These links were made for sharing.

Are you all enjoying fall as much as I am?  I know it is early in the season but I’m giddy just thinking about anything pumpkin or apple!  Here are some fall related links and some that are just interesting Smile
1.) Nothing goes better with caramel than an apple, right?  Except chocolate, fudge, salt and cake.
2.) I don’t know about you but I’m starting to crave cozy comfort foods like this delicious potato dish!
3.) But if you’re looking for some health food, why not check out these gorgeous photos for some inspiration?
4.) Why not mix it up for breakfast and try this delicious buttermilk blueberry breakfast cake?
5.) These food flags are just too unique to not check out!
6.) What are you brining to the next football game?  How about these soft pretzel bites?!
7.) Spinach and feta never looked so tasty and beautiful than in this recipe!
8.) Try these caramel pecan rolls with a nice cup of coffee and you’re set for the perfect fall morning.
9.) Speaking of coffee… I’m pretty sure  a pumpkin late is the only way to go this fall!
10.) And while I can wait for Halloween, my favorite holiday, I can’t wait to try Brandi’s Reese’s Pieces and Chocolate Chip Blondies!!

Enjoying Dan’s Meat.

Hello ladies and gentlemen. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Daniel Kulisek. I am a friend, co-worker, and fellow foodie of Allie’s. She had mentioned that she might want to put up some guest blogs on her site while she is away and I jumped at the chance. This site was severely lacking in the “red meat” department (as I kept mentioning to her, probably to an annoying extent), so I figured this would be a great opportunity to give a little lesson in meat.
Lets call it “Meat 101: Making the Proper Steak Dinner”
Or maybe “Enjoying Dan’s Meat”? Yeah, I think I like that better.
We’re going to do this in steps, so lets roll –
Step 1: Purchasing the steaks. Buy the cow, feel the love.
Now for the home grill master, USDA Prime is going to be hard to come by and quite expensive, so your best bet would be to go with USDA Choice. Make sure it says that on the label, other wise you’re going to get USDA Select, and I wouldn’t eat that with your teeth. USDA Choice is easy to find, but I suggest going to a butcher shop. Or Wegman’s.
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Man, I love Wegman’s. I’d marry it if it were a woman. Or if I wasn’t married. Oh hell, I think Laura would understand. You see, Laura is my wife. Wait, where was I? Oh yeah….
There are many different cuts, but today we’re going to focus on my favorite – the rib eye. The rib eye cut is the most marbled, so therefore the most flavorful. I’ve always lived by the rule that “the flavor’s in the fat”. Even if you don’t eat the fat (I’m staring at your plate, Laura, and I intend on eating every last bit you cut off), you’ll find that the meat is the phenomenal. Look to get your steaks cut at least ¾-1” thick, otherwise you’ll run the risk of overcooking the center. I usually try get them 1” or thicker. Color is also very important, you want the steaks to be a true-red color with ivory colored marbling. Steer clear of any meat that is bright red, and definitely stay away from traces of grey meat and yellowish fat. These meats are unacceptable, and would be better served rotting in the stomach of a mangy mutt hanging around a dumpster.
Step 2: Prep. It’s all about the prep. It’s not about the Benjamin’s, you know, like Diddy said.
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Now that we have our meat in hand, what to do with it? Hmmm. Well, first of all you want to make sure you take it out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before cooking. The reason we do this is because steaks are best cooked at room temperature. Cooking a steak that is cold, doesn’t allow for the enzymes to break down inside the meat, therefore it will not be as flavorful. You can use this time to get you’re coals ready, but we’ll explore that in the next step.
There are several schools of thought on this. Some folks like to season the hell out of a steak using various rubs and marinades. I’ve always felt that this detracts from the flavor of the meat. After all, you probably just dropped $50 on good steaks and you don’t want to ruin them. Save that for London broil. We’re going to stick with salt and pepper. You want to use coarse sea salt or kosher salt, iodized table salt is for old ladies to use on soup in a crappy diner. As far as pepper, use freshly ground coarse peppercorns. That powdery, ground black pepper lacks flavor and “zip”. You’re going to want a little “zip”. Coat each side with a good amount of both and let them come up to temp.
Now go crack a beer, we’re going outside. Go on, you deserve it.
Step 3: Cooking the steaks. If you can’t take the heat, go back in the kitchen.

