Thanksgiving is fast approaching and if you’re anything like us you probably need some creative inspiration before creating your holiday feast. We’ve put together a mouthwatering breakdown of some delicious Thanksgiving dish ideas that any foodie is sure to appreciate. Check out the links below and show some fellow foodies some love.
1) Thanksgiving can’t get started without the main dish.. and this Apple Cider Sage Turkey Brine from goodlifeeats.com looks absolutely delicious!!!
Posted in Blog Reviews
Tagged and Dried Cranberries, Apple Cider Sage Turkey Brine, Apples, Cranberry Sauce, French Bread Stuffing with Swiss Chard & Caramelized Onions, Green Bean Casserole, Pecan Pie Tartlets, Pumpkin Butter, Rosemary Roasted Carrots, Southwest Thanksgiving Panini and Chowder, Sweet Potatoes with Pecans, Thanksgiving Dish Ideas for Foodies
I have to start this blog off with an apology followed by a list of excuses. First I “Ella” am sorry that I have not posted a blog review, urban evolve or recipe in ages.
Now for the excuses…. I just bought a house.
Ok only one excuse really but at least its a good one. We moved into our new house almost two months ago and have been steady remodeling, painting, tearing up and fixin’ things since then, so little time for blog writing.
Luckily we have reached a breaking point, we have come up for air and decided to simply live in our house for a while. The kitchen is put back together so the cooking, and blog writing, has started again.
So this week’s blog review starts with a silly story. A few months ago I did a catering event for a church. It was a Valentine’s dinner buffet for 120 people. I had never been in charge of catering an event this large before so I was a little out of my league and had to simply guess how much of each ingredient I would need to buy. Well I guessed a little high on a few things. Continue reading
As some of you may know Curtis and I are members of a group called the Charlotte Food Bloggers. We are basically a group of people who all write food blogs. Our good friend Mary is the brains behind the blog Fervent Foodie and also a member of Charlotte Food Bloggers. She is also absolutely obsessed with food! She “spends countless hours each week reading about it, researching it, cooking it, exploring it, talking to strangers about it.”
This week I decided our blog review should be one of Mary’s masterpieces…Sweet Chili Pork Tenderloin. This post, like most of them, is filled with personality and funny tidbits like her original opinion of pork ” BLAH” and usually I agree with her but this recipe is anything but blah.
Sweet Chili Pork Tenderloin
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3 tablespoons chipotle chile powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 (3/4 pound) pork tenderloins
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
- In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the onion powder, garlic powder, chipotle chile powder, salt, and brown sugar. Place tenderloins in bag and shake, coating meat evenly. Refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Cook for 20 minutes, turning meat half way through. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.
The pork came out perfect. The spices made a crust on the outside of the pork which made it extra juicy and added a delicious sweet and spicy flavor to the pork… not blah! We served it with cheesy roasted potatoes and green beans and we enjoyed a wonderful dinner all thanks to our favorite Fervent Foodie Mary!
If you love trying new food, just like us, and you enjoy baking dishes with an interesting twist, then why not give our experimental pancakes a go? This blog post will show you a couple of pancake recipes, perfect for breakfast.
If you have recently been to your local pancake parlour, or you have tried out a diner we recommended in our reviews, but this time you would much rather stay in and make pancakes yourself, then this blog post will show you some tasty pancake recipes. One of the most important things to remember when you make pancakes is to let the pan get piping hot before adding the batter. It could take up to 10 minutes before the pan is hot enough. However, it is advised to keep an eye on the pan the whole time, so you might have to resist the temptation to go next door and watch some TV or have a game of CheekyBingo and instead, stay in the kitchen. Here are some scrumptious pancake recipes with are sure to get your mouth watering.
Sweet potato and cheese pancakes
If you fancy something filling and hearty for breakfast, then you are sure to enjoy making these sweet potato and cheese pancakes.
- For the batter: Mix some flour, a pinch of baking powder and some rosemary in a large bowl before beating in an egg, a few spoons of melted butter and a cup of milk.
- Cook the sweet potato and goats cheese in a pan until soft. Allow to cool and combine with the pancake batter.
