A Slumber Party!

Did you know that it’s Ovarian Cancer Research Month? Electrolux is donating $200 to Ovarian Cancer Research Fund for every washer/dryer pair purchased. Also, Kelly Ripa has partnered with Electrolux to bring you Kelly’s Virtual Sleepover.

Please join the Sleepover at kelly-confidential.com. When you do, Electrolux will donate $1 to OCRF and participants are entered for a chance to win a new Perfect SteamTM washer and dryer from Electrolux. This pair offers the most capacity to help you shoulder any load, plus, with just 15 minutes to wash and 14 to dry, the laundry is done in no time.

It’s a wonderful cause, and only takes a second to join!

Recently, I was selected by Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program along with Electrolux to host a slumber party for my daughter and her friends and share it with my readers.

The Sleepover Menu

Stuffed Pretzel Bites

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup warm water

1 packet instant yeast

1 tsp salt

Thin sliced ham

Cheese slices cut into pieces

1 1/2 tsp sugar

6 cups water

2 tbsps baking soda

Cornmeal, for dusting

Kosher salt

Olive oil

2 tbsp mustard

1 tbsp honey

Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the cup of warm water. Let it sit for about 5 minutes. Add the salt to the flour in a stand mixer; add water and yeast. Mix on low (1-2) for about a minute until combined. Remove from the bowl and knead on a floured surface until it’s smooth. Toss around in an oiled bowl, cover and let it sit for about an hour.

You could also refrigerate overnight and get the same results or better – FYI – found that out by accident. This dough loses its mind in the fridge.

Pinch off portions about 2 inches in diameter, smooth out and fill with ham and cheese then fold ends together.

Preheat oven to 400°.

Bring 6 cups of water to a boil; add baking soda and reduce heat to medium low. Add the pretzel bites to the water about 3-4 at a time for about 10 seconds on each side. Remove and let them rest on paper towels.

Arrange on a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, but keep an eye on them. Mix honey and mustard together, serve as dipping sauce.

Pizza Dip

Pizza Dip

1 8 oz. package cream cheese, at room temperature

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp Lawry’s seasoned salt

1 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded

1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

1 small jar pizza sauce

1 3 oz can sliced black olives

Preheat oven to 350°.  Spread the cream cheese, basil, oregano and seasoned salt into a 9″ pie pan. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, then the pizza sauce, and finally add the other half of the cheese and olives. Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly. Serve with bread sticks, pita chips, or whatever isn’t nailed down.

Puppy Chow

6 cups Rice Chex

1 cup chocolate chips

1/4 butter

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

Microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter uncovered for 30 seconds or until it can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal and stir to coat. Pour into gallon sized zip lock bag; add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

But I promise it won’t make it that far.

Shirley Temple

Sprite

Cherries with stems, in cherry juice

Ice

Pour about 2 tbsp cherry juice in a glass filled with ice. Pour 1/2 can Sprite over the cherry juice and garnish with a cherry.

The Night

My good friend Lishia also came to hang out. She has a wonderful talent – she does nail art!

Katelyn and Lishia

Everybody got pedi’s….

 Thanks Lishia!

 

 

Food….

Then it was movie time!

It was a great sleepover! We had delicious food, had fun being silly girls, and of course, getting our nails done.

If I could offer any sleepover tips:

  1. Be prepared – when inviting guests request they bring things that will make it easy on everybody – sleeping bags, pillows, etc.
  2. Have plenty of food! Plan recipes ahead of time and have a good variety of snacks. Offer a sweet snack (they will want them), but limit them.  Lots of sugar will disrupt their sleep and they will wake up extra hungry (maybe extra early too!) because it will cause a dip in blood sugar.
  3. Make your expectations clear up front – about when messes are made, who will be expected to clean them up, etc.
  4. Plan for breakfast. Since we made several recipes for dinner, I made an early morning trip to Panera Bread for a big box of assorted bagels and a few different cream cheeses. It made for an easy morning when everyone was packing up.

