07 December 2010

Oh Nuts! Giveaway Winner

Hey Guys! I completely lost track of time and forgot to pick the winner. Oops. Anyway, thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway. Today's lucky winner is Terri!

I'll be contacting you immediately to get your prize to you. Stay tuned for future giveaways, everyone!


Wayfair Review

Wayfair is giving me the opportunity to review another product soon. With over 200 stores, Wayfair offers everything from cookware, kitchen furnishing, tv stands for flat screens, furniture for your entire house, and luggage. This makes it extra difficult to decide which item to choose!

I'm considering reviewing another cooking item or appliance, though I might possibly shift gears and get something a little different this time. I have a bit of time to decide so stay tuned!

06 December 2010

Cool things and Christmas cookies

This weekend was pretty busy. My family and I built our annual gingerbread house for the contest here. Wow. I'll be blogging about that this week. Amid a sea of sugary dust and flour, we managed to build the house in 3 days. This sounds great until you see the house and realize we're crazy.


Also, I got featured in a Woman's Day blog, Snack Smart. Every Friday they feature a snack idea from food bloggers. Abby contacted me and asked if I'd like to participate, so I said yes! Pretty neat.

And now for Christmas cookies. Here's a round up of some Christmasy cookies I've blogged about in the past. Some of them are recipes I've recreated, some are recipes from cookbooks.


01 December 2010

apple custard crumb pie

Hop on over and enter the Oh Nuts! giveaway for a chance to win a $25 gift certificate!

apple custard crumb pie

Hope you guys had a happy and tasty Thanksgiving. This is one of the pies we baked for the event. My mom got this recipe from a friend of hers a while back and it makes for a unique addition to the lineup. It features slices of apples baked inside a sour cream custard center and topped with a crispy, nutty crumb topping.

apple custard crumb pie

The filling gets placed into a par-baked pie crust. I tried the pie crust from How To Eat A Cupcake. It's similar to others I've made, only it has a bit of baking powder. I found this gave the baked crust a slightly denser feel, though still flaky. I also noticed that as I baked this crust it kept the nicely crimped edging more than usual. However, I still need work figuring out my pie crust issues, namely that the bottom refuses to crisp. It's as if the filling seeps into the crust and prevents it from crisping. I meant to brush the bottoms with beaten egg whites, but oh well.

My mom also cooked the apple slices in a sugar syrup so that the apples would cook a bit and not be as firm in the filling. You could saute yours until the apples started to feel tender if you wanted. The apples were then drained and mixed with the filling.

apple custard crumb pie

The pie gets baked until the custard can be poked with a knife and comes out clean. Then...

apple custard crumb pie
apple custard crumb pie

Topped with the crumb topping, including whole pecans, then returned to the oven to crisp and become golden brown.

Recipe after jump

Print this recipe

apple custard crumb pie
Recipe by my mom's friend

Ingredients -

1 9-inch deep dish pie crust, par-baked
8 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/8 - 1/4 inch slices (if you're cooking the apple partway first, slice them 1/4 inch thick)
1 2/3 cup sour cream
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

Topping -

1 cup nuts, whole or coarsely chopped
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

Directions -
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F and place the pie plate on a large rimmed baking sheet. In a large bowl mix together the sour cream, sugar, flour, egg, vanilla, and salt; stir in the apples and stir to coat. Pour into pie shell and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F and bake for 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

  2. While the pie bakes, prepare the topping. Mix the nuts (if coarsely chopped) with flour, both sugars, cinnamon and salt. Stir in the butter and continue mixing until mixture comes together. If nuts were left whole, stir them in now.

  3. When pie is ready, remove from oven. Top with coating, dolloping from a spoon. Bake for 15 minutes or until the topping is crisp and golden. Let cool at room temperature before serving.


30 November 2010

Oh Nuts Holiday Giveaway

I'm back with another gift giveaway from Oh Nuts. Sam contacted me about this opportunity, generously offering one lucky winner the chance to win a $25 gift certificate on behalf of Oh Nuts.

Oh Nuts has always focused on holidays and with the upcoming Christmas and Hanukkah holidays, you'll be able to find a gift for everyone. Their offerings are wide and they have some pretty delicious candies, chocolates, nuts, and fruits. Their products are also certified Kosher.

Their products I've tried in the past have always been top quality and arrived fresh. The dried fruit was moist and the nuts weren't rancid. Great stuff here.

There are three ways you can enter to win:
  1. Visit the Oh Nuts Christmas Gift Baskets page and comment, letting me know what your favorite item is.

    Or, do the same from the Hanukkah Gifts page.

  2. Visit Oh Nuts on Facebook. Comment on their wall with a link to your favorite item, including "I'm here from She Runs, She Eats" (if you're a fan of my blog on Facebook, you can tag me by typing @ - a list will pop down and you can find She Runs, She Eats).

  3. Follow Oh Nuts on Twitter and retweet about the giveaway like so, "Win a free Hanukkah (or Christmas) Gift from http://bit.ly/6nIsCi Follow @ohnuts & Retweet to enter."

Comment with each entry so I know.

Non-US residents can enter, but Oh Nuts only ships within the United States, so keep this in mind.

Contest ends Wednesday, December 1. Good luck!

*Disclaimer* I'm receiving a gift certificate from Oh Nuts for hosting this giveaway. In no way does this alter my opinion on their products.

28 November 2010

Weekly Mileage

Total: 20

I stuck to my plan from last week to run 4 times. I ended up going 5, 4, 4, and 7. I meant to do 6 and 6, but when I ran the five it was getting dark and I didn't feel like staying out in it for very long.

