The Blueberry Jam: Fritters, Critters, & Fries

Summer 148

In the last edition of The Weekender, I gave y’all a little sneak preview of my trip to the Blueberry Jam last weekend. Now, it’s time for the full details. So my only question is, are you ready to jam?

Ry and I headed off to Critz Farms in Cazenovia, NY on Saturday for their annual Blueberry Jam, a day full of blueberry fritters and music, which was recommended to me by a co-worker. We started out on a rough note because my GPS got us lost when we were only minutes away, as we later found out. However, we did make it there eventually, and that’s what counts.

The event was a bit smaller than I imagined, but the place was parked up, so I knew there had to be a good reason all these people were there. I could hear blue grass and country twanging through the air as we came closer, and yes, “twanging” apparently IS a word.

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The firs thing I had to do was seek out the Blueberry Fritters that I was promised. That was probably 90% of my motivation to drive out there in the first place. I used my super Smart Cookie nose to smell ‘em out, and Ry and I each snagged a serving.

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If they do not look good enough for you to be drooling, let me tell how they tasted: freakin’ amazing. Those blueberry bliss babies were worth the drive alone. The outside was crisp and golden with a pleasantly airy crunch as I sunk my teeth through to the cloud-like fluffy center. These fritters were softer than clouds and studded with fresh, juicy blueberries. The dusting of sugar was the crowning touch.

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Although I was ready for Fritter Round 2, Ry and I instead headed to the corn maze to live out our dreams of being expert explorers. Our dreams were crushed though because, as it turns out, neither of us are any good at navigating a maze.

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We did have a fun time though. And yes, we found our way back out, but not without a few photo ops first.

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#cornmazeselfie
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I also found the chillest corn cob in existence.

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Me: “Let’s see how many corn jokes we can make.”

Ryan: “You mean CORNY jokes?”

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How many corn jokes can you make?

Next, we settled down for lunch. Critz Farms had a whole BBQ bonanza going, and it would be a dream to any meat lover. However, I was more interested in the cheese fries. They wound up being some of the best I’ve had in a long time; there was nothing crazy about them – they were simple and good. Plus, they were drenched in a generous amount of delicious nacho cheese sauce. Food snobs, I don’t want to hear about how that’s not real cheese; it’s good, and that’s all I know.

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Next, we went to visit the goats and llamas, or as Ry calls them, “humpless llamas.” Yes, that really happened.

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The goats were too cute, and quite sweet as well.

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Seriously, look at how happy this little guy is.

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We couldn’t leave without grabbing some homemade fudge from the gift shop. Naturally, I was drawn to the cookies and cream variety. It was rich, smooth, and wonderful, and I was impressed by the ginormous cookie chunks that were present. The one problem was that I should not have tackled the entire piece in one sitting.

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Have you ever been to the Blueberry Jam?

Mac and Cheese Garlic Bread

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I can’t stop putting mac and cheese on everything. Pizza, grilled cheese, burgers - you name it. Don’t act like you don’t love every second of it.

The other night, I found myself staring down a box of Pepperidge Farm Cheddar Texas Toast, the frozen garlic bread I grew up eating. Much like Kraft mac and cheese or Hostess cupcakes, they may not be homemade but I just can’t deny that they have their own delicious charm. I thought it would be fun to cook with something I ate all the time as a kid.

As I ran through the ingredients I had on hand, I quickly realized mac and cheese was possible, and my Smart Cookie mind did what it does best: it put two amazing dishes together.

My Mac and Cheese Garlic Bread is an unlikely match made in heaven. The bread is crusty and buttery with generous garlic flavor and sharp cheddar cheese that compliments the ultra-creamy mac it’s buried in. I love the contrast between the *CRUNCH* of the thick bread and the velvety sauce that coats the tender pasta.

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There’s so much cheese here, but it’s not too much. It winds up being like a flippin’ awesome pizza-of-sorts, and it’s heaven. Plus, it only took me about 20 minutes to make. That is a crowd-pleasing dinner that both your kids and adults will go nuts over. The semi-homemade aspect of the ready-to-bake garlic bread makes this super easy, and you can even utilize leftover mac and cheese instead if you have some on-hand.

Crunchy garlic bread and some amazing, creamy mac combined…it doesn’t get better than that. Apparently, there is a recipe for heaven, and I’ve got it.

