Thursday, January 31, 2013

Deviled egg dip

In case any of you were interested, I was featured on Simply Bridal's website a couple of months ago since I won a free wedding dress from them last year. I entered a Facebook contest based on votes from friends and won 3rd place, which qualified me to choose a dress from their website. I still feel bad about my constant posting begging all my friends to vote for me, but only a little bad when I think about how excited I was to find out that I won on Christmas morning. Christmas ever. Anyway, check out my interview with them and if you are in the market for a wedding dress anytime soon, I would recommend them hands down! I would not, however, recommend eating this dip. This is a post wedding dress diet dip, mind you. You may even want to stop reading now, because the calories could be airborne. Not sure, just playing it safe...I'm here for you.
You know how I feel about deviled eggs, right? Well, at least how I feel about my Aunt Vicki's deviled eggs...
They are strictly holiday food. No cheating. There's no reason in this world that I should eat 12 deviled eggs, and that's exactly what I would do if I was only sharing with Main Man. The only reason we stop eating them at holidays is when they're gone. There's literally never one deviled egg leftover from the double to quadrupled batch at my family gatherings. But they're kinda a pain to make, ya know? It's a process. With a result like Aunt Vicki's deviled eggs, it's worth it. But I was sort of thinking life could be a little easier...kinda like when I discovered that I could cook sweet corn in the microwave. Lifechanging. So I figured this was worth a shot. I saw a couple recipes for it on Pinterest, but decided to use Aunt Vicki's recipe to make this a dip. I just diced up the egg whites and added them to the filling, rather than filling them with the yolk mixture. Check the link above for the ingredients and instructions, and throw this stuff together for your Superbowl won't be disappointed! I used Triscuits for dipping but you could use Wheat Thins, or even Club crackers. Waaaaaay easier, and my deviled egg lovin' Main Man was impressed as well. Win, win!

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Jalapeno creamed corn

Mmmmmmmmmm. That's it.


1/2 cup butter
1-8oz package cream cheese (I use fat free)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
2-4 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
4 10oz cans white shoepeg corn, drained
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Melt the butter and cream cheese in a saucepan over medium heat
Stir in the flour, milk, and jalapeƱos
Cook until the mixture reaches a pudding-like consistency
Pour the corn into a 2-quart casserole dish
Pour the cheese mixture over the corn
Cover with aluminum foil
Bake in the preheated oven 30 to 45 minutes

Don't let my lack of verbage make you believe this dish is less than fabulastic. Nice little pops of flavor but not too much heat, these will be on my menu again soon, fo sho. It's even been entered into the "favorites" tab...and that just speaks for itself.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Crab bruschetta

If you like rainy days, today would be a great day for you in Iowa. If you like snowy days, today would be a great day for you in Iowa. This year, Old Man Winter or Mother Nature (whichever one of them is behind this) has been finicky and persnickety at best. It was in the 50's while we were on our honeymoon, when we got back there were 40 mph wind gusts and below zero windchills. It's been warmish and rainy the past couple days, but we're supposed to get 3-6 inches of snow with some nice wind tonight, and on Thursday the high is 1. Yeah, that's right. The high is 1. Which means if you include the windchill, we're supposed to be negative 20 something. I'm not complaining, I grew up in Iowa, I'm used to this shizz. But I will say that it's a little harder to remember what -25 feels like when we didn't even hit zero last year. Whether it's global warming or whatever, I would be fine with the temperature shift we've experienced in the past year...this -25 business is for the birds...and they're not even here!
This recipe was very much a throw-together that I made at the very last second for the Wid party we had this Fall at my place. I had a recipe laying around somewhere for crab bruschetta so I had all the ingredients, but I couldn't find my printout, so I just wung it (winged it, wang it?) and this was the result. I had people ask me for the recipe so I guess that meant it was good...I never did get a chance to snag a piece, so I will have to trust my guests and their taste buds.
One thing I would have done normally, but failed to do so because guests started walking in, was brush the bread with olive oil and bake it for 5 minutes at 400 degrees to give it that telltale bruschetta crunch...but these did disappear just the way they were so if you would like to, I think you can get away with skipping that step.
1 baguette, thinly sliced
1 lb jumbo lump meat crab
3-4 roma tomatoes, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 T lemon juice
2 t basil
2 t oregano
2 T olive oil
cracked black pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients besides the bread, and mix thoroughly. Pile the bread slices with the mix and bake for 10-15 minutes at 400 degrees. If you want to have crispier bread as mentioned above, brush each slice with olive oil and bake before the toppings are added, then add toppings and bake as directed.

