Foodie Friday: Copy Cat Cheddar Bay Biscuits

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Fresh from the oven!

 

I fell off of the blogging bandwagon for a few months. Sometimes sitting down and coming up with something compelling to write about felt like a daunting task.  I am hoping after this mini hiatus I can re-enter the blogging world, refreshed and full of excellent writing.

We shall see.

I figured the best way to restart would be with a food related post because who doesn’t like food?! I knew these copy cat biscuits were perfect to share with you all because they were tasty AND easy.

I made these for dinner the other night when I decided, at the last minute of course, that we needed biscuits. I opened up my  “quick breadsPinterest board and Copy-Cat Cheddar Bay Biscuits caught my eye. My husband and I never go to Red Lobster but both of us went there as children and have very fond memories of those biscuits. I knew these would be a perfect addition to our evening meal.

First things first, I gathered my ingredients. (This simple step prevents many kitchen meltdowns.) I discovered I had two problems. I only had about a tablespoon of butter and I didn’t have any buttermilk. Who does? Does anyone just keep buttermilk on hand? The only time I ever have it is when I purchase it for a specific reason.

Thankfully we live in the digital age so I headed over to Google to see what substitutions I could use. I found this article on popsugar.com about different butter substitutes. I really liked this article because it gives you several options and explains in what capacity they would best work. The recipe called for melted butter so I went with the canola oil suggestion.

The first few substitutes I found for buttermilk called for things I didn’t have. However, over on joythebaker.com I found another great article explaining what buttermilk is and what it does in a recipe. She also offers several different substitution options which I really appreciated. I happened to have cream of tarter on hand (weird, I know) so I followed her instructions and created some “buttermilk.”

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This is what the dough looks like when you are done combining everything. It is very sticky!!

 

Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits turned out great. You should check out the Damned Delicious blog for other quick and easy recipes. If I hadn’t had to concoct ingredient substitutions prep time would have been less than 10 minutes. This would also be a great recipe to make with kids or even have them try it out on their own (except for the oven part).  The biscuits were cheesy, flaky, buttery deliciousness. I didn’t even put the extra butter and seasonings on top that the recipe called for.

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Flaky layers- exactly what you want.

 

I did put in the whole quarter teaspoon of cayenne pepper. We like it hot in this house. It did give them quite a kick so if you aren’t into spicy stuff try just a pinch or leave it out all together. If you still want to get that smokey, peppery taste without the heat try some chili powder instead. Also, these are drop biscuits so the dough is quite a bit “wetter” than the dough you use for traditional cut biscuits. Don’t try to roll this out or you will have a mess on your hands!!

We are headed out to Western Kansas in a few days. I am hoping this rain moves on by then and we can finally see some sunshine. Have a great weekend everyone!

-Christy

 

 

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Favorite Five: Podcasts: Part Two

I thought I was going to make it this winter without getting sick but last Friday I could feel it attacking. Five days later; having gone through multiple boxes of tissues and having sinus pressure so bad I was in tears, I am almost feeling normal. I think by this weekend I will have kicked this thing to the curb for good.

Better late than never, here is part two of my favorite five podcast list. I hope this has encouraged non-podcast listeners to check them out or, if you already listen to podcasts, I hope you found some new ones to try.

 

 

 

 

Serial

Many of you have probably hear of this podcast. It became a runaway success when it started back in Fall 2014. The combination of suspense, murder and a sympathetic convict made for a record-breaking debut.

Serial tells one story over the course of a season with each episode building on the previous one. This season’s topic was the murder of an 18 year old high school student, Hae Min Lee, and her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, who was convicted of her murder. Obviously this was not an open and shut case or else it would not be a very interesting podcast. Instead there are many unanswered questions about Adnan’s conviction and host Sarah Koenig takes us along for the ride as she tries to answer them.

If I had to pick a favorite episode it would probably be the first one; The Alibi, because that is the one that got me hooked. Who among us could remember what they did after school 15 years ago? What is this “alibi” and why wasn’t it used in the case? These questions were intriguing but sometimes the answers led to more questions. If you enjoy mysteries of any kind you will enjoy this podcast.

 

 

 

Gilmore Guys

Before you brush off this as “for Gilmore Girls fans only” let me assure you this podcast stands on its own. It’s hosts, Kevin T. Porter and Demi Adejuyigbe, are funny, smart and engaging whether you are a “Gilly” or not.

