Monthly Archives: September 2012

Spicy Stuffing Cakes

stuffing, cakes, spicy, chili powder, curry powder, celery, onions, garlic, bread, side dish, recipe

To go alongside my Mini Turkey Meatloaves, I added my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner, the stuffing. I kicked it up a notch by adding chili and curry powder.  It gave great additional flavor to the dish with just a hint of spiciness. I made them into little cakes for an easy-to-serve side dish any time of the year!

stuffing, cakes, spicy, chili powder, curry powder, celery, onions, garlic, bread, sage, recipe

Ingredients (makes 9 cakes)

  • 12 slices (or 1/2 lb) of bread
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 3 stalks celery (chopped)
  • 1 red onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp fresh sage (chiffonade)
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup chicken broth

Start by heating the butter in a skillet. When it begins to melt, add the celery, red onion, garlic and sauté for 5-7 minutes.

stuffing, cakes, spicy, chili powder, curry powder, celery, onions, garlic, side dish, recipe

Add the salt, pepper, sage, curry powder and chili powder.

stuffing, cakes, spicy, chili powder, curry powder, celery, onions, garlic, sage, side dish, recipeMix together and allow the seasonings to cook in for 3-5 minutes over low heat. In the mean time, chop the bread slices into small cubes.

stuffing, cakes, spicy, chili powder, curry powder, celery, onions, garlic, bread, side dish, recipeNext, add the vegetable mixture to a large mixing bowl, allow to cool slightly then add the cubed bread to the bowl. Crack the egg and pour the chicken broth on top, mix lightly with your hands or spoon, just be sure not to beat the heck out of it or you will end up with mush!

Grab about 1/3 cup of mixture and form into a small “cake”, repeat 8 times then place the cakes onto a baking stone or pan.

stuffing, cakes, spicy, chili powder, curry powder, celery, onions, garlic, bread, side dish, recipeBake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until golden and crisp on the outside.

stuffing, cakes, spicy, chili powder, curry powder, celery, onions, garlic, bread, side dish, recipeServe as a side dish with any meal!

stuffing, cakes, spicy, chili powder, curry powder, celery, onions, garlic, bread, side dish, recipeOr as a part of my “Weeknight Thanksgiving” meal with Mini Turkey Meatloaves!

stuffing, cakes, spicy, chili powder, curry powder, celery, onions, garlic, bread, side dish, recipeThis is one of my new favorite meals!  A simple, spicy and savory way to eat turkey and dressing any time!

stuffing, cakes, spicy, chili powder, curry powder, celery, onions, garlic, bread, side dish, recipe♣ Vegetarian Option: Substitute vegetable stock for chicken broth to make this dish vegetarian.

♦ Gluten Free Option: Use a gluten-free loaf of bread to make this dish gluten-free.

Mini Turkey Meatloaves

turkey, meatloaf, individual, mini meatloaves, healthy, quick, easy, food, recipes, thanksgivingWho doesn’t love Thanksgiving dinner? I know I love it and I’m pretty sure you do too.  That is why I created the (what was supposed to be) “Kicked Up 30-minute Thanksgiving dinner”, which I would now like to call the “Hour-or-so-but-still-well-worth-the-time-kicked-up-Thanksgiving dinner!”

I started off by turning the turkey portion of dinner into mini turkey meatloaves, “kicked up” by adding roasted jalapeños and Serrano chilies, a little chili powder and cumin, then topped off with a sriracha ketchup mixture. I then turned my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner, the stuffing, into little Spicy Stuffing Cakes!

turkey, meatloaf, individual, mini meatloaves, healthy, quick, easy, food, recipes, thanksgiving, stuffing cakesThe result was so delicious I’ve already eaten the leftovers twice (and I made it yesterday!)

carrots, jalapeños, green pepper, bell pepper, cumin, chili powder, ketchup, sriracha, celery, garlic, sage, rice chexIngredients

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 red onion (chopped)
  • 2 carrots (chopped)
  • 3 stalks celery (chopped)
  • 1 green bell pepper (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 4 serrano chilies (roasted, de-seeded and chopped)
  • 2 jalapeño peppers (roasted, de-seeded and chopped)
  • 1 tsp fresh sage (chopped)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup Rice chex (crushed)
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 tbsp Sriracha

Start by adding the chopped onions, carrots, celery and bell pepper to a skillet over medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil.

turkey, meatloaf, individual, mini meatloaves, healthy, quick, celery, onions, carrots, garlic, easy, food, recipes, thanksgivingSauté for 5-7 minutes, then add the minced garlic.  Sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes, then add the sage, chili powder, jalapeños, chilies and cumin.

chili powder, cumin, sage, jalapeños, serrano chilies,turkey, meatloaf, individual, mini meatloaves, healthy, quick, easy, food, recipesIf you like it spicy, leave the jalapeño and serrano seeds in, most of the heat cooks out after they are roasted anyway!  If spiciness scares you (ahhhh!) then go ahead and remove the seeds!

Next, remove the vegetable spice mixture from the heat and place in a large mixing bowl with the ground turkey. Add the crushed rice chex and egsg.  Use your hands (or a spoon, if you’re civilized like that) and combine the mixture.

turkey, meatloaf, individual, mini meatloaves, healthy, quick, jalapeños, carrots, celery, onions, recipesPlace the mixture into a muffin pan (or if you have one, a muffin stone, my newest kitchen obsession!)

turkey, meatloaf, individual, mini meatloaves, healthy, quick, easy, baking stone, cupcake pan, recipes, thanksgivingPlace into the oven at 350° for 20 minutes.  While in the oven, make the sauce to top them with by combining the ketchup and sriracha in a small bowl.

turkey, meatloaf, individual, mini meatloaves, healthy, sriracha, ketchup, spicy sauce, easy, food, recipes,After 20 minutes, remove the mini meatloaves from the oven and top them with the sauce…. like this…

turkey, meatloaf, individual, mini meatloaves, healthy, quick, spicy topping, food, recipes, thanksgivingOnce all the muffins have been topped with the sauciness, place them back into the oven for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the turkey is cooked through.

turkey, meatloaf, individual, mini meatloaves, healthy, quick, sriracha, spicy, recipes, thanksgivingI might have eaten one or two straight out of the pan… maybe… allegedly… probably.

turkey, meatloaf, individual, mini meatloaves, healthy, quick, easy, food, recipes, thanksgivingNew favorite dish?  Quite possibly!

turkey, meatloaf, individual, mini meatloaves, healthy, quick, easy, food, recipes, thanksgiving, saladAdd the Spicy Stuffing Cakes and make a “however-long-it-takes-because-it’s-delicious” kicked up version of Thanksgiving dinner tonight!

♣ Vegetarian Option: Use veggie crumbles instead of ground turkey to make this dish vegetarian.

♦ Gluten Free Option: Rice Chex is gluten-free, so that makes this dish gluten-free!

Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookie Pie with Pumpkin Ice Cream

Chocolate Chip Caramel Pecan Cookie Pie with Pumpkin Ice Cream

From the minute I saw this weeks chopped challenge mystery basket I knew a dessert was about to be made!

Chopped Challenge Ingredients Week Five

Hershey’s chocolate morsels, caramel, pecans and pumpkin, all ingredients that scream fall dessert!

Not wanting to make a traditional pie or try to combine all of the ingredients into one dish I decided to make a cookie pie using the Hershey’s chocolate morsels as the chocolate chips and adding caramelized pecans to the dish.  I then decided to turn the pumpkin into a delicious ice cream to top the warm cookie pie.

The final result of “Chopped Challenge Thursday” Week Five: Chocolate Chip Caramelized Pecan Cookie Pie with Homemade Pumpkin Ice Cream.

butter, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, brown sugar, caramels, chocolate chips, pecans, pumpkin, milk, cream, ginger, nutmeg, ingredients, ice cream, cookie pie

Ingredients (cookie pie)

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter (separated) (3/4 cup melted)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp vanilla (separated)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 bag ( 1 3/4 cups) Hershey’s Mini Kisses
  • 1 bag (14 oz) caramels
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups crushed pecans

Ingredients (pumpkin ice cream)

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 pint whipping cream
  • 4 eggs (whisked)
  • 3/4 gallon whole milk
  • 7-8 pounds ice
  • 2 cups ice cream salt

Start by preparing the ice cream. Combine the sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in the bottom of the ice cream canister.

