CIC: Lemongrass & Quinoa


I am pretty excited about this month’s Crazy Ingredient Challenge. While I didn’t vote for either of these ingredients, I’m glad they won. These two ingredients lend themselves towards healthy cooking, perfect for that post-holiday detox. I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone else made.

I actually found my inspiration during a search of ideas for my new Stir Fry Day Friday theme this year. Lemongrass shrimp. I reserved some of the flavoring mixture to mix into the quinoa. (I wanted to combine the two ingredients, not serve them together.) So if you don’t like or don’t want the shrimp, you can still have a beautiful, flavorful quinoa as a side to your protein of choice. You could even substitute chicken and keep the lemongrass flavor elements.

Lemongrass Shrimp with Quinoa


  • 1 C uncooked quinoa
  • 2 1/2 tbsp lemongrass paste
  • zest 1 lime
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tsp grated ginger
  • 1-2 tsp chili paste, to taste
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 lb shrimp
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce


  1. Cook quinoa according to package direction. (General rule of thumb is 1 C quinoa:2 C liquid)
  2. In a small bowl combine lemongrass, lime zest, garlic, ginger, and chili paste. Set aside 1/3 of the mixture for the quinoa.
  3. Heat the canola oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Cook shrimp 2 minutes on each side, or until cooked through. Stir in 2/3 of the lemongrass mixture and cook one minute. Toss in the fish sauce.
  4. Mix the remaining lemongrass mixture into the cooked quinoa.
  5. Serve shimp overtop the quinoa.

*The shrimp recipe is adapted from Adam at*

Lemongrass Shrimp | Sew You Think You Can Cook

To see the other bloggers who participated in this month’s Crazy Ingredient Challenge click on the link below.

CIC: Beets & Eggs


I got really excited when I saw that beets and eggs was one of the combination options for this month’s Crazy Ingredient Challenge. I actually made my dish before the winner was announced. And it only won by one vote! (The close runner up was garden peas and cheese.) I don’t think eggs are a particularly challenging ingredient – they’re easy to hide. So, I decided to think in the Chopped mentality and make it a star. Now, I am not a fan of eggs – I’ve finally determined that it’s the yolks that I don’t like. That means scrambled eggs are out; quiches and frittatas a no-go. What I decided on doing challenged me in the kitchen – Eggs Benedict. I’ve had a couple at nice brunch restaurants, and the runny egg yolk doesn’t bother me when it’s mixed with the rest of the ingredients on the plate.

My Roasted Beet Eggs Benedict required me to tackle my fear of poaching eggs. In fact, it tackled everyone’s fear! My brother and his fiance were in town meeting Wesley for the first time. I’ve watched countless Food Network stars poaching eggs, so I knew the general idea. I am proud to say, that even though it took four of us, every egg poached was a perfect success!

To poach an egg, bring a wide mouthed pot of water to an almost boil. With a spoon create an eddy in the water. Break the egg into a small bowl and drop it slowly into the vortex of the eddy. Cook the egg for about four minutes – until the whites are set and the yolk still runny – and remove with a slotted spoon.

I also got to attempt making a Hollandaise Sauce. I followed Alton Brown’s recipe. I have to say, I thought it was going great! I enjoyed watching the sauce transform after each addition of butter. But adding lemon juice the second time caused my sauce to separate. If I whisked enough it came back together, and it tasted right too. Unfortunately, I made this sauce way too early. The rest of the Eggs Benedict elements were not ready. (And I had a very hungry infant requiring my attention.) When we came back to the sauce, there wasn’t any saving it. Happily though, no one missed the Hollandaise Sauce on their Eggs Benedicts!

There was yet a third new experience to try. Beets! I’ve had beets before (a caprese salad w/ roasted golden beets), but I’d never worked with them myself. I followed this tutorial to roast them. (The left over beets were used in smoothies! If you decide to put roasted beets in a smoothie, note that a little bit goes a long way, the flavor tends to over power the other fruits/vegetables.)

