Food Hussy Recipe: Praline Caramel Corn

I love love love Caramel Corn - but I'm not a very daring home chef and I just buy it - but I decided to be crazy and...MAKE IT MYSELF! I always thought caramel was this mysterious thing - but boy was I wrong! 

Turns out - it's EASY and far more delicious than the stuff you buy in the store!! Who knew? I decided to be a little adventurous and make a Praline Caramel Corn. Pralines have nuts, sugar and cream...so how did I do it?

First stop - was Kroger! They have some great private label brands like Private Selection and Simple Truth that I am always bringing home. I had some of the popcorn at home - my husband loves snacking on it - but I picked up some Simple Truth brown sugar, Private Selection white chocolate chips and my favorite thing ever - Praline Pecans! I love those sugar pecans you get at festivals and I've made them before - but it's time consuming - so grabbing a can of these bad boys is much easier!! 

I made the caramel from a recipe on Pioneer Woman - I figure for something like that - I'm going to go tried and true and basic. It was simple ingredients: brown sugar, butter, vanilla, salt and heavy cream. Throw it all in a pan - bubble up - whisk and you're done!

After that you just layer all the popcorn on a sheet pan - I chopped the pecans into smaller pieces and sprinkled them throughout. Then just drizzled the caramel all over the popcorn! Then you pop it in the oven for an hour - stirring every 20 minutes.

After that's all cooled, I melted the white chocolate chips in the microwave and drizzled those over top - gave it that "cream" element to finish off the pralines flavor! 

Simple Truth and Private Selection were real winners with this and man oh man - I dare say - I will never buy caramel corn again!!! The oven baking really made it crunchy! And that cute towel in the background - it's from the Pioneer Woman collection - I figure I owed it to her since she gave me the caramel recipe!

Praline Caramel Corn

Ingredients:

- 1 cup Simple Truth light brown sugar
- 1/2 stick salted butter
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla
- Pinch of coarse sea salt
- 1 bag Simple Truth Popcorn
- 1/2 can Private Selection Pecan Pralines, chopped
- 1/2 cup Private Selection White Chocolate Chips

Instructions:

- Preheat oven to 250 degrees
- For caramel sauce - Mix Simple Truth brown sugar, butter, heavy cream, vanilla and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-low to medium heat. Cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes, until thicker. Turn off heat. 
- Cover cookie sheet with parchment paper
- Spread Simple Truth popcorn on parchment paper and add chopped Private Selection Pecan Pralines
- Drizzle warm caramel over popcorn & pecans - toss gently and spread out evenly on pan
- Bake for 1 hour - stirring every 20 minutes
- Let caramel corn cool 
- Melt 1/2 cup Private Selection White Chocolate Chips in microwave (30-45 seconds at a time until liquid) 
- Drizzle white chocolate over caramel corn 
- Let cool for a few minutes and then serve! (Or store in airtight containers) 



This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Kroger. 
 The opinions and text are all mine.

Food Hussy Recipe: Avocado Toast for National English Muffin Day!

This post is sponsored by Thomas' English Muffins. All opinions are my own.

Sunday is National English Muffin Day!!! It's a day to celebrate and eat up some delicious english muffins! How do YOU like them? What are your favorite toppings? 

For me - I'm typically a PB&J girl on a toasted muffin but all I hear about everywhere I turn is AVOCADO TOAST! So I finally decided to give it a try. Yes people - it's 2017 and this food blogger has never tried it. 

I also read a lot of places about jazzing it up with extra toppings and since I'm going to be spending some time with my favorite Baconater, Bob Herzog, today - I decided to make him a delight - A BACON WEAVE!!!! You just weave the bacon and bake it for like 30+ minutes - takes longer since it's all woven together. Check it out this morning on Local 12 to see how it turned out!

