#FreshTastyValentines Wrap Up

As you might have noticed, the past week or so has been all about #FreshTastyValentines on my blog. And now Valentine’s Day is upon us! I hope you have a great day with your loved ones! Maybe with one of these tasty recipes?

Brighten up your Valentine's Day celebration with this refreshing Grapefruit-Walnut Sheet Cake! You won't want to miss the grapefruit cream cheese frosting! :) #FreshTastyValentines

Grapefruit-Walnut Snack Cake

This sweet potato hash combines pretty much all my favorite things... sweet potatoes, black beans, red peppers, bacon, and fried eggs. Ginger and grapefruit zest give it an unforgettable special tangy flavor! #FreshTastyValentinesTangy Sweet Potato Hash

Sweet and nutty, these Apple Peanut Butter Pancakes with Sautéed Cinnamon Apples are a great way to start your day! #FreshTastyValentinesApple Peanut Butter Pancakes with Sauteed Cinnamon Apples

Or maybe you want to read about my nursery here. 🙂 I wouldn’t object to that either! Haha.

The giveaway from #FreshTastyValentines is over, but I wanted to thank Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla for all her hard work in organizing this great event! Also a big thanks goes out to our wonderful sponsors! You can find some of the many delicious recipes here.

#FreshTastyValentines Sponsors

Over the past couple of weeks, my recipes [and my everyday life in the kitchen] has featured products from these sponsors… which I just love! Though I wasn’t able to try items from every sponsor [all the bloggers got to share the love!], everything I did receive was awesome! If you check out the recipes I shared, I got to use products from many of these wonderful companies in my dish and in my prep. Though I didn’t manage to write a post highlighting all the items I tried, I wanted to give a shoutout to a few special companies.

First, Casabella. They sent us two toys to play with–a garlic roaster and clip ‘n strip shears. These will BOTH be super handy in my kitchen this summer. The garlic roaster is perfect for roasting garlic without a mess–and in an environmentally friendly way [no more wasting aluminum foil!]. Plus it’s silicone so it’s light and tucks away small in the drawer. The shears are great for cutting herbs. Right now I’m just using grocery store herbs, but I always have a big back porch herb garden every summer, so these will be handy for running outside to cut a snip or two of herbs for dinner. Thanks!

Second, Mann Packing… a wonderful produce company! They sent me some product coupons and I have to admit I haven’t found them in the Nashville area [but maybe the stores have just been out of stock… I’ll keep looking]. Whenever we visit Ben’s family, I always hit up Meijer since we don’t have one where we live… and it’s a good place to get some snacks before our 8 hour drive home. I usually pick up some trail mix for me, beef jerky for Ben, and Mann’s delicious Stringless Sugar Snap Peas for us to share. This is not an ad–this has been my tradition for a long time. We’ve been married for almost seven years, folks. Ben and I can seriously demolish a bag in like 5 minutes flat. It’s crazy… they are SO GOOD–and such a treat on a road trip… so refreshing and addictive. I hope I can find them in Nashville soon. 🙂 No other kind of snap peas compares. 🙂

Third, T.Lish. You may remember this dressing from #HotSummerEats last year. This stuff is still as good as ever! Lately salads haven’t sounded that good to me, so I’ve been getting my veggies through one dish meals like my beloved sweet potato hash and lots of raw snacky veggies, like carrots and peppers and cucumbers. To help me enjoy these veggies a little more, I’ve been a-dipping in ranch–and also T.Lish’s chipotle dressing! So yum. I love how much T.Lish has expanded–you can find these delicious dressings at Publix now! 🙂

Lastly, BenBella Vegan. Just the other day, my copy of Dining at The Ravens appeared at my doorstep… and it’s beautiful, intriguing VEGAN cookbook. How fun is that?!? I don’t do a ton of vegan cooking [though we do eat a fair amount of vegetarian food so vegan isn’t too far of a leap]. This is a lovely cookbook. I haven’t gotten a chance to play around with it much, but there are several recipes I want to try asap–like some Wild Mushroom Crepes, Mushroom Pesto and Sun Dried Tomato Burger, and their signature Kale Salad. I also love how they have a section of vegan pantry basics… sour creams [two types!], ricotta, cashew cheese… great tips for vegan newbie cooks like me. 🙂 If I ever find myself along the Medocino coast of California, you can bet I will be visiting this restaurant!

