Monday, August 25, 2014

Pretty Failures + Life Lately



OR: Why I Haven't Been a Good Blogger



Homemade Root Beer Ingredients
Homemade Root Beer
Here's a bit of an explanation for why I've been blogging so sporadically lately: I have had a run of bad luck with the recipes that I've been testing for Buttered Side Up. Take this Homemade Root Beer. I absolutely LOVED the pictures. But it tasted somewhat medicinal. I didn't feel right sharing it with you guys.




Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream
Then there's this Peanut Butter Chocolate Ice Cream. It didn't taste bad, but the amount of peanut butter wasn't right. I still want to share this recipe with you guys once I figure it out.




Gooey Cinnamon Biscuits
Gooey Cinnamon Biscuits
These Gooey Cinnamon Biscuits sounded so so good. I must have tampered with the recipe too much, because they were pretty bland. 




Fresh Tomato Pasta
Lastly we have this Fresh Tomato Pasta. I thought it would be full of flavor, but it too was fairly insipid. Once I added some pepperoni it was a bit better, but nothing special.

Another reason I haven't been able to keep up with blogging as much as I like is that we have been pretty busy of late. Here are a few highlights from our summer:



Sparklers!
Sparklers at our family Reunion.



Duluth Trip
We took a trip to Duluth, MN. You can read more about it on my personal blog HERE.




We made it to the family cabin a couple of times.




Lake Itasca Family Music Festival
We attended the Lake Itasca Family Music Festival. Well, attended isn't quite the right word. We worked volunteered until we were dog tired, Reuben in the kitchen and I taking care of Helen and TRYING to take good photos. And Helen decided sleep was optional. I was worn out and very ready for home by the end of the weekend. 




Helen
Our little girlie is 18 months now! You can read more about it HERE.




So that's my excuse for being a bad blogger. 

I'll leave you with two questions:

1) What have you been up to this summer?
2) What would you like to see this fall on Buttered Side Up?


xoxo
Erica


Monday, August 18, 2014

Thai Chicken Salad




Thai Chicken Salad
On humid August evenings a hot, heavy supper doesn't sound one bit appealing. Any amount of cooking heats up our little house (we don't have air conditioning). And when Reuben has been working in the blazing sun all day, all he wants is a smoothie. But smoothies don't stick with you long.



Thai Chicken Salad
A cold salad is so refreshing and satisfying, especially if it contains protein (AKA chicken). Most of the time I'll simply marinade chicken tenderloins and serve them on top of greens with lots of cheese and dressing. But I wanted to branch out (and I wanted to make something yummy to share with y'all).



Thai Chicken Salad
"Would you eat this for supper if I made it?" I asked Reuben. "You probably won't like it." 

You see, Asian food isn't his favorite (unless it's deep fried, for which I can't blame him). He actually tolerated it pretty well, and wouldn't let me share it with my sister and her husband. I really liked it. It's my thang. 

As always, make sure you customize to your personal tastes. If you like a bit of heat, you could add some Sriracha to the dressing. I think that a fruit such as mangoes or peaches would be lovely. Maybe some candied almonds. Yummers. 



Thai Chicken Salad
adapted from Nature Box | makes 3-4 servings | Printable Page

Ingredients:

For the Salad:
  • 6 cups shredded cabbage (about half a head)
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and shredded
  • 2 green onions, sliced on the diagonal 
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (less if you don't care for cilantro)
  • 1 avocado, diced 
  • 6 chicken tenderloins, cooked with a bit of salt and cut into small pieces (about 2 cups)

    For the Dressing:
    • 1/4 cup peanut butter
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice + a bit extra
    • 1 tablespoon evaporated cane juice (more if you're using unsweetened peanut butter)
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

    Directions:

    1) Toss all of the salad ingredients except for the chicken together gently in a large mixing bowl. 

    2) For the dressing, place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. 

    To assemble:

    3) Pour a bit of the salad dressing over the chicken, squeeze in a bit of lime juice and toss to combine. Toss chicken with salad ingredients. Pour dressing over salad and toss one more time. Serve immediately. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator (it will last for MAYBE a day, probably less).

    DO AHEAD: Toss together all of the salad ingredients except for the avocado and chicken. Make the dressing. When ready to serve, mix in the avocado, chicken and dressing.


    Sunday, August 10, 2014

    Homemade Chocolate Syrup for Chocolate Milk!


    Chocolate Syrup - Butttered Side Up
    Chocolate Syrup - Butttered Side Up
    Chocolate Syrup - Butttered Side Up
    Chocolate Syrup - Butttered Side Up

    First of all, my apologies for being such a horrid blogger this past month. Earlier this summer I felt like I had a really good rhythm going. Then things got busy. Every weekend for the past 5 weekends we've had something going on. I'm looking forward to being able to catch my breath. 