Pretty much I didn't want to go on any of these runs because I was expecting it to feel worse than it did, so I'm glad I sucked it up. Only a few were cold and windy, with an unusual warm run on 7. And when I say warm I mean that it was 40-ish with 7 mph winds. Not bad for winter. I'm thinking next week I'll run 20 again, but nothing longer than 6. Maybe two five milers, a four miler, and a six miler. I'm still working my way up, but want to make sure I get comfortable running 4-6 milers before I add in anything close to 10 or any form of speed work. And also because, really, who wants to stay out in the cold? I'm also not feeling as tired after a run, though I'm a bit surprised at that for a different reason other than regaining my fitness. Overall, though, things are looking good.


23 November 2010

Ramekin Product Reviews and Moltenless Chocolate Cakes

Gordon Ramsay ramekins

A while back I told you all I'd be doing a product review courtesy of Wayfair. All the products have arrived and I've finally gotten my act together to use them. The three products I'm reviewing are Revol Grand Classique 10.5 ounce ramekins, which can be purchased individually, and Silicone Solutions pinch bowls, four to a set.

Revol ramekins

I had debated over the size of ramekin to get, knowing most souffles and desserts are baked in smaller, 6 ounce ramekins, but this way I can make individual dinners and the presentation will be cute. Both sets of ramekins are porcelain. The first picture of the Gordon Ramsay ramekins are fully glazed and lightweight. They can be used in the in the freezer and fridge, but can't be subjected to extreme temperature change. That means if I made frozen mini pot pies they'd have to sit outside of the freezer a little bit to adjust to the temperature. These are made by Royal Doulton for Gordon Ramsay, originating in England.

The second picture, of the French Revol ramekins are just slightly bigger than the Gordon Ramsay's. They're porcelain too, but the bottoms aren't glazed. Even though the sides seem thicker, these were actually a little lighter than the others. As far as I know, the same rules apply to these as the others. There was only one set of ramekins on the site that said their ramekins could go straight from freezer to oven, but they were small.

Click through to read the recipe.

molten-less chocolate cakes

The pinch bowls really came in handy to place ingredients in. Each bowl has a 1/2 cup capacity. I found that powdery ingredients didn't do so well in the silicone bowls since it tend to cling to the sides of the bowl, whereas wet or other dry, non powdery ingredients were fine.

For the first test I made "moltenless" chocolate cakes. This is a molten chocolate cake intended to have a soft, runny center when broken into, but was unintentionally fully baked.

molten-less chocolate cakes

The batter for these cakes consisted of melted butter and chocolate, cabernet sauvignon, a trio of spices consisting of cinnamon, ginger, and cloves, along with eggs, egg yolks, and sugar. Really simple for a last minute dessert.

I noticed the recipe didn't call for salt, so I added a bit of coarse salt to the cakes and sprinkled more on top. It needed more, so I would use at least 1/4 teaspoon in the batter next time.

molten-less chocolate cakes

Since I doubled the recipe and each ramekin was filled a little more than the recipe said, I increased the cooking time to 17 minutes. If I had taken them out then, the cakes would probably have been molteny. But I got scared and cooked them a few minutes longer. Fail.

molten-less chocolate cakes

The cakes still had slightly fudgy and moist centers, though, and the texture was a lighter than a brownie. It definitely needed more salt to enhance the sweetness. Also, I didn't use any of the gourmet spices the recipe said to use. I'm also not sure how much the wine helps the recipe, especially for being part of the title, though possibly it enhances the overall flavor. You could probably substitute it for something else if you didn't have any wine.

They popped out nicely from the greased ramekins. Clean up was a breeze. I simply filled with a bit hot water and wiped out with a non-abrasive scrubber (use the ones intended for nonstick pans). So far I'm happy with my purchases, and probably will continue to be happy. The Ramsay ramekins have a very sleek design and are pretty. The Revols are nice, too, with a more traditional style, though more pricey. Pinch bowls are quickly becoming more and more useful the more I bake and cook with them.

McCormick Gourmet Collection Molten Spiced Chocolate Cabernet Cakes
From McCormick Gourmet

Ingredients -

4 oz. semi-sweet baking chocolate
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 tablespoon Cabernet Sauvignon, or other red wine
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
6 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)

directions -
  1. Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwavable bowl on high for 1 minute or until butter is melted. Stir with wire whisk until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in wine, vanilla, and sugar until well blended. Stir in eggs and yolk. Stir in flour and spices. Pour batter evenly into 4 (6-ounce) buttered custard cups or souffle dishes. Place on baking sheet.

  2. Bake in preheated 425°F oven 13 to 15 minutes or until sides are firm but centers are soft. Let stand 1 minute. Carefully loosen edges with knife. Invert onto serving plates. Sprinkle with additional confectioners' sugar. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.


Progresso Giveaway Winner

Hey everyone! Today I'm announcing the winner for the Progresso Lemon Pepper Panko and Chef Michael Chiarello's Bottega giveaway. And the winner is, brought to us by random.org... Cheryl! Her favorite Italian dish is beef braciole with gnocchi di ricotta. Sounds pretty delicious.

Thanks to everyone for entering!


22 November 2010

Tigger-Proof Pumpkin Pie

Tigger-Proof Pumpkin Pie

Every year for Thanksgiving we make a pumpkin pie, and usually we used a simple recipe with canned milk and spices. One year, though, we tried the pumpkin pie recipe from The Little Big Book of Pooh by Monique Peterson. My older brother gave it as a gift to my mom a few years ago.

