It’s a new year and it’s a new round of How To Tuesdays! To tell you the truth, these are my favorite posts to write. How-To Tuesdays are basic tips, tricks and step by step photos of all of those little cooking things that make every day food extraordinary. If you’re new to the series, be sure to check them all out in my Recipe Index under How-To! To start off 2014 and this inagural How-To, I thought I would show you how I caramelize an onion. It’s one of my favorite things to do in the kitchen because caramelized onions have a wonderful sweet and buttery flavor. You can’t name a sandwich or burger that isn’t made better with caramelized onion!
But if you’re a caramelized onion traditionalist and love it on a sandwich, this Roast Turkey and Vegetable Panini is perfect.True story, I keep a container of pre-made caramelized onions in my fridge for when the craving calls.
Step 1 :: Lop off the ends of your onion. You can caramelize any type of onion. I used a yellow onion here. Walla Walla Sweets are my favorite. But don’t be afraid to caramelize a red onion!
Step 2 :: Set the onion on one of its cut ends and cut the onion in half.
Step 3 :: Peel the skin off the halves of the onion and throw away.
Step 4 :: Lay the onion flat side down and thinly slice in even slices. Even slices mean even caramelizing. I cut my slices about 1/8th inch. Step 4 :: Add butter. Over medium heat, melt 2-3 Tablespoons of butter. Some people might use non-stick spray or olive oil, but I think butter browns so much better. And it tastes better. I motion for more butter in 2014. Once the butter is melted and sizzling, add in your onion. If your’e caramelizing one large onion, caramelize in two batches. Crowding the pan with too many onions steams the onion and won’t allow them to brown as well.
Step 5 :: As the onions start to brown and bits of brown end up on the bottom of your pan, stir the onions and let them rest. Constant stirring won’t allow them to brown, so don’t be afraid to let them sit and cook for a few minutes in between stirs. I know, it’s nerve wracking.
Step 6 :: When onions are soft, and all are golden brown and translucent you’re done!
That’s all it is – easy peasy!
If you’re feeling like a rebel, try new onions, I also love caramelized red onions and adding a little balsamic vinegar near the end to create a gorgeous glaze over the top. It’s heavenly!
I hope caramelized onions dance in your dreams and you make some soon!
Do you like these How-To Tuesdays? Let me know any how-to’s you’d like to learn this year and I’ll add them to the list!
No mess, healthy tuna stuffed peppers are a great lunch to pack for work or eat for a quick meal. Filled with protein, and veggies this will keep you stuffed until dinner.
*Written two hours before the Season 4 premiere of Downton Abbey last night*
It has been a rough year. A year knowing Matthew Crawley would not be back and a year of bitterness over that one single fact. A year of torment and wonder of how Mary would handle the absense of the only person who could crack her shell and bitter exterior. A year of poor Tom Branson and the brand new Crawley baby (whose name I didn’t even know until last night! – hello Royal Coincidence, pun quite intended!) both missing a wife and a father. My heart was pre-shredded to pieces and the episode hasn’t even aired!
By some strange miracle, I managed to go all winter without pirating copies of the season online. Ben’s mom ordered me the 4th season on Bluray for Christmas which means I have to wait a few more weeks to get it and it’s absolute torture. Patience was never my virtue, sorry to expose that little secret. Shocker. Not.
So here I sit, OD’ing on all three season of Downton in one weekend (true story), and wondering if it’s possible for DVD’s and Blu-ray’s to wear out like old VHS tapes used too… After a year’s worth of Downton on repeat I’m genuinely worries about the state of the discs. Poor things. And I’m boarderline convinced even Ben knows the Downton theme song by now. #sorrynotsorry
Between the carbs, chocolate, wine and maple bars, I’ve managed to keep my excitement contained for Downton tonight. This excitement meant lots of carbs to calm me. I’m okay with that, even if my jeans aren’t.
So I’m going pay penance for my Downton related food sins with one of these for lunch tomorrow. I love these stuffed peppers like there is no tomorrow. They’re simple to make and keep really well for lunches at work. If stuffed peppers aren’t your think, minced up your pepper and mix it in with the tuna to make an uber-veggie tuna salad and top the whole thing on spinach for an epic salad.
Just trying to save the jeans everywhere. And make up for my carb-related food sins.