#FreshTastyValentines Wrap Up

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week of #FreshtastyValentines. Thanks for reading! I’ll be back with a delicious recipe tomorrow so don’t go too far, friends! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Disclosure: I received complimentary products from Casabella, Mann Packing, T.Lish, and Ben Bella Vegan for my participation in #FreshTastyValentines. However, I was not required to write a positive review and I was not otherwise compensated for this post. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks to Casabella, Mann Packing, T.Lish, and Ben Bella Vegan for their sponsorship of this event!

Advertisements

The Making of an UncommonGoods Nursery #FreshTastyValentines

With each week that passes, baby day [May 10, not that babies are punctual] comes a little bit closer! Exciting, and a little bit scary. Ben and I have been busy getting Baby Volde’s nursery ready… at least in our heads–and on Pinterest. 🙂 [And to clear up any questions… our nickname for our baby boy has been “Volde,” as in Voldemort, since Ben loves Harry Potter and there’s no chance in the world I would ever agree to a Harry Potter/Lord of the Rings/video games/insert other pop culture icon name. So that’s baby’s nickname for now… and will probably be how I refer to him on the blog too. :)] But back to the nursery, and our lack of actual preparation in getting the nursery ready, save the purchase of a crib and the cleaning out of a dresser. Baby steps, right? In my mind, preparation=decoration, especially for a baby. So that’s why I was so excited to hear from my friends at UncommonGoods. They emailed me to share their new Valentine’s Day collection, available here, as well as some fun Host and Hostess gifts that you can see here. You may be wondering what Valentine’s Day has to do with a nursery for a baby boy… and the answer is: everything!

The Making of an UncommonGoods Nursery #FreshTastyValentines

Well, maybe not everything, but everything uncommon. 🙂 Ben and I haven’t ever been huge Valentine’s gift givers so it was a treat to have UncommonGoods offer to send me a Valentine’s Day gift! Awww! I was so pleasantly surprised by their generosity. I shouldn’t be, because this Brooklyn-based company is the epitome of generous. Aside from a crazy-great Better to Give program that has donated over one million dollars since 2001, they share their generosity with their employees and suppliers. Their lowest-paid seasonal worker starts at 50% above the minimum wage, and they strive to feature unique designs and handcrafted gifts created in harmony with the environment and without harm to animals or people. Most products are made in the USA, and many are made by hand and/or with recycled/upcycled materials. What a great company! Psstt… UncommonGoods wants to be YOUR valentine too! They’re offering a $150 gift certificate as part of our #FreshTastyValentines giveaway, ending today, so be sure to enter now!

Though I was impressed by so much in their Valentine’s Day collections, as well as their Kitchen and Bar collection, like this Personalized Cutting Board [how fun!], my eye was immediately drawn to the Kids portion of their website. What better Valentine for a new mama-t0-be than gifts for her baby? 🙂

The Making of an UncommonGoods Nursery #FreshTastyValentines

Ben and I knew from the beginning that we wanted the nursery to be decorated in some sort of animal theme, but the question was: what types of animals? Safari, farm, woodland…? When I saw this Fox Clock, I knew we had to go with a woodland animal theme. I mean, how cute is this clock?!? So now, thanks in part to UncommonGoods, we know our nursery will be filled with cute ‘lil woodland critters like foxes, raccoons, rabbits, owls, and wolves. Awww! I can’t wait to show you the finished product. And I’d like to see it myself. Ha!

The Making of an UncommonGoods Nursery #FreshTastyValentines

Once the baby arrives to fill that woodland nursery, we will be keeping track of all the key moments in this baby book! If you’re on the market for a unique baby book, this Baby Journal fits the bill! It has space for anything you want to document about your baby’s first year of life… and the illustrations are darling. 🙂 It also has spaces for friends and family to contribute, so it’ll be fun to pull out at my baby shower for people to write in.

The Making of an UncommonGoods Nursery #FreshTastyValentines

Despite all the fun that has gone into crafting this nursery for our new arrival, I couldn’t let the chance pass by to surprise my #1 Valentine with this gorgeous State Slate Cheeseboard! This Ohio guy can’t wait to break it with some fun appetizers. 🙂 No matter your needs for Valentine’s Day, a baby’s nursery, or that special someone’s birthday, UncommonGoods has great well-made gifts and a wonderful approach to doing business so I hope you can check them out sometime soon! I already have some gifts in mind to give in the future! 🙂

Though this is the last day of #FreshTastyValentines, you can still find some great recipes today at the link below!

