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Unless otherwise noted, all content and photos are property of Elle @ Elle's New England Kitchen. Copyright 2008-14. All rights reserved. If you'd like to reprint an article or use a photo, please contact me for permission at ellenekitchen at gmail dot com. All photos, unless specified, have been taken by me, and if used without permission, an invoice will be forwarded to the proper business/individual. Thank you.

 

 

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Tuesday
May282013

The New England Trading Company, LTD. Sea Bags Giveaway

Large blue Star Sea Bags Tote

There are just some things that go together. When I think of New England, I think of beautiful countryside, towering mountains, small towns and big cities, and most of all--our beautiful coastline. It’s one of my favorite places to be!

A drive along our picturesque coastline will reveal many small bays and coves that are full of sailboats, docked and patiently waiting to hit the open sea. Large ones, small ones--even tiny ones! I don’t sail, but if I did--I’m living in one of the best places to do it.

Sailing on the NH Coastline

Thanks to the New England Trading Company, Ltd., I can get my sailing fix (sort of) in a gorgeous tote bag made from reclaimed and recycled sails! They travel the back roads and byways in New England in search of truly unique and beautiful pieces handcrafted by local artisans and showcase them on their site so anyone, anywhere can enjoy them. You can read the full back story here on the site. It was founded in Waterford, Vermont in 2009 by native New Englander Karen Mayo, and is a 2012 Winner of StartupNation Leading Moms in Business Competition. How great is that?

The New England Trading Company. Ltd.

I have been trying out a beautiful tote bag from Sea Bags for the last couple of weeks, and I’m sold! Like I said, they’re made from recycled sails, and they’re pretty much indestructible. They’re super durable and of course, water resistant--they’re made from sails!

Large Blue Star Sea Bags Tote

The one I’ve been using is the Large Blue Star Sea Bags Tote, and it’s a monster! It measures in at 24 inches at the top of the bag (end to end), 18 inches across the bottom, 14 inches tall, and expands to about 20 inches wide from front to back. This bag is so big, that for the photos I took of it, I had to add a very thick throw blanket and a large bath towel in the bottom just to “prop up” my props!

Large Blue Star Sea Bags Tote

The bag also has braided rope handles for a nice comfy feel when you carry it. You can imagine how easy it is to clean, too. You can spot clean or machine wash, and hang it or lay flat to dry. Easy! Carrying a lot? This one’s for you! Big family with lots of stuff? You need this bag. Lots of weekend getaways? This one’s got your name on it! It’s handmade at Sea Bags in Portland Maine, right on the waterfront. You can feel good about it because it’s recycled! You may have seen these mentioned in Real Simple, Martha Stewart, Coastal Living, and Vanity Fair, as well!

Giveaway!

I also have the same bag to give away to one of you lucky readers! The New England Trading Company, Ltd. has been very generous and has provided me with an additional Large Blue Star Sea Bag for a giveaway. It’s a $150.00 retail value. Use the easy widget below for your entries. NOTE! You’ll receive the bag only, not the items photographed in the bag.

Giveaway ends June 5th, 2013 - US shipping only. A huge thanks to The New England Trading Company for reaching out to me and sponsoring this giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Large Blue Star Sea Bags Tote

 

Disclaimer: I received the Sea Bags Tote at no charge, and my opinions in this post are my own, and not a paid sponsor.

Wednesday
May222013

Kicking Off Summer Recipe Ideas

new-england-memorial-day-2

I can’t believe this weekend is Memorial Day. Seems like just a few weeks ago we still had snow! Time, as always, flies by. So let’s get some recipe ideas out there for the official summer season, shall we? (Please forgive some of the old photos.)

 

Appetizers and Snacks

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus (which goes so well with the next recipe…)

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Fresh Summer Salad

Fresh Summer Salad

Guacamole

Guacamole

Watermelon Nectarine Salsa with Homemade Chips - Two Ways

Watermelon Nectarine Salsa with Homemade Chips - Two Ways

Teddy Graham Trail Mix (Don’t forget the kids!)

Teddy Graham Trail Mix

Garden Gazpacho with Hazelnuts

Garden Gazpacho with Hazelnuts

Balsamic Berry and Ricotta Bruschetta

Balsamic Berry and Ricotta Bruschetta

 

Main Dishes

White Pizza topped with Fresh Greens (While not traditional cookout food, grilled pizza is amazing!)

White Pizza topped with Fresh Greens

Classic New England Lobster Rolls

Classic New England Lobster Rolls

Honey Lime Chicken Tacos with Pineapple Salsa (Just grill the chicken. Also, the pineapple salsa is great with chips!)