Oh, and Dan Stevens – just so you’re aware, every Downton Abbey fan everywhere is still epically upset with you for dying. Just a friendly heartbroken FYI.
This sweet potato spinach breakfast hash is a great breakfast to make on the weekend and eat through the week for quick and healthy morning breakfasts to fuel your day!
Thank goodness for January and the banishment of Christmas cookies. I was burning out on the cookies pretty bad but of course, since you only OD on Christmas cookies once a year, I was really hitting them like there was no tomorrow. Now I’m on lockdown. Still failing at the lockdown part miserably – but after this month of Christmas Cookie-ing, I’m craving veggies.
As an alternative to the truffle shuffle I’ve been sporting, I’ve been downing my daily breakfast of Sweet Potato Spinach Hash with an egg on top voraciously as some sort of food penance for a month of gluttony.
But it’s a new year and I think the theme for 2014 should be – Everything is Better with an Egg on Top.
One of my dear friends - Kat - has this same thing for breakfast every day and she’s got me hooked on it, too. Amongst our friends, we’ve dubbed it The Kat, in her honor. and I feel the Truffle Shuffle dissipate with every bite. The best part about this is that it requires minimal ingredients, three to be precise, and I make a batch every Sunday night so I have enough prepped and ready to reheat it every morning for breakfast. Easy peasy and less truffle shuffley.
At 250 calories, I think this is the best way to start the day and keep you fueled up an full. Especially when doused in Chipotle Tabasco.
A new year, means a new adventure – and these women, what more can I saw about my OKMH girls? Nothing, because it’s all been said before. They’re my sisters from other misters. On this, our last OKMH box swap of the year, I was paired with Kirsten of Comfortably Domestic. I’ve known K, for well, years now. It’s weird to say that it’s been YEARS. Such an odd concept when you talk about being friends with someone on a blog – but we’ve met, spent time together, trade texts on baking meltdowns and blogging ordeals. We dream together and laugh together. So I knew when this box arrived it would be something truly special.
Holidays mean parties, eating and cheese. K just gets me in this and well, wanted to make sure my cheese was well looked after and presented in style. I can safely say that my cheese will be the purdiest cheeses on the block.
Every party needs bubbles. And meat. To go with the cheeses. And bubbly meats? C’mon – Prosecco Salami? I’ve never heard of such meaty glory, and I am so excited to dig into it soon. This can’t be saved for some far off special occassion, I need it now. Be gone with you new year resolution, you’re so over rated.
This was necessary for research and development of upcoming projects. As an educator, she knows that proper research is everything.
Last time K sent me my OKMH box she included her famed Chocolate Chipotle Toffee that was so prized, I squirreled it away so that Ben wouldn’t sneak into it and eat it all…Apparently I hid it so well, I just found that jar with the LAST REMAINING PIECE of it in the back of my cupboard as I was doing a winter cupboard clean out… This time, I’m just going to eat them all in one sitting so I don’t lose them again and risk depriving myself of goodness.
As the resident Anglophile of the group, this is just so me. Can you imagine the Queen with a bowl that says God Save the Cream? I mean the woman has to have a wicked sense of humor, and I’m sure she appreciates a good pun when she sees it.
To catch up on all the rest of the OKMH boxes we swapped this holiday – check out the girls below!
Beautiful dishes don’t have to be hard. There, I said it. Simplicity is stunning and little flourishes can make every day dishes extraordinary. When I try and think about my main objectives in cooking, I want to be empowered. Trying new things can be intimidating, new is hard, new is scary – but new is empowering!!
This year I wanted to learn new things in the kitchen and started researching those little tips and tricks that make cooking fun, and make it different. If you’re new to Country Cleaver, you might need to catch up on my favorite How-To’s of the year. Of all of the ones I did, here are my top 10 favorites! Be sure to check out All of my How-To’s from 2013 and get ready for some new and exciting ones in 2014!
In all of these Top 10 How-To’s you will find out why brown butter really is better, and how to carve a chicken or turkey! Have you always loved the flavored butters at restaurants? It’s so easy to make on your own with some simple spices you already have. And roasted garlic is the end all be all of awesome. Trust me.
2014 is the year to make the kitchen your… well, you get my point.
2013, it’s been nice knowing ya!! You’ve been utterly tasty, completely adventurous, and you’ve taught me a ton of new things in the kitchen. 2014 sure has a lot to live up to if it’s going to match up to the greatness of this year! But I think it’s up to the challenge.
