Groovin' in the kitchen, dancin' in Missoula.

Month: February 2011

Sweet and Spicy Tofu

Sweet and Spicy Tofu

I made a variation on my favorite tofu marinade.  This one comes from Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point, and she’s not kidding when she calls it her Perfect Baked Tofu.  In our house, we call it candy tofu, because it’s surprisingly sweet from the honey, […]

Salted Caramel Peanut Butter Cups

Salted Caramel Peanut Butter Cups

Yes, I said salted caramel peanut butter cups. I make some things that impress me, but I know it’s a really great sign when my husband is impressed.  It hardly ever happens.  I mean, he likes the things that I make, but he doesn’t really […]

14 Things

14 Things

This post contains an obscene amount of exclamation points.  Read at your own discretion.

1.     I have exciting things to show you!

2.     But not today.

3.     I’m feeling so much better!

4.     Strep is awful.

5.     Antibiotics are amazing!

6.     Which is good, because strep is truly debilitating.

7.     I got back in my kitchen!

8.     The pictures, of course are still hanging out in my camera.

9.     I made something that my husband loves!

10.   I love it too!

11.   I’m pretty sure you’re gonna love it as much as we do!

12.   I feel like a schmuck for not remembering  to upload my photos.

13.   I feel like a schmuck for teasing you with such an exciting title.

14.   As soon as I get my photos uploaded, I’ll have a really exciting recipe to post!

Have a good day!  And in advance preparation, please pick up some course grain sea salt and some half and half.  Extra credit goes to anyone who can guess the recipe based on those clues!




I’m sick. Sick sick sick. After watching my husband and son both suffer through some illness, it appears that I now have whatever they did.  I started to get it when they had it, but then got better.  Now I’m sick for realsies.  Sore throat […]

Baking in Daylight

Baking in Daylight

Weekends are awesome.  Not only because I sleep in until at least 8:00AM (what do you mean that’s not sleeping in?), but because I get to take pictures in natural light. I realize that if you’re not a food blogger, that might not sound like […]

Super Bowl (or Valentine’s) Wings

Super Bowl (or Valentine’s) Wings

So, Valentine’s Day doesn’t exactly conjure up images of Cupid and a plate of wings, but since when have I done anything the traditional way?

Plus, my Valentine appreciates these kinds of foods way more than heart shaped sugar cookies. Probably because I never make this kind of food.  Like, ever.

My husband made these wings for a super bowl party, based on this recipe and the adaptations of said recipe by a good friend.   After these wings though, I think he became a “great” friend.

I was sent to the store for celery and blue cheese dressing during part of the magic making, but Nick was kind enough to take photos for me. I guess you could say that this is his unofficial wing post.

He started with plain chicken wings:

Which were then steamed (crazy!):

Once the wings were done in the sauna, they received a nice towel service:


Next, they were placed on cookie racks and allowed to cool off in the refrigerator for about an hour:


Once the wings were nice and relaxed, they were baked in the oven:

Up until this point, these wings were prepared in a “Jo approved” manner. Here’s where things changed a little:
Dude, that’s a lot of butter.  Just saying.

Garlic and hot sauce were added to the melted butter, and then everything was tossed together in a bowl:

These were spicy! My tolerance for spicy foods has greatly improved over the last few years, but I could only eat about 3 of these suckers before my lips were burning and my nose was running out the door. You can modify the spice level based on the hot sauce you use, but in our humble opinion, wings should have some kick.  It kind of makes up for the absurd amount of butter, because you definitely can’t gorge yourself on something so spicy.  Checks and balances are a good thing in the world of wings.

Make these for someone you love.  Just be sure to wipe your face before kissing.  Happy Valentine’s!

Chicken Packets – Hold the Tomato

Chicken Packets – Hold the Tomato

I got this idea while running on the treadmill. No joke. Something similar was happening on 30 Minute Meals with Rachel Ray–similar in that she was wrapping meat in puff pastry sheets, but totally different meat and filling–and it’s been stuck in my head ever […]

No Bake Cookies

No Bake Cookies

No Bake Cookies have been a tradition in my family for as long as I can remember.  Perfect for when you’re absolutely dying for chocolate and peanut butter but are too lazy to put things in and out of the oven (read: PMS).  Also perfect […]

A Review of Helena

A Review of Helena

Ok, so not Helena, exactly.  A review of a few places we visited when we were there recently.  Generally, I’m pretty biased against Helena.  Not that there’s anything wrong with it per se, I’m just so in love with Missoula that it’s hard for me to give Helena a fair shot.  I grew up there, and there’s generally better restaurants, more things to do and cooler people in Missoula.  I kid, I kid!  Oh, and hippies!  I love the hippies. (I’d never kid about that)

Anyway, I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised to find a better range of local restaurants and cafes than historically present.  Helena seems very corporate to me, and I think that’s where the turn-off comes from.  Most of the local places I frequented in high school closed down quickly after graduation, and all that was left were chain style restaurants and short-lived coffee shops. Not a ton of healthy eating options, either.

There are a few notable exceptions to my biases:

Riley’s Irish Pub
Although the menu is not groundbreaking, the food is predictably, consistently good. The strong Irish roots of this menu don’t smother it, and fresh ingredients seem to be a top priority. Not vegetarian friendly, but not many Irish American restaurants are. (Fortunately for me, I’m not actually vegetarian :))

The atmosphere is friendly and relaxed, and I love the tribute to their Irish heritage.



And like me, the cooks at Riley’s aren’t as concerned with presentation so much as taste. My “BLAT” sandwich (bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato) and salad with poppy seed vinaigrette was exactly how I thought a well done pub sandwich should be.

Scenic Brew Coffee
I absolutely love when baristas draw pretty things in my lattes. It highlights a standard of care in their work and their products.

Bright, airy and welcoming, I felt like this was the kind of place that a person could break out a laptop and work all day, or chat with friends (and sisters) for hours.



Plus, how cute is this guy?

A moose after my own heart.


I’m a sucker for funny food/drink names. And any place that can make my son’s face do this:

gets an A in my book. The barista was incredibly friendly and polite, and he even let my son watch him make the designs in all of our drinks. We ended up coming here more than once during our visit, and it was excellent every time.

The Bagel Company
The Bagel Company has been around forever, or at least, as long as I can remember. Freshly made bagels, every day; tons of different kinds of cream cheeses, ranging from savory to sweet.  And I’ve recently discovered how good their coffee is. One of my sisters used to work here, and I’ll never forget the time she introduced me to the cinnamon sugar bagel with cream cheese frosting. To die for!

Look at those big chunks of sugar! Not the healthiest bagel, but definitely one of the tastiest.

We were there for lunch, so that’s why the baskets look a little empty. Trust me, if you’re there earlier than noon, that display case is stacked to the brim.




I got adventurous and tried something new, and I loved it! This was the hummus and salsa sandwich on a sesame seed bagel. The bagels are soft, yet dense and chewy, the hummus was warm and so creamy!  The salsa had enough kick to entertain my tastebuds without burning them off. This is a great place to meet friends for breakfast or lunch.

So there you have it! There are actually a lot more places in Helena that I’d like to tell you about, but I just didn’t have the time on my trip. Helena can’t be all that bad with places like these, right? 😉

If you ever pass through, or you live there, let me know your favorite foodie hangouts in Helena. I’d love to discover some more hidden gems.

The Best Pancakes

The Best Pancakes

No, really. Don’t let my poor photography skills fool you. These are the best whole wheat pancakes I’ve ever had. The best ANY pancakes I’ve ever had. And I’ve been eating them my entire life, because I’m just that lucky. I remember the first time […]