April 27, 2015

Crispy Fingerling Potatoes With Caramelized Onions Mushrooms and Bacon

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This just happened, Loaded Crispy Fingerling Potatoes with Mushrooms Bacon and More!

Crispy Fingerling Potatoes With Caramelized Onions Mushrooms and Bacon

My love of potatoes is very strong.  Whatever the variety...I want to eat it! 

I used to think my relationship with potatoes was a byproduct of my Irish heritage. Nope. It wasn't until about 5 years ago, while doing some research for a project I was working on, that I found out - out of 10,000 people surveyed across the US on what their favorite food was...the answer that came up the most was potatoes! I was like, potatoes...really, I mean I love them but everyone else does too?? Yup, just in front of Mexican food, the humble potato was the overarching answer! 

Then I thought about it, you can do just about anything with a potato! Soups, apps, entrees, sides...even dessert!  For Pete's sake there is even a Potato Ice Cream, lol! 

Potato goodness comes in so many forms! First, there are endless possibilities in the produce section: Russets, reds, yellows, whites, purples, fingerlings and petites all have distinct flavor and cooking properties. For mashed in minutes, today’s instant potatoes are better than ever because of advancements in the dehydrating process. And don’t forget to check out the frozen aisle for fries, hash browns, wedges, shreds, tater tots, slices and more!  Simple as that!  Potatoes everywhere you look! 

I was challenged by The U.S. Potato Board to join in their Speedy Spud Challenge and come up with a potato recipe that could be whipped up in 30 minutes or less and of course I happily accepted!

Ummmm, hello...PO-TA-TOES!! Just look at the bottom of the post for some of the recipes from my potato obsession! 

My mind instantly went to a potato and mushroom combination.  I wasn't even sure if that was a thing or a combo that should even happen outside of a soup or stew BUT it turns out it is and it should! The dish came out earthy and delicious!  The potatoes, mushrooms and onions are all from below ground, right, so you can see why I say earthy.  Mmmm!

Crispy fingerling potatoes mingling with chunks of baby portobello's and bacon over-top a bedding of caramelized onions with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and chives and a drizzle of balsamic glaze?? 

Oh-my-YES!  Here it is up close!  You can't even see the caramelized onions...but they are there, making a nice little bed for the potatoes and mushrooms...just waiting for your fork!

Crispy Fingerling Potatoes With Caramelized Onions Mushrooms and Bacon

If that its just too much for you (say it isn't so!!).  It is almost as delicious like this...

Crispy Potatoes With Caramelized Onions Mushrooms and Bacon

If you want meatless...you can do that too...I'll happily eat your bacon! 

Crispy Potatoes With Caramelized Onions & Mushrooms











For more potato recipes that you have ever dreamed of, check out the Potato Goodness website PLUS you don't have to be a blogger to participate in the #TopTater fun on FacebookInstagram! Every week a winner is selected and wins $100.  All you have to do is upload a pic of a potato dish  to InstagramFacebook or PotatoGoodness.com/TopTater and use the hashtag #TopTater to enter...easy peasy! Tell your friends! 

This recipe is my entry for The Potato Lovers Club Speedy Spud Challenge Blogger recipe contest and was sponsored by the U.S. Potato Board.

Crispy Fingerling Potatoes With Caramelized Onions Mushrooms and Bacon
4 TBS butter, divided
2 Large Red Onions, sliced thin
1 TBS olive or grapeseed oil
1 1/2 pounds Fingerling potatoes, chopped into bite sized pieces
2 cups quartered baby portobello mushrooms
1 TBS minced garlic
1/3 cup chopped crispy bacon or pancetta
Salt & pepper
1 TBS Worcestershire Sauce
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
2 TBS snipped chives
2 TBS Shredded Parmesan cheese, or more to taste
Balsamic Reduction

In a saute pan, melt 2 TBS butter, add in your onions and cook 20 minutes over medium heat or until caramelized to your liking.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside when done.