At the end of every year it’s nice to look back and see how much you’ve accomplished. Here is my list of my favorite, and most pinned, recipes of 2014. I hope you’ve enjoyed this year just as much as I have! It sure has been delicious!!
These Gingerbread Coffee Baked Donuts make an excellent Christmas morning breakfast, with a little kick of coffee added in for fun!The house smells amazing right now. There is no smell quite like Christmas. I always have a hard time picking my favorite smell. The tree usually tops the list. But then there are the cookies. Then the first cracking in the fireplace always gets me in the spirit of things. Favorites are hard. Is this what it feels like for parents picking their favorite kid? See – that’s just my point – you can’t pick a favorite! Just like you can’t pick a favorite smell of Christmas.
Ben and I opted for a Christmas wreath this year so we didn’t have to go about rearranging the entire apartment just to accomodate a tree for 1/12 of our year and my baking has been in over drive, like a countdown to the holiday. I was so worried that we would be missing out on the smell of Christmas with such a small amount of shubbery in the house, but we lucked out – and it smells amazing!
The baking smells also get me – especially gingerbread. Gingerbread always reminds me of my grandma and sitting in her kitchen during the holidays. So Christmas is in full swing – and I’m one step away from OD’ing on Michael Buble Christmas songs. Someone help my CD player, it’s getting tired.
I made these baked donuts with a little Gingerbread flavored Coffee from Green Mountain Coffee. Every week Ben and I put coffee on our list, and I love finding new seasonal flavors to try to help change up my usual rotation. This one is Christmas Smells in Your Face – in a good way.
Add these to your Christmas morning wake up call. They’ve got a whole lot of jolt and Christmas cheer!
I struggle to find the words to really express what this blog means to me. More often than not I employ sarcasm, rough attempts at humor and literary slight of hand and try to divert emotion away from the depth of love I have of for this itty bitty slice of the internet that I call all mine. So many times a week, you all allow me into your rss feeds, your e-mail, your Facebook, and your instagrams talking about food. Sooo much fooodddd! And I am so beyond, incomprehensibly thankful for that.
And in between all of the recipes, dirty dishes, leftovers, food pawn-offs to everyone under the sun, and trying to hit the gym so the snoball cake doesn’t effect my popcorn-like exploding deriere, it can be struggle to make all of the facets of life coalesce and meld together.
A couple of weeks ago, I treked to the snowy hills of Park City for the Inspired Retreat thrown by Carrian of Oh Sweet Basil. As much as it was a reason to get together to talk blog stuff – it was a reason to discuss the things we miss out on at other conferences – being women with busy lives, balancing it all and finding the continued inspiration in our lives every day. It was just what the Blog Doctor ordered.
At our digs for the weekend – in Deer Valley – we set up in a gorgeous lodge surrounded by powdery snow and glistening sunshine. The matching glasses of vino on the balcony looked mighty amazing!
Our lodge was decorated door to door with Christmas spirit by Rod Works. That was the sure sign the holidays were totally in full swing! I’m trying to harness my I Dream of Jeannie blinking powers to magically decorate my apartment with everything there. So rustic, and country crafty – totally my speed.
After our first night of girly bonding post dinner at Mariposa, we jumped into our comfy Plum Pretty Sugar pajama pants and devoured Cookie Chips. The next morning we woke up well rested for some breakfast before hitting the slopes with Skis on the Run, who came and outfitted us all with primo gear!
Photo by Lauren
I took my first ski lesson and had an absolute blast!! Deborah and I had a great instructor who loved talking food with us. She was a hoot and a half. And best part? I didn’t fall once!
For lunch we came back to get warmed up at the lodge with a grilled cheese bar and homemade soups!! Star Fine Foods, Hamiliton Beach and Pacific Foods got us all taken care of with panini presses and olive oils and stuff for our delicious soups – tomato and homemade chicken noodle if you wanted to know! So amazing!
After an afternoon of rest, inspiration and relaxation (which included a glass of wine, uncovering the snowed in hot tub and me sitting in it for 30 minutes with frozen hair) I was reinvigorated. Dinner that night was in Park City at Riverhorse on Main. Me, Meagan, Lauren and Annalise all ordered different drinks, and all different entrees so we could try a little bit of everything. The split-and-switch at restaurants is the best course of action if you want to try a little bit of everything.
