Opal Apples at Broetje Orchards - Washington State from KatiesCucina.com

Back in September, I had the opportunity to travel to Washington State to learn all about apples. Not just any apples. Apples grown at Broetje Family Orchards owners of  First Fruits; specifically the Opal® brand apple (among all the other varieties the family grows). I was accompanied by Kevin from Closet Cooking, Lindsay and Bjork from Pinch of Yum, and my dear friend Leslie from The Hungry Housewife.

Broetje Orchards - Washington State from KatiesCucina.com

In just three short days, during my visit to Prescott Washington, we toured some of the 6,000+ acre farm the Broetje family owns. We learned the story of how the orchard came to life first hand from Ralph and Cheryl Broetje. Ralph and Cheryl are amazing entrepreneurs, philanthropist, and all-around humble and caring people.

Ralph Broetje

(Founder, Ralph Broetje pictured above)

“Broetje Orchards was founded by Ralph and Cheryl Broetje in 1967 and has grown to become one of the largest privately owned and operated orchards in the country.  Based on the founding dream to help those in need, and a servant leadership philosophy to empower others, 50% of profits are invested annually to further our mission of “bearing fruit that will last.”  One of the most recent ventures, Ralph and Cheryl have gotten into is a new variety of apple!

Broetje Orchards Opal Apple

(compliments to my lovely hand model, Leslie from The Hungry Housewife)

The Opal® apple was discovered in Europe in 1999. The Opal apple was bred naturally (meaning non-GMO). The non-browning characteristics in Opal were discovered by chance, when Topaz and Golden Delicious were cross-bred, creating Opal. Cross-breeding is a traditional and natural method for creating new varieties. Browning is caused by a specific enzyme in apples which cause apple flesh to discolor when exposed to oxygen. Opal has a naturally low occurrence of this enzyme, thus slowing the browning process when cut.

Opal Apples at Broetje Orchards - Washington State from KatiesCucina.com

In March of 2010, Opal® brand apple made its debut appearance in the United States grown exclusively by Ralph Broetje, Broetje Orchards in Washington State. Opal® Brand apple is being marketed and distributed exclusively in North America by FirstFruits Marketing of Washington.

Opal Apples at Broetje Orchards - Washington State from KatiesCucina.com

The Opal® brand apple variety has been praised for its bright yellow color accented with natural russeting at the stem, but is recognized above all for offering a distinctively crunchy texture and sweet and tangy flavor.  In addition to its great taste, Opal® apple doesn’t brown after slicing so it is perfect for snacking and lunches! Seriously, this apple is delicious. Its crisp and refreshing and best of all is low oxidizing, so it takes a while for it to brown!

I created a quick video from my trip to Broetje Orchards. It will give you an idea of how the apple process goes from start to finish. Unfortunately, Opal Apples were not in season when we were there, so you will see other varieties of apples in the packing facility.


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Food Blog Forum 2013 Recap via KatiesCucina.com

2 weekends ago I had the opportunity to attend my 3rd Food Blog Forum! Once again Walt Disney World hosted Food Blog Forum and wowed over 100 food bloggers with all of their magic. I wanted my recap out last week, but it just never happened and Food Blog Forum reassured me that life goes on even if you can’t get a blog post out every day. I also learned that I have to slow down. Life is to short to be running at thousand miles per minute. So I’m going to give you a different recap on Food Blog Forum this year. This recap will mainly be in pictures and I created a short video to help document the weekend!

I have to thank my good friend Julius for reminding me on Friday night about video. How is it that I always forget to create videos yet I am always wanting to make video content?

Food Blog Forum 2013 Recap via KatiesCucina.com

Amy from The Nifty Foodie,  Alicia of Alicia Carlson Photography,  and my husband and I spent Friday evening at Splitsville and then made a mad dash to The Magic Kingdom. Amy, my husband, and I rode Splash Mountain right before the park closed, and then as we walked out of the park caught the Electrical Light Parade. I haven’t seen that in years so it was a nice way to finish the evening!

Food Blog Forum 2013 Recap via KatiesCucina.com

The next morning it was time to learn, to reconnect, and remind ourselves what our goals are for our blogs! After listening to Jaden, Scott, and her boys talk about their life and how blogging has grown from a hobby to a business. They also reminded us to be authentic. This is something we hear a lot as food bloggers or bloggers in general. Be true to yourself.  Do that things that make you happy! Another big thing I took away from Jaden’s talk was to hire help. You can do more if you have the help to free up your time. I am running myself into the ground working a full time job, and maintaing two blogs. So I took Jaden’s advice and have recently hired help… and am slowly starting to find more time to create and of course spend time with those I love!

