Sunday, March 18, 2018

Ginger Beer Glazed Carrots

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If you're looking for a sunny side dish for your spring table, I've got one here that I think you'll enjoy! ,
Cooked carrots don't always have a great reputation - they tend to be overdone, bland, and leached of all the flavor that makes a carrot such a sweet pleasure to eat. It really is a matter of cooking properly and seasoning well to take them from sad to celebratory!

These started on a whim - somehow, I'd managed to have far too many carrots for my husband and I to eat raw, and needed to use some of them as a side dish rather than being a minor player in stews or salads.  My husband tends to be in the 'no cooked carrots' camp, although he is polite about pushing them around the plate and nibbling at a few, so I wasn't expecting him to like this.  Which means it was all about pleasing myself!

We had some ginger beer on hand which, unlike Ginger Ale, tends to be on the spicy ginger side rather than sweet - I thought it might result in something interesting here.  I pulled these little golden gems together, to go along with some chicken thighs and wild and mixed rice pilaf.

Ginger Beer Glazed Carrots
serves 4

7-8 carrots, peeled, and sliced into thin coins
2 Tablespoons butter
12 oz. Ginger Beer
1 Tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon Hungarian Paprika
salt and pepper to taste

Heat pan with half the butter, and lightly saute the carrots until they are slightly softened.

Add ginger beer, remaining butter, honey, and seasonings, and simmer on medium, stirring occasionally, until the liquid cooks down.  The honey will help create a glazed effect.

Taste, and adjust seasonings as needed.

The surprising verdict from my husband: he liked these, and even helped himself to extras!  The leftovers had a bright, gingery taste that reheated well, too.  We will certainly be doing these again, and I think they'd be a perfect side dish for St. Patricks Day (Leprechaun Coins, anyway), Ostara or Easter.

Ginger Ale would work instead of Ginger Beer (though you may wish to avoid adding honey, since Ginger Ale is plenty sweet already), but I encourage you to find some Ginger Beer - it has a much spicier gingery taste to that really made these carrots sparkle!

(originally posted March 2016)

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Awesome Life Friday #151

Welcome to Awesome Life Friday!  I can't believe we've been at this for 150 weeks!

We're so looking forward to seeing what you've been cooking, creating, growing, decorating, reviewing, giving away, and thinking about this week!

While you're here, leave your posts at the other link up we co-host here - Party in Your PJs!  It starts on Tuesday evenings, and runs through Sunday.  I hope you'll join us there as well!

After our move this past week, I have managed to unbury myself from enough boxes to feel like we don't live in a total madhouse, so it was a true pleasure to sit down, put my feet up, and visit all the posts from the last Awesome Life Friday Party.

You all are my well deserved reward!

So, now the best part of Awesome Life Friday -  the FEATURES!

DIY Miniature Carrots for Spring Decor // Of Faeries & Fauna
"I think these miniature carrots are adorable, they look so cute just laying on a shelf or counter."

Easy No-Churn Moscato Ice Cream // Dizzy Busy & Hungry
"I know it isn’t summer yet, but I am already dreaming of some of the things I would like to do in warmer weather. Right now I am fantasizing about eating this ice cream while lounging in the sun on a boat floating around on Lake Wallenpaupack, where we like to spend time with our friends on lazy summer weekends."

Phyllo Wrapped Asparagus & Gouda Cheese // Looney For Food
"Want an elegant looking appetizer or side dish that’s incredibly easy to make? Phyllo wrapped asparagus and gouda is just the thing! It’s also low-calorie, healthy and deliciously fun to eat!"

Upcycle with Spray Paint & Washi Tape // Create & Babble
"I think I’m going to use this tote for my granddaughter’s Easter Basket. It will hold a lot of candy and other goodies. It could also be used for flowers as shown here."

Mix and Match for Pretty Tablescape Ideas // Simple Nature Decor
"Sometimes its nice to mix and match patterns for unique feel. It’s the best for  a spontaneous get together with friends or family. Find unusual  patterns that grabs your attention and mix it with your favorite colors."

How to Make Uplifting Lemon Basil Solid Lotion Bars // Happy Mothering
"These DIY solid lotion bars have a very uplifting and cleansing fragrance that pairs nicely with the moisturizing qualities they offer for dry skin."

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Thank you all so much for sharing your awesomeness!

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Kebabs with Cave Tools Stainless Skewers (Review)


Cave Tools is back at it again! I always joke that my cupboards look like they are sponsored by Cave Tools and the more I review, the more and more it is true! I am now on my 5th product from them, and again am not disappointed!!

