Super Bowl Menu

We are hosting the Super Bowl this year for the second year in a row and I am totally ordering pizza for the second year in a row. It’s easy and makes my life less stressful. But of course I can’t just have pizza. I could never have at least one homemade thing at a gathering…it’s just not my style. Sooo, in addition to the pizza I am going to prepare some dips and desserts for our guests. I’m pretty darn excited about them so I thought that I would share them with you now in case you want to try them for the big game. I will feature them in the future if they are a hit among the crowd.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

FRANK'S® REDHOT® BUFFALO CHICKEN DIP

Mexican Cheesy Corn Dip from Piece, Love and Cooking

Caramel Peanut Butter Dip for Apples

Caramel Peanut Butter Dip Recipe

Dessert is a toss up right now…either mini fruit pizza’s or Blue Moon cupakes…ooooor both. I just can’t decide. Blue Moon cupcakes would be perfect for the game but mini fruit pizza’s would be so cute and fun.

Blue Moon Cupcakes from Erica Sweet Tooth

Mini Fruit Pizza’s (store bought or prepared sugar cookies with frosting…if I make these I’m going to frost the cookies then set out the fruit so everybody can create their own using the fruit they prefer)

Double Chocolate Banana Muffins

Double Chocolate Banana Muffins
For as much as I claim to not liking chocolate cakes, cookies, muffins, breads I sure do seem to bake them a lot. Every time I see a recipe for something chocolate I think “this will be the one that converts me” and it never is…it’s always too decadent for me. But these muffins were just perfect. They were rich but not so much so that we couldn’t enjoy them. The combination of bananas and chocolate was divine and I think the addition of walnuts would put them over the top.

To make these more nutritous (and not feel so bad for eating chocolate for breakfast) I used half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose flour. The banana kept these muffins moist so the addition of whole wheat flour wasn’t even noticed. When Joel saw that I had made muffins he asked if they were healthy. He knows that I’ve been trying to up the health factor in our meals so he has been very skeptical. I could have totally tricked him if he hadn’t asked.
Double Chocolate Banana Muffins

And I apologize for the picture of only a single muffin. We scarfed these down and I didn’t remember to take a picture until only one was left…oops.

Double Chocolate Banana Muffins
recipe from food.com

1 1/2 cups flour (I used 3/4 cup all-purpose and 3/4 cup wheat flour)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/3 cups mashed ripe bananas (took 3 bananas for me)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

1. In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients.

2. In a small bowl, combine bananas, oil and egg.

3. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.Fold in chocolate chips.

4. Fill greased or paper lined muffin cups three fourths full.

5. Bake at 350 deg F for 20-25 minutes or until muffins test done.Totally Tasty Tuesd

Recipe linked to Mangia Monday, Tasty Tuesday, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Totally Tasty TuesdayFriday Food, Fusion Friday, Full Plate Thursday and What I Whipped Up Wednesday.

 

Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Soup
Winter has finally struck here and it means business. This is the perfect hearty soup to warm you to the core on these cold nights we have been having. I love a good, thick soup that is filling and this totally fit the bill. The cumin provides a delicious, smoky flavor while the lime juice adds a nice little acidity to the soup. I love the addition of sweet potatoes, it was unique and super yummy with the black beans.

I left the ham hock out but I bet it would be so tasty with little bits of ham throughout (or bacon would be good too). This recipe is easily adaptable for vegetarians….just leave out the ham as I did and use veggie stock instead of chicken.

This soup takes awhile and involves soaking the beans overnight so it takes a bit of preparation and planning. Top this soup with some crispy tortilla strips to add a crunchy texture or scoop it up with some crusty french bread. Yum!

