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As a kid there was only one type of potato I would eat: Arby's curly fries. And that was because they could barely be called potatoes. To me, a carb-a-holic and veggie-phobic, potatoes were lumped in with peas and carrots and other nasty things my mother could not persuade me to eat.

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When I discovered garlic mashed potatoes 3 years ago, I wanted to kick myself. 21 years of living without potatoes? What a waste!

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Now these starchy spuds are a regular part of my diet, in various forms. And my new favorite are these roasted, golden brown, flavorful fries.

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...continue reading

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You know what I hate about brussel sprouts?

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They're simply too damn sexy for their own good. I mean, look at this:

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And this:

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It's like they're teasing me on purpose ;)

What's crazy is that I only started eating green things two years ago, and even then I was smothering them in sauces and butters and seasonings to mask their natural taste.

But these?

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K.I.S.S.

Keep it simple stupid.  ...continue reading

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My next item to recreate from last year's failed first posts was the grilled corn.

When I made this last year, it was my first time attempting to cook corn on the grill. I had no clue what I was doing, but decided to barge ahead blindly and make something up. Well, that something resulted in the aluminum foil leaking out butter, which then caught on fire. Psh...rookie mistake, right?

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I wish. Pretty much every time I grill corn it catches on fire. I've learned several tricks since that first time though, and these result in actually edible (and delicious!) final products. ...continue reading

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Have you ever grilled a pineapple? No? Well you're missing out.

This weird looking fruit was one of the only naturally grown things I would eat as a child (next to grapes and bananas), and using them in this spicy salsa gives them a very adult flavor. I made it to go with my grilled swordfish steaks with pineapple-mustard glaze, and I was shocked that the salsa was my favorite part of the meal!

The pickled jalapeño flavors magically combine with the pineapple juice to create a hybrid of tart and spicy, sweet and hot. Perfect for any barbecue, this side dish will amaze you.  ...continue reading

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lamb chops, rosemary, citrus, orange, garlic, grilled lambchops, grilled lamb chops, oprah recipe, oprah cookbook, oprah lamb chops, spring recipes, easter recipes, zucchini, yellow squash, potatoes, grill, grilled, charcoal, fire

As weird as it is, Spring seems to be upon us in western NY. With temperatures in the 60's and 70's this past week and daylight savings time giving us an extra hour of light at the end of the day, I've spent most of my evenings outside with my grill.

My grill and I have a special relationship. Without it, I may never have begun cooking! It has inspired more creativity and healthy meals than any other cooking method combined, and there's nothing better than throwing some food on the grill and hoping for the best. It is also a million years old, tiny, and rusting through. This amounts to the most uneven cooking surface I've ever worked with. Food must constantly be rotated from the middle (surface of the sun hot) to the outer edges (untouched by heat), to facilitate even cooking. It's a dance of love, and if I neglect it and walk away for a few minutes, I've scorched another meal.

That first taste of grilled meat after a long winter cooped up indoors is like manna from heaven. It doesn't matter what kind of meat it is, or even how well-cooked it is. As long as it has that delicious smoky flavor that only comes from being cooked over an open flame, nothing tastes better. I broke my winter fast with some pork chops last week, but if you haven't uncovered your grill yet this season, might I recommend some delicious lamb chops?

Lambs represents springtime, and when perfectly seared on the grill and rubbed with a citrusy herb mixture, you feel like you're biting into the end of winter. So hang up those heavy coats, put away your ugg boots, and dust off your grill! Let's enjoy the weather while we can, before it snows again.  ...continue reading

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Ah, the beauty of bacon wrapped vegetables.

Some may think that the bitterness of asparagus might not be a good match for the fatty, juicy goodness of bacon, but they would be wrong. So very, very wrong.

The wonderful thing about this side dish is how easy it is to make. There are only 4 ingredients:

  • Asparagus
  • olive oil
  • ground black pepper
  • center cut bacon

All you have to do is heat the oven to 400, toss the asparagus with some olive oil and pepper, separate into bundles, and roll them up in the bacon. Then you place them on a cookie sheet or broiler pan and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the bacon is done to your liking.

