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Gifts from the Garden…Yes Please!

I have had the fortune of great friends with the greenest of green thumbs extoll gifts from their garden. I LOVE summer’s bounty am elated when the supply far exceeds the demand. Truthfully, how much zucchini, tomatoes, beats and lettuce can one eat in a week? Hmmmm…..

So, with open hands and a grateful heart, I accept these gifts and in return, I share recipes, dog treats and treasures from my kitchen.

My zucchini growing friends did quite well this year….you know who you are 😘 and I am sharing one of my favorite recipes…Zucchini Napoleons.

ZUCCHINI CAKE NAPOLEONS

Makes 4 servings 

SHRED:

  • 4 zucchini, green, yellow or both (4 cups)
  • 1/2 C. shredded onion
  • 1/2 C. shredded Romano cheese
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt

WHISK:

  • 2 egg
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. dried Italian seasoning 
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup Italian panko (or Italian breadcrumbs)

HEAT:

3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided

ASSEMBLE:

  • 1 large tomato
  • 8 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1/2 Cup prepared pesto (I use Trader Joe’s…cheap + fresh)
  • Basil sprigs

Shred zucchini and onion

Place zucchini and onion in a salad spinner, sprinkle with salt and let stand 30 minutes. 

Spin mixture in a salad spinner to dry; transfer to a kitchen towel and squeeze to remove more liquid.

Whisk together egg, garlic, Italian seasoning, and baking powder.
Stir in zucchini mixture and panco. 

Scoop batter with 1/2 cup measure onto a baking sheet and press into 8 cakes.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil with drippings in skillet. SautÊ cakes in two batches over medium heat until golden, about 4 minutes per side, adding more oil as needed.

Add a mozzarella slice to each cake in the last 2 minutes of sautÊing to slightly melt mozzarella. 

Transfer cakes to a paper-towel-lined plate. 

Assemble Napoleons by layering

  • fresh mozzarella slice
  • a tomato slice
  • 2 T. pesto 
  •  Top each with a remaining cake and garnish with a basil sprig; serve immediately 

Dear Friends,

Summer’s bounty isn’t over until it’s over. I hope you enjoy this delicious dish. It has great presentation and doesn’t take forever to make…just a few small steps.

Great friends are truly a blessing. I remember taking a Steven Covey class many years ago where he emphasized the concepts of deposits and withdrawals in friendship. “Over deposit and under withdraw” was his best advice in any relationship and no words could be truer.

Cheers to friends, family and everything else you love. Until next time…

🍸Laura

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This BLT Salad will be a Mother’s Day Favorite!

If you are looking for a great salad to add to your picnic for Mom’s Day, graduation, or just a get-together, try this BLT Salad…..all the flavors of that favorite  bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich in a bowl! Simple and delicious!

BLT PASTA SALAD

with

Creamy Bacon Dressing

 

To keep the dressing from curdling, be sure to cool the bacon drippings to room temperature before adding to the mayonnaise.

Makes 20 servings 

COOK:

1 lb. dry campanelle pasta
1 lb. thick-sliced bacon, diced

WHISK:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. minced shallots
2 Tbsp. minced fresh basil
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
2 tsp.sugar

Salt and black pepper to taste

STIR IN:

4 cups chopped romaine lettuce 4 cups halved grape tomatoes

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water according to package directions. Transfer pasta to a bowl of ice water; drain well.

Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Transfer bacon to a paper- towel-lined plate. Reserve 3 Tbsp. drippings; set aside to cool.Whisk together mayonnaise, reserved drippings, shallots, basil, vinegar, and sugar in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper.

Stir in pasta, romaine, tomatoes, and bacon; toss to coat. Season salad with salt and pepper.

Dear Friends! I hope you enjoy this delicious salad! This year, I used medium sized ball jars for individual servings….they looked super cute on the table, and made serving easy (the best!).

This year will be my daughter, Jodi’s, first “Almost A Mom’s Day!” They are deciding what to name the baby, and I’m trying to decide what the baby will call Steve and I. 

Check out some of my fun finds! As always, thanks for swinging by and have a wonderful Mother’s Day!

Cheers! Laura

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN! No Tricks, Just Treat Yourself to this Delicious Pumpkin Cookie with Cream Cheese Frosting!