Each podcast covers an episode of the Gilmore Girls and they break it down with segments such as “Pop Goes the Culture” and “The Ffffashion Report”. They often have guests, sometimes even people who do no like the show. I love that kind of “outside of the box” thinking. These guys aren’t afraid of defending their show or of having lively discussions. The guests have all been great, even the “anti-Gillys”; in fact those have been some of the funniest episodes.

I think this podcast is successful because of it’s uniqueness. Here are two hetero guys discussing a show that is labeled “for women.” Not only does this prove that Gilmore Girls isn’t just for women but it is also great to hear a different perspective. Another unique aspect is that these are not two die-hard fans; Kevin has seen the whole series and is a self-professed “Gilly” and Demi is watching it for the first time. Many podcasts about TV series are fans simply gushing about their show; there isn’t much actual discussion.  Demi is there as a set of fresh eyes, noticing issues someone who loves the show may miss. To be fair even Kevin doesn’t shy away from laughing at bad set design or ridiculous situations. They have figured out how to toe the line of being funny without being insulting which is good since most of their original listeners were Gilmore Girls fans.

Gilmore Girls reminds me of my mom; I remember coming home during college and my mom would be watching it or she would tell me about it. I regret never sitting down and watching it with her. It is great to watch a show with someone because then you have someone to discuss it with. Now, as I work my way through all seven seasons and my mom is no longer with us, I feel like these guys are giving me an outlet for that analysis I crave, with a much needed dose of humor.

 

 

 

 

 

Stuff You Should Know

Do you want to know what the placebo effect is? Are you confused by 3D printing? (I was.) Have you found yourself wondering how underwater tunnels work? Did you forget what amnesia is? (See what I did there.) Then this podcast is for you.

The hosts, Josh and Chuck, lead us on an endless quest for knowledge. No topic is off limits. (It seems.) They have covered everything from the Muppets to lethal injection and have done so with intelligence, respect and humor.

These guys make it work with their relaxed demeanor and chemistry.  They are obviously good friends. They pick the topic together and then they each do their own research. When they come together on the podcast the information is delivered in a conversational format so you never feel like its a classroom-like lecture. The podcasts are often sprinkled with mini segues and personal antidotes which add to the relaxed feel.

These guys have created a cable show, have weekly videos and even do live events. I think it would be a blast to seem them in person. I haven’t listened to every show; there are over 600 total, but I have listened to most of them. Find a podcast that covers something you are interested in and before you know it you will be listening to all of them.

There you have it; my five favorite podcasts! What are some of your favorite podcasts?

Have a great weekend!

-Christy

 

 

 

 

 

Favorite Five: Podcasts: Part 1

I am always behind when it comes to new technology. (I’ve only been on twitter for about a year.)  When my husband started using the word “podcast” in our everyday conversations I had no idea what he was talking about. And because apparently I tune out what I don’t know, for a long time I didn’t even ask.

However, when we started traveling and were facing eight to nine hours of driving a day he brought them up as a way to pass time.  I enjoy talk radio such as This American Life so I took him up on his suggestion.  After four or five hours of driving, multiple stops, missed exits, and miss-read maps, our conversations tended to become contentious. That is when we would turn on a podcast and calm and order would be restored.

My husband helped me find a few to start listening to and pretty soon I was hooked. Nowadays I listen to podcasts almost everyday. I can listen to something humorous if I need a laugh or distraction while I am working out, I can catch up on current events when I don’t have time to sit in front of the TV or I can listen to food podcasts while I am making dinner; they are so easy incorporate into your day.

Here are my favorite podcasts and some of my favorite episodes. Since it is hard to do all of that and keep it short I’ve decided to make this a two-part Favorite Five post.

Here they are; as always, these are in no particular order.

 

 

 

 

Stuff You Missed in History Class

This was the first podcast I listened to. My husband was wise to suggest it as I love history. Its been around since 2008 and I enjoyed it so much I went back to the beginning and have listened to all of the episodes.

History was my favorite subject in school but textbooks can only cover so much and I was left wanting more. This was back before the internet and sometimes it could be hard to find additional information on a particular subject. This podcast is just what I needed back then. Sometimes it covers something you have never heard of; other times it discusses events you have heard of but didn’t really know the particulars on. I especially enjoy the podcasts about historical figures because the hosts give you information on who the person was, not just the important thing they did.

Here are some of my favorite episodes.

