Shared posts

31 Jan 14:14

Four Amazing Frostings You Don’t Want to Miss!

by Amanda
This is the classic frosting from Grandma's recipe box!

These four basic frosting recipes should be a staple in every baker’s recipe box!

Homemade frosting is much better tasting and easy to make.

These four frosting recipes are versatile and delicious. You will be the hit of any birthday or celebration!

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

Cream Cheese Frosting is a delicious delight atop cupcakes and a favorite on pumpkin cake, carrot cake, red velvet cookies, and more. This recipe is smooth, fluffy and absolutely delicious!

I have been blessed to accidentally discover have this incredible cream cheese frosting that forms a nice crust after you have applied to cakes or cupcakes (Yes, you CAN use this recipe for Rosette Cakes!!) . It is ideal for passionate bakers. On top of the amazing texture, it really does taste the BEST!

My Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe is HERE.

COOKIE DOUGH FROSTING

Cookie Dough Frosting is a fabulous way to satisfy a cookie craving, fast! This frosting is so delicious, I recommend you make it immediately.

I love it on cupcakes, in dark chocolate chip cookie sandwiches, and even on cakes!

My Cookie Dough Frosting recipe is HERE.

WHIPPED CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM

Whipped Chocolate Buttercream. How I love thee, let me count the ways. I use it on everything! Marble Cake and my famous Rose Cake even cookies!

This truly is melt-in-your-mouth delicious, perfectly chocolatey, creamy, fluffy goodness.

My Whipped Chocolate Buttercream recipe is HERE.

CHERRY BUTTERCREAM

Cherry Buttercream frosting is an unsung hero in the baking world. It pairs beautifully with chocolate, with vanilla, with lime and lemon, even with pistachio!

My very favorite way to eat Cherry Buttercream is on sugar cookies with sprinkles. It brings back fond memories of my youth as it was a very special treat we were given as little girls! I can’t recommend it high enough!

My Cherry Buttercream recipe is HERE.

Enjoy!

The post Four Amazing Frostings You Don’t Want to Miss! appeared first on i am baker.

28 Jan 17:00

banana puddings with vanilla bean wafers

by deb

banana pudding with vanilla bean wafers

A year ago, I made what I called Bananas Foster Puddings — individual puddings in which the bananas had been lightly caramelized in butter, brown sugar and rum before being layered with vanilla custard and kind of mediocre homemade vanilla wafers before being topped with a tuft of broiled meringue. The evening I made them, I managed to spill a pint glass of water (full, I mean, of course) right next to my laptop, which led to all sorts of drama including the loss of the photos and recipe, in case you’re wondering why nobody’s going to be mistaking me for a lifestyle guru anytime soon.

... Read the rest of banana puddings with vanilla bean wafers on smittenkitchen.com


© smitten kitchen 2006-2012. | permalink to banana puddings with vanilla bean wafers | 124 comments to date | see more: Bananas, Photo, Pudding

25 Jan 11:30

Classic Sour Cream Coffee Cake & Ninja Coffee Bar Review

by Beyond Frosting

Classic Sour Cream Coffee Cake with layers of brown sugar streusel.I love nothing more than a lazy weekend at home, although I can’t remember the last lazy weekend at home that I had. Usually my weekends involve all night baking and all day shooting photos and then cleaning over and over again. Part of a lazy weekend for me involves waking up, cooking a nice […]

The post Classic Sour Cream Coffee Cake & Ninja Coffee Bar Review appeared first on Beyond Frosting.

12 Jan 17:44

Melis Buyruk – Anatomy Served

by Vanessa Ruiz

Melis Buryruk Bon Appetit

Melis Buyruk Menschliches allzumenschliches 2015 2

Melis Buyruk Menschliches allzumenschliches 2015 3

Melis Buyruk Arabesque Porcelain

Melis Buyruk Arabesque Porcelain Heart

Melis Buyruk Menschliches allzumenschliches 2015 1

Melis Buyruk crafts anatomical forms in ceramic some of which are featured on plates and embellished with insects and flowers. She uses ceramic, an often utilitarian material, as a form of presentation of both inner and outer beauty. Anatomical features are served separated from any tie to gender, race, or social position.

I followed up with Melis to ask her a few questions about herself and anatomy:

SA: Where are you currently based?
Melis: I am living in Istanbul.

SA: What motivates you to use anatomy in your work?
Melis: Anatomical parts of the human are the most democratic things about human being I think. I choose to emphasize what all human beings have in common. I transmit my motive to my audience through my choice of ordinary acts of human beings such as eating—a general, mechanical, and instinctive behaviour that is common to all species.

SA: Do you have a background in science or art or both?
Melis: I don’t have background in science but I am an artist. I studied fine arts.

 

View more of Melis Buyruk’s large body of ceramic work at melisbuyruk.com!

 

 

22 Jan 14:00

Well, These ‘Star Wars’ Vines Are Basically Marvelous

by Ben Paddon

star wars vine 2

The Force is strong with Viner Wahyu Ichwandari, also known as Pinot, who has created some stunning Star Wars-inspired Vines. Featuring illustrations that leap off of the page, his Vines once again prove that the creativity of Star Wars fans knows no bounds.

Check out Pinot’s handiwork below.

Here’s a Vine featuring everyone’s favorite Stormtrooper. No, not that one. The other one. Finn.

Here’s Han Solo and the Millennium Falcon.

Here’s Rey, who is canonically the daughter of every major character in the film franchise to date, no take-backsies.

And here is an epic Lightsaber duel between… well, I won’t spoil it for you. Just watch!

Check out more of Pinot’s work on his Vine page!

(via Nerdist)

20 Jan 20:41

Make a Sandwich Gift Box

by rhonda

sandwich gift box

Giving gifts is always fun, but it's even more fun when you get creative with the wrapping! Ashley from Let's Mingle cleverly dressed up a shoe box with some kraft paper and construction paper, turning it into a sandwich - complete with a pickle skewered into the top. You could also make a round version of this using a circular paper mache box from the craft store! [how to make a sandwich gift box]

Project estimate:

  • Shoe box, on hand
  • Kraft paper, on hand or $1
  • Construction paper, on hand or $1 and up
  • Glue, on hand
  • Bamboo skewer, on hand or $1

Total: Free and up!

15 Jan 15:23

Ultimate Sampler Cake

by noreply@blogger.com (Heather Baird)

I think now is a good time for a cheerful-looking cake, don't you? It's been a tough week for many of us. I'll be the first to admit that the recent losses in the headlines made me feel a little lonely. We all have our own way of dealing with these things, and I did what I usually do (aside from snuggling these faces), I baked things - a whole bunch of things. I whisked and whipped and folded and I may have listened to 'Life on Mars' on repeat for two hours straight.

During this time I decided to complete a recipe I've been working on for a long time. It's lengthy, so I'd never quite committed to its final scheme. The inspiration comes from a cake I saw at a local restaurant, and its mixed up layers had me awe-struck. My first thought was "Who allowed them to do that?" and my second thought was "I can't wait to do that!"
Continued, click to read more...
21 Jan 16:32

Thoughts on Wood Flooring (and My Favorite Engineered Wood!)

by Jenny at LGN
Alisa.wray

im in love with these floors!

My kids know that if the car makes a sudden U-turn, Mama found a new thrift store or saw an open house sign. :) A few months ago I flipped one of those big U's and walked through this pretty home that was for sale in Mesa's downtown historic district. 

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The house had recently been gut-renovated and was gorgeous in person! The cabinetry and millwork everywhere was especially TOP NOTCH. I wish these photos did them more justice!

