Monday, July 23, 2012

Onion Tanglers

Onion Tanglers
Serves 4

If you don't think that you've ever had crispy fried onion strings, or as I like to call them, onion tanglers, before, you maybe haven't noticed them on top of your burger or steak at a good restaurant? I don't know how you miss them though, because I love them to death, and can eat them anytime....

Of course I never realized how easy they actually are to make, but once I tried making them I knew it could be nothing but trouble for me, because I am now officially obsessed.


2 large Vidalia onions sliced paper thin
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups flour of choice
1 tablespoon salt and pepper each
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Southwestern dipping sauce:
Cream- style horseradish
Salt and pepper



Mix all ingredients together and let cool 1 hour before serving.


Grab your beautiful large onions, and slice them as finely as possible without removing your fingertips :)
Place into a casserole dish

Pour about 2 cups of buttermilk over top

In a mixing bowl, add flour, salt & pepper, and cayenne pepper. Mix well.

Heat about 2-3 inches of oil into a large skillet or dutch oven till it reaches 360-375 degrees.
Once heated dip your onions into the flour mixture, and then, toss them around and shake off excess before adding to oil.

Using a spyder - which is the best kitchen tool even invented, lightly toss the onion strings around for 3-4 minutes until they have browned. Remove and cool on paper towels to absorb excess oil. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot with your southwest dipping sauce!

This recipe was adapted from the pioneer womans recipe.

DIY Wedding Pocketfold

DIY Wedding Pocketfold

In case you were not already aware, I planned for a "rustic mountain woods" theme for our wedding. We're getting married at the Mountainside Lodge in Estes Park, and it is outdoors, at the top of a mountain, and beautiful. Following that theme, we used a lot of burlap,  and mason jars as wedding decor, along with some lace, that paralleled my wedding dress. 

I found someone to make my STD's (Save the Dates), invitations and RSVP cards and envelopes on Etsy - that matched perfectly with our firefly mason jar theme. I really loved the idea of a pocketfold to contain everything for the guests, but was immediately shocked when I saw the cost associated with a nice cardstock weighted pocketfold, some as high as $3 a piece!

Thats when my DIY skills came into play, and I must say that the pictures don't do it justice, I think my invitation pocketfold came out great, and didn't actually take that much time, probably about 5-6 hours for 75 invitations.


  • An exacto papercutter - I got mine at Hobby Lobby for about $15 - and it was worth every penny. It can cut a straight line, a wavy line and it can also punch a folding line - that proved to be immensely valuable.
  • A bone folder
  • 1 12x12 sheet of paper for each invitation. I got mine on sale at hobby lobby. Normally the sheets are .69 cents each, but they were 40% off while I was there - so I definitely scored!
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Double Sided Tape


My pocketfold needed to fit inside an A7 sized envelope, since thats what came with my invitation. So in measuring the pocketfold I would take my 12x12 sheet of paper, using the rulers on the cutting board and measure out 7" on one side, and cut.

Then turning the paper in the other direction, I cut the sheet of paper to give us 5". Reserve the cut pieces to make the pocket.

Now to fold the pocket - switch your cutting board to the folding option and measure out a 5" and make the first fold.

Then measure over on the other side of the sheet at 2" to make the flap on the outside of the pocketfold.

Use your bone folder to fully press down on your folds, making them look like professionally made pocketfolds.

Next - take the long piece of remnants from your 12x12 cardstock and measure it to be 5" long.

Then turn it lengthwise and cut it to be 2" long.

Use your ruler to measure half the distance, and mark, to make the diagonal cuts.

I used a straight edge, and drew two diagonal lines from the center mark to create a nice edge, then took scissors and cut the diagonals.

Add double sided tape around the edges of your pocket, and attach to the pocketfold.

Now make your diagonal cuts on the small flap of your pocketfold, and cut your diagonals.

Folded, it looks like an envelope. 

Take four small squares of double sided tape, place around the edges of your invitation and stick it to your pocketfold.
Once its finished you can see that the invitation fits perfectly inside the flap, and the RSVP card slides perfectly into the pocket we created.

Lastly, I took a strand of raffia and tied it around the entire pocketfold to hold it closed, and continue with the rustic look of the invitation. 