Polio: The Dread Disease. My grandmother, who is 95 and still kicking, had polio has a young child. She told me she can still remember waking up one morning and not being able to walk.  As the illness continued her father began massaging her legs every day. She said she doesn’t know if it really did anything but she felt like it helped. Her family was very poor and couldn’t afford professional medical care so I imagine her father felt like he had to do something and massaging her limbs was the one thing that he thought of that kind of made sense. She ended up fully recovering but has had a few health issues later in life that link back to her struggle with polio.

Because of her experience I’m always interested in learning more about polio. This podcast did a great job of explaining how it started and spread and what it was like to live through this outbreak.

The Christmas Truce. This podcast is one of my favorites because it covers one of my favorite stories from history. I love the idea that in the thick of war people could still find some Christmas spirit. If you don’t know what I am talking about listen to the podcast! Maybe while sitting in front of your Christmas tree, sipping hot cocoa.

The House of Worth and the Birth of Haute Couture. I love Victorian clothing and it doesn’t get much more Victorian than the House of Worth. Do yourself a favor and Google “Charles Worth” and look at some of the images. I seen some of his gowns in museums but didn’t know much about him or how he got started. This man was a much bigger part of fashion history than I realized.

 

 

 

 

Death, Sex and Money

I enjoy the frankness of this podcast. The host, Anna Sale, interviews all kind of people about all kinds of things but mostly, as the title suggests, she covers death, sex, and money. Here are some of my favorites:

Living Alone and Liking It. Sometimes.

Sometimes she asks us, the audience, to email or call in with a personal story for an upcoming podcast. This time it was about people living alone; some are loving it, others not so much. It brought me back to my 20s when I almost always was living alone, and pretty much loving it.  Even after moving in with my husband I was still on my own a lot, even at night because he was working as a paramedic. I enjoyed the memories this podcast brought back and it made me appreciate my current situation even more.

I Love You but There’s This Money Thing

Money can be a very contentious topic to bring up in a relationship. My husband and I don’t argue much but when we do it is usually about finances. If you and your partner aren’t on the same page regarding money, spending, and saving you are doomed. That may seem overly dramatic but you will have issues if you don’t figure that out. I enjoyed this podcast because she was able to find some humor and levity in a serious subject. She emphasizes that while not the most romantic topic, its a topic that needs to be discussed.

This Senator Saved My Love Life

A young couple, separated by distance, is brought back together with the help of a Senator. Sounds strange but it is a lovely, heart warming story and I hope you listen to it. The older couple speaks about love and life with a frankness and wisdom that only comes with age. I think that our society does itself a disservice when we collectively ignore older people. If you are willing to listen you almost always will learn something from them. They aren’t perfect, and do not pretend to be but they are not afraid to say what they think, and why they think that way. I love hearing another generation’s opinion on life.

Next week I will have the other three, along with my favorite foodie podcasts. I hope you take a minute and listen to a few of these. Let me know what you think!

I hope everyone has a great weekend! Stay warm!

-Christy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Roundup: Life Gets in the Way of the Blog

Sometimes I feel like I don’t really “get going” until the middle of the week. This was one of those weeks. I haven’t done or seen anything that is “blog worthly” and I don’t have the time to write up the blog ideas I have in my notebook. A good, informative blog post easily takes 4-5 hours from start to finish.  So instead of just being strangely silent or publishing something mediocre I decided to give you all a peek at what has been keeping me so busy.

My biggest project/pain-in-the-butt is this baby quilt. Like any good crafter I waited till the last minute to begin working on it. Also, this is the first quilt I have ever made. I always seem to give myself a challenge when I have a deadline. (I do NOT recommend this.) I finally have all the squares cut out but I am fully aware that sewing them together isn’t going to be a quick project either. Wish me luck.

Hundreds of squares. Not sure if I will ever do this again.

Hundreds of squares. Not sure if I will ever do this again.

Keeping in the world of ‘craft’ I have three yarn-based projects keeping me busy. The teal one is an easy project I made up to use up that yarn and I need some new items for my Etsy shop.  I am almost done with it. The red and grey cowl is a pattern I am working on. I have several patterns that are waiting in the wings to get published. The brown is a Valentines gift. It was supposed to be a Christmas gift but that didn’t happen. Some people may wonder why I have so many projects going on at once but if you are at all crafty you probably understand me completely.

 

Thank God these are portable projects.

Thank God these are portable projects.

