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Weekly Menu Plan – 23.0

Hi MincedReviewers!   Back by popular demand…a weekly menu plan.   For you new MincedReviewers, the menu plan is basically what I plan on cooking for the week, with a few tips and tricks thrown in.   Happy cooking everyone!

 

Sunday –  Bayou Catfish.   This recipe by AllRecipes was easy, light and delicious.  I love this recipe because it is easy AND healthy.  A great combo.  I have made this a few times, once as directed with corn meal and another time with Panko.  Both versions were wonderful but the panko coating had slightly more crunch.  Serve with Corn on the Cob and Sweet Potato Wedges/Fries.

Monday– Pasta with Basil, Tomatoes and Feta.  This is a great Summer pasta dish.  A fantastic way to enjoy some of the ripe garden veggies.  The boys pick the tomatoes and basil while I start cooking.   Serve with a yummy side salad and garlic bread.  Did I mention FETA??  You really can’t go wrong with a recipe that has the word feta in the title.  Can’t wait!!  

Tuesday–  Chicken Tamale Casserole.   This is a new recipe from Cooking Light that I am trying this week.  Not 100% sure about the creamed corn (not a fan) BUT I am a fan of tamales and this appears to be an easy way to make something similar.  I am going to serve with black beans and rice.   

Wednesday–  Potato, Red Pepper and Feta Frittata – I know.  I know.  Another Feta recipe.  I just can’t resist.  This recipe is yum, yum and yum.  Don’t be intimidated by the word frittata like I was.  After making this once, I realize that the ingredient possibilities are endless.   I saw this recipe on another blog, The Kitchn and followed this to the teaspoon.

ThursdayZesty Slow Cooker Chicken BBQ  w/ Sandwich Slaw– My BIL and SIL made this over the Summer on vacation.  I immediately asked for the recipe (s).  It is almost unbelievably easy and full of flavor.   The BBQ has only five ingredients AND you throw it in the slow cooker!  The slaw recipe adds a fantastic crunch.  Serve without the roll for a gluten-free option,  Serve with chips/fries/sweet potato tots.  Keep the sides simple.  

Friday –  No cooking for you (or me in this case)!  Have an easy night tonight.

Saturday–  Chinese Chicken Salad.   This recipe by Ina Garten is such a wonderful, versatile meal.  You can eat it hot or cold.  You can eat alone or on your favorite bakery bread.  PLUS if you really want to save time, pick up an already roasted chicken from your local grocery store.   

Don’t forget to click on the link below to use the printable grocery list!  This will help keep you on track as you shop.  Hope this helps streamline your grocery store trips! The goal is for you to go to the store ONCE this week. Save time. Save $$.

Grocery List Template

and as always, here is your menu planning template to print out, write your menu and stick on your fridge.  It is super cute!!

Menu Planning Template

Product I love right now… my chef knife.

Product I love right now… my chef knife.

A chef knife is crucial for any home cook.  The shape of the knife allows you to rock the blade back and forth for better chopping/mincing control.   Chef knives run from $1.99 to hundreds of dollars.  In most cases, you get what you pay for and should base your investment amount on how often you cook.  I do think that every kitchen needs a chef knife but don’t waste money on an incredibly expensive knife that will barely see the side of a vegetable.

A few helpful links:

How to hold a Chef Knife.

How to use a Chef Knife.

Anatomy of a Chef Knife.

 

Happy Chopping!

THE perfect iced coffee (so says me).

THE perfect iced coffee (so says me).

 

 

 

 

 

e·piph·a·ny (n):

a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple or  commonplace occurrence or experience.

I can remember the exact moment 4 years ago.  I was standing in line at a coffee shop (that shall remain unnamed) as I did every morning and started doing the math in my head.  The conversation to myself went something like this:  Let’s see… $4 x 5 days a week x 52 weeks=@$1000.  Wait.  What the what?  $1000.  On coffee.  That can’t be right.  Out my phone calculator came and my dodgy math skills were validated.  And there it was… an epiphany.   I was spending too much flippin’ money on coffee.

