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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Carrot & Sage Soup

Do you eat in courses during your holiday meals? We certainly do! Mostly our day consists of the following courses: appetizers, soup or pasta, salad, main meal; then dessert and coffee. I say soup or pasta because we very rarely serve both; it's usually either one or the other. For Thanksgiving, I like to stick with something orange in know, just to be festive.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Pumpkin & Brie Mini Quiche

It's only 29 days until my favorite holiday...Thanksgiving! I know. It's not even Halloween yet, but if you haven't figured it out by now, I'm a huge planner. I love Thanksgiving. The smell of turkey roasting in the oven. The parade Thanksgiving morning. The pumpkin...usually my only excuse to eat pumpkin pie during the year since no one really likes it except for my oldest daughter and I!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Better It With Benefiber Cook-Off and a Giveaway!

This post was sponsored by Benefiber®. The opinions expressed are my own based on my experience.

When a representative from Benefiber® contacted me to see if I would be interested in a friendly cook-off with two other chefs utilizing the fiber additive in breakfast dishes to be held in the pedestrian walkway of Herald Square in NYC (right outside of Macy's), I was thrilled. Myself, along with fellow food blogger Susan from Girl in the Little Red Kitchen and Justin Mazzola, a NYC restaurant chef, were to create three recipes and incorporate Benefiber into our sample plates that were going to be evaluated by three judges; who unbeknownst to me at the time were Top Chef: All Stars winner Richard Blais, Krysta Rodriguez, who plays Casey in the Broadway musical First Date; and Elisa Zied, registered dietitian, author, and freelance food and nutrition writer. 

Here is how the day went...

4:30am I woke up and got ready for a 5:30am ride into the city. We had to be there by 7am and even though I only live 45 minutes outside of the city, drive on Rte. 3 after 6am and it is bumper to bumper traffic! Thankfully we sailed into the city with no problems and I arrived by 6:15am. The event company was fast at work setting up and staging their area to hand out mini muffins to the people passing by. 

By 7:00am, Susan and Justin had also arrived and we started to set up our individual work spaces. We were each given two helpers who couldn't do enough for us. Meet Katie and Hassan...Go Team Carrie! :)

And here I am with my two friendly competitors, Susan and Justin.

8:00am Our stations were set up and we we were all ready to go. I would be making three dishes for the judges and placing samples of each of the recipes on one plate. 
  1. Cream of Wheat with Tofu, Bananas, Walnuts & Maple Syrup
  2. Caprese Egg White Omelette
  3. Spinach & Scallion Egg Sandwich on an English Muffin

Here is Richard asking me what I was going to be making and complimented me on my clean work area and organizational skills...and for those that don't know me personally, it's just how I roll. ;)

Ok...REALLY bad picture alert coming up next! (I think that the 4:30am wake up call didn't do any wonders for the bags under my eyes). Anyway...Benefiber® was SO easy to add to my dishes. I added Benefiber to the milk while heating it up for the Cream of Wheat®, and I whisked it into the eggs and scrambled them with a fork before cooking. The superfine powder dissolved easily and wasn't gritty at all. If you aren't getting enough fiber naturally through the foods you are eating, try adding Benefiber to your everyday recipes. By 9:20am, all three of my dishes were ready to go into the warming box waiting to be presented to the judges. 

Then I heard a familiar voice as a man worked his way behind the work tables with a microphone. Greg T the Frat Boy from Z100's Elvis Duran and the Morning Show had worked his way in behind our workspaces to cover the story. If you're not familiar with the station, they play Top 40 music and with one teenager and one preteen in the house, the radio is no longer mine when they're around and this is their station of choice. This one is for my girls; who were very jealous btw.

Now for the moment of truth. The judges sampled all three of our dishes, loved each and every one of them and they were ready to announce the winner.  And the winner is....Carrie Farias! I WON! I couldn't believe it.

My dishes were much simpler than my competitors and I was questioning myself the entire time. Maybe I should have been more elaborate or creative. But simple, easy to recreate at home recipes is what I'm about here at Carrie's Experimental Kitchen so I went with what I know. Good food is good food, no matter how simple it is to make.

Thank you to everyone involved in the days' events including Tessa, Michael, and Ally from the PR and Event Companies; as well as the many workers that helped put this successful event together. It was a really fun day and a great experience!

And now the Giveaway....

Not only did I win, but I also received a lovely basket with Sur La Table kitchen utensils, Richard Blais' new cookbook Try This At Home, and a $100 Gift Certificate to Sur La Table; which as much as I love to shop for kitchen gadgets...I love you guys more!

