Zucchini Pancakes

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Directions

2 medium zucchini, shredded (about 5 cups)

2 tsp sea salt

¼ cup coconut flour

1 egg, beaten

1 tsp black pepper

¼ tsp cayenne pepper, optional

Coconut oil or ghee for cooking

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Instructions

Shred the zucchini using a box grater or a food processor fitted with a shredding blade. Put the shredded zucchini in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the salt and toss well. Walk away for 10 minutes.

Now it’s time to squeeze all the moisture out of the zucchini because nobody likes soggy fritters. Note: If you’re really salt sensitive, you may want to rinse the zucchiniwith water, then squeeze it out. Scoop up a generous handful of the zucchini and squeeze the living daylights out of them into a sink or bowl. You want them dry. Place in a different bowl.

Add the coconut flour, egg and pepper. Stir to combine.

Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Melt a large spoonful of ghee or coconut oil in the pan. Pack a ¼ cup measuring cup with the zucchini mixture, pressing it down inside the cup. Turn the cup out onto the pan and flatten the zucchini until you get a patty. You can also use a disher or just eyeball it. I fit about 4 or 5 in a large skillet at one time.

Cook each side for 3 to 5 minutes or until nicely browned. Repeat until you‘ve used up all the zucchini mixture. Be sure to add more ghee or coconut oil to the pan each time you start a new batch.

Cool on a cooling rack so they don’t get soggy.

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Killer Burger

There is a reason why this place is called Killer Burger – because the burgers are absolutely killer. Their motto is Healing the Hangry. This is their first location outside of the Pacific northwest where they are killing the burger competition. You just have to say Portland, OR and you know that they are going to push the limits in creativity. Every burger is a 1/3 pound 100% beef and includes bacon. The burger that everyone raves about is their peanut butter burger. Bacon, peanut butter, pickle and their delicious smokey house sauce. These guys were making this burger before other restaurants started incorporating it into their menu. You would think the peanut butter would be thick and sticky. But it is actually very smooth and sweet and blends well with the bacon and pickles. It’s a great burger! If you like meat, go for the meathead – a double burger with bacon, cheddar and grilled onions. But my personal favorite is the Jose Mendoza. This is Killer Burger’s first burger. They pile it with bacon, roasted hatch chilies, Monterey jack, grilled onions and house sauce. Do I need to say more? They have quite a few other crazy burger creations that I am looking forward to trying. Each burger comes with fires and they have quite a variety of beers on tap. This isn’t the place to start your vegetarian diet. But if you are in the mood for a mouthwatering burger, check them out.

Killer Burger Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Common Grounds

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While visiting Rim Country, I yelped best coffee in Payson and this little gem popped up. I pass through many times a year and didn’t recognize the name Common Grounds. I figured I give a local place a shot instead of going to the nearby Starbucks in town. It is a fairly new coffeehouse that neighbors nearby Expedition church (who actually started it). Common Grounds seeks to establish meaningful community in the Payson area. The coffeehouse is cozy and very welcoming. The bar is made of a beautiful dark wood and the décor consists of historical photos and a wall with a large painting of the Arizona flag. Outside is a nice shaded patio area with plenty of seating. On the menu, they have a nice selection of coffee, espresso drinks and tea. They also have pastries on hand and free wi-fi. We stopped in for a bit and really enjoyed our time here. The staff was friendly and our drinks were made just right. One of things I like about this place is that they donate their profits to local charities and organizations within the Payson area. They are all about giving back to the local neighborhood and I’m always a huge fan of businesses that invest in their surrounding community. I love that their cups say “neighborhood coffee house” on them. My only gripe was that we came on a Sunday afternoon and parking was very limited because of church going on. But overall this is a really nice addition to the Payson area.

