Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween! OUAT: Captain Hook's Rum Punch

Happy Halloween! I wish you all your favorite candy bars. :)

Moving right on along through my Once Upon A Time party, today I'm sharing Captain Hook's Rum Punch with you. Captain Hook is one of my favorite characters so I'm going to try really hard to keep this as a short description, but we'll see how that goes.

Captain Hook (or Killian Jones) is introduced in the second season of Once Upon A Time. He is currently working with Cora, Regina's mother, to come to Storybrooke as they were passed over during the first curse. He meets Emma, Snow White, Mulan and Aurora first and shares a beanstalk adventure with Emma.

In this version, Captain Hook loses his hand when it is cut off in a jealous rage by Rumplestiltskin. (Before Rumplestiltskin had his powers, his wife left him for Captain Hook.) Given Rumple's shiny make up, it still makes sense for Hook to refer to him as the Crocodile.

Also in this version, Captain Hook is more like Jack Sparrow than the Disney Captain Hook. He wears leather and eyeliner and a penchant for rum. Its was only fitting for me to offer Hook's Rum Punch at the party, although the pirate would prefer his rum straight up.

Captain Hook's Rum Punch
Source: A Cookaholic Wife Creation
Servings: ~ 12 cups
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    • 3 cups pineapple juice
    • 2 1/2 cups fruit punch
    • 2 1/2 cups orange juice
    • 2 cups light rum
    • 1 cup dark rum
    • 1 cup lime juice
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1 orange, sliced
1. Combine all ingredients together in a large pitcher and stir. Adjust juices and alcohol to your tastes.

I think Captain Hook would approve. This was not too sweet but not too strong either. If you wanted a red color to the punch, replace the 2 1/2 cups of fruit punch with 1 cup of grenadine syrup and skip the additional sugar.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

OUAT: Emma's Grilled Cheese

Here is the other quick and easy recipe from the party, almost not worthy of blogging, but it just felt wrong not to include the recipe of the show's main character, no matter how simple of a recipe it may be.

Emma Swan is the daughter of Prince Charming and Snow White. As a newborn she is placed in an enchanted wardrobe and send to the land without magic. Pinocchio is supposed to stay with her and guide her, allowing her break the curse on her 28th birthday. Pinocchio is weak and doesn't hold up his end of the bargain. Emma grows up an orphan, in the foster system believing that no one loves her and her parents gave her up because they didn't want her. On her 28th birthday, after making a wish on a lone candle in a cupcake that she didn't want to be alone, there is a knock at her door. It's Henry, the son she gave up for adoption 10 years ago. Henry convinces Emma to take him back home to Storybrooke and explains that they are all actually fairy tale characters but they are cursed and she is the one to break the curse. It takes a very long time for Emma to believe. I believe there are two episodes where Emma orders a grilled cheese from Granny's so I opted to choose this food for her.

Emma's Grilled Cheese (Grilled Cheese Sticks)
Source: A Cookaholic Wife Creation
Servings: 24 sticks
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16 slices of bread (white, wheat, etc.)
8 tbsp. of butter, softened
12 slices American cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a large baking sheet with foil.
2. Butter one side of each slice of bread.
3. On the opposite side of the butter place 1 1/2 slices of American cheese on 8 slices of bread. Place the remaining piece of bread on top, creating 8 sandwiches. Arrange on the baking sheet.
4. Bake for 8-9 minutes, then flip over, ensuring that both sides are evenly browned.
5. Optional: slice each sandwich into 3 sticks

I guess this is really more of a "baked" cheese than a grilled cheese, but when making grilled cheese for a crowd, this is definitely the way to go. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

OUAT: Regina's Apple Turnovers

Continuing with my Once Upon A Time theme, today I'm sharing Regina's Apple Turnover with you. Regina is the mayor of Storybrooke, but in the fairy tale world, she is the Evil Queen.

She hates Snow White for a secret Snow White told as a child and Regina is determined to get her revenge, one way or another. Regina has an affinity for apples and is not above poisoning her apple dishes in order to get her way.

Since I like my friends, I chose to keep this poison free. :)

Regina's Apple Turnovers
Source: A Cookaholic Wife creation
Servings: 18
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    • 1 package puff pastry, thawed
    • 3 apples, peeled, cored and diced
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
    • 1 egg
    • 2 tsp. water
    • white sanding sugar 
1. Preheat the oven to 375. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Add apples, sugar and cinnamon to a saucepan and cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until apples have softened and juices have thickened.
3. Lightly flour a surface and gently roll out the puff pastry. Cut each puff pastry sheet into 9 squares.
4. Place 1 1/2 teaspoons of the apple mixture into the center of each puff pastry square. Fold one end over, creating a triangle shape and seal with a fork. Repeat with remaining squares.
5. Whisk together the egg and water and brush over the pastry. Sprinkle white sanding sugar over each pastry.
6. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown.

