Recipe Contest: Pickled Beet & Goat Cheese Balsamic Salad #PlateProud

I love Green Bean Delivery - if you haven't heard of it - it's a vegetable delivery service. You pick a bin size ($35 is smallest) and how often you want it delivered - then they prompt you with a chosen bin of fruits & veggies. The best part is - you can go in and tweak the bin to your delight - I like keeping some of their picks but then add some of my own based on our tastes. 

Right now they have a recipe contest going on that I had to enter (you can enter too - until May 22)! There are five categories for you to choose from: 

* Chillin & Grillin
* Locavore
* Pack & Go Healthy Lunch
* Veggie Side
* Quick, Easy & Kid-Friendly

The prizes are pretty fantastic! I entered the Veggie Side category and the grand prize is a French-made mandolin, cookbook & $50 Green Bean Card! ($229 value). Runner-up gets a $50 Green Bean Card. 

I created a Pickled Beet & Goat Cheese Salad Recipe - isn't it droolworthy?! How did I get there?

I was super-excited to have beets in my bin. As a kid - I was slightly obsessed with beets. I think I ate too many because I totally burned out on them. But now - 20 years later - beets are hip and I tried them again - and I like them again!

They're so beautiful - the most rich colors - and rich colored foods = healthy!

To pickle the beets - first I cut them into quarters (only 2 beets) and the boiled them.

Once you boil them - the skin peels right off - much like if you're blanching tomatoes. This took me back to the summers of canning vegetables with my Dad. Yes - that's how a young Food Hussy was born - canning tomatoes.

I absolutely love these liquid measuring cups I got from OXO at the Food Blog Forum conference I was at - they are super handy! They come in multiple sizes and go from 1 teaspoon to 1 cup and there is a lot of overlap so they have multiple sizes. I used these to measure out the pickling ingredients.

After the beets are cooked and peeled - I diced them into bite-sized pieces and put them in the pickling liquid for 30 minutes (or longer if you can).

While the pickling magic was happening - I grilled a portabella mushroom (also from my bin). I was just making this salad for 2 - so actually 1 beet & 1 mushroom is good - but I didn't mind having extra beets to nosh on. To grill the mushroom - I just used cooking spray on my grill pan and then rubbed olive oil & balsamic vinegar on the mushroom.

Then it was time to put the salad together - spring greens (from my bin) topped with pickled beets, grilled portabella mushroom, diced honey roasted almonds and topped with crumbled goat cheese. Then my favorite creamy balsamic dressing to finish it off!

This is such a refreshing salad and yet hearty enough to fit the bill for lunch in a pinch. I will definitely be beeting it up again! 

Pickled Beet & Goat Cheese Balsamic Salad (could this name be any longer?!)

2 cups spring greens
1 grilled portabella
1 cup pickled beets (1 beet for 2 salads)
2 Tablespoons honey roasted almonds
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
2 Tablespoons creamy balsamic vinaigrette

Layer the salad ingredients as listed. Makes two salads or one really big one!

For pickled beets:

2 regular sized fresh red beets
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder

Cut off beet tops and quarter beets.  Add to pot of water and boil for 30 minutes until fork tender.

Rinse and cool down by running cold water over the beets. Rub off the peel with your hands - it should pop off really easily. 

Whisk together vinegar, brown sugar, olive oil & mustard. Dice beets and marinate in pickling liquid for at least 30 minutes. 

So what recipe are YOU going to enter? You've got until May 22 to enter - so don't wait! Get your recipe together and go for it! 

Thanks to Green Bean Delivery for the free bin and nudge to join the contest!

Restaurant Review: McCoy's Place - Colerain

Larry and I wanted to grab a bite for dinner and EVERYPLACE on Colerain was packed - so we headed off the main drag and up Springdale Rd to McCoy's Place. It's an Irish bar that also serves food. 

I have to say it's a very neighborhood friendly place - it felt like Cheers! Everybody knows everybody - people come in and everybody says hi - the local softball team made of firefighters and police officers comes in after their game - it's very storybook.

They don't have a website or an online menu - so I'm going off of memory here. I started with a side salad - fine and dandy - plain but the ranch was good. Yum fo ranch.

Larry got boneless wings in mild sauce - they were spicy for mild. I have to say - I don't understand unbreaded boneless wings - they're just hunks of chicken breast. But for hunks of chicken breast - they were pretty good.

I got the Irish Pot Roast Sandwich with a special zingy sauce. It was really good and very filling. The pot roast was tender and juicy - the cheese was excellent and the sauce added a ton of flavor.

Why Should You Go? Well - as an outsider - I didn't get the loud welcoming - but I did feel comfortable there. They were really busy and the service was slow - but very friendly. The wings were fine but the sandwich was really good. They also serve breakfast so you might check them out for that - I have a feeling it's only on weekends.

McCoy's Place Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon

Recipe: Cilantro Lime Shredded Pork Tacos with Minute® Rice + Giveaway!