Honey Lime Chicken Tacos with Pineapple Salsa

Tortilla Wrapped Burgers

Tortilla Wrapped Burgers

Grilled Hawaiian Teriyaki Steak Wraps

Grilled Hawaiian Teriyaki Steak Wraps

Woodchuck Summer Cider Blueberry BBQ Sauce on Pork Ribs, plus All Purpose Grill and Smoking Rub

Woodchuck Summer Cider Blueberry BBQ Sauce on Pork Ribs, plus All Purpose Grill and Smoking Rub

Grilled Sausage and Peppers on Naan

Grilled Sausage and Peppers on Naan

Steak Wraps with Avocado Chimichurri Sauce

Steak Wraps with Avocado Chimichurri Sauce

 

Sides

Grilled Veggie Kabobs with Meyer Lemon Olive Oil and Fresh Rosemary

Grilled Veggie Kabobs with Meyer Lemon Olive Oil and Fresh Rosemary

Mom’s Slow Cooked Boston Baked Beans (I’ve worked years perfecting these!)

Mom’s Slow Cooked Boston Baked Beans

 

Beverages

Homemade Fruit Soda & Lime Rickeys (Feel free to make these adult friendly.)

Homemade Fruit Soda & Lime Rickeys

The Moscow Mule

The Moscow Mule

 

Desserts (I seem to have a lot of these.)

Mixed Berry Pandowdy

Mixed Berry Pandowdy

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Cosmic Brownies

Cosmic Brownies

Brownie Crisp Ice Cream Sandwiches

Brownie Crisp Ice Cream Sandwiches

Raspberry Rhubarb Meringue Bars

Raspberry Rhubarb Meringue Bars

Fresh Blueberry Pie (So easy!)

Fresh Blueberry Pie

Even Better Than Ultimate Brownies

Even Better Than Ultimate Brownies

S’mores and Rice Krispie Treats

S’mores and Rice Krispie Treats

 

Let’s not forget Ice Cream!

Find all of my ice cream recipes by clicking on this photo:

Scoopapalooza

Wednesday
May152013

FIORE Olive Oils and Balsamic Vinegars Giveaway

 Balsamic Berry and Ricotta Bruschetta

Think of your favorite olive oils and balsamic vinegars. Now imagine those oils bursting with flavors like Meyer lemon and tart lime, or raspberry, blueberry or peach balsamic. And more! Think of how you could enjoy them on so many foods--especially with summer upon us. The fresh vegetables and fruits that are so bountiful this time of year, and not to mention grilling. A splash of a flavorful oil or vinegar can take any dish from good to “oh-my-word-what’s-your-secret-ingredient?!”

A while back, Billy and I were having dinner with friends at their home. It’s always a lovely feast when we dine with Mars and Allison. This one time was different, though. Allison made a vinaigrette that I literally could not get enough of. Seriously. I had it on my salad. I had more salad just to have more vinaigrette. She made fresh bread with oil for dipping. I skipped that and poured some of her vinaigrette in a dish to dip my bread in. I ran my grilled chicken through more of it that I’d poured in my plate. I could not stop inhaling this dressing. there was something about it that made me not able to stop eating it. 

When I asked what it was made with, she told me how simple it was. Meyer Lemon Olive Oil and Blueberry Balsamic Vinegar from FIORE Artisan Olive Oils and Vinegars. She did a 50/50 blend of the two and shook it up in a jar. That was it. I knew right then and there that there was no way I could go on at home without these magical ingredients. That Monday, I contacted Nancy O’Brien at Fiore and asked if she’d be interested in sponsoring a giveaway here on my blog and she said yes. I was over the moon because I just want to tell everyone how fantastic these oils and vinegars are. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed! I'll never have a FIORE-free home again--these will always be stocked and ready to go.

You can read more about FIORE here on their site. They’re located in Maine in two locations, Bar Harbor and Rockland. If you’re lucky enough to be in the area, you can enjoy the tasting rooms at both locations for a truly delicious experience. You can also order directly from their site. If you’re planning a trip to Maine this summer, be sure to add FIORE Artisan Olive Oils and Vinegars to your itinerary! From their site:

“FIORE, which means "blossoming flower" in Italian, truly captures the essence of our venture into the education and exploration of extra virgin unfiltered olive oils and aged balsamic vinegars in our tasting room. From Tuscany to Greece, Tunisia to Portugal, Spain and Northern California in the northern hemisphere then from Chile to Australia and New Zealand in the southern hemisphere, our tasting rooms enable you to go on a global tour of the purest, freshest oils and the most flavorful balsamic vinegars of Modena while benefiting from the numerous attributes of health first-hand.”

