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My Friend Hazel by The Pioneer Woman

I have a new friend named Hazel who came to the ranch recently. When she arrived at the Lodge, I got to show her the kitchen. Since she watches The Pioneer Woman on TV, she was familiar with the layout.

Then I took her on a top secret tour of the Lodge! Just kidding, it isn’t top secret. But we pretended like it was!

Hazel’s mom and dad were there, too. They live in Oklahoma, so it was fun for them to look out the windows and see the familiar scenery.

I took her all the way to the back of The Lodge, where we have a prep kitchen. Ladd and I built this on a few years ago when we realized that food trucks and food trailers were not exactly going to work over the long term here in the country. They’d get stuck in the mud, struck by lightning, and get flat tires. It was kind of a funny era in the history of my cooking show!

Hazel enjoyed going into each one of the bedrooms. We kinda just wanted to call it a day and have a slumber party…but we had some cooking to do!

Lunch was already set to go, but I needed Hazel’s help to bake a cake, which as we all know is the most important part of lunch.

I had the ingredients ready to go, but I just let her run with it. She was amazing!

Um…and cute!?! Goodness gracious, what a great girl.

We had a blast, and we also made mac and cheese together to go with our chicken tacos. A winning (albeit a little wacky) combination if you ask me!

I’m talking about the chicken tacos and mac and cheese…not me and Hazel. 🙂

Hazel with her finished cake! It was a cinch, but unfortunately now her dad is going to want Hazel’s chocolate cakes from now on.

After lunch Hazel wanted to find the rubber snake she knew had to be in one of the kitchen drawers (as she has seen on the show). We found it, alright! I actually scared myself with it (I always do), but it didn’t faze Hazel at all.

I had so much fun with Hazel! She’s a remarkable child who’s been through a lot, and she has a sweet heart and an inquisitive mind.

After her visit to the ranch, she took one last look…

Then headed to Pawhuska with her mom and dad. Great parents, really great people.

It’s always good to start at Charlie’s.

Starting with dessert is my favorite thing to do!

Then she visited the bakery at The Merc…

And got to play with some croissant dough with our baker, Yvonne.

I think we have a baker on our hands.

Then she made pizza at P-Town!

And when I say she made pizza…she really made pizza.

Look at that!

This is by far my favorite photo of the day. I can relate, Hazel! Haha.

Thank you to The Mack Impact (small but wonderful organization right here in Oklahoma) for connecting me with Hazel, and to Erin Coats for the photos that captured our fun time together. Thank you also to the staff at The Merc, Charlie’s, and P-Town for showing Hazel a great time!

And thank you, friends, for letting me share. If you happen to leave a comment, please direct it to Hazel herself–high five, thumbs up, prayer hands…the works! 🙂 She’s a seriously awesome young lady.


You Suck at Cooking: The Absurdly Practical Guide to Sucking Slightly Less at Making Food: A Cookbook

Do you crave food all the time? Do you think you might want to eat again in the future? Do you suck at cooking? Inspired by the wildly popular YouTube channel, these 60+ recipes will help you suck slightly less
You already know the creator of the YouTube show You Suck at Cooking by his well-manicured hands and mysterious voice, and now you’ll know him for this equally well-manicured and mysterious tome. It contains more than sixty recipes for beginner cooks and noobs alike, in addition to hundreds of paragraphs and sentences, as well as photos and drawings.

You’ll learn to cook with unintimidating ingredients in dishes like Broccoli Cheddar Quiche Cupcake Muffin-Type Things, Eddie’s Roasted Red Pepper Dip (while also learning all about Eddie’s sad, sad life), Jalapeño Chicken, and also other stuff. In addition, there are cooking tips that can be applied not only to the very recipes in this book, but also to recipes outside of this book, and to all other areas of your life (with mixed results).
In the end, you just might suck slightly less at cooking.*
*Results not guaranteed

Fanxis Garlic Press Stainless Steel – Professional Grade Kitchen Gadgets, Dishwasher safe, Rustproof,Daily Useful Cooking Tools

