Monday, October 29, 2012

Peanut Butter Rice Crispy Treats

I'd like to start by dedicating this post to Marcus Lattimore, who has to be one of the most well-liked and well-respected college athletes I've ever seen. I realized some of y'all have no idea who I'm talking about. He's a running back for the Gamecocks, and he suffered what looked to be a horrific injury this past Saturday. Since then he's received an outpouring of love and support not only from Gamecock fans, but other players, athletes, and fans. He's basically an insanely talented, incredibly humble young man, and this is my small gesture of support.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sage Tom Collins

I recently started using gin as my spirit of choice in cocktails. It really came out of the blue, but once I realized it did not taste like Christmas trees I was into it.

The Tom Collins is a classic gin cocktail made with lemon juice, sugar, and club soda. It's great for a summer sipper, but I wanted a fall version. The obvious solution: herb it up. P.S. I've totally made a bootleg tailgating version with Publix lemonade. Don't judge me.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Southern-Style Ribollita

I've been battling a head cold this week. You know the kind-- super congestion, fatigue, and general unpleasantness. While that might super-suck, it's also the perfect time to make a soup that's basically a bowl full of health and vitamins. Note: Whenever I say vitamins in my head, I always pronounce it I'm British. That is how the Brits say it, right?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pumpkin-Yogurt Bread

Pumpkin bread might be my favorite of the quick breads. Or maybe that's just the fall-euphoria talking. Oh who am I kidding, I've never turned down a piece of bread in my life. But! This bread is not so bad for you, seeing as it only has half a stick of butter and is mostly non-fat Greek yogurt and pumpkin. It's practically healthy. Except for maybe the powdered sugar I sprinkled on top.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Happy 1st Birthday, Grady!

One year ago today, my sweet nephew was born. We threw Grady's first birthday party this past Saturday. It had a fall theme with pumpkins galore.

G-man wore what had to be the cutest outfit ever worn by a baby. He's doing some walking now and went about 10 feet the other day!

His birthday sweets spread had Reese's pieces, candy corn, caramel apples, chocolate cupcakes, and the middle container up there had caramel corn in it a few minutes later.

We did our best to make the cupcakes look like pumpkins. I used my Duke's chocolate cake recipe for the cupcakes and did a simple buttercream colored with orange gel food coloring.

There was a little pumpkin painting. My pumpkin had a sort of Urban Outfitters tribal print.

Can we just take a second to look at the most precious party hat ever? Crystal (pictured), is Rich's cousin and incredibly crafty.

Presenting Grady's smash cake! We tried to make it look like a pumpkin as well.

He was a little hesitant at first, almost like he couldn't believe this giant (to a baby) cake was in front of him. Once we took the vines off he started to get cranking.

He made a little dent in the cake.

Then he made a big dent. He ate about a third of the cake before he got cut off. He definitely needed an outfit change after all that chocolate.

Later, Uncle Nick let Grady actually smash the cake and eat almost the rest of it.

The next day, after all the sugar had worn off and he'd had a good night's sleep, he got to playing with some of his toys. There's nothing I'd rather look at more than Grady's laughing face. Happy birthday, G!

Auntie Chrissy

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Bacon-Honey Mustard Dressing

It's October (I know, blowing your mind), which is the time I really enjoy ghost stories. To be clear, I always watch ghosty programming, but I really get into it when Halloween rolls around. Will doesn't like my ghost shows, and I'm pretty sure my brother-in-law isn't a huge fan. But Emily and I can watch the heck out of Ghost Hunters, or my personal favorite, Celebrity Ghost Stories. It's part of growing up in the South...and one of the most haunted places in America. I came up alternately loving and being terrified by ghost stories, but don't even try to show me a Saw movie. If you do, I'll take back my potatoes.

Ugh, I started out with such good light. But time ran away from me. For the potatoes, you need about a pound of fingerling potatoes, olive oil, and the teensiest pinch of salt.

Slice your (thoroughly washed) potatoes in half, lengthwise.

Toss them with the olive oil and just a sprinkling of salt.

Place them cut-side down on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes to an hour.

While the potatoes roast, you can make the dressing. You'll need: spicy brown mustard, a shallot, bacon, honey, green onions (optional), blue cheese (optional), and apple cider vinegar (not pictured and not optional).

