Two words. BACON JAM.
Yes, I jumped on the band-wagon and now I’m pretty much the band-leader. Love at first sight. Why didn’t I know I needed to be able to spread bacon. I’ve seen recipes all over and just needed long enough to whip it up.
I adapted Closet Cooking’s recipe to fit my tastes to avoid it being too spicy and added some red wine…because why not?!
1 ½ -2 pounds of bacon
1 large (or 2 small) onions, sliced
1 tbs garlic, chopped
¼ cup cider vinegar
1 cup coffee
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup red wine
1 pinch red pepper flakes
Crisp bacon in shifts, removing when crispy at medium high heat.
Leave a tablespoon of bacon drippings to sauté the onions. When they start to get translucent, add the garlic.
Deglaze the pan with the cider vinegar, then add the coffee, brown sugar, maple syrup, and wine. Add in the bacon.
Reduce the temperature to low and cook covered for an hour.
When cooled slightly and syrupy, process in a food processor until crumbled and spreadable.
Try not to eat it all in one sitting.
This stuff is seriously addictive. As in, it might disappear if you have a spoon too close to the jar.
Sis wasn’t a fan, but Mr. J liked it. It has some big time flavor.
Picture it: I made it late one afternoon on a Sunday. It was a beautiful day and sis came over for dinner. We grilled some cheese burgers and spread some bacon jam on them. Then I took one magical bite and time stood still. It was that good.
Ohh yeah, we ate some potato salad and a corn and tomato salad, but all I cared about were vehicles to be able to eat more bacon jam.
Did I mention we’re in the midst of a room reno? Mr. J and I are painting our bedroom. We’ve been dining and dashing upstairs to paint a coat every night. Here’s what we’re going for. I’ll be sure to show you the finished product (so excuse my poorly crafted mood board in the meantime).
We painted the walls an icy gray and the trim a bright white.
We have our eye on a gray tufted headboard (that appears to be back ordered). We need to pick out a new mattress too. The chevron rug is on the way to help the wood floors feel homey. We will hack our ikea dressers at some point too. Momma R finally has our go-ahead to make our wedding quilt. We have closets the entire width of the room with bi fold doors. The doors are Mr. J’s nemesis so we’re going to try to change them up too. We’re toying with the idea of a gallery wall or photo canvases. The pup might get a smaller bed since he only spends about 50% of his night’s sleep there anyway.
Have a happy weekend and just wait till I tell you what I’m up to this weekend!
In honor of Ms. K’s last day we had a tearful potluck to say goodbye and good luck to our nail polish loving coworker. It was along the lines of our Rainbow Potluck but this time we chose our colors based on a nail polish to each give her as a parting gift. I’m always so impressed with what everyone comes up with to bring! It’s tricky! We only have a fridge, microwave, and toaster oven to use but once again, it was a good one!
There was an awesome chilled watermelon soup. The watermelon color was Pretty in Punk.
There were delicious (and healthy!) Granola-ish balls. They were like cookie dough but full of great ingredients like flaxseeds, peanut butter, and oats. The oatmeal color was Sand Tropez.
We loved this avocado black eyed pea salad. It was fresh and creamy and delicious. The black eyed pea color was I Don’t Drink Cheap Wine.
Our office can eat nachos and guacamole like we’ve never had it before! The guac green was Go Overboard.
We had a re-creation from the sandwich shop downstairs with everything bagels, cream cheese, tomato and avocado. It was the right mix of filling and freshness. The tomato red was Forever Yummy.
I made puff pastry bites with brie and blackberry sauce. More on them later. The nail polish was Henna Things Possible.
I have some strong desire to make any flavor into a popcorn. I’ve made a few popcorns and I’m all about it right now. I like how easy of a treat it is and I love the crunch. I’ve yet to figure out how coating it doesn’t make it sogged/disintegrated but science was never my thing.
One day I had this miraculous idea that I HAD TO MAKE NUTELLA POPCORN. Had to. Right away. Good thing it takes about .5 seconds to get going.
3 cups popped popcorn
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
3 tbs nutella
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper
Over medium heat stir the butter, brown sugar, and honey until butter melts. Bring to boiling over medium heat. Boil at a moderate, steady rate for a couple of minutes.
Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and baking soda (mixture will foam up).
Stir in nutella until well incorporated and salt.
Mix popcorn and nutella caramel together and spread onto a pan.
Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
This was a good one, but I needed a bit more popcorn. It was a bit stick to your teeth caramelly. I made it with 2 cups (above I recommend 3 cups). I also had visions of half nutella popcorn and half coffee-ish popcorn but my ratios were off when I randomly decided to split the caramel up between pots and when I hastily dumped too much coffee into one. Man, it was crazy for a minute.
How do you pop your popcorn? Are you a bag popcorn-er? In college my wise roomie Ms. A discovered how dirt cheap popcorn kernels are. It is astounding. I saw a 4 pound bag of kernels for $3.99 (that is 52 servings of popcorn, or about 7-cents per serving). It also doesn’t go bad. It is a whole grain. It has about 30-60 calories per serving. It has a lot of fiber. Need I go on? All of this is only referring to air popped white popcorn. Not the case when you coat it in caramel and neutella, but my point is air popping. My whole fam is all about these air poppers. It gives you a lot more control over what is going on it, how much butter, oil, salt etc. You dump kernels in and put it in the micro. Easy peasy.
I brought some into the office and warned the ladies it was a bit sticker than some caramel corn. It was all gone by the end of the day so I’ll consider it successful.
Happy September! It is fall! We can eat fall-ish foods and still enjoy the summer veggies & BBQ fun. To kick off some inbetween season food I give you ricotta cheese. I have a love affair with ricotta. NOT cottage cheese…that I avoid. I can’t imagine when people don’t like ricotta, especially cooked into a dish. Like people who don’t like chocolate. Baffling.
I was itching for some this summer but thought it wasn’t the right time for lasagna or stuffed shells etc. I could eat it plain, by the spoonful, but that’s not a meal. My next thought was topping a pizza.
1 chicken breast, marinated & grilled
1 cup ricotta
1 cup shredded mozzarella
½ red pepper, sliced
1/3 cup pesto
Pre-bake the pizza dough for 20 minutes at 400 degrees until it begins to get crispy, but not cooked the whole way. (pre-cooking it a bit helps get it cooked through without drying out the toppings.
Spread half of the pesto onto the crust, then top with shredded mozzarella, peppers, sliced chicken, and dollops of ricotta.
Drizzle the remaining pesto on top. Throw on any leftover shredded cheese.
Bake the topped pizza for another 10-15 minutes at 400 degrees.
I adored this pizza. The creamy ricotta was a perfect pairing with some powerful pesto. These flavors definitely made this a special pizza. The chicken seems quite optional but I think it was integral to keeping the pizza fresh & not wintery. I also only used 1 chicken breast. They tend to be so big so with any other topping, one is plenty.
I’m realizing that some of my posts might make it look like I have it all together. If you happen to be having one of those days where the blogosphere appears perfectly coordinated when you aren’t as put together then I hear ya but I can also console you. I don’t have it all together.
Did I mention Mr. J and I are painting our bedroom? This is quite the undertaking for us. We’re new to being home-owners and it is a learning process. Thankfully our house didn’t need much. Ummm have you seen my gorgeous kitchen?
The bedroom painting is progressing, slowly but surely. Here’s what I keep telling myself:
a) we’re lucky that we can just set up camp in a guest room.
b) that we don’t have any actual renovation projects.
c) it looks awesome (the parts that are done).
d) that Mr. J and I work together really well and definitely have similar tastes.
Here’s what really annoys me:
a) the trim is taking FOREVER…as in 4 coats. It didn’t seem like much trim but the radiators, around the windows, closets, baseboards, and the door, is quite a lot.
b) to get dressed I need to put on my paint flip flops to traverse over the plastic sheeting because there are clothes in both bedrooms and my stuff feels scattered.
c) by the end of the day I’m tired- trying to set up to paint and clean up each night takes time and we’re only inching closer to being done.
d) I haven’t cooked, grocery shopped, or meal planned which means we’ve been buying lunch and feeling physically crappy for eating poorly and not sleeping well. I like my routines.
e) every weekend is jam packed and there still a lot to do before we can actually move back into the room (like pick out a new bed etc).
September is going to be a very busy month. I keep taking on more things which I love, but which also overwhelm me. I have 1st world problems. I have some work travel, 2 weekend trips away, I agreed to walk an insane distance in the name of work-research, and there’s lots more bedroom re-doing to do. I have some fun posts for you coming up (like a potluck! something with bacon! something with neutella!) so stay tuned, and good luck if you’re feeling the weight of everything too.