Food Blog Forum 2013 Recap via KatiesCucina.com

Next up, Todd & Diane. If you ever have a chance to listen to Todd & Diane speak… go! Run right away… they are the most inspirational and amazing couple I know. Their words and photographs can bring a room to tears. There videos… ahhh the amazing videos the two of them produce. I only dream to once day produce beautiful videos like the two of them do. It’s something I’m continuously trying to work on.

Food Blog Forum 2013 Recap via KatiesCucina.com

We can’t forget SWAG! Amazing sponsors like KitchenAidOXO,  Florida Dairy Farmers, Le Creuset, and so many more!

And of course we can’t forget to thank  Walt Disney World Resorts! I mean everyone went above and beyond for us!

Food Blog Forum 2013 Recap via KatiesCucina.com

Lunch was fanstastic. And as you might have seen in the video we had tons of amazing food! The menu was inspired to be gourmet food for kids–they hit it out of the ball park! I got to catch up with my friend MJ from The Merry Gourmet and I made new friends with Tricia from Once a Month Mom and Camille from A Girl, A Granny, & A Goal. It was great to talk about how we all started blogging and how our blogs evolved over the years.

Food Blog Forum 2013 Recap via KatiesCucina.com

We had a great session about technology and the ever changing blog landscape with Elise, Babette, and Eric followed by Grassroots Community building with Lindsey, David, Julie, and Jeff. Both sessions mind blowing as always and have your mind spinning in a million different directions!

Food Blog Forum 2013 Recap via KatiesCucina.com

Of course… I captured a few moments with friends new and old.

The Kitchen Prep | The Lemon Bowl | Love & Confections |  The Little Kitchen | A Spicy Perspective | Skinny Taste

Creative Kitchen | A Farm Girl Dabbles | Aggie’s Kitchen | Droolius

Food Blog Forum 2013 Recap via KatiesCucina.com

I skipped the dessert party that Saturday night to spend a much needed date night with my husband, Jon. We ventured to the Magic Kingdom without a plan (which kills me because I’m such a planner). We rode rides, indulged in a Dole Whip at 11pm during the fireworks and then rode more rides. My husband for the first time in his life rode Dumbo, the speedway, and the Goofy Barnstormer. Seriously? We live in Orlando–where has he been all his life. At least now he can check those off his list!

 

Food Blog Forum 2013 Recap via KatiesCucina.com

Brunch once again was held at Whole Foods Market Orlando. We stayed out way passed our bedtime and felt very hungover the next morning (although we did not drink an ounce of alcohol we were mainly just sleep deprived)! Whole Foods once again did a stellar job keeping our tastebuds tantalized!

Did you like this recap? Read my last two Food Blog Forum Recaps: Food Blog Forum 2011 | Food Blog Forum 2012.

Here are other recaps from Food Blog Forum 2013:


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{Video} Buttermilk Waffles w/ Blueberry Syrup and Freshly Whipped Cream from KatiesCucina.com

Who loves breakfast? ME!!! Two years ago I shared with you my favorite buttermilk waffle recipe. For years I had searched high in low for the holy grail of waffle recipes. This my friends is it. These are light and fluffy Belgium style waffles. And to make it even more decadent I top mine with a homemade blueberry syrup and freshly whipped cream. I mean come on… breakfast can’t get any better than this!

{Video} Buttermilk Waffles w/ Blueberry Syrup and Freshly Whipped Cream from KatiesCucina.com

I can’t remember when I first started making waffles. It really feels like years ago and well, it was. I think I was in  my early years of college living at home with my parents. I went to Kohls one day with my mom and decided to pick up a cheapy waffle maker. I want to say I spent $20 max. Both my boyfriend, now husband, and my mom thought I was crazy. They figured it was another countertop appliance that would maybe get used a handful of times. Boy were they wrong. I used that cheap waffle maker at least once a week and no one complained in my house at the tasty waffles I was producing. Although now thinking back, they were hard and dense. Nothing like my buttermilk waffle recipe I use now.


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Fondue Week with Cook the Story & Katie's Cucina

Well, Fondue Week is slowly wrapping up. It’s been fun and I hope that everyone has enjoyed the recipes that Christine and I have shared over the past week! For those who have written comments about never trying fondue… you have two options. Make it at home or head out to The Melting Pot and try it with people you love! This week, Christine from Cook the Story and I talked with Chef Shane Schaibly of The Melting Pot  Restaurants, Inc. We spoke with Chef Shane about how to make different kinds of fondue, common problems and solutions, tips and ideas for making innovative fondues in your own home. I hope you’ll watch and learn just as much as we did if not more!

