Recipe Review: Teriyaki Salmon and No-Bake Cookie Dough Bites

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

You may recall that one of my New Year's Resolutions was to cook one new recipe each week. Pinterest has been one of my favorite resources for new recipes over the past year, with some turning out better than others.  Last night I decided to try not one, but two new items, and thought it would be fun to provide a bit of a review on how the recipes/meals turned out!

Photo Credit: Damn Delicious
First up, Teriyaki Salmon with Sriracha Cream Sauce from Damn Delicious. I've had this one pinned in my Food Board for quite some time now and finally decided last night to give it a try.

This recipe was really easy to follow, especially with the step by step photo instructions listed on the website. I also had the majority of the ingredients already in my cabinet/fridge so only had to purchase a handful of items including the sweetened condensed milk, green onions, and cornstarch -- I couldn't believe I didn't have any on hand! Oh, and of course the salmon.

I made the marinade first and it smelled amazing while it was simmering! I will definitely keep this teriyaki recipe on hand for other dishes! I love that it was so simple too -- no more bottled teriyaki sauce for me!

After marinating the salmon for close to an hour, I finally started cooking dinner. We opted to go with brown rice for a healthier option, and to also add some zucchini for a veggie to make a more complete meal.  For the zucchini, I thinly sliced them and put them into a pan with some of the teriyaki marinade from the fish to give it a nice flavor and complement the meal. We had some large pieces of fish and it took exactly 20 mins at 400 degrees for them to cook, just like the recipe said, and they were cooked perfectly!

The Sriracha Cream sauce was also super easy to whip up, and added a really nice flavor pairing to the fish! Everything went together quite nicely.  You can see how our version turned out -- need to work on my drizzling skills and get some white plates for better photos!

Overall, we loved this dish and will definitely keep it on hand for the future.  I will also try some different versions of the teriyaki marinade as well -- maybe even thicken it up a bit more for grilling.

After dinner, we were in need of a dessert! One of the more popular food pins I've found recently are no-bake cookie dough bites.  It seems every blog has a version of them and I've been waiting for one that looked super easy and didn't require a ton of ingredients.  This version from Lauren Conrad's site finally sold me to give them a try.  For this recipe I had to buy most of the ingredients including the cashews, oats, agave syrup, and mini chocolate chips.  But, the good news is I now have these items on hand to make more batches next time!

Photo Credit: Lauren Conrad
This recipe said it would make one dozen dough bites, and from the photo it was hard to tell how large they actually would be.  You only use 1 cup of dry ingredients to make them though between the cashews and oats, which made me a bit skeptical that I would get a full dozen.  The recipe is ridiculously easy, although I did run into a bit of a problem when mixing the dough in my food processor.  I have a larger processor, which seemed a bit too big for the small amount.  I think it would work better if I doubled the recipe in the future.

Once the dough was ready, I started rolling the dough bites.  I ended up making 6 of them, all about 1" in diameter, so not very large at all. I wouldn't want to make them much smaller. Dave tasted one before I told him what it was made out of it. He liked it, but wasn't quite sure of the flavor.  I used raw unsalted, un-roasted cashews since it wasn't specified in the recipe.  Once I told him what was in it, he suggested that in the future we try it with the salted and/or roasted to add a bit of salt to complement the sweet with the agave and maple syrup.

You can see how our version turned out -- looks almost identical to the original! This is a recipe that will take a bit more fine tuning to really get the right flavor combination, but it definitely has potential, and I love that it's a bit of a "healthier" option to cookies!  These were perfect little sweet treats to enjoy after dinner while we continued our Big Love marathon.  Almost done with Season 2! Definitely a successful (and tasty) evening of new recipes!

The Search for Local/Fresh Food

Sunday, January 12, 2014

While we absolutely love living in the mountains and being somewhat remote from a big city, there are definitely things we miss about city life.  The biggest thing we miss by far is access to farmers markets year round with fresh, local food. When we lived in Oakland, our neighborhood had a weekly farmers market on Sundays. It was awesome to be able to walk down to the market and pick up lots of fresh fruits, veggies, and even locally produced honey, grass-fed organic meat, and fresh seafood.  We also signed up for Farm Fresh to You and received an incredible box of produce each month. Finally, when we weren't able to find everything we needed at the market, we had Whole Foods just a few blocks away.  While Whole Foods is definitely pricey, the quality and selection of organic food is pretty amazing.

One of our CSA deliveries from Farm Fresh to You
When we moved to Tahoe, we didn't really think about access to fresh food. While there are a few farmers markets in the summer, unfortunately they don't feature a great selection or even businesses that are truly local. This wouldn't be the end of the world if we had a better selection and quality available at a grocery store, but the closets Whole Foods is an hour away, and Trader Joes is 30mins away. So those are fine if I'm able to plan in advance -- which, less face it, can be a bit difficult. We also weren't able to continue our membership with Farm Fresh to You because they sadly don't deliver up to the lake.

So up until now, we've settled for our local Safeway. While I've complained about the poor quality and selection, I've continued to just suck it up and buy at Safeway because it's convenient and easy. That all changed the other night.  I sent Dave out to the store for a bell pepper and some tomatoes. The red bell peppers had literally just arrived in stock (they'd been out for most of the week), so I assumed they'd be at least fairly fresh. To my dismay and disgust, I cut into this bright red bell pepper only to find mold and a grub crawling inside! This was my wake up call to really start investing time and effort into searching for local, fresh food and taking more of a proactive approach to knowing where our food is coming from.

