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Soft, Delicious Ginger Snaps

Hey, y’all!

While it doesn’t quite seem like the holiday season yet to me, many are head-first in the swing of it all. To help me get into the spirit (especially amidst the hectic side of this time of year + all of my upcoming travel), I’ve been baking up a storm! Cookies always embody the season in my household; thus, there is no better way to kick off November here on the blog than with my homemade ginger snaps!

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Ginger snaps remind me of my childhood; my grandmother loves them and often served them to me. They’re perfect with a cup of coffee and while playing a hand of bridge – or, at least, that’s how we eat them in our world!

These are one of my all-time favorites; I love the ginger + molasses – that really makes the cookie for me!

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Ginger Snaps

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 c. white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 c. dark molasses
  • 1.5 tbsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp. allspice
  • .5 tsp nutmeg
  • .5 tsp salt
  • 3/4 c. shortening

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Sift all dry ingredients, minus sugar, together (flour, baking soda, ground ginger, allspice, nutmeg, salt).
  • Repeat the above step until blended fully.
  • In a mixing bowl, beat the shortening.
  • In small batches, add in the sugar; then incorporate the egg and the molasses.
  • In the same mixing bowl, again in batches (thirds or fourths), add in the mixture of dry ingredients.
  • Roll out cookies into balls in your hands.
  • Place on a baking sheet, leaving ample room for the cookies to expand.
  • Bake for roughly 8 minutes, cool cookies on a wire rack.
  • Sprinkle the top with sugar; enjoy!

Luckily for y’all, I have teamed up with some of my fellow KY bloggers to share their cookie recipes; check them out below, give them some love, and tell ’em that I sent ya!

Cinnamon-Kissed French Butter Cream Cookies

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Kentucky Bourbon Ranger Cookies

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Turtle Thumbprint Cookies

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Maker’s Mark Bourbon Balls

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Grinch Cookies

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As always: Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living!

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JCP

FTC: This is not a sponsored post.

Hendrick’s Gin x Breeders’ Cup 2018

Hey, y’all!

The Breeders’ Cup is coming this weekend – November 2-3 – and I will unfortunately have to miss it because I will be in Chicago. Marking the end of thoroughbred-racing season, the Breeders’ Cup has morphed from a one-day event in 1984 to a two-day, multi-million dollar spectacle. This event brings in the best of the equine world: the best horses, trainers, and owners. Churchill Downs is the host of the 2018 Breeders’ Cup and we are SO proud to have it in Louisville!

While I love my Commonwealth’s native spirit, I have a secret for y’all: I am, first and foremost, a gin drinker – and Hendrick’s Gin, one of my favorites, is proud to be the official gin of the 2018 Breeders’ Cup!

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The signature cocktail of the event, the Money Rider, is delicious, y’all. You can enjoy it at the tracks for those of y’all that are attending. However, for those of you watching at home and/or hosting your own Breeders’ Cup Party, I have a treat for you — I’ve partnered up with my friends at Hendrick’s to share the recipe!

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The Money Rider is a brand new cocktail that Hendrick’s is debuting for the Championship; delicious and simple, it really highlights the notes of rose and cucumber in the gin. It is so smooth and is sure to be a crowd-pleaser!

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Hendrick's Gin Money Rider

Ingredients:

  • 2 parts Hendrick’s Gin
  • 1 part fresh lime juice
  • .5 parts raspberry syrup
  • Topped with ginger beer

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients over ice; churn and serve.

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Are y’all heading to Churchill Downs this weekend? If you do, have the best time at the Breeders’ Cup! I will be living vicariously through you.

As always: Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living!

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JC

FTC: This is a sponsored post; all opinions, however, are my own.

 

Appalachian Frittata With Happy Egg

FTC: This post is sponsored by Happy Egg Co, and all opinions are my own.

Hey, y’all!

Growing up in rural Kentucky, and having been raised on the family farmland, I have a deep interest in the agricultural industry. When it comes to sourcing my food, I think heavily about the ethical side of farming – it’s a rite of passage in my part of the world. What is the farm like? How are the animals treated?

A large part of Appalachian culture is storytelling. One of my favorite stories that my Grandma Judy tells me is about growing up on a free-range chicken farm. While that farm no longer exists, it’s great to see and to support companies like Happy Egg that keep the mission alive.

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The Happy Egg Company was established in 1949 and their legacy has endured ever since. They pride themselves on their methods, ethics, care, and conscientiousness – they clearly love their birds, which, in my mind, makes our decision as customers much easier.

When you purchase from Happy Egg, you are receiving a product from one of thirty-one small family farms in Missouri and Arkansas. Their guarantee is that their eggs are the “Free-est of the Free Range” — each farm has over eight acres of outdoor access for hens to forage freely each and every day. This is different from “cage free” eggs; on these farms, hens have no outdoor access.

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All their free-range hens are fed a wholesome vegetarian diet, which has been specifically designed by an animal nutritionist and tailored to the flock’s individual needs.

