Monthly Archives: January 2013

Top 6 Gluten Free Game Day Recipes

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There’s nothing I love more than some delicious “Game Day Grub”!  Make the grub gluten-free and you’re in for a healthier game day menu!  Going gluten-free for the “big game” also alleviates any issues of gluten-intolerant guests going hungry!

With the biggest game of the year right around the corner, these top 6 gluten-free recipes are perfect for this weekend!

#1 Squash Puppies

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#2 Sweet Potato Tots

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#3 Oatmeal Raisin Coffee Cookies

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#4 Chicken Parmesan Bites

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#5 Nutella Buddies

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#6 Buffalo Pickle Chips

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Wishing everyone a deliciously gluten-free, football filled weekend of fun!

Cast Iron Skillet Winter Vegetables

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Last week I had the pleasure of meeting fellow San Diego blogger, The Seaside Baker. She was sweet enough to bring me an amazing bag of fresh vegetables and herbs from her garden!

I couldn’t wait to get home and prepare a dish with the “Spiky Broccoli” also known as Romanesco broccoli or Broccoflower, a broccoli, cauliflower hybrid!

I combined the Snow Peas she brought me with the Broccoflower for a delicious winter vegetable side dish that went perfectly with my Coffee Crusted Tri Tip on Saturday night!

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Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups snow peas
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup pearl onions
  • 1 cup broccoflower (or regular broccoli)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup chicken stock

Begin by heating the olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Next, add the snow peas, carrots, onions and broccoflower.  Saute for 3-5 minutes, then add the garlic and saute an additional 2-3 minutes.

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Next, add the chicken stock and reduce the heat to low.  Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken stock has absorbed into the vegetables.

Serve with your favorite main dish! Seriously, it’s that simple!

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The chicken stock gives the vegetables great flavor without adding any fat or butter to the dish!

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Simple, scrumptious and healthy, that’s a combination we love over here at LLB!

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♣ Vegetarian Option: To make this recipe vegetarian (and vegan!) simply replace chicken stock with vegetable stock.

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

♠ Paleo Option: This recipe is paleo.

Cast Iron Skillet Winter Vegetables

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Serving Size: 4

Cast Iron Skillet Winter Vegetables

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups snow peas
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup pearl onions
  • 1 cup broccoflower (or regular broccoli)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup chicken stock

Instructions

  1. Begin by heating the olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat.
  2. Next, add the snow peas, carrots, onions and broccoflower.
  3. Saute for 3-5 minutes, then add the garlic and saute an additional 2-3 minutes.
  4. Next, add the chicken stock and reduce the heat to low.
  5. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken stock has absorbed into the vegetables.
http://whitneybond.com/whats-for-a-side-cast-iron-skillet-winter-vegetables/

Brunching at Bailiwick: Champagne in Bath Tubs, Chandeliers in Bird Cages and Chorizo in Poussin

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On Friday night I ventured into the rainy streets of downtown San Diego, stilettos and all, for the Details Matter launch party!  The party happened to be at a new, local, totally unique and totally awesome venue downtown, Bailiwick.  Of course, I was not at all surprised, a cutting edge app must have a cutting edge launch party at a cutting edge venue, obvi!

Oh yeah, about that cutting edge app, you all should download it on your iPhone or Android!  Just search: Details Matter in the app store, you’ll love the design and the app itself gives great ideas for dates and fun things to do! You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter!

Now back to that amazing venue, they had me at we have champagne in a bathtub”but I was totally hooked after meeting their chef Konstantin.  He was fun, friendly and excited to talk food with me (which wins me over every time!)

He invited me back for brunch the next morning and I immediately accepted!

As you stroll into Bailiwick, you can’t help but notice all of the details in the decor.

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From the giant chandelier hanging at the entrance to the peacock kicking it on the wall behind the bar!

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Oh, and I love the sign, “Work Hard and Be Nice”, pretty much my life motto!

Also, what’s more unforgettable than a bathtub full of champagne?

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Maybe a chandelier in a birdcage?

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All around awesome decor, then you throw in $15 bottomless mimosas on top of the amazing ambiance… winning!

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Oh, and now you’re going to tell me the food is amazing too? Yes, yes I am!

We started with their Breakfast Cheese Plate consisting of Toast, Mango, Dragon Fruit, Honey Yogurt, Swiss and Ricotta.

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The combination of salty cheese, sweet mango and tart yogurt was delicious!

For the main course I ordered Chef Konstantin’s recommendation, the Chorizo Stuffed Poussin with Quinoa and Bourbon Maple Syrup. That pretty much just sounds like one delectable plate of food, right?

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And it was!

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I swear, I could eat the skin on that Poussin all day, add the added sweetness from the Bourbon Maple Syrup, amazing!

Both friends I came with ordered the Omelet with Pancetta Tots.

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Salty pancetta, potatoes, eggs, veggies and toast, it’s the traditional breakfast plate, kicked up a notch!

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Just when we thought we were finished our friend who launched the app Friday night strolled in and sat next to us.  He then proceeded to order Mini Waffles, which we obviously then had to have!

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We’ll just call this the “dessert portion” of brunch!

Between the service, ambiance, food and drinks, this place is firing high on all cylinders and I can’t wait to go back and enjoy dinner here soon!

If you would like to visit Bailiwick to check out all of the awesome things they have going on, they are located at: 756 5th Avenue, San Diego, California 92101.  You can also visit them online at Bailiwicksd.comFacebook and Twitter!

Guest Post: Sarah’s Red Velvet Puppy Chow Cupcakes

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I am so excited to share my first “guest post” from none-other-than my childhood friend Sarah Beth Taylor!

Although constantly being engaged with social media can sometimes be exhausting, it can also be very rewarding! Last month Sarah found me on Instagram through a mutual friend!

I was so excited when she reached out to me as I have not seen her in at least 12 years!  We grew up taking dance classes together in Oklahoma, but lost touch in high school.

Funny enough, Sarah and I have led quite similar paths since high school.  I moved to Southern California, while she moved to New York, we both studied and worked in fashion design for some time, then both completely jumped the ship and went in another direction… food!

Sarah is about to graduate from culinary school as a pastry chef.  I was so impressed with her delicious looking baked goods on Instagram that I immediately asked her to guest blog for me!  If you would like to follow her delicious baked creations on Instagram her screenname is 5thavest or contact her by e-mail at sarahbeth.taylor3@gmail.com with any of your baking or pastry questions!

Check out how Sarah came up with the idea for her first LLB recipe!

This cupcake idea is the fusion of two of my favorite deserts, puppy chow and cupcakes. I drew my inspiration from many of the deserts I’ve sampled from a bakery in New York called Momofuku Milk Bar. They have the most deliciously innovative deserts I’ve ever tasted and are constantly combining textures and flavors you might not expect. My challenge to you in making this desert is try not to eat all the puppy chow before you finish making the cupcake!

Ingredients – Chocolate Cake

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ cups dark cocoa powder
  • 2 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 ¼ cups milk
  • ½ c + 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 ¼ tsp vanilla
  • 1 ¼ cup warm water

This is a dump cake style recipe meaning all the ingredients go in at the same time. Sift your dry ingredients together first then add the remaining wet ingredients. Careful not to over mix the batter! Also, remember to always use room temperature eggs/butter/milk unless the recipe tells you otherwise. Pour into cupcake tins and bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes.

Peanut Butter Buttercream

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • ½ cup peanut butter

Start by cubing the room temperature butter into the mixer. Cream the butter until it is light and fluffy and white in color, this should take approximately 5-10 minutes depending on the mixers speed. Then turn the mixer to its slowest speed and add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. Finally add the vanilla and peanut butter.

Red Velvet Puppy Chow

  • 1 bag milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter (melted)
  • 3-4 cup powdered sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp red powdered food coloring
  • 8-9 cups rice chex cereal

Begin by placing all of  the powdered sugar in a large bowl then add the red powdered food coloring with a whisk. It is somewhat tricky to find powdered food coloring but any baking supply store will most likely sell it. (Do not try to use any type of gel or liquid food coloring it must be the dry.) The powdered sugar will appear pink but will turn red as soon as the chocolate mixture comes in contact with it. Place the red sugar mixture into a freezer size baggie along with the cereal. Next temper the chocolate slowly over a double broiler or in a microwave. Finally add the melted butter and peanut butter to the chocolate and stir thoroughly. Pour the chocolate mixture into the cereal a little at a time and begin to shake the bag until all the cereal is covered completely.

Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes, then top with the red velvet puppy chow!

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These are so adorably cute for Valentine’s Day!

Thank you Sarah for the deliciously sweet and adorable recipe!

I look forward to catching up with Sarah next time I’m in Oklahoma and photographing some more of her delicious baked goods for LLB!

Coffee Crusted Tri Tip with Balsamic Stout Reduction

Coffee Crusted Tri Tip {Little Leopard Book}

“Tri Tip Saturday” came about after I picked up this delicious steak at the grocery store on Wednesday!  I had never grilled my own Tri Tip, but I knew I loved eating this delectable cut of meat, so I decided to take it upon myself to treat my roommates to grilled steak deliciousness over the weekend!

Grilled Tri Tip with Coffee Rub

And grilled steak deliciousness it was! My roommate Ryan said that I have to be “very descriptive” because the pictures alone can’t do it justice!

I have to agree.  This was one of the greatest things I’ve ever made.  I actually want to package the rub!

Grilled Coffee Rosemary Crusted Tri Tip

And y’all have to remember, I’m a Oklahoma girl born-and-raised so if I screw up a steak, I’m pretty much banned from ever going home!

I can honestly say that I’d be proud to serve this steak in my hometown!

Coffee Crusted Tri Tip Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup ground coffee
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 3-4 lb tri tip
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Begin by combining the coffee, brown sugar, salt, pepper, rosemary and fennel seeds in a small bowl.

Coffee Fennel Rosemary Steak Rub

I used a mortar and pestle to bring out the flavor of the fennel seeds. (I recommend it but not necessary!)

Next, trim most of the fat from the tri tip, leaving a thin layer for flavor.

Coffee Fennel Rosemary Steak Rub

Next, brush the olive oil on all sides of the steak, then rub with the coffee spice mixture.

