Family Picnic



IMG_2440cPicnics to me are one of my favorite past times in Summer. What is a better way to enjoy a cool summer evening than laying on a soft blanket in the grass, viagra usa levitra munching on fresh homemade food and watching the world go by? This year, illness picnics are extra special because our son is 6 months old and we are watching the wonders of the world through his eyes. We love taking him to the lake and watching all the discoveries he is making. These moments just go by too fast. So, I’m gonna soak them up all I can.

Down the Rabbit Hole: Four Cheeseburger Recipes That Don’t Require Buns Part 1

When my sister found out that I had started a blog about food and family, viagra sales ampoule she immediately asked me if I would post a recipe or two of her’s on my blog. I said absolutely! That’s the main point of this blog. To share the love and joy of food, tadalafil family and friends. I asked her what she wanted to feature first and she said: Popeeser Loaf. I said gesundheit!  No, really I said: HUH?? Shortly followed by: “sure…we can do that only if you change that name. It sounds awful!” Can you tell I’m the younger sister here? Can’t you just hear the antagonizing tone? Even though I still dislike the name my sister chose for this wonderful cheesy, popover-y, hamburger-y mash up I absolutely love the concept, and the name makes sense in the same cheesy, mash up way that this recipe makes sense.

So over to Katie to explain how exactly this recipe was born and how to prepare it.

Under no uncertain circumstances can we begin without me saying, first and foremost and under no other pretenses: I cook and bake without much advance planning–I’m lucky if I remember to take the meat out of the freezer to thaw before dinner. (And I’m so loathe to thaw things in a microwave that as a result, I’m forced to order food instead, which is why, unlike my sister, I don’t have a blog about delicious meals.) But I do occasionally make delicious meals even if it’s by the seat of my pants or the skin of my teeth, or both.
What does this mean for you? In our series of Non-Cheeseburger Cheeseburger recipes, you will find that the concept is what’s important, not the individual ingredient. Follow the concept (and occasionally the technique, especially if Jules is kind enough to interject to provide you with expert advise that I suffered without) and substitute your own non-primary ingredients for what you happen to have in your pantry, and you’ll be just fine. Non-primary ingredients are things like seasonings, toppings, condiments, etc.
Before we get started in the Non-Cheeseburger, Cheesburger series, I need to ensure you understand what a non-cheeseburger is and what a non-cheesburger is not. A non-cheeseburger is not soy, veggie, mushroom or any other excuse not to eat juicy meaty hamburger goodness. A non-cheeseburger is what happens when you run out of cheeseburger buns, but still have a plethora of ground beef and a significant other (SO) calls you a “commie” for attempting to cook hamburger patties with melted cheese on them and serve them to him with a fork instead of a bun.
Buns are expensive, they can go bad easily (…when you buy them in bulk from Costco as my SO insists on doing while I refuse to cook him only burgers for a week at a time), and quite honestly, while I appreciate a good bun, I don’t need it to enjoy a cheeseburger. I’m perfectly happy eating a patty with melted cheese with a fork.
This, my dear reader, is the original non-cheeseburger cheesburger recipe. The first original answer to the call “help we are out of buns!” Popeeser Loaf is a combination of the words Popover Cheeseburger (Loaf). I realize my maturity level with regards to constructing words is on the low side, but if you have kids, you’ll probably have an easier time getting them to eat Popeeser Loaf over the vague and dreaded “Casserole” and besides, it really is more of a loaf than a hot dish.
This recipe is actually pretty time intensive, mostly because I use bacon and it requires baking. To cut down on time you could use leftover hamburger meat that had already been browned and skip the bacon (or use pre-cooked/leftover bacon). However, it does still take 45-60 minutes to bake.
As I alluded to earlier (but it bears repeating), this is a concept. Think of a Cheeseburger–what would you want on yours? Many restaurants now allow a “Build Your Own Burger” option. This recipe is no different. If you were making a cheeseburger, what ingredients would you want? …Well, that would be your question in a perfect world. In my world, it’s usually a balance between what I want and what’s currently in the pantry because five minutes after getting home from work I’m in my PJs and I can’t drive because I am already several swallows into the private happy hour happening in my kitchen. One rule: whatever you put in the dough needs to be cooked already. The baking process will primarily heat and cook the dough–it will warm ingredients, but not cook them. So if you’re using a kind of raw meat or veggies that you want cooked (like mushrooms for example)–cook it first, like we do below with the bacon).
Here is the basic version, substitute as you desire/based on what you have handy. Everything except the mixture for the loaf (Popover dough) is an estimate, so do what you feel looks/feels right. I’ve made this half a dozen times without measuring anything (with wild differences in the amounts of things) and it’s turned out well each time.
1 lb Ground Beef (the nice thing is this receipt makes a little hamburger go a long way, so if you have at least half a pound you’ll still be fine. I use
88% lean beef because that’s what Costco sells–I’m sure 90/10 would work just fine too)
2 C Shredded Cheese (any kind or use several slices if it’s not shredded)
3-12 strips of Bacon (3 works well and 6 is awesome–I think uncured bacon tastes the best)
4 tbls Mayo
4 tbls Ketchup (plus some extra to serve on the side for dipping)
4-6 Dill Pickle Spears (or any pickles you can cut up into small pieces — Claussen is the very best if you ask me. Mmmm!)
6 Eggs (Not an estimate)

