Monday, October 31, 2011

Thai-Style Pork

Wow, this came out great. I few weeks back I bought some pork loins on sale. I split them into 2-3 pound sections and froze them until I could find something good to use them in.

Well, I found something good, that's for sure. I was a little skeptical about the peanut butter, but don't be shy with it. It really makes for a creamy, tasty sauce. We'll be making this again soon.

I found the original recipe here.

Makes: 6-8 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 8-10 hours
Printable Recipe


  • 2 pounds pork loin, cut into 3-4 pieces
  • 1 large red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1/4 cup Teriyaki sauce
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 6 cups Basmati rice, cooked
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons roasted peanuts (or more), lightly chopped

1. Place the pork, bell pepper, Teriyaki sauce, vinegar, red pepper flakes and garlic into a Dutch oven and cook over low heat 8-10 hours or until the pork is falling apart. You can also use a crockpot if you wish.

2. Remove the pork and add the peanut butter to the pot. Stir to combine. Shred the pork and add it back to the pot.

3. Serve over rice garnished with green onion and peanuts.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sugar Cookies

Our niece can decorate the heck out of a cake, or cupcakes, or anything you put in front of her. We on the other hand, cannot. But, we get by.

We made these cookies for Anita to take to work. They disappeared in seconds. This is the only sugar cookie (and icing) recipe you'll ever need! We found the cookie recipe here, and the icing recipe here.

Makes: 48 cookies
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 8-15 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Heat your oven to 375 F.

2. Stir together the flour, baking soda and baking powder.

3. In a large bowl, use a fork or hand blender to cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Add in the egg and vanilla and blend. Slowly pour in flour mixture and blend.

4. Roll dough into small balls, about 1" in diameter. Place onto ungreased cookie sheets and bake until golden, 8-15 minutes. Remove. Let cool two minutes then transfer to wire racks to cool the rest of the way. Ice and decorate as desired.

For the icing:


  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Food coloring, as desired

1. Cream together the butter, sugar and milk in a medium-sized bowl. Divide into as many colors as you need. Add a few drops of food coloring into each batch and blend.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Review: Little Old Lady Recipes by Meg Favreau

We received an advance copy of a cookbook called Little Old Lady Recipes to review. This is a beautiful little cookbook written by Meg Favreau with photographs by Michael Reali. Meg Favreau is a writer, comedian, food enthusiast and one-time eating-contest winner living in Los Angeles. Michael Reali is a fervent photographer among other things, and his pictures of the beautiful ladies in their kitchens are fantastic and a little retro looking.

This book has simple and delicious recipes that your mother or grandmother made and that everyone loves. There are also little pearls of wisdom throughout the book by ladies that know a thing or two about life and cooking. The author talks a little bit about each recipe which is funny and so true. I tried the Irish Soda Bread recipe.

The recipe was easy to follow and the bread came out very, very good. I've included a pic of the bread. This is a gem of a cookbook filled with comfort food recipes that I will definitely use.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Red Maple Tree

We don't have a large yard, but we're lucky enough to have some beautiful trees. One our favorites is this little red maple. Well, it's not so little any more, but it was only a foot or so tall when we bought the house.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Grilled Sriracha Chipotle Wings

These wings are highly addictive. You've been warned.

I love that you can find more and more recipes these days that include sriracha sauce. Its a great sauce, not too hot, with lots of depth.

I found the original recipe for these wings over at Grill Grrrl's.

Makes: 4-6 servings
Prep time: 45 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 cup Franks hot sauce
  • 1/4 cup sriracha
  • 1 small can chiptoles in adobo, rough chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 5 lbs chicken wings, cut into pieces, rinsed and patted dry

1. Place hot sauce, sriracha, chipotles, garlic and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Mix well. Pour into a large resealable baggie.

2. Add chicken to baggie and seal. Toss to coat. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

3. Fire up your grill for indirect cooking. Place wings over indirect heat and cook 20 minutes. Flip and cook another 20-25 minutes or until done.

