Happy Thanksgiving weekend! How was Thanksgiving? Any plans for this weekend?
My week was mostly spent working-although I did go to Michael's youngest brother's school band concert (and no, not like "band" band...like...rock band band.)-it was awesome! Thursday was, obviously, Thanksgiving. We had lunch/dinner with Michael's stepmom's side of the family and then we drove to Youngstown for dinner with his mom's side of the family. It was super fun and we super stuffed ourselves, as always. Yesterday it was back to work, but I did get to spend some time with my best friend (who lives in St. Louis and I haven't seen since the wedding!)-so that was amazing! We had brunch at this great cafe/bakery that's all organic/seasonal/local called The Blue Door Cafe. I had a waffle with chocolate pudding and vanilla sauce, and a croissant, and Alex got a corned beef hash with eggs and smoked bacon. We loved everything! Today I work and then I'm going to go spend some more time with Alex, as well as her family, and then Michael and I are having another Thanksgiving dinner at Michael's mom's with his siblings and then tomorrow is my mom's family's Thanksgiving. WOO! This is a lot of food, people.
I relate to every little bit of this sketch--from the ignorant and annoying dinner conversation to being unable to resist turning into Adele when "Hello" comes on:
I know! Tomorrow is Thanksgiving!!! But if you haven't fully figured out what you're making...might I suggest these muffins as a unique alternative to rolls? Because you guys...they're awesome. You and your friends/family will loooove them!
Savory muffins should be a more commonplace thing! They're so much easier to make than rolls and they're just as full of carb-y goodness and you can do so many different flavor combinations! Like.....seriously.....sweet roasted onions and buttery brie paired with just a hint of rosemary all in a slightly tangy buttermilk muffin....I WOULD HAVE NEVER THOUGHT OF IT but I am so glad that I tried it because...whoa. Delish. Addictive. Unique. And baking them makes your house smell amazing.
I definitely suggest you make these if you're having a get-together (or if your family can eat 12 muffins) because these are really best the day that they're baked! And seriously...look at that muffin--look at the delicious roasted onions all up in there. And the melted brie on top. Om nom nom nom noooommm! Commence the eating!
Yepp. Another one-pot recipe. I'm serious about not doing dishes and feeding my hubby (seriously...if I don't feed him he gets all whiny and it's no fun. Ask anyone with an Italian husband lol.) Anyway, one of the beautiful things about this Mexican Rice Casserole recipe is you can definitely customize it based on your preferences! You can add in onions, peppers, corn, or any other veggies you fancy! You can also add in some cooked meat (so me making chicken and adding it sort of increased the dishes I needed to wash post this recipe but...that's ok! Plus you could just buy pre-prepared chicken or sausage or whatever and throw it in there to maintain the one-pot'dness.) And, although it's pretty healthy to begin with, you can make this dish even better for you by using brown rice (which I did!)
Regardless of any customization you decide to do, the base of the recipe is this: rice, veggies, spices, tomatoes, and cheeeese! It makes an awesome side dish or entree and is full of flavors! It's also colorful...which is pretty important for Michael and his food. He likes for food to be about more than just taste, he gets really into the textures and colors too. It's pretty hilarious, except when he's griping about how I make too many brown "bland" foods---but that's why I make recipes like this one! To keep me sane and make him happy! And so I can share the happiness and sanity-savingness with all of you. This "casserole" is a perfect weeknight meal and I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Fun fact: after you get married...there are a lot of wedding pictures. And you want to put them up. So you have to order prints. And I was lucky enough to be able to order the majority of my wedding prints from AdoramaPix-a staple in the photography community (based out of my old stomping grounds, NY!) with unparalleled quality and fantastic prices! (Seriously...some of the most inexpensive photo printing prices that I've seen).
Although I ordered a bunch of different prints from AdoramaPix, the biggest thing that I got myself was a canvas print to hang above our fireplace. Since this picture is the centerpiece of our house...it was important that it turned out just right! The good news is AdoramaPix gave me everything I needed to create my perfect canvas. First I had to upload a high resolution image (and I learned that most images are sized for a maximum of an 16x20 print, luckily AdoramaPix's amazing customer service were able to take the image I gave them and create a larger file size that would give me better resolution at a larger print size! Seriously...the customer service team is above and beyond, they totally went out of their way to accommodate me at every turn!) and then I chose the size--there are existing size options but you can also do a custom size! We ended up going with a custom size: 18x24, large but not too large (and then you crop the photo as needed to fit the size you choose). Finally you have to choose what you want around the edges of the canvas--you can stretch the picture continuously around the borders, have it mirrored, or pick a color (the default is black, changing it is a smidge complicated--but usually black is the best choice anyway). My initial instinct was stretched, however Michael preferred the idea of a crisp black border and I have to say...he was right! After making all these decisions you can view a preview of your print in 2D or 3D and then you place your order and they work their printing magic!
