31.1.12

Turkey Chickpea Chili

This one is a really good twist on another chili I frequently make, white chicken chili. It is pretty healthy and extremely filling. It is also quite simple to make.


This has become my go to of sorts lately. I make a three meat and bean chili, I also make the chicken one. This is almost a combination of the two. One of my besties is a big proponent of this one. We have our regular Tuesday nite dinner parties that now have evolved into eat then watching Ringer parties. And by parties I mean the two of us and Miss Chloe. and Dobby. Also referenced as the beast and devil dog. These weekly dinners are special b/c I have to travel a rather long way to get there. I mean it's not the most convenient friendship. I have to cook the food and then walk out of my front door, walk the 15 ft to the end of my gate and then turn left and walk another 15 ft to hers. It gets really tiresome;)



Ingredients 
1 lb of ground turkey
1 can of chickpeas
1 large can diced tomatoes w/green peppers 
(you really can choose any flavor you prefer)
2 cups chicken broth
1 packet white chicken chili
1 packet cheesy taco 
1 bag corn(optional)


To Prepare
*brown the turkey
*once the turkey is almost browned, add HALF of EACH seasoning packet
stir into the meat and add 1/2 cup of the broth, making sure to dissolve all seasoning mix into meat, simmer for 3 minutes.
*drain chickpeas and add to pan, stirring to incorporate into turkey mixture
*drain some of the juice from the tomatoes and add, repeating above step.
*if you decide you want corn, now add that
*add the remaining seasoning packets and stir into chili. 
*Now add the remainder of the broth to your taste, I do around half a cup at a time and let it simmer for about 3-5 min to determine if it is as thick as I want or if I desire a more "soupy" mix.
*I then let it simmer for about 30-45.

I have browned the turkey and put that along w/the ingredients into the crockpot and let simmer on low for about 2/3 hrs also. it is good this way, just not my favorite. :)

T likes it brothy, I prefer it heartier. I think you can all decide for yourself exactly how you prefer it. 

*origin*
A few years back Panera had a Turkey chicpea chili. It was one of my favorites. This is my version of that. Mine is pretty different, the main similarities are turkey and chickpea. imagine that. 



Old Salem

Last weekend we traipsed to the lovely town of Winston-Salem, NC to see a show w/two of my brothers, one of my sissy in laws(the sassy one;) haha Ginnay. Wiki is the best when it comes to finding awesome places to stay. He stumbles upon these deals and out of the way spots. I have had the opportunity to stay in some of the most whimsical places you can imagine. 


He was looking for places to lay our heads and came upon the Brookstown Inn. I looked at the pictures and found it cute, but not overly impressive. The location was another story, it was in Old Salem and I am a history buff. I.LOVE.HISTORY! They were having a winter special and the price was $55 plus tax. Where are you gonna find a better price than that(the No Light Inn $29 not withstanding) So the decision was made...


We got there in no time and I will say only this...Hire a new web designer, this place was AWESOME!!! It is an old cotton mill renovated. The rooms were enormous, ours in particular was 2 floors, a 16 foot ceiling and one whole wall of exposed brick and a fireplace. Was the furnishings "blow your mind" chic and modern, not even a little. I still loved every second of it. Next week I will share all the pics from the hotel, tonight's post is about a topic I love...Food! 


We had dinner at some BBQ joint...it was lacking. Perhaps I am spoiled by QShack(yummy, I need some brisket) or maybe I just have good taste, either way Wiki and I both left with our appetites still in tact. this is not cool. I will not out this establishment b/c they weren't rude, they worked hard and my tastes are mine, someone else may love it. I appreciate small businesses. 


But I will most assuredly out this next joint...


We went to this little place the next morning. It was...AAAAHHHHMAZING.

I mean we were welcomed in by peanut butter chocolate spoons to make your own hot chocolate. UMMM, Hello?! Yes, Please. 

Any place that serves my beverage in a mason jar receives an automatic first down...(If you don't understand the reference of that...then I don't know how to help you other than to offer up a prayer).