Enter the giveaway through the Rafflecopter below and tell me what food or drink will you be adding Benefiber to and you can go shopping for YOUR favorite kitchen gadgets!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck! 

*Contest valid 10/29/13-11/3/13 to U.S. RESIDENTS ONLY. Winner will be notified by 11/04/13 and will have 48 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within that time frame, another winner will be selected. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Chocolate Carrot Bundt Cake

So technically, this Chocolate Carrot Bundt Cake is a quickbread; however, I was being lazy and decided to pour all of the batter into one pan. I also had a TON of carrots to use up. I usually never have a lot of carrots on hand, but I forgot I had already purchased a bag when I was food shopping then bought another one. I used the base recipe for my Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread and this really came out well. The kids liked it, but said they would have preferred it better if I added some mini chocolate chips to it. Maybe I will next time and make muffins out of these instead!

Chocolate Carrot Bundt Cake
Prep Time: 15 minutes    Cook Time: 50-60 minutes    Yield: 16 slices

  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 2 c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 c. Canola Oil
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 3 1/2 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/4 c. Cocoa Powder
  • 3 c. Grated Carrots
  • Cooking Spray
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until well blended; then whisk in the oil and vanilla extract. 
  3. In a separate small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt. baking and cocoa powder. Stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture with a spoon. 
  4. Next, mix in the grated carrots until they are well blended. 
  5. Spray a bundt pan with cooking spray and pour in the mixture. Bake for 50-60 minutes until the top springs back when touched or a toothpick comes out clean when inserted. Let cool before slicing. 

Nutrition Facts per Half
Calories 318, Carbs 47.6g, Fat 13.4g, Protein 3.8g, Fiber 2.2g, Sugar 26g
*Calculations based on ingredients entered into Calorie Count and may not be 100% accurate. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Recipe ReRun: Asiago & Basil Red Bliss Potato Croquettes & Better It With Benefiber Cook-Off Event

Today I'm sharing another Recipe ReRun with you for these Asiago & Basil Red Bliss Potato Croquettes for a few reasons.

1. They're FANTASTIC and need to be repeated for all those new to CEK! I originally posted these in March 2012 as I had some leftover mashed potatoes and was looking for a new way to utilize them. They were baked, not fried, so they are a little healthier and the flavor combination of Asiago and Basil was phenomenal.

2. The last few days have been quite hectic for me and I haven't had the time to write up a new post. Sorry. I do have quite a few recipes to share with you and I've been coming up with some new experiments for Thanksgiving so look for those in the coming weeks.

3. And lastly...tomorrow, Thursday, October 24, 2013 I will be in Herald Square in NYC participating in the Better it with Benefiber Cook-Off from 8am-10am! I was selected, along with two other food bloggers, to make breakfast utilizing Benefiber in our recipes for Top Chef Contestant judges. It's going to be so much fun so be on the lookout for some pictures on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well as a post with the highlights. And if you live in the area, stop by to say hello!

Enjoy the recipe and I'll see you all back here on Monday!

**The winner of the Jolie Ravioli Giveaway was chosen. Did you win?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"Turn Up the Heat" Deviled Eggs

The term "deviled" when referring to food, was first used in the 18th century. And in the 19th century, it was commonly associated with spicy food; including eggs prepared with mustard, pepper or other ingredients stuffed in the yolk cavity. Deviled Eggs were a highly popular appetizer or party food back in the 1970's when I was a young girl and we couldn't go to any family gathering without seeing them on the table. Now, I only tend to make them during our Easter celebration when I'm cooking my other eggs. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Favorite Pinterest Halloween Finds

If you've been following my blog for a few seasons, then you know that though I enjoy Halloween and Trick or Treating with the kids, I don't necessarily get into this holiday with food and decorations. So over the last month or so, I and some of my food blogging friends have been "Pinning" away on my Halloween Pinterest Board to find some fun things to share with all of you. 

Here are some of my favorites for those of you without a Pinterest account:
Happy Pumpkins (made with fruit) from Kiddie Foodies

Jack O' Burgers

Candy Corn Popsicles from Full Belly Sisters

Mummy Meatloaf from The Knead 4 Speed

Frankenstein Rice Krispie Treats

BandAid Strips from Katherine Marie's

Skeleton Crudite & Dip

Homemade Caramel Apples from Knead to Cook

Banana Ghosts and Clementine Pumpkins

For a complete list of all of my fun finds, check out my Halloween Pinterest Board!   

