Monday, October 31, 2016

Menu Plan Monday - October 31, 2016

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Menu Plan Monday for Oct 31, 2016 // What I'm making this week #menuplanmonday #mealplan

Happy Halloween to those who celebrate - may your night be full of treats and not tricks :) Here is what is on our menu for the week!

Lunch for the week: Grilled Chicken Veggie Bowls
Monday - Slow Cooker Buffalo Mac and Cheese
Tuesday - Middle of the Cinnamon Roll Muffins // Frito Pie Burrito
Wednesday - Philly Cheesesteak Soup [from Food Network magazine]
Thursday - Snickerdoodle Crumble Donuts // Kinda Like Chick-fil-A Sandwiches
Friday - Pesto Burgers with Beer-Battered Onion Rings
Saturday - Individual Cheese Danish // Browned Butter Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispies // Easy Oreo Bundt Cake
Sunday - Pumpkin Coffee Creamer // One Pan Lemon Parmesan Chicken and Asparagus with Roasted Pesto Bacon Potatoes


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Pumpkin Cake Roll #SRCFallDishes

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The perfect fall dessert that looks impressive but is so simple to make
Pumpkin Cake Roll // The perfect fall dessert that looks impressive but is so simple to make #recipe #pumpkin #cake #dessert #SRCFallDishes

Today is an "extra" Monday for the month, so there is a Themed Reveal Day for the Secret Recipe Club. What that means is that there is a special theme and everyone in the club can join in if they want - no group restrictions! Today's theme is FALL DISHES. I was assigned to a former Group D member, now Group member, Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm. Wendy and her husband are retired cops who live on a slightly smaller farm than before (12 acres to 5 now). They have four children between them and have hosted foreign exchange students in their home - including Tingting who has grown up, gotten married, and given Wendy and her husband their first grandchild, Melody. Wendy is a fantastically positive person and her blog is filled with not only food, but so many good stories about her life.

Pumpkin Cake Roll // The perfect fall dessert that looks impressive but is so simple to make #recipe #pumpkin #cake #dessert #SRCFallDishes

Now I didn't make our theme for this special reveal pumpkin...because not everyone likes pumpkin and pumpkin lovers tend to go a little bit overboard...I know because I do. So our theme was to make dishes that are perfect for the season of fall: soups and chilis, food for Thanksgiving (like pecan pie), squash recipes, apple anything, and, of course, pumpkin too.

Because I do love anything pumpkin, when I took to recipe hunting, I only looked at the pumpkin recipes on Wendy's blog. I narrowed down my list to Pumpkin Yeast Bread, Pumpkin Spice Cookie Blossoms, Pumpkin Praline Pancakes., and Pumpkin Cake Roll (which I obviously chose). I thought it was a nice variety and really what it came down to was that I have been wanting to make a cake roll for so very long. I was so nervous to do it. I didn't realize that the cake was spongey, so it doesn't tear.

Pumpkin Cake Roll // The perfect fall dessert that looks impressive but is so simple to make #recipe #pumpkin #cake #dessert #SRCFallDishes

I was so incredibly impressed with how easy this was to make and how well it turned out. I wish I wasn't so scared of these to begin with because I would make this weekly. It was one of the best pumpkin anythings I've ever had. I served it up for dessert for a large family gathering and everyone loved it. I only changed it up every so slightly. I chose to add 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice to the mix because I thought 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon seemed like so little spice and I wanted more. I also split the filling up so that I had some to cover the top to make it look pretty. And just an FYI, this only makes one roll, I just cut it in half to fit on a plate.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Italian Creme Cake

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Don't let the pretty pink frosting fool you - this Italian Creme Cake tastes just right!
Italian Creme Cake // Don't let the pretty pink frosting fool you - this Italian Creme Cake tastes just right! #recipe #cake #dessert

My description for my blog and a lot of my social media states that I am a recipe hoarder. I have thousands (not kidding) of recipes saved to try. I am, however, becoming a little nervous of the recipes I have pinned from blogs because some of these blogs have just *POOF* disappeared. I have taken to copy/pasting recipes into a Word document for my meal plan each month because I'm scared I will go to pull up a recipe on the tablet and the blog will be gone and my meal plan will be foiled.

