41,000 Member Celebration – Book Outlet Giveaway!

This site is not dead!

I’ve been so busy with my work at Eat Your Books and other assignments – I haven’t been able to do much of anything else. I hope to do more posting in 2017 now that the rush of Fall cookbooks is over. I’ll have a post up this weekend about some amazing blueberry granola pancakes made with Fiona’s Natural Foods granola. But until then….

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To celebrate 41,000 members in The Cookbook Junkies and my work at Eat Your Books – my friends at Book Outlet are offering four winners a $25.00 gift card to purchase cookbooks at their site – open to U.S. and Canada addresses! Book Outlet has the greatest deals on books period – but I visit them frequently for cookbooks. A bonus for everyone – they have set up a special code for you which is valid until March 31st — enter ICYWIT2017 and you will receive $5.00 off any purchase over $35.00. (Icywit is a nickname an old boss gave me.)

The giveaway is through Rafflecopter which should make your entries easier. Lots of chances. Good luck!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sprouts Farmers Market – Cholaca – Brownies #cholacacheers

Earlier this month, I had the privilege of attending a Sprouts Farmers Market event at Cholaca headquarters in Broomfield. We had these great platters from the local Sprouts waiting for us.

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And then we had the best hot cacao ever.

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What is Cholaca all about – “Ira Leibtag – the founder wanted to bring healthy, organic and regeneratively farmed liquid cacao to the masses, while curating sustainable economic partnerships with farmers throughout Peru and Ecuador.

Cholaca is pure liquid cacao made from one of the planet’s most nutrient-rich superfoods. This delicious product, available as a liquid or in baking wafer form, is also a natural stimulant and mood enhancer that can be enjoyed on its own and easily used in multiple recipes and is vegan, gluten free, dairy free and paleo friendly!

Cholaca comes in a few varieties and is made from only two or three ingredients with no preservatives, emulsifiers or additives: this is pure cacao perfection we think you will love!” This information is taken directly from Cholaca‘s website because I couldn’t explain it better myself.

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That’s Ira above – he is a force of nature. His passion for this product and regenerative business says so much about the type of man he is. Instead of trying to obtain the cheapest product available and deteriorating our rain forests, his company buys the purest product available while preserving our world’s resources and the farmers that produce the cacao. Be sure to check out Cholaca and support this company — you could be saving a rain forest too!

My family loves hot chocolate – and my son loves chocolate milk. I am not much of a liquid chocolate person myself but the liquid cacao was incredibly delicious. My son calls the liquid cacao “power chocolate” – and I don’t have any guilt about adding this pure substance into his food and drink. So far he has had Cholaca in his cold milk, hot milk and in his oatmeal.

I was most excited about their baking wafers that are hitting the market in January of 2017. I am a baker and I love an affordable yet high quality ingredient to use in my baking.

Last Friday was my birthday and I made a chocolate cake using the wafers – I use my normal chocolate cake recipe which can be found here but blitzed some wafers in my food processor and added it to the cake batter. The cake was even better than normal (it’s one of our favorite cakes).

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Last night I had to make two batches of brownies for an event at my husband’s work – (along with 72 appetizers – this hard work will look good on my year end review.) These brownies were the most intensely “chocolately” brownies I have made. Is that a word?

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Deep Chocolate Brownies

1/2 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons water (or liquid Cholaca)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped Cholaca baking wafers
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8 x 8 inch square pan.

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, butter and water (or liquid cacao). Cook over medium heat until boiling. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips and chopped wafers until melted and smooth.

Mix in the eggs (be sure to temper the eggs a bit with the warm mixture) and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt and then stir into the chocolate mixture. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies set up.

Be sure to not overbake – better a little under than over. Cool in pan and cut into squares. I always use a plastic knife to cut brownies – makes better cuts.

Thanks to Sprouts Farmers Markets and Cholaca for this great event.

#SproutsHolidayMeatUp – Sprouts Farmers Market – Colorado Beef Council – Perfect Beef Roast

A few weeks ago I was able to attend a Sprouts Farmers Market blogger event at the Colorado Beef Council. I have to confess I have never been a huge fan of beef – I blame this on my mother and the chewy, flavorless roasts she would serve us and every other chewy, flavorless roast I had to endure in my lifetime. My husband states that I make a mean roast and a great steak – but I usually just eat the vegetables I make when I make those types of dinners for him – I had no desire to eat beef products – until now. The Colorado Beef Council and Sprouts have converted me forever.

Sprouts Farmers Market sells only grass fed, hormone free beef. They ground beef in-house using only muscle meat. And I have to say, I buy the majority of my meat and produce at Sprouts and it is always far superior to any other markets. Sprouts will also cut meat to order. In fact, today I picked up my organic turkey from Sprouts – completely boned. I also requested the bones to make stock and they happily wrapped those up for me as well. They provide this service at no extra charge to their customers.

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The Beef Council’s kitchen is my dream kitchen. Stainless everywhere, open shelving and lots of room. Above, is our first instructor, Marcie, who is the lead tester for the Beef Council.

Marcie explained to us about using rubs to add flavor, the three methods of searing – in a hot pan, a hot oven at the beginning of cooking or in a hot oven at the end of cooking. I, myself, always sear in a hot pan – I just feel more control in that method. I also bring the protein to room temperature – about 30 minutes. The rub that we used for the roast we worked with was salt, pepper and minced garlic. Marcie also had the team working on a cranberry jalapeno relish that was out of this world good. Recipes for those dishes can be found at the links given.

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Marcie went over the types of racks that can be used – the basic roast rack (All-Clad is always my preference), an adjustable rack for different size proteins or in a pinch you can crinkle up a large sheet of foil and make an S shape to place on the bottom of your roasting pan. I, typically, use vegetables – carrots, onions and potatoes – to keep my roast from sitting on the bottom of the pan and the bonus there is added flavor the drippings deliver to the vegetables.

Our second instructor, went over compound butters that can add additional flavor to our finished roast. My group was able to work on that portion of the meal. The Beef Council kindly shared their recipe with us for our readers:

1 stick unsalted butter (room temperature)
½ teaspoon chipotle powder
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon or the zest of one orange
Salt to taste

Mix all the above ingredients together to combine and then place onto a sheet of parchment, plastic or wax paper to make a log and refrigerator. When ready to use, cut into rounds to serve atop your finished roast.

Our final instructor went over pan sauces and plating. I’m a huge fan of pan sauces – they add so much to the meal and I make them frequently for all proteins.

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I jokingly asked if the plate of food above was for an entire family – the chef didn’t laugh.

The recipes for the restaurant quality meal shown in that photograph can be downloaded at this link. Everything on this plate was absolutely delicious and the roast made me fall for beef. I was lucky enough to take home a nice piece of prime rib and two servings blue cheese potatoes for my husband. We had that meal the next day – yes, we, because I made him share. He is not a fan of prime rib – although he loves beef – and even re-heated he raved about the taste and flavor of our dish. This has to do primarily with preparation and the quality that comes out of Sprouts’ meat department.

I hope to prepare the entire meal again for the holidays this year. The compound butter, relish and horseradish cream add so much to a meal – any one of these condiments can elevate your dish.

Thanks to everyone at Sprouts Farmers Market and the Colorado Beef Council for this wonderful learning experience. To keep tabs on new recipes be sure to follow the council on twitter and Facebook and keep up with Sprouts on twitter and Facebook.