Find UncommonGoods

on the web: here
on Twitter: here
on Facebook: here
on Pinterest: here
on Instagram: here
on Google+: here
Disclosure: I received complimentary products from UncommonGoods for my participation in #FreshTastyValentines. However, I was not required to write a positive review and I was not otherwise compensated for this post. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks to UncommonGoods for their sponsorship of this event!

Tangy Sweet Potato Hash #FreshTastyValentines

This sweet potato hash combines pretty much all my favorite things… sweet potatoes, black beans, red peppers, bacon, and fried eggs. Ginger and grapefruit zest give it an unforgettable special tangy flavor! 

This sweet potato hash combines pretty much all my favorite things... sweet potatoes, black beans, red peppers, bacon, and fried eggs. Ginger and grapefruit zest give it an unforgettable special tangy flavor! #FreshTastyValentines

I love recipes that work for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Hashes are one of those classic recipes that can work for any meal, especially when you throw a fried egg on top. I used to make these meals almost every week pre-pregnancy. If it wasn’t a sweet/regular potato hash, it was arugula salad with fried potatoes and a fried egg… or fried rice with a fried egg… or a fried egg sandwich… or… you get the picture, huh? These days, I eat fried eggs oh-so-rarely. I have really tried to not be paranoid about the dietary restrictions with pregnancy [I’ll admit to licking the bowl when baking, and over Thanksgiving I accidentally ate a cobb salad with cold deli meat on it without thinking] but I don’t want to take too many unnecessary risks. I’m too much of a rule follower for that! Not to mention how devastated I would be if something I chose to ate hurt the baby. I know you can’t prevent everything [listeria in peanut butter or salad, anyone?] but I can prevent eating too many fried eggs. I think. 🙂

This sweet potato hash combines pretty much all my favorite things... sweet potatoes, black beans, red peppers, bacon, and fried eggs. Ginger and grapefruit zest give it an unforgettable special tangy flavor! #FreshTastyValentines

So that being said, you know that if I chose to eat a fried egg [yes, singular… before baby it was two 😦 tear!] it’s gotta be for a good reason. And this sweet potato hash is a GREAT reason! It’s pretty much the best hash I’ve ever tried. [Umm, sorry if that sounds weird.] Sometimes hashes can get a little too mushy, but this one doesn’t because I had the *genius* idea to a) roast the sweet potatoes instead of cooking them in the pan, b) layer them with the black bean and red pepper mixture, and c) top it all with bacon and the said fried egg. #mmmm

This sweet potato hash combines pretty much all my favorite things... sweet potatoes, black beans, red peppers, bacon, and fried eggs. Ginger and grapefruit zest give it an unforgettable special tangy flavor! #FreshTastyValentines

If that’s not genius, then I don’t know what is! Oh wait, yes I do. 🙂 In the summertime, part of what makes a sweet potato hash so darn good is that you can put half of your herb garden in as seasonings. Well, we are dead in the middle of winter here so I used the next best thing: Gourmet Garden Lightly Dried Herbs and Spices! They’re one of our lovely sponsors for #FreshTastyValentines, and to spice up [ha] this dish, I used cilantro, ginger, and chili. So good! I also added some fresh grapefruit zest [love that lately!] for some zing.

This sweet potato hash combines pretty much all my favorite things... sweet potatoes, black beans, red peppers, bacon, and fried eggs. Ginger and grapefruit zest give it an unforgettable special tangy flavor! #FreshTastyValentines