Four slices of bacon should give us enough bacon grease.

Chop up about two tablespoons of shallot. You could also use a sweet onion if you have it.

Drain the bacon grease into a cup and add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to the pan to deglaze it. Scrape up all the good stuff from the bottom of the pan.

Psst, super crispy bacon is absolutely necessary.

Add in your shallots and about 2-1/2 to 3 tablespoons of the bacon grease. Turn the heat to low and let the shallots cook down, covered, about 10 minutes.

Time for the mustard and honey. Stir it in until you've got a smooth consistency.

Let it cook down 3-4 minutes.

By now your potatoes should be ready. The skin will be crispy and the actual potato will have a crispy exterior and creamy interior.

I know that looks...unpretty. Think of it as an ugly duckling that will turn into a delicious swan. I think I mixed my metaphors or something. Just toss the potatoes with the honey mustard dressing.

Crumble as much of the bacon as you like over the taters and sprinkle on your green onions.

If you're a blue cheese fan like myself, crumble some in with the potatoes. This is why you only needed the itsiest bitsiest pinch of salt on the potatoes to begin with. Between bacon, blue cheese, and mustard, you've got plenty.

Luckily the shallots and vinegar add a sweet and tangy element for balance.

And if I've learned anything from my ghost shows, do not play around with Ouija boards. You will get haunted.

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Bacon-Honey Mustard Dressing (serves 3-4)

1 lb fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
1 tbs olive oil
Barest pinch of salt
4 slices of thick-cut bacon
2 tbs apple cider vinegar
2 tbs chopped shallots
1 tbs spicy brown mustard
1 tsp honey
Blue cheese, to taste (optional)
Chopped scallions (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 425ยบ. In a medium bowl, toss potatoes with olive oil and salt. Spread cut-side down in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast 45-50 minutes or until potatoes are crispy and brown on the bottom.
  • While potatoes are roasting, prepare dressing. In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat. When bacon is crispy, remove and drain on paper towels. Drain bacon grease into a cup and reserve. Add apple cider vinegar to the pan and scrape up the crispy bits with a wooden spoon. Turn heat down to medium low and add shallots and 3 tablespoons of the bacon grease. Let the shallots cook down until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the mustard and honey and stir in until it reaches a smooth consistency. Let it cook down an additional 3-4 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, toss potatoes with the honey mustard dressing. Crumble bacon over the top and toss to distribute. Sprinkle in blue cheese and scallions if using and serve immediately.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

1 Minute Breakfast: Greek Yogurt with Granola

Fact: When I wake up in the morning, I'm starving. I could eat all the things. Even though I'd rather have a biscuit with jelly and some sort of ham/bacon/sausage, I try to make my breakfasts on the healthy side. Unless it's the weekend. Then it's game on. But just because it's healthful doesn't mean it has to be bland or boring. Joy the Baker made a dessert version to angry-eat without making yourself feel bad, and I thought why not just use Greek yogurt and make it breakfast?
Give yourself a generous serving of Greek yogurt in a cartoon bowl from your childhood. I prefer Fage 0% Plain. Low calorie, full of protein to keep you going.

Sprinkle on your favorite granola. I got this vanilla almond granola from Fresh Market because it was 30% off.

Drizzle on some maple syrup for a little extra sweetness because plain Greek yogurt is tart.

Perfect for busy mornings. Perfect for making you feel like you're indulging without actually indulging. That frees up space for brownies and pumpkin scones.

1 Minute Breakfast: Greek Yogurt with Granola (serves one)
Inspired by Joy the Baker

1/2-3/4 c plain Greek yogurt
1/4 c granola
1 tsp maple syrup

  • Combine the yogurt, granola, and maple syrup in a fun bowl. Eat with gusto.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Pumpkin Scones

Have you ever imagined having a conversation with someone but then it doesn't turn out at all how you pictured it? Yeah that actually didn't happen to me the other day. See, I bought a Reese's cup shaped like a pumpkin because you know the seasonal Reese's are the best and are never weird and powdery because they can't sit on the shelf that long. Will and I have talked about this before (probably because we're both weird), so I thought he'd appreciate that there's a seasonal Reese's cup out. I also knew that when I mentioned that it was pumpkin-shaped he'd think it actually had pumpkin in it. And let's just say pumpkin does not top his list of favorite foods.