3 C Milk (Not an estimate – I use 1%, I’m sure it would work with whatever)

3 C Flour (Not an estimate – I use unbleached all purpose flour)

1/4 C Olive Oil


Pre-heat over to 450 degrees with a 9 x 13 (big rectangle) Pyrex (or similar) dish inside. Yes that’s right, we are preheating the pan as well as the oven.
1. Cook the bacon in a fry pan until it’s just about to get crispy and then remove it and set on a paper towel. You don’t want it to be crispy because it’s harder to taste in this sort of dish and the bits get too small.
2. Brown the hamburger meat while the bacon strips are cooling. Put the ground beef right into the pan you had the bacon in, frying it up (on medium to medium low) in the bacon grease. (This infuses the meat with bacon flavor.)
3. Cut the pickles into small bits so you can make sure to sprinkle them throughout the dish so that every bite has a small bit and hint of pickle.
4. Rip the bacon strips into bits. Don’t make them too small or you won’t get the taste, even if you have a lot of bacon. Always keep them about the size of your thumb nail.
4.5 Combine Mayo and Ketchup – special sauce! Set aside….stop sampling the bacon.
5. Combine eggs and milk into a large mixing bowl, whisk gently until blended.
6. Slowly add the flour while beating the mixture lightly–it won’t be smooth unless you have over-beaten it (which you don’t want to do for popovers or it won’t popover). A somewhat lumpy batter is desired, as long as the lumps aren’t moving to the top and then breaking open to expose huge dry chunks of flour. Put the mixure in the fridge to keep it cold.
7. Pull the dish from the oven. Pour the olive oil into the dish and using a basting brush (or paper towel–careful not to burn yourself while using the paper towel) rub the olive oil all over the inside of the dish. There should be lots of excess oil in the bottom of the dish (not to worry it makes the dough slightly fried and scrumptious while ensuring nothing sticks). …Could you butter and flour the pan instead? Sure, if you feel like being Safe Suzie. Back to the olive oil, make sure you get the corners and the sides of the dish (even if it looks like it just drips back down into the bottom).
8. Pour half the batter into the pan. Move quickly with this and subsequent steps, we want the dish to stay as hot as possible and the batter to stay as cold as possible. (Put that in there just for all you perfectionists. Enjoy the OCD ticks!) Bascially the bottom half of the dough is one half of your bun.
9. Sprinkle the hamburger, bacon, and pickles evenly across the dish (it’s okay if some sinks into the dough). Drizzle the special sauce liberally across the dish. Add shredded cheese to top the whole half dish off.
10. Pour half the batter on top. (This is the top part of the would-be bun.) Gently smooth dough to make even and ensure all toppings are pretty much covered over by dough.
11. Stylishly slide that sucker (the prepared glass dish) into the oven and close the door (I guess I felt that had to be specified, but hopefully you’d do that anyway). Do not open the door to check on it–turn on your oven light and peer in through the door. Otherwise you risk the dough not rising or rising and then falling.
12. Bake for 20 minutes at 450 (if it looks like it’s getting brown on top fast, reduce heat after 10-15 minutes to 425)
13. Reduce heat to 400, bake 20-30 minutes (if it looks like it’s getting brown on top fast, reduce heat after 15 minutes)
14. Reduce heat to 350 and bake for 10-15 minutes.
I guess this is why I don’t write cookbooks–you just sorta have to feel when it’s done. It should be a golden brown on the outside (can be a medium golden brown) but you really want to make sure it’s solid on the inside because not all of it will pop up which makes the middle dense).
15. Remove from oven, turn dish over on cutting board. Popeeser loaf should just fall out. Give the dish a few smacks and shakes if it doesn’t–then it should. Using another cutting board or dish placed on top of the bottom of the Popeeser Loaf, hold both cutting boards or platter against the Popeeser Loaf and turn so that it sits right side up again.
16. Sprinkle cheese on top and wait for it to melt (2-3 minutes).
Serve. Warning: it will be piping hot inside.