Meanwhile preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large saute pan, place 1 TBS butter and 1 TBS olive or grapeseed oil over medium heat.  Add in your potatoes.  Saute until crispy, about 7-8 minutes, seasoning and stirring along the way.  Add in the mushrooms and garlic as well as another TBS butter and saute for another 5 minutes, season with salt and pepper again.  Add in the bacon pieces, a splash of Worcestershire and a squeeze of lemon juice, season and place in the oven for an addition 10 minutes or until potatoes are done to your liking. 

Place the potato and mushroom mixture over-top the caramelized onions in a serving dish or pan, top with chives, cheese and balsamic and serve.

Colleen's Notes:  Seasoning is key with this dish, season the onions, season the potatoes and season the mushrooms and potatoes. If you like garlic, you could even add in some garlic salt for more of a kick.  If you like heat, add in some Cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes.  

While caramelizing the onions you may need to add in a little more butter or oil...or even better bacon grease...mmm!  Just eyeball them and see if they need any more moisture.  To hurry along the caramelization process, you can add in a pinch of sugar if you like.

If you love potatoes as much as I do, check out some of my favorites!  Mashed Potato Pie, Loaded Potato Nachos, Roasted Potatoes with Parmesan Bacon, my 9 year old daughters Homemade Sour Cream & Onion Potato Chips & my prize winning Potato & Caramelized Onion Flatbread !



Enjoy!




April 22, 2015

Homemade Blueberry Tea

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Homemade Blueberry Tea

Are you having crazy weather like we are here in SE Pennsylvania?  Saturday it was 80 degrees and a picture perfect stunning day I was actually down in Atlantic City for a little getaway with my husband and it was glorious! We sat outside at a really awesome Mediterranean Restaurant called Bungalow.  If you are ever in AC...stop by, you won't be disappointed.  My husband said it was the best Gyro of his life, 4 hours later he wanted another one, lol! The cocktails weren't too shabby either!

Since then its been downhill!  Rain and rain, overcast and over the next few days we are going back down into the 30's. Yikes!

I keep reaching for the tea kettle because it just feels odd to turn on the heat this close to may, know what I mean?

Here is a delicious idea for you to try.  So many people love spiced and flavored tea bags, right? Why not flavor you own tea?

All you need to do is to make a simple syrup of your favorite fruit or spice and add it in to your tea. There you have it and with the benefits of antioxidants and vitamins too!

First make the syrup, in this case the Blueberry Syrup.  Here's how:
1 pint blueberries
2 cups of water
1/2 cup sugar.

Bring to a boil and continue boiling until the berries have burst, about another 6 minutes or so.  Take it off of the heat, taste it.  Is it sweet enough for you? Depending on the berries flavor they may be more on the sweet side or sour...depends on the season.  you can always add in more water or more sugar to get the taste you want.  Mash the berries with a muddler.  Allow the mixture to cool completely.  Strain it and store in your fridge 7-1- days or until you choose to use it.

To make the tea:
Pour 1 cup boiling water over a regular black tea teabag.  Allow it to steep.  Add in 1/4 to 1/2 cup of your Blueberry Simple Syrup and enjoy!  Again sweetness of the syrup and preference for sweetness will vary, so add more water/syrup to get the flavor you desire sand enjoy.

Colleen's Notes: I enjoy swirling around a cinnamon stick in my Blueberry Tea....Mmmm, such a nice flavor...Blueberry Cinnamon Tea!  You could add lemon as well!

You can also make this without sugar at all if that is how you like the tea...just boil the blueberries and reduce it a bit.  If they are good berries, the natural sweetness alone may do the trick for you.

If you enjoy homemade drinks, check out some of my favorite DIY Flavored Waters! Here and Here





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Enjoy!!


April 14, 2015

Blueberry Old Fashioned Cocktail

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How about a whiskey cocktail with a springtime twist?

Blueberry Whiskey Cocktail


Growing up, alcohol only made an appearance when my parents had company over for a fun Saturday night game of Stratego, a BBQ or a special occasion that called for a party. Whiskey was always their spirit of choice.

