July 30, 2014

Almond Cherry Granola

This post is sponsored by McCormick.  Almond Cherry Granola is a sweet toasted granola recipe made with almonds, cinnamon and dried cherries.  It is perfect for breakfast or snack time.

Almond Cherry Granola | thetwobiteclub.com

In our house, I'm the one who comes up with the meal plan.  I'll  usually ask my husband and kids if they have any recipe requests before I go shopping and then I fill in the blanks making sure that we have plenty of options lined up for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

Although food is totally my thing and I'm one of those odd ducks that actually enjoys grocery shopping (I seriously can spend 3 hours in the store and it feels like 5 minutes), it's sometimes hard to come up with fresh meal ideas that my whole family will love.

Personally, I love almost anything.  That, however, is not the case when it comes to my husband.  Over the years he has become more open to trying new foods, but he's still pretty particular about proteins.  He's not a fan of most seafood, with the exception of lobster.  And although I would love it if it did, sadly my budget doesn't allow for daily lobster indulgences.  He also doesn't love it when I cook pork.  Pork!  Ugh, it pains me to say that, because I love pork.  

Then there's the kids.  Luckily, the 5-year old will try most anything, but I have to keep in mind the fact that 5-year olds and spicy foods don't usually mix.  Same goes for the little one who is 1 1/2.  Spicy anything is a no-go.  Otherwise, he's like most other toddlers out there...anything that ends up in his tummy and not on the floor is what I consider a success.
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July 21, 2014

Oven-Roasted Tomatoes

Oven-Roasted Tomatoes are fresh tomatoes that are slow-roasted until the flavors are intensified and they are beautifully caramelized.

Oven Roasted Tomatoes | thetwobiteclub.com

My garden has been a little wacky this summer.  My first year growing was last year and, surprisingly, much more productive than this year.  I've already pulled 4 of my 8 plants and I've about to dig up the others, too.

I can honestly say that I think my success, or lack thereof, isn't completely my fault.  Well it kind of is, but I've come to realize gardening is all about trial and error.  See, last year I got tomatoes that were all the same variety.  And apparently the variety I chose was great for my tropical growing conditions.

This year I thought, I have obviously magically developed a green thumb because of last year's plentiful crop.  So this year I'll get all fancy and grow a bunch of different varieties.  Mix it up and get all exotic.  I do, after all, have a green thumb, like I said before.

So I planted yellow tomatoes, plum tomatoes, grape tomatoes, big boys, and one or two others.  I planted them...and they grew.  And I did get some tomatoes.  But this year I got nowhere near the amount that I harvested last year before they were struck with all kinds of sad tomato illnesses.  Out of the 8, only 2 plants really did well.  Sigh.  Live and learn.

So anyhoo, from what I did harvest, I was able to make some great fresh tomato sauce, top plenty of cream cheese bagels, and throw together several batches of fresh salsa.  I also made these oven-roasted tomatoes that have a deep intense tomato flavor.

They were absolutely irresistible right off the pan and didn't last a day in our house.  You won't believe how rich and full of flavor these little beauties are.  So, if you're lucky enough to still have tomatoes rolling in, make these!  You will not be disappointed!
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July 18, 2014

Zucchini Chips

Zucchini Chips are thin, crispy, oven-baked slices of zucchini that make the perfect healthy snack.

Zucchini Chips | thetwobiteclub.com

My very favorite indulgent snack is chips.  Wavy, thin, kettle cooked, flavored...I love them all.  Of course I'm talking about potato chips.  Potatoes are my favorite food any way you cook them. I love them and, as I've said time and time again, I'm a salty snacker appetizer kind of girl.

So yeah, potato chips and me?  We're like peas and carrots.

I never, ever, ever thought that I would eat a chip made from a zucchini that would fulfill me like my beloved potato chips.  I mean really, a zucchini?  Baked into a chip? In my mind there was no way, no how, a zucchini chip would ever work out as a satisfying replacement for my potato chips.

Friends, I.WAS.WRONG.
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July 15, 2014

Cantaloupe Popsicles

Cantaloupe Popsicles that are made with just three ingredients are the perfect way to use your fresh summer melon to make sweet and easy to prepare frozen treats.

Cantaloupe Popsicles made with just three ingredients are the perfect sweet summertime treat!

My daughter is big fan of fresh fruit.  Most days she has a side of fruit with her breakfast and lunch and she always finishes every bite.  Naturally, this thrills me.  My son, on the other hand, frequently exercises his right of refusal, as most toddlers often do.

He's a funny little bug.  Picky for the sake of being picky.  Like he won't eat strawberries if they're cut up, but loves them when they're whole.  The same with pears.  So silly.

Both of my kids love when I bust out the blender to use their favorite fruits to make frozen treats like smoothies and popsicles.  For my fruit-loving daughter, it transforms the fruit into an extra special treat.  For my son, it's a way to get him to eat a lot of fruit he otherwise turns his nose up to.  Cantaloupe is one of the fruits he won't eat when it's cut up, but he loves these popsicles!

