So I had my first of four Thanksgivings yesterday. It was SUCH an amazing day! All of the food was so delicious and the company was even better. I was in charge of Appetizers, Potatoes, and Dessert. ;)
Have I mentioned how addicted to Pinterest I am? YOU GUISE I AM SO ADDICTED TO PINTEREST.
Anyway… I found all of my appetizer ideas through Pinterest and I was so excited to make them. So, without further adieu:
Three Super Simple Snacks that Will Make You Seem Like a Cooking Rockstar
They are: Pecan & Caramel Candies, Sparkling Cranberry Bites, and Drunken Grapes with Goat Cheese. And they are all GOOD. Not only are they all good, but they are all different and light enough to go with eachother. We had 8 people over and there was not a clear winner or favorite. I think that’s a sign of all good things, yes?
Look how pretty!
I’ll start from the bottom and work my way up. :)
Pecan Caramel Candies
These were probably the easiest thing to make ever and they are SO good. The perfect combination of salty and sweet.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lay pretzels out onto a cookie sheet. Place one rolo on the center of each pretzel. Put in oven for 2-3 minutes, only long enough to get the Rolo super soft, but not melted. Remove from oven. Move pretels to cooling rack and then gently push down on rolo with Pecan. DONE. Let them cool completely and you have the perfect little salty and sweet snack.
I took these to rehearsal on Saturday (like 60 of them for about 20 ppl) and they were GONE. They were popular at Thanksgiving as well. I want one right now. :-$
Sparkling Cranberry Bites
Not only were these super yummy, but they were so pretty, too! I can’t wait to make them for a Christmas party.
2 cups Fresh Cranberries
1 cup of real Maple Syrup
2 cups of White Sugar
2 tbsp cinnamon
Ritz Style Crackers
This one takes a *little* preparation in that you have to soak the cranberries overnight, but oh is it worth it.
Heat up the maple syrup until warm, but not too hot (don’t want to pop the cranberries). Pour over cranberries in a glass bowl and let cool. Let sit in refrigerator overnight.
The next morning, drain the cranberries of the syrup and then cover them in the sugar and cinnamon, to give them the sparkle and sweeten the bitter cranberriness.
Spread a generous amount of brie on each cracker and then top with 3-4 of the candied cranberries. DONE. And these guys go down easy. ;)
Annnnd last, but not least:
Drunken Grapes with Goat Cheese
Oh Em Gee. I think these were my favorite. One of my friends at Thanksgiving said ‘I could make a meal off of these grape things!’
Grapes (any color)
1-2 cups Finely Chopped Pecans
~1 tbsp Nutmeg
Soak the grapes in the bourbon overnight. Drink some bourbon. ;)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll the goat cheese into balls, about 1 inch in diameter. Mix the chopped pecans and nutmeg in a small bowl. Roll the goat cheese in the pecans until fully coated. Pop into the oven for about 2 minutes – just until warmed through.
Put a grape on a party toothpick and then push it down on top of a goat cheese ball.
Voila! Yummy and pretty and easy!
So – I’ve been sick. Like really really sick. LIKE TOO SICK TO BAKE DELICIOUS THINGS AND THEN BLOG ABOUT THEM SICK! D-:
I’m starting to feel better, but I’m still all sorts of snotty and exHAUSTED.
Anyway – on Saturday I had the CRAZIEST need to bake SOMETHING. I couldn’t bake anything that would make a large batch because I couldn’t share it. I was super contagious. (Anyone want a plague-infected brownie??? *cough cough* No?? Why ever not??)
So I scoured my TBC (to-be cooked) list, and found a recipe for Cheesy Beer Bread that I’d been wanting to try. A quick scan of the ingredients and I knew I had everything. We didn’t have any regular beer left in the fridge, but we did have some pumpkin beer left from a party, because we did NOT enjoy the taste of pumpkin beer. (Finally something pumpkin related that I’m NOT obsessed with.)
So I figured I’d try it out.
And I’m pretty positive that pumpkin beer was MADE for pumpkin beer bread!! It added the slightest hint of pumpkin and tang of beer to the flavor of the bread – but it was so not too much.
This was a great recipe and I will definitely be making it again. It was light and flavorful with an awesome, lumpy, buttery crust. Ohhh I want some now.
I had mine with a fresh batch of my Instant Shepherd’s Pie – hey, I said it was a staple, didn’t I? :)
Cheesy Pumpkin Beer Bread (say whaaa?) – Makes one loaf
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. honey or agave nectar
1 bottle (12 ounces) pumpkin (or any kind of) beer
6 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9″ x 5″ x 3″ inch loaf pan. (I used my new PC Loaf pan and LOVED it! Did not stick at all. :))
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Using a wooden spoon, stir the beer and honey into the dry ingredients until just mixed. If you microwave the honey for about 10 seconds, it’ll be much easier to mix in. ;) Stir in cheese.