Coffee and Fennel Seed Rubbed Tri Tip

Place on the grill for 45 minutes, flipping every 10-15 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted in the middle registers 145° (for medium rare).

Tri Tip on the Grill with Meat Thermometer

Remove from the grill and rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Coffee Crusted Grilled Tri Tip

In the meantime, prepare the Balsamic Stout Reduction.

Balsamic Stout Reduction Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup stout
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar

My aforementioned roommate Ryan is what I like to call a “Beer Connoisseur”, he always brings home really unique beers to try! Yesterday he found this great Chipotle Coffee Stout that was perfect for this recipe.  The chipotle was very mild, but the coffee flavor really came through!  Any stout will work for this recipe, but if you can find a Coffee Stout, even better!

Simply add all of the ingredients to a small saucepan and simmer until reduced by almost half.  Serve drizzled over the delicious steak!

Coffee Crusted Tri Tip with Balsamic Stout Reduction

I know Ryan told me to be descriptive, but I’m honestly at a loss for words, it’s that good!

Coffee Crusted Tri Tip

The crust is crispy and flavorful, the meat inside tender and juicy, the reduction adds an element of sweetness and acidity, it’s just an all-around take-you-to-flavor-town kind of dish! (Pretty sure I heard Guy Fieri say that one time!)

Coffee Crusted Steak

Perfect served with Cast Iron Skillet Rustic Potatoes, Potato and Celery Root Mash with Roasted Sunchokes or Twice Baked Rosemary Blue Cheese Potatoes.

Spice Crusted Grilled Tri Tip

If you feel like getting a little fancy for Superbowl, throw this on the grill and I guarantee that your party guests will be impressed!

Coffee Rosemary Fennel Seed Crusted Tri Tip

If some way, some how there are leftovers, the sliced meat would make an awesome sandwich for lunch the next week!

Coffee Crusted Grilled Tri Tip

♦ Gluten Free Option: The tri tip recipe is gluten-free, omit the stout and simply make a balsamic reduction to make the sauce gluten free.

Coffee Crusted Tri Tip with Balsamic Stout Reduction

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Coffee Crusted Tri Tip with Balsamic Stout Reduction

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup ground coffee
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 3-4 lb tri tip
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Balsamic Stout Reduction
  • 1/2 cup stout
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar

Instructions

  1. Begin by combining the coffee, brown sugar, salt, pepper, rosemary and fennel seeds in a small bowl.
  2. Next, trim most of the fat from the tri tip, leaving a thin layer for flavor.
  3. Next, brush the olive oil on all sides of the steak, then rub with the coffee spice mixture.
  4. Place on the grill for 45 minutes, flipping every 10-15 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted in the middle registers 145° (for medium rare).
  5. Remove from the grill and rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
  6. In the meantime, prepare the Balsamic Stout Reduction. Simply add all of the ingredients to a small saucepan and simmer until reduced by almost half. Serve drizzled over the delicious steak.
http://whitneybond.com/whats-for-dinner-coffee-crusted-tri-tip-with-balsamic-stout-reduction/

Heart Shaped Cranberry Pomegranate Mini Pies

Heart Shaped Cranberry Pomegranate Pies {Little Leopard Book}

“Hello cuteness!”  Yes, that is exactly what I said as I made these pies!

While I’m not a frequent baker I do love making fun, seasonal food!

Cranberry Pomegranate Pies

I originally had Cranberry Pomegranate Mini Pies on my list to make for the holidays.  Cranberries, pomegranates, great winter fruits!  But alas, with all of the Mini Cannoli’s, Glitter Fortune Cookies and Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies, my dessert card was full over the holiday season!

Heart Shaped Mini Pies

Not to let this marvelous idea go to waste, I decided that I could make them heart-shaped for Valentine’s Day! The filling was the perfect color for the holiday and the heart shape design took them to 0ver-the-top cuteness!

Cranberry Pomegranate Mini Pie Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 12 oz cranberries
  • 1 pomegranate (seeds and juice)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp lemon zest

Pie Dough

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup cold butter (quartered)
  • ½ cup ice-cold water

Begin making the pie dough by mixing all of the ingredients together either by hand or in a food processor.

Food Processor Pie Dough

Form the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and place into the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

While the dough is chilling, begin the filling for the pies. Combine the cranberries and pomegranates in a skillet over medium heat with ¼ cup water.

Cranberry Pomegranate Pie Filling

Once the cranberries begin to burst add the sugar, brown sugar, corn starch, honey and an additional ¼ cup water.

Mix together well, then add the cinnamon and lemon zest.

Cranberry Pomegranate Pie Filling

Allow to simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from burner and cool.

At this time, grab the pie dough from the refrigerator, roll it out on a floured surface and begin cutting it into heart shapes using a cookie cutter.

Making Heart Shaped Pies

Once the pie filling has cooled begin placing a spoonful on top of half of the pie hearts.

Making Heart Shaped Pies

Take the other half of the pie dough hearts and cover the filling.

Making Heart Shaped Pies

I used the edge of my pastry cutter to seal the edges, but a fork or your fingers will work also!

Making Heart Shaped Pies

Place the mini pies on a baking stone.

Individual Heart Shaped Pies

Bake in a 350° oven for 20 minutes.

Mini Heart Shaped Pies

Now look how adorable those little cutie-pies are!  (Get it? Cutie, pies! haha, I’m so clever sometimes 😉 )

Cranberry Heart Shaped Pies

I uploaded a picture to Instagram yesterday and they’re already a hit!

Cranberry Heart Shaped Pies

If you’re like me and don’t have a Valentine, I hear these pies are also very popular with roommates, family members, friends and co-workers 😉

♣ Vegetarian Option: This recipe is vegetarian.

♦ Gluten Free Option: The filling is gluten-free. Substitute gluten-free baking flour for traditional flour in the pie crust to make this recipe gluten-free.

Heart Shaped Cranberry Pomegranate Mini Pies

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 24 Mini Pies

Heart Shaped Cranberry Pomegranate Mini Pies

Ingredients

  • 12 oz cranberries
  • 1 pomegranate (seeds and juice)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • Pie Dough
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup cold butter (quartered)
  • ½ cup ice-cold water

Instructions

  1. Prepare the pie dough by mixing all of the ingredients together by hand or in a food processor.
  2. Form the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and place into the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
  3. While the dough is chilling, begin the filling for the pies.
  4. Combine the cranberries and pomegranates in a skillet over medium heat with ¼ cup water.
  5. Once the cranberries begin to burst add the sugar, brown sugar, corn starch, honey and an additional ¼ cup water.
  6. Mix together well, then add the cinnamon and lemon zest.
  7. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from burner and cool.
  8. Remove the pie dough from the refrigerator, roll it out on a floured surface and begin cutting it into heart shapes using a cookie cutter.
  9. Once the pie filling has cooled begin placing a spoonful on top of half of the pie hearts.
  10. Take the other half of the pie dough hearts and cover the filling.
  11. Use the edge of a pastry cutter, fork or your fingers to seal the edges.
  12. Place the mini pies on a baking stone.
  13. Bake in a 350° oven for 20 minutes.
http://whitneybond.com/whats-for-dessert-heart-shaped-cranberry-pomegranate-mini-pies/

 

Chopped Challenge: Nopales, Green Chilies, Cashews and Black Beans

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I want to start off by saying thank you, thank you, thank you to the four contributors to this weeks “Mystery Basket” on Facebook! I loved this combination of ingredients from the moment I saw it and was so excited to cook with Nopales (aka cactus) for the first time!

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The basket was kicked off by DeAndre Matthews with Nopales, then followed up with Black Beans from Becca Rogers, Cashews from Nicole Whelan and finished off with Green Chilies from Little Leopard Book Momma!

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My first thought was to use the cactus in a salsa, but then I thought about how fun it would be to continually say “Nopale Guacamole” (go ahead, say it!  Fun, right?) so guacamole it was! I decided to toss the green chilies into the Nopale Guacamole, as well as a few other fun things that we’ll get to in a few!

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Next, I decided to make tostadas. Tacos have already appeared a few times on LLB while tostadas have made only one appearance, anyone remember that recipe? Chocolate Bell Pepper Chorizo Tostadas with Quail Eggs, so much fun!

Then I decided to use the puree recipe from my Black Bean Chorizo Fillo Baskets to turn the black beans into a Garlic Lime Black Bean Puree for the first layer of the tostada.

Finally I decided to marinate chicken strips in  a spicy chipotle marinade, then roll the chicken in the cashews and bake them as the “meat portion” of the tostada!

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The result was a seriously delicious and complex dish with spicy, sweet, creamy, fresh and crispy components!

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Ingredients (Chipotle Cashew Chicken Tostadas – makes 6 tostadas)

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (sliced into strips)
  • 3 oz chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 cups crushed cashews
  • 6 corn tostadas

Black Bean Puree

  • 1 can black beans (15 oz)
  • 2 garlic cloves (chopped)
  • 2 tsp avocado oil (or olive oil)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1 lime (juiced)

Nopale Guacamole (makes 4 cups)

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 3 small tomatillos
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 4 avocados
  • ½ red onion (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup fresh nopales (spikes removed/chopped)
  • 4 oz green chilies
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 limes (juiced)

Optional Toppings

  • cotija cheese
  • sour cream
  • cilantro

Begin the recipe by preparing the chicken.  First combine the chipotle peppers, cumin, honey, lime juice and olive oil in a food processor.  Once mixed into a puree, place in a bowl and add the chicken (a bigger bowl wouldn’t have been a horrible idea here!)

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Place the marinating chicken in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.  Next, place the cashews in a food processor until they are of a fine crumb consistency.

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and dredge in the crushed cashews.

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Next, place the breaded chicken on a wire rack on top of a baking sheet.

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Bake at 350° for 15 minutes, flip, then bake for an additional 15 minutes.

While the chicken is baking, prepare the black bean puree by simply placing all of the ingredients in the food processor and blending until smooth.  (Yes, that does mean I used (and washed) my food processor 3 times today!  What a well-used Christmas gift!)

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Place the puree in a saucepan on the stove over medium heat for 5 minutes before preparing the tostadas.

In the meantime prepare the guacamole by first slicing the red pepper, jalapeño, poblano chili and tomatillos into approximately 1 inch strips and place on a baking sheet for roasting.

