Archive for the ‘Cheese’ Category
Happy New Year’s Eve! As I’m switching my planner to 2013, it seems like I was shopping for a 2012 planner at Target just yesterday. This year seemed to move at lightening speed — with a new nephew, new jobs, new friends, new gym, new home projects and a whole lot more. Yes, 2012 was an awesome year, but I feel strangely optimistic that 2013 will be even better :)
Since the countdown is happening tonight, I thought I would do my own. Here are my Top 12 Recipes of 2012.
#12) Coffee Rum Chata
#9) Tamale Pie
#1) Shrimp and Grits
Question: What is your favorite recipe from 2012? Links welcome!
Today is a 3-cup day. Of coffee, that is. I was glued to the election coverage last night despite my usual 9:30 bedtime. And yes, I’m aware that this confession makes me sound incredibly lame. But as someone who needs 8 hours just to function and who normally wakes up at 5:34 to hit the gym (yes, those extra 4 minutes are very important), I don’t have any other choice.
Although eating enough fruits and veggies and working out are extremely important, sleep counts just as much. Even despite the health benefits, I love sleeping. My parents never had to force me to go to bed s a kid. I happily obliged.
So now I’m yawning through the morning and thinking about the fun activities happening after work tonight. A few of us co-workers, past and present, are meeting to discuss Emily Giffin’s “Where We Belong.”
We’re also ordering Topper’s Pizza, which is one of my favorite takeout pizzas. It’s right up there with Pizza Hut’s Stuffed Crust Pizza, which I haven’t been able to eat in years because Brenton doesn’t like it and there isn’t a Pizza Hut nearby.
Speaking of good food, it seems like we’ve been eating our weight in squash lately. I sill have a bunch of acorn and spaghetti squash to use up because we’ve been chipping away at our butternut squash stash (with Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese, Butternut Squash Chipotle Soup and Roasted Butternut Squash Salad – recipe to come!). Our latest creation is a one-pot meal that uses squash, spinach, goat cheese, bacon and gnocchi.
I only discovered gnocchi about 2 years ago and it’s one of my favorite things to make. Gnocchi with White Beans was one of the best meals I made last year.
Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Gnocchi
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into small cubes
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
3 cups spinach
1 17.5-ounce package potato gnocchi
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
4 cooked bacon strips, crumbled
1. Melt two tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the squash and cook, stirring until soft, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes and salt, to taste. Continue cooking for 2 minutes more.
2. Add the chicken broth to the skillet. When it starts to simmer, stir in the spinach, gnocchi and bacon, stirring to coat. Cover and cook until the gnocchi are just tender, about 5 minutes. Uncover and stir in the goat cheese. Once the goat cheese is melted, turn off the heat. Serve hot.
Question: What are your favorite things to do with squash? Links welcome!
And don’t forget! You still have until Monday, November 12 to enter my Pasta Shoppe Giveaway! I’m giving away 3 holiday gift sets so get those entries in!
It may be almost November, but tank top weather is still here in Wisconsin (at least until tonight). Even my wedge sandals have made an appearance (despite my naked toes peeking out sans a toenail or two – thank you half marathon training). Here’s what has been going on lately:
1. Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a Primula Half Moon Teapot gift set! You have until Monday, Oct. 29 to enter (make sure to head on over to the original post). By the way, I’ve loved hearing about all your favorite gifts. Keep those stories coming!
2. My Pampered Chef party is being extended.
You now have until Sunday to order in case you forgot. For info on how to order, see this post.
3. I can’t wait for tonight. I DVR’d Nashville, which I finally get to watch. Has anyone else been sucked in? I knew I would love it when I saw the commercials months ago. Also, Brenton is making Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese for dinner.
Even better? I don’t have to do a thing. Because I will be making…
4. Halloween Cake Balls!
Tonight, making cake balls for our creative department outing tomorrow (a pig roast, mini-bowling and a good amount of drinking—this is advertising after all). Remember these Homemade Funfetti Cake Balls I made for Hillary’s birthday? Well I am going easy this time. Yellow cake mix, Pillsbury Halloween frosting, chocolate Almond Bark…and these cute little sprinkles for a finishing touch.