Main Man is under the weather this week so we've been having a comfort food marathon, which means I will have some great recipes to share with you soon...think crockpot chicken cordon bleu! Stay tuned for sick week postings...comfort foods to make anyone feel better!

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Peanut butter pretzel bites

Hear that?? That's the sound of your new years resolution yelling "See ya next year!" before jetting out the back door. He knew he was unwelcome from the beginning, but he finally knew he was outmatched when he saw these little babies that were calling your name from the other end of the kitchen. Man, it's loud in here with all these imaginary voices. Welcome to my world...
I technically made these before the resolution was made, so I'm safe...but you're not. These are great for any get together, and seemed to disappear quite rapidly when I brought them to my Great Aunt Mary's for our family get together in December. It wasn't Christmas, but we still had an amazing spread...I can't even wait to share the Heath bar salad or the cheesy taters with you that my second cousin Theresa made. Wait, if she's my mom's cousin, does that make her my second cousin? Or my first cousin, once removed? Whatever...we're related. And I'm glad we are. My relatives make awesome food.
These little lovelies were made on a girls night with Leslie and Dani where we were also making Leslie's homemade caramels and made the decision (or resolution, if you will) to get together and make these every year for the holidays. I like caramel resolutions way better than no caramel resolutions. I'll have to remember that.
Moving on into the world of salty pretzels with creamy peanut butter and sweet chocolate, where you make 20% more than you need because a certain amount of them inevitably fall victim to the gaping hole in your face without your knowledge....these are gooooood. They're once you pop, you can't stop gooooood. Pringles level. I realize that's an aggressive description. Trust me. Don't trust yourself with these.
Here we go! Do you know Shelby on Swamp Loggers? That's Main Man's favorite tv quote and voice to imitate. It makes me giggle. I lurve giggling.
I'll stop with the completely random segues now and just tell you what we did...I apologize for giving you a glimpse into my ADD this fine Monday morning.
1 package chocolate almond bark
1 bag pretzels (I looked for the Christmas shaped ones but guess I was too late, had to go with twists)
jar of all natural creamy peanut butter
Hopefully you have an awesome mom like me and got yourself a double boiler for Christmas so you can melt things without burning them. No? Don't worry, I lived a lot of years without one, you'll make it. Just use 2 pots, one larger than the other so the small one fits inside the larger one. Put an inch or two of water into the bottom of the larger one and place the smaller one inside the larger one while the water comes to a boil.
Add the almond bark to the empty, smaller pot and cover it. Stir every few minutes until fully melted. This worked well having an assembly line type process going on, so Dani filled the middle of two pretzels with peanut butter, handed them to me to dunk in the melted almond bark, and then we laid them out on waxed paper to dry. This would be a fun one for kids to participate in, and it involves a lot of finger licking to get chocolate or peanut butter off your hands. Don't worry, I washed my hands a trillion and a half times after I would find my finger in my mouth every two seconds.

That's all folks, besides me wishing you a happy Monday and telling you that I would've rather taken an ice pick to the eye than get out of bed this morning. I'm better now. No icepicks needed.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Buffalo chicken cups

Oh me, oh my...I've noticed we're still on Christmas food. And this isn't the last of it. It's tough to go back and look at garlic artichoke cheesy bread and these buffalo chicken dip cups when I'm trying to eat clean after the unforgivable amount of food on our recent cruise. Salivation at 9 am is not attractive...or comfortable.  It's a long time till lunch, people! Sorry if this does to you what it's doing to me...or maybe you aren't drooling since you don't have the memory of how fantastic these tasted. In that lose. I shall salivate my own little desk puddles and imagine myself swimming laps in one of these buffalo chicken cups with my mouth open the whole time. Was that too far? Sorry...
This is a very simple recipe, and I had the idea for quite a while before I ever got to execution stages. You know how I love the buffalo chicken dip, right? Like I love it so much, I have to come up with ways to limit my intake of the stuff. Individual cups that I can put on my plate, rather than hovering over the crockpot and dipping till I can't dip no more seemed like a good way to do that. And it worked! I only had 2 cups rather than two actual measured cups of dip layered onto 2 huge handfuls of chips. You too can trick yourself into portion control! Because let's be real...tricking myself is the only way portion control really happens...
Here's what you need:
4 chicken breasts, seasoned, baked, and diced
1 container fat free cream cheese
3 T light Ranch (I use Ken's because it's the best, just ask my friend Jennnnnn, she's a ranch connoisseur)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
hot sauce to taste (I use Frank's buffalo sauce)
1 package wonton wrappers
Mix it all up in a bowl. Mixmixmix, mixmixmix, mix your dippy, yeah, mix your dippy!! Name the tune that is sung to and you will receive...nothing, I guess, but there will be some respect involved if you can climb into my head that far and come out with my weirdness unscathed.

