The Only Team I Need: Flesh Eating Champagne

Rob and I never lived together before we got married, and when we finally did get married and move in together, we had a lot of fun playing Rock Band (the video game). We named our band in the game Flesh Eating Champagne, and the name has stayed with us since. When we need to come up with a team name for trivia or a race, I always suggest Flesh Eating Champagne. It’s only fitting that we have a logo.

Flesh Eating Champagne Logo

And here’s our team on a 5K Glow Scavenger Hunt back in October sporting the logo on day-glo orange t-shirts.
5k-race

Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts with Awesome Sauce

Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts with Champagne Instead of going out this past year on New Year’s Eve, my husband and I stayed home and made our favorite appetizers! We love these bacon wrapped bites of goodness, and they would be perfect to celebrate your normal, everyday Champagne Thursday. Even though the holidays are over, we’ve got to keep up with the celebrations…(but these may interfere with new year’s resolutions that involve eating healthy).

    Ingredients:

  • Thick-Sliced Bacon (The better your bacon is, the better these turn out. We love to use the black pepper bacon for an extra kick, and I usually buy the 24 oz. package)
  • 8 oz. cans of Water Chestnuts (I have a hard time finding these whole, so I usually make the sliced water chestnuts work. Three cans should work for 24 ounces of bacon.)
  • Toothpicks!
    For the Sauce:

  • 3/4 cup Packed Brown Sugar
  • 3/4 cup Ketchup (Heinz!)
  • 1 tablespoon Miracle Whip (or mayo – i can imagine some fancy mayo making this sauce even better)
  • 3 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 5 teaspoons Sriracha (you can always start smaller if heat isn’t your thing)

Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts - Close-up View

    Directions:

  1. Drop a handful of toothpicks in a dish of water and preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Unwrap bacon on cutting board and cut the entire package into thirds (of equal length).
  3. Open and drain water chestnuts. If you’re using whole water chestnuts, cut them in half.
  4. Wrap one-third slice of bacon around a water chestnut half or stack of two slices. Secure the little bundle with a toothpick through the middle.
  5. Arrange the wrapped water chestnuts on a broiling pan (that pan that comes with the oven) or on a wire grill that fits on baking pan, but keeps the food off the surface of the pan. The key here is that these delicious bacon wrapped delights will shed a lot of bacon fat as they bake; it’s nicer to keep them out of the pool of fat that will be sitting in your pan.
  6. Bake wrapped water chestnuts 40 minutes, and while the water chestnuts are baking, mix up your sauce ingredients in a small bowl with a fork.
  7. When the wrapped water chestnuts have baked for 40 minutes, pull them out (leave your oven on). Spoon/pour the sauce onto the tops of the wrapped water chestnuts.
  8. Put the wrapped water chestnuts back in the oven for about 20 minutes; bake until the bacon is crispy.
  9. Use tongs to move the appetizers to a serving plate; leave the toothpicks in the wraps, so people can easily grab them.
  10. Make sure you get some when you put these appetizers out, because they disappear fast!

Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts

Amazing Lower-Carb Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup (with Shirataki Noodles)

Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup

When it’s cold, we always make more soup, and one of our favorites is Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup. By substituting Shirataki Angel Hair Noodles for the real thing, we enjoy a more low-carb version of our favorite cold day treat.

    Ingredients:

  • 48 oz Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth
  • 1/3 cup Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 3/8 cup (6 tbsp.) Brown Sugar
  • Sriracha – We use 2 tbsp., but I recommend starting at 1 and seasoning up based on how you like it.
  • 1 Medium Lime – the juice & the zest
  • 2 Chicken Breasts, cut into strips
  • 2, 7 oz. packages of Shirataki Angel Hair Noodles, rinsed in cold water and drained (We use these from Amazon, because I subscribe to them!)
  • 2 tbsp. Cornstarch
  • 1 cup Sliced Mushrooms (Any kind will do, I used Portobello in the picture, because that’s what we had in the fridge. Shiitake might be the best choice for this asian-inspired dish.)
  • 1/2 cup Grape Tomatoes (I usually quarter these.)
  • Fresh Cilantro (2-3 tbsp.)
    Directions:

  1. Combine chicken broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, Sriracha, lime juice, lime zest, and bring to a boil.
  2. Toss chicken strips in corn starch
  3. When broth mixture boils, add chicken, mushrooms, and Shirataki noodles.
  4. Let the soup simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove the pan from heat. Stir in the tomatoes and cilantro.
  6. Let the soup cool 2-3 minutes before serving

Enjoy!

Amazing Hot Sauce (Comrade Like Spicy)

My husband and I love this hot sauce. It’s a recipe that my uncle gave us a long time ago. At our Non-Rehearsal Dinner the night before our wedding, my uncle made the best BBQ chicken on the grill using this sauce.

Bottle of Hot Sauce

    Ingredients:

  • 1/2 gallon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 3 oz. Black Pepper
  • 2 oz. Crushed Red Pepper
  • 2 oz. Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 cup Salt
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar

Directions: Mix ingredients in pot on stove, and bring to a slow boil for a few minutes over a medium-low temperature. Store and enjoy.

We normally use the empty half gallon bottle of vinegar to store our sauce, but you can get fancy with it! If you want to use the label we made up for my brother-in-law (who we tease about his communist leanings), here’s our “Comrade Like Spicy” label as a PDF download. I cut the label out in vinyl on my Silhouette SD, but you can just print it and stick it on the bottle. I save all the specialty glass bottles we use for purposes just like this! The label uses the awesome font, “Kremlin” by Vic Fieger.