We all loved the fresh taste of the melon and the little hint of lime in these sweet treats.  They're perfect for summertime when cantaloupe is in season.  Your kids (and you) will love them!
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July 9, 2014

Greek Yogurt Cucumbers

Greek Yogurt Cucumbers are an easy to prepare, cool and fresh side dish featuring crisp cucumbers and creamy greek yogurt.

Greek Yogurt Cucumbers are an easy to prepare side dish made with garden fresh cucumbers, onions and creamy greek yogurt.

My summer garden always starts out so fabulous.  Everything is green and lush and just beautiful.  It's so full of life, you know?  There's nothing like harvesting vegetables and bringing them straight to the kitchen for preparation.  It's doesn't get fresher than that!

But sadly, the cucumber crop didn't last long this year.  I grow everything organically, which means no pesticides for me.  That also means more bugs.  Lots and lots more bugs.  Bugs that just so happen to love to munch on all of my precious veggies.

Boo.  I'm working on it though.  I'm looking into organic pest control options and next year I'm going to be ready for those little veggie-munching buggers.  They'd better watch out 'cause I'm coming for them.  

I did have a few weeks, though, where everything was growing smashingly.  I harvested plenty of cucumbers and enjoyed them in my garden salads, in my Tomato, Cucumber and Onion Salad with Feta, in my Greek Shrimp Panzanella Bread Salad, and in this recipe.

This is a great way to turn your cucs into a side dish by simply adding some sweet onions and dressing them in a cool greek yogurt mixture.  Super easy and perfect for your garden's bounty!
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July 3, 2014

Herbed Ricotta and Roasted Cherry Tomato Bruschetta and an Honest Lemonade Giveaway!

Herbed Ricotta and Roasted Cherry Tomato Bruschetta is made by topping toasted baguette slices with a fresh herbed ricotta mixture and oven-roasted cherry tomatoes.

Herbed Ricotta and Roasted Cherry Tomato Bruschetta | thetwobiteclub.com

I've said it time and time again, I love appetizers.  I could eat just apps and skip dinner and dessert and I'd be totally okay with that.  This appetizer is so incredibly easy to make and full of flavor.  It's got it all...cool and creamy ricotta, fresh herbs, and sweet delicious garden fresh tomatoes all served on top of crusty bread slices drizzled with olive oil.  Can't beat it.

I love that I can use the cherry tomatoes and herbs from my garden to pull this recipe together.  I wait all year for my summer tomatoes and I get so excited to use them in recipes like this one.  I'm actually sad when summer comes to an end and I have to pay for tomatoes again.

Like seriously, legitimately sad.  If you've grown tomatoes before, I know you're with me on this one.
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June 25, 2014

White Cheddar Orzo with Bacon

White Cheddar Orzo with Bacon is a rich, cheesy, garlicky pasta side dish with a creamy white cheddar cheese sauce and lots of crispy crumbled bacon.

White Cheddar Orzo with Bacon | thetwobiteclub.com

I bought a box of orzo a while back when pasta was on sale buy one, get one free. That's when I usually stock up and I try to mix it up with the variety I buy.  My husband is a regular spaghetti kind of guy and the kids like elbow mac.  I like it all, so I'm not picky.  I saw the orzo and though I could use it to mix things up a bit.

Well, that box of orzo sat on the shelf in my kitchen longer than any of the others I bought on that shopping trip.  I just couldn't decide how I wanted to dress up the cute little rice-shaped pasta.

Then, the 5th Challenge in the Young & Hungry Blogger Challenge was announced.  (Read more about the ABC Family Young & Hungry Blogger Challenge here.)  It was a "Cheesy Challenge", which I was thrilled about because cheese is totally my thing.  I scanned my pantry and fridge and (finally) was inspired to use that orzo!  My favorite cheesy meal is my Mom's Mac & Cheese, but I wanted to create an original dish for my submission.
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June 23, 2014

Greek Shrimp Panzanella Bread Salad

This Greek Shrimp Panzanella Bread Salad features grilled marinated shrimp and tomatoes, crusty bread, feta cheese, and tons of garden fresh vegetables all tossed in a bold and flavorful homemade Greek vinaigrette.

Greek Shrimp Panzanella Bread Salad | thetwobiteclub.com

Have you ever heard of panzanella?  Panza-who-a?  Panzanella!  It's an amazing hearty salad that has Tuscan origins and is a fancy way of saying bread salad.

Wait, what?  Bread salad?

That was my first reaction and I wouldn't be surprised if you were thinking the same thing.  Yes, friends, bread salad.  I first had it years ago when my sister brought it to a family gathering and I was in awe of the fact that there was a salad out there where the main ingredient is bread instead of lettuce.  Genius idea, methinks.

Classically it has Italian flavors using basil, tomatoes, stale bread and olive oil, which is the way my sister made it.  I was inspired to twist the salad in a Greek direction, seeing as Greek salads are my very favorite kind of salad.  To make it a meal, I added grilled shrimp that I marinated in a homemade Greek dressing that was also used to dress the whole shebang.