I've found a handful of resources to check out and will keep you posted on our search!

Slow Food Lake Tahoe

While this organization is primarily based in north lake, they have an excellent resource list for local farms, farmers markets, and local producers.  Will definitely be investing more time in looking through their resources.

Tahoe Food Hub

While the Tahoe Food Hub primarily is set up to help businesses such as restaurants, schools, hospitals, etc, I think they will definitely have some useful resources and links to check out.

How do you source your food? 

Recent Ramblings

Thursday, January 9, 2014

It's been a fairly quiet week here at the Schnolls.  We're anxiously awaiting some snow here in Tahoe. Unfortunately the last snow we received was the day we flew to Minneapolis which was at the very beginning of December. While the warm, 50 degree sunny weather every day has been nice, it's supposed to be the middle of winter with lots of white fluffy snow everywhere!  So since we can't spend all of our free time skiing fresh snow, I've found a few other items to keep me busy this week.

I finally put together our wedding photo album from Mexico - yay! Gotta love Mixbook!

Discovered the show Scandal on Netflix and now I'm obsessed. Officially binge watching the series!

Dave and I also were turned on to the series Big Love, definitely an odd show but we're liking it!

I've also been cooking some new and old favorite recipes this week too! Everything from Sesame Noodles, Tortellini with mushrooms/spinach/sundried tomatoes, etc, Red Curry with chicken, and Grilled Chicken with Quinoa. I'll share some of these delicious recipes soon! :)  And on that note, I'm still not sure what to cook for dinner tonight! Any suggestions?

A Relaxing Weekend and Homemade Gourmet Hot Pockets

Sunday, January 5, 2014

This weekend was a nice and relaxing way to kick off the new year. On Friday we headed out to dinner in Incline Village with Dave's mom, sister, and her boyfriend. One of our favorite restaurants, Bite is located in Incline and it's always a good time when we have an excuse to go there for dinner. It's an American tapas restaurant that is very innovative with fun twists on classic dishes. Some of my favorites include the Ahi Sliders, Moroccan Spiced Lamb Meatballs, Pan Seared Sea Scallops, and the Prawn Wontons... it's just all so tasty!

Not a bad view from Heavenly!
We also had some of our ski lease friends up this weekend, so on Saturday we had a fantastic day hanging with them. We hit the slopes at Heavenly for a few hours, and then had a delicious lunch of homemade gourmet hot pockets, jumped in the hot tub, napped, watched Rush, and cooked some amazing spicy burgers for dinner and enjoyed time with some awesome friends. Definitely a great weekend to kick off the new year.

Now on to these delicious hot pockets! These are so much better than the frozen kind you find at the store, and the best part is you can customize them to fit your taste buds! You can also make them as large or small as you want, which makes it great for satisfying your whole family. We've already made these 3 times in the past week!

Gourmet Hot Pockets (serves 2 adults)
You'll need:
- 1 package crescent rolls (each additional package makes 2 large hot pockets).
- Mesquite Turkey deli meat
- Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
- Pesto
- Sun-dried Tomatoes
- Garlic Salt
- Paprika
- Parmesan Cheese

You can change up any of the filling ingredients to fit your preferences. Dave likes to make his with hot habanero cheese, turkey, and mushrooms!

1) Preheat the oven to Bake at 375 degrees F.

2) Open up the package of crescent rolls. They come perforated to make 8 dinner rolls. You'll want to separate the sheet into quarters, consisting of 2 rolls. Using your fingers, gently smooth the perforation out and blend the dough together.

3) Add in the filling! Start with a thin layer of pesto, and make sure to leave room around all of the edges to seal it. Next, add your cheese, then turkey, and top with some sun-dried tomatoes!

4) Take another quarter that has the perforation smoothed out, and place over the top of the filling. Then starting folding the bottom dough up and over the top piece around all of the sides, using your fingers to help smooth out the dough. You want to avoid any holes and gaps so that the goodies don't leak out while baking.

5) Sprinkle a bit of paprika, garlic salt, and parmesan cheese on top.

6) Place on a non-stick cookie sheet, and bake for approx. 12 to 15mins. Keep an eye on it as it is baking. You want it to turn a nice golden brown.

7) Enjoy!

New Year's Resolutions

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Since it's a new year, it's time for some New Year's Resolutions!  This year I've decided to try and stick to the following items:

1) Stop watching reality TV. This will be a tough one.  I am a sucker for reality TV from the Real Housewives, to The Bachelor, even Dance Moms!  You name it and I'll pretty much watch it. It's my guilty pleasure. But, it's about time I gave it up since it's just mindless junk.

2) Cook 1 new recipe per week.  It can be easy to get in a bit of a slump and cook the same thing week after week. We cook dinner about 5-6 times per week, but usually rotate through the same handful of recipes. This resolution will also help improve my cooking skills!

Making a pumpkin pie from scratch at Thanksgiving!

3) Continue working out at least once per week. Last year I got into an excellent fitness routine and was working out a minimum of once a week, but closer to 3x per week. I even ran in my first 12k race! I want to make sure that routine continues through this year too.

12k at Burton Creek!
**Updated 1/3/14**
I forgot to add another very important resolution!

4) Spend less time on my phone. I want to spend less time sucked in to mindless browsing on my iPhone. I find myself spending way to much time each day reading, and re-reading the news and checking social networks every few minutes to see what's new. I want to make my time more purposeful. There are too many good things in life to continuously be sucked in to my phone.

What are some of your resolutions for 2014?

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