Autumn Harvest Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette #Sponsored by @BrightFarms + GIVEAWAY

Today we're excited to be partnering with BrightFarms as part of their #ChooseLocal campaign. I have been compensated for this post, but as always, all opinions are my own.

DISCLOSURE: Today we're excited to be partnering with BrightFarms as part of their #ChooseLocal campaign.  I have been compensated for this post, but as always, all opinions are my own.

DISCLOSURE: Today we're excited to be partnering with BrightFarms as part of their #ChooseLocal campaign.  I have been compensated for this post, but as always, all opinions are my own.

I'm not quite sure how, or even when it happened, but somewhere along the way food became confusing. What was originally meant to be simple and nourishing has become a complicated mess of buzz words and fads that frequently leaves me scratching my head, wondering what ridiculous suggestion will come next.

In a world that constantly bombards us with "facts" about our health, it can be tough to weed through the information and figure out what is real. Yesterday eggs were bad, now they're good. We need to go gluten-free, dairy-free, or meat-free to be healthy. Eating more vegetables is never a bad idea, but what about the toxic pesticides? Organic is the only way to go, but with the rising cost of food who can afford it? Oh, don't forget, french fries will give you cancer. 

As if that wasn’t enough to make choosing a health lifestyle difficult, there are actually thousands of companies out there selling miracle "cures" to everything that ails you. There is even a vape pen that's meant to be used as an anti-snacking aide.  

Let's take a moment to chew on that one...

Feeding your family healthy meals shouldn't be so confusing. That is why you'll find the vast majority of our posts are dedicated to simple recipes using the best, often local, ingredients that you can afford. The recipes and posts on our site are styled in a way that encourages people of all skill levels to cook healthy meals.

Rather than get caught up in all of the marketing hype, our stance has always been to eat simple, seasonal foods as often as we can because food that hasn't travelled thousands of miles to reach your door always tastes better. The most important thing is to use the freshest ingredients possible, whether you shop at the local grocery store, grow your own food, or purchase it from a local farm or farmers' market.

Today we're excited to be partnering with BrightFarms, a local producer of salad greens, to shine a light on some of our favorite local products. Keep reading for a simple salad recipe made from fresh, local ingredients and while you're at it make sure to enter our giveaway for a $25 grocery gift card so you can purchase everything you need to make your own Autumn Harvest Salad.

DISCLOSURE: Today we're excited to be partnering with BrightFarms as part of their #ChooseLocal campaign.  I have been compensated for this post, but as always, all opinions are my own.

DISCLOSURE: Today we're excited to be partnering with BrightFarms as part of their #ChooseLocal campaign.  I have been compensated for this post, but as always, all opinions are my own.

Autumn Harvest Salad
 

with Apple Cider Vinaigrette



 

Ingredients


for the salad

BrightFarms Local Baby Greens Blend
SweeTango apple, thinly sliced
Shallot, thinly sliced
Pecan halves (see notes)
Applewood smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled (see notes)

for the vinaigrette

3 Tablespoons light flavored oil (see notes)
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon apple cider
½ teaspoon whole grain mustard with honey (see notes)
¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions
 

 

  • Prepare the vinaigrette: in a small glass bottle or mason jar combine oil, apple cider vinegar, apple cider, pumpkin pie spice, whole grain mustard with honey, sea salt, and pepper. Shake until well combined. Refrigerate any leftovers.
  • In a skillet cook bacon until crispy, remove from pan, then set aside to cool.
  • Combine local baby greens, apple, shallot, pecan halves, and crumbled bacon then toss with vinaigrette. Serve immediately, preferably with a huge hunk of crusty baguette slathered with salted butter.

 

Notes


The type of oil you choose for this recipe is very important. A more-strongly flavored oil will drowned out the flavors, which is why I recommend skipping the extra virgin olive oil. Instead try using a light-flavored olive oil, canola oil, or another neutral-flavored oil of your choice.

One important thing to note is that honey mustard and whole grain mustard with honey are not the same things. My preferred mustard comes Doux South, but feel free to substitute with one of your choosing. And, if you happen to be near Madison, WI come visit the only museum in the world dedicated to mustard: The National Mustard Museum in Middleton, WI.

Schermer pecans can be purchased directly from their website, but you'll often seen them offered as part of a fundraiser. Mine came from the Missouri chapter of the Children of the American Revolution (thanks mom!)

I spend a lot of time traveling, so it shouldn't surprise you when I say that my go-to bacon changes depending on where I'm at. While in Wisconsin it's a delicious applewood smoked variety from Patrick Cudahy, located in Cudahy, WI. When I'm down South with my family my allegiance switches to Burger's Smokehouse from California, MO. I've been in love with their old-fashioned Applewood smoked bacon for years, but it isn't always easy to find where I live. They're both solid choices that originate in the mid-west, so if you see them in your local supermarket make sure to give them a try.
 