That zing was intensified with the special sauce that took this already great hash out of the park! Not Ketchup is ANOTHER one of our amazing sponsors for this fun blogging event, and I have to admit that I was a wee bit skeptical of the Tangerine Hatch Chile sauce they sent my way. Until I opened up the bottle and tried a wee bit with a roasted sweet potato. Then I was in tangerine spice heaven! Unlike how it sounds, this sauce is NOT spicy, but is the best blend of sweet and savory tang. I thought about stirring the sauce into the hash from the get go, but the aforementioned soggy, mushy sweet potato hash I was trying to avoid nixed that idea. Instead, I drizzled a hearty helping over the hash after the egg had been broken, and OH MAN was it good! Out of all of the Not Ketchup flavors I’ve tried, this one is by far my favorite… and I love that it has no added sugar; it’s only sweetened with real fruit [tangerine, apples, dates]. It is so delicious! Hope you give it a try–with or without my sweet potato hash. 🙂

one year ago: Spiced Fig Turkey Mini Meatloaf
two years ago: Sweet Potato Pork Quesadillas
three years ago: Chewy Peanut Butter Brownies
four years ago: Caramel S’more Cups
five years ago: Bacon-Wrapped Feta & Almond Stuffed Dates

Tangy Sweet Potato Hash

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Time: 60 minutes
  • Print

Ingredients:

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Toss sweet potatoes with olive oil, cumin, garlic powder, and freshly ground black pepper. Spread in an even layer on a large rimmed baking sheet, then roast for 20-25 minutes, or until tender. Flip after 10 minutes for even cooking.

Meanwhile, fry the bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Drain almost all the grease from the skillet, then add diced onion and chopped red bell pepper and saute for 5-7 minutes over medium heat until tender. Stir in black beans, cilantro, ginger, chili, and grapefruit zest. Reduce heat to low, and heat through, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes. Season with black pepper.

At this time, prepare 2 eggs per person as desired–fried or poached would be best. Also, chop bacon into bite size pieces.

When ready to serve, place a layer of sweet potatoes on a large plate or shallow bowl. Top with a layer of black bean/veggie mixture, a piece of chopped bacon, and two eggs. Serve with Tangerine Hatch Chile Not Ketchup for dipping!

Be sure to enter our #giveaway here! And check out the other awesome recipes that our #FreshTastyValentines blogging crew have come up with at the link below. 🙂

Find Not Ketchup

on the web: here
on Twitter: here
on Facebook: here
on Pinterest: here
on Instagram: here
on Google+: here

Find Gourmet Garden

on the web: here
on Twitter: here
on Facebook: here
on Pinterest: here
on Instagram: here
on Google+: here
Disclosure: I received complimentary sauce from Not Ketchup and herbs & spices from Gourmet Gardens for my participation in #FreshTastyValentines. However, I was not required to write a positive review and I was not otherwise compensated for this post. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks to Not Ketchup and Gourmet Gardens for their sponsorship of this event!

Grapefruit-Walnut Sheet Cake #FreshTastyValentines

Brighten up your Valentine’s Day celebration with this refreshing Grapefruit-Walnut Sheet Cake! It’s even frosted too!

Brighten up your Valentine's Day celebration with this refreshing Grapefruit-Walnut Sheet Cake! You won't want to miss the grapefruit cream cheese frosting! :) #FreshTastyValentines

Winter is made for citrus, is it not? Or citrus is made for winter… no matter how you put it, citrus brings warmth and energy to otherwise dull, cold, dreary days. I know a lot of people associate citrus flavors–lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit–with summer [lemonade sure helps there!] but I’ve always been in the winter=citrus camp. In junior high and high school, we sold citrus fruits in the winter to raise money for orchestra [yup, I was an orch-dork! #Violin #ThenViola]. And, how many classic books talk about children reaching into their stockings on Christmas and being THRILLED to receive an orange? Yup. Winter=citrus. So it was only fitting that my snow day baking last week involved this refreshing Grapefruit-Walnut Sheet Cake.

Brighten up your Valentine's Day celebration with this refreshing Grapefruit-Walnut Sheet Cake! You won't want to miss the grapefruit cream cheese frosting! :) #FreshTastyValentines

This cake reminds me, a little bit, of a classic lemon cake… tangy and sweet all at once, but remixed with the unique floral notes of a grapefruit so you know it’s something special! Since grapefruits have a certain degree of tartness to them, you definitely need the sugar and cinnamon in this recipe to balance out the flavors. This cake uses all of the grapefruit–zest AND juice–to make the grapefruit flavor really stand out.