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The staging was so much more tame than my style, but it was really pretty and soft. Those bobbin chairs have my hearth though. They were from Home Goods apparently!

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I also fell in love with the floors. So much so that I poked around on the instagram feed of Project Beautify, who had rehabbed the house, and discovered that the floors were from my favorite flooring place Floor & Decor!

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Later that week I went and checked out the product in person. It's called Montpellier and it's an oiled French Oak in almost a 9" wide plank. And it is only $5.49/sq ft! If you've ever shopped for wood flooring before you'll know that price is pretty unreal for the size of those planks!

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Floor & Decor has a great selection of every type of wood flooring - solid (including Timberclick!), engineered, laminate, and everything you need to install the floors yourself if you're a DIYer.

It can be overwhelming to figure out what type of wood flooring is right for your house, but I always ask three questions that usually help narrow down the playing field:

1) Will the flooring be in a kitchen or bathroom? 

How terrified are you about the idea of potentially needing to pull up and repair areas effected by future leaks? If your answer is highly terrified, then you might want to consider a product like Aquaguard (which is a water-resistant laminate).

That said, I put engineered wood in kitchens and baths all the time. Rugs help a lot with day-to-day water spills and if a bigger issue happens, the wood can usually recover if the problem is caught the same day. I always suggest buying 50-100 sq ft of extra wood as a precautionary measure, just in case a few pieces have to be popped up and replaced down the road.

2) Wide or skinny planks?

Planks under 4 or 5" wide are usually only found in solid woods anymore or unfinished engineered wood. Usually wider planks are more expensive, especially in solid wood. Once you're looking beyond that 5" width in solid wood, the prices start to get astronomically higher. If your budget needs to be under $14/sq ft and you are wanting a 7-9" wide plank, you'll definitely need to be looking at pre-finished engineered wood or laminate.

3) Most importantly, what is your existing subfloor? 

Solid wood is a great option if you already have a plywood subfloor (though you'll want to get verification that it is level and does not need to be replaced before laying your beautiful new floors on top!).

And while I love the idea of being able to refinish a solid wood floor five or six times in it's lifetime, I almost always recommend engineered wood, especially in places like Arizona, where most houses are built on concrete slab. Speaking from experience, it can be a very expensive and time-consuming process to add plywood subfloors to a slab foundation. Also it is comforting to know that engineered wood is a more stable product than solid wood, which means the planks are more resistant to changes in humidity and moisture levels.

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Laminate is another great option. Every time I look at the latest offerings, I'm blown away. So many of them look very similar to engineered wood and often they are half the price! Just don't skip on a good underlayment, which helps with the swooshing sound that old school laminate flooring is notorious for.

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Here are a few of my favorite wood flooring picks from Floor & Decor. I usually prefer an ashy undertone to reds and pinks, but I don't usually want anything too bluey-gray either. All of these are gorgeous in person - and super affordable!


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C - Oak Coffee Wirebrushed - $4.99/sq ft
E - Allegheny Oak Laminate - $2.29/sq ft

Do you have any great tips for picking a wood flooring? What type did you chose in the end? I'd love to hear!

A big thanks to Floor& Decor for partnering with us on this series. Read about wood-look tile here and accent tiles here!
21 Jan 05:01

Tomato and Corn Tostadas with Baked Eggs

by Annie

“Your tastes will change as you get older.” One of those oft repeated and eternally true pieces of parental wisdom imparted to me by my mother that crosses my mind on an almost daily basis. Though I certainly don’t think I was at the extremely picky side of the spectrum, neither could it be said that I had an adventurous palate as a child. Though that was in part because of my fairly standard upbringing with not a huge range of foods offered to me, I marvel at the things I disliked as a kid. The one that seems most unfathomable to me now – Mexican food. Sure, I ate tacos made with the grocery store seasoning packets, but that was about it. The idea of anything involving beans of any kind or Mexican spices was an definite no for me.

All I can say is, I am so so glad I have managed to avoid a similar situation with my own kids. The very mention of beans, tortillas, or Mexican anything elicits cheers of excitement. They are well versed in the differences between tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas, burritos, and more. Our absolute favorite local restaurant has the best Mexican and Latin cuisine, and they love it almost as much as I do. When I informed them we were having tostadas with beans, corn, tomatoes and a runny egg on top, they were totally pumped. Because, just like me, they know that almost any meal is better with a runny egg on top. This meal can be made healthier if you choose to crisp the tortillas in the oven rather than fry them but for me, this is one instance when frying is worth it. And definitely make the tortillas from scratch – fresh tortillas are always worth the extra effort!

18 Jan 05:08

Skinny Cauliflower Cream Sauce

by Sara@Our Best Bites

Our Best Bites Cook Book Ad

Guys, our DietBet has officially started, and it’s not too late to join! I’m actually joining myself this morning!  You still have a month to lose 4% of your bodyweight and earn a little cash, plus be entered to win some AMAZING prizes.  Our Pot is nearing $50,000.  Everyone signed up for our DietBet is automatically entered to win and there’s over $1000 of prizes up for grabs!  Click HERE to join!

Now for today’s recipe. I’ve been so excited to share this one with you guys.  We have a really popular recipe in our healthy cook book, “400 Calories or Less” for Creamy Chicken and Vegetable Soup.  I wanted to create a cream soup base that was high on flavor but low on calories, yet still had substance and heartiness to it.  I nailed it by incorporating pureed cauliflower.  The last time I was making that soup for dinner I wondered if I could do the same thing with a cream sauce, and sure enough.  My whole family loves this and it’s kind of amazing, really. 

UB5A7752

Let’s be clear though; it is made with a vegetable.  So it’s not going to taste just like butter and heavy cream, ya know?  I’m not claiming that it does.  I am claiming that you will be surprised at how good it is and that there’s a good chance your family will love it too.  My true test is always my kids.  I have four boys ranging from age 1 to 10 and I always see how they react before sharing recipes here.  I didn’t say a word about what was in this sauce to them or my husband and all 5 of them gobbled it right up and asked for seconds.  So that was that.  If you are trying to incorporate more vegetables into your diet, or just trying to eat a little lighter, this is a great recipe for you! 

Start with a pound of roughly chopped cauliflower and pop it in a pot of simmering chicken broth.  Veggie broth would work fine too; I just like to use broth in place of water because it adds flavor.  If you’re going to use water for any reason, I would make sure it’s got a hefty spoon of salt in there.  All of that liquid is being absorbed into the cauliflower so it’s important to flavor it!

Cauliflower

You’ll need something to wiz this up.  A food processor works great; I’m using my KitchenAid 14-Cup. My last food processor bit the dust after a solid 12 years of use and Kitchenaid hooked me up with this one.  I love how it has an ultra large capacity, but a mini work bowl included for every day little stuff.  And there are more attachments than you can imagine.  If you don’t have a food processor, you can also use a blender!

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After the cauliflower is tender (only takes about 5-6 minutes) strain the liquid out into a bowl, pop the cauliflower into your food processor or blender, and then drizzle a little olive oil into your pot with some minced garlic.  I love, love our Lemon Extra Virgin in this recipe.

Garlic and Olive OIl

Sauting the garlic brings out the flavor and mellows the bite just a bit.  It only takes a minute or less and then you’ll add all of the garlic, along with the oil from the pan, to the cauliflower.

Cooked Carlic and Olive Oil

You’ll also toss in some kosher salt and onion powder.