 

Ideally speaking, you’re cooking these beauties on a grill. My preference is charcoal; I find the flavor of the smoke compliments the steaks best. If you’re using a gas grill, that’s fine, you’ll still get a nice steak and it’s a hell of a lot easier. But hey, who want’s easy.
I like to heat my coals using a chimney. Place the coals in the top, and, using newspaper, start the fire underneath. As the fire grows, it will heat the coals to a proper temperature. This usually takes 20-30 minutes, depending on the elements outside. I’ve tried to do this in bad weather and it is extremely frustrating.

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When the top layer of coals gets to be a greyish color it is time to place them in the grill. Lift off your grates and, very carefully dump them into grill. Make sure the area underneath your cooking surface has an even amount of coals. When this is finished, close your grill lid and open all the vents. You want to get that bad boy up around 400 degrees in order to get a proper char on the outside of the steaks. Once the grill is to temp, arrange your steaks on an angle across the grates. Rotate them after about a minute and a half in order to get some proper grill marks. Cooking times are as follows:
Rare: 2-3 minutes per side
Medium Rare: 3-4 minutes per side
Medium: 4-5 minutes per side
Med-Well & Well: GET THE HELL OUT OF MY HOUSE!!!
Step 4: Plate presentation. Don’t just stare at it- eat it.

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Once the steaks are done to your liking, remove them from the grill. Bring them inside and place them on the counter. It’s always good to let the meat rest 5 minutes before serving so that it can gradually finish cooking itself. After that, there are two ways I like to serve it. The first is plating each steak separately and doing individual plates. I’ll do this if it’s just Laura & I, or if it’s just me. However, if you are serving to a large group, I find that my guests have enjoyed it when I slice all the steaks up in pieces and serve it on a large serving dish. It’s kind of like a Thanksgiving presentation, however it is steak and not some crappy, dried out turkey.
Well, that’s it for now. I hope you enjoy this as much as I enjoyed writing it.

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Keep on keepin’ on!!
Daniel Kulisek.
Thank you Dan, for a hysterical and informative post.  Yes, my blog does  lack in the meat department because unfortunately I very rarely (get it) eat red meat.  I’m glad someone can inform us all!  While Dan does not have a blog (yet) you can find him on twitter.

One Ingredient Ice Cream

Wendy L. Kirby created LaPhemmePhoodie.com, a blog about food, Philly and life in general. She includes details and pictures from her dining experiences, food-related product reviews and recipes. Wendy also includes educational information on important issues such as how food affects your mind/body and how to become more sustainable in your daily life.
Hi everyone! My name is Wendy L. Kirby a/k/a La Phemme Phoodie. I’m thrilled to be a guest on Allie’s blog. I saved a special treat for you today. It’s something I’ve made several times in the past few weeks but did not post on my site yet. It’s something you may have heard about but have not yet tried. It’s one ingredient ice cream. The ingredient? Bananas. Really, I’m serious. All you need are a couple of frozen bananas and you will have an incredible substitute for “regular” ice cream.
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I have seen several bloggers put their spin on it but the basic recipe is as follows:
1.) 3 ripe or overripe bananas
2.) 2 teaspoons vanilla (optional)
3.) Assorted toppings such as chocolate syrup, chocolate chips, etc. (optional)

 

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Peel and slice the bananas. Place the slices on a baking tray and freeze the bananas for at least a few hours or until completely frozen.
Remove the frozen bananas from the freezer and add them to a food processor. Process the bananas for approximately one minute, remove the lid and stir, then continue to process until the frozen bananas become the consistency of soft serve. You may have to remove the lid more than once and stir depending on your processor. If you would like to use the vanilla add it in the first time you remove the lid to stir the bananas.
Enjoy immediately or refreeze.
Instead of reinventing the wheel on this one I’m going to point you to a fabulous tutorial over at The Kitchn.
Be creative when you make this. As you can see from the pictures I’ve included, I made some plain and with chocolate chips. I also like to drizzle a little chocolate syrup over it from time to time. The various ways you can change this up are endless. I can’t wait to continue to experiment with this delightful dessert.
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Thank you Wendy for sharing your tasty recipe!  Every time I’ve tried to make this banana ice cream I just freeze it in a Tupperware container and it is impossible to split up into batches! I love how you said to freeze them on a baking tray… make so much more sense Smile  And with chocolate  chips?! Can’t wait to try it your way when I get home!

