BLTA Salad

Oh, hello there. It’s been a while.

Actually it’s been over a year. I’ve had a lot going on, and far too many exciting things to list in a blog post without boring you. Let’s just say that I finally started having adventures with people important to my life and that meant leaving the blog behind for a while.

Jorge is pretty convinced that I should give the blog a makeover and combine my two loves, food and movies, together in a blog. So, I may see what I can do with that, provide you guys with recipes for foods that are inspired by my favorite movies. Does that sound good to anyone?

For now, here’s a simple salad that I am in love with. It’s simple to make and tastes delicious. It also makes you feel good about what is going in your body. So it’s a win, win for everyone.

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BLTA Salad

Serves 2 -4

  • 8 slices bacon
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 package bagged romaine lettuce
  • Dressing of choice, olive oil or vinaigrette based

What you do:

1. Pre-heat the oven according to the directions on the bacon package you chose.

(Right now i’m obsessed with Hormel’s Cherrywood Bacon. Check it out. That’s not a plug. I just like bacon.)

2. While your bacon is cooking in the oven, half all of the cherry tomatoes. Cut the avocado into cubes. Place the tomatoes, avocado, and lettuce in a bowl.

3. Let the bacon cool before cutting it into inch long pieces. Add to the bowl of veggies. Toss the salad ingredients until everything is distributed evenly.

4. Here comes the difficult part. If you aren’t eating the salad right away, don’t add dressing. If you leave it too long, it’ll make everything soggy. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of dressing per serving. I like to do it once I’ve distributed salad so that it’s totally coated.

Sorry this was so simple for my overdue return, but I’ve been eating this a lot lately so I wanted to share it with you.

A very special thank you to all my new followers who urged me to put out something new!

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Boozy Coconut Fudge

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It’s Leftovers Club Day! I wanted to do something different than my usual cookie recipe this month, so I decided to try my hand at fudge for the first time. I also knew I wanted to include some sort of alcohol, as it is almost St. Patrick’s Day and (sometimes) I like to actually live up to my Irish nature. So when I was paired with Mary Kay from Homemade Cravings, I developed a fudge recipe for her using one of the only spirits I actually drink — Malibu Rum. Malibu is rum that also uses coconut liquor. I am basically a fan of everything chocolate and coconut. I really hope she likes it because heaven knows I’m going to be obsessed with this California Pizza Kitchen Butter Cake that she’s sending me. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

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Recipe: Boozy Coconut Fudge

What You Need:

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Chunky Jalapeno Corn Chowder

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Today is my birthday! While semi-patiently awaiting dinner and dessert this evening with my favorite person, I decided to share this chowder I made this weekend with you guys. After all, the amazing people that read this blog (and those who write their own!) have inspired me so much within the last year. I have befriended some amazing women and men thanks to Dining With Dani. I am spending today reflecting on how much I have to be thankful for at the start of this year, and that includes every single one of you.

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One of my roommates favorite things about living with her is that I cook and bake almost every day. Some of it is for the blog, but some of it is just for fun. So when she asked me to make her corn chowder, I happily obliged. Actually, I crinkled up my nose at first. Mashed corn? Gross. But then I remembered that I’ve had corn chowder before — at Whiskey Cake back in December. Remember how much I raved about it? After thinking about that amazing afternoon, I was thrilled to try to recreate it for Ashley. The best part though was when I got a text telling me how amazing it was and that she planned to eat the whole crockpot in one sitting. That’s my girl.

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Recipe: Chunky Jalapeno Corn Chowder

What You Need:

  • 1 bag frozen corn kernels
  • 4 small potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 fresh jalapeno, diced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

     

    What To Do:

    1. Combine all ingredients except for the heavy cream in a crock pot and cook on HIGH for 8 hours.

    2. Stir in the heavy cream and use a potato masher to lightly mash the remaining chunks of potato.

     

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Simple Cinnamon Cookies

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It’s my birthday week! I mean, I guess yesterday technically started my birthday week, but my internet was down so I could not share this post with you. I wanted to take this week to share things I love with you. This post focuses on two things I love: clearance aisles and cinnamon.
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I am obsessed with the clearance aisle at Target. Well, I’m pretty much obsessed with Target in general, but mostly because that is where I do my extreme couponing. Even if I do not have a coupon for something, I love all the weird finds with those little red stickers on them. This weekend I found that little heart shaped plate in the top picture for under a dollar. Valentine’s may be over, but my affection for everything adorable clearly isn’t.

