Well, first let me tell you all how much fun this giveaway was. I love my wine preserver, as has been mentioned a couple of different times here on WBACC and sharing this miraculous tool with others has been a great opportunity to connect with new readers and enjoy my country-esque foibles with everyone else along the way.
This Houdini is a great tool and I certainly hope that Ms. Shelley Mercier will enjoy it just as much as I do.
Shelley is a blogger at The Slow Kitchen, where her main focus is food, health and holistic living. Her food looks divine, and her concepts for traditional foods versus processed and engineered food is something to be modeled.
I sincerely hope that Shelley gets some good use out of this tool.
So Shelley, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your address so this little do-dad can be sent to you promptly.
Thank you again to everyone who entered, this has been so much fun – I hope to do it all again soon.
And just in case you were really interested in this prize and HAD to get one for yourself, you can find them at Target, or directly through Metrokane.
All the Best!! ~Megan
*NOTE* – If the winner does not contact me within 36 hours, another winner will be randomly selected for this prize. Thanks.
I had this wonderful, buttery, bourbon-y bread pudding and it utterly and completely stopped the world spinning on its axis. This bread pudding combines some of my very favorite things in life, bread, baking, and bourbon. Wow, I really do sound like an alki don’t I? For a girl like me, who has maybe two glasses of wine in a week…trust me, I’m no alki – booze just does make things better.
A coworker of mine won our office Throwdown by whipping up this recipe – and it couldn’t have been more of a clear victory. After a little begging, Leslie graciously passed the recipe on to me where I told her it would be distributed to the masses (ie, you all). How could I be selfish and keep this to myself?
This recipe does require a couple of steps of preparation before the gloriousness can finally be concocted, so this is where I begin.
One step, to buy a loaf of French Bread and let it sit for a day. Or go to your local grocery and buy the already day-old stuff. Either way, just let it sit. For me the most difficult part is not tearing into it and devouring half of the loaf before you begin…no, I don’t live for carbs, why do you ask?
The second prep-step is to soak your raisins in booze.
For this recipe you will need to soak 1 cup of raisins in 1/3 c. bourbon. The color of raisins doesn’t matter, so I was told, and golden was what I had layin’ around – so that’s what I used.
The booze on the other hand…is where I wanted to make sure I got this right.
From what I wiki’d and gathered during my years as a Coug, most American whiskeys are corn, barley, rye or wheat based – more commonly corn-based than anything else. All bourbons, Canadians and sour mashes are types of whisky, but not all whiskys are bourbons, or Canadian blends or sour mashes. Think “all thumbs are fingers, but not all fingers are thumbs” here.
The Pendleton above is a Canadian whiskey – by law being bottled, exported, and blended in Canada. It can contain caramels and additives, and there are no regulations on whether or not the barrel used for aging must be charred or new. The Oregon connection to Pendleton comes from the water used in the distillation process and the name of the whiskey itself to the town of Pendleton, OR. Pendleton Roundup, anyone? It’s wonderfully smooth…notice there isn’t much left in the bottle? (My Favorite Whisky)
And then of course, there’s good ole’ Jack. Oh, Jack. A tried, true, down home, American whisky staple.
Technically a straight bourbon, it is marketed as a Tennessee whisky rather than it’s actual classification.
It’s considered a straight whiskey since it does not include any additives, colors or caramels and is aged for a minimum of two years. JD itself is sent through a maple charcoal filtering process and aged in charred white oak barrels. No wonder it’s so spicy and zippy.
(Oh! And the most ironic thing about Jack Daniel’s – it’s distilled in a dry county in Tennessee. Talk about backwards!)
This was clearly the right choice for this recipe.
So, I measured out the proper one cup of raisins, got a cleaned out quart Mason jar and my yummy zippy whisky.
How amazing is this going to be?
I covered him with plastic wrap – not wanting to use up a proper lid. And from time to time, swish him around to make sure all of those kids are properly soaked and yummified. Let him sit and try not to eat them along the way. Or go for it, but just make extra so you still have enough for tomorrow’s bread pudding baking.
Remember that little book club thing I was gabbin’ about? Well, we did have another couple of dishes served besides Crack Dip.
While we all discussed the book, that only one of us read completely through (and three of us attempted to watch the movie instead), we also munched away on Pineapple Black Bean Salsa, that was originally from Ms. Martha’s Fast Recipes book, but I made a few little additions of ingredients too.