I spent most of yesterday baking or cleaning up from baking. My husband has a tendency to skip breakfast unless there is something quick to grab as he is going out the door. Of course there are store-bought granola bars but we both wanted something homemade to cut down on the “unknown ingredients factor” and cost.

The first recipe I decided to try was Healthy Avocado Chocolate Cookies. Basically you are using the avocado as a substitute for butter. Even though it sounds weird I could see how, in theory, that makes sense. I followed the recipe exactly except I used honey instead of coconut sugar; I didn’t have any coconut sugar and honey was the recommended substitution. Also I used regular chocolate chips instead of dark chocolate chunks.

My first problem with these was my own fault; my avocado was too ripe so my batter was too thin. I knew this wouldn’t work for cookies so I threw in a hand full of all purpose flour so the batter would have the right amount of stiffness. Also, when I tasted the batter I could totally taste avocado. Kinda grossed me out.

They LOOK good.

They LOOK good.

Fortunately my husband really liked the finished product. To me they just aren’t sweet enough. But I kind of have an aversion to “healthy” baked goods. My feeling is if you want a cookie have a COOKIE. Just don’t have ten. I find healthier versions to be much less satisfying so then I want to eat more.

My second baking adventure turned out much better. Flourless Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies sounded like it might make us both happy.

Batter ready to go on the cookie sheets.

Batter ready to go on the cookie sheets.

This recipe was easy to follow and turned out great. I used a half cup of brown sugar instead of the 2/3 cup the recipe calls for but otherwise followed all the instructions. Once again my batter seemed a little thin but once I folded in the oats and chocolate chips it seemed to have the right consistency. I would make these again.

The finished product.

The finished product.

I think we are going to buck tradition this year and go out the night before Valentine’s day instead of Saturday night. Every place that is worth going to is either already booked up or will have hour long waits. I am not sure where we will go tomorrow night – my husband is supposed to have it all figured out. Saturday we are going to have a little celebration at home; grill some brats, get some good craft beer, and watch Netflix. Sometimes simple is best.

Have a great Valentine’s Day!

-Christy

Foodie Friday: Charred Wings & Homemade Bread

You Gotta Try:

We had a little snow storm move through the area a few days ago so naturally we bundled up and head out looking for food and beer. Thank goodness for four wheel drive. And for small storms that move through quickly.

In Kansas City the northern area is referred to as “the northland”. Very inventive I know. That area is not really known for local places; there are a lot of chains and that is just not what we were in the mood for.

I did a quick search on my Yelp app and came across Nick & Nino’s Pub.  The reviews were pretty good but even better were the pictures. There were also tantalizing descriptions of their wings. I love good wings. If I come across a place that is supposed to have great wings I have to try them.

The place itself was nice and spacious with comfortable booths and tables. Of course I knew exactly what I wanted to order and I was not disappointed. First of all the wings are HUGE. It makes me wonder what kind of over-sized chicken these things come from. Their best feature, however, was the char. Each wing had deep char marks on it and it really gave them a wonderful, rustic flavor. I was surprised that something so simple could make such a difference in flavor.

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Charred Wings! A revelation.

 

I washed those wings down with a few glasses of Fresh Squeezed IPA from Deschutes Brewery. I could write an entire blog post about how much I love that hoppy, citrusy beer. It pairs with wings quite well. Overall we had a great experience there and I would tell anyone who is in that area (it is very close to KCI) to check it out.

Deschutes Fresh Squeezed.

Deschutes Fresh Squeezed.

Recipes I Love:

Yesterday I decided to make some bread. I had been thinking about it for awhile but bread making really intimidates me. I have done it before and had wonderful results. However, I have also had disasters and wasted an entire afternoon and expensive ingredients on something that was rock hard and ended up in the trash.

I decided to pick a recipe from my Pinterest board for Yeast Bread. I looked at each one and decided on the recipe that had the clearest and most concise instructions. Also, I needed a simple list ingredients because I had no way to make a trip to the store.

This recipe is amazing. Everything went together easily and made me feel like I had been making bread for years. The best part was the bread itself. It came out perfectly. It had great texture, perfect crumb, and toasted beautifully. I am using past tense because that bread didn’t stick around long. I will make more soon!

I made the slashes before the final 30 minutes of rising. I brushed some olive oil on top right before I put it in the oven. You could do the same with melted butter

I made the slashes before the final 30 minutes of rising. I brushed some olive oil on top right before I put it in the oven. You could do the same with melted butter

You can try it find the recipe here. I really encourage you to make your own bread. Have you ever read the label on a loaf of bread? All sorts of weird stuff listed there. Yes, you can buy a loaf of bread for $2 but homemade is so much better. You control what is in it and the taste is beyond compare. It is worth the extra effort.