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My two true loves when it coms to baking are vanilla extract and cinnamon. I have had multiple people write me about recipes claiming there was an error with the vanilla extract in it. Nope. I just really like vanilla extract. It tastes awesome and smells like what I want heaven to smell like. Then there is cinnamon. Oh. Man. That is why when girls at work offered me this recipe,  I jumped at the chance to make it. These cookies are so simple, yet so tasty. They are soft, doughy, and rolled in cinnamon sugar bliss. Try them for yourself.

Recipe: Simple Cinnamon Cookies

Makes 2 dozen

What You Need:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon sugar

     

    What To Do:

    1. Heat the oven to 350 F.

    2. Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla extract until smooth.

    3. Stir in all dry ingredients.

    4. Roll into balls a little larger than golf balls. Roll each ball of dough in cinnamon sugar.

    5. Bake for 10 minutes.

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Maple Pecan Sugar Cookies

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Happy Gal-entine’s Day! Treat yo self to these new cookies! Alright, enough with the Parks and Recreation puns. These new cookies are my newest creation for The Leftovers Club. This month I was paired with our fearless leader Elizabeth from Food Ramblings. She made me these delicious Conversation Heart Brownies with Sea Salt. They were phenomenal. So phenomenal, in fact, that people visiting my new apartment ate almost all of them. I think I bribed visitors to show up with brownies? Sorry, not sorry.

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Because I am literally always on the go (hence the limited posts), I used a shortcut to make these cookies. I used refrigerated cookie dough as the base. They still tasted delicious and still had homemade touches. It is fun to find shortcuts that you can still put your own personal spin on. Then I cut the dough into hearts. I mean, it is Valentine’s tomorrow after all.

Recipe: Maple Pecan Sugar Cookies

Makes 2 1/2 dozen

What You Need:

Posted in Desserts | 7 Comments

Cherry Cordial Sweetheart Cake

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It’s February! While I am usually pretty indifferent to my birthday month, I now have this guy to change my views on all things romance-oriented. Not only has he planned out a wonderful Valentines evening (I don’t know where we’re going to dinner, but I hear it might include cannoli), but he also is celebrating his birthday this month. I apologize in advance for all the cutesy things posted on the blog this month, but when you are this happy it is hard to control it.
IMG_6392Besides my newfangled admiration, my inspiration for this cake came from a picture I saw in this month’s All You Magazine. Their cake was circular, tiered, and flavor neutral, but contained a Valentines staple — conversation heart candies. I knew right away that I had to make my own version of this adorable cake.

Recipe: Cherry Cordial Sweetheart Cake

What You Need:

  • 1 heart-shaped cake pan
  • 1 bag Conversation Heart Candies
  • 1 box Betty Crocker Chocolate Fudge cake mix
  • 1 tub Betty Crocker Cherry Frosting
  • 3 eggs for cake mix
  • 1 & 1/4 cup water for cake mix
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil for cake mix

 

 

 

 

What To Do:

1. Generously spray the bottom of the heart cake pan. Bake the cake according to the directions. I added in the eggs, oil, and water you need just so you could make sure you have them on hand.

2. Let the cake cool completely before you attempt to take it out of the pan. Cover the entire cake with a thick layer of cherry icing, making sure it is even. Place the cake in the fridge until the icing is firm.

3. Take the cake out of the fridge and place it on a board or plate that can easily be turned while decorating. Gently press the conversation hearts into rows on the sides of the cake until they completely cover them. (I made a little pattern out of the different colors.)