I mailed the invitation out, it ended up using a .65 cent stamp, which I expected, but was glad it wasn't anymore cost, a lot of wedding invitations can cost a hefty amount to mail out, an added expense many brides don't account for, which can end up being several hundred dollars. I also included a forever stamp on the RSVP so that the guest was not responsible for postage to send it back to me...


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Fire Roasted Marinara

Fire Roasted Marinara
Makes: 1.5 quarts


1lb fresh roma tomatoes
1 small onion
5-6 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 celery rib
1/2 of a roasted red pepper 
1 can (14oz) fire roasted tomatoes
1 can (28oz) crushed tomatoes
1 package organic basil
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
pinch crushed red pepper flakes
pinch of brown sugar (as needed to adjust acidity) 
salt and pepper to taste


Chop your garlic, onion and celery into a small dice.

 Place diced onion and celery into two heated tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and begin cooking until translucent.

Next, dice roasted red pepper and garlic and add to pot.

Next you'll need to blanch your tomatoes to remove the skin. Heat a small amount of water in a sauce-pot to a simmer. Place several tomatoes in and let blanch for 1 minute.

The skin may begin to blister and peel, although it also may not.

Place tomatoes on cutting board to cool, and then, if necessary use knife to remove skins. They should peel off rather easily. Chop up tomatoes and add to pot. Add your diced tomatoes and crushed tomatoes. Also add a pinch of crushed red pepper flake.

Take half of your basil and chop if finely, adding to pot, reserve the rest of the basil until cooking is finished. Add the balsamic vinegar and taste for acidity. If too acidic add a pinch or two of brown sugar, add bay leaves.

Let mixture cook for 5-10 minutes, bringing to a boil and then reducing to a simmer.
Remove bay leaves and use an immersion blender to blend the marinara until a smooth consistency.

Once the mixture is smooth, remove from heat and allow to cool. Once cool add remaining basil to marinara.

Marinara can be used for any italian dish, or as a dipping sauce. Freeze to preserve up to a year, or you can also can the sauce using standard canning techniques. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Stuffed Portobellos

Stuffed Portobellos
Serves: 2-3

6 portobello caps - gills removed and stems chopped and reserved
12oz ground beef - pre-cooked
1/2 baby zucchini - finely chopped
2 roma tomatoes finely chopped
1/2 onion finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/4 cup shredded cheese
parmesan cheese sprinkled on top


Take your beautiful portobello cap and using a spoon, scrape the brown gills out and remove the stem cap. Dice the stem to use in the filling.

Taking your cooked hamburger meat, add the diced vegetables, and cook over medium heat until all vegetables soften.

Remove from heat and stir in the shredded cheese. Check seasonings. 

Place your prepared portobello caps on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and place under the broiler for 5-10 minutes to soften.

After they have softened, add the filling packing tightly into the caps, and top with shredded parmesan cheese.

Place under broiler again for 10-15 minutes until the cheese has melted.

Delicious, healthy and easy!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Crunchy Honey Soy-Glazed Pork Chop

Crunchy Honey Soy-Glazed Pork Chop
Serves: 4

Everyone knows how to make a breaded and fried pork chop, this is nothing new to me, I make pork chops occasionally, the interesting thing about this recipe is the sauce/glaze that the fried pork chop is coated in after cooking. I found the idea on Pinterest and adjusted the glaze to suit my own tastes.


4 Boneless Pork Sirloin Chops
Buttermilk for breading


1 cup flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper


Toss pork chop flour and spices mixture, then in buttermilk, and then in flour mixture again

Heat a skillet on the stove with about a half inch of olive oil covering the bottom. You will want to  regulate the temperature here so that the chops do not brown too quickly on the outside before they are fully cooked on the inside. I find just below medium heat works well. Fry them gently for about 4 or 5 minutes per side until golden brown and crispy. I placed mine in a warm oven on a rack (200 degrees) after frying to keep them warm and crispy.

 When you are finished cooking all the chops, dip the cooked chops into the Honey Soy Sauce (recipe below).

Honey Garlic Sauce:

2-3 whole smashed garlic cloves
1 cup honey
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Simmer together for 5-10 minutes,  watching carefully as it simmers because it can foam up over the pot and create a huge mess.

The sauce will thicken as it cools, so make sure that you are using warm sauce to coat easily.

Serve with your favorite sides, it is sweet, salty and a bit spicy, but mostly, it is delicious!