Apple and Cheddar Quiche with Olive Oil and Thyme Crust

Wow family and friends with this gorgeous and delicious Apple, Cheddar, and Thyme Quiche with Olive Oil Pastry crust.

I can’t believe Thanksgiving is next week. My parents arrive on Monday and my sister’s family on Wednesday. We’ll have a packed house to say the least but I am so excited.

Because for me, a packed house means that I will have more than 3 people to feed. And for someone who cooks a lot and has a lot of leftovers, this is music to my ears. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been freezing some of the things I’ve been making so my parents and sister’s family can try and taste some of the dishes I’ve been making. Not exactly the same as eating it fresh, but hey, it still works.

Wow family and friends with this gorgeous and delicious Apple, Cheddar, and Thyme Quiche with Olive Oil Pastry crust.

My sister loves quiche so I made this Apple and Cheddar quiche for her. And I wanted to kick it up a notch, so I made an olive oil, thyme and cheddar pastry crust for the quiche. Yeah I know, I’m a pretty cool sister. And I made sure to throw in a good amount of cheddar cheese because Grace loves cheesy foods. Yes, she is my sister!

Wow family and friends with this gorgeous and delicious Apple, Cheddar, and Thyme Quiche with Olive Oil Pastry crust.

Well, I made this delicious quiche (can you see the apple chunks in there?!) and will have to make another one next week because I ate the entire thing. You guys, this quiche is so good. You get hints of sweetness from the apples with all the cheesy goodness and a lovely olive oil and thyme pastry crust. This quiche was heaven for me.

We’re in holiday season and in the midst of entertaining, having friends over and just being with family. So, if you don’t have a go-to quiche recipe that you use, you have to try this one. It’s great and is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

I hope you enjoy!

Apple and Cheddar Quiche with Olive Oil and Thyme Crust
 
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Note: if you want the cheese to be more evenly distributed within your quiche, use about 1¼ cups of heavy cream instead of just a ½ cup.
Author:
Serves: 6 to 8

Ingredients
For the olive oil crust:
  • 1¼ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup very cold water
  • ½ teaspoon fresh thyme, leaves only
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons freshly grated cheddar
For the filling:
  • 5 large eggs
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, leaves only + more for sprinkling
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup freshly grated cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup apples, peeled and chopped (like Gala, Honeycrisp or Red Delicious)

Instructions
For the crust:
  1. Using your food processor, combine the flour, salt and olive oil and pulse for about 3 to 4 seconds. While the food processor is running, slowly pour the very cold water over the flour and keep running until the pastry begins to come together, after about 7 to 8 seconds. Do not overwork the dough.
  2. Next, add in the fresh thyme and freshly grated cheddar and pulse just a few times so that the thyme and cheddar become incorporated into the dough. (Alternatively, you can add the thyme and cheddar later and knead it in before you place into the refrigerator.)
  3. Transfer the olive oil pastry dough to a lightly floured work surface, knead just a few times, gather to form a ball and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling it out.
  4. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out on a lightly floured work surface.Transfer dough to a pie plate, gently pressing the olive oil pastry into the pie plate. Prick the dough with a fork and bake it for about 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned.Remove from the oven and lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees.
For the quiche:
  1. Combine the eggs, heavy cream, thyme, salt, and nutmeg and mix together well. Add in the cheddar cheese and the apples and mix again. Pour the filling into your olive oil pastry crust, sprinkle on a little fresh thyme and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until golden brown and a tester inserted comes out clean. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

 

Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil

This holiday season, Pompeian is helping families across the country immortalize their favorite holiday recipes by offering personalized bottles of Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil – the first and only extra virgin olive oil to carry the USDA Quality Monitored Seal, complete with a customizable label and family photo – perfect for commemorating a treasured dish or gifting to a loved one this holiday season.

Consumers can visit Facebook or Pompeian.com to create their very own personalized bottle of Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil by generating and printing a customized label to place on a 24 oz. bottle of Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Now, how cool is that?!

Wow family and friends with this gorgeous and delicious Apple, Cheddar, and Thyme Quiche with Olive Oil Pastry crust.

Disclosure: This post is in partnership with Pompeian’s Blogger Ambassador Program and Pompeian Pantry Insiders. I was compensated for this post and as always, all opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for allowing me to work with brands that I love, use and support.

 

 

Mini Pumpkin Pie Gingersnap Cookie Cups

Mini pumpkin pies baked into a fabulous gingersnap cookie cup and topped with pumpkin pie spice whipped cream! These bite-sized desserts are the perfect way to end your Thanksgiving dinner!

I believe in dessert.

When I was younger, probably like most kids, I wanted to be able to eat dessert before the main course. It just made sense. Did my mother ever let me do that? No . .  but it still made sense at the time.

Now, I’m older and actually enjoy eating my meals; appetizers, salads, main course and all, I understand why dessert is at the end. Some may think you are saving the best for last. Others say that you need to end most savory meals with something sweet. Whatever the reason, we all need a little dessert in our lives.

And with one of the most fabulous holidays coming up, Thanksgiving, where most people break out the stretchy pants and indulge, dessert is a must-have in my book.

Mini pumpkin pies baked into a fabulous gingersnap cookie cup and topped with pumpkin pie spice whipped cream! These bite-sized desserts are the perfect way to end your Thanksgiving dinner!

