Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Happy New Year!

Hiii!
This post is about 18 days late, and my blogging in general is about 2 months overdue!
Eek! Sorry, guys! Life and the holidays got busy.
But, I hope you are all having a wonderful January!

I don't really make New Year's resolutions, but I do tend to purge and organize my house when I am packing up the Christmas decorations. I filled about 6 grocery bags for Goodwill these past couple weeks, and am feeling good about my organized house...although I do miss my festive Christmas stuff.
Ah well. Until next year, Christmasy friends.

I stayed in this New Year's Eve, and actually had an awesome time.
New Year's Eve is actually my favorite holiday. I find it romantic, full of excitement, and i love fireworks! But I find this usually leads to my being let down by whatever plans I make, sadly.
So, this year I planned on staying in alone, made fun snacks, had some wine, watched a couple movies and watched the ball drop on TV. And all in PJs from the comfort and warmth of my couch. And promptly in bed by 12:15am. Sounds amazing to me!

I totally went overboard on the snacks, as per always. I should have had people over, because I made snacks to feed a crowd!
They made for good lunch foods to last the rest of the long weekend though, so all good!

...this post really ought to be sponsored by Trader Joe's, ha! Their cheese + caramel corn is amazing! As is the caramelized onion cheddar cheese. And I put some cranberry spice marmalade I had over warm brie cheese and drizzled it with honey. Yes, please.
And olives. Because...always olives.
I made brownies, too!






I hope you all are having a good January! And I hope I will have time to start blogging more soon!
What is your favorite part of a New Year?

Cheers!




Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Traditional Stuffing Recipe with Apples, Celery, & Sage

Went to my annual Friendgiving dinner on Sunday. So much fun!

I ate pumpkin and apple pies both with Cool Whip...which I think I entirely blocked out for so long until now, and now all I can think about is eating more Cool Whip! Yum, you guys.
Sorry, Oil, or Cream commercial. Today, oil won ;)

Anyway, I brought stuffing and rolls.
I love making stuffing! It is so easy. I like to add egg, and a little milk sometimes, in additional to the stock, so it turns out with a good texture, a little like a bread pudding.
I added apples, celery and fresh sage.

I found an awesome blend at Sprouts of dried, cubed bread marked for use in stuffing. Perfect! It was the best blend of white, sourdough, dark (whatever the 'brown bread' is at Cheesecake Factory. You know what I'm talking about!), and some sort of raisin bread which was amazing!
Saved me from tearing and drying bread. And had such a better taste and texture than the usual stuffing mix blend.  But you can use anything! I have heard brioche is amazing.

Traditional Stuffing Recipe with Apples, Celery, & Sage
Recipe

Ingredients:

10 cups (approx) fresh bread, cubed, and toasted or left out to get stale - or - pre-dried crouton-like     mix from store ( About 1.5 loaves of fresh bread)
3-4 cups vegetable stock (chicken or turkey stock are great, too) (Use only as needed)
3 Tbsp butter
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium apple, chopped
4 ribs of celery, chopped
6 fresh sage leaves, sliced
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk (Optional, sub in for some of the stock)
salt
pepper


Directions:

First off, you'll want to start out with a large pot, or, alternatively, have a large bowl on hand to pour everything in to later on.
Saute onions in butter on medium-low heat for 10 minutes until translucent. (not browned)
Add garlic and salt and pepper.
Add apples and celery and continue to saute until slightly softened.
Add about half the stock, 1-2 cups, and stir.

turkey, pumpkin

turkey pumpkin

turkey pumpkin


Crack the eggs into a small bowl, and add 3 Tbsp of the warmed broth into the eggs, and whisk. This tempers them, so they don't scramble when you add them in to the rest of the stock. Sub in a bit of milk here, if desired, in with the egg mixture. This gives a bit more of a bread pudding finish to the stuffing.

This is where you'll need this pot we've been using to be pretty large, or else, when it gets full, transfer everything into an even larger bowl to finish combining, before pouring into baking dish.

But, start adding bread cubes into the pot, and fold in gently. When some have been added, fold in the egg mixture.
Keep adding more stock, and more bread, and folding everything into the apple and celery mixture, until well combined.
Chop the fresh sage leaves (or use dried), and fold those in.

turkey pumpkin

turkey pumpkin

turkey pumpkin


Pour everything into a greased 9" x 13" casserole dish.  Cover with foil.
Bake, covered, at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, then uncover, and continue to bake for 20 more minutes, watching that the bread doesn't brown too much.

Voila! Homemade Stuffing!

turkey pumpkin

turkey pumpkin






Monday, November 23, 2015

9 of My Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

Pumpkin Brussels Pecan Apple Grilled Cheese Leftovers


The Round Up of my Thanksgiving recipes!
Pumpkin everything. Pecan and Apple desserts. Vegetable side dish. Biscuits. An Appetizer. And the best leftovers sandwich! They're all here!
Click on each link below for the full recipes!


Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes - cake outside, pie inside!