Erm, I hate dishes. And I have a husband who is constantly needing variation in his cuisine (unlike me who is perfectly happy with all meat & potatoes, all the time). Soooo I'm getting really into the idea of making one pot meals for him. They're easy, the dirty pretty much 1 dish, and he gets something new to eat. I think we can all agree that this is a win situation, yeah?
Michael has a mini love affair with New Orleans food--mind you, we haven't been to NOLA (yet) but when we go out to eat and a menu item says New Orleans or Cajun...Michael's probably going to order it. So I loved the idea of Cajun Chicken Alfredo! Not to mention--not only is this recipe quick and easy, and all made in one pot, BUT it also is made with ingredients you almost definitely already have (the Cajun seasoning is the only thing I needed to buy for this recipe, and I know Michael is happy that we now have that!) Oh yeah and...it's actually pretty healthy. Hooray!
Creamy, thick alfredo sauce (made from broth and milk-no heavy cream or butter!) that has that extra bit of Cajun spice envelops soft fettuccine noodles and perfectly seasoned chicken. Michael was definitely a fan, and I loved how simple the whole thing was. This will be getting made again...and again...and again....
Thanksgiving is coming up! It'll be here before we know it, and I know a lot of us are scouring the internets for inspiration for what desserts we're going to make and serve this year! Sooo...I compiled a little list with some inspiration. I think any/all of these would be the perfect way to end your Thanksgiving feast!
(these are all listed as you see in the picture above--left to right, top to bottom)
Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes
The perfect, foolproof, recipe for decadent chocolate lava cakes! They're always impressive but SO easy to make (and you can make them ahead of time and then bake when needed!)
IT'S MY BIRTHDAY WEEKEND!!! YIPPEEEEEE!!! Yesterday (my actual bday) I went to Chagrin Falls with my brother and we had Jeni's Ice Cream and burgers at FlipSide. Then it was opening night for our old high school's fall play (which I assistant directed and Michael's sister stars in). After the show we went to dinner with Michael's best friend (the director) and their friend Andrew, his wife, Michael's mom, and Michael's brother and his girlfriend. It was super fun :) Today I have to work but then later Michael and I are meeting up with my friends Deanna and Kinsley for a triple date at B Spot. And tomorrow I work and then my mom and brother are going to come up and we'll go out for my birthday dinner :)
But let's back up to last weekend: Saturday, after I worked, we went to Michael's best friend's house because his daughters were visiting. The youngest (who is almost 2) for some reason decided Michael was her favorite and kept yelling "MichaelMichaeeel!" and it made me outrageously jealous. Then we went and spent a few hours at Michael's mom's. Sunday (again...after work) we went to eat with some of Michael's work friends at a place called BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse. The food and beer were all fantastic but...dessert. Guys, I have 4 words for you: Peanut. Butter. S'mores. Pizookie. OMGEEE-sooo good.
The rest of the week was mostly full of me helping with rehearsals and working and getting stuff done. Michael aspires to be BatDad. Bahahaa this article about sleepovers for people born in the 80's/90's. I LOVE Sesame Street and this round up of some of their most fantastic parodies made me have all the giggles. FINALLY! My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is happening:
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #DairyFree4All #CollectiveBias
I'm not dairy-free but that hasn't stopped me from lusting after So Delicious Dairy Free® frozen treats. I've long seen them and made a note to myself, "Hey...those look yummalicious. You should get them sometime." So when I had the opportunity to create a dairy-free recipe using So Delicious, I RAN to the frozen section of my closest Walmart! I was faced with a dizzying array of amazing options...but my heart was stolen when I laid eyes on their Cashew Salted Caramel Cluster and Cashew Dark Chocolate Truffle. Sweet and salty cashew milk based frozen dessert with chocolate covered cashews and ribbons of salted caramel? HEAVEN. Fair trade cocoa (also cashew milk based) frozen goodness folded with fudge and shaved chocolate? OMIGOSH YES.
Now...before I could create a recipe...I had to at least give each of the frozen desserts a try. And I can 100% confidently attest that they were RICH, DECADENT, CREAMY, and seriously insanely delicious. I think I'm a complete convert--I've gone So Delicious Dairy Free® and I don't think I can go back! It's seriously so unbelievable that they are:
Dairy-Free and Egg-Free
Non-GMO Project Verified
No artificial colors, flavors, trans-fats, hydrogenated oils, or preservatives
No high-fructose corn syrup
Always 100% plant-based
Like....WHAAAT? Not to mention the fact that many of their products are also made with organic ingredients. Be still my good-food-lovin' heart: no wonder So Delicious Dairy Free® has been a dairy-free staple for more than 25 years! Seriously...their products are outstandingly delicious and something you can feel good about eating (or drinking...or licking..)