Italian Creme Cake // Don't let the pretty pink frosting fool you - this Italian Creme Cake tastes just right! #recipe #cake #dessert

This lovely cake recipe is one I made for my birthday last year. I wasn't always doing the Word document back then, but I thankfully did that month. I went to go pull up the recipe to type up and *POOF* the blog is now private and I cannot access it. I'm so glad I have the recipe "written" down because it's such a wonderful cake. It really is. I love Italian creme cakes. The cream cheese frosting and coconut and pecans....it's like a carrot cake without the carrot and cinnamon. SO GOOD. I tinted my frosting pink and added pearl sprinkles because I'm a princess (even my name means princess) haha. I also utilized the cake for practicing scallop borders for the first time!

Italian Creme Cake // Don't let the pretty pink frosting fool you - this Italian Creme Cake tastes just right! #recipe #cake #dessert

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Throwback Thursday #22

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Throwback Thursday No. 22 | Rediscovering Old Favorites in the Recipe Archive

I'm on a roll and back again for another throwback post! I sincerely love these posts and seeing old recipes in my archives (and also cringing at the pictures because I need to update them so badly!) - really it's a love/hate post. I love seeing old favorites...I "hate" seeing those pictures. LOL.

Today, I am sharing something that isn't my favorite, but a favorite of Nick's. He loves Krystal's and White Castle. I'm not a fan. But I'm a nice wifie and often make him foods I don't like because fortunately for him - I like him! He loves these ALMOST WHITE CASTLE HAMBURGERS. It's a pretty good copycat. It really does taste like the little burgers.

Almost White Castle Hamburgers | These little burgers are just like the real thing (White Castle/Krystal's) and you can freeze them for a quick snack/meal! #recipe #copycat #WhiteCastle

And another goodie that does happen to be one of my favorites is MOM'S SOFT RAISIN COOKIES. There are a few memes out there that talk about the betrayal of picking up a cookie and finding raisins in it when you think it's going to be a chocolate chip cookie. I personally don't like raisins...except in cookies and bread. That's it. These are spiced with cinnamon and soft and chewy, so they are wonderful and I love them.


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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Spicy Sausage, Kale, and Potato Soup

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This hearty soup packs a punch and is ready in 30 minutes!
Spicy Sausage, Kale, & Potato Soup // This hearty soup packs a punch and is ready in 30 minutes! #recipe #soup #kale

I did it again and took pictures of my lacking-broth bowl of soup. SORRY! I am not big on a bunch of broth in my soup. So basically I like a soupless soup because I'm a weirdo. Our household is big on soup. We have a weekly soup night and we have a song for soup night. We also have somehow acquired a song for kale as well. So to say this soup is a big deal means it is a big deal! Kale soup is pretty much our new family favorite and this recipe was awesome. It was nice to have slices of potato rather than the customary cubed potatoes in soup. Also...it had kale. AND spicy sausage. All the good stuff, basically :)

Spicy Sausage, Kale, & Potato Soup // This hearty soup packs a punch and is ready in 30 minutes! #recipe #soup #kale

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Easy Chicken Fajita Bake

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Simple ingredients are put together in a casserole dish and baked in the oven to make really fantastic chicken fajitas. It's SO easy!!
Easy Chicken Fajita Bake // Simple ingredients are put together in a casserole dish and baked in the oven to make really fantastic chicken fajitas. It's SO easy!! #recipe

I absolutely love recipes like this one where you throw all the ingredients together in a pan and bake it in the oven. There is no stirring involved and no standing over the stove actively monitoring the food as it cooks. It's just stick them in the oven and check to see when the chicken is cooked all the way through. I served ours over brown rice, but you could easily serve these like traditional fajitas in tortillas. It's awesome for those days you really don't feel like cooking. And even though the ingredients are simple, the flavors when cooked together are on point!!

Easy Chicken Fajita Bake // Simple ingredients are put together in a casserole dish and baked in the oven to make really fantastic chicken fajitas. It's SO easy!! #recipe

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Bacon BBQ and Mango Pizza #SundaySupper

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Spicy barbecue sauce serves as a base for this bacon and mango pizza deliciousness.
Bacon BBQ and Mango Pizza // Spicy barbecue sauce serves as a base for this bacon and mango pizza deliciousness #recipe #pizza #bacon #bbq #mango

Did y'all know that October is National Pizza Month?! I didn't either until this week's Sunday Supper Movement event theme was announced. We are celebrating with our NATIONAL PIZZA MONTH event hosted by Coleen of The Redheaded Baker.

I chose to share this pizza that was probably my first recipe I've ever made with fresh mango. I personally love pineapple on pizza and I knew I would love mango on pizza too. I thought pairing mango with barbecue sauce and bacon was a genius idea. I saved it while looking for a recipe to make for a Secret Recipe Club assignment from one of my favorite bloggers, The Spiffy Cookie. Erin has another spicy fruit pizza on her blog that I love, so I knew this one would be a keeper. It was incredible. Everything worked together so well.

