Friday, January 31, 2014

Fantastical Friday

And it has been yet another INSANE week here at the Fantastical home. Last Friday, my car died. On Sunday, despite the cruddy weather, we jumped my car and drove it out to the shop to get both the alternator and the battery replaced. We also noticed my husband's car had a tranny leak. It's really just not the best time for our cars to simultaneously have issues, but since they are inanimate objects, they don't care :)

Monday was ANOTHER snow day for the kids.

Wednesday should have been a day with everything cancelled based on the wind alone. Visibility was maybe a quarter of the mile...of course, this was the day we picked Nick's car up. I got this picture while riding to the shop while he drove.
Fantastical Friday: Talking about the weather and sharing my review for Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion, #1) by Aimee Carter

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Classic Peanut Butter Cookies

Classic Peanut Butter Cookie | Nothing wrong with going back to the basics!

I've been searching for a peanut butter cookie recipe (without pudding and what not - not that I don't like pudding cookies, but I wanted a classic cookie recipe) that wasn't dry or crumbly or that the cookie turned rock hard after an hour of cooling. I was so happy when this recipe turned out exactly how I wanted it to turn out. These are what I think of when I want a peanut butter cookie!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Gouda & Green Bean Crescent Rolls

Gouda & Green Bean Crescent Rolls | Fantastical Sharing of Recipes

I don't know about y'all, but life has been busy and when life is busy, it's nice to have a really simple dinner. It really doesn't get much easier than spaghetti either. What's even better is discovering a recipe like this one to make a quick side dish that is super yummy.

Gouda & Green Bean Crescent Rolls | Fantastical Sharing of Recipes

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Movie Theater Candy Popcorn

Movie Theater Candy Popcorn | White chocolate popcorn full of all the best movie theater candy

Movie Theater Candy Popcorn | White chocolate popcorn full of all the best movie theater candy

We started doing a movie night with the kids and they really love it. But their favorite part is the popcorn that we make on movie night. Since we don't have a microwave, we use a hot air popcorn maker and they love to watch the popcorn fly out of it. It's kind of nice to just use the kernels because it kind of gives you a basis for so many popcorn recipes and there's more of a control over how much you have. This was our first popcorn recipe to try out and it was very good. I loved getting the gummy bear with the chocolatey popcorn. That was probably my favorite part!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Secret Recipe Club: Oktoberfest Stew

It's time for another Group D reveal - it's been since November for our group, so Happy 2014, Group D! For those who don't know, Secret Recipe Club is a great group of food bloggers who are assigned a blog in their group secretly each month. They select a recipe or two, make it, take pictures, and blog it all on the same day. It's really fun to see who got your blog on reveal day and what they made :)

This month I was assigned to the other Group D Sarah who blogs at Curious Cuisiniere. Sarah and her husband, Tim, are adventurous souls (check out this picture of them on her about me page) and when Sarah's not blogging, she's working in a bakery (such a dream job!).

It was so hard to pick one recipe. There's the Beer & Cheddar Pull Apart Bread. Then a savory breakfast recipe of Cornmeal Herb Waffles with Fried Eggs & Bacon  - I really want to try this one soon. I love little mini muffins, so I bookmarked these Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins too. Ultimately, I chose Sarah's Oktoberfest Stew though because Nick got home
Oktoberfest Stew | A hearty stew with veggies and brats and Oktoberfest beer

Oktoberfest Stew | A hearty stew with veggies and brats and Oktoberfest beer

While Nick was deployed, he was missing out on Samuel Adams' Oktoberfest beer which is his favorite. So I bought some each time I went grocery shopping and stored them in our basement for when he got home. I also bought Yuengling and Leinenkugel's Oktoberfest beers too. It was easy for me to pick the stew over everything else because it used the Oktoberfest beer :) It was such a great stew. We all loved it!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Fantastical Friday

We've had yet another crazy week. Monday, Nick and the kids were home. Tuesday, the kids went to school on a 2-hour delay. Wednesday, it went from 2-hour delay to cancelled. And yesterday, it was a 2-hour delay too. All because of this...

Tuesday night

Wednesday morning

I really would love to be in the South right now! We visit in a few weeks and in nine months get to move permanently. And man o' man - YES! I need some warmth in my life. Today, we're back to above 0*, but not until later on today. It's currently -17* feels like -30* and the kids are on a 2-hour delay...again.

Since it's cold outside, that means I'm inside staying warm and I have been hitting the books really hard - for school and for enjoyment - and been a pinning machine. So it's time again to share what I've been pinning, food-wise and it's a lot this week:

Fantastical Friday | I'm sharing my week and some of my favorite foodie finds (click through to find links to the recipes).