I believe in dessert, but for major holidays, I believe more in mini desserts. Or bite sized desserts. Because if there’s one thing I believe in more, it’s variety when it comes to dessert. I want to try everything. I want like a bite of everything. and especially after inhaling the appetizers, the turkey, the stuffing, the mashed potatoes, the yams, the corn bread etc. .

A mini dessert can look pretty darn good.

To get this recipe, visit the Imperial Sugar website.

And just a note: 3 of my neighbors tried this recipe while I was testing them and they all asked me individually for the recipe for Thanksgiving so don’t miss out on this fabulous recipe! These are something special.

I hope you enjoy!

Mini pumpkin pies baked into a fabulous gingersnap cookie cup and topped with pumpkin pie spice whipped cream! These bite-sized desserts are the perfect way to end your Thanksgiving dinner!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All opinions expressed here are 100% my own.  

 

 

Pumpkin Sage Soup

Creamy, flavorful and savory. This Pumpkin Sage Soup is perfect for fall and is delicious comfort in a bowl.

A little over a week ago, I was in Chicago attending a Test Kitchen event hosted by ALDI. We were there for two days and let me tell you, there was enough food involved over those two days to feed a small army. 

ALDI Test Kitchen

Day 1 started with a visit to ALDI headquarters, where we visited their test kitchen and participated in a blind tasting of several food products. Each station featured an ALDI brand versus a leading national brand. We sampled everything from orange juice to yogurt to granola bars and tortilla chips. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised and, based on taste, I chose the ALDI brand 9 out of 10 times. Tastes better and costs less? No brainer. I know where I’m buying my orange juice, crackers, granola bars and tortilla chips from now on.

ALDI Test Kitchen_Products

ALDI also has a gluten free product line, which we also got to sample. So, if you’re gluten-free, no worries! ALDI has you covered!

Live Gluten Free Products

Live G Free Products_taste

We then moved on to our Sensory Pairings session, where Sensory Expert Gail Vance Civille and Certified Master Sommelier Leslee Miller hosted a joint food and wine pairings presentation and demonstration. They taught us why particular foods and wines pair well, and why others do not, based on our senses. I’ve never looked at wine so thoroughly before. . the color, smelling it and tasting it and thinking about what it reminds us of. And that “rule” where red wine goes with meat and white wine with chicken and fish, for example, doesn’t really apply anymore. Red or white, it’s really all about how the wines enhance the foods and vice versa.

wine

My favorite part of this session was then sampling different wines with different foods, like cheese (of course!) and chocolate and cheesecake!! Hello!!

wine and cheese tastings

We then moved on to a little competition, where we were placed into teams and had to put what we had just learned to the test! We were tasked with pairing a wine with each course for a full holiday meal. My team enthusiastically finished first. .  and promptly got last place. Oh well, you win some, you lose some. Team 1: you are all still #1 to me. (From left to right: Jessica from Savory Experiments, Kellie from The Suburban Soapbox, Kit from The Kittchen, Julie from Willow Bird Baking and me!)

Team One

We ended the evening with a gorgeous and delicious dinner prepared by the ALDI kitchen chefs. We started with an amazing Pumpkin Sage Soup, which I am sharing with you today! You guys. .  this soup is so delicious! I love baking with pumpkin in the fall but let me tell you. .  savory pumpkin dishes are the BEST. And I added some bacon because I love the saltiness with this soup and the texture. #winning

Creamy, flavorful and savory. This Pumpkin Sage Soup is perfect for fall and is delicious comfort in a bowl.

The key to this soup is combining vegetables and APPLES, mixing them with brown sugar, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and then roasting them until tender. Oh my gawd, you guys. . not only did this smell amazing, but I wanted to skip the soup and just eat the roasted veggies and apples. So good!

Roasted Vegetables and Apples

But fortunately, I went on and made my soup. .  and I’m so happy I did. This soup is now officially up there with my top 5 fave soups for the fall. I’ll be sharing the rest of my ALDI visit in another post. .  so until then, you guys have to try this soup!

I hope you enjoy!

Creamy, flavorful and savory. This Pumpkin Sage Soup is perfect for fall and is delicious comfort in a bowl.

 

Pumpkin Sage Soup
 
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If a smoother texture is desired, you can transfer to a blender instead of using the immersion blender. To make this vegetarian, simply omit the bacon.
Author:
Recipe type: Main or Starter
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients
  • 2 small onions, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 ribs of celery, halved and sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium to large sized Idaho russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, minced
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 15-ounce cans 100% pure canned pumpkin
  • 1 32-ounce carton vegetable stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • cooked crispy bacon, crumbled
  • gouda cheese, freshly grated
  • cooked crispy sage leaves for garnish

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Combine the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, apples, potatoes, sage and brown sugar in a large bowl. Drizzle on the extra virgin olive oil, and season with salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Place into a roasting pan and roast in oven for about 30 minutes, or until tender.
  2. After the vegetables are finished, using a large pot over medium-high heat, combine the roasted vegetable mixture, canned pumpkin and vegetable stock. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Using a hand blender or immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth or your desired consistency. Add the heavy cream, taste and adjust any seasoning as needed. Serve warm with the gouda cheese, bacon and crispy sage as a garnish. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from ALDI US.

Creamy, flavorful and savory. This Pumpkin Sage Soup is perfect for fall and is delicious comfort in a bowl.

