Eckert’s Ice Skating Package Giveaway

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Photo Credit: Eckert’s

Update 1/13/17: This giveaway has closed, and we have a winner! Sara Couch! We’ll e-mail you with details regarding how to claim your prize. Thanks to all who entered.

If you grew up in St. Louis, the name “Eckert’s” might bring back fond memories of apple picking with your family, going on a hay ride during a class field trip, picking up Eckert’s peaches at your local farmer’s market, or finding that perfect Christmas tree at their farm, as we did this year! To many St. Louisans, Eckert’s is more than a farm. It’s where memories are made. This year, they are offering another exciting way to make lasting memories: ice skating! The Belleville location has installed a synthetic ice rink outdoors complete with lights and music. Learn all about the new skating rink here.

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Photo Credit: Eckert’s

Eckert’s invited us to try out the new ice rink, sip on cocoa, and eat at their restaurant this past week. The skating was a little tricky for these 30-somethings, but it was fun nonetheless. We were both laughing the entire time. Since it was a freezing cold night, we only stayed out for a little bit before needing some hot cocoa to warm up. We’ve had a lot of hot cocoa in our day, and theirs was extra thick and chocolatey. We wandered around the country store while sipping on our cocoa before making our way to the restaurant for dinner.

All you can eat fried chicken. Fried biscuits with apple butter. Country fried steak. Mashed potatoes. We filled up on all of the aforementioned deliciousness (and more) so much so that we skipped out on the pie because we were too stuffed! The food and the service were both warm and comforting.

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Photo Credit: Eckert’s

It was a fun trip to Belleville and we want to send your family to Eckert’s, too! We are excited to offer a special giveaway, thanks to Eckert’s, for those of you near the St. Louis area. The Eckert’s giveaway package will include:

Ice Skating for 4

Hot Cocoa for 4

$20 Gift Card to the Country Store or Restaurant

To enter, simply leave a comment on this post by Thursday, January 12th at 11:59pm CST. Winner must be 18 years of age or older with a valid e-mail address in the comment submission form. The lucky random winner will be announced on Friday the 13th! Good luck to all!

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Photo Credit: Emily Elly

Pumpkin Spiced Pecan Cookies

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by RawSpiceBar. The Newlywed Chefs were paid for this post, however, as always, all opinions are 100% our own.

Most of you know that when it comes to anything baking-related on this blog, it’s most likely done by me (Whitney). I love to bake. I’m fascinated by the balance between science and spontaneity, and I look forward to weekends and days off when I simply have time to throw on the apron and get my hands in some flour. One of my fondest memories of Christmastime is making cookies with my mother. She makes mean sugar cookies with a bit of almond extract that makes the cookies that much more delicious. As a child, I was in charge of the cutting and the decorating, a job now passed on to the little ones in our family.

RawSpiceBar reached out to us this holiday season and gave us their latest spice kit to try out. We really do like their products. All of the spices we’ve received from them are high quality, and it’s nice to have a perfectly blended spice packet when we’re in a hurry, or don’t want to search the globe tracking down specific spices for a recipe. They do that work for you. If you’re looking for a holiday gift this year, you can give the gift of spices with 3-month, 6-month, or 12-month subscriptions. And with the secret code NEWLYWED, you can save $5 off any of those subscriptions!

Since I love baking so much and making cookies this time of year brings back happy memories, I decided to make pumpkin spiced pecan cookies to celebrate the season. The Unpumpkin Pie Spice blend from RawSpiceBar came right to my door along with two other blends, and just begged to be used in a sweet holiday recipe. I’ve seen other versions of these cookies named “Italian Wedding Cookies,” “Mexican Wedding Cookies,” and more. They’re similar to shortbread: buttery, crumbly, and sweet. I used roasted pecans in this recipe because, well, ’tis the season.

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Pulse the pecans in a food processor until they are finely ground.

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Cream together the butter, powdered sugar, and Unpumpkin Pie Spice.

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Add the ground pecans, flours, and vanilla and continue to mix. Using your hands, roll cookies into 2″ rounds and place them on the mat.

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Bake for about 15 minutes. Once cool enough to handle, roll the cookies in powdered sugar.

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Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.

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And that’s it! They’re super easy to make, and I love that and you don’t even need to measure out the spices. Simply add a packet of the Unpumpkin Pie Spice and the cookies will boast the flavors of the season with ginger, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, black peppercorns, star anise, and other spices.