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I also roasted some cactus to decide which I liked better, raw or roasted, in the guacamole.  I ended up going with the raw, but if you would like some roasted cactus, throw it on there, it’s delicious!

Roast under the broiler on high for 6 minutes, rotating every 2 minutes to make sure that everything roasts evenly.  (This is when a round baking stone or dish comes in handy!)

Remove from the oven and quickly place the jalapeños, poblanos and red peppers in a plastic bag and zip closed. (This makes them easier to peel!)

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Next, mash the avocados in a large bowl, then add the red onions, nopales (cactus), green chilies, cilantro and lime juice.

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Next, peel the roasted peppers, chilies and tomatillos, then add to the guacamole. Voila! A delicious, chunky, flavorful guacamole awaits your taste buds!

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At this point, things should be coming together and you can begin assembling the tostadas!

Start by spreading the black bean puree on each tostada, next place the chicken on top of the bean puree, then the guacamole on top of that. You can also add sour cream, cotija cheese or cilantro at this time!  I ended up omitting the sour cream simply because I didn’t feel the need for it, but I like to give options, so there you have it 🙂

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Nopales can be found at most major grocery stores in the jar, that was what I happened to find first, but was not necessarily my first choice for the recipe! My motto is, “fresh is always best!”, so I ventured further to a large Mexican market where I found the-real-deal nopales and already de-spiked and cut nopales!

So basically I now have a ton of cactus!

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If I were the betting type, I’d place a nice little wager on more cactus recipes appearing soon on LLB 😉

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Although this seems like a complicated dish, each aspect is pretty simple, it’s just putting them all together that takes a little time, but I promise, it is well worth the end result!

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The guacamole alone is amazing and will definitely make an appearance on my “Gameday Grub” menu for the Superbowl!

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Now grab a fork (or in this case your hands will do!) and dig in!

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♣ Vegetarian Option: Substitute tofu for chicken.

♦ Gluten Free Option: This recipe is gluten-free. (Make sure to use corn tostadas, not flour!)

Chipotle Cashew Chicken Tostadas

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 6 Tostadas

Chipotle Cashew Chicken Tostadas

Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (sliced into strips)
  • 3 oz chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 cups crushed cashews
  • 6 corn tostadas
  • Black Bean Puree
  • 1 can black beans (15 oz)
  • 2 garlic cloves (chopped)
  • 2 tsp avocado oil (or olive oil)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1 lime (juiced)
  • Nopale Guacamole
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 3 small tomatillos
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 4 avocados
  • ½ red onion (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup fresh nopales (spikes removed/chopped)
  • 4 oz green chilies
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 limes (juiced)
  • Optional Toppings
  • cotija cheese
  • sour cream
  • cilantro

Instructions

  1. Begin the recipe by preparing the chicken. First combine the chipotle peppers, cumin, honey, lime juice and olive oil in a food processor. Once mixed into a puree, place in a bowl and add the chicken.
  2. Place the marinating chicken in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Next, place the cashews in a food processor until they are of a fine crumb consistency.
  3. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and dredge in the crushed cashews.
  4. Next, place the breaded chicken on a wire rack on top of a baking sheet.
  5. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes, flip, then bake for an additional 15 minutes.
  6. While the chicken is baking, prepare the black bean puree by simply placing all of the ingredients in the food processor and blending until smooth.
  7. Place the puree in a saucepan on the stove over medium heat for 5 minutes before preparing the tostadas.
  8. In the meantime prepare the guacamole by first slicing the red pepper, jalapeño, poblano chili and tomatillos into approximately 1 inch strips and place on a baking sheet for roasting.
  9. Roast under the broiler on high for 6 minutes, rotating every 2 minutes to make sure that everything roasts evenly.
  10. Remove from the oven and quickly place the jalapeños, poblanos and red peppers in a plastic bag and zip closed. (This makes them easier to peel!)
  11. Next, mash the avocados in a large bowl, then add the red onions, nopales (cactus), green chilies, cilantro and lime juice.
  12. Next, peel the roasted peppers, chilies and tomatillos, then add to the guacamole.
  13. Start by spreading the black bean puree on each tostada, next place the chicken on top of the bean puree, then the guacamole on top of that. You can also add sour cream, cotija cheese or cilantro at this time.
http://whitneybond.com/chopped-challenge-nopales-green-chilies-cashews-and-black-beans/

Ditch the Wings, Keep the Sauce: Top 7 Wingless Buffalo Sauce Recipes

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There’s no doubt in my mind that if you have ever read Little Leopard Book, you’ve stumbled across a recipe or two containing buffalo sauce! The one recipe that you will not run into on the site is buffalo wings. Nothing against the bar favorite, I just like to keep my buffalo sauce recipes new, innovative and wingless (less mess!)

These are my top 7 Wingless Buffalo Sauce Recipes, just in time for Superbowl Sunday!

1. Buffalo Pickle Chips

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2. Mini Buffalo Chicken Pot Pies

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3. Buffalo Chicken Burgers

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4. Buffalo Macaroni Salad

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5. Buffalo Artichoke Dip

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6. Buffalo Chicken Cheesy Penne

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7. Buffalo Blue Cheese Stuffed Chicken

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Spicy Vegetable Pad Thai

Spicy Vegetable Pad Thai {Little Leopard Book}

Most of my meals these days are pre-planned, sometimes more than a month in advance, so spontaneous cravings generally take a back seat to what my taste buds desire!

But last night, there was no stopping the serious Thai food craving I had been experiencing for the past 3 days!

It was getting late and I contemplated ordering out, but then remembered I had a package of Pad Thai noodles in my pantry. My next thought was that I had soy sauce, eggs, scallions and cilantro, so surely I could make something happen!

Vegetarian Pad Thai

Most of the time I create my recipes well in advance, shop for the ingredients and plan the dish, last night was a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of night… and I liked it!

I made sure to test the Pad Thai Recipe before I devoted any time to writing it down or photographing the dish.  One bite and I knew it would be an LLB favorite, so over to the photo studio it went!  And by photo studio I mean my kitchen table!

Vegetarian Pad Thai

Because this recipe was so spontaneously concocted, not all of the final ingredients made it into the photo below, but the majority are there.. plus some peanut butter and crushed peanuts!

Spicy Vegetable Pad Thai Ingredients

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 8 oz pad thai noodles
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 jalapeno (de-seeded and thinly sliced)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 eggs (scrambled)
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 limes (juiced)
  • 1 tbsp sirarcha
  • 1 tbsp thai red curry paste
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro
  • 2 tbsp scallions (chopped)
  • 2 tbsp peanuts (crushed)

Begin by boiling a large pot of water.

While waiting for the water to boil add 1 tsp sesame oil to a small skillet and sauté the onions, jalapeños and garlic for 5 minutes.

Vegetable Pad Thai

In a separate pan scramble the eggs.  Set to the side, then place the pad thai noodles in the boiling water. Boil for 3-4 minutes.

While the noodles are boiling prepare  the sauce by whisking together the soy sauce, 1 tbsp sesame oil, peanut butter, brown sugar, lime juice, sriracha and Thai red chili paste.

Spicy Pad Thai Sauce

Next, drain the rice noodles and place in a large bowl. Add the onion, jalapeño, garlic and scrambled eggs, then pour the sauce over the top and toss to combine.

For the last step, sprinkle cilantro, scallions and crushed peanuts on top.

Spicy Pad Thai {Little Leopard Book}

I have a confession y’all… since this was such a spur-of-the-moment concoction, I did not have any peanuts… except a small bag of Southwest Airlines peanuts from my last flight!  My roommates got a great laugh out of this, but hey, peanuts are peanuts, right??

Spicy Pad Thai

This pad thai recipe is vegetarian, gluten-free and easily made in 15 minutes!

Vegetable Pad Thai

♣ Vegetarian Option: This recipe is vegetarian.

  • Vegan Option: Omit the egg, replace with extra veggies.
  • Add the Meat Option: Chicken or shrimp would be delicious in this dish!

♦ Gluten Free Option: Be sure to use a gluten-free soy sauce and this recipe is gluten-free.

Spicy Vegetable Pad Thai

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Serving Size: 2

Spicy Vegetable Pad Thai

Ingredients

  • 8 oz pad thai noodles
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 jalapeno (de-seeded and thinly sliced)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 eggs (scrambled)
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 limes (juiced)
  • 1 tbsp sirarcha
  • 1 tbsp thai red curry paste
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro
  • 2 tbsp scallions (chopped)
  • 2 tbsp peanuts (crushed)

Instructions

  1. Begin by boiling a large pot of water.
  2. While waiting for the water to boil add 1 tsp sesame oil to a small skillet and sauté the onions, jalapeños and garlic for 5 minutes.
  3. In a separate pan scramble the eggs, then set to the side.
  4. Place the pad thai noodles in the boiling water.
  5. Boil for 3-4 minutes.
  6. While the noodles are boiling prepare the sauce by whisking together the soy sauce, 1 tbsp sesame oil, peanut butter, brown sugar, lime juice, sriracha and Thai red chili paste.
  7. Next, drain the rice noodles and place in a large bowl.
  8. Add the onion, jalapeño, garlic and scrambled eggs, then pour the sauce over the top and toss to combine.
  9. Sprinkle cilantro, scallions and crushed peanuts on top.
http://whitneybond.com/whats-for-dinner-spicy-vegetable-pad-thai/

Sloppy Joe Sliders

Sloppy Joe Sliders {Little Leopard Book}

Let’s be real, growing up there wasn’t anything more fun and delicious than a Sloppy Joe!

Read the full post here!

Mini Buffalo Chicken Pot Pies

Mini Buffalo Chicken Pot Pies {Little Leopard Book}

Having great friends is one of the best gifts in life. Having great friends who gift you Williams Sonoma gift cards for Christmas, even better!

Being the impatient person that I am, I couldn’t wait to use my gift card after Christmas! You see, “Balling on a Blogger Budget” does not generally allow for shopping at fancy kitchen stores such as Williams Sonoma on the regular, so when I had the opportunity I was beyond excited!

I decided to take an hour (maybe 2, who are we kidding!) and peruse the store to make sure I spent my gift card wisely! I wanted to take this opportunity to buy “fun things” for the kitchen that I normally wouldn’t splurge on. For example, this lovely little Mini Tart Baking Set.