So, I watched very closely to how my impossibly delicious iced coffee was made that day.  I didn’t check my email, didn’t chat with co-workers, I watched.  Was it really that impossible to recreate?  It looked simple enough.

After many trials and errors, I finally mastered the art of iced coffee (again-so says me).

Iced Coffee:

Step 1:  It starts with the perfect cup.  I have tried almost every reuseable cup on the market (for verification purposes, you can ask my husband, who opens the ‘cabinet o’ cups’  daily, fearfully awaiting them to tumble-down on his head).  My favorite cup (drumroll please) is….

The Contigo Shake & Go Tumbler.   I use it for everything!   Iced Coffee. Iced Tea. Lemon water. Protein shake.  The possibilities are endless. It has a leak proof design that allows you to shake it, which means that you can be sure that your drink is mixed perfectly. Click here to buy or get more info.  Contigo is offering 20% off!  Just enter the discount code: shakeitblog.  (Reg. price $12.99)

Step 2: (Optional) Add your sweetening agent of choice to the bottom of the tumbler.  I am using Stevia these days.  Not 100% sold on the taste but my agave obsession has been permanently sidelined.

Step 3:  The coffee.  I have a Keurig, so I just pop my favorite pod in, place the tumbler underneath and use the smallest setting.   If you don’t have a Keurig,  a good ol’ pot of coffee will do.   Pour about 3-4″ of coffee into the tumbler.

Step 4:  The ice.  This is key.  You need to take an entire handful of ice and dump into your tumbler at once.  This flash freezes the coffee.  Do NOT do one cube at a time, you risk melted ice and watery coffee.  Yikes.

Step 5:  Top off with your favorite dairy product.  I use vanilla almond milk right now but regular or soy milk will work just fine.

Step 6:  This step is why I dig the Contigo Shake & Go Tumbler specifically.  I can put the top on and shake it to perfectly mix the coffee.  Pop the straw in and go.   Otherwise, you need to mix with spoon, a straw (which can sometimes be difficult when the ice is sticking together).

Collage

Drink up buttercup!

 

 

Houseware’s Show 2014

Houseware’s Show 2014

Another Houseware’s Show has come to an end (sad face). My feet are quite happy it’s over but I am wishing I had a little more time.   Is there a kitchenware anonymous group that I should know about?

Overall, the Show seemed to lack new trends. Mostly just a continuation of existing trends.

  • Color – Color is still everywhere you look.  I don’t mean to minimize color, it is exciting to look at, but I think rather than calling color a trend, I will focus from here on out on what colors are trending in the kitchen.   The Pantone color of the year , radiant orchid, was definitely a focus this year for many vendors.  However, my personal favorite was the new Le Creuset Green.  Wow.  Absolutely beautiful!

 

  • Eco – There is still a push towards ‘eco-friendly’ interiors. Ceramic is EVERYWHERE.   Ceramic hit the show a few years ago in a small way, became a full-fledged trend last year and this year, you really couldn’t be in the cookware business and not have a ceramic offering.   I still question this trend as truly viable option in cookware.  Outside of a fry pan, is the customer really understanding this trend?  I’m just not sure.  Ceramic is also growing in the cutlery category.  Ceramic is very sharp and very breakable.  Curious to see how ceramic cutlery sales shake out once customers realize that they really do have to handle them with kid gloves (what does that phrase really mean).
  • Copper – I’m in love! Copper everywhere.  Copper cookware (sigh), copper accents on cookware (beautiful), copper kitchen tools (yes, please) and even a copper coffee press (must have).  Copper is such an excellent material to cook in (a future blog on that) and looks so beautiful that it could pass as a piece of art.
  • Fashion nonstick interiors?? –  Not sure I’m digging this trend but it was a natural next step.  Fry pans with words on the inside.  Color on the inside.  Prints on the inside.  Speckled interiors.  If it has been done to the outside of a fry pan, this year it was taken to the inside of the pan.  With so much concern these days on chemicals leaching into our food via nonstick surfaces (not necessarily a valid concern at this point but a consumer concern nonetheless), I’m wondering how customers will respond.  A very novel concept though, I could end up being wrong on my questioning this trend.