Thank you Foodbuzz and Electrolux!

~Dixie Chik~

This post is a part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program with Electrolux.

 

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Spicy Refried Bean Soup

Sometimes good things happen straight from necessity.

Such as….getting up at freakin’ 7 am on a Saturday morning because you weren’t thinking when you made the appointment with pest control. But – you ended up spending time in the kitchen afterwards with an also-awakened-child sshhusshing eachother while eating Raisin Bran Crunch and laughing about the bug man’s 11 different piercings and 14 tattoos.

Or, having to run out in the rain at 9 pm on a Sunday night when your child “suddenly” realizes they need a poster board for a project due TOMORROW, and when you get to Publix you remember there’s not one square of toilet paper in the entire house.

Good thing you’re at Publix.

Not that this recipe is that moment changing – I just happened to have some refried beans in the fridge that would go bad if I didn’t find something to do with them.

About two nights ago I opened a can of them to accompany Use Real Butter’s shredded beef tacos (again; can’t help it I’m hooked on this recipe).

Anyway, nobody in my family touched the poor, sad little refried beans except me. So, they have been sitting in the fridge because I am too frugal to throw things away.

Today it has rained the ENTIRE day and it’s dark and gloomy, and making me very depressed that summer is fading. Not thinking it would amount to much, I set out to use them to make a soup to try to salvage them. It definitely worked.

Thanks nasty weather.

Spicy Refried Bean Soup

1 16 oz can refried beans

2 cups chicken broth

3/4 cup salsa

Handful fresh cilantro, chopped

2 tbsp Cholula hot sauce

Combine everything in a medium sized sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Watch it – don’t let it scald. Once it’s slow boiling, reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for about 20 minutes.

 

Serve with hot tortillas, Monterey Jack (or your favorite) cheese, sour cream, and more cilantro.

Stay Dry!

~Dixie Chik~

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Southern Peach BBQ Sauce

So I can attempt to stretch out this summer (where has it gone BTW?), I’m using a well known southern grown fruit to make a barbecue sauce. I saw some beautiful looking peaches at Publix a couple of days ago and decided to buy some of them now before it’s cold as h – e – double – hockey sticks.

Or…. cold as hell.

I do not like cold weather at all. As a matter of fact, I absolutely hate it. I would be happy in blazing hot, sweaty, blow-your-AC-up summer all year long. To me it seems the winter drags on for so long but the summer is here and gone in a blink.

Peaches just scream summer. Let’s be honest – if you buy those shipped-in-during-the-winter peaches, it’s not the same. SOOOOO not the same. Only having made a couple of peach posts this summer, AND I have already used blueberries in a BBQ sauce, it was time to try it with peaches.

End result?

AMAZING.

LUSCIOUS.

As a matter of fact, so good I used leftover chicken and this sauce to make a barbecue chicken pizza the next day. I want to bottle it.

Please make this – and tell me about it. I want to know if you think it’s as good as I did. You will want to make this before peach season is officially over.

Southern Peach BBQ Sauce

 

1 lb peaches, washed, pitted and halved

Honey

1/2 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce (I used Bull’s Eye BBQ)

1/3 cup ketchup

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp bottled ginger

Preheat oven to 425°. Arrange peach halves on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray, and drizzle with honey. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until browning around the edges (check on them after 20 to be safe; I’ve found so many differences in ovens).

In a mixing bowl, combine the bbq sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and ginger with a whisk. Set aside.

When the peaches are done, scoop the fruit out with a large spoon (it should be very soft and pliable) and discard the skins. In a food processor, add the peaches and rest of ingredients. Pulse until pureed.

In a regular sized sauce pan, add the mixture and bring to a boil over medium. Reduce to low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. If it’s thin, it hasn’t cooked long enough so take the cover off and up the heat a tad, when it simmers reduce. However, if you’re simmering it and it seems too thick, lower the temp even if it’s when you first put it on the heat.