For your grocery list include -
~ 1/2 c. chopped red onion
~ 3 Tbsp lime juice
~ 1 can drained and rinsed black beans
~ 1 can chunked pineapple
~ 1 jalapeno
~ 1/3 c. cilantro
~ 1/2 tsp pepper
~ 1/2 tsp. sea salt
After draining the black beans and giving them a good rinse I doused them in lime juice.
Top that hot mess with the nicely chopped red onion,
and a giant heap of cilantro. What can’t cilantro do? Seriously, it’s amazing.
This is the stage where I grab a pair of my hunny’s exam gloves from his nursing classes.
I grabbed a small jalapeno paranoid that one any bigger would burn my just-finally-healed esophagus from last week’s adventure of “Scarfing Down Unassumingly SCORCHING Bread Pudding”.
Even my gullet could have dealt with a little more heat than this dude brought.
But I seeded him all the same and minced him into insy weensy pieces, just in case.
And with the finishing touches of pineapple, salt and pepper we were off to the races.
I let this sit for a couple hours in the fridge and it was ready to go.
It was a pretty big hit, even if the Crack Dip did steal the show.
Hi All!! Just wanted to give you a friendly reminder that I’m having a giveaway this week!
Earlier this week I posted about the glories of this little Houdini Wine Preserver I have. Oh Em Gee, how do I love this baby. There is no way I can down a whole bottle of wine at a time (or I could but it would be highly regrettable the next day), and the worse thing ever is an oxidized and stale bottle opened again two weeks later when you decide to break out the old stuff…
But, after I received this as a gift I had to pass the same gift on to others. And here I come to my point – I swear I have one – I’m giving one away to YOU!!
This is a small blog, just something fun to write and connect with others over the things I love, primarily cooking and stuffing my face, and since I’m giving away a Houdini, apparently I love wine drinking. (*NOTE* – I’m not an alki, I swear.) And for the people who choose to use their precious daylight hours delving into my crazy/wonderful life, I wanted to give this away to thank you.
Find me on Twitter at @CountryCleaver and follow me there. Send me a tweet telling me so!
And last but not least, follow me right here on my blog by signing up under the Google Friend Connect tab on the left side of the page!
But since I’m so awesome (insert a Barney Stinson “Awesome” Catch phrase here), I’m going to give you all another way to enter!
Tell your friends about me! On Facebook hyperlink the Wanna Be A Country Cleaver page to one of your Status updates and I’ll enter you all over again to win! Go to the Wanna Be A Country Cleaver facebook page, like it and then post a status update on your Facebook by typing the “At” symbol (@) followed directly by Wanna Be A Country Cleaver telling your friends to enter also! Easy peasy.
There are now FOUR ways to enter, how awesome? Gawd, don’t you just love the world wide web?
Thank you again everyone for your time reading here. It is so wonderful to meet new people who share the same joys, daily foibles and can laugh at the same curveballs we get thrown in the kitchen and day to day.
This is so easy and so completely addicting it should be illegal. After a really bad day a couple months ago, Ms. Kandace came over for our nearly-weekly-dinner-date. She knew this would make me feel better from whatever stresses I had incurred that day, it was a ridiculously easy fix for a food driven girl such as myself.
A glass of wine, this dip and a carton of strawberries later and I was in heaven! It’s wonderful how close to heaven you can get with five spare minutes and two measly ingredients.
This was the center of everyone’s feasting at book club last night where we stuffed our faces whilst pouring over the so-hard-to-start-but-great-once-you-get-into-it book The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. It’s not exactly light and cheery reading…but whatever floats your boat.
For your (Extremely Long) Grocery List you’ll need…
~1 jar of Marshmallow Cream - or two cups of fluff
~ 1 brick of cream cheese (But of course I had the Costco Jumbo Tub)
I thought that it would be easy enough to whip up with my whisk, but my cream cheese hadn’t soften quite enough. So, if you got it, use a hand mixer or a stand mixer for quick doins.
Whip, whip, WOO!!!
Dump in a bowl, serve with strawberries…or if you’re like me and the girls – just dig in with a spoon. Don’t try to be a hero.
