Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Fair Day Fried Mac and Cheese Balls

If you've been following my blog for a while you might remember when I had the chance to work with Sargento a couple of years ago.  It was an Allstars project and I had the opportunity to create a recipe using one of their products- I made these Easy Caprese Bite appetizers.  Simple and delicious, right?
Well...ok.  They were absolutely that.  But they weren't over-the-top crazy, cheesy, deliciousness.

Do you know what was?
This recipe for Fair Day Fried Mac & Cheese Balls.

Is there anything about that name that doesn't scream artery-clogging delicious food?
I think not.

Anyway, so this recipe was invented by my fellow Allstar Maria.  I saw it and knew I had to make it.
I've kept this recipe in the back of my mind for TWO YEARS now, just waiting for the right opportunity to put it to use.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

An Ode To An Organized Spice Cabinet

I've been plagued- like most people I know- by an unorganized spice collection.

Spices are so awkward to work with- different size bottles, bags, pouches, shakers...it's just this ridiculous puzzle in the cabinet.  The only other thing I can think of that's such a pain to keep neat is board games!  

I was fed up.  So beyond fed up.

I Pinterested my little heart out looking for the solution.  

I considered those magnetic boards some people have made but seriously...my spice collection is on the large side.  I didn't want to give up that much wall space to something like that, as cute as they were.

I LOVED the idea of using a typesetter's drawer- but I gave up trying to find one that had evenly spaced slots for spice containers.  It would have driven me batty to have differently sized openings.  Cause I'm crazy like that.  :-)

I needed a way to keep things straight in that cabinet- it was way past time.

Last summer I found myself in The Container Store with my lovely sister-in-law and knew it was time to take action.  I didn't really have a plan at the moment...but I was definitely in the right place, right?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Not-Quite-A-Grain Salad

In my early twenties I had the opportunity to live on my own for about a year.

I was in the Air Force, 2100 miles away from family, insistent that I would make do on my housing allowance on my own rather than with a roomate- and therefore living on a very stretched grocery budget in a very, very sketchy little apartment.
It was wonderful.

I had lived away from my parents before, for a couple of years with my best friend right out of high school.  I had held down a job, paid my bills, done all of that adult stuff.

But for the first time in my life I was doing it completely and totally alone.  No one to tell me when to go to bed or what to have for dinner.  I learned lots of lessons- like that paying one's light bill in a timely fashion is in general a spectacular idea (!) and how to dodge creepy next door neighbors.  But the most important thing to come of that period in my life was the amazing sense of self.  For the first time in my life I wasn't someone's child, roommate, or wife.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Absolutely Delicious Broccoli & Tortellini Salad

Ok...so is it possible to go wrong with bacon and pasta?

I think not.  That's really a hard combo to mess up, isn't it?

We recently had guests for dinner and I found myself searching for some salad recipes to serve alongside the food my husband was grilling.  I was thinking broccoli salad, but I've made that Bodacious Broccoli Salad a lot- and as delicious as it is, I really wanted something different.

Did I mention I also had a bag of sunflower seeds I needed to use up?
Cause I did.

This is really a simple salad that takes very little work to throw together.  The broccoli is raw and the dressing has just three ingredients.  Super easy, right?  Between the mayo, sugar, and apple cider vinegar the dressing is very similar to my coleslaw dressing- but even more simple.

Barley Lime Fiesta Salad

Okay, let me just start off by saying right off that bat that the title of my post is a total misnomer where I'm concerned- I didn't use barley at all.

I could have used barley.
And my current obsession with grain salad?

Yeah...this salad looked awesome but I had other grains to try and didn't feel like digging through my pantry for barley.  So I decided to take a leap of faith and go for it- I subbed sorghum.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Ultimate Cheesecake Lives Up To It's Name

So there's this cheesecake recipe that's been kind of famous in my family for as long as I can remember.

We were introduced to it through my lovely aunt years and years ago and I've been making it pretty much my entire adult life.  There was a time when I made this thing so often I had the recipe committed to memory.  It's so good people would ask me to make it for their birthday- and pretty much any other event that called for eating!

This is soooo not diet food.
Like not even close.

Cream cheese.
Sour cream.
You know...the good stuff.

When finished this guy weighs a ton and it always makes me giggle a little when I take the finished product out of the oven.  It's a little time consuming to make, but totally simple and you are guaranteed to get oohs and aaahs from whomever you serve it to and forever be known as The Cheesecake Queen (or king!) to your guests.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Experimenting With Farro and Other Weird Grains

So I've had a shelf in my pantry full of weird grains for, oh, I don't know...over a year now?  

Amaranth.  Farro.  Sorghum.  Kamut.  Millet.  Spelt.  Teff.
I won a set of Bob's Red Mill Grains of Discovery from a blog giveaway and they've just sort of been sitting there, waiting to be used.  My husband wanted me to give them away, or do SOMETHING with them...  I just really didn't know what to do!

I was excited by the thought of using them and trying new foods, but I was at a loss as to what exactly I should make.  I'd half-heartedly searched for recipes every once in a while but nothing really caught my eye.

That changed a couple of weeks ago when I was planning out a menu for family that was visiting for the weekend.  I decided to look for some new recipes to try out on our guests and I stumbled across a recipe for Farro Salad with Asparagus and Parmesan.

Farro, asparagus, cranberries, tomatoes, pecans, balsamic vinaigrette...yum.
There is absolutely nothing about that salad that doesn't scream "put me in your mouth" to me!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Restaurant Style Mexican White Queso Dip

Do you know what's weird?

I grew up in California and definitely had my share of *awesome* Mexican food before moving away to join the Air Force (side note: Columbus, MS was not exactly overflowing with great Mexican options...).
I had all kinds of yumminess.
One thing I didn't have?  Ever?

Queso.  That warm, gooey, slightly spicy, white cheese dip perfect for dipping chips or covering food.

I don't know, maybe it existed, maybe I just never thought to order it, maybe I'm the only one on Earth that wasn't smothering their chips and food in cheese dip.  For all I know the rest of California was literally swimming in the stuff...but I definitely was not.