Brighten up your Valentine's Day celebration with this refreshing Grapefruit-Walnut Sheet Cake! You won't want to miss the grapefruit cream cheese frosting! :) #FreshTastyValentines

At first, I wasn’t sure if this would be a good recipe to contribute as part of #FreshTastyValentines [read all about it here–and be sure to enter the giveaway!]. After all, it’s a snack cake–made in a sheet pan–and doesn’t look all that fancy. But then I realized that Ben and I don’t really do fancy. Cozy nights at home are our thing. We’ve been together for eight years, married for nearly seven of them. I’m sure once baby boy comes in May we will look forward to date nights out more than we currently do, but for now, sheet cake in the fridge [that we can snack on all week] is perfectly fine with us! Plus, grapefruit is pink soooo it’s festive enough, right? Another point that tipped the scale towards “recipe for #FreshTastyValentines” was the fact that I used one of our sponsor goodies in the making of this recipe! Duh, better include it. 🙂

KitchenIQ is one of our fabulous sponsors, and generously sent the bloggers involved in this event a Strawberry Tool [can’t wait to find some good looking strawberries to test out this strawberry slicer!!] and a wonderful Better Zester! This zester was wonderfully easy to use and was so sharp that it hardly took any effort to zest a whole grapefruit. Love it! Thanks for your support in #FreshTastyValentines, KitchenIQ! You can find Kitchen IQ on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest… and be sure to enter the giveaway by February 8, 2016 for a chance to win some of their great products. 🙂 I hope you win so you can make this festive grapefruit-walnut snack cake! The grapefruit cream cheese frosting is NOT to be missed. Enjoy!

one year ago: Caesar Salad with Fried Chickpeas
two years ago: Chili Relleno Casserole
three years ago: Baked Jalapeno Popper-Ranch Dip
four years ago: Fried Eggs on Pesto Parmesan Toast
five years ago: Mini Meatloaf

Grapefruit-Walnut Sheet Cake

  • Servings: 18
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Print

from a magazine… I think Southern Living 🙂

Ingredients:

for cake

  • 1 Ruby Red grapefruit – zest and juice, divided
  • 1 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

for grapefruit cream cheese frosting

  • 1 – 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened [I used the 1/3 less fat variety – Neufchâtel]
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • reserved grapefruit zest and juice [from cake, above]
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 12-16 ounces powdered sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Begin by zesting and juicing the grapefruit. You’ll need 3 tablespoons zest [this was about 3/4 of the grapefruit zested for me] and 10 tablespoons of juice [the whole grapefruit–I was actually a wee bit short so I added about a teaspoon or two of water and zested the whole grapefruit to make up for it].

In a small bowl, stir together 8 tablespoons of the grapefruit juice with the melted butter and 1/2 cup water. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, and cinnamon. Add butter mixture, 2 tablespoons zest, walnuts, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla. Stir until just combined. Pour into prepared pan, then bake for 20-30 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. [Original recipe suggested 20-25 minutes bake time; mine took a full 30.]

Cool completely before frosting, at least 1 hour.

When ready to frost, beat cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer for 1-2 minutes until creamy. Add vanilla, 1 tablespoon zest, and 2 tablespoons juice and beat for 30 seconds to blend. Gradually add powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached, beating on low until blended. Frost cooled cake and enjoy! Store covered in the refrigerator.

Be sure to check out all of the other recipes that are part of #FreshTastyValentines today at the linky below! 🙂

Disclosure: I received a complimentary Better Zester! and Strawberry Tool from Kitchen IQ for my participation in #FreshTastyValentines. However, I was not required to write a positive review and I was not otherwise compensated for this post. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks to KitchenIQ for their sponsorship of this event!

#FreshTastyValentines is here!

 
#FreshTastyValentines is here! A group of 22 talented food bloggers will be posting recipes for an entire week that, we hope, will inspire you to make some healthy Valentine’s Day treats for your loved ones. Here we are…
 
The Bloggers
(with links to their homepages, in alphabetical order)
 
From February 1st through February 8th, not only will you find nearly a hundred recipe posts, but you can enter to win our awesome giveaway, courtesy of some amazingly generous donations from sponsoring companies. See rafflecopter below.
The Sponsors
(with links to their homepages, in alphabetical order)

 

The Giveaway For…
FOURTEEN Different Prizes
(click here for prize descriptions)

begins February 1st and ends February 8th

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you to #FreshTastyValentines sponsors for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #FreshTastyValentines recipe development without additional compensation. All opinions stated are those of the bloggers.