Once somewhat cooled, you can even eat it with your hands. Otherwise a fork and/or fork and knife will do. You may want to serve sides of mustard, horseradish, ketchup, special sauce, A-1, etc. for people to dip their mini loafs into.


This served me and my sister, and our counter parts two very large servings each, and we still have three pieces (three lunches) left over. So I would say you have at least 10 servings, possibly more.
Left over Popeeser Loaf reheats wonderfully in an oven, so you can save some for lunch the next day too.
Now that you’ve been through the ordeal of Popeeser Loaf, I think you can see better what I mean about the concept.Instead of the above ingredients, I could have mixed garlic and A-1 in with my ground beef before browning it. I could have skipped the pickles and caramelized some onions and sauteed some mushrooms with Malabar pepper and balsamic vinegar and added those instead. I could have used blue cheese crumbles instead of shredded colby jack cheese. But, I didn’t have any of the fancy stuff in my pantry.
Happy Popeesing!


Cherry Almond Hand Pies

I love cherries. They remind me of Summer. Summer has always and will always be my favorite season of the year. Especially because or more like, generic cialis troche probably because I live in Minnesota. You have to savor the summers here because, generic cialis blink and they will be gone. Like today, in the middle of July, it’s Fall? Okay weather. I hate you too.


You know it’s Summer when you walk into your local grocery store and they have cherries! Cherries are the perfectly balance food. A little sour and a whole lot of sweet, and their vivid color just begs you to pick them up and eat them. There is nothing like sharing a bowl of cherries out on a patio and having an impromptu pit spitting contest with a friend. Hey, don’t knock it until you try it, you will inevitable laugh your ass off.

So here is another tribute to my favorite time of the year and quite possibly my favorite stone fruit.

Cherry Almond Hand Pies

For the dough:

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour

3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) cold unsalted sweet cream butter, cubed

6 tablespoons Crisco, refrigerated

1 tablespoon organic cane sugar

*1/4 cup ice water


For the filling:

1 cup cherries, pitted and halved

1/4 cup organic cane sugar

2 teaspoons arrow root ( equal measurement of corn starch can be substituted)

1 teaspoon almond extract

1/4 cup sliced almonds ( I use Trader Joe’s sliced honey almonds)

Eggwash ( one egg scrambled with 1 tablespoon of water)


In the bowl of a food processor, fitted with a steel blade, combine the flour, sugar, cold butter and cold Crisco. Pulse until mixture is like pebbly sand. Slowly, through the feed tube add the 1/4 cup of ice water, with the food processor running. As soon as the dough comes together and forms a ball, remove from the food processor. Working quickly, so as to not heat the dough with your hands, form it into a disk and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degree F.

In a small bowl combine the cherries, almond extract, sugar and arrow root. Mix and set aside to let the cherries macerate in their juices.

In the meantime, flour a flat surface and roll the dough out to about 1/8-1/4 inch. Using a bowl as a guide, trace out circles in the dough. I used a 3 inch diameter bowl. Cut out the circles and take a teaspoon or two of the filling and place on the bottom half of each circle. Take the egg wash and brush around the outside of the pastry. Taking the top of each circle fold down and press lightly to seal. You may use a fork to crimp the edges or fold the edge under to your liking. Take a sharp knife and make a few small steam vents in the top of each pie. Brush the tops of the pie with the egg wash and dust with sugar and sliced almonds.

Place pies on a sheet pan covered with either a Silpat or a sheet of parchment paper, and bake in the over for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling. Remove to a cooling rack and serve warm with your choice of ice cream or whipped cream. I dare you to eat just one…




A Taste of Summer


The BLT is a classic. There is just something about bacon, cialis generic store lettuce and tomato smushed between two pieces of bread  that have bee slathered with mayo that makes sense. It’s a quintessential summer time sandwich. It is heaven, sildenafil cialis pure American food poetry. There is just one problem. I’m not a fan of lettuce. And lots of people I know don’t like the tomato either. In my house, treat it’s more like I’ll have a bacon sandwich with a few slices of tomato and hold the mayo. For my hubby it’s: slather on the mayo, hold the tomato and give me a heart attack with the bacon piled high! So I thought, what with Summer FINALLY arriving I would play around and come up with something both my hubby and I could get behind. Too bad he wasn’t there to enjoy it… there is always next time. ;)


So here is my BAN sandwich… that is a terrible name! Maybe I’ll call it the NAB, because you’ll want to nab one of these before they are all gone!

