Archive for ‘Food & Beer’

May 20, 2013

Famous Salsa Recipe

My salsa recipe is now my famous salsa recipe.  We competed in a homebrew competition yesterday (and won!), and of course there were food pairings with each beer.  You have to enhance the beer flavors!  The famous salsa was paired with the–now award winning–IPA.  The beer was the real star of the show, but there were tons of requests for the salsa recipe.  Even the old hispanic men were asking for it!  That’s when you know you have a winner!  So here it is again, the famous salsa recipe.

You can also check out The Manhattan Project’s facebook page.  That’s the brewery.  Website and additional marketing coming soon.  We couldn’t go into this with too much arrogance, but now we have bragging rights!


I have seen some pins claiming to be the world’s best salsa, and I feel it is my duty to set the record straight with the recipe for the real world’s best salsa.  I have been duped by Pinterest recipes before, and it was a sad day in the Sanford kitchen.

What was my first clue that these pins were a lousy imitation?  Cilantro and lime were missing.  Isn’t that a staple, like tomatoes?

This is a basic salsa recipe that will knock your salsa dancing socks off. That was cheesy.

Back to Basics Salsa

  • 28 oz can of peeled tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4-6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Juice of 2-3 limes
  • Handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp cumin
  • 2-5 peppers, mix of serrano and jalapeno, chopped
  • S&P to taste

Throw it all in a blender.  Don’t puree though.  The pulse button is perfect for salsa.  Taste as you pulse so that you can make any necessary adjustments.  I put this salsa on everything.  Eggs, chicken, veggies, you name it.

Need to troubleshoot your salsa?

  • Too flat?  Add more lime or cilantro.
  • Too watery?  Add a little cumin or garlic.
  • Not spicy enough?  Add more pepper.  The level of heat in each pepper is unpredictable.  You might need 3 jalapenos one time and 2 the next.


March 4, 2013

Happy Monday

If this doesn’t make you smile, your Monday is doomed.  Our new fridge is torturing poor Fred.  All that food is so very close, and he can’t have any of it!  I have even found him resting his chin on the door.


February 26, 2013

A Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia Breakfast Treat!

Chia seedsI have a new favorite breakfast that is healthy and doesn’t have a Mc in front of it!  God, I love the Egg McMuffin.  This one is made from Chia seeds.  I always want to eat chia seeds, but they are kind of gross and slimy.  Especially when they bloat.  And yep, they are the very same seeds from Chia pets.  Ch-ch-ch-chia!

I stumbled across this yogurt type recipe on Pinterest.  Successful recipes on Pinterest…who knew that was even possible?!   I made a few adjustments to the original recipe to tailor it to my own taste.  It also originally called for almond milk, but that is not a staple in our house.  The last time it made an appearance, the husband looked at me like I was trying to poison him.


Chia Seed Breakfast Bowl

  • 1 mashed banana
  • 2 tbsp of Chia seeds
  • ½ – ¾  cup of milk
  • 1 cap full of vanilla
  • Juice of half an orange
  • Tiny squirt of honey
  • Few dashes of cinnamon

Mash the banana first and then mix in all the other good stuff.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  It will be ready and delicious in the morning.  Sometimes I get a little crazy and add sliced almonds or raisins just before serving.




December 18, 2012

Savory Bread Pudding – Christmas Menu Must Have

It just hit me today that Christmas starts this weekend.  Wow.  How did that happen?  And how is it a surprise every year?  I have to say that I am super excited.  All of my shopping is done and the menu is planned.  Now I just have to impatiently wait.

We got the opportunity to test a couple new recipes last weekend when we had a small, intimate Christmas dinner with some friends.  It was similar to Friendsgiving but with glitter and the scent of pine!  Of course I forgot to take photos of the food.  We were too excited about consuming one of the best holiday meals we have ever had.  Photos of the dinner décor will have to do.

My favorite dish was a savory bread pudding.   I wanted a twist on the traditional stuffing.  I was a little nervous the texture would be strange, but oohhh girl.  It was so good that I am blogging about it without a photo just because you need to put it on your menu immediately.   I have eaten it every day since Saturday, and I am making it again on Christmas day.  Just writing about it makes me want to go grab a bite.

I adapted a recipe I found on West Elm’s site.  Yeah, they occasionally post recipes.  Who knew?  This should be easier to follow than my usual recipe posts since they provide actual measurements!