Delicious, lovely bread.

Delicious, lovely bread.

I am looking forward to tomorrow; we are planning on hitting up an Irish pub with some friends. Irish music and craft beer are an excellent combination. Hope you have a great weekend too!

-Christy

 

Foodie Friday: Magic Hat Brewery

I consider beer to be as important to happiness in life as food which is why I will be covering craft beer in my Foodie Friday posts. Both my husband and I love craft beer and we seek out new brews and breweries every place we go.

There is a well-established craft beer scene in Vermont. There are many great breweries to check out as well; we chose to tour the Magic Hat Brewery in South Burlington.  This brewery  came in second in USA Today’s poll for Best Brewery Tour.  That is a big deal when you consider it was up against hundreds of other breweries throughout the United States. You can check out the top ten and read more about the poll here.

Its one of those places you just have to “see”. In other words it is hard to describe. I feel like this brewery is what Willy Wonk’s dark and mysterious brother would have opened (if he had existed).  Has a definite steampunk vibe to it.

The entrance to what they call "the Artifactory".

The entrance to what they call “the Artifactory”.

When you arrive you enter into their retail area. There was a nice person at the front desk to answer our questions about taking a tour. In the retail area they have glassware, bottle openers, tee shirts; the typical promotional stuff.

Some of their merchandise is pretty cool. Makes great gifts for a beer lover!

Some of their merchandise is pretty cool. Makes great gifts for a beer lover!

Towards the back of this area is their Growler bar. Its a pretty impressive sight. 48 taps! You can grab your allotted free samples there or purchase a growler and fill it with your favorite beer. Of course we had already had some of their beer at home but it was fun to try some of their seasonal brews as well as some of the harder to find ones. The bartenders were very knowledgeable about the different beers which was appreciated because I didn’t want to use up a sample on something I might not like.  Some of their best loved beers are the Dream Machine IPL and the #9. I went out on a limb and tried the limited edition Feast of Fools Raspberry Stout. I am not a fan of stouts normally but I do like raspberry based beers. It was delicious. Perfect for sipping after a filling Christmas dinner.

The Growler bar. This by itself is worth the visit.

The Growler bar. This by itself is worth the visit.

We were there around 4pm on a Thursday so it wasn’t very busy. We even got our own private tour! The tour itself is pretty short but it is interesting and informative.  They have a video which walks you through the basics of how beer is made which is great for those who are just getting their feet wet in the world of craft beer. Our guide was full of information and answers to all of our questions. It was a fun, memorable visit; I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes Magic Hat beer or who is simply interested in craft beer.

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Bottles coming down the line to be labeled and filled. Every time they want to bottle a different beer they have to stop and clean EVERYTHING.

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They have machines that fold the boxes! What will they think of next?

I like to drink beer from the breweries I have been to whenever I can. I like the connection to the process. Sadly now that we are back in the KC area Magic Hat beer is hard to find. In fact, many of the wonderful brews we had in Vermont are simply not available here. However, we have several great breweries close by so be looking for future posts about the craft beer here in Kansas City.

Have a great weekend!

-Christy

Back in the Swing

I am excited to get going on this blog again. I knew I needed to get back to it but I was feeling totally uninspired. I haven’t figured out how to “turn on” my writing yet…I am either in the mood or I am not! And when I am not my writing is miles away from publishable.

I have decided to let go of the once a week Wooly Wednesdays. It was too hard to come up with topics every week so instead I will publish whenever I have something good to share. I will keep doing the Foodie Friday weekly because I never seem to run out of stories about food!

On a more somber note…today is the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the notorious concentration camp Auschwitz. The dwindling number of survivors have traveled hundreds of miles to commemorate this day in Poland. I hope everyone takes a moment to remember those who lost their lives at the hands of evil and those who survived and who were able to emerge from one of the darkest times in history and put their lives back together. I know history isn’t always pleasant to re-visit but it is so important not to forget. There are many news stories about the survivors and Netflix has some wonderful documentaries about the holocaust.

On a lighter note I hope everyone enjoyed their holidays and I hope those of you who are back east are enjoying the snow. We haven’t had more than an inch here and I kind of miss it!

-Christy