Thursday, March 28, 2013

Sharing of Recipes and Food Photos Online - What You Need to Know

I am sure many of you have been witness to some "debate" online recently - especially within Facebook recipe sharing pages - over copyright issues as they pertain to food writers, food photographers and bloggers. 

Terms like, "stolen content," "sharing," "intellectual content" and "theft" have been thrown around on many social media sites lately.  And, I would like to take a moment to share with you - from my personal experience in recent days - what the fuss is all about.  I've waited on writing this for a few days as I did not want to write out of bitterness and anger.  I hope that you understand that I am writing this from the heart and because there is a good deal of misinformation out there on the subject.  I am not a lawyer and do not claim to provide legal advice.  I encourage you to research the subject more should you desire to look into the legal aspect in more depth.

For those not familiar with what has been going on, there has been an enormous increase in people starting up Facebook pages for the sole purpose of sharing recipes and food photos.  I know that I am bombarded daily in my own personal news feed on Facebook with shared recipes posted by many of my well-meaning friends and family.  If this is happening to you within your news feed, you'll probably notice two types of shared posts:
  1. A beautiful food photo accompanied only by the name of the dish and a full recipe for you to follow should you choose to make the dish at home.
  2. A beautiful food photo accompanied by the source of the recipe and photo ... as well as a link to the source (original blog or website).
From a copyright standpoint, number one is illegal and is an infringement of what is called intellectual property.  There is no credit given to the source of the photo/recipe.  Furthermore, presenting photos/recipes this way can be misleading as it leads the reader to often assume that the recipe/photo belongs to the person who has posted it on their Facebook page.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Elevated Tuna Salad in Lettuce Wraps

In an attempt to trick my mind into believing that spring here in Michigan means warmth and sunshine, I took to the kitchen yesterday to make something that would possibly (pretty please with a cherry on top) put me in a spring-like, not-so-dreadfully-chilly mindset.  Never mind that it was actually only like, thirty-some degrees here.  And, disregard that there wasn't an ounce of sunshine in the overcast sky here in my little corner of the world.  I was feelin' spring-y, darn it!

And, while I love, love, love warm, comforting soups and casseroles, I am more than ready for summer fare.  My body (and taste buds) are craving lighter, fresher menu options.  Kabobs on the grill.  Slices of juicy, red watermelon.  Sweet tea with hoards of ice and lots of lemon slices.  Fresh, crisp salads piled high with homegrown veggies from my mother-in-law's garden.  Refrigerator pickles.  And, tuna salad lettuce wraps.

I often make "elevated" tuna salad in the summer, but detour around the bread and instead, use lettuce.  Sometimes I simply top a bed of lettuce or spinach with this tuna salad - and eat it with a fork.  Other times (as was the case yesterday), I use lettuce as the vehicle to get this tasty tuna concoction into my mouth.  I adore the crispness that comes along with using lettuce.

Please know that this is not a mayo-based tuna salad.  I simply dress this with olive oil and freshly-squeezed lemon juice.  This is a light, refreshing version of your childhood tuna salad.  (If you feel like you need to have that creaminess that comes along with using mayo, you could certainly add a little bit in to the mixture.  A dollop of Greek yogurt would work well, too.)

Preparing and devouring this probably would have done the trick of bringing springtime to my world yesterday had it not been for the fact that I had to eat it curled up next to the fire, covered with a blanket and looking out at flurries of snowflakes.  It was worth the try, however, and yielded a delicious outcome that became my lunch. (Can't win 'em all.)

Yields 2 servings.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Fish en Papillote (Fish in Parchment Paper)

I used to make this many moons ago.  And by many moons I mean like, up until seven or eight years ago.  Why I ever stopped is beyond me.  I think I'd kind of forgotten about preparing fish this way.  We love fish in our house.  I am one blessed momma to have three kids who love, love, love fish (and lots of other seafood, too).

I looked up Fish en Papillote online just to remind myself of the cooking time and I came across a beautiful version on the blog The Novice Chef.  I appreciate that she presents the recipe as a single serving.  I have chosen to do the same to allow for you to adjust the ingredients to your own needs.  Need three servings?  Just triple the ingredients. 