Black Bean Soup with Sweet Potatoes
recipe from Simply Recipes

1 pound dried black beans (about 2 cups), rinsed, soaked in 4 quarts of water overnight or 6 hours, drained
1 lb smoked ham hock or shank (or a 1lb. bacon cook and crumbled – added before serving)
2 bay leaves
5 cups water
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped fine
1 medium sweet potato, chopped into
1/2-inch pieces (can substitute 2 large carrots)
1/2 carrot, chopped fine
1 celery rib, chopped fine
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 teaspoon chile powder
2 cups chicken stock
1 Tbsp molasses
1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
3 to 4 Tbsp lime juice (can substitute lemon juice)
Salt

Garnishes: Tortilla strips Chopped fresh cilantro Sour cream Avocado, peeled and chopped

1. Place beans and ham hock in a 4-quart, thick-bottomed pot. Add 5 cups water, bay leaves, salt and baking soda. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a low simmer. Cover and let cook 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes, until beans are tender. Remove bay leaves. Remove ham hock from the pot. Cut ham meat away from the bone and cut into small, bite-sized pieces, set aside.

2. Heat olive oil in a large 8-quart thick-bottomed pot on medium high until the oil is hot, but not smoking. Add the onions, celery, sweet potato and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and softened, about 10-15 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, add the cumin, chili powder, and garlic, cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

3. Add the beans, their cooking liquid, chicken stock, molasses, and bell pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 30 minutes.

4. Remove 4 cups of the soup (about half of it) to a blender. Purée until smooth and return to the pot of soup. (You may need to purée the soup in smaller portions, depending on the size of your blender. Don’t fill the blender more than half way at a time and hold the lid while blending.) Add back the ham pieces to the soup. Add 3 Tbsp of lime juice. Adjust seasonings. If on the sweet side, add a bit more lime juice. Salt to taste.

Serve with garnishes. Makes 8 cups. Serves 6.

Note that the soup may continue to thicken. If you would like it thinner, just add some water to desired consistency.

Recipe linked to Mangia Monday, Totally Tasty Tuesday, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday,  These Chicks Cooked, Friday Food, Fusion Friday, Full Plate Thursday and What I Whipped Up Wednesday.

Blueberry, Banana, Peanut Butter Smoothie

 

Blueberry, Banana and Peanut Butter Smoothie

With the new year comes new resolutions and I of course have the “be healthier” resolution on my list like so many others. Joel and I joined a local gym and I have been Zumba-ing my butt off ever since (it’s amazing and so fun…do it!). In addition, healthy eating has been a priority too. I’m not a huge fruit eater but I love smoothies so we have been making an effort to try different recipes so that we have an arsenal of options on our hands.

This was the first smoothie we tried and it was promptly put on the make again list. I love the addition of wheat germ because of the many beneficial vitamins and minerals it contains. Adding peanut butter provides an interesting and unique variation to the typical fruit smoothie. Another huge benefit of this smoothie is that we always have all of these ingredients on hand making it very convenient to whip up for breakfast or an afternoon boost.

My blueberry loving little man went wild for it. I think he would have drunk the whole batch if we would have given it to him.

Blueberry, Banana and Peanut Butter Smoothie
recipe from allrecipes.com
makes 2 servings

1 tablespoon wheat germ or flax seed meal, optional
1 banana
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used blueberry Greek yogurt)
3/4 cup milk

1. Put ground flax seed meal or wheat germ into blender to grind and further breakdown. This will also eliminate any bitterness from the flax seed.

2. Place the banana, blueberries, peanut butter, honey, yogurt and milk into the blender. Cover and puree until smooth. Pour into glasses to serve.

Cheesy Bread

Delicious dough, topped with butter and tons of cheese….what’s not to love? We are big on pizza in our house. It’s Joel’s favorite food and I’m pretty sure he would eat it everyday if I let him. Whenever we go out for pizza, cheesy bread always pulls me in and gets me every time. I know it’s just sauceless, topping-less pizza but it’s soo ooey-gooey good. I just can’t resist it. And making it homemade is so easy and delicious. It’s now a must when we make homemade pizza or spaghetti!

Cheesy Bread

1 loaf Rhodes bread dough, thawed
1 -2 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 1/2 – 2 cups mozzerella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. Italian seasoning, seperated (I love Olde Westport’s Pasta seasoning, it’s amazing)

1. Roll thawed dough to about 1/4 inch thickness and place on preheated pizza stone (or greased cookie sheet). Mix butter and 1 tsp. Italian seasoning together then smear over the dough. Sprinkle with cheeses and remaining Italian seasoning.

