Old World Traditional Greek Baklava: Start with what you know

Complete the following sentence: I have always wanted to                                      , but have been hesitant because I felt                                                                               . This is a question posed to students we work ...

The Perfect Pajama Party Breakfast: Fluffy Noosa Yoghurt Blueberry Pancakes with Strawberry Maple Syrup

When was the last time you stayed up all night giggling with girlfriends?  Whether it was about a boy or a number of any other silly little things, those middle ...

A game day crowd-pleaser: Italian Sausage & Tortellini Soup

I’ve never been much of a sports fan.  My hubby can spend countless hours over the weekend on football and I just don’t get it.  Make it an original Netflix ...

Latest News

Midweek Mix-in: Cooking with what’s on hand

Pantry Basics Photograph by Andrea Karapas, Serving Up Fort Collins

Pantry Basics
Photograph by Andrea Karapas, Serving Up Fort Collins

We’ve all been there; you’re family is waiting on dinner and it’s up to you to pull something together.  Like a Chopped contestant, you check your pantry and fridge for ingredients and the creative process begins.  Either this sounds like a welcomed challenge or your worst nightmare.  It helps to have a bit of foresight, ensuring you have a few staples on hand for this purpose.  Here are some pantry, fridge, and freezer basics according to Real Simple:

Pantry

Olive oil
Vegetable oil
Balsamic vinegar
Red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
Spices
Canned tuna
Canned beans
Chicken broth
Tomato paste
Jarred marinara sauce
Red and white wine
Rice
Pasta
All-purpose flour
Sugar
Potatoes
Garlic and onions

Refrigerator

Butter
Milk
Eggs
Plain yogurt
Parmesan cheese
Dijon mustard
Carrots
Lemons

Freezer

Peas
Spinach
Bread
Bacon

Lack creativity?  I’ve scoured internet for the coolest recipe matchers based on ingredients.  Just pop in your ingredients and BOOM! a selection of recipes emerge.  It’s the next best thing to sliced bread. And if you’re looking for a simple, yet special, treat, check out Sunday’s Grilled Peanut Butter, Jam & Banana Sandwich recipe.  Who doesn’t have those ingredients on hand?

Super Cook

Recipe Matcher

Open Source Food by Tastebud (Mobile App)

BigOven (Mobile App)

Gojee (Mobile App)

Grilled Peanut Butter, Jam & Banana Sandwiches

Grilled Peanut Butter, Jam & Banana Sandwiches Photograph by Andrea Karapas, Serving Up Fort Collins

Grilled Peanut Butter, Jam & Banana Sandwiches
Photograph by Andrea Karapas, Serving Up Fort Collins

The notoriety of the last few days has been uplifting.  For as long as I can remember I have reveled in any and every sort of recognition.  According to Orville Gilbert Brim, award-winning scholar in the work of child and human development, there are four million adults in the United States who say that becoming famous is the most important goal in their lives.  I’ve often wondered whether I’m included in this crowd.  Isn’t that why we bloggers blog?  To be noticed.  To be heard.  To be remembered.  Serving Up Fort Collins provides a platform for just that.

Grilled Peanut Butter, Jam & Banana Sandwiches Photograph by Andrea Karapas, Serving Up Fort Collins

Grilled Peanut Butter, Jam & Banana Sandwiches
Photograph by Andrea Karapas, Serving Up Fort Collins

Upon hearing that I had won the Noosa Blogger Recipe Contest, a few kind friends and colleagues have indulgently referred to me as a local celebrity.  Though my verbal response has typically been one of modesty and reticence, I secretly tuck away their praise for when I need a boost in confidence.  Life is quite a bit easier to get through when our esteem tank is full.

Those driven by The Fame Motive can be compared to those who have a similar degree of motivation for power or money.  And though I prefer to take a more revered approach than The Heene family and the Balloon Boy ploy, it still seems like a disgusting motivation in life.

Grilled Peanut Butter, Jam & Banana Sandwiches Photograph by Andrea Karapas, Serving Up Fort Collins

Grilled Peanut Butter, Jam & Banana Sandwiches
Photograph by Andrea Karapas, Serving Up Fort Collins

On the downhill slope of my 15 minutes of fame I felt that it was important to bring in just a little bit of humility in order to maintain my authenticity and integrity.  This recipe was my answer.  What meal could be more humble than peanut butter and jelly sandwiches?  I’m dressing it up a smidge with some local ingredients; just enough to send a reminder that I’m no ordinary food blogger.  You’re probably familiar with Justin’s delicious, 80-calorie squeeze packs, but yesterday I bought a whole jar of their classic peanut butter to slather all over slice after slice of Rudi’s Multigrain Oat bakery bread.  I’ve added strawberry preserves from Rocky Mountain Orchards and topped it all with sliced bananas because that’s the way Tyler Florence does it.  It’s buttered and grilled to oooey gooey perfection.