Tigger-Proof Pumpkin Pie

This pie recipe features one of the more flavorful pumpkin pie fillings I've tasted. Instead of just granulated sugar, the brown sugar gives the pie a richer flavor as does the sweetened condensed milk in place of evaporated milk (you can't have a 100 Acre Woods recipe without sweetened condensed milk, can you?). This pie is also very spicy and doesn't lack in flavor. There's a crust recipe that accompanies the directions that I've never tried, but I'll include it anyway. Feel free to use whichever crust with which you're most familiar.

Tigger-Proof Pumpkin Pie

The filling can be prepared and refrigerated ahead of time to cut down on prep if desired.

Tigger-Proof Pumpkin Pie

Since I have issues with my pie crusts not completely cooking, I decided to par-bake the crust this year. To do this, I chilled the prepared crust for an hour, then lined with parchment and filled with dried beans (to keep the crust from collapsing). I then baked for 10 minutes at 425°; remove the parchment with the beans and cook for 5 more minutes until bottom is no longer wet. You will need to cover the edges of the crust earlier into the baking time if you do this.

Tigger-Proof Pumpkin Pie

I didn't let the crust cook before filling since it still had to be baked. Maybe the heat sealed the bottom layer and prevented the crust from getting soggy.

So, if you're looking for a pumpkin pie with a smooth, velvety texture that's rich with flavor, stop right here and get baking!

Recipe after jump.

Tigger-Proof Pumpkin Pie
From The Little Big Book of Pooh

For crust:

1 1/3 cup flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 tablespoons ice water

For pie:

1 1/2 cups cooked or canned pumpkin
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups condensed milk
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 eggs

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.

  2. To make crust, sift together dry ingredients. Using pastry blender or processor, cut in shortening and butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle water over dough and mix with fork until pastry is moist enough to form into a ball.

  3. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface into a 14" round circle. Transfer and press into 9" pie pan. Trim overhand and crimp edges. Chill in freezer for 15 minutes.

  4. To make the pumpkin filling, whisk all the pie ingredients together in a large bowl until blended. Pour into the prepared crust.

  5. Bake for 10 minutes, then lower oven temperature to 350°F and bake for an additional 40-50 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

  6. Serve with whipped cream!


21 November 2010

Weekly Mileage

Total: 16

I only ran thrice, 6, 4, and 6. I meant to add another 4 miler in but I wussed out on running in the dark. It's actually not so bad. The good part is that it was probably better to keep the mileage low, so next week I'll do repeat but with the missing 4 miler.

The reason why I could still tell that I'm out of shape, even though the pace wasn't too difficult at all, is that a 6 miler, post run, feels the same as a 10 miler used to. I want to drink nothing but milk, my stomach gets a bit queasy, and I feel tired. Eventually I'll readjust again. (For some reason, I'm reading 'readjust' as 'read and just'.)

One bad habit I fall into during cold-weather running is to start out too fast the first mile. I do this to warm up, and it ends up ruining the run. I need to start warming up indoors first, or going on a short warm up.

Since I run in New Balance 100s, which is a trail racing flat, I'm looking forward to seeing if they work better in the snow than regular running shoes.

Things I want:

A running jacket. I have a fleece zip up jacket that really helps block the wind, but it's shrunk a bit and makes every shirt I wear underneath ride up and bunch. Bothersome. I'd like this.

Running gloves. I bought some from Target, fleece-lined, but it remains to be seen how warm they really are.

19 November 2010

Harry Potter and Butterbeer (with Homemade Spiced Coconut Ice Cream)

Harry Potter and Whichever-It-Is... Okay, it's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part one, opens today in theaters across the nation. And the world. Although none of the books ever mention the United States, so we're to assume the only witches and wizards are either British, French, or Russian. And none of the books mention Marmite, either.


I usually celebrate in some sort of way by making a treat, typically pumpkin pasties. I even have a crapton of pictures of the spread I assembled, complete with a jar of Marmite that I haven't since touched, from an "after the Deathly Hallows book release fiesta" that I've never developed. I'm not even a huge Harry Potter fan. I didn't swoon when Robert Patterson decided to eff the wizarding world after being destroyed by Voldemort by becoming a vampire. "Yeah, take that, Harry! Forget your scar -- I sparkle in the sunlight."

butter beer with homemade spiced coconut ice cream

So anyway, again, my mom was throwing the idea around of creating a homemade butterbeer centered around our new favorite fall-flavored tea, Bigelow's Pumpkin Spice Tea. The version of butterbeer we make uses vanilla ice cream blended with brown sugar-and-spice mixed in butter, scooped in a mug, and topped with hot apple cider. Well, we had no ice cream. But why not make our own?

butter beer with homemade spiced coconut ice cream

And so I did. I could have done that spell Hermoine does where she makes recipes come together. (Doesn't it bother you that this "spell" only works if the ingredients are present -- meaning, they have to originate from in the flesh and be in the same room instead of appearing from thin air? That's not magic, folks.) But instead I used regular cooking skills. Mom had the idea of using a can of coconut milk, as the higher fat content would erase the need of the butter. I quickly cracked and separated egg yolks from whites, whisked with sugar, then added whole milk and a can of whole coconut milk in a saucepan. With a pinch of salt and various spices, the custard was on its way, slowly heating up to a thickened mixture. I debated just using coconut milk, but I wasn't sure if it'd turn out too icy. However, I'll try it again since it'd have been lactose free.

Once that was set, I ended up refrigerating the custard overnight. You can then freeze according to your ice cream maker's instructions, or do the caveman version of pouring the custard into a wide container with decently high sides, freeze, and stir in 15 minute increments.

butter beer with homemade spiced coconut ice cream

Referencing my old ice cream post, the increments between stirring were longer. Maybe this was because the custard wasn't as chilled, but more room temperature, and then I realized I had followed David Lebovitz' instructions. So check earlier or check later, you decide.