Roasted Beet Eggs Benedict


  • 1 English muffin, halved and toasted
  • 2 slices Canadian bacon
  • 2 slices roasted beets (instructions linked above)
  • spinach leaves
  • 2 eggs, poached (instructions posted above)
  • salt and pepper


  1. Assemble Eggs Benedict by placing a slice of Canadian bacon on each half of the English muffin. Top with the roasted beet and spinach leaves. Place the poached eggs on the top of the open faced sandwiches. Season with S+P.

Roasted Beet Eggs Benedict

To see other blogs that participated this month click on the link below. And if you’re a blogger and interested in joining us, contact Dawn at You don’t have to participate every month, but if you’re up for the challenge, we’d love to have you!

Strawberry Poppy Seed Dressing

It’s always fun to see what people come up with during the Crazy Ingredient Challenge. I’ve pinned a few recipes but I’ve never made someone else’s CIC recipe.

Until now.

For this month’s Mustard and Strawberries challenge I had considered doing a salad with strawberries and honey mustard dressing, but that wasn’t creative. It never occurred to me to make a dressing! Pure genius. And pure deliciousness.


Strawberry Poppy Seed Dressing


  • 1/2 C (5-7) fresh strawberries, stems removed and cut in half
  • zest and juice of 1 clementine
  • 2-3 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 C extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 tsp poppy seeds


  1. In a food processor combine strawberries, clementine juice/zest, honey, and mustard until smooth. With the machine running stream in olive oil. Season with S+P to taste, if desired.
  2. Remove the blade from the food processor and stir in poppy seeds.

*This recipe is adapted from Cindy at*

Strawberry Poppy Seed Dressing

CIC: Mustard & Strawberries


It’s that time of month for another Crazy Ingredient Challenge.  With the business of the holidays I sat out during December and January and I’m glad to be back this month.

This month we were assigned Mustard and Strawberries. The challenge is to combine sweet strawberries with vinegary mustard. I decided to be liberal with the mustard ingredient and use honey mustard. Stuart wondered if strawberries could be pickled in a way to compliment yellow mustard. But I liked my idea better.

I present to you Strawberry Pretzels with Sweetened Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce.

I chose to follow Hannah’s recipe for pretzels because I could completely connect with her blog post. The trick was adding in strawberries. I was really nervous about this part. You can’t just fold them at the end of the dough making process like you would pancakes or cookies, so I added them during the kneading process and hoped for the best. I tried researching how to add fruit to pretzels and found absolutely nothing. So I tried looking for adding chocolate chips to pretzels, again nothing. I think I’m starting a trend here!!

How to pretzel

Strawberry Pretzels with Sweetened Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

Ingredients for Pretzels:

  • 1 (1 oz) packet  active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar in the raw pure cane sugar
  • 1 1/4 C warm water
  • 2 1/2 C bread flour
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2/3 C finely chopped strawberries
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted, divided use

Ingredients for Sweetened Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce:

  • 1/4 C honey mustard
  • 1/2 tsp white sugar
  • heaping 1/4 tsp honey


  1. In the bottom of a stand mixer gently stir together yeast, sugar, and warm water.  Let stand 5 minutes.
  2. Add 1 1/2 C of flour to the yeast begin to stir with the dough hook attachment on low speed. Add 1/3 C of strawberries and stir. Add salt, remaining flour and strawberries. Mix until the dough comes together around the hook.
  3. Cover and let dough rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  4. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  5. Punch dough and transfer it onto a floured surface, divide into six equal parts. (I think you could even get 8 pretzels if you wanted!) Roll dough into a long snake and shape into a pretzel – do this by making a heart and twisting the ends. (see photos above)
  6. Place pretzels on parchment lined cookie sheet. Brush with 2 tbsp melted butter and bake 10 minutes.
  7. Turn on broiler and bake another 1-5 minutes until golden brown. Keep an eye on them, the timing will depend on your oven. Brush with remaining 1 tbsp butter and sprinkle with kosher salt.
  8. Make dipping sauce by whisking all three ingredients. Serve with pretzels.

Strawberry Pretzels

To see the other bloggers who participated in this month’s Crazy Ingredient Challenge click on the link below.