KitchenAid Food Processor

And can’t forget the cheese.  I add in 1 ounce of low-fat cream cheese.  I feel like even just that small amount adds a creamy texture and deepens the flavor by just enough.  Someone in the comments suggest Laughing Cow cheese and that is a GREAT idea!  I bet the garlic herb one would taste super yummy and they are light on calories.  And also a little Parmesan cheese.  For both cheeses, in order to keep this sauce light, I add the smallest amount you can get away with while still achieving good results.  Meaning- if you don’t care about the calories as much, feel free to add more cheese to taste.  Obviously the more the better, like- the more cheese you add the less cauliflower you taste, haha.   You can also leave out the cream cheese if you don’t have it or want it.  I like it best with both cheeses.

Parmesan Cheese

Blend it all up until smooth and creamy and then adjust salt to taste.  At our house we love this on pasta in alfredo-type dishes.  I’ll toss in some grilled chicken, or serve it over tortellini.  And my husband and all 4 of my kids love it! 

Light Alfredo Sauce

Fresh basil and crumbled bacon is another favorite combo.

Healthy Alfredo Sauce

And if you want to really be healthy and up your veggie count, try it over Zoodles or Roasted Spaghetti Squash.

Healthy Alfredo Sauce

My sauce in these photos has a little texture to it, but you can blend it more and it becomes silky smooth, just like any normal cream sauce. 

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This has been an awesome addition to the mealtime regimen and I hope it will be for you, too!

Interested in another Cauli-Powerhouse?  Try our Cauliflower Pizza Crust!

Our Best Bites Cauliflower Pizza Crust

 

Skinny Cauliflower Cream Sauce
2016-01-12 16:04:58
Yields 3
A lighter take on traditional creamy sauce. Use in place of traditional alfredo!
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 lb roughly chopped cauliflower florets (about 6 cups)
  2. 2.5 cups chicken broth (may sub vegetable broth)
  3. 1 teaspoon onion powder
  4. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  5. 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  6. 4-5 cloves garlic
  7. 1/4 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese (more if desired)
  8. 1 ounce low-fat cream cheese (more if desired)
Instructions
  1. Bring broth to a simmer and add cauliflower. Cover pot with lid. Cook until tender, stirring/smashing occasionally, (about 5-6 mins). Drain cauliflower over a bowl to reserve broth and add cauliflower to food processor or blender. Add onion and salt. Return pot to stove and heat olive oil. Add garlic and saute on medium-low heat until fragrant and soft, 30-60 seconds. Add garlic and all oil from pan into cauliflower. Add 1/4 cup reserved broth, and cheeses. Process until smooth. Add salt and liquid to taste.
Notes
  1. Feel free to adjust cheese and seasonings to your liking. It's a very flexible sauce; adjust until you find the right mix for you!
  2. Nutritional Information (per 1/2 cup) Cal: 60 Fat: 3 Carb: 5 Pro: 4
By Our Best Bites
Our Best Bites http://ourbestbites.com/

The post Skinny Cauliflower Cream Sauce appeared first on Our Best Bites.

11 Jan 15:30

Chewbacca And Ben Have A Complicated Relationship [Comic]

by Sean Fallon

ben top2

Spoilers and feels ahead thanks to artist Tyson Murphy. See the entire comic below.

chewie-kylo-star-wars-comic

(via GeekXGirls)

16 Jan 16:36

Hey, HEY! She’s Got It Where It Counts Kid [Comic]

by Sean Fallon
11 Jan 10:00

3 Ways to Clean a Cast Iron Skillet by Erica

by Erica

3 Ways to Clean a Cast Iron Skillet

Cast iron is definitely my favorite cookware. You don’t have to worry about chemicals leaching into your food. It’s naturally nonstick if properly cared for. It retains heat very well.

But when I first started cooking with cast iron, I was a bit mystified as to how one is supposed to clean it. Over the years I’ve learned a few tips and tricks that streamline the washing-up process.

Here are 3 ways to clean your beautiful cast iron skillet.

 
 
3 Ways to Clean a Cast Iron Skillet

Method #1


This method is best for lightly soiled pans. Begin by pouring a bit of oil into your skillet.

 
 
3 Ways to Clean a Cast Iron Skillet

Take a paper towel or dish rag, and rub the pan until clean, wiping out any food pieces.

 
 
3 Ways to Clean a Cast Iron Skillet

It’s as simple as that! And since you used oil to clean your pan, it’s all ready for the next time you cook!

 
 
3 Ways to Clean a Cast Iron Skillet

Method #2


This method is best for pans that are a bit more soiled, or have food lightly stuck to them.

Begin by sprinkling an abrasive agent into your skillet. You can use coarse sea salt, cornmeal, etc.

 
 
3 Ways to Clean a Cast Iron Skillet

Scrub the pan with a paper towel or dish rag. Scrape any food pieces into the trash.

 
 
3 Ways to Clean a Cast Iron Skillet

Finish off by rubbing your pan down with oil.

 
 
3 Ways to Clean a Cast Iron Skillet

Method #3


This method is best for pans that have food that is really stuck on, or if you cooked something smelly in the pan (like fish).

 
 
3 Ways to Clean a Cast Iron Skillet

This is my cast iron cleaning secret weapon: steel wool. It takes gunk off like nobody’s business.

 
 
3 Ways to Clean a Cast Iron Skillet

If you’re squeamish about using something as abrasive as steel wool, you can always use a non-scratching scrubbing pad instead.

 
 
3 Ways to Clean a Cast Iron Skillet

Let’s get to scrubbing. Put your pan in the sink, run some hot water in it, and scrub off all the stuck-on food. Rinse.

If the food is really cooked on, you can always let the pan soak for a bit. But don’t let cast iron sit in water too long or it will start to rust.

 
 
3 Ways to Clean a Cast Iron Skillet

Now, if you wash your cast iron with water, it is imperative that you dry it as soon as possible. Otherwise it will rust, especially if it’s a newer pan.

The best way to dry your pan that I’ve found is to set it over a high flame for a few minutes.

You can, of course, just dry the pan with a paper towel or dish towel, but MAKE SURE you use a dedicated dish towel. Otherwise you will turn your best towels black. Not like I speak from experience or anything.

 
 
3 Ways to Clean a Cast Iron Skillet

Let the pan cool for a bit, then pour in some oil.

 
 
3 Ways to Clean a Cast Iron Skillet

Rub it into the pan with a paper towel or dedicated dish rag.

 
 
3 Ways to Clean a Cast Iron Skillet

So there you have it: three ways to clean a cast iron skillet.

Do you have any tips for easy cast iron cleanup? Share in the comments!

 


11 Jan 16:45

Sesame Orange Broccoli

by Skinnytaste Gina
Sesame Orange Broccoli – an easy side dish recipe, perfect with fish, chicken or steak!

Looking for something different to do with broccoli, then this easy side dish is for you. Perfect side with salmon, cod, chicken or steak. You could even make this a meal by sauteed this with strips of beef or chicken before making the broccoli!

Sesame Orange Broccoli – an easy side dish recipe, perfect with fish, chicken or steak!



Click Here To See The Full Recipe...
10 Jan 17:12

Nam Sod (Thai Pork Salad)

by Beth M

I forgot the peanuts! I hate it when I make a recipe, photograph the whole thing, eat it, and then realize I completely forgot one of the ingredients. Ha! #braindead Anyway, when you’re looking at the photos of this Nam Sod, just imagine little pieces of nice crunchy peanuts on top, mmm-kay? Cool.