Material: Stainless Steel
Color: Silver black
Size: 10.7cm x 5.1cm x 6.9cm
Type: Garlic Press
Quantity: 1Pc
Occasion: Kitchen
Be made of good-quality material.
It is easy to clean under running water.
Before Using:
Clean with detergent.
Mop off water and keep it dry.
Do not clean with hardware brush in case of damage.
Do not put together with iron product in case of rust.
After Using:
Wash with detergent.
Remove the label.
Package Content: 1 x Garlic Press
Note: Due to the difference between different monitors, the picture may not reflect the actual color of the item.1cm=0.3937inch

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KitchenAid KFP1133CU 11-Cup Food Processor with ExactSlice System – Contour Silver

The KitchenAid 11-Cup Food Processor with the exclusive ExactSlice system, slices from thick to thin with one slide of the lever. The multiple optimized speeds and distinctly designed stainless steel blades help in prepping food. Slice, shred, knead, puree and chop food quickly and easily.

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All About Walnut Oil from La Tourangelle

La Tourangelle is a family-owned company that produces outstanding nut and seed oils, with heritage in the Loire Valley of France, an area known for nut oils. Their toasted sesame, roasted walnut, roasted peanut and roasted pistachio oils are all award winners. The company began in 2002 in Woodland, California and their nut oils are all expeller pressed and are GMO-free. Their walnut, almond, hazelnut, pecan and pistachio oil are made in house and their almonds and walnuts come from California. 
Earlier this year I got a chance to visit the La Tourangelle mill and also a farm that supplies some of their nuts. Bullseye Farms grows tomatoes, cucumbers, hay, and nuts sustainably on about 16,000 acres. They have 500 acres of walnuts and they use a black walnut rootstock which is resistant to diseases. The walnuts are a cross between different varieties and are self pollinators. You might be surprised to learn that ugly nuts make the best oil. It’s the variety of different nuts rather than uniformity that makes the oil taste better. 
The process La Tourangelle uses to make their oil is unique and combines two different styles—refined and unrefined to make an oil that is full-flavored and yet affordable. All their oils are made in small batches and they use only French presses for their limited edition oils. All the nut oils are handcrafted by the master roaster who relies on years of experience to know exactly how to roast the nuts for maximum flavor.

The scent in the mill is intoxicating! Luscious and buttery, roasted walnut oil is the essence of walnuts. Walnut oil has a very short shelf life. Unopened it will last about two years, but once opened it’s best to use it within six months. So don’t hoard it! Use it! If you don’t think you can use a whole tin of it, La Tourangelle now sells it in convenient single-serving pouches. While making a vinaigrette is probably the most common way to use roasted walnut oil, there are plenty of uses. Here are some of my favorite ways to use roasted walnut oil: 

+ Use on top of pancakes or waffles instead of butter
+ Add to pasta with Parmesan cheese and chopped toasted walnuts
+ Drizzle over grains such as farro, bulgar or freekeh, top with fresh herbs
+ Combine with toasted walnuts and use on top of brussels sprouts, green beans or asparagus
+ Use in place of olive oil in pesto 
+ Substitute it for butter or vegetable oil in granola recipes
+ Dip bread in it instead of olive oil or butter
+ Use in shortbread recipes 
+ Add a few drops to soup before serving
+ Use in a carrot walnut slaw salad with Dijon mustard
+ Drip on top of vanilla or chocolate ice cream
+ Add to popcorn instead of butter
Disclaimer: My thanks to La Tourangelle for hosting me, I was not compensated monetarily for this post. 

PB&J Banana Pancakes by Dara

As beloved as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are, it seems a shame to relegate that flavor combination to just lunchtime. With peanut butter mixed into the batter and a dollop of jam tucked into the center, these peanut butter and jam pancakes rocketed to the top of my family’s favorite breakfast recipes.

Truth be told, I wasn’t a big fan of PB&J sandwiches when I was a kid. Peanut butter and banana was more my speed. But there is something about the marriage of creamy peanut butter, jam and banana when mixed into fluffy, hearty pancakes that turned me into a PB&J devotee.

