Review: Cave Tools Grill Light

Grilling season is just getting started here, but I’m already looking for ways to extend it. It always seems that by the time we get in a grove, daylight starts slipping away and grilling season is over. Because, let’s face it – grilling in the dark is a pain. How many times have you pulled out your cell phone flashlight to see if the food is done? I know I have.

Enter Cave Tool’s BBQ Grill Light. This handy little accessory attaches to the handle of any grill to make to light up your cooking surface. The light screws on, so you can attach it in less than two minutes, and you just tap it lightly on the logo to turn it on or off – making it easy to do with one hand (or an elbow, when your hands are full!)

Grill Light 1

And it really just floods the grill surface with light. I also love the light is bright white – it makes it easier to see color differences in the food as it’s cooking. This light is definitely going to get a heavy workout at our house!

Grill Light 2

The Grill Light can be purchased from the Cave Tools website – use code BBQLIGHT15 to take 15% off. They can also be found on Amazon.

Grill Light 3

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Pina Colada Popsicles + Win a bottle of Nielsen-Massey Vanilla! #NielsenMasseyInspires

Disclosure: I received complimentary products in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own.

It is finally starting to feel like spring around here. I actually left the house without a coat last week! It also means I’m starting to pack away my “winter” meals – soups, stews, pot pies – in favor of grilled dishes and frozen desserts. When Nielsen-Massey asked if I wanted to try out one of their vanillas, I knew exactly which one I’d be itching to try.

Pina Colada Popsicles

Tahitian vanilla is perfect in cold applications like ice cream – and these popsicles. They’re seriously like an island vacation on a stick!

These are the perfect creamy combo of pineapple and coconut. I added just a little rum to give it the traditional pina colada feel (and make them fun for the adults!), but you could use rum extract or omit it and these would still be fantastic.

Nielsen-Massey Vanilla

Want to win your own bottle of Nielsen-Massey Tahitian Pure Vanilla Extract? Nielsen-Massey is offering one up to a lucky reader! Click here to enter —> a Rafflecopter giveaway

Pina Colada Popsicles

Creamy Pina Colada Popsicles
(a Kate’s Recipe Box original)
Makes 8 popsicles

1 1/2 cups fresh pineapple, finely chopped
1/3 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
1 tsp. Nielsen-Massey Tahitian Pure Vanilla Extract
1 Tbsp. gold rum, optional
1 cup whipping cream

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together. Use a stick blender (or pour into a regular blender!) and blend until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze overnight.

 

Review: Cave Tools Blade Tenderizer

Disclosure: I received these products complimentary in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Officially spring! But, we still have snow on the ground. Can we talk about how disappointing that is? I’ve been pinning grilling recipes like crazy – but, to be honest, I’ve been surprised how much the grill tools have gotten use inside this winter.

Cave Tools recently sent me this blade tenderizer to try out, and once again, I was super impressed – they really design these to be easy to use! First up – storage: it comes with a great lid/case, to store it in – so you can’t accidently bump it in the cabinet and end up poking yourself with the blades. The whole thing is also top-rack dishwasher safe, which is amazing – it makes clean up so, so easy!

Meat Tender 1

We gave this a test run with the night’s chicken – the punctures let the marinade soak in so nicely. It was the juiciest chicken I’ve made in a long time! The extra step of tenderizing was worth the (minimal effort) – I can’t wait to try it on steaks!

Meat Tender 2

The Blade Tenderizer can be purchased from the Cave Tools website – use code TENDER15 to take 15% off. They can also be found on Amazon.

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai

House update: we were outbid on the house we liked. Womp, womp.

I’m trying to comfort myself by reminding myself of all the negatives. Like, the super pink early-90s kitchen and the extra bathrooms to clean. I’m also trying to relish the fact I no longer have to worry about showings – which means I can actually do some meal planning! And after all the fast food I’m excited about all the vegetables.

This spaghetti squash version of pad thai has been one of my favorite Lenten dinners so far. If you’re a slow chopper like me, this will take a bit to prep – but it’s flavorful and the contrast of the cooked squash with the other raw veggies is great!

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai
(adapted from Tasty)
Serves 2

1 spaghetti squash
Olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup water
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp.  sesame oil
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp. Sriracha
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 large cucumber, peeled and quartered
2 carrots, coin-sliced
1 red bell, diced
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 onion, diced

Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place cut-side down on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the water, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, lime juice, Sriracha, peanut butter, and garlic to make the sauce.

When the spaghetti squash is done, shred the inside with a fork and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the sauce and remaining ingredients until well combined. Serve immediately.

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai

 

Shamrock Shake Pie #PiDay

Oh, what a week it’s been here! Why is buying and selling a home so stressful?! Isn’t there a better way to do this?