I normally am a waffle or pancake kinda gal. I cannot even recall the last time I may have ordered french toast. This time I gave in, I am outdone by the words chocolate caramel pecan all in one sentence. and yes, it was even better than it looks! 


Thank you Screaming Rooster, we will be back!


and just for the heck of it, there was this amazing building across the street, closed for renovation. It had this amazing red door and this gorgeous turquoise window. I snapped a few shots.


I love the stoop..and the star.





You may not notice but the corner street here is Wachovia, for some of you this may conjure up negative connotations, not me. I want you back Wachovia. For nine years you were good to me, It's taken Wells the Devil Fargo less than 5 weeks to garner my utter disdain. I'm sure they care. Ugh.


Anyways, take a visit to this great town, you'll be happy you did!

29.1.12

Bourbon Appletini

I love bourbon, actually love doesn't do it justice. I love the distinctive flavor. I love how it taste on my tongue. I love my bourbon neat. This means I don't want you to dare put ice in it, or shudder at the thought: soda, how offensive! In other words-bring me the bottle and a straw!!!  And if I ask a bartender what bourbons they carry and they happen to offer up Jack Daniels, my heart hurts a little. J. D. is Tennessee whiskey, not bourbon. Don't get me wrong I have no beef w/it, I just heart my bourbon.



 Bourbon MUST be made in the USA, and if its not, it's not Bourbon. In fact Bourbon Whiskey was recognised by the United States Congress as a "distinctive product of the United States" on May 4 1964.
In order to carry the name Bourbon, a set of rigid requirements must be met, and these requirement are set out in The Federal Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits (27 CFR 5) So if we break this down we come up with the key requirements for a Whiskey to be classified as a bourbon.
The grain mixture of which Bourbon is made must contain AT LEAST 51% Corn.
Bourbon must be produced at no more than 160 proof (U.S) (80% alcohol by volume)
Bourbon must be stored at no more than 125 Proof (U.S) (62.5% alcohol by volume)
and it MUST be stored in NEW Charred Oak Containers.
Straight Bourbon Whiskey refers to Bourbon meeting these requirements which has been aged for longer than 2 years. Most, if not all bourbon available to purchase has been aged for 4 years or more and therefore is Straight Bourbon whiskey, however it is not required to be labeled Straight.
More than you ever wanted to know about bourbon, huh? You just got knowledged ;)
Onto the good stuff.
ingredients
1 1/2 parts apple pucker
2 parts vodka
1 oz flat sprite
2 tbsp  cherry bourbon
directions
mix the apple, vodka and sprite together in a shaker w/ice
put a bourbon infused cherry in the glasses
pour into two chilled glasses.
*Now to make the cherry bourbon
take a glass of maraschino cherries and dump half the cherry juice and fill to top w/bourbon of your choice. let soak for a week or two.*
now pour 1 tbsp of cherry bourbon into glass
should settle at bottom creating a layered effect.
Please excuse the pop rock rim, it somewhat melted before I got a good picture, but it was tasty none the less.

Hope y'all enjoy!

Samuel Langhorne Clemens

although most probably know him by his pen name, "Mark Twain" just a little know author;)


as I have said, I heart reading. I always halt slightly whenever someone asks me what book I'm reading now. If there is not a book in hand, then "right now" I'm more than likely between books. It actually pains me to start a book and head for slumber before the conclusion. It is definitely in my favor that I read exceptionally fast and therefore fit a substantial amount of  books in a week. It is not unheard of for me to read 8-10 in 5 or so days. Other than cooking it is my escape and I love to immerse myself in the books, imagine myself as a player in their life.


This book is one that is of another level.


Wiki surprised me w/it for my birhday last year. I have yet to finish it. It is that in depth, that brain fogging that I can only spend a few hours at a time absorbing his genius. I cannot wait to finally finish it. To fully comprehend what complexities his mind held.


This is one of my favorite excerpts...


I can't tell you how much I love this book. It is probably one of my favorite gifts he ever gave me, mainly b/c I never established how much I wanted it...he just sometimes knows me better than I know myself. He has gotten annoyed b/c I've yet to finish it and have read probably 200 books in the meantime, but it is simply b/c I want to savor it. 