(So during this ice cream venture, I decided to mix the almost frozen mix one time passed when it probably needed it, and instead of being completely smooth it took on a strange texturized appearance, as you can see in my picture. Not sure why this was.)

The ice cream came out incredibly delicious, thought with just a subtle hint of coconut. Not too sweet, yet sweet at the same time. Next step was to brew the tea, sweeten just a tad (1 teaspoon sugar per cup), then pour over the ice cream scooped inside a mug. What you get is a delicious foam as the ice cream melts from the hot tea. Eventually, the entire cup becomes cooler. I liked the way it tasted, though I think the apple cider gave it a rounder taste. Until most of the ice cream had melted, it still tasted a little watered down, but not bad at all.

What I would suggest is to brew the tea at double strength and sweeten more, or steep the tea bags in heated apple cider.

Definitely try this out if you're looking for a fun spin on your Harry Potter party.

butter beer with homemade spiced coconut ice cream

(Recipe after the jump)

Print this recipe

Spiced Coconut Ice Cream
Recipe by Christina Provo

ingredients ~

4 large egg yolks, room temperature
3/4 cups granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 14.5 ounce can whole coconut milk
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

directions ~
  1. Whisk together egg yolks, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan until combined. Slowly pour in both milks, whisking to combine. Stir in the spices. Turn the heat up to medium and cook, stirring almost constantly, for 5 minutes. Add the cinnamon stick, which will steep during the remaining cooking time. Continue cooking until the custard thickens, around 5-10 minutes. To test, it'll coat the back of a spoon and won't bleed into a line drawn through the center.

  2. Immediately remove from the heat and pour into a plastic bowl. Let cool to room temperature; cover, and refrigerate overnight.

  3. Freeze according to your ice cream maker's instructions, or pour into a deep container. Place dish in the freezer. In 20 minutes, take the dish out and stir the ice cream. It'll have begun to freeze around the sides. Make sure you mix thoroughly so the custard is all once consistency.

  4. Return to freezer, and repeat every 15-20 minutes, totaling 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cover, and freeze until eaten.

To make butterbeer

Brew a tea bag of Bigelow's Pumpkin Spice Tea in a cup of heated apple cider. Stir in a teaspoon of sugar. Scoop some ice cream into a mug, then pour the tea on top. Stir with your fake wand that is the equivalent of a fake Star Wars lightsaber. Enjoy!


18 November 2010

Candied Sweet Potato Casserole

America's Test Kitchen Candied Sweet Potato Casserole

A favorite side dish around here for Thanksgiving and Christmas is Candied Sweet Potato Casserole. My mom found this particular recipe a long time ago from America's Test Kitchen. What she liked was the cooking method and the ability to make the dish, up to a point, ahead of time to help cut down on Thanksgiving Day cooking.

America's Test Kitchen Candied Sweet Potato Casserole
America's Test Kitchen Candied Sweet Potato Casserole

The sweet potatoes are peeled, sliced, and added to a skillet with melted butter along with brown sugar, salt, pepper, and water, then covered and cooked until tender.

America's Test Kitchen Candied Sweet Potato Casserole

The lid is then removed and the heat raised so the liquid is reduced to a glaze. Since we usually double the sauce ingredients you can remove the sweet potatoes after 10 minutes and continue cooking down the sauce if it still hasn't reduced enough. I think you're aiming for a slightly thickened glaze as it will continue to cook in the oven. This is the point where you can refrigerate until needed.

America's Test Kitchen Candied Sweet Potato Casserole

Normally you put the sweet potatoes into a casserole dish, but for the sake of now I'm showing two different toppings in small amounts in my ramekins. One is the candied pecan topping and the other is the classic and beloved marshmallow topping. Since the marshmallows get added last, I covered the ramekin with foil. Both should have been covered, and the ramekin with the pecans uncovered for the last 5 minutes. The heat at which the casserole cooks is high and my pecans burnt along the edges. (I also toasted the pecans a bit to help with the flavor, so possibly that's why.) The reason I would suggest covering both is that the uncovered sweet potatoes dried out more and weren't as saucy.

After removing from the oven, turn the broiler on to high. Broiling the marshmallows instead of baking them until toasted is the preferred method for two reasons: Reason 1, it's quicker. Reason 2, since it's quicker, the marshmallows retain their shape longer because the innards haven't yet been heated as much.

America's Test Kitchen Candied Sweet Potato Casserole

We actually prefer the version with the marshmallows because it adds a different flavor when paired with the sweet potatoes and the sauce. It's quite delicious.

America's Test Kitchen Candied Sweet Potato Casserole

What's your favorite Thanksgiving side dish?

(recipe after jump)

Print this recipe

Candied Sweet Potato Casserole
from America's Test Kitchen

Serves 10 to 12

For a more intense molasses flavor, us dark brown sugar (Me: we usually use dark brown sugar) in place of light brown sugar. To make ahead, follow the recipe through step 2. refrigerate the sweet potato mixture in a large microwave-safe bowl, tightly wrapped with plastic wrap, for up to 20 hours. When ready to bake, poke several vent holes in the plastic wrap covering the potatoes and microwave on medium-high power until hot, 3 to 5 minutes. Continue to assemble and bake the casserole as directed in steps 3 and 4.