Giveaway

 

TERMS: This giveaway is sponsored by BrightFarms and will run through October 31st 2017 at 12PM EST. It is open to US readers only, void where prohibited by law. You must be at least 18 years of age to enter, no purchase necessary. The number of eligible entries received will determine the odds of winning. Retail value of prize: $25.  Winner will be selected randomly and be notified by email. If no response is received within 72 hours the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be chosen. Winners: your contact information will be given to Abel Communications PR Firm so they can ship the prize to you, you can expect delivery in 4 - 6 weeks.

Disclosure


Today we're excited to be partnering with BrightFarms as part of their #ChooseLocal campaign.  I have been compensated for this post, but as always, all opinions are my own.

Pie Crust 101 - Bake a Difference with OXO #Sponsored #OXOgoodcookies

How many of you are intimidated by making pie crusts from scratch? I'll readily admit that up until recently I hated the idea of rolling out my own dough, which is why more often than not I'd pop up to the store, pick up a box of refrigerated pie crusts and call it a day.  The thing is, I was never quite happy with my final product because ready made pie crusts lack the flaky, melt-in-your-mouth texture of a made from scratch crust.

Ultimately I decided it was time to tackle my pie making fear, so I locked myself in the kitchen and made pie crusts over and over again until I got it right. Do you know what I learned from that experience? Pie crusts aren't nearly as hard as I had imagined. That's why I thought I'd share some of the tips I've learned along the way and while I'm at it spread the word about the Cookies for Kids' Cancer 4th Annual 50 State Challenge.

DISCLOSURE:  Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Bake a Difference with OXO Campaign. They have provided me with a set of pie making tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

DISCLOSURE: Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Bake a Difference with OXO Campaign. They have provided me with a set of pie making tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

Today we're partnering with OXO in support of this wonderful event. Did you know that September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month? Your mission, should you choose to participate, is to help us promote childhood cancer awareness and raise funds to help develop new, and less toxic pediatric cancer treatments.

How can you help? Host a neighborhood bake sale, run a race, throw a fundraiser at your school, or come up with an event of your own. You can join in the challenge by registering your event online today; if you mark that you were inspired by OXO when you register, then OXO will match proceeds from your event up to their annual commitment of $100,000 (see notes at the end of this post for more information.)

Want some recipes to help you get started? Make sure to check out our desserts section! We have all the basics covered: pies, cakes, brownies, and cookies or check back later this week for two new pie filling recipes: Cardamom Peach and Blueberry Peach.

DISCLOSURE:  Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Bake a Difference with OXO Campaign. They have provided me with a set of pie making tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

DISCLOSURE: Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Bake a Difference with OXO Campaign. They have provided me with a set of pie making tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

Fool Proof Pie Crust

 

I've tried a variety of pie crust recipes over the years, but the one I always keep coming back to is my great-grandma's fool proof pie crust recipe. It's the the same basic recipe I use for making Lemon Meringue PieCaramel Apple Pie, and even Chicken Pot Pie (although I omit the sugar for savory pies.) The recipe has been modified a bit over the years, swapping out lard for vegetable shortening and butter, but no matter what fat you decide to use this recipes works perfectly every single time. 

Ingredients

double crust

3 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup vegetable shortening (see notes)
½ cup salted butter, cubed
8 - 10 Tablespoons cold water

single crust

1½ cup all-purpose flour
½ Tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup vegetable shortening (see notes)
¼ cup salted butter, cubed
4 - 5 Tablespoons cold water

Directions

There are a number of ways you can approach mixing the ingredients. I prefer to keep it simple using a mixing bowl and my hands, but you can use a food processor or KitchenAid mixer if you prefer. 

  • In a bowl combine flour, sugar, and salt. Sift the dry ingredients once, then add shortening and cubed butter. 

  • Slowly add cold water, two tablespoons at a time until the dough starts to stick together. Keep in mind that adding too much water will make a sticky mess of your pie crust. You may not need the full 10 Tablespoons of water, so don't just dump it all in at once to save time. 

  • To check the consistency of your dough try pinching a small piece between your fingers, it should hold together; if it falls apart you will need to add more water. If you've accidentally added too much water try adding a tablespoon or two of flour to help bind the crust together.

  • Once mixed, divide the dough into two equal parts, form into a ball, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. If you have a kitchen scale now is a great time to pull it out to make sure your top and bottom crusts will be equal, if you don't have one you can just eyeball it.

  • Cover your work surface in parchment paper (to make cleanup a little easier), flatten the ball of dough and roll it out on a well floured surface. Make sure to cover your rolling pin with a bit of flour to keep it from sticking.

  • Start at the center and using your rolling pin work your way out until the dough is about ⅛ inch thick and circular in shape. If you notice your dough sticking, dust it with a little more flour. Work the dough lightly and quickly since over-handling the dough will make the it tough.