Question: What’s the funnest work outing you’ve ever been on? What did you do?
Happy Monday! This weekend was packed with more activities than the entire rest of last week. Lots of friends and family time, DIY projects, cooking and getting my baby fix.
On Friday we headed over to Brittney and Ryan’s for an appetizer/dessert party. I probably ate my weight in jalapeno cheese dip and mini meatballs (which I am waiting patiently for the recipes!). If Brittney posts them I will definitely mention the links. I have never made meatballs before (shocking, I know), but I could totally see myself making those for a meatball sub sandwich or part of a pasta dish.
In addition to fabulous food, we also shared some fabulous drinks. My favorite of which featured Rum Chata, made right here in Wisconsin. For those of you who’ve never heard of this liqueur, it’s like drinking the milk from Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I first tried this as a shot at a wedding this summer, but I thought it was so good that I wanted a whole drink out of it.
I started playing barista in their kitchen and created this beauty.
Photo courtesy of Brittney
Coffee Rum Chata
1 ounce Rum Chata
1/2 ounce Kahlua
1/4 cup Almond Milk
1/4 cup Organic 1% Milk
3 Ice Cubes
Place ice cubes in a glass and top with liqueurs and milks. Stir and enjoy.
Needless to say, it was a longer night than what I am used to. I may or may not have fallen asleep on their couch in a dip coma or snapped at Brenton for shaking my leg. Opps.
Despite Friday’s events, I woke up early on Saturday refreshed and ready to tackle a bunch of to-dos. I made a cheesecake, did some crafting, went to the farm stand for squash and the apple orchard before going on a 6-mile run. All was well besides the runner’s knee that decided to come back, which means more PT exercises. Will I ever be rid of those?
After all that craziness, we headed to my parent’s house to sand and stain some crates to make our Pinterest Coffee Table (I first blogged about doing this DIY project here). We still have a lot to do, but we are making progress!
I also got a chance to hang out with this little blonde boy.
Tristan can officially crawl, and it is the cutest thing ever. He loves puppies, namely Oliver. I try to introduce them as much as possible because Oliver is skittish around kids. He didn’t seem too concerned that Tristan is now mobile, which is a good thing.
On Sunday, an article I wrote on quark was published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. (Quark is a German cheese that tastes like a cross between cream cheese, sour cream and cottage cheese. The only Wisconsin producer is Clock Shadow Creamery, a local urban cheese factory in Milwaukee.).
And according to Karis, it may be responsible for creating a shortage at Woodman’s.
Now that’s what I call an article success!
Question: Has anyone ever tried quark?
What was the best think you did this weekend?
Happy Friday! This morning I kicked my butt at the gym with a 35 minute tempo run as part of my half marathon training plan. I ran at a 8:46 min/mile pace and with a warm-up and cool down, I completed about 4.35 miles on the treadmill.
For some reason, after-work runs aren’t happening as often as I’d like. By the time I get home, it’s almost 6 pm, and by that time I’m starving!
Tonight we’re having a fun Olympics/Chinese takeout party with Brittney…at least, I hope her and Ryan want to watch the Olympics! I can’t wait for the track events coming up (obviously).
On Sunday, I have an article being published in our local paper about an Olympics party menu. I did a bunch of research on the topic, and some people were simply picking different types of cuisine for a party spread (think Mexican with French and Italian). I recently made this tamale pie, which would be perfect for a party or any weeknight dinner. I love how easy it comes together and most of you will already have these ingredients in your own pantry.
Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens
1 cup chopped green sweet pepper
1 small onion, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon canola oil
1-15 ounce can black beans, rinsed, drained, and slightly mashed
1-15 ounce can pinto beans, rinsed, drained, and slightly mashed
2/3 cup vegetable juice
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1-8 1/2 ounce package Jiffy corn muffin mix
1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
2 teaspoons dried parsley
Grease a 2-quart square baking dish or 10-inch quiche dish; set aside.
In a medium skillet cook sweet pepper, onion, and garlic powder in hot oil until tender. Stir in beans, vegetable juice, chili powder and cumin; heat through. Spoon bean mixture into the prepared dish.
