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Showing posts from December, 2012

Your Picks from 2012

Well kids, we've reached the end of quite a year. This was my first year seriously blogging about food, and what an insanely tasty adventure it has been. I still can't believe I made it on TV - laugh myself to sleep sometimes about it.

2013 should be a good one. Our family entering into a new phase of life: post-law school. It's what we've been looking towards for so long, and we can't wait to see where life leads us. 

And now, ladies and gents, I bring you your top 10 favorite recipes from 2012:

Pepperoni Pizza Pull-Apart Bread Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies Strawberry Yogurt Bundt Cake Blackened Chicken and Cilantro Lime Quinoa with Avocado Yogurt Sauce Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken Hawaiian Lava Flows Cherry Almond Vanilla Cupcakes Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Toasted Marshmallow Frosting Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Happy New Year!

Slow Cooker Refried Beans

I remember having a conversation this summer with a wonderful neighbor about making refried beans from scratch. I was pretty curious - my whole life I think I've only had them from a can (except when having them at an authentic Mexican restaurants). Nonetheless, I've always loved dunking salty chips into that creamy, beany mixture. So I found a made-from-scratch refried bean recipe, and set out on the adventure.

First, the recipe was pretty vague on how long the beans would take to cook in the slow cooker. I made these last week when Ryan was out-of-town again for interviews, so the time factor wasn't really an issue. But man, with my slow cooker, these babies took a full 7 hours until they were at the right texture. Skeptically, I followed the directions, and prepared some Mexican rice as a little accompaniment along the way.

I drained and mixed up the beans. I tasted the beans. I hated the beans

they were pretty gross. 

Let's just skip the drama section of this stor…

Another Fresh Living Segment

Oh man, here we go again...

Whenever I open my email inbox and see another invitation to cook on TV, my stomach immediately turns in knots.

You see, I love being on TV, and the thrilling adrenaline rush of it all, but I get SO DANG nervous every single time.

I worry about saying something... well...

blonde. 

Ironic. I know. 

But almost every time the cameras point away, and I have a minute to soak it all in, I think to myself "I really like doing this, and I'm grateful they wanted me on here."

So it's no surprise when after a good half hour of soaking in the invitation, making calls to lock in a babysitter, and looking through my recipe index, that I happily send in my ''heck yes'' rsvp each and every time.

With that, thanks again KUTV Channel 2, Fresh Living! I had a blast, yet again, being on your show! It was fun being able to chose a recipe to share, see all the wonderfully amazing people at the station, and be able to watch it with my husband&#…

Eggnog French Toast

Oh, Christmas Eve. I'm so happy to see it finally arrive - and arrive in style, might I add.

It's as if a giant flour sifter is hanging over the valley, and eagerly sifting as much fluffy powder over the bare grass as soon as possible. I completely love it. We're not doing any serious traveling today. We're stickin' around this sleepy college town (emptied of it's students during the season), and maybe adding a couple more snowmen to our front yard.

We only have a couple Christmas Eve traditions, but I love them. First, we go out to ''breakfast-for-dinner." When we come home, we usually watch some kind of a cozy Christmas movie together in comfy clothes and a large warm blanket, and drink bubbly/eggnog. Then, we read the Christmas story in Luke 2. What I love most about our Christmas Eve/Christmas morning, is that we stay home. I love our families, and we make sure to see them for dinner on Christmas day, but for the Eve and Morning, we get each …

Totally Worth It

Hosted my very first Christmas Cookie Exchange Party this past weekend  for the wonderful ladies in my neighborhood. 
And loved every second of it.  
Every ounce of nervousness, excitement, and preparation was more than worth it. 
Plus, I enjoyed being a total sponge for the evening;  soaking in as many beautiful new recipes as possible. 
My oven can barely stand the anticipation :)

Spinach and Cream Stuffed Chicken Parmigiana

We've had chicken parmigiana a number of times in the blondie household. But never had we taken this dish to the absolute next level.

Until recently.

On Saturday, a friend in the neighborhood let me take a couple bricks of cream cheese off her hands. (Thank you, thank you!) She is a serious trooper in avoiding dairy products for her little one at this time. I would die.

Immediately, though, I knew what dish I wanted to try with said cream cheese. And let's just start off with this:  Never in Baking with Blondie history have I prepared a dish in our home for dinner, and liked it so much, that we went to the store the next morning to purchase the same ingredients (minus the plethora of cream cheese) to make the same dinner yet again. This stuff was incredible, and Ryan + Manchild went nuts over it.

Also, Ryan didn't even notice it was packed with spinach until the last few bites were devoured. This man hates spinach, and I have converted him. Happy Birthday to me. Wait, th…

White Chocolate Dipped Ginger Cookies

I know, I know. Here's the dang recipe y'all have been bugging me about. And guess what? I'm guest posting it over at one of my favorite fashion blogs today:

Click HERE to see the story behind these beloved cookies. 
Thanks again, Emily, for asking me to share a little holiday treat on your beautiful blog! 


White Chocolate Dipped Ginger Cookies
makes about 4 dozen cookies

Ingredients:1 1/2 C butter
2 C brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 C molasses
4 1/2 C flour
4 t baking soda
2 t cinnamon
2 t ground ginger
1 t ground cloves
1/2 t salt
granulated sugar for rolling
1 bag white chocolate chips
sprinkles

Method: 1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar. Add the eggs and molasses.
2. In another bowl, mix dry ingredients together, then slowly mix dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
3. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and roll into sugar. Place on greased baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes (mine were done at 7,…

Citrus Wassail

I was raised on wassail.