4. Use a butter knife to draw an outline of a heart on the top of your cake. Press a pattern of candies onto the line to hide it.

5. Keep in a airtight container until serving.

 

Happy February! I hope yours is as sweet as this cake!

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Spicy Pepperoni and Pineapple Pinwheels

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I am very excited about this post because it’s my first ever link-up party post! The fabulous group of bloggers are all doing tailgating recipes, so definitely make sure you check them all out for inspiration for all your football watching. I decided to make pinwheels inspired by pizza I had last week — pepperoni, pineapple, and jalapeno. It sounds weird, I know, but it tastes amazing. They are an easy way to get a filling fix during the big game.

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Recipe: Spicy Pepperoni and Pineapple Pinwheels

Makes 20 pinwheels

What You Need:

  • 2 seamless rolled dough sheets
  • 1/4 cup pepperoni slices
  • 1/4 cup diced pineapple
  • 2 tablespoons diced jalapenos
  • 1/2 cup mozzerella cheese
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauceWhat To Do:1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F.2. Carefully unroll the dough. Using a pastry brush, lightly spread half the sauce onto the top. Sprinkle half the cheese evenly over the sauce.

    3. Top with half of the pepperoni, pineapple, and jalapeno. Starting at one of the long ends, roll the dough back up.

    4. Repeat this process with the remaining ingredients. Refrigerate both logs for at least an hour.

    4. Cut each log into 1/2 inch thick slices. Place onto a baking sheet.

    5. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the dough begins to brown.

    Click the aodrable blue frog below to see the other tailgating recipes!:

Posted in Appetizers | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Nutty White Chocolate Cherry Cookies

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It’s Leftovers Club Day! This month I was paired with Sandra from Meadows Cooks. I decided to stick with what I know and make her some awesome cookies. I know that everyone is looking for healthy recipes this month, but I just couldn’t help myself. If it helps, white chocolate isn’t actually chocolate. No? Whatever. Use your cheat day to indulge.

IMG_6358Recipe: Nutty White Chocolate Cherry Cookies

Makes 2 1/2 dozen

What You Need:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup macademia nuts, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 5 oz dried cherries
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

What To Do:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 300  F.

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugars, salt, and baking soda.

3. Add in the butter, vanilla, and eggs until evenly incorporated.

4. Gently fold in the nuts, cherries, and white chocolate chips.

5. Drop dough by the rounded tablespoon onto an ungreased baking sheet.

6. Bake for 15 minutes.

leftovers-logo1Want to see what all my friends made? Follow the links below! Happy Thursday!

Cranberry Almond Shortbread Tartlets – Meadows Cooks

Spiced Pecans – Lacey L Moody

Mud Pie Stuffed Oreo Brownie Cupcakes – Frugal Foodie Mama

Strawberry Jam Thumbprint Cookies – Cooking with Milton

Banana Bread – Recipe for Random

The Best Dang Granola Bars Ever – Sugar Dish Me

Honey Ginger Candied Grapefruit Peels – Pinch and Swirl

Blood Orange Rosemary Olive Oil Bread – Girl in the Little Red Kitchen

Meyer Lemon Macarons – Joanne Eats Well With Others

Homemade Sriracha – Mind Over Batter

Roasted Banana Muffins – Cooking in Stilettos

Chocolate, Banana, and Buttermilk Muffins – Omeletta

Maple-Buttermilk Muffins – Low-Acid Kitchen

Pecan Bars – Food Ramblings

Spicy Cracked Pepper and Romano Cheese Crackers – Live Bake Love

Homemade Cinnamon Granola – Take A Bite Out of Boca

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Hojaldre (and a 2013 Recap!)

2013 is coming to a close tonight. Can you believe it? Although my year started out rough, this has probably been one of the best years of my life. I have gotten to do so many things: interview film stars, go to some great concerts, make some incredible new friends and eat some incredible food. If you follow me on Instagram, you know about most of these great moments. Here’s a quick look at some in case you missed them.

