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September 2014

Sausage meatballs you'll crave from now on

The other night I was craving a very specific taste.  I wanted sausage, but I wanted it in meatball form.  I wanted it to be garlicky.  I wanted it to be shiny on the outside, but not greasy.  I wanted exactly this: Sausage meatballs

The Sausage Meatballs You'll Crave From Now On

  • 1 lb loose sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 clove garlic smashed
  • 2 pieces of stale bread crusted removed
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley minced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh basil minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • Avocado oil (or your fav high temp oil) for the pan 

Break apart and soak bread in milk. In a large bowl, mix together sausage, garlic, soaked bread, parsley, basil, egg and Parmesan. Form into 1 inch balls. You should have about 20.

Turn on pan to med high and add enough oil to just coat bottom. Add meatballs and brown about 4-5 minutes on each side turning frequently.

I ate 3 right from the pan.  Then I served them over pasta with my friend Katie's awesome fresh tomato sauce and some crusty bread.  But I think they would be great in little mini sausage meatball and pepper sammies!

Easy Gourmet by Stephanie Le - review and recipe for chicken wings with honey & sriracha

Guess what? I got another cookbook in the mail to review!

This one is called Easy Gourmet by Stephanie Le from 'i am a food blog'.

The name Easy Gourmet is perfect because it is just chock full of recipes that look like they should be hard, but just aren't!

On Friday, I tested out her recipe for chicken wings in honey & sriracha and they were perfect. They were a little spicy and sweet at the same time. They got that beautiful crispy outer coating that I always look for in a chicken wing. My only regret in making them was that I didn't make more. Here's the recipe: Easy gourmet chicken wings

Chicken wings in honey & sriracha

  • 1 Tbsp oil (I used avocado oil)
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4-1/2 cup sriracha (adjust according to spice tolerance)
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 lbs chicken wings
  • oil as needed

In a large bowl, mix together the first 7 ingredients.  Add the chicken wings and mix well.  Marinate in the fridge for 1 hour.  Remove the wings from the marinade, reserving the marinade.

If you're cooking indoors, heat a bit of oil in a large nonstick pan over medium to medium-high heat.  Add the chicken wings, cover and cook, flipping every so often until cooked through, about 12-15 minutes.  Remove the lid, add the remaining marinade and turn the heat up to high to reduce the sauce.  Enjoy immediately.

If you're cooking outdoors, when ready to cook, set the grill at medium to medium-high heat.  Brush the grill with oil and grill the chicken wings brushing with the remaining marinade and turning every so often until charred and cooked through, about 14-18 minutes.

Some notes on the recipe:

- I didn't have sesame oil, rice vinegar or (forgive me) sriracha.  So instead, I used more avocado oil, apple cider vinegar and Frank's hot sauce.  The recipe worked perfectly.

- I knew I wouldn't have time to make the marinade and soak the wings in the afternoon, so I did it in the morning and let them soak all day.

- If you are planning on grilling your wings, I would suggest making a double batch of the marinade and reserving it separately to use for basting.  You don't want to use the same marinade that the raw chicken was sitting in as it could introduce bacteria to your cooked chicken.

After trying the wings and loving them, I flipped through the rest of Easy Gourmet with eager fingers. The book has so many great recipes like:

  • Carrot Pancakes
  • Pea and Bacon Risotto
  • Tomato Basil Spaghetti
  • Miso Cod
  • Dijon Mushrooms
  • Haloumi Caprese
  • Raspberry Pistachio Pavlovas

I think Easy Gourmet is the perfect cookbook for people who want to make exciting dishes but may be afraid to try. Stephanie Le gives very easy directions with each recipe so even the most exotic dishes can be made by anyone. 

I hope you'll check it out!


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.  I was given the cookbook to review free of charge.  No other compensation was given to me.  All opinions are my own.


OATrageous giveaway!


Remember a few weeks ago I shared a recipe for OATchata from Kathy Hester's newest cookbook OATrageous Oatmeals...?  It's an absolutely delicious drink made from rice, oats, almonds and cinnamon...?  No?  Don't remember?  Well, here's a picture and a link to help jog your memory.


Anyway, I now have some EXCITING news for you!  

