Thursday, September 29, 2011

Weekend Plans...

For the second year in a row I'm off to fabulous NYC for the Food & Wine Festival, courtesy of my BFFs at ShopRite.  I'll be at the Grand Tasting and the Blue Moon Burger Bash on Friday, so if you're there, stop by and say hi!

I'll have plenty of photos and videos to share upon my return (and hopefully I'll be on the ball and not take two months to post them... I still haven't finished with my summer travel photos).  If you want a little flavor of the festivities, check out my post from the 2010 NYC Food & Wine Festival and the video I posted last year.

I'll be back soon with some fall recipes, some long overdue posts and all the details from the Food &Wine Festival!

Pretzel Crisps Giveaway Winner!

Thank you to everyone who submitted entries to the Pretzel Crisps giveaway!  The randomly selected winner is...

Entry #5:  Becky!

Becky will receive two bags of Pretzel Crisps, a Pretzel Crisps shopping bag and a coupon toward her next purchase of Pretzel Crisps.  Becky, please email me at keeleycancook (at) to claim your prize! 

Thanks for reading and participating in the giveaway.  I'm planning at least one more giveaway this fall, so stay tuned!

This giveaway is a promotion sponsored by Snack Factory.  I received complimentary samples of Pretzel Crisps as part of a Breast Cancer Awareness Promotion.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, September 26, 2011

September Highlights

I shared this post about a month ago with highlights from my first summer with an iPhone.  I'm continuing the fun with some highlights from the past few weeks... and a peek into some upcoming recipe posts.

I can't stop taking photos with my phone... I just can't help it!

Apple Pie in a Jar... recipe coming (very) soon!  I promise!

Typical Saturday morning (if we're not working)... laptop, coffee,  Google Reader

E on the grill during our last barbecue of the summer

Chorizo Burger

Sourdough French Toast with Peach-Maple Syrup

I take photos of wines I enjoy so I'll know what to buy at the store.

Pepperoni Bread

E with our friend's teeny tiny Yorkie

Pumpkin Spice Latte - I couldn't resist.

Saturday night dinner date.
Psst... did you enter the Pretzel Crisps giveaway?  The contest is still open until Wednesday night!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Giveaway! - Pretzel Crisps

image from here

Drumroll, please!  For the first time in the history of My Life on a Plate I am doing a giveaway!  Today's giveaway is sponsored by Snack Factory.  Their latest snack innovation is Pretzel Crisps, thin, crunchy pretzel crackers.

I've been a pretzel lover for as long as I've had teeth, so I've been buying Pretzel Crisps for the past few years.  We like to dip them in flavored cream cheese or peanut butter, but they come in a lot of flavors that can stand alone:  Original, Everything, Garlic Parmesan, Buffalo Wing, Sesame, Jalapeno Jack and Chipotle Cheddar.

image from here
Snack Factory sent me samples of several flavors of these crisps and I appreciate the opportunity to try out different varieties since in the past I had only purchased the Original flavor.  I'm in love with the Everything flavor crisps and I've also enjoyed topping the Sesame with chunks of cheese... it's a perfect after-work snack!

Pretzel Crisps are a nice alternative to higher-calorie potato chips (not that I'm hating on potato chips, but everything in moderation).  I appreciate keeping a crispy, lower calorie snack around the house or in my office for those times when I get weak and want something salty and crispy.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  In support of this cause, Snack Factory changed the packaging on 14-ounce Pretzel Crisps packages to include the iconic pink ribbon and Snack Factory will also be donating a minimum of $100,000 to the Susan G. Koman Foundation.  In addition, local market teams of Snack Factory representatives will compete against each other to raise money for the cause.

