Monday, July 30, 2012

The Delectable Egg - Denver

Another Denver breakfast success!   I love going out for breakfast, but I'm not a morning person, and most mornings I'm at work (rather than living the life of leisure to which I aspire).   You could say this was more of a brunch.   A post-fitness calorie killing brunch while my metabolism was flying high from a Sunday ass-kicking with my trainer.     I had scored a $10 for $20 coupon for The Delectable Egg and we made every penny count.    

I enjoyed the Peanut Butter Crunch french toast and an Almond Joy cafe au lait.   My sister had the Monte Cristo (breakfast and lunch combined into one delicious sandwich).   

If only there were more free mornings in the world....

What your favorite breakfast treat?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Sunny Side Up Tostadas

Good Morning Friends!

If you had tacos for dinner this week and have any leftovers, this recipe is for you.  I had ground turkey and black beans.     Take your tacorific ingredients and bake in the oven for 15 minutes and you have a savory breakfast.    Grab your cup of coffee and dive in!

What You Need

Flour tortillas
Leftover taco parts - meat, beans, green chile, etc
Eggs (1 per tortilla)
Shredded cheese
Garnishes (sour cream, avocado, diced tomato - in the spirit of a T.I. song "You can have whatever you like...")

What You Do

Preheat you oven to 375.   Line a baking sheet with foil.  

Place two tortillas on the baking sheet.   Use your leftover taco parts to create a ring of goodness on the tortilla.  Leave a space in the middle.  

Crack an egg into that space and sprinkle with shredded cheese.   Bake 10 - 15 minutes (check at 10 for your desired level of doneness). 

If you're a breakfast for dinner fan, swap your coffee for something sangria. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Brownie Cookie Pie

Little kids hugging. 
Grandparents out on a date.
1970s Coke Commercials.
Videos of cats and dobermans playing together.

Somethings just make you smile.

Chocolate Chip Cookies, for example.   Or Brownies.

Or Both??? (what!) 

Imagine the size of your smile if you combined chocolate chip cookies and brownies together.   And if you took the shortcut of using brownie mix and chocolate chip cookie mix so you didn't even have to think?   Even a kitchen amateur can do this.   Although if you really are a kitchen amateur, you might need to borrow a springform pan from a friend. 

A sweet slice of ooey gooey perfection.   Enough to put your whole office in a sugar buzz first thing in the morning (this I know from first hand experience). 

Brownie Cookie Pie
Recipe Source:  Betty Crocker

What You Need
1 package of brownie mix, mixed per box instructions (and high altitude instructions if you live here in Colorado)
1 package of sugar cookie mix,  mixed per box instructions (ditto high altitude stuff here)

What You Do
Preheat oven to 350.    Spray a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray.

Make brownie mix.   Pour into pan.   Eat remaining brownie batter if some just happens to stay in the bowl.   Bake for 30 minutes.   Let brownie base cool 10 minutes afterwards.

Make cookie dough.
(side note:  I am saddened that the we have come to the point that the package has in big bold letters Do Not Eat Raw Dough.    I eat it anyway.   I'm a risk taker like that.)

After brownies have cooled for 10 minutes drop spoonfuls of cookie dough all over the brownies.  Use your floured hands to press it evenly.   Bake for 20 minutes.   Then cover with foil and bake 10 more minutes (or until cookie dough sets).     Let your "pie" cool for at least an hour before slicing.

The slices will disappear just as fast as slices of pizza.   Just watch it happen.

What's your favorite thing to do with cookie dough?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Freshcraft - Denver

Going for drinks and dinner with a friend from work we decided to go somewhere (new to us) in LoDo.   I had looked at the menu for Freshcraft previously, but had not made it there.   

The night we were there they had a huge promotion with O'Dell Brewing as well as some other special items including New Belgium Tart Lychee.  

I am not a beer person.  Not by any far-reaching, red solo cup stretch of the imagination.   I probably made it through 4 years of college drinking less than ten beers and only then if some random guy handed it to me because he didn't know any better.    And you know that college beer included a lot of Ice House.  Ewww.

Tart Lychee is new to me.  And it was so good I had two.  

And on to the menu: 
Colorado seems to serve fried pickles in more places than the average state.   The fried pickles here were some of the best EVER.  Sliced super thin with just a light breading, it was dilly goodness in every bite.    My entree was the Iowa Tenderloin.   Yum!    I'm not exactly sure what our dessert was called, but I think it was a slice of Chocolate Stout __________ (adjective) _________ (noun). 

Two thumbs up from this girl!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Sparkling Peach Sangria

As if I needed a reason other than Summer to try out Sangria recipes...Sangria and Seuss.
I've been "leading" (loosely) a discussion each week about the Seuss book covered in the Sunday sermon.   This week it was The Sneetches.    Peaches are perfect for talking about Sneetches.  Whether or not they have stars upon thars. 

