Friday, March 16, 2012

Easy Breakfast Burritos

I am a total breakfast person. I could eat bacon every day. I've never turned down an omelette. Waffles, pancakes, crepes? Yes please! And don't even ask me about my all-time favorite, eggs Benedict... just bring me a plate and I'll be your best friend for life.

But I'll also eat just about anything wrapped in a tortilla.

Especially if it includes crispy bacon, crunchy-on-the-outside-soft-on-the-inside potatoes, and fluffy scrambled eggs. (Oh, and cheese... can't forget about the cheese.) What's not to love?

These burritos are (yet another) knock off of a restaurant favorite, this time from Dane's hometown of Kimberly, Idaho. Burritos so good that we always have to make a trip to Fiesta Ole whenever we go to visit. And they couldn't be simpler! And the best part is that this is totally just a base recipe. You could, for instance, use frozen tater tots like Fiesta does, or you could add salsa, cilantro, scallions, olives... the possibilities are endless! Make 'em yours, any way you want... just make 'em! Your tastebuds will thank me.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Lemon-Ricotta Cookies

Before we jump right into talking about these fabulous cookies, can we all take a moment to admire my gorgeous china? I know the focus is supposed to be on the food here, but I am seriously in love with my china and these are the first food photos I've taken with it! In case you're wondering, my pattern is by Noritake and it's called Platinum Wave. I just love the silver swirls... it's a classic pattern that is feminine without being overly girly, and the delicate porcelain was so perfect for these lemon tea cookies that I couldn't resist photographing on it!

I think every girl deserves to have a beautiful set of china, and to drink tea and eat delicate, scrumptious cookies off of that beautiful china. I mean, what happens if the Queen stops by in the middle of the afternoon wanting tea? Certainly, you wouldn't dream of serving her with your silly old everyday cups and plates. And you wouldn't serve her any old cookies either! But don't worry, I've totally got you covered... if the Queen ever made a random stop by my house, these are definitely the cookies I'd want to have on hand.

Something as light and aromatic as tea demands a cookie equally as delicate, and these totally fit the bill. These cookies are light and fluffy, almost more like a muffin top than a cookie, and are perfect for dipping. They're also wonderfully sweet, with a bright lemony flavor that hints of spring. These little guys are perfect for that afternoon pick-me-up, when you need a little caffeine and sugar to get you through.

So if you ever needed an excuse to have a teaparty, here you go! Invite your girlfriends over, break out your pretty china, and pretend you're 4 years old again (and if you feel like dressing up in your mom's old gawdy clothes, I won't judge). And if the Queen stops by, you'll be adequately prepared!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Cilantro-Lime Rice

My mother and I are both complete suckers for cilantro. For instance, when either of us makes pico de gallo, by the time we're done you can usually smell the cilantro without even opening the refrigerator door. So when we tried the lime and cilantro-infused rice at Kanak Attack last spring during our pre-wedding tasting, we were both totally hooked. Of course, in true fashion, I had to figure out how to make it at home. And guess what? It's so easy, I feel like I'm cheating even calling it a recipe.

You literally only need three things to make this epic rice...

That's it. Rice, lime, and cilantro. No fuss, no frills. Just the way I like it.

And it's soooo tasty! I used basmati rice because I like the light, fluffy texture I'm able to achieve with it, but you could easily substitute any other kind of white rice you'd like. But the lime and cilantro... they make this dish sing. This is one of those truly light and refreshing sides that I guarantee you'll find yourself making week after week. Eat it alongside enchiladas, or stuff it in a burrito with all the fixin's. Or eat it in a bowl, topped with your favorite slow-cooked black beans and a little Mexican crema. The possibilities are endless! Just trust me. This rice is too easy and too delicious... there's no excuse not to try it.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Vanilla-Pear Muffins

It's no secret that my husband is a bit of a picky eater. The list of things he refuses to eat is quite extensive, although it is shrinking these days, thanks to careful disguising of certain ingredients (ahem, like squash) and a general force-feeding of things I think he ought to just get over and eat. This boy will learn to have a well-rounded palate if it's the last thing I do! But despite some of the hiding and even arguing I have to do to get him to eat anything outside his comfort zone, one food I can always count on him eating are pears. Fruits aren't always high on his food-priority list, but rest-assured, if pears are in the house they will get eaten! So imagine my excitement when I stumbled upon this recipe for pear muffins.