Leek and Prosciutto Bread Pudding

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 4 cups leeks, sliced 1/4” thick (white and light green only)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • fresh pepper
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2.5 cups whole milk
  • 2.5 cups heavy cream
  • nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 2/3 cup gruyere, shredded
  • 6 slices of prosciutto, cut into thin strips
  • 2 loaves of brioche or challah, cubed
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped chives
  • .5 cup roasted shiitake mushrooms (toss with olive oil and salt and roast at 400 until crispy)

Preheat oven to 350.  Melt butter over medium heat and add leeks.  Season with salt and cover.  Stir as needed.  Cook until leeks are soft, about 15 minutes.  Now season again with S&P to taste.

In a large bowl mix together the eggs, milk, cream, large pinch of salt, pepper, nutmeg, and  cheese.  Add the leeks to the bowl and toss to combine.

In a buttered baking dish, line the dish with the bread.  Pour the mixture over the bread.  Let soak for 15 minutes.

Bake for 30-45 minutes or until pudding is set and the top is brown and bubbly.

Scatter with the mushrooms, chives, and a bit of truffle oil before serving.


Christmas Table Christmas GarlandChristmas Ornaments

November 21, 2012

Happy Friendsgiving and Thanksgiving!

The husband and I spend Thanksgiving with family, which is lovely and always special, but when your families live in other cities like ours do, you miss out on spending the holiday with another very important part your life, your close friends.  We figured out a way to have both this year.  We hosted our first Friendsgiving last Saturday. It was filled with delicious food, wine, and conversation that lasted late into the night.

A few photos from the evening are below. The husband and I provided the turkey, apps, and a couple other dishes while everyone else filled in with some of their favorite recipes.  The food was outstanding.  I have to admit that one of my favorite things was the table setting.  It is amazing what you can do with $25 worth of flowers and gourds from the grocery store!

Since we just hit our one-year anniversary last month, I still consider us newlyweds.  I am loving how we are slowly transforming our house into what is truly our home.  No more his and hers.  Because of that, I am particularly excited about this holiday season.  Our own traditions and little moments that are unique to us are beginning to emerge.  It is a great feeling to be so established and content at the same time.  I probably sound like a ball of mush!  Gag!

Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

October 23, 2012

Not a Foodie

Warning: I am about to make a seriously snobby statement.

If you cook with canned vegetables or Ritz crackers, you are NOT a foodie and should not pin recipes with aforementioned ingredients with tags stating that you are a foodie.  It is embarrassing.

And Pinterest, your users continue to fail me in the food area.  Can’t there be a competency test to categorize everyone?  Something like…describe béchamel sauce…or do you cook with butter or margarine.  It is at least a start.  Think about it.


September 28, 2012

Comfort Food Recipe – Sweet Potato Souffle

Hello, Fall.  I have been anxiously waiting for you.  Now that you are here (sort of), I can make all my favorite comfort foods.  The first dish I made in your honor was sweet potato soufflé.  It was a smashing hit with the husband.  Now don’t let me down by bringing back temps in the 90s.





Sweet Potato Souffle

  • 3 lbs sweet potatoes
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup shredded gruyere
  • 2 tbps light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped (I probably used more)
  • 3 large eggs
  • S&P

This serves 12, so I made a much smaller portion.

Preheat the oven to 350.  Poke the potatoes with a fork and bake for 45 minutes or until soft.  Raise the oven temp to 425.

Peel the potatoes once they are cool enough to handle.  Beat the potatoes with the butter until smooth.  Now beat in the cream, cheese, brown sugar, thyme, and S&P (to taste).  Beat in the eggs one at a time.

Transfer the puree to buttered baking dishes.  I used individual ramekins for a pretty presentation.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Reduce the oven temp to 400 and bake for another 30 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are lightly puffed and browned.  Let the soufflé rest for 10 minutes before serving.

September 26, 2012

Tomato and Fennel Gratin Recipe

Monday night dinner was delayed a day this week.   We made plans to have a bottle of wine and large bag of popcorn while watching 2016.  It was a perfect date night. Tuesday night was filled with food and the usual Monday night traditions.  The husband did his thing, and I had the kitchen to myself to try out new recipes and make something special.

What was on the menu?  Roasted chicken thighs, tomato and fennel gratin, and sweet potato soufflé.  It was so good that it was decided that the dishes are now fall staples.

I don’t think I need to tell you how to roast chicken thighs.  It is also really boring, and you have google.  So let’s just get to the good stuff, the gratin. It sort of reminded us of a heavenly pasta dish, because the fennel is such a great substitution.  Next time I will double the fennel portion of the recipe.  My mouth is watering just thinking about the leftovers in the fridge!