So what is Nam Sod? It’s a pork salad seasoned with a flavorful dressing made with lime, ginger, chili, and fish sauce. This stuff is super tasty, is nice and light, but completely filling at the same time. I served mine over rice just to bulk it out a bit, but it’s often served over greens, like shredded cabbage, or as a filling for lettuce wraps. I bet it would be pretty good over thin rice noodles, too! 

Nam Sod is traditionally pretty spicy, but my stomach has been a bit sensitive lately, so my version is a little softer. I left out thinly sliced fresh chilis and opted to use a chili garlic sauce instead. I also went a bit lighter on the fish sauce because, while I do appreciate the potent elixir and the savory base it brings to dishes, I don’t like heavy doses of the stuff. Feel free to adjust the fish sauce, chili, and ginger in the dressing to fit your taste buds. AND, if you have fresh mint growing, add a few sprigs of that as well!

Nam Sod (Thai Pork Salad)

Nam Sod Thai Pork Salad - BudgetBytes.com
You may also notice the higher price tag for this dish and for the ground pork in particular. As a reminder, my priorities have shifted a bit lately and I’m now trying to buy more responsibly products while still working within my budget. If that’s not something that is a high priority for you at the moment, this recipe may cost you much less. Remember, working on a food budget doesn’t necessarily always mean buying the cheapest food possible. It means making responsible choices based on your needs and priorities, which will be different for each person. Despite my choice to purchase more expensive meat, I’ve still saved substantially over eating out, and that’s what works for me. :)

4.9 from 11 reviews
Nam Sod (Thai Pork Salad)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Total Cost: $10.31
Cost Per Serving: $2.58
Serves: 4
Ingredients
DRESSING
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes) $0.66
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce $0.07
  • 1.5 Tbsp grated fresh ginger $0.16
  • ½ Tbsp chili garlic sauce or sambal oelek $0.17
SALAD
  • 1 lb. ground pork or turkey $5.93
  • 1 clove garlic $0.08
  • ½ Tbsp canola oil $0.02
  • ½ small red onion $0.38
  • 1 carrot $0.19
  • ¼ bunch cilantro $0.25
  • ½ cup unsalted peanuts $1.68
  • 4 cups cooked rice (optional) $0.72
Instructions
  1. Make the dressing first to allow the flavors time to blend. In a small bowl combine the fresh lime juice, fish sauce, fresh grated ginger, and chili garlic sauce. Stir to combine, taste, and adjust the fish sauce, chili garlic sauce, or ginger to your liking. The dressing should be very potent.
  2. Add the ground pork to a large non-stick skillet along with ½ Tbsp canola oil and one minced clove of garlic. Cook the pork over medium heat, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks, until it is cooked through (about five minutes). Drain off any excess fat and allow the pork to cool a few minutes, or until it is no longer hot.
  3. While the pork is cooking, peel and shred the carrot using a large holed cheese grater or mandolin. Slice the red onion into very thin strips. Pull the cilantro leaves from the stems.
  4. Transfer the cooled pork to a bowl, add the prepared dressing, and stir to combine. Add the shredded carrot, sliced red onion, cilantro, and peanuts. Stir to combine again. Serve the salad over a bed of cooked rice, shredded greens, or fill large lettuce leaves with the mixture for lettuce wraps.
3.4.3177

Nam Sod Thai Pork Salad - BudgetBytes.comNam Sod Thai Pork Salad - BudgetBytes.com

Step by Step Photos

Nam Sod DressingStart with the dressing so the flavors have a bit of time to blend. Combine 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, (about 2 limes), 1 Tbsp fish sauce, 1.5 Tbsp grated fresh ginger, and 1/2 Tbsp chili garlic sauce. If you don’t have chili garlic sauce (or sambal oelek), you can add a minced clove of garlic and some red pepper flakes. Fish sauce is a main flavor here, so it can not be substituted. You should be able to find fish sauce in the ethnic food aisle of most major grocery stores, at some health food stores, or at ethnic markets. 

Cooked Ground PorkNext, cook 1 lb. of ground pork (or turkey) with 1/2 Tbsp canola oil and one clove of minced garlic. Sauté the ground pork in a large non-stick skillet until it’s cooked through (about five minutes). Avoid over cooking the pork as you want to make sure it stays moist and tender for the salad. Drain off any excess fat and allow it to cool slightly.

Pour Dressing on PorkOnce mostly cooled, transfer to a large bowl and pour the dressing over top. Stir to combine.

Nam Sod VegetablesWhile the pork is cooking/cooling, peel and shred one carrot. You can use a large holed cheese grater for this, a spiralizer, or mandolin. Thinly slice 1/2 of a small red onion, and pull the leaves from about 1/4 bunch of cilantro.

Add Salad VegetablesAdd the carrot, onion, cilantro, and 1/2 cup unsalted PEANUTS (sorry, I forgot the peanuts in the photos) to the seasoned meat. 

Stir Salad to CombineStir the salad to combine. And that’s it! (adjustments can be made to the dressing even at this point if it’s not where you like it).

Nam Sod Thai Pork Salad - BudgetBytes.comI served my Nam Sod over a bed of rice because I wanted to really bulk it up, but a lot of people eat it over greens or inside lettuce wraps. I made sure to get a little bit of the dressing from the bottom of the bowl to drizzle over the rice. MMMmmmm.

Nam Sod Thai Pork Salad - BudgetBytes.comI <3 Thai flavors.

P.S. Shout out to my hair stylist, Amy, who has been telling me about the Nam Sod she makes at home for AGES and making me finally want to go try it myself. ;)

The post Nam Sod (Thai Pork Salad) appeared first on Budget Bytes.

07 Jan 16:02

Artist For Disney And Marvel Draws Some Amazing ‘Star Wars’ Meets ‘Calvin And Hobbes’ Mashups

by Sean Fallon

star wars tfa calvin

We’ve seen many, many Star Wars / Calvin and Hobbes mashups in the past, but Brian Kesinger‘s versions are certainly better than most. That might be due to the fact that he’s a story artist at Walt Disney animation studios and an artist for Marvel Comics.

Check out more illustrations from his The Force Awakens series below.

#poedameron deals with the bullies of the first order. #calvinandhobbes #starwars #mashup #kyloren

A photo posted by briankesinger (@briankesinger) on

#Rey and #bb8 love sledding down the dunes of jakku! #mashup #calvinandhobbes #theforceawakens #StarWars

A photo posted by briankesinger (@briankesinger) on

09 Jan 14:41

Calvin Kylo Ren [Comic]

by Sean Fallon
05 Dec 10:00

Spiced Pear Upside Down Cake by Erica

by Erica

Pear Upside Down Cake

There’s something almost magical about an upside down cake. The fruit begins to fuse into the cake as it bakes, but the flavors are kept gloriously distinct as well. It makes you want to dance with happiness as you take a bite. That is, if you’re one for dancing.

Pears make an especially good upside down cake—they have an almost custard-like taste and texture. The hint of spice in this cake batter adds a touch more depth of flavor.

Here’s the step-by-step process to making this fabulous cake!

Pear Upside Down Cake

The ingredients you’ll need: pears, maple sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla extract, whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, salt, and cream of tartar.

Pear Upside Down Cake

Butter a round cake pan and set aside.

Pear Upside Down Cake

In a small bowl, mix together some maple sugar and melted butter.

Pear Upside Down Cake

Spread this in the bottom of the cake pan.

Pear Upside Down Cake

Peel, core, and slice your pears.

Pear Upside Down Cake

Arrange the pear slices over the butter/sugar mixture in the pan. I’m so good at arranging pears perfectly. NOT.

Pear Upside Down Cake

Cream the remaining maple sugar and butter until light and fluffy. This should take about 5 minutes.