Mini Tart Pan

At $29.99, I felt like the value was there and it still left room on the gift card to purchase other little goodies as well!

Now when most people purchase this Mini Tart Baking Set, they probably intend on bringing it home and baking a sweet little dessert in it.  My first thought?  Mini Buffalo Chicken Pot Pies. Because traditional Chicken Pot Pies are so 1960’s!

Superbowl Buffalo Chicken Snack Pies

The spicy kick of the buffalo sauce and cayenne pepper  is delicious and the miniature-ness (did I just create a new word? I think I did, and I like it!) makes them perfect for snacks, parties and game day grub!

Mini Buffalo Chicken Pot Pie Ingredients

Ingredients (makes 24 mini pies)

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • ½ cup buffalo sauce
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • ½ cup chopped carrots
  • ½ cup celery
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ onion (thinly sliced)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp celery salt
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ¼ cup blue cheese dressing
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp green onions (chopped) (optional topping)

Pie crust

  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup cold butter (quartered)
  • ¼ cup ice-cold water

Begin by preparing the pie crust.  I used my food processor simply because it was a gift from my amazing parents for Christmas and I wanted to try out the dough blade 🙂 The dough can also be prepared by hand mixing.

Start by mixing the flour and salt.

Then add the butter and mix into a course crumble.  Next add the cold water. Start with about half the amount of water, then add as needed until a solid (but not sticky) dough forms.

Food Processor Pie Dough

Form the dough into a flat disk, cover with plastic wrap and place into the refrigerator while preparing the chicken pot pie filling (about 30 minutes).

To prepare the filling begin by pressure cooking the chicken breasts. (If you do not have a pressure cooker, simply boil the chicken.)

Next, remove the chicken breasts from the broth and use that broth to cook the veggies! (Totally better than spending $3 on store-bought chicken broth!)

Shred the chicken and toss with the buffalo sauce.

Bring 2 cups of the broth to a boil in a medium pot, then add the carrots, celery and peas.

Buffalo Chicken Pot Pie Vegetables

Cook for 5-7 minutes.  In the meantime add the olive oil to a separate pan and sauté the onions and garlic over medium heat for 5 minutes.

Next, add the flour, cayenne pepper, celery salt and paprika, then add the veggies and chicken broth.

Buffalo Chicken Pot Pie Filling

Cook for 5-7 minutes then add the buffalo chicken.

Buffalo Chicken Pot Pie Filling

Then stick a fork in it, try a bite and attempt not to eat it all straight out of the pan! (This step is optional, but as I like to say, it’s optional-ly awesome!)

Next, prepare the mini tarts.

How to Make Mini Tarts

I’m not going to lie, if you want to splurge on something fun for the kitchen, this baking set is it!  I did a little happy dance while I made my first pan of tarts!

These could also be made by simply using a round pastry cutter and muffin pan.

Next, fill these babies up with a heaping spoonful of the buffalo chicken filling.

Mini Buffalo Chicken Pot Pies

Instead of topping these with another layer of dough, I decided to top them with panko breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese to form the top crust.

My first idea was to incorporate another one of my amazing Williams Sonoma purchases.

Creme Brûlée Torch

Because who doesn’t need a torch in their kitchen?

Unfortunately I didn’t have the best of luck with my first attempt at torching. There were more breadcrumbs on fire than the crunchy, crispy breadcrumbs that I had hoped for!

On the second batch I placed the breadcrumb and parmesan mixture on top before placing them into the oven and had much more success.  Probably more practical anyway, seeing as most people do not own a kitchen torch!

So for the final step of the Mini Buffalo Chicken Pot Pie making process mix together the breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese and sprinkle on top of each little pot pie.

Mini Chicken Pot Pies

Place into the oven at 350° for 20 minutes.  The last two minutes of the baking process switch the oven over to broiler on high to get that nice crispy top crust!

Mini Chicken Pot Pies

Sprinkle a few green onions on top for a little extra color and flavor!

Mini Buffalo Chicken Pot Pies

These are the perfect little bite-size for snacks or appetizers!

Buffalo Chicken Pot Pie

I can’t wait to serve them at my annual Superbowl Party!

Mini Buffalo Chicken Pot Pies

I’m adding these to my list of “buffalo chicken favorites” with Buffalo Chicken Cheesy Penne, Buffalo Chicken Dip and Buffalo Chicken Burgers!

Bite Size Buffalo Chicken Pot Pies

♣ Vegetarian Option: Simply omit the chicken and add the buffalo sauce to the filling with the milk and blue cheese dressing, then double the peas, carrots and celery for a vegetarian pot pie.

♦ Gluten Free Option: Use gluten-free flour and breadcrumbs to make this recipe gluten-free.

Mini Buffalo Chicken Pot Pies

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 24 Mini Pies

Mini Buffalo Chicken Pot Pies

Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • ½ cup buffalo sauce
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • ½ cup chopped carrots
  • ½ cup celery
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ onion (thinly sliced)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp celery salt
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ¼ cup blue cheese dressing
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp green onions (chopped) (optional topping)
  • Pie Crust
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup cold butter (quartered)
  • ¼ cup ice-cold water

Instructions

  1. Begin by preparing the pie crust. Start by mixing the flour and salt.
  2. Then add the butter and mix into a course crumble. Next add the cold water. Start with about half the amount of water, then add as needed until a solid (but not sticky) dough forms.
  3. Form the dough into a flat disk, cover with plastic wrap and place into the refrigerator while preparing the chicken pot pie filling (about 30 minutes).
  4. To prepare the filling begin by pressure cooking the chicken breasts. (If you do not have a pressure cooker, simply boil the chicken.)
  5. Next, remove the chicken breasts from the broth and use that broth to cook the veggies.
  6. Shred the chicken and toss with the buffalo sauce.
  7. Bring 2 cups of the broth to a boil in a medium pot, then add the carrots, celery and peas.
  8. Cook for 5-7 minutes. In the meantime add the olive oil to a separate pan and sauté the onions and garlic over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  9. Next, add the flour, cayenne pepper, celery salt and paprika, then add the veggies and chicken broth.
  10. Cook for 5-7 minutes then add the buffalo chicken.
  11. Next, prepare the mini tarts.
  12. Next, fill these babies up with a heaping spoonful of the buffalo chicken filling.
  13. Mix together the breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese and sprinkle on top of each little pot pie.
  14. Place into the oven at 350° for 20 minutes. The last two minutes of the baking process switch the oven over to broiler on high.
  15. Sprinkle a few green onions on top for a little extra color and flavor.
http://whitneybond.com/whats-for-lunch-mini-buffalo-chicken-pot-pies/

Chopped Challenge Thursday: Pears, Pomegranates, Turmeric and Eggs

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Not only is it week 20 of “Chopped Challenge Thursday” but it is also day 3 of my “Thousand by Valentine’s Challenge”!!!

On Tuesday I launched a challenge in order to reach my first goal of 2013: Reach 1000 “likes” on Little Leopard Book’s Facebook Page. I decided to do this by asking my loyal, amazing, super, fabulous followers to “share” my page with their friends.

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Three days later, I stumbled upon this quote, “If I tell my Facebook friends about your brand, it’s not because I like your brand, but rather because I like my friends.” – Mark Arauz

I absolutely loved it and hope this is how everyone feels about sharing my page!

If you would like to join in the fun, scroll on over to the right hand side of this page, click that little blue “like” button, then cruise on over to Facebook, check out your cousins new puppy, who got engaged this week, send a happy birthday message, then share “Little Leopard Book” with your friends!

I want to thank everyone who has already helped in the challenge!  I put all of my love, passion and obsession with cooking into every post and I just hope you all enjoy reading them as much as I love creating them!

Ok I know, enough with the mushy stuff and on to the FOOD!

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Now after asking you all to share my page with your friends, I feel like I have to be honest with you. I’m not perfect.

Oh my gosh, I know, it’s shocking because there are so many perfect people out there 😉

I try to play the “perfect hostess” card most of the time, but Sunday night “perfect hostess” I was not.

I planned a delicious Greek dinner for a few friends and was able to complete 3 of the 4 items on the menu, but when it came down to dessert I simply ran out of time to prepare the Baklava!

Since I had driven to 3 grocery stores to find phyllo dough, this dessert was still happening, just a little later than planned.

As I looked at my “Mystery Basket Ingredients” for the week, I thought “hmmm maybe I can incorporate these into my Baklava” and I did!

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This weeks mystery basket featured Pears from Michael Winger, Pomegranates from Allison Davis, Turmeric from Krista Lombardi and Eggs from Kristi Sellers.

I incorporated the pears by caramelizing them in a little cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and turmeric mixture, then mixed the caramelized pears with the pomegranate seeds and crushed pistachios for the filling.  I then used half butter and half egg white wash to brush the phyllo dough.  A little more protein and a little less butter never hurt anyone!

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The result was a sweet, nutty, tart, scrumptious dessert, that had so many levels of flavor and pure awesomeness in every bite!

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Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 pears (peeled, cored and sliced)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 cups pistachio kernels
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds
  • 20 sheets phyllo dough
  • ½ cup butter (melted)
  • 2 egg whites
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Begin by melting the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Next, add the pear slices. Cook for 2-3 minutes.

Next, combine the turmeric, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg in a small bowl.

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Add the spice mixture to the caramelizing pears.

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Cook for 3-5 minutes of until pears become soft, but not mushy!

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Next, place the pistachios in a food processor and blend into a fine crumb mixture.

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Chop up the pear slices, then add the pistachios and pomegranate seeds.

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Next, prepare the “Baklava Making Station” by laying out the phyllo dough, next to a bowl with melted butter and bowl with egg whites, a pastry brush and a 9 x 13 baking dish.

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Spray the baking dish with cooking spray or brush with the melted butter then one by one place the phyllo dough into the baking dish and brush with butter or egg white, alternating with each sheet.  After 10 sheets, place half of the filling on the dough.

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Layer 5 more sheets on top (still alternating egg wash and butter on each sheet) then top with the rest of the filling.

Finally, top the baklava with the last 5 sheets of phyllo dough (egg wash, butter, egg wash, butter, you get it by now!)

Next, slice the Baklava diagonally to form little diamonds.

