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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Baby Carrots in Honey Lime Butter (Family Favorites)

Last week, I shared one of our favorite recipes included in my cookbook for Grilled Pork Chops with Lime and Cilantro and today I have another Family Favorites recipe that I couldn't wait to try again. When making dinner, I like to keep the same flavors going with my sides and vegetables so I created these Baby Carrots in Honey Lime Butter to go with them. I love using fresh vegetables, they just taste so much better. I like how you can control the texture of them. For instance, have you ever eaten a frozen or canned carrot? They're like mush in your mouth! When you steam fresh carrots, I like to leave them a bit on the crispier side and my kids like them better that way as well. In fact, Gabrielle would only eat raw carrots if I was making the frozen variety for that very reason. 

In any event, these carrots made the perfect accompaniment to our pork chops and the hint of lime and sweetness of the honey were perfect! 

Baby Carrots in Honey Lime Butter
1 lb. Fresh Baby Carrots
1 tbsp. Butter
1 tbsp. Honey
1 tsp. Kosher Salt
1 tsp. Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Juice from 1/2 Lime

1. Steam carrots in a double boiler until they are fork tender but slightly firm, approximately 10 minutes.
2. Heat butter over medium heat in a sauté pan, and add the cooked carrots, butter, honey, salt, pepper, and lime juice.
3. Cook over medium heat until most of the liquid evaporates. Serves 4.  

*Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories 81, Carbs 13.6g, Fat 3g, Protein .8g, Fiber 3.3g, Sugar 9.4g

*Calculations based on ingredients entered into Calorie Count and may not be 100% accurate.

You can find this recipe for Baby Carrots in Honey Lime Butter, along with many others in my cookbook; available at many online retailers like and IndieBound. If you would like a signed copy or a hardcover version, please email me at carrieexpktchn (at) optonline (dot) net. 

A cookbook also makes the perfect gift!
  • Mother's Day
  • Father's Day
  • Your favorite Graduate (they will have to learn to cook for themselves eventually!)
  • Birthday's
  • Anniversaries
  • Wedding or Bridal Shower
  • Or anyone just looking for some new inspiration in the kitchen! 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Vanilla Almond Onion Straws

My family and I generally don't eat onion rings. In fact, I think the last time I even ordered one out was several years ago when the kids first wanted to try a Bloomin' Onion. I was making some steak on the grill recently and my usual topping would be sauteed mushrooms (like these Mushrooms Vittoria..YUM!), but when I reached for them, they were starting to go bad. 

I decided to make these onion straws instead, using up the little bit of Vanilla Almond Milk I had left in the container as well. (I'm in Spring Cleaning mode and wanted to purge my refrigerator who am I kidding?!). I thought they would make a nice topping added to our steak and boy was I right...they were fantastic! It had a little bit of a sweet flavor from the milk and by cutting them thinner, they were super crunchy. I bet these would be awesome on some thick juicy burgers as well. 

Vanilla Almond Onion Straws
1 Red Onion, sliced into 1/4" rings
1 c. Silk Vanilla Almond Milk
1 Egg
1/2 c. All-Purpose Flour
1/2 c. Cornstarch
1 tsp. Kosher Salt
Canola Oil, for frying

1. In a bowl, whisk together the almond milk and egg. 
2. Add the onion rings to the milk mixture and allow to soak fully covered for 15-20 minutes. 
3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch and salt. 
4. Dip the milk coated onion ring into the flour mixture and set aside until all rings have been coated. Discard the remaining mixture. (You can do this twice if you like your onion rings extra crunchy, but I just did mine once).
5. Heat the oil in a large saute pan. (I used approximately 1/3 cup and a nonstick pan. Just enough to coat the bottom). 
6. When the oil is hot, add the onion rings and allow them to brown for approximately 4-5 minutes; flipping halfway through. They should be golden brown. 
7. Remove the onions and drain on paper towels to absorb any excess grease. You may need to fry these in two batches depending on the size of your pan. 

*Nutritional Information per Serving: This recipe was too difficult for me to calculate since most of the milk/egg mixture was discarded after soaking and the frying in oil aspect. 


*I was not compensated in any way by Silk to write this post. I personally use and enjoy this product. All opinions are my own. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

My 2 Year Blogging Anniversary & Giveaway!