Pear Upside Down Cake

Add the egg yolks…

Pear Upside Down Cake

And vanilla extract.

Pear Upside Down Cake

Mix it all together!

Pear Upside Down Cake

Whisk together the dry ingredients.

Pear Upside Down Cake

Add half of the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar/egg mixture and mix.

Pear Upside Down Cake

Add the milk and beat.

Pear Upside Down Cake

Add the second half of the flour mixture and mix again.

Pear Upside Down Cake

In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar together until stiff peaks form.

Pear Upside Down Cake

Gradually and gently fold the egg whites into the batter.

Pear Upside Down Cake

Spread the batter over the pears in the pan.

Pear Upside Down Cake

Bake in an oven that’s been preheated to 325 degrees F for about 40-50 minutes, or until the cake is browned and it springs back when lightly touched. Let it cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes.

Pear Upside Down Cake

After the cake has cooled a bit, invert it onto a serving plate (or cake stand, if you’re feeling fancy).

Pear Upside Down Cake

I brought this cake to my husband and his co-workers for 3:00 break (which is totally a thing). My sister provided homemade eggnog. I was late because I decided it would be easier to hand-whip the cream to go on top rather than wash the beaters for my hand mixer. Logic, that. Anything to avoid washing dishes!
My husband commented that he particularly liked the parts where the pear caramelized around the edges of the cake.

Pear Upside Down Cake

This cake is really best eaten warm from the oven with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Make it extra fancy by sprinkling it with some freshly grated nutmeg. You could even make a custard sauce to pour over the top. Delightful.

 


03 Dec 14:14

Simple HOSTESS GIFT IDEAS: (flavored butters, engraved coasters and spoons)

by Ashley
simple hostess gift ideas

December is such a sneaky month.  Every year, it rolls in from out of nowhere and surprises me. Somehow I’d like to figure out a way to slooooow it down though, so I can enjoy every little bit of it.  Ahhhhhh….December.

And with a new month, comes another Michaels Makers challenge…..and this month was of course, Christmas themed! All of the Michaels Makers received a different theme and mine was — Simple Hostess Gift Ideas.  Oh hello, in case you haven’t met me, my name is Ashley and I have a special LOVE for quick projects….so I was excited about this challenge (plus, it would also help me cross some names off my gift list! :) )

As I started thinking about what I would make, I started thinking about hostess gifts that I would actually be really excited to receive……and USE!!!!  So, that’s when I came up with these 3 ideas —

Simple DIY Hostess Gift Ideas...Flavored Whipped Butter, Engraved Home State Coasters, & Engraved Wooden Spoons | via Make It and Love It

 

Okay, and I know this post is packed with pictures and normally I don’t try and fit 3 separate ideas into 1 post, but we were challenged to come up with 3 ideas……so they are QUICK to make and actually really FUN!  And I also think that hostess and neighbor/friend gifts can definitely overlap, so I think these would be great for anyone on your list!

First up — and the most simple of all 3, Etched Wooden Spoons.  Yep, you read that right…..those letters are burned right into the wood of those spoons!  There are so many ideas that you could use to make your spoons unique….and I’m telling you, once you start etching with a wood burning tool, you’ll be hooked.

engraved wooden spoons 1

 

The words are actually etched into the back of each spoon and will never fade or wash away.  This is a such a fun personalized gift that any hostess (or friend/neighbor/etc) would love….especially if you paired it with some new kitchen towels or maybe an apron!

engraved wooden spoons 2

 

The next hostess gift idea is something that I have REALLY been wanting to make and I thought, “hey this would be a fun hostess gift too!”…….so I added it to today’s gift ideas and finally made some ‘Engraved Home State Coasters’.  So yes, every state we’ve lived together as a married couple/family, made its way onto a coaster.  So, this actual set isn’t one I’m giving away….but I have extra wood slices to make more!  (And as a bonus, my kids think it’s a geography game!)

Engraved State Home Coasters 1

 

These are made with thick pre-cut slices of basswood and are so earthy and perfect!  You could make your hostess a set of matching coasters from the state she’s in now, or figure out the places she has lived and add those to some coasters. Such a fun conversation starter too, am I right??  :)Engraved State Home Coasters 2

 

The last hostess gift idea is something you could give to anyone—–your neighbor, a co-worker, a friend, a guy, a girl……anyone would love this!  Plus, it takes 2 seconds to make and doesn’t cost much at all!

flavored whipped butter 1

 

I made each of these butter flavors in 1/2 cup portions and put them in these cute little jars and printed out some labels for the top (labels included below).  I’m not sure which one is my favorite but my kids can’t get enough of the Cinnamon Honey Butter.  But the Sweet Cranberry Butter is perfect for holiday time and is just—yum!  But oh, if you prefer a savory spread (or want something to accompany your dinner)……that Parmesan Garlic Butter will knock your socks off!

flavored whipped butter 2

 

Each of the butters are whipped, so it’s light and easier to spread but still carries a lot of flavor with each bite!  Now, just layer some of this stuff on hot bread and OH MY WORD!!!!!!…..Yum.  (If you want to make this gift even better, pair it up with some homemade bread.  But, with it being holiday time……..it’s totally fine to grab some from the bread store. Permission granted. ;) )

flavored whipped butter 3

 

Wow, so many ideas floating around in this post…….but you could make all 3 ideas in one afternoon.  Or whip some up with friends!

 

Okay, onto the first idea—

Flavored Whipped Butters

I made 3 different flavors and all are equally simple.  I purchased the 4-ounce crystal jelly jars from Michaels….and they’re the perfect size for these recipe sizes.  I’ll share the ingredient lists first and then below that, will share how quickly they come together.

 

—> SWEET CRANBERRY WHIPPED BUTTER

IMG_2663

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup salted butter, room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp jellied cranberry sauce
  • 1 Tbsp honey

 

 

—> CINNAMON HONEY WHIPPED BUTTER

IMG_2665

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup salted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp honey
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon

 

 

—> PARMESAN GARLIC WHIPPED BUTTER

IMG_2682

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup salted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp parsley flakes
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

 

 

If you only make one of the butter flavor recipes, you’ll notice that there’s only 1/2 cup of butter.  If you try and whip 1/2 cup of butter in a mixer, it won’t whip because it’s too small of an amount and the beater can’t reach it. (Unless you use a hand mixer or a smaller food processor, etc.)  So, I mixed all 3 butter amounts together (1 1/2 cups)….and then divided into 3 portions after whipping the butter.

Turn your mixer on high and start whipping your room temperature butter.  After whipping a minute or two, you’ll notice that the butter will start to lighten in color and will look like it’s increasing in amount.  This is good….that means air is being added to the butter, making it light and fluffy.  Scrape the bowl occasionally and continue to beat on high until fully whipped.

IMG_2632

 

Now, divide your butter into 3 bowls and then add their different ingredients.

IMG_2647

 

Hand mix until well blended (refer to the images above) and then place each flavor combination into the 4-ounce jelly jars.

IMG_2749

 

I added labels to the top of my jars that you’re welcome to use, HERE.  (I printed mine out on brown card stock.)

whipped butter.1

 

 

Okay, next hostess gift idea —

Engraved Wooden Spoons

SUPPLIES:

  • wooden spoons of any kind
  • wood burner tool
  • oil conditioner, optional (I used Fractionated Coconut oil and it worked great to warm up the color of the wood and made it look higher quality. But not all oils work as a conditioner.)

 

Print out whatever word you want on your spoons, and flip the words in your Word document to be mirror image.  Cut out your word and place face down and tape in place onto the spoon, to hold it in place.