25.1.12

Peppermint Oreo Mudslide

Yes, you read that right. Peppermint. Oreo. Mudslide. or Goodness defined. Either works.
I would like to say a lot of witty things here. But I'm not b/c this speaks for its self. Moving right along.


Ingredients
1/2 cup mini oreos
2 cups peppermint mocha ice cream
peppermint sugar crystals(ummm, we'll say a tbsp)
2 tbsp bailey's
2 tbsp kahlua
2 tbsp vanilla vodka
1/2 cup ice
(if you can find peppermint kahlua or edy's peppermint ice cream, they were out, booooooo)


I place ice in first then add 1/2 the liquid, add the ice cream, oreos, sugar crystals and add remaining liquid.
Crush ice for a moment and then turn to frappe(or whatever your blender would use for milkshakes)
I had to stop the blender and use a spoon to mix it a little before starting the blender again to get it to my desired consistency


You can do many things to make this to your liking. More or less alcohol to get it to your preferred "boozy" state. If it's too "liquidy" add more ice cream or oreos and if it's too thick you could add more booze or milk.






**Origin**
This was my base point. I.LOVE.THESE SHAKES. Like no words are descriptive enough! I prefer it with the peppermint from EDY's, but this was beyond yummy also. I made peppermint mudslides last year  and didn't add the oreo. I think that the peppermint mocha ice cream probably works best w/this particular version.


Drink up. You'll be happy you did!

24.1.12

bargainista

Obviously we have established I love to cook...that's just a smidgen of who I happen to be. I love nice things, cute shoes, adorable bags, so forth and so on. However, I am not at a place that I can buy a $200 purse or a $100 pair of shoes. Can my hubs & I afford it: absolutely, would I do it? No shot. That's just me, I'm in no way judging you if you choose to do so, I just grew up on a farm, one of four children and that was never an option for us. As I grew older I have discovered that I have divine taste(I speak only the truth;) unfortunately I just can't let go of my old standards(I have a difficult time letting go of anything, just look in my closets.haha). But I really, really desire those awesome things and I have a certain...tenacity if you will.


Thus was born my ability to get the things I want for outrageously low prices. My furniture, my jeans, my art, my shoes and yes, my le mysteres, for dirt cheap.


This week I was wandering around the mall & I stumbled into Rack Room. I rarely shop there b/c it seems that the shoes I tend to be drawn to are never found in my size. They were having a huge sale & I thought I should check it out b/c as you never know. I went through the racks of shoes and nothing caught my eye, I even remember saying to myself "hmmm, wonder why all these heinous shoes are on sale? Hard to imagine people didn't snap them right up"  Just as I was about to waltz out, from the corner of my eye I spotted a row I had missed.


                                          Can you say Jackpot? 




These orange wedges fit perfectly, they were originally $55 and I got them for a whopping...
                                                          
                                                           $5.50


They were clearanced to $11 and for MLK they were take an extra 50% off all sale. YAY


 I already have the perfect outfit picked out to wear with it; a navy dress w/a tan belt & my favorite orange satchel...Florida in 3 wks, I'm bustin it out.






I should probably get a pedicure now, these shoes need to be rocked by some sexy toes;)



crack on a stick

as this was so succinctly coined last summer at a bunco get together by my friend, Tara...the usual name is bacon on a stick. Bacon is basically my own personal crack, hence the title and I'm sticking w/what works(for me)


It's super simple. and a big party hit. Of everything I have ever made, this is the one that people tend to request the most. A request means you did something right. I like doing something
right...just ask Wiki.