Pumpkin Spiced Pecan Cookies

Prep Time: 30 min. Cook Time: 15 min.

Ingredients:

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1 cup + 2 cups (divided) powdered sugar

2 cups toasted pecans

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups cake flour

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 packet RawSpiceBar Unpumpkin Pie Spice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325°. Using a food processor, pulse the toasted pecans about 12 times until they are finely ground and set aside. Cream together the butter, 1 cup powdered sugar, and Unpumpkin Pie Spice until smooth. Add both flours, vanilla extract, and pecans and mix until well combined.

Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Using your hands, roll dough into 2″ rounds and place them on the cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and once they are cool enough to handle, roll in powdered sugar. Place on a wire rack and allow to cool completely before serving.

Makes about 45 cookies.

Chicken Artichoke Soup

I think it was Shauna Niequist who wrote about how we all go through seasons of feast and seasons of fast. December = feast. January = fast. That how it’s worked for me in the past, at least. In any typical holiday season, you could find me raising a glass to celebrate the season, baking my heart out, and sneaking extra pinches of my mom’s Christmas cookie dough. This season, however, is different. I’ve made a commitment to finding a healthy balance throughout the holiday season. I’m working out regularly (I hate running), tracking calories, and making healthy meals at home so that when I do go out with friends or to a holiday party I can enjoy myself without feeling guilty.

After trying Paleo, Whole30 (twice), and 10 days of Real Food, we’ve gathered a collection of healthy go-to recipes. One of our favorites is a chicken and artichoke soup with basil from Christine at Once a Month Meals. The thing I like most about this soup is that for some magical reason, when the artichokes are blended, the consistency of the soup becomes creamy, without the use of cream!

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We changed the recipe and preparation quite a bit, so much so I think we can call it our “own” now, but I like to give credit where credit is due, and we totally got the idea for this soup from Once a Month Meals. I’m really bad at photographing soup, so just roll with me here and trust that it’s delicious, healthy, and probably what your body is craving between all the holiday indulging. Enjoy!

Chicken Artichoke Soup

Prep. Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes

Recipe Adapted From Once a Month Meals

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, sliced

4 stalks celery, chopped

3 handfuls spinach

1 handful fresh basil

2 14-oz. cans artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed

1 quart low-sodium chicken stock

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon paprika

1 lb. chicken tenders

Kosher salt

Black pepper

Olive oil

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350°. Place chicken on a lightly oiled baking sheet and drizzle with additional olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for 15-20 minutes until cooked through. Shred chicken and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large dutch oven, heat the coconut oil and add the onions and celery with a pinch of salt. Sauté until translucent. Add the garlic, cumin, coriander, paprika, and another pinch of salt and pepper. Continue to cook for another minute. Add the artichokes and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and add spinach and basil. Stir until spinach and basil are wilted. Transfer soup to a bowl that won’t get scratched (or be very careful blending in your dutch oven) and blend using a stick blender until creamy and smooth. Add shredded chicken and stir. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Serve soup with freshly cracked black pepper, a drizzle of olive oil, and hot sauce (optional).

Cielo

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Cielo is an authentic Italian restaurant atop the esteemed Four Seasons Hotel in downtown St. Louis. We were invited by the Four Seasons to sample a complimentary Thanksgiving feast and preview what they will be offering for the upcoming holiday. When we arrived on the 8th floor of the Four Seasons, the first thing we needed to soak in was the view. The restaurant and bar open out onto a stunning patio with a pool that boasts 2,500 square feet and a breathtaking view of the city.

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When you’re at Cielo, you simply can’t start your feast until you’ve ooed and ahhed over the beauty of the space, so go ahead and take time to do that. Cielo is beautiful.

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Now, on to the food! If you’re in St. Louis and not up for cooking this year, Cielo has two options for you: the Thanksgiving Day buffet and the Thanksgiving to-go option. The buffet will be held from 10:00am to 3:00pm and includes a wide variety of offerings. From oysters to deep-fried turkey to risotto and everything in-between, this buffet is sure to please anyone in your family. You can check out a more detailed description of the buffet here.

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You can also leave Chef Colucci and his team to do the cooking in the to-go option. For $295, you can take home an entire Thanksgiving feast for 10 people. We sampled some of the delicious offerings this meal has to offer. Here is Chef Colucci carving the whole roasted free range turkey that will come in your to-go feast.

