Gift Card Giveaway from Flatout Bread

We had a lot of fun at our Tree Trimming Party last week and we really loved our Flatout Bread Pizzas too! Now, the Flatout Bread team is offering a giveaway.

You can find out more about Flatout Bread, a family owned company, at their website.  Be sure to try my yummy recipe for Artisan Barbecue Chicken Pizza with Spinach and Bacon.  You can also check out the Walmart Holiday guide online for a recipe for Crispy Bacon and Tomato Flatbread Pizzas.  
Giveaway

Prize: One $50 Walmart giftcard 
Rules:  
  • Winner must have a US shipping address and be 18 years of age or older. 
  • Giveaway closes Saturday December 22 at 11:59 PM MST. 
  • Winner will be chosen via Random.org and will have 3 days to respond. 
To Enter: 
Leave a comment on this post and tell me, what are your favorite pizza toppings? 
You can earn up to 3 additional entries by doing the following (it counts if you already do any of these things too) – leave a comment for EACH extra entry. 
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Homemade Chocolate Candy Cane Granola Bars

I really love this time of year!  I derive enormous amounts of joy from sending out our annual holiday cards and I am giddy every time we receive a card in the mail.  I especially love making and sharing treats with friends during the holiday season.  Cooking for the people I love has always been one of my favorite things to do. 
This year, I’ve had a difficult time settling on just the right edible gifts to give.  Since I was unable to pick just one, I’ll be gifting a few different treats.  This week, I’m passing along these Homemade Chocolate Candy Cane Granola Bars. 

These Homemade Granola Bars are quick and easy treats to whip up.  Best of all, they look and taste fantastic!  Peppermint and Chocolate are two of my favorite flavors and they combine perfectly in these family friendly treats.  

I started handing them out to friends this afternoon and I’m already getting great feedback.  As I was writing this post my dear friend Loraine sent me this message:

“Oh my goodness, the bars are incredible!  Thank you, thank you!”

I love spreading goodness around!  And now, I think I’m going to need another batch for my hungry little snackers here, and, let’s be honest, a few for me too. Tis the Season!

Chocolate Candy Cane Granola Bars

Ingredients

2 cups Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup honey
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup dark chocolate mini chips 
1 cup coarsely crushed candy canes (8 to 10 large candy canes) 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper. 
In a large bowl, mix together oats, sugar, wheat germ, flour and salt.  Make a well in the center of mixture and pour in the honey, egg, oil, and vanilla.  
Using your hands, mix until evenly combined.  Add in chocolate and candy canes and mix well.   Pat the mixture evenly into lined baking pan.  
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until edges begin to look golden.  Cool on wire rack for 20 to 30 minutes.  Be sure to cut bars before they have completely cooled to avoid crumbling.  Once completely cooled, store in an airtight container.   Makes 16 bars. 
Recipe adapted from My Baking Addiction

“What are your favorite edible gifts to give and/or receive this time of year?

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Corn and Potato Chowder with Leeks

There was a chance of snow in the forecast this past weekend.  Despite the kids’ crossed fingers and fervent snowman prayers, we only saw a few white flurries. But after we realized that there wasn’t going to be any snow to play in yet, we also realized that the temperature had dramatically dropped. It is COLD here now.

I know there are many places colder than New Mexico, but when the wind here is blowing and the thermometer reads 20 degrees Fahrenheit, I want to bundle up and stay inside by the fire.  So, with the sudden chill in the air, I turn to my favorite winter soup recipe.  

I’ve been making this chowder for years, before I even had kids!  It is delicious and creamy and the perfect way to warm up a cold day.  The kids always ask for seconds and even thirds when I serve it and, well, it doesn’t get better than that!

Corn and Potato Chowder with Leeks

(Printable Recipe) 

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 large leek, coarsely chopped
2 cups milk
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups frozen corn kernels
2 pounds red potatoes, cubed
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay (seafood seasoning)
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper (optional)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Directions

In a large dutch oven or pot, melt butter over medium heat.  Add bell pepper and leek and saute 3 to 5 minutes, or until tender.

