Monday, September 1, 2014

1 Ingredient Ice Cream

My boyfriend was out of town this weekend, which meant that I spent 2 nights alone in our new house, and didn't run home to my parents or to a neighbor's house because the ice maker dropping ice into the bucket sounds like someone knocking at the door all night long. So instead of a gold medal I decided to treat myself with some ice cream. But I knew that if I went to the store and bought a pint of sea salt caramel gelato, though my intentions may have been to save half for Andrew's return, we all know that I would have polished off the entire thing myself. I decided to take the safer route and ditch the grocery store all together. I had a bag of frozen bananas in my freezer, and decided it was time to jump on the banana ice cream train. Just whirl the frozen banana for a few minutes in a food processor, and then top it will your favorite things like chocolate chips, honey, cinnamon, almonds, or be like me and sprinkle some espresso powder on top! Perfect pick-me-up if I do say so myself.

Banana Ice Cream

  • 1 banana, chopped and frozen
In a food processor, add the frozen banana pieces and whirl until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides with a spatula every minute or so. Serve immediately.

Friday, August 29, 2014

HDFB Does the Sonoita Winery Trail

On Wednesday I made my way down to Sonoita, AZ to visit the Kartchner Caverns and three local wineries. Sadly, the caverns did not allow any cell phones or photography of any kind, so I have nothing to share form that part of my adventure, but I do have some things to share regarding wine. This was my first trip down to the southern part of my hometown state, and I can't believe it took me this long to make my way there.

We stopped for lunch at this cute place called The Cafe. When I asked what was recommended, they told me the APE Burger. No two burgers are the same, you just let them know of any food allergies, spicy, or not spicy and to the kitchen your order goes. Naturally I told them to make mine spicy, and the waitress questioned me like she thought I couldn't handle it. Little does she know what kind of hot sauces I put into almost every single one of my meals. When she emerged with my plate it was a burger cooked medium, topped with chipotle peppers in adobo, crispy bacon, a large hatch green chile, and some sriracha. It was like the heavens opened up and made a burger just for me. But we're not here to just talk about burgers, let's get to some wine!

The 1st winery we visited was Callaghan Vineyards, who actually opened up solely for our visit, so big shout out to them!  We sipped on a flight of 5 wines of our choice, where I chose to indulge in 5 of their reds, 3 of which won the Jefferson Cup Silver Medal, and 1 which has been served numerous times to multiple presidents in the White House, so if that's any indication of how good they were, then so be it. They allowed us to keep our wine glasses as we headed to the next vineyard, which was a nice little souvenir to remember the day, in case the wine decided to flow a little too freely!

Next up on our tour was just down the street at Keif-Joshua Vineyards, where he runs the winery out of his own home, and was actually making wine as we pulled up. This wasn't your ordinary tasting room, as we soon found out when they offered to let us try any and all wines that they offered, no 5-tasting-cap. We sipped, laughed, and indulged on reds and whites of all varieties, my favorite being the Cabernet Franc, which also happens to be the only bottle I ended up buying (wine snob). As if the wine wasn't enough, out pops their pet kangaroo. No joke. A real life freaking kangaroo, which was the coolest thing I'd ever seen in all my 27 years. Who gets to say that they wine tasted with a kangaroo. I can.

Last stop on the trail was Wilhelm Family Vineyards, owned by winemaker Karyl Wilhelm, who just so casually happens to be an Air Force vet, so she's pretty badass if you couldn't tell. I learned the most about wine here, as I was feeling a little more "bold", blame the wine, to ask questions, like "how DO you get all of those amazing flavors into something that came from a grape?". Karyl was so sweet and took the time to go through the process with me, dumbing it down of course, and then even let me into her wine laboratory as I like to call it, and get a good look at all of her equipment, bottling devices, etc. She is most notably known for her creative ports, with flavors such as Chocolate Orange, White Chocolate Almond, Chocolate Mint, and Mocha, which are just some of the 18 different varietals that they offer.

