Weekend Fare: Brunch & A Giveaway!

This Giveaway is now closed. Thanks to all who entered!

I’m late getting this post put together. My husband was home working on some paperwork today and the boys were busily cleaning their rooms. As the hours passed and we still really hadn’t eaten breakfast, I decided it was the perfect morning to make brunch. And thus this morning became a lovely morning of cooking for the men I love!

We enjoyed breakfast egg sandwiches and a fruited spinach salad. It was wonderful to spend time preparing for the day and feasting on the delicious, seasonal food.

The sandwich began with an inspiring loaf of rosemary olive oil bread. I decided to use parmesan as the cheese because I felt it would compliment the bread and not detract from it. The combination of flavors and textures proved fabulous.

BREAKFAST SANDWICH
Print These Recipes

1 egg
fresh grated parmesan cheese (or whatever cheese you prefer)
pepper to taste
2 slices bread (I used rosemary olive oil bread)
butter
1 slice cooked bacon
a few leaves of baby spinach
2-3 slices of tomato

Fry the egg in a litte butter – breaking the yoke. When it is almost finished, sprinkle parmsan cheese and allow to melt. Sprinkle with a little pepper.

Toast the bread – I put it under the broiler to crisp one side, leaving the other side soft. Butter one side of each piece.

To Build:
Top first slice of bread with baby spinach, then bacon, then the egg, then the tomato and top with remaining slice of bread. Serve immediately.

The salad was a delightful combination of fresh. The granola was perhaps the most interesting and most surprising addition. It took the salad right over the top and solidified it as a brunch salad. Simple and delicious.

BRUNCH SPINACH SALAD

Baby spinach or mixed greens
Creamy Balsamic Dressing (or dressing of your choice – a sweet poppy seed would also be lovely)
Fresh berries (I used raspberries and sliced strawberries)
Granola

Toss the greens with the dressing and place on plate. Top with berries and granola. Serve.

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It’s been a very  LONG time since we’ve had a giveaway! Things have been busy and quite frankly, I just haven’t gotten around to it! However, a very thoughtful and generous reader and friend offered us this delightul book to giveaway. Thank you!

Do you like to entertain and set a beautiful table? Do you wonder how to pull together things you may already have to create ambience? Do you just enjoy creativity and love looking at beautiful inspiring photos? Then this is the book for you! The gorgeous photos of table ideas for all occasions will definitely inspire you. You can keep it simple or dress a table the would make Martha Stewart proud. Table Inspirations by Emily Chalmers is a lovely addition to any home. You won’t be disappointed!

Here’s the all important information on HOW TO ENTER:

Leave a comment on this post telling us 1 of your favorite summer dishes or a favorite summer recipe.
– Make sure we have a way to contact you!

For additional entries (just leave us a comment telling us which ones you have done!):
Subscribe via the link to the right or with google reader.
– Add us to your blog roll.
– Join our facebook group – The Cooks Next Door.
Facebook about this giveaway.
Tweet about this giveaway.
Blog about this giveaway.

There you go! You could earn as many as 7 entries. And if you already are in our group, subscribe etc, let us know and we will add in the extra entries!

This giveaway will be closed on Tuesday, June 7 and the winner announced on Wednesday, June 8!

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Happy 1st Birthday, Blog! (& Giveaway!)

It’s hard to believe a whole year has passed since we launched this blog! We continue to be passionate about making and creating good, healthy, seasonal food. And we hope to see the blog continue to grow! We are so thankful for you readers – we appreciate you reading our blog, making our recipes, entering our contests, and commenting on our posts! It makes blogging fun!

This week, we will have some new recipes (we are doing our magazine review, weekend fare, and foodie Fridays) but we will also be taking a look back at some of our favorite recipes. Today, we will also feature an awesome giveaway!

Market Fresh: Okra – I discovered that I like okra more than I thought and I made this recipe several times!

Weekend Fare: Summer Drinks – This quickly became a favorite drink and they looked so beautiful and yummy, too! 

Internationa Cuisine: Chinese Main Dishes – This was one of my favorite collections of recipes. We had my parents and siblings over for a feast and every recipes surpassed my expectation!

Bread Basket: Bagels – Making these was one of my cooking highlights. It was totally new techniques and it was incredibly creative for me. And they were delicious!

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Kids in the Kitchen: Easy Lunch – Not only do we love these pizzas but I also love what this post (and the other Cooking with Your Kids posts) represents – spending time with my kids. Building memories and spending time with them in the kitchen is fun and my boys love it!

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GIVEAWAY!

We wanted to come up with a great giveaway to celebrate our one year anniversary!
So today, you are entering to win:

an apron and two cookbooks

A Beautiful Green & White 1/2 Apron
Kitchen Sense
Williams Sonoma Kid’s Cookies

TO ENTER:
Leave a comment on this post telling us 1 or 2 of your favorite recipes from our site.
– Make sure we have a way to contact you!

For additional entries (just leave us a comment telling us which ones you have done!):
Subscribe via the link to the right or with google reader.
– Add us to your blog roll.
– Join our facebook group – The Cooks Next Door.
Facebook about this giveaway.
Tweet about this giveaway.
Blog about this giveaway.