4. Serve with dipping sauce.

For the dipping sauce:


  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 4 oz blue cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon spoon dry mustard

1. Mix all ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Grilled Sweet and Spicy Wings

I love my Weber Performer grill. It is super easy to light, and has plenty of room for direct and indirect cooking.

These wings from Blues BBQ are great off the grill. You don't need a dipping sauce, trust me.

Makes: 4-6 servings
Prep time: 4 hours
Cook time: 1 hour
Printable Recipe


  • 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned salt
  • 5 pounds chicken wings, rinsed and dried, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup hot barbecue sauce (I used Grandma Foster's Smooth and Spicy)
  • 3 tablespoons apple juice

1. Mix the pepper, onion, chili and garlic powders and salt in a small bowl. Pour into a large resealable baggie.

2. Add the chicken to the bag and seal. Toss to totally coat the wings. Place in fridge and let marinate for 4 hours.

3. Prepare grill for indirect cooking. Add wings and cook for 20 minutes., Flip and cook another 20-25 minutes or until done.

4. In a small saucepan, mix the honey, barbecue sauce, and apple juice. Bring to a simmer and keep warm.

5. Place wings in a large disposable aluminum pan. Pour sauce over the wings and toss to coat. Place pan on grill, directly over the heat. Continue heating, flipping often, until the glaze is how you'd like it (in our case, nice and thick and gooey!). Remove and enjoy!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus with Homemade Pita Chips

Anita loves hummus. I thought I'd make something a little different and use roasted red peppers.

I also made some pita chips for dipping. Super easy.

For the hummus:

Makes: 1 1/2 cups
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 15 oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

1. Roast the red bell pepper on your grill or in the oven. Let cool then remove the charred skin, stem and seeds. Chop. Alternatively, you can use 1/2 cup jarred roasted red bell pepper, chopped.

2. Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

For the pita chips:

Makes: 4 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes


  • 3 pitas, cut into wedges
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

1. Preheat oven to 375 F.

2. Mix oil, garlic and salt and pepper to taste in small bowl. Brush mixture onto pita wedges. Transfer to a baking sheet (or two) and bake for 12-15 minutes or until crispy and lightly golden.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Stroganoff Dip

This is a really great, hearty dip. Serve with thick chips or crackers. If its too thick for your liking, thin it up with a little more sour cream or even milk.

Our niece took some home to have over noodles. It's very stroganoff-y.

Makes: 12 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Printable Recipe

  • 3 slices bacon
  • 8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 medium white onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 8 oz package cream cheese, cubed
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (plus more if the dip gets too thick)

1. Cook bacon until crisp in a large skillet. Remove and crumble.

2. Add the mushrooms, onion and garlic to the skillet with the bacon drippings. Cook until the mushrooms are tender and the liquid has almost completely evaporated.

3. Sprinkle the mushroom mixture with the flour, salt and pepper. Stir.

4. Mix in cream cheese cubes, and Worcestershire and soy sauce. Reduce heat to low and cook until the cream cheese is completely melted.

5. Remove from heat and stir in the sour cream and bacon. Serve warm (I served the dip in a fondue pot set to 'warm').

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve, Fishers, Indiana

Anita was off work today, so for lunch we drove over to Sam's Gyros and picked up a regular gyro (for Anita) and a spicy gyro (for me) and headed over to Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve in Fishers. We have driven by Ritchey Woods at least a hundred times and always wanted to stop, and today we finally did.

Ritchey Woods is a nature preserve of about 127 acres. There are several walking trails...

... and a few picnic tables, and a nice shelter area for anyone's use.

It seems that the shelter was recently used for a rather major pumpkin carving activity!

It was nice out today (mid 70s), and there were a few people there walking their dogs... or just walking themselves!

While walking along one trail we discovered these enormous giant puffball mushrooms. Apparently these mushrooms can get over 40 pounds in weight! I can believe it by how big they are! The large one below was bigger than a basketball!

