live & laugh: john’s beer dinner

Beer Chicken & Broccoli

Earlier last month we met again for our monthly cooking class and this go around was John’s turn.  He wanted to take on a bit of a theme for his night and made the delicious choice of: BEER!

We made a honey chili beer chicken and roasted broccoli with beer cheese sauce. Everyone chipped in and dinner came together fairly quickly — the results could have fooled me though, because this meal was yumtastic and tasted like the flavors had a while to come together.

Beer Chicken Prep

Maybe John cheated by using two favorable ingredients — ummm — cheese and beer — I’d eat that anytime and be a happy camper. (P.S. whenever I use the phrase “happy camper” I think of this hilarious Jim Gaffigan skit…)

Okay now that that’s out of the way, I think John had a great idea to make a beer-themed dinner and it was a huge success. The honey chili chicken was sticky and delicious and the roasted broccoli was perfectly roasted which gave it a great crunch; drenched in the rich beer cheese sauce that would be great paired with a million other foods (e.g. pretzels, bread, hot dogs, cardboard, etc.) made it extra special. Both dishes are a must try!

Great picks John and yummy execution!!

John's Beer Dinner

foodie finds

Foodie Finds


  1. A little water + a phone app and you could have yourself some vino in a jiffy — this machine turns water into wine, kinda pricey, kinda curious |via|
  2. The Unites States of Hot Sauce — which hot sauce originates from your state? I have yet to try PA’s Orange Crush|via|
  3. A flickr album of all recipes from this user’s mom’s entire collection — pretty clever! |via|
  4. Banana bread, brie and chocolate grilled cheese sounds intriguing, crazy and weird all at the same time; and I want to try it now |via|
  5. A list of 30 Best Whiskey Drinks — there’s even a bacon, bourbon, and hazelnut hot chocolate…. uhhh yea |via|

rice pudding with baileys cinnamon whipped cream

Rice Pudding with Baileys Cinnamon Whipped Cream

I’m sleepy.

I have not had too much sleep this week — I dunno about you, but I was either staying up too late for my own good or getting up earlier than usual to make work meetings. Thank goodness it’s Friday and I embrace caffeine!

Whining aside — it’s been a real cold week here in Philly. CAN WE GET A BREAK?! I know it’s still Winter, but sheesh, a glimpse of Spring to prove Mother Nature will make good on Winter ending would be nice…hmm I suppose this is still whining isn’t it? Okay, okay I’m done.

It’s Friday, time to focus on the positive. The weekend is upon us, oh and I have this delicious rice pudding recipe for you WITH a bonus of an ah-mazing baileys cinnamon whipped cream (I know, and you’re welcome).

Rice Pudding Ingredients

This rice pudding happened completely on a whim. I was strolling through the grocery store kind of hungry — always a big mistake — so a lot of things that weren’t on my list were catching my eye. Walking past some sweet dessert items, I eye balled the rice pudding and realized I haven’t had rice pudding in about 3 years. But I love rice pudding, so why would I ever go that long without it? Who knows.

In any case, I picked it up and was reading the ingredients list (as I always do) and realized that there’s not too much going on in rice pudding and it’d probably be pretty easy to make at home — LIGHTBULB — blog post — that’s how this happens sometimes…

Oh — and sorry to all the raisins in rice pudding lovers out there — I didn’t grow up with raisins in my rice pudding, so I don’t add it to mine. That said, I could see how they could add little nice notes of fruity flavor and texture, so by-all-means go for it if you like it, I don’t judge.

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Okay, now I love rice pudding and all. But we need to talk about this whipped cream I whipped up (pun totally intended).

I made the whipped cream mainly because it’d make the rice pudding look pretty and I had some extra baileys that I’ve had for like a gazillion years and I just wanted to use it in something already. So I did, and it was the best decision I’ve made in 2014 so far. I don’t really know how to describe in words how amazing it is, but I’ve been dolloping it on my coffee all week now and every time I’m in awe of how yummy it is.