- Cook your pancakes in a non stick frying pan. Allow to cool and serve with salad and pumpkin seeds.
Peanut butter and chocolate pancakes
These indulgent and sweet pancakes are sure to go down a treat.
- Make a sweet pancake batter and add in some chocolate chips.
- For the topping: Combine peanut butter with sugar, milk and chocolate chips. Spread over hot pancakes, allowing it to melt and go gooey.
- Top it all off by serving your pancakes with sliced banana and chocolate shavings
Curtis absolutely LOVES spicy food, but I am an admitted spicy food baby, so whenever I find a recipe that is spicy but seems like something I might be able to handle I want to give it a shot. When I found this recipe for Caramelized Chicken with Jalapeno Cream I thought it would be a perfect recipe for us to try.
It comes from a sweet little food blog called How Sweet It Is (howsweeteats.com) run by a beautiful young woman from Pittsburgh, PA. who is “madly, passionately, inexplicably in love with food” which is exactly what you need to run a successful food blog. She has got to have over a hundred recipes on her site ranging from healthy recipes and comfort food to indulgent desserts. She even had a section on the site called crumbs, which is basically a running blog of things that she likes or wants to write about. All of the recipes on her site are made and eaten by her and her husband and they all look delicious, this chicken dish certainly was.
Caramelized Chicken with Jalapeno Cream
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
1 shallot, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 cup low-fat or skim milk
1 12-ounce can fat-free evaporated milk
2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese
- Add chopped jalapenos, shallots and garlic to a food processor and pulse until very finely chopped (not pureed). Set aside.
- Tenderize chicken breasts if desired and pat completely dry with paper towels. Season on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon canola oil. Once the oil is hot, add chicken breasts (make sure they are COMPLETELY DRY) and cook for about 8-10 minutes per side, until each side is caramelized and golden. If needed, use the remaining canola oil when flipping the chicken.
- While the chicken is cooking, heat a small saucepan over medium heat and add butter. Once sizzling, add in the chopped jalapeno mixture, stirring to coat, and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once fragrant (do NOT put your face directly over the jalapenos!), whisk in flour and stir continuously to create a roux. Cook mixture for 1-2 minutes, then add in milks, reducing the heat to medium-low. Continue to stir continuously until mixture begins to thicken (about 6-8 minutes), adding in parmesan cheese and reducing the heat even more. Once the desired thickness has been reached, turn off heat. Stir every so often – it may thicken even more while sitting – and you can add additional milk to thin it out if needed. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.
This was really a very quick and easy recipe to make, which is always a plus for me. The chicken itself was awesome, I loved how crispy and caramelized it got, I only wish that I had butterflied the chicken to maximize the yummy part. The cream was delicious, but not at all spicy. It did have a little bit of the pepper flavor but instead was sweet and creamy. I really like the concept of this dish, but next time I might add a few more jalapenos to kick it up a few notches.
I think next time I will try some of those indulgent desserts that look so amazing and you should too.
I (Ella) don’t have much free time but the little that I do have is spent drooling over the food and pictures on foodgawker.com. I was doing just that last week and came across this recipe for sticky baked chicken and just had to try it. The recipe is from The Comfort of cooking, a food blog written by a woman (Georgia) out of Austin, Texas.
She is self taught and focuses on classic comfort food recipes with a twist. One look through this blog and I knew it would be our next blog review. Not only did the chicken taste amazing but the blog itself is gorgeous. Its well organized, full of beautiful photography and has more recipes and tips than most of the cook books I have. There are 40 recipes for appetizers alone. Add in main dishes, desserts, sauces, how to’s, and gifts from the kitchen and this blog is chock full of fun recipes and ideas to keep you glued to the computer or the kitchen for hours. If everything else is as good as the chicken, then this blog is a keeper.
The sweet and sticky baked chicken was deeelicious! We used whole chicken legs instead of drumsticks, but it was the glaze that was really the important part of this recipe. It was so easy to make and the chicken came out perfectly sweet and crispy on the outside but nice and juicy on the inside. This is a must try recipe!