Pam up your muffin tin, and place wonton wrappers in each hole to be spoon filled with the love that is buffalo chicken dip....

Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes, keeping an eye on them because ovens are testy little suckers and some ovens will burn things while others have to cook them twice as long. Mine tends to burn things...he's got muscles. Anyway, all the ingredients are cooked so you're just trying to warm them throughout, and crisp up the wonton wrappers while simultaneously melting the cheese. Doesn't take long atall. Serve while piping hot with the dip oozing out of the crispy cup when you take a bite. And that right a little piece of heaven.

This recipe yields quite a lot of cups, so you will have plenty to throw a couple staggered batches in while hosting a party to replenish the empty plate after they're devoured batch by batch. And there you have it folks...a perfect dish to serve at your Superbowl party coming up. You're welcome :)

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Garlic artichoke cheesy bread

Two million views as of yesterday, folks! Two. Flipping. Million. I can't even comprehend that so many of you want to read my ramblings from day to day, but it does recharge my batts and make me wanna keep coming back to you all each day. I'm pretty pumped to have seen that stat, and then realize that I'm sharing one of the best/easiest recipes we've had since Christmas...that way I don't feel like a dope for giving you a mediocre post on a day when you've shown me how much you enjoy the food porn I attempt to give you through this blog. I've been super refreshed after my week off honeymooning last week, and getting back into my workout routine as well as clean eating this week, so this news was especially great to hear today to keep me on track with posts...thanks for reading, peeps :)
I've had this recipe killer artichoke bread pinned for ages...and I mean aaaaaages. Check out that blog, by the way, the woman is a genius! I couldn't very well justify downing a whole loaf of all these rich ingredients between Main Man and I (it would've happened), so I had to bide my time and bring this to the Jamison Christmas for everyone to share the calories and get a taste. I am soooo glad I did! This stuff was scrumptious...I know I would've eaten half the loaf on my own if it wasn't devoured before I got a second piece. Note to self: when making this for a crowd, always double the recipe!

2 T butter
3 garlic cloves, pressed
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup sour cream (I used greek yogurt)

1 large shallot, diced (I omitted this part as I didn't have it on hand)
1 French bread loaf (I used my favorite ciabatta bread)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the artichoke hearts, Mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, Cheddar cheese and sour cream. Stir to blend. Remove from the heat and cool.

Since we were heading to a gathering, I just loaded up my spread into a container, grabbed my loaf of bread, and took off. I prepared it at our destination with no trouble at all. Slice the bread lengthwise. Spoon the artichoke mixture evenly onto the bread. Broil till cheese has melted and bread is hot. Slice and enjoy! Suuuuuper garlicky (just like I like it) and just all around fantastic taste...your taste buds will soar with this appetizer. Happy hump day, all!

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Pretzel paninis

I have to admit something to you. I am a full fledged, card toting, flag flying member of the Trader Joe's fan club since it's come to Des Moines. I mean, I love me some Whole Foods, but TJ's is just more affordable and easier to navigate in my world. They have such fun little surprises for me when I walk the aisles too. Like these mini loaves of pretzel bread....say whaaaaaaat!? How absolutely, disgustingly adorable enough to make you go "awwwww" in the middle of the store and put them in your basket with no clue how you plan to use them, just that it's going to happen.
Then you go home and show off your glorious bounty to your Main Man and he states (very unexcitedly compared to your current level of energy) that he can't eat pretzel bread. Got sick off those warm, salty pretzels one time when he was younger and can't stomach them anymore. Way to rain on my parade, duder....
Luckily, I had some ciabatta bread on hand for his panini and that meant that I got two pretzel paninis to myself...when I realized his hatred meant a lunch date for me with an adorable sandwich the next day, I stopped arguing with him about his crazy and offensive dislike for the cutest loaves I've ever seen. I should feel lucky that the only things I have to worry about omitting from recipes include coconut, sloppy joes, peas, and now pretzels. I hate two of the four anyway, so it all works out. I shall eat my pretzel bread all by my lonesome. Everyone's got their cross to bear....