How to make Pumpkin Ice Cream

Next, add the pumpkin, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, whipping cream and mix well.

Pumpkin Ice Cream Recipe

Then add two cups of the whole milk to a small saucepan over low heat.  When warm add in the whisked eggs. Continue whisking the mixture regularly for 2-3 minutes making sure the temperature does not get too warm to cook the eggs.

Warming eggs in milk

Add the mixture to the canister then add the rest of the whole milk to the “fill line” on the ice cream canister.

Pumpkin Ice Cream

Mix together well then place the canister inside the ice cream maker.  Surround the canister with ice and salt then plug the ice cream maker in to begin the freezing process.

While the ice cream is freezing begin making the cookie pie.  Still remember to fill the outside of the ice cream maker with ice and salt when needed. If the ice level is too low the freezing process will stop and runny ice cream will result…. and I know that no one wants that!

For the cookie pie, begin by making the caramelized pecans. Unwrap each caramel and place into a medium pan over low to medium heat.  Add 1/2 cup milk, 1 tbsp vanilla and 1/4 cup butter to the caramels.

Making Caramel Sauce

Stir consistently until the caramels are fully melted.  Then add in the pecans.

Caramelizing Pecans

Remove from heat and mix until the pecans are well coated. Set to the side while you prepare the cookie dough.

Start by combining the flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.  Next cream together the butter and sugars.  Add in 1 tbsp vanilla, the whole egg and egg yolk.  Mix well, then add in the flour mixture.

Cookie Dough

Next, mix in the chocolate chips or mini Hershey’s kisses.

Hershey Kiss Cookie Dough

Finally, add 1 cup of the caramelized pecans to the mixture.

Chocolate Chip Caramel Pecan Cookie Dough

Mix well then place into a greased pie plate.

Hershey Kiss Carmel Pecan Cookie Pie

Place in a 350° oven for 25-30 minutes or until crisp and brown around the edges.

Before the pie is finished cooking the ice cream machine should shut off and that means… the ice cream is ready!

Pumpkin Ice Cream

While waiting for the pie to come out of the oven, maybe I should go ahead and scoop out some ice cream.

Pumpkin Ice Cream

Maybe a couple bowls of it…

Pumpkin Ice Cream

And maybe I should take a bite…

Pumpkin Ice Cream

Ding!  Caught by the timer!  The pie is ready!

Chocolate Chip Caramelized Pecan Cookie Pie

Top with the pumpkin ice cream and get ready to gobble down!  The cold ice cream on the warm pie melts quickly!

Hershey Kiss Caramel Pecan Cookie Pie with Pumpkin Ice cream

See, I wasn’t kidding!

Chocolate Pecan Cookie Pie with Pumpkin Ice Cream

This is one decadent, creamy, delicious dessert!

If you like a more crisp cookie pie, I would recommend separating the dough into two pie plates to make a thinner, crisper cookie, rather than a thick chewy cookie (like what I have… and love!)

♣ Vegetarian Option: This recipe is vegetarian.

♦ Gluten Free Option: The pumpkin ice cream is gluten-free. Simply replace the flour in the cookie pie with a gluten-free flour alternative to make this recipe gluten-free.

Pumpkin Ice Cream

Total Time: 1 hour

Pumpkin Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 pint whipping cream
  • 4 eggs (whisked)
  • 3/4 gallon whole milk
  • 7-8 pounds ice
  • 2 cups ice cream salt

Instructions

  1. Combine the sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in the bottom of the ice cream canister.
  2. Add the pumpkin, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, whipping cream and mix well.
  3. Add two cups of the whole milk to a small saucepan over low heat.
  4. When warm add in the whisked eggs.
  5. Continue whisking the mixture regularly for 2-3 minutes making sure the temperature does not get too warm to cook the eggs.
  6. Add the mixture to the canister then add the rest of the whole milk to the “fill line” on the ice cream canister.
  7. Mix together well then place the canister inside the ice cream maker.
  8. Surround the canister with ice and salt then plug the ice cream maker in to begin the freezing process.
  9. Continue to fill the outside of the ice cream maker with ice and salt throughout the freezing process.
http://whitneybond.com/chopped-challenge-thursday-caramel-pumpkin-pecans-and-hersheys-chocolate-morsels/

Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookie Pie

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 1 cookie pie

Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookie Pie

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter (separated) (3/4 cup melted)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp vanilla (separated)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 bag ( 1 3/4 cups) Hershey’s Mini Kisses
  • 1 bag (14 oz) caramels
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups crushed pecans

Instructions

  1. Prepare the caramelized pecans by unwrapping each caramel and placing them in a medium pan over low to medium heat.
  2. Add 1/2 cup milk, 1 tbsp vanilla and 1/4 cup butter to the caramels.
  3. Stir consistently until the caramels are fully melted, then add the pecans.
  4. Remove from heat and mix until the pecans are well coated.
  5. Set to the side while you prepare the cookie dough.
  6. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.
  7. Cream together the butter and sugars.
  8. Add in 1 tbsp vanilla, the whole egg and egg yolk.
  9. Mix well, then add in the flour mixture.
  10. Add the mini Hershey’s kisses.
  11. Add 1 cup of the caramelized pecans to the mixture.
  12. Mix well then place into a greased pie plate.
  13. Place in a 350° oven for 25-30 minutes or until crisp and brown around the edges.
http://whitneybond.com/chopped-challenge-thursday-caramel-pumpkin-pecans-and-hersheys-chocolate-morsels/

Lemon Berry Muffins

Lemon, Strawberry, Muffins, Recipe, Breakfast, Brunch, Food, FruitBefore leaving on my Summer Adventure in May my wonderful Mom purchased me a stoneware muffin pan at a Pampered Chef party she attended in Oklahoma.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to use my new amazing kitchen gadget before I had to pack it into storage for the summer. I knew when I finally got settled in my new home in San Diego I wanted to bust that baby out and put it to work.

I decided to combine two of my favorite sweet and tart flavors into a muffin and thus the Lemon Berry Muffin was born. I ate a couple myself and delivered the rest to my dear friends in San Diego who let me borrow their hammer drill three times to get shelves, TV’s and art work on the walls (which are mostly composed of cement and metal studs) in my new place!

eggs, butter, flour, milk, sugar, salt, strawberries, lemon

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients (makes 9 muffins)

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 lemons (juice and zest)
  • 1/2 cup strawberries (sliced)

Start by combining the flour, baking powder and salt in a small mixing bowl.

flour, baking powder, salt, mix, batter, muffins, recipeNext combine the butter, sugar, milk and eggs, then add in the flour mixture.

passionfruit, poppy seeds, muffins, butter, coconut milk, recipe, breakfast, batter, mixCombine well then add the lemon juice, zest and strawberries.

lemon, strawberries, berry, muffins, batter, breakfast, recipe, brunch, food Fold all the ingredients together then spoon into the muffin pan.

lemon, strawberries, berry, muffins, batter, breakfast, recipe, brunch, foodPlace in the oven at 350° for 25-30 minutes.  Remove when golden and cooked through.

lemon, strawberries, berry, muffins, batter, breakfast, recipe, brunch, foodThe great thing about the stoneware is that the muffins cook evenly from top to bottom and slide out easily with no muffin liners needed.

Lemon, Strawberry, Muffins, Recipe, Breakfast, Brunch, Food, FruitThese are easy to make for breakfast any day of the week!

Lemon, Strawberry, Muffins, Recipe, Breakfast, Brunch, Food, FruitForget traditional blueberry muffins, there’s a new berry muffin in town 🙂

lemon, strawberries, berry, muffins, batter, breakfast, recipe, brunch, food

Click here for printer-friendly version: Lemon Berry Muffins

♣ Vegetarian Option: This recipe is vegetarian.

♦ Gluten Free Option: Substitute the flour for a gluten-free flour alternative to make this dish gluten-free.

How to Create the Perfect Cheese Plate

how to make the perfect cheese plate, prosciutto, grapes, bread, crackers, honey, blue cheese, jack habanero cheese

I’m not going to lie, there are very few things in life that make me happier than a little (or a lot) of wine and a deliciously well constructed cheese plate.

I hosted a girls night wine and cheese party last weekend. Everyone brought a bottle of wine and I made that aforementioned perfectly constructed cheese plate.

