Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Happiness this week...

Things that are currently putting a smile on my face....

The Layered Peppermint Cheesecake that my mom made for my (early) birthday celebration! 

Beautiful days in the middle of winter & fur collars!

This picture of vintage bracelets makes me wish these were in my closet...

Stumbled upon this picture here and immediately started dreaming of the get togethers that could be had here.... I'm thinking good friends + good wine + fire.

LOVE this arm candy! This picture might be my most favorite web find ever...

Been experiment with this Chocolate Balsamic lately...
made an incredible pork dish with it! This is from a local Nashville company. (Find it here!)

Made Smitten Kitchen's "Red Wine Chocolate Cake" two nights ago....
WOW! Blown away by how simple it was to make & more over, how INCREDIBLE it was!
My little honey was over the moon for this cake!! Make this soon!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Recipes for the New Year.


I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and a fun-filled, safe New Years Eve! Since we will be leaving for Spring Training in AZ soon, we have been staying in our new house as much as we possibly can! Because of that, we've been entertaining like crazy! I love doing that because Chris and I both love to cook & have friends over. I wanted to start the blog year off by sharing some AMAZING recipes with you guys. These are recipes I have made/had over the holidays and wanted to share because they are all incredible and so simple! Everyone needs a few recipes in their back pocket to pull out to impress friends and family - or to whip up a last-minute meal. I really encourage you to try some - or ALL - of these!! I wouldn't take the time to post them if they didn't have my full "stamp of approval." Enjoy!! xx

Let me start out by saying that - surprise, surprise - I found these on Pinterest. (Follow me here!)
I had seen the recipe float by my feed again and again, without pinning it. Then I thought about ALL the times during the day that I need a little "pick me up snack"that is healthy and NOT apples and peanut butter (again). Then I thought about all the times, before a workout, that I needed some energy without eating a lot and making myself full. I immediately pinned them and made them the next day.
WOAH BABY! I AM SO GLAD I DID!!!! My husband and I are both obsessed with these little bites of heaven! They are very healthy, too, sweetened with just 1/3 cup of honey and 1/2 cup chocolate chips. (which, over the course of the entire recipe isn't a lot)
You have GOT to try these asap! Even kids will love them!
You can get the recipe by clicking here.

Another Pinterest find! Can you tell I live on that site??
I made this Pecan, Brown Sugar, and Kahlua Baked Brie this past weekend, and it was a hit!
Three ingredients plus a wheel of Brie cheese. You can't get any easier than that!
I served it with a sliced apple and whole wheat Ritz crackers. YUM-O!
Find the recipe here.

Pioneer Woman's Burgundy Mushrooms (recipe here)
I made these for Christmas dinner and WOW! These puppies were worth the time it took to cook them and even better the next day! They take a long time to cook, but at least once you've put them in the pot you can forget about them until dinner. Maybe make them in the crock pot!

Pioneer Woman's Brussel Sprouts with Balsamic Cranberries (recipe here)
This recipe and the mushrooms were new recipes for me, which made me a little nervous to contribute them to our Christmas dinner. I didn't have to worry too long because they were both incredible! I know brussel sprouts aren't the most popular veggie on the block, but I want to (proudly) share with you guys that I turned THREE brussel sprout haters into fans that night! These are SO simple, too! Even if you aren't a fan, try them... you just might surprise yourself, while impressing everyone else ;) 

Another new appetizer that I tried, thanks to my little mama! (THANKS MOM!)
This is "Sweet & Sassy Cheese." I will be adding this one to the top of my appetizer list!
Recipe below.

Peppermint Brownie Trifle (recipe here)
Took this to a dinner with 6 people, and everyone highly approved! 
The only thing I would do differently is not make the brownies with the yogurt, make them as the box directs. It's not that much oil over the entire recipe, so don't worry!


Sweet & Sassy Cheese
1/2 cup white karo (corn syrup)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dried fruit mix (I used cranberries, cherries, and apricots)
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 8oz. package cream cheese

Mix first 5 ingredients in sauce pan & heat to simmer. Stir. Remove from heat & Stir in almond extract. Cool to room temp & pour over cream cheese. Serve with crackers. 

One more I wanted to share... These "Firecrackers" were another recipe my mom gave me and said I had to try. I made them for a Christmas party I threw, and people raved about them! They are perfect for an appetizer, served with cheese - or with soup on a cold night! This recipe makes a bunch, and they keep for a long time!

1 box saltine crackers
1 1/2 cups oil (I used regular old veggie oil but you could use canola too)
2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
1 package ranch dressing mix (the powder kind in the little packet)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder

Mix all ingredients except cracker together and mix well in a ziplock bag or large bowl with a lid. Add crackers and toss to coat, making sure you get all the crackers coated. Every 15 mins, for 2 hours, mix or carefully toss the crackers around to make sure they are all equally and fully coated with the oil mixture. Let sit 24, then eat.