Merry Everything

Merry Everything to you and yours. Thank you for following along with me and my ramblings. I wish each and every one of you were here so I could feed you- that is, after all, how I show love!

Happy New Year, may 2017 be good to you!!

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Fall Recipe Roundup

fallroundup

Golden leaves falling, crisp mornings, pumpkins and apples everywhere. Fall is here! I’ve compiled a roundup of some of my favorite fall recipes from the past years on the blog. From sweet to savory, there’s something to satisfy any craving!

slowcookertacosoup

Slow Cooker Taco Soup

salted-caramel

Salted Caramel Sauce

pumpkinspicepopcorn

Pumpkin Spice White Chocolate Caramel Corn

pumpkinpasta

Pumpkin & Chicken Sausage Pasta

pumpkin-it-soda

Caramel Pumpkin Spice Italian Soda

pumpkin-cornbread

Pumpkin Cornbread with Compound Butter-2 ways!

pumpkincinnrolls

Pumpkin Pie Cinnamon Rolls

caramelapplepopcorn

Caramel Apple Popcorn

broccolicheddarsoup

Broccoli Cheddar Soup in Bread Bowls

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Harvest Salad

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Sausage Ricotta & Pumpkin Pizza

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Pumpkin Pie Biscotti

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Parmesan Oven Fries

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Now that I am nearing the big 3-0, and am also a mom of two (feeling old here folks!) I try to watch what I eat more than I did in my early 20’s. As much as I love fried foods, they are something I try to avoid more often than not.

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I have found that most recipes can be made equally crispy and delicious in the oven without the added calories and fat. My Pretzel Chicken Bites with Honey Mustard, Shredded Beef Taquitos and Homemade Chicken Fingers are perfect examples.

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These oven fries turn out so crispy and flavorful, I didn’t miss the fact that they were fried one bit! The secret is to soak them first to get rid of the excess starch and then dry well, and cook at high heat. The seasoning listed can easily be adapted to taste, this is just the combo that I most often use. I hope you enjoy, paired with one of the recipes above, or even one of my sandwich recipes and you will have one delicious meal!

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Crispy Oven Baked Fries

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons seasoned salt
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
    Fries:
  • 3 medium russet potatoes (russet are the best choice for perfect crispy fries)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan (optional)

Instructions

  • Combine seasoning ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.
  • Wash and peel the potatoes. Cut off the ends. With a very sharp knife, cut the potatoes into thin slices about 1/4 inch wide.
  • Add the fries to a large bowl and cover with cold water. Allow them to soak for at least 30 minutes but they can soak for as long as overnight. (Place in the fridge if soaking more than an hour).
  • After the fries have soaked, drain, rinse, and lay the fries on a paper towel lined cooling rack to dry while you preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Blot the tops with additional paper towels to absorb any excess moisture.
  • Line a baking pan with parchment paper or foil and spray with non-stick spray. Make sure the previously used bowl is dry and add the potatoes to it, add 1-2 tablespoons of oil and 1/2 – 1 Tablespoon of the seasoning mixture based on how much salt you prefer. Toss around to mix.
  • Evenly line the baking pan with the fries in a single layer. Don’t overlap or they fries won’t cook properly. Bake for about 30 minutes, flipping with a spatula once or twice after 15 minutes of cooking. Increase heat to 425 degrees and continue baking until the edges look a little burnt!
  • Sprinkle the fries with the other half of the seasoning mix and Parmesan cheese (optional). Serve immediately.
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    http://blondegirlcravings.com/2016/05/02/parmesan-oven-fries/

    Adapted from Layers Of Happiness

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    Dutch Oven Bread

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    Our internet went down at work recently, and it made me very aware of how reliant we are on it. Not being able to email people and having to *gasp* make phone calls was a real inconvenience!

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    Something else that seems to have gone away with the dark no internet ages is bread baking. Most of us don’t have the time/patience for it. And why would you need to bake your own bread when there are so many beautiful loaves available these days for purchase local grocery stores?


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    THIS loaf people- this is why you NEED to bake your own bread. It does not get any simpler than this. No kneading. No watching it rise. The dough can even be made up to 18 hours in advance. I have made countless loaves since finding this method, and I am a terrible friend for just now sharing it with you.

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    Remember the Grilled Turkey and Havarti Sandwich with Cranberry Jalapeno Relish I made last? Well the bread I used is the same loaf I am showing you today, I just added walnuts, orange zest and dried cranberries. The possibilities are endless! Today I added Italian seasoning, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.