If you’re thinking, “Wait! I didn’t know you were moving!”, don’t fret – we’re not even sure we are. But we did happen upon a house we just love so we’re doing everything we can to make it ours. The past week has been an endless parade of offers, showings, back-and-forth with lawyers/realtors/mortgage brokers… I’m emotionally spent.

And, do you know when everyone wants to look at your house? DINNER TIME! We’ve been fast-fooding it up. Jake has declared McDonald’s his favorite, and I’ve been going with it because it means I get a shamrock shake. Those things are seriously like stress relief in a cup.

When I started flipping through pie recipes to celebrate today with, this one jumped out. A pie version of my beloved shake? Too good to be true! But this is actually a really close to the real thing taste-wise – and you could totally freeze the pie to make it even closer!

Everyone here loved it – and with only a few ingredients and about five minutes to prep, it’s a no-brainer if you’re having a crazy week like I am but still want to do a little celebrating – either for pi day or for St. Patrick’s Day!

Looking for more Pi Day inspiration? The Redhead Baker is hosting an awesome link-up of pie recipes – both sweet and savory – from lots of bloggers!

Pi Day Pie Recipes

 

Shamrock Shake Pie

Shamrock Shake Pie
(from Wine and Glue)
Makes 1 pie

2 3-oz boxes instant vanilla pudding mix
2 cups cold milk
1/2 tsp. mint extract
Green food coloring
8 oz. frozen whipped topping, thawed
Graham cracker crust
Whipped cream and cherries, for serving, optional

In a large bowl, whisk together the pudding mix and the milk until the mix is dissolved. Stir in the food coloring (about 15 drops), and the mint extract. Fold in the frozen whipped topping until no longer streaky.

Transfer to a graham cracker crust and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Top with whipped cream and a cherry before serving, if desired.

Shamrock Shake Pie

Crispy Orange Cauliflower

Chinese takeout fake-outs have become some of my favorite Lenten dinners. Our local Chinese restaurant has limited meatless options so it isn’t really a great option for us during Lent. Cravings a few year back led me to Kung Pao Chickpeas and then General Tso’s Cauliflower.

All of these sort of hide the bulk of the meal with the sauce, so even if you’re not usually a cauliflower fan, you might like this. Battered, fried, and covered in the fresh orange sauce, you can barely tell you’re loading up on vegetables here. My kids happily gobbled it down!

Crispy Orange Cauliflower

Crispy Orange Cauliflower
(adapted from Fork and Beans)
Serves 2

1 small head of cauliflower, cut into small florets

1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 Tbsp. olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1 tsp. olive oil
Zest of 1 orange + juice of orange
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tsp. corn starch
1 tsp. brown sugar

Rice, for serving

Mix together egg, water, cornstarch, flour, and olive oil to create a batter. It should be thick enough to coat, but not clumpy – think waffle batter consistency!

In a large skillet or wok, heat the vegetable oil on medium high.  When the oil is heated, dip each piece of cauliflower into the batter and then add it to the hot oil. Fry until browned, then transfer to a paper-towel lined plate.

In another skillet or wok, heat olive over medium-high heat and then add garlic and green onions and cook for a minute. Stir in orange zest and juice and cook for another minute. Add soy sauce and vinegar and bring to a boil.

Toss cauliflower in sauce and serve over rice.

 

 

 

Crispy Orange Cauliflower

Blueberry Lemongrass Cheesecake #ImprovCookingChallenge

Another #ImprovCookingChallenge, another opportunity to get outside my comfort zone! I’ve never cooked with lemongrass before – I actually had to google a picture of it so I knew what to look for in the store – but I’m really loving the result here!

 The base is beautifully rich and fluffy and then the swirl is the perfect blend of blueberry and lemon to compliment. Right after I tasted it, I texted my mom that this was going to be my contribution for Easter dinner – it’s that good!
Blueberry Lemongrass Cheesecake.jpg
The recipe makes more of the blueberry/lemongrass filling than you need for the cheesecake. Since it comes out as almost a jam-like consistency, we used our extras as jam for toast.
You can see the other bloggers’ blueberry and lemongrass creations here:

improvchallenge
The #ImprovCookingChallenge is a monthly blogging event where two ingredients are assigned to a month. Bloggers can make any recipe they like as long as it features the two ingredients. If you are a blogger and would like to join us, please visit our Facebook page.
You can also read more about the event on our home page.  If you’d like to see previous creations, check out our Pinterest board.
Blueberry Lemongrass Cheesecake 2
Blueberry Lemongrass Cheesecake
(adapted from Taste of Home)
Makes 1 cheesecake
1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
2 4-inch pieces lemongrass
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. melted butter
3 8 oz. packages of cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp. flour
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
In a small saucepan, combine the blueberries, sugar, and lemongrass in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the berries begin to cook down and the sugar is dissolved. Remove the lemongrass and transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Return to the saucepan and whisk in the cornstarch. Bring to a boil and cook until thickened and almost a jam-like consistency. Set aside
Mix together the graham crackers, sugar, and butter until well combined. Press into a 9″ springform pan, going up the sides slightly. Place prepared pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
In a stand mixer, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in the sour cream, flour and vanilla. On a lower speed, add in the lightly beaten eggs and mix until just combined. Pour the filling into the crust.
Dollop 3-4 Tbsp. of the blueberry lemongrass mixture. Use a knife to swirl it along the top of the cheesecake.
Return the pan to the baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, or until the center of the cheesecake is nearly set. Transfer the pan to the cooling rack for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen. Cool at room temperature for another hour, then refrigerate overnight.