Common Grounds Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Baked Bear Media Night

The ice cream sandwich explosion has taken over Arizona! I actually visited a Baked Bear in Pacific Beach years ago after a long night of partying on the beach (they actually got their start in San Diego). It was my first ice cream cookie experience and I remember telling myself we need one of these in AZ. Now we got them everywhere. This particular location is located in the heart of San Tan Village and should do massive business. It’s Arizona’s third Baked Bear location. The menu is pretty simple – pick your cookies (you can have two different types for your top and bottom), pick your ice cream flavor and a topping or two. They press it all together and you have your ice cream sandwich. They have a nice variety of freshly baked cookies to choose from including brownies. If you really want to be a champ, pick three cookies and make it a triple decker. You can also have your treat in a bowl with a spoon if you don’t want it sandwich style. The staff was great and very helpful in explaining the process. I loved their enthusiasm and energy. I’m excited for this new location and look forward to another visit – especially during our fun hot summers!

The Baked Bear Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

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* – from Compassion Explorer

Quinoa (KEEN-wah) is a popular food in Bolivia. It’s a plant from the Andean highlands. The plant’s seeds are the edible, tasty part. They contain protein, which helps children grow.
 
Ingredients
 1 tsp vegetable oil
 1 onion, chopped
 3 cloves garlic, chopped
 1 cup dry quinoa
 2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
 1 tsp ground cumin
 ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, optional for a spicier dish
 salt and pepper to taste
 1 cup frozen corn kernels
 2 (15-oz.) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
 ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, cooking until light brown, about 10 minutes.

2. Add the quinoa to the pan and pour the broth over it. Season with the cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper.

3. Bring the mixture to a boil. Then cover the pan, reduce the heat and simmer until the quinoa has absorbed all the broth, about 20 minutes.

4. Stir in the frozen corn and simmer about 5 minutes. Stir in the black beans and cilantro and remove from heat. Let sit for a few minutes before fluffing with a fork. Serve hot or cold.

It’s Not Tequila, It’s Pisco!

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photo from internet

While attending a Pre Super Bowl party at Helio Basin, we were served up drinks from Pure Perú. Pure Perú is a family owned business that imports pisco (a Peruvian colored brandy) from Peru to the U.S. These drinks were amazing! I got to say that Pisco is really crisp and smooth. I tried their Peruvian Mule (recipe below) and loved it! I’m always about culture and it was great getting a little taste of Peruvian culture. I love that they are local and that you can buy their bottles at local liquid stores and places like Total Wine & More. I recommend you give them a try.

It’s not tequila, it’s Pisco

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Peruvian Brandy

20 oz of Pure Peru Pisco

5 oz Golsing Ginger Beer

1/4 oz lime juice

One copper mug (essential)

Vienna Beef

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I got invited to this Super Bowl Pre Party at Helio Basin Brewing. The event was put on by azfoodie and sponsored by Vienna Beef. Pure Peru provided drinks for us and you can read about them in my post. This year Vienna Beef is celebrating their 125th anniversary. Vienna Beef was born in 1893 and is Chicago’s first-choice hot dog. It was first introduced at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago by Austrian-Hungarian immigrants Emil Reichel and Sam Ladany. They opened their first store a year later in 1894 and business takes off. Hot dog stands start popping everywhere and Vienna Beef becomes a part of Chicago’s community and culture. The famous Vienna Beef hot dog is eventually dubbed “The Original Chicago Style Hot Dog” (recipe below).

The Phoenix area is known for it’s large population of Chicago natives. Most of them visit because we are home to the Chicago Cubs’ spring training facility. Others visit to escape the cold windy winters. We have many Chi-town favorites like Portillo’s, Geno’s East and Giordano’s to choose from if you want a taste of home. I have many friends here from Chicago and they have introduced me to many things that make up the culture of the Windy City. Chicago style dogs are definitely one of them.

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Hello Basin Brewing Co.

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In addition to playing some fun patio games to get us hyped for the big game on Sunday, we got to eat some great food prepared for us by Helio Basin’s Chef Tamara Stanger. She incorporated some Vienna Beef polish sausage into one of the dishes. The food was amazing as always and of course we got have some of Helio’s great beer. You can read about my adventures at Helio Basin in this post. We were given jars of toppings so we can make our own Chicago style dogs at home. I rounded up my evening by taking some fun goofy photos with props in a photo booth with my fellow Instagram foodie community.

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Below is the recipe on how you can make you own Chicago style dog! I made my own version of it with the toppings that were given to me by Vienna Beef.

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