Simple Sunday Snack: Bacon-Wrapped Potato Bites

Bacon, potatoes, and cream. It’s as easy as one, two, three!

IMG_0750

I finally made time for The Kitchn (without an “e”), a cookbook given to me by one of my colleagues for my birthday last year. As I was browsing through its recipes last night, I found a delicious choice for today’s simple snack. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you: the crisp bacon-wrapped potato bites! It’s very easy to prepare and it’s tasty too. In the original recipe, the author used sour cream and hot sauce to complement the potatoes. But, I didn’t have hot sauce with me. So, I used a few stalks of spring onion instead.

IMG_0694

If you want to give it a try, feel free to go through the photos and instructions below. I hope you’ll enjoy as much as I did! Here’s to more bacon-wrapped treats in the future!

IMG_0702

IMG_0767

Bacon-Wrapped Potato Bites with Sour Cream Dip

Inspired by Faith Durand’s The Kitchn cookbook

Ingredients:

  • 20 Marble potatoes (or 2 large potatoes cut into large cubes)
  • 1 teaspoon of Fresh or Dried Rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 10 long slices of bacon (cut them in half, crosswise)
  • ½ cup of plain sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped spring onion

Steps:

1) Boil the potatoes for 15 minutes or until you can poke the potatoes with a fork without much resistance.

IMG_0587

IMG_0599

2) Remove the potatoes from the water and season with salt, pepper, rosemary, and olive oil.

IMG_0610

3) Wrap each potato in bacon. Secure the bacon using a toothpick.

IMG_0656

IMG_0643

4) Bake* in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Make sure to turn them around after the first 15 minutes.

IMG_0659

5) In a small bowl, add pinches of salt and chopped spring onion to ½ cup of sour cream.

IMG_0780

6) Serve the potatoes while they’re still hot. Dip them in cream and enjoy!

IMG_0790

IMG_0764

IMG_0699

 

*If an oven isn’t available, you may fry the bacon-wrapped potato bites on a non-stick pan for 8-10 minutes or until the bacon is cooked. Make sure not to add oil because the bacon already has fat.

Saturday with Maurie

“Today was a fun day! Thank you again.” :)

I heard my nephew say these words after we said our goodbyes last Saturday night. My siblings and I spent the whole day with him at home and joined the rest of our relatives for dinner outside. It was heartwarming to hear him appreciate our time together that day.

Bacon, scrambled egg, and homemade waffles.
Bacon, scrambled eggs, and homemade waffles.

I usually rest at home or meet up with friends at church every Saturday. But, last Friday night, our nephew, Maurie, asked if he could spend time with us and our dogs at home the next day. Without any hesitation, we said “Sure!” and my older sister picked him up the next morning.

10660247_10152515637079565_5911391391898692964_n

My sister and Maurie
My sister and Maurie

We spent the rest of the day cooking our breakfast, playing Kinect (Sports and Just Dance), sharing music, playing video games, walking the dogs, playing with our neighbors’ dogs, and relaxing in our living room with popcorn. Oh, and after lunch, Maurie helped my brother and sister buy groceries at the supermarket.

Maurie picked fresh basil leaves from the veranda.
Maurie picked fresh basil leaves from the veranda.
DSC00624 - Copy
My sister and Maurie’s chopped basil leaves

One of the things that I thank God for that day was our nephew’s initiative to spend time together. It was humbling for me, because honestly, I feel more rested and filled when I’m by myself, having my quiet time in my own little corner, and just appreciating the beauty of solitude. But, I’m learning to be faithful in obeying God when it comes to being intentional with others, even if sometimes, it may take me out of my comfort zone.

Maurie whisking the waffle batter.
Maurie whisking the waffle batter.
DSC00645 - Copy
Krups Waffle Maker

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. [Hebrews 10:24-25]

My brother and Maurie
My brother and Maurie

Maurie sincerely asked if he could spend time with us and I’m glad that he did. God used that day to allow us to get to know our nephew even more and have special moments with him. It was our first time to cook and dance together! It was fun and funny! Haha. I pray that I will grow more in this aspect – in being more intentional in spending time with God, my family, and friends.