So yea, basically, if you’re not into rice pudding — make this whipped cream anyway. You won’t regret it.

Baileys Cinnamon Whipped Cream

I feel like I’ve been rather talkative today, so I’m going to keep this part short and sweet.

This rice pudding = delicious

This whipped cream = best positive, yummy adjective you can think of

This rice pudding + this whipped cream = deliciously best positive, yummy adjective you can think of (e.g. deliciously amazing, deliciously fantastic, etc)

Here’s the recipe again, have a fantabulous weekend!!!

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kia’s kitchen: cheddar blueberry biscuits

Cheddar Blueberry Biscuits

Kia was giving me those puppy eyes again — I suppose she’s always giving me those puppy eyes isn’t she? Well, I’m a sucker for them (and perhaps she knows this too). So when I recently came home from the grocery store and she patiently stared at me unpacking the groceries, waiting to see what treat I may have brought home for her, I felt kind of bad.

She doesn’t always stare at me when I unpack groceries, but for whatever reason she was on my case this time. I didn’t really bring anything home that I could readily give her, so I thought I’d use some of the fresh blueberries I bought — she loves blueberries — and mix them with a few ingredients to make her cute, bone-shaped cheddar blueberry biscuits.

Cheddar Blueberry Biscuits Prep

This is my second go at homemade dog treats (my first being the sweet potato peanut butter sandwiches) and I’m coming to realize that they’re pretty darn easy to make. Kia finds almost all edible (and some inedible) things delicious — so the pressure is off when it comes to perfecting the mix of ingredients and balance of flavors. Phew!

The bone-shaped biscuits turned out beautifully and Kia was one happy pup! Next time you come home from the grocery store with a pint of blueberries, share the love with your dog and try these easy, homemade cheddar blueberry biscuits.

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pineapple & shrimp fried rice

Pineapple & Shrimp Fried Rice

Winter shminter. I’m over it. I went to the tropical fruit section at the grocery store trying to disregard the freezing temperatures all together and came across the cutest baby pineapple — I swooped it right up and knew exactly what I was going to make.

Mirza and I really enjoy ordering Thai food for dinner, we order it fairly often actually. Typically, I go for some tom yum soup and drunken noodles —  always delicious in my book. BUT, lately I’ve been on this kick of ordering pineapple fried rice.

The first time I ordered it, I didn’t want any sort of protein in it; however, they gave me shrimp anyway—well, I’m glad they did! The combination of pineapple and shrimp in the salty fried rice is amazing. So much so, that I really wanted to make it for dinner on my own recently, and did just that!

Pineapple & Shrimp Fried Rice Ingredients

I don’t attempt to make Asian food too often at home. The flavors are so complex and layered that it just seems impossible to perfect. The balance of salty, sweet, spicy and sour is always so perfect that I’ve always just been intimdated. That said, I have a surprising amount of Asian-inspired ingredients in my kitchen, so I thought I’d give the  pineapple & shrimp fried rice a whirl.

Pineapple & Shrimp Fried Rice Prep

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I absolutely love my wok. It’s perfect for making stir-fry (which is what I use it most often for) and does really well with the fried rice dish. The pan itself gets extremely hot (great for that frying business) without burning the ingredients you add to it. With the tall sides that get equally hot, you have a large surface area to cook on and it’s just great to cook with — so if you don’t have a wok yet, I highly recommend it!

Yum. It was absolutely delicious. It wasn’t an exact replica of the flavors from a Thai restaurant, but it was as close as I could hope to get! The pineapple in the fried rice is so interesting…they’re like little pops of flavor as you enjoy the salty, spicy rice. If you’re into tropical flavors, love pineapple, love Asian flavors — you have to give this pineapple & shrimp fried rice a try. It’s not only yummmmm, but also super easy to make.

What’s your favorite thing to order at Thai restaurants?

Pineapple & Shrimp Fried Rice

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