So what makes the perfect cheese plate? In my cheese-loving opinion it’s a combination of salty and sweet components on the side of a variety of cheeses, prosciutto and honey.

Ingredients

  • cheeses (I like a combination of hard, soft, strong and mild)
  • thinly sliced prosciutto
  • dates (seeds removed)
  • grapes
  • nuts (almonds or mixed)
  • baguette (toasted and sliced)
  • pretzels (or pretzel crisps as seen above)
  • crackers
  • honey (or honeycomb if you feel like splurging, $20 at Whole Foods)

I like to purchase my cheeses at Whole Foods because they have an amazing little bin called the “Snack Cheese” or “Value Cheese”.  It is simply the smaller cuts of cheese from each wheel which they sell for under $4 each.

whole foods, cheese, value, snack, varieties

This is the perfect way to construct a deluxe cheese plate with many different varieties without breaking the bank!  This is also the perfect opportunity to try a new, unique cheese that you might not have tried otherwise!

There are a few ways to serve the cheese plate. The above display uses a large wood board I purchased at Ikea for $9.99.

If you would like to display the different varieties of cheese you are using, you can add small display chalkboards. I purchased  the ones seen here at Williams-Sonoma for $29.

cheese plate, cheese, prosciutto, grapes, chalkboards, small display chalkboards, williams sonoma, crackers

These are so cute and can be used as labeling boards for a number of different things.

cheese plate, cheese, prosciutto, grapes, chalkboards, small display chalkboards, williams sonoma, crackers

Another display option which will save you a little money is to simply wrap a blank white address label around a toothpick and write the cheese variety on the label to display what type of cheese it is.

cheese plate, charcuterie board, variety of cheeses, grapes, prosciutto, crackers, nuts, bread, pretzels, honey, dates,

This is a quick and simple display method that combines supplies most people already have at home.

how to make the perfect cheese plate, prosciutto, grapes, bread, crackers, honey, blue cheese, jack habanero cheese, dates

The final cheese plate display option involves one component only, a homemade chalkboard using a Dollar Tree silver tray spray painted with chalkboard paint.

Simply write the name of each cheese on the plate with chalk next to the appropriate cheese.

do it yourself, chalkboard, grapes, cheese, cheese plate, chalk, dollar tree silver trays, chalkboard spray paint, blue cheese, cheese board

Enjoy the perfect cheese plate before your next dinner, at your next party or on a Wednesday night, just because!

Chopped Challenge Thursday: Buffalo Sauce, Poppy Seeds, Coconut and Apple Butter

coconut, poppy seed, popcorn chicken, oven fried chicken, baked chicken, spicy apple buffalo sauce, chicken tenders

Oh happy day, it’s “Chopped Challenge Thursday”!

This weeks “Mystery Basket” included Buffalo Sauce from Paul Kim, Coconut from Amy Black, Poppy Seeds from Dottie Warmbier and Apple Butter from Whitney Hicks.

coconut, buffalo sauce, apple butter, poppy seeds

Coconut, apple butter, poppy seeds, I could have practically made my Passion Fruit Poppy Seed Muffins with these ingredients. I couldn’t believe it when I saw both coconut and poppy seeds in my “mystery basket” this week. Up until last weekend I had never cooked with either ingredient! I feel like I have a certain psychic connection with my loyal blog followers (or “bollowers”) a lot of the time!

Now the ingredient that threw me for a loop this week was the buffalo sauce. Not because I don’t know how to use the ingredient, I think it’s pretty obvious from my extensive list of buffalo recipes that I not only know how to use the ingredient, but also have a slight obsession with it. From buffalo chicken pasta to buffalo potato salad to buffalo chicken burgers and buffalo macaroni salad.

Even with almost a dozen buffalo dishes under my belt, I have never combined the delicious sauce with poppy seeds, coconut or apple butter!

After much deliberation I decided to make a coconut and poppy seed crusted chicken, then combine the buffalo sauce and apple butter into a dip… say what?  I know, it sounds weird and to be honest, I had no idea if it was going to be the greatest discovery ever or taste like a third-graders science project, but somehow I made it work!

The final result of “Chopped Challenge Thursday” Week Four: Coconut Poppy Seed Popcorn Chicken with Buffalo Sweet Sauce

rice chex, coconut, poppyseeds, coconut milk, eggs, chicken, buffalo sauce, apple butter, ground ginger, flour

Ingredients – Popcorn Chicken

  • 2 lbs chicken breast (cut into cubes)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 6 cups rice chex
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 3 eggs (whisked)
  • 1 cup coconut milk

Buffalo Sweet Sauce

  • 1/2 cup apple butter
  • 2 tbsp buffalo sauce
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Start by using a food processor to turn the rice Chex into a fine crumb mixture. After no large pieces of cereal remain, add the coconut to the food processor.

coconut, rice chex, crumbs, gluten free, chicken breading

Pulse for 15 seconds then place the coconut crumb mixture in a bowl, add the poppy seeds and mix together.

coconut, poppyseed, rice chex, crumbs, breading, mixture, crust

Next, set up the chicken breading station. Start by placing the flour in one bowl, in another bowl combine the eggs and coconut milk.

flour, coconut milk, eggs, rice chex, coconut, poppy seeds, chicken breasts

Bread each little piece of popcorn chicken by dipping it in the egg and milk mixture, then in the flour, back into the egg and milk, then over to the coconut poppy seed mix.

coconut, poppy seed, popcorn chicken, oven fried chicken, baked chicken, crusted chicken

Place the breaded chicken onto a wire rack on top of a baking sheet so that any excess breading falls through the rack and onto the baking sheet.

coconut, poppy seed, popcorn chicken, oven fried chicken, baked chicken, how to, crusted chicken

Place these little nuggets in the oven at 375° for 25-30 minutes.

While they’re in the oven, it’s time to prepare the Buffalo Sweet Sauce.

Start by combining the apple butter and buffalo sauce.  I know, this sounds really weird, trust me, I had my reservations, but once I tasted it I knew that it could work!

buffalo sauce, apple butter, spicy apple buffalo sauce, spicy apple butter sauce, sweet buffalo sauce

Next, whisk in the ginger, allspice, apple cider vinegar and sour cream. The sauce is now complete and once the chicken is crispy, the dish is ready to be served!

coconut, poppy seed, popcorn chicken, oven fried chicken, baked chicken, spicy apple buffalo sauce, oven fries

Baking the chicken instead of frying it reduces the calories by 30% and cuts the saturated fat in half.

coconut, poppy seed, popcorn chicken, oven fried chicken, baked chicken, spicy apple buffalo sauce

These would be a great snack for a party…

coconut, poppy seed, popcorn chicken, oven fried chicken, baked chicken, spicy apple buffalo sauce, fried chicken basket

… or an easy weeknight dish that the whole family would love!

coconut, poppy seed, popcorn chicken, oven fried chicken, baked chicken, spicy apple butter sauce

I also added some oven fries by simply slicing up a couple of potatoes, drizzling olive oil on top and sprinkling with salt.

coconut, poppy seed, popcorn chicken, oven fried chicken, baked chicken, spicy apple buffalo sauce, oven fries

♣ Vegetarian Option: Use vegetarian chicken breast substitutes for the chicken to make this dish vegetarian.

♦ Gluten Free Option: Rice Chex is gluten-free, so simply substitute the flour for a gluten-free flour alternative, such as coconut flour, to make this dish gluten-free!

How to Make Your Own Photo Booth

I constructed a homemade photo booth for  my housewarming party last weekend with the help of my roommate’s girlfriend Doni.

It was a smashing success so I wanted to veer from food for the day to share how to make your own totally fun, yet budget friendly, homemade photo booth!

Supplies Needed

  • 48 Inch Dowel Rod (or shower tension rod) ($2-$4, available at Walmart, Target, Home Depot)
  • Pair of Curtains ($5-$10, available at Walmart, Target, Bed Bath and Beyond)
  • Ribbon for tie-backs ($2-$4, available at Walmart, Michael’s)
  • 2 medium Command adhesive hooks ($6-$8, available at Walmart, Target, Michael’s)
  • Tripod (or stand for camera)
  • 2 chalkboard signs (see instructions below on how to make your own)

Optional Props

  • Word or phrase signs
  • Large Empty Frame
  • Neck-wear (beads, leis, ties, boas)
  • Headwear (hats, glasses, tiaras)
  • Hand-wear (gloves)
  • “Action” Props (plastic sword, pom-poms)

Start assembling the actual photo booth wall by placing the Command hooks on the wall. These are great for this kind of project because they do not leave any damage on the wall after the party.