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A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. This is a delicious, simple mac and cheese recipe on its own. Bookmark it for later use.
  2. You can go the extra mile and make homemade garlic bread too.
  3. Want more mac and cheese? Try my Caramelized Onion Mac & Cheese.
  4. Scallions will work in place of chives.
  5. Any shape of pasta will do with the exception of longer pasta like spaghetti.

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Mac & Cheese Garlic Bread
By The Smart Cookie Cook

Yield – 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 Cheddar Texas Toasts
  • 3 cups cooked pasta (I used whole wheat rotini)
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose butter
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, plus more for topping
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Whisk in flour until free of lumps then whisk in heavy cream until well-combined. Cover and let simmer (do not boil) until thickened, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
  3. Whisk in salt, pepper, and cheese until cheese is melted. Taste and decide if you’d like more cheese. If it’s too thick, add a bit more cream.
  4. Fold in pasta until evenly combined and turn off heat.
  5. Cook toasts in oven according to box directions. Top each with 1/4 of the mac and cheese then sprinkle with more cheese and chives. Bake until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Enjoy.

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The Weekender: Corn, Curls, & Cuteness

Smores Cookie PizzaSomehow, we are already approaching my last week of my last real summer. I’ll be heading into my final semester as a college student and kissing it all goodbye in December. I will go out with a bang though by celebrating my 21st birthday this Friday in Jersey with my favorite people.

But before we jump ahead to next week, let’s recap what we ate this week. From burgers to cupcakes, we treated our tummies well.

Let’s review, shall we?

  1. S’mores Cookie Pizza
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  2. Black Bean Jalapeno Burgers Topped w/ Mac & Cheese
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  3. Peanut Butter Swirled Reese’s Cupcakes
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  4. 13 Filling & Satisfying Meatless Meals
    Caramelized Onion Mac & Cheese
  5. Parmesan Baba Ganoush
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My feasting continued into the weekend when my BF and I took a road trip to Critz Farms in Cazenovia, NY for the Blueberry Jam. Hopefully we walked off some of the calories while gallivanting through their corn maze. I’ll have a whole post on that for y’all next week.

IMG_20140816_163643Speaking of next week, on the menu is Mac & Cheese Garlic Bread. I know you’re thinking, “Oh no, she didn’t!” But oh yes, I did.

IMG_20140816_214759I’ve got to get my butt to the gym to work off some of those calories! If only my No. 1 workout buddy and I could stop accidentally matching

matching-2 10610648_10152690162243453_2333767129922600293_nAre y’all following me on Instagram yet? I just got the account a few weeks ago, but I’m posting like a fiend. I had to share my discovery with you guys this week when I found out how awesome foam curlers are. Why did people stop using these? You get no-heat curls, and no fussing in the A.M.

20140811_095659Alright, y’all have probably seen enough of MY face. You’re waiting for the cuteness you were promised in the title. Well, behold this unbelievably cute pic of Mr. Poe looking cuddle-worthy. And look at those ears!

IMG_20140809_125528Perhaps equally cute is this pic Mama Cookie took of Reese asking to play.

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That’s all the cuteness I’ve got for you. See y’all on Monday for that garlic bread goodness!

How was your week? What did you eat?

Parmesan Baba Ganoush

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If I don’t give my co-worker credit for suggesting this one, then I might get kicked out of the office. He introduced me to baba ganoush. I’d heard of it, but never had it, and he figured I’d love it since I adore hummus so much. None of us should be surprised that he was correct since it IS a dip made of eggplant after all.

I swore I wouldn’t make my own baba ganoush until I had actually tried some, so now I could finally proceed with a Smart Cookie recipe. I made a pretty classic version, but added a slightly cheesy twist in my Parmesan Baba Ganoush. Continue reading

13 Filling & Satisfying Meatless Recipes for Meat-Loving Skeptics

Caramelized Onion Mac & Cheese

There are quite a few misconceptions about vegetarians. We’re like the feminists of the food world. People think we’re evil, but they don’t understand.

Here’s the thing. You don’t have to be a vegetarian to enjoy meatless meals from time to time. There’s no law that says you have to be one extreme or the other. I personally don’t care if you’re vegetarian or not. If you like your bacon, I get that. Have your meat with some meals, but enjoy it without sometimes.

