Monday, November 20, 2017

Spicy and Sweet Butternut Squash

Oh my heaven this is insanely good. So good I am eating the leftovers for lunch as an entrée instead of a side dish today. I actually was cooking the other day and had PBS on in the background when I heard a similar recipe to this on the TV. I of course modified it to my liking and it turned out so well. Ryan and I both loved it. I will put this on the side dish rotation in my house. The thing is I really like squash and I hate the boring mid-west recipes of dumping brown sugar and maple syrup on them and calling it a day. I am constantly trying to find healthy and tasty ways of preparing squash. This was a huge hit. I hope you enjoy. It would be a perfect way to prepare squash for Thanksgiving this week.

What you need~
1 medium sized butternut squash (peeled and shredded)
4 dates (pitted and diced)
1 onion (diced)
4 large leaves of mint (chopped)
11/2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1/3 cup pistachio (chopped)
Cajun seasoning, natures seasoning, smoked paprika and cayenne powder (to taste)

Here are some instructions on prepping the squash:
Take your squash and cut it down the fat side or short way. Once cut peel all of the skin off of the squash much like you would do to a potato. Then cut it into stripes that will fit into your food processor neck. You want to make sure you are using your shredding attachment not the slicing side. Shred the entire squash.

Prep all items including your squash. Place your onions in the pan with a little oil on medium heat. Season the onions. Let them sweat down for about 2 minutes. Add all your squash to the pan.  Let this cook down for about 15-20 minutes until the squash is softened. Season as needed.Then add the dates and lemon juice. Let that cook for about 2 minutes. Then we want to go ahead and add the pistachio and mint to the pan. Season once more as needed and serve.

THIS is my new favorite thing ever. It is spicy from the seasonings but sweet from the dates. The crunch from the nuts pairs really well with the mushy squash. You really have to make this if not for the holidays just for dinner some night.

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Monday, November 13, 2017

Cinnamon Sugar Banana Dessert


Easy, tasty and actually a low calorie dessert. That is right this dessert is perfect for all those banana's you have sitting out on the counter. I made this one day when I forgot to take the whip cream out of the freezer and was unwilling to wait for it to thaw. Not sure if you know this but frozen whip cream really tastes like ice cream in a way. I now am addicted to this dessert and if their are banana's in my house I make this at least 2 times a week. So what is all in this yummy dessert? It is actually simple take a look below.

What you need~
1 banana
Cinnamon sugar
Whip cream

Turn the broiler on in your oven on hi. Cut your banana in half and place on a cookie sheet. Lightly dust the banana with the cinnamon sugar. Place under the broiler and heat until the cinnamon sugar starts to bubble and looks caramelized if you will. While this is happening take a scoop of the frozen whip cream and place in a bowl. When the banana is done to your liking add it on top of the whip cream and then eat!

It is really the best low calorie and quick dessert I have come across. Try it soon!

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Travel Adventures: Foo Fighters Concert Madison

What a concert and what a night! We just had the best of times in Madison this week at the Foo Fighters concert. Arriving in Madison around 3pm we had plenty of time to snag a piece of pizza and a beer before the concert. The opening band the Struts was fun and energetic if not a bit too loud. Followed by my favorite band the Foo Fighters. Putting on a 3 hour show they never disappoint. We then closed down a piano bar and townie bar before heading back to our hotel. I have not been up till 4am since I was like 21. A trip to remember for sure. Filled with friends and a ton of good music. Making memories like this are always worth the time. Here are some highlights from the trip.

Foo Fighters stage. They had a really cool moving screen that rotated all over and was really cool. It is pictured in the middle of a giant jumbo screen behind it here.

Another image of the cool moving screen AND Mr. Dave Grohl himself. He is pictured here with his famous blue guitar.

A picture of the entire band. From left (Chris Shiflett, Dave Grohl, Nate Mendel , Pat Smear, Rami Jaffee and on drums Taylor Hawkins)

A picture of the entire stage.

You can see how close we were in this picture. Loved out seats!


All the ladies!

Had to get a beer before the game. Maggie's finger also pictured.

I have always wanted to try Ian's famous mac n cheese pizza it did not disappoint. Rich and creamy!

Group picture. Not pictured Nate, Alyssa and Ryan.

Waiting not so patiently.