Wondering how you can get your own Pretzel Crisps?  They're sold at grocery stores and big box stores in many locations.  One lucky reader will get a bag for free just by leaving a comment on this post. Please leave a comment with your name and I will randomly select a winner.  Want to enter more than once?  Here are your options (leave a separate comment for each entry):

1.  Leave a comment (including your name) on this blog post.
2.  Follow me on Twitter:  @KeeleyPowell
3.  "Like" My Life on a Plate on Facebook:

The winner will be announced on Wednesday, September 28th 2011.  Please contact me via email to claim your prize.
This contest ended. Thanks for playing!
This giveaway is a promotion sponsored by Snack Factory.  I received complimentary samples of Pretzel Crisps as part of a Breast Cancer Awareness Promotion.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Foodies Can Coupon and Menu Plan!

It's a new season, so I'm mixing things up.  Today I'm sharing my first guest post!  Today's guest writer is the lovely TiAnna Mae of The Fab Life... For Free.  Please check out her blog!

Do you want to do a feature for My Life on a Plate?  Of course you do!  Email me at keeleycancook (at) gmail (dot) com.

Foodies CAN Coupon and Menu Plan!

I get it, I get it! You’re a foodie, you enjoy exotic flavors, you want foods that thrill your taste buds, you want organic items, and you really don’t care how much you spend. I’m a foodie too, but I also enjoy doing other things with my cash like: traveling, movies, taking care of my son, and saving for the future. In this post, I’m going to give you a few quick tips on how to enjoy all the foods that you like while saving money doing it.

Great adventures start with a plan….a loose idea at least. Create a dinner menu plan. You can even create one for breakfast and lunch if you choose, however, dinner is the most important meal to plan. Usually it’s the time of day where you have the least amount of time and your whole family will partake of the meal (at some point at least). I would recommend setting a dinner menu plan in at least one week increments. As a foodie, you may change your mind or get a taste for something different, so you don’t want to plan too far in advance. Make sure to schedule things that you love eating all the time, as well as, new recipes that you come across. Try your best to plan your menu around the sales and coupons that you find, which is how you can achieve maximum savings.

Let me see your thumb! As a foodie, we enjoy fresh produce and bold flavors, so starting a vegetable and/or herb garden is a great idea. Herbs can be grown in small pots placed on your countertop, as long as it can get direct sunlight. Vegetables, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash can be easy to grow and so rewarding to eat. Let’s not even get on the savings benefit. If you don’t want to try your hand at gardening, then definitely check out your local farmer’s market where you can get fresh chemical free produce for a lot cheaper than at the grocery store. You can usually find other specialty food items at a Farmer’s Market.

Got Meat? Coupons for meat are hard to come by, so the best way to save is to search the sale ads for your grocer and plan to stock up around holidays. There are always great deals on angus beef, pork ribs, T-bone steaks, etc. leading up to those “cook-out” holidays like: Memorial Day and Labor Day. You can also find great deals on Cornish hens, turkey products, and ham around Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you have a deep freezer, you can store your extra meats there, and if not, only buy what your freezer can hold. There will be another sale.

All seasonings are created equal…in my opinion. Smoked paprika is smoked paprika…it doesn’t matter the brand. Grab the cheapest one your little eyes can find. Farmer’s Markets are also great for finding deals on seasoning, and this is also where a fresh herb garden will come in handy. This may be breaking a foodie golden rule, but if you’re following a recipe that calls for a “non-essential” seasoning, don’t be afraid to leave it out if you don’t have it on the shelf. By non-essential, I mean something that if it were missing, the dish would taste fine, the same even. For example, using regular black pepper, when the recipe called for fresh ground pepper. Sure the flavor will be bolder if you use the fresh ground pepper, but it won’t make it taste nasty if you don’t use it.

Everyone likes a great deal. Foodie or not, everyone enjoys saving money. Coupons are great for specialty items that rarely go on sale. You can always find coupons for Almond Milk, Newman’s Salad Dressing, pumpernickel bread, Magnum ice cream bars, and other very luxe foodie-like treats. If there’s a coupon for it, you can find it at Coupon Diva and also check the manufacturer’s website. Lastly, a Google search can even turn up coupons for those expensive specialty items.

