Monthly Archives: October 2012

The Greater Jacksonville Fair

The fair is incomparable to any other event in the area. This isn’t just Jacksonville’s offering to the annual fairs that roll through every county, this is The Greater Jacksonville Agricultural Fair. It’s greater, in that it dwarfs any of the other county fairs in both size and extent. I’m not sure precisely how it compares in size to other fairs, but it is the biggest I’ve ever attended. Of course, that perception is relative too. Because in Hoboken or Minneapolis, an agricultural fair may not be that big of a deal, but in the Deep South, a fair is part of our folk history. In fact this one has been around longer than anyone reading this, I would dare bet.
Of course there are the spectacles that everyone goes there for, the rides that spin and teeter and rise far above the earth. Few things can give you that anxious and excited feeling that rides at the fair provide. People that adore the scariest roller coasters and travel the country to try the rides are still scared of the fair rides, and therein lays precisely their thrill. They are thoroughly inspected and tested on hapless, toothless carnies before you are allowed to get on board, but the knowledge that it is at least slightly more likely for these road-weary portable machines to jeopardize your life than it is a permanent fixture at a theme park provides a portion of that thrill. Real terror. Couple that with Iron Maiden blaring through the speaker and the cryptic look in the eyes of the man controlling your fate with a lever, and you have a perfect autumn scare.
In the midway you can test your skills against the taunting carnies and win your sweetheart a framed velvet portrait of the Guns N’ Roses logo or a 80% likeness Winnie the Pooh doll for your sweetheart, or dare to try one of the many other spectacular spectacles along the walk around the fair. Whether you want to get upside down or just see the county’s finest hog, the Greater Jacksonville Agricultural Fair has plenty to offer for all ages and is a true cultural experience. Read on for details about the shows and the exhibitions (not to mention the food).

General Admission
Admission tickets may be purchased on-line at any time before and during the Fair or at the gate.

Adults $8.00
Children 6-12 $5.00
5 and younger Free
Senior 65 and over $5.00

Ride tickets are available, and different rides require different numbers of tickets, but wristbands for unlimited rides usually cost between $20 and $25 dollars depending on the day. Go to JacksonvilleFair.Com for more details.

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7 Detox Smoothies

Smoothies are a great way to boost your fruits and veggies daily intake.  It makes a delicious quick breakfast, a nice refreshing snack, a wonderful healthy dessert or a super post-training drink.  Not only the flavor combinations are infinite, you can prepare different recipes to benefit from specific health components from its ingredients.  One other great thing about smoothies is that to the opposite of simple juices, it keeps all the natural fiber, which help cleansing the digestive tract.  The powerful detox foods that go into it help your liver to detox naturally, and they can help you stay healthy and look great.

Flat Tummy

Rich in digestion supporting ingredients, this smoothie will help prevent bloating and digestive stress that can sabotage your tummy flattening efforts.

  • 3/4 c. papaya
  • 3/4c. sliced peaches
  • 1/2 pear, sliced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger
  • 2 mint leaves
  • Water to thin

Skin Saver

Antioxidants in berries are known to help to fight wrinkles and other skin ageing signs.  Berries are also a great way to control blood sugar that can sabotage your complexion.  This smoothie also contains Omega 3, to fight inflammation, as well as vitamins E and C, both renown to help the skin.

  • 3/4 c blueberries
  • 3/4 c pitted cherries
  • 5   strawberries
  • 1/4 avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 2 tsp wheat germ (optional)
  • 2 tsp ground flaxseed
  • Water, to thin

Peanut Butter Energy Booster

This protein-rich and minerals-filled smoothie will give you long-lasting energy.  Cinnamon will help to control your blood sugar so your energy level won’t crash too quickly.

  • 1 big banana
  • 1 scoop of natural hemp protein powder
  • 2 tsp of natural peanut butter
  • 1 handful of fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
  • Water, to thin

Bone Lover

This vitamin-rich green smoothie contains calcium, magnesium and other bone building minerals to keep your bone strong and healthy.

  • 2 bananas
  • 1 handful of Swiss chard leaves, stems removed
  • 1 handful of kale leaves
  • 1 tsp of green Matcha powder
  • 1/2 cup of homemade almond milk

Immune System Booster

Rich in vitamin A, C and zinc, this smoothie can increase the production of white blood cells and antibodies to get your body ready to resist this season’s infections.