Bacon BBQ and Mango Pizza // Spicy barbecue sauce serves as a base for this bacon and mango pizza deliciousness #recipe #pizza #bacon #bbq #mango

Friday, October 21, 2016

Fantastical Friday: Food Blogger Love Cookie Exchange

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At the end of each year, I look forward to the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap hosted by Love and Olive Oil and The Little Kitchen, but sadly, the event has come to an end (re: announcement on Facebook).

I expressed my sadness in one of the blogging groups I belong to and then we decided to hold our own. So I am joining with the lovely ladies of The PinterTest Kitchen to host the Food Blogger Love Cookie Exchange.




DETAILS:
Here’s how it works:
  1. Sign up by October 31, 2016 using the form below.
  2. On November 1, 2016, you will receive the names and address of three other bloggers.
  3. Send out 1 dozen cookies to these bloggers by November 18, 2016.
  4. You will receive 1 dozen cookies from three other bloggers in return!
  5. Publish a post on your blog sharing your cookie recipe on December 5, 2016. We’ll include your link on a roundup of cookie exchange posts.
This year, we’re raising money for two awesome charities! To participate, you must donate at least $5 to one of these charities (you can pick one or donate to both).
  • CLIMATES-Rescue and The Bunny Hutch Boutique is an animal rescue in Virginia that takes in and feeds animals traditional shelters can’t take in, like snakes, turtles, bunnies, ferrets, and lizards. They are home to the biggest bunny in the United States! All those animals need a lot of food. CLICK HERE to sponsor a meal for an animal in need!
  • No Kid Hungry is an organization dedicated to ending childhood hunger. They believe no child should go to bed hungry. CLICK HERE to sponsor a meal for a child in need!
Both of these charities would love your support. Donations are tax-deductible.


IMPORTANT DATES:
  • October 31: Sign-ups end (assignments will be sent the following day)
  • November 18: You MUST send your cookies by this date
  • December 1: Send us the permalink to your post by this date, so we can create the round-up list of cookie links
  • December 5: Publish your post
You must agree to stick to this schedule in order to participate. It’s a real drag to be the person who doesn’t get cookies because the person who had their name flaked. :( Don’t let that happen to your fellow blogger!


IMPORTANT NOTES:
  • Your assigned bloggers will be people in your country. This keeps shipping costs low and helps ensure that cookies arrive quickly, while they are still fresh. As such, there needs to be at least 4 bloggers sign up in your country. If you live outside of the United States, please sign up! We will do out best to recruit other bloggers from your country, and will let you know on Nov 1 if we have enough sign-ups for you to participate.
  • If you have an allergy or dietary restriction, please note that on the form. We will match you with others who have the same allergy or dietary restriction if possible. Please note if your allergy is so severe that you cannot accept cookies from someone who uses that ingredient in their house. (example: peanuts)
  • Please consider the shipping element when planning your cookie recipe! Delicate cookies are not the best choice, since they will arrive in crumbles. Cookies dipped in chocolate might not be the best choice if you are shipping to warmer climates.
  • You must have an active blog to participate. You do not have to be a 100% food blogger, as long as you do occasionally post recipes on your blog and can commit to posting your cookie recipe on Dec 5. Bloggers of all sizes are encouraged to participate.
If you are interested in joining in, please fill out the form on Allison's post: here.

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Chocolate Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Buttercream and Candied Bacon #Choctoberfest

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Moist chocolate cupcakes with light and airy caramel frosting and a candied bacon garnish
Chocolate Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Buttercream and Candied Bacon // Moist chocolate cupcakes with light and airy caramel frosting and a candied bacon garnish #recipe #chocolate #bacon #dulcedeleche #cupcakes #Choctoberfest

I have been so excited to share these cupcakes because they were literally a labor of love. My eldest baby turned 9 earlier this year and he asked me to make him chocolate mint caramel bacon cupcakes for his birthday party with his friends. No, I'm not joking. I didn't think they would ALL work together, but I did figure that I could throw out the mint and come up with something.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Buttercream and Candied Bacon // Moist chocolate cupcakes with light and airy caramel frosting and a candied bacon garnish #recipe #chocolate #bacon #dulcedeleche #cupcakes #Choctoberfest