Next, place the curtain on to the dowel or tension rod, then simply place the tension rod in the command hooks.

Next, tie each curtain panel in the middle with the ribbon.

Now it’s time to prepare the props.

I loved having the large empty frame for people to hold and pose in.  If you would like one too, it’s very simple to do-it-yourself!

I purchased the frame at a thrift store for $3.99 and then purchased a can of spray paint at Michael’s for $6.99.

I spray painted the frame with two layers of paint then allowed to dry.  The next morning I sanded the frame down to give it more of an antique look. The final result…

Homemade photo booth, make your own photobooth, pictures, images, party, empty picture frame, girls, feather boa

A super fun way to “frame yourself” in the photo booth!

Next up on the do-it-yourself portion of the photo booth were the chalkboards.

I purchased two silver trays and a tray stand from the dollar store for.. $1 each (obvi!) then found an old Ikea magnetic board (still available at Ikea for $12.99) and used chalkboard spray paint ($3.99 at Walmart or $6.99 at Michaels) to turn all of these items into chalkboards.

I used one of the silver trays as an “instructional board” in which Doni came up with this very cute rhyme!

I used the other tray as a “write your own message board”, in which my fellow Oklahoma girl Tess started it off  right with Boomer Sooner!

write your own message, chalk board, do it yourself, chalk, photo booth

I used the Ikea magnetic board to add our “Instagram Hashtag Message” which was inspired by Pinterest.

This is a great way to see everyone’s images from the photo booth as they upload them onto Instagram (or Twitter) using the unique hashtag you create for your party.

I personally used the hashtag throughout the day and into the night to catch all of the housewarming party action!

photo booth, photobooth, housewarming party, san diego, instagramNow, on to those fun, crazy, silly props!

Doni snatched up almost half of the props at a Goodwill Thrift Store for about $10.  The rest, as much as I am embarrassed to admit, actually came from my closet, ha ha.

Headwear is a must!

hats, kitten ears, cowboy hats, glasses, oversized glasses, devil horns, halo, feathersHeadwear Options

  • Oversized Glasses
  • Cowboy Hats
  • Top hats
  • Feather Flapper Hats
  • Tiaras
  • Kitten Ears
  • Devil Horns
  • Angel Halos
  • Funny noses/moustaches

There also must be neck-wear involved!

ties, boas, leis, beadsNeck-Wear Options

  • Mardi Gras Beads
  • Leis
  • Funky Ties
  • Feather Boas

What to do with your hands you ask?

gloves, plastic sword, pom-pomsHand-Wear/Hand-Held Object Options

  • Gloves
  • Pom-poms
  • Plastic Swords
  • Plastic Tomahawk (because, why not?)

If you would like your guests to send a message in their image using a word or phrase, make your own signs!

Simply write whatever you would like on black construction paper using a silver sharpie, then cut it into a cute shape and tape it onto a large popsicle stick.

I did allow my male roommates to input on these, so don’t judge me for all of them, I am definitely not “Banned from Disneyland” (that would be like the worst thing ever!)  I will, however, take all the credit for “Fear the Beard” and “I’m Here for the Food”

Homemade photo booth, make your own photobooth, pictures, images, partyThe total cost of the homemade photo booth will vary depending on what supplies you already have and how many props you want to add but can be easily made for as little as $20!

And, let’s be honest, you can’t put a price on all this fun!

Homemade photo booth, make your own photobooth, pictures, images, party, girls, instagramFeel free to Tweet me or Facebook me with any questions about making a photo booth for your next party!

Passion Fruit Poppy Seed Muffins

passionfruit, poppy seeds, muffins, mini, coconut, recipe, breakfast, brunchThis Saturday my friend hosted a girls brunch and shop-a-rama.  It’s an event where every girl brings a bag of clothes, jewelry, shoes, purses, etc. that they are no longer using and swaps with their friends for some new-to-you items.

Pair the swap shopping with brunch and mimosas and you’ve got a winning Saturday morning!

Being the resident food blogger I wanted to bring something fun and delicious to the brunch portion of the day.  I had these delicious little passion fruits from the farmers market just waiting to be eaten up!  I decided to turn them into mini muffins for the event.

I added poppy seeds to the muffin mix and used coconut milk instead of regular milk to add an extra touch of sweetness, I then topped the muffins with toasted coconut for a little crunch and a beautiful presentation!

passionfruit, poppyseeds, muffins, mini, coconut, recipe, breakfast, brunch

The result was a sweet, tart, tropical muffin that was a hit at the swap-a-rama!

passionfruit, poppy seeds, muffins, coconut, recipe, vanilla, coconut milk, flour, sugar, eggs, butter

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 large passion fruits
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut

Start by combining the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.

flour, baking powder, salt, mix, batter, muffins, recipe

In a large mixing bowl combine the butter and sugar with a hand mixer.

passionfruit, poppy seeds, muffins, mini, coconut, recipe, hand mixer, paddlesOr in my case attempt to use a hand mixer to combine the butter and sugar, then experience an epic fail when the $10 Toastmaster hand mixer you’ve been using for 9 years finally decides to bite-the-bullet, take-the-plunge, give up on mixing, pureeing and blending and die.

I’d like to take a minute to remember all the good times I’ve had with this hand mixer over the last decade… and I’m over it, off to Target to buy a new one!

Now back to the muffins. Next add in the eggs, vanilla and coconut milk.

passionfruit, poppy seeds, muffins, mini, coconut, recipe, eggs, milkI literally hand-mixed the batter using the mixer paddles, but you may go right on ahead and electronically blend that together.

Next add in the flour mixture.

passionfruit, poppy seeds, muffins, butter, coconut milk, recipe, breakfast, batter, mixMix together well, then add the passion fruit and mix with a spatula.

Passionfruit is really easy to work with, you simply cut it down the middle, open it up and scoop all the pulp and seeds right into the batter.

passionfruit, poppy seeds, muffins, mini, coconut, recipe, breakfast, brunch, batterNext, add in the poppy seeds.

passionfruit, poppy seeds, muffins, mini, coconut, recipe, breakfast, brunch, mixMix them in with a spatula then transfer the muffin batter to a large Ziploc bag. This makes it much easier to make mini muffins or even traditional size muffins by simply piping the batter into the muffin tins, rather than trying to spoon it in.

passionfruit, poppy seeds, muffins, mini, coconut, recipe, breakfast, brunch, piping bagI placed mine in the refrigerator for the night so that all I had to do when I woke up Saturday morning was pipe the batter into the muffin tins and bake. This is an option if you want to do most of the work at night and hit that snooze button a couple extra times in the morning 🙂

When ready to bake the muffins, cut a small hole in the corner of the Ziploc bag and pipe the batter into each muffin tin a little more than 3/4 of the way full.

passionfruit, poppy seeds, muffins, mini, coconut, recipe, breakfast, brunchNext, top each muffin with a couple of shreds of coconut and place in the oven at 350° for 15-18 minutes.

passionfruit, poppy seeds, muffins, mini, coconut, crust, recipe, breakfast, brunch

They are done when the coconut is slightly toasted and a toothpick inserted through the center of a muffin comes out clean.

passionfruit, poppy seeds, muffins, mini, coconut, recipe, breakfast, brunch, toasted coconut

I also got this awesome tip from blogger BB A La Carte to place a baking sheet (or stone) under the muffin tin so that the bottoms of the muffins don’t get brown…. and it worked perfectly!

passionfruit, poppy seeds, muffins, mini, coconut, recipe, breakfast, brunch, baking techniquesNow these delicious and oh-so-cute mini muffins are ready to go to any brunch party or straight to your kitchen table for a delicious breakfast treat!

passionfruit, poppy seeds, muffins, mini, coconut, recipe, breakfast, brunchA mason jar is a cute way to transport the muffins or store leftovers!

passionfruit, poppy seeds, muffins, mini, coconut, recipe, breakfast, brunch, mason jarIf you have any extra passion fruits lying around simply cut them open and scoop a little fresh pulp right on top of the muffin for an extra fresh and tart treat!

passionfruit, poppy seeds, muffins, mini, coconut, recipe, breakfast, brunch

Click here for printer-friendly version: Passion Fruit Poppy Seed Muffins

♣ Vegetarian Option: This recipe is vegetarian.