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Bake at 350° for 45 minutes.

While the baklava is in the oven, prepare the syrup to go on top.

Begin by bringing the water and sugar to a boil. Next, add the honey, lemon juice and vanilla. Simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from the stove and allow to cool while the baklava finishes baking.

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Once the baklava comes out of the oven, drizzle the syrup over the top.

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Let the syrup soak in there for 3-4 hours, then serve!

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Not only was this dessert a delicious mid-week treat, it also helped me knock another item off the “food list challenge”  (I’m now at 72 of 100!)

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I also upped the ante on my “Valentines Day Challenge” by sharing this dessert with new friends!

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Grab a slice and dig in!

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♣ Vegetarian Option: This recipe is vegetarian.

♦ Gluten Free Option: Use a gluten-free phyllo dough to make this recipe gluten-free. Foodista has a recipe for gluten-free phyllo dough here.

Caramelized Pear and Pomegranate Baklava

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: around 24 pieces

Caramelized Pear and Pomegranate Baklava

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 pears (peeled, cored and sliced)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 cups pistachio kernels
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds
  • 20 sheets phyllo dough
  • ½ cup butter (melted)
  • 2 egg whites
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. Begin by melting the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Next, add the pear slices. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Next, combine the turmeric, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg in a small bowl.
  3. Add the spice mixture to the caramelizing pears.
  4. Cook for 3-5 minutes of until pears become soft, but not mushy!
  5. Next, place the pistachios in a food processor and blend into a fine crumb mixture.
  6. Chop up the pear slices, then add the pistachios and pomegranate seeds.
  7. Next, prepare the “Baklava Making Station” by laying out the phyllo dough, next to a bowl with melted butter and bowl with egg whites, a pastry brush and a 9 x 13 baking dish.
  8. Spray the baking dish with cooking spray or brush with the melted butter then one by one place the phyllo dough into the baking dish and brush with butter or egg white, alternating with each sheet. After 10 sheets, place half of the filling on the dough.
  9. Layer 5 more sheets on top (still alternating egg wash and butter on each sheet) then top with the rest of the filling.
  10. Finally, top the baklava with the last 5 sheets of phyllo dough (egg wash, butter, egg wash, butter)
  11. Next, slice the Baklava diagonally to form little diamonds.
  12. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes.
  13. While the baklava is in the oven, prepare the syrup to go on top.
  14. Begin by bringing the water and sugar to a boil. Next, add the honey, lemon juice and vanilla.
  15. Simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from the stove and allow to cool while the baklava finishes baking.
  16. Once the baklava comes out of the oven, drizzle the syrup over the top.
  17. Let the syrup soak in there for 3-4 hours, then serve!
http://whitneybond.com/chopped-challenge-thursday-pears-pomegranates-turmeric-and-eggs/

Taco Soup

Crock Pot Taco Soup with Avocado {Little Leopard Book}

This taco soup was one of my favorite dinners “Little Leopard Mom” would make when I was growing up!

Avocado Taco Soup

I took the recipe and gave it a slightly spicy kick. (We tend to keep things on the mild side in the Bond household for my little mild Momma!)

Homemade Taco Soup

This recipe is so easy to make! You simply place ground beef and onions, a few cans of beans, tomatoes and such in a crock-pot and let it cook all day.

Crock Pot Taco Soup {Little Leopard Book}

The result is simple perfection. It makes the house smell amazing and is so delicious!!

Taco Soup Ingredients

Ingredients (serves 6-8)

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 red onion (diced)
  • 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 15 oz cans diced tomatoes with jalapeños
  • 4 oz can green chilies
  • 15 oz can corn
  • 15 oz can kidney beans
  • 2 15 oz cans pinto beans
  • 3 tbsp homemade taco seasoning ↓

Homemade Taco Seasoning Ingredients

Homemade Taco Seasoning

  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper

Begin preparing the soup by chopping the onions and adding them to a hot skillet. Next, add the ground beef and brown.

Ground Beef Taco Soup

While the beef is browning add the tomatoes, corn, beans and green chilies to a crock pot. (Note to self, buy automatic can opener!)

Next, prepare the taco seasoning by combining all of the spices in a small bowl.

Homemade Taco Seasoning

You will only need about half of the seasoning for this recipe, so place the rest in a small plastic container or plastic baggie and save for your next taco night!

Next, add the ground beef, onions and taco seasoning to the crock pot. Stir to combine.

Crock Pot Taco Soup

Cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 8-10 hours.

Taco Soup with Fresh Avocado

Option(-ally awesome): top with cheddar cheese and sliced avocado.

Taco Soup with Cheddar Cheese and Avocado

I made this taco soup last night and shared a couple delicious bowls with my roommate. I then packaged the rest into 4 Ziploc containers for us to eat for lunch this week!

Taco Soup with Fresh Avocado

Yeah, I know, you really want to put in your application to be my roommate 😉

Avocado and Cheddar Topped Taco Soup

This soup will honestly take you 15 minutes in the morning to throw together, cook on low all day, then come home to a house that smells amazing and a soup that tastes just as good as it smells!

Taco Soup Recipe

Loving all of these delicious images? Don’t forget to “pin” them and share with all of your friends!

Best Taco Soup Ever

Now grab a spoon and dig in!

Simple Taco Soup Recipe

♣ Vegetarian Option: Substitute meatless crumbles or soy chorizo for the ground beef.

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

Taco Soup

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 5 hours

Serving Size: 6-8

Taco Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 red onion (diced)
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 15 oz cans diced tomatoes with jalapeños
  • 4 oz can green chilies
  • 15 oz can corn
  • 15 oz can kidney beans
  • 2 15 oz cans pinto beans
  • 3 tbsp homemade taco seasoning
  • Homemade Taco Seasoning
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper

Instructions

  1. Add the diced onions to a skillet over medium heat and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add the ground beef to the onions and brown.
  3. Add the tomatoes, corn, beans and green chilies to a crock pot.
  4. Prepare the taco seasoning by combining all of the spices in a small bowl.
  5. Add the ground beef, onions and taco seasoning to the crock pot of vegetables.
  6. Stir to combine.
  7. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 8-10 hours.
http://whitneybond.com/whats-for-dinner-taco-soup/

Cucumber Prosciutto Greek Salad

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Since November, I’ve been looking for a way to incorporate this fun new kitchen gadget into a recipe!

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I first saw this amazing piece of kitchen machinery on Pinterest and thought “oh, I need one!”

A little Googling and $5 later, this baby was all mine!  Problem was, it was being shipped from Shanghai and “free shipping” on Amazon from Shanghai means 30 day shipping times!  No worries, I wasn’t in a rush, this was definitely a “for-the-fun-of-it” purchase rather than a “for-the-necessity-of-it” purchase!

So fast forward to yesterday and my decision to make a delicious Greek salad using my “Shanghai Slicer” (as I’ve lovingly named it).  You can imagine the excitement that has built up over the last two months, then this happened…

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You have got to be kidding me!  I then cursed myself for approximately 7 minutes over why I felt the need to buy the largest cucumber in the store, then proceeded by slicing the cucumber in half… and this happened!

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One. Big. Mushy. Mess.  In the words of Elf, “Son of a Nutcracker!”

Bound and determined to find something in my kitchen that I could turn into dainty little Shanghai spirals, I grabbed a small red potato… and this happened!

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Now that’s what I’m talking about people!  Too bad I was making a Greek salad, whomp whomp!

But don’t you worry, I placed my one little spiraled potato on a baking sheet and into the oven with a drizzle of olive oil and a dash of kosher salt to test for future posts.  They came out like little spiral chips of heaven!

It reminded me of those Potato Twister things you get at the fair. Aww fair food, the one day of the year where I eat fried food until my pants bust, regret it for a week, then forget about it a year later and do it all over again!

I digress. Back to that Greek Salad recipe you’re all here for! Never fear, it still happened, even without the use of the “Shanghai Slicer”, fortunately my awesome brother gifted me a new mandolin for Christmas (the kitchen instrument, not the musical instrument, I had some confused friends when  I told them I loved using my new mandolin in the kitchen, haha.)

I used the mandolin to thinly slice the cucumber into delicate ribbons and tossed it with thinly sliced prosciutto, feta and veggies for this delicious salad!

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Ingredients

  • 1 large cucumber (thinly sliced)
  • ½ red pepper (thinly sliced)
  • ½ red onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 tomato (diced)
  • 1 oz prosciutto (thinly sliced)
  • ¼ cup feta cheese (crumbled)

Greek Vinaigrette Dressing

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 lemon (juiced)
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil (chopped)
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp kosher salt

Begin by thinly slicing the cucumber. As mentioned above, a kitchen mandolin works great for this!

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I then also used my mandolin to slice the red pepper and onion.

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Next, add the tomatoes and prosciutto.

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Toss well then top with the feta cheese.

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Next, prepare the dressing by whisking all of the ingredients together in a small bowl.

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Pour on top of the salad.

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And dig in!

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Probably the lightest, most delicate salad I’ve ever eaten, yet still packs so much flavor!

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This salad would be perfect as a side dish or appetizer with Moussaka!

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Switch up your salad today with this delicious, new Greek favorite!

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♣ Vegetarian Option: Omit prosciutto to make this recipe vegetarian.

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

Cucumber Prosciutto Greek Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Serving Size: 4

Cucumber Prosciutto Greek Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 large cucumber (thinly sliced)
  • ½ red pepper (thinly sliced)
  • ½ red onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 tomato (diced)
  • 1 oz prosciutto (thinly sliced)
  • ¼ cup feta cheese (crumbled)
  • Greek Vinaigrette Dressing
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 lemon (juiced)
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil (chopped)
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Begin by thinly slicing the cucumber, red pepper, and onion.
  2. Next, add the tomatoes and prosciutto.
  3. Toss well then top with the feta cheese.
  4. Next, prepare the dressing by whisking all of the ingredients together in a small bowl.
  5. Pour on top of the salad.
http://whitneybond.com/whats-for-lunch-cucumber-prosciutto-greek-salad/

Blueberry Cream Cheese Muffins with Chocolate Crumble

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Growing up, and still to this day, Blueberry Muffins are one of my favorite breakfast menu items!