Oh, was the dressing good.  It was bright and vinegary and zesty, just like I like my vinaigrettes.  You could easily substitute with a bottled dressing, but trust me, this dressing is way better than bottled stuff.  Learned that lesson from my Momma. She makes the best homemade dressings.
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June 20, 2014

Death by Chocolate Cupcakes

Death by Chocolate Cupcakes are from-scratch, rich, chocolate cupcakes made with cocoa powder, studded with chocolate chips, and topped with decadent chocolate cream cheese frosting.  To die for!

Death by Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

As a participant in the Young & Hungry Blogger Challenge I was presented with the task of creating the prettiest, funniest, wackiest or loveliest cupcake I could think of. My first reaction was, "Well, that narrows it down!"  Haha.

As a girl who has never claimed to be a baker, I was a little intimidated by this one.  I started wracking my brain trying to decide how to make my cupcake stand out with the cupcake liners that the challenge was centered around.  What would make my cupcake the star of the contest?
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June 16, 2014

Filet Mignon Steak Sandwich with Cheddar Cheese Sauce

This Filet Mignon Steak Sandwich with Cheddar Cheese Sauce is made with tender, juicy, grilled filet mignon that is topped with flavorful caramelized mushrooms and then smothered with a creamy garlic cheddar cheese sauce.

Filet Mignon Steak Sandwich with Cheddar Cheese Sauce | thetwobiteclub.com

As a participant in the Young and Hungry Blogger Challenge hosted by ABC Family, I was given the task of creating an original recipe in honor of a special father in my life.  Father's Day was yesterday, so it was the perfect challenge for me and my fellow food bloggers!

I chose to to make a dish inspired by my wonderful husband, the father of my two beautiful kids and my best friend.  His FAVORITE dinner is filet mignon with lobster tails and baked potatoes.  I decided to put a twist on his favorite protein and turn it into a steak sandwich, which is also one of his faves.

Oh, and I totally found it necessary to include my Caramelized Mushrooms on this one.  We usually make them with our steak and have to hold back from eating them all before we actually sit down to the table.  They were the perfect compliment to this decadent sandwich.

As if that wasn't enough deliciousness for one meal, I then smothered the whole shebang in a creamy seasoned cheddar cheese sauce.  Totally indulgent and totally screams my husband.  I think there would be many a man happy to have this on his plate for dinner!  Here's to the Dads!
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June 12, 2014

POPSUGAR Select Food: Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus

Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus is a flavorful twist on traditional hummus made with bold sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, fresh lemon juice and sesame oil in place of tahini.

Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus | The Two Bite Club

POPSUGAR Select is an exclusive network featuring the best beauty, food, fashion, home, and fitness bloggers hand-selected by POPSUGAR's editors.  The Two Bite Club is a proud member of the POPSUGAR Select Food Blogger network.  This recipe was created by me for POPSUGAR Food.

Click here to go to the recipe!
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June 11, 2014

ABC Family's Young and Hungry Blogger Challenge

I am so incredibly stoked to tell you my awesome news!  My little ol' blog has been invited to participate in a special blogger challenge hosted by ABC Family in honor of the premiere of their new series Young & Hungry starring Emily Osment!



Let's just let that simmer for a minute.

Because the awesomeness of this is almost too much for me to take.  Friends, ABC Family sent me an invitation email.  How cool is that?

My jaw about hit the floor when I read it.  Not only because it sounded like super fun, but (hello!) a national television network sent me an exclusive email that was only sent to a handful of selected bloggers chosen to help promote what looks like a super fun new series.

What does this new series have to do with me, the food blogger?  Young & Hungry is loosely based on the life of real life food blogger Gabi Moskowitz of the blog BrokeAss Gourmet.  So you see, a Food Blogger Challenge makes perfect sense!

I will be participating in six challenges competing with the other bloggers and I will need YOUR votes to help me win the chance to have my blog, The Two Bite Club, mentioned on an episode of the show!  Again, how cool is that?

I've received a beautiful picnic basket filled with items related to each secret challenge.  The mystery and anticipation of it all has my head spinning!  Here...take a look:


There's notepads, skewers, cupcake liners, a grater, a picture frame, an apron just like Gabi wears in the show, and a note telling me the last challenge is a surprise and I will be getting something else mailed to me!  All of it was tucked inside a gorgeous insulated picnic basket.  Exciting!

If you'd like to help me win, I would LOVE your support!  Head over to the Young & Hungry Facebook Page to see the challenges as they're announced!  Everything is set to get rolling TODAY and the first challenge was just went live.  I'm off to get this thing started!  Woo-hoo!

Voting Links:

CHALLENGE 1:  Best Cooking Advice 
(This is a direct link to my entry!  My submission reads: "Make cooking a family affair.  Family time in the kitchen makes the meal a memory, not just a recipe.")



CHALLENGE 2:  Father's Day Challenge
(Scroll down and look for my name, Becky Tarala.)
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