Did you know that Americans purchased 600 million pounds of candy last year for Halloween? According to an article in the Huffington Post, here are the Top 12 candy sellers. Which one is your favorite?  
1. Reeses
2. Starburst
3. 3 Musketeers
4. Nerds
5. Kit Kat
6. Bottle Caps
7. Twix 
8. Pop Rocks
9. Nestles Crunch
10. Skittles
11. Snickers
12. Butterfingers

If you find yourself with an excess of Halloween candy, check out Operation Gratitude. Operation Gratitude annually sends 100,000+ care packages filled with snacks, entertainment items and personal letters of appreciation addressed to individually named U.S. Service Members deployed in hostile regions, to their children left behind and to Veterans, First Responders, Wounded Warriors and their Care Givers. Each year, they work with dentist offices around the country to collect unwanted, extra candy and ship them to our service men and women. Visit for participating dentists in your area!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Seafood Frenzy Friday #60

As a reminder I'm no longer posting my Seafood Frenzy Friday's here on the blog. BUT, you can follow along all day on my Facebook page or on my Seafood Frenzy Friday Pinterest Board where I'll be sharing the latest and greatest seafood recipes from some of my blogging friends. I get so many more entries this way for you to get your seafood inspiration!

Thank you for stopping by my kitchen this week and
WELCOME to all of my newest followers.
If you missed any of this weeks' posts, you can find them here: 

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins

As I mentioned last week, I love pumpkin and this cooler weather makes me crave it even more. I have a really bad tea drinking problem. Well, not necessarily a problem per se, but I do drink it ALL...DAY...LONG whether it's tea with skim milk or just a plain Green Tea. It helps keep me going throughout the day. One of my frequent stops is a local Dunkin' Donuts drive through to get my daily fix when I'm on the road. Lately, if I have the kids in the car, they want the sweet stuff. Most of the time, its a "NO", but every once in a while I give in and their favorite choices are either Pumpkin Munchkins or a Pumpkin Muffin.

So the other day I surprised them with my own homemade version of a Pumpkin Muffin and there were THRILLED. Though these are a bit smaller than the portion size at Dunkin' Donuts, they were very filling and one was plenty...and it satisfied a few chocolate cravings as well. For those of you keeping track of the nutritional analysis, here is the breakdown between the two muffins*:

CEK 223; DD 600
CEK 9.8g; DD 26g. 
CEK 33.1g; DD 83g. 
CEK 2.2g; DD 3g. 
CEK 18.7g; DD 44g
CEK 2.4g; 7g. 

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins
Prep Time: 15 minutes              Yield: 18 muffins
Cook Time: 15 minutes             Serving Size: 1 muffin
Total Time: 30 minutes
  • 1 c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1/2 c. Canola Oil
  • 2 tbsp. 2% Milk
  • 15oz. Pureed Pumpkin
  • 2 1/2 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1 c. Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • Cooking Spray, if needed
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. In large bowl, whisk together the sugar, egg, oil, milk and pumpkin until well blended. 
  3. In a separate smaller bowl, combine the flour baking soda and salt. Add it to the liquid mixture and mix together with a spoon; then fold in the chocolate chips. 
  4. Line (or grease) a standard size muffin tin with cupcake liners and fill each cup three-quarters of the way to the top. 
  5. Bake for 15-18 minutes until the top springs back when touched. Remove from oven and let cool. 

Nutrition Facts per Serving
Calories 223, Carbs 33.1g, Fat 9.8g, Protein 2.4g, Fiber 2.2g, Sugar 18.7g
*Calculations based on ingredients entered into Calorie Count and may not be 100% accurate. 

*Nutritional information for Dunkin' Donuts Pumpkin Muffin provided by LiveStrong.com

Shared at Carole's Chatter 11/24/13

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Product Review: Jolie Ravioli & a Giveaway

This is a sponsored post. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Let me start by saying that THIS is what my almost twelve year old daughter did to her ravioli recently while dining out. Yes. She made her ravioli into a PacMan shape. Has she ever played PacMan? I doubt it, but she wanted her food to have a fun shape nonetheless. 

So when the New York Ravioli & Pasta Company asked me to review their line of kid-friendly ravioli called Jolie Ravioli, how could I refuse. It's true, both of my children are no longer in the toddler stage; however, as you can see above, they still insist on making their food fun. Jolie Ravioli comes in four flavors: Cheese, Mac & Cheezy, Pizza-roli's and Cheese & Broccoli and are 100% Natural. They contain no trans fats, preservatives, artificial colors, additives and are an excellent source of protein, iron and calcium. Each 12oz. package features six fun shapes: teddy bears, cars, dinosaurs, hearts, rocket ships and stars, which is sure to please any picky food critic!  