And, like The Novice Chef, I've chosen to offer the step-by-step photos in collage form ... just to show you how simple this method is and to easily show the progression of the preparation all in one picture.

Think you can't make something as "fancy" looking as this?  (Pah-leeze!)  Don't be scared.  If you can cut a heart out of parchment paper, layer up a few simple ingredients and turn on your oven, then you're all set.

Pick a type of fish.  Decide on a veggie (or two or three).  Layer on some lemons (or even oranges).  And, throw on your choice of herbs and seasoning.  Serve this with some brown rice or couscous on the side ... and you've got a pretty healthy dinner in no time.

And, your family or dinner guests will think you're a genius!  Bon app├ętit.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Lasagna "Cupcakes"

Lasagna "cupcakes" are super popular in the JD household. And, I love making them because I can get a pan of these into the oven from start to finish with only like, fifteen minutes of prep time. That's quite a difference in time compared to making full blown traditional lasagna. But, the flavor and texture is still all there. Winner!

Making lasagna in cupcake form solves the issue of everyone fighting over those coveted corner pieces of a traditional pan-baked lasagna.  Everyone gets crispy edges here, folks.  (The edges will crisp while the bottom part softens and takes on the texture of regular cooked lasagna noodles.)  And, another "plus" - these are just so darn cute.  These allow me to get my kids busy in the kitchen ... the layering is just so much fun! Also, using square wonton wrappers means no boiling noodles and is a total timesaver.
NOTE: Ground beef or Italian sausage could easily be added into one of the layers or combined with the sauce if you'd like a meaty version. Also, fresh spinach is a great add-in to one of the layers.
Yields 12 "cupcakes."

Friday, March 15, 2013

Recent Giveaway Winner Chosen

Quick post today to announce the winner of our first-ever giveaway.  The winner is Sleepy Headed Mom.  She will receive 2 Starbucks gift sets and a $50 Amazon gift card.  Congratulations, SHM!

We'll be hosting more giveaways in the future, so check back for more chances to win some other great prizes!

Thank you to all who enetered!


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Olive Oil Fried Pizza Dough - Spinach and Pesto Style

My absolute favorite pizza can be found at Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix, Arizona.  Their Rosa pizza - topped with red onion, Parmesan cheese, rosemary and locally-grown pistachios - is to die for.  (I know - it sounds crazy, but it is one amazing pizza.)  Pizzeria Bianco is so popular that the wait for a table can be up to four hours!  Yes, you read correctly - four hours.  Our son attended college in Phoenix, so we traveled there from our home in Michigan to visit him in 2011.  Having seen Pizzeria Bianco featured on a food and travel t.v. show, I knew I wanted to visit.  We had been fore-warned about the wait time and true to the rumors, we waited three and a half hours for a table.  Being a total foodie, the wait was worth it to me.  (To my kids - not so much.)  And, if I ever visit Phoenix again, I will be willing to wait it out once more ... next time, however, I'm sure it'll be alone while the hubby and kids stay back at the hotel.
Is there a pizza place you've visited at which you'd be willing to wait that long for a slice?  (Everyone I've talked to about my trip to Pizzeria Bianco thinks that I'm nuts to be okay with that long of a wait!)  But, here's a cool thing about PB ... they have a bar on their property in another little building so people can grab some drinks and hang out with friends at outside tables while you wait for your inside table .  (Music is piped over outdoor speakers and people even play cards while they wait.)  So, it can make for a fun evening with friends or family ... it's as much about the experience of the wait as it is the pizza.

When I make pizza at home, I like to do so on the outdoor grill.  But, during the colder months, I follow the method used in this recipe.  I buy pizza dough in the frozen section of my grocery store (some pizza joints will sell ya some dough) and I pan-"fry" the dough in a little olive oil on a cast iron skillet or griddle pan.  Once the first side is bubbly and fried, I flip it over and add the toppings.  Then, into the oven it goes to finish.