♦ Gluten Free Option: This recipe is gluten-free when traditional flour is substituted with a gluten-free flour. I would recommend trying coconut flour as it would complement the hints of coconut already in the recipe.

Tiramisu Tart

Tiramisu, Tart, Ginger Snap Crust, Chocolate Shavings, cocoa powder, torani, coffee syrup, ricotta, mascarpone, cheese, recipe, dessert

This recipe was inspired by my original plan to make a layered Tiramisu dip for my Housewarming Party.  That never happened. I’ve learned after throwing dozens upon dozens of parties that sometimes I just have to throw in the towel on a couple planned menu items. Sometimes it all comes together and sometimes it doesn’t.

I always start with the party “must haves” and then leave the rest up to fate. As fate would have it, the Tiramisu dip was not made, but two days later this delicious Tiramisu Tart came into my life!

Tiramisu, Tart, Ginger Snap Crust, Chocolate Shavings, cocoa powder, torani, coffee syrup, ricotta, mascarpone, cheese, recipe, dessert

I knew I had to use the Mascarpone and Ricotta Cheese before they went bad but I scratched my original dip recipe. I felt like a dip was more party dessert then “have a slice after work/school” kind of dessert. I decided on a Tart simply because I had an unused Longaberger tart dish sitting on a shelf begging to be used!  I had originally planned to use Ginger Snap cookies for dipping, so I simply ground them up in my food processor and made them into the crust, then filled it with the dip. This made for a great evening treat all week!

Tiramisu, Tart, Ginger Snap Crust, Chocolate Shavings, cocoa powder, torani, coffee syrup, ricotta, mascarpone, cheese, recipe, dessert

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups ginger snap crumbs
  • 4 tbsp butter (melted)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup coffee syrup
  • 2 tbsp marsala wine
  • 1 tsbp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp chocolate shavings

Start making the crust by combining the ginger snap crumbs, butter and sugar in a small mixing bowl. Next, press the mixture into a tart pan.

Tart, Crust, Ginger Snap, Crumbs, dessert, recipe,Place the crust in the refrigerator while making the filling.

Start the filling by creaming together the mascarpone, ricotta and sour cream.

Tiramisu, Tart, Ginger Snap Crust, Chocolate Shavings, torani, coffee syrup, ricotta, mascarpone, cheese, recipe, dessertNext, add in the brown sugar, coffee syrup and marsala wine.

Tiramisu, Tart, brown sugar,Torani, coffee syrup, ricotta, mascarpone, cheese, recipe, dessertBlend together well, 2-3 minutes, then place the mixture in the crust.

Tiramisu, Tart, Ginger Snap Crust, Chocolate Shavings, cocoa powder, torani, coffee syrup, ricotta, mascarpone, cheese, recipe, dessertDust the cocoa powder on top using a sifter (hopefully yours is less ghetto than mine, haha).

Tiramisu, Tart, Ginger Snap Crust, Chocolate Shavings, cocoa powder, torani, coffee syrup, ricotta, mascarpone, cheese, recipe, dessertThen, shave the chocolate on top. I used a vegetable peeler and it worked just fine!

Tiramisu, Tart, Ginger Snap Crust, Chocolate Shavings, cocoa powder, torani, coffee syrup, ricotta, mascarpone, cheese, recipe, dessertAnd voila, one delicious Tiramisu tart is complete!

Tiramisu, Tart, Ginger Snap Crust, Chocolate Shavings, cocoa powder, torani, coffee syrup, ricotta, mascarpone, cheese, recipe, dessertThis is a quick and simple dessert that can be made in 15 minutes or less with no need to bake!

Tiramisu, Tart, Ginger Snap Crust, Chocolate Shavings, cocoa powder, torani, coffee syrup, ricotta, mascarpone, cheese, recipe, dessertThere’s no excuse not to take this to your next dinner party! No one else will know how simple it is because it looks so decadent 🙂

Tiramisu, Tart, Ginger Snap Crust, Chocolate Shavings, cocoa powder, torani, coffee syrup, ricotta, mascarpone, cheese, recipe, dessertI love the combination of the rich cheese,  sweet chocolate and coffee flavor!

Tiramisu, Tart, Ginger Snap Crust, Chocolate Shavings, cocoa powder, torani, coffee syrup, ricotta, mascarpone, cheese

Torani Syrups can be purchased a lot of places such as World Market or Smart and Final.

If you prefer not to use the syrup, you can replace it with 2 shots of espresso.

♣ Vegetarian Option: This recipe is vegetarian.

♦ Gluten Free Option: My man Trader Joe sells delicious gluten free Ginger Snaps which

when used in this dish makes it gluten-free.

Italian Buffalo Chicken Dip

Italian Buffalo Chicken Dip

Today I have another new recipe from my Little Italy Housewarming Party. These days I couldn’t possibly throw a party without a recipe involving buffalo sauce! For this party I transformed my beloved Buffalo Chicken Dip into an Italian masterpiece!

Italian Buffalo Chicken Dip

I started by replacing the original cheeses of cheddar and blue with mozzarella and parmesan.  I also added Italian dressing to the buffalo chicken for an extra Italian kick!  I then topped the dip with sliced pepperoncinis for a bit more spice!

Italian Buffalo Chicken Dip Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 lb chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup Franks Red Hot Buffalo Sauce
  • 1/2 cup Italian dressing
  • 16 oz cream cheese
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese (shredded)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 1/4 cup sliced pepperoncinis

Start by pressure cooking then shredding the chicken breasts.  Next, toss the chicken with the buffalo sauce and Italian dressing.

buffalo sauce, franks red hot, chicken, shredded, italian dressing

Begin putting the dip together by placing the cream cheese in the bottom of a deep casserole dish. I used my 2 quart Longaberger casserole dish which is perfect for this recipe.

Cream Cheese, Buffalo chicken, dip, italian, buffalo sauce, chicken, recipe, food, appetizer

Next, add the shredded Italian buffalo chicken.

Italian Buffalo Chicken Dip

Finally, top with the mozzarella and parmesan.

Italian Buffalo Chicken Dip Recipe

Place in the oven at 350° for 20-25 minutes.

Italian Buffalo Chicken Dip Nachos

Remove from the oven and top with the sliced pepperoncinis.

Italian Buffalo Chicken Dip

The dish can be served with chips for dipping or placed on a sliced baguette!

Italian Buffalo Chicken Dip with Pepperoncinis

I chose both because, well, I like options!

Italian Buffalo Chicken Dip

♣ Vegetarian Option: Substitute “veggie crumbles” for the shredded chicken.

♦ Gluten Free Option: This recipe is gluten-free when served with gluten-free bread or chips on the side for dipping.

Italian Buffalo Chicken Dip

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Serving Size: 6-8

Italian Buffalo Chicken Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 lb chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup Franks Red Hot Buffalo Sauce
  • 1/2 cup Italian dressing
  • 16 oz cream cheese
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese (shredded)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 1/4 cup sliced pepperoncinis

Instructions

  1. Start by pressure cooking or boiling, then shredding the chicken breasts.
  2. Next, toss the chicken with the buffalo sauce and Italian dressing.
  3. Begin putting the dip together by placing the cream cheese in the bottom of a deep casserole dish.
  4. Next, add the shredded Italian buffalo chicken.
  5. Finally, top with the mozzarella and parmesan.
  6. Place in the oven at 350° for 20-25 minutes.
http://whitneybond.com/whats-for-lunch-italian-buffalo-chicken-dip/

Italian Baked Potato Soup

Italian Baked Potato SoupFor my Housewarming party last weekend  I went with a new menu planning approach.  I went to the grocery store with no list, no ideas and simply let the ingredients do the planning for me.

I arrived home with two giant bags of potatoes. Potatoes are an excellent way to feed a lot of people on a budget. One three-pound bag of potatoes was $.99.  You just don’t see those kind of prices anymore!

Then it was time to decide what I was going to do with those potatoes! I knew I wanted to make a couple of crockpot recipes for the party as they’re easy to put on in the morning and ready when guests arrive. That was when I got the idea for baked potato soup.  Of course it had to be Italian style as that was the theme of the party!

