I'm so happy to have you here with me sharing the delicious journey I have chosen! I am Carrie, a mom on a mission to find bliss in the kitchen. At least, as long as my kids allow me to. More of a baker than a cook, you'll find I love experimenting--baking is sort of like a mad scientist experiment, anyway, isn't it? It doesn't always turn out the way I plan, but that's part of the fun. ;)
Disclosure: The Baddish Group provided me with a mini sampler of Casa Noble tequila and a gift card for writing this post. All opinions remain my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make this blog possible.
Around the world, April 22nd has been set aside as a day of action in the fight for environmental protection. Your community probably planned a river or park clean-up. There are often talks about sustainability and how to move forward in a more green fashion. We’re focusing more on our footprint and the ramifications of our actions. It’s a beautiful thing.
Today is also my mother-in-law’s birthday!
Another life-giving force, my husband’s mother calls Earth Day her birthday. This year she is traveling over her birthday, so we won’t get to celebrate in person. I raise my glass in her honor–here’s to many more!
How does Casa Noble tequila fit into this?
Casa Noble Tequila obtained its organic certification from the USDA in early 2009. According to the USDA website, organic agriculture produces products using methods that preserve the environment and avoid most synthetic materials, such as pesticides and antibiotics. Casa Noble’s commitment to organic agriculture ensures that they’ll be producing tequila for many years to come. The soils are preserved by the process they use, including composting for fertilizer and avoiding environmentally-harmful pesticides altogether. They rotate crops, which helps maintain good soil health, and utilize livestock and insects as natural pest control. Heck, they even manually weed! In the end, you know you’re getting the best tequila possible because of the extra care they’re putting into their operation. It’s no wonder Casa Noble has been around for more than 200 years–and 7 generations–producing tequila. I can’t think of a better base for an Earth Day cocktail than one of their fine products!
Happy day, Mother Earth! Happy birthday, mother-in-law! And thank you, Casa Noble, for providing the perfect tequila for the occasion!
Disclosure: As a Sabra Tastemaker, I was compensated for this post, as well as provided with free product. All opinions remain my own. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who help make this blog possible.
I love my job, but the work week is tough. It’s hard to find inspiration in the kitchen after a full day in the office, followed by a 40-minute drive. By the time I arrive home, all I want to do is park my butt on the couch and relax. I’m spent. Unfortunately, I can’t do this; I have a family counting on me. (Which is probably fortunate, too, because, when left to my own devices, I can be shamefully lazy.) Forge on, I must!
This quesadilla came from one such night when my husband was working his winter second job and I just didn’t have it in me to prepare the typical meat, potatoes, and veggie meal. I looked at what I had in the fridge–which, thank goodness, was filled with a recent shipment from Sabra Dipping Co.–grabbed the tortillas, and got to work. In no time we had a deluxe treat–something a little more than the usual, but still meeting the fast and easy requirements for Monday-through-Friday. The best part is that you make enough filling for three quesadillas, so you have leftovers to work off of the next time around. Weeknight dinners have been solved. You’re welcome.
Which meals do you turn to when the week has been long and you’re just too tired to think?
Side dishes don’t have to be elaborate. Sometimes, it’s the simplest things in life that are the sweetest. Today I have one of these simple things: Roasted Balsamic Brussels Sprouts. There are only three ingredients, including the sprouts, and most of the time spent making them is passive–you’re just waiting for the oven to work its magic. While I would happily devour a bowl of these little choux and call it a meal, more realistically, this side will provide 4 generous helpings in addition to your entree. The baking time listed will provide you with baby cabbages with a little bit of bite to them still–they are softened just the right amount, without being overcooked. My son gives them a thumbs up. My daughter was so busy stuffing her face that I couldn’t get a sentence out of her. But when she was done, the plate was licked clean. I think that’s an A+.
I have tried preparing these with more Balsamic vinegar, but prefer using less. This allows for the sprouts to still shine, while being fully enhanced for your pleasure. Feel free to tweak the ratios, though, if you’d like more Balsamic flavor.
Certain foods are expected to be paired with certain times of year. Burgers always make me think of long summer days spent swimming at my grandparents’ cottage at the lake and chasing fireflies at dusk. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without the turkey. Pile on the stuffing and mashed potatoes, please. And when it comes to Easter, there is no finer pairing than ham. We may not always celebrate Easter on Easter (yes, my family is weird), but you can be guaranteed that when we do, ham is what’s for dinner.
It’s not every day we have ham. So when Jones Dairy Farm asked me if I wanted to make one of their hams and share it with my readers, I jumped at the opportunity. I usually am visiting someone else’s house for Easter instead of playing hostess–it was my turn to spin the tables around. I’m glad I had the chance to show how foolproof it can be, especially when you’re starting with a high quality hog. Jones Dairy Farm makes it so easy!
We couldn’t believe how BIG our ham was. It weighed in somewhere around 16.5 lbs and measured nearly 14″ long. We named it–because we’re a little strange around here–Hamilton Porkington I. The kids couldn’t wait for me to cook it up. It was torture waiting until I had the time to plan a proper feast.
Feast day came and we prepared. My wall oven is too small for my roasting pan–the downside to not having to bend over–so I actually own an electric roaster. It’s something like a huge crock pot that normally lives in the basement when it’s not being used. I unwrapped Hamilton and took him in for all his glory. Wow! Now that was a piece of meat! The aroma already was enticing without heating him up! Because the ham is fully cooked, the time it spends in the oven is just really to reheat it. You don’t want to use too high of a temperature or cook it too long or you’ll dry your ham right out, which would be a very sad thing. So let’s not do that, okay?
After preheating my roaster, I placed Hamilton fat side down on the rack, covered, and set the timer. When there were 40 minutes left of heating time, I added the glaze, brushing it on a second time with 20 minutes remaining. The leftover glaze goes on top right before removing from the roaster to ensure a little bit of sweetness remains. It’s not necessary–you certainly don’t have to glaze your ham at all–but it’s a nice little touch of specialness.
When you’re ready to carve, put a towel on your counter and place your cutting board on top of that. This helps in two ways: it’ll stabilize your cutting board and catch any drippings. If you have a cutting board with channels in it, I highly recommend using that. My biggest cutting board does not. Let your ham rest for 5 minutes before carving for maximum moistness.
Despite my knife skills class at The Culinary Institute of America in February–including a lesson on carving ham–I’m still a novice. It’s going to take a bit more practice to get the hang of this. Luckily, there is an excellent video on Jones Dairy Farm’s website to help you when it comes time to carve. I know I referred to it several times before I pulled my knife out. The most important part is to ensure your knife is sharp. Otherwise, you run the risk of cutting yourself in the process, and nobody wants that to happen.
Ta-da! There you have it! Easy, peasy, and so darn tasty!
Now I know you want your own ham, too, for your Easter table! The folks at Jones Dairy Farm have graciously offered to send one to one of my readers and all you have to do is enter in the Rafflecopter box below. This contest will run through Friday at 11:59PM to ensure there is enough time to get your ham to you before the holiday. Good luck! Note: contest open to residents of the United States only.