Disclosure: This post is in partnership with ALDI’s Holiday Blogger Ambassador Program. This is a sponsored post. As always, all opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

 

 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with White Wine Shallot Sauce

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with White Wine Shallot and Whole Grain Dijon Mustard Sauce. You need this on your Thanksgiving table!

Happy Friday you guys! I’m back with another fabulous side dish that needs to be on your Thanksgiving table this year. I don’t know about you, but I love roasted brussels sprouts! Growing up, my parents never really made them for us. .  not sure why, but now that I have kids, I roast these babies a few times a month for them and my kids love them.

The secret? It’s all about the technique and flavor. I love roasting brussels sprouts because they still remain somewhat firm and get nicely browned. I usually just roast them with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and some salt and pepper but today, I wanted the sauce to bring in the flavor.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with White Wine Shallot and Whole Grain Dijon Mustard Sauce. You need this on your Thanksgiving table!

The key to my sauce? Cooking bacon and shallots together and then deglazing my pan with my Entwine Chardonnay. You guys, this is so fabulous. If I could personally make this dish for everyone, I would. I then add some dijon mustard and whole grain dijon because I absolutely love seeing the whole grain mustard in this dish.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with White Wine Shallot Sauce

Entwine Chardonnay Wine

So, I hope brussels sprouts make it to your Thanksgiving table and you’ll have to also pour yourself a glass and have some of this delicious Chardonnay with your meal as well. As I’ve said before, use the same great quality, great tasting wine that you would drink, to cook with. That’s the only way to do it.

And check out Entwine Wine’s snazzy new website! Entwine Wines is the official wine for The Food Network and was a collaboration between Wente Vineyards in California and The Food Network. Learn about their different wines, get recipes and wine pairings and find an Entwine retailer close to you.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with White Wine Shallot Sauce
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 4

Ingredients
  • 2 lbs. brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 3 shallots, peeled and chopped
  • 5-6 slices bacon, chopped
  • ¼ cup entwine Chardonnay wine
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard
  • Fresh parsley, diced for garnish

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and prepare a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Drizzle the extra virgin olive oil over the Brussels sprouts and season with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Toss together and roast the sprouts, cut side down, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until nicely browned.
  2. While the sprouts are roasting, cook the shallots and bacon over medium-high heat until the shallots are tender and the bacon has begun to crisp and brown a little, for about 4 to 5 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the entwine Chardonnay and the chicken stock and cook until the shallots and bacon have absorbed more than half of the liquid. Add the Dijon mustard and the whole grain Dijon mustard and mix together until combined.
  3. Remove from the heat and mix with the roasted brussels sprouts. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve immediately.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with White Wine Shallot and Whole Grain Dijon Mustard Sauce

Looking for more Thanksgiving Day inspiration or menu ideas? Check out my Pinterest board!

Follow Hip Foodie Mom’s board Thanksgiving on Pinterest.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All opinions expressed here are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting me in working with brands that I use and love. 
 

Leek and Artichoke Bread Pudding + A Le Creuset Giveaway!

Leek and Artichoke Bread Pudding with grated Emmentaler Swiss cheese! A great alternative to stuffing for Thanksgiving this year!

Ok guys, we’re T minus 15 days to turkey day. Are you ready?

I don’t know about you but I’ve been going crazy trying to find all the right side dishes to serve with my turkey this year. Because . .  I’m not afraid to say it ..  sometimes I’m more excited about the side dishes at Thanksgiving dinner than the turkey!

Leek and Artichoke Bread Pudding with grated Emmentaler Swiss cheese! A great alternative to stuffing for Thanksgiving this year!

Growing up, we would sometimes have a mix up your standard turkey sides, like mashed potatoes, corn, cranberry sauce and green beans, as well as a hodgepodge of Korean food side dishes, like Korean vegetables and kimchi. My sister and I would help my mother and father in the kitchen and we wouldn’t stop until the table was absolutely full. I hate to say it but growing up, we’d always make the stuffing from a box. We were kids. .  we couldn’t tell the difference and probably thought Stove Top was the best.

Now that I’m older and wiser and hosting Thanksgiving dinner (now for the 4th year in a row), I know better. And this year, instead of a traditional stuffing, I’m making Ina’s Leek and Artichoke Bread Pudding. Or, well, a version of it.

Leek and Artichoke Bread Pudding with grated Emmentaler Swiss cheese! A great alternative to stuffing for Thanksgiving this year!

If you know Ina, you know she goes full fat, full flavor with pretty much everything. I’m not against that. .  but on a day where I’m going to be stuffing my face with a ton of food (probably all day), if I can make something a little lighter and less heavy, I’m going to do it.

And, in all honesty, I just wanted something to make in my new Le Creuset Apple Cocotte! Isn’t she beautiful? You can even put this baby in the oven! So, she doesn’t just look pretty, she’s purposeful too. Use this Apple Cocotte as you would any casserole dish (and the lid, with the stem-like knob withstands temperatures up to 375 degrees). I love this thing and can’t wait to whip this out at my next brunch.

A Giveaway!! Le Creuset Apple Cocoette with Lid!

Now wouldn’t this Apple Cocotte just look divine on your Thanksgiving table? Well, I’m giving one away today ..  so check out the giveaway widget below and good luck!