I took an old tried and true chocolate cupcake recipe, altered a buttercream recipe that I loved, and made a batch of candied bacon. I thought they worked very well together. The cupcake portion is fluffy, moist, and so dang good. The caramel buttercream is made with dulce de leche and lighter than air. The candied bacon...really honestly I don't even need to talk about it at all. It's candied bacon.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Buttercream and Candied Bacon // Moist chocolate cupcakes with light and airy caramel frosting and a candied bacon garnish #recipe #chocolate #bacon #dulcedeleche #cupcakes #Choctoberfest

They got huge compliments from all his friends and some of the parents too. I was really happy about it because one of my all-time favorite things to do is make someone their birthday cake. I like to make something that they will absolutely love. Unfortunately, my turd of a kid decided that he didn't want to eat them. I honestly cannot remember what the reason was now...it may have been because the bacon touched the frosting, but it was definitely something silly like that. LOL. Such a moody little guy.

And at the bottom of this post you will find more recipes from the #Choctoberfest bloggers! Tomorrow is the last day to enter the giveaway and the last day of #Choctoberfest 2016.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Bars #Choctoberfest

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This perfect pairing of two classic desserts in bar form is unbelievably tasty!
Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Bars // This perfect pairing of two classic desserts in bar form is unbelievably tasty! #recipe #dessert #chocolate #cheesecake #Choctoberfest
Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Bars // This perfect pairing of two classic desserts in bar form is unbelievably tasty! #recipe #dessert #chocolate #cheesecake #Choctoberfest

I had these yummy bars on my list to make for weekends upon weekends and kept not making them. I do this a lot with breakfast and dessert recipes. I finally got around to making them and I, of course, kick myself for not making them sooner. They are pretty easy and don't take much effort at all. There's a ton of them and they are magical. The chocolate chip cookie portion is exactly what I like my chocolate chip cookies to taste like - chewy, chocolatey, and with a hint of salt. The cheesecake is all that is classic cheesecake flavor. The two together are literally heavenly.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Bars // This perfect pairing of two classic desserts in bar form is unbelievably tasty! #recipe #dessert #chocolate #cheesecake #Choctoberfest

Once again, I'm blown away by how a set of simple recipes combined into one make such an amazing dessert. Be sure to stop by the other recipes below that are part of the #Choctoberfest event. Because chocolate!! :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Mini Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes #Choctoberfest

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These bite-size cupcakes are deliciously full of rich chocolate
Mini Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes // These bite-size cupcakes are deliciously full of rich chocolate #recipe #cupcakes #chocolate #Choctoberfest #dessert

Mini Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes // These bite-size cupcakes are deliciously full of rich chocolate #recipe #cupcakes #chocolate #Choctoberfest #dessert

This recipe comes straight from my stash of saved Food Network Magazine recipes. I wish I remembered what the cupcakes were a part of, but I can only assume it was some type of "Desserts to Make During The Year" list and this was December's dessert. I think it's a really perfect cupcake for the winter because it's so lovely and rich and chocolatey. I honestly think it would be great with a red wine. I just adore that they are two-bite cupcakes :) 

Mini Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes // These bite-size cupcakes are deliciously full of rich chocolate #recipe #cupcakes #chocolate #Choctoberfest #dessert

There is more #Choctoberfest goodness at the end of the post, so be sure to stop by my blogging friend's posts!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Menu Plan Monday - October 17, 2016

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Menu Plan Monday for Oct 17, 2016 // What I'm making this week #menuplanmonday #mealplan

Three favorites are on the list this week and I think I'm looking forward to the soup the most. However, we are doing lots of pumpkin treats this week and that makes me really happy :)

Monday - Three Meat Bolognese Pasta
Tuesday - [b] Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins [d] Taco Bell Quesadillas
Wednesday - Zuppa Toscana Soup
Thursday - [b] Nutella French Toast Rolls [d] Lemon Chicken Stir Fry
Friday - Cowboy Tumbleweed Burgers
Saturday - [b] Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Caramel Frosting [*] Pumpkin Streusel Cookies
Sunday - Southern Slow Steaks

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German Beef Roulades #SecretRecipeClub

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These perfect little roulades hide away bacon, onions, and a pickle served with mashed potatoes and gravy.
German Beef Roulades // These perfect little roulades hide away bacon, onions, and a pickle served with mashed potatoes and gravy #recipe #SecretRecipeClub #roulades #beef #German

I hit the jackpot this month with my Secret Recipe Club assignment. I received Adina's blog, Where is my spoon?, for the month of October. I dove right into her recipe index immediately and knew I was in heaven - too good to be true. Adina is from Romania but has spent the last 10 years in Germany - with her husband and two children. Adina has a ton of German cuisine on her blog and that is why I was so happy to get her blog.