Maple Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie

Chocolate Pecan Pie Shortbread Cookie Bars

Apple Cobbler Cheesecake with Snickerdoodle Cookie Crust

Maple Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Cranberries

Sweet Potato Beer Biscuits

Honey Balsamic Figs with Brie Appetizer

Thanksgiving Leftovers Grilled Cheese Sandwich


Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
What are you making? Do you go traditional or more modern or inventive? Let me know!







Saturday, November 21, 2015

Spiced Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with a Browned Butter Cinnamon Maple Frosting

I started a new job a couple month ago, and in typical new girl fashion, I still feel like I don't know how everything works in the office yet. 
When it came time this past week for the annual office Thanksgiving potluck lunch, I had no idea what people normally did, where the event even was held in the office, or how it might work if people brought a food item that needed to be served warm/re-heated. So, obviously in my over-analyzing panic, I decided a room temperature dessert was a safe choice to contribute!
And obviously, I chose something pumpkin...because...festive!
I also wanted something that wouldn't be messy to serve, so a cookie or bar, and then something without frosting on top, so I could make a lot and stack them in a container more easily.
I realize I put entirely too much thought into this. As per usual. Welcome to my brain ;)

Anyway, I came upon the pumpkin spice whoopie pie sandwich cookie and thought it would be perfect!!

pumpkin spice thanksgiving


Thanks to this awesome blog here, I found the perfect recipe.
Spiced Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with a Browned Butter Cinnamon Maple Frosting filling.
Win!! You guys, these are soo good! The perfect blend of fall flavors and spices.

Such a good option for a Thanksgiving potluck, a Friendsgiving, or give the actual pumpkin pie a run for its money at actual Thanksgiving! The more pumpkin, the better, I say.

For the recipe, see here









Thursday, November 19, 2015

Pumpkin Spice Ricotta, Kale, and Acorn Squash Flatbread Pizza

Speaking of "Fall" flavors...! Loving using fall ingredients this month!


De-seed and slice the squash; you can use any kind you like! Toss in olive oil, salt and pepper, and a pinch of pumpkin spice seasoning, if desired.  Roast in the oven at 450 degrees for 20-30 minutes until soft and browned, turning over once.
*Tip, if you want that toasty, golden brown awesomeness on the squash that comes from a longer cooking time, slice them a bit thicker, so they don't get too soft in the oven.

Saute roughly chopped kale over medium high heat with a bit of olive oil. Cook until wilted and a bit browned, about 5-8 minutes.




To prepare the pizza, spread the whole wheat pita bread with ricotta cheese. OK, so call me crazy, but I also spread on a bit of pumpkin spiced applesauce I got at Sprouts. It sounded good! And was!

Layer on some kale, and top with the roasted sliced acorn squash. Crumble on a bit of feta cheese.




Place in the oven under the broiler until warmed and crust is crispy. This takes about 5-10 minutes. Watch it closely, and, if the broiler is going to cook it too quickly, you can bake at a high oven temp. 450 degrees for a few minutes longer.















Sunday, October 25, 2015

Ricotta, Feta, Potato & Pear Flatbread Pizza

I'm really trying to do "Fall" things, like use the oven, and eat pears. Even though it is still hot here.
This pizza is a good compromise. Quick oven time, bright, cool pears, with the warm potatoes. Win!

Ingredients:
Inspired by Tiffani Thiessen's Cooking Channel show, where she made a potato pizza!

Serves 1-2 (Recipe is for 1 whole pita pizza. Multiply accordingly)

1 whole wheat pita (whole thing - face up, or face down, doesn't matter. Is that weird to specify?)
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 or 2 thinly sliced Yukon gold potatoes (scrubbed, and par-boiled, then thinly sliced)
2 Tbsp feta cheese, crumbled
1 pear, thinly sliced
balsamic glaze, from Trader Joe's, or make your own by reducing balsamic vinegar down with some
      apple juice...I think. Look it up on Pinterest ;)
salt
pepper
olive oil

I love using whole wheat pita as a pizza crust. So easy!



Spread the ricotta cheese over the pita crust. Season with salt and pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. Lay thinly sliced potatoes over the ricotta. Crumble feta cheese over the top.




*You can add thinly sliced pear now, and bake them, or add after the pizza comes out of the oven for a cool and textural contrast. I tried one of each - both good.


Place in the oven under the broiler until potatoes are warmed and edges are browned, cheese is warmed, and crust is crispy. This takes about 5-10 minutes. Watch it closely, and, if the broiler is going to cook it too quickly, you can bake at a high oven temp. 450 degrees for a few minutes longer.

Remove from oven and top with the sliced ripe pear, if you didn't already, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze, because, always.

Cut when cooled slightly, and serve.












Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Mozzarella Basil "Caprese" Biscuit Breadsticks with Tomato Dipping Sauce

The summer caprese salad transformed for fall weather: enter: biscuits!
Also, it is still 95 degrees here, but we can pretend it is fall ;)

These biscuits are the perfect transition from summer to fall. They are cheesy, with a freshness from the basil. And cut into breadsticks, served with a tomato dipping sauce (any tomato sauce will do - jarred or homemade!), they are a great nod to the flavors of a caprese salad.
Any time you can turn a salad into carbs, count me in! HA!

For the full recipe, click here:
Herb Drop Biscuits


















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