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    I would love to hear what you add to your loaf. I promise it will turn out beautifully every time, and your family will be so impressed!

    Gaah, that crispy crust is perfection!!!

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    Dutch Oven Bread

    Ingredients

    • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping
    • 2 teaspoons sea salt
    • 1 teaspoon Red Star active dry yeast
    • 1½ cups warm water (about 110 to 115 degrees F)
    • optional:
    • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
    • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese + 2 tablespoons
    • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese + 2 tablespoons

    Instructions

  • In a large bowl, whisk flour, salt and yeast until well mixed. Pour in warm water and use a wooden spoon to stir until a shaggy dough forms. The mixture will be wet and very sticky to the touch.
  • Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place 8 to 18 hours until dough rises, bubbles and flattens on top.
  • Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Once oven is preheated, place a 6-quart Dutch oven (with lid) in oven 30 minutes before baking.
  • Punch down dough. Generously flour a sheet of parchment paper; transfer dough to parchment and, with floured hands, quickly shape into a ball. Knead in the Italian seasoning, 1/4 cup mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Place dough on parchment paper and sprinkle top lightly with flour. Top with a sheet of plastic wrap and let rest 30 minutes.
  • Remove Dutch oven from oven. Uncover dough and carefully transfer to Dutch oven. Sprinkle top with remaining cheeses. Cover Dutch oven and return to oven.
  • Bake bread 45 minutes covered, then another 10 to 15 minutes uncovered until dough is baked through and golden brown on top. Cool slightly before slicing
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    http://blondegirlcravings.com/2016/03/21/dutch-oven-bread/

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    Garlic-Ranch Chicken Pizza

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    Oh pizza. You complete me. Melty cheese on top of carbs- and bacon and ranch?? This pizza is my love language!

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    I love pizza, this much we know. But even I get a little bored of the same red sauce and pepperoni. I like the face that this pizza feels “lighter” somehow, and less greasy.

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    I used a homemade ranch for the sauce on this pizza, but in a pinch you could use store bought Hidden Valley is the only ranch I use.  I also love my easy homemade pizza dough recipe, but of course store bought works too!

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    Garlic-Ranch Chicken Pizza

    Ingredients

    • Dough for 1 large pizza- I used my favorite easy pizza dough recipe
    • For the pizza:
    • 2 cups Mozzarella cheese, shredded
    • 1/2 cup bacon, cooked and crumbled
    • 1 cup chicken, cooked and shredded*
    • 2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
    • For the Garlic-Ranch Sauce:
    • 2 Tbsp sour cream
    • 3 Tbsp mayonnaise
    • 2 1/2 Tbsp milk
    • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
    • 1/8 teaspoon chopped, dried chives
    • 1/8 teaspoon dill
    • 1/8 teaspoon dried parsley
    • dash of onion powder
    • Salt and pepper, to taste

    Instructions

  • Roll pizza rough to fit onto pizza pan. (I used a pizza stone.)
  • Mix all ingredients together for the garlic-ranch sauce. Spread mixture over the top of the pizza dough. Sprinkle 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese over top, followed by the chicken, bacon, and tomatoes. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake at 450 degrees F for 9-12 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly.
  • * I diced up chicken breast and sauteed with a little seasoning salt.
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    http://blondegirlcravings.com/2016/03/07/garlic-ranch-chicken-pizza/

     

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    Game Day Eats

    Here is a round up of some of my favorite eats for game day. Be sure to comment or post pics if you make a Blonde Girl Cravings recipe for the big game!!

    PicMonkey Collage

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    Mug Pancake

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    My oldest child is in Kindergarten this year. She only goes three days a week, which is a nice transition to get her (and mommy!) into the swing of what school days are going to be like.

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    Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so cold cereal doesn’t grace our table much. This easy mug cake is a nice change for her and it makes an easy meal for school mornings. With white whole wheat flour and coconut oil, it’s a meal I feel good about her eating.

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    She prefers chocolate chips added to her mug pancake, but blueberries would make a fantastic addition as well!

