Sunday, September 30, 2012

.boo wreath.

you may or may not know by now that halloween is my most absolute favorite holiday. costumes and trickery, sweets and crisp air, imagination running wild...what's not to love? to celebrate decoratively this year, i decided to craft a wreath using a mixture of ideas i've seen all over pinterest.

one of the most common wreath decorating methods, for any holiday or occasion, is to wrap a styrofoam wreath in ribbon. so easy peasy. i went to my local hobby lobby and bought three orange and black ribbons that tickled my fancy.

starting with your hot glue gun a'blazin', adhere your first ribbon to the back of the wreath and begin wrapping. don't worry about covering all of the surface area because you'll be layering other ribbons on top of it. make sure you hot glue the ribbon down here and there along the way.

take your next ribbon and then your next and layer it up! i suggest mixing up your space between wrapping so it has a more random look. don't forget to hot glue along the way to keep the ribbon in place.

when i was finished with my wreath (or at least i thought so), i wasn't entirely pleased. it needed something more in the color department. so, i went back to the store and got one more skinny ribbon to add. ahhh..juuuuust right.

now, the wreath was halloweeny enough at this point, but i wanted to spruce it up a little more. here's how you can too!

take a sheet of scrapbook paper and cut out 3 pennant triangles. i found some cheap cardboard letters to put on each one to spell out BOO! (the exclamation is understood). hot glue your letters to the triangles.

now, take a hole punch and punch out holes. yes, i just wrote that. find some simple string or something more gruesome like the gnarly black one i used to thread the pennants together. hot glue this to your wreath.

laugh your most evil laugh as you look at your finished product with pride.
mu AH ha Ha!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

.buffalo chicken nachos.

hello football season. hello any reason to get together with friends and munch on snack food. party food is my favorite.

when my friend decided to host a football game party at her house, i started searching for a dish that would be a perfect crowd pleaser. (well, and a personal pleaser too).

although i'm vegetarian, i just love the taste of anything with buffalo wing sauce. so when i ran across this recipe for buffalo chicken nachos, i knew i'd struck food gold.

not only would my friends enjoy this unique, layered appetizer, but i could selfishly make my own little dish sans the chicken to enjoy! that's just what i did. the recipe below was followed to a t; besides the actual tortilla chips.

my eye guy has a reputation for making awesome chips by deep frying tortillas and adding a little seasoning. so, i asked him to do that for the chips for this recipe to give it that extra edge. he wasn't thrilled that i had wheat tortillas for him to use and said he refused to claim this as his chips if they weren't good. luckily for him, they were still delish.

the dish was a hit and one assuredly worth making the next time you get together with friends. or, just divide the recipe and make a smaller portion for a fun at-home treat.

buffalo chicken nachos
adapted from how sweet eats

what you need
8 whole wheat tortillas

4-5 ounces of shredded chicken

1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese

1- 2 ounces crumbled gorgonzola

1/4 cup buffalo wing sauce (or more)

1/4 cup chopped scallions

avocado for garnish

olive oil for spritzing

what you do
Preheat oven to 450.
Cut the tortillas into wedges and spritz with olive oil then sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
(Although the original recipe calls for baking, my eye guy fried our tortilla wedges and boy were they good).
You can also skip this step and use tortilla chips.
Once finished, add a layer to the bottom of a baking dish, then top with chicken, cheese, buffalo wing sauce and your other toppings. Continue layering until chips and ingredients are gone. Bake for 5-10 minutes, until cheese melts. Drizzle additional wing sauce over top and garnish with more scallions and avocado.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

.have we gone bananas?.

i'm not my grandma. i'm not your grandma. heck, maybe i won't even sound like a grandma at all. (we'll see)

in my day, i've eaten a banana or two. i've also eaten a strawberry or one million, but that is neither here nor there. bananas are fun chopped up in cereal, yummy eaten whole, super delicious mixed into a peanut butter banana smoothie. they're even fun to sing about in songs- go bananas!

what they have never been in my lifetime is technological. say what?!

so, i go to grab a banana out of the fridge at work that i brought from home for a snack. i look down at this all-too familiar yellow and brown fruit to see a sticker on it. now, i've seen the chiquita banana sticker, or something similar, many times before. this was different. on my innocent banana, was a "scan code." if i were more grandma-like, i really wouldn't know what this even meant. trust me.

however, i knew that if i took my smart phone, with my downloaded "scan life" app, i could scan my banana and automatically a website would pop up. so, i did it. the website took me to a video tutorial that had a banana frozen treat recipe all worked out for me and ready to watch.

i mean, just take a second to sit down and think about this. banana to phone to scan to video tutorial to recipe...all lickity (banana) split. here's the thing. this bothers me. i know i should embrace how "cool" this is, but gosh golly. is nothing sacred any more? can't we just eat a banana without the desire to get out the latest technology? can't some things still be simple? sigh... ok, see...i guess i do sound grandma-ish after all. (as i write a blog about it...double sigh.)

Monday, September 24, 2012

.pumpkin cookies.

we all know fall is upon us and the amount of pumpkin, spice and everything autumny-nice is in abundance. i've got my windows open, my ultimate favorite fall candles burning and now all i need to complete the trifecta is something pumpkiny in my belly.

that's where this great recipe from better homes and gardens comes into play. this pumpkin jewel is a great find! not only is the recipe simple enough, but it makes a ton of cookies. (ok, not actually a ton because i don't think 2000 pounds worth of cookies is anything to brag about.) actually, i cut the recipe in half and still ended up with 40 delicious pumpkin morsels.

the cookies alone are quite tasty, but then the icing addition just adds an over-the-top hit to each bite. make sure to whip some of these up for yourself and then share with friends. or don't share. i won't tell.

pumpkin cookies
from better homes and gardens
(claims it yields 60, but i think it is more!)

what you need
2 cups butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 15oz can pumpkin
4 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 3/4 cups powdered sugar

what to do

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, beat 2 cups butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Beat until combined, scraping bowl occasionally. Add eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla; beat until combined. Beat in pumpkin. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour.

2. Drop dough by heaping teaspoons 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until tops are set. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool.

3. In a small saucepan, heat 1/2 cup butter and brown sugar until melted and smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in powdered sugar until smooth. Spread frosting on cookies. If desired, sprinkle with additional cinnamon. Makes about 60 cookies.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

.fraked green tomatoes.

maybe it's because i'm from the south. maybe it's because it is a rare treat. whatever the reason, i really love the punchy taste of a a fried green tomato.

however, i don't do a whole lot of frying in my house. don't get me wrong...i know it is delicious. but if i'm going to be bad, i'm going to err on the side of chocolate or extra cheese- not grease.

so, how about some fake fried green tomatoes? baked!

just like you would with normal fried green tomatoes, you'll beat some eggs and milk together with a little salt and set aside. preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

slice your green tomatoes into as thick or as thin of slices as you prefer. pat them dry with a paper towel and lightly salt and flour both sides. you want your tomatoes somewhat dry before wetting them yourself in the egg mixture.

in another bowl, mix all purpose flour, salt, pepper, panko bread crumbs and a little seasoning of your choice. cayenne pepper? garlic powder? paprika?

dip each green tomato slice into your egg wash and then into the bowl of dry ingredients. place on a sprayed cookie sheet. now they are ready to be fraked (bake "fried"). then, spray all of them with olive oil or cooking spray to moisten the panko break crumb mixture.

after baking for 20 to 30 minutes, these hot little circles will be so flavorful and ready to pop in your mouth! (without all the greasy guilt).