Holidays

Snowman Blue Cheese Ball

Everyone loves cheese balls so make sure you have this blue cheese ball at your next party. But instead of a round ball make it snowman shaped!

Snowman Blue Cheese Ball 1

Party time means dip time. And no party is complete without a big ol’ ball o’ cheese. This recipe was originally adapted from recipe I received from one of my parent’s friends. Turns out it is very similar to the blue cheese ball I already shared which was such a hit you would have though I was a magician doing a disappearing act. In addition to blue cheese and green onions, this version has black olives, walnuts, and optional banana peppers mixed in. And in case those differences weren’t enough, instead of making a regular cheese ball I went the festive route and made it snowman shaped! Apparently I like eating things with cute faces because this is the second adorable recipe I have made this month that has a face (first was the cone head cupcakes). This phenomenon does not follow for meat however, at least not in it’s natural state. But add a cartoonish face and we’re okay (just take these octoweenies for example).

Snowman Blue Cheese Ball 2

One year ago: Orange Cut-Out Cookies with Orange Cardamom Icing

Two years ago: Homemade Maple Breakfast Sausage
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Homemade Dark Hot Chocolate Mix

Instead of buying from the store, try your hand at homemade hot chocolate mix. This version highlights dark chocolate and would make a great gift!

Homemade Dark Hot Chocolate Mix 1

Christ mas is about a week away! Can you believe it? I certainly cannot as I’ve just started feeling the holiday-baking pull. There are too many festive things I want to make in such little time! The most important thing I made every year is hot chocolate mix. To date, I have made six different kinds of hot chocolate mix: Regular, Peanut Butter, Red Velvet, Cinnamon, Salted Caramel, and now Dark Chocolate. Homemade hot chocolate mix makes great gifts if you’re looking for some last minute ideas!

Homemade Dark Hot Chocolate Mix 2

This dark hot chocolate is not as sweet at the others I have created due to the use of dark and semisweet chocolate – no white chocolate in there this time. But the flavor of the dark chocolate truly shines. I thought it was exceptional, but if you know someone who prefers sweeter hot chocolate (like my dad), throw a healthy handful of marshmallows in there.

Homemade Dark Hot Chocolate Mix 3

One year ago: Baked Mozzarella Chicken Rolls

Two years ago: Buttermilk Biscuits

Four years ago: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip
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Browned Butter Fruit Cake Cookies

It’s the season for fruit cake! The combination of a chewy cookie, candied fruit, toasted nuts, and browned butter will convert even the fruit cake haters.

Browned Butter Fruit Cake Cookies 1

You guys want some cookies!? – said by Corky Romano in a fake Girl Scout voice. Seriously, get your cookie faces ready because today you will be bombarded by all kinds of fantastic holiday cookies compliments of the 2014 Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. It’s just like a cookie swap party but it’s all done through the mail and who you are getting cookies from is a surprise! It’s the fourth year of this grand event and I’ve managed to be a part of it all four years, so yea it’s a good time and you should join us next year if you missed out. This year I received Christmas Cake Batter Cookies from Erin (Currently Coveting), Triple Chocolate Peppermint Cookies from Jamie (The Gaited Baker), and Cinnamon Pinwheel Bites from Ani (Confessions of a Foodie). I loved how all of them were different and festive!

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As for my recipients, I sent fruit cake cookies to Janet (Babcakes Bakery), Liz (That Skinny Chick Can Bake) and Kristen (From Captain’s Daughter to Army Mom) and they got great reviews! I bet these cookies would convert fruit cake haters. How can you go wrong with the base for my favorite chewy chocolate chip cookies combined with candied fruit and toasted nuts? Oh and in case that’s not convincing enough, I browned the butter. Because browned butter = amazeballs.

Follow #fbcookieswap for more holiday cookie recipes!

Browned Butter Fruit Cake Cookies 2

Three years ago: Gingerbread Pancakes with Crumb Topping

Four years ago: Perfect Hamburger
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Peppermint & Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies

Chocolate and peanut butter. Chocolate and peppermint. Why not combine these tasty duos into one trio? Dark chocolate peanut butter cookies with crushed peppermint candy cane on top.

Peppermint & Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies 1

Are you familiar with the Christmas car costumes that appear this time of year? The reindeer antlers and nose or the elf ears and hat? Do you think they are ridiculous? If so, then I think you are zero fun. My friend Suzanne and I have been on the hunt for the reindeer get-up for years, ever since we first laid eyes on it. Unfortunately it proved to be nearly impossible to find as it was sold out in every store we checked year after year. We did find it online but that felt like cheating. Well guess what? While at Walgreens on a totally different mad hunt (searching for chalk – who knew chalk would be such a hard thing to find), I walked right past a display full of the reindeer costumes. Done and done. My car is adorable and I don’t care what anyone says.And then like an idiot, I rolled down my window while driving (had to get rid of a bug) and one of the antlers flew off. Thankfully I was able to turn around and retrieve it.