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I took this version of the classic muffin to a whole other level, possibly to a whole other menu! These muffins are so decadent, they could easily be mistaken for dessert (or if you are me, 3 nights last week, they actually were dessert!)  Yeah, I just admitted that 😉

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When I took these muffins out of the oven, the blueberry was bubbling out of the chocolate crumble topping and my mouth immediately began to water!

While I will always love my Bacon Maple Brown Sugar Muffins, they are now tied for first place with these delicious little treats!

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Ingredients (makes 15 muffins)

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3 oz cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup butter (melted)
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries

Chocolate Crumble

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp cocoa
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp cold butter

Begin by combining the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and brown sugar in a small bowl.

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Next, blend together the cream cheese, honey and vanilla.

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Mix in the eggs, then the melted butter and coconut milk.

Next, add the flour mixture.  Combine well, then lightly stir in the blueberries.

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Fill muffin cups 3/4 full.

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Place into the oven at 350° for 5 minutes.

In the mean time, make the chocolate crumble by combing the brown sugar, cocoa and flour.

Next, fold in the cold butter and mix into a coarse crumble (easiest way to do this is to get a little messy and use your hands!)

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Remove the muffins from the oven and top with the chocolate crumble.

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Place back into the oven for 13-15 minutes, or until the crumble is crisp and blueberries are bubbling!

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I wish I could have captured just how bubbly and delicious these looked right out of the oven! Literally bursting with Blueberry amazingness!

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Serve with a tall glass of milk, I promise, you’re going to want it!

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Sprinkle with a little powdered sugar, if you’re feeling fancy like that 😉

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Slice these babies open and dig in!

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Confession #173: I cut the first one open to take a picture and it looked so good I snatched it right off the little blue plate and gobbled it up.  But the real confession, I did it again a second time!

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But don’t worry, I did save enough to play “Muffin Man” the next day and deliver these scrumptious little goodies to some friends around town and the nice gentlemen that work at the front desk of my building!

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And yes, I did sing “Do you know the muffin man, The muffin man, the muffin man, Do you know the muffin man, Who lives in Drury Lane?”  the whole time I was delivering them 🙂  Except that I had no idea the last line of the song was Drury Lane, had to Google that portion of the song, followed by Googling “Where’s Drury Lane?”  Because of course, I want to find this mysterious Muffin Man!

Wikipedia: “The street Drury Lane is also where The Muffin Man lives as mentioned in the popular nursery rhyme. It is not known whether the song refers to Drury Lane in London or another town.”

Well that’s not very helpful Wiki!  Oh well, I guess I’ll just keep pretending that I’m the Muffin Man and we’ll just change the lyrics to “who lives on Little Leopard Lane!”

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♣ Vegetarian Option: This recipe is vegetarian.

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

Blueberry Cream Cheese Muffins with Chocolate Crumble

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 15 muffins

Blueberry Cream Cheese Muffins with Chocolate Crumble

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3 oz cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup butter (melted)
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • Chocolate Crumble
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp cocoa
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp cold butter

Instructions

  1. Begin by combining the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and brown sugar in a small bowl.
  2. In another bowl, blend together the cream cheese, honey and vanilla.
  3. Mix in the eggs, then the melted butter and coconut milk.
  4. Next, add the flour mixture.
  5. Combine well, then lightly stir in the blueberries.
  6. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full.
  7. Place into the oven at 350° for 5 minutes.
  8. In the mean time, make the chocolate crumble by combing the brown sugar, cocoa and flour.
  9. Next, fold in the cold butter and mix into a coarse crumble (easiest way to do this is to get a little messy and use your hands!)
  10. Remove the muffins from the oven and top with the chocolate crumble.
  11. Place back into the oven for 13-15 minutes, or until the crumble is crisp and blueberries are bubbling.
  12. Sprinkle with a little powdered sugar.
http://whitneybond.com/whats-for-brunch-blueberry-cream-cheese-muffins-with-chocolate-crumble/

Nutella Buddies

Nutella Muddy Buddies {Little Leopard Book}

I know I’m not the only one who was obsessed with Muddy Buddies as a kid!  They were always a favorite at school holiday parties, birthday parties and just a deliciously sweet snack to have around the house!

Nutella Chex Puppy Chow

I recently decided to combine my favorite childhood snack with my favorite adult indulgence, Nutella, for a delectably sweet treat that is sure to bring back all those warm memories of being a kid combined with the pure joy that Nutella brings to everything it touches!

Nutella Muddy Buddy Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 9 cups rice chex
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • ½ cup nutella
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar

Begin by placing the rice chex in a large bowl.

Next, melt together the chocolate chips, Nutella and butter for 2 minutes in the microwave.

Chocolate Nutella

Remove from the microwave, stir, then microwave for an additional minute.

Next, mix in the vanilla, then pour the mixture on top of the rice chex and mix well to coat.

Nutella Chocolate Muddy Buddies

Place into a large Ziploc bag, then cover in the powdered sugar and toss well.

Making Muddy Buddies

Once covered completely in the powdered sugar, pour the Nutella Buddies out onto a sheet of wax paper and allow to set for 30 minutes (while taste testing along the way, of course!)

Nutella Chex Puppy Chow

Now, place in a serving bowl and dig in!

Nutella Chex Muddy Buddies

My roommates words, and I quote “What did you put in these?  They’re the best Muddy Buddies I’ve ever had!”

Me: “Guess!”

My roommate: “Nutellllla”

Me: “Obvi!” 🙂

Nutella Muddy Buddies

Sometimes the simplest things can be just so darn delicious! Oh, and did I mention, they’re also gluten-free!

Nutella Muddy Buddies

I will definitely be serving these at my upcoming Superbowl Party!

Muddy Buddies

♣ Vegetarian Option: This recipe is vegetarian.

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

Nutella Buddies

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 10 cups

Nutella Buddies

Ingredients

  • 9 cups rice chex
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • ½ cup nutella
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Begin by placing the rice chex in a large bowl.
  2. Next, melt together the chocolate chips, Nutella and butter for 2 minutes in the microwave.
  3. Remove from the microwave, stir, then microwave for an additional minute.
  4. Next, mix in the vanilla, then pour the mixture on top of the rice chex and mix well to coat.
  5. Place into a large Ziploc bag, then cover in the powdered sugar and toss well.
  6. Once covered completely in the powdered sugar, pour the Nutella Buddies out onto a sheet of wax paper and allow to set for 30 minutes.
http://whitneybond.com/whats-for-dessert-nutella-buddies/

Chef Inspired Dish, Quality Social: Roasted Chicken with Brussels Sprouts and Potato Hash

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Welcome to Part II of “Chef Inspired Dishes” with Dustin Beckner of Quality Social!

Yesterday I introduced the Vegetarian Barley Stuffed Squash and my video interview with Chef Dustin.  Today I have the recipe for the Roasted Chicken Dish he prepared in the second portion of the interview.

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This dish had so much flavor, I couldn’t put my fork down after I finished photographing it at Quality Social!

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Ingredients

  • 2 lemon rosemary basil marinated chicken breasts
  • 3 tbsp butter (divided)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 5-6 small red potatoes (quartered)
  • 1 cup brussels sprouts
  • 1/2 cup diced pancetta
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tsp lemon zest

Begin cooking the marinated chicken breasts in a cast iron skillet, then add 2 tbsp of cubed butter.

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Cook for 8-10 minutes, then flip.

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Cook the other side for 8-10 minutes then place into a 350° oven to finish roasting for an additional 10 minutes.

While the chicken is roasting, prepare the vegetables by heating the olive oil in a skillet then adding the potatoes and brussels sprouts.Cook for 3-5 minutes then add the pancetta and 1 tbsp butter.

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Cook for 2-3 minutes then add the chicken stock and cranberries. Cook until most of the liquid is absorbed and the potatoes are tender.

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Place the vegetables on a plate and top with the chicken, sprinkle with lemon zest.

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A delectable dinner made in about 30 minutes!

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Then dig in!

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Check out Chef Dustin’s version at Quality Social!

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He used a bone-in chicken breast with skin which gave it that nice crisp brown on the outside.  I simply used a boneless, skinless chicken breast because that was what I had on hand!

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♦ Gluten Free Option: Make sure the chicken stock is free of gluten and this dish is gluten-free.

Roasted Chicken with Brussels Sprouts and Potato Hash

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 28 minutes

Serving Size: 2

Roasted Chicken with Brussels Sprouts and Potato Hash

Ingredients

  • 2 lemon rosemary basil marinated chicken breasts
  • 3 tbsp butter (divided)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 5-6 small red potatoes (quartered)
  • 1 cup brussels sprouts
  • 1/2 cup diced pancetta
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tsp lemon zest

Instructions

  1. Begin cooking the marinated chicken breasts in a cast iron skillet, then add 2 tbsp of cubed butter.
  2. Cook for 8-10 minutes, then flip.
  3. Cook the other side for 8-10 minutes then place into a 350° oven to finish roasting for an additional 10 minutes.
  4. While the chicken is roasting, prepare the vegetables by heating the olive oil in a skillet then adding the potatoes and brussels sprouts.Cook for 3-5 minutes then add the pancetta and 1 tbsp butter.
  5. Cook for 2-3 minutes then add the chicken stock and cranberries. Cook until most of the liquid is absorbed and the potatoes are tender.
  6. Place the vegetables on a plate and top with the chicken, sprinkle with lemon zest.
http://whitneybond.com/chef-inspired-dish-quality-social-roasted-chicken-with-brussels-sprouts-and-potato-hash/

Chef Inspired Dish, Quality Social: Vegetarian Barley Stuffed Squash

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Before the New Year I had the pleasure of meeting, interviewing and cooking with Chef Dustin Beckner of Quality Social, Downtown San Diego.

I had the idea to incorporate “Chef Inspired Dishes” into Little Leopard Book a few months before and after working with Quality Social on several Boys & Girls Club Events, like the Scavenger Hunt this summer, I was able to set up an interview with their extremely talented chef.

Unfortunately trying to be the cameraman, host and interviewer proved to be a difficult feat, so please excuse any awkwardness in the video!  (And don’t worry, I’ve partnered with a video producer for my next segment 😉 )

I’ve broken the two dishes down into two different posts, so here is the first “Chef Inspired Dish” recipe for Vegetarian Barley Stuffed Squash, also check out the Roasted Chicken recipe here!