And if the jury is out on whether or not to serve a stuffing this year, I urge you to try this Leek and Artichoke Bread Pudding!! It’s so good!!

Leek and Artichoke Bread Pudding
 
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This recipe was made to fit in my Le Creuset Apple Cocotte, so if you are going to use a regular sized casserole dish, you will need to double the recipe. *If you want a creamier, richer bread pudding, you can add in a ½ cup or ¾ cup of heavy cream.
Author:
Recipe type: Side Dish

Ingredients
  • 4 cups day-old white bread or french bread, cubed
  • 1½ tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 cups leeks, white and light green parts only, diced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups artichoke hearts (fresh or frozen; if using frozen, make sure they are defrosted)
  • 1½ tablespoons fresh chives, finely diced
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons fresh tarragon leaves, finely diced
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup heavy cream*
  • ¾ cup chicken stock, or vegetable stock
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup grated Emmentaler Swiss cheese, freshly grated

Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the bread cubes on a sheet pan and bake for about 15 minutes, until lightly browned.
  2. Heat the butter in a large pan over medium heat; add the leeks and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and mix in the artichokes, toasted bread cubes, chives and tarragon.
  3. In a separate medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, heavy cream, chicken stock and nutmeg. Pour the bread mixture into your baking dish and pour on the cream mixture. Then, sprinkle with the Emmentaler swiss cheese all over the top.
  4. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the custard is set and the bread pudding is puffed and golden. Serve immediately.

Adapted from The Food Network.

 

THE GIVEAWAY
open to residents within the United States only

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Disclosure: This giveaway is sponsored by Le Creuset. All opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

Kohler Food and Wine and the Best Carrot Martini You Will Ever Try

The American Club

I think anytime you visit a new city or place, you’re usually pleasantly surprised by some little gems and local spots that you find. Upon moving to Wisconsin, I knew about the weather, Madison, the university, the Farmers Market and all the glorious cheese. I would soon learn about the fabulous food scene here, restaurants owning farm-to-table, Door County, Devils Lake State Park and most recently, Kohler, Wisconsin and The American Club.

When you think of Wisconsin, you might not think luxury. You might not think getaway or destination. Well, it looks like I discovered Kohler, Wisconsin and The American Club just in time. The American Club is a luxury spa and resort located in Kohler, Wisconsin. It is owned and operated by the Kohler Company and has received various awards, including the Top 100 Golf Resorts by Conde Nast Traveler magazine, and is the Midwest’s only AAA Five Diamond Resort Hotel.

The American Club Lobby2

The American Club Lobby

Recently, I attended the Kohler Food and Wine Experience, a 4-day extravaganza of food, wine and fun, and had the great honor of also staying at The American Club. As soon as we arrived, I was blown away by the customer service and attention to detail. I have never stayed at a hotel or resort like this. After checking in, we were escorted to our room by the front desk employee and learned a little bit of history about The American Club, which was built in 1918 to house the Kohler Company’s immigrant workers at the time.

Guest Room at The American Club

Upon checking in and entering our room, we were given a huge (and heavy) gift bag and found some lovely and delicious chocolates in our room. Now, obviously, if the resort is owned and operated by the Kohler Company, you know the rooms and the bathrooms are nice. To call them “nice” is an understatement. I truly felt like I was staying in luxury and just absolute innovation and comfort in the bathrooms.

side by side bathroom

I didn’t want to leave the bathroom you guys. Everything was amazing.

Bathtub_use

This was the coolest shower ever. It was hard not to take an hour long shower.

Shower

I was able to bring a guest with me for the weekend and, because it was my birthday weekend, my awesome husband let me take one of my girlfriends, Rina, so we could have fun and enjoy Kohler and the Food and Wine Experience.

The Carrot 43 Martini

The first evening, we attended a welcome reception, where we tried this fabulous martini, The Carrot 43. Significance of 43…It took 43 tries to get it right! This delicious martini was created by a team at the Forbes Four-Star Immigrant Restaurant & Winery Bar, located in The American Club. You guys, this martini was so good. I had two but would have definitely had a third if I had time. We had to leave to go to dinner at the Immigrant Restaurant. (I am sharing this fabulous recipe with you all down below! You have to try this martini!)

Dinner was absolutely fabulous and I have to go back to Kohler just to eat at The Immigrant Restaurant again.

Kohler Food and Wine Main Stage

Friday started with cooking demonstrations, a Cabernet and Beef Academy tasting, a knife skills 101 class and much more. There were so many different sessions going on (and some at the same time), so I was not able to attend all of them.  All of the main cooking demonstrations took place on the Stella Artois Main Stage. Oh and by the way, there was a Stella Artois tent right next door the entire weekend serving all the beer you could drink, including their delicious Cidre, made with hand picked apples.

Me and Graham Elliot

The first cooking demo in the main stage was Graham Elliot, of Graham Elliot Bistro in Chicago. Graham was hilarious and entertaining and it was so fun to watch him in action. I personally haven’t dined at his restaurant but I’m going to the next time I’m in Chicago for sure!

Me and Christopher

Next up was one of my absolute faves: America’s Test Kitchen. Christopher, Jack and Bridget cooked up the ultimate comfort foods and shared their Best Chicken Stew and Chewy Brownies recipes. Both were absolutely fabulous you guys ..  and if you want the chicken stew recipe, click here!