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Our family farm was homesteaded in 1798; for centuries, my family worked to promote Kentucky agriculture and agricultural education. While we no longer produce, this value is engrained in my spirit. Every time I crack a Happy Egg, I am assured that I am doing my part as an ethical consumer and the company is doing their part as a producer. That is a symbiosis that I cannot and will not take for granted.

Now, of course, I needed to use these eggs in a recipe; hence, say hello to my Appalachian Frittata! I prepared this in a cast iron skillet gifted to me by my grandmother and our special friend, Cletta. So special!

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Appalachian Frittata

Ingredients:

  • 8 Happy Eggs
  • 8 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1 small vidalia onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced
  • 1 roma tomato, sliced
  • 1 small package mushrooms, cooked
  • 1 16 oz. bag of cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1.5 tsp. black pepper
  • 1.5 tsp, minced garlic
  • garlic powder, to taste
  • onion powder, to taste
  • everything but the bagel seasoning, to taste
  • red pepper flakes, to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to broil setting.
  • In a cast iron skillet, cook the bacon. Remove from skillet and chop afterwards.
  • In the same skillet, sauté the diced peppers, onion, and mushrooms.
  • Using a separate large glass mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs. Add the salt, black pepper, minced garlic, garlic powder, onion powder, and red pepper flakes. Mix well. Then add the bag of cheddar cheese to the egg mixture, combining thoroughly.
  • Add the egg + cheese mixture to the sautéed veggies in the cast iron skillet. Allow to cook until the eggs set well on the bottom and begin to do so on top.
  • Add sliced roma tomatoes around the top of the pan.
  • Broil until browned, fluffy, and fully cooked. You can check with a toothpick – it should come out dry. Typically, this takes 3-5 minutes.
  • Top with red pepper flakes and everything but the bagel seasoning.

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Happy Eggs are the key to this recipe. They are healthier, taste better, and align with my farming values.

If you are in the Louisville area, you find them at Meijer (look for the iconic yellow packaging!); otherwise, use the store locator to find the closest Happy Eggs retailer to you! Happy Eggs can be purchased in two varieties: the “Free-est of the Free Range” and the “Organic Free-est of the Free Range.” Be sure to follow @happyeggcousa on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest!

As always, Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living!

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JC

 

 

Smithfield Bacon Avocado Bagels

Hey, y’all!

I hope you had a lovely weekend. Mine was spent at the wedding of a dear friend in Horse Cave, Kentucky. It was beautiful — love is always a reason to celebrate!

Now I’m back in the office and it’s a hectic week!

When that is the case, I often struggle with what I want to prepare for quick meals. I don’t like to sacrifice flavor or deliciousness; I also try my best not to frequent the fast food window.

Enter avocado toast — or, if you’re like me, avocado bagels.

You heard me correctly.

Bagels.

Avocado.

Two of my favorite things.

The only way to make it better? Topping it with Smithfield Bacon, of course!

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Smithfield Bacon Avocado Bagels

Ingredients:

  • 1 Everything Bagel (or the bread/bagel of your choice)
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • Everything But The Bagel Seasoning, to taste
  • Smithfield Bacon

Directions:

  • Cook bacon according to taste (I like mine extra crispy + baked)
  • Mash the avocado in a bowl
  • Squeeze fresh lemon juice into avocado, mix
  • Spread the avocado liberally on the bagel
  • Cut bacon and add to the top of the bagel
  • Top with Everything But The Bagel Seasoning, to taste

It doesn’t get much easier – or more delicious – than this, y’all!

PS – Smithfield is giving away bacon for LIFE! Enter here.

As always, Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living.

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JC

FTC: This is a sponsored post; all opinions are my own.

Rich and Delicious Crock-Pot Mac & Cheese

Hey, y’all!

I’m coming to you today with, arguably, my most decadent recipe to date: my rich and delicious crock-pot mac & cheese! This is a heavy dish, a comfort food, and certainly something that you will want to cuddle up with this fall and winter.

This would be perfect for a tailgate, for a party, or for a large family. I’m not listing a serving size due to relativity; however, this recipe will feed a lot and can be easily doubled!

The magical thing about a dish this heavy is that it can be a side or main dish; in all honesty, I prefer it to be the main course. You could elevate it by added a freshly cooked lobster tail to it; however, it’s flavorful and satisfying enough as is!

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JC's Crock-Pot Mac & Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz. box of elbow macaroni (or the pasta of your choice)
  • 16 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 12 oz. evaporated milk
  • 1 c. whole milk (add more if needed throughout the process for desired consistency)
  • 1 stick of butter, cubed
  • 4 oz. good parmesan cheese
  • Pinch of: salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, onion powder (all to taste)
  • 2 c. panko bread crumbs

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients, minus the bread crumbs, in the crock-pot
  • Cook on low for roughly 2-3 hours, stirring on occasion and monitoring progress
  • In the oven, briefly toast your bread crumbs (I cover them in butter beforehand)
  • Serve with bread crumbs on the side, which allows for each diner to have their desired amount
  • Tip: Line your crock-pot with a slow-cooker liner for easy clean up
  • Tip: To speed up the process, partially cook your pasta on the stove before adding it to the crock-pot with the other ingredients

As always, Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living!

