Holidays

Red, White & Blue Sangria

Let the patriotic celebrations begin with this red, white and blue white wine sangria. Complete with star-shaped apple slices.

Red White and Blue Sangria 2

The USA takes on Belgium today for the final game in the round of sixteen. With the 4th of July this week I decided to mix up a white wine sangria with red (strawberries), white (apples) and blue (blueberries) fruit floating around in it. But that’s not all folks, the apples are cut into star shapes to make it even more patriotic. It appeals to taste buds and patriots! I unfortunately will be working (without a glass of this sangria in hand) but thankfully the location at which I am today has a TV within view from the front desk, so you better know what channel I will have it set on.

Red White and Blue Sangria 1

One year ago: Taco Bar with Carnitas: Mexican Pulled Pork
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Red, White & Berry Hand Pies

Red, white & berry hand-held pies are stuffed with cream cheese, strawberries, and blueberries. Perfect for any patriotic event!

Red, White & Berry Hand Pies 2

Today’s another big day for the USA soccer team, taking on Germany this afternoon in hopes of continuing on into the knockout round of 16. There are several scenarios in which this could happen: (1) USA beats Germany, (2) USA ties Germany,(3) USA loses to Germany while Portugal and Ghana tie, or (4) USA loses to Germany, Portugal or Ghana wins (therefore tying the USA) and USA scores enough goals to win the goal point differential tiebreaker. In other words the odds are decent but not solid enough to breathe easy. To make matters worse I have to DVR the game and somehow avoid all commentary from the outside world before getting home to watch it myself. I should just go ahead and stuff cotton into my ears now.

Red, White & Berry Hand Pies 3

But if you could care less about soccer or futbol, or whatever it is you want to call it, don’t worry I have a fun mini dessert for you today. These hand pies were made using a star-shaped mini pie press and are stuffed with cheesecake, strawberries, and blueberries which is why they are called red, white and berry hand pies. The star shape of the pie may have blended while baking but there’s also a star-shaped vent cut into the top and that same piece of star-shaped crust is placed on top of the crust for more flair. Patriot enough for the fourth of July, Memorial Day, or for cheering on our nation’s soccer team!

Red, White & Berry Hand Pies 1

One year ago: Creamy Chicken and Herb Skillet
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USA Soccer Cake

Show off your American pride with this surprise-inside USA flag cake, decorated like a soccer ball for the World Cup. Also perfect for Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.

USA Soccer Cake 1

Today the USA soccer team takes on Ghana for their first game in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. USA is in Group G with Ghana (obviously), Portugal and Germany. In other words we’ve got some tough teams to play. To have any hope of being one of the two teams to advance from the group, team USA must beat Ghana as they are likely the most beatable. Unfortunately, Ghana has knocked the USA out of the last two World Cups. Obviously this means it’s time for a fun cake.

USA Soccer Cake 2

To celebrate game 1 for the USA, I originally planed to make cupcakes decorated as soccer balls but decided to take it a step further and try out my own version of a surprise-inside cake - a soccer ball decorated cake with a USA flag inside! Alternating layers of red and white cake are segmented with a round of blue cake which when cut, looks like a miniature flag. This cake would also be perfect for Memorial Day or the upcoming July 4th holiday.

USA Soccer Cake 3

One year ago: Cinnamon-Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Three years ago: Homemade Whole Wheat Pita Bread
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Cinco de Mayo Recipe Roundup

With Cinco de Mayo right around the corner, here’s a complete Cinco de Mayo recipe roundup with recipes for breakfast, drinks, appetizers, dinner and dessert. You’ll be celebrating all day! Or if you’re like me and the rest of my fellow May-babies, you’ll be celebrating all month long. Birthday month!

This weekend is particularly special to me because it is my birthday weekend and one of my awesome friends is coming to visit! Nothing concrete planned, but plenty of good times will occur no matter what. It’s time to kick off the last year of my 20s (and maybe make one of those 30 before 30 lists).