IMG_2770

 

Use a pen or pencil and trace around your lettering, nice and hard……creating an outline of your word on the wood.

IMG_2771

 

Peel back the paper and you’ll see some of the printer ink transferred onto the wood.  That’s good….it will help the outline show up a little better.

IMG_2775

 

Heat up your wood burner tool with the diagonal tip attached……and BE CAREFUL!!!  This tool gets HOT!!! Now, grab some scrap wood and practice a bit.  It takes some time to get the hang of it but just remember, it doesn’t have to be absolutely perfect.  Just go with it….and love it!

I found it easiest to burn around the edges of each of your letters and then filling the extra space when needed.

IMG_2787

 

Now repeat with your other spoons.

IMG_2825

 

Now, this is completely optional but these were very inexpensive spoons and didn’t have much color to them.  And wooden spoons that haven’t been used yet look a little dry.  So to help warm up the color and improve the look a bit, I rubbed Fractionated Coconut Oil onto each spoon.  (I have the oil on hand for dry skin and such but it worked well on the wood.  You can also use a wood conditioner or beeswax or mineral oil, if you have some.)

I put the oil just on the upper corner, to show you how it really changes the warmth of the wood.  Looks a little more worn and soft.

IMG_2829

 

 

 

And now, the 3rd hostess gift idea…

Engraved Wood Slice Coasters

SUPPLIES:

 

To get a silhouette shape of your desired state, google your state name and then copy/paste into a Word document.  Then, print out the size you need and trace onto your wood coasters, the same way as the wooden spoons from up above.  I added each of the hearts in the location that we lived in each of those states…..but you can leave them off if you’d prefer.

IMG_2840

 

Then, cut out a piece of felt that’s slightly smaller than your coaster and hot glue it to the bottom of your coaster.  (This is keep it from possibly scratching any of your surfaces.)

IMG_2854

 

Lastly, apply a layer of polyurethane to your coaster, to keep the wood from warping if it gets wet.

IMG_2864

 

And that’s it! 3 gift ideas for you to whip right up and tell your hostess “Thanks!”…….or for anyone else you know, to show them you care!

Enjoy!

-Ashley

 

Check out with the other Michaels Makers have been making:

 

 Loading InLinkz ...

The post Simple HOSTESS GIFT IDEAS: (flavored butters, engraved coasters and spoons) appeared first on Make It and Love It.

01 Dec 16:31

Sicilian Rice Ball Casserole

by Skinnytaste Gina
Sicilian Rice Ball Casserole – everything you love about arancini made into an easy casserole for weeknight dinners. Freezer friendly and kid-friendly!


This casserole takes one of my favorite appetizers (arancini) and turns it into a weeknight meal. Freezes well, great for potlucks and family friendly!

I can't take full credit for this, this is pure genius from my friend Julia of Julia's Healthy Italian. I originally shared this in 2011, but I thought it was time to reshoot the photos. I tweaked her recipe to lighten it up a bit, but she takes full credit for the creativity. Servings are large and very satisfying, you could serve a simple green salad on the side if you want more greens.

The filling is ground turkey with a little sausage that adds lots of flavor, plus peas and sauce. If you don't like peas, swap it with another vegetable. I'm thinking of trying a broccoli and sausage version next. I've made this with brown rice, it works fine too.

Sicilian Rice Ball Casserole – everything you love about arancini made into an easy casserole for weeknight dinners. Freezer friendly and kid-friendly!

Julia usually makes double and freezes the second casserole to use later. I halved her original, but it makes sense to make two for the same amount of work it takes to make one. I serve mine with a little extra sauce on the side and have also made this with brown rice and it works great.

Sicilian Rice Ball Casserole – everything you love about arancini made into an easy casserole for weeknight dinners. Freezer friendly and kid-friendly!

Sicilian Rice Ball Casserole – everything you love about arancini made into an easy casserole for weeknight dinners. Freezer friendly and kid-friendly!


Click Here To See The Full Recipe...
24 Nov 10:00

4 Ways to Make Whipped Cream by Joanne

by Joanne

If you asked me what my favorite dessert is, I might just tell you that it’s a bowl of ripe berries or peaches with a HUGE dollop of whipped cream on top. So huge of a dollop that it might not even be called a dollop anymore. But the point is, the gloriousness of freshly whipped cream cannot be understated. It’s simple, has the most luxurious lightness to it, and boasts a heavenly sweet cream flavor that can’t be beat.

 
 
Homemade Whipped Cream 4 Ways

I understand that convenience is a huge part of our lives in the kitchen, but for me, canned aerosol whipped cream and the frozen tubbed stuff will never hold a candle to freshly whipped cream. Plus, homemade whipped cream is so darn easy to make.

Today I’m going to share four different ways to make it. Let’s start with my favorite way.

 
 
Homemade Whipped Cream 4 Ways

Using nothing but a balloon whisk and a bowl


This method is my favorite for a few reasons. It’s the most consistent, evenly whipped cream, and also the most satisfying to make. It does take a little bit of arm work to whip, but there’s something truly enjoyable about the act of hand-whipping cream. You get to watch it transform from a pourable liquid into a thick, luscious cloud with every whip of the arm. And, because it’s a fairly gradual process, you’re less likely to overwhip the cream.

 
 
Homemade Whipped Cream 4 Ways

To get started, pour the heavy whipping cream into a large bowl.

 
 
Homemade Whipped Cream 4 Ways

Now it’s time to add your sugar.

Generally, I prefer to use granulated sugar over confectioner’s, because the cornstarch present in the confectioner’s sugar makes whipped cream slightly gritty. (This is another reason I prefer to hand-whip cream, because you can’t use granulated sugar with the stand mixer method, which I’ll explain more about later.)

 
 
Homemade Whipped Cream 4 Ways

Lastly, add in a splash of vanilla extract. You can also use other flavorings or sweet alcohols like Amaretto or Frangelico.

 
 
Homemade Whipped Cream 4 Ways

When you first start whisking, the heavy cream will form very large bubbles on top.

 
 
Homemade Whipped Cream 4 Ways

Over the next minute or two of whisking, those large bubbles will disappear and you’ll see the cream thicken up, with ridge trails left by the whisk.

 
 
Homemade Whipped Cream 4 Ways

Even though it looks thick, you can tell it’s still too runny.

 
 
Homemade Whipped Cream 4 Ways

After another minute or so of whisking, it’s perfect, and has reached soft peaks.

 
 
Homemade Whipped Cream 4 Ways

You can test for soft peaks by lifting the whisk straight out of the bowl, flipping it over, and seeing that the dollop of whipped cream falls ever so slightly to the side. It’s now ready to be used!

 
 
Homemade Whipped Cream 4 Ways

Using a hand mixer


Everything about this method is the exact same as above, but instead of using your arm, the electric mixer does all the work for you.

You can use granulated sugar for this method and it will dissolve just fine as you whip the cream.

One minor downside to this method is the whipped cream will not be as even as the hand-whipped cream. You’ll notice larger bubbles at the beginning of the whipping process than with the hand-whipped cream, and toward the end, you may notice part of the cream has reached soft peaks while the cream is more liquid underneath. You can mitigate this by using a relatively low speed throughout the whipping process.

 
 
Homemade Whipped Cream 4 Ways

Using a stand mixer


Only use this method if you’re making large amounts of whipped cream. Because the whisk attachment doesn’t actually touch the bottom of the bowl, small amounts won’t whip properly. It is also for this reason that you only want to use confectioner’s sugar to sweeten the cream. Granulated sugar will not be touched by the whisk attachment, and will sit at the bottom of the bowl, undissolved.