So, if you’re doubting the probability that a meatless meal will satisfy you, I want you to consult this list I’ve compiled for you. These recipes are so ridiculously good, you won’t care if there’s meat or not.

That’s the thing; I don’t think meals should be about whether or not there’s meat. All that matters is that they are delicious and satisfying. Continue reading

Peanut Butter Swirled Reese’s Cup Cupcakes

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When I take on baking projects for birthdays, I always have to put on my creativity cap because I want to customize creations for the people they’re going to. This can get difficult though when I work with those tried-and-true favorites like chocolate and peanut butter.

I have done plenty of chocolate-peanut butter treats: Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cake with Cookies & Cream Filling, Chocolate-Peanut Butter Poke Cake, Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie Cups, and more. So, when I took on baking cupcakes for my comedian/gym instructor-friend’s birthday, and I knew he was a peanut butter lover, I pondered how to do it differently.

Leave it to ol’ Mother Cookie to suggest a peanut butter-swirled cupcake. You see plenty of cupcakes that are stuffed with peanut butter and Reese’s cups, but rarely is there peanut butter swirled right into the batter. Top that off with creamy peanut butter buttercream, and you get my Peanut Butter Swirled Reese’s Cup Cupcakes. Continue reading

Black Bean Jalapeno Burgers on Pretzel Buns Topped w/ Mac & Cheese

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If you know anyone who thinks that a meal can’t be filling without meat, then this is the meal to feed them. My Jalapeno Black Bean Burgers on Pretzel Buns Topped with Mac & Cheese will stuff you up and satisfy you better than any hamburger you’ve ever eaten.

I know what you’re thinking: “Spoken like a true vegetarian.” But even my boyfriend, who loves a good ol’ hamburger from time to time, said himself that this burger was way more filling than a meat burger. He gobbled the whole thing right up. Continue reading

Happy National S’mores Day: Chocolate Chip Cookie S’mores Pizza

DSC08396 Happy National S’mores Day! I’m usually a little slow on the uptake with all of these ” – National Day” things. I mean, these days, it’s hard to keep up. Just the other day was National Cat Day, and I didn’t know until the end of it. Lucky for me, a friend informed me ahead of time that today would be devoted to gooey marshmallow, chocolate, and graham cracker glory.

To celebrate, we’re having pizza. Yes, you heard me right. I made you a Chocolate Chip Cookie S’mores Pizza. The crust is a chewy chocolate chip cookie, the “sauce” is chocolate ganache, the “cheese” is marshmallow, and the “pepperoni” is Reese’s cups. Sounds like the sweetest pizza on Earth, eh?   Continue reading

Mocha Salted Caramel Iced Coffee Float + My 10 Favorite Fast Desserts

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This is my Saturday morning treat for y’all. It IS Saturday, right?

…Yep. See? That’s how long of a week it’s been.

We need this Mocha Salted Caramel Iced Coffee Float to cool us down. If only every dessert could be this simple. It looks and tastes like it came out of a fancy coffee shop, but I whipped it up in minutes (minus the time it took to chill the coffee). Continue reading

20 More Things You Didn’t Know About Your Smart Cookie

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I posted 30 Things You Didn’t Know About Smart Cookie a few weeks ago, and you guys really enjoyed it, so I decided to do another installment of secrets and facts that let you see a different side of your Smart Cookie Cook. That’s what friends do, right?

After all, secrets are no fun if you don’t share a few.

  1.  In response to a commenter on the last post who asked how I “stay so skinny” when I cook and eat so much, the answer is I work out A LOT and eat in moderation. Because I post every day, it gives the impression that I’m eating those indulgent things every day too, but I actually only eat “bad” once or twice a week. I also spend 1-3 hours in the gym every day, doing a mix of cardio and strength training.

    Photo by J. Callari

    Photo by J. Callari

  2. In response to another commenter, the one ingredient I have to have on hand is butter. That’s because I use it in almost every recipe. I keep at least 2 boxes (with 4 sticks each) in the fridge, and at least 3 more in the freezer at all times.
  3. Although I try to do most of the week’s cooking on the weekend, I often also have to cook late at night for a post the next day. That means I’m whipping up cookies, quinoa and more at ungodly hours. Continue reading