Sparkling Peach Sangria
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light

What You Need
1 cup water
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 large ripe peaches (plus additional for garnish or snacking)
2 1/2 cups Pinot Grigio
1/3 cup Ciroc Peach Vodka (have to use my silent auction purchase at every opportunity)
1 bottle (750ml) sparkling wine

What You Do
Combine water and brown sugar in a microwave safe dish/measuring cup and microwave for 3 1/2 minutes.   Stir and make sure sugar dissolves. 

Peel and pit 3 peaches.   Combine sugar syrup and peaches in your food processor until smooth.   Pour peach mixture into a pitcher and mix with Pinot and Vodka.  Cool in the fridge for at least 4 hours.   Strain mixture through a wire strainer to remove any solids (the original recipe said to use cheesecloth, which I don't have...I don't even know if straining it really has much value).   

When you're ready to serve, fill your sangria pitcher half full with ice.  Pour in peach mixture.   Add sparkling wine slowly.  When your pitcher is fulled, stir gently and garnish with sliced peaches.  

Sip and smile.

What's your favorite kind of sangria?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Y'ore Bars

A few weeks ago I had a conversation with a friend.  About food.

Shocking, I know.  

Somehow we got into a discussion about s'mores and what it would look like if you could go to a s'more bar.   A s'more bar would be similar to the froyo places that have popped up everywhere (including my neighborhood fave YoCraze).   You could pick your flavors of grahams or cookies.  Then your choice of marshmallows.  And then the meltable candy of your choice.

On a camping trip we created Snores.   S'mores made with mini Snicker bars.  Amazing.

One of the s'more toppings we discussed were York Peppermint Patties.    Thus the creation of the Y'ore Bar.    People around campfires everywhere can now break into songs of joy and celebration.

What You Need

1 "snack size" package of sugar cookie mix (8.5 oz)
1/2 cup crushed graham crackers
1 stick of butter/margarine, melted
15 peppermint patties (small "fun size")
{for additional chocolatey goodness chop up a Hershey bar or two or some chocolate chips}
2-3 cups mini marshmallows (enough to cover the chocolate layer)

What You Do

Preheat oven to 375.   

In a medium/large bowl mix cookie mix, graham crumbs and melted butter.    Press into the bottom of a 9x9 silicone baking pan.  

Bake 16-18 minutes (check earlier so it doesn't brown too much) and remove from oven.

Set oven to broil and move one of the oven shelves higher up.

Immediately sprinkle chopped patties (and additional chocolate if necessary - which it probably is) over the warm crust.   Allow it to sit for about 5 minutes for the chocolate to melt.   Peppermint patties do not melt as fast as chocolate chips.    I decided to put the bars back into the oven at broil for about a minute to melt the peppermint patties.   Top the bars with your mini marshmallows.  Return to the oven at broil for 20-30 seconds.  Watch them closely.   Marshmallows go from white to golden brown to burned beyond recognition real quick if you don't pay attention.

Let the bars cool then slice into appropriate size bars (you make the it 9 or 24?).

If you're somewhere with a fire ban, like we've been here in Colorado, this may be as close as you get to a real s'more for a while.  Enjoy.

Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Inventing Room Denver = My First Handcrafted Donut

My first exposure to Denver's Inventing Room came when I tried a liquid nitrogen ice cream sandwich two summers ago.   Last week I started seeing pictures of crazy delicious looking donuts on their Facebook page.  

This week they had a little "pop-up" donut and coffee stand at Table 6.   Since I happened to be driving to work (normally I take the train and then this sadly would not be on the way), what was the harm in taking a little detour?  

A little coconuty, creamy, chocolatey detour.   Made to order.

A delicious detour that was the envy of my co-workers in our employee cafeteria.  

A detour so sinful I shared it with a friend. 

If this "pop-up" pops up again, you'd better go.  

Friday, July 13, 2012

Spiced Roasted Chick Peas

My love for chick peas (aka garbanzo beans) continues to grow.   You can make your own delicious hummus for much less than the cost of a tiny tub at the grocery store.  If you really love hummus, then you can eat it three meals a day while touring Israel.   You can make great salads (especially with the liberal use of feta).  

But now I've discovered that you can make them into a savory, salty protein-packed snack that isn't a nutritional wasteland.   I also discovered I need more than one can of chick peas if I'm going to make these last longer than 30 minutes after coming out of the oven.

Inspired by a recipe for Chili Lime Chick Peas on Betty Crocker (from blogger Baked Bree), I can imagine all kinds of great spice combinations.    I used Singapore Seasoning from Penzeys to give these a curry kick.

What You Need
1 can (15oz) chick peas, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Penzeys Singapore Seasoning  (or a spice of your choice)

What You Do

Preheat your oven to 400.  Line a cookie sheet / jelly roll pan with foil.

Pour canned chick peas into a strainer and rinse with cold water.   Place chick peas onto a paper towel and pat dry.    Place dried chick peas onto foil lined baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Bake 35 minutes.

Once they are done baking pour your roasted chick peas into a medium bowl.  Sprinkle with salt / seasonings until coated.   Try to resist eating them for a minute while they cool.   