Row 1:
Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Cookies from Barbara Bakes: After the cookie swap cookies, I love caramel pretzel together IN a cookie. I cannot wait to try this recipe!
Valentine's Fruit Roll-Up Fortune Cookies from She Grows: These are so cute and I'm just in awe of the creativity of them.
Banana Nut Whole Wheat Waffles from Six Sisters' Stuff: I am always up for a little variation. I haven't really used whole wheat flour a whole lot yet, but I do have some in my pantry that I would like to use before we move.
Totchos Supreme from Foodie With Family: Anything with supreme in the title is going to be good. I love totchos. No soggy chips and it's POTATOES. Om nom.

Row 2:
Pecan Brittle from My Baking Addiction - Pecans are probably my second favorite nut (after almonds). I like almonds for snacking and pecans in baking stuff. I think this variation of peanut brittle sounds and looks incredible.
Italian Baked Vegetables from Teachers of Good Things - You had me at Italian.
Roasted Potatoes, Chicken Sausage, and Peppers from Skinny Taste - I've never had chicken sausage, but I'm willing to give it a go. This dish looks so yummy.
Zucchini Chips from Table For Two - Zucchini chips! YES, YES, Y-E-S! I think it's either 3 or 4 ingredients too, so it's very simple.

Row 3:
Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Smoothie from Love Grows Wild - First off, the picture is absolutely stunning. Secondly, I need to break out my Ninja more and make smoothies for breakfast because 1) I don't eat fruit enough and 2) I really need to break out my Ninja more.
Easy Caramel Sauce from The Pioneer Woman - I have yet to find a good caramel sauce recipe with consistency that I like and PDub never lets me down, so I'm confident this will be a good one.
Slow Cooker Chili Cheese Fries from Creole Contessa - I just think this is genius. IN THE CROCKPOT. Everything seems so much more doable in the crockpot!
Cinnamon Roll Wrapped Donuts from Domestic Rebel - I cannot get over how good these look. Simple, gorgeous, and droolworthy.

Hope you all had a wonderful week!
Have a great weekend full of lots of great food :)


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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Monster Cookie Dough Dip

Monster Cookie Dough Dip | Safe-to-eat (no raw eggs) and immensely addictive, this dip is perfect for snack time!

On my Pinterest appetizer and snacks recipe board, I have many a cookie dip recipes. I actually had a couple for monster cookie dough dip, but ultimately chose this one. Monster cookies are awesome because they have so much going on in them - oatmeal, M&Ms, chocolate chips, peanut butter - I mean it's perfect for when you don't know what kind of cookie/treat you want. You just have them all! This dip was simple to make and incredibly addictive!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Jalapeno Popper Turkey Chili

Jalapeno Popper Turkey Chili | Without a doubt, the best chili recipe there is!

Jalapeno Popper Turkey Chili | Without a doubt, the best chili recipe there is!

In rare form, I have made this at least four times in the last few months. This rarely ever happens except in the case of having homemade pepperoni pizza a few times a month. I took it to a chili lunch in November to celebrate a unit's one-year DUI-free milestone (not my husband's unit, another within the battalion) and it was gone first out of all the crocks of chili and everyone was asking for seconds. Needless to say, a huge hit! I made it a week later for the company's Family Readiness Group meeting, which is really just the soldiers at this point, and was complimented by the self-proclaimed expert on chili that I may have matched the greatness of his own chili. Again...huge hit. Everyone loved it. I made it once more before Nick came home because it really is JUST. THAT. GOOD! Of course, this was the first thing I made for Nick for dinner when he got home because it's jalapeno popper and chili and that is just the most perfect thing to serve someone who has gone 8 months without soup night and good food returning home to a horrible ice storm wasteland! He also loved it.

Basically, what I'm saying here is that this is the very best chili ever in existence!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Quinoa & Black Bean Wraps Copycat

Quinoa & Black Bean Wraps: A Starbucks Copycat #quinoa #copycat

This was a very unexpected new favorite recipe that I tried recently. I made some slight changes to the original recipe, but I urge any vegan readers or any readers who have vegan friends to check out the original recipe and Lisa's blog, Je Suis Alimentageuse. My version is not vegan and that's where most of my change happened. Corn is out of season here, so I resorted to canned corn.

All the flavors work together perfectly. I am obsessed with quinoa right now - it's just so good! It looks a little crazy, but it's such a great ingredient. I made the Quinoa Stuffed Peppers again because Nick was unable to get it the first time around because he was deployed. It was his first time having quinoa and he was skeptical, but upon devouring the meal, he was every bit as obsessed as I am. He asked if it has some magical attribute where it takes on whatever meat it is paired with, which is a huge compliment. Sometimes I have to twist his arm to eat meatless foods (like this recipe).

Monday, January 20, 2014

Nutella Swirl Pound Cake

Nutella Swirl Pound Cake | Pound cake with a hint of cinnamon and a #Nutella center!