Grilled Peanut Butter, Jam & Banana Sandwiches Photograph by Andrea Karapas, Serving Up Fort Collins

Grilled Peanut Butter, Jam & Banana Sandwiches
Photograph by Andrea Karapas, Serving Up Fort Collins

I’ll still keep chasing the fame monster and seeking out gigs that get me in the local spotlight.  And with one of these yummy sandwiches every now and then to keep my humility in check, I can keep my reputation intact.

Grilled Peanut Butter, Jam & Banana Sandwiches Photograph by Andrea Karapas, Serving Up Fort Collins

Grilled Peanut Butter, Jam & Banana Sandwiches
Photograph by Andrea Karapas, Serving Up Fort Collins

Locally Sourced Ingredients

Multigrain Oat Bread, Rudi’s Organic Bakery (Boulder) – Rudi’s is the leading producer of certified organic bread in the U.S., and specializes in the production and distribution of delicious organic bread and baked goods products. The Company is committed to baking high-quality organic breads that contain the healthiest ingredients possible.  Rudi’s Organic breads are made in small batches using a centuries-old practice that allows the dough to ferment for 12 to 24 hours before the mixing and baking processes begin. This ensures the integrity of every loaf while making the use of preservatives and chemical rising agents unnecessary. Extended fermentation also allows for the development of rich flavors and textures. Rudi’s Organic Bakery’s original mission of making nutritious, flavorful, preservative-free baked goods is alive and well today.

Classic Peanut Butter, Justin’s (Boulder) –  In 2004–two years after experimenting with nuts and a simple food processor in his home kitchen, Justin wrote his first business plan and launched a national brand. With humble beginnings at the Boulder Farmers’ Market, he is now the CO-CEO of one of the country’s fastest growing natural product companies. Justin’s has received numerous local and national accolades and ranked in the Top 15 on the Inc. 500/5000 Fastest Growing Companies list in the Food and Beverage category two years in a row. Most recently, Justin was recognized as the 2013 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in the Mountain Desert Region. Their products are made with common sense. A sense that cooking in small batches ensures higher quality. That selectively choosing fine, all-natural ingredients will make it taste better. And that no matter their size, companies should always be grateful to their customers, employees and community.

Strawberry Preserves, Rocky Mountain Orchards (Estes Park) –  Using the freshest, all natural ingredients, Rocky Mountain Orchards makes jellies, preserves, spreads, salsas and mustards.  Family-owned and operated with Colorado-grown produce.  Committed to the environment and supporting local food banks.

Grilled Peanut Butter, Jam & Banana Sandwiches Photograph by Andrea Karapas, Serving Up Fort Collins

Grilled Peanut Butter, Jam & Banana Sandwiches
Photograph by Andrea Karapas, Serving Up Fort Collins

Get the Recipe

Grilled Peanut Butter, Jam & Banana Sandwiches

Ingredients:
8 slices good quality bread
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup peanut butter, smooth or crunchy
1/2 cup strawberry preserves
2 ripe bananas, sliced

Instructions:

Butter the bread slices on 1 side with butter and place them butter side down. Spread 4 slices with peanut butter and top with the banana slices. Spread the remaining slices with jelly and put them, jelly side down, on top of the bananas. Press them gently to flatten them slightly.

Place each sandwich on a preheated electric griddle and grill until the bread is toasted, about 5 minutes. Turn the sandwich over and grill for another 5 minutes. Serve immediately. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Recipe adapted from Tyler Florence

Serving Up Fort Collins: Winner of the first original Noosa Yoghurt Blogger Recipe Contest!

Honey Yoghurt Marinated Chicken Souvlaki Photograph by Andrea Karapas, Serving Up Fort Collins

Honey Yoghurt Marinated Chicken Souvlaki
Photograph by Andrea Karapas, Serving Up Fort Collins

Everyone loves an underdog.  There are several theories as to why this is, one being that underdogs are perceived as putting forth more effort than those with better odds.  Whatever the reason, when the underdog beats the odds and pulls out a win, it’s cause for colossal celebration.

I received word yesterday afternoon and it was officially announced today that Serving Up Fort Collins won the Noosa Yoghurt’s first original Blogger Recipe Contest with the Honey Yoghurt Marinated Chicken Souvlaki recipe.  This was a national contest, folks, and there were some heavy hitters competing with me.  I did some snooping when the contest began and discovered that several of the other competing bloggers had thousands of followers and well established readerships.  I knew from the beginning that this was a long shot.

Fort Collins clearly came together, uniting to support this local blogger, and I sincerely thank you.  There’s a lot of family and friends I knew I could count on for votes but know they couldn’t have handed me this win alone.  An entire community of support was at work here and I’m grateful.  It’s still sinking in and I’m on cloud 9.  Follow this link to Noosa’s page announcing the #winner.

A Serving Up Fort Collins reader that voted and left a comment on the blog has been selected at random to win a kitchen package from Bodum, which includes impressive kitchen items such as a mixing bowl set, measuring spoons, and various utensils (including a garlic press, pasta server, whisk, serving spoons and more)! CONGRATULATIONS, Jen Cintora!  I’ll be getting that prize to you as soon as it arrives from Noosa.

Thanks, everyone.  Opa!