Sweet Potatoes ~

8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into 1-inch chunks
5 pounds sweet potatoes (about 8 medium), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup light brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ cup water

Pecan Topping ~

2 cups pecan halves, toasted in a hot oven for 5 minutes
½ cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch cayenne pepper

directions ~
  1. For the Sweet Potatoes: Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven (Me: we use a large, deep skillet) over medium-high heat. Add the sweet potatoes, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and water; bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook, stirring often, until the sweet potatoes are tender (a paring knife can be slipped into and out of the center of the potatoes with very little resistance), 45 to 60 minutes.

  2. When the sweet potatoes are tender, remove the lid and bring the sauce to a rapid simmer over medium-high heat. Continue to simmer until the sauce has reduced to a glaze, 7 to 10 minutes.

  3. For the Topping: Meanwhile, mix all the ingredients for the topping together in a medium bowl; set aside.

  4. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 450˚. Pour the potato mixture into a 13 by 9-inch baking dish (or shallow casserole dish of similar size). Spread the topping over the potatoes. Bake until the pecans are toasted and crisp, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve immediately (Me: it can sit for a few minutes if you have any last-minute preparations for other stuff)


17 November 2010

Progresso Lemon Pepper Panko & Chef Michael Chiarello's Bottega cookbook giveaway, and Turkey Polpettone

Progresso Panko and Bottega cookbook giveaway + Turkey Polpettone and Radicchio Salad

As a part of MyBlogSpark and Progresso (aka General Mills), I was given the opportunity to review Progresso's new Lemon Pepper Panko breadcrumbs. Panko is a coarser breadcrumb that gives a superior crunch to recipes. Progresso has teamed up with Chef Michael Chiarello, who has created recipes featuring Progresso products on their website. A very tasty selection, but I ended up trying out the Turkey Polpettone and Radicchio Salad. Turkey burgers have been very popular lately, and this upscale version featuring sage and lemon flavored ground turkey with a fresh mozzarella center, coated in panko and cooked until crispy, is perfect for a special night with minimal mess. The raddichio salad which has a light lemon-honey vinaigrette and Granny Smith Apples has bright flavors to contrast the turkey burgers.

The flavor of the panko was pretty strong, but didn't seem as intense when accompanied with the other ingredients. Also, I misread the instructions and mixed the flour with the panko, though I still followed the steps for coating (dipping in flour-panko mixture before beaten eggs, etc.). I ended up with more coating left over, but I saved it in the fridge for another use.

Progresso Panko and Bottega cookbook giveaway + Turkey Polpettone and Radicchio Salad

Look delicious, doesn't it? If you'd like the chance to win a free box of Progresso Lemon Pepper Panko to make this recipe, along with a signed copy of Bottega, here are a few ways to enter:
  • Leave a comment letting me know you'd like to enter, along with your favorite Italian food

  • Reblog this entry with a link back, and comment again

  • Become a fan on Facebook (if you aren't a fan already), and comment again

Three ways to enter for a chance to win an early Christmas gift, in a way. Good luck!

Giveaway ends Tuesday, 23 November, and is open to US residents only.

Progresso Panko and Bottega cookbook giveaway + Turkey Polpettone and Radicchio Salad


14 November 2010

National Split Pea Soup Week with Split Pea Soup with Coconut Milk and Indian Spices

split pea soup with coconut milk and indian spices

Did you know it's National Split Pea Soup Week? (Sadly, it's the last day for it.) The USA Dry Peas & Lentils Council sent me a bag of split peas (that was actually split, haha) to make a soup. They also sent along a really cute set of measuring spoons, an oven mitt, and a wooden spoon made in France!

split pea soup with coconut milk and indian spices

I've made this recipe a few times before, though with lentils since that's how the original recipe goes. I figured with a longer cooking time the split peas would work out, and they did. Don't expect them to retain their shape, though, since the split peas won't. It makes for an excellent creamy soup, and you don't even need to puree it if you don't feel like it if the soup cooks long enough. It comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, Once Upon A Tart.

The highlight of this recipe is the blend of Indian spices in clarified butter and the rich and creamy coconut milk. Pair the two together with a split pea base and you've got a soup that's unlike any other split pea soups out there. If you're worried about the taste of the spices, don't be, as the coconut milk helps temper and meld the flavors.

split pea soup with coconut milk and indian spices

To the recipe I added a pinch of kosher salt while the onions and garlic cooked, then 1 1/2-2 teaspoons kosher salt to the soup itself. I noticed the recipe didn't tell you to add salt at all, though I'm assuming they're basing it off the flavor of the chicken or vegetable stock you use. I like to make my own chicken stock. Observe:

Chicken Stock

One of my best stocks I've made, though I didn't rinse the chicken even after I thought it had a smell. It wasn't bad, I swear, and it didn't ruin the soup. Don't judge me.

Anyway, the flavor of the stock was mild, since I usually adjust seasonings in the soup itself, so don't be afraid to add some salt to the soup; it'll bring out the flavors in the recipe.

Recipe after the jump.

split pea soup with coconut milk and Indian spices
Recipe from Once Upon A Tart

Makes six servings

ingredients ~

1 big yellow onion, diced fine
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 1/2 cups green split peas, picked through and rinsed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, clarified, or ghee
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
A pinch of nutmeg
A few turns of freshly ground black pepper
1 cup canned coconut milk

directions ~
  1. Saute the onions and garlic in the butter in a large soup pot over high heat, stirring occasionally to keep them from sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning. When the onions have begun to reduce in volume, about 5-10 minutes, lower the heat to medium, add the thyme and the turmeric, and continue sauteing, stirring from time to time for 10-15 more minutes, until the onions are tender and translucent.