TCT on the go, here are some links you should know!

I’m still traveling and still sharing Smile I hope you enjoy!
1.) Are you still buying garlic bread in the frozen section of the grocery store?  Why not try making it yourself?
2.) What is more comforting than a toasty bagel on a fall morning?  Try a gingerbread bagel!
3.) Did you think that french fries just had to be greasy and filled with guilt?  Now you can have your fries and eat them too with this healthier version.
4.) While you’re at it, try this oven fried onion rings!
5.) Want to make a meal for your hubby or boyfriend but can’t because groceries seem so darn expensive these days?  Try a romantic meal for $10 or less.
6.) Have you ever felt like you loved soda so much that you wish you could eat  it instead of  drink it?  That’s right, these are coca cola cupcakes!
7.) Eggplant is one of my favorite foods.  And eggplant parm? Forget about it.  But the fat content is often so high.  Try this version for a slimed down version.
8.) Fall is my absolute favorite time of the year! Check out these fun decorating tips for a twist on your normal fall décor.
9.) Looking for a fun city to visit?  Check out this site where you can click on a city and see what it is rated on the fun scale.
10.) I don’t know about you, but cupcake art is simply fun to just glance at.

Farm Fresh Guest Post

Hi friends! I’m so excited to be visiting Allie today! I’m Christina from the sugary blog Dessert For Two. You might have seen some of my desserts here before because Allie links to me quite a bit—such a sweetheart she is!
I had the pleasure of meeting Allie at a food blog conference in San Francisco last year and we instantly connected. It was from our immediate bond that I really learned that women are women no matter where you go—supportive, giving, and gracious. Women like Allie make the world a sweeter place.
In San Francisco, I could feel Allie’s passion for all the fresh produce surrounding us. And since I’ve been drooling over her posts about local farmer’s markets and farm stands lately, I thought I would share some photos of my local farmer’s market.
I live in a county in northern California called Yolo. If you think you’ve never heard of us, you might be surprised to learn that just about every can of tomatoes you open comes from here. We are the canning tomato capital of the country. This time of year, every field is bursting with red tomatoes, and the trucks work ‘round the clock to haul them to the canneries across town. In fact, if you venture into downtown, you can smell all those ripe tomatoes being canned into pasta sauce, tomato soup, or just plain diced tomatoes. It smells like Italy around here for a few weeks every summer. And we don’t mind it one bit. I have a feeling a Jersey-tomato lover like Allie would be very happy here. Smile
If we aren’t growing tomatoes for canning (yes, certain varieties are grown specifically for canning and certain companies even own their own varieties: Heinz 1350, Campbell 33, etc.), you will find fields full of heirloom tomatoes. If I can, I would like to claim that these flavorful tomatoes are the driving force behind the grow-your-own-food and ‘eat local’ movement. One bite of an heirloom tomato will make you slow down and realize this is the good stuff in life. I promise.
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Because of our Mediterranean-like climate (an average summer day has a wide temperature range of 90s during the day and 60s after sunset), we can grow a decent amount of cooler season crops year-round. I’m loving these onions and cauliflower.
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I’m thankful for the people who bring products to the market other than just produce. Local olive oil, local cheese, freshly baked bread, eggs, grass-fed beef, pasture-raised chickens, fresh pork, and even seafood from San Francisco Bay make it to our market. It’s nice to be able to pick up everything you need for a quick dinner.
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My favorite stall would have to be from the Good Humus Farm. That’s humus, as in the organic matter in top soil, not hummus made from chickpeas. Did you know I work in agriculture and I’m a bit of a soil science nerd? Anyway, I arrived at the market early this morning to take photos, and watched silently while the ladies of the farm stand debated the best way to display their produce. With a clear pride for their ingredients, they artfully arranged each basket, hand-wrote each sign, and took a few steps back to admire their work. This stall opens at 8am and sells out of fresh eggs by 8:30. Their golden orange yolks have quite the following!
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I was especially enamored of the way they used a pick-up truck to display their recent melon harvest. No melon over $5? Sign me up!
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Finally, I want to leave you with a gorgeous display of zucchini blossoms, serpent-like cucumbers, and an artists’ pallet of squash. Oh, and some flowers, just for Allie.
Lots of love to ya, girl!
‘tina