Good luck with that.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Poutine Cuisine - Denver

My personal trainer is Canadian.   On Thursday when we met up for some fitness fun we were recapping his holiday, Canada Day, and my holiday, Independence Day.   As we were casually discussing things that came from Canada, I mentioned Naniamo Bars.    He mentioned Poutine.  

Nothing about Poutine can be approved by a trainer.   It's french fries, cheese curds and gravy.  Delicious.  Salty.  Savory. 

It can in no way be described as eating clean.    Imagine my delight walking through the Pearl Street Farmer's Market on Sunday and finding the Poutine Cuisine booth.    It was meant to be.   

My poutine was garnished with the Canadian flag.   That must be the giveaway to the secret society of poutine lovers.   Otherwise it would just look, to the uneducated eye, like a basket of fries with mystery sauce.  As I was walking cheerfully through the market enjoying my treat, someone stopped me to ask "where did you get that poutine?"    How often does that happen?

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Rock - Highlands Ranch

Think back.

How long has it been since you drank out of a bucket?    

Depending on your age and lifestyle choices your answer might be last night.   It could be college.   It could be never.   In my case, it was on the island of Koh Phi Phi in Thailand in the spring of 2009.   See how vivid memories can be?

A group of friends went to The Rock to celebrate a milestone birthday.   Not mine, in case you're wondering.    I've already passed this one.    I had never been there before.   It's a rock and roll themed restaurant that serves wood-fired pizzas.   The food and drinks were really tasty.   I had "The Bucket" (see if you can guess which one that is?), Rock Chips and the Bat out of Hell pizza.

Our running joke was the fake graffiti on the wall proclaiming "Highlands Ranch Rocks."   It's Highlands Ranch.   The ultimate suburb of approved paint colors.   I don't know if H.R. rocks, but the food does.

Quick advice:  They don't take reservations on the weekend.   As a party of ten we had to wait a while for our table. 


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Key Lime Pie

Just like you don't mess with Texas, you don't mess with Key Lime Pie.   If you travel through Florida, you'll find that every single restaurant has their signature pie.   No restaurant pie has impressed me enough to sway my love from the simple recipe on the bottle of Nellie and Joe's Key Lime Juice.  

In my family, this pie is more than dessert.  It's breakfast.   If I was visiting my Dad, and the pie was served with dinner, there would be two slices left.   The first two people up in the morning will get to have it for breakfast.   It won't last even 24 hours.   

This recipe is quick and easy.  Even if you can't bake, you can handle this.

What You Need
1 store bought graham cracker crust
1 (14oz) can of sweetened condensed milk (fat-free or regular - both will work)
1/2 cup of Nellie and Joe's Key Lime Juice
3 egg yolks

What You Do

Preheat your oven to 350.
Mix milk, juice and egg yolks in a medium mixing bowl with a spoon until blended.   Pour into crust.

Bake for 15 minutes (I prefer to set the crust on a baking sheet to make it easy to remove from the oven).   Let cool on the counter and then refrigerate until ready to serve.    Garnish with whipped cream or fruit. 

So, what to do with the egg whites?   Cook yourself a "fitness omelet" while waiting for the pie to bake.    Try spinach, feta and salsa.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Hollywood Cafe - San Francisco

Thinking about my May trip to San Francisco (and the fun we had riding bikes), I would be remiss if I didn't mention a delicious breakfast find:  Hollywood Cafe.   I could see it from my hotel room window, and consulted Yelp for some user reviews.  It's just a few blocks in from Fisherman's Wharf.    

We scored a table on the sidewalk and everything, from the cappuccino to the sourdough toast was delicious.   Hollywood Cafe will definitely prepare you for a day of sightseeing, including walking uphill both ways, in San Francisco.    

Sparkling Lemonade

Summer is here in Colorado with a vengeance.   It's hot.  Real hot.  You want to be in the shade or by the pool with a cold drink.    This summer, I'm also leading a discussion at church called Seuss and Sangria.  Each week we talk about the Seuss book discussed in the Sunday sermon.   And sip a little.   Now, this drink isn't sangria by definition, but it's cold, sparkly and has my book that's close enough.  

This is an all-ages treat.   For the 21 and up crowd, provide lemoncello as the adult mix-in.  

Hope you had a happy 4th of July!

What You Need

A pitcher.   There you go.

1 frozen can of lemonade concentrate
1  2-liter bottle of lemon-lime sparkling water (you can also use 7up, but that's a little sweeter)
Sliced strawberries, lemons and whole blueberries
Fresh mint leaves for garnish (Fortunately I visited a friend who was growing mint on her patio)

What You Do

Pour lemonade concentrate into the pitcher.    Add ice until the pitcher is half full.   Fill remainder of pitcher with sparkling water.   Stir to mix.   Garnish with fruit.   Serve to the delight of your friends.   Offer lemoncello on the side for a little added awesomeness.   Cheers!
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