  • 1/2 c. mango cubes
  • 1/2 c. cantaloupe cubes
  • 1/2 c. fresh pineapple cubes
  • 1/4 c. chopped pumpkin seeds
  • Water, to thin

Natural Skin Tanner

Studies have proven that a beta-carotene rich diet can make your complexion glow, and that particular skin tone is usually considered healthier than a regular skin tan. This smoothie can help you get that healthy glow without risking your skin lying under the sun.

  • 1/2 cup of cantaloupe cubes
  • 1/2 cup of papaya
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup of carrot juice (or water)
  • 1 small knob of fresh ginger

Antioxidant Power

Feel the power of this detox foods-rich smoothie.  Very rich in antioxidants, this smoothie will help to support your liver to detox naturally and help your body stay healthy and young longer.

  • 1/3 cup of blueberries
  • 1/3 cup of raspberries
  • 1/3 cup of pomegranate kernels
  • 1/4 cup of beet juice (optional)
  • 1 banana
  • Water to thin

What do you add to your Smoothies?

Monterrey Chicken

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 c. bar-b-que sauce
  • 1/4 c. real bacon bits
  • 1 c. colby and jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 (14 oz.) can Rotel tomatoes, drained (canned with green chilies added)
  • sliced green onions
  • pepper

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pound out chicken breasts to flatten. Season with pepper. Grill chicken until no long pink (we used our George Foreman grill) and place on baking sheet covered with foil. Top each chicken breast with one tablespoon bar-b-que sauce, 1/4 c. cheese, 1/4 c. tomatoes, green onions and one tablespoon of bacon bits. Place in oven and bake until cheese is melted (about 5 minutes).

*CHEF”S TIP – Wanna take this dish to the next level? How about marinating the chicken with this simple recipe.

Marinade: 1/4 c. olive oil, 2 T. soy sauce, 2 tsp. McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning. (Only marinade for about a half hour or the meat gets too salty.)

Easy Blackberry Cheese Danish

Ingredients

for the danish:

  • 1 tube Pillsbury crescent rolls
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries

for the icing:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, flour and vanilla. Set aside.

2. Pop open crescent roll dough and unroll, leaving crescents in rectangles. On an ungreased baking sheet or silpat, lay the crescent roll rectangles together, lining them up width wise. Dough should be almost the entire length of a half sheet pan. Press edges together to even out edges and seal any holes. Cut 1/2 inch diagonal strips up each side of the dough. Carefully spread cream cheese filling down the center of the dough to be about 2-3 inches wide. Top with fresh blackberries. Fold 1/2 inch dough pieces up over filling alternating sides to get a braided pattern. You may have excess dough once you reach the end of the danish, so fold them in as best as you can.

3. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until filling is set and crescent dough is golden in color. Cool before removing from baking sheet.

4. Once danish has cooled, remove to serving platter. In a small bowl, mix together powdered sugar, vanilla and cream to create icing. You may need to add more cream to get the desired consistency. Drizzle icing over danish. Cut into pieces and serve.

*CHEF”S TIP – This recipe is perfect for you to BYOC (Be Your Own Chef). Dont like blackberries no problem just use whatever fruit you like best. The possibilities are endless.

Chocolate Caramel Brownies

Makes 24 brownies

INGREDIENTS:

For the brownies:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 12 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups pecans, coarsely chopped (optional, I didn’t use any)
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

For the caramel filling:

  • 14 ounces caramel candies, unwrapped
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with foil and grease the foil well with butter or cooking spray. In a large, microwave-safe bowl, combine the chopped chocolate and butter. Microwave in intervals of 1 minute at 50% power until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth, stirring in between intervals. Whisk in the sugar, eggs and vanilla until incorporated. Stir in the flour and salt just until combined. Spread about half of the brownie batter in the bottom of the prepared pan in an even layer. Bake for 18 minutes. Remove from the oven (keep the oven on!) and let the brownies cool for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the chopped pecans (if using) to a medium skillet over medium heat. Toast, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and light golden brown. Remove from the heat and set aside. To make the caramel filling, combine the caramels and cream in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds at 50% power. Stir. Repeat the process, keeping a close eye on the mixture as it can burn very easily (make sure you use low heat in the microwave). Continue the microwave process until the caramels and cream are melted and combined. Stir in half of the pecans to the caramel mixture. Immediately spread the caramel mixture over the bottom brownie layer. Scoop the remaining brownie batter in spoonfuls over the caramel layer and spread it evenly across the caramel layer (spooning the batter in piles over the caramel will help to get an even layer of batter over the caramel). Sprinkle the chocolate chips and the remaining pecans on top of the final brownie layer. Bake for 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before slicing and serving. I found the brownies sliced easier once they had been cooled and refrigerated for an hour or two.
Lift the brownies from the pan using the edges of the foil. Remove the foil and cut the brownies into individual squares. Store in an airtight container.