Ritchey Woods is a nice little place to stop by for a stroll and enjoy the woods and nature. We are looking forward to returning soon.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cuban Tenderloin Sliders

I got the idea for these from Pam's Midwest Kitchen Korner post on stuffed Cuban pork tenderloin. Pam's came out so well that I just had to make it.

I sliced them thin and served them on slider rolls.

Makes: 8-10 sliders
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 lb pork tenderloin, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 slices Swiss cheese, halved, plus 2-3 more for topping the sliders
  • 8-10 dill pickle slices
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (I used closer to 2 teaspoons)
  • 8-10 slider buns

1. Fire up your grill for direct/indirect cooking.

2. Cut a slit lengthwise into the tenderloin. Spread it open then, using a meat mallet, pound it out to about a 1/2" thickness.

3. Spread mustard over the inside of the tenderloin. Top with cheese and pickles.

4. Roll up tenderloin along longest edge, then tie with kitchen twine.

5. Combine oregano with a 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Sprinkle over all sides of the tenderloin.

6. Place tenderloin over direct heat on your grill. Sear, then rotate, searing the remaining sides, but be careful when grilling the open side as you don't want the cheese and other goodies inside to drip out. Remove to indirect heat and continue cooking until desired temperature is reached (I went for 155 F). Remove from grill and let rest 5-10 minutes.

7. Toast buns if desired.

8. Slice tenderloin thin. Top buns with tenderloin and a small piece of Swiss cheese. Serve.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cajun Boiled Potatoes with Lemon Dipping Butter

Cajunlicious is one my most favorite blogs to follow. Jessica posts some really great tasting food there. If you haven't subscribed to the Cajunlicious blog, you really should.

These potatoes are soooo good and yet so easy to make. I love crab boil. The smell of these potatoes cooking made me want to make another poor man's shrimp boil.

Makes: 3-4 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 lb small red potatoes, washed but not skinned
  • 1/4 cup seafood boil (I used Louisiana brand)
  • 1 lemon, halved plus 1 more for serving
  • 1 stick + 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon garlic salt
  • Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish

1. Combine seafood boil with one cup of water. Pour into a pot.

2. Add potatoes, juice of one half of the lemon and 2 tablespoons of the butter and enough water to cover the potatoes to the pot. Bring to a boil. Continue boiling until the potatoes are fork-tender, 10-15 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes.

3. While potatoes are cooking, melt the stick of butter. Stir in the garlic salt and juice of the remaining lemon half.

4. Drain potatoes. Serve with remaining lemon, cut into wedges, topped with chopped parsley and dipping butter on the size.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Carrot Apple Slaw

I grilled up some pork tenderloins the other night, glazing them with the last of my Pepper Palace Sweet Bourbon Glaze. I figured I'd want something to cut through the sweetness of the glaze, so I made this wonderful carrot apple slaw.

Really tasty slaw. The apple makes it a little different than your usual slaw. Good on its own too. I found the original recipe here.

Makes: 4 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Printable Recipe


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 savoy cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1 large carrot, peeled, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and cut into matchsticks

1. Combine the mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper in a large bowl.

2. Add in the remaining ingredients and toss. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Miss BarBee-Q

I ran across this little beauty at a local antique mall not too long ago. Its a little grill in the original box. Though the box shows a little wear, the grill has never been used. I just had to buy it (I think I paid $20).

I noticed that one of the recommended uses is in a rec-room. Having lit charcoal in a closed-in rec room seems like a bad idea to me!

I was thinking about just keeping this grill in the box, but instead I'm going to put it into the fireplace this winter and grill up some burgers and dogs!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Quaker Steak and Lube

We almost never eat at chain restaurants. We prefer mom-and-pop or at least locally-owned places. That being said, we've wanted to eat at a Quaker Steak and Lube for some time because we love wings, and they have such a long list of wing sauces.

We were on our way back from a day at the Ohio Renaissance Festival. We worked up quiet an appetite at the festival despite having quite a bit of food while we were there. So, we stopped at a Quaker Steak and Lube on the northwest side of Cincinnati.