Manhattans were the go to drink of both my father and grandmother.  As a matter of fact my grandmom passed away at 102 last year and up until then end she enjoyed a Manhattan or two when the occasion allowed. Loved that!  At her celebration of life luncheon, we all held a Manhattan high and toasted her to her long life and legacy...a fitting & fun goodbye for a life well lived.

Whiskey sours were always flowing at parties.   Either my dad or my Uncle Roy would man the blender and keep them coming!  My Uncle Roy would slide me a sip or two of that icy cold frothy delight...they were SO delicious and I still have a special place in my heart for them!

My Great Uncle Frank was the most dapper man I ever knew...always in a suit, vest and hat...always!
He and his wife Jessie never had children and as a result they traveled everywhere, enjoyed good food, good drinks and good friends.  When my Uncle Frank was in his 80's and 90's and would come for dinner, he would push a brown bag into my dad's hands when he arrived (or into my hands later when I had my own place) and say "here's some chocolate cake".  In the bag was a top of the line bottle of whiskey...usually accompanied by a $100 bill.

That one line still makes me smile and I now find myself using it every so often when I slide someone a bottle.

Funny what memories a food or drink can elicit, isn't it?  

I decided to put a spring/summer twist on another whiskey cocktail, the Old Fashioned, when I was asked to try out Templeton Rye Whiskey. My husband, who happens to be a big whiskey fan was eyeing up the bottle of Templeton Rye from the second it arrived.  I was like back off buckko...I have some work to do first, lol! Once I pulled the cork out of the bottle (love that btw), I inhaled slowly.  It smelled delicious, and yes I did give my man a small sample.  He was eagerly licking his lips for more.


If you enjoy the taste of whiskey and are looking for something a little lighter than straight up whiskey try my Blueberry Old Fashioned Cocktail featuring Templeton Rye is as delicious as it is fun, give it a try!

And when my husband did get at the Templeton Rye...he loved it so much (on the rocks) that he said I wasn't getting the bottle back until it was empty.  Hmmmph!


Blueberry Old Fashioned Cocktail featuring Templeton Rye Whiskey
Ice
2 oz Templeton Rye Whiskey
4 oz blueberry simple syrup
1 TBS fresh squeezed lemon
 Club soda

Fill a 12 oz glass with ice, pour in whiskey, blueberry simple syrup and lemon.  Give it a stir and top with club soda, stir again and enjoy.

As with any cocktail, adjust the strength, sweetness and flavors of the drink to make it your own.

Blueberry Simple Syrup
2 cups water
1 pint blueberries
1 cup sugar

Combine all ingredients in a small pot, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and continue simmering about 5 minutes more or until the blueberries have popped.  Allow the syrup to cool completely, strain the syrup and place into a sealed jar until ready to use.  Store in the refrigerator 7-10 days.

Cheers!



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Organic Franchise Opportunity with Organics Live

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This post written is in partnership with Philly Social Media Moms for Organics Live


As a former Corporate America warrior, I probably thought about starting a business and working for myself at least weekly for 15 years or so! I'd dream up ideas, get excited, sometimes get some of my peers excited then reality would hit and I would never follow through. Realities like will it work, so many businesses fail, it will take SO much money, is there a demand...etc. When it comes to franchisees however, that is a different story. It is a proven model, that has been successful and as a result...franchises begin to spread.

I am very intrigued by the franchising opportunity at Organics Live and I definitely will become a customer. From what I can see, it's a great model...an organic business that's carbon-neutral, it supports farmers and the harder you work...they more you make for YOU. I kinda love it! Read on: Also see below for a chance to win a Vitamix S30 Blender!

Raise your hand if you or someone you know is making more of an effort to eat organic fruits and vegetables.  
Daily we hear about the benefits of eating organic and supporting organic farmers. However, for many of us, shopping for organic food is a chore, requiring a stop at the farmer’s market or CSA plus a grocery store or two just to get the foods we feel good about feeding our families. In addition to these reasons, many people feel eating organic is too expensive for their family budget.
What if I told you there was an easier way?  
What if there is an easier way to get affordable, farm fresh, certified organic fruits and vegetables delivered right to your door every week?  
Organics Live certified organic home produce delivery

Organics Live, was founded in Canada by a group of concerned dads three years ago. Today they have 45 franchises and are now ready to come to the U.S. Market and make certified organic produce more accessible, convenient to homes and businesses! The first franchise territories will be in the Pa, NJ & DE markets.  
Organics Live delivers certified organic, sustainably produced, and locally focused food and groceries for less than the cost of shopping retail! That and their 100% Satisfaction Guarantee is part of their very successful formula.  