I don't remember the turnovers Regina made in the show having a glaze on them, so I chose to just top these with sanding sugar before baking them in order to give them a slight crunch.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

#FrankenPet: A PicMonkey and Halloween Contest

Last week I was contacted by about a Halloween Photo Contest they are presenting along with a company called The name of the contest: #FrankenPet. How cute is that!? is a nationwide network of dog lovers that connects pet parents with loving, local dog sitters. PicMonkey is the website I use for editing photos. They have a ton of editing options available, from highlighting to text to adding graphics or overlays. I use them for all the photos I share with you. 

So let's talk about this contest! (Read on their site, instead) They want you to take a photo of your pet (in costume or not) and spice up the picture with their Halloween features. There are three winner categories: Creepy Canines, Scaredy Cats and Other Beasts. You photos can be scary, silly or cute. 

Share your picture with the tag #frankenpet on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, Flickr, and/or Facebook. (For PicMonkey to see your picture, your Facebook privacy settings would need to be public. You can also share directly to their Facebook page instead.)

You have until October 31, 2014 at 11:59 pm to share your picture, so get a move on! Winners will be selected on November 5th! 

Photos are judged on 40% creativity, 30% use of PicMonkey Halloween effects, 20% embodiment of contest theme and 10% photo quality

And now the most important part: what do you win?

Grand Prize: One year subscription to PicMonkey Royale, GoProHero3 (camera) and then a prize specific to your category. 

Creepy Canines:  Fetch Harness
Scaredy Cats and Other Beasts: Three-Way Mount

Runners up will receive a one-year subscription to Royale and a $25 gift card to Petco. 

And just because PicMonkey and Rover are cool like that, they've given me a coupon code for you, simply because you're my readers. 

For a $20 dog sitting coupon on, use this code: CookaholicWife20

Disclaimer: I am not receiving any compensation for this post. Details of the #Frankenpet Halloween Photo Contest in full, including legalities, are listed on the site linked above. Photos shared on this post are of my own creation. Promo codes were provided to me in exchange for sharing this post with you. 
*First picture is of my aunt's bird, Sweet Pea. Both cats are mine, Itty first, Gidget second. These pictures have not been submitted to the #frankenpet contest. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

OUAT: Henry's Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Cinnamon Whipped Cream

These cupcakes are the first Once Upon A Time related recipe I'm sharing with you. Henry is the adopted son of the mayor of Storybrooke, Regina Mills. He is given a storybook by his teacher, Ms. Blanchard and Henry believes that the book is telling the truth; that everyone in his town is actually fairy tale characters who are cursed. They don't remember their previous lives and the Savior is the only one who can break the curse.

On his tenth birthday Henry leaves Storybrooke and goes to find Emma, his birth mother, because he believes she is the Savior and will break the curse so all the inhabitants of the town can get their memories back. 

One thing Henry and Emma have in common is a penchant for hot chocolate with whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon. Serving a hot drink at a party is not an easy task so I decided to turn Henry's favorite drink into a cupcake, because everyone loves cupcakes, right?

Henry's Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Cinnamon Whipped Cream
Servings: 12

for the cupcakes:
    • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
    • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 tsp. vanilla
    • 1/2 cup sour cream 
    • 12 marshmallows
for the frosting:
    • 4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
    • 1/4 cup sugar 
    • 3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp. heavy whipping cream
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1 tbsp. cinnamon 

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a cupcake pan with 12 paper liners. 
2. Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt together in a bowl. Set aside. 
3. Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add in eggs one at a time, then add in vanilla. 
4. Add in half of the flour mixture. Once combined add the sour cream, then the remaining half of the flour mixture until the batter is formed. 
5. Fill each paper liner 3/4 of the way full and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
6. Remove cupcakes from pan and allow to cool on a wire rack.
7. Once cupcakes have cooled, cut out small circles in the center and press a marshmallow down into each. 
7. Prepare the icing by beating cream cheese and sugar together on high speed until light and fluffy. Add in vanilla. 
8. On low speed add the heavy whipped cream and gradually increase to high speed, whipping until stiff peaks form. 
9. Use a spatula to spread frosting on top of  cupcakes. Sprinkle cupcakes with cinnamon. 

Cupcake Source, sans marshmallows: Martha Stewart | Frosting Source: True Aim

I'm fairly certain Henry would approve. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Weekly Menu 10/26 - 10/29

Hi there! I got a late start to the day so this is being shared much later than I intended.

Yesterday was a bit of a crazy day. We had anniversary pictures taken and our Halloween party. Let's start with the pictures.

