Friday, August 29, 2014

Polenta Bread {Bread Baking Babes}

Polenta Bread | girlichef.com
This beautifully rustic bread is speckled with bits of yellow polenta throughout, has a slight tang from preferment, and is surround with a thick and pleasantly chewy crust. It also happens to be this month's Bread Baking Babes bread of the month, as chosen by BBBabe Elizabeth of blog from OUR kitchen.

And I'm late. Thirteen days late. I blame it on school starting this month. I was so preoccupied with back-to-school shopping and preparation for the kids, that the 16th came and went without blip on the radar. But, I'm making up for it now. I actually took my time and went nice and slow on these loaves. Every thing about making them felt right, and I think that's because I didn't even glance in the direction of my bread machine.

What's a bread machine got to do with it (or rather, the lack of)? Well, I've become pretty dependent on mine. Here's the story: years ago, I discovered how convenient it was to let my bread machine do all of the mixing and kneading, and subsequently the first rise, for me when I was busy. So, during the holidays, the bread machine came out. It freed up time and precious counter space. Once the madness subsided, it was tucked back in its place on the basement shelf.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Bacon, Broccoli, and Garlic Fried Rice #BaconMonth

Bacon, Broccoli, and Garlic Fried Rice via @girlichef
Can you believe that there are only 4 days left in #BaconMonth!? I honestly cannot; it has flown by at the speed of light! This being the final week, I have 2 more baconrific recipes to share with you. The first being today. Thank you Catherine Obvious (bonus points if you know what that's from). The second being on the very last day of the month.

Why am I waiting until the last day of the month? Two reasons - the first being that it's a very tidy way to wrap things up. I like tidiness...and closure. The second being that Sunday, the last day of Bacon Month, just so happens to be International Bacon Day this year! I say this year because it's always the Sunday before Labor Day, which means the date changes. Can you think of a more perfect way to ice the Bacon Month cake? I cannot.

So, please come back for that and we'll raise our glasses to an awesome month of bacon goodness.



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Boozy Bananas Foster Milkshakes for #BananaLoversDay + Blue Chair Bay Rum Giveaway!

Blue Chair Bay Banana Rum Giveaway + Boozy Bananas Foster Milkshakes | girlichef.com
Happy Banana Lover's Day! No, really, it is. And I can think of no better way to celebrate this self-packaging, potassium-rich fruit (botanically considered a berry, but I'm not even going to go there today) than with rum.

Why celebrate Banana Lover's Day with rum, you ask? Because it's not just any old rum, it's Blue Chair Bay's Banana Rum! It all makes sense now, wouldn't you say. When Blue Chair Bay asked if I'd like to try a bottle of their newest rum, I didn't hesitate. Mainly because I'd already been eyeing it, imagining the possibilities.

If you're not familiar with Blue Chair Bay Rum, I wrote a post celebrating International Pineapple Day with them back in April. I used their Coconut Rum to create a Drunken Hummingbird Cocktail. If you click through, you can catch a glimpse of this company founded by Kenny Chesney (there's a video at the bottom). You can also connect with Blue Chair Bay Rum on Facebook.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Secret Ingredient Sliders #WeekdaySupper

Secret Ingredient Bacon Cheeseburger Sliders | girlichef.com
I'm excited to joining The Beef Checkoff again today, this time to help showcase how easy it can be to enjoy beef on a busy weeknight! While you'll never hear me complain about a simple, delicious steak thrown on the grill or in a sizzling hot skillet, there are so many other speedy solutions. Case-in-point, these sliders. The majority of the time it takes to make them is in the oven; aside from that, it's only a matter of mixing up a few ingredients.

Now, you may notice that they contain a secret ingredient - so please, go into this meal-making venture with an open mind. And assuming you don't have any family or friends with a nut allergy, try sliding the finished product in front of them at dinner time and have them try to guess what the secret ingredient is. A few sly palates may detect it, but most will be left guessing.