Right now, Organics Live is looking for the right partners in the Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware Areas as they expand to the U.S.
  • Have you always dreamed about being in business for yourself?
  • Did you leave the workforce to raise your kids and are now looking for something to generate income and a different type of satisfaction?
  • Are you already passionate about health and wellness and interested in partnering with a company that has the same values?
  • Are you a go-getter who works hard and feels it’s time to personally reap the rewards of the success you generate?
  • Are you looking for a way to achieve work/life balance?
If you said yes to any of the above, you may be the one of the partners Organics Live is looking for!
Franchise opportunity low investment - organic produce
Why Organics Live as a possible business venture?
Organics is growing!
Sales of organic products in the United States jumped to 35.1 billion in 2013, up 11.5% from the previous year’s 31.5 billion. 81% of U.S. families now choose organic food at least part of the time.
Join a rapidly growing company founded by concerned dads with a shared belief that strong, prosperous communities can be fueled by good clean food!
“At Organics Live, everything we deliver is sustainably produced with a heavy focus on supporting local growers and producers. We run a carbon neutral operation, offsetting all parts of the businesses, from field to plate. Our boxes are "best-of-season", meaning that we source the freshest, highest quality fruits and vegetables available at any given time and deliver to homes and business weekly. Our mission is to build sustainable local food systems by providing our franchisees the support they need to move sustainably produced goods and services from makers to consumers with as little waste as possible.”
Corporate makes it easy!
No inventory, warehouse space, or product management. No receivables, billing, or collection. No sourcing, buying, receiving, packing, or deliveries! Corporate even provides your website, IT, sales hotline, and marketing materials!

Not the usual franchise start-up costs!
Territory ownership of households and businesses, full franchise status with resale rights, no royalties, and no brick and mortar required means your investment is 1/10 of a typical franchise operation start-up cost.
If any of this appeals to you and you want to learn more or claim your desired territory before it is taken, please visit Organics Live http://bit.ly/1DB2AkRto learn more at www.franchising.organicslive.com
As for the rest of you, we look forward to making it easier and more affordable for you to eat the way you want to!  We can’t wait to show you the Organics Live difference! Stay tuned!
Follow Organics Live on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to keep up with our happenings, expansion and seasonal recipes!

To celebrate our U.S. expansion, one of you lucky readers will win this beautiful Vitamix S30 Blender! It is a powerhouse! Good luck!


For additional entries, please visit:

http://wereparentsblog.com/2015/04/organics-live-franchise-opportunity.html

You can also join in to the Twitter Party this Thursday night, April 16th, at 7PM EST for the chance to hear more about Organics Live and a chance to win fabulous prizes including 2 Vitamix Blenders! The hashtag is #OrganicsLive, be sure to follow @OrganicsLive and @PSMMomss


a Rafflecopter giveaway



April 13, 2015

Mini Jam Filled Muffins Perfect for Mothers Day

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This delicious little muffin holds a secret! 

Muffin Recipe for Mothers Day

Jams and jellies have long been a part of my life and when the kids came on to the scene, even more so!  In my house we are seperated into two camps...the strawberry camp and the grape camp.  My husband is a 100% I-am-a-grape-jelly-only-man! He's not messing around either, nothing but grape jelly passes that man's lips.  Me..well "I" want it all...except grape jelly.

As my youngest would say, we "war" about this.

My kids always enjoyed berry jams and jellies...but not grape, so it was 3 to 1 in the Kennedy house which translates into "I win"! Until my 13 year old son just recently switched and joined forces with my husband that is.  I swear there must have been a monetary exchange! Something fishy is going on around here.  You don't even want to know about our difference when it comes to ketchup and mustard, lol (so far I am winning)!