DSC00629 - Copy

DSC00655 - Copy

Maurie, if ever you’re reading this, I just want to say that I really appreciate the time that we had last weekend and that I’m looking forward to bonding with you and my siblings soon! God bless your heart! See you around. :)

DSC00670 - Copy

DSC00683 - Copy

 

INGREDIENTS

SCRAMBLED EGGS
5 eggs
1/2 cup of fresh milk
salt and pepper
1-2 tbsp. of cooking oil
3 tomatoes (diced)
half of an onion
10 basil leaves (chopped)
6-7 whole small mushrooms (sliced)
1/2 cup of grated cheese
slices of mozzarella cheese (optional)

1. Saute onion and mushrooms with oil in a pan. Add diced tomatoes.
2. Scramble eggs in a bowl, basil leaves, grated cheese, and milk. Mix carefully.
3. Add egg mixture in the pan with the sauteed onion, mushroom, and tomatoes.
4. Mix until the eggs are cooked. Make sure not to overcook the eggs, so that they won’t get tough/dry.
5. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the cooked eggs and add grated mozzarella cheese while the eggs are still hot.

WAFFLES
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 1/2 cups of fresh milk
1 tsp. of cinnamon powder
1 tsp. of salt
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
2 eggs

Encourage yourself one treat at a time.

Choose to Save

Early this year, I committed to save more money and budget more wisely. By God’s grace, He has been faithful in helping me manage my resources and lessen my expenses. However, I know that I can still improve more, especially when it comes to buying food, drinks, and ingredients.

DSC085400

Many times, I enjoy experimenting with food so much that I end up buying more than what I need. Sometimes, it’s advantageous since I get to use the ingredients for our family’s meals. But, on the other hand, it’s also costly since some ingredients end up getting expired before I find the time to use them.

DSC085480

Two days ago, I decided to make pesto pasta with roasted tomatoes and bacon for lunch. I chose this dish because I knew that making it wouldn’t cost me a lot since we still had tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, basil and oregano leaves, and leftover, raw penne noodles at home. The only ingredient that I added and paid for that day was the raw bacon from the grocery store.

DSC085540

While my sister and I were eating the pasta, we realized how nice and cost-efficient it was to make a dish out of the ingredients already available at home. I also love how it was so convenient for us to get fresh basil leaves from the garden and make pesto out of it.

Making this dish encouraged me to be wiser in budgeting and spending money for food and drinks. Just like my past struggle with shopping (http://encouragingtreats.com/year-shopping/), I’d find myself splurging on numerous and delicious yet unnecessary treats (comfort food) and I’d try to find satisfaction in them. But, I am reminded that the way we spend our money shows what’s in our hearts. And because God deserves the best, I want to honor Him with my heart and with how I budget my money.

DSC085690

This won’t be easy for me, since I am fond of certain expensive ingredients like shrimps, strawberries, and imported snacks. But, by God’s grace, I know that I can be faithful in setting limits and lessening unnecessary expenses this year.

DSC085900

Here are some of the action steps I’m currently doing to help me with my commitment:

  1. Continue to plant and grow own ingredients at home. (e.g. herbs, vegetables, fruits)
  2. Bring homemade food and/or food at home to the office. (e.g. sandwiches, rice meals, fruits, crackers)
  3. Plan meals ahead.
  4. Check the ingredients we have at home every now and then and do my best to maximize them before buying additional items.
  5. Set a budget for daily meals. Since mom graciously prepares food for us and we have the privilege of bringing it to work, eating out is really an added and, sometimes, unnecessary expense for me. Thus, I am challenging myself to spend only Php50/day for my food and drinks this year. (Of course, I have a different budget for events/dinner out with family and friends, and for the ingredients that I’ll be using when I cook or bake.)
  6. Spend time with God and His Word. I know that God will continue to speak to me and guide me in my commitment as I spend quality time with Him.

Matthew 6:21 says “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

How are our hearts lately?

DSC085830

 

RECIPE:

Ingredients:

2-3 garlic cloves (diced)

3-4 tbsp. of olive oil

1 cup of basil leaves

4-5 tomatoes

1 to 1 1/2 cups of raw penne noodles

salt & pepper

4 slices of bacon

Optional: parmesean cheese & chili flakes

 

Steps:

1. Boil noodles until al dente (cooked enough to be firm but not soft).

2. Pesto Sauce: Blend basil leaves, garlic, pinch of salt, pinch of ground pepper, and olive oil together.

3. Slice the tomatoes and roast in pan. Add chopped basil and oregano leaves (or you can use McCormick’s Italian seasoning), pinches of chili flakes and salt, and a dash of ground pepper. Stir and press the tomatoes every now and then, until some of its juice evaporates.

4. Cook the bacon in a separate pan (without oil).

5. Mix the cooked noodles with the pesto sauce and top the dish with roasted tomatoes, cooked bacon, and cheese.

 

Enjoy!