A recap of all the fun.
We had so much fun singing and dancing all night to such awesome music. I did not take a picture but my favorite part of the concert is when they sang my favorite song "Skin and Bones". When you see most bands they play your favorite song most of the time. My song I love is more rare and I have never seen them play it live. This was extra special for me to see this song I even got tears in my eyes.  22 years of rocking and they are still going strong!

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Crunchy and salty these are a great snack. The also happen to be packed with healthy attributes. I usually only make them once a year when we carve pumpkins. I hate seeing the seeds go to waste because they are really awesome. Rather easy to make it is hard to let them roast till completely crisp because you will want to eat them up right away. I may have ate ALL of them in one sitting these were so good.

What you need~
1 pumpkin's seeds
olive oil

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Clean the seeds really well making sure to remove all the pumpkin guts off of the seeds. I rinsed mine three times. Place seeds in a pot and barely cover with water. Boil the seeds for 10 minutes. Drain the water off the seeds. Pat them dry and place on a sheet pan covered in parchment paper. Lightly coat in olive oil. Season with whatever seasoning you see fit. I used this brown sugar spicy meat rub my mom made for me. It was heavenly on the seeds. Let them roast and move them around for about 10 minutes. Keep checking on them until really crisp. Now mine took about 30 minutes but cook them to the texture you like. It is okay to test eat a couple it is for science reasons. Once done remove from oven and let cool for at least 2 minutes before consuming.
Getting ready for the oven.

Seasoning added.


Yum. Yum. Yum.

I ate mine with some hard cider and watched Hocus Pocus. I hope to keep the new recipes coming as I have finally had time to make some new things lately.

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Monday, October 30, 2017

Halloween 2017

I love fall and Halloween tends to be the apex of that. I did almost all my favorite fall activities this weekend. Here are some of the fun things we had going on.

Friday night was a great success. We drank some local tasty cider, carved pumpkins, I made pumpkin seeds and ate them all watching Hocus Pocus. Solid mini date night!

Sometimes you find things on the internet that work really well. This was one of those times. I had some people over Saturday for a little Halloween themed game night. I served hot dogs and this idea off the interest to serve all the toppings was awesome and saved a ton of counter space instead of having a bunch of bottles on the counter. Easy clean up as well. We had classic ketchup, beer mustard, stone ground mustard (locally made), yellow mustard, dill relish, spicy pickles (homemade), Chicago peppers, caramelized onions (homemade), normal onions and cheese!

Chad and Kate. (Chad was super creepy as the Joker)

A family of hikers and their friendly raccoon Todd. Todd loves marshmallows.

Luna is not excited that we are both wolves for Halloween.

She looks so annoyed.

Todd the raccoon eating handfuls of marshmallows. 

The hot dog that dreams are made of.... All beef franks I cooked in the crockpot topped with Green Bay chili, onions that I caramelized and more fresh onion.

Katelyn made some delicious sides including dirt cups that were a huge hit! Katie looked so cute in her blue wig. Her drunk 1 partner is not pictured. He (Matt) also had a fantastic blue wig.
As stated before I just love fall and all of these Halloween type activities make great memories. I hope you had a great weekend and I hope to share some recipes real soon from this fun weekend.

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Monday, October 23, 2017

Soup & Chili!

I have an addiction problem with soup. I would make it all the time if Ryan let me. Lately he has been putting up with me making chili, pea soup and Zuppa Toscana over the last two weeks. I guess that is manly why I have not posted a ton of food related posts. To celebrate all things soup I thought today we could reflect on all the tasty soups I have posted about over the years. Let's start with the ones I have made the past week or so AND what I am making coming up!

Zuppa Toscana Soup
I made this last night. It is simple and really filling. I like to pair a bowl of it with a small salad just like if we went to Olive Garden. Serve with a delicious piece of Great Harvest bread and life is good.

Split Pea Soup
I always make a ham every couple months. 2 cups of that ham and the bone is used in this recipe later in the week. It is a rich soup that will really fill you up. I find this soup to be even better warmed up as leftovers.

 Green Bay chili
 I will be making this to top some hot dogs this weekend. I mean it is just as tasty over noodles though. One of my favorites and actually extremely easy to make.

Pumpkin chili
I could eat this every day till I die. It is one of the only chili's that I never ever get sick of. I have actually made double batches of this and froze some of it before because it is that good.

A lot of the above options can easily be made in the crock pot which is perfect if you are busy like I am. I hope with the weather cooling down you all find a moment to enjoy your favorite soups and chili.

