Get Pupped W/Savannah Classics Hushpuppies!

Savannah-Classics-HushpuppiesAs you know, I recently moved to the South and am enjoying all the wonderfulness that accompanies this region of the United States. Beaches, forests, sweet tea, grits, all things deep fried, and the incredible people here have completely won me over. As a food writer, I count it as my duty to eat as much of a variety of food as I can, especially in a new place (I take this responsibility very seriously), and here in the south, that means shrimp, collard greens…and hushpuppies.

But I will get right to the point. There are just somethings that I have no desire to make myself. Fried zucchini blossoms, for example, are not in my general menu rotation. Sushi, while one of my favorite foods, just isn’t something I aspire to ever make at home a regular basis. I have no idea why, but hushpuppies are one of those kinds of foods. I rarely deep fry anything, and even though I love to order them when I am out and about, I have no immediate plans to ever make them in my own home.

Until now! The lovely people at Savannah Food Company (based in Savannah, Tennessee) asked me to try their product and from the moment the box arrived on my doorstep, our family has been grateful! We, my husband and kids included, were pleasantly surprised to see that they offer three flavors of hushpuppies: Savannah Classics Original, Sweet Corn, and Jalapeño. They were super easy to prepare and we popped them right from the freezer into the oven. Mmm. Mealtime hasn’t been the same since, and when I find something I really like, I definitely want to share it with all of you!Savannah-Classics-HushpuppiesSavannah-Classics-HushpuppiesOur favorite part?  They turned out fantastically hot and crispy and crunchy on the outside, just as if I had made them from scratch myself. They aren’t heavy or greasy, and the different varieties keep us arguing over which is our favorite. They instantly became a regular item on my shopping list. Here they are pictured with summer BBQ and it is SO easy to just toss them in the oven before dinner. We have taken to making mixing Sriracha and mayo together and as good as that is on a burger, it is even better as a dip for these little nuggets. I have made them as a quick snack for my kids, and even served them with brunch! Hushpuppies, bacon, and a fluffy pile of scrambled eggs are pretty outstanding on a Sunday morning! I like to jot down ideas for future menus, and a big bowl of these with some different sauces for dipping are already on the agenda during football season.  Savannah-Classics-HushpuppiesSavannah-Classics-HushpuppiesHere in the South, they are available at nearly every single grocery store you can find! They are also across parts of the midwest so if you want to find them in your area, click on this link to locate some near you. I consistently find them next to the fish sticks in the frozen food section, and at under 3$ a bag, they fit nicely into our family budget. Easy, classic, convenient, and crazy good.  Give them a try and GET PUPPED! Be sure to check out Savannah Food Company on Facebook!Savannah-Classics-HushpuppiesI have been compensated for this post.  All opinions, words, and photos are entirely my own.

Chocolate Chip Banana Bars

These Chocolate Chip Banana Bars are moist and delightfully sweet! {Brittany's Pantry}This recipe will make your house smell amazing.

Yes, I am choosing to open this post with that statement because that is what immediately comes to mind as I write this.  It practically wraps your house in a hug.  As cheesy as that sounds, its absolutely true.  Make no mistake that it will totally lift your mood to have this baking in your oven.

Due to the fact that our household goes through a LOT of bananas, it stands to reason that we will occasionally have overripe fruit on our hands. I never count this as a burden… :) All you have to do is type ‘banana’ in the ingredient search option on the right side of this screen to find out how much I like to bake with them. Like, really enjoy baking with bananas. A few months ago, when trying to decide what to throw together with my extras, I decided to just start paging through my cookbooks to find something new.  My kids got into the hunt and they unanimously agreed that these chocolate chip banana bars were the obvious choice.

The flavor of these bars, though similar to a banana bread, have the added bonus of butter (mmmmm…..buttaaaaaaah…)  They are moist and rich and deserve a plate and fork.  I’ve made them several times in the last few months and they are reliable and delightful and wonderful. A fantastic treat to bring to a game night, pot luck, or to just bake on a rainy weekend!  Enjoy friends!

What is YOUR favorite banana baked good??
These Chocolate Chip Banana Bars are moist and delightfully sweet! {Brittany's Pantry} Chocolate Chip Banana Bars
Recipe adapted from BHG
These bars are so moist, they only last a day or two at room temperature.  Store them in the fridge to get an extra day out of them, or better yet, wrap each bar individually in plastic and freeze for later.  Usually, I make them for a crowd and make them the day of the event for best results. Or I bake them for no reason and just eat them all….

3/4 c (1 1/2 sticks) room temperature butter
1/2 sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
3 small bananas
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 c chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray an 11X14 glass pyrex dish.
Cream the butter and sugars together in the bowl of an electric mixer until smooth.  Add the bananas, egg, and vanilla, and beat until fruit is mashed and mixture is combined.  Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix until just combined, scraping the sides of the bowl if necessary. Fold in chocolate chips by hand.  Spread the thick batter evenly into the prepared pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let cool.  These are great when they are just slightly warm, but room temp is good too!

Grilled Tomato & Bacon Bruschetta

Grilled Tomato & Bacon Bruschetta from Brittany's Pantry Living in South Carolina means lots of sunshine and an abundance of outdoor living spaces. My family and I, along with any guests that stop by, are most often on the porch enjoying the breezes, so whenever I have the opportunity to make meals outside and not heat up the house, I take it. Cooking outdoors allows me to spend more time with those I love, and to impart a little extra flavor into my food. And when I grill, I like to do it as simply as possible.

This recipe hits all of those points!

There are few things as good as fresh from the garden tomatoes. But some would argue, myself included, that the occasional addition of bacon only improves things. This is definitely one of those times. This simply grilled bread is just toasty enough to stand up to the tomatoes and give this snack a nice, toothy crunch.  Topped with summer tomatoes and salty bacon, this appetizer or first course could easily become a light dinner.  Prep the ingredients ahead of time and it becomes a fuss free dish you could make with your eyes closed.  Around here, an enormous glass of sweet tea (lots of ice) makes the perfect partner to a platter of this bruschetta, but I’ll let you make that call.

What is YOUR favorite dish to grill and what kind of cold drink to you enjoy it with?
Grilled Tomato & Bacon Bruschetta from Brittany's Pantry Grilled Tomato & Bacon Bruschetta from Brittany's Pantry Grilled Tomato & Bacon Bruschetta
This is an easy dish to prep ahead. Make the tomato topping and set aside until ready to serve.  Slice the bread and wrap well to keep fresh, and crumble or chop the bacon and set aside as well.  Have all the ingredients sitting out at room temp and waiting for you.  When you are ready to make it, brush the bread, grill, top, and serve-all in a matter of minutes!

1 lb bacon, fried till crispy
1/2 of a 1lb loaf of whole grain Italian baguette, or similar bread, cut into half inch slices (this will give you about a dozen slices)
3 large, vine ripe, preferably local tomatoes, chopped
small pinch of salt
large pinch of ground black pepper
2 T of olive oil
1 tsp of balsamic vinegar

When the bacon is cool, chop or crumble and set aside. Gently toss the tomatoes, salt, pepper, olive oil, and vinegar together in small bowl.  Set aside. Lightly brush both sides of the bread with olive oil and grill over medium high heat, just until toasted and grill marks appear. THIS WILL NOT TAKE LONG! A minute at most! Flip the bread to toast the other side. Remove the toast to a platter and top with large spoonfuls of the tomato mixture. Sprinkle with bacon and serve immediately.
Note: Topped with a fried egg, these make an awesome dish for brunch!