Tag Archives: tasty treats

Freshly baked cinnamon buns, rolled in BACON – of course I took it there.

I love bacon. I love bacon-covered turkeys for Thanksgiving; I love bacon-cooking alarm clocks – I love bacon. This morning, Niko and I took it to a new level with one of the greatest breakfast inventions ever to grace my kitchen: bacon-wrapped cinnamon rolls.

It’s been a while since I last updated with some tasty climber lady treats, so I figured I’d make my comeback with a bang. I don’t eat a lot of meat, but I am obsessed with bacon.

Super simple to make. All you have to do is pan fry a few strips of bacon (we only made three in this batch in case it was a failure), and leave them slightly underdone. Then you unroll your tube of cinnamon buns, and unravel the buns that will be blessed with a slice of bacon.

Line up the bacon on top of your unraveled bun, and then roll that bad boy back up. Proceed with your cinnamon rolls as usual, and don’t forget the icing!

Genius, I know. Now it’s off to the rock gym! We’ll see how well I climb today with a belly full of bacon and cinnamon goodness – but it was totally worth it. Happy Sunday, readers!

A Grillin’ Potluck and Bohemian Rhapsody

I know, I know – I have a sick obsession with pot lucks. Can you blame me? It’s a perfect celebration, combining friends, tasty treats, beer and entertainment. The ingredients add up to a guaranteed good time.

Today’s featured pot luck was hosted at the adorable new house of my two pals, Monty and Ashley. The buffet spread included hamburgers, sausages, veggie burgers, green bean casserole, chicken wings and plenty of finger foods. Niko and I brought home-style macaroni and cheese with bread crumb topping, as well as a batch of chocolate chip cookies and gummi bears.

Aside from stuffing our faces with southern style eats, we rationed our time playing Mad Gab, sifting through old climbing magazines, roasting our fingers by the fireplace and enjoy a rousing performance of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, led by McGoo and Ashley in their finest forms.

Tonight, I’ll be having a girl’s night dinner with some old friends, then we’ll head out for drinks at Fermentation Lounge – pictures shall follow, as always. Stay tuned for a peek at the stunning photography of Samantha Carter, and a killer climbing video.

Why You Need to Try Monkey Bread, Right Now

A few months ago, over the usual rock gym chatter, I heard a climber mention something called “Monkey Bread.” My savory tastes automatically envisioned a cheesy garlic roll style bread with all sorts of gooey goodness. The conversation turned to a new topic, and I forgot about the mysterious Monkey Bread as I continued with my climbing.

While grocery shopping with Niko recently, I stumbled across a funny package in the frozen food aisle that proclaimed the wonders of Monkey Bread. Without hesitation, I snatched up a box. Niko inspected the box that identified the contents as a cinnamon pull-apart, while his stomach eagerly rumbled in approval.

We sped home and popped the black plastic casing that held the Monkey Bread into the microwave – yes, it’s easily made in the microwave! After a few minutes, the Monkey Bread was steaming and gooey with syrupy coating. As per the instructions, we flipped the container upside-down onto a plate, and then, there it was, the Monkey Bread.

Surprisingly, this delicious treat will last for days in the fridge – because let’s be honest, there’s no way a sane person could consume an entire package in just one sitting. We barely finished half of it between two famished climbers. It’s sticky, it’s messy, it’ll get all over your fingers, and it is absolutely divine.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash and an Adventure to the Coastline

As promised, I engaged in another session of spaghetti squash culinary experimentation. This time, I made sure to take plenty of photos to share with my loyal readers. The occasion for the evening? My good friend Ashley was making her first visit to the new condo, and we decided to ban all man-folk in favor of a ladies’ dinner.

Here’s how to whip up a phenomenal dinner of spaghetti squash in a homemade tomato sauce with veggies: First, split open your giant squash. My first attempt at Marisa’s house involved a long round of slashing and knife wielding, but this second effort proved much easier. I was able to easily wedge my biggest knife into the squash and crack it open, as is shown in the first picture below. Next, I scooped out the gooey pulp in the same manner you would approach gutting a pumpkin, as illustrated in the second picture. Then, pop that sucker into the oven at about 425 degrees, and let it sit for a while.

In the meantime, I got started on chopping all the veggies and preparing the sauce. I included green peppers, onion, yellow squash, zucchini, carrots and garlic for this sauce. My only regret is that I wish I had chopped up the vegetables more finely, so keep that in mind. The sauce was made using regular ‘ole Hunts canned tomato sauce and a whole load of spices. My favorite part of cooking? My ‘crap bowl’ – it’s the spare bowl where all scraps, onion skins, garlic butts and other cooking debris get tossed.

Once everything is all prepared, toss your veggies into the sauce and let them simmer for a while to release their flavors and soak up the spices. Your spaghetti squash will be ready for forking soon, so check up on it frequently. You’ll know it’s ready once you can run your fork against the fleshy inside and long strains of squash peel off like, well, spaghetti. Then throw that goodness into the sauce and let everything cook for at least ten minutes, on low. Don’t pull a Katie and try to cook everything on high – it won’t work.