IMG_2277   IMG_2296


Bacon, Avocado and Nectarine Sandwich

  • 1/3 of a Sourdough Baguette ( I get mine at Trader Joe’s)
  • 3 sliced thick cut uncured bacon
  • 1 ripe avocado- sliced thin and removed from skin
  • 1/2 ripe nectarine
  • 2 TBSP of Organic Mayonnaise
  • 1/8 tsp Cayenne pepper


Cut the baguette lengthwise and set aside. In a frying pan, sizzle up some bacon. While the bacon is frying, mix the Cayenne pepper with the mayo and slather on the baguette. Slice the avocado and the nectarine and place on opposite sides of the bread. Add the bacon, slice and enjoy a little piece of summery heaven.


Date Night

photo 1


Date Nights are few and far between at our house. Not because we don’t want to go out and have fun, generic cialis salve but because we have a 5 month old baby. Not to knock babies, for sale especially when they are as cute as our son CJ, tadalafil but they are a total time suck! Not to mention energy suck. At the end of the day, it’s usually the parents who just end up… sucking… hahaha. No, but for real, all you parents out there, you know what I’m talking about. Every single time your child smiles at you is like you’ve won a prize, and you just find yourself spending hours not only caring for your child, but enjoying them as you watch them discover and grow and learn new things before your very eyes. It’s mesmerizing, and it completely sucks you in. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Thank goodness for Grandma’s! They come in and tell you: “I need my time with my grandson, so skiddadle (sp?) get outta here, go have fun, I need a CJ fix, GO ON!” And all the sudden thoughts about breast feeding schedules, and sleep patterns go out the window to be replaced by: “okay, we’ve got a date night ALONE together. What do we do?!” It took me exactly 5 seconds to come up with a plan. 2 words LAKE HARRIET.

We started our night at Bread & Pickle. Its the walk up restaurant right next to the Band shell on the north side of the lake. We stood in line and showed our i.d.’s so we could enjoy a pint of Farm girl. If you haven’t tried it yet, I highly recommend it. It’s the perfect summer beer. Light and playful with a floral-y hint that hits your tongue and has it begging for more. After some fun people watching at the lake, we headed on over to the Lake Harriet Brasserie. 2 more words: Ahhhhhh-mazing… okay, so that might just be one word spread out, but if you haven’t eaten here and you consider yourself a foodie, then frankly, shame on you.

We decided to sample the small plate selection because we both like to try a little bit of everything, and we just couldn’t decide. Everything sounded like an experience we needed to try. We tried the duck taco, the Rillettes and the Coxinha (co-shee-na). Apparently it’s bad luck to eat a Coxinha with a knife and fork so we left that dish for the last. While it was definitely the most fun looking, it wasn’t our favorite. To say we loved the duck taco would be a grave understatement. It’s easily the most delicious thing we’ve eaten in a long, long time. Then came the Rillettes. Salmon Rillettes. I told Mike we had to try it. I wouldn’t even explain what it was. I just said, nope, we are ordering it and he gamely went along for the ride. Rillettes is something that I actually found disgusting when described to me. Look it up on Wikipedia, but don’t knock it until you try it! And, damn am I glad I actually tried it. Another two words: damn delicious. the end.


After our wonderful meal I took Mike for a ride on the Lake Harriet trolley. Both Mike and I are suckers for “old world” things and a romantic sunset ride on a 1920’s trolley was just the perfect way to round out the evening. So, if you find yourself with a night free from responsibility, go get lost at Lake Harriet. It won’t disappoint you.


photo 5 (1)

Celebrating the Grand Old Way of the U.S.A



Happy Independence Day America! How are you celebrating the 238th anniversary of the freedom of this nation?