All in all I dubbed this a 10 out of 10 trip in my book, for I learned, I laughed, and I drank. Who can say no to that? So if you are ever in the Sonoita area, just southeast of Tucson, AZ, I suggest that you grab yourself an APE Burger and head on down for some of the best wine and people you will ever come into contact with!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Secretly Healthy Alfredo with Italian Herbed Chicken

I got my inspiration for today's recipe from minimal eats, a Spanish vegan couple, who bring some really amazing healthy-for-you-but-taste-so-guilty meals to the table. I had a friend from high school ask me to post more healthy recipes that aren't so in-your-face-healthy that she can pass off to her husband just as if he were to indulge in the real thing. So, Kendall, this one's for you! This recipe isn't completely vegan though, I added some flavorful chicken breast to keep the Y chromosome in my house happy. 

Vegan Alfredo:
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 small head cauliflower, stems removed
  • 1 cup almond milk 
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbsp. parsley, minced
  • 8 oz. whole wheat spaghetti, cooked according to boxed directions
Italian Herbed Chicken:
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp. mixed Italian herbs

To make the alfredo, heat olive oil over medium heat in a medium sauce pot. Cook the garlic for 2 minutes until it begins to turn golden. Add in the almond milk and bring to  boil. Then add in the cauliflower, salt, and pepper. Cook until the cauliflower until it becomes soft, about 10 minutes. Once the cauliflower is cooked, add the mixture to a food processor with the nutritional yeast and lemon juice. Blend until smooth. Add in the parsley and more salt and pepper if needed. Pulse until mixed.

In the meantime, preheat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Season both sides of the chicken with salt, pepper, and Italian herbs. Cook until browned and cooked through; about 5 minutes on each side.

To serve, mix the cauliflower alfredo with the cooked pasta noodles, then top with the sliced chicken breast. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Seared Ahi Tuna with Sesame Noodles

I know on Monday I was all like, "go away summer", but now I'm like, "make all the summery foods"! It's my blog. I'm allowed to change my mind. Right? Today I bring to you a simple seared ahi steak, which might not be the prettiest thing I've ever photographed, but it's sure felt good as I devoured it alongside some creamy udon noodles and spicy cucumber spears. The tuna is just barely warmed through, and the cool noodles and cucumber are the perfect pairings for the end of summer. Today, I'm traveling to some local Sonoita wineries with some of my co-workers to enjoy some wine and cooler weather. It's a tough job, but someones gotta do it. My motto: Love the Wine You're With. 

Seared Ahi Tuna with Sesame Noodles

  • 1 lb. ahi tuna steak
  • 2 tbsp. sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
 Sesame Noodles
  • 1 pkg. pre-packaged/cooked udon noodles
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1.4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1/2 tbsp. sriracha
Heat up the pre-cooked udon noodles in the water for 2-3 minutes, until loosened up. Drain the water and add the noodles to a medium mixing bowl. 

To make the sesame noodles, add the garlic, ginger, tahini, peanut butter, soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and sriracha into a food processor and blend until smooth. Pour the dressing over the noodles in the mixing bowl and stir until the noodles are completely covered. Place into the fridge while you cook the tuna.

Pour sesame seeds into a shallow dish large enough to fit the tuna steak. Coat both sides of the tuna in 1/2 tbsp. of oil, salt, and pepper. Press each side of the fish firmly into the sesame seeds. To sear the tuna, heat the remaining coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook for 1 minute on each side. Remove from heat and set on a large cutting board. 

Cut the tuna across the grain diagonally with a very sharp knife and place a few slices on each plate. Serve alongside the sesame noodles, and some spicy cucumbers if you would like for some added texture!

To make spicy cucumbers, cut 1 large cucumber into matchsticks and toss with 2 tsp. soy sauce, red pepper flakes, and salt. Serve cold.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

HDFB Review: Fractured Prune Doughnuts

I've been waiting to post about this incredible jem of a confectionery until I could find the right words to describe it, but after 2 weeks, I still can't seem to put together a coherent sentence that doesn't sound like "me likey douhgnuts". So, I am scratching all drafts and just writing this in the moment. I had heard about Fractured Prune about a month ago from friends on Facebook and Instagram. And after seeing things like "chocolate covered cherry" and "cookies and cream" doughnuts, I knew that I had to treat the boyfriend to this one of a kind place. Upon walking in, we were greeted by 3 extremely friendly and outgoing employees. A girl behind the register kindly came over to us and explained how everything works, seeing as it was our first rodeo.