My newest sister-in-law is German - born and raised - and she has got me hooked on German food. We have a German fast food restaurant in our city that we frequent - which is why I nearly made the Homemade Doner from Adina's blog. I get doners all the time at the German restaurant. Everyone else usually gets the schnitzel. And speaking of schnitzel: Hunter Schnitzel, Oven Baked Schnitzel and Schnitzel Burgers, and Chicken Schnitzel with Potato Parmesan Crust are all on the to-make-eventually list. I had to hide that information from Nick because he would have wanted all of those in one week and then repeated until the end of time. He loves schnitzel! I also have to make this German Cheesecake very very soon.

It wasn't all about the German food though. I seriously considered these lovely Albanian Spinach Rolls - I have never worked with phyllo before and would love to tackle that. I have yet to make anything with rhubarb even though I grew up eating it all the time, so these recipes are on my list too: Blackberry Rhubarb Bread and Rhubarb Strawberry Jam.

But in the end, this German Beef Roulades recipe won and with good reason. Chantal (my sister-in-law) fixed us roulades when she came into town and we have been dying to have them again ever since.

German Beef Roulades // These perfect little roulades hide away bacon, onions, and a pickle served with mashed potatoes and gravy #recipe #SecretRecipeClub #roulades #beef #GermanGerman Beef Roulades // These perfect little roulades hide away bacon, onions, and a pickle served with mashed potatoes and gravy #recipe #SecretRecipeClub #roulades #beef #German

These roulades are a pickle with onion wrapped in bacon, wrapped in steak, cooked in a delicious brown gravy. So basically they are amazing. They are typically served with mashed potatoes (Nick loves the gravy over the potatoes) and we served ours with asparagus on the side as well. They were so incredible. Yes, they are a little labor of love, but they are so worth it in the end.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Cookie Sundae Cups #Choctoberfest

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These mini Pizookies are topped with ice cream, hot fudge, and a homemade buttermilk caramel sauce
Cookie Sundae Cups // These mini Pizookies are topped with ice cream, hot fudge, and a homemade buttermilk caramel sauce #recipe #Choctoberfest #cookie #chocolate

I love the classic desserts like chocolate chip cookies hot from the oven. I also love a little spin on a classic dessert, like these sundae cups. Some people call these pizookies - because they are like a little cookie pizza. I used my absolute favorite cookie recipe - the one on the Nestle Tollhouse morsels bag - and made the homemade buttermilk caramel sauce that was in the Our Best Bites cookbook (where I found the sundae recipe!). It's so good and so simple. You could definitely use premade cookie dough and even switch up what kind of cookie dough you use and ice cream you top it with. The possibilities are endless!

Cookie Sundae Cups // These mini Pizookies are topped with ice cream, hot fudge, and a homemade buttermilk caramel sauce #recipe #Choctoberfest #cookie #chocolate

Friday, October 14, 2016

Triple Chocolate Baked Donuts #Choctoberfest

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Breakfast just got a little sweeter with these chocolatey homemade donuts
Triple Chocolate Baked Donuts // Breakfast just got a little sweeter with these chocolatey homemade donuts #recipe #chocolate #donuts #breakfast #Choctoberfest

I am incredibly picky with donuts. In fact, about the only donut I will eat is a cake donut. I absolutely love homemade donuts and haven't met one that I didn't like. I think it may be because most all of them have been cake donuts - no yeast donuts for me! These ones are devilishly good. I thought the glaze would be overkill, but it's fingerlicking good. We did sprinkles on top instead of more chocolate, but I could see toffee bits being amazing as well.

AND these beautifully dipped donuts were done with the help of my 8 year old daughter - who also helped with the sprinkles too. I think she did a fantastic job! Be sure to visit the end of my post for more of the #Choctoberfest recipes from my blogging friends :)

Triple Chocolate Baked Donuts // Breakfast just got a little sweeter with these chocolatey homemade donuts #recipe #chocolate #donuts #breakfast #Choctoberfest

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Throwback Thursday #21

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Throwback Thursday No. 21 | Rediscovering Old Favorites in the Recipe Archive

So since #Choctoberfest is well under way and I still wanted to keep up my streak of posting Throwbacks every other Thursday, I decided to share two chocolate recipes from the archives and still post what the rest of the #Choctoberfest bloggers are sharing today - so be sure to visit the bottom of the post to see what chocolate recipes they are sharing on their blogs!

Up first, OREO TRUFFLES. Literally everyone and their brother has made these by now, but they are still super fabulous and I loved them! They are incredibly easy to make too.