Cookies are hands down the ultimate comfort food for fall. It seems that every holiday celebration features a favorite cookie as a part of the seasonal celebration. Serve these little Pumpkin bites warm with a cold glass of milk. Don’t forget….always underbake!

PUMPKIN COOKIES WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

pumpkin-cookies

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 oz. cream cheese
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt; set aside.
  2. In another bowl, cream together the butter and sugars. Add pumpkin, egg, and vanilla to butter mixture, and beat until creamy. Stir in the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture by hand until just combined.
  3. Drop on prepared baking sheets by heaping tablespoonfuls; Butter the bottom of a drinking glass and then dip the bottom of the glass in a bowl of sugar. Flatten the dough balls with the bottom of the glass until they are about ž inch thick, dipping the glass in sugar as necessary to prevent sticking.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 13 to 15 minutes. Cool cookies on wire rack.
  5. Once cookies have cooled completely, frost or drizzle with cream cheese frosting.
  6. While the cookies are cooling make frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and pumpkin pie spice and beat until smooth and creamy.
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This Desert puts the Pretty in the Peach!

Summer should get a speeding ticket! I honestly don’t know where it went! Looking forward to sweater weather has never been my thing, so I still hold on to summer as long as I can….and my white jeans. I was elated when the Today Show fashion consultant said that your white skinny jeans can be a fall staple this year. Not that I needed the affirmation, but it was good to hear.

The end of summer has left us a bounty of juicy peaches to enjoy! Searching for great peach dishes through collections of cookbooks and recipes, I have found that although the “plus-it-ups” are fun, many of the old basics and “Mom Recipes” are still the “Blue Ribbon Winners!”  This peach recipe can be made in an 8×8 casserole or individual ramekins. Hot out of the oven, serve it up with some cool & creamy vanilla ice cream. Life is good…..and here it is…..easy & delicious…..

MOM’S PEACH CRISP

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INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350*
  2. Arrange peaches evenly in an 8×8-inch baking dish or stack the peaches halfway up in a ramekin.
  3. Mix flour, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl using a pastry cutter until evenly crumbled.
  4. Fold oats into flour mixture; sprinkle and press topping into peaches.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven until topping is lightly browned, about 30 minutes.

Dear Friends,

Cheers to summer, cheers to peaches and cheers to doing what makes you happy! Until next time…

🍑Laura

P.S. CHECK OUT THESE GREAT FINDS…

PEACH COBBLER DISH

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ONE GREAT RECIPE WHEN YOUR FRIDGE BITES THE DUST!

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One of today’s nightmares….YOUR FRIDGE DIES!

As you open your refrigerator and there is a distinct dark quiet that overtakes you, you begin to cringe. No hum, no lights…… and you think, “Shit.” Sticking your nose in to hopefully smell nothing,  you immediately feel the carton of milk to gage the temperature. While quickly reaching for the freezer and opening it, you notice that the seafood, steaks, and everything else has begun to defrost….all at once! Quickly surveying the damage, you resort to throwing out the spoiled and attempting to salvage what is left.

Always stocking up on frozen shrimp, I had quite a bit in the freezer as well as a HUGE bag of scallops, a package of andouille sausage …and OKRA! With the help of a small trip to the grocery store, I came up with this delicious recipe.

SEAFOOD GUMBO (SERVES 8) 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 1 C. diced onion
  • 1 C. diced green pepper
  • 1 C. diced celery
  • 1 lb. andouille sausage, sliced
  • 1 lb. fresh or frozen and thawed shrimp
  • 1 lb. fresh or frozen and thawed scallops
  • 2 C. each of fresh or frozen sliced okra
  • 1 C. sliced Roma tomatoes, fresh or canned, drained.
  • 1/2 C. flour
  • 2 C. fresh or frozen and thawed sliced okra
  • 1/2 C. chipped roma, fresh or canned & drained
  • Chopped scallions & parsley as garnish
  • Cooked rice

 

DIRECTIONS:

  • In a large dutch oven, saute in 3T olive oil:
  • 1 C. each: diced onion, diced green pepper,  & diced celery 

IN A SEPARATE SKILLET SAUTE:

  • 1 lb. andouille sausage and add to the dutch oven.

STIR IN:

  • 2 C. each of fresh or frozen sliced okra
  • 1 C. sliced Roma tomatoes, fresh or canned, drained.