As with the hand mixer, try to use lower speeds with the stand mixer, so you get a more even whip.

Making whipped cream in a jar


This method is most different from the others. If you think back to your elementary school days, do you remember making butter in a jar by shaking heavy cream vigorously until it separated into butter and buttermilk? That’s exactly what we’ll do here, except we’ll stop before we reach the butter stage.

 
 
Homemade Whipped Cream 4 Ways

Fill a jar halfway full with heavy cream, and add confectioner’s sugar and vanilla.

 
 
Homemade Whipped Cream 4 Ways

Shake the jar for a couple of minutes until it thickens into whipped cream, watching carefully that you don’t over-shake the cream into butter.

This method is a bit of an arm workout, and you have to be careful about monitoring the thickness of the cream. However, it can be a fun way for kids to help out in the kitchen.

 
 
Homemade Whipped Cream 4 Ways

That’s it! The method you prefer is a matter of personal taste, but no matter the method, homemade whipped cream is always worth the effort. Enjoy!

 


18 Nov 04:27

Garlic-Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms

by Kate @ Our Best Bites

Thanksgiving is right around the corner! Menus are well on their way to being planned (unless you’re me and you literally have no idea what you’re going to do for Thanksgiving…dinner at home all by ourselves? Little weekend getaway? I don’t know. These are hard questions.) While Thanksgiving dinner tends to be on the more traditional side, it’s always fun to add a new recipe or two, and great places to add new recipes to your holiday repertoire are side dishes and appetizers because if you fail on the turkey, people might cut you, but if that weird Pinterest salad you bring goes largely uneaten, you’ll just have some extra leftovers to bring home and throw away three months later when you clean out the fridge.

Luckily for you, people will go crazy for these Garlic-Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms. These are also a great low-carb alternative for people who might be watching their waistlines on Thanksgiving (ha! Ha for me, not for them. Good for them.) If you want to add a little crunch, feel free to sprinkle them with some panko bread crumbs (Italian seasoned or plain, either one is delicious) before adding the final dusting of parmesan cheese; otherwise, prepare for a gone-in-a-flash appetizer that can be prepped ahead of time .

For the filling, you’re going to need some cream cheese (light is fine), mayonnaise (forgot that in the pic, but you’re going to need it for moisture), and freshly grated Parmesan cheese (the pre-shredded stuff is convenient, but it’s coated in a non-stick powder that doesn’t melt well…or at all.)

garlic artichoke stuffed mushrooms-2

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Drizzle the olive oil (I used our bacon olive oil here, but garlic would be equally incredible) over the aluminum foil and set aside.

Make sure the mushrooms are clean,

garlic artichoke stuffed mushrooms

the gently twist the stems off the mushrooms. Save for another use (omelets, pasta sauce, etc.) or discard.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese. Chop up about 3 tablespoons of chives, a couple cloves of garlic, and round up some, salt, and pepper.

garlic artichoke stuffed mushrooms-3

Add all the ingredients to the bowl…

garlic artichoke stuffed mushrooms-4

and mix until combined.

Add some chopped artichoke hearts

garlic artichoke stuffed mushrooms-5

and bacon

garlic artichoke stuffed mushrooms-6

and stir until combined.

Toss the mushrooms in the oil on the prepared baking sheet. Set them on the baking sheet, what-was-once-a-stem side up,

garlic artichoke stuffed mushrooms-7

and scoop the cream cheese mixture into each mushroom cap. Sprinkle all the mushroom caps with freshly grated parmesan cheese

garlic artichoke stuffed mushrooms-8

and bake for 18-20 minutes or until the caps are heated through and the cheese is melty. Remove from oven and top with remaining minced chives and serve immediately.

garlic artichoke stuffed mushrooms-9 copy

Garlic-Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms
2015-11-18 03:59:40
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  2. 16 ounces baby portobello mushrooms, cleaned
  3. 6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  4. 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  5. 1/2 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese, + more for sprinkling before baking
  6. 2-3 cloves garlic
  7. 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives + more for garnish
  8. 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  9. a few cracks of freshly ground black pepper
  10. 1/3 cup chopped marinated artichoke hearts
  11. 4 slices cooked bacon, chopped
  12. 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Drizzle the olive oil over the aluminum foil and set aside.
  2. Gently twist the stems off the mushrooms. Save for another use (omelets, pasta sauce, etc.) or discard.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese. Add garlic, chives, salt, and pepper and mix until combined. Add chopped artichoke hearts and bacon and stir until combined.
  4. Toss the mushrooms in the oil on the prepared baking sheet. Set them on the baking sheet, stem side up, and scoop the cream cheese mixture into each mushroom cap. If desired, sprinkle all the mushroom caps with panko bread crumbs and then add some freshly grated parmesan cheese and bake for 18-20 minutes or until the caps are heated through and the cheese is melty. Remove from oven and top with remaining minced chives and serve immediately.
By Our Best Bites
Our Best Bites http://ourbestbites.com/
 Also, if you’re looking to restock your olive oils, check out our new products, or do some Christmas shopping, stay tuned for details about our Cyber Monday deals!!
23 Nov 02:08

Snickers Layer Cake

by Kristan

Snickers Layer Cake is a candy lover’s perfect cake. Layers of chocolate, caramel and peanut butter nougat frosting combine to make an unforgettable dessert.

snickers-layer-cake-image

We really need to work on becoming a society that celebrates more than just life changing, physically demanding accomplishments.

Like I understand that marathon running is having “a moment” right now, but can we talk about how much Halloween candy I can eat without getting sick?

Or the fact that I’ve binge watched all of the best shows on Netflix? Or my impressive collection of handbags? Can’t any of that that count for SOMETHING? Not all accomplishments look like muscular calves and rock hard abs, after all.

I might be squishy, but I’ve always got chocolate in my purse and I can give you the latest on the Blake Shelton/Gwen Stefani drama. And that has to count for something in this world.

Snickers Layer Cake Photo

For the record, I am not a fan of the Blake and Gwen romance. Doesn’t anyone stop to BREATHE after a divorce?

Do we all just run around dating all willy nilly these days? For the love, people – this isn’t HIGH SCHOOL. Take a moment to get your crap together and maybe take up a new hobby. Knitting is always useful – people love scarves! Or woodworking? There’s something to be said for a hand-carved elephant sculpture. But immediately stepping out with the Hollaback girl? Maybe not the best route to emotional stability.

Speaking of my many accomplishments, let’s talk about this cake that I carefully created. It’s layers of chocolate cake with peanut butter nougat frosting, caramel, peanuts, and chocolate ganache.

Snickers Layer Cake Picture

If a Snickers bar’s fairy godmother visited and transformed it to a magical dessert, this would probably be it. And you don’t want to miss out on that, do you?

Of course not.

You can also find this Snickers Layer Cake recipe on Food Fanatic, where I am a regular contributor of all things sweet.

Enjoy!

The post Snickers Layer Cake appeared first on Confessions of a Cookbook Queen.

20 Nov 21:20

A Photo Series That Depicts Darth Vader Living an Ordinary Life and Doing Mundane Things

by Glen Tickle

Vader Enjoys Some Coffee

D. Vader is a photo series by photographer Pawel Kadysz that depicts Darth Vader living an ordinary life and doing things like drinking coffee, doing chores, and listening to music.

In the narrative of the piece, Vader has taken up photography as a hobby and floats the camera and releases the shutter using the Force.