The avocado mixture is super simple - half an avocado, lemon juice, salt and olive oil. It makes quite a bit - so much so I was surprised! Just mash it up like you do potatoes. You'll want to be sure you have a ripe avocado for this - they're ripe when you can squeeze a little and feel the indent - but not too mushy.

And what better English Muffin than Thomas'???? They even have a new flavor - BACON BUTTERMILK PANCAKE - just in time for National English Muffin Day this Sunday! Woohoo!

I heaped all of that deliciousness on half the muffin and killed it! It was soooooooo good! I can finally see what I've been missing all this time! And the nooks and crannies texture of the Thomas' English Muffins makes a great vessel for all that goodness! Here's my super simple recipe!!



Avocado Mash for Avocado Toast

1/2 avocado, seeded and sliced
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon chunky sea salt
Drizzle of Olive oil

Put it in a bowl and mash her up! 

Here are some toppings ideas too (although it's delicious on it's own!) 

- bacon & goat cheese
- salsa & tortilla chips
- tomatoes & basil
- tomatoes + fresh mozzarella + balsamic vinegar

Food Hussy Alert: IKEA Sustainability Day this Saturday April 22!

This Saturday April 22, 2017 from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. , IKEA stores will be accepting furniture donations in partnership with Goodwill®, as well as hosting many giveaways, workshops, offers and more, to encourage living in a more sustainable way and reducing the impact we have on the environment. In-store activities include:


  • Furniture Take-Back ProgramIKEA and Goodwill are joining together for an easy and affordable way for families to donate their used furniture***. Based on collective sustainability goals, the partnership is meant to provide an environmentally responsible end-of-life solution for items that are traditionally challenging for consumers to donate.
    • Goodwill will be set up in the parking lot at local IKEA stores to assist with unloading donated items and provide tax receipts. 
    • Consumers who turn in used furniture will receive a coupon for $20 off a $150 IKEA purchase. Limit one coupon per household, valid 4/22/2017 – 5/21/2017.
    • *** IKEA and Goodwill cannot accept donations of mattresses, bedding, children’s furniture, toys or lighting. Furniture does not need to be from IKEA. Furniture from any brand will be accepted

  • IKEA Food OffersFor one-day only, save on delicious, sustainable and nutritionally-balanced food offerings at the IKEA Restaurant and in the Swedish Food Market. Offers only valid in-store on April 22, 2017.
    • Swedish Food Market:
      • $5 off any $25 in-store purchase in the Swedish Food Market
    • IKEA Restaurant:
      • Breakfast: Swedish American Breakfast for $1.49
      • Lunch: Stuffed chicken plate for $3.49
      • Dinner: Any meatball plate with soup, salad or dessert for $5.49

  • In-Store Activities & WorkshopsLearn how to live a more sustainable life at home while enjoying fun, in-store activities and games for the whole family, including:
    • Benefits of Biking Workshop
    • Sustainable Living Challenge (with prizes!)
    • LED Lightbulb Digital Game (with prizes!)
    • Småland Video and Coloring Sheets
For more information on the “IKEA Sustainable Living Your Way” event, including specific activities and offers at each local IKEA store, please visit ikea-usa.com/Sustainable-Living-Your-Way. Participants are encouraged to share their experiences via social using #IKEAYourWay.

IKEA FAMILY Offers & Giveaways
There will also be additional in-store offers, giveaways and sweepstakes exclusive to IKEA FAMILY members during the event. Interested in the IKEA FAMILY program benefits, or becoming a member? Click here to learn more about our ongoing programs and benefits, which include special discounts, gift card giveaway entries with each purchase, complimentary coffee and tea in the IKEA restaurant and much more!