I've been making these sliders for over four years, all thanks to another blogger. This blogger no longer has a blog, but these are based on a recipe shared once by her brother-in-law. So, you may have guessed the ingredient by now; I gave a little hint above, or maybe you scrolled down and saw the photo. But for those who weren't really paying that close attention, it's peanut butter!


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Giant Evil Gummy Bears inspired by Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs {food 'n flix}

Easy Homemade Gummy Bears (inspired by Cloudy with a Chance of Meaballs for Food 'n Flix) from girlichef.com
But they don't look evil! Looks can be deceiving, especially when you're in the middle of a giant food-storm that is threatening to wipe away the world as you know it! If you've seen Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, you know what I'm talking about.

In Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Flint Lockwood is an inventor living on the small island of Swallow Falls; an island that survives on its sardine industry. Since he knows that there has to be more to life than just sardines, he invents the FLDSMDFR (short for the Flint Lockwood Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator), a machine that converts water molecules into food molecules. And much to everybody's surprise - it works!

The FLDSMDFR causes food to rain from the sky, to the delight of the whole town. From cheeseburgers to enormous jello molds to mountains of ice cream (snow day!) to bacon and eggs, everybody's request was met. But soon, food waste started to build, and people turned greedy, and that all-out giant food-storm that I mentioned threatened to wipe out the recently renamed Chewandswallow (formerly Swallow Falls). Giant spaghetti twisters, giant walking roast chickens, dangerous ears of corn, and of course - GIANT EVIL GUMMY BEARS!


Friday, August 22, 2014

Peach Riesling Buckle #SundaySupper

Peach Riesling Buckle | girlichef.com
This summer has absolutely flown by. It's so hard to believe that Labor Day is lingering just around the corner. Although it's not the official end of summer, it's always been a marker of sorts to signal that the long lazy days we've been relishing are coming to a close. When I was a kid, we didn't head back to school until after Labor Day, so I'm sure that plays into my mindset. Of course, by the time it rolls around these days, my kids have already been back in school for a few weeks.

School or no school, we try to enjoy one last hurrah over the long weekend. You can bet that grills are fired up; coals sizzling as fat melts down...smoke clinging to the humid air. But there is also tons of fresh produce on display, like tomatoes so ripe and flavorful that you can eat them like apples, to peaches that streak your chin and arms with sticky sweet juices, to corn so sweet it's like eating sugar from a cob. Those are some of my favorite things about the tail-end of summer.

Well, today the Sunday Supper crew is joining Gallo Family again, and we're bringing you a menu filled with Labor Day Entertaining recipes. So, of course, my mind was turning over all sorts of riffs on that produce that just screams summer in my ear. Both of the wines that we are featuring this month are sweet and light bodied. Either would compliment a Sunday Supper under the late-summer sun. The first is Sweet Red, and the second is Gallo's newest varietal, Riesling.


106 Peach Recipes to celebrate EAT A PEACH DAY, including Peach Amaretto Jam!

Peach Amaretto Jam (aka Eat A Peach Mountain Jam) plus 105 more peach recipes to celebrate EAT A PEACH DAY! | girlichef.com
There are some (okay there are many) food holidays that I can't resist. One of those holidays falls today, August 21. Yes, it has to do with my love of the late summer that is soft and fuzzy on the outside, and sweet and juicy on the inside. HOWEVER, it's not "National Peach Day" or "Peach Pie Day", it's one better. It plays not only to my "foodie" side, but also to my affection for music, specifically The Allman Brothers. Today is EAT A PEACH DAY!

Eat A Peach is the name of my favorite Allman Brothers album. With classics like Melissa, Ain't Wasting Time No More, and Mountain Jam, just listening to the album conjurs up warm summer nights and peaches picked straight from a Georgia (or Michigan for me) tree.

So, in honor of Eat A Peach Day, I really wanted to make some peach jam and call it "Mountain Jam" (like the song). Now my local SW Michigan peaches aren't plucked from trees in mountain orchards, so I suppose I can't rightfully call it that. But secretly (or not so secretly), I'm still going to.