Apple Cinnamon Streusel Pull-Apart Bread | @stephmwise

(This giveaway is closed.)

It’s a big day, you guys.

Not only am I sharing a recipe with you that is, quite honestly, the best thing I’ve baked all season, it’s also the day I get to share with you the awesome partnership between Red Star Yeast and Stop Hunger Now and their joint campaign to bake the world a better place.

Oh, AND there is a giveaway at the end. AND it’s Friday. Let’s dance the Carlton for all o’ that.

Sometimes I think the food that I make doesn’t really matter or make a difference. I mean, yes, there is nothing I love more than to provide a meal to my family and to anyone who comes over — it’s what I love most about food, really, that it brings people together in a joyful and intentional way. But at the end of the day, I don’t feel like my enchiladas are going to save the world, just my hangry-ness.

That’s why Red Star Yeast and Stop Hunger Now are coming together to raise awareness of their mission: To end hunger in our lifetime by providing food and life-saving aid to the world’s most vulnerable and by creating a global commitment to mobilize the necessary resources. Did you know that 842 million people in the world do not have enough to eat, and that every day, more than 25,000 people die abroad of hunger and hunger-related causes? It is why Stop Hunger Now aims to provide nutritional, filling meals worldwide. In 2013, roughly 125,000 volunteers worldwide packaged more than 42 million meals for recipients in 30 countries. Also in 2013, Stop Hunger Now sent more than $9 million worth of donated goods — including antibiotics, birthing kits, water filters, school desks, projectors, fabric and solar lights — to countries in need.

In 2014, they — and we — want to make those numbers even bigger. And it can happen starting with the food we make in our homes.

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Iowa CornQuest Recap | @stephmwise

Sooooo remember that time I told you I went to Iowa to hang out in the cornfields with nine other bloggers and learn all about the corn industry in Iowa?

OK, maybe I just told you about the cornfields part. Now I shall tell you the rest.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege to attend the Iowa CornQuest tour in Des Moines for a few days to experience all that Iowa has to offer, from its corn and livestock production to its generous, passionate people. Having lived and worked as a reporter in Iowa City for a couple of years, I was able to catch a small glimpse of this side of the state then, but nothing like what I experienced in these three days.

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Cheesy Wild Rice Stuffed Peppers | @stephmwise

Hello! How was your weekend? Let me catch you up on mine.

1) Elliott’s surgery went well, and thank you all for the well wishes! Unfortunately/fortunately he wasn’t given all that much laughing gas so there were no YouTube-worthy videos and he recovered quickly, but he did look like a cute chipmunk for a couple of days.
2) My mom and dad came into town this weekend to help me take care of Avery so I could take care of Elliott, which basically turned into Elliott and my dad doing handiwork around the house and my mom and I cooking in the kitchen ← so cliche, but still so fun. We also ate comfort food from this local holy grail of comfort food goodness and then cheesecake for dessert and then this French toast the next morning with a frittata, so needless to say it was a delicious eating weekend.
3) These supah-cheesy wild rice stuffed peppers also made an appearance in our delicious eating weekend and daaaaaaaaaaaaaaang ← that translates to YUM, they were tasty.

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Candied Bacon Maple Walnut Ice Cream | @stephmwise

Why yes, yes I am sharing a recipe for ice cream today. In October. I’m such a rebel, I know. I can just picture you shuddering in intimidation.

Or maybe that’s because we’re talking about cold ice cream in cold October? I dunno.

Here’s the real reason I made ice cream this time of year: BECAUSE IT’S ICE CREAM. OK, that’s only part of the reason. Another, more legitimate reason involves the fact that my darling husband, who has never undergone surgery in his life, is getting his wisdom teeth pulled today. And that means he may or may not require copious amounts of TLC in the form of copious amounts of this candied bacon maple walnut ice cream. I hear that candied bacon especially works wonders on the recovery process.

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Gluten Free Sage, Gruyere and Sausage Buttermilk Biscuits with Gravy | @stephmwise

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the biscuits and gravy that actually made me like biscuits and gravy.

Don’t get me wrong — I love me some good old comfort food. I’ll take a plate of fried chicken and mashed potatoes and extra-cheesy mac and cheese and those braised collard greens with ham my dad makes that are ahhhmazing any day. And I will obviously always take the biscuits. But biscuits and gravy? I just couldn’t get behind the combo.

Then I made these. And I tried them. And heavens to Betsy, they were delicious. I guess putting sausage and cheese and fresh sage in a biscuit and topping it with a creamy, buttery gravy will have a life-changing effect on people.

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Black Bean Butternut Squash Quesadillas with Chipotle Lime Crema | @stephmwise

Hidy-ho there, friends!

Pretend I didn’t just say that. Let’s start over.

I’m chatting it up with you from the land of corn, a.k.a. Iowa, where I’m currently hanging out with other blogger peeps in the cornfields (literally) and learning all about, well, um, corn. In case that wasn’t already clear. I’ll catch you up to speed on what, exactly, I’ve been doing here for the past couple of days soon, but today, we must focus on this glorious quesadilla.

I know the black bean-butternut squash combination in the ‘dilla is nothing new to the Interwebs, but it is to my face. And I’m kind of crying a bit because I hadn’t introduced it to my face sooner. The chipotle pepper in the crema might have a little something to do with that crying, too, as I am what one would call a “wuss” in the spice department. Orders mild every time ← that’s me.

But back to the ‘dilla. To me, a quesadilla with just cheese is sometimes just right (with extra cheese, please). But sometimes, it’s just so college-midnight-snackish. And in those times, I need black beans, taco-seasoned butternut squash, fresh lime juice, cilantro and boatloads of Monterey Jack cheese in my quesadilla. With chipotle lime crema on the side. MAMA.

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