  • Transfer your dough to your pie plate and gently push it into place, be careful not to stretch the dough, since it will pull apart. Repeat the previous steps for your second crust or if you want to get fancy you can follow the steps below for a lattice top.

DISCLOSURE:  Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Bake a Difference with OXO Campaign. They have provided me with a set of pie making tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

DISCLOSURE: Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Bake a Difference with OXO Campaign. They have provided me with a set of pie making tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

Lattice Crust




 

  • Roll out your second crust, then use a pastry wheel (as pictured above), pizza cutter, or sharp knife to cut one inch wide strips of dough. Use a metal ruler to help make equal-sized strips of dough or just eyeball it for a more rustic look.

  • Lay out one strip of dough horizontally and the other vertically so the two strips form a cross in the center off the pie. Add additional strips weaving them in and out as you go along.

  • Once finished trim the edges of the lattice strips so they're flush with the outer edge of the pie dish. Fold the lower crust up over the top, then use a fork or your fingers to crimp the edge. 
     

Blind Baking

 

  • If your recipe calls for pre-baking the bottom crust (sometimes referred to as blind baking), prick the bottom of the pie crust in several places with a fork, place a piece of parchment paper over the crust and add rice, beans, or pie weights to the center before baking it. This will prevent bubbles from forming on your crust as it cooks.

  • You may also want to put aluminum foil or a pie crust shield around the edge of the crust to keep it from become overly dark.

  • Let your bottom crust cool slightly before adding your filling to the crust. To add the top crust lightly moisten the edge of the bottom crust, gently add the top crust, and press into place along the edges. Trim off any excess dough around the edge.

DISCLOSURE:  Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Bake a Difference with OXO Campaign. They have provided me with a set of pie making tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

DISCLOSURE: Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Bake a Difference with OXO Campaign. They have provided me with a set of pie making tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

Filling Ideas

 

Cherry Almond

Peach Cardamom

Caramel Apple

Blueberry Peach

Lemon Meringue
 

Notes


This year, OXO will donate up to $100,000 to Cookies for Kids' Cancer. Cookies for Kids' Cancer is a recognized 501c(3) public charity duly incorporated under the laws of the state of New Jersey. 100% of proceeds raised by Cookies fund pediatric cancer research. Visit OXO or cookiesforkidscancer.org for more information.

This crust recipe is very flexible, so I've been known to vary the ingredients slightly depending on what type of pie I'm making and what I happen to have in the kitchen. The original recipe calls for lard, which is fine for savory pies, but I prefer a combination of vegetable shortening and butter. You can easily turn this into an all butter or all shortening crust with fabulous results, so keep that in mind if you ever want to make a pie, but find you don't have a drop of shortening in the house.

DISCLOSURE:  Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Bake a Difference with OXO Campaign. They have provided me with a set of pie making tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

DISCLOSURE: Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Bake a Difference with OXO Campaign. They have provided me with a set of pie making tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

Tools

 

To facilitate today's recipe OXO sent along a handful of pie making tools. Keep reading for more information on the tools featured in our post today and where you can purchase them.

Glass 9" Pie Plate OXO Glass Bakeware is made of thermal shock resistant borosilicate glass, which means it can go from freezer to oven without the need to thaw.  Purchase from Amazon or OXO

Double Pastry Wheel - This two-in-one tool has straight and fluted wheels made of sturdy stainless steel. The straight wheel is great for cutting pastas and dough, and the fluted wheel is perfect for lattice-top pies and lasagna noodles. Purchase from Amazon or OXO

Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons - The Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons' unique magnetic feature keeps the spoons neatly stacked together and allows you to easily remove one at a time. The soft, comfortable, non-slip handles feature permanent, etched measurement markings. Purchase from Amazon or OXO

4-Cup Angled Measuring Cup The patented angled surface allows you to see measurement markings from above as you're pouring, so you can better measure ingredients without bending or lifting the cup to eye level. Purchase from Amazon or OXO

Silicone 1" Pastry Brush - The Silicone Basting Brush's multi-layered bristles work as if they are natural but have heat resistance and quick-clean convenience. Gaps in the center bristles hold liquid as you transfer, and tapered outer bristles let you brush delicate pastries with ease. Purchase from Amazon or OXO

Blueberry Peach Pie | Pie 101 | Not Starving Yet

Disclosure

 

Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Bake a Difference with OXO Campaign. They have provided me with a set of pie making tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

This post contains my Amazon affiliate links. I try to keep advertising unobtrusive and to a minimum in order to provide you with the best experience possible. Purchases made through these links provide me with a small income and ensure I can continue providing you with quality content.

