Potato Skin Salad and Food News

Food52, have you heard of it? I listened to a great interview with Amanda and Merrill on Martha Stewart’s Sirius station, Everyday Food. I heard the program on the way home from what should have been a trip to Costco. I drove to the warehouse without checking the hours and knew as soon as I saw the open parking lot, I’d come to late! I needed a few key items for a couple recipes and thought Trader Joe’s might be the next best place to visit. Apparently, TJ’s and the surrounding mile or so was sitting through a major power outage! All of downtown Danville was dark.

The next closest store with the best prices would be Fresh & Easy. I hate going there without my $5 off coupon that I have each week. UGH, now that I think of it, I had TWO coupons (could have just split the transaction.) Anyhow, it is a great thing that Fresh & Easy is not too far from TJ’s (but far enough away to have power.) I had my ears glued to the Sirius Stars station at this point and listened to a writer from TV Guide talk about Paranormal Activity and all the new eerie shows on tv. Driving through blacked out streets made the listening all the creepier!

I picked up my items and then about a thousand more from F&E. I needed to get stuff to make Loaded Potato Salad for my husband’s tailgating adventure at the 49er’s game tomorrow. It’s a basic potato salad with extra fatty stuff added to make it taste like ‘tato skins.

  • 1 lb. red or gold potatoes – cut into chunks (leave skins on)
  • 1 packet Ranch dressing mix (or blend onion powder, garlic powder, salt, parsley or dill)
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 5 slices bacon
  • 2 T. chives

As you chop your potatoes, add them to a huge mama pot of cold water. Add more water if needed, to cover potatoes by an inch. Bring to a boil and let cook 10 minutes.

Cook the bacon while you wait for the potatoes to boil. I’d suggest getting a pizza roller and slicing the bacon into little strips ahead of time.

Once the potatoes are boiled and the pot is drained, lay the potatoes across a large baking sheet and sprinkle with your homemade (or store bought) ranch style seasoning. Place the pan in the fridge for 30 minutes or so.

Mix the mayo, sour cream, garlic and pepper. Add the cold potatoes, followed by cheese, bacon and chives. Let the salad chill and meld together. Run across the country to balance calories.

Back to Food52. On the way home, I flipped to the Martha Stewart channel and was intrigued by the ladies discussing their book and some easy peasy recipes. One of which was Lazy Mary’s Improved Lemon Tart. I’m dying to try this. To make the filling you throw a whole lemon, seeds, skin and all, into a blender with vanilla, a stick of butter, sugar and eggs. How fun does that sound?

They also discussed a super sounding apple cake with maple, almonds and no flour. However, I am currently banning myself from baking more apple cakes. I made Lisa’s cake on Thursday for a party on Friday and probably ate 3/4 of the pan myself. Oh yes I did.

Oh no you di’nt!

So go check out Food52.com, it looks really fun. Especially the Dinner and a Movie section, which currently pairs a dinner with The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, fun!

This is the perfect opportunity to let you know that Food It Forward will soon be featuring a weekly movie and meal post. My husband is a serious movie buff. I have a BFA (that is a Bachelor’s of Fine Art) in Film and Television, you’d think I’d be the movie master of the house. No way, my husband can pull out a movie title like no one’s business. He has a fun page on Facebook called, 10 Word Movie Reviews. He will be choosing a film and giving you a new way of looking at it. I’ll be doing the food side obviously. We’ve been talking about it for a while now, but I thought I’d mention it after seeing Food52 does something vaguely similar to what we have planned. Look for the first movie and meal next week!

Trader Joe’s Fall Finds

I wanted to post this last night, but guess who fell asleep at 8:30? I know, poor me. I took these photos with my husband’s iphone and let’s just say I won’t be invited to National Geographic anytime soon, mkay?

First find, Trader Joe’s Gone Bananas!…one bite at a time

You’ve probably had the original Gone Bananas, which are just frozen bananas covered in chocolate. It’s always a better thought than treat, though. The banana is icy and you end up sawing cold bananas with your teeth. Hence, one bite at a time. Little banana nuggs, covered in chocolate. Bon Bons gone healthy. Yep, I’m gonna keep telling myself that.

Next up, more buttah flavors! Now in addition to the pumptastic honey pumpkin flavor, TJ’s has added Fig Butter, Cranberry Apple Butter and Mango Butter. I have the fig butter on the counter at home, just waiting for inspiration to strike. I haven’t decided what to spread it on yet, I’ll let you know. (I’m sure you’ll be on pins and needles!)

I also found a new flavor of Kind Bar, Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew. Kind Bars are full of chunky, chewy goodness and light in the crap department. Like Lara Bars, but with a few more additives. Notice how there are two bites already missing from my photo? I can’t believe Trader Joe’s sells already eaten bars. Hmph. Ok, George Washington once got in trouble for telling a lie while eating a cherry Kind Bar. I ate it while loading the groceries in the car.

My favorite is back! Maybe it has been around, I just don’t look for it until this time of year. The Trader Joe’s Artisan Puff Pastry is made out of 4 ingredients and makes the holiday season a breeze. Stock up, I’m freaking dead serious. You can make savory or sweet apps, desserts or any other creative pastry dishes you desire. This pastry dough is much easier to work with than the million sheets of phyllo dough that you have to brush butter on and much healthier than the Pepperidge Farm variety. Take my word, once you go black…Oh my lord, wrong analogy.