In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and flour.  Slowly add milk mixture to pot, stirring constantly.  Stir in broth, corn, and potatoes.  Season mixture with salt, Old Bay, and thyme.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender and chowder is thick.

Stir in optional ground red pepper for a bit of extra spice, or serve with hot sauce.  Top each bowl with a sprinkling of chives.   Serves 6

“I love soups and stews this time of year.  What are your favorite cold weather comfort foods?”

Posted in dinner, food, soup, vegetarian | Leave a comment

Tree Trimming + Flatout Bread Pizza Party

 
My mom had a birthday this past week.  To celebrate she asked us to join her for a Tree Trimming party.  The girls and I were quick to agree because we do kind of like the incredible woman we are blessed enough to call Grandma and Mom.   
The birthday celebration was a perfect evening with good food, good company, and a lot of holiday joy! 
We had a lot of fun pulling out all of the holiday decorations and ornaments that I remember from my own childhood.   I feel so blessed to still live near my parents and to be able to share these special moments with them as an adult.  My own kids are learning to love the holidays with Grandma and Grandpa just like I did at their age. 
For dinner, I wanted to serve something that would feel special and taste delicious, but I also needed it to be quick and easy so we could focus on the evening’s most important activities.  I settled on Flatout Flatbread Pizzas.  Six breads, six pizzas, six minutes!  (Recipe below) 
Voila!  The Tree has been trimmed.  I do love a sparkly Christmas tree!  Now, my Mom is ready for another year, and we are all definitely ready for the holidays.  It is so easy to be happy this time of year, don’t you think?  Perhaps it has something to do with all the sparkly lights and the good food.  
This recipe for Barbecue Chicken Pizza with Spinach and Bacon was the perfect quick dinner for our holiday celebration.  I used the Heritage Wheat pizza crust from Flatout Bread and it was delicious. The bread also comes in three other flavors, Rustic White, Spicy Italian, Rosemary Olive Oil, which makes putting together an artisan pizza really easy and fun.   When it gets a little warmer around here, I can’t wait to try these on the grill outside.  

Barbecue Chicken Pizza with Spinach and Bacon

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce, divided
2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
2 cups baby spinach, chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 can black olives, diced
6 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped
2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, grated
1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled 
One package Flatout Bread Pizza Crusts (6 crusts)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.   With pizza crusts arranged on a large baking sheet or pizza stone, cook crusts for 3 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside. 
In a medium bowl, mix together 3/4 cup barbecue sauce with the chopped chicken until chicken is well coated.   Pour remaining barbecue sauce on pizza crusts and spread evenly.  Top with chicken and all remaining ingredients.  Bake at 350 degrees for 3 to 4 minutes, or until cheese is melted and pizza is heated through.  Makes 6 pizzas. 

Are you ready for the holidays at your house?  I still haven’t put up a tree at my own house.  Time for another tree trimming party!

I was provided with review products and compensation for my time, but all opinions and experiences with the product remain entirely my own. 
Posted in celebrations, dinner, family, family fun, food | Leave a comment

Apple Slab Pie: Dessert for a Holiday Crowd

Last year I made Dutch Apple Mini Pies to feed our Thanksgiving crowd and they were delicious.  I think this year I will add my favorite Pumpkin Pie Bars onto the dessert menu as well because everyone loves some good finger food.   But we are going to have an even bigger crowd this year, so I am going to need a lot of pie!

This Apple Slab Pie is perfect for feeding a crowd while still getting to enjoy the pleasure of a home baked Apple Pie.  Made on a large baking sheet, this pie goes a long way!  It’s definitely going to save me a lot of time in the kitchen.

I always prefer a homemade pie crust and I’m willing to sacrifice the extra time for it (my favorite pie crust recipe is this one from Good Life Eats).  But this pie is easily made with store bought crust and can taste just as delicious.  If you are purchasing crust this year, make sure to check out my note in the recipe below – it’s a fancy trick I picked up from America’s Test Kitchen for improving store bought crusts. 

