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Showing posts from March, 2012

Incredible Butternut Squash, Chickpea & Red Lentil Stew

This stew is amazing. Trying exciting new recipes is always fun.  When I saw this North-African modeled stew, I was intrigued and made a mental note to buy the ingredients on my next grocery trip.  It just sounded so different from anything that I usually make.  As it came together beautifully in the kitchen, it became this incredible marriage of spices and ingredients that resulted in heavenly smells wafting through the house.  I was sold! After reading the recipe reviews, I decided to make some major changes to improve the dish.  You can see the original recipe HERE .  My biggest changes included using red onion and canned chickpeas, adding garlic and chicken to the dish, sauteing the onion and garlic before adding the other ingredients and also cooking the stew on the stove top instead of a slow-cooker.  Several of the reviews noted that there wasn't much flavor, and that all the ingredients sort of became the same consistency in the slow cooker.  Because of this,

And The Winner Is...

Drum-roll please...................................................... The winner of the latest giveaway - a great selection of Amazing Taste seasonings, plus a large 27 oz. shaker - has been selected! has chosen comment #3, from Shanda M.! Shanda - Please email me at to claim your prize!  :) :) :)

Chocolate Caramel Cookie Bars + A Dream Come True

  About a month ago, I nonchalantly checked my email as I went about my normal daily routine.  Only this time, I couldn't resist letting out a squeal of excitement as I read the first email that popped through.  It was from the Producer at our local Fox 6 News station, and she was asking if I might be interested in appearing on Good Day Alabama as a part of their morning cooking segment.   I couldn't believe it.  After I got past my initial shock, I sent her an email to confirm that I would absolutely love the chance!  The segment usually runs about 5 minutes long, so I got to work trying to figure out just what I wanted to make in that time frame.  There had been a recipe in the back of my mind for quite some time that I wanted to develop.  This was the perfect opportunity.  I pictured a dessert bar, which was sort of a combination of a Snickers candy bar and a chocolate chip cookie...a "Snookie" Bar, if you will (no...NOT the J

An "Amazing" Giveaway! + Chicken Linguine w/ Kalamata Olives, Cilantro, Fresh Mozzarella & Toasted Almonds

  I'm so excited that the new Sugar & Spice by Celeste Facebook fan page hit 500 fans yesterday!  Thank you all for the support...You guys are awesome! To celebrate, how about a giveaway ?!  The awesome folks at Amazing Taste recently sent me some goodies to give to one lucky blog reader.  I use this brand of spices all the time and am very happy to be able to give a great selection to the winner.   The thing I love about these spices is that they make my life a lot easier on busy weeknights.  They're an easy way to add tons of flavor without spending long in the kitchen.  Plus, they are all natural and contain no MSG.       I recently used the Chicken Seasoning in a pasta dish, which turned out to be a new favorite.  I just adore cooking pasta dishes.  It's fun to experiment with different veggies and ingredients, to come up with something delicious...yet uncomplicated!  The following recipe was the result of  using what I had on-hand in my kitchen at the

Swine & Wine Twilight Supper 2012 - Birmingham, AL

If you ever find yourself in the lovely city that I call home - Birmingham, AL - You simply MUST make time to dine at Little Savannah Restaurant & Bar .  Chef Clif Holt and his wife, Maureen, make it a not-to-miss restaurant in the "Magic City."   Clif and Maureen have spearheaded a pretty awesome event here in Birmingham, that I want to share with you all.  It's the Swine and Wine Twilight Supper, which they created because of "a growing need for a collaborative chef driven event in support of Urban Farms."   For the dinner, the chefs will roast whole pigs overnight and whip up some amazing side dishes.  Then it will all be served as a big family-style meal.  Now, that sounds like my kind of party! Swine and Wine 2012 is an event that I can't WAIT to attend this year!  It will benefit the Druid City Garden Project and will be held on Sunday, March 25th, 2012 from 5PM - 8PM. A bevy of the most talented chefs from Birmingham..

Warm French Lentils - Ina Garten

There's a little Mediterranean market here in town that I love to shop at when I'm in the area.  It's called Nabeel's International Market , and I love perusing their shelves for little treasures to experiment with in the kitchen.  As you enter the front doors, your senses are greeted by an array of fresh cheeses and olives that will immediately make you hungry and the store shelves are packed with things like Chinese pine nuts, assorted olive and grapeseed oils, Greek dried figs, Turkish pistachio nuts, fresh Phyllo dough and mountains of spices. On my last visit, I turned the corner to browse the last shelf in the back of the store, and what did I find?  Clear bags bursting at the seams with gorgeous French green Le Puy lentils.  For some reason, these little beauties are hard to find around here, so I excitedly snatched up 2 big bags and added them to my basket. Who knew I'd EVER get so darn excited about LENTILS.  I guess it's the small things in l

Roasted Butternut Squash Pizza with Pesto, Bacon, Goat Cheese & Balsamic Red Onions...Plus Butternut Squash Seed Oil!

If you're anything like me, a little grapeseed or olive oil paired with a fabulous mix of spices and freshly baked bread is the perfect appetizer to almost any meal.  Great quality oils can be so incredibly versatile, making the perfect addition to salad dressings, sauteed veggies and of course, dipping spices.  So, when I heard of a contest that Marx Foods was hosting to promote their new seed oils, I excitedly sent them an email right away.  They were looking to select 6 food bloggers to develop a recipe using the oil, and then write a candid review for the product. Fast forward a week or so, and I came home to find a package on my front doorstep.  Yay!  I had been selected!  I opened the box right away and was excited to find a bottle of Butternut Squash Seed Oil inside.  Butternut Squash Seed Oil?!?  That sounded amazing .  I didn't even know such a thing existed.  Once I made it to my kitchen, I opened up the bottle and a beautiful, nutty aroma found it'

The International Boston Seafood Show is Right Around the Corner

There are some pretty exciting  food-related conferences and festivals happening within the next few months.  The Charleston Food + Wine Festival was this weekend, and the Atlanta Food + Wine Festival is in May.  The International Biscuit Festival and corresponding Southern Food Writing Conference are also to be held in Knoxville, TN in May 2012.  And I'm already looking forward to Food Blog South 2013! One conference I was excited to hear about recently is the International Boston Seafood Show , which is right around the corner...on March 11 - 13th.  It's the largest seafood event in North America and is a very important conference for those involved in the seafood industry.  Plus, rows upon rows of seafood vendors sampling their delicious wares sounds like my sort of event!  If only I lived closer to Boston.  The Passionate Foodie wrote an excellent post about the 2011 show, which you can see HERE . Photo courtesy of PR Newswire  Photo courtesy of