Friday, November 8, 2013

Friday I'm In Love... with Krave Jerky

In an effort to eat more protein, I've been trying a variety of different jerkies. I'm fine with them tasting just like meat, but sometimes, they just taste off.

So I was intrigued when I came across Krave jerky at Target. They have more intense and interesting flavors than just about every other jerky company, and yet the flavors don't overpower the meat. I also love that they use gluten-free soy sauce.

I've only had the chance to try a couple of flavors (the ones my store carries), but I am head-over-heels in love with the Black Cherry Barbecue Pork. It's nowhere near as sweet as the name implies, but it's not overly smoky like so many "barbecue" jerkies are. It's not as spicy as some of their flavors, either, so I don't feel like I'm burning holes in my tongue.

Krave has eight different flavors, using three different kinds of meat, so if Black Cherry Barbecue isn't your favorite, I'm sure there'll be one to fit your palate.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Reading Mouse: Rose Under Fire

Can a companion book ever live up to its predecessor? Find out what I think about Code Name Verity's companion, Rose Under Fire.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Flights and Flatbreads at Seasons 52

Last week, my parents had dinner with some friends at Seasons 52, a newish restaurant (part of a chain) in Burlington. Ever since, they've been talking about how much they enjoyed it and how they wanted to go back to try their Flights and Flatbreads menu. So I gamely tagged along with them Monday night to give it a shot.

First off, the Flights and Flatbreads menu is one hell of a deal. For $15, you get 2-ounce pours of three different wines, a full glass of your favorite of the three, and any of the flatbreads on the menu. Since the flatbreads are all around $9-10, and the wines start at $8 a glass, you can't go wrong with this deal. (Technically, the menu says this runs until 6pm daily, but their website says all day in Massachusetts, probably due to happy hour laws. Call ahead if you want to try this later in the day.)

I went with the white flight (they also offer a red flight and, for $5 more, a red flight all rated 90 points or higher). I'm not a big wine drinker, because it all just makes me sleepy, but I know what I like. The Chateau St. Jean Chardonnay was fine, but I'm never a chardonnay drinker to begin with. I quite liked the Raats Family Chenin Blanc, but I found the Casillero del Diablo Viognier to be far superior.

The flatbread selection was also impressive; you can pick any one (including the seasonal option) from the menu. I chose the Garlic Pesto Chicken flatbread, mainly because I love any pizza heaped with arugula. It was delicious, although I wanted even more of the creamy pesto that was drizzled on top. A bowl of it to dip into would have been ideal for me :) And the bread itself was super thin and crispy. I was impressed with how well it held up with so many toppings! My mother chose the Spicy Chipotle Shrimp, which I think was everyone's favorite, because the flavors (grilled pineapple, cilantro, feta) were so evenly balanced. My father ordered the Blackened Steak and Blue Cheese flatbread, which I happily avoided thanks to the blue cheese.

And as much as I loved this deal, I LOVE the desserts at Season 52. They all come in tiny glasses, and they're all $2.50. So flavorful, so adorable, and just the right size.

Seasons 52 is a chain with 40-something restaurants around the country. Burlington is the first in Massachusetts, though, with Chestnut Hill opening next week.

Seasons 52 on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 4, 2013

Too Tired

Early bird dinner with my parents + 2 glasses of wine + daylight savings = my bedtime

More of this wonderful pizza tomorrow :)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Only Caramel Snack Mix You'll Ever Need

For the past few years, I've been throwing together some kind of snack mix for my friends' annual Halloween party. My thinking is that it's always good to have something to snack on before the drinking begins. I've tried a variety of different mixes and coatings, but I think I've finally tried the last recipe I'll ever need. Is there proof for this? Well, the bowl was completely empty by the end of the night (which has never happened before), so I'm pretty sure this one's a keeper.

As with most snack mixes, feel free to play with the ingredients. This year I opted for popcorn, corn Chex, Fritos, and (after the baking) M&Ms. You could easily add nuts (pre-baking), other cereals (pre-baking), dried fruit (pre- or post-baking), tortilla or potato chips (pre-baking), pretzels (pre-baking), or any other kind of candy (post-baking). You can also vary the amount you add - I like all my ingredients to get some of the caramel, but not to be drenched, but if you prefer a more uniform covering of caramel, use 2-4 cups less of ingredients.

The Only Caramel Snack Mix You'll Ever Need
12 cups salted popcorn
6 cups rice or corn Chex
3 cups Fritos
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup M&Ms

Preheat oven to 250°. Combine popcorn, Chex, and Fritos (or whatever other ingredients you are using that will not melt) in one or two roasting pans.

In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Stir occasionally until the mixture comes to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep the temperature as low as possible, as the caramel can burn easily. Once it starts to boil, this may be a very low temperature - you just want to keep it at that state.

After 5 minutes of boiling, remove the caramel from the heat. Stir in the vanilla, then stir in the baking soda. This will cause the caramel to expand.

Pour the caramel over the popcorn mix, and toss the mix to make sure the caramel gets on everything.

Bake for about 20 minutes, stirring everything and scraping up the extra caramel halfway through.

Remove from pan(s) into a large bowl to cool. You may need to break apart some of the pieces as they cool. Once the mix is not warm to the touch, add in any candies and toss to distribute.

If there's any left after you serve it (and there won't be), store it in an air-tight container.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Reading Mouse: The Goldfinch

The author of my absolute-favorite book (The Secret History) has a new book out, titled The Goldfinch. Could it possibly live up to the book I love so much?

Friday, November 1, 2013

It's NaBloPoMo time!

Hello? Anyone here?

The frequency of my posting has been absolutely abysmal, so I thought another round of National Blog  Posting Month was just what the doctor ordered. 

You've been forewarned.