As I mentioned in my latest Fantastical Friday post and various random posts, I volunteer in my husband's unit with the Family Readiness Group as the leader. I pretty much help out with any battalion event, even if it's another company within the battalion holding the event, if there is food involved. About a year ago now, we attempted to provide breakfast at an event - we figured we would try for waffles. I was tasked with bringing my waffle iron, plus powdered sugar and Nutella. I bought a bunch of both and when I went to make this pound cake, I assumed that I still had 1 or 2 large containers of Nutella leftover (I'm still working through the last few bags of powdered sugar I brought).

Turns out I didn't have any extras left and, of course, I am always horrible about assuming I have things on hand and being in the middle of making the recipe when I discover that I'm missing ingredients. I unfortunately only had enough for one layer of Nutella. It was fantastic with one layer and I'm sure two layers knocks it out of the ballpark. The cake itself is so moist and delicious. I loved the addition of cinnamon to it. It really just made the cake!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Fantastical Friday

This week has been a pretty quiet, peaceful week. We got a little rain so our snow piles from last week are a little smaller. But nothing too crazy.

I did get a little surprise, however, yesterday with a garrison volunteer award! For those non-military folks, garrison is the collective term for the whole base, so I was pretty excited :)

Since I don't have much to really talk about...there's no time better than the present to share some of my favorite foodie finds from the past week :)

Fantastical Friday | A quiet week and my latest favorite foodie finds. Click through to find links to the recipes!

Famous Chili from Julie's Eats & Treats
This just looks fabulous. I love a meaty chili and it's really necessary to combat winter.

Peanut Butter Football Dip from Crazy For Crust
All I can think of is BUCKEYES. Not the team, but the treat. This would be perfect for the Super Bowl...which is really the only football game we watch.

I adore cake mix cookies. They are so chewy and soft. They keep so well. I cannot wait to make these M&M cookies. Bring on the chocolate!

Red Velvet Macadamia Nut Cookies from Something Swanky
This is honestly one of the most brilliant ideas ever. And look how gorgeous they are!

Be sure to stop by these blogs to get the recipes and have a great weekend :)


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Thursday, January 16, 2014

S'mores Pops

S'mores Pops | A neater, cuter version of the traditional s'mores treat.

These were a really fun, really cute, simple treat to fix for my kids. They got a pretty big kick out of eating a large marshmallow on a stick. It's also a lot neater to eat than a traditional s'mores too :)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Kit Kat Cookie Bars

Kit Kat Cookie Bars | Soft, chewy chocolate chip cookie blondies with pieces of Kit Kats inside!

Blondies are quickly becoming one of my favorite desserts. I just love how they are like a soft chewy cookie, but thicker! There's just so much more to them. The addition of Kit Kats to these chocolate chip cookie bars really makes them even more delicious. I really want to try experimenting with a few other kinds of candies - like Reese's cups or maybe Peanut Butter M&Ms. I can only imagine how good they'd be with peanut butter candies :)

Kit Kat Cookie Bars | Soft, chewy chocolate chip cookie blondies with pieces of Kit Kats inside!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Spicy Italian Sausage & Pepper Pasta

Spicy Italian Sausage & Pepper Pasta | Fantastical Sharing of Recipes

After the hecticness of the last few weeks, I'm hoping this one will be our first normal one. It's starting out semi-normal...Nick is at work, the kids are leaving for school here in a bit and I'm going to the grocery store. It about drives me nuts when my schedule is all thrown off!

The more hectic it gets, the less I stick to my meal plan and often turn to recipes that are quick fixes, but hearty at the same time. This is one of those go-to recipes. I'm beginning to love pastas without sauces. This one has a splash of balsamic vinegar in the end and that's really all it needs. I used to not like balsamic vinegar, but after a few tries, it's really growing on me :)

Spicy Italian Sausage & Pepper Pasta | Fantastical Sharing of Recipes

Friday, January 10, 2014

Fantastical Friday

This week has been extremely hectic. On Monday, the kids went to school and I went to run my errands (pick up Matthew's allergy meds and grocery shop) sooner did I get in the door from running errands that my phone rang saying school was getting out at 12:45 due to weather conditions getting worse. At this point, it was already snowing. Tuesday and Wednesday it continued to snow and the kids and Nick were home. Apparently, we got the most snow out of the whole state: 31 inches.

Left: Tuesday afternoon before shoveling. 
Right: Wednesday afternoon, everything we had shoveled was back so we shoveled again.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Root Beer Pancakes

Root Beer Pancakes | Sweet, fluffy pancakes that taste like a root beer float in breakfast form.

I'm not sure if I've ever posted anything with root beer in it, however, it is my favorite soda. We rarely drink or buy soda and if we do, it's root beer or Sprite. But root beer is the reason why I haven't given it up completely. It's just so delicious.

