Devils on Horseback

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If you’re looking for the perfect party bite that everyone will love, look no further. These sweet, salty treats disappear almost immediately. The crunch of the bacon, the creamy filling of the date, no one will be able to resist (ok, maybe the vegetarians…).

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Valentine’s Chocolate Mousse

After recently watching Robert Irvine whip up a chocolate mousse on Chopped, I needed to experiment and make my own. I made one or two as a kid, but I had somehow tricked myself into believing that they were too difficult for me to make now, boy, was I wrong! This treat came together in just minutes, sat for the afternoon and was the perfect chocolate bite after dinner. These would be great for a dinner party when you want to make dessert ahead of time, as a chocolately delight for your Valentine or just for those nights when chocolate starts calling your name.finish

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Back to Basics: Homemade Chicken Stock

Ever wander through somewhere, pick up a certain smell and immediately find yourself lost in a sea of memories? You’re not alone. The human brain’s anatomy is designed to link your sense of smell to the parts of your brain linked with memory (Interesting read https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/brain-babble/201501/smells-ring-bells-how-smell-triggers-memories-and-emotions). For me, the smell of chicken stock immediately reminds me of winter at mom’s house. Mom makes some of the best chicken noodle soup out there and always makes her own chicken stock from scratch. The smell of it bubbling away brings me back to memories of slurping away at soup over dinner or the one time I ate 7 bowls of it in one sitting and instantly cured the bronchitis I had been suffering from. Knowing how to make your own stock will help you waste fewer food scraps, improve the depth of flavor in any dish you’re making, fill you with a sense of self-sufficiency and fill your home with some wonderful smells.finished

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Mini Pork Meatballs

For Christmas dinner at my mom’s house we tried something a little different this year and made a gorgeous fondue spread. We had tons of veggies, some great gluten-free focaccia to go with the cheese and beautiful duck breasts that my mom made a great bone broth to go with. We also tried to make these mini meatballs, and it’s not that we weren’t successful with them, it’s just that we ate them before they could make it to the plate…woops! I’m excited to share these easy, tasty mini meatballs. These meatballs can be tossed with a lovely tomato sauce, eaten by themselves, or, if you’re patient, dipped in your favorite fondue.

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Creamy Slow Cooker Tomato Basil Soup

We’re starting the new year with some freezing temps here in Denver. Today’s high is 1 whole degree-brr! That means soup time! I’m excited to share my creamy tomato basil soup with you. This is a wonderful set-it-and-forget-it soup. Made with beautiful San Marzano tomatoes and fresh herbs, this is an easy way to get your veggies in and enjoy a belly warming soup.

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Pork Chops and (Ugly) Pear Chutney

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I stood there aghast watching as the supermarket employee casually pulled up the nearest trash can and plucked pear after pear from the display and threw each one away. Just threw them away. Were they moldy? No. Were they recalled for a health reason? No. Their crime was that they were bruised. Not pretty enough. I couldn’t believe it. He must have thrown away 50 pears before I asked him if I could have a couple. “Sure,” he said, “but they’re ugly”. I told him that was precisely why I wanted them.

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Our food waste statistics in this country are staggering. Feeding America estimates that we waste approximately 70 billion pounds of food in America each year (http://www.feedingamerica.org/about-us/how-we-work/securing-meals/reducing-food-waste.html), and a recent report from UNEP and the World Resources Institute, estimates that “one-third of all food produced worldwide, worth around US$1 trillion, gets lost or wasted in food production and consumption systems. When this figure is converted to calories, this means that about 1 in 4 calories intended for consumption is never actually eaten” (http://www.worldfooddayusa.org/food_waste_the_facts).

So, what can we do? Start with education. Educate yourselves and your families about cooking, meal planning and how to use fresh foods. Save and reuse leftovers, and craft recipes like this one that use bruised or leftover foods from your fridge. Most importantly though, let’s all work together to craft a community of food consciousness. Let’s work together in our food banks this Thanksgiving, let’s get our hands dirty in the garden and let’s get cooking!

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