Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Raspberry M&M Banana Bread

Raspberry M&M Banana Bread | Banana bread made with raspberry dark chocolate candy #bread

I am a very stubborn person.


I am set in my ways about a lot of food, although I have recently become a little more daring and decided to try new things. I have posted 3 banana bread recipes of 4 that I have tried. My tried and true is not on the blog and the other three were great. Only one of the 4 are different from regular old banana bread (Strawberry Cake Mix Banana Bread) because I like regular ole banana bread.

When I had a craving for banana bread, I decided to see what recipes I had on my bread board on Pinterest and really wanted to make the Raspberry Dark Chocolate Banana Bread , however I only had frozen raspberries and semisweet chocolate chips. I did have a bag of Raspberry Dark Chocolate M&Ms and that was good enough for me, so I made the adaptation. It was delicious banana bread and I'm feeling a lot more comfortable about trying new banana bread flavor combinations.

For all those celebrating tomorrow, Happy Thanksgiving!! :)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Overnight Refrigerator Oatmeal

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Overnight Refrigerator Oatmeal | Cookies for breakfast, but in a healthy way!

When I search for new recipes to make, I find myself being a very visual searcher. I like to see pictures of the food. It's kind of like judging a book by its cover, which I also totally am guilty of doing.  I found a picture of Refrigerator Oatmeal on Pinterest and that led me to The Yummy Life blog where it came from. There are actually a ton of variations of flavor combinations to test out...but I went rogue, y'all. I went rogue and created something that I had been craving.

I'm pretty proud of myself for coming up with the flavor combination to make Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough - to sweeten it up, I used brown sugar. I added a touch of homemade vanilla extract (I think it was the rum vanilla extract) and then, of course, chocolate chips. This was AMAZING! I'm so glad I experimented because it was easily the best oatmeal I had ever had.

I cannot wait to try out more variations of the refrigerator oatmeal - it's an easy fix and it's ready to go in the morning. There is no prep!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Secret Recipe Club: Elvis Pancakes

It's time for yet another Secret Recipe Club reveal day. For those of you wondering, Secret Recipe Club is a group of a couple hundred food bloggers separated into 4 groups. Each month, each blogger gets assigned to a different blog in the group secretly and they make a recipe or two for reveal day. Each group posts on a different Monday - today is Group D's day to reveal what blogs we had and what we made.

This month, I was assigned Emily from Life on Food - luckily enough I happen to save recipes from fellow Group D members' blogs and had Emily's Elvis Pancakes on the menu the week assignments went out, so there was no contest! But just for the heck of it, Emily also has some other amazing recipes I've saved from her blog too: Blueberry Banana Bread, Danish, and Maple Pecan Granola. Clearly, I was on a breakfast kick when I looked through Emily's blog :)

Elvis Pancakes | You can't help falling in love with this delicious #breakfast with #bacon, bananas, and PB!

Elvis Pancakes | You can't help falling in love with this delicious #breakfast with #bacon, bananas, and PB!

We have brinner every once in a while, so we actually had these for dinner and they were great! Fluffy pancakes, salty crunchy bacon, smooth peanut butter, and sweet bananas - I mean what else could you ask for?!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Homemade Pancake Mix

Homemade Pancake Mix | Move over box mix! This homemade #recipe makes the fluffiest pancakes ever #breakfast

Everyone needs a good shortcut to those box mixes - it's nice to be able to control what is being put into your food! I am in love with this pancake mix!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Copycat IHOP Pumpkin Pancakes

Copycat IHOP Pumpkin Pancakes | These would be perfect for Thanksgiving morning or any morning, really! #pumpkin #copycat

I think this is the last pumpkin recipe I have to share for the season. I personally cannot get enough pumpkin. I try to have it all year round, so I don't binge once October hits. These pancakes are perfectly fluffy and every bit as good as they sound and look! I've never had a stack of IHOP's pumpkin pancakes due to the fact that the closest IHOP is over an hour away. Let's face it, for someone who hates mornings, I'm not driving an hour to get breakfast I can make at home!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sweet & Sour Pork

Sweet & Sour Pork | Delicious pork and a multitude of veggies mixed with pasta, of course!

I love sweet and sour chicken and pork - and generally any type of Asian stir fry. What is it about the combination of soy sauce, meat, and veggies that is so addictive? I've posted quite a few different kinds of stir frys, but they've all been recipes with rice. This one uses pasta and I LOVE that. I'm a pasta fiend :) This is right up my alley.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Mango Coconut Smoothie

Mango Coconut Smoothie | Summer may be gone, but you can still enjoy a tropical beverage for nostalgia's sake!