Americas Test Kitchen

My Friday high continued as Geoffrey Zakarian floated on stage to “Fly Me to The Moon” by Frank Sinatra. One of my favorite songs! GZ knows how to keep an audience entertained. He had the attention of every person under that tent. He was magical and delightful.

Chef GZ

Friday night, we attended a party, Taste of the Vine, in the beautiful Kohler Design Center. There was food and over 40+ different brands of wine to sample. Here’s me and Jocelyn at table #1.

Me and Jocelyn

Taste of the Vine Kohler Design Center

The design center was so cool. .  with . . you guessed it, toilets and bath tubs everywhere. How could I not get in one?!

Kohler Design Center

Me in the tub

Saturday was another jam packed, wonderful day ..  the highlight? Seeing GZ do another cooking demo and being able to sit and chat with him for 30 minutes with other media reps. He does so much, just wrote a cookbook, My Perfect Pantry, and has a ton of other stuff in the works. He is the man to follow.

Interview with GZ

And the guy’s got mad style. Just look at him.

Me and Geoffrey Zakarian

Saturday ended with a fabulous dinner at Blackwolf Run, which is just a hop, skip and a jump away from The American Club. I had the butter roasted lobster tail . . divine!! I was so impressed with all of the restaurants in Kohler. The entire weekend was truly a culinary delight for me.

And I can’t wait until they announce the line-up for next year’s Kohler Food and Wine Experience!! Save The Date: October 24-27, 2015!!!

spa

The weekend ended with a complimentary spa treatment (on my birthday!) at the beautiful Kohler Waters Spa, where I got to relax and have a 90 minute detox massage. Believe me when I say, I did not want it to end. Kohler, WI is the most charming place I have ever visited and I’m so glad I know about this beautiful resort as we head into winter.

Are you looking for a getaway this holiday season? First class accommodations, a five-star hydrotherapy focused spa, outdoor adventure, shopping and fine dining? What more could you need? If you’re in the Midwest ..  heck, if you’re looking to getaway period this holiday season. Look no further. You have to check out Destination Kohler.

And as promised, here is the martini that everyone needs to try.

The American Club's Carrot 43 Martini
Photo credit: The Kohler Company

The Carrot 43 Martini
 
Inspiration: From a desire to use carrot juice in a cocktail it made sense to run it alongside the floral botanicals in Hendrick’s Gin and fresh orange juice. It has a lively color as well as texture and structure. This is the most popular and innovative cocktail on the menu!
Author:
Recipe type: Cocktail

Ingredients
  • 1 ¼ oz Hendricks Gin
  • ¾ oz Cointreau
  • 1 oz Fresh Orange Juice
  • ½ oz Fresh Carrot Juice
  • ½ oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • ½ oz Simple Syrup
  • Garnish: Fresh Sliced Cucumber

Instructions
  1. Shake all the ingredients together in a martini shaker and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a fresh sliced cucumber and enjoy!

 

A huge thank you to the Kohler Company and The American Club for sponsoring this trip. This was the media trip of a lifetime and I was honored to be a part of it. And, as always, all opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

 

Autumn Potato Gratin + a @BHG Cookbook Giveaway!!

Layers upon layers of potatoes, leeks, butternut squash and Fontina cheese, this Autumn Potato Gratin needs to be on every Thanksgiving table this year! Don't miss this fabulous recipe.

So, whether we’re ready or not, the holidays are upon us!! Christmas trees and lights are out everywhere (even though we still have Thanksgiving coming up) and sometimes, if you listen closely, you’ll hear holiday music in the stores. Seriously.

I’ve officially moved my “Halloween” Pinterest board to the bottom of my page and now “Thanksgiving” is reigning towards the top! Do you have your Thanksgiving menu set?

Layers upon layers of potatoes, leeks, butternut squash and Fontina cheese, this Autumn Potato Gratin needs to be on every Thanksgiving table this year! Don't miss this fabulous recipe.

Recently, I attended the Cooking Experience weekend in Des Moines, Iowa, hosted by Better Homes and Gardens at their headquarters. It was fabulous. Not only did we get to meet a lot of the editors, and Gayle Butler!, but we also attended sessions on how to set a Thanksgiving Day table, great slow cooker recipes, desserts for the holidays and there was even a quick knife skills 101 class.

While we were there, we got to tour the offices, the test kitchens, walk through the amazing prop room. .  (and it’s gigantic), and we also walked down a hallway that had all of the covers of every Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.

Better Homes and Gardens Prop Room

Did you know there’s a new edition out? The 16th edition, folks! Since 1930, the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book has been the go-to cookbook in millions of homes across America. Now completely updated and revised, the 16th edition includes everything from beloved classics to hot new recipes!

Better Homes and Gardens NEW Cook Book, the 16th Edition

Better Homes and Gardens NEW Cook Book, the 16th Edition

Better Homes and Gardens NEW Cook Book, the 16th Edition

This book covers everything from Cooking Basics to Appetizers and drinks, Beans Rice and Grains, Breads, Cakes and frosting, Candies, canning and freezing, casseroles, cookies and bars, holiday favorites, meat, pasta, pie and tarts and more!! This is 658 pages of delicious.

