October 21, 2014

Can you handle the heat? I’d like to think that I can…on most occasions at least! I have always seemed to have a fondness for spicy food, which led me to create today’s Thai Chili Pepper Sauce.

Thai Chili Pepper Sauce

Remember last week when I posed a question about Thai chiles? I had a bag of them from my local market that I was contemplating what to do with. After I threw a few diced Thai chiles into some stir fry and about burned Justin’s tastebuds off, I decided that I should maybe just keep the chiles to myself and create a condiment instead. Something I can use for my own purposes without scorching my poor husband’s mouth with capsaicin.

I’ve always wondered how hard it would be to make my own sriracha sauce. Me and the rooster bottle are seriously good friends. I put it in my ketchup, on my eggs, in stir fry, drizzled in soup. You name it…I like to add sriracha into it. I had a feeling that if I created my own spicy sauce it would taste even better than the prepackaged variety.

Thai Chili Pepper Sauce

Now, the initial idea was to create a sriracha-like sauce. However, after adding some ingredients into my food processor, it was clear that I wasn’t going to make a replica. Instead, I decided to embrace the experiment and added a few things here and there until I ended up with a sauce that is spicy, sweet, and will definitely satisfy the spice lover. To me, it was a success. I was able to create a dish with another ingredient I hadn’t previously used in my kitchen, and I just might have to create some more spicy condiments by scratch in the future!

Have you ever made your own hot sauce?

Thai Chili Pepper Sauce

Thai Chili Pepper Sauce

Ingredients

  • 35 Thai chiles (about 1 inch long each)
  • 2 roasted red peppers
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce or 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup water

Instructions

  1. First, cut the stems off of the Thai chiles and then slice the peppers in half. Add them to a food processor and blend.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, then blend on high until completely incorporated and no large chunks are remaining.
  3. Scoop the puree into a small pot and simmer on the stove over medium heat until thickened, about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Pour into a bottle or jar and store in the refrigerator. Enjoy the heat!
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October 14, 2014

Remember when I said I was going to start incorporating new to me ingredients (or ingredients I’ve tried but never used in my kitchen)? This week, the experiment moved to Thai chilis (also known as bird’s eye chilis).

Are you a fan of spicy food? For me, bring on the heat! I am always up for trying out a new pepper, sauce, or the like. My local market had these bags filled with Thai chilis for 99 cents each, so I figured I’d take the plunge and pick some up and experiment.

Thai Chilis

First use: my stir fry. These Thai chilis are about one inch in length – so they are not large in size But even though they are small in stature, they pack a huge punch. I kind of learned this out the hard way. I sliced up only 4 of these bad boys and threw them into my stir fry…and inadvertently made the dish so spicy my husband was sweating. Who would think that 4 little chili peppers would induce so much heat? I felt bad as I watched Justin struggle through our dinner…sweat beading on his forehead. Oooooops.

So….maybe I’ll be leaving the chilis out of communal dishes. Instead – perhaps these chilis are destined for another purpose. A sauce, perhaps? I can tell you right now…they have been combined with a few ingredients, processed, and cooked down to a homemade super spicy sauce that I can’t wait to try as part of a meal in the future. The recipe is forthcoming, but I’m curious to know –

What would you create with a bag of Thai chilis????

October 12, 2014

It’s time to break out the slow cooker! Fall and winter seem to be the ultimate slow cooker seasons, so I’m going to do my best to take advantage. So today, I present to you a three bean, butternut, and quinoa vegetarian chili! It was the perfect recipe to whip up in honor of Sunday Supper’s weekly theme: slow cooker recipes!

Three Bean, Butternut, and Quinoa Vegetarian Chili

As I was creating this chili in my kitchen, it dawned on me that I am seriously underutilizing my slow cooker. I very very rarely break it out, and I am not sure why. It’s a magical kitchen gadget! I have to admit I love that I can pop in ingredients, turn the dial, and walk away for a few hours until my meal is complete. Um. Can someone please figure out why I haven’t used mine in so long? I am baffled.

Three Bean, Butternut, and Quinoa Vegetarian Chili

After creating this vegetarian chili, I have a feeling many more batches of slow cooker creations are on the horizon for our household. This was my first venture into the world of vegetarian chili, and I think it was a great success. The combination of three different beans, the sweetness of butternut squash, and the texture of the quinoa added into the mix made it all a very hearty and flavorful dish. And one that yielded a huge amount of leftovers for us – two more dinners’ worth!

Three Bean, Butternut, and Quinoa Vegetarian Chili

Although this chili is great on its own, when it is topped with shredded cheese, or….my personal suggestion: guacamole, it makes it even better. I love the contrast of the cool and creamy guacamole against the spice in the chili. So yummy. And I honestly use any excuse to whip up a batch of guacamole that I can get.