I placed this recipe on Tasty Kitchen under the name Cream Cheese Fruit Crack Dip. It’s already got a few responses as something people have made for years, I was amazed it wasn’t up there yet. But one variation added a little maraschino cherry juice for a little tinge of pink and something else sweet. And another added 1/2 tsp of nutmeg and 1/2 tsp of cinnamon! Ohhh the possibilities are endless!
I haven’t done one of these in a while, and since I love ya so – I wanted to show my appreciation.
Now, I love my wine. It’s not to say I’m an alki by any stretch of the imagination, heck it takes me weeks to get through even one bottle – and this little doo-hickey makes sure that my wine is good to the last drop. Cause really there’s nothing worse than a stale, oxidized bottle of wine. I’ll pass.
So, here it is a Houdini Wine Preserver.
I got one a couple Christmas’ ago from my step-mom, and it’s so completely wonderful that I got one for my mother and for Ms. Kandace for Christmas this last year. None of us have more than a glass at a time, so we needed some way to ensure it remained as tasty on the last day as it did the first. They’re a big hit!
Here’s Mr. Houdini! There are two stoppers included, and one plunger. Additional stoppers are available as well, but two is a good start.
But as a note, these are only to be used for wine – no champagnes or beers. Since it sucks all of the air out, it’ll pull the carbonation out of the drink as well.
Remember that little office Throwdown I mentioned a couple weeks ago? Well my coworkers recipes are starting to flow in. “Woo” with me here! WOooo!!
First off in this little mini-series we have a rice cake from my coworker Ven and his wife Mey. I’d had similar type desserts before at other Pacific Rim community events during my childhood and they lodged themselves in the back of my mind ever since. These rice cakes were no different. The cake itself isn’t like a typical American dessert that leaves you with little furry slippers on your teeth….ew, anyone? But they’re more bar-like and less fluffy cake than we Yanks expect. A wonderful change of pace if you ask me.
Here’s your grocery list for this little culinary adventure:
~ 3 eggs
~ 1/2 stick (4 Tbsp) butter
~ 1 400ml can of Coconut Millk
~ 450 grams of White Rice Flour
~ 1 1/3 cup sugar
~ 1/2 tsp vanilla (I added this, it wasn’t originally required)
Preheat your oven to 350 and get mixing!
I’ve got a handy dandy food scale at home that I whipped out since some of these measurements were in grams versus the US cups/etc.
Don’t forget your basic chemistry here and tare out your scale after adding whatever dish you have to your scale. Don’t want to account for any of this improperly.
Here’s my required 450 grams. It’s about 2 3/4 cups.
Now take everything, dump it into your mixer and let her rip for about 2 minutes, or until it’s all smooth and sufficiently combined.
Pour into a pre-greased 13×9 in pan and bake for 45-50 minutes.
Voila! Toasty marshmallow tan. Love it!
Not too sweet, not too vanilla-y, just cakey enough to have some air in it – perfection.
I might have had two – ya know – just to make sure they were still good.
And in the four hours since these came out of the oven – half the pan is gone. I sent some home with Ms. K tonight, too. Don’t want you thinkin’ I have Zero self-restraint… but close.
Now that a couple of weeks have passed, I can finally open up and talk about the angst and turmoil I suffered at the hands of my semi-failed attempted at The Pops. Cake pops seem to have taken over the baking world, becoming the new cupcake-craze. Any why not? They sound simple enough, they’re adorable mashed up cake and frosting coated in chocolate – you really can’t seemingly go wrong.
But despite the simplest of instructions, they can go hay-wire quickly.
I prepped the cake according to the package directions, opting for a Triple Chocolate Fudge mix. C’mon, how could any PMS-ing chocolate loving girl refuse this?!
Dumped it into a pan and baked as per the instructions.
After it was sufficiently cooked I got to work with the canned cream cheese frosting, foiled sheet pan, bowl and scrapper.
Crumble and mix in the fattening frosting goodness.
I may or may not have eaten on of them, just to ya know – do some quality control.
And as per usual, I had the keeper of the carpet sitting right next to me protecting the floor from crumblings pieces. So diligent he is…
Photo credits go to my hunny. What a good guy.
After the required two hours of cooling time in the freezer I wanted to get to the fun candy melting and dying part. Seemed simple enough, I’ve done melting before but this time it went horribly wrong and I scorched the chocolate melts. Offff course… when I’m on a time crunch, things usually don’t go my way. But thankfully I thought ahead and bought a couple more bags.