Down to business! I had all the other ingredients on hand and threw these babies together in no time flat. I'm a huge fan of grilled apples since my friend Mrs. Mohr introduced me to them on the salmon apple blt's (which I need to make again soon, judging by the way my mouth started foaming when I saw those pictures) and I haven't looked back since. I also have a certain loyalty to the garlic pepper mayo from the ham asparagus panini. You should be beginning to see how this pretzel panini was born. Here's what you need:

2 pretzel loaves
1 large apple (we keep honeycrisp on hand)
2-4 large slices of pepperjack cheese, depending on how cheesy you like it
6-8 slices black pepper turkey breast
4 T mayo
1 large garlic clove, minced
cracked pepper to taste

Mix the cracked pepper, minced garlic, and mayo together and spread evenly onto your sammies. Turn your Griddler (or grill pan) on and use some Pam to prevent stickage. Slice your apple in thin slices and lay the slices onto the Griddler to get little grill marks on them.

Layer half your cheese on the bottoms, them layer your apples, then your turkey, then the other half of your cheese, and top the sammy with your garlic mayo infused pretzel top (how yummy does "garlic mayo infused pretzel top" sound??). Now you're in business!

Throw those things on the Griddler on medium-high for 20 minutes or so, keeping an eye on them when the cheese starts melting out...

And serve. And love your life. And wish you didn't have another one in the fridge tempting you to take bites of it every time you walk by.

Happy Tuesday, all! I'm actually adapting very well to my routine after vacation last week, I think I was ready to get back in the swing of things. Hot yoga last night was life changing, I needed to sweat out a couple of the cruise buffets something awful! I'm pretty excited about lighter dinners this week too! I made the spinach artichoke chicken quinoa that I had frozen for dinner last night, and it was lovely (although Brudder Ben wasn't a fan), and tonight we're trying buffalo chicken lettuce wraps out for size! I'll report back...enjoy your week!

**I was kindly told by Main Man that I've embarrassed myself immensely by misspelling "pretzel" throughout the whole post (I thought "pretzal" looked funny) so I've not edited this entry. Then I found the spellcheck button. Lifechanging.**

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Monday, January 21, 2013

Chicken fried quinoa

Oh, hello there! How are you doing on this fine Monday morning? I'm just trying to stop shivering and thinking about the 90 degree swing my body just took from the Bahamas on Friday to Iowa on Monday...from upper 80's to about 3 below zero (16 below if you count the windchill).  I'm in a little bit of shock going from swimsuits to winter coats, but I'm sure I'll live. Our 8 day vacation was the perfect length. We had just enough relaxing, napping, adventure, partying, excitement, and fun and were actually happy to start heading home when we did instead of wishing for another day or two. Something about your own bed, ya know...
I will post pics and honeymoon stories when I get a chance but I've had this recipe queued up for you since before I left and think you deserve to finally have it in your life since I've been keeping it from you for so long. Main Man and I devoured this meal, and I killed off the leftovers at lunch afterwards....Sam the man (our pup) didn't have a chance at getting any scraps! I have made quite a few quinoa recipes in my day, and have started to sub quinoa for pasta, rice, or anything of the sort so to healthify things up a bit. I figured chicken fried rice would be a super simple substitution...and I was right! Here's what you need:
3 chicken breasts, seasoned, baked, and diced. I seasoned mine with Lawry's, cracked black pepper, and garlic powder
Szechuan spicy stir fry sauce (the brand I use for alot of my asian cooking is pictured below)

2 T soy sauce (I use low sodium soy sauce all the time, there's no taste difference)
1 bag frozen stir fry veggies (mine had water chestnuts, carrots, snow peas, yellow peppers, etc. but you could use any veggies like broccoli, peas, onions, mushrooms, etc.)
1.5 cups rinsed quinoa
1.5 cups chicken broth (you can use water but I think the broth adds some flava flav)

Add the chicken broth to the skillet, along with the soy sauce. Bring to a boil and add rinsed quinoa. Stir continuously while it boils and absorbs all the liquid. Add your veggies and continue to stir until warmed throughout. Add your chicken breast chunks and as much of the szechuan sauce as you prefer...its got a little kick so I obviously like a good amount of it, but to each their own flavor punch.

Serve! I didn't eat off these chop sticks, don't kid yourself. I can do huge chunks, like sushi, but when it comes to small pieces like rice or quinoa that I want to shove in my mouth, I can't even come close to working those things correctly. Do you think there's a Groupon for some chopsticks lessons somewhere? Let me know if you stumble upon something of that nature...