Here’s a shot of the ingredients at Quality Social and my ingredients at home.  I was able to pick up a couple of ingredients from Suzie’s Farm at the Little Italy Mercato this weekend, which Chef Dustin mentions in the video is where they get a lot of their produce!

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Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 1 acorn squash
  • 3 tsp Basil Oil (divided)
  • 1/2 cup crimini mushrooms (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup carrots (sliced)
  • 1/2 cup pearl onions
  • 1 cup brussels sprouts (steamed)
  • 1/2 cup broccolini
  • 1/4 cup spinach

Begin by slicing the squash in half, removing the seeds and placing cut side up on a baking sheet.

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Next, place into a 350° oven for 25 minutes.

If you have trouble cutting the squash in half via either strength of arm or power of knife (I think my problem was a little bit of both 😉 )  then place the whole squash in the oven for 10 minutes, remove, slice in half, then place back in the oven for an additional 15 minutes.

While the squash is cooking, begin preparing the barley, risotto style.

Start by adding 1 tsp of basil oil to a skillet over medium heat, next add the chopped mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes.  While the mushrooms are cooking, heat the vegetable stock to a boil in another pot.

Next, add the barley to the pan and begin ladling the stock 1/2 cup at a time into the mushrooms and barley until the liquid is absorbed (just like risotto!)

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Continue ladling the stock into the barley until they are soft to taste, about 15 minutes.

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While preparing the barley, put your multi-tasking pants on and prepare the vegetables.

Add 1 tsp of basil oil to a skillet over medium heat, then add the brussels sprouts, carrots and pearl onions. Sauté for 5 minutes, then add the broccolini and 1/4 cup of water to lightly steam the vegetables. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the spinach and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.

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At this point, the squash should be ready to come out of the oven, barley should be cooked perfectly and ready to fill the squash and the vegetables should be ready to top the dish!

For the final step, drizzle an additional tsp of basil oil on top, then you’re ready to dig in!

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This was my version of the dish prepared at home!

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And this was Chef Dustin’s version that I photographed at Quality Social after he prepared it for the video!

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Hopefully I made him proud with my re-creation of his delicious seasonal vegetarian dish!

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♣ Vegetarian Option: This recipe is vegetarian.

♦ Gluten Free Option: Substitute risotto rice or lentils to make this dish gluten-free.

Vegetarian Barley Stuffed Squash

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Serving Size: 2

Vegetarian Barley Stuffed Squash

Ingredients

  • 1 acorn squash
  • 3 tsp basil oil (divided)
  • 1/2 cup crimini mushrooms (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup carrots (sliced)
  • 1/2 cup pearl onions
  • 1 cup brussels sprouts (steamed)
  • 1/2 cup broccolini
  • 1/4 cup spinach

Instructions

  1. Begin by slicing the squash in half, removing the seeds and placing cut side up on a baking sheet.
  2. Next, place into a 350° oven for 25 minutes.
  3. If you have trouble cutting the squash in half place the whole squash in the oven for 10 minutes, remove, slice in half, then place back in the oven for an additional 15 minutes.
  4. While the squash is cooking, begin preparing the barley, risotto style.
  5. Start by adding 1 tsp of basil oil to a skillet over medium heat, next add the chopped mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes. While the mushrooms are cooking, heat the vegetable stock to a boil in another pot.
  6. Next, add the barley to the pan and begin ladling the stock 1/2 cup at a time into the mushrooms and barley until the liquid is absorbed (just like risotto!)
  7. Continue ladling the stock into the barley until they are soft to taste, about 15 minutes.
  8. While preparing the barley, prepare the vegetables.
  9. Add 1 tsp of basil oil to a skillet over medium heat, then add the brussels sprouts, carrots and pearl onions. Sauté for 5 minutes, then add the broccolini and 1/4 cup of water to lightly steam the vegetables. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the spinach and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  10. At this point, the squash should be ready to come out of the oven, barley should be cooked perfectly and ready to fill the squash and the vegetables should be ready to top the dish.
  11. For the final step, drizzle an additional tsp of basil oil on top.
http://whitneybond.com/chef-inspired-dish-quality-social-vegetarian-barley-stuffed-squash/

Chopped Challenge Thursday: Tofu, Chorizo, Raspberries and Ginger

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This weeks Chopped Challenge Thursday combined a scrumptious assortment of ingredients including Raspberries from my friend and fellow blogger Olivia Reyes over at Give with Liv, Chorizo from Rafael Ocampo, Ginger from Ronni Haragos and Tofu from Stephanie VandenBerg.

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I took these ingredients as an opportunity to create another wonderfully gluten-free and vegetarian burger for the new year!

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One of my favorite “Chopped Challenge” dishes to date is the Sweet Potato Quinoa Burger I created back in October.

The dish I created today is similar in that it is rich in fiber and vitamins, without the gluten or meat, yet it combines its own unique ingredients including red lentils and soy chorizo!

I also topped this delectable burger with a Raspberry Avocado Salsa with freshly grated ginger, lime juice and cilantro!

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Ingredients (Soy Chorizo Veggie Burgers – makes 12)

  • 3/4 cup red lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • 14 oz firm tofu
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 12 oz soy chorizo
  • 1 red bell pepper (diced)
  • 1 red onion (diced)
  • 1 jalapeño (de-seeded and diced)
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1/2 lime (juiced)
  • 1 tsp fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup fresh spinach
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup rice chex crumbs
  • 1/4 cup cotija cheese (for topping)

Ingredients (Raspberry Avocado Salsa)

  • 6 oz fresh raspberries
  • 2 avocados (diced)
  • 1/2 red onion (diced)
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger (grated)
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 lime (juiced)

Begin by rinsing the red lentils and adding them to 2 cups of boiling water.  Cover and reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes.

Next, add the tofu, chili powder and cumin to a food processor and blend until smooth.

(P.S. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my parents for the amazing Christmas gift pictured below, I’ve used it twice a day since I got it home and it is awesome!)

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Next, transfer the spicy tofu to a large mixing bowl and add the soy chorizo.

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Combine well, then add the cooked lentils, diced onions, bell pepper, jalapeños and garlic.

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Finally, add in the lime juice, cilantro, spinach, eggs and rice chex crumbs.

*Rice chex crumbs can be made by simply blending rice chex cereal in a food processor. Using these instead of breadcrumbs keeps the dish gluten-free!

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Combine well, then form into 12 patties.

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These can be cooked on the grill for 10 minutes per side.

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Or in a cast iron skillet on the stove over medium heat.

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Next, prepare the Raspberry Avocado Salsa by slightly muddling the raspberries.

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Then add the diced avocado, red onion and freshly grated ginger.

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Finally, add the cilantro, black pepper, lime juice and drizzle with the olive oil.

Finish the burgers by topping with some cotija cheese.

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Then the salsa!

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This recipe makes 12 burgers, unless you are feeding a clan or are really really hungry, you can individually freeze any leftover burgers for a quick and easy dinner down the road!

♣ Vegetarian Option: This recipe is vegetarian.

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

Soy Chorizo Veggie Burgers with Raspberry Avocado Salsa

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 12 burgers

Soy Chorizo Veggie Burgers with Raspberry Avocado Salsa

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup red lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • 14 oz firm tofu
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 12 oz soy chorizo
  • 1 red bell pepper (diced)
  • 1 red onion (diced)
  • 1 jalapeño (de-seeded and diced)
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1/2 lime (juiced)
  • 1 tsp fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup fresh spinach
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup rice chex crumbs
  • 1/4 cup cotija cheese (for topping)
  • Raspberry Avocado Salsa
  • 6 oz fresh raspberries
  • 2 avocados (diced)
  • 1/2 red onion (diced)
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger (grated)
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 lime (juiced)

Instructions

  1. Begin by rinsing the red lentils and adding them to 2 cups of boiling water. Cover and reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. Next, add the tofu, chili powder and cumin to a food processor and blend until smooth.
  3. Next, transfer the spicy tofu to a large mixing bowl and add the soy chorizo.
  4. Combine well, then add the cooked lentils, diced onions, bell pepper, jalapeños and garlic.
  5. Finally, add in the lime juice, cilantro, spinach, eggs and rice chex crumbs. (Rice chex crumbs can be made by simply blending rice chex cereal in a food processor. Using these instead of breadcrumbs keeps the dish gluten-free.)
  6. Combine well, then form into 12 patties.
  7. These can be cooked on the grill for 10 minutes per side or in a cast iron skillet on the stove over medium heat.
  8. Next, prepare the Raspberry Avocado Salsa by slightly muddling the raspberries.
  9. Then add the diced avocado, red onion and freshly grated ginger.
  10. Finally, add the cilantro, black pepper, lime juice and drizzle with the olive oil.
  11. Finish the burgers by topping with the salsa and some cotija cheese.
http://whitneybond.com/chopped-challenge-thursday-tofu-chorizo-raspberries-and-ginger/

Bacon Wrapped Buffalo Blue Cheese Stuffed Chicken

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We’re 8 days into 2013 and I decided it was about time for a new LLB buffalo sauce recipe!

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I already slathered buffalo sauce all over chicken in my Baked BBQ Buffalo Chicken recipe so I knew I had to mix it up this time. I decided instead of putting the buffalo sauce on the chicken, I would put it IN the chicken!

But then what would go on the outside? Bacon of course.

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Searing this delectably meaty dish on the stove, then finishing it in the oven gives it perfectly crisp bacon and deliciously juicy chicken!

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Ingredients (serves 1)

  • 2 tbsp cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp blue cheese dressing
  • 1 tbsp buffalo sauce
  • 1 tsp blue cheese crumbles
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 3 slices bacon

Begin preparing the recipe by combining the cream cheese, buffalo sauce, blue cheese dressing and crumbles in a blender or food processor.

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Next, slice a chicken breast through the middle and spread the mixture inside.

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Fold the chicken breast over the buffalo blue cheese spread.

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Now wrap the chicken breast with the bacon and place it into a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.

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Sear for 5 minutes, then flip.

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Sear for an additional 5 minutes then place into a 375° oven for 10 minutes. Flip, then cook in the oven for an additional 10 minutes or until bacon is crisp on the outside.

Remove from the oven and place over a bed of mixed greens.