So, what do you say? For those who have never made Fondue you ready to give it a try? For those who have made fondue I hope you’ve learned a lot!

Remember, today is the last day to enter into the amazing Fondue Week Giveaways (including a $100 gift card to The Melting Pot)!

Disclaimer: I was not compensated or provided anything to interview the Chef Shane from The Melting Pot. I simply like the restaurant! 


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50 Healthy Super Bowl Recipes #appetizers #entertaining #recipes #superbowl #football

Today, I’m excited to announce that I’m sharing 2 healthy Super Bowl friendly recipes on my local Fox station morning show; Good Day Orlando. You can watch  live at 9:35 am (streaming if you don’t live in CFL) or I’ll have a clip to share with everyone later.

Some of you might be sick of seeing recipes centered-around one football game. However, I love it! I love any holiday that is centered around eating. Is that bad? I love seeing round-up post and right now it seems like everyone has a round-up of all things Super Bowl food. I decided to change it up a bit and feature 50 Healthy Super Bowl Recipes. Now, granted not all of the recipes are  not 100% healthy however they are lower fat than what you would normally consume during the big game. I.e., they use greek yogurt instead of 5 cups of mayonnaise, etc.

Earlier this week, I did my weekly Google+ Hangout with Christine from Cook the Story. We spoke about Healthy Entertaining with Liz from The Lemon Bowl. Liz and I have chatted back and forth for over a year now and it was so nice to finally get to “meet” her! We spoke about easy ways to entertain and still make food healthy (without your guest looking for all the fattening foods)!

I hope you were able to learn about some great tips and tricks for healthy entertaining. Here is my list of 50 Healthy Super Bowl Recipes everyone should make this weekend (well, ok, maybe not all 50 at once)!

  1. Avocado & Feta Dip from Katie’s Cucina
  2. Buffalo Cauliflower Dip from Mother Thyme
  3. Baked Corn Tortilla Chips from The Lemon Bowl
  4. Bangin Grilled Shrimp Skewers from Skinnytaste
  5. Kale and Artichoke Dip from Spoon Fork Bacon
  6. Candied Smoked Paprika Cherry Berries from Lipman Kitchen
  7. Easy Hot Black Bean Salsa Dip from Jeanette’s Healthy Living
  8. Thai Turkey Meatballs with Blueberry Sauce from KokoCooks
  9. Baked Vegetarian Southwestern Egg Rolls with Avocado Buttermilk Sauce from Katie’s Cucina
  10. Buffalo and Bleu Cheese Veggie Bake from Bake Your Day
  11. Roasted Cauliflower Hummus from Oh My Veggies
  12. Grilled Flatbread w/ Hot Italian Sausage, Peppers, & Caramelized Onions from Katie’s Cucina
  13. Quick-Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan Slivers from Cook the Story
  14. Asian Sweet Chili Baked Wings from Inspired Taste
  15. Eggplant Dip from Zaika Zabardast
  16. Smoked Paprika and Lime Spice Popcorn from Coupon Clipping Cook
  17. Savory Spinach Bites from The Curvy Carrot
  18. Artichoke Dip from Katie’s Cucina
  19. Baked Corn and Crab Cakes from Skinnytaste
  20. Crispy Baked Asian Chicken Wings from Just a Taste
  21. Turkey Sloppy Joe Sliders from Bev Cooks
  22. Watermelon Football Helmet from Watermelon Carvings
  23. Baked Buffalo Queso Fresco Wings from Katie’s Cucina
  24. Moroccan Carrot Dip from A Thought For Food
  25. Whipped Feta with Roasted Peppers & Garlic from Savor The Thyme
  26. Skinny Buffalo Chicken Dip from Gimme Some Oven
  27. Carne Asada Nachos by Foodness Gracious
  28. Mini Mexican Potato Skins from Katie’s Cucina
  29. Coconut LIme Wings and Mango Salsa from Oleander and Palm
  30. Brown Rice Greek Salad from The Lemon Bowl
  31. Amazing Shrapnel Dip from Mel’s Kitchen
  32. Moroccan Pork Kebabs with Sour Cream Dill Sauce from Katie’s Cucina
  33. Apple and Avocado Salsa from Family Spice
  34. Skinny Shrimp Salsa from Skinnytaste
  35. Sun-dried Tomato Hummus from bellalimento
  36. Individual 7 Layer Dip from The Girl Who Ate Everything
  37. Asian Turkey Meatballs with Chili Garlic Glaze from Aggie’s Kitchen
  38. Reduced-Guilt Caramelized Onion Spinach Dip from Bake Your Day
  39. White Bean Bruschetta from Katie’s Cucina
  40. Beef Nachos with Slow Cooker Chili Con Carne from A Spicy Perspective
  41. Watermelon Blueberry Salsa from Love & Olive Oil
  42. Grilled Key West Chicken Wings from Katie’s Cucina
  43. Homemade Hummus Two Ways from Table for Two
  44. Oven-Baked Zucchini Sticks with Garlic Chipotle Aioli from Damn Delicious
  45. Guacamole Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes from KokoCooks
  46. Baked Spicy Greek Yogurt Chicken Wings with Greek Yogurt Bleu Cheese Dressing from Katie’s Cucina
  47. Bruschetta with Shrimp, Mushrooms, and Green Garbanzo Beans from Bev Cooks
  48. Sweet Potato Tater Tacho Recipe with Black Bean Salsa from Culicurious
  49. Baked Oven Fries from Annie’s Eats

