* This post was sponsored by HEB. All opinions are my own.
If you live pretty much anywhere in Texas you should be familiar with HEB. In San Antonio, HEB is the go-to grocery store. I’m lucky because we have an HEB Marketplace very close to home. What I’m really excited about is the new concept store that they’re building a few miles away, apparently it’s a cross between a Marketplace and a Central Market!
Every month HEB releases a flyer with their Primo Picks for the month. Primo Picks are products that HEB has decided to feature, a lot of which are only available at HEB for limited times. This month I was lucky enough to get a package in the mail with some of the Primo Picks for March. It should tell you something when I already had a lot of the products in my pantry!
This month featured bacon jam (if you haven’t tried it, you don’t know what you’re missing!) and Texas shaped tortilla chips (the perfect addition to a care package for a Texas native who finds themselves away from home!). I’m also extremely excited about the Lemonade made with Texas honey.
I decided to use a couple of the ingredients to make a delicious chicken dinner for the family.
p.s. If you have leftovers, this chicken makes an amazing panini, which is perfect timing, because right now at HEB it’s there Amazing Sandwich Extravaganza!
BBQ Bacon Jam Chicken
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 c. Smoky Soppin’ Sauce
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 jar bacon jam (I used the version with jalapenos, but they have a version without, if you don’t like the extra kick!)
Rinse chicken thighs and pat dry.
Place chicken thighs in a baking dish and top with bbq sauce.
Place in a 350º oven for 30 minutes
While the chicken is baking, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
Add onions and mushrooms and cook until onions are translucent.
When onions and mushrooms are cooked, lower heat and add bacon jam to the pan.
Cook the sauce for 10 minutes.
When the chicken is cooked, remove from oven and top with bacon jam sauce. Serve with rice or potatoes.
I’m going to let you in on a not so secret little secret: I’ve never had a drink of alcohol. That’s not really anything special, but it means that I’ve never had a hangover. Well I’ve been spending this week recovering from our Spring Break last week, and I feel like it’s been a two week long hangover! After a road trip with 6 sick people, we need to stock up on extra vitamins.
Since this is the first day of Spring, I thought it would be the perfect time to post a vitamin packed bit of sunshine, and if you happen to be in an area of the country that’s still covered in snow, this should get you thinking of sunnier days! The watermelon tempers the sourness of the lemons and everyone is raving about chia seeds, so I added them in. You can’t taste the seeds, but a little extra healthy never hurt anyone!
*So, Colleen left a comment asking about the benefits of Chia seeds. I’m not going to lie, I originally did this because I read that Chia seeds were an aphrodisiac, and I was imagining a Valentine’s post, but I’ve done a little more research, and I’ve found that chia seeds curb your appetite, the lower blood pressure, and there is so thought that it might also help with diabetes. Not bad for a little seed!
Watermelon Chia Seed Lemonade
Juice from 2 lemons
2 c. cubed watermelon
1 Tbsp Chia seeds
1/2 c. simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar)
2 c. water
2 c. ice
Place all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth.
I know I haven’t been on here as much lately, but if you follow me on any social media outlets then you know I have a new project that’s had me a little busy. I’m really excited about teaming up with Amanda from ARG Photographs and Candice Stringham for a new venture, Handmade Mood. I know I’m biased, but I think this is an amazing blog, and it’s been so much fun to work on. I’ll still post here on Frankly Entertaining, but it just won’t be as frequent. Come check out Handmade Mood, because we have something new 5 days a week!
If you head over now you can enter our amazing giveaway. We’re talking Nikon DSLR camera, a wonderful course all about how to use the camera, and a JoTotes bag to carry your camera! I think you want to head over to Handmade Mood right now and enter (tomorrow is the last day, so go over there now … seriously!).
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! For the first time since we’ve had kids, we’re going out for a Valentine’s Date! I’m excited at the prospect of dressing up for a fun dinner out, and I’m really excited about not having to plan anything at at all. We don’t do Valentine’s Day gifts, so this is just a fun relaxing day! If you’re looking for an easy way to celebrate all the love, why not try a pie topped with pastry hearts? I made this as a fun dessert for the kids. I just used store bought crust and canned pie filling, so the whole thing took all of five minutes to put together, but it makes the day a little more special.
If you decide to try this, make sure you cover the crust with foil, because all those edges can brown pretty quickly!
Back when I was a senior in college, I took a class called marriage prep. Doug and I had just started dating, and class assignments were a great excuse to talk about different plans and ideas. One of my favorite assignments was to talk about what kind of animal we would be, if we could choose. The professor said some people knew they’d be eagles, flying everywhere, and others would want to be lions or tigers. For me it was easy; a cat! Who wouldn’t want to relax all day long? Doug chose eagle, which totally baffled me because it seems like a lot of work!
One of the other things the professor talked about was keeping the romance alive. I thought it was an interesting topic since hardly anyone in the class was married. He talked about natural aphrodisiacs, and the one that he mentioned was cinnamon. So, here I am 12 years later and I get an email from Christina’s mother-in-law talking about relaxing with cinnamon (she sells doTerra). I felt like this was a sign that it might be time for a cinnamon recipe to help light the spark this Valentine’s Day!