  • Giveaways:
    • The first 500 IKEA FAMILY members to show their membership card at each local IKEA store on April 22, 2017 will receive a FREE 2-pack of RYET LED light bulbs (no purchase necessary).
  • Sweepstakes:
    • IKEA FAMILY members can scan their membership card and/or enter to win on April 22, 2017 for a chance to win:
      • ​SLADDA bicycle ($399 value, 1 winner per store)
      • $100 IKEA gift card ($100 value, 4 winners per store)
  • Offers:
    • 20% off select bamboo products. Offer only valid on April 22, 2017, while supplies last.
    • 15% off DRACAENA plants. Offer only valid on April 22, 2017, while supplies last.
    • 20% off LED lightbulbs (excluding LUNNOM and TRÅDFRI). Offer valid April 4 – May 5, 2017.
    • 25% off VARADERA 18 piece set. Offer valid April 4 – May 5, 2017.
    • ARHOLMA outdoor seating discount. Offer valid April 4 – May 5, 2017.

Food Hussy Review: Noodles & Co New Spicy Dishes!

I'm a big fan of Noodles & Company - I like that it's made fresh and has lots of vegetables as well as unique combinations that I wouldn't think to put together myself. 

They sent me a gift card to try out two of their new dishes: Thai Green Curry and Pork Adobo! Sounds good - right? 

Both have heat and spice - so if you're not a spicy fan - I would avoid both - but if you like a little spicy - then this is your jam!

The South Asian-inspired Thai Green Curry with Shrimp pairs a sweet and spicy coconut green curry sauce, rice noodles, pineapple, broccoli, red onion, snap peas, lime, black sesame seeds and cilantro with sautéed shrimp. 

I was admittedly jealous once this came out - it looked amazing! Luckily my girl Audrey is a good friend and let me snag a bite and it was as good as it looked! It does have a kick to it as well. Look how healthy and zippy that looks?! Yes - I said zippy! That's what it looks like to me!

We had a decent gift certificate and I'm a sucker for their cheesy garlic bread - it's very good and just enough for sharing. Lots of garlic too! Yum!

The authentic Mexican influence of the Pork (or Chicken) Adobo starts with a cavatappi noodle base and adds smoky adobo sauce, red onions, roasted mushrooms, olives, sour cream, lime and cilantro topped with slow-braised pork (or grilled chicken).

This had even MORE of a kick - and it was a slow burn - I was good at first - then about three bites in I was super thankful for the sour cream and garlic bread! Whoooo! And - as always - the Coke Freestyle machine kept the Cherry Vanilla Coke Zero flowing!

I also snagged a side Caesar salad - again thankful for it to cool off my Pork Adobo. It was fine for a Caesar - nothing too exciting but good.

Be sure to check out Noodles & Company and try these two new dishes or any of their tried & true favorites like their Parmesan Chicken, Macaroni & Cheese or Med Salad! Yum! 

Noodles & Company Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Food Hussy Recipe: Adventurous Mozzarella, Tomato + Asparagus Grilled Cheese

This post and my appearance on Fox 19 were sponsored by Sara Lee Bread. All opinions are my own. 

It's National Grilled Cheese Month and today is National Grilled Cheese Day! I'm excited to appear on Fox 19 this morning to share a couple of grilled cheese ideas with my friends at Fox. You see there are two kinds of grilled cheesers: Traditionalists and Adventurous! 

For the traditionalists I'll be making a nice normal grilled cheese with just butter and American cheese. (The most popular cheeses for grilled cheese are American and Cheddar.) 

But for the adventurous folks - I've got a grilled cheese that I'm betting you've never had before! Fresh mozzarella, roasted asparagus, thinly sliced tomato and a splash of Balsamic Vinegar & Sea Salt. It's like a caprese salad but swapping asparagus for the spinach!

For the asparagus - I actually made it for dinner last night - super simple - just throw it on a sheet pan and drizzle it with olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper. Then roast at 400 for 15 minutes.

Then you make the grilled cheese - I love using cast iron pans - they don't stick because they're already "cured". So I do butter side down - no extra butter in the pan - and DEFINITELY no oil!!! Then top with shredded fresh mozzarella.