Peppermint & Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies 3

Along with silly car costumes, another thing that appears around Christmas-time is a plethora of candy canes. Like it or not you will somehow end up with at least one in your possession. To help you find purpose for all those minty holiday treats (or fruity if you’re lucky enough to get a fancy one), PB&Co has challenged a group of bloggers to come up with #CandyCaneHacks aka solutions to excessive candy canes. So I did the first logical thing that came to mind – smash to bits and sprinkle on top of cookies. Using a trusty 4-ingredient flourless peanut butter cookie recipe, I made dark chocolate peanut butter thumbprint cookies filled with more dark chocolate dreams peanut butter and topped with crushed peppermint candy cane. Want more peppermint flavor? Add peppermint extract instead of vanilla to the cookie dough.

Want to get your hands on some of Peanut Butter & Co’s peanut butter? Use the Rafflecopter widget located at the bottom of this post and enter to win 2 jars of your choosing. Can’t wait? Use the code ” YUMSQUADLOVE” and receive 25% off their online store for the month of December. And follow #CandyCaneHacks for ideas on how to pair candy canes with your favorite peanut butter.

Peppermint & Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies 2

One year ago: Chicken and Pesto Stuffed Shells

Two years ago: Sugar Cookie Spoons for Hot Cocoa

Four years ago: Blueberry-Almond Turtles
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Peanut Butter & Chocolate Saturday Roundup 2014

For all you peanut butter and chocolate lovers out there, here is a roundup of recent peanut butter and chocolate creations to feast upon.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Roundup

After losing Braxton Miller to injury at the beginning of the season and an early loss to Virginia Tech, I did not think Ohio State had a good chance at snagging the Big Ten Championship this year. But then JT Barrett found his grove and proved to be just as good as Braxton, so much so that he also became a Heisman candidate. That was until last week when he too was injured and now my Buckeyes head into the conference championship game with Cardale Jones as QB. What are the chances we are lucky enough to have not 2 but 3 amazing QBs? I guess I will find out later today!

Being the last game before bowl season, I decided to do a roundup of all the PB+C recipes I have shared this year. Evidently I have been on a brownie, pretzel, oat, and candy-ish things kick. You’ll also notice that I do try to keep my background colors somewhere in the scarlet and gray range, but I epically failed with the smoothie – how did I allow blue and yellow in there?

Two years ago: Gingerbread Dip

Three years ago: Apple Butter Chewy Cinnamon M&M Cookies

Four years ago: Gnocchi with Goat Cheese and Spinach

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cookie Cake

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Boozy Pumpkin Pie Milkshake

Throw that leftover pie into a blender with some ice cream and make a milkshake! Add rum for a boozy adult beverage and don’t forget the fresh whipped cream.

Boozy Pumpkin Pie Milkshake 1

Alright smart phone users, what apps (preferably free) does this smart phone novice need to check out for my fancy new phone? I am getting obvious things like facebook, twitter, instagram, and waze but beyond that I’m a bit clueless. So tell me what you use most and why. I’ve been in the dark so long my parents and their friends probably know more about smart phones than I do.

And now for your Thanksgiving desert leftovers, if you were lucky enough to have any. Sometimes pie is so good you wish you could drink it with a straw. Well, now you can! Blend up a slice, crust and all, along with some ice cream and a bit of rum and you’ll be ready to cozy up in front of the fire. Or in my case, I drank it while watching foot ball last night. The Ohio State vs Michigan game was a close one but thankfully we were victorious. Unfortunately our QB JT Barrett is injured and out for the remainder :-(.

Boozy Pumpkin Pie Milkshake 2

One year ago: Peanut Butter Mousse Cookie Cups

Two years ago: Peanut Butter Reeses Pieces Giant Cookie for One

Three years ago: Peanut Butter Reeses Pieces Giant Cookie for One

Four years ago: Red Velvet Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies
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Sweet Potato Casserole Pancakes with Cranberry Sauce Syrup

Reinvent your Thanksgiving leftovers in the form of pancakes, using sweet potato casserole and cranberry sauce. You’ll be so glad you had leftovers to make these!

Sweet Potato Casserole Pancakes with Cranberry Sauce Syrup 2

I hope everyone had plenty to eat yesterday! I had the luxury of having two different kinds of turkey, turkey breast roulade (which I had originally planned on making for Friendsgiving) and fried turkey. Both were very moist and packed with flavor and I am excited for the leftovers. Especially since the only way I will ever have fried turkey again is if someone else cooks it like yesterday. I wouldn’t trust myself around that big of a pot of boiling hot peanut oil.