Italian Baked Potato Soup

The result was a creamy, rich, flavorful soup that would be perfect for upcoming fall evenings and cold winter weekends!

Italian Baked Potato Soup IngredientsIngredients

  • 3 lbs potatoes
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 10 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp rosemary
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • ½ cup diced pancetta
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese

Start by dicing the potatoes into cubes.

Italian Baked Potato Soup RecipeNext, add the potatoes, onions and garlic into the crock pot.

Italian Baked Potato Soup Recipe

Then pour in the chicken stock.  There should be just enough chicken stock to cover the potatoes.

Italian Baked Potato Soup Recipe

Next add in the thyme and rosemary.

Italian Baked Potato Soup Recipe

Cook on high for 4-5 hours or until potatoes are soft when poked with a fork.

Ladle out 2 cups of the chicken stock.

Italian Baked Potato Soup RecipePour in the milk, sour cream and butter and blend with an immersion blender or hand mixer.

Italian Baked Potato Soup RecipeStir in the mozzarella, parmesan and pancetta.

Italian Baked Potato Soup RecipeCook on low for an additional 2 hours.

Italian Baked Potato Soup Recipe

This is one of those recipes that makes the whole house smell like rosemary thyme amazingness!

Italian Baked Potato SoupLets zoom in…

Italian Baked Potato Soup

… then dig in!

Italian Baked Potato Soup

♣ Vegetarian Option: Omit the pancetta and replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock to make this recipe vegetarian.

♦ Gluten Free Option: This recipe is gluten-free.

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies

When planning the Italian menu for my Little Italy Housewarming Party I knew I wanted some sort of cookie in the mix. Cookies are an easy dessert for a cocktail party as you can make the dough ahead of time, throw it in the fridge and then bake the cookies just before guests arrive for a fresh, warm dessert that people can grab and go!

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cupcakes you have to frost, pies you have to slice, ice cream melts, but cookies are easy and something that everyone loves! And if you don’t love cookies, you will probably not be invited to my parties because you’re just plain crazy 😉

This is my go-to recipe for chocolate chip cookies. Many people claim to have “the perfect” chocolate chip cookie recipe, but I think it’s all a matter of taste. I like mine soft and chewy with lots of chocolate chips. After years of hard, scientific research involving very long days and tough tasting sessions, I have come up with my perfect” chocolate chip cookie!

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Since the menu was Italian I decided to add in everyone’s favorite Italian Hazelnut spread, Nutella, to make my very own Italian Chocolate Chip Cookies!  The result…

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

…well, lets just say after posting pictures of these cookies on Instagram and Twitter, I’ve been making deals and getting bribes to trade these cookies for just about anything!

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookie Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup butter (melted)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 12 oz chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup nutella

Start by combining the flour, salt and baking powder in a mixing bowl.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Recipe

Next combine the melted butter and sugars. Blend well then beat in the eggs and vanilla, then add the flour mixture.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Recipe

Next hand mix in the chocolate chips.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Finally throw in that delicious hazelnutty-tella!

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Swirl the Nutella into the cookie dough then drop by large tablespoons onto a baking stone.

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Bake at 325° for 15 minutes.  Low and slow is the key to an evenly chewy and delicious cookie!

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies

The swirled in Nutella gives the cookies that awesome marble look!

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies

I wasn’t on the Nutella bandwagon before these cookies, but now I’m not only on the wagon, I’m manning the wheel and driving it in circles of Nutella amazingness!

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies

Nothing brings more happiness to my face than a large stack of warm, melty, chocolate chip cookies!

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies

I then had to dig in so that I could show you all the chocolate, melted goodness inside of the cookies!

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Is anyone else’s mouth watering?

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

♣ Vegetarian Option: This recipe is vegetarian.

♦ Gluten Free Option: Substitute gluten-free baking flour for traditional flour to make this recipe gluten-free.

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 24 cookies

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup butter (melted)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 12 oz chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup nutella

Instructions

  1. Combine the flour, salt and baking powder in a mixing bowl.
  2. Next combine the melted butter and sugars.
  3. Blend well then beat in the eggs and vanilla.
  4. Next add the flour mixture.
  5. Hand mix in the chocolate chips and nutella.
  6. Drop the cookie dough by large tablespoons onto a baking stone.
  7. Bake at 325° for 15 minutes.
http://whitneybond.com/whats-for-dessert-nutella-chocolate-chip-cookies/

Grilled Pineapple Tomatillo Guacamole

Pineapple Tomatillo Guacamole

This is what I like to call, the best guacamole ever!

Pineapple Tomatillo Guacamole Recipe

A little bit of sweet mixed with a little bit of spice, this guacamole is the perfect combination of all things delicious!

Pineapple Tomatillo Guacamole

Serve with Chipotle Lime Chicken Fajita Skewers and Deconstructed Mexican Street Corn for the perfect Fiesta!

Grilled Pineapple Tomatillo Guacamole Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pineapple (peeled and sliced)
  • 4 tomatillos
  • 2 red chili peppers
  • 4 avocados
  • 1/2 red onion (chopped)
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • 1 lime (juiced)

Start by grilling the tomatillos and red chili peppers for 4-5 minutes.

red, chilies, peppers, tomatillos, grilling

Flip the tomatillos and peppers then add the pineapple to the grill for 3-4 minutes.

Grilled Pineapple, Tomatillos and Red Peppers

Flip the pineapple, then grill for an additional 3-4 minutes.

Remove the tomatillos, peppers and pineapple from the grill.  Let cool for 5-10 minutes.

In the mean time, start putting together the guacamole by removing the avocado from the shell and mashing it with a fork. Add in the chopped onions, cilantro and lime juice.

How to make guacamole

Next, chop the grilled items and add them in to the mix.

Grilled Pineapple Guacamole

Don’t worry about the “mess-in-a-bowl” picture, it’s about to be mixed together into a beautiful and delicious dish!

Pineapple Tomatillo Guacamole

See, I told you!  😉

Pineapple Guacamole Recipe

Serve with tortilla chips to dip up all the chunky deliciousness of this guacamole!

Sweet Pineapple Guacamole Recipe

Or serve with sliced vegetables such as bell peppers for a paleo option!

Grilled Pineapple Guacamole

♣ Vegetarian Option: This recipe is vegetarian.

♦ Gluten Free Option: This recipe is gluten-free when served with corn tortilla chips.

♠ Paleo Option: This recipe is paleo. Serve with vegetables instead of chips for dipping.

Grilled Pineapple Tomatillo Guacamole

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 5-6 cups guacamole

Grilled Pineapple Tomatillo Guacamole

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pineapple (peeled and sliced)
  • 4 tomatillos
  • 2 red chili peppers
  • 4 avocados
  • 1/2 red onion (chopped)
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • 1 lime (juiced)

Instructions

  1. Start by grilling the tomatillos and red chili peppers for 4-5 minutes.
  2. Flip the tomatillos and peppers then add the pineapple to the grill for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Flip the pineapple then grill for an additional 3-4 minutes.
  4. Remove the tomatillos, peppers and pineapple from the grill. Let cool for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Begin putting the guacamole together by removing the avocado from the shell and mashing it with a fork.
  6. Add in the chopped onions, cilantro and lime juice.
  7. Next, chop the grilled items and add them to the guacamole.
  8. Serve with chips or vegetables for dipping.
http://whitneybond.com/whats-for-a-side-grilled-pineapple-tomatillo-guacamole/

THE San Diego Cheeseburger

Hodad's, San Diego, Cheeseburger, Onion Rings, Fries, Milkshake

In San Diego there is an ongoing debate in the city, not about politics or the environment, but simply about where to find the best burger.  The two contenders are Hodad’s and… that other burger joint in Pacific Beach.

For the honesty of journalism I will say that I have never eaten at “that other place in PB”. My theory is if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, in this case, if you find the perfect burger, why go anywhere else!

Hodad's, San Diego, Downtown, Ocean Beach, Menu, Cheeseburgers, Frings

It’s not even so much the burger though, it’s the combination of a piled high juicy burger with a side of thick and crispy homemade fries and freshly battered onion rings. And oh yeah, the ringer, the chocolate milkshake which is flown down by little angels from Heaven every time one is ordered. Yes, that is how amazing this milkshake is.

Hodad's, Chocolate, Milkshake, San Diego, Ice Cream, Syrup, Milk

It’s chocolate ice cream with chocolate milk with chocolate syrup, blended up and topped with more chocolate ice cream and chocolate syrup.