This spring I love having light and healthy dinners that can mostly be done on their own! The crock pot is still your BFF - even as the weather gets nicer. Today's recipe has a delicious Cilantro Lime rice thanks to Minute® Rice

I found some country style ribs on sale at the grocery store - so I snagged those and let my brain figure out the rest.

First I created a rub with some fajita-type of seasonings: cumin, chili powder, garlic, etc... Then I rubbed all the ribs with the seasoning and popped them in the crock pot. Instead of adding water - I used chicken broth for a little extra flavor. Be sure to not rinse all the seasoning off as you add the liquid. Four hours on high and your shredded pork is ready!

While that's cooking - make up some Cilantro-Lime rice - just like your favorite burrito place makes - it's super simple! Chop up some delicious cilantro (it's super cheap - 50 cents for a huge bunch).

Cook up your Minute® Rice (directions on the box) and add the cilantro and some lime juice - boomio! This rice is great on it's own or added to burritos, tacos, wraps, etc... - it just adds a little zing!

Plus - it's prettier. :-) 

And seriously - this pork is amazing - it's juicy and delicious. Plus the fat cooks out in the crock pot so it's that much better! My husband could eat rice pretty much any night of the week - so we always have Minute® Rice on hand - in five minutes - he's a happy camper - I'll take that any night. likes to just have the pork & rice plain - while I doctor it up into lots of different options.

These tacos were so good and so light - you can really add whatever you like - if it's a little guac, a little sour cream, more veggies - whatever you like. Or if you're not a fan of pork - you can use chicken breasts!

Or you can make it into a salad like I did today for lunch! Just as tasty! No matter how you make it - Minute® Rice makes it much easier!

For recipe ideas and special offers from Minute® Rice straight sent to your inbox, join The Riceipe Club®.

Cilantro Lime Pork Tacos
  • corn tortillas 
  • spring greens
  • shredded pork
  • cilantro-lime rice
  • shredded cheese
  • salsa
Heat tortilla shells in a skillet lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Once tortillas are heated through - build your tacos!  

CopyCat Chipotle Cilantro-Lime Rice
* 1-2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
* 3/4 cup cilantro, stems removed and roughly chopped
* Salt to taste

Cook your Minute® Rice as directed. Once your rice is cooked, add the fresh lime juice, cilantro and salt. Stir well and set aside.

Shredded Pork
* 1.5-2 lb boneless country style pork ribs
* 1 Tablespoon cumin
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon pepper
* 1 Tablespoon chili powder
* 1 Tablespoon garlic & herb seasoning 
* 1 cup chicken broth

Mix seasonings in a bowl and coat ribs on all sides. Place in crock pot. Pour 1 cup chicken broth around the pork (try not to rinse off all seasonings). Cook on high for 4 hours. Remove from crock pot and shred.

And be sure to enter the giveaway to win a Kitchen Aid Mixer!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Minute® Rice.

Restaurant Review: Revolution Rotisserie - OTR

Revolution Rotisserie & Bar opened recently in OTR on Race just off of Central Parkway. They serve all sorts of "sandwiches" all made with house-made rotisserie chicken.  

Here's a hint of what's to come! 

They started as a tent at Findlay Market and just opened their spot that is also a block from Washington Park. In addition to the rotisserie chicken - they also have vegetarian options.

It's a bright open concept but the tables are pretty tight - so when it's busy - it's packed. There is quite a bit of street parking and since it's not in the middle of all the other restaurants - it's a little easier to find a spot.

I had the George Washington ($8) (don't mind the grey bar - no idea what happened there?) - it's basically a Greek Pita. It comes with Rotisserie chicken, arugula, feta cheese, red onion, cucumber, tomato & tzatziki sauce.

The pita part of the sandwich was good - it was a little crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The sandwich as a whole was pretty good - the chicken is tasty but even with the sauce - all in all - it was a little dry.

This reminded me of my times at It's Just Crepes (we miss you) - they can tend to be dry - so I always got one that has some saucy to it (The Red Goat - in case they ever come back). I need to find the pita with some saucy.

Dawn got the Nelson Mandela ($8 - chicken, pepperjack, black beans, corn chips, cilantro, tomato & chipotle ranch). I'll tell you - I was DROOLING over this. It looked delicious and was very saucy! Dawn liked it as well. On a return visit - I'll definitely get this one.

They have 8 options for sandwiches so I'm sure there's one you'll like.

We went for a side of tater tots (how can you not?!) that comes with a side of chipotle ranch ($3). These are good - as tater tots always are - but I'd love to see some type of seasoning on them to make them a little more special.

Why Should You Go? It's definitely worth a try - my sandwich was pretty good - but it has promise. You can also get a half-bird of their rotisserie or fun things like Tater Tot Poutine! It's pretty busy right now because it's new - so be prepared for a wait if you're there at prime time.

Revolution Rotisserie & Bar on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Review: HWY 55 - Union Township

Recently I went on a crafting outing at Let's Go Doodlin and needed to have lunch first. Jenny & I decided to go to Hwy 55 which is by the new Jungle Jims in Union Township. 