I know I just started the Week in Review last week, but tomorrow marks my 2 year blogging anniversary here at Carrie's Experimental Kitchen so I had to do a little something different this week, but first I'll give you a quick snapshot of what went on here before we start the celebration: 

  • Last Friday started with me getting a call from the EMS that my 94 year old grandmother was being rushed to the hospital.  She had a cold and was having difficulty breathing and was dizzy. She stayed at the hospital for several days, but is now back home feeling much better. 
  • Hubby came home, was exhausted and we wound up spending 4 hours in the ER Saturday afternoon for an allergic reaction to an insect bite (or so they think). Both of his arms were so swollen he looked like Popeye! 
  • Rachael left for CA for a week on a school trip...I guess this is the start of empty nest syndrome. Though she's only been gone for 4 days I miss her smiling face each day. 
  • Went out to dinner with a few friends to celebrate another friend's 40th birthday. We all chipped in to get her a gift certificate to make her own wine at a local shop. She LOVED it and is already contemplating what to name her own varietal! 
  • I saw Fleetwood Mac, one of my all time favorite bands and had a blast! Here is a video of them doing Tusk 
  • Mom arrived yesterday from FL for a week so I'm having about 25 family members here tonight to stop by for a get together. We don't get to see each other often and I love hanging out with my aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews; they're so much fun. AND my youngest cousin in Michigan, Jennifer Anderson is graduating tonight and receiving her Doctorate in Reading Education...CONGRATULATIONS JENNY We're all so proud of you! <3 

I can't believe I've been doing this blog for 2 years already, time certainly does fly by when you're having fun! It was a busy year filled with a lot of fun and exciting things both here on the blog, as well as on the home front. THANK YOU for tuning into CEK each day (all 183 countries of you!). Your daily comments and support are truly appreciated more than you'll ever know. I look forward to inviting you into my kitchen for another year of my daily kitchen experiments! 

I mentioned earlier this week that I have created over 650 new recipes since I first started this blog, so I thought I'd share the All-Time Top 10 Most Viewed Recipes in order of least to most viewed: 

Top 10 All-Time Most Viewed Recipes

#10. Originally posted January 2012, these Corn and Cheddar Mashed Potato Fritters were a huge hit.  And it's no wonder, no matter how much you make, there always seems to be leftover mashed potatoes and corn! 

#9.  Here is another recipe I posted back in January 2012 for Basil, Leek & Asiago Risotto. Absolutely creamy and delicious, but as you can see my photography skills weren't that stellar on this one. 

#8. Now this recipe for Chicken in a Lemon Butter Sauce was recently created this past February and it's gained quick popularity. I originally made this for my Aunt Renee to try after she told me the restaurant where she used to order it from in MI no longer was making it. Her and my Uncle Rich LOVE this dish! In fact, she told me she makes it several times a month and is her new favorite go-to recipe!  :) In fact, I'm making this tonight for the rest of my family to try as well. 

#7. In April 2012, I created this Black Bean and Corn Salad and it was FANTASTIC! The month before, I also got that pitcher in the background to hold some Red Apple it!

#6. September 2012 I started using my new kitchen in full-force and created this Chicken Balsamico. Still one of our favorites and I have made it twice already (which says a lot since I generally don't make repeat dinners!) 

#5. This oldie from December 2011 for Homemade Kahlua was very popular, especially around the holidays. What's nice about this recipe is that it can be made in less than an hour and it makes a great hostess gift too! 

#4. These Balsamic Roasted Zucchini & Mushrooms were first posted back in May 2012 and I'm not surprised they are a reader favorite. Using fresh garden vegetables and only 5 ingredients, they are remarkable. 

#3. These Twice Baked Lime Sweet Potatoes were one of my favorites as well when I created them after a trip to FL in March 2012. There really isn't much to them, but the lime mixed with the potatoes really adds a refreshing flavor. 

#2. Fried Green Cherry Tomatoes with Avocado Ranch Dipping Sauce was originally created at the end of last summer, using fresh garden tomato crops. The green tomatoes come from tomatoes that haven't fully ripened yet into that vibrant red color and were picked from the vine. I'm not sure if you can purchase them this way; however, if you check with your local farmers market, they may be able to provide you with them if there is a specific request. 

And the #1 Most Viewed Recipe was...

