Friday, January 31, 2014

Basic Italian Salad and a BOOK GIVEAWAY!


Yes, this photo has chocolate and a cookbook aaaaall in one. If I could, I'd give you pillows and slippers as well, but you'll have to come up with that part on your own. Tomorrow you'll be getting that chocolatey recipe to complete the menu. For now we're going to make this juicy classic "Basic Salad #1" as Liz calls it. You probably know it as a Caprese Salad.
I improvised with the ingredients available at my local market. Just get as close as you can to the right ingredients. Also, don't be afraid to play with your food. Caprese's are easy to style, so go to town!

Believe it or not, I'd never tried a Caprese until I was in my early twenties. I've had it many times since, and it never gets old. Even though the recipe rarely changes, not all are created equal, and that's because you need to choose your ingredients with care.Tomatoes are definitely not in season right now, so don't go grabbing the first ones in front of you. Look for deep red colors, and more important, for a garden-fresh scent. If you can't get romas or heirlooms that smell right, get the ones on the vine.  Notice that this recipe calls for buffalo milk mozzarella. There really is a difference. Not that the more common cow's milk variety won't work well, but buffalo milk mozzarella is much creamier and has a stronger flavor. It's also about three times more expensive, but keep in mind that you have so few ingredients to this salad that it's still not likely to exceed the cost of many other salads you'd make.

Okay, enough outta me. Here's the recipe for the Valentine's Dinner Menu (Option #1) salad:
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Basic Italian Salad #1 (Caprese Salad)
by Liz Edmunds, The Food Nanny

Serves 4
Time: 2 minutes

Ingredients
3 fresh roma tomatoes or heirloom tomatoes, chopped
2 2-inch balls Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese, cut up
Olive oil, to taste
Coarse salt, to taste
4 large, fresh basil leaves, torn

Directions
In a medium sized bowl, mix all the ingredients together.
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Pretty great, right? Virtually impossible to mess up. And you can get creative with your ingredients, like I did, and dress it up if you want. It's very easy, I promise!

Now for a little intro to the cookbook and the rules of the Giveaway!

Last night I spoke with my friend, Dannii, who introduced me to Liz. She told me about her visits to Liz's home in the mountains, how Liz always greets her with such enthusiasm and immediately serves up goodies for her to try. Dannii really knows good food, so I pretty much take any of her food reviews to the bank. She described Liz's cooking as "fabulous", and said that everything she's eaten of hers has been exceptional. Even the most basic things like her chocolate cupcakes are ridiculously good. Actually, she said those cupcakes are the best she's ever eaten (and, yes, the recipe is in the book!) She said that there's the foodie world where people invent these kinds of crazy dishes that are fun and interesting, "and then there's just plain good food, and Liz has a gift for that." This is evident just from a quick glace at The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner Again! I don't know if you've ever taken home a cookbook to find that the facade is better than the substance, and you ultimately end up using only a few of its recipes. That's happened to me many, many times. But, I have to say that I've been so genuinely impressed with the content of this cookbook and I'm certain I will be trying at least half of what's in here, which, for me, is a huge percentage.

Since, what made Liz famous is her theme-night meal planning, she has the cookbook broken up into days of the week which each represent a different theme. Monday's are for comfort food.

Tuesdays are Italian night. 

Wednesdays are for either fish, meatless meals, or breakfast.

Thursdays are Mexican nights, Fridays are for pizza (which look so freaking good, by the way,) Saturdays are for anything on the grill, and Sundays are all about traditional foods like roast turkey. 

She also has special sections for sandwiches, breads, side dishes, and desserts.

We're giving away TWO copies! And you can enter up to THREE times to win one. Here's how: 
  • Your first is a freebee. Just enter a comment bellow telling us one of your favorite meal themes. Choose one of Liz's or your own. I'll go first- Soup, Salad, and Sandwich Night!
  • You can leave a second comment/entry if you follow and/or "like" Eats and Beats on Facebook.
  • The third comment/entry is for following and/or "liking" The Food Nanny on Facebook.
All entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. PST, on Friday, February 7th. Winners will be selected and announced on Saturday, February 8th!

Good luck, and I'll see you tomorrow with some Chocolate Ganache Cake!

71 comments:

  1. Hooray for Food Nanny!!! Ironic with the upcoming events... I love the heartsy-fartsy Valentine (ie uncomfortably red + chocolate) anything!!!

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  2. Tonight was our Friday Night Buffet theme! It is easy and fun.. We have a big family, and on Friday we usually have all the left overs along with one surprise item...! Love this give away! xo

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  3. My family loves Breakfast for Dinner nights...her new cookbook looks amazing!!