2. Bake at 450 degrees F for 15-18 minutes. Let rest for a few minutes then slice into strips.Recipe linked to Fusion Friday, Strut Your Stuff Saturday, Mangia Monday, Totally Tasty Tuesday, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday and These Chicks Cooked.

18 Months + A Silly Tradition

My little man turned 18 months today. 18 MONTHS?!?!!! I guess he is not my baby anymore. And that makes me a bit sad. I know in my mind that he is 18 months but I suppose it just hadn’t hit me yet until I was really, truly looking at him and realized he doesn’t look like a baby anymore. He looks like a boy. I think my eyes were playing tricks on me for the past few months because my heart wasn’t ready for him to be a big boy. But alas, he is and I will embrace this new stage of his.

Well, in our house we have a little half birthday tradition that we celebrate. It was started by Joel when he was a kid and I’m not quite sure why. My assumption is that he needed a little attention in the summer because all his big celebrations (birthday and Christmas) are within the same week. Needless to say, you can tell that this tradition was started by a child…because it involves a poptart. Every half birthday, Joel would be presented with a poptart with a candle in it. I thought it would be fun to do this with Noah this year and get some funny photos. He demolished that poptart, not that I’m surprised…that boy loves food. If I was a good mama and food blogger, I would have made him homemade poptarts but I don’t always have time for those kinds of things these days. Enjoy the pictures of my little man and his new favorite snack. He’s going to be sad when he realizes he won’t get them very often.

{Delish}

18 Months

{Mouthful}

18 Months

{MMMM, good! Why haven’t I had these before?}

18 Months

{Must.Fit.It.All.}

18 Months
{Toes and poptart crumbs}
18 MonthsI love traditons that revolve around food…and so does Noah!

Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls

Step 10
Joel absolutely loves Cinnabon but sadly we don’t have them around these parts. So that means whenever we are waiting at an airport or cruising a mall in a new city the hunt is on for Cinnabon (my hunt is for Chick-a-Fila but that’s a whole other story for another time). So when I came across this copycat recipe I knew it was a must try. And I am so glad that we did because they were the best and easiest cinnamon rolls I have ever made.

By now, you all know my debacle with doughs and pastry crusts. Well, this dough rolled out like a dream. Yep, that’s right…a dream. From now on, I will always use this dough recipe for sweet breakfast rolls of all kinds (mmm, now I’m dreaming of caramel rolls and orange rolls).

They were tender, gooey, cinnamon-y, sweet and sticky. Everything you hope for in a cinnamon roll. I think the addition of chopped pecans to the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture would be to die for and I think I will try that next time on half of the rolls (picky Joel doesn’t like nuts). You just have to try these. They melt in your mouth and stick in your brain…I’m still dreaming about them and I made them weeks ago!

Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls
recipe from food.com

1 (1/4 ounce) package dry yeast
1 cup warm milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup margarine
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
4 cups flour

FILLING:
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/3 cup margarine , softened

ICING:
8 tablespoons margarine
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt

1. For the rolls, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in a large bowl.

2. Add sugar, margarine salt, eggs, and flour, mix well (I used my Kitchen Aid for this step).

3. Knead the dough into a large ball, using your hands dusted lightly with flour.
Step 1
4. Put in a bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size (I rose mine in the oven after preheating the oven to 400F and then turning it off).
Step 2
5. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface, until it is approx 21 inches long by 16 inches wide.

6. It should be approx 1/4 thick.
Step 3
7. To make filling, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.

8. Spread the softened margarine over the surface of the dough, then sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon evenly over the surface.
Step 4
Step 5
9. Working carefully, from the long edge, roll the dough down to the bottom edge.
Step 6
10. Cut the dough into 1 3/4 inch slices, and place in a lightly greased baking pan. Rise rolls again until about doubled in size (I placed them in the oven again and let them rise for about 30 minutes).
Step 7
11. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake for 10 minutes or until light golden brown.
Step 8
12. While the rolls are baking combine the icing ingredients.

13. Beat well with an electric mixer until fluffy. Spread over hot cinnamon rolls.

Step 9