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Can’t have Thanksgiving without the potatoes, right? In your to-go order you’ll receive both whipped potatoes (so buttery and delicious!) and this roasted sweet potato puree.

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Other sides include roasted brussels sprouts and green bean casserole.

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Here is my delicious Thanksgiving plate!

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Of course, dessert is also included. You’ll receive two pies in the to-go option.

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This was our first time at Cielo, and it won’t be our last. Chef Colucci and his team are doing great things bringing approachable yet elevated Italian cuisine to our beloved city. He trains his chefs to be the best they can possibly be, offers cooking classes to the community, and cares about the quality of the ingredients he uses. We were lucky to receive a tour behind the scenes in the kitchens of Cielo where Chef Colucci showed us how Cielo grows their own microgreens, cures their own meat, grows herbs outdoors, hosts private parties in an intimate wine room, and more.

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If you’re in St. Louis for Thanksgiving and want to leave the cooking to the pros, head over to Cielo for the Thanksgiving Day buffet or order their to-go option. Be sure to get your to-go order in by November 22nd for pickup at the hotel on Thanksgiving Day. For more information, call 314-881-5759 and check out their event site here.

Salted Caramel Brownie Pie

Salted Caramel Brownie Pie

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Lucky’s Market. The Newlywed Chefs were paid for this post, however, as always, all opinions are 100% our own.

We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Lucky’s and feature another section of their store in this post. Today we’re highlighting the bulk section! Lucky’s bulk section has many different flours, snack mixes, grains, candy, and more. We usually save money shopping in the bulk section, especially when a recipe calls for only a limited amount of an ingredient.

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We also like to buy our coffee over in the bulk section and try different beans. In addition, Lucky’s also has a nice selection of spices. Whole cinnamon sticks, pink Himalayan salt, and various spice blends are available in the bulk section.

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The bulk section at Lucky’s is a great place to get ingredients for your holiday pies. They have all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, nuts, and other baking ingredients. The pie recipe we’re sharing with you today is a real crowd pleaser. It’s basically a giant brownie topped with salted caramel sauce, whipped cream, and toasted pecans. It’s reminiscent of a big turtle brownie and super easy to make. Using a food processor, combine the dry ingredients for the crust.

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Add the butter and continue to pulse. Slowly drizzle in ice water until the dough just begins to come together.

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Form the dough into two discs and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for about an hour. Roll one of the discs out (you can save the other disc for another pie).

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Prepare the brownie mix and pour it into the crust.

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Bake the pie according to the desired doneness of your brownies. We love a good gooey brownie, so we cook ours a little under.

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This recipe also works using a pre-made frozen pie crust. We tried the Wholly Wholesome brand from Lucky’s, and it’s delicious! No matter what kind of pie you make this holiday season, check out Lucky’s bulk section for your ingredients (and good luck not also leaving with some chocolate covered pretzels…).

Salted Caramel Brownie Pie

Prep Time: 20 minutes Chill Time: 1 hour Cook Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

For the Crust:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

10 tablespoons (1.5 sticks) butter, cold

1/4 – 1/2 cups ice water

For the Pie:

1 box of brownie mix + needed ingredients the box calls for (typically eggs and vegetable oil)

Whipped cream

Toasted pecans

For the Salted Caramel Sauce:

1 cup sugar

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, diced

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel

Preparation:

First, prepare the crust. Using a food processor, pulse together the flour, salt, and sugar together until combined. Add the butter and pulse. Continue to pulse while drizzling in the ice water, one tablespoon at a time. Pulse just until dough starts to come together. Form two discs and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 350° and prepare brownie batter according to instructions on package. Roll out one disc of dough and place in a 9″ glass pie dish. Pour the brownie batter into the pie crust and bake for 45-60 minutes, depending on desired doneness.

While pie is baking, make the salted caramel sauce. Place sugar in a small pot and heat over medium. Stir occasionally so sugar doesn’t stick to bottom of the pot. Once all sugar is melted, it will turn quickly to an amber color. Watch very closely so not to overcook and burn the sugar. Once sugar is an amber color, remove from heat and add the butter and stir. The mixture will steam and bubble, but continue to carefully stir. Add cream and continue to stir. Add the salt and continue to stir. As caramel cools, it will thicken.