Copycat "Panera" Chicken and Wild Rice Soup which was created back in November 2011. I don't think this is a shocker. Those that follow CEK regularly know I do share this recipe frequently throughout the year as this is the ONLY recipe that I've made numerous times. It's Gab's favorite and our go-to soup on those cold, wintery nights. 

Were there any surprises? Did you have a favorite recipe that wasn't listed? 
Well now's your chance to let everyone know! 

And now for the Giveaway...
To celebrate my 2 year anniversary and thank you for reading, I will be giving away copies of my cookbook to 10 lucky readers! All you have to do is enter the Rafflecopter entry form below. Please leave a mandatory comment stating which recipe you can't wait to try or list one that you have tried and loved most on my blog. That's it! You can also view a sample of what's inside under the Cookbook Tab at the top of this page. In order to be fair to the many loyal readers within and outside of the U.S., I will be giving away the following as: 
  • Five signed copies of my soft cover cookbook, Carrie's Experimental Kitchen to U.S residents
  • Five eBook copies of my cookbook Carrie's Experimental Kitchen to non U.S residents 

*Contest valid 4/26/13-5/2/13. Winners randomly selected by and will be notified on 5/3/13 and will have 48 hours to respond with their contact information or another winner will be selected. Contest is open to all residents; however, prize awarded is based on your city of origin. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Bring Your Child to Work Day and How You Can Help Support Your Favorite Food Bloggers

Today is Bring Your Child to Work Day. This is a wonderful opportunity for children ages 8-18 to see what it is we as adults do each day and find a possible career path for themselves. Whether it be working in an office, working in the great outdoors or even writing your own food blog; teaching our children by being a positive role model with a good work ethic is important for them to succeed in their future. My older daughter had the opportunity to work at my husband's office last summer and though she really loved the people, she realized that working in an office environment wasn't something she would like to do as a career path. She will be a senior in high school next year and is currently researching colleges that would allow her to follow her love of sports and continue on her academic path as an Athletic Trainer. 

So today, I'm "bringing" my youngest daughter Gabrielle to work with me. Well, sort of! To start, I thought I'd share a little bit about what it takes to be a food blogger as I'm sure many of you do not realize how many hours go into writing just one post. Most bloggers are generally operated by one person doing the following tasks and still manage to run a household or work outside of the home.....multitasking at it's best!
  • Researcher
  • Recipe creator
  • Shopper
  • Cook
  • Recipe Tester
  • Dishwasher
  • Photographer
  • Food Styling
  • Prop Styling
  • Photo Editor
  • Managing Editor
  • Writer
  • Editor
  • Marketer
  • Publicist
  • Accountant
  • Information Technology
You know how I'm always saying how easy it is to create a restaurant quality meal at home? Well my daughter Gabrielle is proof! Not only did she come up with this recipe idea, she prepared it, wrote the post and helped photograph some of the pictures. AND, this was last summer when she was only 10...see I told you it was easy! I'll have to ask her create another recipe for the blog again soon as she really has some great ideas of her own. Click on the link under the picture to see Gabrielle's recipe for Homemade Gnocchi with Sausage Bolognese....

Homemade Gnocchi with Sausage Bolognese

On another note...

How you can help support your favorite food bloggers:

If you see a facebook group or website that posts my photos and writing onto his or her page instead of linking to Carrie's Experimental Kitchen directly, they are in violation of both the Federal DMCA Act and Copyright Law. The reason why this is bad is because it costs a great deal of money to operate Carrie's Experimental Kitchen and other websites where content is illegally taken from. When people take content that others have written and developed and put it on their sites, it makes it harder for those offering the content to pay for services that they provide free of charge to you. Hours, sometimes days, are put into creating one post, that all the offender’s do is copy and paste in order to drive traffic to and  promote their site and/or facebook page. Once our content is stolen, we are also penalized for having duplicate content on the internet, and our recipes receive lower priority in search engines as well.
Often when this happens, it isn’t meant as a violation of a federal law and is just someone who wants to share a recipe that they really liked. But sometimes, this is done by people and even companies who repeatedly copy and paste content from those who have worked hard to develop it, willingly and knowingly.
Often, these people say “You can’t copyright recipes”.  While you can’t copyright a random list of ingredients, our writing (descriptions, introductions, instructions, etc) and photographs are copyrighted – and each post represents hours of work that these folks steal in under a minute and use as a platform to build their sites on.
However,  just about everyone reading this who shares recipes do so with no malicious intent, and bloggers realize that. This is intended for those who willingly violate federal law despite having received complaints, and having been reported, by knowingly and repeatedly stealing content from sites to place on their own.
If you see a site or facebook page with repeated complaints, a blogger who has to build new sites because their old ones are taken down, these are clues that such sites and pages are being run by repeat offenders who fully understand that what they are doing is illegal. A lot of people don’t realize that the websites we enjoy free of charge cost a great deal of money to operate. These sites and pages that run primarily off of stealing content from other sites take all food bloggers one step closer to not being able to afford to continue.
It’s easy for us to share a recipe. While photos are copyrighted, all of the bloggers I know welcome sharing photos as long as a link to the recipe is given to the recipe rather than the entire recipe reposted. See my example below where I use a photo from another blog:
I love Stacey Little’s Sweet Cornbread Muffins! Here is a link if you want to check out the recipe!
Thank you so much for helping all of the bloggers who provide free sites around the web for all of us to enjoy and a special thanks to all of the Carrie's Experimental Kitchen friends who have made me aware of this growing problem. Without all of you, there wouldn’t be a Carrie's Experimental Kitchen!
*A special thank you to Southern Plate for creating this document for fellow food bloggers to share. If you are a food blogger who would like to repost the above statement, changing out your url for Carrie's Experimental Kitchen, please feel free to do so. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Mediterranean Tomato, Mozzarella and Celery Salad

Today is National Picnic Day. I can't tell you the last time I went on a picnic. We used to go often earlier on in our marriage and when the kids were small, but as they got older, it became harder and harder to do impromptu things like that on the weekends. Now our picnics consist more of backyard/deck barbecues with family and friends, but no matter what the occasion, salads are always on the menu. They add such a nice variety to whatever it is your serving and many offer a healthier dining option to your guests as well. 

This Mediterranean Tomato, Mozzarella and Celery Salad is a twist on one of my favorites and I just love the "crunch" the crisp celery adds; not to mention the gorgeous color! 

 Mediterranean Tomato, Mozzarella and Celery Salad
8oz. Ciliegine Mozzarella
1 c. Sunburst Golden Tomatoes, halved
1 c. Cherub Tomatoes, halved
3 Stalks celery, washed and sliced
1 Lemon, juice only
3 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 tsp. Dried Oregano
1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
1/4 tsp. Fresh Ground Black Pepper

1. Mix all ingredients together until well blended. Makes 8-1/2 cup servings. 

*Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories 56, Carbs 2.7g, Fat 5.4g, Protein .4g, Fiber .7g, Sugar .4g 
*Calculations based on ingredients entered into Calorie Count and may not be 100% accurate.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Grilled Pork Chops with Lime and Cilantro (Family Favorites)

Did you know that I have created and shared over 650 new recipes since I started this blog? In fact, this coming Saturday will be CEK's 2 year blogging anniversary! Many of the original recipes are no longer on the site, but you can find them in my cookbook available at many online retailers like Amazon, and IndieBound

The funny thing is that since I created all of these recipes, there are only a handful of them that I've made since. I know you might find that hard to believe that someone can have that much of a variety in their meal planning, but YES my family can attest to the fact that I've made something new almost every day for the last 2 years! They like my experiments and the first thing they do when they come home is look to see what I've made next; though sometimes they just crave a burger and fries or take-out pizza. It's all good. :)

So I decided that I would go back to the early days of CEK and pull out some of my family's favorite recipes from the cookbook, make them again and share the recipe with you each week in a new segment called 'Family Favorites'.  I will also include the Nutritional Information since these were not included in the book. 

For today's post, I decided to share the first recipe I ever published here on the blog for Grilled Pork Chops with Lime and Cilantro. I didn't even photograph it the first time and that's a good thing (my early photo skills were horrific!). I just love this recipe. The brining keeps this lean cut of meat moist and tender, and the lime and cilantro add an extra layer of freshness. Besides, it reminds me that summer is on its way! 