I'm giving away one of Kathy Hester's new cookbooks OATrageous Oatmeals right here on my blog.  Kathy's book is filled with so many different awesome recipes like Chocolate Hazelnut Granola, Not-From-A-Box Mac and Oat Chez, and (you might want to sit down for this one) Oatmeal Cookie Crusted Apple Crumb Pie.  Yum all around!

In an effort to help Kathy spread the word for her book I'd like to do this giveaway in a very easy way.  All I want you to do is comment below with an answer to this simple question:

How much do you want this cookbook?!

 Iwill choose a winner using at noon EST on 9/25/14. Best of luck to you.  

But don't worry, if you don't win you can still purchase Kathy Hester's book OATrageous Oatmeals through Amazon.  Here's my affiliate* link:


 *If you click and buy through my affiliate link, I could receive a commission from Amazon from your purchase.  I received a copy of OATrageous Oatmeals free of charge.  No other compensation has been given to me.  All opinions are my own.

Honey mustard and onion pretzel coated chicken breasts AKA: Kickass chicken

The other day my husband broke his tooth at work on some crunchy sourdough pretzel nuggets.  He came home that day with the half eaten bag and placed it on the counter.  We both stared at it.  That little jerk of a bag is going to cost us some serious money in dental bills.  None of us would eat the pretzels after knowing they have tooth breaking powers.  BUT...There was no WAY I was going to let that jerk of a bag just sit there with nothing to do.  So I put it to work to create this kickass chicken recipe.  Kickass chicken

Honey Mustard and Onion Pretzel Coated Chicken Breasts

AKA: Kickass Chicken

  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups sourdough pretzel nuggets
  • 1 cup french fried onions (the kind in the can)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp spicy brown mustard
  • 1 Tbsp honey

Crush the pretzels and onions in a bag with a mallet using all that pent up anger you have inside...or use a food processor...whatever.  (I took great pride in smashing those suckers after what they did to my husband's mouth.)  In a separate bowl, mix together the mayo, mustard, and (even though those pretzels didn't deserve anything sweet) the honey.

Cut each piece of chicken in half horizontally so you end up with 6 thinner pieces.  Dip them in the honey mustard mixture so all sides are coated and lay the chicken in a glass or stone casserole dish.  Top each piece of chicken with the smashed up remains of what were once some smug pretzel bits and their oniony minions and bake at 375° for about 25 min or until the chicken is no longer pink.

 Then eat the delicious chicken without fear of breaking any teeth and know that you just kicked some smug pretzel ASS!

Dumplings All Day Wong by Lee Ann Wong - book review and recipe!

I received the book Dumplings All Day Wong free of charge.  All opinions of the book are my own.  This post contains affiliate links.

I have always loved the idea of dumplings.  Little bits of tasty foods secured together in a soft shell and then steamed, boiled or fried to perfection.  Mmmm... so good.  If you love dumplings, you will want to check out celebrity chef and TV personality Lee Ann Wong's new book Dumplings All Day Wong.  

I was given this awesome cookbook to review and have been having a lot of fun with it!  I have learned so much already and I haven't even scratched the surface.  The book is filled with so many different recipes, styles and techniques for making dumplings.  It also has a lot of side dish and sauce recipes to complete any dumpling meal you may want to have.

So far, I have successfully made the recipe for Toasted Almond Cookie Dumplings, and they were DELICIOUS.  Yes, I meant to have my caps lock on with that word.  THEY WERE DELICIOUS.  

As you know, I never, ever have all the right ingredients in my house for any given recipe.  But I made an exception with this one and took a specific trip to the grocery store to purchase every ingredient exactly.  