  2. Add the stock and the split peas, and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours, until the split peas have broken into the broth.

  3. Warm the clarified butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and pepper, and saute until the warmth from the butter brings out the aroma of the spices, 2-3 minutes.

  4. Add the clarified butter and spices to the soup. Stir in the coconut milk, and cook for about 15 minutes over medium heat, so the flavors blend together.


10 November 2010

pumpkin turkey strata with Lactaid


Took me a while but I finally got around to making this. A few things got in the way, actually.

So a strata is basically a bread pudding, and this savory version combines all the favorites of Thanksgiving, turkey, pumpkin, and stuffing. Using Lactaid, an easy to digest milk, enables those with lactose intolerance to enjoy as well. I used the Lactaid whole milk, which has a creamy taste. There was a little more sweetness than what's typically in milk, almost reminiscent of flavor of half and half.

pumpkin turkey strata

Usually you would use day old bread cubes for a strata. Instead, I cubed Nature's Pride whole wheat bread, tossed in a mixture of olive oil and butter that was sauteed with ground sage and minced garlic, then placed on a baking sheet to bake until toasted to make sage-garlic croutons. Meanwhile, I browned ground turkey with chopped onions, then mixed together with the finished croutons and mozzarella cheese.

I'm sure the reason why you use day old bread isn't because someone was being frugal, it's because otherwise the bread would turn to mush. Mushy pudding, anyone?

pumpkin turkey strata

The custard comes together quickly by mixing together softened cream cheese, which adds an extra creaminess to the custard, with canned pumpkin puree, eggs, Lactaid, and some salt and pepper. Simply pour over the croutons and refrigerate overnight. What's great about this recipe is that you can make it ahead of time to suit a rushed schedule.

I ended up ladling the crouton-custard into another pan since it started leaking out of the spring form pan I originally had it in. For whatever reason, I decided to cover the bottom in foil before pouring anything in it so it wasn't too disastrous. Not even Lactaid would have prevented the acids from churning in my stomach over seeing dinner dripping over the floor, and I'm not even the one who's lactose intolerant.

pumpkin turkey strata

And here is the finished product. About 20 minutes from the end of baking time, I topped with coarsely chopped pecans and grated parmesan cheese, a nice finishing touch.

The strata came out creamy and flavorful, a bit of sage in each bite. The whole wheat bread gives the dish a nice nuttiness, though you can't even tell it's whole wheat at all. If you need dinner options for the hectic holiday season, or a great dish for a get together, try out this Pumpkin Turkey Strata.

This recipe was supposed to be my submission in Lactaid's recipe contest, which unfortunately I missed. Here is an outtake from the video featuring the recipe for you to enjoy:

Recipe after jump

Print this recipe

Pumpkin Turkey Strata
Recipe by Christina Provo

Ingredients ~

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
pinch salt
1 pound ground turkey
14 cups whole wheat bread cubes (1/2-inch cubes)
6 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons butter
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 teaspoons ground sage
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
8 ounces neufchatel cream cheese, room temperature
1 14.5 ounce can pumpkin puree
8 large eggs
3 cups milk
1 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
pinch white pepper
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1 cup grated parmesan cheese

directions ~
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and ground turkey. Season with red pepper flakes and pinch of salt; cook until turkey is browned thoroughly and onions are translucent. Set aside.

  2. In same skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil and 3 tablespoons butter with half the garlic, ground sage, kosher salt and black pepper. Cook for a minute. Place half the bread cubes into skillet and stir to coat. Place on a rimmed baking sheet. Repeat the process for the remaining bread cubes. Once all the bread is on baking sheet, bake for 15-20 minutes, tossing halfway, until cubes are toasted and crisp.

  3. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese with pumpkin puree. Whisk in eggs, milk, salt, nutmeg, and white pepper.

  4. Mix together croutons with cooked turkey and mozzarella cheese. Place into a greased 13x9-inch casserole dish (make sure dish can transfer directly from fridge to oven without breaking). Pour pumpkin custard mixture over croutons. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

  5. Preheat oven to 350°. Remove strata from fridge and uncover. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour. Uncover and top with pecans and parmesan cheese. Continue baking for another 20 minutes, then check to see if knife inserted in center comes out clean. If not, continue baking for 10 minutes before checking again. Remove from oven and let set for 10 minutes before serving.


05 November 2010

Featured Review Coming Soon

As you've probably seen on here before, I've reviewed products and hosted a giveaway from Wayfair. Wayfair is an online mega-mall of sorts, featuring many different stores with products ranging from cookware, products to outfit a kitchen, furniture such as bathroom furniture, dining sets, living rooms, etc., and a wide range of other items for every facet of life.

I haven't picked out the product yet, but it will be cooking or kitchen related. I have some thoughts in mind, though I'd like to know what item you'd be interesting in seeing reviewed on She Runs, She Eats.

Let me know your thoughts, readers!

27 October 2010

midwest winds blowing in.

4 miles -

It's that time of the year again when the winds start picking up around here. I could be positive and look at it as a form of resistance training, somehow aiding me and making me stronger. But I'm not going to because I remember how badly the wind burns, especially when it's cold. Wind nips through your gloves and frost bites your fingers off. I'm serious.

Anyway, today's run was okay. Slow, because of the wind, but I felt alright. It was also dark during the end of my run and I notice that I tend to run slower when it's dark, probably because I can't see where I'm running. Funny thing is that it never seems like I slow down, though it's evident in the time. So yeah, the run was alright, though nothing special. I almost skipped ab stuff because my legs felt a bit sore (the ab routine I do is leg based). I also did another 7 push ups before quitting. (I did 7 push ups on Monday and I felt it on Tuesday.)