I can't remember a Christmas season without it.

My mom would have her old-school crock pot on the counter; filled to the brim with this decadent broth of heaven with a few slices of orange/lemon or sticks of cinnamon floating on top. It tasted more like the holidays than any dessert or drink I can remember, and even now I can't leave her home during these cold winter months without having a glass or two. The warmth it brings on such a snowy day is immeasurable, the nostalgia it evokes is hard to shake, and the number of flavor palates you can satisfy with just one drink is infinite. You can add more citrus if you like, or more tart flavors with cranberry if you prefer. If you want it to be more like cider, hit up those flavors. Whatever your taste preferences are, you can switch up your wassail to match.

This recipe is by far my favorite. I had tried it a couple years ago at my Uncle's home for Thanksgiving, and remembered it was amazing. This yea…

taking a moment...

Marshmallow Snowflakes

It's crazy-cold here in the valley. I was going to take the Manchild out yesterday to play in the couple inches of snow in our front yard, only to look outside late-afternoon and find the snow completely melted! At first I was sad, because he loves the snow. Then I had to laugh maniacally, because I honest-to-goodness hate the snow. Poor kid.

How to make it up to him? Hot chocolate. (warm chocolate, in his case). Even though the snow was gone, it was still freezing outside, and our bellies needed some sugary love.

The night before, I had made a sheet of fluffy marshmallow, and was so excited to finally use my new winter cookie cutters (97 cents each at Spoons 'n Spice). At first, I was nervous because after a few hours of making it, the marshmallow was painfully sticky. I was cautiously optimistic that after leaving it overnight, the marshmallow would eventually set up correctly. So I left it out on the counter, and hoped for the best.

It worked!

I think it made our hot choc…

Studio 5 Shout Out

HUGE thanks again to Studio 5 for having me on the show last week! If you missed the action, they've finally uploaded the video here
To see the three toffee recipes I presented, click here.
You guys rock my socks.

Rotini in Fresh Basil Pesto Cream Sauce

Remember that one time back in September when I made Roasted Maple Almond Butter? Even though it was beyond delicious, and we ate it all before Ryan came home from work that day, it was an extremely bittersweet moment in my kitchen.

You see, it was when my mini-food processor was pushed to the limit, and kicked the bucket.

Forever.

Since then, in it's permanent absence, I've tried tofind suitable alternatives, and it was going alright, until yesterday....
This is when I learned that making homemade fresh pesto is nearly impossible without a food processor. I thought maybe my blender would take care of business, and do work in the kitchen, but boy was I wrong (no offense to the blender). The ingredients all hid beneath the blades in the bottom, and avoided their inevitable doom. Thankfully, the basil was already pretty broken down, but I couldn't ignore the thick grated Parmesan and whole pine nuts. Pine nuts cost and arm-and-a-leg for about a 1/2 C portion right now. So …

Spicy Thai Noodles

There has been an offensive amount of baking this past weekend. My oven was on for 6 straight hours Friday morning/afternoon. And it's not about to slow down! I don't mind one bit, actually. I'm really enjoying it. It's been a perfect distraction from the usual continued-semester/finals-week widowing. Thankfully, Ryan takes his last final this Friday: the day before my birthday. This will be our first December in 6 years when neither of us has an end-of-semester college final on my birthday. I know, we're pretty psyched.

. . .

The busy baking bustle of the holidays still includes me feeding my son and husband a decent dinner, but unfortunately with me a not-so-decent dinner (stomach spoiled by too many cookies from said baking).Yikes. Double yikes. Worth it? Only if I can get a run in at some point that day.

This dish was loaded with all kinds of spicy/mild flavors (oxymoron, I know). But they balance each other out so well, and easily filled our bellies. I love…

15 Holiday Cookie Cravings

White Chocolate Covered Soft Ginger Cookies (soon to appear on my guest post over at The Jacksons! Stay tuned.) Thanks Emily :)
Happy Friday! This week has been one crazy whirlwind after the next, and I feel like I'm losing my marbles all over the place. Today I forgot to add baking soda to my cookies. After taking one batch out of the oven, I knew right away what I had done. Baking soda is VERY important, people. VERY important. Luckily, I saved the rest of the dough, and added in the necessary ingredient for baking success. Meltdown averted.

To add to the madness of December, I decided early this week that I wanted to host a 'Cookie Exchange Party' for my neighborhood ladies. From the response so far, they are preparing to make all kinds of delicious goodness. I can't wait to try all their wonderful recipes (literally), and spend a delightful evening together with 'just the girls'. The stress will be well-worth it.

In lieu of the season, and the …

Toffee, Three Ways

A couple weeks ago, I received the call to be on Studio 5 again! I was really excited. I had so much fun the last time, and really enjoyed meeting so many wonderful people. My excitement immediately turned to dreaded fear when they told me they needed someone to make toffee during their candy week.

You see, I have never made toffee before.

I've eaten my fair share of Skor bars, but that was really my only experience with toffee.

So I immediately made my regretful confession to the producer. She still wanted me to take a whack at it. So here we are, the day before, and my fridge is full of beautiful different flavors of toffee! Even though my stomach is in knots, I can't wait for tomorrow.

I learned so much about toffee this weekend. I used one recipe, then created two different variations from it. I still can't get enough of the salty-dark chocolate flavor, and with the Holiday season in full-swing, I just had to use candy canes somehow. And the toasted almonds brought…