Grilled Pork Chops with Lime and Cilantro
4-4oz Boneless Pork Chops
3/4 Cup Water
2 Tbsp. Granulated Sugar
2 Tbsp. Kosher Salt
1 Tbsp. Fresh Cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp. Fresh Lime Rind, grated
Juice from 1/2 lime
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 tsp. Fresh Ground Black Pepper

1. In a small bowl, mix water, sugar, and salt until it dissolves. 
2. Add cilantro, lime zest and juice, garlic powder, and pepper, and whisk together until well blended. 
3. Trim any visible fat from your pork chop; then tenderize the chop using a meat mallet or the bottom of a glass. 
4. Add the pork chops and the marinade to a resealable plastic bag, and refrigerate no more than 2 hours. 
5. Remove the meat from the bag, discard the marinade; then grill the pork chops until the proper internal temperature is reached. (It all depends on the thickness of your chop and how you and your family prefer to eat it). Serves 4. 

*Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories 214, Carbs 9.1g, Fat 8g, Protein 24.5g, Fiber .8g, Sugar 7g 
*Calculations based on ingredients entered into Calorie Count and may not be 100% accurate. This recipe factors in all of the above bringing ingredients. Actuals may be significantly less as all of the marinade gets discarded and is not consumed. 

*Suggested Sides: Brown or White Rice with Baby Carrots in a Honey Lime Butter  

*For all of the main entrees in the cookbook, I also suggest side dishes that I've created that go along well with each recipe to help with your family meal planning.


Friday, April 19, 2013

A Week in Review (April 12-18, 2013)

Since Friday is generally a "light" viewing day here on the blog, I thought I'd share some of the things that happen in my week that I post on Facebook and Instagram that you might not catch if you don't follow me there. 

It was a very busy week here at the Farias house with the usual running around with the kids and keeping up with the house; however, for the last 13 days the hubby has been out of town on an international business trip to Australia, Singapore, China, and India. I don't mind it so much if it's during the week, but it certainly is more difficult when the trips take place over our weekends as well. The time change ranged anywhere from 9 1/2 to 14 hours ahead of NJ time; which certainly made it even more difficult to speak.  Especially when he wound up sick and had to visit a hospital in China...we think it was bad dumplings in Singapore where he was the day before since he got ill the last time he was there too! He's feeling better now, but understandably tired, and is glad he's on his way back home. 

On the homefront...
  • I found a hard lump on the top of my foot on Sunday morning, had an x-ray and saw a podiatrist. Now I have to go for an ultrasound and it looks like I have a fibroma cyst; which will need to be surgically removed...never a dull moment around here! 
  • I surprised a CEK reader with a copy of my cookbook after she won a contest for another giveaway I hosted and the book didn't make it there the first time (it's since been redelivered!). She had no idea it was coming and was THRILLED! I love surprising people, makes you feel good when there is so much bad in the world. 
  • Rachael has been driving more (still with her permit) and getting much better, though parking in a parking space still challenges her. Safety parking at it's best! 

Seen On Instagram...
  • It was time to get my annual eye exam and after 4 years, my prescription for reading glasses hadn't changed; though I just have to wear them more frequently. I did decide to update my specs to these pink, black and white ones though since our insurance covers them and it was time for a change. WDYT? 

  • We had our monthly Bunco and the theme was "Wiggin' Out.. or It"...I can't remember, but we all showed up donned in wigs. We're so silly! Here I am with some of the Bunco girls in the long black and red wig. 
  • This review on Goodreads brought a tear to my eye. I'm so glad I get to share my love of food with all of you each day and reading comments like this make it all worth while! <3

  • I experimented with some watermelon that had no flavor so no one was eating it and created this Cilantro Watermelon Limeade. The kids loved it as a refreshing drink and I threw a splash of rum in mine (you know, just to taste!) and made it as a frozen drink. Outdoor grilling season is approaching! Oh and I use Lightroom to edit all of my photos (which I had to scour over 300 of them to get 6 usable images!) Recipe to follow in the coming weeks.
  • Then there was the mysterious "ALCOHOL" delivery. The funny thing was that I was home. I must not have heard them knock on the door. Turns out it was wine, which was delivered as a gift to my husband from his friends at work for his birthday (wine of the month) and I forgot about it.  

And then there were the recipes...

Along with 10 foods that help slim you down when you're over me! 

Guest Post at Cupcakes & Kale Chips

And finally, the Giveaway Reminder...

If you haven't already, there are only 5 days left to enter to win this red KitchenAid Stand Mixer on the Spring Celebration Giveaway

Leave a comment below to tell me what's been going 
on in YOUR world this week and enjoy your weekend!