Hodad's, San Diego, Chocolate, Milkshake, Ice Cream, Syrup, MilkDo I look happy here?

Hodad's, chocolate, milkshake, whitney bond, san diego, straw, ice cream, shake

Blissful maybe? I think ecstatic would be the word I’m looking for. And who wouldn’t be with this deliciousness in front of you!

Hodad's, San Diego, Chocolate, Milkshake, Ice Cream, Syrup, Milk

Yes, that is two spoons you see.  I actually shared this little piece of Heaven with my Mom.

After all, I did have to save some room for the real deal, THE San Diego cheeseburger.

Hodad's, San Diego, Downtown, Ocean Beach, Bacon, Cheeseburger, Lettuce, Pickles, Tomato

This is the MINI bacon cheeseburger. Yes, Mini.  There is also a single and a double with the increase in size to boot.

Don’t be fooled, I have taken down a double before, but with the double there is generally no room left in the belly for the scrumptious sides, and that is just a crime.

Hodad's, San Diego, Downtown, Ocean Beach, Food Network, Diners Drive Ins and Dives, Cheeseburger

Although I may not go for the “can’t even wrap your mouth around the whole burger” double, I definitely don’t skimp on the toppings. Delicious American cheese, crispy bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and their thick cut white onions, which takes me to my next topic of discussion, the almighty onion rings.

I will admit, I did some Onion Ring battering during my 9 month stint of working at Sonic when I was 16. It’s not a fun job, but it has to be done to get those super fresh, never frozen, crispy bites of delicious fried onion.

Hodad's, San Diego, Onion Rings, French Fries, Fresh, HomemadeSee what’s hiding below that massive pile of crisp onion goodness, yeah that would be their fresh-cut fries. Thick cut, well seasoned and, you guessed it, delicious!

Don’t just take my word for it.  My man Guy thought it was pretty good too!  So good, that he did a little show about it.  Maybe you’ve heard of it, Triple D, AKA Diners, Drive Ins and Dives.

Guy Fieri, Diners Drive Ins and Dives, San Diego, Downtown, Ocean Beach, Food Network, Hodad's, Restaurant

THE San Diego Cheeseburger originated in Ocean Beach at the first Hodad’s location. Since then they have opened a second location in Downtown San Diego.  Now, I’m all for expanding successful businesses but I will admit I was weary of trying out the “non-orignal” Hodad’s.

Would it be the same?  Would those little angels be able to find the new location to drop down my heavenly milkshake? Was there something about the ocean air coming in off the beach that made the burger so juicy and fries so crispy?

I can now say for a fact that the downtown location is just as good as the original, the little angels found it just fine and you can expect the juiciness, crispiness and same friendly-in-a-bad-ass-sort-of-way service that you expect at Hodad’s!

Hodad's, Downtown, San Diego, Broadway, Restaurant, tenth avenueVisit the original Hodad’s at 5010 Newport Ave. Ocean Beach CA 92107 or Hodad’s Downtown at 945 Broadway Avenue San Diego CA 92101. You can also visit them online at hodadies.com. Dig in and enjoy!

Chopped Challenge Thursday: Mozzarella, Thyme, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Rhubarb

lemon, thyme, chicken, rhubarb, date, chutney, red wine vinegar, sun dried tomato, garlic, mozzarella, parmesan, risotto

It’s that time of the week again, time for “Chopped Challenge Thursday”!

lemon, thyme, chicken, rhubarb, date, chutney, red wine vinegar, sun dried tomato, garlic, mozzarella, parmesan, risottoThis week the first four responses came from Miss Muffet Bond (yes, my Mom!) with Mozzarella, Amanda Kamermayer with Thyme, Liz Ragland with Sun Dried Tomatoes and technically the fourth came from DeAndre Matthews with Kumquats.  Unfortunately kumquats don’t come into season until November, so I had to go with my number five response from Amy Black with Rhubarb.

I had already decided on a Kumquat Thyme Chicken with Sun Dried Tomato and Mozzarella Risotto when Rhubarb came into my life.  Now what? I decided to stick with the plan yet replace the kumquat with lemon and top the chicken with the rhubarb.  I cooked the rhubarb in red wine vinegar, brown sugar and lemon to give it a sweet, tart and acidic bite on top of the chicken.  The result ended up being so delicious, I was actually glad I was thrown that Rhubarb curve ball in the last hour!

The final result of “Chopped Challenge Thursday” Week Two: Lemon Thyme Chicken topped with a Rhubarb Date Chutney on a bed of Sun Dried Tomato Mozzarella Risotto

lemon, thyme, chicken, rhubarb, date, chutney, red wine vinegar, sun dried tomato, garlic, mozzarella, parmesan, risotto, recipe, food, Italian

Ingredients

Lemon Thyme Chicken

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon (juiced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 large chicken breasts

Rhubarb Date Chutney

  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 lb rhubarb (sliced thin)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1/2 cup dates (pitted and chopped)

Sun Dried Tomato Mozzarella Risotto

  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 6-7 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese (shredded)
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil (chopped)

Start by making the marinade for the chicken.  Combine the first 6 ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Pour over the chicken in a large Ziploc bag or shallow dish.

Marinade, Lemon, Thyme, Chicken, Olive Oil, GarlicCoat well then place in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.  Next, begin making the chutney.

Start by bringing the red wine vinegar, water and brown sugar to a simmer.  Next, add the rhubarb.

Red Wine, Vinegar, Brown Sugar, Rhubarb, ChutneySimmer for 8-10 minutes or until the rhubarb has softened.  Next, mix in the chopped dates, lemon juice and thyme sprigs.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Red Wine Vinegar, Brown Sugar, Lemon, Thyme, Date, Rhubarb, Chutney, RecipeNow, it’s time to throw that chicken on the grill! The grill should be heated to medium and chicken should be cooked 10-12 minutes per side.

Chicken, Grilling, Recipe, Lemon, Thyme, Olive oil, lemon juice, garlicWhile the chicken is grilling, it’s time to get going on the risotto.

Start by bringing the chicken stock to a boil in a large sauce pan.  On the next burner heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook down for 5-7 minutes.

onions, olive oil, garlic, chicken stock, risotto, recipe

Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Next, add the rice and cook for 1-2 minutes.

onion, rice, risotto, garlic, olive oil, recipeNow start adding the chicken stock in one ladle at a time.

risotto, rice, chicken stock, how to, recipe, garlic, olive oilAs soon as the rice has absorbed all of the liquid, add another ladle of chicken stock.  Continue this process for the next 15-20 minutes or until the rice is soft and the risotto is creamy. Continue stirring throughout the process so that the rice does not stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.

Don’t be scared of risotto, it’s not hard to make, it just takes some love and attention (like me, hehe!)

Taste the risotto as you go, if you run out of chicken stock and it still isn’t to your creamy, delicious standards, don’t fret, just add water to the boiling pot and ladle that in until the risotto is perfect. You will know,  I did a little happy dance when I tasted mine and it was perfect!

Also, don’t forget about the chicken on the grill while making the risotto.  It only needs to be flipped once, so I give you permission to leave the risotto unattended for 60 seconds to flip the chicken!

To finish the risotto add in the salt, pepper, cheeses, sun-dried tomatoes and basil.

lemon, thyme, chicken, rhubarb, date, chutney, red wine vinegar, sun dried tomato, garlic, mozzarella, parmesan, risottoStir to combine well.

At this time the chicken should have those perfect grill marks and be ready to go.

Chicken, Lemon, Thyme, Garlic, Olive Oil, Grill, Recipe, Food

Plate up the dish by placing the risotto on the side or under the chicken breast, then spoon the sauce from the chutney over the chicken, it gives it an amazing juiciness.  Next, place the chutney on top of the chicken and serve!

lemon, thyme, chicken, rhubarb, date, chutney, red wine vinegar, sun dried tomato, garlic, mozzarella, parmesan, risotto

I’m loving the results of these Chopped Challenges, I could definitely eat this dish over and over again!

lemon, thyme, chicken, rhubarb, date, chutney, red wine vinegar, sun dried tomato, garlic, mozzarella, parmesan, risotto, recipeIf rhubarb is out of season or not available in your area, tart apples can be substituted.

lemon, thyme, chicken, rhubarb, date, chutney, red wine vinegar, sun dried tomato, garlic, mozzarella, parmesan, risotto♣ Vegetarian Option: Use vegetarian chicken breast substitutes and vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.