We only had 4 hours for our ceremony and reception so I opted to have the majority of our pictures occur during the first look. The downside to this was Tom was really nervous and it showed in all of the pictures. I wanted pictures where we looked casual and relaxed. Four years later, I finally convinced him to do anniversary pictures with me.

My hair stylist also is a photographer and I figured there wasn't much of a better plan than to have her do my hair, then take the pictures. My hair appointment was at three and the pictures were at four. A horse, a few slower drivers and some other stuff later, we actually started the pictures at 4:30.

I rarely do anything with my hair that doesn't involve wearing it straight. Yesterday I opted for curls. I also was dead set on having a chalkboard that we could use a prop. I went to Target and Michael's in the morning and couldn't find anything that I liked, so I decided to make one. A small frame, some chalkboard paper and some adhesive later, I had a picture frame.

After the pictures, which I'm convinced are going to turn out great, we came home and I finished preparing everything for the party. As I posted on Friday, the party was Once Upon A Time themed. I tweeted the menu I created to Adam Horowitz, one of the writers, and then a picture of Tom and I in costume to Jennifer Morrison and Colin O'Donoghue (the actors who play Emma and Hook) but I didn't get a response. :(

Here's some pics from the party. 

It was a great party. Of course, I made too much food but that's just a common occurrence anymore. 

The menu for this week is:

Sunday: leftovers 

Monday: Chinese beef and vegetable stew

Tuesday: apple, bacon and kale stuffed chicken, baked potato and green beans 

Wednesday: rosemary pork, roasted potatoes and green beans 

Thursday & Friday: leftovers

For breakfast I'm having a sweet potato breakfast hash and lunch is bacon sweet potato chili. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Halloween Party Menu

Sometime back in late August, Tom suggested that we have a Halloween party this year and that we should dress up as Hook and Emma from ABC's Once Upon A Time. In case you missed my previous posts where I've talked about it, it is my favorite television show.

I never thought I would be interested in a show about fairy tales (and I started watching right before the second season aired) but I am 100% completely hooked. (Pun intended, considering the actor who plays Captain Hook is my tv crush)

Anyway, I will always jump at the opportunity to host a party so I got to thinking about what Once-themed foods I could serve. And then I created a secret Pinterest board to store them on because I didn't want anyone else to steal my ideas.

But since the party is tomorrow and I plan on sharing recipes with you next week, here is the insanely large and incredibly detailed menu I created go along with the show.

Once Upon A Menu 

Mr. Gold's Magic Wands 
Dwarf Dip 
Fairy Veggie Dip 

Main Dishes:
Emma's Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Granny's Lasagna
Charming's Shepherds Pie

Hook's Rum Punch
Archie's Grasshopper Shots
Ruby's Red Mixers
Mad Hatters Sweet Tea (non-alcoholic)

Henry's Hot Chocolate with Cinnamon Cupcakes
Regina's Apple Turnovers
Snow White's Poisoned (Caramel) Apples
Belle's Bookies 

If you've never watched Once Upon A Time, I highly suggest you head on over to Netflix and get yourself caught up quickly! The fourth season aired on September 28th, so depending on how well you Netflix-binge, you're not that far behind!

I've tried to briefly recap the show but I just can't. Too many interesting things happen so all I can do is summarize what each season contains.

Season One: believing in magic and breaking curses
Season Two: revenge and alliances
Season Three: Neverland and the Wicked Witch
Season Four: Frozen and never giving up hope on those that you love

But to tie it all into the menu, each of the foods relate to a character, whether in their fairytale form or their Storybrooke, Maine form. (Mr. Gold is Rumplestiltskin who has a wand, Prince Charming used to be a shepherd before be became a prince, Archie is Jiminy Cricket hence the grasshopper, Regina is the Evil Queen known for poisoning people with apples, etc.)

My goal is to get as many of these recipes blogged before Halloween if possible. Fingers crossed! But even if I don't, expect to see a lot of the above recipes shared here, most likely with a Once Upon A Time back story.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Turkey Picatta

A long time ago I had planned to make a recipe calling for capers. I picked up a little jar of them, stuck them in the fridge and then never thought about them again. I don't know whether the recipe got bumped in favor or something else or what happened, but I never opened that jar of capers.

It wasn't until some time later that I was cleaning out the fridge and I found the capers. Ever since then I had been on a mission to find some recipe using up some capers. Another extremely long stretch of time passed before I actually made this dish.