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Food Lovers' Guide to Orlando

Last spring, I was contacted by my friend Ricky Ly of TastyChomps.com to contribute a recipe to his new book the Food Lovers’ Guide to Orlando. I was so excited and knew that the very first recipe I wanted to have published in print was my Grandmother’s Potato Salad. Although my grandma did not live in Florida she sure did know how to make a potato salad that wasn’t full of mayonaise and wouldn’t spoil at parties! Perfect recipe to contribute to a Florida centered book!

Grandma's Potato Salad in Food Lovers' Guide to Orlando

I know my Grandma is looking down on me–so incredibly proud. Proud to know that one of her recipes was the first recipe I ever got published in print.

So without further ado. I would like to share with you an interview I conducted with Ricky about his brand new book: Food Lovers’ Guide to Orlando. Whether you live in Central Florida or are just visiting this book is a wonderful resource to have on hand.

To find more about this book and to purchase visit Amazon.com.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I received one book to review and keep in compensation for providing a recipe for the book. As always all opinions are my own.


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Whether you are a blogger or not everyone needs to find balance in their life. This is the first topic that Christine from Cook the Story and I talked about that wasn’t centered 100% around food. I think finding balance in life is a struggle that everyone tries to maintain. We spoke Kim from Cravings of a Lunatic about finding balance. We all shared ways we are trying to find balance. Watch our chat to learn more.

I mentioned during the chat that I had a real ah-ha moment while traveling through Europe. I was disconnected from what seemed like the world and had my husbands full undying attention. I can’t tell you how many times he has asked me to put down my phone and talk, or eat dinner together, or even while he is driving and I’m sitting in the passenger seat. I’ve learned over the past few months that there is a time and place to check email and do social media. At times I think I’m addicted, but then I know I can walk away and the world won’t come to an end. Europe taught me that. I’m not going to lie. When I wrote about my time in Barcelona I started twitching after day 3 of no internet. During that trip though I also realized that I need to take more time to unplug and enjoy with family and friends. Some weekends I’ll find myself glued to my computer all weekend: editing photos, writing post, social media, etc. That is not healthy. Not healthy for me. Not healthy for my husband or any of my family and friends. So I’ve been easing off and if I don’t get a blog post up when I wanted it to go live I’m not having a mental breakdown. I know the world will go on. This is hard for any blogger to do. Especially someone who has 2 blogs (like me). Remember, I also manage a DIY blog called Sew Woodsy. That blog recently has not received as much TLC and I’m ok with that. I only have so much time in my day and that is just how it is going to be.

So when I’m trying to find balance I also like to write lots of notes. Number my priorities and know that the world won’t end if I don’t complete everything on my list that day.

I also like to meal plan for the week. I prep vegetables on a Sunday: chopping and dicing onions, peppers, garlic, etc. I also make fruit salads for the week so that we have them ready for us to take to work in the morning.

I also like to try to make lunch the night before. That way we are less stressed and rushed in the morning.

A few of these food tricks have helped me continue to stay balanced in the kitchen.

Do you struggle with finding balance? If so, what are some of your tips?


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Back in September, a few weeks before I left for Europe I was asked to appear on an episode of Life, Love, Shopping to film a short cooking segment. This was my first nationally televised apperance. It was taped as if it was live; however, it aired about a month later (while I was globe-trotting around the world). I never had the opportunity to share my first television appearance. I figured this was the most appropriate time to share since we are all starting to wrap our heads around all things football and the “big game” next weekend!

I think I did pretty good for my first televised segment. I also wanted to show viewers that you can entertain with ease and that you don’t have to serve all things fattening. That you can have a lighter menu and no one will miss the heavy mayonnaise laced dips!