    This past year I've really been into chocolate milk, especially making it myself. Normally I'll mix it up as I go along: spoon some cocoa powder and sugar into a cup then mix in milk and cream. It tastes delicious, but it's kind of a pain to mix together. The milk doesn't always play nice and often refuses to be fully incorporated into the chocolate. 

    Having a bottle of chocolate syrup in the fridge makes it so much easier. Simply pour into the milk and stir! No more lumps of chocolate. 

    By the way, I HIGHLY recommend that you use some cream in your milk. Not quite half and half, more like 2/3 milk, 1/3 cream. But be warned: once you try it, just milk will never be the same. Also, I still blow bubbles in my chocolate milk. I think it freaks Reuben out. He's probably afraid that I'll teach it to Helen. Which I most likely will.



    Homemade Chocolate Syrup
    recipe adapted from Created by Diane | Printable Page

    Ingredients:

    Directions:

    1) Place the water, sucanat and cocoa powder in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat.

    2) Stir in the vanilla extract. Allow to cool and pour into a jar or squeeze bottle. Store in the refrigerator. 



    Note: Some links are affiliate. All opinions are my own and I would never share a product with you guys that I haven't already tested unless otherwise stated.

    Thursday, July 17, 2014

    How to Grill Pizza



    This was originally published on July 19, 2010 on Cooking for Seven.

    How To Grill Pizza | Buttered Side Up
    Our family loves homemade pizza; but when the days grow more hot and humid, I just don’t feel like turning the oven to 500° for an hour or more. The solution: grilled pizza! Here’s the method I like to use.


    How To Grill Pizza | Buttered Side Up
    Make sure you have all your toppings ready. Preheat your grill on high. Roll your dough out thinly. Grease a piece of aluminum foil that’s a little larger than your dough. Transfer your dough to the foil and place on a pizza peel.


    How To Grill Pizza | Buttered Side Up
    Place the dough, foil side up, on the grill and carefully remove the foil. Close the grill, turn it down to medium-high, and cook until you have some nice grill marks, about 2-3 minutes. Flip the dough and cook just until set on the under side, about 30 seconds – 1 minute. Remove to a wire rack. Repeat with any remaining dough.


    How To Grill Pizza | Buttered Side Up
    Here’s a bit of magic: pressed garlic mixed with olive oil. It will make your pizza rock.


    How To Grill Pizza | Buttered Side Up
    Place the dough, with grill marks facing up, on your pizza peel. Brush with garlic oil. Add your favorite toppings. We like BBQ chicken pizza.


    How To Grill Pizza | Buttered Side Up
    Turn your grill down to medium. Carefully transfer the pizza to the grill. Shut the lid and cook until the toppings are hot and the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Be sure to check the pizza often or it will burn.


    How To Grill Pizza | Buttered Side Up
    Transfer to a pizza pan or peel. Cool slightly, cut, and serve.


    Grilled Pizza
    What You’ll Need:
    • Pizza dough
    • Your favorite toppings
    • Aluminum foil
    • Olive oil for greasing the foil
    • Tongs for turning the dough
    • Metal spatulas for transferring the dough to the grill
    • Garlic and olive oil
    • A pizza peel or pan
    Directions:
    1) Make sure you have all your toppings ready. Preheat your grill on high. Roll your dough out thinly. Grease a piece of aluminum foil a little larger than your dough. Transfer your dough to the foil and place on a pizza peel.
    2) Place the dough, foil side up, on the grill and carefully remove the foil. Close the grill, turn in down to medium-high, and cook until you have some nice grill marks, about 2-3 minutes. Flip the dough and cook just until set on the under side, about 30 seconds – 1 minute. Remove to a wire rack. Repeat with any remaining dough.
    3) Place the dough, with grill marks facing up, on your pizza peel. Brush with garlic oil. Add your favorite toppings. We like BBQ chicken pizza.
    4) Turn your grill down to medium. Carefully transfer the pizza to the grill. Shut the lid and cook until the toppings are hot and the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Be sure to check the pizza often or it will burn. Transfer to a pizza pan or peel. Cool slightly, cut, and serve.


    How To Grill Pizza | Buttered Side Up


    How To Grill Pizza | Buttered Side Up

    Monday, July 7, 2014

    Guacamole


    Guacamole
    Guacamole
    Guacamole
    Guacamole
    Guacamole
    Guacamole
    Guacamole
    Does anyone else always think of the Rhett and Link song whenever they make guacamole? No? Just me? Well, it ensures that I will never misspell guacamole.

    Guacamole wasn't something that I grew up on. I can't remember who first introduced us to the amazingly creamy and flavorful snack. Once I started making it, I was addicted. 

    My recipe is pretty simple - no frills. I've been making the same one for over 5 years. If tomatoes are your thang, go ahead and add some. You can also customize the heat and other spices. If you aren't big on cilantro, cut back a bit. My point: taste as you go and make it your own.

    By the by, I love my garlic twist. You can use it to mince small amounts of onion as well as garlic.




