Sunday, February 24, 2013

New IHOP Griddle Melts and a Giveaway!

I recently received an email asking if I'd like to try out the new Griddle Melts from IHOP. You better believe I did! I am a big fan of breakfast and breakfast sandwiches and these Griddle Melts not only looked delicious, they quite tasty as well. 

There are three Griddle Melt varieties to choose from. All are served with french fries, hash browns or fresh fruit. 

  • Spinach, Roasted Pepper & Cheese
    Sautéed fresh spinach in a fluffy egg omelet topped with roasted red peppers and onions, melted Provolone, Parmesan and Pepper Jack cheeses on grilled artisan sourdough bread. 
  • Western
    Smoked ham and sautéed peppers and onions in a classic omelet, topped with sliced ham, melted American cheese and served on grilled artisan sourdough bread. 
  • Ham & Egg Melt
    Sliced ham and melted Swiss and American cheeses over a fluffy egg omelet served on grilled artisan sourdough bread. 

I chose the ham and egg melt and it was stuffed with multiple layers of ham, egg omelet and two kinds of cheese- Swiss and American. The thick sourdough was buttery and toasty and tasted fresh. I'm not a huge fan of American cheese and would have preferred Cheddar, but it was good. Everyone at the table got a taste and we all seemed to like it, but my mother-in-law thought it was a little salty. If you're sensitive to salt, keep that in mind. 

If you like omelets and breakfast sandwiches, these are for you. Between the three varieties, there is something for everyone for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Which one would  you chose?

Would you like to try an IHOP Griddle Melt for yourself? 

Simply leave me a comment on this post telling me which of the three varieties of Griddle Melts you would like to try and you could win a $25 IHOP giftcard. One comment per person please. 

I'll chose a winner at random and announce it here on Lick The Bowl Good on Thursday, February 28th. 

This post is sponsored by IHOP. I was provided with gift cards to try the new Griddle Melts but I was not paid to write this post nor did they influence my opinion. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Perfect Brownie

It's a cliché to have chocolate on Valentine's Day. But so are big puffy red hearts and oversized teddy bears. I'm okay with that, especially when chocolate comes in the form of these delicious brownies. These would be "perfect" brownies, to be exact. And perfect they are. Brownies are a funny thing and there are so many different types out there and everyone has a preference. There are some made with just cocoa, some made with only chocolate, with chocolate chips, with nuts, without nuts, frosted, iced, glazed. Then there's the cakey, the fudgy and the chewy. Me? I like them chewy on the edges, a little fudgy in the middle, plain with no adornments and there must me a shiny crackly top. Enter the "perfect" brownie. 

I found these brownies through a fellow Instagrammer named Cheryl. She posted a photo on her Instagram of a recipe she made from Blackjack Bake House and was kind enough to share the link with me. Thanks Cheryl! There are so many drool worthy recipes on her site that I want to try. I read her description for these brownies and they were high on the top of my list. For the longest time, I thought that the only way to achieve chewy brownies was to make them from a boxed mix. And while those are still delicious, I prefer to make them homemade. I just never quite found the right recipe.  I tend to be a "cocoa only" type of brownie girl, but the added melted chocolate in these makes them a little richer and denser. if you want to add nuts, chocolate chips or chopped up candy, feel free to personalize them. You'll have everyone (even sneaky toddlers) reaching for one!

Perfect Brownies adapted from Blackjack Bake House

  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 10 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 oz. chopped bittersweet chocolate or chocolate chips 
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with foil or parchment paper. Make sure the edges are long enough to drape over the sides of the pan, for easy brownie removal. Butter the foil or parchment paper or spray with non-stick spray and set aside.   

In small bowl, whisk together cocoa, flour and salt. Set aside.

Melt butter over double boiler. Add sugar and chopped chocolate and whisk until chocolate melts and mixture is fairly smooth (it will be grainy). Remove from heat. Allow to cool slightly.

Add eggs to lukewarm chocolate mixture and beat with an electric mixer on medium for about 1 minute, until smooth. Add vanilla extract and beat to combine.

Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture and beat on medium speed for a full 3 minutes. (This is important to the success of the recipe)

Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly over the bottom and into the corners. 

Bake for about 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in brownies comes out mostly clean. 

To store, wrap in plastic or store in airtight container at room temperature.

Happy Valentine's Day! Lots of love to you all!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Going Bananas!

A couple weeks ago, I had eight black bananas sitting on my counter. The obvious choice would have been to make banana bread, but it's not my favorite thing to eat and if I'm going to consume the calories it better be something I want! When I have a couple ripe bananas to use, I usually make Strawberry Jello Salad that my husband loves so much. But I had 8. EIGHT. That's a lot of black bananas. So I turned to my peeps on Facebook (I finally joined FB- yay!) and my friends came through for me with these two recipes. 

First off, I have to tell you why I had so many dang bananas. My husband likes to eat a bowl of frozen fruit at night and he likes to add a banana to it to break up the cold. Well he was out of cherries so he quit eating the bananas. They started to turn brownish and he didn't want them anymore so he bought fresh green ones. I used up a couple in smoothies, then a couple more in peanut butter banana sandwiches, then the new bananas that he bought started to get speckles on them and he quit eating those too! At this point I was staring at bananas on the counter that got darker by the day and they started to smell. They needed to be used and I'm not a fan of freezing them. 

Chocolate Chip Banana Coffee Cake- Go HERE for the recipe. 
Allie from Eat at Allie's suggested I make muffins but that's not what I was craving at the time. I wanted something a little more indulgent so I called my banana loving friend Ingrid from 3B's. Without hesitation, she recommended a banana coffee cake with a chocolate chip streusel. Funny thing about that recipe, is that I recommended it to her over two years ago! The recipe came full circle and I made it. Danelle from Let's Dish made it too! The house smelled heavenly and it was delicious. A couple mornings later, I made Allie's banana crumb muffins to take to a friend. I saved a few for us to have for breakfast and they were equally good and simple to make. All that to say that, I now have two  new banana recipes and you do too! Enjoy my friends. 

Banana Crumb Muffins adapted from Eat at Allie's

For The Topping: 
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter
For The Muffins: 
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with 12 paper muffin cups*.

Make the topping: In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar, flour and cinnamon.
Use a fork to cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Place in refrigerator until ready to use. 

Make the muffins: In large bowl, mix the mashed bananas with the sugar, egg, vanilla and melted butter. Stir in the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt until just combined. 

Use an ice cream scoop to evenly disperse the batter into prepared muffin cups.

Sprinkle crumb topping over muffins.

Bake in preheated oven for 17-19 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

*Makes 12-14 muffins. 

If you have any great recipes to use up ripe bananas, please let me know!
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