Keep in mind, just one week later after filming this I was asked to do a cooking demo on The Daily Buzz (and that was taped LIVE as in no dropping F-bombs on national tv because there was no editing to be done)!

So if you are starting to already think about what to serve next weekend here are a few of my favorite recipes that were included in the segment I taped.

Grilled Flatbread With Hot Italian Sausage, Peppers, & Caramelized Onions

Grilled Flatbread w/ Hot Italian Sausage, Peppers, & Caramelized OnionsThink about creating a flatbread bar where all of your guest can create their own flatbreads. You won’t have to worry about the picky eaters or kids, because everyone will be able to find something that they like to eat!

Artichoke Dip

Artichoke Dip

This artichoke dip is light and healthy and contains no fatty mayonnaise! Perfect for a lighter chips and dip appetizer this football season. It also only takes about 5 minutes to make and the food processor does most of the work!

Grilled Italian Sausage With Grilled Sweet Peppers

Grilled Italian Sausage With Grilled Sweet Peppers

Simple to make and a crowd pleaser. You could even prep this before everyone comes over and just keep that warmed in the oven!

Mint Chocolate Chip Rice Krispie Treats

Mint Chocolate Chip Rice Krispie Treats

You can’t forget about dessert! Instead of using green dye use your teams colors and use a football cookie cutter to make football shaped rice kirspie treats!

What do you plan to make next weekend for Super Bowl?

*If you are looking for more football recipes… I’ll be on Good Morning Fox next Friday, February 1st at 9am sharing to awesome and easy recipes! Don’t worry if you don’t live in CFL I’m sure I’ll have a video to share on Katie’s Cucina!


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How to Roast Red Bell Peppers

Last year, I made a vow to myself that I wanted to start creating more video content. So far I think I’m off to a good start and hope to be able to share at least one new video every two weeks! Today, I’m sharing how easy it is to roast red bell peppers. No need to buy them from the store — make your own in a matter of minutes.

You’ll notice in my photos that the roasted red bell peppers are sitting in a liquid substance. This is not a liquid I put in the mason jar. It is simply the liquid that was released once the peppers went into the jar. It is a sweet syrup like liquid.  So, now that you have seen how easy it really is to make a jar full of gorgeous red bell peppers do you think you will give this a try instead of running out to the store the next time a recipe calls for it?

How to Roast Red Bell Peppers

{Video} How to Roast Red Bell Peppers

Ingredients

  • 2 red bell peppers

Directions

  1. Preheat broiler on high.
  2. While the oven is preheating rinse bell peppers, pat dry, slice in half. Remove the seeds and membrane from the peppers. Place the bell peppers cut side down on a baking sheet lined with either parchment paper or tin foil.
  3. Broil on high for 5-10 minutes or until the tops of the red bell peppers are beginning to char. Let cool for 10-20 minutes. Sliced in 1/2 inch thick pieces. Place in a mason jar and seal lid. Store in refrigerator for up to 5 days.
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Well, it is official, the other day, we had our last Google+ Hangout of the year! Hard to believe that a simple idea has transpired into a weekly video chat with Food Bloggers from all over the world. Christine from Cook the Story and I honestly couldn’t have done this without our fabulous (blog) friends! First and foremost, a big thank you to all of our supporters whether you were a guest on Christine & Katie this year or simply watched our live stream or our previously recorded videos.

We invited our past guest to join us and talk about Holiday beverages and recipes of all kinds! We decided to make this an open format for 30 minutes where guest could pop-on and pop-off if they chose too. Of course, as we predicted once everyone was on they stayed on. It was one big food blogger party!

Our honorary guest of the evening included:

Julie from The Little Kitchen
Sam from Sweet Remedy
Julius from Droolius.com
Maureen from Seafood Lady Orlando

Here are a few simple recipes I suggested to entertain with during the holidays:

Artichoke Dip

Artichoke Dip

This dip is easy to make and best of all you can make it from the comforts of your pantry/refrigerator! I always have all the items on hand to whip this dip up in a hurry if unexpected guest stop by!

Apple Streusel Cheesecake Bars

Apple Streusel Cheesecake Bars

These are a tried and true classic… No one can resist these sumptuous bars! Best of all, your guest will never know that they are what I like to call a semi-homemade dessert!

Oreo Truffles

Oreo Truffles

Guest won’t know what to think after they take one bite of these truffles. Seriously, they are amazing and so easy to make! I now find myself making these once if not a few times a year.

Christine and I are looking for guest to hangout with next year. If you are interested, please email me!


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