This is a wonderful recipe for a perfect Valentine’s Day breakfast. You put everything together the night before, and then you bake it for twenty minutes when you wake up. My kids think this is amazing, and it also makes a great brunch dish. If you’re looking for something to help make Valentine’s Day special from the moment you wake up, this is the recipe for you. I’m not suggesting you need to bring the spark back into your marriage, but who doesn’t love cinnamon?!
p.s. If you’re curious, I got an A in marriage prep, which lets me know that in any argument Doug and I might ever have (which is hardly never!), I would be right!
Apple Cinnamon Pull-Aparts
adapted from Best of Bridge
20 Rhodes Rolls, frozen
1 c. brown sugar
1 pckg instant vanilla pudding powder
2 Tbsp. cinnamon (this is where the romance heats up!)
1 apple, diced
1/2 c. butter, melted
Grease a bundt pan.
Place frozen rolls in the bundt pan.
Toss the apples with the sugar, cinnamon and pudding powder.
Add apple mixture to the frozen dough.
Pour melted butter evenly over the entire dough/apple mixture.
Bake in a 350º oven for 25-30 minutes.
Let bread cool for ten minutes and then turn onto a serving plate.
If you know me at all, you know how much I love getting mail. I love writing letters, in part, because I love receiving letters. I like packing things up to send people. I think it must be a family thing, because my mom and my Aunts also send fun packages! I’ve even been known to gift wrap items that I order for myself off the internet! Amazon Prime is pretty much my dream come true, because now I can spend a couple of dollars, and the UPS man will show up at my house two days later!
My personal belief is that everyone loves knowing that someone is thinking of them. This time of the year most of the country is pretty gloomy, and just yesterday we got the news that Phil predicted six more weeks of Winter, so why not make someone’s day and send them a box of sunshine?
I sent this package to a few friends in cold climates. I wanted to send some Texas sunshine, so I focused on yellow items. The point of this isn’t to spend a ton of money, it’s to make someone happy. I just sent some balloons, chapstick, yellow balloons and straws. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s something I would have loved to receive. I can still remember one year when a friend send a tin of gorgeously decorated Valentine’s cookies. It made my day that someone put all the effort into the cookies and then gave them away … to me!
If Winter has you feeling a little blah, I guarantee you that sending someone else a box of happy mail will have you feeling a whole lot better!
When it comes to things that I miss from home, egg rolls rank right up there with my beloved Becel margarine! I think egg rolls are like bbq; everyone has their own version! I have yet to find Chinese food in San Antonio that I love as much as I love Chinese food from the east coast of Canada. The egg rolls I grew up with are mostly meat, and they even have a different shape. In a moment of quiet desperation I called my dad, and told him how much I missed the egg rolls. If you’ve ever met my dad, what happened next will come as no surprise to you. He went down to our favorite local Chinese restaurant and asked how they make their egg rolls. The chef invited my dad back into the kitchen so he watch the process. So, thanks to my dad and to Mr. Fong for making this all possible!
Not coincidentally, today is Chinese New Year. This is a great way to expose your kids to a little world culture and delicious food all at the same time! Last night I made the egg rolls (which were way easier than I ever imagined!) and then had a buffet of various things that I picked up from the Asian section of the grocery store. We had chopsticks, squid snacks, steamed buns, vegetable dumplings, fortune cookies (I know they’re not authentic, but they’re fun!), Chinese Chex Mix (which I’m sure has an official name, but that’s how I got my kids to try it!) and Pocky. We talked about how to use chopsticks and we talked about the year of the horse and what animal signs all my kids were. We tried learning Chinese from the back of our fortunes! It was a great family dinner, and even though the kids didn’t love everything, they had a great time.
If you don’t want to hunt down all that stuff you can always do Chinese take out, or go get a few packs of Ramen noodles, and call it good! It doesn’t have to be big to be a wonderful memory! I would try to make the egg rolls though. They totally brought me to my Canadian happy place!
Canadian Egg Rolls
1 lb. ground pork
1 small onion, diced
2 celery stalks
3/4 cup chopped cabbage
1/2 tsp Chinese 5 Spice
1 Tbsp Soy sauce
1 Tbsp corn starch
egg roll wrappers (I got mine in the freezer section)
1 egg, beaten
Brown pork and onion in a wok until cooked through.
Remove the pork mixture and add 1 Tbsp oil to the wok. When the oil is hot, add the celery and cabbage.
Cook the veggies until soft and then add in the pork.
Add the Chinese spice and the soy sauce.
Mix the cornstarch with 3 Tbsp of water until the cornstarch dissolves.
Add the water mixture to the meat and stir until the liquid thickens (about 5 minutes).
put in the mixture into a food processor and mix until smooth. I think this is what made it for me!
Place 3 Tbsp of the meat mixture into the middle of an egg roll wrapper.
Brush the egg along the perimeter of the wrapper.