ADD:

  • 1 lb. thawed shrimp & scallops and sauce until pink and tender.

SPRINKLE:

  • 1/2 C. flour over top and blend in the mixture, cooking for 1 min.

POUR:

  • 3 C. prepared Chicken broth over top.

SEASON:

  • 1 t. salt
, 1 t. black pepper
, 1/2 t. white pepper
, 1 t. cayenne pepper, 
1 bay leaf

GARNISH:

  • T. scallions, minced T. parsley

SERVE:

  • With Cooked rice

 

Dear Friends,

It would have been easy to cook up the thawing food and freeze it for another day, but it was fun to get creative. The flavors in the recipe blend beautifully and after purchasing a new fridge, I was able to freeze what we hadn’t eaten for another day.  Serve this dish with an ice cold beer or a crisp sauvignon blanc! If you don’t like seafood, chicken is a great substitute.

Stay tuned for the delicious dishes I made with the thawing steak, chicken and other goodies from my freezer.

Cheers to knowing that if this is the worst thing that happens in a day, life is good. Keeping our thoughts and prayers for victims of the hurricane and our soldiers defending our country is so important.

PLEASE remember to thank our police officers, fire fighters, soldiers and anyone else who provides a service to our country and our safety. In an uncertain world, I do try not to take anything for granted.

Every day is a gift.

Thanks for swinging by & Cheers to you!

🍻 Laura

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It’s Not Trifle to Make a Delicious 🍓TRIFLE

Ahhhh Summertime! A time to enjoy days filled with warm sunshine and breezy balmy evenings that we hope will never end. Sipping delicious cocktails with friends on outdoor patios dimly lit with the dancing flames of citronella. It doesn’t get much better than that.

If you are looking for a delicious, refreshing and easy desert, I found this great one on PINTEREST. Often I find great ideas on Pinterest that grace the boards of my own pages, but this one really takes thee cake! This Summer Berry Trifle takes a little prep, but is a beautiful addition to your festive summer celebration! ENJOY!

SUMMER BERRY TRIFLE

SUMMER BERRY TRIFLE
This Summer Berry Trifle is light and a beautiful addition to your summer celebration!

Ingredients 

17 oz angel food cake, cut into 1″ cubes (I used 1 1/2 blocks)
1 lb fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 lb fresh blueberries

4 or 5 qt trifle dish or individual clear glass ice cream bowls

Lemon Syrup

1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice (from 1/2 medium lemon)

Frosting 

2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened at room temp
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Lemon Syrup

1. In a measuring cup, combine 1/4 cup water, 2 Tbsp sugar and 2 Tbsp lemon juice and stir until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Trifle Cream…YUM

1. Beat together 1 lb cream cheese and 3/4 cup sugar (with the whisk attachment) on medium speed until creamy and smooth. With mixer on, pour in 2 cups heavy cream then turn the mixer to medium/high and continue beating until consistency of whipped cream. Add 1/2 tsp vanilla and beat until incorporated.

Assemble the Trifle:

1. Place 1/3 of your sliced angel food cake into the bottom of your trifle dish and brush with 1/3 of your syrup. Add 1/3 of your cream and loosely spread it over cake pieces. Add 1/2 of the sliced strawberries. Repeat with remaining ingredients (adding 1/2 of the blueberries for the second fruit layer). Frost the top with last 1/3 of cream and decorate with remaining fruit.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

NOTE…In place of the lemon syrup, any liquor will do such as amaretta, peach schnapps, etc.

Dear Friends,

Thanks so much for swinging by. I hope you enjoy today’s recipe and it finds its way to your next summer celebration.

A friend recently sent me a this great quote about life:Don't Waste Time

Sometimes its easy to get caught up in wasted time worrying about things that don’t matter or can’t be changed. Be your best you, love yourself and live for today.

Until next time, Cheers to you❣️

🍹 Laura

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Spring Break with a Side of Fries

Today was enlightening. My first day of vacation and not only did I wear my usual two piece bathing suit, skirted and high waisted, of course, but I noticed a distinctive sign that I needed to lose weight. The sign wasn’t as blatant as you might think. The scale this morning didn’t yell, “GET OFF OF ME!” ….no one tried to harpoon me on the beach……but the sign was there. You see, every chaise lounge at the pool is equipped with a numbered flag that you raise in order to let the server know that you would like to order food. Yep! You guessed it, mine had no flag.