Favorite Products (at first glance) – I say at first glance because I do not like recommending a product without trying it first.

  • That!Inventions had several items that really raised the innovation bar. One of my biggest kitchen frustrations is thawing seafood.  I seem to always forget to take it out of the freezer early enough and end up trying to thaw with water.  Then I spend the next five-ten minutes trying to dry the filet out.  With ThawThat! the problem is solved.  With a not overly complicated but hard to explain non-electric heat exchange (yikes, that was a mouth full), it thaws food incredibly fast.  If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed it.  Oh AND it’s dishwasher safe.  Sold!   Another kitchen problem solved is a smoother butter spreading  experience.  For those of us that are sticking with real butter, the trade-off is usually that it can be difficult to spread.  SpreadThat! transfers your body heat down to the knife-edge.  How cool is that??  Lastly, my husband is the king of scooping ice cream (so says me) and typically his process is to run the scoop under hot water.  While that does work, it brings the ice cream temp down and causes the ice cream to melt a little before you can even get a spoon in the bowl to enjoy. ScoopThat! uses a thermo-ring which heats only the outer edges of the scoop.  The inside scooping bowl is Teflon insulated and nonstick to help keep the ice cream cold.  Novel idea, right?  Cold ice cream.   Sold. Sold. Sold.  I’ll have more info on these in the future directing you on where you can buy these awesome gadgets.

 

  • Bodum Bistro Rolling Pin– I haven’t encountered much progress in the category of rolling pins over the years, aside from adding new materials (silicone).   The Bodum Bistro Rolling Pin allows you to fill the center with ice.  For any of you bakers out there, you understand how important it is to keep the dough at  a cool temperature or you have to stop rolling and put it in the fridge.   Warm dough is very difficult to work with.  This is a great solution to an age-old problem.
  • Contigo Shake and Go Tumbler – Okay.  This tumbler.  This amazing tumbler had me at shake.  I make iced coffee everyday.  Every single day.  I have figured out the formula for the perfect cup of iced coffee.  However, mixing it has always been an issue.  Until now.  I can make my iced coffee, shake it up, stick the straw in and go!  Same with my iced tea.  I dig fresh brewed tea, now I can brew, pour it in, add ice, shake and go.  See the trend?  Quick AND easy.  I will go into further detail on this cup and how to make iced coffee on my website next week. So… stay tuned!
Contigo Shake and Go Tumbler!

Contigo Shake and Go Tumbler!

  • Crucial Detail’s Porthole Infuser – I paused at the show to rest my weary feet, sat for a bit and ended up becoming completely enraptured by this functional piece of art.  It is almost indescribable.   It is a beautiful way to infuse liqueurs, wine, teas, etc.. I will need to test this before I can recommend this and unfortunately it’s back ordered until June. More to come on how to use and if I end up loving this as much as I think I will.

 

In the coming weeks, I will get into the details of my most favorite finds at this years show.  I am going to be testing a few products and giving you feedback.  So…stay tuned.

Good-bye Houseware’s Show.  Until next year….

Hi ho hi ho.. It’s off to the Housewares Show I go.

I will be looking for new products, new trends and new colors for all things kitchen (unplugged of course). Stay tuned. More to come!

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Weekly Update!

Weekly Update!

Check out the recipe of the week and product of the week! Click on ‘weekly update’ to see what made the cut!

Updated Website!!

Updated Website!!

Hi MincedReviewers!  Come check out my newly updated site.  It is a one stop shop for all things MincedReviews.  Visit daily for Facebook and twitter feeds (lots of recipes and tips and tricks being passed along).  Visit weekly for my Recipe of the Week and Product of the week!