Simply put, you can order from their menu of 16 pre-designed doughnuts, or get creative and make up your own confectionery concoction.

We decided to order 6 doughnuts, some from their menu, and others we designed ourselves. While they don't offer a variety of doughnut types, cake doughnuts only, they do offer a multitude of glazes like marshmallow, mocha, and key lime, and toppings from your standard sprinkles to bacon, sea salt, or vanilla wafers. What I love most is that nothing is pre-made, they don't even begin to fry up the dough until you order, and then while you wait they offer you samples of their glazes and toppings. For the curious eater like me.

Once they handed us our box of warm, freshly-made doughnuts, we couldn't wait to dig in. And. Oh. My. Douhgnut-Loving-King-of-all-Doughnuts. These are what heaven tastes like. No joke. I could write about these all day long, but instead why don't you just drive over to Fractured Prune in Chandler and grab one or a dozen for yourself!

Fractured Prune Doughnuts
4910 W. Ray Rd., Suite 1
Chandler, AZ
(480) 820-5438

Pictured above: Clockwise from top left- Carmel Bliss, Carnival, Fresh Toast, Maple Bacon x2, S'More

Monday, August 25, 2014

HDFB Buys a House

I know everyone across the states are loving celebrating in all of their summer glory. Lake trips, summer BBQs, and outdoor concerts. And though I say this every summer, "it's just a dry heat", I am so over the AZ summer and ready for fall. Pumpkin everything. Cosy sweaters and scarfs. Football. Halloween. My obnoxious obsession with Halloween has already begun. At Costco this weekend and I begged my boyfriend to buy the 4-foot tall skeleton display. And though I may not have walked out of the store with it, you will be mine Mr. Skelly. You just wait and see.


Plus, moving into a house in the summer is insanity. So if the weather could just cool down a mere 10 degrees, my skin and unpacking skills would really benefit. Something about unpacking boxes in 100+ degrees just isn't right to me.  Luckily someone was smart enough to mark all of the boxes (thanks Andrew!), so we could at least drop them in their potential "area" for the time being. Everything actually went pretty well, especially since we moved everything between just the two of us. Except for when our realtor helped us go pick up our couch with this trailer, and then we almost lost some pillows on the highway. Damn, I wish I had a picture of that for the scrapbook ha! Or when Andrew's car battery died as we got ready to take over our final load of stuff. Or when we turned off the power to the house and installed a ceiling fan in the darkness with the light from a cell phone. Remind me to put flashlights on the list for my next Home Depot run. Can't wait for everything to be placed into it's new "spot" so we can get started on new traditions in our new home! What is your favorite summer and fall traditions?

 The boyf hard at work!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Cashew Chicken

By now we know that I love re-creating Chinese takeout at home. I've done my take on General Tso's, Sesame Chicken, and Pad Thai. And today I carry on the torch and cover the classic cashew chicken. This weekend we will be moving into our new house, and with lots of moving comes less time for homemade meals and more likelihood of takeout and fast food. But when you have a recipe as simple as this, you can have "takeout" at home for a fraction of the cost and calories.

Cashew Chicken

  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 6 tbsp. water
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. honey 
  • 1 tbsp. Sriracha
  • 1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup unsalted cashews
  • 1 1/2 lbs. chicken breasts, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 large carrots, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups broccoli florets
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water. Then add in the soy sauce, honey, Sriracha, vinegar, and sesame oil. Set aside.

In a medium pot, add 1 cup water to the bottom, then steam the carrots and broccoli in a steam basket for 10 minutes, 

Meanwhile, in a large skillet or wok, preheat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add in the garlic and cashews. Cook until fragrant and golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add in the chicken and cook, stirring until no longer pink, about 7 minutes. 

Drain the steamed carrots and broccoli and add them into the chicken. Lower heat to simmer and add in the sauce that you whisked together earlier and the whites of the green onions. Cook, stirring frequently until the sauce has thickened and the chicken and veggies are well coated.

To serve, place a large spoonful of brown rice onto a plate or into a bowl, top with the chicken and garnish with green onion tops.


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