So, my daughter, Jodi and I decided to have a late lunch of blackened mahi tacos with a mango salsa; healthy, and flavorful. It was happy hour, and we were happy,  so we enjoyed a skinny margarita. Suddenly, our server delivered these amazing french fries to the next table. Jodi and I shot each other a glance and beckoned the server to bring us an order. This little diet destructor was well worth the calories; …….thick cut french fries served with a fresh raspberry mayo on the side. We IMG_7567quickly justified consuming these fat fried bursts of flavor by reminding ourselves that we did water jog🙃.  So, essentially, the moral of this story is “calories in and calories out.” There are, however, good calories and not so good calories, but an occasional splurge isn’t a bad thing. Unfortunately, I often justify these binges by thinking, “If this were my last meal, it would totally be worth it.” It was.

This trip, I decided to create healthy and delicious meals using all of the fresh fish Florida has to offer. At the local fish market, grouper was recommended as a hearty fish that could easily be made into a piccata dish. Wikipedia explains piccata as “meat or fish sliced, sautéed, and served in a sauce containing lemon, butter and spices”.  Often prepared with veal or chicken, this recipe proved to be a keeper. Enjoy!

GROUPER PICCATA

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  • 4 grouper filets about 4 oz. each,  blotted dry and seasoned with 1/2 tsp. each kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. capers, drained
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
  • thinly sliced lemon slices

Dredge fillets in flour.
Heat 2 tsp. oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high until it shimmers. Add half the fillets and cook until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer fillets to a platter; tent with foil. Repeat heating and cooking with remaining oil and fillets.
Add wine, lemon juice, and capers to skillet; cook 30 seconds. Off heat, swirl in butter until it melts; season with 1/2 tsp. pepper and 1/4 tsp. salt, add lemon slices until softened.  Serve fillets with sauce over rice or angel hair pasta.

Dear Friends,

On the plane ride home from vacation, we hit a bit of turbulence. The kids on the plane clearly coming home from spring break, squealed with excitement at the sudden dips and turns. The parents, on the other hand looked horrified. Looking for a diversion, I noticed the cloud formations outside of my window and admired the unusual landscape the sunlight created as the rays bounced off of the sloping hills and valleys of the thick clouds.

Snapping a photo of this unusual scenery, placing it in the archives of vacation memories, it occurred to me the way in which this is a reminder of our need to “take time and smell the flowers” as we get older.  For so many years, we simply hurried to our next destination either not knowing or not realizing that life itself is a journey filled with moments worth pausing for celebration.

As always, thanks for stopping by and cheers to enjoying the journey. 

🍹 Laura

P.S. Check out my new store FOLIO TRENDS where you find great styles and incredible prices! Sign up for email alerts to get great savings!

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3 BOWLS to put the SUPER in your SUPER BOWL PARTY!

So, you’re not a big football fan. I get it! I live in Cleveland. But you know that SUPER BOWL SUNDAY seems to be an American holiday handed down to us.  The day the world seems to stop and either focuses on a football game, or commercials….that would be me.  Football in Cleveland isn’t exactly a nail biting experience, so the thought of cheering on a team, ANY TEAM, sounds inviting. Well, if you can’t beat em, join em and plan the perfect Super Bowl party! Set it up, Self Serve, Easy Clean up! Do it! And NEVER miss another Super Bowl game, or commercial!

It’s SUPER BOWL 51, and you can find the foods from each team to serve.
For the New England Patriots you might try your hand at New England Lobster Rolls.grid-cell-20146-1385426272-16

And for the Atlanta Falcons the perfect desert would be Georgia Peach Cobbler. 

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Friends LOVE to bring something, so why not have a Chili cook off and have everyone bring a crockpot of their favorite chili OR set up a great chili bar of your own, add a plate of cookies and a self serve bar. It’s a party!

One of my favorite chili recipes comes from a local Ohio chain of restaurants called “Skyline Chili.” The recipe is a copy but pretty damn close and pretty damn delicious. This is how you order it up or as they call it “ways.”

Ways…….
Their signature dish
3-Way
Steaming spaghetti covered with their secret recipe chili, topped with a mound of shredded cheddar cheese.

