Our friend, Jenn, brought these to our annual New Year's Eve party and they were a huge hit: the perfect combination of crunchy, salty, sweet, nutty, and chocolate. They're a quick and easy addition to any dessert table that will disappear faster than any other treat.
We tried out a new-to-me tortilla chip brand at our Halloween Party. They're from Garden of Eatin' made from several varieties of organic corn (or sweet potatoes!) with no transfats or preservatives.
We ate them alone, with guacamole, with spinach dip, and crushed on top of our chili. The official feedback? Everyone liked them both but everyone (except Dave, haha) LOVED the sweet potato chips the best. That hint of sweet combined really well with everything we ate them with from the avocado to the chili. They are delicious. These chips come in 20 varieties, will be my choice from now on, particularly the sweet potato variety. So yummy.
Easy to find, they're available in most local grocery stores, including the Price Cutters, Dillon's, Target, and Mama Jeans, here in our town.
These Spider Eggs were a huge Halloween hit. They're easy to make but they do take a little time so if you're making a couple dozen, be sure to allow yourself and hour to place the spiders. A tiny bit tedious but very cute and a great appetizer table showstopper! Worth it!
To make: Make Devilled Eggs, adding any food paste coloring you want.
Using a small can of small whole olives, cut olive in half to make spider bodies. Then for the legs, cut olives in half and the cut the halfs into thin slivers. Place by hand or using tweezers. Chill 1-2 hours before serving.
Other fun stuff from the evening:
Mini jack-o-lanters "puking" Spinach Dip. Gross, but fun for Halloween!
Monster Cookies from Aunti Miranda. So cute. So...sugary! Niece Sydney and I split one towards the end of the night and, boy howdy, were our tongues bright red and green for an hour!
Fruit Rice Krispy Squares--follow the regular recipe using Fruity rice krispy. So yummy!
The spread...well...part of it. The part you don't see is the huge crockpot of chili with all the fixin's on the stove and the jack-o-lanter pepperoni pizzas from Papa Murphy's coming out of the oven every 20 minutes. I don't think anyone left hungry or without a smile.
Ham & Provolone roll up is one of my favorite weekend night meals. Even though it takes a couple of hours to make, there's relatively little hands-on time so I can lay the dough out to defrost in the early afternoon, run errands, make the roll-up, and then do laundry or other household chores for the next hour while it raises again. After that, it's only a matter of baking. By the time we eat, usually serving only a simple salad on the side, I barely feel like I've spent any time at all in the kitchen. Magic!
It, and its pepperoni cousin, also make great party appetizers, almost always found on my family holiday menu list.
A couple of weeks ago, my cousin, Colleen, made salmon patties for her family for dinner and let me blog them. They were so inviting in the photo I suddenly had a craving. Fish patties is one of those things that are quick, easy, and tasty, but I usually I forget to make them unless something reminds me.
I do have a can of salmon in the cupboard, along with a few cans of tuna and crab, but I also had some cod fillets in the freezer that sounded yummy too. This is my recipe for fish patties or fish cakes as they're also called. Mine has a few more bells and whistles than Colleen's but only because I was playing with a much milder fish that needed a little kick in the gill to rev the flavor up.
One of my friends put this photo up on Facebook on 4th of July and I don't remember the rest of what he said about his family (sorry, Mark!) because I was too busy worshipping the divine bacon. I confess I don't eat a lot of meat but I could also never be a vegetarian simply because of the divine-ness of bacon. A few years ago, I said that to a friend and he said "Let me let you in on a little secret: even vegetarians eat bacon." It was a joke, so no outraged letters from vegetarians, please, but I completely understood what he was saying. There is something about bacon that no matter how bad it is for me...I really really want it. Maybe that's the reason why. Nah, it's really the salty, savory goodness that makes my heart go pitter-pat (or stop so I don't eat it often).. I really do try to eat good-for-me stuff most of the time but, then again, we're talking about bacon and bacon breaks all the rules.
Then Mark posted another pic of what was inside the basketweave bacon leg and if I had not been sold before, I certainly was then. Tater tots. And cheese. 'nuff said.
Well, one more thing to say: Recipe, please! Mark obliged. Gene looked at the pictures, made sure he gave me the recipe, and said "Thank you, Mark!"
One of the great things about summer cooking, of course, are all the fresh vegetables for salads of all kinds, including pasta salads. However, in my own experience, there are times when I don't have the time to shop and chop, or I've simply run out of time and need a quick pot luck salad that tastes so good people don't necessarily notice the missing fresh cucumbers that are de riguer in summer pasta salads.
I think of this as one of my tricks or cheats and smile as I simply say "thank you" to the compliments anytime I show up with this dish. All it takes is a few ingredients hanging out in the pantry as my "Oh crap, I forgot I needed to make something for work!" saviors.
When anyone uses the word "salad" I think of a restaurant salad: iceberg lettuce, hard tomatoes, maybe cucumbers, maybe carrots, cheese, croutons, and very fattening dressing. Okay, the last is of my own choice because even though I really, with all my heart, want to be one of those "Oh my goodness, I NEVER eat anything but a little fresh lemon squeezed on my salads", I'm more of a Ranch, Thousand Island, French dressing, and lots of it, kind of girl. The first part of the salad is so anemic it's got little health value and the second, with its high fat and higher chemical load in the bottled versions makes the the whole idea of eating salad out at a regular restaurant much less good for you in reality than in theory. At home, I mostly keep it simple with fresh spinach or leaf lettuce and wilt it (see Classic Wilted Lettuce Salad) or try to make simple home-made vinaigrettes or creamier dressings. By using a better nutritionally quality of base greens and home-made, no chemical, dressings, the taste and nutrition values are amplified.
I confess that even with the home-made, sometimes I get bored with the greens/dressing formula and often go with this concept of small diced veggies of all kinds that marinate in a vinaigrette. It's extra crunchy, very brightly colored and pretty, and has a longer shelf life in the fridge so that I can nibble on it as snacks too. Actually, this is one of those great dishes that tastes better the second day after its had a chance to hang out in the fridge and make friends with its neighboring veggies for a while. I like its versatility of working as a stand alone pre-dinner salad, a side on our dinner plate, or as a great snack. It will also be great ON a bed of greens, and with this, no extra salad dressing would be needed.
I'm a little late to the Pinterest game, but once I checked it out I was immediately hooked. So many fantastic ideas!!!!
I've, of course, been pinning ideas for myself but I've also been funneling crazy cute kid food ideas to my sister, Suzanne, on Facebook for her daycare kids. Her kids loved our first effort of hot dog spaghetti so much that we've got the family all looking for fun ideas for her to play with this summer with the kids and I'll be blogging the results.
This Smile idea is very simple but ingenious idea of "glueing" marshmallows between apple slices with peanut butter. The kids loved them and Suzanne loves that they're simple, fun, and healthy for the little guys and gals (and adults too). Auntie Miranda is thinking they'd be great for Halloween made with Granny Smith apples--GREEN lips--LOVE that idea too! We'll be making up a platter of that version in a few months so stayed tuned.
Just a little "by the way": the apples Suzanne used are all deep red delicious, but the back few simply photographed darker. Wish there were black apples for Halloween, that would be fun too.