And another Oreo goodie: COOKIES N CREAM COOKIES. I actually think these are one of my favorite cookies ever. They just melt in your mouth :)


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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Red Wine Chocolate Bon Bons #Choctoberfest

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These bon bons could not be any more perfect if they tried: chocolate, red wine, and espresso?! Yes, please!
Red Wine Chocolate Bon Bons // These bon bons could not be any more perfect if they tried: chocolate, red wine, and espresso?! Yes, please! #recipe #candy #redwine #chocolate #Choctoberfest

I wish I had a better picture of these bon bons because they were so darn delicious, but alas, they were so darn delicious and they did not last long. These were made in conjunction with my mom-in-law's birthday cake last December that was a chocolate cake with red wine chocolate buttercream. I actually put a few on the top of the cake for decoration.

I used a red wine that we lovingly referred to as our "fertility wine" -- Nick and I drank it one night and ended up with Mason 40 weeks later. Turns out that our fertility wine also worked its wonders on my sister-in-law and her husband too because 40 weeks after her husband devoured the bon bons they brought home with them, they ended up with little Miss Presley, my first niece. I jokingly warn them that I will make more food with fertility wine (which is unfortunately all gone now) so I can have more nieces and nephews.

These bon bons are a labor of love, but they are so good. Next time I make them (bwahahaha), I do want to try and make them a bit smaller because it's hard not to eat a whole one because they are so good, but they are also very rich. And don't miss out on the other chocolate recipes from #Choctoberfest bloggers today (scroll down to the bottom of the post to see them!) - it's only day 3, so there is tons of chocolatey goodness to come!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Hot Cocoa Poke Cake #Choctoberfest

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Rich chocolate cake topped with hot fudge sauce and decadent cocoa whipped cream - tastes like heaven
Hot Cocoa Poke Cake // Rich chocolate cake topped with hot fudge sauce and decadent cocoa whipped cream - tastes like heaven #recipe #cake #pokecake #chocolate #Choctoberfest

I am so excited to take part in Choctoberfest this year. A huge thank you goes out to Allison of The PinterTest Kitchen for organizing the event - you rock, Allison. I love love love chocolate. LOVE. I have a few chocolate recipes to share over the next two weeks and I decided to start with a bang. This Hot Cocoa Poke Cake is the perfect recipe for me to share first. It's unbelievable. It's easily the best poke cake I've ever had.

It consists of double fudge chocolate cake with hot chocolate mix in the batter. It's topped with hot fudge sauce and cocoa whipped cream then drizzled with more hot fudge. It's rich and oh so chocolatey. Be sure to check out the rest of the chocolatey recipes for today at the bottom of the post!

Hot Cocoa Poke Cake // Rich chocolate cake topped with hot fudge sauce and decadent cocoa whipped cream - tastes like heaven #recipe #cake #pokecake #chocolate #Choctoberfest

Monday, October 10, 2016

#Choctoberfest is here!!

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Choctoberfest-2015-1

Today is the first day of #Choctoberfest 2016! #Choctoberfest is a virtual event put together by The PinterTest Kitchen. Bloggers from around the world will be posting their favorite chocolate recipes, and you’ll get a chance to win some awesome prizes. What’s not to love?  