4-Way
A 3-Way with onions or beans.

5-Way
A 3-Way with onions and beans.

Chili Spaghetti
Steaming spaghetti covered with our secret recipe chili.

CINCINNATI CHILI……THE RECIPE!

ways

Serves 4

CHOP TOGETHER:

2 small yellow onions, chopped 5 cloves garlic
2 lb. ground round (or l lb. ground round & 1 lb. ground chicken or turkey)

ADD:

2 Tbsp.each unsweetened cocoa powder, Worcestershire sauce, and cider vinegar

1 Tbsp. each chili powder, tomato paste, and sugar

2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. each ground cinnamon and celery salt

1/2 tsp. each ground allspice and cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp. ground cloves
2 cups water
1 can tomato sauce (15 oz.)

SERVE IT UP

Cooked spaghetti Shredded Cheddar Chopped red onions

Pulse yellow onions and garlic in a food processor until minced. Add ground round and process until paste-like; transfer to a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Cook mixture until meat is no longer pink; drain and return to pan.

Add cocoa, Worcestershire, vinegar, chili powder, tomato paste, sugar, cumin, cinnamon, celery salt, allspice, cayenne, and cloves; cook 5 minutes. Stir in water and tomato sauce; bring mixture to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 25 minutes.

Serve chili on spaghetti topped with Cheddar and red onions. (Optional red kidney beans drained and warmed)

How about a……

 Bowl of Tequila Chili
Slow-cooked with beef, poblanos, jalapeĂąos & onions. Topped with 3-cheese blend.

Try this delicious copycat recipe from Chili’s Restaurant. Make it a super easy clean up and serve it in an edible bread bowl! bread-bowl

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  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can Italian-style stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can light red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 fluid ounces tequila
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Brown the ground beef in a large pot over medium heat, breaking it up with a spoon while it cooks; drain. Stir in the tomatoes, kidney beans, onion, garlic, tomato sauce, tequila, chili powder, cumin, salt, and cayenne pepper; simmer 20 minutes.

Last but not least…..Try this creamy flavorful twist on the usual bowl of chili!

WHITE CHICKEN CHILI

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Serves 4

 

MELT:

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter

2 cups diced white onions

1 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic

1 Tbsp. ground cumin

STIR IN:

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 cups half-and-half

2 cups chopped cooked chicken

1 can navy beans (15 oz.), drained and rinsed

1 can diced jalapeños (4 oz.)

Juice of 1/2 a lime Salt to taste

Diced fresh tomatoes and fresh cilantro leaves

Melt butter in a pot over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and cumin; sweat, partially covered, until onions soften, 10 minutes. Stir in flour; cook 2 minutes. Stir in broth, scraping up any brown bits, then bring to a simmer. Add half-and-half and chicken; simmer chili until thick, 5 minutes. Stir in beans, jalapeños, and lime juice; season with salt. Garnish chili with tomatoes and cilantro.

 

THEN THERE’S THE BAR……Set it and forget it!

BLOODY MARY & MIMOSA BAR

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OH Yeah!! That yummy GEORGIA PEACH COBBLER…..

Ingredients

1cup Original Bisquick™ mix
1cup milk
1/2teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2cup butter or margarine, melted
1cup sugar
1can (29 ounces) sliced peach, drained or 3 ripe fresh peaches sliced.
Directions

1 Heat oven to 375ÂşF.
2 Stir together Bisquick mix, milk and nutmeg in ungreased square baking dish, 8x8x2 inches. Stir in butter until blended. Stir together sugar and peaches; spoon over batter.
3 Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until golden.

Dear Friends,

Whether you’re a Patriots fan, a Falcon’s fan, love Super Bowl commercials, want to see Lady Gaga at half time,  or just love food, I hope you enjoy your Super Bowl Sunday! 

Cheers!

Laura

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Add This Delicious Little Pumpkin Cookie to your Fall List of Things to Bake

Now that the election is over, giving thanks to our Veterans, and with Thanksgiving in TWO WEEKS, it’s time to focus on feel good things. This cookie is so delicious and fills your kitchen with mouth watering fall smells of cinnamon and pumpkin. Warning….. if you decide to sample one hot out of the oven, be prepared to have another. These cookies are simple to make and if you like cakey cookies, you’re in for a treat. One tip: when you do go to roll them into the cinnamon sugar, they are a little sticky, so put a little butter on your hands.