Apple Slab Pie

Ingredients

6 to 8 Granny Smith Apples (about 3 1/2 pounds) peeled, cored, and sliced
6 to 8 Gala Apples (about 3 1/2 pounds) peeled, cored, and sliced
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons Minute tapioca
Pie Crust Dough (see note)*

For the Glaze:
3/4 cup reserved apple juice (from filling)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar

Directions:

*Note:  If using homemade pie crust, I recommend doubling this recipe for All Butter Pie Crust.  Make sure the dough has been refrigerated for at least 30 minutes before you begin rolling it out for this recipe.

If using store bought crust, I recommend 2 (15 ounce) boxes of Pillsbury Ready to Roll Pie Crust.  To improve the flavor of the purchased crust, grind 1/2 cup sugar and 1 1/2 cups animal crackers to a fine powder in a food processor.  Use this cracker powder to roll out your crusts instead of a floured surface.  Overlap two dough rounds for the bottom, and two dough rounds for the top.  Then brush the crusts with 2 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle the crusts with the remaining cracker powder.

1. Set a large colander over a bowl to catch juices.  In the colander, combine apples, sugar, and salt.  Let sit for approximately 30 minutes to allow apples to release their juices.  Stir occasionally and press lightly on the apples until  you have extracted at least 3/4 cup juice.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Lightly grease an 18 x 13 baking sheet.
3. Prepare bottom pie crust for pan (see note).  Roll dough for bottom crust out to 19 x 14 inches and transfer to baking sheet.   Refrigerate until ready for use.
4. Transfer drained apples to a large bowl.  Gently stir in tapioca, cinnamon, and lemon juice making sure apples are evenly coated.
5. Spread apples evenly over bottom crust.  Refrigerate while preparing top crust, following instructions in step 3.  Brush edges of bottom crust lightly with water.  Transfer the top crust to the pie and press crusts together along the edge.  Trim off excess dough and use a fork to crimp and seal the outer edges.  Pierce the top of the pie at 2 inch intervals with a fork or knife to vent.
6. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until pie is golden and juices are bubbling.  Transfer to wire rack and cool.
7. While pie is cooling, prepare the glaze.  Bring the reserved 3/4 cup apple juice to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  When juice beings to thicken and resemble syrup, remove from heat and stir in butter and lemon juice.  Bring mixture to room temperature, then whisk in the powdered sugar until completely smooth.  Brush glaze over cooled pie crust and allow it to harden before eating.
Makes approximately 20 servings.   Recipe adapted from Cook’s Country.

Will you be feasting with a large crowd this Thanksgiving?

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Corn and Potato Casserole with Gruyere {GIVEAWAY}

Scroll to the bottom of this post to enter the GIVEAWAY from Libby’s Fruits & Vegetables, including a KitchenAid slow cooker! 

Thanksgiving is just days away now!  While I could be feeling stressed about all the work ahead of me, I’m mostly just feeling excited.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I have a feeling this year it’s going to be great.  I’ve been smiling all week just thinking about friends, and family, and all the good food and conversation we’ll be enjoying next week.

This week I’ve been testing a few new dishes for the Thanksgiving menu.  I wanted to create a few side dishes that would be impressively delicious, but also very quick and very easy.  This Corn and Potato Casserole with Gruyere made the top of the list!  It is creamy and crunchy, full of flavor, and took only 15 minutes prep time – perfect addition to the holiday lineup.

Admittedly, I’ve never used canned potatoes before.  You could start with raw potatoes in this recipe, slice them and cook them first, but when you’ve got a holiday feast to prepare, it’s nice to be able to take a short cut without sacrificing flavor or texture.  I used Libby’s Sliced Potatoes and was perfectly satisfied with how the dish turned out – easy and delicious!