Thank you to the sponsors who make #Choctoberfest possible! This year, Imperial Sugar is back as our Gold Sponsor. They have been a trusted name in kitchens since 1843, and their website is home to thousands of sweet recipes tested in the Imperial Sugar Kitchen. You can find Imperial Sugar on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube, or join their Sweet Community so you can share your own recipes, save recipes to a virtual inbox, print Imperial Sugar coupons, and connect with other sugar lovers. Imperial Sugar and our silver sponsors have banded together to offer a huge #Choctoberfest prize pack, which you can enter to win below! One lucky winner will be chosen at random to receive the following:
  • From our Gold Sponsor Imperial Sugar: 1 case of granulated sugar (40 pounds), 1 case of brown sugar (24 pounds), 1 case of dark brown sugar (24 pounds), 1 case of powdered sugar (24 pounds bags), and an Imperial Sugar red ruffle apron
  • From our Silver Sponsor Nature Nate's: 32 oz. Raw & Unfiltered Honey bottle, Honey Syrup, Honey Packets, a Nature Nate’s T-shirt, various kitchen supplies, and $50 Amazon gift card
  • From our Silver Sponsor Barlean's:16 oz Barlean’s Butter-Flavored Coconut Oil, 9.52 oz canister of Chocolate Silk Greens, and 8oz bottle of Essential Women Omega-Swirl Chocolate Mint
  • From our Silver Sponsor Caveman Coffee: 1 Bag of Coffee (you choice of blacklisted or sabertooth), 1 coconut MCT oil, and 1 Cacao Butter
  • From #Choctoberfest blog hosts The PinterTest Kitchen: 1 specialty chocolate gift pack (your choice of dark or milk chocolate), 1 tin (14 ounces) drinking chocolate, and Divine's Fair Trade Gift Set
Enter now to win our #Choctoberfest 2016 prize pack! We'll be picking a winner at random winner on Saturday, Oct. 22, so enter by Friday to make sure your name is in the drawing:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here's a list of all of the bloggers participating in #Choctoberfest 2016. Visit any of their blogs to get delicious chocolate recipes throughout the week:
The PinterTest Kitchen2 Cookin’ MamasA Kitchen Hoor's Adventuresaddicted 2 recipesAmy’s Cooking AdventuresAn Affair From The HeartBalancing MotherhoodBody RebootedBottom Left of the MittenBy the PoundsCanning and Cooking at HomeCoconut & LimeCook with 5 KidsCook's HideoutCookaholic WifeCooking with CarleeCopyKat RecipesCricket's ConfectionsCrumbs in my MustachioElisabeth JeanFairyburgerFaith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered AccompliceFamily Around the TableFantastical Sharing of RecipesFeed Your Soul TooFeeding BigFrankly EntertainingFull Belly SistersGet the Good StuffGrumpy’s HoneybunchHezzi-D's Books and CooksHostess At HeartInk and SugarJane’s Adventures in DinnerJoin Us, Pull Up a ChairKaren's Kitchen AdventuresKate's Recipe BoxKudos Kitchen by ReneeKylee CooksLetz EatLife CurrentsLife on Food Making MiraclesMonica's TableMoore or Less Cooking Food BlogMy Catholic KitchenMy Gluten Free MiamiOur Good LifePalatable PastimeRestless ChipotleSeduction in The KitchenSew You Think You Can CookSimple Food 365Southern With A TwistSumptuous SpoonfulsTake Two TapasTampa Cake GirlTeaspoon of GoodnessThat RecipeThe Crumby CupcakeThe FlavouristaThe Food Hunter's Guide To CuisineThe Freshman CookThe Pajama ChefThe Redhead BakerThe Spiffy CookieTramplingroseWildflour's Cottage KitchenZesty South Indian Kitchen

I'm looking forward to seeing all of the yummy recipes posted on these blogs. Check them out throughout the week and don't forget to follow our sponsors and bloggers using the Rafflecopter giveaway widget above for your chance to win our sweet prize pack.

TODAY'S RECIPES:

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Menu Plan Monday - October 10, 2016

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Menu Plan Monday for May 30, 2016 // What I'm making this week #menuplanmonday #mealplan

I have my fingers crossed that I can find some banana peppers in our produce section. I may sub them out for another mild pepper or even pickled banana peppers. We are having a super pumpkiny weekend - WOO! :) My favorite! And we're having an old favorite on Tuesday that I am excited to try doing the way Taco Bell makes them with a little more accuracy.

Monday - [b] Biscoff Muffins [d] Chicken & Zucchini Alfredo
Tuesday - Spaceships
Wednesday - [d] Unstuffed Banana Pepper Soup [*] Cheesy Jalapeno Knots
Thursday - Easy Slow Cooker Texas BBQ Pulled Pork
Friday - [b] Fave Choc Donuts [d] Buffalo Chicken Pizza Sticks
Saturday - Pumpkin Cream Cheese Cake
Sunday - Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Pancakes [brinner]

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Sunday, October 09, 2016

Better Than Anything Chex Mix #SundaySupper

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A sleepover isn't complete unless it has an addictive snack like this chex mix that is literally better than anything and everything!
Better Than Anything Chex Mix // A sleepover isn't complete unless it has an addictive snack like this chex mix that is literally better than anything and everything!

Today's Sunday Supper Movement event is hosted by Marion of Life Tastes Good and the theme is SLEEPOVER FOODS.

I have not yet braved having sleepovers for my kids and their friends at my house, but Nick and I do love to do movie nights with the older kiddos where we camp out in the living room with snacks galore and blankets and pillows. Before I had Mason, we did them quite regularly and I would always make some kind of a snack food - typically either popcorn or chex mix.

When I found this recipe, I was a little skeptical. It seemed like an overwhelming amount of different sweets and I was hoping that it wouldn't be too much. Luckily, it wasn't. Oh my goodness gracious was it amazing. I am not the biggest fan of marshmallows and even I liked them in this (although I wouldn't mind trying with the little mallow bits you can put in hot cocoa). It was one of those snacks you can't help but keep eating even after you know you should stop LOL. My kids absolutely loved it. They said it was the best chex mix they had ever had.