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Slice open and dig in!

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I prepared this delectable little dish for myself, but the recipe could easily be doubled or quadrupled to serve 2 or 4!

♦ Gluten Free Option: This recipe is gluten-free, just make sure the buffalo sauce and blue cheese dressing used are gluten-free. Frank’s and Ken’s (pictured above) are my favorite of each and both gluten-free! Yay!

Little Italy Farmers Market Favorites

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As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, such as Chalk Art Paintings, Live Music and Delicious Food at Little Italy Festa!, I live in a beautiful and vibrant neighborhood in San Diego that is extremely lively with a ton of local events for its residents.  One of everyone’s neighborhood favorites is the Little Italy Mercato that happens every Saturday from 9 AM – 2 PM.

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It’s a great place to grab a coffee, breakfast and shop for the weeks groceries!

This week I stopped by Suzie’s Farms to pick up some fresh produce.

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Suzie’s Farms provides most of the produce for Quality Social, a local restaurant and the location of my first “Chef Inspired Dish” interview! I decided to make the dish super authentic, I would pick up my ingredients at the same place they buy theirs! (Look for that post coming this week!)

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They have everything from beautiful squash and beets, to gorgeous colorful carrots!

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With food, the more color, the better!! I talk about the amazingness of eating purple vegetables in my Adventures at the Farmers Market post. (Similar concept, different farmers market, different city!)

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They also sell a variety of sprouts that look super yummy!  I didn’t pick them up this week, but they’re now on next weeks list!

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My next stop was to visit my girls over at Tea Gallerie.

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I was lucky enough to meet Krizia, the marketing rep for the company at my San Diego Bloggers Happy Hour. She was sweet enough to give me some samples of their amazing tea!

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They were all amazing, but I am now completely addicted to the Masala Chai!

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As you can see, they have a lot to choose from, and just check out all the benefits of drinking tea!

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Delicious and healthy is my favorite combination!

Next, I went to pick up some fresh herbs to add to my growing window sill garden.  Now that I’ve kept my little basil plant alive for almost 3 months, I was confident enough to give it a couple of friends!  Meet Rosemary and Cilantro!

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I’m going to take the advice of the sign and grow them 🙂

Although I wasn’t quite confident enough to purchase a larger plant today, I still had to get a picture of this beautiful purple kale!

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I then cruised by some of my favorite spots, like the lemonade people!

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Seriously, this lemonade is amazing y’all!  When shopping at the Mercato this summer in the warm San Diego sun, this lemonade saved my life!

Then I cruised by the “Goat Cheese Guy”.  Of course, being the Goat Milking Girl I am, I would have a goat cheese guy in every city!

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Their Lavender Goat Cheese is killer!!

I concluded my lovely day in Little Italy with a delicious coffee at my favorite local shop, Pappalecco, where I sit to write this post to you now!

Happy Saturday Everyone!  Make it a beautiful day and remember “When Nothing Is Sure, Everything is Possible!” – Margaret Drabble

Chopped Challenge Thursday: Boudain, Wasabi, Candy Canes and Shrimp

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This weeks “Chopped Challenge Thursday” kicked 2013 off with a real bang!

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The combination of Boudain (I’ll explain later!), Wasabi, Candy Canes and Shrimp, gave my culinary mind a run for its money, but I came up with something pretty delicious and super spicy to kick off the new year!

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After googling “Boudain” I found out that it is a Cajun sausage typically made of rice, spices and pork, but can also be made with crawfish or shrimp instead of pork.  I then yelped “where to buy Boudain” and found my newest adventure.

This morning I headed to east San Diego to “Mardi Gras Cafe and Cajun Market” to purchase the now infamous Boudain.

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The owners were an extremely sweet couple and very helpful.  I purchased my Boudain, then they proceeded to show me some of their favorite sauces (of the over 100 they had in stock!)

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I can’t wait to grab a couple of bottles of these before my annual Super Bowl Party!

In addition to a variety of Boudain sausages and walls of hot sauce options, they also sell alligator meat and offer a full restaurant menu. I can’t wait to go back and try their Louisiana home cooking!

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Now back to that Chopped Challenge! I decided to combine Japanese and Cajun flavors into a Jambalaya fusion recipe topped with a Sweet and Spicy Wasabi Mayonnaise made with crushed Candy Canes! The result was a spicy, peppery, unique and flavorful dish!

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Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion (diced)
  • 1 jalapeno (diced)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 12 oz boudain sausage
  • 1 cup mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1/2 cup cucumber (diced)
  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 1/2 tsp wasabi
  • 1 tsp sriracha
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 candy cane
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ginger (grated)
  • 1/2 cup wasabi mayonnaise
  • 8-10 large shrimp
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds

(Just ignore any of the other ingredients that snuck into the picture above, this was an experimental recipe and not all of the ingredients made the cut 😉 )

Begin preparing the dish by heating the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the onion and jalapeño to the heated oil and sauté for 5 minutes.  Next, add the garlic.  Sauté for an additional minute then remove the boudain from its casing and crumble into the pan.

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Next, add the mushrooms and cucumber.

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Then add the rice, sriracha and wasabi.

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Finally, add the beef stock and stir all of the ingredients together.

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Cover with a lid and allow to simmer for 45 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare the Sweet and Spicy Wasabi Mayonnaise to top the jambalaya.  I’m not going to lie to you all, it wasn’t bad, but the jambalaya definitely doesn’t need it.

Pretty much unless you have a bunch of candy canes on hand and some extra wasabi mayonnaise lying around that you feel like experimenting with, this step can be skipped 🙂

If so desired, break a candy cane into a small food processor, then add the ginger and wasabi mayonnaise and mix well.

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Now, back to the jambalaya.  After the dish has simmered covered for 45 minutes, most of the liquid should be gone from the pan and the rice should be tender, now add the shrimp to the pan and continue simmering for an additional 5-10 minutes.

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Remove from the pan and top with the sesame seeds and a little drizzle of the Sweet and Spicy Wasabi Mayonnaise.

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I also sprinkled a little fresh parsley on top to add some color and served the dish with a couple of lemon wedges to mellow out the super spiciness of the wasabi, sriracha and hot boudain!

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This was the perfect warm dish on a cool San Diego winter day!

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After all my hard work on this very unique Chopped Challenge dish, I couldn’t wait to dig in!

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♣ Vegetarian Option: Replace the shrimp and boudain with extra rice, mushrooms and cucumbers for a vegetarian alternative.

♦ Gluten Free Option: This recipe is gluten-free (just make sure the beef stock you use is gluten-free!)

Cranberry Glazed Turkey Breast

Turkey is brined in white wine, rubbed with spices, roasted in the oven, then glazed with cranberry sauce in this cranberry glazed turkey breast recipe.

Cranberry Turkey Breast

I was lucky enough to travel back to my home town in Oklahoma to spend Christmas with my family this year.

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We had a wonderful time and even got a little snow!

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My good friend Michael and adopted member of our family had this amazing apron custom-made for me!

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It definitely got me excited to go in the kitchen and prepare our Christmas feast, which included this delicious Cranberry Glazed Turkey Breast!!

I made this dish on Thanksgiving a couple of years ago along side my Herb Crusted Turkey Breast and my Mom loved it so much that she specifically requested it for Christmas dinner!

Although you do have to brine it the night before, it’s still super simple to make and only takes about 30 minutes of actual work time to prepare the brine, rub the turkey and make the glaze!

Turkey Breast Brining Ingredients

Ingredients (brine)

  • 8 cups water
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • ½ cup kosher salt
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp ginger
  • 1 tbsp peppercorns
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3-4 lb. boneless turkey breast

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Ingredients (rub)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp thyme

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Ingredients (cranberry glaze)

  • 12 oz cranberries
  • ¼ cup chopped ginger
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup orange flavor liqueur

Combine all of the brining ingredients in a large container, then place the turkey breast in the brine and place into the refrigerator overnight.

Remove the turkey in the morning and pat dry, then brush with olive oil.

Next, combine the spice rub in a small bowl.

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Rub the spices over the turkey and place in a baking dish. Roast the turkey in a 375° oven for one hour.

In the meantime, prepare the cranberry glaze by combining all of the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Wait for the cranberries to begin bursting, then stir well and allow the glaze to simmer over low heat for an additional 5-10 minutes.

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Strain the glaze with a mesh strainer.

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Glaze the turkey breast with a basting brush using the strained cranberry glaze.

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Serve the strained cranberries on the side as a cranberry sauce for guests to top their turkey with, if so desired!

Place on a platter with a sprig of thyme and a few whole cranberries for a beautifully presented dish!

Cranberry Glazed Turkey Breast

This Cranberry Glazed Turkey Breast is so flavorful, moist and scrumptious!

Cranberry Glazed Turkey Breast

Hope everyone had a delicious, fun, happy and memorable holiday season!

Thanks to Emeril Lagasse on Food Network for the original inspiration for this recipe!

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

Cranberry Glazed Turkey Breast

Cook Time: 1 hour

Serving Size: 6-8

Cranberry Glazed Turkey Breast

Ingredients

    Brine
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • ½ cup kosher salt
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp ginger
  • 1 tbsp peppercorns
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3-4 lb. boneless turkey breast
  • Rub
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • Cranberry Glaze
  • 12 oz cranberries
  • ¼ cup chopped ginger
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup orange flavor liqueur

Instructions

  1. Combine all of the brining ingredients in a large container, then place the turkey breast in the brine and place into the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Remove the turkey in the morning and pat dry, then brush with olive oil.
  3. Combine the spice rub in a small bowl.
  4. Rub the spices over the turkey and place in a baking dish.
  5. Roast the turkey in a 375° oven for one hour.
  6. Prepare the cranberry glaze by combining all of the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat.
  7. Wait for the cranberries to begin bursting, then stir well and allow the glaze to simmer over low heat for an additional 5-10 minutes.
  8. Strain the glaze with a mesh strainer.
  9. Glaze the turkey breast with a basting brush using the strained cranberry glaze.
  10. Serve the strained cranberries on the side as a cranberry sauce for guests to top their turkey with.
  11. Place on a platter with a sprig of thyme and a few whole cranberries.
http://whitneybond.com/whats-for-dinner-cranberry-glazed-turkey-breast/