Someday my kids may laugh at me for my food blogger quirks because we’ve eaten this casserole more than once for dinner this week as I tweaked and perfected the recipe for next week’s feast.  Luckily, I haven’t heard a complaint from them yet.  And, I can tell you with confidence, that this casserole is destined to be a crowd pleaser.

Corn and Potato Casserole with Gruyere

Ingredients

4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon dried chives
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1/4 cup flour
1 can (15 oz) cream-style corn
1 can (15 oz) Libby’s whole kernel corn, drained
1 can (15 oz) Libby’s sliced potatoes
1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup crushed butter crackers

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  In a small bowl, mix together cream cheese, milk, chives, and onion powder.  Mix until smooth and set aside.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a medium skillet and saute onions until tender and golden.  Sprinkle with flour and stir for one minute.  Add cream corn and stir for an additional minute.

Remove skillet from heat.  Stir in cream cheese mixture and all remaining ingredients except butter crackers and remaining butter.  Spoon mixture into casserole dish or oven safe skillet.

Top casserole with crushed cracker crumbs.  Melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and drizzle over cracker crumbs.  Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until casserole is bubbly and golden brown.  Serves 8.

{GIVEAWAY}

Prize (One Winner)

Requirements

  • Leave a comment on this blog post and tell me: What is your favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal? 
  • Contest ends Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 11:59 P.M. mst. 
  • Contest open to US states only.
  • Winners will be chosen via random.org and have 3 days to respond. 

Optional Extra Entries

Additional entries can be earned by doing the following, giving you a total of 5 entries.  Leave a separate comment on this blog post for each of your entries. 
  1. Follow SomeTheWiser and Libby’s on Twitter and ReTweet the following message:  I entered the @LibbysTable KitchenAid holiday #Giveaway on @somethewiser http://bit.ly/T0wSDg  
  2. Follow Some the Wiser | Allison Ruth on Pinterest and Pin this recipe   
  3. Like Some the Wiser and Libby’s on Facebook
  4. Share this post on Facebook 
I was provided with review products, giveaway fulfillment, and compensation for my time, but all opinions and experiences with the product remain entirely my own. 
Posted in dinner, food, giveaway, side dish | Leave a comment

Chunky Apple Pie Granola

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.  Unfortunately I’m rarely up early enough, and never coherent enough, to make great weekday breakfasts.  If I’m being really honest, most of our weekday breakfasts consist of muffins or waffles pulled from the freezer and hastily reheated.

On the weekends, I have more time to put things together and we can enjoy a Zucchini Quiche or my favorite Breakfast Fruit Crisp.  But the kids have started to notice the weekday vs. weekend meal disparity.  “Muffins.  Not again!”  they’ve been moaning on recent mornings.  So, I’ve decided to step it up, just a little bit.

This Chunky Apple Pie Granola has been the perfect solution to our weekday breakfast slump.  I can make it on the weekend and then store it in airtight jars for our crazy breakfast scramble all week long.  The kids and I like it plain, with milk or almond milk, or even sprinkled on top of plain yogurt or applesauce.   I’m feeling a lot better about breakfasts now, and so are the kids!

Chunky Apple Pie Granola

Ingredients

5 cups rolled oats
2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup applesauce
1/2 cup coconut or vegetable oil, room temperature
2 cups dried apples

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine nuts and oats and set aside.  In a medium bowl, combine all remaining ingredients except dried apples.   Whisk until smooth and well combined.  Pour  liquid mixture over oats and stir well, making sure oat mixture is evenly coated.

Pour mixture onto parchment lined baking sheet.  Using a spatula, press granola into the pan.  Make sure granola is pressed tightly and evenly into the baking sheet.  Bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 40 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.  Rotate pan halfway through baking time.  For chunky granola, do not stir.  Cool well on a wire baking rack.  When cooled, break into chunks as desired and add 2 cups dried apples.  Store in airtight container for up to a week.   Makes approximately 10 cups.

What are you eating for breakfast these days?

Posted in breakfast, food, snack + appetizer | Leave a comment