Turkey Picatta
Source: Taste of Home
Servings: 2
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    • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. pepper
    • 2 turkey cutlets
    • 2 tbsp. olive oil 
    • 1/2 cup chicken broth
    • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
    • 1 tsp. lemon juice
    • 1 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
    • 1 tbsp. capers, drained
1. Combine flour, salt and pepper together in a shallow dish. Dredge the turkey breasts through it and shake off the excess.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until hot.
3. Cook turkey for 2-3 minutes or each side or until cooked through. Transfer to a serving plate to keep warm.
4. Add the chicken broth to the skillet and stir with a wooden spoon to dislodge any browned bits. Bring to a boil, cooking until the liquid has reduced by half.
5. Stir in the lemon juice, butter and capers. Return the turkey cutlets to the pan and cook until the butter has melted.
6. Serve, garnished with the chopped parsley.

I was not expecting Tom to like this at all but he said it was great and he wouldn't mind eating it again. I asked if he ate a caper, the reason why I thought he wouldn't like it, and he said yeah they were really good.

It's such a simple and quick dish and you can never go wrong with a good pan sauce! 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fried Green Tomatoes

For the majority of my life, Fred Green Tomatoes was nothing more than a movie title. I had no idea where one would find a green tomato nor why they would fry it. Let's just say I was less than interested.

About two years ago I started to see them popping up on menus in the appetizer section. Since my taste buds had expanded from the minuscule world, I did debate on ordering them a few times but always ended up choosing something else. Mainly because I'm cheap. $9 for an appetizer I may not like? No thanks, I'll spend that money on a drink instead.

Over the summer I noticed Wegman's selling green tomatoes and decided that I was finally going to buy one and make some fried green tomatoes, because for $1.58 a tomato, it was worth the chance that I wouldn't like it.

Fried Green Tomatoes
Source: Cookaholic Wife Creation
Servings: 2
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    • 1 large green tomato, sliced 1/4 inch rounds 
    • salt and pepper 
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
    • 3/4 cup Panko 
    • pinch of cayenne
    • Ranch dressing, for serving 
    • oil, for frying
1. Add enough oil to a large skillet to just cover the tomatoes. Heat over high heat until shimmering.
2. Liberally season both sides of the tomato with salt and pepper.
3. Set up three dishes, one with the egg, whisked, one with the flour and one with the Panko and cayenne combined.
4. Dip the tomato slice in the flour first, shake off the excess, the dip in the egg and finally into the Panko. Place on a plate and repeat with remaining tomato slices.
5. Carefully place each tomato slice in the oil (don't overcrowd) and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
6. Transfer to a paper towel to absorb excess grease. Serve with Ranch dressing. 

If you're wondering how I created my own recipe not having these before, it's because I knew they followed the standard flour-egg-breadcrumb technique and instead of looking up a recipe for measurements, I just went with my own. Buttermilk dipping sauce is most common, but I only had Ranch dressing and decided to go that route.

The taste and texture is interesting. It's like a tomato, but not. It's hot and crunchy and good, but I felt like something was missing. I'm now definitely going to try them in a restaurant to see if there was something I missed. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Paleo Crock Pot Cashew Chicken

Since I no longer have a predictable schedule, I really prefer to rely on my crock pot for dinners at least once a week. Since the idea of cauliflower rice just makes my brain feel like it's in a fog, I have shied away from a lot of Asian recipes after sticking to a Paleo diet.

I will occasionally have rice, and this is one of those occasions, but you could easily serve this on it's own with some vegetables on the side or with cauliflower rice.

Paleo Crock Pot Cashew Chicken 
Source: Preppy Paleo
Servings: 6-8
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    • 2 lbs. boneless chicken thighs, cut into pieces
    • 1/4 cup arrowroot starch (cornstarch if not following Paleo)
    • 1 tsp. pepper
    • 1 tbsp. olive or coconut oil
    • 1/2 cup coconut aminos (soy sauce if not following Paleo)
    • 4 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
    • 4 tbsp. tomato paste
    • 2 tbsp.  palm sugar (brown sugar if not following Paleo)
    • 2 tbsp. minced garlic
    • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1/2 cup raw cashews
    • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1. Toss chicken pieces in a zip top bag with arrowroot starch and pepper until fully coated.
2. Heat a large skillet with olive or coconut oil over medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook, for 3-5 minutes or until lightly browned on all sides.
3. Transfer chicken to a crock pot.
4. Stir together coconut aminos, rice wine vinegar, tomato paste, palm sugar, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. Divide in half. Pour half over the chicken and cook on low for 3-4 hours.
5. Stir in cashews before serving.
6. Plate, pouring additional sauce over chicken and garnish with green onions.

I opted to double the sauce portion of the recipe as there was not very much liquid left when I took the chicken from the crock pot. This was still a teensy bit dry so you could actually triple the sauce recipe and pour two parts of it over the chicken prior to cooking.

We both really enjoyed this dish and I had the leftovers for lunch during the week.