Anyway, I am finally pleased to announce that my holidays/honeymoon hiatus has been lifted and we will be back to our regularly scheduled programming this week. Stay tuned for the phenomenal food posting from our trip...I'm not about to step on the scale this week and solidify my fear that I gained 10 lbs in a week from all the lovely seafood and buffets I devoured on the trip! I still have some great recipes to share with you from before we left, but I also have some dishes I'm super excited about replicating and healthifying from our trip...get excited (and STAY WARM)!

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

1st Christmas ornaments

I'm scared to say hello. It's been a hot minute since I've posted...but I pinky swear promise I haven't forgotten about you. For some reason I always lose my blogging mojo after the holidays. This year was no different, and was actually worse with everything we have going on in our lives. We had our normal number of Christmas get-togethers, hosted a NYE party, helped to plan a surprise 30th birthday party for a good friend, celebrated the life of one of Main Man's uncles after he lost the his battle with cancer, and have been preparing to embark on our honeymoon...finally! The first thing that tends to go is the blogging when I get overloaded so I hope you can understand. Oh yes, and just so we're on the same page...I'm not back for good yet. We fly out to sunny Florida to hop on a 7 day cruise for a week of fun in the sun, and I don't remember the last time I was so excited (well, I was pretty pumped for our wedding day, but this is a different kind of excited)!
2012 was a phenomenal year for us, as well as a lot of our loved ones! Our group of girlfriends was lucky enough to welcome four new little ones to the family (Greyson John, Ashlyn Michelle, Ava Marie, and Aiden Gregory), and it's been such an amazing ride watching each of them grow into their personalities and become little people right before our eyes. When one of my ladies has a baby, I always drop off a couple of freezer meals (no mama wants to spend all night in the kitchen after all that labor jazz) and a trinket or two for the new arrival as a keepsake.
In the past, I've made mini photo books of their mommies throughout their pregnancies so they can see how loved they were before they even got here, when they're old enough to understand all that. I've also ordered handmade gifts from, one being a onesie with a facebook status announcing the name, birthdate, time, weight, and length of the new arrival, and another being a block in the nursery colors with the baby's stats on it. This year we had two little ones arrive right before Christmas so I wanted to do a "baby's first ornament" for them. This was a Pinterest idea...but you know things don't always turn out like they picture them on Pinterest. MOH and I had a heckuva time getting the little ones to uncurl their feet or stop moving their hands when we were trying to get their perfect little prints on these ornaments. Aiden's (pictured below) only had feet because he wasn't cooperating with his hands...the other two we did had a hand on one side and a foot on the other. I think they all turned out well though...and hopefully they enjoy these later in life as much as we enjoy watching them become the people they are meant to be.

On the first couple of these that we did, I tried to use marker for the names and year but the stickers worked so much better and looked cleaner too. I love the font on the black stickers I found in my scrapbooking nook, and the white block letters worked well to make the year stand out better. These are just cheapo clear glass ornaments from Hobby Lobby, which I believe were $4.99 for a box of four. I got washable red paint and had the stickers on hand already so this was a very cheap project.

I would make sure you do this in a warm room with newborns (or when they have pants on instead of a onesie you have to take down all the way), as we learned that when they get chilly, they don't cooperate as well as they do when they're toasty and sleeping. No babies were harmed in the making of these ornaments though :)

It will take two people, there's no way I could have done it without to hold the baby and make sure the paint isn't spread everywhere when it's on their hand/foot, and one to place the ornament on the painted hand/foot to discourage smearing. The prints aren't perfect, but as long as you can tell it's a hand or a foot, I think you win. We put paint on a paper plate and dipped the foot into it, wiping off excess with a paper towel. It took us a few times to get one we liked (you can rinse the wet paint off the ornament and start over however many times are needed). After letting them dry, apply your stickers and you're good to go!

I really liked this idea and will hopefully continue this tradition for Winter babies in the future. I'm kinda a Christmas freak anyway, and love getting out my old childhood ornaments when decorating the tree each year, so I hope these kids will do the same as they grow into adults.
Anyway...I have now made my first post of 2013, and have realized that I miss my little corner of the interwebs, so don't worry, when I get back I have a lineup of amazing holiday food to share with you all! Also some skinny kid recipes I've been experimenting with since the start of the new year. I hope you all had as amazing a 2012 as I did, and can only hope to imagine the great things that 2013 will bring to you and your loved ones!

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