There you go! You could earn as many as 7 entries. And if you already are in our group, subscribe etc, let us know and we will add in the extra entries!

This giveaway will be closed on Thursday night, October 7 and the winner announced on Friday, October 8!

Winner!

And the random winner of the Party Food cookbook is Ryan G. who said, “I just moved into a new apartment so this book would be great for hosting guests!! Right now I’m stuck with potato skins and taco cups, but would love to branch out to other fun foods!”

Thank you all for entering and for the comments! We will continue to try and provide a wide variety of recipes and hopefully incorporate many of your requests!

Congratulations, Ryan! We hope you enjoy! We will e-mail you to get your snail mail address and we will send it to you!

Weekend Fare & A Giveaway

Last night I made this scrumptious pizza – pizza dough, drizzled with olive oil, topped w/sliced fresh tomatoes (from our garden), scattered w/fresh chopped basil, seasoned w/salt & pepper, topped w/Italian blend shredded cheese, and finished w/leftover chopped grilled chicken. Yum. It was fresh and delicious. So there you have an idea for a sauceless pizza…had I grilled it, I have not doubt it would have been in my top favorite pizzas of all time. Anyway…

Homemade pork burgers are a delicous alternative to the classic hamburger. I created these one night with some ground pork from the farmer’s market. We all enjoyed the sweetness added through the red pepper and the twist on a grilled burgers.


PORK BURGER
Print This Recipe

1 lb. ground pork
1/2 red onion (or any onion will do), finely chopped
1/4 red pepper, finely diced
1 clove garlic
2 tsp. smoked paprika
Salt & pepper to taste
1 egg
lettuce, tomato, mayo, ketchup, mustard (opt.)

Combine all ingredients. Grease & pre-heat grill or grill pan. Divide meat mixture into 6 patties. Grill until thoroughly cooked. Serve on a bun or lettuce with desired toppings. Enjoy.

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A GIVEAWAY!

It’s about time for another giveaway! I’m not sure I want to actually give this book away – it’s so fun and has such great, do-able ideas for entertaining. Without further ado, here it is:


Doesn’t it just make you want to plan a party just from the cover? Party Food has plenty of delicious-sounding recipes for your next dinner party or birthday bash and the beautiful photos will inspire your creativity.  

TO ENTER:
– Leave a comment on this post telling us anything you would like related to cooking, the blog, an ingredient, or whatever topic you would like.
– Make sure we have a way to contact you!

For additional entries (just leave us a comment telling us which ones you have done!):
– Subscribe via the link to the right or with google reader.
– Add us to your blog roll.
– Join our facebook group – The Cooks Next Door.
– Facebook about this giveaway.
– Tweet about this giveaway.
– Blog about this giveaway.

There you go! You could earn as many as 7 entries. And if you already are in our group, subscribe etc, let us know and we will add in the extra entries!

I will close this giveaway on Wednesday, August 25, 2010 and randomly choose a winner. All the best!

Double Giveaway!

Here it is July and we didn’t have a giveaway in June! So…we will be having two giveaways today! There will be two different ways to win – the first will be our choice and the second will be random. I’ve listed the details below!

Giveaway #1:

Salads: Simple & Delicious Dishes for All Occasions

This colorful book has so many great ideas for salads! The recipes look absolutely delicious. The book offers vegetable salads and many main dish salads. It is sure to inspire you to try something new!

Giveaway #2:

Deceptively Delicious by: Jessica Seinfeld

This cookbook is geared towards helping your family eating healthier. It provides recipes that have unusual ingredients packed with nutrients. This book has been featured by various bloggers and media sources.

TO ENTER:
– Leave a comment on this post telling us your suggestion of a name for our planned Friday Feature (it will be a carnival for you, the readers and home cooks, to share your own recipes, photos, stories & more)!
– Make sure we have a way to contact you!

For additional entries (just leave us a comment telling us which ones you have done – past or present!):
– Subscribe via the link to the right or with google reader.
– Add us to your blog roll.
– Join our facebook group – The Cooks Next Door.
– Facebook about this giveaway.
– Follow us on Twitter.
– Tweet about this giveaway.
– Blog about this giveaway.

The first winner will be chosen based on their suggestion of a name for a Friday feature we plan to occasionally have which will be a carnival for everyone to link up their cooking posts! The second winner will be chosen randomly.

This giveaway will end next Tuesday, July 13. Have fun entering! We are looking forward to hearing your name suggestions!

Tomorrow,  I will do a Weekend Fare post since the giveaway is today!

Winner!

I’m finally getting around to posting the winner of our Spring Cookbook giveaway!

The random winner is Michelle Fulk who said:
I love cookbooks so it’s hard to pick. My Martha Stewart’s Baking handbook has been simply a must have, but I have to say I’m really in love with my new TASTE OF HOME CONTEST WINNING 2010 BOOK. I made a chocolate carrot cake with cocoa cream cheese butter cream this week that I was a bit worried about, but it was divine, and the easiest from scratch recipe ever (if you are interested check my FB profile) I belong to your FB and twitter groups and reposted this on both. You are on my google reader too.