Ingredients
1 package bacon
(thinly sliced, this is a MUST)
1 package Stella Dora bread sticks
2 oz bourbon
(I prefer honey bourbon for this specific recipe)
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp melted butter


preparations
take a cookie sheet & line w/foil
(this is for easier clean up, but if you just love extra work then by all means, have at it;)
Now wrap the bacon tight around the bread stick. Maple bacon is extra yummy
line the wrapped bacon on the foil
take the 2 oz bourbon & mix in 2 tbsp of the brown sugar
take a brush & coat the 'sticks
you can now brush a little of the melted butter & sprinkle half the remaining brown sugar
bake at 350 for 10-15 min or until you can see the bacon browning
now take the pan out & if possible, drain the fat
turn them over(a big fork usually works for me)
and repeat the bourbon/brown sugar coating
bake an additional 10-15 or until it is completely cooked






**please note that it can sometimes dry out, if this happens just brush w/an extra coat when you take out






Here are a few variations
1) this is very sweet, so I often times put a dash of salt in the bourbon to counteract
2)I sometimes take 2 tbsp dijon mustard & 1 tbsp bbq sauce and add the bourbon to it, omitting the brown sugar except for the sprinkle at the end
3) and if you don't want bourbon you can use more butter
4) if you're one of those loons people who only use turkey bacon(brandy, cough cough) the four people I know who tried this said it was beyond disgusting. sooooo
5) If I am having a larger gathering I try to buy the wheat thins sticks(honey wheat) you can cut the bacon into 3 strips, thus tripling the amount. and they're more "partaaaayyy friendly" if you will




Anyways...I hope you thoroughly enjoy your dabbling into crack...on a stick. Now lets's all be honest, you like the way crack on a stiiiiiccckkk rolls of your tongue. There's no judging here, this is a safe place;)


**origin**
I have no idea who originated this tasty eat. My friend Jen mentioned it to me as bacon wrapped around a bread stick & sprinkled w/brown sugar. The rest has just been a trial and error to get just what I wanted, and someway to involve bourbon.. All I know is thank you to the person who dreamed it up.

19.1.12

Cherry Limeade Martini

I went to Sonic recently(this is a rarity for me) and it was during their happy hour. I like happy hour, it makes me happy. What a thought, huh? I ordered a medium & they inadvertently gave me a small. lucky me, they just told me to keep it and gave me the medium. In the 3.5 minutes to our house I was becoming annoyed at myself. Now I had two and I wanted to drink them both and I didn't need the sugar. But I love sugar, even if it is my utter frenemy.  Once home I realized I had some vodka and it was most assuredly an official "happy flippin hour to me" Sugar doesn't count when mixed w/vodka, it oxidizes. doesn't it? oh. well. remind me to care.


Anyhoo, few days later we were having company and I was contemplating funky drinks to make when I remembered how good  satisfying my cherry limeade was. I actually considered having Wiki drive to Sonic and get me two large cherry limeades w/no ice so I could just add vodka. I decided that sucked. Then I decided to just wing it. Thus was born cherry limealicious. 


cherry limealicious
two martinis(medium to large glass)
8 oz limeade(I used simply limeade)
2 parts cherry vodka 
1 1/2 part tripple sec
 splash grenadine


pour into glass and leave just enough room to top off w/sprite
garnish w/cherry & lime



*Origin* 
shockingly enough I got this idea from...Sonic. I know, I know. The rest just came about. I checked and apparently there are a plethora of cherry limeade martini recipes, but mine is the only cherry limealicious. or so I think. and what I think is all that matters. till someone tells me different;)


Please go forth & be participatory in a very happy hour(s)

provoleta



This is one of those things that are so simple you almost cannot believe how divine it is once you take that first tasty bite. You get a high off of it...or maybe that's just me. Either way. This makes you go....HMMMM. 


The first time I became acquainted w/this dish was at one of our favorite places in Raleigh, Oakwood Cafe. My mind immediately conjured up images of a cozy cafe w/a fireplace and possibly relaxing outdoor seating. Ummmm, nope. It is one of the most nondescript places you can imagine. When we first pulled up I'm pretty sure I was like "Is this a mini market?" haha But I decided to be a sport and try it anyway. Lie, I was ravenous & needed nourishment in order to not do something regrettable, like pummel my husband out of hanger. haha Anyways, the inside of this place is formica counters & the hard booths. A mish mash of tables and chairs. Probably seats no more than 20-25 ppl.  And it's hands down one of the best meals you will have. Yummy. No, double yummy. Food is phenomenal & the prices can't be beat. 


see...
if you're ever in the Oak City, try it out!!!