When it comes to jellies and jams our go-to brand is Bonne Maman. Why? I used to grab the I grew up with, however once I had kids , I wanted to try my best to avoid high-fructose corn syrups and that's how I came across Bonne Maman. And lucky for me (and you) they make some delicious flavors!

All of their preserves are made with 100% natural ingredients like fruit, sugar, cane sugar, concentrated lemon juice and fruit pectin. Bonne Maman has no preservatives, no additives, no corn syrup, is sulfite-free and non-GMO, which is important to me.

Bonne Maman translates to mean “Grandmother” or “Granny”. The brand is aptly named as the preserves and jellies are made from the best natural ingredients found in your (or your Grandmother’s) kitchen, using the same traditional recipe since the brand began. Love that!

Instead of copping out to the whole high- fructose thing...Bonne Maman combines brown cane sugar (derived from the cane plant) and sugar derived from beets. This combination of sugars is part of our time-honored all-natural recipe that helps to create the special Bonne Maman flavor and taste. The have SO many delicious flavors
So I guess you figured out the secret of these muffins??
Mini Jelly Filled Muffins Recipe

Ta-dah! A delicious jelly surprise! These remind me of a Tastykake Jelly Krimpet - As girl who was a born and raised in Philly, I may be made up of 10% Tastykakes! 
These little bites would be a great addition to your mothers day brunch, a surprise for the kids or a small basket full for a friend (tuck some jams in the basket too).  Whomever the recipients, They are sure to smile ear-to-ear!
Did you know that Bonne Maman means good mother or good grandmother and for Mother's Day they are offering a $3,000 cash sweepstakes (basically a day off for mom and a friend), as well as free jam to entrants and printable coupons on their site. Woot!! I like it, take a look and maybe you will be the lucky winner...if not...enjoy the jam! 
I was not compensated to write this post, I just enjoy the brand and thought you would too! Bonne Maman sent me a mini pack of jams to share their sweepstakes, which I happily did, hope one of you are the lucky winner! 
Mini Jam Filled Muffins
1 3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup milk

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease your mini muffin pan.


Combine flour, baking powder and salt,  in a medium bowl.  Add in the vanilla, oil, sugar, egg and milk and mix until combined.  Scoop a small amount of batter (half the size of your muffin opening) into your well-greased pan. Scoop a small amount (1/2 tsp or so) into the center of each of the batter dollops, press down just a bit, cover fully with batter.  Fill to just shy of the top of each opening. Do not use liners for this, the muffins will not rise correctly if you do.  Bake at 350 for 10-11 minutes.
Place your donuts on a cooling rack and allow them to cool a bit.
Gently remove from pan one at a time, allow to cool on a  cooling rack. Melt butter, dip tops into butter the into sugar.  Set aside until enjoying.
Colleen's Notes: These really do not need the additional sugar on top, honestly they are sweet enough with the jam.  I just thought it looked pretty, if you want to top with the sugar, I suggest cutting down the sugar in the batter to 1/2 cup. Unless you like things sweet! 

Enjoy!

April 12, 2015

Banana Bread Cookies with Chocolate Chips

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Do you have a favorite cookie? 

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Cookies

Do ya do ya do ya? 

The sweet that "gets" me every time is a cookie!  It's borderline crazy!

I turn right into the Cookie Monster...its true!

I love cookie batter too!  However I never want a hot cookie of the oven (that is when my husband wants them...hot from the oven), instead "I" prefer to wait until the next day to munch and crunch by way to bliss!  For breakfast, lunch or dinner or as a snack, if there are homemade cookies, I want them! How about you? Which one gets you every time?



These Banana Bread Chocolate Chips Cookies are seriously delish (ummmm, sorry?)!
They're cookies BUT they taste like banana bread, go ahead and sigh a little or take a long walk to work off your soon-to-be- cookie overindulgence!

Banana Bread Cookies with Chocolate Chips


Check them out...They are my latest post over on Disney's Babble site, find the recipe here.


Enjoy & save one for me!!



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