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Travel Adventures: Colorado

What an adventure this truly was! Mountains, snakes, Shawarma, homeless people, monks and a rocking concert at the end. it was a trip of a life time. We are not really gift giving people so instead we like to spend our money on making memories. For our 14th anniversary we went to Colorado! Ryan's brother lives in Denver so we thought it would be a good idea to visit and take in the state in the meantime. Here are the highs and lows of traveling that we experienced in Colorado.

Denver Biscuit Co.
Okay... I know that I love local things especially food. Denver has a food scene but they are not really "known" for any sort of food. For example I mean they sorta have the Denver omelet but that is about it. They should be known for biscuits. I mean holy moly was my sandwich divine. The honey, mustard, fried chicken and sweet pickles all sandwiched on a biscuit was perfection. I mean look at it!

Berthoud Pass
I just have never in my life seen anything like the Rocky Mountains. I mean people talk about it, sing about it and paint it... but it leaves you speechless. Specifically the Pass we went through with the rental car was memorable with the road side snow, steep cliff faces (we saw them pulling a car out of the rock face that fell down. Don't worry the guy survived somehow), rock formations and buffalo it was magical.

Garden of the Gods
This was like nothing else I saw in Colorado. Located by Colorado Springs this is a hikers dream. Valley's, awesome rock formations and tons of wild life. I do not want my rattlesnake story to take away from this gorgeous place (See below for the rattler story). Please know that even though we had a snake encounter I would still come back here in a heart beat and you should come here too.
Okay. I called this a skunk bird but really it is a Mag pie.


Cute deer!

Denver Zoo
I did not even plan on going here until the day of. I love the rare animals that I have only seen on documentaries such as the komodo dragon, Aye-aye and kakapo. I became almost giddy seeing these animals. We learned a lot about Asian elephants during the elephant show. Watched people feed cute little parrots in a feeding room they were so darling. There were giant robot dinosaurs all over and some were cool yet creepy. They had a food truck and they served beer all over the park!

Look a baby!

There be dragons.

Ryan's spirit animal.


They love the nectar you can buy to feed them.


Crooked Stave
Sour beeeerrrrrrr. I loved the beer and atmosphere of this brewery. I wish I could come back and spend more time here.

Queens of the Stone Age Concert
How I love thee. The sound in the Rave sucks in Milwaukee but that did not stop this band from putting on one hell of an awesome show. We danced and jumped along while singing along all night long.

Altitude. It sucks okay. I drank so much water and took acli-mate before and while I was there. I still had swollen fingers every morning, a dry mouth and I even got a massive bloody nose (at dinner with others). I could function but it was a bit of a damper on the weekend.

Rocky Mountain National Park:
Nothing is as fun as driving hours to a national park and it being closed. Okay we think let's take a different way home. NOPE. Colorado is limited on highways we had to go back the way we came from. Bummer. At least the view was pretty.

I want to prepare this story by stating I have experience with this type of climate I did live in South Dakota for two years. We were safe and mindful the whole hiking trip at Garden of The Gods and watched the paths/brush accordingly. This encounter happened at the end of our hiking day on a white/grey outcropping of rocks we were hiking along. Ryan was in front of me slowly moving along the path when I see him flinch and lunge forward. In my confusion I see he stepped on a snake. A rattlesnake to be specific. The snake was on the right side of the path and must have been sleeping in the sun of the day. From what I figure Ryan had to have stepped on it's head and stunned it. It only rattled it's tail once and stopped moving. I thought he killed it till it moved it's head and started to flick it's long black tongue. I then knew I had to scale down the path below were the snake was to go around. Ryan moved slowly along and met me half way down the little rock outcropping and we scaled down around the snake. I managed to snag a pick of him before we moved on. I named him Leroy. We are EXTREMELY lucky Ryan was not bite that day. Be careful while hiking here and bring a walking stick of you can.

The now famous Leroy. Scary rattlesnakes!

We are lucky we got a rental car. Denver is not a compact city like Chicago. If you want to go somewhere you need to take the train into town and then take the bus, lyft or uber really to get anywhere. You can walk but you have to go through some not so nice neighborhoods to get where you want and you need to walk far. There are also a lot of homeless people in this city. Something else to be mindful of.

In conclusion this trip was wonderful. If I had to tell people what to expect I would tell you that if you are an outdoors lover this is a place you need to visit. If you are a city person there are better cities to visit.

Until next time~
XoXo Emily