I’m curious though: how do you like your chili? Loaded with meat? All bean? A mixture of both? What are your favorite toppings? It is cool to see how diverse the world of chili can be….

Three Bean, Butternut, and Quinoa Vegetarian Chili

Three Bean, Butternut, and Quinoa Vegetarian Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup red onion, diced (about 1/2 of a medium onion)
  • 2 green bell peppers, diced
  • 1 cup butternut squash, cubed (I used frozen)
  • 1 cup corn kernels (I used frozen)
  • 1 15.25 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15.5 ounce can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 16 ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, diced (or 1 14.5 ounce can)
  • 1 16 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Cilantro, for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add the garlic, red onion, and bell pepper. Saute for about 5-7 minutes, until onions turn translucent and are fragrant.
  2. Add the onion/pepper mixture to a large slow cooker. Add the butternut squash, corn, beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, vegetable broth, quinoa, chili powder, cumin, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Stir ingredients together, cover, and cook on high for 3-4 hours, or on low for 6-8. Stir before serving. Top with fresh cilantro leaves for garnish, as well as with some shredded cheese or guacamole - enjoy!
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Make sure you check out all of the awesome recipes to make in your slow cooker…created by the Sunday Supper family!

Satiating Soups

Scrumptious Mains (Breakfast and Dinner)

Satisfying Sides

Scintillating Sweets

Savory Baking

Sips and Spreads

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October 10, 2014

I’m nowhere near done with my Halloween decor this year, and that’s the truth. It’s funny: for as much as I love Halloween, you’d think I would have so many more decorations than I currently do. Honestly, in previous years I really had to keep things at a minimum. Apartment living really doesn’t allow for much in the way of storage, and so I’d find myself only picking out a few small items to display. However, last year when we moved into our house I started to pick up some more odds and ends, and even make some myself! Including this DIY Halloween Poison Bottle I have today!

DIY Halloween Poison Bottle

First, I have to make a confession. I planned on making poison/potion bottles like these….last year. I knew I would require empty wine bottles for the project, so I began saving a few outside in our garage to have on hand. A couple of bottles turned into a group of bottles…which then grew to an entire shelf of empty wine bottles. Somehow I just kept collecting the bottles and never made any projects with them. Until now. I have promised myself I’m going to create a bunch of different holiday decorations using wine bottles. That, or I need to fill our recycling bin. Haha!

DIY Halloween Poison Bottle

The process for creating this bottle was pretty simple and only required a few materials.

What you’ll need:

Empty wine bottle (clear)
Mod Podge
Sponge brush
Crackle paint
Spooky bottle label

DIY Halloween Poison Bottle

To start: a wine bottle! I selected a clear wine bottle for this project because I wanted to be able to see through when the crackle paint was applied. I removed the label from the bottle by soaking it in a dish of hot water for about 15 minutes. It peeled right off and didn’t leave any sticky residue – score!

DIY Halloween Poison Bottle

After drying the bottle, I mixed a small amount of Mod Podge with roughly an equal amount of water. I used a sponge brush to paint the entire bottle with the mixture. I allowed it to dry before moving on to the next step.

DIY Halloween Poison Bottle

DIY Halloween Poison Bottle

I got my hands on this particular type of black crackle paint from the craft store. It came with an applicator brush attached to the lid, so I used that to paint a thick layer over the top of the Mod Podge layer.

DIY Halloween Poison Bottle

DIY Halloween Poison Bottle

It didn’t look like much at first, but as it dried, the cracks began to form! I let the bottle sit overnight to allow the paint to fully dry.

DIY Halloween Poison Bottle

To finish my creation, I had to adhere a label. I actually picked up a pack of Halloween bottle labels when I spotted them at T.J. Maxx last year. They are backed with adhesive, so I was able to stick the label to my bottle. However, the label was on the thick side and it wasn’t staying stuck down around the edges. No problem – I painted around and underneath the edges with Mod Podge and smoothed those edges down. Perfecto! If you don’t happen to have a pack of these labels hanging around, don’t fret. You could very simply find or make a printable on regular printer paper, cut it to the desired label shape, and use Mod Podge to adhere it to your bottle.

DIY Halloween Poison Bottle

Once the bottle has dried completely, it’s time to place it on display! I couldn’t resist propping mine up next to one of my newest fall decor finds. I found these beautiful glass pumpkins at Home Goods for $12 a piece. I picked up two white ones and one gold. They are currently serving as a pretty centerpiece on my dining room table, and I love that they will make the transition from Halloween decor to Thanksgiving due to their neutral coloring.

Of course, now that one bottle is complete, I am having visions of filling my side board with a few more. Perhaps I will break out the paint again over the weekend!

Are you creating DIY decor for Halloween?