We will be heading out to Grandpa Adams house for CJ’s 1st Fourth of July celebration. I am so excited! I love this holiday because it stands for something important. A basic human right and liberty that sometimes we take for granted in our day to day lives. FREEDOM! Let that sink in. Not every nation in this world celebrates their birth with that notion in mind. We are free because some men, viagra sales hospital wearing powdered wigs and wooden teeth, viagra generic viagra some 238 years ago decided that all men were not only created equal but that we had an inherent right to things like freedom of speech. 238 years have passed and the thoughts they wrote down on that wonderful piece of paper called the Declaration of Independence are still relevant and poignant in America today. Say what you will about our nation, but I am proud to be an American and I LOVE celebrating in the grand ole way of the U.S.A. So we are headed over to Grandpa’s house for some finger licking good ribs and chicken, golden corn on the cob and no celebration would be complete without at least one Patriotic inspired dessert. So here is my Star Spangled Tarte.


Star Spangled Tarte

For the Tarte Shell:

2 1/2 cups all purpose un-bleached flour

6 tablespoons sugar

2 1/2 sticks unsalted cold butter

*1/4 cup ice water


For the tarte shell, combine flour and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Cube the cold butter and add to the food processor. Pulse food processor until butter, flour and sugar mixture resembles small crumbles the size of peas. Add ice water and pulse just until the dough forms a ball. Remove and immediately press into a 10 inch tarte pan with removable sides. If you can’t find a tarte pan that size you can cut the dough recipe in half and use a smaller pan. Refrigerate tarte shell for 30 minutes before placing in a 375 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Before placing in oven take a fork and poke holes in the bottom of the shell to prevent the bottom from rising. After shell has cooked remove from oven and set aside to cool.


For the Pastry Cream:

1 1/2 cups organic whole milk

1/2 cup sugar

4 large organic egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

1/4 cup all purpose un-bleached flour

1/4 teaspoon salt


In a medium bowl combine the flour and sugar and salt together. Separate 4 egg yolks and combine them with the flour, sugar and salt. The mixture will start out crumbly and dry, keep mixing until all ingredients are incorporated. It’s okay if there  are some lumps. After combined set mixture aside. In a sauce pot combine whole milk and vanilla bean paste and bring to a scald. This is just below the boiling point. You can tell when the milk is ready when it steams and small bubbles ring the outside of the pot. Remove from heat and very slowly add the milk to the egg mixture, whisking constantly until it is all combined. Pour mixture back into sauce pot and cook over medium flame while constantly whisking. Pastry cream will become thick and almost boil. Remove from heat and push through a mesh sieve to ensure no lumps in the cream. Immediately cool the cream down.

Once cool pour cream into completely cooled tarte shell. Embellish the tarte with fruit in a start pattern. Use a butter knife to trace a start shape lightly into the cream to use as your guide. Start placing the raspberries around the traced start shape until you have filled in the tarte and the star is formed. Dump the blueberries into the star shape and fresh down gently until blueberries stick in place. Brush tarte with melted apricot jam to give the tarte a glossed finish. Cool in the fridge for 1 hour and then enjoy!








Warm Brusselsprout Salad


Because Brusselsprouts are sadly under appreciated…Because I love Brusselsprouts.

Perhaps that is why I love Brusselsprouts, discount viagra doctor because they are culinary underdogs. And those of you who know me, site know that I cannot resist an underdog. I’m always on their side cheering them on and hoping they come out the winner. Well, there Brusselsprouts, today you won. Even my husband, who avidly wishes for a dog each time I mention greens for the dinner table so that he can slip his portion to this veggie eating figment of his imagination, ate this salad and even threw out a compliment. WOW. I am now certain I did the right thing by making this salad and I want to share it with you.


For the Brusselsprouts:

8-10 large Brusselsprouts

2 TBSP Unsalted Butter

¼ TSP salt

¼ TSP pepper


For the dressing:


1 TBSP Sonoma Harvest D’Anjou Pear Balsamic Vinegar

Found here:

½ TBSP Dijon Mustard

1 TBSP Honey

1 clove crushed garlic

2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil




Wash Brusselsprouts under cold water using a colander. Chop the ends off Brusselsprouts and peel the leaves away. Continue chopping a small amount off the ends after each layer to make the peeling easier. Peel until you reveal the core.


Melt the butter in a sauté pan set over medium low heat. Add the cores of the Brusselsprouts and sauté for 4-5 minutes until softened. Add the leaves of the Brusselsprouts stirring in the salt and pepper. Sauté an additional 3-4 minutes until the Brusselsprouts begin to brown. Turn heat off and set aside.


Combine the Balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, garlic clove and olive oil together in a small bowl with a whisk. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Pour the dressing over the slightly cooled Brusselsprouts and serve immediately.