♦ Gluten Free Option: Since rice is naturally gluten-free, so is risotto, that makes this entire recipe gluten-free!

Pumpkin Hummus

Pumpkin Hummus

This recipe came to me after eating some of the most amazing hummus of my life at the Little Italy farmers market last weekend. They had the most unusual flavors including my new favorite, Peanut Butter Hummus. It’s sweet and a little salty and makes the perfect snack with a little pita bread!

I was now inspired to make the next great hummus flavor. I decided on pumpkin.  It’s all the rage on Pinterest and with Fall upon us I thought it would be super fun to serve at all the different fall gatherings from Game days to Halloween parties!

If you like pumpkin, you will love this hummus!  The cinnamon gives it a slight sweetness, but the pumpkin shines through as the star!  This recipe only takes about 10 minutes to make and is something fun and different to take to a party or scoop into mason jars and give as gifts!

Pumpkin Hummus Ingredients

Ingredients (makes 2 pints)

  • 1 (29 oz) can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

You really need a food processor for this recipe, but if you only have a blender and/or mini-chop it can be done in small batches.

I started by placing all of the ingredients in the blender.

Pumpkin Hummus

It was just too many ingredients for the good ‘ol Osterizer to handle, so I began scooping out batches into my mini food processor.

While this is not the ideal method of making this recipe (as it turns your 10 minute prep time into 20), it works if you are one of those sad souls without a “big girl food processor” (i.e. me!)

Pumpkin Hummus

Either way you do it, you want to blend all of the ingredients together until a creamy texture forms.

Pumpkin, hummus, tahini, chickpeas, garbanzo beans, olive oil, cinnamon

Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or so, then serve with cinnamon sugar pita chips.

I made these by slicing 4 pieces of pita bread into triangles and tossing with 2 tbsp melted butter and 2 tbsp cinnamon/sugar mixture.

Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips

Place in the oven at 350° for 5-10 minutes, then serve with the hummus for a delicious treat!

Pumpkin Hummus with Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips

I took this dish to a weekly “Game Night” my friend PK hosts and everybody ate it up!

Pumpkin Hummus

This is going to be a new fall staple at my house!

Pumpkin Hummus

♣ Vegetarian Option: This recipe is vegetarian.

♦ Gluten Free Option: Substitute the pita bread with gluten-free pita bread (found in some specialty stores) or serve with apple slices for dipping.

Pumpkin Hummus

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 2 pints

Pumpkin Hummus

Ingredients

  • 1 (29 oz) can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a food processor.
  2. Blend until a creamy texture forms.
  3. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  4. Serve with cinnamon sugar pita chips or apple slices.
http://whitneybond.com/whats-for-a-side-pumpkin-hummus/

Blueberry Banana Bread Pudding

Blueberry, Banana, Bread Pudding, Brunch, Breakfast, Hawaiian Rolls, Brown Sugar Crumble, Honey

In addition to bacon, blue cheese and pizza, blueberries also top the list of my food obsessions. I love eating the little colorful berries like they’re candy, straight out of the farmers market carton. I also love cooking with them.  I got the idea to make them into a breakfast bread pudding when my Mom was coming to visit.  She’s a very picky eater but loves french toast and blueberry muffins, so I decided to make a hybrid of the two and Blueberry Bread Pudding was born!

As I began preparing the recipe Saturday morning I saw a couple ripe bananas sitting in the pantry and thought, “well that would be a tasty addition” (yes, my thoughts get their own quotations 😉 ) so I threw a sliced up fresh banana in with the blueberries. I also decided to incorporate the brown sugar into the recipe in the form of a crumble right on top.  The result was a new sweet and delicious breakfast dish!

recipe, food, eggs, hawaiian rolls, banana, blueberries, powdered sugar, brown sugar, soy milk, lemon juice, nutmeg, cinnamon

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients (serves 6-8)

  • 1 package hawaiian sweet rolls
  • 3 eggs (whisked)
  • 2 cups milk (soy or regular)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 banana (sliced)
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp powdered sugar

Start by cubing the Hawaiian sweet rolls.

Cubed sweet rolls

Then place them in a greased 9 x 13 casserole dish.

Hawaiian sweet rolls, bread pudding, casserole

Next, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla, lemon juice, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Vanilla, Lemon Juice, Milk, Eggs, Soy Milk, Bread Pudding

Then pour the mixture over the Hawaiian sweet rolls.

cinnamon, nutmeg, milk, eggs, hawaiian sweet rolls, vanilla, recipe, breakfast

Toss the bread and mixture together then top with the sliced bananas and blueberries.

Blueberry, Banana, Bread Pudding, Brunch, Breakfast, Hawaiian Rolls, Brown Sugar Crumble, Honey

Next combine the brown sugar and flour, fold in the butter and mix until a crumble forms then sprinkle over the bread pudding.

Blueberry, Banana, Bread Pudding, Brunch, Breakfast, Hawaiian Rolls, Brown Sugar Crumble, Honey

Place in the oven at 375° for 40 minutes.

blueberry, banana, bread pudding, brunch, brown sugar, crumble, honey, breakfast, recipe, food

Drizzle the honey on top and dust with the powdered sugar.

 Blueberry, Banana, Bread Pudding, Brunch, Breakfast, Hawaiian Rolls, Brown Sugar Crumble, Honey

Oh my blueberry goodness!

 Blueberry, Banana, Bread Pudding, Brunch, Breakfast, Hawaiian Rolls, Brown Sugar Crumble, Honey

Now it’s time to dig in!

Blueberry, Banana, Bread Pudding, Brunch, Breakfast, Hawaiian Rolls, Brown Sugar Crumble, Honey

♣ Vegetarian Option: This recipe is vegetarian.

♦ Gluten Free Option: Substitute the Hawaiian sweet rolls with this recipe for gluten-free Hawaiian bread. Substitute gluten-free flour in the brown sugar crumble.

Blueberry Banana Bread Pudding

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Serving Size: 6-8

Blueberry Banana Bread Pudding

Ingredients

  • 1 package hawaiian sweet rolls
  • 3 eggs (whisked)
  • 2 cups milk (soy or regular)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 banana (sliced)
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Start by cubing the Hawaiian sweet rolls.
  2. Then place them in a greased 9 x 13 casserole dish.
  3. Next, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla, lemon juice, nutmeg and cinnamon.
  4. Then pour the mixture over the Hawaiian sweet rolls.
  5. Toss the bread and mixture together then top with the sliced bananas and blueberries.
  6. Next combine the brown sugar and flour, fold in the butter and mix until a crumble forms then sprinkle over the bread pudding.
  7. Place in the oven at 375° for 40 minutes.
  8. Drizzle the honey on top and dust with the powdered sugar.
http://whitneybond.com/whats-for-brunch-blueberry-banana-bread-pudding/

Top 5 Labor Day Weekend Recipes on the Grill

Labor Day Weekend Recipes on the Grill

It’s officially one of three weekends in America dedicated almost exclusively to hamburgers, hot dogs, grills and beers, yes Labor Day weekend!

These are my top 5 Labor Day Weekend recipes on the grill!!

1. Chipotle Lime Chicken Fajita Skewers – winner of the Yahoo! Shine Supper Club and featured on the San Diego 6 Morning News, these skewers are sure not to disappoint!

Chipotle Lime Grilled Chicken Skewers

2. Grilled Sweet Potato Quinoa Burgers – the best veggie burgers ever, packed with tons of fresh ingredients and flavor!

Black Bean Sweet Potato Quinoa Veggie Burgers

3. Coffee Crusted Tri Tip – take a trip to flavor-town with this scrumptious steak recipe!

Coffee Crusted Steak

4. Buffalo Chicken Burgers – as seen on Buzzfeed’s list of “28 Badass Burgers To Grill This Weekend

Buffalo Chicken Burgers

5. Chili Lime Garlic Grilled Shrimp – throw them in Tacos with Green Chili Avocado Sauce or pair them with the tri tip for a little surf and turf dinner!

Chili Lime Garlic Shrimp

What are you waiting for, fire up the grill, grab a cold one and enjoy a weekend of good food, friends and relaxation!  Happy Labor Day Weekend from LLB!