Spinach Colcannon & the Kerrygold Holiday Contest

Back when I worked at Trader Joe’s, I was introduced to Kerrygold Butter.  At first, I didn’t understand why or how one butter could be different from another… but then I tasted it.  Wow.  Kerrygold uses milk from grass-fed cows to produce extra creamy, sweet, and rich butter.  You can absolutely taste the difference.  One of my co-workers from Trader Joe’s, Will, is obsessed with Kerrygold.  When I started my blogger partnership with them, I immediately thought of my friend Will and his love for this special butter.

Will- this recipe is for you!

This version of mashed potatoes isn’t just your normal Thanksgiving style smashed Yukons with some milk and butter.  This recipe was inspired by the Kerrygold butter itself- it is my version of the classic Irish dish Colcannon.  Typically, Colcannon is a mashed potato dish made with cabbage and loads of butter.  In this recipe, I used crumbled bacon, scallions, and in place of cabbage I used tons of fresh baby spinach.

Spinach Colcannon made with Kerrygold Butter

Ingredients:

3lbs Russet Potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks

2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt

8 Tablespoons Unsalted Kerrygold Butter, plus more for serving

3 slices Bacon, cooked and chopped or crumbled

1 6-oz bag of baby Spinach

3 Green Onions, chopped

1 cup Skim Milk

Sea Salt, Fresh Ground Black Pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder to taste

Directions:

1.  Put the chopped potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water.  Add 2 tablespoons of salt and bring to a boil.  Boil the potatoes for about 15-20 minutes or until they’re fork tender.  Drain.  Put the potatoes back in the pot.

2.  In a glass measuring cup, heat the milk in the microwave about 30 seconds at a time until warm.  Meanwhile, start to smash the hot potatoes with a fork or a potato masher.  Add the butter, a tablespoon or two at a time, mashing into the potatoes.  Now, pour about half of the milk into the potatoes and stir.  Add the chopped bacon, spinach, and green onions.  Stir.

3.  Add more milk if the potatoes are too thick.  It’s all about how you like them to taste!  Add sea salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder starting with 1/2 teaspoon of each.  Add a sprinkle more until you like the way it tastes.  Serve hot with a pat of butter on top.  Enjoy!

Click here to check out Kerrygold Butter and Cheeses!

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And for your holiday season enjoyment… check out this ah-may-zing song about… you guessed it!!  Colcannon!  Hilarious.

Dark Chocolate Cherry-Berry Oatmeal Cookies

This Holiday Season, I participated in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap!  The Cookie Swap is a seriously delicious Food Blogger’s version of Pen Pals.  I cooked up 3 dozen cookies, sent them out to 3 different food bloggers, and 3 other food bloggers sent me cookies!!

As if getting 3-dozen cookies isn’t reason enough to participate, the Cookie Swap raises money for the charity “Cookies for Kids’ Cancer” which OXO (the company that makes my absolute favorite coffee to-go mug ever btw) will match up to $100,000!  I loved hearing this so I was signed up right away!

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The cookies I baked up were based on this yummy Heart-Healthy recipe from Cooking Light.  The funny thing about baking these cookies were that I totally forgot I had to make THREE dozen for the swap, not TWO.  I baked JUST over 3 dozen, so instead of having a leftover 15-ish cookies… I only had 4!  I guess it was for the best though, because these cookies are really really good… I would have eaten too many 🙂

Dark Chocolate Cherry-Berry Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1/3 cup) 
  • 1.5 ounces whole-wheat flour (about 1/3 cup) 
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter 
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar 
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten 
  • 1/2 bag dark chocolate chips
  • cooking spray 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Spoon flours into dry measuring cups and level. Combine flours and next 3 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl; stir with a whisk.
  3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat; add brown sugar, stirring until smooth. It will completely combine well with only a small layer of melted butter ontop.  
  4. Add sugar mixture to flour mixture; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended.  Add cherries and cranberries, vanilla, and egg; beat until combined.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips. Drop dough by Tablespoonfulls onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment or silpat.
  6. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes. Cool on pans 3 minutes or until almost firm. Remove cookies from pans; cool on wire racks.
Whisk your dry ingredients to mix the flours and the oats together

Whisk your dry ingredients to mix the flours and the oats together

I loved the combination of the sweet cherries and the sour cranberries with dark chocolate

I loved the combination of the sweet cherries and the sour cranberries with dark chocolate

You can see how crumbly these are!

You can see how crumbly these are!

Stelly is a kitchen pup!  She waited patiently with me while the cookies baked in the oven.

Stelly is a kitchen pup! She waited patiently with me while the cookies baked in the oven.

Yummmmm!  I LOVE my Silpat.  If you don't have any, pick two sheets up ASAP!  Nothing sticks to them.  The best.

Yummmmm! I LOVE my Silpat. If you don’t have any, pick two sheets up ASAP! Nothing sticks to them. The best.

A few notes I have to share with you… these cookies might be on the healthier side, but they are REALLY tasty!  I found the batter to be very crumbly, to the point where I had trouble at times making the cookies into scoops to drop.  I was worried they would fall apart, but they DO NOT.  So, it’s okay if yours turn out a little crumbly!  Also, I did try a few cookies where I rolled them into a ball (when they were super-fally-aparty) and they did not turn out as pretty as the drop.

