Blueberry Chocolate SconesCan you believe that before I made these, I’d never had a scone in my life. Which is pretty lame considering a majority of the blood running through my veins is Scottish and English. When given he opportunity I always go for the muffin, or the doughnut – and pass over the scones without a second glance.

I was watching an episode of “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” last weekend, a show which every time I watch it, I swear I’ll never watch it again – because after every episode I have a list of things that I need to make, like – right now! Anyway, this guy was on there making nectarine scones that looked absolutely fabulous. It made me sad that I’d never had one! So, I decided then and there to make them for breakfast on Sunday morning.

A few weeks ago, Brookside Chocolate contacted me asking if I’d be interested in trying some of their products. Free chocolate? Well, that’s a no-brainer! They sent along the nicest little kit that included three bags (Blueberry with Acai, Pomegranate, and Raspberry with Goji) of their chocolate covered fruit juice pieces. Which, I promptly devoured most of. They’re so good. The fruit pieces inside are just sweet enough to really let the flavors in the chocolate come through. The chocolate is high quality too, just as rich and smooth as can be. I had pulled a recipe for blueberry white chocolate scones, but thought adding some of the dark chocolate blueberry-acai pieces would be fun! So, that’s what I did.

I’m proud to announce that I am now a scone fan! I’d say the best way to describe them is halfway between a cake and a biscuit. Fluffy, and creamy – studded with delicious blueberries and chocolate. I honestly can’t think of a better way to start the day! Oh wait, maybe I can – the good people at Brookside have offered to give away a tasting kit to one of my fine readers! It includes:

1 pkg. Brookside Dark Chocolate Pomegranate
1 pkg. Brookside Dark Chocolate Açai with Blueberry
1 pkg. Brookside Dark Chocolate Goji with Raspberry
Crate & Barrel 3-part server with central loop handle
Crate & Barrel stainless steel cheese server
Crate & Barrel porcelain cheese board
2 stemless wine glasses
Grocery gift card ($30)
Gaiam exercise headband
1 year subscription to Fitness Magazine

All you need to do is leave one comment telling me which flavor you’re most looking forward to trying! Contest runs through next Thursday (2/7) at 12 PM EST. Winner will be chosen using a random number generator.

Congratulations to Meryl, with entry 37! She’s looking forward to trying the Dark Chocolate Pomegranate. Thanks to Brookside for sponsoring such a great giveaway!

LumpiaI have many good memories associated with lumpia and football. A family friend always made them for the Super Bowl party we went to, year after year, and everyone always loved them. They were out of the kitchen as soon as they came out of the fryer!

Most of the ingredients are fairly easy to come by, even for a country mouse like myself. You may have a hard time finding spring roll wrappers. I know I did, for years. Until finally I realized that we have an Asian market here in Salisbury. Subconciously, I knew it was there. But, I’d always avoided it because the mini-strip mall that they call home looks kind of skeezy. A month or so ago, I finally ventured in, and am kicking myself for not going in sooner. Everything was clean, and well organized – and ingredients that I’d been searching years to find (black vinegar! good fish sauce!) were on the shelves in abundance. Was so happy to see that they had spring roll wrappers, so I purchased a couple packages to stick in the freezer. Then came home and set out to try making my own lumpia!

They come together fairly quickly, as you don’t pre-cook the filling. Just make sure to chop the carrots and cabbage very finely – as this helps to lighten the texture of the ground pork. Also, keep in mind that lumpia should be a good deal smaller than an egg roll – because they’re almost exclusively meat, as opposed to shredded vegetables. It’s easy to find yourself wanting to put more filling in before you roll them up – but, resist that urge. About one fingers width and length is the amount of filling you want in each roll.

If you’re still looking for Super Bowl munchie ideas, definitely consider this one. They can be fried in advance, then kept warm in the oven for an hour or so – without having the crispiness of the roll suffer.  Which leaves you plenty of time to mix up some Hurricanes before your guests arrive! Also, GO NINERS!

BLT CarbonaraI feel like we’ve been crazy busy lately – it’s always something on our schedules one weekend or another. Poor Jon just got to brew beer for the first time in two months last week! Plus, we’d all been sick for pretty much the entire month of January. Stomach bugs? Check. Coughing up lungs? Check. Faucets for noses? Check.

This has been the first week this month where we’ve all felt good, and I’ve been playing catch-up with house chores that kind of got put by the way-side while I was sick myself, or playing nurse maid. Seriously, where does all this laundry come from? I’d swear I live in a house with 5 teenage girls the way these boys go through clothes! Anyways, with all the housework, I wasn’t feeling cooking dinner the other night. But, I wasn’t feeling anything out either. So, I mustered up some energy and went to the kitchen to make this quick pasta. A few ingredients, and a little bit of time – and you’ve got yourself one terrific and satisfying meal.

If you’re worried about using raw eggs in your pasta – hear me out. It’s not really raw eggs, because the eggs cook (more or less) in the pan with the hot pasta. It transforms into a thick and luxurious sauce that can’t be achieved with any substitutions. If you’re that worried about it, let it cook on the heat for a little bit longer than 2 minutes. But, there really isn’t anything to worry about – you don’t think anything about licking brownie batter off the spatula when you’re done baking, do you?

The original recipe just calls for bacon and tomatoes, but I happened to have a half a bag of baby spinach hanging out in the fridge that I needed to use – and thought that a green leafy component would make it a BLT, which is always a fun twist. I served it with simple green salads and focaccia bread.

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

Enchiladas are probably our favorite meal. Whether it’s chicken, pork, shrimp, or a simple bean and cheese filling – they’re so comforting, and relatively easy to make. The easiest part of all being making your own homemade enchilada sauce. So many recipes I’ve seen on the internet call for canned sauce – and it always makes me feel sad for them, a “bless their heart” type situation. It’s basically seasoned tomato sauce, taking only minutes to come together . No excuses.

And the flavor, wowza. Out of this world! The stuff in the can will just seem bland and watery if you ever have the misfortune of tasting it again. Often I’ll double the recipe, and freeze half in a Ziploc bag for a rainy day. It’s also great as a base sauce for taco pizza, which is another one of our favorites.

If you’re still buying your enchilada sauce from the can, do yourself a favor and try making it at home. You can thank me later!