Better Homes and Gardens NEW Cook Book, the 16th Edition

Better Homes and Gardens NEW Cook Book, the 16th Edition

And one of you get a chance to WIN this fabulous cookbook. .  But before I get to the giveaway, I have to share the Autumn Potato Gratin recipe I made from here, page. 362. You guys, this gratin is SO good!!! The secret? There are thinly sliced potatoes, butternut squash, leeks and fontina cheese inside. oh yeah.

Leeks

Fontina Cheese

Layers upon layers of potatoes, leeks, butternut squash and Fontina cheese, this Autumn Potato Gratin needs to be on every Thanksgiving table this year! Don't miss this fabulous recipe.

This Autumn Potato Gratin needs to be on every Thanksgiving table this year . . seriously. Don’t miss this recipe!

Autumn Potato Gratin
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Side dish
Serves: 10

Ingredients
  • 4 medium yellow-flesh potatoes, unpeeled and thinly sliced (about 5 cups)
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, halved and seeded and thinly sliced crosswise
  • ½ cup thinly sliced leek (1 large)
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh sage
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 ounces Fontina cheese, freshly grated (about 2 cups)
  • 1½ cups heavy whipping cream

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 3-quart baking dish or gratin dish. Layer half each of the sliced potatoes, butternut squash, and leeks in prepared dish. Sprinkle with half each of the sage, garlic, salt, nutmeg and pepper. Sprinkle with half the cheese and repeat layers. Pour the heavy whipping cream over the top. Cover tightly with foil.
  2. Bake, covered, for about 80 minutes. Uncover and bake for about 30 more minutes or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork and top is golden brown. Let stand for 15 minutes.

Recipe re-published here with permission.

 

THE GIVEAWAY!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also, check out this awesome post from I Am Baker on the Better Homes and Gardens Cooking Experience weekend:

alfredopasta

And this one from Grandbaby Cakes!

Reindeer

And this fabulous recap from Julianne from Beyond Frosting! If Better Homes and Gardens hosts another Cooking Experience next year, I’m going again!!!

Better Home and Gardens Cookbook Wall

Disclosure: This is not a paid sponsored post. I did receive a copy of the cookbook to review and test recipes. This giveaway is sponsored by the cookbook’s publisher.

 

You Need This In Your Life “Best Chicken Stew” and A Cookbook!

Deep, rich and flavorful . . this chicken stew is named the Best Chicken Stew for a reason. Tested again and again, with a technique that works wonderfully from America's Test Kitchen, you can't miss out on this stew!

Recently, I was in Kohler, Wisconsin attending the Kohler Food and Wine Experience. The whole weekend was magical and I learned a ton and got to sample some great food. One of the highlights of that weekend was meeting Christopher, Jack and Bridget from America’s Test Kitchen.

Deep, rich and flavorful . . this chicken stew is named the Best Chicken Stew for a reason. Tested again and again, with a technique that works wonderfully from America's Test Kitchen, you can't miss out on this stew!

Their session was focused on The Ultimate Comfort Foods, where we got to watch them make (and taste!) their Best Chicken Stew and Chewy Brownies from the newly revised edition of The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook. “This cookbook includes all 15 seasons (including 2015) of the hit TV show in a fabulous collection featuring more than 950 foolproof recipes and dozens of tips and techniques.”

The Complete Americas Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook. Buy this cookbook and be happy in the kitchen.

This is 963 pages of awesomeness right here. I mean, check out the thickness here!

The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook

The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook

You guys, even if you don’t watch the TV show, you need this cookbook. I mean, there are 26 chapters filled with recipes that you know are delicious and solid.

The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook

This is what I love about America’s Test Kitchen the most: knowing that they test and test and test again (for EVERY single recipe). They show and tell you why certain things/techniques worked. They talk about the science behind everything. They come up with things and ingredients you never thought to use.

The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook

And there’s an entire chapter on SOUP. I love this cookbook. What I’ll be cooking next: Perfect Potstickers, Simple Pot Roast, Lighter Chicken and Dumplings, Slow Cooker Beer Braised Short Ribs, Beef Stroganoff, Hearty Lentil Soup, Stir-Fried Beef and Broccoli, Stir-Fried Asparagus with Shiitake Mushrooms, Southern Cornbread, and something I absolutely cannot wait to try: the Best Almond Cake!

Deep, rich and flavorful, this chicken stew is named the Best Chicken Stew for a reason. Tested again and again, with a technique that works wonderfully from America's Test Kitchen, you can't miss out on this stew!

Now, I can’t just show you photos of this FABULOUS Chicken Stew, which is rightly named “BEST Chicken Stew” for a reason. You guys, the richness in flavor in this stew is crazy delicious. When I sampled this in Kohler, I knew I would be making this in my kitchen for my family like immediately. Like, after being home for 3 days, I made this stew. It is that good.

What makes this chicken stew amazingly fabulous is the fact that you are searing chicken wings to provide rich chicken flavor and plenty of thickening gelatin, and then you gently simmer bite-size pieces of boneless chicken thighs for tender bites throughout the stew. To boost the meatiness, you will use a combination of bacon, soy sauce, and anchovy paste. Anchovy paste!!! Brilliant. Finally, you take full advantage of the concentrating effect of reduction by cooking down wine, broth, and aromatics at the start and simmering the stew uncovered during its stay in the oven.

