Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012 Food and Blog Goals

2012. It just feels weird saying it. I always think of that movie with John Cusack where Yellowstone blows up and all of that other crazy stuff happens. I just got used to saying 2011 so I can't believe this next year is already here! I did okay on my goals for last year so I figured I would do the same thing this year. I've carried over the things that I didn't accomplish last year and added a few new things as well!

2012 Food and Blog Goals

1. Post once a week- I was proud of myself for posting an average of 2 times a week for the whole year but my goal for this year is to not skip weeks of posting.

2. Host another giveaway

3. Keep up with my blogging group

4. Host a dinner party- this one is from last year but I think I will accomplish it this year!

5. Tamales

6. Dog Treats

7. Royal icing

8. Try and finish my 23 x 23 or at least accomplish half of it

9. Do a monthly review post at the end of the month- Most of my family reads this blog so I'd like to do a recap of my month with pictures and words.

10. Actually finish all of these goals!

Happy New Years!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Giveaway Update

Thanks for all the entries! It was neat to read about everyone's favorite foods and traditions. The winner of the Taste of Home Cookbook giveaway is Ally S! Congrats!

Send me an email at tbarber @ live . com with your address and I will mail it to you right away! Thanks for all the entries! Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 Food/Blog Goals-How Did I Do?

Last year, I made a list of 10 Food/Blog Related Goals I wanted to accomplish in 2011. In true-Tyler fashion, I promptly forgot about them and didn't exactly carry most of them through. Halfway through the year, I remember and tried to do some

1. Post at least twice a week-success! Kind of. I didn't post twice a week but if you add up all of my posts, and divide by two, it's more than 52 so therefore, success!

2. Host a giveaway-success! Better late than never. I finally hosted one about two weeks ago. Congrats to the lucky winner!

3. Do a blog makeover- success! Any remember the pink overload that reminded me of Victoria's Secret? Do you like the new look? Should I change it up again in the upcoming year?

4. Join some kind of blogging group-success! The ladies on one of the cooking boards I look at put together a recipe swap that I've participated in a few times. Here is the link for all of the recipes I've made through that.

5. Host a dinner party-had lots of people over to dinner but I didn't quite make the dinner party I was aiming for

6. Work with yeast-success! I've successfully made pizza dough 4 times this year. I'm still working on the seasonings and such for the crust but when I perfect it, I'll post it!

7. Tamales

8. Dog Treats

9. Grill More-success! This one wasn't too hard considering we didn't grill on our own even once in 2010. We used the grill our apartment complex provided at least 4 times this summer, including when the County of San Diego had a massive blackout and we were stuck with no power for about 12 hours in September.

10. Royal Icing

6/10 isn't too bad. I didn't pass but I did better than I expected. I can't wait to make some new goals for next year! Any ideas?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Christmas Giveaway!

Time for my first ever giveaway! This has been a goal of mine since last year and it's finally happening. It took awhile for me to decide what I wanted to give. I didn't want it to be something random but something that I use a lot and think others would find useful. So, the lucky winner of this giveaway will win:
My mother-in-law got me a TOH cookbook a few years ago and I love it! I use it quite a bit and some of our favorite recipes like Homemade Manicotti, Meatloaf (Neil's favorite), and Cheesy Chicken Lasagna come from that cookbook. Taste of Home no longer sells the one I own but this one has some delicious looking recipes.

To enter, leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite holiday food is. One entry per person. Will ship to US residents only. Deadline is Friday, December 23 at 10:00 pm, EST. One winner will be chosen at random and announced sometime next week! Good luck!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Vodka Cream Pasta

This recipe means another check on my 23 x 23 list. That means I'm 3/20 so far. I think I need to pick up the pace on that list.

Rachel Ray calls this her "You Won't Be Single for Long Pasta." I'm not single but if cooking skills could make a guy fall in love, this recipe would definitely give him a push. The hint of vodka with the cream and tomatoes provides a nice balance of flavors.

Vodka Cream Pasta
Source: Rachel Ray, feat. on Dr. Oz

1 tbsp EVOO
1 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 cup vodka
1 cup chicken stock
32 oz can crushed tomatoes
coarse salt and pepper
16 oz pasta, such as penne rigate
1/2 cup heavy cream
20 fresh basil leaves, shredded or torn

Heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Add the extra virgin olive oil, butter, garlic, and shallots. Gently saute the shallots for 3-5 minutes. Add the vodka to the pan. Simmer and reduce the vodka by half, about 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken sauce and the tomatoes. Bring to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.

While the sauce simmers, cook the pasta in slated boiling water.

Stir the cream into the sauce. When the sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from heat. Drain pasta and toss with sauce and basil leaves. Enjoy!

Monday, December 12, 2011

No Yeast Bread

I've finally ventured into using yeast, but so far, I've only used it for pizza dough. Eventually, I want to start making my own bread. But for now, I stick with this yeast-less bread recipe. The basic recipe is below; you can dress it up with whatever you want. I added rosemary and sea salt to this one.

No Yeast Bread
Source: Earth Notes

4 cups flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tbsp baking soda
1.5 cups water
2 tsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp butter

Combine the dry ingredients and mix. Combine water and vinegar and add to the dry ingredients;mix well. Knead for 2-3 minutes on a flour surface or with electric mixer. Shape into a round and place on pan. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove and glaze with 1 tablespoon of softened butter. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

How to Peel Garlic in 10 Seconds

Okay so I know I haven't posted in pretty much forever, but I have a legitimate excuse. I have 6 classes this semester that I'm finishing up and I've just entered "Hell Week." I have 4 group projects, 4 papers, and 6 tests along with about 10 other assignments to finish between last week and this week. We've been eating spaghetti and Ragu sauce along with leftovers and whatever else has been hiding in our closet for forever. My dinner tonight consisted of celery and parmesan. How's that for an embarrassing food blogger confession?

Eventually, I'll actually post a recipe but for now I just have to share this video I found while procrastinating. Here is how to peel garlic without having to use a knife or get your fingers all gross. Be amazed, my friends.