Blueberry Lemongrass Cheesecake

Barbecue Turkey Sloppy Joes

I hit on this dinner a few weeks ago and it was a smashing success. I’ve made it twice so far. Leftovers have been served over baked sweet potatoes for lunch. And then I made the barbecue sauce again to go over meatloaf another night.  Considering how often I repeat recipes (read: not very!) the fact that this keeps popping up is a testament to how much we’re enjoying it.

This really couldn’t be easier to pull off on a week night – mix everything for the sauce together, brown up the meat and veggies, combine them and done! It also reheats really well so it’s great to make ahead for nights when you literately just have time to microwave something.

Barbecue Turkey Sloppy Joes

Barbecue Turkey Sloppy Joes
(from The Foodie and the Fix)
Makes 5

1 6 oz. can of tomato paste
2/3 cup water
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
4 tsp. pure maple syrup
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. liquid smoke

1 lb. lean ground turkey
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
Salt & pepper, to taste
Whole wheat buns, for serving

In a bowl, whisk together the first 9 ingredients – tomato paste to liquid smoke.

In a large non-stick skillet, brown together the turkey, bell pepper, and onion. Season with salt and pepper. Break up the turkey as it cooks. When the turkey is cooked through and the vegetables are soft, stir in the sauce and cook until heated through. Adjust seasonings to taste and serve on rolls.

Barbecue Turkey Sloppy Joes

 

Hawaiian Black Bean Sliders

So. Much. Rain. SO. MUCH. RAIN.

Seriously, I’m getting ready to build an ark. I’m not sure the backyard is ever going to dry out at this rate. And let’s not even talk about that our sump pump died  a few weeks back…

Suffice it to say, I’m really, REALLY dreaming of warm, sunny days.  How nice would it be to be on a beach somewhere tropical? So, for this Lenten Friday, I’m cooking up some island-inspired sliders that are – of course! – meatless.

I made these as sliders because they’re the perfect size for the kids, but you could make these as four large burgers too.

Hawaiian Black Bean Burgers


Hawaiian Black Bean Sliders

(adapted from Domestic Superhero)
Makes 1 dozen sliders

1/2 onion , chopped
3 garlic cloves
1
14.5 oz. can black beans , rinsed and drained
1/2 cup rolled oats
1
/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
1
green onion , chopped
2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 cup plan breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
12 pineapple slices
12 onion rings
Sweet bbq sauce
6 Swiss cheese slices, halved
12 slider rolls

 

In a food processor, pulse the onion and garlic until finely chopped. Add the beans, oats, corn, green onion, cumin, curry powder, and cayenne and pulse until well mixed – about 20 seconds.  Scrape down the sides, add salt and pepper to taste, and process for another 10 seconds. Transfer to a bowl and chill for several hours.

When ready to cook, stir in breadcrumbs and form into a dozen equal-sized patties.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook for 10-15 minutes, turning halfway, until their is an outer crust and the patties are heated through. Top with cheese during the last 2 minutes of cooking.

Add the cooked patties to the slider rolls. Top each with a pineapple ring, onion ring, and a drizzle of barbecue sauce. Serve immediately.

Hawaiian Black Bean Sliders

Egg Roll in a Bowl

My friends have been raving about this recipe and now that I’ve tried it I totally understand why. This is super simple – but super good.

The idea here is that you make egg roll filling, but don’t go through actually wrapping it up – which is kind of brilliant. I’ve made egg rolls before, but they’re time consuming and deep fried, so they’re not something I make on the regular. This version is lighter and perfect for a weeknight!

Egg Roll in a Bowl

Egg Roll in a Bowl
(adapted from Mostly Homemade Mom)
Serves 4

1 lb. ground pork
1 bag coleslaw mix
1/2 cup soy sauce
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. Chinese five spice
1/2 tsp. sesame oil

In a large skillet, brown the ground pork, breaking up as it cooks. Once cooked, stir in the coleslaw mix.

Stir together remaining ingredients in a small bowl then add to the pan. Toss to coat. Cook for five more minutes, to let flavors combine.

Egg Roll in a Bowl