Yup, this is what scorched candy looks like. Dry paste. Ew.
The site I was using didn’t specify that I needed to coat the lollipop sticks in candy, then insert them into the pops and Then refreeze them…so I just dug them into the cake and went to town. Whoops.
These first few turned out horribly wrong since the lolli-sticks wouldn’t stay in the pops themselves. And this is where I really started to lose my cool.
I’m not going to confirm or completely deny that a minor temper tantrum was thrown in my kitchen at this moment.
But eventually, after dipping the lolli-sticks in candy and refreezing them and not scorching the candy – I eventually persevered…
They might not be pretty (at all…), but at least for this first attempt they tasted pretty alright.
After I revealed to you my first choice (so far) for wedding venues in Eastern Washington – Trezzi Farms – I wanted to be fair and show you my first choice of wedding locations on the West Side of Washington. Western Washington has been my home again for the last going-on 3 years. After my 4 years away in Eastern Washington, it over took the covetted title of “home”, and I regard the greater Seattle area as a temporary stopping point on the way to better living locales.
This is a big fat *NOTE* to any coworker or workers that might stop by – We’re going to be here for a few more years, so don’t even think I’m up and ditchin’ y’all just yet! (Although they will probably throw a big party After I do leave someday…)
But as much as the south eastern part of Washington is known for their wines, the western Washington wine market is based in Woodinville. Chateau St. Michelle, anyone? Columbia Winery, Brian Carter Cellars, no? There is an ever increasing number of wineries in the area from well knowns like the ones above to more local and up-n-comers to the scene. Wwo of my favorite transplants from Eastern Washington are Isenhower Cellars in Walla Walla and Airfield Estates. Both absolutely wonderful, to my untrained vino loving palate.
Amongst all of those wineries is a lovely old schoolhouse right smack in the middle called Hollywood Schoolhouse and Winery. After I moved back to the West-side, I’d drive by there everyday on my way to work and remind myself that if I ever got married in Western Washington, this place would be it. The perfect blend of country-esque and western Washington. Perfection. I also pestered Ben about this fact, but he seemed to smile, nod and brush of the idea as a silly girl fantasy since at the time we were in no place to begin planning a wedding. But boy, would I persevere.
Last week on my way home from the dog park with Huck, I pulled over whipped out the camera and snapped a few pictures to share with you guys.
Oh, gorgeous brick and balconies.
Here’s a fuller picture where you can see the side portico.
Lastly for the full country effect, there’s even a windmill. *sigh*.
Here’s all us girls stopping by for a peek around the place a couple weeks ago. This is the bridal area, big, spacious with old old old couches and warm colors. Kim (the one in the white shirt and scarf) just signed up for her wedding here June of next year. Her sister also got married here 7 years ago.
It’s a popular spot, ya see?
It’s a reasonable price, good food, and absolutely gorgeous in the summer. One stop venue shopping! We’ll see if I can sway Ben on this one, too. Cause we all know he’s the deciding factor….*snicker snicker*.
Thank God for America’s Test Kitchen. Last summer for our two year anniversary, Ben got me a cast iron skillet. Most girls might not understand the significance and appreciation I had for this gift. It was cast iron. Enameled or not, I was excited. He did awesome.
Although Lodge cast iron typically comes “pre-seasoned”, it’s not enough seasoning (in my opinion) to grill up a burger without it still sticking, or a panini to slide right off. A good, well seasoned cast iron pan comes with time, lots of cooking, lots of grease, and proper maintenance. And maintaining a proper cast iron skillet was something I needed to learn. Here is where ATK comes in. Bless them and their help for challenged such as me.
So, here is my lovely pan from my beloved hunny. He did good.
Heat up your pan.
Grab a couple paper towels and wad them up.
Pour about 1/4 c canola, veggie or olive oil into a small dish.
Grab your handy dandy tongs, and get a hold of your wad o’ towel.
Soak in that oil…
And wipe ‘er down.
Throughly cover your skillet with the oil.
Turn off your heat and let your pan cool down.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
Sooner than you know, you’ll get your proper seasoning.
Or there’s always the option to make a LOT of bacon…your pan will thank you, but your arteries may not.
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