Monday, March 22, 2010

Random Photos

If you're here for the giveaway, it's still going right here.  But, for the grandmas, here's a few photos of our recent activities.  This is totally out of order from my last few posts, but I thought I'd share anyway!

Cutie pie Maegan!

Snowboarding with Dad over winter break

Abby with some friends over our winter break up in Reno--miss you!

Both boys got to do a Pinewood Derby this year--Brayden's fourth car because of the move.

This is a picture of where I take the girls walking in the mornings--isn't it beautiful?

Drew got a worm making kit for Christmas--he got Maegan involved too

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My First Giveaway!

Want to make this!?!

I thought so. This is Alfredo Pasta with Broccoli and Grilled Chicken--one of my all-time favorite Wildtree dinners. So, in an effort to determine if anyone besides my mother-in-law (hi Renae!) reads this blog and likes my recipes, I'm giving away some products!! This collection includes the Alfredo Extraordinaire, the Rancher Steak Rub and the Roasted Garlic Grapeseed Oil--everything you need to make this dinner, plus you'll have leftover product to try other recipes as well.

All you have to do to enter is leave me a comment (just click on the comment link below this post) and let me know which recipe on my tiny little blog is your favorite, or which one you'd like to try. If you'd like to book a tasting and get MORE FREE products, you'll get 3 extra entries into the drawing! Just let me know in your comments and I'll give you a call! This giveaway will be open until April 7 at noon and a winner will be chosen at random from all entries. Thanks and good luck!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spring in San Jose

I was thinking of an old post titled Summer in Northern Nevada in sharp contrast to what we did today. The boys had the day off school so we decided to do a little hiking with some friends. It was beautiful. This is Quicksilver in San Jose--the trailhead is literally about 2 miles from our house.

The boys were "steaming" when we got home. So this happened:

In case you're wondering, it was probably around 72 degrees at this time--and we don't heat the pool. Abby decided it was a good day to work on her tan. She asked me to take this picture:

Maegan had to get in too--just not actually in the water!

Friday, March 12, 2010


On page 13 of the new January catalog is a great little recipe for Tex-Mex Sliders. My kiddos have been begging for these--what's the appeal about little burgers? Well, I can tell you--they're great for kids and adults alike. The little ones only need one--no more cutting burgers in half or quarters for them. And the big kids (like dad) can have more than one, with different toppings on each. On one he had the classic toppings and on the other he had the Tex-Mex toppings. Fun!

I made the burgers according to the recipe found in the catalog. If you don't have a current catalog, I'm happy to email you one, but here is the recipe as found on page 13.

Tex Mex Sliders

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
Salt to taste
Cheddar cheese slices
mini burger buns or soft dinner rolls

Wildtree Guacamole, prepared according to package instructions
Wildtree Fiesta Salsa, prepared according to package instructions
Baby arugula (I used the spring lettuce mix from Costco)
Red onion, thinly slices.

Preheat grill or grill pan.

In a large bowl, combine ground beef, hickory oil, garlic pepper and salt. Mix well and form into 8 mini patties. Grill meat to desired doneness, about 4 minutes per side over medium-high heat. Add the cheese as soon as the burger is flipped to the second side. Grill buns until lightly toasted. Dress burgers with guacamole, salsa, arugula and onions and serve.

As you can see from the pics above, I made more than this recipe calls for--I used about 2 pounds of ground beef. If you're into weighing stuff, each little burger should weigh about 3 ounces. I tried to go a little smaller than that, but they shrunk up more than I would have liked.

For those of you that really know me, you know that I love to make bread. I make most of my own bread--buns are no exception. So, I made some dinner rolls, half whole wheat and flattened them out a bit for the buns. But seriously, store-bought dinner rolls are just fine. I'm just a little crazy like that.

Once again, our outdoor BBQ is still not working, so I used an indoor grill pan. Honestly I think even when it is working, these little guys would make Andy a little (ahem, a lot) irritated, so it's probably just as well to do them indoors, where you're not risking losing them through the grates.