 

Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)

Pretzels and Passions

One of the chefs in our company made pretzel bites in the office last week. Because of that, I was inspired to make soft, whole pretzels at home. I didn’t know why, but, I had a strong urge to bake that certain treat. Haha. I was excited because it was my first time to make them. :)

I remember thanking God for giving me time to bake pretzels. Honestly, last week, I tried my best to manage my time wisely. However, there were days when I wasn’t able to prioritize studying God’s word. Yes, I did read the Bible every day. However, I knew and felt that I missed out on the privilege of really learning more from meditating on His word during those times. I know that it is only by His grace that I am still able to bake/cook and blog. It is only by God’s grace. :)

Going back to the pretzels, I actually enjoyed making them, even though the process required a lot of work. The funny thing about it is that even if it took me 6 hours to prepare it (including taking photos, waiting for the dough to rise, and cleaning the kitchen) and was, in fact, tiring (with all the yeasting, rolling, boiling, and baking), I would still do it again and again if given the opportunities in the future. I guess it’s because of my passion and love for baking and cooking. :)

                Making the pretzels was a comfort and a challenge at the same time. It was comforting because I liked kneading the soft and fluffy pretzel dough (it was softer than the pasta dough I recently made here: (http://encouragingtreats.com/homemade-pasta-dough/). However, it was a challenge too because the tricky part in the process was when I had to flatten the dough using a rolling pin and roll it again using my hands (to form a rope-like shape).

It was harder too because I stuffed the dough with bits of cheese and bacon before rolling it. There were times when I would see twists and holes (in the dough) which eventually resulted to pieces of uneven rope-like pretzel dough.

I then remembered what Alton Brown said in one of his Good Eats episodes (“Pretzel Logic”): “Now, if you start to see a twist formed right into the middle of the dough while you’re rolling it, know that you do not have your hands coordinated, and that twist could become a breakpoint when baked.”

While I was fixing the dough, God spoke to my heart and helped me see that in the same way: If I do not coordinate with Him; if I choose not to follow Him when I make decisions, etc., it is possible that I would eventually have twists and holes (possibly mistakes, problems, insecurities, compromises, etc.) in my life that can become my breakpoints — especially, when I would go through really tough and uncomfortable times.

By God’s grace, I was able to fix the pretzel dough with some of the excess dough that I had. I have to admit that it was frustrating to fix the dough. :/

But, I guess, God allowed me to experience it because He used it to remind me of His grace. He showed me that even if I did have or do have twists and holes in my life, He still has a purpose for me and He still is able to use me for His glory. Hope, definitely, is found in Him. 

When the pieces of dough were already fixed, I took a piece and shaped it into the famous pretzel knot shape. I did it again, but, with the other pieces of pretzel dough. I really was fascinated by their interesting shape. And it was really cool because I noticed how the pretzel’s shape showed these two things: the shape of a heart and the symbol for infinity. Instantly, I knew what God was trying to tell me; why He wanted me to bake the whole pretzels.

If you were able to read my previous blog post (http://encouragingtreats.com/celebrating-strawberry-cake/), you would remember how God gave me my first job offer on June 8, 2012 (in the afternoon). It was also during that day that He encouraged me through His word (in the morning) to seek Him first above everything and place my security only on Him… not on the things that are temporary (including my desire to have a job at that time) – the things of this world.

Although I didn’t know that God was going to give me a job offer that day, it was such a perfect and comforting reminder for me to desire Him more than anything or anyone else. And at that moment, I actually surrendered my future job to the Lord. By His grace, I got the job by the end of the day and started working last Monday. 

After going through my first week at work, God encouraged me again… but, this time, through the pretzels. The heart and the symbol for infinity actually are gentle reminders for me to remember that God is the everlasting God and His love for us never changes; it never fails.

I thank God because even if we sometimes fail to prioritize Him, He still loves us the same. I praise Him because He gives us the opportunities to try again and do our best in loving Him more than anything.

                I recently declared that I have a passion for baking and cooking. But, I am reminded that even these good things will fade away someday. And so, it is my prayer that I would always choose to set my heart on things above (Colossians 3:2) and live life not for my own, but for my God — my One consuming passion.

Psalm 73:25-26

    Whom have I in heaven but you?

        And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

    My flesh and my heart may fail,

        but God is the strength of my heart

        and my portion forever.

*Other posts that include homemade dough:

1. Pizza (Thank God I Got Stuck) – http://encouragingtreats.com/god-stuck/

2. Pasta (Dough Not Give Up) – http://encouragingtreats.com/homemade-pasta-dough/

 

Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)

Recipe by: Edward Lee (from www.epicurious.com; October 2009)