The butter and vanilla in these fluffy pancakes really just compliments the root beer so much. They are one of the fluffiest most delicious pancakes I've ever had!

Root Beer Pancakes | Sweet, fluffy pancakes that taste like a root beer float in breakfast form.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Chicken Caesar Pasta

Chicken Caesar Pasta | Full of flavor and just all-around delicious!

Because of this recipe for Slow Cooker Caesar Chicken Sandwiches that I posted in September, I got way obsessed with Caesar dressing. Of course, I'm also a pasta fiend, so this recipe from The Mommy Games seemed like the next step in sating my appetite for everything Caesar. It's super simple to make and if you were in a bind, I'm sure you could even skip putting it in the oven to bake. It's full of flavor and just all-around delicious!

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Tomato Sausage Risotto

Tomato Sausage Risotto | A great #recipe to start out with, risotto isn't as challenging as you may think!

This is only my second attempt at risotto and it turned out just as well as the first time. Risotto isn't as daunting a task as it would seem like, it's mostly just a lot of babysitting the rice while it's cooking. I also totally meant to add spinach because we love spinach, but completely forgot! We will be making it again soon to eat again (with the spinach added in, of course!).

Have you ever tried to make risotto? What food seems like it would be difficult, to you, to make? Have you ever attempted to make it?

Monday, January 06, 2014

Caramel Frappuccino Cupcakes

Caramel Frappuccino Cupcakes | Moist chocolate cupcakes with a caramel center topped with whipped cream and caramel sauce

Deployment is over, but I'm still trying to catch up sharing what we had to celebrate one more month gone. These were our September cupcakes to celebrate 5 months done. I used the leftover cupcakes I had frozen from the Andes Mint Cupcakes from the month before. I loved the caramel inside these cupcakes and the whipped topping was light and delicious. However, I'm already thinking of a mocha chocolate buttercream and maybe salted caramel sauce!

Caramel Frappuccino Cupcakes | Moist chocolate cupcakes with a caramel center topped with whipped cream and caramel sauceCaramel Frappuccino Cupcakes | Moist chocolate cupcakes with a caramel center topped with whipped cream and caramel sauce

Friday, January 03, 2014

Fantastical Friday

I'm excited to share my first Fantastical Friday post. This post will be a weekly one for me to share blog love (like my old Sunday Social posts), behind the scenes in my "personal" life, and everything in between. Basically, a giant miscellany post.

So first up...the most important and happy thing going on in my life right now:

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Carrot Cake Waffles with Caramel Cinnamon Frosting

Carrot Cake Waffles with Cinnamon Caramel Frosting | Indulge a little for this sinfully sweet breakfast!

I'm enamored with Duncan Hines Frosting Creations frosting (no compensation for saying that, DH doesn't know I exist). I found out about it when I made the French Vanilla Waffles with Cinnamon Roll Frosting.

My brain started going a mile a minute when I saw the other flavors they had. I immediately wanted to use their cotton candy flavor packet. And I did in my Funfetti Waffles with Cotton Candy Frosting recipe. The next packet that I wanted to use was the caramel flavor. I was really craving carrot cake at the time, so I decided to make the two into a lovely, beautimous, sinful breakfast.

I love how fluffy the waffles turn out from the cake mix. And the frosting on top is seriously just a huge plus. It's nice to indulge every once in a while and the kids loved these waffles and raved about them both. I ended up adding some cinnamon to the caramel frosting to make it more fitting for carrot cake. The combination is heaven. Y'all have to try this for breakfast soon!!

Carrot Cake Waffles with Cinnamon Caramel Frosting | Indulge a little for this sinfully sweet breakfast!

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Bucket List 2014

Today is the last day of the Countdown to 2014, as it IS 2014. WOOO! Happy 2014 everyone! I didn't have a miscellaneous post to do, so I'm doing my Bucket List. Be sure to stop by Finding Joy in My Kitchen to see the last day of posts for the Countdown to 2014. Thanks for letting me join in again, SnoWhite!

Last year, my Bucket List didn't go so well. I made a list of recipes I wanted to try and didn't get around to very many of them. So this year, I want to do a more general bucket list (::salute:: kudos if you get the reference).

  • Use my KitchenAid pasta attachment. Nick got this for me for Christmas in 2011 and I still haven't used it.
  • Master cooking in my new stainless steel cookware (tips are appreciated!).
  • Use my Cast Iron skillet at least 2x a month.
  • Make 12 new appetizer recipes.
  • Make 30 new breakfast recipes.
  • Make 24 new snack recipes.
  • Make 30 new dessert recipes.
  • Develop 12 original recipes.
Those are my basic goals. I may expand on that or add more in the year. I'm going to update in this post throughout the year with my most recent update being right under this little paragraph :) Do you all make bucket lists for the year? Have you ever tried a food/kitchen-related one?


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