I decided the perfect way to highlight the 2 delectable pints of So Delicious Dairy Free® goodness that I picked up was in the form of a vegan (and, obviously, dairy-free) frozen pie! The base is a perfect, no-bake, chocolate cookie crust. Then there's a layer of the Cashew Salted Caramel Cluster, topped with a layer of Cashew Dark Chocolate Truffle. And the finishing touch? You cover the entire pie with vegan salted caramel sauce (which you are more than welcome to buy, but I have included a recipe below!) This pie is the perfect melding of flavors, everything balances so nicely and it all tastes deliiiicious together! The alternating layers of chocolate and caramel. The crunchy crust, creamy frozen filling, and gooey caramel. The perfect marriage of salty and sweet. A dessert that can be enjoyed by practically everyone-vegan or not! Guys...this is a good one, you're going to LUHVE it. The name does not lie....it really is: SO DELICIOUS!
..or, you know, not....I suppose you could always make the sauce and omit the onions. If that's the sort of path you want to take in life. Whatev. You do you, boo.
But I highly recommend the onions.
Psssttt...I also have a fun fact about this pasta for you....IT'S HEALTHY! The "sauce" is made from Greek yogurt, roasted garlic, and broth (I used chicken broth but if you're vegetarian you can use vegetable broth). If you're skeptical about the Greek yogurt, and worried it might be too tangy---um...don't be. I am NOT a tangy person, I do not care for that flavor profile. But I loved this pasta (it helps if you use a brand of Greek yogurt that's less tangy, like Fage, and also...those caramelized onions help too. Seriously. Just use 'em.)
Parmesan cheese, roasted garlic, caramelized onions...all over a big bowl of carbs!
...This might be my idea of heaven. If there are cookies for dessert than yeah, I'm definitely reaching a personal state of Nirvana with this situation. Thank you, pasta....thank you.
I just had an hour and a half long phone call that has been long over due with my best friend (who lives in St. Louis), so I'm pretty happy right now :)
How was your Halloween? I worked and then Michael and I went to his dad's to help hand out candy to trick-or-treaters and eat dinner, which was fun! Then we went and spent some time with his mom and siblings....and we ended up playing Rock Band until 3AM. This is what happens when you hang out with a college-aged person. Sunday my cousin Emily (the one who lives in NY) was able to stop over and visit with us for a little bit, which is always so fun! Then Michael and I proceeded to do nothing but watch Parks and Rec all day (we're on the 5th season!)
Other than that I just have been doing more help with my old high school's rehearsals for the play-which is next weekend. I'm a little concerned because pretty much no one is memorized (at least not completely) soooo that's scary. And my brother and I hung out on Wednesday because that's our new official hang out day (O'Charleys has this thing called Free Pie Wednesday and he goes crazy for it).
Life has been pretty good, all in all :) Jimmy Kimmel does this every year and it never gets old:
Now this is MY KIND of ice cream! After making twowonderful (but not up my personal alley) batches of ice cream for Michael, I finally made some for ME*!
*Ok...it's for both of us. I'm still nice, I share.
My current favorite ice cream flavor (aside from Jeni's Salty Caramel), that I order when I go to most places, is dark chocolate with peanut butter swirl. I need the chocolate to be chocolatey (none of that sub-par, barely chocolatey ice cream for me!) and I need the pb swirl to be nutty and gratuitous--no skimping on the peanut butter!!! This recipe is everything I want! It's rich and the chocolate flavor is perfect, and there is PLENTY of salty and nutty peanut buttery goodness swirled up in there.
Bonus? The recipe is super easy and egg-free. I won't say that it's healthy but...it's not as bad for you as it could be (no egg yolks mean lower fat, dark chocolate is good for you, and the peanut butter swirl is created from just mixing peanut butter and coconut oil together!) For ideal peanut buttery results...I suggest you make homemade crunchy peanut butter. It's the perfect accompaniment to the chocolate ice cream. If you like rich desserts then this is for you! It also makes the perfect amount---not so much that you can't make it all at once in your ice cream maker, but enough that you won't run out too quickly. This is definitely a winner all around!
Soup season is here, everyone! And I had yet to make a chicken noodle soup recipe that I liked (a couple ill-fated attempts in the past resulted in ridiculously bland, giant batches of soup). Sure I had a chicken and potato chowder that I was (and still am) obsessed with, but we all need a simple chicken noodle soup recipe in our repertoire, no?
Yes! And this turned out to be the perfect one. Michael and I both prefer heartier soups, so the fact that this is a creamy chicken noodle soup helps add to it. And if you're concerned about your waistline-don't be! The creaminess comes from fat-free evaporated milk, so you can have your soup and eat it too! It's comforting and classic and I know we're all going to be happy to have this when someone inevitably comes down with a cold* (or at least if we come home after a chilly day and need something to warm us up the way only soup can!) And it's actually pretty quick to make! Soup for everyone!