I’ve had the opportunity to test drive a few of these oils and vinegars, and let me say--there are so many ways to enjoy these! I’ll show you a few here, but don’t let me limit your imaginations. We’ve had them in salads, of course, but a bit of the vinegar splashed in a pan sauce is wonderful! Drizzle some piping hot grilled meats or vegetables with a flavored oil and some fruity vinegar and you’ll be in heaven. Marinades will never be the same when you use these--you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them, like I did.

First up, homemade white pizza which is basically pizza dough, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with cheese and perhaps some good Italian seasoning. Basic, right? And good in it’s own right. But how about some fresh, tender Spring greens drizzled with Organic Persian Lime Olive Oil and Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar piled up on top of your hot, fresh pizza? Oh man, it’s like you’ve died and gone to heaven.

White Pizza topped with Green Salad

A couple of weeks ago, we grilled some sausage and I made veggie kabobs to go along with them. I didn’t season the kabobs first, but after they were grilled, tender and steamy, I removed the peppers, onions and small potatoes from the skewers and tossed them with salt, pepper, FIORE Meyer Lemon Olive Oil and fresh chopped rosemary. It took grilled veggies over the top with flavor!

Grilled Veggie Kabobs drizzled with Meyer Lemon Olive Oil

I made a couple of desserts, too. They’re both incredibly simple to make, but people will think you worked hours on them. The first is a Berry and Ricotta Bruschetta. There isn’t even a recipe--that's how simple it is, but here’s what I did:

 

Balsamic Berry and Ricotta Bruschetta

 

  1. Mix a little honey and orange zest into some ricotta cheese, to taste. Set aside in the fridge.

  2. Slice some strawberries and toss them with some blueberries, honey or a bit of sugar, and some Fiore Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar.

  3. Toast some baguette slices and then spread them with some of the ricotta mixture, then top with some of the fruit. Drizzle with a bit more vinegar if you like, then add some fresh cracked black pepper over the top and enjoy!

 

Balsamic Berry and Ricotta Bruschetta

 

Raspberry Balsamic Truffles

These are incredible and only get better with age. Store them in the fridge, of course.

 

  1. Follow this easy truffle recipe, leaving out the Chambord. Instead of adding the Chambord, add 2 ½ tablespoons of FIORE Raspberry Balsamic (or balsamic flavor of your choice) and 2 teaspoons of Fiore Roasted French Walnut Oil when the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.

  2. You can form these into round truffles if you prefer, but I find this method easier, less messy, and also--when someone’s got a fabulous tasting truffle melting on their tongue, they don’t generally care if it’s round or square. I'm still snacking on a stash of these in the fridge, and they're so tart, sweet and rich!

    Raspberry Balsamic Truffles

 Giveaway!

Nancy at FIORE has been very generous and is giving away three pairings of her lovely olive oils and vinegars to three lucky readers! I have three separate pairings for you guys:

These are all 375 mL (12.7 oz)  bottles and can be shipped in the US only. 

 

  1. Summer Peach Balsamic paired with Roasted French Walnut Oil

  2. Raspberry Balsamic paired with Organic Persian Lime Olive Oil

  3. Blueberry Balsamic paired with Meyer Lemon Olive Oil

     

    Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter! I’ll choose three random winners next Friday, May 24th and let the winners know by email. 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday
May072013

Vintage Button Bracelet

Iron Craft ‘13 Challenge #9 - I’ve Got a Notion…

Vintage Button Bracelet

Notions! This challenge was all about notions from the sewing section at the craft store. I can’t even tell you all how excited I was to see this challenge. Do I sew? No, and only when I absolutely have to repair a small rip here or there, or replace a button. Do I wish I could? Yes! But I can’t even make it through threading a machine. Sad but true.

Vintage Button Bracelet

So why was I so excited for this challenge? Buttons. Buttons! I saw a bracelet a while back that I wanted to make, and it was made with metal buttons--the kind with the shank on the back. Not cute little buttons with button holes, but the ones with the loop thing on the back.

Do you all have any idea how hard it is to find metal shank buttons? It is! I’d collected a few here and there, but my collection was sad and pitiful. That was until I found a bag of vintage buttons! All with the lovely shank on the back. I was ecstatic! And then…my gorgeous buttons sat there for a few weeks while I did other things. As it happens so often.

When the Notions challenge was announced, it took me exactly one second to decide what I was going to make. And it’s simple as heck, too!

Vintage Button Bracelet

Vintage Button Bracelet

For this you need:

  • One length of link chain, whatever size you want. I used a 7 inch piece. Use a pretty good piece of chain, no wimpy little links. 
  • Buttons with a shank back. The amount depends on the size. I had about 3 different sizes, and I used 24. They range from 1/2 to 1 inch in diameter.
  • Jump rings, enough to attach each button, and one or two for the ends.
  • One clasp of your choice, I used lobster claw.