Top brownie slices with salted caramel sauce, whipped cream, toasted pecans, and a sprinkle of fleur de sel.

Store salted caramel sauce in a mason jar and keep in refrigerator. When ready to use, microwave 20 seconds at a time and stir vigorously until desired consistency is reached.

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Kevin Arndt / Bar Manager at Juniper

Juniper is one of our favorite restaurants in St. Louis. The food is innovative and delicious, the atmosphere is rustic yet welcoming, and the staff is comprised of friendly people who clearly love what they do. Bar manager Kevin Arndt’s smart and creative cocktails elevate the overall experience at Juniper. Whether you want Kevin to create your favorite classic cocktail or try something new, he takes the time to truly listen to your likes and dislikes, establishes trust, and crafts a drink you won’t soon forget. He’s incredibly talented, and we wanted to write a post featuring the great work he is doing. Kevin was gracious enough to chat with us about his experiences in bartending and how he came to Juniper. We hope you enjoy the following interview with Kevin. He’s an asset to the St. Louis restaurant scene. If you haven’t visited Juniper, you’re really missing out on a culinary gem within our city.

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Interview with Kevin Arndt

Bar Manager / Juniper

St. Louis, Missouri

How did you get into bartending?

I started serving and bar backing at the Royale in 2010, and was eventually given a few bar shifts. It wasn’t until I started working at Blood and Sand that I realized bartending was more than just shaking or stirring ingredients and straining it into a glass. I began to learn about the methodology and how to build a balanced drink.

What’s your drink of choice on a Tuesday night?

I’m at Juniper on Tuesday nights, so, I will say Old Grandad. Neat.

What’s your drink of choice on a Saturday night?

Saturday nights I try to go to Mission Taco for a margarita. They’re delicious, consistent, super fresh, and their bar tenders are awesome.

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Why Juniper?

While working at the Royale, I was usually moonlighting somewhere else, but when the bar manager position opened up here, I decided this is where I wanted to home to be. I really like the culture and the people who work here. I like the brand. John is more than just a boss. He’s a mentor and a good friend.

What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you as a bartender?

Right after Darren Wilson’s verdict was announced, there was a protest directly outside of the Royale and police in full riot gear were telling us to close up and go home. Turns out the protest was just some folks holding hands, standing across Kingshighway.

Do you like to cook?

I do, but I’m not really good at it.

Do you have a signature dish?

I make really good French toast. I really try to watch what I eat. I don’t really eat red meat or pork. I’m not opposed to it, but the less I eat the less impact I have on that. I guess I just watched way too many Netflix documentaries.

Are you married?

I’ve been with my girlfriend for almost four years.

Does she think you’re a good cook?

She doesn’t cook, so yes, she thinks I’m an improvement.

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What’s your favorite album to listen to while cooking or mixing?

Ready to Die by Biggie. I love that album.

Did you grow up in St. Louis?

I grew up outside of Belleville, in Smithton. I went to Freeburg High School. Home of the Midgets. Yeah, they’re still the Midgets…

What do you do outside of bartending?

I’m in school right now. I went to a small design school in New York a few years ago. I dabble in graphic design. I’m getting my undergrad right now after a 10 year hiatus. I’m crushing it, man.

Is it hard for you to memorize drink recipes?

I created all of the ones at Juniper, so those are easy. When it comes to classic cocktails, I have a mental rolodex from doing it over the years.

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Are you willing to share a recipe with our readers?

Absolutely. This is our future cocktail, which means it will be on the menu soon. It’s a fall take on a sidecar. It’s frothy. It has cognac and uses a pommeau, which is a French calvados apple cider- tincture for lack of a better term. It’s delicious and I haven’t seen it on any menus. Nobody I know is using it in cocktails, but it’s perfect for fall.

Apples to AuBuchon

Recipe By: Kevin Arndt, Bar Manager at Juniper

Ingredients:

1.5 oz. cognac

.5 oz pommeau de normandie

.5 oz lemon juice

.5 oz cinnamon simple syrup

.25 oz. allspice dram

1 egg white

Cinnamon stick

Preparation:

Dry shake to emulsify the proteins. Then, fill the smaller of the two shakers with ice and shake again. Pour through a fine mesh strainer into a glass and grate cinnamon on top.

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