To make provoleta
2 slices of provolone, cut as thick as the deli can(or as many layers as you desire)
(there's apparently a provoleta cheese you can use, I never found it...so more power to you if you do)
**pancetta 1/4 of a pound
prosciutto 1/4 of a pound
1/2 small sweet onion
bourbon
red pepper flakes**
get a small crock if you can(or small oven safe bowl)
lay one slice in the pan and top w/olive oil & salt & pepper. 
pour the mixture(see below) over the first slice & then top w/remaining 
slice of provolone. Repeat olive oil & spices.
Bake 15-20 min on 350 and then broil for another 5 min or until it is slightly brown & the cheese is all melty & looking full of...goodness.
Serve w/toasty bread



** This is "THE MIXTURE"
It's just a term we coined once when my mind blanked out & I was expecting Wiki to read my thoughts like any good hubs should do. Men...sigh

take the prosciutto & pancetta(both should be sliced thin) roll them up & chop into small strips, do the same w/the onion. add to a fry pan w/a good splash of bourbon(I prefer honey bourbon for this particular recipe) 
add a dash of red pepper.
cook about 5-6 min 

***Origin*** Obviously I discovered this at Oakwood, what makes this "mine" is the mixture. Theirs had nothing but cheese & it was still fantastic.

18.1.12

Let's get it started

in here. Let's get it started in here.

Since this is now overtly running through my head, it may as well be in yours too. And it is, isn't it? Haha. Score. I now feel better about it. I was skimming through ideas of what to title this "welcome post" & somehow  get started came about & then, before I knew it...The Black Eyed Peas were having a concert in my mind. Ergo, you got this title.

I am Maddie and welcome to my little world. I live with my hubs in Raliegh and hope to have fun with this. 

Wiki and I 
Moving on from that aimless explanation, I hope to parlay the purpose of this lovely "whimsical" blog. I love a lot of things, some very simple & some slightly more complex. I love to cook. Like adore it, almost as much as I love eating. Notice almost, as this is a very important word. Cooking will never top eating. I'm a corn fed girl, after all. Duh. Food is something I have had a love/hate/hate more relationship w/my entire life. I struggled w/my weight for an extended period of time & as a picky eater by choice & a severe allergy sufferer by nature, my lack of options didn't help me out a ton.

Over the last few years my palate has taken on a more, shall we say, mature taste? This is in large part due to the Mr. (Heretofore, we shalt reference him only as Wiki. I'm sure you can guess why. and for next week when I forget our aforementioned deal...Wiki is interchangeable w/Tony.) He is from Boston & is part Lebanese & Italian. Over the last ten years together his annoyance w/my refusal to try new things resulted in me finally giving in(on certain things only, mind you) & discovering, to my dismay, some of these foods were utterly delectable.

 This led to me deciding that, perhaps, I should start exploring a variety of foods out on my own, seeing if I could marry the flavors I loved w/ones I was more tentative to try...and voila, my intimate knowledge of grocery stores was born. I can walk into one & spend hours, walking down the aisles, creating  recipes in my head. 

I can discover one new item & have fifteen ways to use it before I leave the store. Sometimes this works out exactly how I have it planned in my mind, other times I would be the first contestant sent home on chopped. Oh well...Wiki will eat anything;)

So this blog is my chance to share some of my ideas w/you guys. I am not the best "recipe" person per se, as I rarely & I mean rarely, use one. I just throw things in & it seems to work. Please bear with me & feel free to leave feedback as to anything I may need to change. A plethora of things I create are a twist on something I've had before so please, feel free to omit or add in anyway that suits your fancy.

I will be tackling a variety of topics on this blog; delicious cocktails(maybe a few mocktails for you pregger chicas) scrumptious desserts, tempting apps & sometimes an outfit I love & must have, a bargain I have found(I am the bargain queen. Hands down. I win. Believe me, this is a declaration of truth. you probably thought you were good, but I'm better;) Some of my favorite books as I am an avid reader & books leave me contented. And a few other topics that evade me right now.

I hope y'all enjoy this... Just know my posts will involve 
numerous amounts of bacon, bourbon & all things sports.