You will want to drink this.

Just sayin’

TGIF

~Dixie Chik~

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Prosciutto Wrapped Marinated Asparagus

If you haven’t had asparagus in a while (or ever), here’s a good excuse to go get some. If you aren’t very familiar with it, canned asparagus is VERY different from fresh. The canned version is mushy, and will not work with this recipe. Fresh is better for you anyway!

Despite being delicious, did you know that asparagus is full of gluthathione?  That’s a fancy medical term for antioxident. Dietary gluthathione has been associated with protection from certain forms of cancer.

Interesting.  I would eat it whether it had antioxidents or not because I just love my veggies.

This makes a great appetizer or side dish….

Prosciutto Wrapped Marinated Asparagus

1 lb fresh asparagus

1 6 oz package prosciutto

Tarragon Vinaigrette

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1 tsp tarragon

Whisk together the olive oil through tarragon.  Wash the asparagus and snap the ends off where they easily bend.  There’s some controversy surrounding ‘to snap or not to snap’.  I, personally, like to snap them because I just feel like the ends are obviously bad at the snap line.  You may not agree with me.  If you don’t want to snap, just trim the ends with a knife.

But snapping is fun, so you would be missing out.

Line the asparagus on a plate and drizzle with half of the the vinaigrette, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.  Heat the grill to low-medium – you will be using direct heat.

Wrap each asparagus with one piece of prosciutto, winding vertically to cover most of the spear.

Grill for about 4-6 minutes on each side.  The asparagus will be tender and the prosciutto a little crispy.

Drizzle with more vinaigrette if you want….

YUM!

Cheers…and TGIF

~Dixie Chik~

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Sargento Cheese vs. Processed Cheese – Foodbuzz Taste Test

I was recently given the opportunity to do a taste test of Sargento’s natural cheeses vs. processed cheese courtesy of Foodbuzz and, of course, Sargento. The idea was to differentiate between real cheese and processed cheese. Real cheese is aged naturally, cut from a real block of cheese and packaged. Processed cheese is liquefied, preservatives and emulsifiers are added, and it sits for months before being sold.

Ew.

I think we all know that processed cheese isn’t top quality. But to what extent?

For this taste test, I had my two children (and myself) do the work. Katelyn, my daughter is a cheese lover. Cheese dip, grilled cheese, cheese quesadillas, etc. You get the picture.

Today we tested Sargento’s Gouda and Pepper Jack cheeses.

To taste-test the cheese, we had fresh grapes, apples, melon chunks and crackers as accompaniments.

According to Sargento, you should do the following to properly taste test cheese:

A. Look at the Cheese: It shouldn’t be glossy or shiny (can you tell which one is the processed cheese above?).

B. Touch the Cheese: Pick the cheese up and bend it. Real cheese (depending on the type) will bend easily and/or crumble. Processed cheese is rubbery.

C. Smell the Cheese (as you do wine): The scent of cheeses will vary from earthy to fruity; however processed cheese smells like powdered milk, or maybe have no scent at all. The real cheese had a distinct cheese smell (think sharp).

D. Taste the Cheese: Processed cheese usually tastes salty, maybe a little like plastic. Real cheese has its own distinct taste. Some cheeses are more salty than others, and the texture in your mouth can range from very soft to crumbly, but that’s what makes them unique. Sargento cheeses had very unique deep taste, whereas the processed cheese was bland and salty.

The processed American cheese was barely touched. Both kids tried one bite on a cracker, but after that they pretty much inhaled the Sargento cheese (mainly the Pepper Jack).

Smart kids.

Although our palates were accustomed to the difference between the two, today we took the time to stop and think about it more in depth. I’m wondering why we have used processed cheese for so long….

This experience was part of Foodbuzz’s Tastemaker Program with Sargento.

Have a great week everyone!

~Dixie Chik~

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