QS & L is decorated in an racing theme. They have cars, motorcycles, garage items hanging everywhere. There's plenty to look at it. The menu follows the same theme.

Anita ordered the boneless wings with BBQ sauce, which she liked. I got the Wings & O-Rings, which is 10 wings (in Louisiana Lickers sauce) and some onion rings. I really liked the sauce on my wings, and the rings were very good. We both enjoyed our meals and service was decent.

Would we go back? Probably, just to try more of their wing sauce flavors, which are listed below. QS & L isn't cheap, but I thought the wings were much better than the ones from Buffalo Wild Wings.

  • Triple Atomic
  • Atomic
  • Super-Charged
  • Buckeye BBQ®
  • Cajun Spicy
  • Hot Classic
  • Arizona Ranch®
  • Golden Garlic®
  • Thai ‘R’ Cracker
  • Medium Classic
  • Thaisian
  • Thai ‘R’ Cracker
  • Louisiana Lickers®
  • Tequila Lime BBQ
  • Asian Sesame
  • Dusted Chipotle
  • Parmesan Pepper
  • Mild
  • Honey Mustard
  • BBQ
  • Ranch

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

2011 Ohio Renaissance Festival

Anita and I drove over to the Ohio Renaissance Festival last Saturday. Its about a 2 1/2 hour drive from here. We took mostly back roads, something we prefer to do when we aren't in a hurry to get somewhere. We left early so we would get there just as the festival opened at 10:30 am (and we highly recommend getting there early because it did get crowded as the day went on).

This was Anita's first time at a renaissance festival. I have been to the Maryland and Texas festivals, but that was years ago. Anita loved it. By the end of the day she was already planning for our return visit, but coming in costume the next time.

The festival is an absolute joy. There are crafts, and acts, and people in costume, rides for the kids, games, and music... Fun for the entire family! And speaking of food, you have to get a turkey leg. It's the proper heathen thing to do. They're really good and fun to eat. There are plenty of places to get food and drink.

There are lots of great shows at the festival. All of the actors are great, and really funny. You cannot pass up a show at the Muditorium. These guys are absolutely hilarious. And just a warning, if you sit in the first 5 or 6 rows..... Well, it is a Muditorium, so you can guess what's going to happen!

The audience gets very much into the show. Here, one of the actors sits in the crowd after borrowing a lady's sunglasses.

The shows are free, but most will pass around a hat or ask for contributions. They're worth a few bucks. Oh, and if you get mud on you at the muditorium you get $1 off the purchase of a t-shirt!

There are stage shows, pirate ship shows, and many, many others.

Actors are everywhere, but sometimes even pirates need a break. That's why there's a Pirate Stop, of course.

Musicians, town drunks, crazy people in trees...

And hundreds of shops. There are lots of great crafts. Some expensive, and some very inexpensive.

And there are lots of games, from tomato toss to archery. Even animal rides for the kids.

Another must-see is the jousting. We caught the early show. Here, the Queen's entourage heads towards the arena.

Her Majesty the Queen, presiding over the jousting.

The jousting is full-contact. Those are real lances.

At the end of our stay, we stopped and enjoyed Albannach, a Scottish band that totally rocked. Everyone really enjoyed their music.

Last, I couldn't help but capture a Friar hitting the ATM. It struck me as funny somehow.

A trip to the Ohio Renaissance Festival is a real joy. We can't wait to return next year!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Mexican Cheese Dip

I bought a little fondue pot the other day. I'm looking forward to making some fancy fondue dishes, but figured I'd better start simple. This Mexican cheese dip fits the bill perfectly.

Add some diced pickled jalapeƱos for a little extra kick.

Makes: A huge batch, 16 servings at least
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Printable Recipe


  • 2 lb Velveeta
  • 1 10 oz can Rotel (I used hot)
  • 1 lb bulk hot sausage
  • 1 bag tortilla chips

1. Place the Velveeta and Rotel tomatoes into your fondue pot and set to warm. Cook until cheese is melted, stirring occasionally.

