A couple of weeks ago I traveled to Ohio to visit with some very fabulous ladies. Of the four legged variety. Often colored black and white. With big tongues, long eyelashes and four udders. Yeah, I’m talking about dairy cows. What did you think I was talking about?
Before we really get going today, I want to pause for a second and thank each and every single one of you for your discretion. Because during my trip I put this photo on Instagram and not one person made an inappropriate comment. Seriously, you all have a lot more self restraint than me. Kudos.
Ok, let’s circle back. I was out in Ohio to get the low down on all things dairy. Which included everything from enjoying wine and cheese pairings at the House of Blues, tasting insane grilled cheese sandwiches at Melt Bar and Grilled, traveling out to the Ohio countryside to feast on a traditional Amish lunch, and having a super classy dinner at FirstEnergy Stadium with Joe Thomas of the Cleveland Browns. Who by the way, was happy to gossip with us ladies about The Bachelor/Bachelorette, which made him THAT much cooler in my book. Sorry to put your business out on the street Joe!
Are you getting the point that there was a lot of eating on this trip? Yeah. It’s true. But while the food was certainly incredible, the best part was meeting the people behind the food. Like the amazing folks at the American Dairy Association Mideast, who answered all of our burning questions about dairy and nutrition. And the Ohio Dairy Farmers, who proudly showed us around their farms and talked candidly with us about the practices they have in place to prioritize the health and happiness of their herds, all while ensuring they are producing a safe and delicious product. It was fun to be able to experience some of the day-to-day operations on the farm (I milked my first cow and fed a baby cow a bottle!). And I have a renewed appreciation and respect for all the hard work goes into running a dairy farm. Also, cows are BIG (I was a bit intimidated!) and have big personalities to match!
Not only did I eat a lot of cheese on this trip, but I also came home with some. After our behind the scenes tour at Pearl Valley Cheese, they let us do a little shopping in their retail store. You want to see something exciting, just watch 11 food bloggers running around a store filled with award winning cheeses! Of course, I bought several kinds. Can you blame me?
So needless to say, I’ve been having myself a little cheese party here at home the last couple of weeks. Grilled cheese sandwiches, quesadillas and nachos galore! Happy times!
These Barbecue Chicken Nachos are about as easy as it gets thanks to a couple short cuts, including a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and some store bought barbecue sauce. If you want to go all out and cook your own chicken and make your own barbecue sauce, be my guest. I won’t stop you. I just wanted nachos FAST and with minimal prep work.
My Barbecue Chicken Nachos are perfect for game day. Or for binge watching The Bachelor/Bachelorette. You choose. No judgement.
Do you ever dream about baked goods?
Well, if not you’re about to start. Because this Braided Cinnamon, Apple and Pecan Bread is totally worthy of taking up space in your unconscious mind. And in your conscious mind too. And in your belly. It’s that good.
I’m crazy excited about this bread for like a zillion different reasons. But mainly because I thought that it was going to be a total fail. So you can imagine the smile that came across my face when I pulled it out of the oven and saw that it had baked up to golden, puffy perfection. And the happy dance that I did when took my first bite and found the flavors and texture to be spot on.
Yeah. It was a good moment.
Wondering why I thought this recipe would be a fail? You can blame the shredded apples.
I knew the shredded apples would release some juices, which I tried to counter balance with a bit of cornstarch. But I still had a wet, sloppy mess on my hands. Literally. Like all over my hands. Braiding and shaping the bread was not a smooth process. And as I worked the dough, my hopes dwindled.
BUT the baking fairies must have been watching over me. Because in the end, I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome. And I’m so glad that I didn’t throw in the towel.
This Braided Cinnamon, Apple and Pecan Bread is totally dreamy. And totally FALL! Make it for a special occasion. Or on a chilly Sunday morning when you need a big dose of “cozy” in your life.
Recipe adapted from my Braided Cardamom and Chocolate-Hazelnut Bread