TIP: Always use shredded cheese - it melts quicker and then your bread won't get overdone!

Then top with asparagus and thinly sliced tomatoes. Also - splash a little Balsamic Vinegar and sea salt at this point. You need a little salty and a little acidity to go with all the cheese.

 Top with more cheese! (Duh!)

Top with your other slice of buttered bread and you're good to go. Here's a big key too - DON'T SMUSH IT! The bread is a sturdy bread and it's meant to handle all those delicious toppings! Press it slightly just to seal the melty cheese and you're good!

Then flip it and you're ready to dive into your Adventurous Grilled Cheese!!! (Did you know - blondes prefer adventurous grilled cheese to traditional 82% of the time?!)


Adventurous Grilled Cheese! 

Ingredients

- Sara Lee Artesano Bread
- 4 oz Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
- Softened butter
- Leftover Roasted Asparagus
- Roma tomato, thinly sliced
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Sea Salt

Instructions

- Preheat cast iron skillet on medium 
- Butter one side of each slice of Sara Lee Artesano bread
- Place butter side down in heated skillet (no additional butter needed) 
- Top with 1/2 shredded mozzarella
- Lay roasted asparagus and thin tomato slices on top of cheese
- Sprinkle with balsamic vinegar and sea salt
- Add more cheese
- Add other slice of bread
- Heat additional 2-3 minutes until golden brown
- Flip and press LIGHTLY
- Heat additional 2-3 minutes 
- Serve!

Food Hussy Giveaway: Buffalo Wings & Rings Lenten Specials

Buffalo Wings & Rings provided my meal and the giveaway but all opinions are my own.  

Ever since I moved to Cincinnati I've been embracing the whole "wings" way of life. Back home we just didn't have a plethora of wings places and I have to say - by far - my favorite is Buffalo Wings and Rings.  

But this doesn't look like the typical Wings & Rings meal - does it?! But they have some Lenten specials going on right now that are definitely worth checking out! My husband got the salmon sandwich and it was REALLY good. He said he wanted my lunch when he looked at the menu but then when the food came - he was really happy with his choice.

My standard order at Wings & Rings are the buffalo chicken nachos - they are soooo good but today was all about the Lent menu. We went to the Beechmont location which has recently been remodeled and it's really nice!

The inside has tons of TVs so there's never a bad spot in the house for whatever game you want to watch. I also like though that the TVs aren't overwhelming so if you're not wanting to watch a game - you can still enjoy it.

I ordered the Fish & Chips which came with cole slaw and sriracha tartar sauce. I added on the Parmesan Garlic Aioli fries. Honestly - I didn't love the Parmesan Garlic Aioli addition - the cheese was very heavy - but the fries underneath were really good - I would definitely just get the fries plain next time.

The fish was great - haddock flash fried in a Sam Adams beer batter - crunchy, crispy and flaky - just how it should be. I got a side of regular tartar sauce in case the sriracha was too spicy for me but it wasn't - it was perfect! I loved the sriracha sauce and would definitely get it again!!

For the Lent specials, they also have a Veggie Quesadilla on the entrees to choose from. On the appetizers, you can choose from Cauliflower Bites, Pretzel Bites and the Parmesan Garlic Aioli Fries. These are only available for a Limited Time so be sure to hit them up this week!

And while you're thinking of it - enter my giveaway for a $30 gift card for you to go to Buffalo Wings & Rings yourself!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Buffalo Wings & Rings Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Food Hussy Review: Rusconi Pizza - Downtown Cinci

I had to work on a Saturday - booo! But I had to eat downtown on a Saturday - yeah!!

We didn't have a lot of time and we were at Duke Convention Center - so we took a quick walk to Rusconi Pizza. We chose the BLT pizza with bacon, lettuce, tomato, ranch, red onion and chicken.

The whole experience was just meh. The service wasn't great, the atmosphere was less than exciting - just dark and felt beer soaked and the pizza was just meh. There just wasn't much flavor - and this had won a "Best Slice" award so we hoped for more.