2. Brown the sausage in a skillet. Drain. Add to the melted cheese and stir.

3. Serve with chips.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Hot Tamales Popcorn

I made up a big ole batch of this slightly spicy popcorn for a family get-together. It's not overly sweet and not overly hot, just right I'd say!

You can substitute any cinnamon candy, like Red Hots if you want. I found the original recipe over at CD Kitchen. I made the popcorn in our Whirley Pop popcorn maker, which makes fantastic popcorn!

Makes: A huge bowlful
Cook time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 2/3 cups un-popped popcorn kernels
  • 2 10oz packages Hot Tamale candies
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 250 F. Spray a roasting pan with unflavored non-stick spray.

2. Pop popcorn according to your popcorn popper instructions. Pour popcorn into the roasting pan.

3. In a medium non-stick pot, place the candies, sugar, butter, corn syrup and salt. Over medium-high heat, melt the butter and candies, stirring often. This can take 5-20 minutes depending on the candies. I find that Hot Tamales take a while to melt. Other candies, such as Red Hots, might not take as long.

4. Once the candy is completely melted, remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the baking soda. Pour the mixture over the popcorn, and stir to completely coat the popcorn.

5. Bake popcorn for 1 hour. Every 15 minutes stir the popcorn.

6. Let cool before serving.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Sriracha Glazed Pork Sliders

I found this great glaze over on the Nibble Me This blog the other day. I thought it'd be perfect on a grilled pork tenderloin.

I sliced the tenderloin thin and served it on slider rolls with some sriracha mayonnaise. Yummy!

Makes: 12 sliders
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20-30 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 cup red plum jelly
  • 1 oz sriracha sauce
  • 2 oz terriyaki sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 2 pork tenderloins
  • 12 slider buns

1. Place jelly, sriracha, terriyaki, garlic and onion in a medium pan. Heat until blended, stirring often. And salt and pepper to taste.

2. Prepare grill for indirect cooking.

3. Season tenderloins with salt and pepper. Sear on grill on all sides then remove to indirect heat. Brush with glaze. Continue cooking until done (155 F), brushing with additional glaze as you go.

4. Remove tenderloin and let rest. Brown buns on grill.

5. Slather buns with sriracha sauce and top with sliced tenderloin.

For the sriracha sauce:


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoons milk

1. Place ingredients in a food processor. Add salt to taste and puree until smooth, 2-3 minutes.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Chile and Cheese Rice

This rice is insanely good. We had it as a side to our homemade enchiladas.

I think you could make this into a main dish by adding some cooked chicken before putting the rice under the broiler. The original recipe is from Marcela Valladolid from the Food Network.

Makes: 6-8 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Printable Recipe


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 large white onion, minced
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 2 poblano chiles
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese

1. Char the poblanos on your grill, about 10 minutes, over high heat. Let cool slightly then remove the charred skin, seeds and stems. Chop.

2. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute until starting to soften.

3. Add in the rice and cook until it starts to turn opaque, about 10 minutes.

4. Add in the water and corn and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook until the rice is tender, 15-20 minutes. Add in the poblanos and stir.

5. Spray a 7x10 baking dish with non-stick spray. Add in the rice mixture. Drizzle with the sour cream and sprinkle with cheese. Place under oven broiler until browned and cheese has melted, 5-10 minutes.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Tropical Pepper Company Mango Coconut Grilling Sauce

I didn't have a lot of time to make dinner the other night, so I dug through the pantry and found a bottle of Mango Coconut Grilling Sauce from the Tropical Pepper Company.

I seasoned two split chicken breasts with salt and pepper and tossed them over some hot coals for a while, just long enough to get some grill marks and a good seer on them. I then moved them off to indirect heat and brushed them with some mango coconut sauce. I brushed them every 15 minutes until the chicken was done. I removed them, let them rest for 10 minutes, then served them up on a bed of arugula.

The sauce is somewhat sweet, but not overwhelmingly so. It has just a little kick, which goes well with the coconut and mango flavors. I'm looking forward to using it again on fish or shrimp.