I'm hoping to run another 4 miles, or 3 because I'm not sure I'll be able to get any running in later this week. I don't like banking "long" runs so close together at this moment, but 4 isn't anything that will hurt me.

26 October 2010

Palm Island Sea Salts Review + Butternut Squash Aioli on Blanched Asparagus

Palm Island Sea Salt

I received an assortment of Palm Island Premium Sea Salts from the company that I've been waiting to review. This is one of my favorite brands of sea salt ever since I first stumbled upon the salts in the grocery store a few months ago. I was excited because the flavors of the salts seemed unique compared to other varieties I know about.

Palm Island Sea Salts

Starting clockwise on the top left, we have Bamboo Jade sea salt. Certified organic bamboo-leaf extract is mixed with the salt and has one of the most unique scents and tastes available. The salt crystals are large in size and have a very pretty light green coloring. The suggested use is to enhance Asian recipes. I've sprinkled this salt on top of oatmeal cookies before being baked. Really lends a unique flavor that takes the cookie from typical to outstanding.

Next is White Silver, which is the base for all the other salts. The salt, which is harvested from the Molokai waters, is allowed to dry under Hawaii Kai's original "Solar Seal", their method of preserving the trace minerals present naturally in salt. The ingredients list goes, "Natural Pacific sea salt, premium Hawaiian sea salt, and Hawaii Kai Ocean Essence". The crystals are sparkly and the taste of this one is a bit saltier, but not tinny like most table salts.

Red Gold Sea Salt includes the White Silver mixed with rel alaea clay. The clay they select is purified and bonded with the White Silver. The texture is slightly clumpy when you pour the salt from the bag, but the taste is great. This is the salt featured in the recipe I used for the review.

Last is Black Lava. Hawaii Kai uses premium activated charcoal, which they say is an antitoxin and digestive aid, mixed with their White Silver. The presentation factor is outstanding with this alt. The flavor is deep and earthy and would be great as a finishing salt on meats. (That's how I've used it.)

Any of these salts can be used however you want as a finishing salt, you just need to match or contrast the flavors.

asparagus with butternut squash aioli and red gold sea salt.

To feature the salt, I paired the Red Gold sea salt with a butternut squash aioli on top of blanched asparagus. I used the same recipe for aioli that I've used in the past, only I omitted the honey and stevia. I didn't have any lemon juice so I subbed white wine vinegar. Also, I doubled the garlic and added a little horseradish mustard. I seasoned lightly with regular flake kosher salt to bring out the flavors, knowing I'd be sprinkling the Palm Island salt on top later. Don't make it too salty!

asparagus with butternut squash aioli and red gold sea salt.

To make this dish a bit more fall-centric, I roasted a butternut squash until tender, then scooped and mashed the flesh. I added 1/2 cup squash to the finished aioli. The light orange color is beautiful! The aioli can be prepared days ahead of time and stored, covered, in the fridge for a while. This is a great way to sneak in more vegetables into your diet as well as using what's in season. Just make sure the squash is roasted completely and mashed smoothly so it blends with the aioli. I always prick the squash with a fork, microwave on high for 5 minutes. This makes the squash easy to slice open. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and stick in a hot oven (375° is what my oven was on) until the flesh can easily be stuck with a fork and scooped.

I saw these small, tender asparagus stalks at Martin's and knew that I wanted to do something with them. My goal was to keep prep minimal, so instead of roasting I opted to blanch. Blanching is the process of cooking whatever for a brief amount of time in boiling water, just until the color pops, then removing to a bowl of really cold or ice water to halt the cooking process. The result is tender vegetables that look beautiful and have a snap. Difficult to overcook, really. So I trimmed the asparagus, plopped in boiling water, and it was ready in no time. You want to make sure you pat the asparagus dry or else it'll make the aioli watery. All that remained was the finishing touch of the Red Gold Sea Salt, which clearly contrasts nicely against the subtle orange of the aioli.

If you see any of these salts at a grocery store near you, don's hesitate to purchase a bag. They're also available online.

25 October 2010

today's run.

I'm going to start this off by saying my intention isn't to blog each run. Sometimes I don't have much to say about it at all and it'd be pointless. I might do a weekly recap sometimes just so you all know what I'm up to. But I figured I'd address a comment left on last week's running post.

First, my post-run drink is a mashed banana mixed with chocolate milk powder, vanilla creamer, and filled with lemon-lime soda. It tastes pretty good.

Oh, and today's run was 4 miles. It wasn't anything pretty, though pacing wasn't too bad. I was considering not running today but after preparing a recipe for a product review (which you'll see tomorrow), I figured I might as well just do it. This is just my third week back so I'm keeping things simple. Hopefully a 9:30 minute per mile pace will quit feeling like crap and go back to being easy like it used to soon.

The question I was asked was, "Do you have any upcoming races?" My primary objective for racing is to become a better racer, to be competitive, and to push myself out of my comfort zone in the hopes of finishing in the top group of runners. The last one is a long-term goal. So when I look for races to run, I'm thinking about all those things, plus how I'll plan my training around them to race to my full potential. Since it costs money to enter races (and many races, as generous as they are with race packs and giveaways, are taking advantage of making money, but that's another topic), I try and carefully pick the races I want to race in as well as things like the course, scenery, etc. I don't always pick easy races because how good can you become if you're always taking the easy route? Literally. It's also the post race food, too.