CONGRATS MICHELLE! I’ll send you an e-mail to get your info!

Weekend Fare & A Giveaway!

It’s hard to believe the end of the week is nearly here! I finally am getting back in to the cooking groove – just in time to leave. 🙂 This week I made a salad with chicken and veggies, bbq chicken pizza, and today’s featured recipe – chicken salad. Yes, it was chicken week. I cooked four chicken breasts on Monday and made them last for three meals. It worked well and everyone enjoyed the dinners!

A good chicken salad is wonderful and yet I have a hard time finding it. I vary mine with one exception – it always has some kind of fruit in it. The fruit is often grapes but I’ve also used craisins and various other things. My version today includes apples as well as grapes. I like the natural sweetness the fruit adds as well as the color! 

ALAINA’S FRUITED CHICKEN SALAD
Print This Recipe

1 1/2 – 2 chicken breasts, diced
1 apple, cored and finely diced
1/3 c. red or green grapes, quartered
2 stalks celery, finely diced
2 Tb. red onion, finely diced
1 Tb. lemon juice
1/3 c. mayonnaise (I often use half mayo and half plain yogurt)
1 tsp. dried dill OR 1 Tb. fresh dill
Salt & Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients. Serve over spring greens or lettuce or as a sandwich filling. (We really liked this served over the greens with water crackers on the side). Serves about 4.

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Nothing like waiting until the end of the month for our giveaway! This beautiful cookbook is the Williams-Sonoma Seasonal Celebration Spring book by Joanne Weir. The pictures alone will inspire you to try recipes and experiment with spring produce! It offers recipes such as Fresh Pea Soup w/Lemon Creme Fraiche, Asparagus-Parmesan Cheese Puffs, Spicy Deviled Eggs, Spinach & Bacon Souffle, Lemon Cloud Tart, and many more.

TO ENTER:
– Leave a comment on this post telling us your favorite cookbook or spring recipe.
– Make sure we have a way to contact you!

For additional entries (just leave us a comment telling us which ones you have done!):
– Subscribe via the link to the right or with google reader.
– Add us to your blog roll.
– Join our facebook group – The Cooks Next Door.
– Facebook about this giveaway.
– Tweet about this giveaway.
– Blog about this giveaway.

There you go! You could earn as many as 7 entries. And if you already are in our group, subscribe etc, let us know and we will add in the extra entries!

I leave tomorrow so I will try to close the giveaway sometime next week but the winner will not be announced until after May 9.

Tea Cozy Winner!

Congratulations to Margaret of Tea & Scones for winning the tea cozy! She said, “I learned to drink tea when I was just a kid in England. Now I drink lots of tea, but my favorite is Chai masala. But Lady Jane Grey is a close second.” She is also a twitter follower.

My husband drew your name out of the hat, Margaret – hope you enjoy! I’ll e-mail you to get your address.

Irish Tea Cake & a Giveaway!

Tea is quite British and so in keeping with our Irish theme, here is a delicious and easy tea cake. My husband described it as a sugar cookie cake – meaning he really liked it. It’s delicious served warm or at room temperature. Tea is traditional but it would also make a wonderful accompaniment to coffee. You could top it with seasonal berries for the summer or fresh whipped cream but I really enjoyed it with just the powdered sugar!


IRISH TEA CAKE
(Recipe adapted very slightly from allrecipes.com)
Print this recipe

1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. white sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 inch round pan.

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir into the batter alternately with the milk. It’s a very thick batter. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the oven, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack, then turn out onto a serving plate. Dust with confectioners’ sugar right before serving.

We are also having a giveaway! Heather makes beautiful tea cozies (which are available in her wonderful etsy store) and so today we are giving away this gorgeous small tea cozy. It’s perfect for keeping your tea  warm! Heather recommends Trader Joe’s Irish Breakfast Tea for enjoying at tea time.

To enter:
– Leave a comment telling us your favorite tea or hot drink – one per person, please.
– For additional entries:
   1) Follow us on twitter – @CooksNextDoor
   2) Blog about this giveaway.
   3) Facebook about this giveaway.
   4) Join our facebook group.
– That makes a total of five entry opportunities. If you already follow us on twitter or are in our fb group, just leave us a comment letting us know and we will add the extra entries!
– This drawing will be open until Thursday night.

Enter away! Enjoy!

And The Winner Is…

AMY!

She said, “I love flourless chocolate cake – either with raspberry sauce, or I have made a version with ancho chili powder and cinnamon that is very good. Also, Scholars’ Inn used to have an amazing chocolate pate, but sadly they don’t have it on the menu anymore. When I lived in Germany I discovered Ritter Sport dark chocolate bars filled with marzipan, which are still my favorite.”

Congrats on winning the Chocolate Cookbook! Her name was randomly drawn from many entries – I think it was our most with all the extra entries people earned! Thanks for entering! Stay tuned for next month’s giveaway.