Prepare corn muffin mix according to package directions. Add cheese and dried parsley to muffin mix, stirring just until combined. Spoon cornbread mixture evenly over top of bean mixture. Bake, uncovered, in a 400 degree F oven about 25 minutes or until golden. If desired, serve with salsa and sour cream.
On my current to-make list:
These ultra-crunchy crackers from King Arthur Flour look better than anything you can buy at the store. Crackers have been on my list for some time, and I feel this recipe may be it.
I love Jessica’s blog, How Sweet it is. Her recipes and photos are just dynamite. This recipe for Brown Butter Peach Crumble Bars reminded me of the Savannah Bars I bought during our trip to the Appleton Farmer’s Market. Maybe this will be how I’ll finally use up my frozen peaches from last year.
Question: Which Olympic events are you must excited about? In addition to running, I love gymnastics and swimming.
By the way, don’t forget to enter my West Bend Giveaway! One lucky She’s on the Run reader will win a 5-piece home canning kit. To enter, check out the post here. You have until tomorrow morning!
Our last tour was at Uplands Cheese in Dodgeville. They make award-winning Pleasant Ridge Reserve and Rush Creek Reserve. Meet Andy Hatch – he’s a cheesemaker with an attitude (seriously, he had the best sense of humor. He’d shoot off sarcastic comments so gracefully you didn’t even know they were coming).
It goes without saying, but it was gorgeous driving through the farmland to get to Uplands. It’s so incredibly peaceful out there.
Me and Lisa (from Fit in the Midwest) striking a pose.
Andy showed us how cheese is made. He said the best cheese starts with the best milk. Uplands only uses milk from their own cows. They actually breed 9 different breeds together to get the flavor of milk they want. Their Pleasant Ridge Reserve is their take on an alpine-style cheese like Gruyere and Beaufort. They only make this variety between May and October while their cows are grazing on fresh pasture. Andy said the flavor complexity of the cheese can’t be duplicated when their cows eat machine-harvested feed. How interesting is that!?
Andy said they created a mega wheel of cheese to celebrate the birth of their son. Now that’s fatherly love!
Because Rush Creek Reserve is only make in the fall, we only got to taste their Pleasant Ridge. It was very rich and flavorful. It doesn’t taste like anything you’d find in a run-of-the-mill grocery store.
In fact, Pleasant Ridge Reserve was named “Best of Show” at the 2001, 2005 and 2012 American Cheese Society Competitions.
Thanks again to the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board for sponsoring our trip!
Hook’s makes dozens of varieties of cheese, but they are famous for their Blue cheese and Aged-Cheddar. In fact, they have a 15-year Aged Cheddar…and it sells for $50/pound! I remember this making news a few years ago. When you have a cheese that’s this rich, it’s recommended you eat it plain (not on a cheeseburger).
Meet Tony Hook. He’s been baking cheese since 1970. His wife, Julie, is also a cheesemaker. In fact, she’s the only woman in the world to win the World Championship, which was in 1982 for their entry of Colby cheese.
Although Hook’s was smaller than Chalet, they used their space well and had a lot going on. They had these cool “cheese caves” where the cheese ages. On the top right, that’s Blue cheese aging. It looks like it’s going to be yellow, but when you cut into it, it’s actually white inside. (Note the Bloomin’ Idiot on the bottom right-lol!)
Hook’s had a whole spread for us bloggers to try their fabulous cheeses. Every cheese I tried was bursting with flavor. The Blue cheeses were rich and creamy, the Aged-Cheddars all tasted unique in their own way (depending on which year you tried).
They let us taste up to the 12-year Aged Cheddar. A little acidic and quite creamy, it packed a punch. I loved this cheese. Although it’s a little pricey ($23.95/pound), the flavor makes it worth it.
Here are the packages of 15-year Aged Cheddar in their cooler. I asked the woman working if that was her favorite, and she actually recommended the 12-year Aged White Cheddar.
Thanks again to the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board for sponsoring our trip!
Stay tuned for more cheese posts!