Recipe & Photo Credit is courtesy of: Six Sisters’ Stuff

Jacques Torres’ Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes twenty-six 5-inch cookies or 8 1/2 dozen 1 1/4-inch cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 pound unsalted butter
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups plus 2 tablespoons pastry flour
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 pounds bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats; set aside.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars.

3. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

4. Reduce speed to low and add both flours, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, and chocolate; mix until well combined.

5. Using a 4-ounce scoop for larger cookies or a 1-ounce scoop for smaller cookies, scoop cookie dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.

6. Bake until lightly browned, but still soft, about 20 minutes for larger cookies and about 15 minutes for smaller cookies.

7. Cool slightly on baking sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

8. Serve & Enjoy with a cold glass of milk.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

adapted from: Mels Kitchen Cafe

Chicken Breading:

  • 3-5 chicken breast
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup canola oil

1. Rinse chicken, trim off fat or extras and then cut into 1 inch cubes. season with salt and pepper. Dip chicken into cornstarch and coat all the way and then into eggs. Heat oil in large skillet. Cook chicken until browned. Place in baking dish. 3 chicken breasts can be in a 9×9 but 5 chicken breasts fits better in a 9×13.

Sauce:

  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons ketchup
  • 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt

1. Whisk until smooth. Then pour evenly over chicken. Turn chicken so the sauce gets on both sides and then put in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. turn chicken and then cook for 15 more minutes.

Cherry Pie Cupcakes

Ingredients

for the cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 2 cups cherries, pitted (frozen is fine)
  • cherry pie filling, homemade or store-bought

for the orange buttercream:

  • 2 cups (16 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 6 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • orange zest from one orange

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.

2. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon, set aside.

3. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla extract. Reduce speed to low.

4. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, and beating until combined after each. Stir in cherries. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three- quarters full.

5. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes.

6. To make the frosting, with an electric mixer, beat butter on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium. Add the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as needed; after every two additions, raise speed to high and beat 10 seconds to aerate frosting, then return to medium-high. This process should take about 5 minutes. Frosting will be very pale and fluffy. Add vanilla and zest, and beat until frosting is smooth.

7. To fill the cupcakes, carve out a cone-shaped hole (and immediately eat the cone)(after adding frosting to it, of course) and carefully spoon the pie filling inside. Apply frosting generously to cupcakes and devour.

French Onion Soup Burger

Ingredients

  • 1lb lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1 Packet of Lipton Onion soup Mix
  • 1 Packet of Beef Seasoning or 1 packet of “Au Jus” seasoning
  • 5 medium Onions
  • 8 tbs. Butter
  • Swiss Cheese or Gruyere Cheese Slices
  • Burger Buns

Instructions

1. Slice up the Onions , keeping them thin…wipe your tears!

2. In a medium pan, add the butter and the onions and let them get golden & caramelized. Stir them to keep them evenly coated in the butter.

3. Mix the ground beef with the Soup packet and form burger patties.

4. Grill them up until they’re done to your liking!

5. While they’re grilling up, make the Au Jus! Add the packet with 2 cups of water to a medium pot and simmer.

6. Top those hot burgers with a generous amount of Swiss/Gruyere cheese, cover them with a foil tent and let it get melty!

7. Brush the buns with some warm Au Jus!

8. Now stack that big juicy, cheesy burger…You’ll need two hands and/or a knife and napkins for sure!

9. ENJOY!

Recipe Source & Photo Credit is courtesy of: Oh Bite It

Chicken Ranch Tacos

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cooked chicken, cut up
  • 1 pkt. taco seasoning (chicken or beef)
  • 1/2 cup Ranch dressing
  • taco shells
  • taco fixin’s (lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, sour cream, ranch dressing, etc.)

Instructions

1. Heat a skillet over med-high heat. Add chicken & warm it for a few minutes. Sprinkle on the dry taco seasoning. Do not add any water! Heat for 5-7 minutes until heated thoroughly & seasoning is stuck to the chicken.

2. Add Ranch dressing and heat for an additional 2-3 minutes.

3. Serve in taco shells with all the fixin’s you love & ENJOY!

Recipe & Photo Credit is courtesy of http://www.pedersenfood.blogspot.com