If you’re trying to save time on school mornings, make a large batch of these pancakes on the weekend and freeze the extra cooked pancakes. Allow the pancakes to cool, then separate them with sheets of wax or parchment paper. Transfer the stack to a resealable freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. To heat, place a few pancakes on a plate or paper towel and reheat for 10 to 20 seconds in the microwave. To reheat a bigger batch, place the pancakes on a baking sheet, tent with foil and heat them in a 350ºF oven for about 10 minutes.

On to the PB&J Banana Pancakes!


In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, ground cinnamon and salt. I like to use whole wheat pastry flour because it has an extra dose of fiber, but all-purpose flour works equally well. If using whole wheat flour, I highly recommend the pastry flour because it has a much lighter texture than regular whole wheat flour. Lighter flour means lighter, fluffier pancakes!


In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the egg. Add the bananas and mash them with the back of a fork. If you have overripe bananas, this is a great way to use them up. The ripe ones are sweeter, which means you can skip adding sugar or maple syrup to the batter.


Add the milk, peanut butter, canola oil and vanilla extract to the mixture and whisk well to combine.


Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture and stir until combined.


Heat a nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium heat, or heat a griddle to 375ºF. A griddle is a great option when cooking a large batch of pancakes, but I prefer the texture that the cast-iron skillet adds to the exterior of the pancakes.

Using a scant ¼ cup of batter for each pancake, scoop the batter into the skillet, working with a few pancakes at a time.

Dollop 1 teaspoon of jam into the center of each pancake. I used strawberry jam, but raspberry or blackberry are good options, too.


Cover the jam with additional batter, using the back of a spoon to seal in the jam.


When the pancakes start to set around the edges, flip and cook until the pancakes are cooked through all the way. Repeat with the remaining batter, keeping the cooked pancakes warm in the oven or serving as each batch is ready. My growing teenaged boys can never wait when the pancakes are fresh out of the pan, so we always eat them as soon as they’re ready.

Serve the pancakes with maple syrup and fresh fruit, if desired. A fresh fruit syrup, such as Sommer’s 2-Ingredient Blueberry Syrup, would also be a fantastic accompaniment for these pancakes.



Fresh Corn & Smoked Salmon Flatbread Recipe

I always crave pizza but I am trying to cut back on carbs, so when I saw little street taco sized whole wheat tortillas at the store, I was inspired to revisit a recipe I created a few years back for Whole Wheat Mini Pizzas. This time I went in a slightly different direction, making flatbreads that are not very pizza like at all—no grated cheese, no tomatoes, no sauce, no meat. 
Right now it’s corn season and the combination of corn, smoked salmon, a little crunchy cucumber and goat cheese is a real winner. What takes this recipe from good to even better, is the addition of a bit of Chili Onion Crunch. Chili crisp has been a condiment I’ve been seeing all over the internet and I finally bought a jar from Trader Joe’s. It was so good I decided to do a little taste test and compare it to the more well known Lao Ganma brand. 
A comparison—
Lao Ganma Spicy Chili Crisp, 7.4 ounces, $2.19. available online or in Asian markets 
Ingredients: soybean oil, chili, onion, fermented soybeans, MSG, salt, sugar, prickly ash powder, sulfur dioxide and sodium sulfite
– Very oily and very crunchy, more salty than sweet, not much heat at all
Trader Joe’s Chili Onion Crunch, 6 ounces, $3.99 availabe at Trader Joe’s stores 
Ingredients: olive oil, dried onion, dried garlic, dried red bell pepper, crushed chili pepper, toasted dried onion, sea salt, natural flavors, paprika oleoresin (color) 
– Fine texture, more crisp than crunchy, not very oily, balanced sweet and salt, heat on the back end
Both are delicious, but I prefer the vegetal sweetness, texture and heat of the Trader Joe’s Chili Onion Crunch. I also appreciate that it doesn’t have any artificial ingredients. Also, doesn’t garlic make everything better? 
Fresh Corn & Smoked Salmon Flatbread
Serves 4 
4 small whole wheat tortillas
1/4 cup soft goat cheese
2 teaspoons water
1 small Persian cucumber, thinly sliced
1 ear corn on the cob
4 slices smoked salmon, torn into bite sized pieces
2 teaspoons or to taste, chili oil, crisp or crunch 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Strip the corn off the cob and place 2-3 tablespoons of the corn on a piece of foil. Prick the tortillas with a fork to minimize puffing. Place the tortillas on a non stick pan along wit the corn on the foil, and bake for 5 minutes, flip the tortillas at about the halfway point. You want the tortilla to be crisp and browned, but not burnt. 
In a small bowl mix the goat cheese with the water in order to make a spreadable texture. 
Spread each tortilla with a tablespoon of goat cheese, top with the salmon and cucumber slices and scatter about 2 teaspoons of the corn. Drizzle the flatbread with the chile oil. 