I guess I would say it's similar to Johnny Rockets, Steak & Shake and Culvers in going for the 50s diner theme. Hwy 55 pride themselves that their burgers are fresh, never-frozen and hand made. They have a load of free toppings and cheese choices - which is nice. They also have frozen custard - um yum!

Inside - the seating is fun - there are normal tables & booths but then there are a couple that are like the back end of a car. We left those in case kids came in - they're really fun.

While we were waiting - the server (Marilyn Monroe - they all have 50s celeb names) brought us over tastings of their custard flavor of the day - Heath. I have to say - I didn't think I liked toffee but it was REALLY good - made me long for Culver's!

I got the John Boy & Billy BBQ Bacon Burger ($4.49) - why? Cuz how can you not get a burger with that long of a damn name! They have two sizes - Regular & Andy - the Andy is twice as big. I went for the regular size.

The burger has mustard, chili, bacon, cheese and a crispy onion ring and is then doused with John Boy & Billy Grillin' Sauce. Jenny said it best when she said that it seems like a burger you'd make at home. It's sort of slapped together and the bun looks like the cheap kind from the grocery store.

It was an okay burger - but not great - a little too much bun.

Jenny got a bacon cheeseburger with pepperjack. I do like the fact that you can get a lot of toppings for free (mustard, onion, slaw, chili, mayo, ketchup, lettuce, tomato, pickles, jalapenos, grilled mushrooms, grilled onions and grilled peppers) and choose your cheese (american, provolone, swiss, pepper jack). You can really customize the burger to what you want. The burgers are also affordable.

We each got combos that came with fries & a drink. The fries were fine - nothing special. Meh.

Why Should You Go? The whole thing was meh. The service was slow, the burger was fine. Blah blah. There was just nothing that made me want to come back - except maybe the custard. We weren't starving when we went so dessert wasn't really on the table for us. I don't think I'd go back - I think that Culvers does the whole thing much better.

Hwy 55 on Urbanspoon

Let's Go Doodlin - Paint your own pottery!

I love crafts - it's one of my favorite things to do! I'm not always the most creative from scratch - but if I see some ideas - I can make something fun. I came across Let's Go Doodlin ceramic & glass studio and it was RIGHT up my alley! 

Let's Go Doodlin is on Beechmont at 5 Mile (right by the Outback Steakhouse). It's a cute little shop in a strip mall and they're open every day but Monday. 

There are probably one hundred options (at least) for pottery pieces to choose from. You choose your piece, paint a design, they bake it and you pick it up. Pottery pieces range from $3-$40 (ish) so there is something at every price point. They have a painting fee - I think it's $7 - and you can stay as long as you like.

The selection of pottery pieces is huge! They have letters, mugs, plates, figurines, picture frames, bowls and everything else you can probably think of. Here's a link to their finished project gallery to give you more ideas. They also have finished projects around the studio to give you ideas to jump start the creative process.

Jen chose a plate and I chose a mason jar - each were around $14 - then our painting fee of $7 each - the cost would have been $20 each for our projects. (Let's Go Doodlin provided these projects & fees to us free of charge in exchange for this post.)

 Jen decided to make a birthday plate for her son based on one of the samples in the shop (and shown above on the bottom left. They recommended we start out our design in pencil on the pottery. The pencil will disappear when it's baked - so no marks!

I chose a mason jar - I thought it was really fun and I could use it in some of my food photography as a fun background item. I drew daisies all over it because of how much I love daisies. The nice thing about these pieces is that you can eat off of them, drink from them - they're dishwasher & microwave safe. They did say that over time the microwave may cause cracking - so do that sparingly.

I painted the piece with a light blue speckled background and then drew my daisies on top. Once that was done - I started painting the design!

Jen finished her plate pretty quickly - she combined looks from a few pieces around the studio to make Wally his birthday plate!

I got to town on my daisies - big & small - it was really fun. Daisies are my favorite flower and I was excited to see how this would turn out. They tell you to always paint light on the bottom and go darker on top. I was testing the waters by doing the blue on the bottom and white daisy on top - I tried to pile on the coats to make sure it would be seen.

The staff was very helpful as well - they have suggestions & tips along with any help you need in making your idea come to life.

I also decided to sign my mug on the bottom - #shocker. hahaha

Here are Jenny & I beaming over our finalized projects. When you're done you leave them there - the staff then bakes your projects in the kiln. It takes about a week for your projects to be ready.

The studio is very cute - they have two rooms and you can have parties there as well. 

A week later we picked up the projects - and we were thrilled! You can see the difference between the pre-baked and the post-baked. The colors get much brighter and really come to life! I love the mason jar and will definitely be using it!

Thanks again to Let's Go Doodlin for the projects - we had a great time and the staff was very friendly. It's also great for kids - the folks that came in while we were there had little kids that were doing Easter pieces and they were having a blast. So it's fun for all ages! Once Larry saw my jar - he said he wanted to go and do a project! So it looks like we'll be back.

Have you been to a paint-your-own pottery studio? What did you make?