Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Product Placement Wednesday - NoStik Toaster Bag

Sticking with the cheese theme of the past few Wednesdays, let me just say that I love grilled cheese. However, I find it difficult to make the perfect grilled cheese on my stove. It just seems that the burners are too hot so the bread toasts quickly but the cheese doesn't melt quickly enough. Toaster ovens are a great way to make grilled cheese but there just is not enough counter space for one in my home. I recently saw a photo on Pinterest about how you can use your toaster to make grilled cheese but honestly it just looked like a hot mess. That brings me to this week's product...

NoStik Toaster Bags are not only perfect for making grilled cheese but can be used for a variety of delicious grilled sandwiches or just about anything you can fit in the toaster. The only caveat is that the bag can't touch the actual heating elements of the toaster or a hole will form. Since the bags are reusable, you want to make sure that does not happen!

When I first heard about these bags, all I could think was "Mmm... grilled cheese". Turns out that these bags are also perfect when you have a member of your household with a gluten allergy. These bags will keep the gluten free bread protected from cross contamination from regular bread - even if you are just making regular toast.

The easiest place to find these bags?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Iron Chef West Hollywood, Part 4

I can't believe how many recipes I have yet to post! There are still some from The Bachelorette and Bachelor Pad plus at least one picnic! Today's post was a recent dinner Katie and I made. It was not completely Iron Chef style like we've done in the past but we did still somewhat throw it together.

Meatless Meatballs and Vegetable Saute
8 meatless meatballs
10 baby zucchini, chopped
1/2 cup frozen leeks
1/4 cup white onion
1/4 cup red onion
1 tablespoon garlic
dried rosemary
coarse sea salt
garlic olive oil
parmesan cheese
cooked brown rice or whole wheat pasta

1. Saute onion and leeks in a bit of water to help soften.
2. When onions start to look clear, add baby zucchini and garlic and continue to saute until zucchini softens. Add more water if needed.
3. Microwave meatless meatballs per package instructions.
4. Add rosemary, salt and flower pepper to vegetable mixture to taste.
5. Add meatless meatballs to vegetable mixture.
6. Top brown rice or whole wheat pasta (we used rice) with meatballs and vegetable mixture.
7. Drizzle with garlic olive oil and top with parmesan cheese.

Trader Joe's Kale Salad Knock Off

Note - This is a knock off of a new salad that Trader Joe's is carrying. It sounded so good but the dressing had so many calories that I figured I should just try to make it myself! The original doesn't include avocado and does include almonds but I made the substitutions based on what I had at my house. I have made it again with wasabi almonds and it was also delish!

4 cups of kale
1/2 cup edamame, shelled
1/2 avocado, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon garlic olive oil
1/8 cup fresh lemon juice
coarse sea salt, to taste

1. Combine kale, edamame, avocado, cranberries, (& almonds if you desire).
2. In a separate bowl, combine yogurt, garlic olive oil, lemon juice, and salt.
3. Top kale salad with dressing and mix well to coat the entire salad. The dressing is really thick so it will take a minute or so to combine properly.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Product Placement Wednesday - Trader Joe's Mini Brie Bites

Yes, it's another Trader Joe's specialty this week! Also, this is the second week in a row that Product Placement Wednesday is cheese related. Clearly I have a problem. However, this week's little delights will soon give you a problem too.

Trader Joe's Mini Brie Bites

If you are anything like me, it is difficult to determine when to stop eating when it comes to cheese. They say a serving is the size of a pair of dice. As I may have mentioned before, that amount of cheese is the cheese I eat while cutting up the cheese I'm actually going to eat. Weight loss experts would say I have problems with "portion control". If they didn't make cheese so delicious it would be easier to control! Or if cheese came in single serving packaging (other than string cheese) maybe I would be more successful. Well, that's exactly the sizing of the Mini Brie Bites. You can sit down with some lovely crackers (my personal fave are the Rosemary and Raisin - also from Trader Joe's) and have a relatively guilt free snack!

I also think these would be great to make mini Brie en Croute for your holiday parties! Take your Mini Brie Bites, smooth some great jam on top (personally I think one that is both sweet and savory would be best), wrap in puff pastry and bake. There are a million recipes out there that will give you an idea as to baking time though I would recommend checking it every five minutes the first time as these guys are small and will likely brown up quickly.

Trader Joe's also makes a great little goat cheese medallion that can also be enjoyed with crackers. I like to crumble it on salads or if you are able to successfully remove it from the wrapper without destroying the shape you can also roll it in some crushed nuts and place on top of the salad as is.

I am sure there are some other great ideas out there for the Mini Brie Bites. Let me know if you have discovered one!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Product Placement Wednesday - Crate & Barrel Cheese Markers

I heart cheese. I will eat it on just about anything but my favorite way to enjoy cheese is on it's own. No bread, no crackers. That being said, I love a good cheese plate and always have one at any function I put together. Until recently, I would use little metal cheese signs that had names of particular types of cheeses (cheddar, stilton, etc.). The problem with these signs was that there were so many cheeses unaccounted for by the pre-selected names. Then I found these little gems!

These cheese markers are the perfect way to both personalize and add some personality to your cheese board. The markers themselves can be customized with a dry erase marker, grease pencil or even a crayon to describe your delicious selection. Since all of those writing utensils easily wipe off the porcelain base, you can label unlimited cheeses!

I think the cheese markers are perfect for all of your holiday functions or even as a hostess gift! They come in a set of 6 so the biggest question is how to narrow the selection down to only 6 cheeses! Trader Joe's here I come!