Sous Vide 101 by Natalie

What is sous vide? Well, it’s a method of cooking that used to be exclusive to fancy restaurants, but is now becoming accessible to home cooks. Great news!

But what is sous vide exactly? Basically, you put your food in a vacuum-sealed bag and cook it gently in a temperature-controlled water bath using an immersion circulator (more on that in a minute). In French, it literally means “under vacuum”.

It sounds like a headache. Why would I want to do this? Wouldn’t it be similar to poaching? Ew.

Not exactly. What happens is that the food retains all of its juices—and cooks in those juices. You don’t lose any flavor to the cooking water because it’s contained in a bag, and because it cooks at a lower temperature (the temperature you want your food to reach, which is always less than boiling) there’s zero risk of overcooking your food.

Ultimately, you end up with the best steaks, chicken breasts, and pork chops of your life with little to no effort. No baby sitting pans on the stove. No checking and rechecking with instant-read thermometers. And you can hold your food at perfect doneness for 1–2 hours until YOU are ready to eat.

Plus, it’s easy. I promise.

Let me show you.


First you need a special little gadget called an immersion circulator. This heats your water and keeps it at whatever temperature you want. Trying to maintain a constant temperature on the stove would be a headache, right?

There are several brands of sous vide circulators out there. I have a Joule, which is also Bluetooth enabled and connects to an app on your smart phone. (Get ready to geek out, friends.) You can find circulators on Amazon, and I’ve even seen some pop up at Target and other stores that sell small appliances.


Once you have a circulator, you just need a big pot, something to (mostly) cover the pot, a plastic bag, and, of course, food to put in the bag. I seasoned a couple of chicken breasts with salt and pepper and added a couple tablespoons of basil pesto. (You can find the full recipe and instructions below!)

I find that the insert pot from my Instant Pot works well for this. You could also use a pot you’d make soup in. Or even a large sturdy plastic container. It doesn’t even have to be a pot.

As far as plastic bags go, there are reusable ones that are made for vacuum sealing you can also use for sous vide. Or you can use a zip top disposable bag, preferably the freezer bags because those are more durable.

If you’re concerned about BPA seeping into your food, Ziploc brand bags do not contain BPA. And the water you cook the food in will never reach a boiling point. The temperature of the water is always the same as the goal temperature for the food. So if you want to cook your chicken breasts until the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees, then the water will be set to 150 degrees and stay that way.


You’ll need to put your pot on a relatively heat-safe surface. Or put a trivet under it if you’re worried about your countertops getting too warm. (Like I said, the water will never boil, but that pot does get rather warm during cooking.)

Fill the pot with enough water to submerge whatever food you’re about to cook. And put the immersion circulator in the pot, too. Mine has a magnetic bottom and a clip on the back to keep it secured in place.


Another thing you’ll need is something to cover the pot. I bought this silicone pot cover (specifically for sous vide cooking), but you can also use a small, inverted sheet pan and cover the whole thing with a towel. (I did that up until recently. It works just fine!)

Covering the pot keeps the water warmer and allows the circulator to maintain the temperature of the water more easily.


Are you ready to geek out with me? My immersion circulator (Joule brand) has an app. There are recipes and cooking times built in, so all you need to do is select what you’d like to make, the preferred doneness of the meat, and it does all of the pot watching for you.

For this recipe, I selected a basic chicken breast recipe and told the app whether it was fresh or frozen and how thick the meat was. Then a cooking time popped up. Amazing, right?


You click start and the immersion circulator turns on by itself and begins to heat the water! I seriously felt like I was Rosie from the Jetsons with all of her spacey gadgets.


The app tells you the temperature of the water and when it’s preheated. It’s ready for the chicken!