    The Best Guacamole Recipe
    makes about 6 servings | Printable Page

    Ingredients:
    • 3 medium, ripe avocados, preferably Haas
    • 2 tablespoons finely minced onion
    • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
    • 1 small jalapeno chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced (I usually leave this out since Reuben doesn't like heat)
    • 2 tablespoons – 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
    • 1/4 – 3/4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
    • 1/2 – 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin, or to taste
    • 1 – 2 tablespoons lime juice, or to taste
    Directions:
    1) Cut the avocados in half, remove the pits, and score with a knife in several places both lengthwise and crosswise. Use a spoon to remove the flesh into a medium-sized bowl.
    2) Add the remaining ingredients to the avocados. Mash lightly with a potato masher or fork and stir until well combined. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. For best flavor, allow the ingredients to meld: press a piece of plastic wrap onto the guacamole and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Serve cold or at room temperature.

    Guacamole
    And, just for fun, here is the neon-green photo I posted on Cooking for Seven 5 years ago, complete with watermark. Ha!

    Note: Some links are affiliate. All opinions are my own and I would never share a product with you guys that I haven't already tested unless otherwise stated.

    Wednesday, July 2, 2014

    Grandma’s Cooking School: Homemade Bread & Sweet Rolls



    This was originally posted on July 7, 2010 on Cooking for Seven. Because these lessons were such an important part of my life, I will be re-posting them here.
    {Grandma’s Cooking School is my chronicles of the informal cooking lessons that my Grandma graciously decided to give us girls. Enjoy!}

    I am at a loss for words to describe these delicious creations, so I’ll let the photos do (most of) the talking.
    Grandma’s Cooking School: Homemade Bread & Sweet Rolls
    Grandma’s homemade bread. Light, flavorful, delicious.


    Grandma’s Cooking School: Homemade Bread & Sweet Rolls
    I love Grandma’s flour/baking drawer.


    Grandma’s Cooking School: Homemade Bread & Sweet Rolls
    And her cupboards.


    Grandma’s Cooking School: Homemade Bread & Sweet Rolls
    Grandma showed us a different way to form loaves: folding!


    Grandma’s Cooking School: Homemade Bread & Sweet Rolls
    Now, the cinnamon/sticky buns. Much butter is required.


    Grandma’s Cooking School: Homemade Bread & Sweet Rolls
    Proofing and baked. Can it get any better than this?
    **Next Time on Grandma’s Cooking School: Apple Strudel**

    Part 1: Banana Cream Pie
    Part 2: Chocolate Crepes
    Part 3: Roast Beef Dinner

    Part 4: Poppy Seed Torte

    Sunday, June 29, 2014

    Blueberry Cobbler



    This post was originally published on August 13, 2010 (yep, almost 4 years ago!) on Cooking for Seven. I was ever so proud of my photos.  

    I made this again recently and remembered why I liked it so much. I used sprouted flour for the topping this time around and it was still yummy. And I melted the butter instead of cutting it in - I'm lazy like that. I also baked it in a deep dish pie pan, which was pretty. 
    Have I told you about this cobbler? It is wonderful. Easy, fast, delicious. My dad likes it better than blueberry pie. The first time we made it he said, “You need to USE this recipe.” And so we have.

    The construction of the topping was new to me: Cut the butter into the dry ingredients, then add boiling water. The result is a tender, tasty topping. And it’s so much easier than pie dough.

    Notes: The original recipe calls for blackberries. Blueberries make a wonderful substitute, but I like to add more than the recipe calls for. Of course I substituted whole wheat for AP flour and maple sugar for granulated.


    Blueberry Cobbler
    Adapted from Buns in My Oven
    Ingredients:
    For the dough:
    • 1 1/2 (6 ounces) whole wheat pastry flour
    • 1/2 cup maple sugar, demerara, rapadura, or sucanat
    • 1  1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 9 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
    • 1/3 cup boiling water
    For the filling:
    • 2 tablespoons corn starch
    • 1/4 cup cold water
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    • 4-6 cups fresh blueberries
    • 1/2 cup maple sugar, demerara, rapadura, or sucanat
    Directions:
    1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    2) For the dough: Mix the flour, sweetener of choice, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Cut in the butter until you have a coarse, crumbly mixture. Pour in the boiling water and stir together until all of the dough is wet. Set aside.
    3) For the berries: Dissolve the cornstarch in the cold water in a medium bowl. Add the lemon juice, berries, and sweetener of choice. Mix together well.
    4) Transfer berries to a 10 inch cast iron pan. Heat mixture over medium heat until boiling, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.
    5) Drop spoonfuls of dough over the berry mixture and place the cast iron pan on a foil lined cookie sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the dough is golden brown and the berries are thick and bubbly.
    Note: If you don’t have a cast iron pan, you can bring the berries to a boil in a sauce pan and bake in a 9×9 baking dish.
    Makes approximately 6-8 servings.

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