It just got cold in New York and I'm dreaming of warm summer days already. Some of our local grocery stores have some great frozen fruit mixes - this particular one is a favorite: mango, papaya, and pineapple.

This is just the most perfectly tropical, delicious, refreshing smoothie ever. I think it was the first thing I made in my Ninja blender when I first got it. If you use a blender/food processor a lot or have gone through too many, invest in a Ninja. They aren't sponsoring me or compensating me to say that, I'm just saying it from purchasing my own Ninja Kitchen System and using it :)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Fancy Mac & Cheese

Fancy Mac & Cheese | No more boxed macaroni! Try this #recipe with ground beef, grape tomatoes, and Gruyere.

Gruyere is Nick's favorite cheese. After I finally convinced him to try gouda, he's more trusting of trying new cheeses. The first time he had Gruyere...I created a monster. He is a Gruyere aficionado. A very very enthusiastic aficionado. He's made everyone try Gruyere! We like to refer to it as fancy Gouda because it tastes a lot like Gouda...a little more mild, in my opinion. It's a great cheese for macaroni and cheese. This type of recipe has really ruined boxed macaroni and cheese for me. Homemade macaroni and cheese doesn't take that much longer to make than the boxed mix and the outcome is worth it. It's so much more worth it!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Grilled Cheese Week: Fancy Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

I'm ending Grilled Cheese Week on a fancy note with these delicious fancy sandwiches. I'm not sure what's really fancy about it, but it has definitely made me rethink how I make regular ole grilled cheese sandwiches. From now on, the addition of garlic will be needed for ANY grilled cheese sandwich. It was nice to have spinach and three kinds of cheese with this sandwich too.

Fancy Grilled Cheese Sandwiches | Fancy means 3 kinds of cheeses, garlic, and spinach! #sandwich

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Grilled Cheese Week: Philly Cheesesteak Grilled Cheese Sandwich

I'm sure you all probably expected this out of any main dish themed week here on Fantastical. You all know how much I love cheesesteak (egg rolls, omelets, sliders, sloppy joes, stuffed peppers, quesadillas, pizza #1, pizza #2, and countless sandwich versions) - now if you didn't know how much I love them, you do now! :)

I hadn't done a grilled cheese sandwich yet, and what better time than now in Grilled Cheese Week! The better quality deli meat you are able to get, the better this sandwich is - the prepackage stuff just won't do.

Philly Cheesesteak Grilled Cheese Sandwich | The best kind of grilled cheese sandwich there is!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Grilled Cheese Week: Bacon Guacamole Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Yesterday's recipe had bacon gouda and guacamole, but today's recipe has actual bacon with guacamole in it. There is definitely a difference in a couple pieces of bacon and some bits of bacon in delicious smoked cheese. This sandwich also has crushed tortilla chips and cheddar jack cheese. They are similar, but different.

Bacon Guacamole Grilled Cheese Sandwich | Bacon, guacamole, cheddar jack cheese with a crunch of tortilla chips #sandwich

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Grilled Cheese Week: Goudalicious Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Day 2 of Grilled Cheese Week is all about guacamole and gouda! Gouda is the bacon of cheeses, but it's even better when you get bacon gouda cheese. I have not had any luck with keeping fresh avocados fresh long enough to make anything from them, so I used guacamole in a jar. Still, the smooth guacamole with the juicy tomato and salty bacon-y cheese is a great combination for a grilled cheese sandwich!

Goudalicious Grilled Cheese Sandwiches | Melted bacon gouda, juicy fresh tomato, and smooth guacamole - the perfect combo for a sandwich

Monday, November 11, 2013

Grilled Cheese Week: Pesto, Mozzarella, & Tomato Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

It's time for another themed week here on the blog! Grilled cheese sandwiches are extremely versatile and they are perfect with soup for the cooler fall and cold winter weather. I also have a favor to ask anyone browsing on a mobile device - since I can't get the pin it button to work at the top of the page, I installed a social media share set on the footer of each post. If any of you mobile users can pin using that, could you leave me a comment if it's successful? I would greatly appreciate it!

It's Grilled Cheese Week - check out these Pesto, Mozzarella, & Tomato Grilled Cheese Sandwiches!

It's Grilled Cheese Week - check out these Pesto, Mozzarella, & Tomato Grilled Cheese Sandwiches!

A few short months ago, I fell in love.