So that's what I, personally, set out to do with races. If I had unlimited money, I probably would enter some races just for the sake of running them, but only if it wasn't painful. Right now, I'm just out of shape and any race I enter, be it to race competitively or just to have fun, wouldn't end up feeling very good either way. I think everyone has a different reason for entering races and while it's good to hear why other runners race, at the end of the day it's a very personal matter and you gotta do what feels right for yourself.

Now that I've said all that, feel free to tell me why you race or just like to run. =)

21 October 2010


Both yesterday and today I ran 2 miles. Yesterday's was slower and felt rather nasty, though the sun was out and felt pretty good. Today's run was faster and felt rather nasty, and the sun was not out, plus it was windy and cold.

On both runs I focused on taking smaller, for fluid turnovers without overstriding. My left hip feels a little tender but I'm not sure if it's because of the ab stuff I did prior to running, or that I didn't really warm up before running, though yoga will take care of it tomorrow.

Back to today, it was 49° and windy when I walked out the door. A brief glance of things to come, things that I'm not too happy about since I dislike running in frigid temperatures. Much of it is because I don't have a good winter running jacket nor gloves that block the wind out. SO MANY RUNS were disgusting last winter just because I couldn't feel my fingers afterward because the wind chill was terrible, and when your fingers start to regain feeling it's so damn nasty that all small children should leave your presence. I saw some cool jackets on Nike's site that I looked at awhile ago, though I'm still looking at what else is out there so if you have any recommendations let me know. Same for the gloves, too. I'm good on the hats and stuff because I knit, so my head stays warm (because apparently you lose a lot of heat from the brain area).

Another thing I find myself doing in colder temperatures is running with an iPod. I'm weird. Usually I get into a "song of the day" mode where I listen to the same song on repeat for the entire day, and this ultimately means running with just one song uploaded to the iPod. I actually like it because it gets me into a rhythm better than constantly being aware of song changes. As long as the tempo of the song is good, I'm good. And the reason why this helps me out in the cold is because the last thing I want to be doing is staying outside for longer than a moment. It's a necessary evil to stay in running shape during the winter in time for race training the next year. No, I don't have access to a treadmill. Even if I did I'd prefer to suffer outside, anyway.

So with Saturday's 4-miler i'll top out at 12 miles for the week. Good starting point, as this is still the second week of running, and I'll definitely keep those 4 miles slower.

18 October 2010

4 miles

Things have been unusually quiet around here on the running front because I haven't been running. Part of the reason was because I probably was a bit burned out, and coupled with the heat and humidity the summer was pretty much dead after the couple of races I ran. So basically a month of no running went by and now I'm restarting in time for the winter. My goal basically is to slowly work up to 25-30 miles by late December/early January and stick with it to February, when I'll incorporate training for half marathons.

Right now, I'm working running consistently and focusing on overall fitness. I'm going about 3-4 times a week and doing ab work before runs, then do some yoga at least 2 days a week on days I don't run.

Today's 4 miles went by alright, though the loss of fitness and speed is obviously present. However, I didn't regress as much as I thought in the month of doing absolutely nothing so it shouldn't take me longer than three weeks before I feel comfortable running. I was able to maintain about a 9:30 pace the first three miles, speeding up to an 8:30 the last mile. The weather was great and cool, skies on the overcast side. I focused on a forefoot strike and taking smaller, quicker steps, something I've found is most beneficial to my running. I do need to work on actually making sure to run slower, though, as it's always been my tendency to run faster than necessary.

So far so good for my second week.


12 October 2010

easy chocolate cake

chocolate layer cake

Chocolate cake.

I could just stop talking now because, really, by now does a chocolate cake need an explanation? But I did use a different recipe, so I'll talk about that. I've been hearing about the Hershey's chocolate cake, which isn't so dissimilar to the wacky chocolate cake I sometimes make. You mix the dry ingredients with the wet, pour into prepared pans, bake, and you get a very moist, chocolaty cake. Can it get any simpler?

The recipe I used, though, from a search on Photograzing (I forgot to bookmark the post) was Ina Garten's chocolate cake recipe. It was a bit different from the Hershey's cake with buttermilk and hot coffee instead of just boiling water, but otherwise mostly the same. What I don't understand about Ina Garten is her tendency to bake with extra large eggs. I'm not sure if this emits a feeling of cooking on the farm or if she has stock in the egg industry, it makes no sense. I used large eggs.

My thoughts on the cake was that it was indeed quick. However, I feel like these cakes lack a sturdiness when removing from the pan, transferring to the platter to ice, slicing to make more layers, etc. I might decrease the amount of hot coffee I use next time, and I don't think it'll affect the cake much.

chocolate layer cake

For the frosting I chose a slightly different flour frosting. This time, the pudding was thickened with cornstarch instead of flour. I melted chocolate chips with the milk to make chocolate buttercream, along with a teaspoon of instant coffee. Unfortunately, the buttercream remained at a heightened state of curdle even after beating the butter in. Even after beating on high for a few minutes. The stuff just didn't want to combine, and I'm not sure if this was because of the chocolate or the instant coffee. I should have cross-referenced between a different chocolate buttercream recipe. Anyway, it finally became workable after beating in a bit more than a cup of confectioners' sugar and some cocoa powder. Oh well. Everyone liked the texture of the buttercream, as it was very smooth and airy. It paired extremely well with the moistness of the cake and a glass of milk.


11 October 2010


I'll have a normal post about cake for you tomorrow, promise. Right now, though, I have some knit wire bracelets that are up on my Etsy shop.

Bracelets on Etsy

The bracelets, which fit cuff-like, are knit with copper wire and strung with beads. It'd definitely enhance your outfit while being a statement piece.

If you have any custom requests, feel free to email.
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