...Well, so I thought.  When I got home, I realized I didn't have almond extract so I had to borrow it from my neighbor friend Kate.  But otherwise?  I was golden.  Here's the recipe: Toasted almond dumplings

Toasted Almond Cookie Dumplings

  • 8 tbsp (115 g) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes 
  • 3⁄4 cup (100 g) confectioners’ sugar 
  • 3⁄4 cup (75 g) almond meal or almond flour* 
  • 1 large egg 
  • 1½ tbsp (15 g) cornstarch 
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) almond extract 
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract 
  • ¼ tsp salt 
  • ½ cup (85 g) lightly toasted sliced almonds 
  • 40 round or square dumpling wrappers 
  • Oil for deep frying 
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter on low speed until soft and whipped. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat on high for 30 seconds. Add the almond meal and beat for 30 seconds more. Add the egg, cornstarch, almond and vanilla extracts, and salt. Mix on low speed until well incorporated, about 1 minute. Fold in the toasted sliced almonds using a spatula. Cover and refrigerate the filling for at least an hour.
Place 1 tablespoon (12 g) of filling in the middle of a square wrapper and wet the edges of the wrapper using a pastry brush or your finger. Bring the two opposite corners together over the filling, using water to pinch the two corners together. Bring the remaining two corners to the center and seal all the edges together with a gentle pinch. You may use this technique with round wrappers also to achieve either a square (four seams) or a triangle (three seams).
Preheat a few inches of oil to 340°F/170°C in a heavy-bottomed pot. Add the dumplings a few pieces at a time. Gently turn the dumplings in the oil, cooking until all sides are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Drain the dumplings on paper towels.
Make sure the heat of the oil stays at 340°F/170°C while frying the dumplings, and return the oil to this temperature before adding new dumplings. Serve warm, dusted with confectioners’ sugar.

 Because I am new to dumpling making, I followed every direction exactly and didn't go off on my usual tangent when making anything in the kitchen.  Delicious. Dumplings

If you'd like to check out the book for yourself, here's a link for ya:   


Thanks for checking it out!  

Food for Sleep - Review and thoughts

Disclosure: I was given six bottles of Food for Sleep to review free of charge.  No other compensation was given to me.  All opinions are my own.

OK, I know what you're thinking... what the heck is this stuff and why is it on a food blog?  

Food for Sleep is a little bottle filled with natural ingredients that are supposed to help you get a good night's sleep.  In fact, here is a complete list of ingredients:

Water, Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate, Whey Peptides (L-Tryptophan), Tart Cherry Juice Powder, Natural Cherry Pomegranate Flavor, Citric Acid, Xanthan Gum, Stevia Extract 99%

The only one you may or may not have heard of in that list is Tryptophan... but you HAVE heard of it... it's the stuff that's in your Thanksgiving turkey that makes you all sleepy after eating it.  

If you do some research about tart cherries, you will find that they contain natural melatonin which has long been used as a sleep aid by many sleep-deprived people. 

That right there is why I decided to try it.  

I am not a fan of using anything medicinal to aid functions that are supposed to be natural.  But I am not apposed to eating or drinking things that could help me get a good night's sleep.  Because Food for Sleep is a natural product, it felt natural to use it.

I tried it for 4 nights and guess what?  I slept well.  Truth be told, I do not know if it was the actual drink itself or the idea of it that did it, but I slept better than I had in a while after drinking Food for Sleep.  

Here are some things I would recommend if you plan on using Food for Sleep:

  1. Check the website to find out more about it.  Also, follow their recommendations to get yourself into a good pattern each night before going to bed.  
  2. Talk with your doctor.  Make sure using Food for Sleep is OK for you.
  3. Don't expect it to taste like a cherry soda.  Tart cherry juice is not the same as the cherry flavored juice you may be used to.  It's not bad, just not the same.  Refrigerating the bottles made it easier for me to drink them.
  4. Shake the bottle well.  It doesn't say anywhere on the bottle to do that, but I think it makes it better.  There is a lot of sediment on the bottom, so shaking it up incorporates all the ingredients a bit more.
  5. Give yourself time to sleep.  Do not try Food for Sleep on a night when you may need to be "on"... like when you have baby duty or need to wake up super early for any reason.  
  6. Only use it for a short term.  Once you start getting yourself into a good nightly sleep regimen, stop using it to see how you do.  Your body produces its own melatonin, so using too much from an outside source can disrupt your body's production.  Like anything else you consume, it's OK in moderation.  For more information, do your own research on melatonin and all the other ingredients found in Food for Sleep.

If you are interested in trying Food for Sleep yourself, you can order it at  A pack of 6 2.5 ox bottles costs $24.  A small price to pay for a good night's sleep, in my opinion!

If you try it, let me know how you like it!