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JC

FTC: This post is not sponsored; all opinions are my own.

Shrimp Fried Rice For Two: 10 Minutes, Less Than $10

Hey, y’all.

I hope all y’all had a great weekend!

As much as I love food, the intricate process of making and perfecting it, and the culture behind that, some nights I come in and I just want to be lazy. Fast food is not a good option, I want to eat on the couch, yet I want something that is satisfying.

We are often told that we can’t have our cake and eat it too. I don’t believe that. I think that food can be quick, easy, and delicious — and today, I’m excited to share one of my favorite freezer section to plate dinner options.

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Shrimp Fried Rice

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • Trader Joe’s Vegetable Fried Rice
  • Frozen Shrimp
  • Veri Veri Teriyaki (I prefer the lower sodium version)
  • Olive Oil

Directions:

  • Heat up olive oil in a frying pan.
  • Add Trader Joe’s Vegetable Fried Rice, cook as directed,
  • Add frozen shrimp, cook as directed.
  • Coat in Veri Veri Teriyaki.

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Y’all, that’s it. Four Ingredients, 10 minutes, less than $10 for two servings. Does it get better?

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As always, Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living!

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

Best,

JC

FTC: This is not a commissioned post; all opinions are my own.

Riunite Ultimate Chili Challenge + Meatless Mexican Street Corn Chili Recipe

Hey, y’all!

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My best friend Katie was in town this past weekend.

While I am enjoying every last bit of summer, I couldn’t help but to confess that I am more than ready for fall: pumpkin-flavored everything, comfy sweaters, and of course, comfort foods.

One of my favorite comforting meals to make is chili — it’s delicious, easy, and provides several leftover meals at a low cost!

After this conversation, I couldn’t calm my craving; thus, we loaded up and headed to the supermarket. I decided to make last year’s winning recipe from the Riunite Tailgate – Midwest Division; let me tell y’all, it was finger-lickin’ good!

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Before we hop into my virtual kitchen, do you think you have a chili recipe that is competition-worthy? We all have different variations of chili; thus, if you are passionate about it, you should enter the 2018 Riunite Ultimate Chili Challenge! This fall, Riunite is once again looking for the Ultimate Chili Champion. I know that my readers are some of the best cooks out there; thus, why couldn’t it be one of y’all?

The premise of the competition is simple: you enter your recipe for judges to score, they choose the top 5 per region, and then the finalists participate in a series of live cook-offs for a chance to win $1,000. It’s that easy — and fun!

I’m so excited to see who wins my division this year; I’m even more excited to try the recipe!

Now, the winning recipe from last year – full credit goes to Ultimate Chili Champion Michele Kusma:

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Meatless Mexican Street Corn Chili

Ingredients:

  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans petite diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 c. frozen roasted corn, thawed
  • 1-2 c. vegetable broth
  • 1 c. finely crumbled cotija cheese, plus additional for garnishing
  • 1-2 c. sour cream
  • 1 small bunch cilantro or parsley
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

Directions:

  1. Place diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and sugar into a deep saucepan
  2. Cook over medium-high heat until sugar is dissolved
  3. Add chili powder, garlic powder, salt, lime juice, kidney beans, black beans, roasted corn, 1 c. vegetable broth, and 1 c. cotija cheese
  4. Stir until well-blended and bring to a simmer
  5. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, and adding additional broth as needed
  6. Serve chili with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of additional cotija cheese, a pinch of chopped cilantro or parsley leaves, and a wedge of lime.

Mexican street corn is one of my favorite foods; why not have it in soup form?

I love that the cotija cheese is both infused in the chili + used as a garnish. Cotija has a salty, fresh flavor that is so delicious!

All recipes that involve tomato should have a dash of sugar; I was taught that in the kitchen by my grandmother and I fully believe it to be true.

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This recipe is also vegetarian, which makes it perfect to make for a group of individuals with different dietary patterns!

My final thought is that the infusion of fresh lime juice in the soup really sends it over the edge. I fully believe that a dash of acid is often the difference between a good recipe and a great recipe.

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After making this chili, it was clear as to why Michele topped the Midwest Division last year.

That trusty chili recipe that you have in your cookbook? Yes, the one that has served your smiling family a plethora of times… enter it this year! I believe in all y’all and I’d love to see a JCP Eats reader take home the prize!

To enter your recipe, visit here and scroll to the bottom of the page. It’s so easy and quick to enter; I’m expecting big things, y’all!

If you have any questions about the competition, feel free to reach out to me.

As always, Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living.

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JC

FTC: This is a commissioned post; however, all opinions are my own.

 

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