Alternatively you could grill them, but that's how easy it is. It's the perfect side dish to whip up in a hurry because there's no messy preparation or marinating to worry about. it's just that simple.

And did I mention how fantastic these taste? The fat from the bacon seeps into the asparagus, creating the most incredible flavor ever. I'm not even a big asparagus fan, and yet I couldn't get enough of these.

So do yourself a favor and add these to your dinner rotation, or whip them up the next time you have company over. They'll thank you.

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broccoli casserole, broccoli side dish, cheese, cheddar, cheesy broccoli, kid friendly, delicious, healthy, low fat

This is another "I can't believe this isn't terrible for me!" recipe, from my healthy and indulgent cookbook.

Broccoli casserole is a standard comfort food side dish, but it's typically made with cream, mayonaise, miracle whip and unhealthy amounts of cheese. As awesome as that sounds, here is a lighter version that substitutes healthier ingredients without sacrificing that amazing rich creaminess.

...continue reading

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German food, Germany, German beer, knockwurst, spaetzle, spaetzle dumplings, german dumplings, potato salad, german potato salad, spicy potato salad, vinegar, celery seed

I dont know much about German food (or German culture in general), and what I do know is limited mostly to stereotypes:

Epcot didn't teach me much

But I'm always open to trying new foods, so when I was at Disney we ate at Biergarten. The food was exciting, the people were nice, and the music was lively! So when Ken and I were deciding what cuisine to tackle next, I thought, "why not German?"

This proved a little more difficult than we imagined, and while I'm fairly certain our methods were as unauthentic as you can get while still calling it German food, I think it turned out well!

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On our menu we had:

  • hot German potato salad
  • Spaetzle dumplings
  • Knockwurst
  • and of course, beer

 

I knew right away I wanted to make spaetzle. When I had it at Biergarten, I was blown away by how tasty it was, even though I didn't know what was in it. Making it at home was a bit of an adventure, because the recipe we used called for a spaetzle maker, which obviously I don't have. So we had to get a little creative. :)

Constructing the rest of the menu was a challenge, because German food apparently consists mostly of side dishes. After searching for recipes for days, we gave up on trying to find a big main dish and instead chose to make a spicy potato salad, and fry up some sausages to round out the meal.

...continue reading

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So, you're probably thinking to yourself, "Sarah is such a great cook! She's really stepped up her game since she started this blog, and she has created some delicious meals. Also, she's so pretty and talented and funny!"

To which I reply, thank you, dear readers, it means a lot to me.

But you might also be thinking, "I started reading this blog because I was promised "misadventures" and kitchen mishaps! What about that time you lit the grill on fire? Or you burned your cedar plank to a crisp? Enough with the successes, we want to read more about you failing."

Failure is a chance to learn from your mistakes! And to watch things burn, in my case...

The truth is, I have had quite a few failures that I haven't posted. Mostly because once I realize my food isn't turning out, I stop taking pictures, throw a frozen pizza in the oven and call it a night. I've also made several meals, taken beautiful pictures, and then deemed the recipe not good enough for you guys.

This was roasted red pepper pasta. I was disappointed, and moped around all night. Ken can verify this.

But I figured I've racked up enough failures to post them all at the same time, with a startling confession:

I cannot make cupcakes. 

It's not entirely true, because I did make one successful batch, but I also have a BAG FULL of terrible cupcakes sitting on my counter, waiting for someone desperate to eat them:

I call it my bag of failed dreams and sadness

I'll back up a little. Two weeks ago (Chinese food week), I was going to round out the week with some fun, decorative cupcakes. I found a recipe online that made a pretty big promise (I won't tell you what that promise was, because my family reads this, but these cupcakes were supposed to be "Better than sex") Anyway, Ken and I got started on these cupcakes, excited to be back in the baking game.  ...continue reading