Speaking of leftovers, in case you get bored with sandwiches, reinvent your leftovers into an entirely different option such as these pancakes. Made with leftover sweet potato casserole (or butternut squash in my case) and leftover cranberry sauce. Go ahead and make these for all your visitors staying at your home this holiday weekend, especially if anyone was crazy enough to go out shopping.

Sweet Potato Casserole Pancakes with Cranberry Sauce Syrup 1

One year ago: Happy Thanksgiving & French Toast Day!

Two years ago: White Cheddar and Arugula Pesto Mac & Cheese

Three years ago: Bean and Cheese Taquitos
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Gingered Turkey & Rice Soup with Basil

Jazz up your Thanksgiving leftovers with this soup using leftover turkey, homemade stock, fresh ginger, wild rice, and basil. So good you’ll want to set aside turkey to make it.

Gingered Turkey & Rice Soup with Basil 1

You know you are a food blogger when: you are cooking leftover Thanksgiving recipes before Thanksgiving even occurs because you cooked your Thanksgiving turkey 2 weeks ago. Ah yes the constant dilemma of living up to a month ahead of the holidays. I sometimes feel like the retail stores, pushing Christmas before we’ve even started putting together Thanksgiving plans. But when it comes to recipes, what good is the recipe for the turkey made on Thanksgiving Day posted the day after Thanksgiving? Are your really going to remember to dig out that recipe next year? So the recipes for turkey and all the other usual suspects seen on Thanksgiving tables are posted a at least a week in advance providing time for you fine readers to prepare your own Thanksgiving meal, whether you are hosting or just bringing a side dish or dessert.

Gingered Turkey & Rice Soup with Basil 2

Of course one of the best things about Thanksgiving is the leftovers! And my favorite thing to do with leftovers year-round is to repurpose them into an entirely new meal. Last year I threw together a quick single serving turkey noodle soup using leftover veggies, turkey, and even gravy watered down and used as the broth. This year I waved my jazz hands around a bit and made a gingered turkey soup with wild rice, homemade stock, and basil sprinkled on top right before serving (adapted from a recipe I recently saved on Girl Carnivore). The ginger was such a fantastic addition to the flavors of this soup and quickly became my new favorite Thanksgiving leftovers recipe.

How do you like to use your Thanksgiving leftovers?

One year ago: Egg in a Hole Waffles

Three years ago: Apple Cider Pancakes
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Buckeye Brownie Cookies

Turn the popular buckeye candies into a cookie. Brownie-like cookies are baked with peanut butter balls in the center and then drizzled with chocolate.

Buckeye Brownie Cookies 3

It’s no secret that I love peanut butter and chocolate, especially in the form of buckeye candies which is why #PBChocSat is my favorite day of the week! Today those lovely candies are being transformed into cookies. The peanut butter center is made similarly to buckeye candies – consisting of peanut butter and powdered sugar. The peanut butter balls and places right into the center of the brownie cookie dough to bake right in. Kind of like making thumbprint cookies but you add the filling before you bake instead of after.

Buckeye Brownie Cookies 1

When baked, the cookies look just like squashed, puffy buckeye candies. I actually hesitated to put the chocolate on top because it would hide the eye of the buckeye, and they reminded me of the reverse of the Salted Nutella Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies. But I decided that a little extra chocolate would be worth the sacrifice and this way the peanut butter center would be a bit of a surprise to others. Whether people were surprised I could not tell, but they were certainly devoured quickly!

Buckeye Brownie Cookies 2

One year ago: Stuffed Shells with Pumpkin Sage Cream Sauce

Two years ago: Individual Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal

Three years ago: Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup (2011)

Four years ago: Veggie Lasagna
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Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls with Speculoos Icing & Baker’s Secret Giveaway

These gingerbread cinnamon rolls topped with speculoos icing would be a great for breakfast on a holiday morning.Make it easier on yourself my preparing the night before.

Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls with Speculoos Icing 1

Thanksgiving may still be on it’s way but I’m ready to pass over the pumpkin and start on some gingerbread. So I went ahead and made these gingerbread cinnamon rolls. If you have a lot of time in the morning, you could make these rolls all at once. Or you can divide the process by refrigerating the rolls overnight and then in the morning all you have to do is pop them in the oven. Then they get coated with a speculoos icing. Sounds like a great Thanksgiving or Christmas morning breakfast option to me.

Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls with Speculoos Icing 2

I was inspired to make these cinnamon rolls when I got my hands on Baker’s Secret new colored metal bakeware, which are pretty enough to serve out of.  Feel free to use them this holiday season for baking and serving without needing to dirty up another dish. To help you out, I have two pieces of Baker’s Secret colored metal bakeware to giveaway. Just use the Rafflecopter widget located at the end of this post.

One year ago: DOVE® Christmas Chocolate Drops

Two years ago: Penne with Trapanese Pesto

Three years ago: Butter Pecan with Brandy Ice Cream
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