Deep, rich and flavorful, this chicken stew is named the Best Chicken Stew for a reason. Tested again and again, with a technique that works wonderfully from America's Test Kitchen, you can't miss out on this stew!

The good people over at America’s Test Kitchen gave me permission to share this recipe with you all. So, seriously, you guys ..  today is your lucky day. Make this Chicken Stew and be happy.

And buy this cookbook and know, without a doubt, that you will have more than 950 delicious, solid recipes that you will be making again and again in your kitchen. And if you don’t have your Thanksgiving menu set yet, buy this cookbook for inspiration, recipes and a Thanksgiving holiday menu you and your family will never forget.

Best Chicken Stew
 
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS: In working to make a chicken stew that could satisfy like its beef brethren, we looked to two different chicken parts: We seared well- exercised wings to provide rich chicken flavor and plenty of thickening gelatin, and then we gently simmered bite-size pieces of boneless chicken thighs for tender bites throughout the stew. To boost meatiness, we used a combination of bacon, soy sauce, and anchovy paste. Finally we took full advantage of the concentrating effect of reduction by cooking down wine, broth, and aromatics at the start and simmering the stew uncovered during its stay in the oven.
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 6 to 8

Ingredients
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, halved crosswise and trimmed Kosher salt and pepper
  • 3 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 pound chicken wings, halved at joint 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 1 celery rib, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons anchovy paste
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup dry white wine, plus extra for seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound small red potatoes, unpeeled, quartered 4 carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Instructions
  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Arrange chicken thighs on baking sheet and lightly season both sides with salt and pepper; cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
  2. Cook bacon in large Dutch oven over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until fat renders and bacon browns, 6 to 8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to medium bowl. Add chicken wings to pot, increase heat to medium, and cook until well browned on both sides, 10 to 12 minutes; transfer wings to bowl with bacon.
  3. Add onion, celery, garlic, anchovy paste, and thyme to fat in pot; cook, stirring occasionally, until dark fond forms on pan bottom, 2 to 4 minutes. Increase heat to high; stir in 1 cup broth, wine, and soy sauce, scraping up any browned bits; and bring to boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid evaporates and vegetables begin to sizzle again, 12 to 15 minutes. Add butter and stir to melt; sprinkle flour over vegetables and stir to combine. Gradually whisk in remaining 4 cups broth until smooth. Stir in wings and bacon, potatoes, and carrots; bring to simmer. Transfer to oven and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking.
  4. Remove pot from oven. Use wooden spoon to draw gravy up sides of pot and scrape browned fond into stew. Place over high heat, add thighs, and bring to simmer. Return pot to oven, uncovered, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken offers no resistance when poked with fork and vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes longer. (Stew can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.)
  5. Discard wings and season stew with up to 2 tablespoons extra wine. Season with salt and pepper to taste, sprinkle with parsley, and serve.

Published November 1, 2013. From Cook’s Illustrated. I received permission from America’s Test Kitchen to publish this recipe here.

Deep, rich and flavorful, this chicken stew is named the Best Chicken Stew for a reason. Tested again and again, with a technique that works wonderfully from America's Test Kitchen, you can't miss out on this stew!

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post in any way. I purchased this cookbook on my own and just wanted to share this fabulous cookbook with you all. 

 

Bloody Mary Smoothies for @WilliamsSonoma Smoothie Week

Taking on the Weird, Wild, and Crazy Smoothie Week Challenge, I made Bloody Mary Smoothies! What better way to incorporate more vegetables into your morning routine?

Bloody Mary Smoothies. Oh yes I did.

What better way to incorporate more vegetables into your morning routine? I have so many friends who blend up a smoothie in the morning so here’s something special . . with a twist.

Taking on the Weird, Wild, and Crazy Smoothie Week Challenge, I made Bloody Mary Smoothies! What better way to incorporate more vegetables into your morning routine?

I’ve always had a thing for Bloody Mary cocktails. .  don’t ask me why .. maybe because they have a little heat.. maybe because they are different and have been called “the world’s most complex cocktail.” So when I received the challenge from Williams-Sonoma to create a recipe on my blog showcasing the oddest smoothie combination I’ve ever tried for “Not Your Typical Smoothie” week, I couldn’t wait to get started! Bizarre and unique ingredients, welcomed.

Gochujang, Korean Chili Sauce

So, armed with some celery, tomato juice, yogurt, Worcestershire sauce and gochujang (yes, you read that right), I went to work. And just to set the record straight, I love gochujang and will try this in anything. .  yes, even smoothies. This might seem like a weird combination but if you like Bloody Mary cocktails, you will love this. Keep an open mind, folks.

Taking on the Weird, Wild, and Crazy Smoothie Week Challenge, I made Bloody Mary Smoothies! What better way to incorporate more vegetables into your morning routine?

All you do is blend everything up, throw in a celery and cucumber stick and you’re set. This might be all of your daily vegetable servings in one shot. Don’t quote me on that. And there’s no vodka in here so bottoms up!! Have one for breakfast!

Taking on the Weird, Wild, and Crazy Smoothie Week Challenge, I made Bloody Mary Smoothies! What better way to incorporate more vegetables into your morning routine?

Taking on the Weird, Wild, and Crazy Smoothie Week Challenge, I made Bloody Mary Smoothies! What better way to incorporate more vegetables into your morning routine?