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  4. I just liked and followed Eats and Beats on Facebook:)

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  5. I am following Food Nanny on Facebook:)

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  6. My favorite is Comfort Food Mondays! Don't we all need a little comfort after the weekend is over?

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  7. I follow Eats and Beats on Facebook!

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  8. I follow The Food Nanny on Facebook too! :-) Thanks so much for a great giveaway!

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  9. I am following Eats and Beats on Facebook

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  10. I like and follow Food Nanny on Facebook--that is how I found this page!

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  11. I love Mexican nights!!! I have to adapt the spice out for my daughter and hubby, though!

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  12. I love breakfast for dinner! (cali)

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  13. I've liked Eats and Beats on FB (cali)

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  14. Awesome, I've been wanting this book, her first book I have is worn out! :) My kids favorite is Friday, pizza night!

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  15. Already a Facebook follower for Food Nanny! :)

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  16. I love Mexican nights.

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  17. I liked Eats and Beats on Facebook

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  18. I love Food Nanny! I found eats and beats on her facebook!

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  19. Following Food Nanny on FB

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  20. Following Eats and beats on FB

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  21. I love Mexican food night!!! We love us some beans and burritos. :)

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  22. I'm following Eats and Beats on facebook...

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  23. I'm following Food Nanny on facebook!

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  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  25. Brittany Adams2/02/2014 1:48 AM

    I like Mexican Food Night

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  26. Brittany Adams2/02/2014 1:51 AM

    I like Italian Night and i like the food nanny on fb

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  27. Brittany Adams2/02/2014 1:57 AM

    I like eats and beats on facebook and like comfort food night

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  28. I love Mexican food night!

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  29. We have a candlelight dinner on valentine's day with our kids

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  30. I follow Food nanny on Face Book

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  31. I like the Food Nanny on Facebook

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  32. I think my favorite themed food is eyetalian - - -

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  33. Pizza night of course!

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  34. Of course I follow you on FB

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  35. I Love Breakfast For Dinner. Fun And Makes All The Kids Happy!

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  36. And Now I Follow Eats And Beats. :)

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  37. I love breakfast for dinner...especially when it involves PANCAKES! mmmmm....

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  38. I follow Eats and Beats!! :)

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  39. I like pizza night.

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  40. I'm following Food Nanny on facebook

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  41. I am following Eats and Beats (:

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  42. my favorite themed night is finger food night. Put away the utensils and dig into yummy dips an appetizers or other fun foods. After living in Ethiopia you don't like to use utensils!

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  43. And by Dustin, they really mean Nicki. Nicki is entering three times into the drawing :) And yes I like Eats and Beats on Facebook.

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  44. And Like the Food Nanny now too! I think there should be a like for Dannii and her food suggestions too!!

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  45. I liked your page and the food nanny

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  46. I love leftover night because it gets really creative when it makes no sense to pair cheddar biscuits with couscous, but we get to clean out the fridge.

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  47. I like and follow Eats and Beats on Facebook.

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  48. I liked Food Nanny on Facebook too!

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  49. I'm a huge fan of Liz! Our favorite theme night is Pizza.. because it's fun to look forward to pizza on Fridays.

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  50. Italian night has to be my fav!!!

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  51. Italian night has to be my fav!!!

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  52. Barbara with The Crawford Clan2/08/2014 5:54 AM

    Liz's plan is the best and I got to see it in action with her kids growing up....Larry likes comfort foods.....

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  53. I first saw your show on BYU and have been watching ever since. I love your show and all the cool things you do to improve the quality of that family you visit.I would love to meet you, your spirit shines through!! We love Mexican night. My favorite show was you baking bread at your Grandma's house! Thank you Ms. Liz~~

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  54. I love Mexican Night as our favorite. I loved all of your shows and wished you had more.
    Sigrun

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  55. My family's favorite night is Italian night!

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  56. Fish night! When my daughter eats all of her dinner (2.5 yrs old) we make popcorn and watch "Food Nanny" together before bed. Mommy daughter bonding, we love your show Liz!

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  57. Wendy Erickson2/09/2014 10:30 AM

    I had a spot open up for piano today. 3:30 Tuesday's beginning to intermediate piano 4 - 30 minute lessons a month 45.00 per month - message me if you are interested and I will send you details






    I have her 1st book and I have completely worn it out. I would love to have the 2nd one as well. I would have to say for a favorite.... Comfort Food night as I have used those recipes the most. :)







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