I fell in love with pesto.. And it has been an amazing whirlwind of happiness for these few months we've been together. Then I found out about pesto, mozzarella, and tomato together...and I can't say that I'm disappointed in the least with this trio. This grilled cheese sandwich is probably my favorite of all-time. Fresh mozzarella is incredible on grilled cheese because you get such a great ratio of gooey cheese. Basil and tomato are just icing on the cake, so to speak :)

Friday, November 08, 2013

Nutella Twix Blondies

Nutella Twix Blondies | A chewy, soft dessert with Twix inside and Nutella on top!

Nutella Twix Blondies | A chewy, soft dessert with Twix inside and Nutella on top!

It's finally Friday! This week has been a whirlwind of activity. I am about to tie up all the loose ends for transferring to another college - my current college has left a very bad taste in my mouth and I'm only halfway through the term. I'm ready for my new college. So so so ready to go! Both kids had a dentist appointment on Wednesday and no cavities for either of them. Yesterday, I was surprised to get a new dishwasher. I apparently had a lot of issues that led to my dishwasher getting replaced - it was leaking and not draining after running the cycle, plus there were parts broken inside and also a clog in the tubing/piping. It's a super amazing dishwasher so far and I'm so giddy excited about it :)

Now I can dirty dishes without worrying about doing too many dishes by hand because my nasty dishwasher doesn't really clean them. This means that I need to bake some things. These Nutella Twix Blondies are perfect for a quick fix on the weekend. They are chewy with a bit of crunch from the Twix with some delicious Nutella drizzled over the top. YUM!

Oh! I also updated my blog look. I started scheming a few weeks ago and I hope to keep it this way for a WHILE. I put categories right up top for easy access and I hope that'll be better than what I had up there. If you notice on the right, I have a category for Fantastical Friday. That is something new I'll be starting in January and I'm really excited for that :) You may notice my pin it button at the top of the post is gone and I will be working to fix that as soon as possible.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Sausage Stuffed Summer Squash

Sausage Stuffed Summer Squash | Yellow squash or zucchini stuffed with sausage and traditional spaghetti toppings

It is no longer summer, by a long shot especially here in New York, however, it seems like our stores have more zucchini and yellow squash in stock than were available during the summer. I have had quite a few zucchini boat or stuffed squash recipes, but never got around to making them. I've been trying to coax my kids to eat yellow squash a bit more and they usually will eat it when it's paired with spaghetti or pasta of some sort. So it only makes sense that this recipe would be good to test out on them. They both loved it. My 6 year old can smell Italian sausage from a mile away, so he didn't hesitate to gobble it up.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Creamy Chicken with Bacon & Penne

Creamy Chicken with Bacon & Penne | A pasta dish featuring a light cream cheese sauce, veggies, and bacon-wrapped chicken

I couldn't wait to make this one again and get a better picture, I just had to share this one now! The cream cheese takes on an alfredo-like flavor without being too heavy. I'm quickly becoming a fan of cherry tomatoes with any pasta dish - whether it's alfredo-based, tomato-based, or just a light butter or oil coating. I love the little burst of juiciness!

...and can we get to the best part of the whole dish - BACON-WRAPPED CHICKEN!! Sorry, not sorry, for the caps lock, but bacon-wrapped chicken deserves it. All together, the different components make for a delicious and filling meal.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Bacon-Wrapped Turkey

Bacon-Wrapped Turkey | Impress the whole #Thanksgiving crowd with this bacon-wrapped main course!

This year is going to be a little rough as far as Thanksgivings go. Each year, we've had a large Thanksgiving with our military family at someone else's house and it's been amazing and fun. This would actually be our last year to celebrate with our military family, but most are deployed or have moved away. Nick is deployed too, so this is going to be a quiet Thanksgiving, which absolutely bums me out.

Last year, I was tasked with the bird and I went ham on it...well, bacon :)

What's amazing about the bacon is not only is it bacon...but it self-bastes while it cooks. It's easily the best turkey that I've ever had. Everyone raved about how good it was too! So if you're looking for a new way to make that Thanksgiving main course - look no further!

Friday, November 01, 2013

Better Than Anything Oreo Poke Cake

Better Than Anything Oreo Poke Cake | Chocolate cake with hot fudge, Cool Whip, and tons of Oreo cookies #dessert

Like I mentioned in the last cake recipe post, the kids and I have celebrated each month down in the deployment with a cake - kind of like a birthday cake, but better :)

I showed them my cake and cupcake boards on Pinterest and let them choose every picture that they thought looked good. I had 40+ tabs open and had them pick their favorite out between 2 or 3 until we were left with 9 cakes/cupcakes. This is one that Matthew was particularly adamant that I make at some point. Nikki's (of Chef in Training) delicious Oreo dessert was a winner. Next time I make it, I'm going to try a Devil's Food Cake mix because I prefer it over German chocolate.