What do you love from Trader Joe’s? Have you tried the pumpkin pancake or bread mix? I want to hear from you! While I’m hearing from you, tell your friends to “like” Food It Forward on Facebook. We need 48 more to get to 100 FB friends. What happens then? I give prizes away!!!

Pioneer Woman’s Meatloaf

I needed a meatloaf recipe that wouldn’t miss, so I turned of course to the Pioneer Woman. Her recipes are consistent and usually use all real food. I quickly found her My Favorite Meatloaf recipe and for once, I had (almost) all the ingredients on hand.

I soaked 6 pieces of bread in milk as directed, but used California Black Bread, instead of the white she suggested. I also swapped in 1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder and 1 1/2 tsp. thyme for the parsley, which I didn’t have.

Here’s the recipe:


  • 1 cup Whole Milk
  • 6 slices White Bread
  • 2 pounds Ground Beef
  • 1 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • ¾ teaspoons Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • ⅓ cups Minced Flat-leaf Parsley
  • 4 whole Eggs Beaten
  • 10 slices Thin/regular Bacon


  • 1-½ cup Ketchup
  • ⅓ cups Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Dry Mustard
  • Tabasco To Taste

The outcome? I took a bite and told my husband that I’d be swearing if I could, it was so yummy. This “loaf” if it can really be called that, is wrapped in bacon, which adds a ton of flavor. Both kids gave this meal a thumbs up, which happens about as often as a visit from Haley’s Comet.)

The bacon stayed soft though, which was a bit of a disappointment. Anyone have any ideas how to bake a meatloaf with bacon and sauce, yet get the bacon to crisp up (even a bit?)

Be prepared with a really big pan and plenty of foil. Two pounds of beef creates quite a loaf. I said, “You call that a loaf? This is a loaf,” a few times while preparing dinner. I know it is the lamest movie quote ever, I just couldn’t help it. I made a beast for dinner!

light apple cake

Apple Cake

On a particularly rainy afternoon last year, my dear friend Lisa served a seriously delicious apple cake to our playgroup. I loved it and tried to create an equally yummy experience for my in-laws that weekend. I couldn’t remember the recipe Lisa had recited, so I figured Martha Stewart’s would taste the same. Martha ain’t got nuttin’ on Lisa’s apple cake. Old Matty’s cake is full of oil and tastes dense, as most fruit or veggie cakes do.

This morning, I dug through my old emails and found Lisa’s recipe! To be fair, it is her mother’s recipe. Lisa is Armenian and has a family full of Armenian women that cook. Not epicurious.com or foodnetwork.com type of cooking, the real kind. Family recipes stored in memory kind of cooking.

I did a couple things different with the recipe and it didn’t change it up too much. The cake calls for 1/4 cup of pineapple or orange juice, neither of which I had, so I swapped in some whole milk. I’m not sure if the citrus juice is meant for flavor or to help break down the apples. The next batch I make will use orange juice and I’ll let you know the difference on Facebook. What? You don’t follow FoFo on Facebook? Get thee self to the right side of this page and click the FB tab then, crazy daisy!

The second change I made was to the flour, half of the 1 1/2 cups called for, became wheat flour. It made the cake a touch heavier, but I think it still works. Do yourself a favor (my mom ALWAYS says that) and make this cake. It is so moist and light and apple-de-bapple-tastic. Speaking of crazy apple words, when I was seven years old, I was learning a dance in jazz class to Prince’s song, “I Would Die for You.” I didn’t know the song at the time and thought our routine was to some jam called, “Apple-Dee-Bapple, Boo, Hey!”


Lisa's Apple Cake
Serves 12
Write a review
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
  1. 1 1/2 c. sugar
  2. 4 eggs
  3. 1 1/2 c. flour
  4. 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  5. 1/4 cup pineapple or orange juice
  6. 4-5 large apples, peeled, cored and chopped (large pieces)
  7. For the top - cinnamon, sugar, butter
  1. Whisk eggs and sugar, add juice, then dry ingredients and stir until combined. Stir in chopped apples. Pour into greased 13 x 9 pan. Sprinkle top with cinnamon and sugar, and place dabs of butter on top (as much or as little as you want). You can also sprinkle top with chopped walnuts. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.
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Chicken Nuggs

I’ve been putting off buying more frozen nuggets for my kids. When they are in the house, all three boys (husband included) seem to want nothing but frozen and breaded chicken. After a third day of begging from Dallas, I finally cracked and made some from scratch, with his help!

I adapted the Weelicious recipe to what I had in the house. Dallas had a blast dipping his hands full of raw chicken into the egg and then panko mixture. Yeah, I expose my kid to Salmonella. I also gave him some grape soda today. CPS may be knocking at my door any day. I probably won’t hear them though. If someone’s not yelling at home, well…then we aren’t home.

Two recipes in one day, I am on fire! (On fire for a mom also means that laundry and possibly showering may have gone neglected.)

Chicken Nuggs
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Meal
Serves: 4
  • 1 lb. chicken thighs - cut into bite size chunks
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. Italian Herbs (or a mix of rosemary, oregano and thyme)
  • 2 eggs
  • Olive or Canola Oil Spray
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Combine dry ingredients
  3. Whisk eggs in a separate bowl
  4. Spray a large roasting pan with oil
  5. Dip chicken chunks in egg and then in crumb mixture
  6. Lay chicken in pan, with small space between
  7. Spray entire pan with oil spray once it is full with chicken
  8. Bake for 30 minutes, or until nuggets reach 165 degrees

  1. Bust out the ketchup!