CINNAMON PUMPKIN COOKIES

Makes 27 COOKIES

fullsizeoutput_19f8.jpegINGREDIENTS:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup pumpkin (we use Libby’s canned pumpkin)
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup cinnamon chips

Cinnamon Sugar Topping:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with Silpat baking mats or parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices. Set aside.

3. Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add the pumpkin, egg, and vanilla and mix until combined, about 3 minutes. Slowly add in the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Stir in the cinnamon chips.

4. In a small bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon. Shape dough into rounded tablespoons and roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Place balls 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Lightly press down on the cookies with a spatula or the palm of your hand.

5. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to brown around the edges. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for two minutes. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and cool completely.

Dear Friends,

No matter what you hoped for in this election, we need to focus on just being nice and remain hopeful. Take time to thank our Veterans, share a cookie and share a smile.

Cheers,  Laura

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3 ROCKIN RECIPES TO RALLY FOR A WIN! GAME 7!!

Cleveland fans are amazing. No matter what the weather, they are out there showing support….even for the….Browns. But tonight is an amazing night for baseball fans! First pitch at 8 tonight…73* and even if you aren’t from Cleveland, the enthusiasm is contagious and well worth the visit! 

Here are some delicious dishes for your rally party! These are great do aheads, so your guests can help themselves and you can enjoy the game! Enjoy and GO TRIBE!!

REUBEN STRATA WITH THOUSAND ISLAND DRESSING

If you don’t have any leftover corned beef, buy about 1 pound unsliced corned beef from the deli counter at your local grocery store.

Makes 12 servings
COAT:

  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter

COVER:

  • 11/4 lb. sliced pumpernickel bread, staled
  • 3 cups diced corned beef
  • 3 cups sauerkraut, well drained
  • 4 cups shredded Swiss cheese
  • 11/2 cups Thousand Island dressing
  • Salt and black pepper

BLEND:

  • 10 eggs
    21/2 cups whole milk
    2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

Coat bottom and sides of a 9×13-inch baking dish with butter. Cover bottom of dish with a layer of bread slices. Top with 1 cup each corned beef, sauerkraut, and cheese. Drizzle 1/2 cup dressing over top, then season with salt
and pepper. Repeat layering two more times.
Blend eggs, milk, and Dijon until combined; pour over layers in baking dish. Sprinkle remaining
1 cup cheese over top. Cover strata with plastic wrap and press down. Refrigerate strata at least 1 hour
or up to 24 hours. Remove plastic and preheat oven to 350°.
Bake strata, uncovered, until
puffy and cooked through (160°), about 1 hour. Let strata stand
10 minutes before serving.

SIMPLE ROMAINE SALAD WITH RED WINE VINAIGRETTE

This is quite possibly the most delicious dressing I have ever made! Serving small individual salads makes entertaining easy so you can enjoy your guests and the game! 

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For the Salad

Layer cut up romaine lettuce and top with shaved parmesan

 For the Dressing
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp minced shallot
2 1/2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

This recipe I found on pinterest (and borrowed the beautiful pic) and is soooo easy and delicious. Perfect for a game! (You definitely want to double this recipe!

ORANGE MARMELDE-SIRACHA WINGS

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Ingredients

2 lbs chicken wings & drummettes (separated)
1/4 cup salted butter
2 Tbsp siracha sauce
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp orange marmalade
optional: sesame seeds for garnish
Instructions

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add 2 teaspoons of salt to the water. Boil wings for 8 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drain wings and use a paper towel to dry them completely. Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Place wings on foil and bake for 20 minutes. Turn wings over and bake for 15 minutes longer. Meanwhile melt butter in a sauce pan. Add marmalade & siracha sauce. Mix and cook over medium/low for 5 minutes. After wings are finished baking, toss them in the sauce and place back on cookie sheet to broil for 2 – 3 minutes until the sauce on the wings start to crisp up. Garnish with sesame seeds 

Dear Friends,

As always, thanks for swinging by! Even if you aren’t going to rally tonight, I hope you enjoy these simple and delicious recipes. The magic to great entertaining is making it simple but making it look like you put a lot of effort into everything.