Carefully lower the bag into the hot water (I use a pair of tongs), letting as much air from the bag escape as you can to create a vacuum. I clip the bag to the side of the pot to keep it from floating around.

If you have really lightweight food, like fish, you can add a sealed can of food (like a can of diced tomatoes) to keep it submerged.


Then you put the lid on and walk away until the app tells you your food is finished cooking. Not only that, it’ll even hold it at a perfect temperature for you for 1–2 hours, depending on what you’re cooking. Pretty amazing, right?

Once I put some chicken breasts in and then took my daughter to her karate class. During class, the app told me that the chicken was finished and I told it to keep it warm for me. I could have turned it off, too. From a couple of miles away with my phone. My mind just keeps blowing up over that one. Technology is so amazing.


When you take it out, though, it usually isn’t super pretty. That’s why a quick sear in a hot pan finishes it off nicely and adds some color. We’re talking about a 2- or 3-minute sear. You could throw it on a grill, too, and finish it off that way. Be careful, though—you don’t want to overcook it and undo all of the magic that just occurred during the sous vide cooking.


This chicken, guys. I’m not sure I’ve ever made more juicy or flavorful chicken in my kitchen than this. It’s so soft. And tender. And perfectly seasoned.

I sliced it up (after letting it rest for a few minutes) and drizzled more pesto on it. We ate this with some roasted vegetables and a salad. It would be fabulous over pasta or with a side of garlicky rice, too.


We’ve been having so much fun playing with our sous vide circulator! Do any of you own one? I’d love to hear what you’re making with it!


Organic Bamboo Cooking & Serving Utensil Set By Neet – 6 Piece Set | Spoon & Spatula Mix | Utensil Holder Organizer | Non Stick Wooden Kitchen Gadgets | Great Gift For Chefs & Foodies

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Cherry Cranberry Chutney Recipe

It’s #canbassador time again. That means I get a big box of cherries from the Northwest Cherry Growers and head into the kitchen to do some canning. Last year I finally bit the bullet and purchased a canner. It’s not terribly expensive and stacks inside one of my stockpots. I generally can small batches and this time around I decided to make chutney with the help of my pal Alison. She shared the ingredients she would use and I tweaked the proportions.

The first rule of cooking with fruit is you need to taste it. How sweet is it? How juicy is it? That should guide your recipe. Adapt the recipe based on your preferences and the quality of your fruit. My cherries turned out to be very juicy so I added some dried fruit towards the end of the cooking to thicken the mixture. While this chutney has a great sweet and sour flavor, someone in my household actually used it in place of jam on toast. So far I’ve used it on grilled cheese sandwiches and on lamb chops. How you use it is entirely up to you! 

Cherry season is short, but there are so many great ways to preserve the fruit. In past years I’ve made cherry barbecue sauce and cherry vanilla balsamic shrub. When Winter comes, I’ll be making cocktails with bourbon cherries and eating turkey with cherry cranberry chutney…

Cherry Cranberry Chutney

Makes about 5 1/2 pint jars
9 cups pitted cherries
3 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cups brown sugar
2 onion chopped
Zest of two oranges
3 Tablespoons minced ginger
2 heaped teaspoons allspice
1 heaped teaspoon Garam Masala
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Fill a canner with water and bring to a boil. Place the jars in the canner and boil for 10 minutes. 
Roughly chop the cherries and in a large stockpot combine them with the vinegar, sugar, onion, orange zest, ginger, allspice, garam masala and salt. Bring to a boil then simmer, stirring occasionally until the fruit is cooked and soft about 30-40 minutes. Add the cranberries and cook for another 15 minutes. Chutney will thicken further after being processed. 
Lift the jars out of the canner, pouring the hot water back into the canner. Ladle the chutney into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. After filling the jar, release the air bubbles by inserting a narrow silicone spatula or similar tool between the chutney and the inner surface of the jar. Place the rims on top of each jar and loosely seal with the bands. Carefully place the jars back in the canner and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from the canner and let rest overnight, you may hear the lids pop. Store for up to one year. 

Disclaimer: My thanks to Northwest Cherry Growers for providing me with fruit. I was not compensated monetarily for this or any other post.