Bring the bottom of the wrapper up over the mixture in the middle and then fold the top over the first fold, so that you’ve folded it into thirds, and the mixture is covered.
Pinch the two ends in toward the folded side by just folding over about an inch.
All your seams should be on one side. brush the seam side with oil and place the egg roll seam side down on a foil covered, greased cookie sheet.
Once you’re used all the meat mixture (my batch made 9 egg rolls), brush the tops of all the egg rolls with oil.
Place the egg rolls in a 400º oven for twenty minutes. After 10 minutes flip the egg rolls over.
Serve egg rolls with plum sauce or a sweet chili sauce.
So, Sunday is the Big Game (I can’t believe that no one has trademarked “Big Game” yet, since it’s used about 10 million times a day in commercials this week!). Normally we have a small get together, but this year the game interferes with Downton Abbey, so we might have to come up with alternate arrangements! We only have one tv, and we use a homemade antenna to get about ten channels, so there will be no watching one now, and one later. I know I should be a supportive wife and just watch Downton online, but….! Oh I kid! I’m going to a friend’s house to watch Downton, and I’ll leave Doug to his own devices here!
Today’s recipe is for the perfect dip to take with you wherever you go to watch whatever you’ll be watching! This is a heavy dip, so it needs a heavy tortilla chip, or maybe some naan or pita bread. I don’t think your every day ruffle chip can stand up to this dip. This recipe makes a ton, so it’s perfect for a crowd. If you have one of those mini dipper crock pots, you may want to serve it in that so that everything stays warm. If the mini warmer isn’t an option, you can always reheat in the microwave if there’s any left after the first quarter! Remind me, and one day I’ll tell you a story about the mini warmer we used to have…
I first had a version of this dip when I moved to San Antonio almost seven years ago. Since then, the little piece of paper with the recipe has been sitting in my recipe box. You can make this recipe right before you serve it, but the flavors get a lot better if you make it ahead of time and then heat and serve.
What are your go to recipes for sports nights?
Cheesy Sausage Dip
1 lb. mild Italian sausage
1 small onion, diced
1 green pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can Rotel tomatoes (or any chopped tomatoes with peppers, in a pinch you can also use chunky salsa)
8 oz. cream cheese
1 c. sour cream
Brown sausage in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add onions to skillet and cook until translucent.
Add green pepper, garlic and Rotel. Cook for five minutes.
Add cream cheese and sour cream. Stir mixture until cheese is melted. Simmer for ten minutes.
Purple cabbage is available at the grocery store year round, but for some reason it’s something I only make in the Winter. This is something that my grandmother used to make all the time when I would go to her house for lunch. She would serve it with chicken or ham, but it always went with mashed potatoes. Come to think of it, I don’t remember my Nan ever serving anything with rice! Purple cabbage adds a beautiful color to your dinner plate and it’s easy and delicious! What could be easier than sling up some cabbage and putting it in a pan with butter and brown sugar?! Here’s another fun fact. Back in high school I had a friend who applied to art school, and one of the things the school required was a drawing of a cross section of cabbage. Every time I slice a cabbage I think about how I could never accurately draw the intricate lines!
If you didn’t grow up eating purple cabbage, you might walk right by it in the produce section and never give it a second thought. I’m here to tell you that you need to give it a second thought. It’s inexpensive and full of healthy nutrients (which may or may not be cancelled out by the butter and sugar!). My only warning is to make sure you use a napkin when you’re eating, because it can stain.
Try this and let me know what you think. What are the foods that stir up your memories? Is it weird that cabbage is one of mine?!
Brown Sugar Purple Cabbage
1/2 head purple cabbage
4 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp brown sugar
Slice cabbage into 1/2″ wide strips.
Melt butter in a skillet.
Add brown sugar and cabbage.
Cook over medium high heat for about twenty minutes, stirring often, until the cabbage is tender.
If you feel like it’s not sweet enough, you can add more brown sugar while you’re cooking.
I feel like I’ve been in hiding lately. In south Texas we’re in the middle of cedar season, and if you suffer from cedar allergies you are hating life right now. I never had an allergy until a few years ago, and I’m not enjoying it now. Cedar season runs from about Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day, so I still have about a month left, and I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that the numbers go down from yesterday’s high of 34,420!
On a positive note, my husband came home from the grocery store the other day with crab apples! These apples are the cutest things, and as soon as I saw them I knew they’d be perfect for caramel apples. My kids love sweet treats, but a lot of times something like a caramel apple will only get half eaten because it’s too much. The crab apple is the perfect size for little people. Everyone finished their entire dessert, and they still wanted more, which is exactly how I think a dessert should be!
You can now buy caramel beads in the baking aisle so that you don’t have to unwrap all those squares of caramel. I just followed the directions on the package, but I cut it in half since I only had tiny apples. It’s basically a cup of caramels and a tablespoon of water over low heat. If I had it to do over again, I’d spray the wax paper with cooking spray, because a couple of the apples got little bits of paper stuck on them and it was kind of tedious to remove!
I think these would be perfect dipped in red sprinkles for Valentine’s day. It might be just the thing to help me celebrate the end of cedar season!