945477_4667262729328_1818480560_nIn April of this year, I did press coverage of the Dallas International Film Festival. It was probably the best two weeks of my life. I watched dozens of movies (for free!) and got to interview some outstanding talent. Above is my favorite picture from the festival that another writer took. The woman I am talking to is actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead. She’s laughing because I am telling her my 9 year old godson will only watch one of her movies with the commentary on.
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1000218_10200705848358372_1886857620_n I was actually lucky enough to meet a ton of people over the course of this year. Two of my favorite encounters were with The Hangover star Ken Jeong when I went to New York this summer, and Jerry Springer in early November.

IMG_2961 IMG_2992This year has also been all about foodie adventures. The best meal I have had this year was at a place called Whiskey Cake. The first picture is of the amazing soup and sandwich I had there, before splitting their namesake whiskey cake and almost crying because of how delicious it was. The second picture is from a few weeks ago when my roommate and I almost got into a car accident because I screamed when we passed the Ben & Jerry’s store. She immediately whipped the car around so that I could try the Anchorman flavor that I could not find at the grocery store.

leftovers-logo1A big part of my year food-wise was joining The Leftovers Club. The club is a monthly nationwide food exchange. Each month I am paired up with yet another incredible cook and we exchange baked goods and other random creations through the mail. Although some of my inventions haven’t been that great, the best part about it is getting to meet (if only virtually) some amazing people that inspire me to be a better chef and a better person. Most of the other members are older. They have husbands and beautiful children and spend their days making some of the most delicious things I have ever tasted. Yet somehow, they all take time out to talk to me. They ask me about Chase, they send me tips when I can’t figure out a recipe, and they make me laugh on days when nothing in or out of the kitchen is going right. If you want to check out the blogs of some of the fantastic people I have gotten to know this year, here are some of their blogs.

Bakeaholic Mama

Frugal Foodie Mama

A Zesty Bite

Healthy Delicious

Notes From A Messy Kitchen

Savory Simple

Sugar Dish Me

Pineapple & Coconut
1377040_10200572242658313_487514687_nOne of the most significant things that happened this year is when my Chocolate Covered Espresso Cookies I made for The Leftovers Club got published in the November issue of All You Magazine. If I have to be completely honest, I only entered because the prize was free Ben & Jerry’s stuff. So when a swag bag full of ice cream coupons came in the mail, I was in heaven. Then 7 months later, my mom was reading All You on her tablet when my face popped up. One of the things on my bucket list was to get something I wrote or photographed published, so it was a super huge deal.

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There were so many things that happened this year that it would bore you to death to look at pictures of them all. At 23 years old, I learned to ride a bike. I bought my first car. I signed the lease to my first apartment. I went to some incredible concerts, spent tons of hours in a movie theatre, and laughed so hard that at times my ribs were sore for weeks. That last part is thanks in part to the new friends I met this year, one of which is the reason the recipe below exists.

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Last month, one of my closest friends (and the person who gave me this on Christmas, if you’re keeping track) walked into work and asked me a simple question “Jalapenos or no jalapenos?” I had no idea what I was in for so I replied with, “Either.” “Jalapenos it is, then.” When I returned to my station something was wrapped in a napkin and taped shut. When I opened it, I saw this weird pastry looking thing, but it definitely smelled like meat. Having no idea what was to come, I bit it. It was one of the most delicious (and one of the spiciest) things I have ever put in my mouth. I instantly texted my friend, asking what this magic snack was called and where he had gotten it. The pastry is called hojaldre, and the response to the second part is that he made it with his dad. Yes. All the yes.

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One of the favorite memories of the entire year didn’t include celebrities. It didn’t include concert-going (unless you include me dancing to the BeeGees in a kitchen as a show), and it didn’t include getting dressed up for yet another adventure. It was me in my sweatpants learning how to make hojaldre from a father and son that I feel so lucky to know. Therefore, my last post of the year will be teaching you this recipe that means so much to me.