Using pliers, open a jump ring, slide the shank of the button on to the ring, and attach it to the chain. You can do a random design or plan one out. I started at the center point of the chain with the largest button, then worked my way down each side of the chain, using the mid-size buttons next, then the smallest ones at the ends. I attached a jump ring and button to every third link on the chain.

When you're done attaching the buttons, add a clasp to one end and, if you like, a jump ring to the other end. I didn't attach another jump ring to the end because the chain links are large enough for the clasp to hook into.

This is also adjustable for those with a small wrist, because you can hook the clasp into any link on the chain.

That’s it! Easy, right? And you end up with a totally unique piece of jewelry!

Check out the Iron Craft Flickr Group for more inspiration! 

Vintage Button Bracelet

Monday
May062013

Kick off Summer Grilling with Kayem Foods!

 

Some of you may remember my post from last summer about Kayem Foods. If not, we grilled Kayem Italian Sausage and put a little twist on the classic “sausage and peppers.” I was lucky enough to be sent another Box O’ Meat from them a couple of weeks ago. This time we grilled the delicious Italian Sausage along with veggie kabobs. It’s a simple and satisfying meal to prepare, and it’s great for a few people as well as a crowd.

I grew up enjoying Kayem foods, and now my kids enjoy them, too. Especially their hot dogs. We all love them! They’re super “snappy” with the natural casings. And they taste great! My husband is picky about hot dogs but he loves these.

 

I also have another Box O’ Meat to give away to one lucky reader, so read through to find out how you can win and kick off your summer grilling season!

Some fun Kayem facts:

Kayem is the official hot dog and sausage of the Boston Red Sox and Fenway Park and makes the famous Fenway Franks served at the ballpark.

Kayem is also the official hot dog of the New England Patriots, Tampa Bay Rays, Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida State Seminoles, and Boston College Eagles.

Kayem has been in business for more than 103 years, and began by delivering products to neighboring communities via horse-drawn wagon.

The name Kayem is derived from the initials of its founder, Kazimierz Monkiewicz and is the largest hot dog manufacturer in New England. 

Kayem franks are made with only the finest cuts of meat and contain no by-products, fillers or artificial flavors.

Kayem produces over 100 varieties of hot dogs and 300 varieties of deli meats, sausage and dinner hams.

The difference between the Old Tyme Frank and the Regular Hot Dog is that the Old Tyme Franks have natural casings, which give them a “snap” when you take a bite, while the Regular Hot Dogs do not have a casing.

Helpful tip! Use tongs when grilling Kayem Franks so as not to pierce the casing. Tearing the casing will result in losing the flavor and the juice.

Kayem is the #1 brand of franks in New England!

Kazimierz Monkiewicz started his handmade sausage business in 1909, in Chelsea MA. He would deliver them using a horse drawn wagon. One hundred and four years later, their product line includes hot dogs, Italian sausages, deli meats and all natural chicken sausage marketed under the Kayem, al fresco, Triple M, Genoa Sausage, Schonland's and Meisterchef brands. Kayem is the #1 brand of franks in New England, and al fresco is the #1 brand of chicken sausage in the total U.S. To this day, Kayem is a local company owned by the same family, employing almost six hundred people.

We’ve been grilling up a storm the past couple of weeks, including the Kayem Italian Sausage, Kayem Brats and Kielbasa, and of course, hot dogs. The veggie kabobs we had on the side are simple onions, red bell peppers and small potatoes, grilled and drizzled with lemon olive oil, fresh chopped rosemary and salt and pepper. We boiled the brats and kielbasa in beer for about 15 minutes before grilling. Pierce the brats and kielbasa lightly, bring them to a boil in your favorite beer, then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes. Grill to your liking. Serve them any way you like. We’re partial to grilled veggies on the side, but any one of these in a bun with the grilled veggies and a few squirts of mustard is heavenly!

Would you like to win your own Box O’ Meat? Here’s your chance!

What you’ll receive in the box:

  • 12 oz package Kayem Old Tyme Franks
  • 1 lb. ring of Kayem Polska Kielbasa
  • 2 lb. box Kayem Old Tyme Beef Franks
  • 20 oz package Kayem Original Bratwurst
  • 20 oz package Kayem Sweet Italian Sausage
  • I lb. package Kayem Lean Franks

(Products subject to change based on availability.)

A random winner (US shipping only) will be chosen on May 13, 2013.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 


Disclaimer: I was sent the Kayem products at no charge, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and not paid for.