I will certainly whip these up again, next time making more leftovers for us 🙂

Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

The cookies I received for the swap were so yummy!  I wanted to give these awesome bloggers a little shout-out because their cookies really made my day.

I would have loved to say I had a picture of these really interesting Vanilla Cardamom Cookies but between myself and all of our moving crew/family ate them all!  They were so good!  I never would have thought to put Cardamom (do I even have Cardamom??  Probably  not!) into crisp vanilla cookies, but I’m glad Molly did!  You can find more of her recipes and blog posts on Bytes and Bites.  Good luck on your finals, Molly!

White Chocolate Chunkies were from Katheryn @ The Baker’s Sheet.  How cute is her blog name?  She has plenty of other recipes on her blog that I’m dying to try (especially those Pumpkin Bars!)

*Unfortunately (or luckily for my diet, I can’t decide which), I only received two of my three batches of cookies for the swap so far! *

Foodie Penpals: June

Happy June 30th!

Today I am VERY happy (not just because it’s a Saturday and I’m on the beach right now) but because it is the June Foodie Pen Pal Reveal!
If you missed May’s Foodie Pen Pal Reveal, let me tell you a little bit about it:
It’s simple:  spend $15 on goodies for a fellow foodie, someone else will do the same for you!  It’s open for both bloggers AND readers, so if you’re interested, definitely read below!

This month, I received an awesome package of snacks and goodies from Emily @ In the Moment, a blog with some awesome recipes and stories about the adventures of her and her boyfriend.

Emily sent me a few snacks that are her and her boyfriend’s favorites, including Apple Chips, Almond Nut-Thins (wheat & gluten free!), Organic Capers, VitaCoco, & Chocolate Halvah!

YUM!

Vita-Coco happens to be one of my favorites too- Coconut Water is THE BEST way to hydrate.  Dave and I love to treat ourselves (they’re not cheap!) to a cold Vita-Coco after our long Saturday morning workouts.

I have been eating the Almond Nut-Things at work, they are a great snack.  The serving size is 17 crackers (only 3 points), and I top them with just a little smear of Laughing Cow Blue Cheese Wedge (1 point).

I’d also have to mention the fact that Halvah is the BEST.  It is smushed up sesame seeds sweetened… especially the chocolate kind.  It sounds weird but try it, it’s so rich and decadent.  I love it.  In Israel (which one of these days I’ll write about) we visited a Halvah vendor who had SLABS of it.  OMG.

I sent another Trader Joe’s Themed goody package to my Foodie Pen Pal Danielle @ All Things Yummy for Foodies.  Check out her blog to see what delicious treats I bought for her!  Danielle’s blog has some really amazing recipes, and she has been blogging since 2009!  I’m so impressed!  I’m dying to try her “Knock You Naked Brownies” … who wouldn’t?!  

Thank you to my wonderful Foodie Pen Pal Emily again, for sending me an awesome package!  

If you are interested in the Foodie Penpals program, see the info below and please join!

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.

-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa.

If you’re interested in participating for July, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

The Lean Green Bean

Foodie Penpals: May

The day is here!  I get to reveal what I received from my Foodie Penpal!

Who doesn’t love getting a package in the mail?  This is the first month I participated in the Foodie Penpal program.  It’s simple:  spend $15 on goodies for a fellow foodie, someone else will do the same for you!  It’s open for both bloggers AND readers, so if you’re interested, definitely read below!

My fabulous Foodie Penpal in May was Kristi Baldwin.  I could not wait to receive my package once I heard from her… she warned me it was Mexican themed (YUM!)  and that she makes her own salsa.  I was super excited.

The package came to my house the day I was packing to leave for the beach for Memorial Day Weekend.  Perfect.  I ripped it open and here’s what I found:

My yummy package!

Tortilla Chips
Fajita Skillet Sauce
Salsa
Chile con Queso Dip
Somersaults
Dolfin Lavendar Chocolate

Dave wanted to pop open the jar of homemade salsa right away, but I made him wait until we got to the “shore”.  However, the Somersaults weren’t as lucky.  They were ripped open and devoured by myself and Dave almost immediately.

YUM! Love Somersaults!

I had never seen these babies before, but I’m glad Kristi introduced me to them!  They are a delicious perfect little snack.  I will have to buy some online ASAP!

Dave and I finished Kristi’s homemade salsa in one sitting.  It was so tasty.  I am dying to know what she used in it.  It had a great kick but wasn’t too spicy, and even some bites were a little sweet.  It tasted so fresh, I’d love to try to make one on my own.

Thank you, Kristi, for your awesome package!  It made my day, and I loved trying all of these new products 🙂

As for the package I sent, I got fellow blogger, Steph… who is a dairy-free Mommy of THREE adorable little girls.  She blogs @ Dairy-Free Omnivore, giving some awesome recipes, stories, and fun pictures of her and her family.  Check out her site! 

& Click HERE if you want to see what I got her!

And now it’s time for some details about Foodie Penpals.  In case you’re a new reader, here’s a reminder of what the program is all about:

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa.

If you’re interested in participating for June, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

The Lean Green Bean