When everything has had time to properly simmer, sizzle and sauce-ify, you’re ready for dinner. You can eat spaghetti squash solo, but I enjoy putting a small bed of regular spaghetti underneath to add some variation to the texture of each bite. Adding regular pasta is also a great idea if you’re looking to keep lots of leftovers, or if you have a large group of guests to feed. We paired our saucy morsels with freshly baked rolls, crisp salads with mango poppy seed dressing, and a new brew I picked up, Cable Car Amber Ale – which tasted strangely like soy sauce in my opinion.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the coast. Niko, Jeff and Kendal have gone off on a 90-mile bike ride to Saint George Island – crazy, I know. They set out at about 7:00 AM this morning, and a group of us will be riding in a caravan, in cars, to meet them out by the beach. We’ve planned an evening of camping either on Saint George Island or in Tate’s Hell National Park, and will enjoy cold beers under the stars, warm embers from our campfire and sleeping in the hatchback of my car. It ain’t a climbing trip, but it will definitely be an adventure. Enjoy your long weekend, readers!

It’s official: the new condo has passed the ‘Climber Dinner Party’ test!

Within the past year, I have developed a huge adoration for hosting, and attending, family-style dinners with my climber crew. Not quite apt for pounding shots of vodka or the Florida State ‘club’ scene, my kin from the Tallahassee Rock Gym have fallen into a trend of pot lucks, dinner parties and barbecue grilling.

My enormous old house at 2208 proved to be an excellent venue for hosting dinners; it had a spacious kitchen, lots of room for socializing and a great backyard for fire pits. Moving into my new, smaller condo presented a possible detriment to my passion for being a hostess – but fear not, because the new place has passed the ‘Dinner Party’ test with flying colors. The clean, updated kitchen was one of the first things that drew me to the property, and cooking up huge batches of spaghetti with alfredo sauce – in both vegetarian and chicken varieties – was achieved without fault, if you’ll overlook Niko’s rookie mistake of putting way too much spaghetti in a boiling pot.

What did my guests enjoy the most about the new digs? Our big, cushy couches. The last house meekly offered a painful futon that people refused to torture their rear ends with, so the new couches are a much welcomed improvement. I just need to learn how not to fall asleep on them, which has potential to become an issue.

As usual, I had a wonderful evening with my favorite people. My faithful dinner guests never fail to supply our meals with tasty treats, and this time we were delighted with John and Libby’s famous spicy guacamole, whole grain garlic bread, munchies from my mom and heaps of Pabst Blue Ribbon and Coors – which brings me to a totally irrelevant exclamation: Coors vs. Coors Light is a ridiculous battle that should never be fought. Coors, for the win.

If you haven’t had the fortune of attending one of our weekly dinner sessions, do yourself a favor and invite yourself over. Words can’t begin to express the wonderful group of people whose friendship I have been blessed to acquire. Last night, we enjoyed a smoky grilled feast at Ashley and Monty’s charming new house – and of course I’ll be posting those photos shortly.

Until then, keep munchin’ and keep truckin’ onwards. The upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. weekend had promised three days of unadulterated climbing in the North Georgia/Southern Tennessee areas, but the weather forecast seems to be raining on our parade – literally. As always, I’ll keep you updated!

Tasty Thursdays – Discovering the Art of Spaghetti Squash

I always had suspicions that my best friend Marisa never eats. Her fridge is always empty, and she never comes out to restaurants. Boy, was I wrong. After an amazing meal of spaghetti squash, garlic bread and freshly caught fish from Key West, I have abandoned my sentiments about Marisa’s eating habits. You’ll have to excuse my shoddy iPhone photos, but I just had to share images of the concoction.

The spaghetti squash became dinner on a whim, which was made apparent by our ill-fated first attempt to ‘shred’ the squash. Our naivety in the realm of squash was made even more obvious during the twenty minutes it took me hacking away at the vegetable’s hard body before it finally cracked through, exposing a fleshy, pulpy inside that smelled like raw pumpkin guts. It took some trial and error, but eventually we had a heaping pile of ‘spaghetti’ in front of us.

To accompany our fibrous ‘pasta,’ we prepared a savory sauce with four cans of tomato paste, diced green pepper, zucchini slice, crushed garlic and plenty of onions. Shockingly, there was not a grain of salt to be found in Marisa’s entire house, but we managed to make the sauce delicious regardless – who knew you don’t need a heap of salt to make something tasty? She also whipped up whole grain garlic bread topped with vegan cheese, and baked a few fillets from fish she caught herself while vacationing home in Key West.

This meal undoubtedly deserves a repeat. I can’t wait until Niko gets his hands on a good spaghetti squash recipe so he can cook me something phenomenal, as always. When we make another batch of this delicious mess, I’ll be sure to have my camera on hand to capture the squash in its true glory.

Munch on, readers!

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