Tuesday, December 29, 2009

An early Christmas present to me is hosting the Blogger Secret Ingredient for Week 62! Thanks to Julie for passing the duties! Since I am sure we have all been eating A LOT of yummy treats I figured that a more savory ingredient would be fun. I am also extending this one more week- everyone was so busy with the holidays that I only got a few recipes.

Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic Vinegar can be used for so many things- salad dressing, sauces, a glaze and the list goes on and on!

In case you’re not familiar with BSI here are the details:

The rules:

  1. The host picks an ingredient, preferably one that is in season, readily available, and not too expensive.
  2. The host links back to all the other previous weekly hosts.
  3. Participants create a unique recipe using the BSI and e-mail the host with their recipes.
  4. You do not have to have a food blog to participate, and you do not have to submit a photograph (although it is preferred).
  5. If you don’t have a blog, you can submit your recipe to the host, and she will post your recipe for you on her blog.
  6. The host reviews the recipe submissions by Sunday night of each week.
  7. The hosts pick a recipe that is her favorite.
  8. The host posts the winner Monday morning and sends the winner a token prize of her choosing.

Here is a list of all the past hosts of BSI. There are some delicious recipes on these sites:

Week 61: Peanutbutterfingers- Nutmeg

Week 60: Jenn Eats Nutritiously Now – Garlic

Week 59: homecookedem—Cinnamon

Week 58: The Balance Broad – Flax

Week 57:  CookinFanatic – Bleu Cheese

Week 56:  Foodie In the City – Ricotta Cheese

Week 55: Savvy Eats- Maple Syrup

Week 54: Sound Eats – Dried Fruit

Week 53: MegaNerdRuns – Acorn Squash

Week 52: Healthy Tipping Point – Pancake Mix

Week 51: Live, Laugh Eat – Almond Butter

Week 50: Balance, Joy and Delicias! – Cauliflower

Week 49: Healthy San Diego Living – Chickpeas

Week 48: Thought 4 Food – Yogurt

Week 47: London Foodie in New York – Chocolate

Week 46: Johnstone’s Vin Blanc – Oats

Week 45: Guilty Kitchen – Figs

Week 44: Ordinary Recipes Made Gourmet – Peanut Butter

Week 43: The Sophisticated Gourmet – Brown Sugar

Week 42: My Kitchen Addiction – Lime

Week 41: Nutmeg Nanny – Coffee

Week 40: Chaya’s Comfy Cook – Broccoli

Week 39: Healthy Delicious – Plums

Week 38: Zoe – Feta

Week 37: ChezWhat- Potatoes

Week 36: Cinnamon, Spice & Everything Nice – Blueberries

Week 35: Girlichef -Greens

Week 34: The Ungourmet – Watermelon

Week 33: Bread + Butter – Bell Pepper

Week 32: Burp and Slurp -Corn

Week 31: Say Yes to Salad – Kabocha

Week 31 1/2: Simply Fabulous Now– Cherries

Week 30: Thinspired – Bananas

Week 29: To Be The Whole Package – Almonds

Week 28: Kristas Kravings – Lemon

Week 27: From French Fries To Flax Seeds – Coconut

Week 26: Plentiful Plants – Avocado

Week 25: Training Fuel – Eggs

Week 24: Dinner at Christina’s – Cabbage

Week 23: Hey What’s for Dinner, Mom? – Strawberries

Week 22: One Bite at a Time – Basil

Week 21:  Just Sweet Enough – Black Beans

Week 20: What I Ate Yesterday – Kale

Week 19: What’s for Dinner – Orange

Week 18: Bran Appetit!–Spinach

Week 17: Tales of Expansion -Dates

Week 16: Biggest Diabetic Loser – Zucchini

Week 15: Sweet & Natural –Peppermint

Week 14: bella eats [and runs] – Ginger

Week 13: Coffee Talk – Walnuts

Week 12: For the Love of Oats – Pumpkin

Week 11: Trying to Heal – Sweet Potatoes

Week 10: The Inner Workings of a College Graduate – Eggplant

Week 9: Itzy’s Kitchen – Pears

Week 8: The Fitnessista – Cranberries

Week 7: Tri to Cook – Lentils

Week 6: Rhodey Girl Tests – Polenta

Week 5: Eating Bender – Butternut Squash

Week 4: Care to Eat – Apples

Week 3: On a Lobster Placemat – Mushrooms

Week 2: Hangry Pants – Tomatoes

Week 1: sportsnutritionliving – Quinoa

  • Please e-mail  me (mellissa@afitandspicylife.com) when you post your BSI recipe on your blog. If you don’t have a blog, send me your recipe and a picture if you took one.
  • You have until Sunday, December 27 at 10p.m. CST to enter
  • Recipes will be posted on Monday morning along with the winner.
  • Please email me (mellissa@afitandspicylife.com) if you’re interested in hosting BSI next week.

I will select the winner Sunday night and post the winner Monday morning. The winner will receive a surprise gift. I am so excited to see what everyone comes up with!


Hells Kitchen in Minneapolis

December 29, 2009

We knew we needed a very hearty breakfast to cure us from our very late night and Hells Kitchen was at the top of our list of places to try. Normally you MUST have reservations for the Sunday Gospel Brunch but since it was a holiday weekend it wasn’t quite as busy as it usually is. We only had to wait 15 minutes for a table for 3 (Pete had to work). We definitely had bigger eyes than our stomachs because we ordered way too much food but every bite was seriously amazing. We started with the (descriptions from their menu)

Caramel-Pecan Roll – A warm, melt-in-your-mouth 1/4 pound caramel cinnamon roll topped with roasted, salted pecans and a rich, homemade caramel sauce.


Toasted Sausage Bread – Yes we know, the name does
sound strange, but trust us, this is a deliciously dense bread made with
our own homemade bison sausage, toasted walnuts, black currants, black
love it enough to order an entire loaf to take home!


Mahnomin Porridge – Native-harvested, hand-parched wild rice from the
Leech Lake Band of Ojibway. Served warm with roasted hazelnuts, dried blueberries, sweetened cranberries, heavy cream and pure maple syrup.


For my main entree I tried something new, I know it is strange that I have never had corned beef hash before but I did really enjoy it. Corned Beef Hash – Hand pulled, house-cured corned beef brisket with sautéed banana fingerling potatoes, sweet onions and crisp celery. Served with 2 eggs, toast & side of fresh fruit.


We left Hells Kitchen stuffed to the max but it was one of the best breakfasts I have ever had! They have a cookbook that I am seriously thinking about going to get to add to my huge collection.



December 29, 2009

It has been months since I had a bowl of oatmeal and was really craving it on this very cold morning. I mixed 1/3 cup of Steel Cut Oats and 1 1/4 cups of water last night and let it sit overnight in the fridge. I microwaved when I got to work this morning and added brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a few pieces of a very ripe banana.  I am much warmer now the help of my Tazo Awake Tea.

I am hoping that this day goes very fast- 3 days left including today!