Sweet ‘n Sticky Baked Chicken Drumsticks
Yields 12 chicken drumsticks
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
3 garlic cloves, minced
12 chicken drumsticks
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Combine the balsamic vinegar, honey, brown sugar, soy sauce and garlic cloves in a large resealable bag. Add the chicken to the bag and seal. Marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Top with a cooling rack. Remove the chicken from the bag, reserving the marinade, and arrange the drumsticks on the cooling rack. Bake until the skin is caramelized and dark in spots, about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place the leftover marinade in a small saucepan, uncovered. Bring the marinade to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook over low heat until thick, about 15 minutes. Use a pastry brush to brush the cooked marinade on the chicken. Return to the oven for 10 more minutes.
- Place the chicken on a serving platter and sprinkle with the sesame seeds and the chopped parsley.
Like I said, we made a few simple changes to the recipe, whole legs instead of drum sticks, I left out the sesame seeds and I served it with a butternut squash casserole .This recipe is definitely a winner and I even had enough of the sauce left over to use in stir fry the next night! What makes her happiest is cooking with and for the people she loves. We definitely share that in common and if you do too, this is the perfect blog for you!
We spent all of 2011 focusing on our goal of eating at as many different restaurants as possible and becoming one of Charlotte’s leading restaurant reviewers. With over 150 restaurants behind us and a partnership with wcnc.com, we think that we might have reached our goal. We’re now in the beginning phases of starting two new projects on urbanfoodlife. The first of our new projects will be to search the internet for the best food blog recipes and review our fellow foodies.
Our first food blog review victim.. www.sprinkledwithflour.com.
We came across the site while searching for recipes to use on the super awesome slow cooker Ella got for Christmas. The site is run by a stay at home mom aka domestic engineer and all the recipes are cross checked by her super-hero son. The recipe we decided to test out was her slow cooker chicken taco chili recipe which was originally adapted by skinnytaste.com.
The recipe calls for:
- 1 onion, diced (optional)
- 1 16-oz can black beans
- 1 16-oz can kidney beans
- 1 8-oz can tomato sauce
- 1 8-oz can corn
- 2 (14.5-oz) cans diced tomatoes w/chilies
- 1 packet taco seasoning
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tbsp chili powder (can reduce this amount for less spiciness)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 package shredded cheddar cheese
Once you get all the ingredients together and you’re ready to start cooking all you do is:
- Combine beans, onion, corn, tomato sauce, cumin, chili powder, garlic, taco seasoning in crockpot.
- Place the chicken on top and cover.
- Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 6-8 hours.
- Before serving, use a fork to shred the chicken, and stir to mix.
- Serve over cooked rice and top with shredded cheddar cheese.
We chose this recipe both because we wanted to break in Ella’s new slow cooker and because we love anything taco related. The whole process went so smooth we can’t wait to find more thing to put in our slow cooker. We put everything together the night before, set the timer before work in the morning, and when we got home… the house smelled delicious and DINNER WAS READY :)
We thought the recipe was pretty solid but added a few extra ingredients for personal preference in the end. We made ours with whole grain rice, added the oh so essential sour cream, and chopped up our cilantro. We also bought all of the ingredients from Earth Fare so it was our first all natural meal! All-in-all we loved the end result. It was full of flavor and very filling. We have enough leftovers to last us for a week! We can’t wait to make more recipes with our slow cooker.
Sprinkledwithflour.com is a great site with gorgeous photos and plenty of delicious looking recipes. If you’re looking for something to cook tonight, check out her site!
We started doing restaurant/dining reviews in December of 2010 and quickly became one of Charlotte’s leading food critics. Now its time to begin “Phase II” of our urbanfoodlife project and beginning January 2012 we will be reviewing some of the most popular food blogs on the web. We’re going to search the internet to find the best food blogs and bring you our review of the recipes we find along the way.
Stay tuned for more updates :)
I made these cupcakes for an event that Ella’s Celestial Cakes and Catering did for Time Warner Cable. The event was a tea party for 50 people and I knew that some of my famous stuffed mini cupcakes would be perfect. I wanted to stay seasonal so I made an Apple Spice Cupcake with Apple Butter Filling, Maple Cream Cheese Frosting and Bacon.