About the Company
New York's Little Italy was founded by people with a dream and a belief in hard work, family and tradition. New York Ravioli & Pasta Co. carries on that dream and brings it right to your home. Dave & Paul grew up in a part of New York where Sunday dinner was when families gathered around the table to talk, laugh and share a delicious home-cooked meal. During their college years the two began dreaming of starting a company to create gourmet pasta that every family could enjoy. They had no idea where that dream would lead them. After college, armed with only great ideas and a willingness to work hard, Dave & Paul began to develop recipes for a unique line of pasta products. And that's how New York Ravioli & Pasta Co. was born. Dave, Paul and the entire New York Ravioli family are proud to share with you the highest quality gourmet ravioli available. 

You can serve Jolie Ravioli with your favorite sauce or top them with butter and Parmesan cheese; which is how my kids used to eat all types of pasta when they were younger. If you're entertaining for the holidays, try dipping the cooked ravioli first in flour, then egg wash then breadcrumbs and fry them for a tasty, fun shaped appetizer the kids will love!

Each 12oz. bag contains approximately 28-30 ravioli (2.5 servings per bag) and can be found at the following retail stores* or online

My kids loved these ravioli and I like that they are all natural and made locally (about an hour away in NY). They were even featured in the September 2011 issue of Rachael Ray Magazine and voted the ravioli 'Best for Kids'.  For my family, our favorite was a toss up between the Cheese and the Cheese & Broccoli flavor. If you would like to try these tasty and fun ravioli for yourself, Jolie Ravioli has agreed to give one lucky winner a chance to win 4 Packages of Jolie Ravioli by entering through Rafflecopter below. 

Good luck and look for Jolie Ravioli on Facebook and Twitter too! 

*Download Jolie Ravioli Coupon to use towards your first purchase. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Rosemary & Goat Cheese Mac n' Cheese

Sometimes all it takes is just a small taste of something and my mind starts wandering with all of the different combinations of food I could possibly make. Such is the case with this Rosemary & Goat Cheese Mac n' Cheese.

I attended a small gathering recently to celebrate a close family friends' 75th birthday. At the party, which was hosted by his son and daughter in law, they had figs topped with goat cheese, rosemary and a jam (I can't remember what it was, but think it might have been apple) as one of the appetizers. They were amazing! I just loved the flavor combination and knew it would make a wonderful mixture in some other of our favorite dishes as well. first attempt was a success! Everyone loved this Mac n' Cheese variation, even my 11 year old. She can't wait to try my new experiments when she gets home from school and we have a deal that I don't share what's inside the dish until she tries it. Even she was pleasantly surprised that it contained Goat cheese (which she never wanted to try before), but mixed with the cream cheese and rosemary, it was very subtle, yet rich and filling. If you want to impress your family and friends, you can make this as a main entree or as a side dish. It would also make an elegant addition to a buffet selection during the upcoming holidays.

Rosemary & Goat Cheese Mac n' Cheese
Prep Time: 15 minutes  Cook Time: 15 minutes  Total Time: 30 minutes  Servings: 8
  • 14.5oz. Box Multigrain Macaroni
  • 4 tbsp. Butter
  • 2 tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 c. Milk (I used 2%)
  • 8oz. Cream Cheese
  • 3.5oz. Crumbled Goat Cheese (I used Alouette)
  • 1 tbsp. Fresh Rosemary, chopped
  • 1 c. Italian Flavored Breadcrumbs
  • Kosher Salt, to taste
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
  2. Cook pasta according to package instructions until al dente; then drain and place back in the pot. 
  3. While the pasta is cooking, melt 2 tbsp. of butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; then whisk in the flour forming a roux. 
  4. Gradually whisk in the milk until the roux has broken up and there are no lumps. 
  5. Next, add the cream cheese, goat cheese and rosemary. Keep whisking until the cheese has completely melted and the sauce is creamy. 
  6. Add the sauce to the cooked macaroni and mix well; then place in an oven safe baking dish (8"x8"). 
  7. Place the breadcrumbs in a small bowl; then melt the remaining 2 tbsp. butter (either in the microwave or a small pan). Add the butter to the breadcrumbs, mix together and sprinkle on top of the macaroni.
  8. Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until the breadcrumbs are lightly brown and the macaroni is bubbly. 

Nutrition Facts 
Calories 465, Carbs 51.7g, Fat 21.4g, Protein 17.9g, Fiber 4.9g, Sugar 4.1g
*Calculations based on ingredients entered into Calorie Count and may not be 100% accurate. 

Rosemary & Goat Cheese Mac n' Cheese Shopping List