Tomato and Fennel Gratin

  • 5 small roma tomatoes, sliced in ¼” thick slices
  • 1 large fennel bulb, stalk removed and thinly sliced
  • 2 oz (56 grams) crème fraiche (we make our own)
  • 2 tbsp black olive tapenade (see notes below, I deviated)
  • ½ cup finely grated parmesan cheese (I probably used more)
  • Handful of fresh thyme leaves
  • S&P to taste

Notes prior to cooking:
If your tomatoes are super juicy, you can place them in a colander and sprinkle them with a little salt.  Let them hangout for about 20 minutes and this will remove the excess water.  Also note that the better the tomatoes, the better the gratin will taste.

I did not have all the traditional tapenade ingredients on hand, so I made my own version.  Finely chopped black olives and garlic with a little olive oil and lemon juice.  It was wonderful and might be making appearances in other recipes.  I also don’t love capers, so this was a good solution.

Preheat oven to 375

Steam the fennel for 8-10 minutes or until it is tender.  In a bowl, toss the fennel, crème fraiche, olive tapenade, half of the thyme and parmesan, and season with S&P.

Butter the bottom of a small baking dish.  Place the fennel mixture at the bottom of the dish.  Arrange the tomato slices over the fennel in overlapping rows.  Season with S&P and sprinkle with the remaining parmesan and thyme leaves.

Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until the cheese starts to brown and the gratin is bubbly.  Let is rest for 5 minutes before serving and then enjoy!

The sweet potato soufflé recipe will be posted tomorrow.

September 20, 2012

I’ll have a latte!

I am a changed woman.  I like coffee!  Well, I like lattes and cappuccino.  That counts, right?  I love red wine, big beers, and the stranger the food the better, so why did it take me so long to like coffee?

I discovered my new love last week when I tasted the husband’s post dinner cappuccino and a friend’s morning latte.   They were delicious!  And now I just finished my first latte that I ordered by myself for myself!

I had been looking forward to this experience all week.  I was waiting for an empty afternoon to park my butt at The Pearl Cup with my laptop.  That is what the cool kids do, right?  I even pretended like I was the uber creative type writing the great American novel on my Apple computer.  Little did they know I was just writing blog posts.

So, I might have gotten a little excited and slammed that first cup too quickly.  It tasted so wonderful, and it was so pretty, but I don’t feel so good.  I think this is what you coffee drinkers are experiencing when you say you have had too much.

August 28, 2012

Juicing and Rebooting

I am sorry I didn’t share any mouthwatering Monday night dinner photos with you today.  We didn’t cook dinner last night.  We juiced. Yes, juiced.  Doesn’t this go against every fiber in your body when you love to cook as much as the husband and I do?  Well, yes.  But, we were inspired.  We watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and wanted to give it a try.  The inspiration ended at about 11 am on Day 1.  That is when I felt like my stomach was eating itself and all I had to eat, I mean drink, was a juice with far too many vegetables and far too few fruits.  But I still choked it down and rallied.  Shitty mood included.

Until dinner this evening, I was starving, irritable and refusing to take a peek at Pinterest because even the ugliest crockpot, one dish, piece of crap meal would only increase the aforementioned hunger induced irritability.  But  then my mood was lifted.  *tears of happiness*  

It was like seeing rainbows and unicorns after a terrible storm.  The dinner juice was quite possibly some of the most beautiful colors I have ever seen.  And it was delicious!  I was shocked.  Loads of beets, peppers, and sweet potato…sounds like the flavor of dirt to me.  That is not the case!  It was slightly sweet and thick and yummy.  But…I am still hungry.

Now there is the possibility that I thought it was so delicious because I had a wannabe gazpacho for lunch and some nasty green thing for a snack.  I don’t think that is true though.  Even if you have no plans of doing a full on detox, you have to try this recipe.  It was taken from the Reboot Your Life program.

Sunset Blend Juice

  • 1 lg Sweet Potato
  • 1 med Carrot
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 2 lg Red Beets
  • 2 Golden Delicious Apples
  • 1 Orange (optional)

Juice, Pour over ice, Enjoy!

The “Enjoy!” with the very enthusiastic exclamation point was Reboot’s.  Not mine.  Let’s keep that clear.  And the orange should not be optional.  It keeps away the dirt taste.

I should also note that I gave up my morning Diet Coke for hot water with lemon.  That might have been the start of the sour mood. #angrybitch

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