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The Misadventures of Mrs. B: 2010-04-25

Cook. Writer. Wife. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Klutz.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Break Out The Bubbly! It's a GIVEAWAY!!!

Guess what, friends?

I'm hosting my FIRST EVER GIVEAWAY!!!!!

If I could find a sound bite of the happy-excited-you-just-won-on-The-Price-Is-Right music, I totally would.

This giveaway is being so generously sponsored by CSN Stores!

I didn't know this before, but CSN has 200 - 200!! - stores to shop from and let me tell you, after having perused various stores once I was contacted about this giveaway, they have amazing prices on a ridiculously wide range of products.  Everything from track lighting to cookware to shoes to furniture and hundreds of other items.  It's all there!

So what do I have for you, my lovelies?

I have a $60 gift card to be used at any one of CSN's stores!


Wouldn't that be amazing? Well, you have to enter in order to win, right?

There are many ways to enter (aren't there always?):

1) You must be a follower of this blog to be entered.  Leave me a comment on this post letting me know you've become one or already are one.

2) Leave a comment telling me what you'd like to do with that $60 gift card (seriously, take a look at the stores CSN offers.  It's ridiculous!).

3) Tweet about this giveaway and leave me a comment telling me you've done so, with a link to your tweet.

4) Become a fan of (or liker of? Is that how that works now?) my fan page on Facebook - and again, hit me up with a comment when you do!

It's just that easy!

The giveaway ends Friday, May 7th at 11:59 PM EST, so get those comments rolling!

Keep in mind that if you're in Canada, there will be international charges, and that of course there will be shipping fees no matter where you are.

Good luck!


Thursday, April 29, 2010

O is for Olives and Olive Oil

It took me a while to come up with what to base Jenny's O post on this week.



Oh My Goodness?

None of them did it for me.  And since the dog ate my homework last week...(*blushes*)

Then it hit me! Why not talk about one - no, TWO! - of my favorite things?

Olives and olive oil.

*sighs happily*  I love olives.  They are just wonderful.  I'll eat them just about any way I can get them.  Straight out of the jar or can, from an olive bar, on pizza...smothering pasta...

Do you like olives? How about trying some Cheesy Olive Bread? I adapted that one from Pioneer Woman and totally changed my father's life along the way.  It's very powerful.

What about stuffed olives? I had stuffed olives many, many moons ago and it occurs to me now that I need to make them happen again for myself.  They were big, green olives stuffed with garlic and cheese then breaded and fried.  Unbelievable.  Diners have the best food sometimes.

One of my favorite pasta sauces is very simple: Garlic, olive oil, and a little butter in a pan until the garlic becomes fragrant.  Toss in chopped tomatoes (or halved grape tomatoes - my favorite) and cook them til they're softened.  Add in a handful of sliced or whole olives right at the end and a bit of fresh basil.  Even add a little white wine if you're so inclined.  Perfecto!

And olive oil...mmmm....

Golly.  I love olive oil.  Rich, fragrant, golden olive oil.  It's so wonderful.

I use it to dress my salads, dip my bread, enrich my pasta sauces, brown meat...I'm a big fan.  I think if I ever went to an olive oil tasting I'd probably die from excitement.  Sounds dorky, but it's true.

And not to go on again about pasta and how much I love it (gee, I wonder what my P post should be about..?), but simply drizzling olive oil over pasta...maybe some grated cheese...oh, forget about it.  I'm all over that.

I've always wanted to make an olive oil cake.  Have you ever made or eaten one? How was it? It's on my list of Things To Attempt, for sure.

How do you use olive oil the most? If ever? :-)  What about those olives - what's your favorite way to eat them, if at all?

Okay.  Enough waxing rhapsodic over food.  For now, anyway...!

Jenny Matlock

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Zucchini Sticks with Lemon Dill Dipping Sauce

**Psst! Have you entered my $60 CSN Stores giftcard giveaway? It ends Friday, May 7th!!**

I have a confession to make:

I'm addicted to fried zucchini.  It's an ugly, ugly thing.

The pizza shop down the road makes it.  Sometimes that's all I'll get for dinner when we order from there.

And frankly, what I enjoy almost as much as the zucchini is the sauce that comes with it.  Oh, yum.

Finally, it occurred to me that I should try to figure out how to make this myself, only baked instead of fried.  So I did!

One zucchini was cut in half, and then into sticks.

One bowl met two beaten eggs, and a plate met two cups of bread crumbs mixed with salt and pepper.

Sticks were coated and lined up on a greased cookie sheet.  30 minutes later at 375 degrees and they were golden and wonderful!

While the zucchini was baking (and being flipped halfway through the bake time), I made my sauce.

This sauce is epic.  Maybe it's just me, but I really don't think so.  It's all about the sauce.

1 cup of sour cream, 1/2 cup of mayonnaise, 1/2 a lemon (juiced) and 2 teaspoons of dried dill...lordy.

I used a dill mix because, well, that's all I had.  It contains garlic, which is awesome.  If I had garlic powder I would have used that as well.  Oh, and incidentally, I am violently in love with dill so 1 teaspoon might do ya just fine.  But I went with 2.

Now allow me to warn you: This sauce is so good, you'll find yourself making up excuses to use it.  It goes well on boiled potatoes, in case you were wondering.  You'll ask yourself why you don't grill more salmon.

You might even cut up raw veggies to dip.  Even if you never eat raw veggies as a rule except in salad.  It's that powerful.

So see? These zucchini sticks are no longer fried and are leading me towards a life of eating even more vegetables.  They work on so many levels.

I can't believe it.  I managed to healthify a previously fried treat to which I'm addicted.  Go, me!

Give this one a shot - you'll thank me later.


Blessed with Grace


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bolognese Redux: Part I

Friends, I would like to tell you a tale.

Actually, a retelling.  A retelling of a certain pasta sauce which has captured the imaginations of, well, me and my husband.

Its name? Bolognese.

I did a post on this sauce a while back but, well, I hate the pictures in it.  So I took pictures the last time I made it.

Take your lovely, wonderful. flavorful veggies...

...and chop them up really, really fine in your food processor.  In the pre-processor days I would use a grater.  It took...a long time.

Brown this wonderfulness in a big pot with olive oil.

Meanwhile, brown this as well:

I have found that pouring as much of the fat off as possible aids in the browning process.  Took me long enough, didn't it?

Add your meat in with your now-browned veggies and mix 'em all together.  Then plop in 12 ounces of this:

I just love tomato paste.  It's so red and vibrant.

Once the paste is also brown and possibly sticking to the bottom of the pot, it's time to add the bestest ingredient of all...

Red, red wiiiiiiine....sing it with me now. 

I normally add around a cup but you can add more, or none at all - I've made this without wine and had no problems in the past.

Along with the wine goes 3 cups of water, along with thyme and bay leaves and salt and pepper (this sauce needs plenty of salt for seasoning.  Trust me).  That boils down and thickens, then another 3 cups are added and that, too, is cooked down.  Yes, it takes some time.  But boy is it worth it!!

So that's Part I of my two-parter regarding this nectar of the gods.  Soon you'll see that, while this goes really well over pasta (and oh boy, does it - preferably with a little splash of olive oil on top), there are other applications for it as well.  Wonderful, aromatic and quite possibly cheesy applications.

So stay tuned!