From Grier Mountain
The next morning, after an amazing dinner – it was almost time to pack up and go home. But I was so excited about my new found skiing prowess that I went back up the mountain with Lauren and Annalise for Round 2!! I practiced a little more and then made a final run on the big kid slopes. There was NOTHING blue about the run I made, at least the first part of it haha. And that’s when I made my first fall. But they were so patient – I got back up and made it all the way down!
The weekend was full of us girls sharing ideas, talking about the balancing all of the aspects of our lives, trying new ideas and helping one another in new endeavors with us each being each other’s best cheerleaders. It was just what we all needed.
Then it was back home. I can’t wait to go back to Deer Valley – I had so much fun being a ski bum, I think I found a new winter hobby!
Lemon Chamomile Shortbread cookies are mix zesty lemon and calming chamomile in a buttery, flakey cookie. And they are incredibly simple to make for any occasion.
Every night growing up my mom and I had a ritual cup of tea. It was always so comforting to share just a few minutes with her. Her cup always had chamomile in it, with just a touch of honey and lemon. Mine? If it wasn’t orange spice with about a half cup of sugar, it was chamomile with a golden wave of honey in the bottom and a squeeze of lemon. And naturally, as the Czech girls we are, some sort of carb was available for dunking.
Now Ben and I share that same tradition… complete with carbs for dunking.
Two of my daily rituals revolve around those two, most important people in my life.
Since my mom and I don’t get to share a cup of tea together every night we’ve started sharing daily texts with three things are are happy for that day. I look forward to that text to give me just a moment of reflection every day. It’s just three little things, a list, without explanation or justification, and no other words or conversation about it – just a list of our three things that we are blessed with that day.
Today, my list included being thankful that my bank account that got skimmed and had all of my money stolen will all be returned, my new job is challenging in ways I never expected, and that I had a piece of Snoball cake to come home to. Hi, I’m a feelings eater. Have we met?
So tell me, what are you thankful for? Do you have any little traditions that you do through out your day? I love my cup of tea, and those quiet 15 minutes of peace and respite with Ben. What moment do you take for yourself every day? Even if you don’t have a tradition or ritual moment yet – I do hope you find your moment’s peace in these busy days.
Wake up Christmas morning with some holiday cheer!! And caffeine!
What can I say – a dozen days of Christmas cheer doesn’t seem like near enough when I’m a baker. Call this a Baker’s Dozen of giveaways, so we had to have a BONUS giveaway!! 13 seems like a good number to end on, right?!
This giveaway is for a Keurig Platinum brewing system just in time for Christmas morning. You know that you are going to need caffeine for all that early morning, Christmas Cheer! Have you ever tried a Keurig? They’re so easy to use and so much fun! I love all the varieties of drinks that you can make with it! Want hot cocoa? Done! Need some iced tea instead? *Slides glass across the table* Boom!
I just got to try Green Mountain Coffee’s Gingerbread coffee and it tastes just like a Christmas cookie! Ben and I have been sipping it every morning in anticipation for Christmas and we love it! It sure wakes me up on my drive into work at O’dark Thirty every day.
Keurig and Green Mountain Coffee would like to set one lucky winner up with some Christmas Caffeine, a Keurig Brewing System and a K-Cups pack of Green Mountain Gingerbread Coffee.
And be sure to stay tuned, because I have a recipe coming using the Gingerbread coffee you won’t want to miss!! Hint, it’s a little breakfast treat to go with your mornin’ cuppa joe!
**Giveaway has ended! Thank you for participating**
To Enter :: (mandatory entry)
Tell me, what’s your favorite thing to sip on? Are you a coffee drink? Tea sipper?
“Pin” this giveaway – Leave the Pin URL in the comments.
Tweet This : “One the 13th Day of Christmas @countryCleaver gave to me a @keurig & @greenmtncoffee pack http://wp.me/p2u2SE-2oW“
*Fine Print* This giveaway is being furnished by Keurig and Green Mountain Coffee. I was not compensated for this giveaway, I just wanted to do something nice for y’all. This giveaway will end 12/20/13 The randomly chosen winner will have 48 hours to respond to an email notification of their winning or another winner will be chosen.
Welcome to Country Cleaver, where country comfort and convenient cooking come together. Follow my adventures of self-reliant country cooking and baking from scratch with a little life mixed in for kicks! ...more