Pour half the melted butter into the loaf pan. Then spoon the batter into the pan, and pour the rest of the butter on top of the batter. At this point I was a liiiiittle freaked out. This stuff looks deadly and FATTY when it’s first poured in. But considering it’s a loaf of bread, it’s not really THAT much butter, right? It’s just the way it’s poured over the dough, right?? :D
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until top is golden brown and a toothpick/knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Mine was steaming and perfect after cooling for about 10 minutes. I also wrapped it and munched on it for the next two days.
I really really enjoyed this bread and will be coming back to this recipe again and again! I think I’ll expirement with a cherry wheat beer and another type of cheese next time. It’s a fun recipe to play around with.
First, a story.
Smash spends a good chunk of time surfing the interwebz and Pinterest for some nommy things to bake on Thursday night. Smash comes up with three delicious-sounding items and decides to call her husband to see which he wants most before she goes to the grocery store. The following conversation occurred:
Smash: “Hi Honey, I was going to go the the store and wanted to ask you which of the-“
Smash: “-se things you’d like me to ba… Cheesecake? Really? Don’t you want to hear what I cho-?”
Husband: “Cheesecake! With Chocolate Swirls!!”
Smash: “Cheesecake with-“
Husband: “AND RASPBERRIES!”
Smash (folding and setting the other delicious recipes aside for another day): “You got it, babe.”
So you’ll have to wait on those other three items, because rarely does my husband make requests and they are never that specific. So I sat in my car in the parking lot of Kroger and looked up Chocolate Swirl Raspberry Cheesecakes. Ha.
I found this recipe with really positive reviews on Epicurious. So I set out to get the ingredients for it and made my way home.
- 7 ounces chocolate cookie wafers (about 27 cookies)
- 1/2 cup husked toasted hazelnuts (about 2 1/2 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 6-ounce package semisweet chocolate chips
- 2 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon peel
You read that right. ;)
I have always LOVED a good Shepherd’s Pie. When it starts
too cool off outside, I crave it like whoa.
It’s my go-to at pubs and it just goes perfectly with sweat
pants and a good beer. :D
So 5 years ago when my husband and I moved in together and I decided I would be domestic after all (it was pretty much macaroni and sandwiches up until that
point), I set out to make a Shepherd’s Pie. My delightfully fun and flamboyant neighbor at the time gave me his ‘quick-and-easy’ recipe and I took it and ran
with it. It’s now a staple at our house in the Winter. It’s tasty, flexible, and super easy, and the best part is it is FAST to make. It takes maybe 10 minutes of total prep-time. I’m looking forward to eating the leftovers when I get home tonight! Yum!
So how do you do it? EASY.
1 pound of ground beef (My husband is a Vegetarian, so I use
the MorningStar Farms Crumbles)
1 or 2 cans of vegetables (It’s so flexible, you can really use whatever is in
your cabinet. Last night I used a small can of whole kernel corn and a can of
peas and carrots)
1 can of Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 Box of Instant Mashed Potatoes (I like to use Betty Crocker Butter and Herb)
So first you obvs have to brown the ground beef and drain it. After that, put the meat back in the pan and add in the vegetables and the Cream of Mushroom soup and stir it
Put this mixture in the bottom of a glass casserole dish.
Make the Instant Potatoes according to the box (using both packets, if they’re separated). I add a little extra milk to them at the end to keep them from drying out.
Pop into the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until tops of potatoes are golden and crispy.
DONE and it is good! Pop open a beer and snuggle up to enjoy. (Or do what I did and have some cheap red wine and catch up on old episodes of The Vampire Diaries. Ha!)
I love Halloween. I used to be all weird about it because I grew up in a tiny conservative tiny tiny tiny conservative small Texas town… But now I just embrace it for all of its kitschy costumey goodness. I mean, it is FUN. :-D
I also LOVE getting to do themed treats. And so last night I set out on a baking EXTRAVAGANZA. At like 9:00pm. I’m sleepy today. ;) But I have such cute treats for mine and the hubbin’s offices!
(Yeah, I totes did phone pictures again… My bad. But look how pretty!)
Are you on Pinterest yet? I am so completely addicted to it. I got the idea for the cupcakes and the cookies on there. You should sign up! And if you’re on it – check out my page! The link is right over there in my sidebar ——->
(I did not get any money from Pinterest for the previous paragraph. ;O) )
SO I will be sharing the delicious recipes and ups and downs of my goodie platters over the next couple of days. Happy Halloween, everybody!
And just for fun – here is me and the hubbin in our Halloween Costumes. Sppppppppoooooookkkkyyyyy!