Vader Enjoys Some Pizza

Vader Flies Toy Advanced x1 TIE

Vader in a Suit

Vader Reads a Book

photos via Pawel Kadysz

via Mashable

20 Nov 09:58

A Small Thanksgiving: Vanilla Bean Roasted Acorn Squash

by Christina Lane
Vanilla roasted acorn squash  This post is lovingly sponsored by one of my very favorite companies to work with–Nielsen-Massey Vanillas. I was compensated by Nielsen-Massey for my time in developing this recipe and post. As always, all opinions are my own. And I really do love their products. We made it! We’re at the final side dish for our small Thanksgiving gathering! All that’s left is dessert, for which
17 Nov 17:42

Bill Murray & Friends Get Snowed In At the Hotel in Trailer For Netflix Holiday Special ‘A Very Murray Christmas’

by Glen Tickle

Bill Murray and friends get snowed in at the Carlyle Hotel in the new trailer to the Netflix holiday special A Very Murray Christmas. Murray is in good company, as he is joined by Amy Poehler, George Clooney, Miley Cyrus, Michael Cera, and many more celebrity guests.

The special will be released on Netflix on December 4, 2015.

18 Nov 01:02

Nosevember VIDEO

by Brinke

We rarely never get any VIDEO submissions for Nosevember, so we hafta go out and search for just the right video.

Found it.


Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: Nosevember 2015, Snoring ZZZZ, Speakers UP
15 Nov 10:00

Thanksgiving Dinner: Green Bean Casserole by Brenda

by Brenda

For the past few Thanksgivings, I’ve been experimenting with creating my own green bean casserole from scratch. With fresh green beans and mushrooms. And without any canned cream soups—because homemade gravy is such a wonderful thing. I’ve kept notes from year to year to year, making improvements and honing in on the prize.

Yes, I received some pushback from my husband that first year, prior to setting it on the table. A diehard fan of the traditional green bean casserole that graces most Thanksgiving tables each year, his thinking was, “Why mess with a good thing?”

But you know me. I love playing around with old hotdish and casserole recipes, updating them with fresh twists, and I couldn’t rest until I got this one right. This version is definitely more time-intensive than the classic recipe, but it’s true that good things—really good things—come to those who wait. This Green Bean Casserole with Bacon and Fried Shallots will have a place on our Thanksgiving table for many years to come.

 
 
Green Bean Casserole with Bacon and Fried Shallots

What I love best about this green bean casserole is the fresh green beans. They’re one of my family’s favorite vegetables. The beans are cooked in a pot of boiling water for just a few minutes, until bright green and tender crisp. Then they’re plunged into a bowl of ice water to stop them from cooking further.

 
 
Green Bean Casserole with Bacon and Fried Shallots

I’m also quite fond of fresh mushrooms. Each year I’ve made this homemade green bean casserole, I’ve upped the quantity of mushrooms. Which doesn’t make our youngest daughter too happy, but she’s learned to just pick around them. We’re all good.

 
 
Green Bean Casserole with Bacon and Fried Shallots

The greatness of bacon is a given in any dish, so let’s move right on to the shallots. I sliced up a number of them, nice and thin, and then (mostly) separated the rings.

 
 
Green Bean Casserole with Bacon and Fried Shallots

Then I tossed them in a lightly spiced flour mixture. An easy way to ensure that every surface of the shallot rings gets coated is to combine everything in a bowl, top the bowl with a lid, and shake. Works like a charm.

 
 
Green Bean Casserole with Bacon and Fried Shallots

The shallots then get fried in oil until lightly brown and crispy. If you like onion rings, you’ll find it hard to resist snitching these fabulous little bites. While I was frying these, and eating way too many, I actually had to cut up a couple extra shallots so I’d still have enough to pile on the casserole. I recommend you do the same.

 
 
Green Bean Casserole with Bacon and Fried Shallots

This homemade green bean casserole has won over my family, even my once skeptical husband. The gravy is creamy and luscious, and beautifully flavored with fresh rosemary and thyme, perfect for hugging up all those bright green beans. And when topped with savory goodies—chopped bacon and crispy, fried shallots—well, there’s just no going back to that old green bean casserole we all grew up with.

 


15 Nov 16:00

Bunday Morning Comix

by Brinke

tumblr_ns4io1WXWC1uacv0ho1_1280Artwork by TheyCanTalk.com.


Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: Bunday Morning Comix
13 Nov 20:43

I’ve Got Thick Skin, and a Fuzzy Heart

by Dr. V

I was certain when I had kids that my motherhood chip would finally kick in, that I would finally start to react to babies the way I reacted to dogs and cats. Because surely that maternal instinct in my heart had merely been misdirected all these years, and was simply in need of a little oxytocin and fine-tuning to point it to the appropriate species upon which I should lavish my affection.

Now my kids are 11 and 9 and I can say this with absolute certainty: not so much.

Don’t get me wrong: I love my kids, I love being their mom, and I couldn’t imagine my life without them. Well, I could, especially on certain days when the attitude is dialed to 11, but I much prefer it the way things are.

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My daughter was helping clean up after Emmett when she was 5. I’d say this reflects brilliantly on my parenting but her desire to help lasted till she was about 6. :)

As in, I don’t want more kiddos and never have. When my friends go into Babies R Us to pick out a shower gift, they sigh and say, “Don’t you miss those days?”

And I, inspecting the newest Diaper Genie version and wondering if it would work for cat litter, reply honestly: “No.” I was exhausted and overwhelmed the entire time from 2004-2011 or so.

When I see a pregnant woman waddling by and others remark on her glow, I think about how sweaty she must be, or if her bladder hurts as much as mine did, or if she has complete strangers lift their hands up in shock and go “WHOA!” when she turns around in her ninth month of pregnancy with a 9 pound son and they get a glimpse of the battleship of an abdomen.

Motherhood has changed me in some ways: I look at people’s new babies and I smile. But I don’t need to hold them. I am so, so, SOOOOOO much more compassionate about people with babies on planes. I hold doors for parents with strollers trying to get through. That sort of thing. And I look upon it with nostalgia, but not a lick of longing. No pun intended.

When I was getting my hair done a while back, a woman came in with a duckling. I lost my head at the cuteness and almost lost my hair too because I kept jumping out of the chair to squee. I went home and tried to get my husband, once more, to agree to raising a couple chickens (he said no.)

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A woman at my gym brings her chihuahua in on occasion. I never get anything done when she does. (My husband has also said no to a chihuahua.)

The point is less that he said no to more animals and more the fact that I want them, the way I imagine some mothers must see a baby sleeping in a stroller and say to herself, “Oh, I wish I just had one more.”

This morning as I was walking by a cafe, I spotted a family with a black lab sitting at a table about 50 feet away. The dog and I locked eyes, and before I knew it I was on the ground laughing getting dog kisses as the family grinned. I don’t remember how many people there were or what they looked like but the dog was a boy, black labrador, about 50 pounds, with a blocky head and the tiniest bit of grey peeking around his muzzle. He is 9, his name is Brock, and he likes to lay down with his legs splayed behind him.

As I lamented about my hopelessness to my friend Jen, she remarked, “You just have a fuzzy heart is all.” And I think she’s right.

I’m also pretty sure it’s genetic.

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Tending to Brody on the day of his pinnectomy.

 

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I have a theory. I think that when we get a pet, they grab a piece of our heart and give us a bit of theirs in return. It’s how we will find them on the other side. And the older I get, the more pieces get replaced; my heart is getting furrier and furrier, and it’s made not only of my own pets but the clients I adore, my friends’ animals I have loved, the strangers like Brock who know just where to find it.