Classic Deviled Eggs

I've seen quite a few variations on deviled eggs, but I don't think I've enjoyed the modern versions nearly as much as the classic style that I grew up with. They're the perfect combination of sweet, creamy, and tangy—and if I'm honest, eating just one makes me wish I could sit there and devour an entire tray without feeling like a glutton. 

What is it about the combination of mayonnaise, sweet relish, and yellow mustard that makes these so good? I have no idea, but there is a good reason why these classic eggs have been turning up at our family events for longer than I've been alive.

So, if you're looking for something that is sure to be a hit at your next BBQ, potluck, or family gathering consider making up a double batch of these eggs. They're only five ingredients, many of which you likely already have on hand, and they barely take any time to toss together—leaving you with more time to concentrate on the important things in life that happen outside of the kitchen.

Classic Deviled Eggs | Not Starving Yet

Classic Deviled Eggs


makes 1 dozen


Ingredients

6 large eggs, hard boiled and peeled
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish, drained
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
sweet paprika, to taste

Directions

  • Cut each egg in half using a non-serrated knife, then use a spoon to carefully scoop out the hardened yolk into your food processor. Add mayonnaise, sweet relish, and yellow mustard, then pulse until smooth. 
  • Transfer the egg mixture to a disposable pastry bag, then slowly fill the eggs. Finish each egg off with a pinch of paprika, then refrigerate until ready to serve.

Notes

For a more polished looking presentation I prefer to use a pastry bag and metal icing tip when filling the eggs, but in a pinch you can use a ziplock bag with the corner cut off. If you don't happen to have either on hand you can fill the eggs the old fashioned way—with a spoon.

Transporting deviled eggs can be a bit of a challenge, so I typically store mine in an egg container from Snapware. I love the two-tier design because I can set half the eggs out on the table while refrigerating the other half until they're needed (or in the rare instance that someone doesn't devour all the eggs I know that the remaining half can safely be taken home so I can eat them.)

Not sure how to hard boil an egg? Don't worry, it's a simple, mostly hands-off process. Place your eggs in a saucepan and fill it with cold water. You want the eggs to be covered by an inch or two, so don't fill the pan to the top. Turn the heat on high and bring the water to a rolling boil. Once the water has reached a rolling boil shut the heat off, cover the saucepan, and set a timer for 10 minutes. When the timer goes off transfer the eggs to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Let them sit in the ice water until they're cool to the touch (usually 2 - 3 minutes is enough), dry them off throughly, and allow them to finish cooling in the refrigerator. If your eggs aren't completely cooled you'll have a lot of trouble peeling them, which is why I prefer to boil the eggs ahead of time. Last minute egg boiling always leads to deviled eggs that are missing huge chunks of the white, so learn from my impatience: Boil your eggs the night before!

Disclosure
 


This post contains my Amazon affiliate links. I try to keep advertising unobtrusive and to a minimum in order to provide you with the best experience possible. Purchases made through these links provide me with a small income and ensure I can continue providing you with quality content.

Lemon Pound Cake

I like cake. It doesn't matter what flavor—chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, salted caramel—I enjoy them all, but I'm especially fond of lemon pound cake. This is largely due to its simplicity as it's one of those rare cakes that doesn't need to be drowned in frosting to make it delicious. A thick slice coupled with a cup of coffee (or better yet some vanilla bean ice cream) has the power to make even the worst day a little brighter.

The trouble is, I don't often find myself with enough time for baking.

The good news is that pound cake can be made in advance and the flavor only improves as the days go by. I've been known to make one of these cakes, enjoy a small piece, then save the rest for a rainy day (or for those last minute guests that tend to turn up at my table on a regular basis.)

If you want my advice, if life hands you lemons don't waste them on lemonade, make a pound cake instead. Cake makes everything better.

Lemon Pound Cake

Lemon Pound Cake


makes 1 loaf


1½ cups sugar
2 sticks salted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons lemon zest
4 large eggs
¾ cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter the insides of a loaf pan, line the bottom with parchment paper and set it aside.
  • In a mixing bowl cream together sugar and room temperature butter. Add lemon zest, eggs, buttermilk, and lemon juice then continue to mix until well incorporated. 
  • In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until smooth.
  • Transfer the batter to the greased loaf pan and bake for 65 - 75 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes away clean.
  • Allow the cake to cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before removing to a cooling rack. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a cake platter or plate.

Notes


 

Loaf pans come in several different sizes, for this recipe you'll need a 1.5lb loaf pan like this one from Nordic Ware.

This cake is tasty when paired with ice cream (I'm partial to lemon and lavender or vanilla bean) but it's also quite good eaten on its own or topped with sliced strawberries and fresh whipped cream.
 

Disclosure
 


This post contains my Amazon affiliate links. I try to keep advertising unobtrusive and to a minimum in order to provide you with the best experience possible. Purchases made through these links provide me with a small income and ensure I can continue providing you with quality content.