Better Than Anything Chex Mix // A sleepover isn't complete unless it has an addictive snack like this chex mix that is literally better than anything and everything!

I am excited for all the new recipes that are being shared today because even though I haven't braved a sleepover, we like to do family sleepovers and we love to try new foods :)

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Eggplant Marinara

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This fabulous sauce is unbelievable, hearty, and rich and the eggplant soaks up the flavors around it!
Eggplant Marinara // This fabulous sauce is unbelievable, hearty, and rich and the eggplant soaks up the flavors around it! #eggplant #marinara #recipe

This marinara can be made with ground beef or without, so even though I have beef in mine, I tagged it with the meatless tag because it can be made without! I have been trying to convince the hubby and two eldest kiddos that eggplant can be good. I had a failed soggy fried eggplant sandwich recipe that the kids will never let me live down...ever. I am obsessed with eggplant parmesan and I'm still trying to find the perfect recipe for that. But if I make something with eggplant at this point, I have to make sure it tastes incredible and I did it!

Eggplant Marinara // This fabulous sauce is unbelievable, hearty, and rich and the eggplant soaks up the flavors around it! #eggplant #marinara #recipe

I slow-simmered the sauce and made sure it was seasoned well. It was so delicious and my family didn't realize it was eggplant! Nick assumed it was zucchini, so I definitely was really excited about how I was able to trick them all into eating it and NOT complaining. If you want to hide it a little more discretely, you can easily puree the marinara (without the ground beef) with an immersion blender! I personally loved the texture of the eggplant.


Friday, October 07, 2016

Fantastical Feature: 101 One-Dish Dinners

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image via Netgalley

Synopsis:
One-dish is a winning formula for today's busy families. In 101 One-Dish Dinners, Andrea Chesman shows off the versatility of Dutch ovens, skillets, and casserole pans. Classic baked dishes like ham and potato gratin, chicken potpie, and vegetable lasagne go head-to-head with diverse stovetop suppers like jambalaya, seafood paella, and pad Thai. For those looking for something a little lighter but still filling, there are plenty of meal-in-a-bowl salads and timeless soups. Serve up a nourishing meal tonight with little fuss and fewer dishes! - via Netgalley

Thoughts:
There was no hesitation for me to request a copy of this cookbook on Netgalley. I was so happy when it was gifted my way. I love one pot/one dish/one skillet meals. Basically, any meal that is going to mean less dishes for me is going to be high up on my favorites list! I picked out 5 recipes to make from the book to incorporate in my already planned out monthly meal plan. I decided upon Beef Stew, Ham & Potato Gratin, Chicken Tetrazzini, Minestrone alla Genovese, and Sausage and Kale with Garlic Roasted Potatoes. There were a million other recipes I wanted to try, but these were the ones that really spoke to me. I love the format of this cookbook. It's super colorful and easy to read. What I really love is that the ingredients list is on the right and the directions are on the left. I never really realized that that was a format that was easier for me to read, but it is!

I got around to making all but the Ham & Potato Gratin (which I am so bummed about because it had gruyere in it!) Somehow the pictures of the Beef Stew did not make it, but I do have pictures of the other three recipes that were all keepers. The Beef Stew had the option for turnips or rutabagas which we have never tried, so we did turnips. I'm not sure how I felt about them, but the kids didn't seem to mind at all. It was still a fantastic, traditional-style beef stew.

The Chicken Tetrazzini was the first recipe up and I chose it because I have my mom-in-law's recipe and I literally butcher hers every single time. So I am basically on a quest to find something that even comes close to hers and this definitely was it. I really loved the addition of green beans in it. It will definitely be one we will make again.


Next up is the Sausage and Kale with Garlic Roasted Potatoes - literally no bad words in that title! This was my favorite of the 4 made and I have made it again two more times already (which is completely unheard of for me). Mason also really loved this one and mooched when I had leftovers for lunch - all three times :)


And last, the Minestrone alla Genovese which is Genoa's version of minestrone - what makes it stand apart? You add pesto at the very end! Another win for all of us. Plus it had kale, pasta, and more beans. I made a lot of kale and bean recipes!


101 One-Dish Dinners gets 4 Utensils from me! There is a great variety of recipes and they are all relatively easy to make and there is little clean up afterwards!
You can find 101 One-Dish Dinners on Amazon
 
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