One year ago: Guacamole Tortilla Chip-Crusted Nacho Chicken

Two years ago: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies

Three years ago: Butterscotch Truffles

BREAKFAST

 Pinto Bean Breakfast Patty Melts

BEVERAGES

Strawberry-Banana Colada Smoothie

APPETIZERS AND SIDES

Spring Salsa

ENTREES

Cheesy Vegetable Enchiladas 2

DESSERTS

Strawberry Margarita Cupcakes

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Gluten-Free Avocado Brownies

These gluten-free brownies are so fudgy they will blow your mind. The surprise is that they are made with avocados topped with a fun, green avocado frosting!

Gluten-Free Avocado Brownies 1

Two gluten-free brownie recipes in one week!? Craziness I know but Sunday’s was a single serving while today’s was made with avocados, and let me tell you they were crazy fudgy. Nearly had to scrape them out of the pan and eat them with a spoon fudgy. “It’s so fudgy I’m going to die!” – paraphrased quote from Agnes of Despicable Me.

Who knew avocados could render such a consistency in baked goods? Then to literally top it off, they are frosted with a green avocado frosting. Surprisingly you do not have to worry about the frosting turning brown. Evidently sugar is the secret weapon against avocado-oxidation.

Whip these up and see if anyone suspects they are anything other than regular fudgy brownies with some frosting you decided to “dye green”. I know most people I offered them to not only had no idea they were gluten-free but could not detect the avocado. The suspiciously green frosting was the only clue.

Gluten-Free Avocado Brownies 2

Two years ago: Baked Banana Almond Pancakes
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Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

This carrot cake is the only recipe I have ever used. It is perfectly moist and surrounded by cream cheese frosting, proving it’s relevance beyond Easter.

Carrot Cake 1

Easter may have been yesterday but it’s never too late to share a carrot cake recipe. Especially when it’s my favorite carrot cake recipe and have already managed to go 3.5 years without sharing it with the masses. The original recipe called for just white granulated sugar but I use half white and half brown sugar while also reducing the oil a little bit and find that it is perfectly moist. From there you can mix in walnuts, pecans or raisins if you so desire. But don’t forget the cream cheese frosting! I even added halved baby carrots on top for decoration.

Carrot Cake 2

Three years ago: Peanut Butter, Banana & Nutella Bars
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Rice Krispies Easter Bunny Cake

Looking for an Easter dessert? This cute Easter bunny cake is easily constructed with two round cakes. The best part is that it’s a no-bake cake made out of rice krispies treats.

Rice Krispies Easter Bunny Cake

Baking for the holidays is always a lot of fun. Beyond an excuse to use festive sprinkles, there are so many creative  ideas. Take this cake for example – two round cakes magically transform into this cute little guy. Unfortunately my photo-shoot for this Easter creation was not conducive to great pictures, but the execution is what’s important here. It’s an Easter bunny cake!

First things first, this is a no-bake cake. I made a cake out of rice krispies treats which were formed in cake pans. Using a simple template I cut up one of the cakes into the ears and bowtie to create the bunny. From there all that remained was to frost and decorate! You can use any assortment of candy, sprinkles, and frosting that you prefer. I made the eyes out of leftover cakeball fondant and white and black frosting, the cheeks are pink sprinkles, the nose is more cakeball fondant, the mouth is black frosting, and finally the bowtie consists of a chocolate chip cookie, cakeball fondant and sprinkles. Coconut would also be a great way to make a “fluffy” bunny but I made this cake for a non-coconut lover.

One year ago: Apple Pie
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Peepsters Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

My favorite chewy chocolate chip cookies get dressed up for Easter on the inside with PEEPS Peepsters stuffing.