Why Should You Go? If you REALLY want pizza and you don't feel like walking to OTR and Goodfellas...maybe?

Rusconi Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Food Hussy Recipe: Salmon & Avocado Salad

This post is sponsored by IKEA but all opinions are my own. 

Obviously I love IKEA and they're having a fun Easter celebration coming up tomorrow night - plus they shared a great salmon avocado salad recipe with me that I had to make for a cozy night in with the hubs. 

I had just gotten new place settings for the house and I thought it was a great time to give them a whirl! They have these super cute candle holders - in bright pink of course - as well as serving dishes, glasses, etc. - of course everything I needed.

You know they have salmon in their food market - right? It's frozen and packaged individually - they sell them in 4-packs and it's very high quality and responsibly farmed. Look at it - looks perfect - right?!

And don't forget - tomorrow IKEA is celebrating the Easter holiday with its annual Swedish Påskbord. Join them Friday April 7 for an all-you-can-eat Smörgåsbord buffet. Tickets are available for only $16.99 per person / $4.99 for kids 12 and under, or at a discounted rate for IKEA FAMILY members ($12.99 per person / $2.99 for kids 12 and under). (You can also get them at the store tomorrow night! Dinner plans - DONE!) 
 
  
We don't sit at the table enough - most of the time it's on the couch watching TV - but having a fun place setting, candles and flowers actually makes the table much more inviting. Plus - it gives me and Larry a chance to connect after a long day at work.

And of course - with IKEA there's something for every style - and my style is bright and happy with LOTS of color!!!! I can never have enough color!!!

I actually mixed and matched different design series for the final look but a lot of it came from the Poppig series - so if you want to recreate it - you can start there.

The salad was super easy - it was mixed greens topped with blanched green beans - which actually I had never done. It was really easy - you just boil water and add the green beans for just a couple of minutes - then drain them and run cold water over them so they don't keep cooking. (Side note: the recipe calls for haricot verts - I couldn't find them so I just used green beans. HV are basically skinny green beans.)

For the salmon - I added seasonings to it and then seared it on each side for a couple of minutes - then served it up with the green beans, avocado and some fresh lime to squeeze on top!

It looked so good and I was definitely ready to dig in - it's also simple and it went together quickly. The best part was that the salmon only had to cook for a few minutes - which is what I need after a long day at work. DINNER. FAST.

 YUM - right?!

I also put together a super simple vinaigrette for it - with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, lime juice, salt & pepper. I put poured a little bit together - just enough for Larry and I - and then wisk wisk wisk and done. You can use whatever you have in your fridge but I have to say - throwing that together quick was really light, fresh and tasty! 


Helpful Links - Here's the full list of IKEA products you'll see in the photos above: 


Salmon and Avocado Salad

Ingredients & Supplies
  • 500g LAX FILÉ Salmon Fillet
  • 2 avocados
  • Approx. 5.25 oz. haricots verts (or green beans) 
  • Mixed green salad
  • 1 lime
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Paprika
  • Chili powder
Directions
  • Bring 1 quart of lightly salted water to boil. Boil the haricots verts for 2 min., then keep under running water until cool.
  • Heat a frying pan or grill pan.
  • Season the defrosted salmon fillets with salt, black pepper, paprika and chili.
  • Grill each side of the salmon fillets for approx. 1 minute, high heat. Leave to cool.
  • Turn the beans with the green salad in a bowl and add olive oil, salt and black pepper. Squeeze half a lime in the bowl. Distribute the contents of the bowl on 4 plates and add pieces of the equivalent of half an avocado to each plate.
  • Cut salmon fillets into smaller pieces and distribute on the salad on each plate and serve. 
  • Top with your favorite salad dressing or mix together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh lime juice & zest, salt & pepper and you've got a great little vinaigrette!