Comrade Like Spicy

Deviled Eggs – with Bacon!

There’s only one kind of deviled egg recipe in the world that I’ll eat, and it’s this one. I grew up on these deviled eggs, first from my grandma, then my mother. Now I’m sharing the recipe because there are entirely too many deviled eggs recipes on the internets that don’t have bacon!
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Butterscotch Bird’s Nest No-Bake Cookies

When I was a kid, I used to love the Butterscotch Haystacks. This recipe modifies the traditional haystack recipe by shaping it like a bird’s nest and adding eggs to create a really cute (and tasty) spring dessert recipe. (I was totally inspired by the No Bake Easter Nest Cookie Recipe at Prudent Baby.)The other best thing is that it’s super easy to make.
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Our Fra Diavolo Spaghetti Sauce (Yummy! Spicy!)

I think everyone craves hearty, warm foods in the winter. At our house, we usually cook a lot more curry, stew, and chili. One thing we love to make is our spaghetti sauce; Rob and I both like hot, so this is a pretty hot dish. However, this dish only uses cayenne and crushed red pepper flakes because we generally have that on hand. (lots of it) When we recently made this spaghetti, we served it with Tracy’s Killer Garlic Bread. That bread was awesome, amazing, words cannot describe the joy…

Spicy Spaghetti Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground hot sausage
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 medium-sized chopped onion
  • 2 cans chopped tomatoes (14.5 oz can)
  • 29 oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 2 cans of tomato paste (6 oz. can)
  • 2 tsp. basil
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. parsley
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Black Pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes*
  • 1 tbsp Cayenne Pepper*

*Adjust to your liking; we love spicy!

In a large skillet, brown sausage and beef on medium heat. When they’re no longer pink, add in the onion to brown also. Stir frequently. When the meat is browned to your liking and the onions are tender, spoon out most of the remaining oil from the meat. Add all the other ingredients, cover, and cook for two hours on medium-low heat (stirring occasionally). Serve over pasta and top with some good grated parmesan (or skip the parm if you’re my cheese-hating husband). Yummy!

Spicy Spaghetti Sauce

Sunday’s Skillet Toffee

Rob and I wanted to try our hand at toffee this holiday season (what a great gift for everyone!), so I decided to try this AMAZING recipe from Apartment Therapy. I never knew toffee was so easy to make. And because I’m not a big candy maker, I found the whole process truly fascinating. I took pictures step-by-step to share the coolness.

We ended up making 3 batches. It’s pretty easy clean-up (hot water melts all the hard candy), and each batch goes very quickly. I tried to use my candy thermometer to measure the temperature to make sure I got it to a “hard crack” temperature (300-310), but the mixture wasn’t deep enough in the skillet. That said, the cracking on the toffee is perfect. You just have to get it to a deep golden brown (constantly stirring). We made one change from the original recipe; we used toasted pecan bits as our topping because it just felt more southern to us than the almonds. It’s seriously a perfect recipe!

Chocolate Kahlua Pecan Pie

For Thanksgiving festivities this year, I made/created a Chocolate Kahlua Pecan Pie. I know some pecan pie lovers are purists and against adding other ingredients to their traditional pecan pie, but I am not. And I love chocolate…and liquor! There’s nothing better to add to a pecan pie to make it even better!
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Recipe: Carolina Mimosa

For this week’s ChampagneThursday recipe, I’d like to feature a drink recipe that I made up. And it’s awesome (if I do say so myself)!

The ingredients are champagne (extra dry–as dry as you can find for your budget; I used Andre Extra Dry because my budget was $5.00), Diet Cheerwine (I prefer to use diet, but I’m sure the regular version would be equally tasty), and orange juice (I use the Tropicana 50 with some pulp because this is the kind of OJ we generally keep on hand).
Ingredients

The proportions for this drink are easy. Fill your glass half way with champagne. Then, fill the remainder with half OJ and half Cheerwine. (1/4 OJ, 1/4 Cheerwine, 1/2 Champagne.) Voilà! The Carolina Mimosa!
Carolina Mimosa

For those who don’t know, Cheerwine is a soft drink indigenous to the Carolinas:

Cheerwine has a very sweet cherry flavor, is burgundy-colored, and has an unusually high degree of carbonation compared to other soft drinks. (from Wikipedia)

Another benefit of Cheerwine (especially Diet), is that it has a lot of caffeine–48.1 mg per can. If you’re not a morning coffee drinker, you get a lot of caffeine bang-for-your-buck when you grab one of these in the morning.

If you’re not up for the champagne, just do half OJ and half Cheerwine. This combination is really too awesome not to try!
Carolina Mimosa

Porcini Baby Bella Rice

Erin’s new recipe for Porcini Baby Bella Rice is awesome! Generally Porcini mushrooms are used in risotto, but here’s a more flexible, lighter version using jasmine rice and white truffle oil. (Makes 4-6 servings)
Check out the recipe

Kansas He-Man Pot Roast

I don’t like to do much cooking in the summer that doesn’t involve a grill. However, this pot roast uses a slow cooker and is easy to make. If you don’t think of it as the perfect summer food, let this be a prelude to the autumn that lies before us.
Check out the recipe

Healthy(er) Mega Meat Pesto Pizzas

Erin has contributed a new recipe to the Julepstyle recipe database. It’s for some really yummy pizzas. And even though I’m writing this in the morning, I’m craving some of her Pizza!

The recipe