Peepsters Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies 1

Yesterday I returned a couple unopened bags of candy melts thinking it wouldn’t be a big deal, it’s just sugar. There was nothing wrong, just didn’t end up needing them for a recipe, to which she replied, “Doesn’t matter I have to throw them out anyway.” Now I thought she was joking so I laughed, but after her unchanged facial expression I realized she was not. Apparently returned food items (even unopened, packaged sugar/chocolate) cannot be resold. It makes sense for fresh food or anything requiring refrigeration, but candy?? Upon discovering this I felt bad for returning them and voiced this to her. However, she shot back that I did not in fact feel bad or else I wouldn’t be returning them. She said it so matter-of-fact, again without any humor, that I felt like I should be offended. True I could have snatched them up saying I changed my mind and if I had a job right now I would have. Unfortunately I do not and keeping them is less important than being able to pay for things such as bills. In the end, Walmart can handle the loss a lot easier than I can right now.

Just in case you still think I am a bad person, how about some cookies? I used my favorite chewy chocolate chip cookie recipe using both semisweet and milk chocolate chips this time and then stuffed them with PEEPS Peepsters – fun chocolate Easter candies with marshmallow centers. These cookies are basically PEEPS stuffed chocolate chip cookies without the mess of an exploding marshmallow, which commonly happens if you stuff a regular marshmallow into the center of a cookie. 

Peepsters Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies 2

Three years ago: Double Cake Batter Truffle Ice Cream
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Easy Corn Salsa & CW CorningWare Giveaway

This sweet and tangy corn salsa is as easy to make as it is to watch disappear. With sweet yellow corn, black beans, pimentos, and bell pepper, what’s not to love?

Easy Corn Salsa 1

If you’ve been paying attention, you may have spied the new CW bakeware by CorningWare in my posts this week. CW is a new line of bakeware from CorningWare that comes in an array of vibrant colors and sizes (purple, blue, green, yellow, and red & 3 quart, shallow 1.9 quart, 1.5 quart, and 20 oz.). What first excited me about this bakeware were the colors, especially the purple ;-). It didn’t hurt that they also net together for compact storage – something I battled with constantly in my apartment’s tiny kitchen.

CW_Aerial_Hero_Stack

I made a sausage and egg breakfast casserole in the blue 3 quart baker, an asparagus & wild rice casserole in the green 1.5 quart baker, and today I am sharing a recipe for an easy corn salsa displaying in the blue 1.5 quart and red 20 oz. bakers. Although this salsa does not require any oven-time, I wanted to show off that this bakeware is just as good at serving food as it is at baking. As for the salsa, the recipe is from my PhD advisor’s wife. Whenever she made it for any event and I would be found hovering over it. Under my watch, it disappeared as quickly as it was made.

What you would make in the CW bakeware? Tell me using the Rafflecopter widget at the bottom of this post and you will be entered to win your own set!

P.S. For those of you wondering, I qualified in the B1 group for pickleball. There are 5 groups starting with C, B2, B1, A2 and then A1 is the best. So I’m i the middle of the pack. I was told I could easily move up to A2 with just a little more practice. Maybe in another month if I’m still without a job…

Easy Corn Salsa 2

One year ago: Pear Yogurt Almond Cake with Cinnamon Brown Sugar Buttercream
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Easter Recipe Roundup

Complete Easter recipe roundup with recipes for Brunch, appetizers, sides, dinner and dessert!

Easter Recipe Roundup 2014
With Easter just a little over a week away I thought it was a good time to gather up some recipes to help you plan your Easter Brunch and/or dinner. Many of these have appeared at Easter events I attended in the past and I know they will be a hit with your friends and family too. Do you have a favorite recipe that you have to make every year? Somehow my favorite carrot cake recipe has not made it onto the blog yet but there are a few carrot cake-inspired treats on this list – Carrot Cake Batter Dip, Carrot Cake Waffles and Carrot Cake Oatmeal!

Check back as I will be adding new recipes as we get closer to Easter!

One year ago: Speculoos Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Dough Granola Bars

Two years ago: Flavor-Injected Glazed Ham

BRUNCH

Mini Razzle Dazzle Peanut Butter Cinnamon Rolls

APPETIZERS

Deviled Strawberries

SIDE DISHES

Individual Scalloped Potatoes

ENTREES

 Crockpot Turkey Tenderloin

DESSERTS

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies 1

Previous Roundups: Easter Recipe Roundup 2012

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