I served them alongside some sliced oranges (thanks Dad!) Aren't they cute? Plan on 2 for each adult female or large child (such as your growing 11-year old boys) and 3 for adult males. Abby, 4 years old (I'm 4 1/2 MOM!) ate one.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

BBQ Chicken and Winter Salad

I take lots of pictures of dinners that I make, but sometimes it takes me a while to actually post them. This is one of those meals, so the details may be a little vague!

I like to make salad most nights for dinner, but when tomatoes are not in season, I struggle. My sister Amy has taught me her formula for a winter salad. Basically on top of the greens of your choice you had a fruit, (fresh, dried or both) a nut and a cheese. Complicated--I know! This particular salad combo is one of my favorites.

I start by toasting some almonds. Now normally I would use slivered almonds, the kind without the skin, but I didn't have any of those and I just happened to have a couple cans of regular almonds that my Dad gave me, so I just coarsely chopped those. This also works great with pecans or walnuts.

Put the nuts in a non-stick skillet over medium low and let them warm up. This is key to proper carmelization of the sugar. If you add the sugar in when the nuts are still cold, it will burn before the nuts are toasted. Once you can smell the nuts starting to toast, stir them until all sides are a little toasted and then toss in a generous pinch of kosher salt and about 1 tsp. of sugar. I like to use this type of sugar:

but plain ol' white sugar works too. Stir continually at this point, letting the sugar melt and get all sticky on the nuts. When all the sugar is melted and the nuts are toasty, turn them out onto a plate to cool.

Break them up when they're all cool. This just takes a few minutes all together and makes a great addition to a winter salad.

Here's my salad, sans nuts. Not sure why the nuts aren't on top yet--it's a mystery to me when I look at these photos. But, as you can see, this salad consists of romaine lettuce, chopped apples, dried cranberries and cheddar cheese cubes. I served this with Wildberry Dressing, but I also like it with the Honey Mustard Vinaigrette.

I served this salad alongside BBQ Chicken. This is simply chicken breasts, grilled outdoors (back when our BBQ was still working!). Andy brushed the Toni's Over the Top BBQ Sauce in the last few minutes of cooking. This has some kick to it, but Drew practically licks it up with a spoon!

Later I made some chocolate chip cookies. Don't you just love those eyes!!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Grilled Fish and Home Fries

I'm way behind on posting and I have lots of great meals to post, so I'll be posting one right after another this week--I hope! For starters this week, I'll show you a great use for the Dipping Oils. I used European Dipping Oil-Chili for this fish, but the European Dipping Oil-Garlic or European Dipping Oil-Tuscany would be great as well. Simply brush the oil on a piece of Tilapia and place in a heated grill pan or an indoor electric grill (such as a George Foreman). Grill 5-7 minutes, until fish flakes with a fork.

For sides I made the Home Fries and garlicky green beans, but I don't have pictures of anything except the potatoes--woops! I actually made the green beans exactly like in this post. For my Home Fries, I like to add a little chopped onions, but other than that, I pretty much follow the instructions on the back of the Home Fries Seasoning--but I'm going to show you a shortcut. I think the most important thing with this blend is to use red potatoes or yukon golds--something in the waxy family. I definitely do not like this recipe using a regular russet potato--it turns out quite dry. My family devoured these potatoes in the pictures but the next time I made it I only had russets on hand and they hardly ate any.

So, chop up a little onion if you like and then cube your potatoes--this is the proportion I used--you can see I just used a little onion. The instructions say to cut and boil potatoes until almost cooked then do the frying. Well, I just don't like dirtying more pans than I have to, so I simmer the potatoes in the large non-stick skillet I plan to fry them in. When they are almost done (this takes only about 7-8 minutes because they are in small cubes) drain them with the lid and dump them back on the cutting board.

Heat a little Butter Grapeseed Oil or Natural Grapeseed Oil (or even Roasted Garlic Grapeseed Oil) in a non-stick skillet combined with an equal amount of butter--I use about 1 T. each for this amount. You can always add more later if you'd like. Saute your onion a bit. Then add the Home Fries Seasoning (1 teaspoon per pound of potatoes) and the potatoes back into the pan.

Stir fry until cooked through and golden delicious!

The finished meal--

Magean was so surprised that she actually liked this!