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Thanks Tina for sharing a beautiful post! Just a last little taste of Farm Fresh Friday!  And yes, I would love to come and try some of the tomatoes or anything in sunny California!

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Popcorn Balls

Hi everyone! This is Angela, from Foodie Road Show, and I wanted to share this simple, somewhat-healthier version of popcorn balls that were inspired by Eating Well magazine. They use agave nectar instead of corn syrup for the gooey part, which makes them lower glycemic, and the peanut butter adds great flavor and protein. I wouldn’t call them health food, just healthier food.
The recipe starts with popped, cooled popcorn, and I pop mine the in a big pot in some “light” olive oil (that is light as in flavor, not in calories). It’s a little hard to measure popcorn in cups, and mine were slightly overfilled as I measured—essentially I filled up a 9 by 13 pan with popcorn. While your popcorn is cooling, cook up the easy drizzle.
The peanut butter mixture will be volcanically hot when you pour it over the popcorn, so start the mixing process with a spatula until it cools down enough to use your hands. I spray my hands with a little cooking spray to keep it from gluing all over my hands.

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When the popcorn is well coated with the goo, use your hands to firmly press out a dozen small popcorn balls. Let them rest on waxed paper until fully cool, then you can eat them right away or wrap in plastic wrap to store.
Here is the recipe:
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Popcorn Balls
10 cups of popped, cooled, lightly-salted popcorn
1/2 cup chocolate peanut butter (or Nutella)
1/3 cup agave nectar
1.) Pour the popcorn into a baking pan that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. In a medium saucepan, cook the chocolate peanut butter and agave over medium-high heat until it starts to bubble up. Cook for about 20-30 seconds more to cook out most of the excess moisture.

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2.) Pour the coating mixture over the popcorn and use a spatula to coat the popcorn as evenly as possible. Tightly press the popcorn into 12 rounds, and place them on waxed paper to cool.

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If you don’t have access to agave you can use regular corn syrup and you will still have a good result. I used Justin’s Chocolate Peanut Butter for these, but Nutella would be quite delicious.

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Thanks to Allie for letting me stop by and share a recipe!
-Angela FRS
Thank you Angela for sharing this recipe!  I’m obsessed with popcorn in any way, shape for form so I will definitely be trying this recipe sometime soon.  It sounds like the perfect fall snack!

TCT on the road.

Did you think that just because I was traveling I wouldn’t give you a weekly Two Cent Tuesday!?
1.) Have you ever had chocolate dipped ice cream?  Maybe you can’t have it at your favorite ice cream place but you can surely make this cupcakes this fall!
2.) I’m sure you’re in love with monkey bread as much as the next person.  But sometimes it is a bit tempting to have a huge portion.  Why not make this mini version?!
3.) Of course pancakes are delicious, but what about tiramisu pancakes?  Dessert and breakfast in one… yes please.
4.) Are you loving Starbucks’ pumpkin lattes this time of year?  Then you’ll love these pumpkin spice latte cupcakes!
5.)  This link pretty much speaks for itself.  Let’s just say you will be drooling once you click.
6.) Need some practice with your camera?  Try out this simulator to perfect  your skills.
7.)  Chocolate covered brownie bites sound pretty tasty, right?  What if I told you that there was no baking involved!?
8.) Do you ever worry that your photos don’t match up to ad photos?  Well, the actual product may have something to do with it!
9.)  I’ve never really thought about baked feta, but now I can’t stop.  Check out this delicious, melty recipe.
10.)  Lately I’ve been on a Biscoff kick and I don’t think this recipe is going to make me stop anytime soon.  Check it out and you’ll see why!
Have a great day and stay posted for some great guest posts this week!