Try these tips to see if you can save a little extra change to do other things that are equally as important, such as, paying bills!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Cedar Plank Salmon with Fresh Lemon Pepper

I enjoy salmon.  Raw, grilled, whatever.  I didn't grow up eating salmon because my mom didn't like it.  Mom may not have enjoyed salmon in the past, but this simple recipe converted her.

The inspiration was a dinner we enjoyed with at a friend's home earlier this summer.  After our friend explained all of the advantages of wild-caught Pacific salmon (and I had an opportunity to taste the fantastic meal served at their home) I decided to try to create something similar on my own grill.  I'm not a fishmonger and I'm still learning how to work with seafood, but even I was able to handle this recipe.  I picked up a 1-pound salmon filet and a stack of cedar planks (you can find the planks at kitchen stores or in the seafood department of your grocery store).  I soaked the plank, seasoned the salmon, and lit the charcoal grill.

(Scared of the grill?  Check out this tutorial.)

The seasoning is extremely simple.  It's the zest of one lemon plus some Kosher salt and pepper.  That's it.  You can squeeze some fresh lemon juice on the salmon before serving.

In just 15 minutes you have moist, flaky, smoky, lemony salmon.  Salmon so fresh and tasty that even my mom would eat it.  It's restaurant-quality and it will impress all your friends.  And even though it costs a few dollars more than Atlantic farm-raised salmon, the taste and quality is much better, so go ahead and splurge... it's still more affordable than going out to dinner!

Cedar Plank Salmon with Fresh Lemon Pepper
from Keeley's kitchen
serves 3-4

1 pound fresh, wild-caught Pacific salmon
1 lemon
1 teaspoon Kosher salt (more or less to taste)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
special equipment: one cedar plank, soaked according to package directions and a grill

Soak cedar plank according to package directions.  (I soak mine for at least an hour before cooking).  Preheat your grill.  (If using charcoal, set up an indirect-heat situation, if using propane, use medium heat.)

Zest the lemon.  Mix lemon zest with salt and pepper.  Rub seasoning mixture on salmon.

When the grill is ready, place the salmon on the cedar plank.  Place the plank on the grill and cover the grill.  Cook until fish flakes when poked with a fork (about 15 minutes).  Do not overcook.

Serve hot or at room temperature.  Squeeze lemon juice over salmon, if desired.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Barbecue Sauce, Pioneer Woman-Style

In honor of Labor Day Weekend here's something new to try on the grill!

By now I think you know I grew up in a barbecue-loving family and that love carried right into adulthood.  E and I fire up the grill year-round.  Sometimes we put barbecue sauce on our meats, sometimes we don't.  Depends on the mood, really.  We have a family recipe for sauce and it's a tomatoey, vinegary sauce, not a sweet smoky sauce.  I saw this post on The Pioneer Woman Cooks and I decided to give it a try.  She always makes everything look so good (and so easy!).

I'll leave the details to my BFF (in my head), Ree, a.k.a. The Pioneer Woman.  This sauce came together in minutes and we opted to grill our chicken rather than cook it in the oven.  After one bite of this chicken we were all licking our fingers.  It's sweet, spicy, and smoky all at the same time.  The recipe made more than enough sauce, so we stored the leftovers in the fridge and used them a few days later for Barbecue Chicken Pizza.

If you like barbecue sauce, you'll love this.  I made a few alterations to the original recipe to suit our tastes.  As long as you have a well-stocked pantry, you should be able to make this anytime.  It elevates on-sale chicken to a whole new level.

Have a safe and happy Labor Day weekend!  What are your plans?  I can tell you one thing... I'll be grilling!

Barbecue Sauce
adapted (slightly) from The Pioneer Woman
makes about 2 cups

1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
1/4 whole Onion, Diced
2 cloves Garlic, Minced
1 cup Ketchup
1/4 cup Packed Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Tablespoons Apple CiderVinegar
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/3 cup Molasses
4 Tablespoons Chopped Chipotles in Adobo Sauce

Heat canola oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook for five minutes, stirring.

Reduce heat to low. Add all remaining ingredients and stir. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Taste after simmering and adjust seasonings to suit your tastes.
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