Like gochujang? Click here for Korean food dishes using one of my favorite Korean food ingredients. And be sure to check out these blenders at Williams-Sonoma if you’re looking for one.

Bloody Mary Smoothies for @WilliamsSonoma Smoothie Week
 
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 2

Ingredients
  • 1 large celery stalk, cut into 2 inch pieces, plus extra celery sticks with leaves for serving
  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 2 cups tomato juice
  • freshly squeezed lemon juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon gochujang
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more if needed
  • few dashes of Tabasco sauce, plus more if needed
  • English cucumber sticks to serve, unpeeled and cut

Instructions
  1. Using your blender, blend/puree all of the ingredients from the celery stick to the Tabasco sauce until smooth. Taste and adjust any ingredients to your taste. Serve in tall glasses with a stick of celery and cucumber. Enjoy immediately.

Adapted from The Food Network’s Bloody Mary cocktail recipe.

Taking on the Weird, Wild, and Crazy Smoothie Week Challenge, I made Bloody Mary Smoothies! What better way to incorporate more vegetables into your morning routine?

Taking on the Weird, Wild, and Crazy Smoothie Week Challenge, I made Bloody Mary Smoothies! What better way to incorporate more vegetables into your morning routine?

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

Double Nutella Swirled Pumpkin Doughnuts for #ALDIholiday

Double Nutella Swirled Pumpkin Doughnuts ..  so good and they are baked!

It’s November you guys and I hope you’re not sick of pumpkin yet. Frankly, this is the month where my seasonal cravings kick into high gear and it’s all seasonal all the time. I think it’s because of all the brainstorming, preparation and testing that happens for Thanksgiving.

Double Nutella Swirled Pumpkin Doughnuts ..  so good and they are baked!

So, I couldn’t let November go by without baking you something fabulous. .  something that I am going to bake again when my sister’s family and parents are here for Thanksgiving. My mother likes the subtly sweet desserts but my dad, me and my sister like the full-on sweet treats. These Double Nutella Swirled Pumpkin Doughnuts are incredibly easy to make and serve as a great sweet treat, either in the morning or afternoon, while I have a packed house and kids running around everywhere.

The key to these baked doughnuts are, of course, the pumpkin  . . and the Nutella.

Baking Products from ALDI

My pantry was stocked with baking goods from ALDI and I went to work! If you like pumpkin + Nutella, you really need to try these doughnuts . . they are life changing. Cakey, pumpkin-y, chocolate hazelnut goodness. And because I swirled the Nutella in the doughnut batter and spread some on top, you get double the yum. I hope you enjoy!

Double Nutella Swirled Pumpkin Doughnuts ..  so good and they are baked!

Double Nutella Swirled Pumpkin Doughnuts
 
Prep time

Cook time

Total time

 

Recipe yields 12 baked doughnuts. Doughnuts can be stored in an air tight container for up to 2 days. Cook time = baking 2 batches of doughnuts
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast, Sweet Treats
Serves: 12

Ingredients
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ heaping cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • ¾ cup Nutella (slightly melted) + more for spreading on top

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray your doughnut pan with nonstick baking spray and set aside. Using a large sized mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar and the butter. After it comes together, add in the vegetable oil, the olive oil, egg, vanilla, pumpkin and milk. Whisk together until all combined.
  2. In a separate medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and mix together until just combined. Add in the Nutella into the batter and swirl with a fork just a little. Do not fully incorporate; you want to see the Nutella swirls in your doughnuts.
  3. Bake for about 13 to 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the pumpkin doughnut part comes out clean. Let the doughnuts cool for about 10 minutes before inverting and letting them cool on a wire rack. Once cooled, if desired, spread more Nutella on the tops of the doughnuts. Enjoy immediately.

 

This Thursday I fly to Chicago to attend a Test Kitchen event hosted by ALDI. We’re going to be learning about Sensory Pairings by Sensory Expert Gail Vance Civille and Certified Master Sommelier Leslee Miller. They will be hosting a joint food and wine pairings presentation and demonstration designed to explore why particular foods and wines pair well, and why others do not, based on our senses. We’re going to participate in tasting demonstrations with seasonal items that you can find at your local ALDI.

Seasonal Produce at ALDI

Leslee will provide guidance and tips on how to taste wine, what notes to look for, advice on how to pair wine with food and is going to conduct a blind tasting while Gail will focus on the science behind why and how certain flavors are tasted, how those flavors work with each other and the overall sensory experience that occurs when eating food and drinking wine. Throughout the presentation, we will be guided through a lesson on how to construct a holiday dinner menu with complementing flavors and wines from appetizers to desserts. I’m so excited!!

After the Sensory Pairings Session, all of the food bloggers there will take part in a build-your-own holiday menu challenge where we will be placed into teams to sample a variety of pre-prepared ALDI holiday recipes (appetizers, main course, and desserts) and then, we’re going to create a holiday dinner menu of our own! I can’t wait! If you want to follow along, follow me on Instagram or Twitter.

I can’t wait to share everything I learned and maybe even a recipe or two! Do you already have your holiday menu planned? If so, what will be on your holiday table? I’d love to hear!

Double Nutella Swirled Pumpkin Doughnuts ..  so good and they are baked!

Disclosure: This post is in partnership with ALDI’s Holiday Blogger Ambassador Program. This is a sponsored post. As always, all opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

 

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