2 minutes. Set aside to cool. Once cool, wrap the carrots inside of several paper towels, and squeeze out any liquid. Set aside.

Prepare shell pasta according to package directions. Rinse and rain. Pat pasta dry with paper towels.  Add pasta to serving bowl. Toss with a drizzle of olive oil.  Stir in mayonnaise until well blended. Add bacon, carrots, onion powder and ranch dressing. Stir together. Add milk as needed until creamy. Add peas, stir. Cover and refrigerate over night.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this cookbook to review, and as well as one to giveaway.

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Sunday, June 7, 2015

Around the Farm

It's been rather uneventful around the farm lately. 

So far we have kept up with the garden and staying ahead of the weeds. Just as I am getting this post ready, I realized I forgot to plant Swiss Chard this year. 
Hmmmm... maybe I should go get some seeds.

Truckin' Man has been staying very busy with his new job. 
It was certainly a change when he got pulled out of driving Peterbilt.  
Now he is in the 2nd biggest truck the company has. A Mack.

Isn't Hazel cute when she climbs on equipment? Truckin' Man does NOT agree with me.

The new Iris I planted last year. Butter & Sugar. I am so excited to see this in full bloom. 

 The Iris we just transplanted from my parents. 
I love the darker colors.

The common Iris color. 
Finally established and in full bloom.

 Crops are in and doing well. 
Only a couple acre patch left to plant that weather is not cooperating with.

What's growing at your place?

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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Man Bars

The theme for June's "Fill the Cookie Jar" is cookies that our dad would love. I was running REALLY far behind this month, and when I needed to decide on a recipe, my dad was out of town.... Ooops! So, I turned the decision making over to Truckin' Man. His suggestion was "chocolate chip". While chocolate chips are the best cookies,  it wasn't one I felt inspired to bake recently.

Then I had a memory.... A bar I had pinned several years ago. Apparently almost 4 years ago. Has pinterest really been around that long? Wow time flies..! 
Anyways.... I found the pin, and the link was dead. I was heartbroken. Don't tell me I can't have this recipe.  Nothing like a dead end to get me obsessed with finding the recipe.
It took a bit. I ended up having to get creative on my surfing abilities, but I found the blog, and the recipe. Thank goodness!

Man Bars. Doesn't that sound like the perfect bar for celebrating Father's Day? From all the guys that sampled this bar today, the name fits. It's sweet and chocolaty, with the perfect graham cracker goodness that everyone loves!

If you are interested in joining Fill The Cookie Jar group on facebook, fill out the form that can be found at Fill The Cookie Jar. Each month we bake a different theme for the cookie.
We bake, we share and we enjoy our cookies!

Man Bars (Adapted from: Delightful Country Cookin via Gooseberry Patch)

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 cup miniature chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 -2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper, set aside. In large bowl, mix together graham cracker crumbs, cocoa, chocolate chips, walnuts, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla. Stir until all ingredients are combined.  Press into prepared pan.  Bake for 30 minutes.

Let cool. Remove bars from pan, and cut into small squares. Add powdered sugar to small bowl, and roll bars in sugar before serving.


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Monday, June 1, 2015

Gardening in 2015

We moved the location of our garden last year, and things didn't go so well. 
We had a variety of things go right, and others go wrong. 
We are hoping for great results this year!

After getting everything planted a couple weeks ago, we had days and days of rain, and cool temperatures. Which, while it was nice, it didn't go so well for some of our seeds. Yesterday we replanted pea's, spinach, and some beans.  We are keeping weeds under control much better. High Five to Truckin' Man for getting us a tiller so we don't have to do all the work by hand. Lovin' it!

Just look at those clean rows, with all the beautiful plants!

It makes us so happy to have a good garden.

I will learn to love brussell sprouts, I will learn to love brussell sprouts, I will learn to love brussell sprouts.

Onions. Fresh farm the garden. Mmmm... Happy Dance!

And you know what really sends me into my happy dance? Fresh lettuce! I have three different varieties planted. We should be able to start enjoying them in just a couple more days!

 And.... Our new addition this year.... Strawberries! So, excited. We planted bare root plants a week ago, and already are seeing tremendous growth. This is our first time ever growing them, so I am trying to not get overly excited in case we have a learning curve on these little plants... But... I can't help it... I get excited!

Lastly... Here is an appearance from my ever faithful four-legged protector. 
Keeps an eye on me where ever I am.

How grows your garden?