This time around I chose to review their 17" Stainless Steel BBQ Skewers... Kebabs anyone?

Now the kebabs I have had in the past come on the bamboo round skewers full of meat and veggies. I am always worried with those type of kebabs that I would get splinters in my food when I pushed them down the stick, and that is if you can even get it to come down, because most times it sticks.

You have to soak the sticks in water for a couple hours before you cook with them so they do not burn... ugh how inconvenient!

Well, Cave Tools has done what they do best - they have taken a simple product, and revamped it!

These skewers are 100% Stainless Steel.  They are flat in shape so you don't have to worry about them rolling when you put them on the grill, and they have this really cool ring at the top that pushes the food down for you!

Along with all those cool features, these 10 skewers come in this sweet little red bag that you can hang right on your BBQ for next time! It is really nice to have the bag to put them in, so they are not taking up a whole drawer.

My one main criticism (well my husband's since he was the one actually BBQing) was that they are all metal so when it comes time to flipping, you really have no other option but to get an oven mitt to protect you from burning yourself.

If I could give one suggestion to Cave Tools, it would be to have some sort of silicone holder at the end that you can grasp.

It was actually really tough for my husband to flip them over, because our oven mitts are apparently fluffy, so when he went to grab, he couldn't get underneath it. He used a little ingenuity and took a spatula to lift it up into his oven mitt and flip it.

A little inconvenient for the cook, but overall a pretty satisfying product otherwise. I really enjoyed the ease of the ring to push the food off - - completely genius!

As with all their products, these are a dishwasher safe product with a lifetime guarantee.  The ten skewers with bag costs only $17.99! I would buy this product in a heartbeat. This price is great for the quality that you are getting. Check out their website and see what other things you can add to your collection! I know I have my eye on a few more things!

So with all of my reviews from Cave Tools, I have included a recipe.

Well guess what? I have come up with three separate recipes to make your next set of  kebabs!  In each case, you could make skewers of meat only, or thread the meat with a variety of vegetables and fruit, such as pineapple.

Lemon Pepper Chicken
This recipe is a simple one using a store bought marinade from Lawry's.

1 full bottle of Lawry's marinade
3 large boneless chicken breasts, cut into cubes

Let the chicken soak for about 2 hours in the marinade and then add to your skewers.

Dry Rubbed Steak
This one is a dry rub that crusts the outside when seared.

1/2 a trimmed Tri Tip, cut into cubes (trimmed of excess fat that is always on the backside of a tritip)
A handful of Gourmet Prime Rib Seasoning (we get ours from Costco, soooo good)
2-3 dashes of Cayenne Pepper
A dash of Garlic Salt
2-3 dashes of Seasoning Salt

Mix this all up and generously rub all over the meat cubes. Let it sit in the fridge for about 2 hours and then add to your skewers.

Green Steak
This one is a mix of some fresh veggies and herbs. It pairs really well with onions and peppers.

I used my hand processor for this, but if you do not have one, just dice it up as small as you can so it can infuse all the flavors together

a handful of Cilantro, stems and all
1/2 a medium size Red Onion
5 cloves of Garlic
A dash of Oil to make it a little easy to spread onto the steak
1/2 a trimmed Tri Tip, cut into cubes

Get all the ingredients except the steak into your mixer and puree until it is all mixed up. Add to the steak cubes, and let it sit in the fridge for about 2 hours and then add them onto your skewers.

I hope you try and make your own skewers and mix it up a little bit!

You can really go any direction with your veggies but I will tell you what I had on mine just so you have an idea.

For the Lemon Chicken and the Dry Rubbed Steak, I added sliced red onions, sliced red and yellow bell peppers and mushrooms.

For the Green Steak, I added all of the above but also added pineapple onto my skewers as well.

If you're serving several people, you could even lay out a buffet of kebab items and let each person thread their own skewer! Just be careful to provide utensils so that multiple fingers aren't touching raw meat and the various vegetables without washing.

You really can season, marinade or choose how to cook these! BBQ is the best, but you can bake kebabs as well.

I have a bunch of kiddos, so we paired our skewers with some Mac and Cheese and some corn. As with any BBQ item, the side dishes are endless.

What's your favorite way to use skewers? We'd love to hear from you!

You can buy these Cave Tools Skewers from Amazon or directly on Cave Tools website - and if you purchase from their website, you can have them at a 15% discount when you use the code SKEWERS15 when you check out!