The result is a blistery, crisp exterior while the interior of the dough is chewy and pillowy.  And, it's pretty quick to throw together from start to finish.  I thaw my dough overnight in the fridge and allow it to rest on the counter for about an hour before using.  Just a few minutes on the stove top and a few minutes in the oven is all it takes after that!

I used a combination of basil pesto, baby spinach, tomatoes and mozzarella cheese today.  You can use any type of sauce or topping(s) you prefer.  Our favorite is simply tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and torn basil.

Yields 2 pizzas {Each pizza serves 2 - 3 people}

Friday, March 08, 2013

Fiesta Taco Wonton Cups

I have become mildly obsessed with wonton wrappers in recent months.  One of my favorite ways to use them is in my Buffalo Chicken Wonton Cups. This taco version is another of my favorites! Bite-size food totally appeals to me ... and the bonus is that my kids think these are super cute (and fun to eat).

These little Fiesta Taco Wonton Cups are a great way to use up leftover taco meat.  I have made them with refried beans placed in the bottom of the cups (in addition to the taco meat) or with black beans and corn added into the taco meat.  They are a fabulous way to stretch your grocery budget since you only use a half of a pound of ground beef and minimal toppings.  And, wonton wrappers are very inexpensive.  Plus, this recipe comes together in like, thirty minutes, so you don't need a lot of time to throw these beauties together.  I usually pair these with a side of my Mexican rice.

These make perfect party or game day appetizers, too. Shredded beef or pork would be a great substitute for the ground beef.  You can find my Slow Cooker Mexican Shredded Pork recipe HERE.  Also, you can use ground turkey for a more-healthful version.

Yields 12 taco cups.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Shredded Pork Taquitos

I am a stay-at-home mom.  But since the last of our five children started kindergarten this past fall, I joke that between the hours of eight and three while they are at school, I am simply a mom who stays home.  It took some time getting used to the empty house and it just being me during the weekdays.  I've been home with, at least, one child for lots and lots of years.  But, I've come to relish those hours now since it allows me to get a lot of housework done, to work freely on the blog, to catch a nap if desired and it allows my brain some peace - all without any interruptions.  (Is that too selfish sounding?)
My hectic times seem to be more in the afternoon due to activities and such that my kids participate in.  Throughout the year, they are involved in band, community theater, sports, quiz bowl, student council and art club - oh my!  Then, of course, there are all those doctor appointments - yesterday we hit the eye doctor and the dentist all in one afternoon.  Today we had art club after school ... followed by two student-led parent/teacher conferences.
So, I'm a mom who utilizes my slow cooker a ton! I get the kids on the bus a little after seven each morning, then I can focus on getting something going in the slow cooker once they take off for the day.  It's a must-have kitchen appliance for me ... since I know that I am not home several days a week during the afternoon to slip away to the kitchen to cook. 

I made a large batch of my Slow Cooker Mexican Shredded Pork with these taquitos in mind.  The recipe for the shredded pork makes a big batch, so I'm, also, able to portion the meat out and freeze some for a quick weeknight dinner option on another night.

I've made taquitos before, but decided to combine my method with a recently-published recipe for taquitos from a fellow blogger, Riches to Rags by Dori.  These were a winner in our house.

Yields 10 taquitos.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Slow Cooker Mexican Shredded Pork

I'm sharing this basic recipe for Slow Cooker Mexican Shredded Pork with you today as a starting point for another recipe that I'll be sharing soon - one that utilizes the pork in a super yummy way. This pork, however, can be used for any type of tacos, taquitos, enchiladas or burritos. It's kind of a basic recipe that I often use in addition to my Green Chili and Lime Pulled Pork for tacos and such. 

Since this makes way more shredded pork than I use for one dinner or dish, I often freeze some of it after it is done in the slow cooker for later use.  I freeze mine in disposable aluminum containers.  When I want to use it, I thaw it out in the fridge overnight and place the whole disposable container right into my slow cooker to heat the pork back up.  (You can reheat it in a pan on the stove top, as well.)