Two Year Blog-a-versary Review and Giveaway!

I'm going to go ahead and pat myself on the back for sticking with something for two whole years. Something that I don't *have* to do. But it is a little something that I love to do. Taking photos after making dinner has become second nature. Plopping a bowl of soup down on my driveway and snapping away? Nope, nothing weird about that.

Let's go rehash some of my 2010-2011 favorites, shall we?

Easy Wheat Bagels

Enchilada Pizza

Honey-Cashew Granola

Soft Pretzels

Homemade Hot Dog Buns

1554 Black Ale Truffles with Abbey Ale Peanut Brittle

Cinnamon Buns

Gorgonzola Cream Sauce with Beef Tenderloin

Apple Cider Doughnuts

Tofu Tikka Masala


Fat Elvis Cupcakes

Hm. There is definitely a theme of "comforting" and "bad for you" in my favorites, isn't there? I am a carbaholic.

To celebrate my blog and its addiction to carbs, I'm giving one lucky reader delicious, carby treats! One of me and Hubster's favorite stands at the Urbana Farmer's Market is Pasta Alley
. They offer a wide variety of cheap, fresh, homemade pastas. By variety, I don't just mean shape--I mean flavors. We've tried Sweet Basil, Habanero (VERY spicy!), Garlic Pepper, Lemon Pepper, Oregano Herb, and Rosemary Champagne. This pasta is so delicious. It cooks up in 3-4 minutes and adds depth to whatever pasta sauce you're making.

What's even better about Pasta Alley? Well, allow me to quote from their website:

"'We employ developmentally disabled people that currently they were worried about not having jobs and that, and that's why we developed the business. They're able to do our packaging and labeling for us and it's a win, win situation for everybody,' said Rae Anne Maupin, Mother of Pasta Alley owner.
Pasta Alley employs up to 60 developmentally disabled adults, ranging in age from 21 to 78."

How great is that? I'm thrilled to know that my carbaholism is helping to support developmentally disabled people in my area!

SO. Here's the deal: I want to give you the chance to try some of this awesome pasta. I am giving away four bags of Pasta Alley pasta to one lucky winner. Four bags, people! You could eat like a king!

To enter my super-sweet Two Year Blog-a-versary Pasta Alley giveaway, you must do the following:
1) Be a resident of the U.S. No U.S. shipping address = no pasta for you. Sorry, beloved international readers!
2) Follow Pretty Peas via Google or Facebook or RSS feed (if you already do, you're good to go!).
3) Visit Pasta Alley's listing of products.
4) Leave me a comment letting me know a) How you're following my blog, and b) Which four pasta varieties you want if you win.

It's that simple!

The contest starts right now and ends at 5pm CST on Friday, October 7th. I will use a random number generator to pick the winner and will announce it ASAP. Good luck!

Smoky Corn, Shrimp, and Bacon Chowder

The moment I saw this recipe, I knew I had to have it. It is literally the perfect time of year for this recipe. You can still get most of the core ingredients seasonally and only need to pick up a few things at the supermarket. As for me, I was able to get all the produce and the bacon at the Farmer's Market. I will say that getting your ingredients locally makes ALL the difference in this recipe. This chowder was elevated from good to divine with sweet, plump corn, tender potatoes, peppery arugula, and flavorful thick-cut bacon, all from the nation's heartland. Unbelievably delicious, ridiculously belly filling and soul warming.

This was so good that Greg was delighted about there being enough for a third night. Third night leftovers? Joy? THAT'S how you know it's good.

Smoky Corn, Shrimp, and Bacon Chowder (slightly modified from
-4 ears fresh sweet corn
-4 slices bacon
-1 medium white onion, chopped
-1 large clove garlic, minced
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon smoked paprika (do NOT use regular paprika...smoked paprika is WORTH IT)
-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
-2 tablespoons flour
-2 medium baking potatoes, chopped
-5 cups 2-percent reduced-fat milk
-1 pound shrimp, peeled (deveined, if large)
-4 cups baby arugula or other peppery greens, such as mache or chopped and stemmed mustard or turnip greens

1. Cut corn kernels from cob. Scrape cobs with back of knife to release milk. Set aside.

2. Cook bacon in large Dutch oven. Remove from pan, drain and crumble.

3. Add onions, garlic, corn, smoked paprika and cayenne pepper to bacon drippings. Saute 10 minutes. Add flour, whisking well and cook 2 minutes. Add potatoes and milk. Cook 10 minutes or until thick and creamy. Add shrimp and cook until pink. Stir in arugula. Serve with crumbled bacon.

-Serves 6 generously