    Mug Pancake

    Ingredients

    • 1/4 cup whole wheat or white whole wheat flour
    • 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • dash of salt
    • 1 egg
    • 2 Tbsp milk
    • 1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
    • 2 Tbsp syrup
    • 1/4 tsp vanilla
    • 2 Tbsp blueberries (fresh or frozen) or chocolate chips

    Instructions

  • Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a microwave safe mug.
  • Whisk together the egg, milk, coconut oil, syrup, and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to the dry and mix well. Top with blueberries or chocolate chips (they will sink a little.)
  • Microwave for 60 - 90 seconds (check after 1 minute.) Serve with syrup.
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    http://blondegirlcravings.com/2016/01/25/mug-pancake/

    Recipe Source: Heather’s French Press

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    Bacon, Bleu Cheese & Caramelized Onion Tart

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    Lets talk fancy-ass food. Velveeta not so fancy. Little smokies- lacking some class. Cheetos? Maybe if I am in my PJ’s and slippers. All of those foods are delicious, but not really made to impress dinner guests if you are hosting an “adult” dinner party, ya know?

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    To me, this tart qualifies as fancy-ass. Anything with puff pastry instantly jumps up on the fancy scale, and you add bacon, caramelized onion and blue cheese and it’s definitely a dish meant to impress.

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    Frozen puff pastry is topped with a simple sauce made of sour cream, thyme and balsamic vinegar. Top with crispy bacon, cheese and caramelized onion, pop in the oven and you have a fast appetizer or light lunch paired with a salad.

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    Pinkies up!

    Bacon, Blue Cheese & Caramelized Onion Tart

    Ingredients

    • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
    • 1 T olive oil
    • 1 tsp butter
    • 5 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
    • 3 T crumbled blue cheese
    • 1/3 cup sour cream
    • 1/8 tsp dried thyme
    • 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 sheet puff pastry

    Instructions

  • In a large saute pan, heat the butter and olive oil over medium-high heat. Add in the onions and a big pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for 25-35 minutes until cooked down and caramelized (you may need to adjust the heat during the cooking process, so they don't burn.)
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and position the rack in the upper 1/3 of the oven. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, balsamic, and thyme with some salt and pepper.
  • On a lightly-floured work surface, roll the puff pastry out to a 14x10-inch rectangle. Cut 1/2 inch around all sides of dough, making sure not to cut completely through. Transfer to large baking sheet.
  • Spread the sour cream mixture into the center of the pastry, and to the edges. Add the caramelized onions evenly over the top, followed by the bacon and blue cheese.
  • Bake for 25-35 minutes until the pastry is golden and cooked, and the toppings are bubbly. Allow to cool slightly, and cut.
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    http://blondegirlcravings.com/2016/01/18/bacon-bleu-cheese-caramelized-onion-tart/

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    Raspberry Italian Soda

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    Before I could drive or have a job, I used to go to the city swimming pool every afternoon during the summer. Those were the days: sun, chlorine, not a care in the world. Those were also days before I knew the glory of coffee. I used to order Italian sodas and felt pretty cool with my plastic cup topped with mounds of whipped cream.

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    Regardless if I have been forced to grow up or not, Italian sodas are still delicious. This version uses a super simple homemade raspberry syrup, but there are a ton of flavored syrups for sale in stores now. Hope you enjoy!

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    Raspberry Italian Soda

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 cup water
    • ¾ cup raspberries, preferably fresh
    • Half and Half
    • Club Soda
    • Whipped Cream

    Instructions

  • Combine the sugar, water and raspberries in a small saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour through a fine mesh strainer to remove the berry solids. Let cool. Store in the refrigerator.
  • In a tall glass, add approximately ¼ cup of syrup. Fill glass most of the way with ice and then club soda. Top with a few splashes of half and half, and whipped topping. Stir and enjoy!
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    http://blondegirlcravings.com/2016/01/11/raspberry-italian-soda-2/

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    2015 Favorite Recipes

    How has another year come and gone?? Seems like it was just last month that I was posting Valentines recipes and putting up the Christmas tree!

    Here is a list of a few of my favorite posts from the blog this year. Be sure to comment or send me an email if you have tried a recipe, I love to hear feed back from you guys. Hope 2016 is a great year for you and your family, I love you all and thank you for reading!!

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    Red Velvet Cheesecake Ice Cream This stuff is eat straight from the container good.

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    Stuffed Pizza Bites. Pizza makes my world go round

    malt browniesMalt Ball Brownies. Pure chocolate bliss!

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    Taco Soup. Slow cooker recipe at its finest!

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    Chocolate Potato Chip Caramel Corn. Salty sweet crunch heaven.

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    One Pot Chicken Cordon Blue Pasta.  Dinner made easy!

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    Brownie Cookie Dough Ice Cream Cake. Fit for celebrating!

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     Carne Asada Nachos. Melty cheeeeese!

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