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Recipe: Hojaldre

Makes 12 pastries

What You Need:

  • 1 & 1/2 packages Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets, thawed
  • flour for dusting, rolling dough
  • 9 oz. deli-style ham
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1/4 cup jalapenos, canned, diced, and drained
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded

     

    What To Do:

    1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 F.

    2. Empty the cheese into a large bowl and mix with two tablespoons flour. Empty the deli meat onto a large cutting board and chop into small pieces. Set aside.

    3. Remove a pastry sheet from the box and generously flour both sides. Carefully unfold the sheet so it is completely flat and flour each side again. Set aside. Repeat this process with the other two sheets.

    4. Take one sheet and roll the dough out until it is thin and roughly the dimensions of the baking sheet you are using. Using a sharp knife, cut off any dough that does not lay completely flat on the tray.

    5. Crack the egg into a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Using a pastry brush, or a paintbrush if you are getting classy like we were, line the edges of the dough with egg. This will serve as an adhesive for the nest layer.

    6. Sprinkle 1/2 the cheese in the space between the egg border. Top with half the ham, making sure to evenly distribute it. Top with half the jalapenos.

    7. Sprinkle 1/3 of the sugar onto the ham and cheese layer. Set baking dish aside.

    ** When adding the next layer, it is easiest to gently fold it accordion-style and then lift it onto the bottom layer before unfolding. This makes it more difficult for it to break when you are laying it down**

    8. Repeat steps 4 – 7 , pressing the edges of your new layer to the bottom in order to seal the dough.

    9. Place your final pastry sheet onto the top, once again carefully sealing the edges. Brush the entire surface with egg. Generously sprinkle with the remaining sugar.

    10. Bake for 40 minutes. Let the pastry cool (it has been so cold out in Texas that we took it outside) completely before you attempt to cut it.

    11. Use a pizza cutter to cut the pastry into thirds longways. Turn the pan and slice these into fourths (to make 12).

    12. While I enjoy eating hojaldre right out of the fridge because I am impatient, you can warm yours for 35 seconds in the microwave if you want a warmer snack.

    13. Store leftovers in an airtight container and place in the fridge.

Posted in Desserts | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter & Peppermint Cookies

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I am so excited for Christmas this year. I am pretty sure I bought more presents than I ever have before. There is something so special to me about the thought that goes behind selecting gifts for people. The present doesn’t even have to cost any money. It isn’t about what you get, it’s about spending the holidays with the people who matter. This year I have encountered so many new people who are already so incredibly important to me, especially friends I made at the job I started over the summer. While several of them and I are exchanging actual gifts, I am working hard to develop some holiday-themed snacks to share with the rest my newfound crew.

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Anyone who is close to me will tell you how much I love couponing. My favorite source is Ibotta, a free app that pays you back when you buy a specific product. I discovered through the app that Jif now makes spreadable chocolate- peanut butter hybrids and immediately stopped what I was doing to go purchase all of them. The whipped peanut butter and peppermint one is insanely good and is the icing on these chocolate delights.

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Double Chocolate Peanut Butter & Peppermint Cookies

Makes 2 dozen

What You Need:

  • 2 & 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup crushed peppermint
  • 1/2 cup Jif Whipped Peanut Butter and Peppermint Chocolate Spread

 

What To Do:

1. Mix the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl.

2. Add in all other ingredients except for the peppermint and the Jif.

3. Sprinkle in half of the crushed peppermint and mix until fully combined.

4. Refridgerate dough for at least one hour.

5. Pre-heat oven to 375 F.

6. Scoop dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet by the heaping teaspoon.

7. Gently flatten the dough by pressing it lightly with your fingers.

8. Bake for seven minutes.

9. Let cool completely.

10. Spread a generous spoonful of the chocolate spread onto each cookie until it creates an even coating. Top each cookie with the remaining peppermint pieces.

11. Refrigerate the cookies until you are ready to eat them. The icing will never fully harden, so be careful when storing the cookies in containers.

 

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