Admittedly, pear muffins were not something I had ever heard of. Banana, blueberry, even apple muffins, sure... but pear? I was instantly intrigued. And within one bite, I was also instantly satisfied! These muffins are amazingly moist, and perfectly spiced... almost like a chai latte in muffin form. They're also very hearty, with robust chunks of tender pear and crunchy walnuts. Usually one muffin is just enough to take the edge off of a hungry stomach, but these guys are downright satiating! I can't wait to come home from work to one of these bad boys every day this weekend... you know, provided the picky boy doesn't eat them all first. :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Orange-Walnut Bread

Who here loves banana bread? I sure do. But I get sick of bananas pretty fast. And citrus is soooo in season right now. Bright, juicy, spirit-lifting citrus... EVERYWHERE. Aren't you loving it?

But what to do with it all? There's the usual standby of, you know, just eating it, but that gets old after a while too. And it would be such a shame to let citrus season pass without enjoying the wide range of its flavoring possibilities. So why not make some tasty bread with all that lovely orange goodness?

Like this bread. It's super tasty! Like banana bread kicked up a notch... except, you know, minus the bananas. Soft and dense with a subtle sweetness, a slight crunch from the earthy walnuts, and beautiful orange-y notes that sing, "Good morning, sunshine!" It's the perfect complement to your morning cup of coffee or glass of milk... a seriously sweet way to start your day. And it's seriously too good to pass up this citrus season. Trust me!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Kalua Pork Sliders

It's no secret that I love recreating my favorite restaurant meals at home. There's something insanely satisfying about knowing that I can make something just as delicious in my own kitchen as what some chef once created in an overpriced restaurant. It's like saying, "See! I can run with the big dogs too!" And we all need a little ego boost every now and then, right?

This meal in particular was inspired by the great folks at Ono Hawaiian Cafe right here in good old Boise, Idaho. This is the place where Dane and I celebrated our engagement-versary and the restaurant that catered our wedding! We had so many compliments on the food at our wedding... no one left hungry (as I've experienced personally at some weddings) and everyone agreed that the food was delicious. I'll be the first to tell you, it's worth every penny to have these guys cater your event!

Anyway, Ono has quickly become one of our very favorite restaurants. And every time we go we order the Kalua Pork Sliders for an appetizer, regardless of how hungry we are. They're simply too good to pass up! Salty, flavorful pork, sweet crispy onion straws, fluffy, Hawaiian rolls, and juicy pineapple... how can you say no to that? I'm telling you, the combination is downright crave-able.

Well, since we can't exactly afford to be eating out all the time, I decided to take it upon myself to recreate these bad boys at home. And judging by the non-stop "yum" coming from my husband and the decided lack of leftovers for the next day (despite ample amounts of food), I'm pretty sure I hit the nail on the head with this one. Seriously... they turned out so good! I could hardly keep from eating half the batch in one sitting, all by myself. And you guys won't believe how easy they were to make! It does take some planning ahead to allow the pork to roast low and slow, but otherwise the process couldn't be simpler. Almost too simple, because now I find myself wanting to make them like every other day. But alas, I must refrain, for I have no desire to look like a 300-pound Samoan guy.

But seriously... make these. Today. Thank me later.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Pomegranate-Cranberry Bellinis

Happy Valentine's Day!

This Valentine's Day you could go all stereotypical, with strawberries and chocolate and plain ol' Champagne. Or you could step out of the box, put forth a little more effort, and create this amazingly refreshing cocktail for that special someone today.

There's so much to love about this drink. To start, it's got the perfect balance of sweet and sour... just like any good cocktail. The combination of sweet pomegranate and cranberry juices and bright, bitter limes is simply intoxicating. Then there's the fresh mint, that sings like the happy high note at the top of a major chord... just that little extra something that you hardly notice is there but would totally miss if it were gone. But the real kicker? The real thing that takes this drink over the top is the bubbly! It's what separates this drink from any simple sangria and what makes it absolutely perfect for an evening like Valentine's Day.

And all that extra effort? It's really no effort at all. One sip and no one will know that it only took you about 5 minutes to throw together. Which is good... leaves you more time to spend with that special someone this evening. Enjoy!

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