Thursday, May 31, 2012

Like a stake through the heart

That's how I felt when I just discovered that my all-time favorite dessert (deconstructed banana cream pie) has been removed from its restaurant's menu.  Let the tears begin!

I first gushed over Eleven over two years ago and haven't stopped raving about it since then.  I've sent friends, coworkers, and anyone who would listen to the Strip District to experience the glory that is my favorite of the Big Burrito Restaurant Group's creations.  The food is good, sure, but the dessert is out of this world.

Well, this girl was thinking of her upcoming birthday (cough July 19th cough) and began to search for where she'd like to go for dinner.  With that banana cream pie in mind, I checked the menu and, lo and behold, it was gone.  I know restaurants must update and change their menus to stay relevant, but how can they explain this?  I feel like I've lost a dear friend.  Sadly, Eleven has been removed from the list of birthday dinner restaurant candidates.  #foodheartbroken

Have you ever experienced this -- a restaurant removing your favorite menu item -- and been crushed?  Or, gosh this is so much worse, discovered it after you were seated to dine at said restaurant?   Misery loves company, so lament away!  We can get through this together... maybe.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Fast Friday: Easiest fruit dip

TGIHWF - Thank goodness it's holiday weekend Friday!  I'm off today and whizzing through my to-do list before Matt and I head to his parents' house for the long weekend.  Exercise, check.  Breakfast, check.  One more recipe for you to add to the Memorial Day party menu?  Keep reading :)

This "recipe" is nothing new, but it's a tried and true favorite that's always a hit at parties big and small.  Plus, any dip that's served with fruit is automatically a freebie in my nutritional book. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

25 Party-friendly Memorial Day recipes

It's almost here -- the unofficial kick-off to summer and grilling season -- Memorial Day weekend!  I've been watching the weather forecast like a hawk for the past two weeks (yes, before Memorial Day predictions were even available, erp) in anticipation.  It seems like Pittsburgh has been dancing with summer for weeks already, which is fine by me.  Dust off the patio furniture and fire up the grills, kids, because it's party time!

I've picked a few of my very favorite picnic recipes to make your holiday weekend even merrier; almost all can be made ahead or on the grill so you can get maximum time to party with friends and family.

Bacon-wrapped potato wedges
Chicken dip
Mini corn dog bites (my #1 pick... your guests will gush over these!) 
Broccoli and cheddar quinoa cups (vegetarian!)

Burgers and more:
Rosemary chicken burgers (my fav!)
Stuffed turkey burgers
Greek lamb burgers
Portobello beef burgers (omit the beef for a vegetarian entree)
Slow cooker short rib ragu
Chili lime chicken 

Sides to please everyone:
A-Z summer salad
Pat's loaded baked potato salad
World's best macaroni and cheese
Tomato and corn pie
Watermelon, arugula and goat cheese salad (light and refreshing!)

Desserts to definitely save room for:
Apple crumb pie
Coconut cream pie
Gooey butter cakes
Black bottom cupcakes
From scratch "box" brownies
Salted brown butter Rice Krispie treats
Monster cookies
Orange creamsicle cookies
Chocolate pudding dump cake (only 4 ingredients & 5 minutes of prep!)
Peanut butter cup fluffernutter blondies

For more recipes to rock your picnic guests' taste buds, check out the categories if you want something specific or use the handy dandy search bar on the right side of the blog.  Happy cooking! :)

One year ago: Spring asparagus bacon hash

Monday, May 21, 2012

Barbecue chicken pizza

I now truly understand the notion that distance time makes the heart grow fonder. And hungrier, thankyouverymuch.  After almost a month-long hiatus, Pizza Fridays returned last week in a big and bold way much to Matt's and my delight!

The nice weather has put us in a constant mood for grilling and al fresco dining.  Since we don't have a grill or porch, we've made slight adjustments and used our beloved Griddler to cook up anything and everything: burgers, salmon, shrimp kabobs, and enough chicken to feed a small army.  All to be enjoyed while sitting in folding chairs out on our rooftop.  Goodness, I love pre-summer :)

But pre-summer tends to make my appetite change slightly and crave slightly lighter versions of my favorite foods.  A stomach full of a heavy dinner is not conducive to evening walks, that's for sure.  So I've been on the prowl for tiny tweaks to lighten our favorite meals, like pizza. 

All that's required is a little smart meal planning.  I shredded aforementioned excess chicken earlier in the week and set aside extra vegetables used for other meals, as well as my favorite barbecue sauce, to use for the pizzas.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again: double duty ingredients are where it's at!  Looking at my grocery list, I realized that I could finally make that BBQ chicken pizza I've been dreaming of for month.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Garlic-crusted salmon with tomato basil relish

I love salmon!  There, I said it.  Really, though, who doesn't like salmon?  If salmon were a high school student, it'd be the Ferris Bueller of its class.  Salmon is just laid-back, cool, and gets along with anything.  Even self-proclaimed seafood haters I know will clarify that even though they don't like fish, they will eat salmon.


Why not enjoy salmon instead of just eating it?  If you like it, give it the four star treatment and, maybe, just maybe, you'll learn to love salmon!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sour cherry streusel coffee cake

Whew!  It feels good to be back.  I've been running -- literally -- all over the place for the past two weeks.

Matt's family visited for his  "graduation" from Pitt two weeks ago.  I say "graduation" because Matt's not totally done his program, but the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter every day.  Commencement was lovely, and we had a fun weekend despite the damp weather.  The highlight had to be dinner at The Melting Pot.  I recommend it for the ultimate playing-with-your-food dining experience!

The following week was filled with delicious dinners with longtime friends (Dish = fabulous, fellow Pittsburghers!), running, no-longer-neglected errands, and serious amounts of pasta.  I take training for and running in races very seriously :)

So, once I finally took a minute to stop and smell the roses turn my computer back on, I realized that I had just the recipe to lure you back in and convince you that hey, I haven't forgotten about you.

And I certainly haven't stopped baking.  In fact, I've gone back to my sugar and butter-coated roots.