Food, family and friendship all go hand in hand so cheers to making time together special.

GO TRIBE!

🍺Laura

 

 

 

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HOW TO PLAN THE ULTIMATE TAILGATE PARTY

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If you want to know what a ‘thing’ tailgating is, just take a walk through the UK Stadium, or the muni lot outside of Cleveland Stadium before a football game. Being raised by parents from Brooklyn, New York, the concept of eating food served from the back of a pick up truck was bizarre yet fascinating. Actually, tailgating is a serious thing.

Googling the ultimate tailgate supplies was amazing and for many people its much more than a thing….its a huge investment in time and dollars. Check out these rare and unusual finds……

Tailgater Dual Tank Backpack Drink Dispenser 210oz $39.95

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Backpacks aren’t just for books!
Backpack beverage dispenser serves up shots, your favorite brew, or most delicious tailgate kool-aid in style
Lightweight nylon, padded shoulder straps, mesh bag for extra cups
Two 24″ in canister hold a whopping 210 ounce capacity; measures 25½”x12”x4”

Deluxe Six-Pack Beer Belt Holster

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Really………

Hiding that six pack around your waist has never been so easy
It even has a hidden zippered pocket on the back keep your money, license, and credit cards safe
Featuring a classic camo appearance
Measures 43”x4½” and adjusts to accommodate waistlines between 28” and 43″

 

The Grill Sergeant BBQ Apron $19.99 and free shipping for Amazon Prime Members

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Get your grill on
Our unique camouflage grilling apron holds everything a real man could want or need for an afternoon of fun.
One size fits all with adjustable strap
Makes a Great Fun Gag Gift
Great for parties

 

Instagate Tailgate In A Box: $19.99 + $6.49 shipping

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#1 game day solution for tailgaters
More than 50 tailgate items in 1 over $50 in value
Includes foldable tailgate grill, 3 bbq tools, minit-liteÂŽ charcoal and party supplies
2016 Tailgater magazine game ball award winner
New and improved value and performance

 

And last, but not least….this is actually a good one….

NFL Wooden Tailgate Toss Cornhole Football Field $74.86 and free shipping for Amazon Prime Members

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Choose your NFL team

Size: 24 x 48″
Two 24″ x 48″ all-wood target boards
Vinyl shield with a Football field design and your teams favorite colors proudly displayed
Foldable legs for easy storage
Eight 16oz bean bags included

Here’s the million dollar question: Tonight is a gigantic nite for Cleveland sports,  having both the Cavs game after the official Ring Ceremony AND hopefully the last World Series game for the Indians, so do we call it a tailgate party, or is that just a football thing? If we had to rename the snack attack for these sports, we could call it “BASE ‘N BASKET BALL SNACK PACK!” Hmmmm.

Here’s an easy and crowd pleasing appetizer:

PIZZA CUPS

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Ingredients

1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 jar (14 oz) pizza sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 oz)
36 wonton skins

Directions

1 Heat oven to 375°F. Spray 18 muffin cups with cooking spray.
2 In 10-inch skillet, brown beef with pizza seasoning and salt over medium-high heat until beef is browned; drain. Return beef to skillet; stir in pizza sauce.
3 Place 1 wonton skin in each muffin cup. Divide half of ground beef evenly among muffin cups. Top each with about 1 tablespoon cheese. Repeat layers starting with second wonton skin.
4 Bake 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

PEPPERONI PIZZA FOOTBALL CHEESE BALL

This Pepperoni Pizza Football Cheese Ball is easy to make, delicious, and perfect for a tailgate party!

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Ingredients
16 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tsp Italian seasoning
8 oz finely shredded mozzarella cheese
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 5 oz bags mini pepperoni slices
3 green onions, thinly sliced
½ cup chopped bacon
1 4 oz jar diced pimientos, drained and patted dry

Instructions
Beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Beat in the Italian seasoning, mozzarella cheese, and Parmesan cheese.
Mix in half of the pepperoni slices, green onions, bacon, and pimientos.
Line a small bowl with plastic wrap. Spoon cheese mixture into bowl. Press mixture into bowl so that it takes on the shape of the bowl. Use the ends of the plastic wrap to wrap up the cheeseball firmly. Transfer the wrapped cheese ball to a cutting board and use your hands to shape it into a football.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Remove the cheese ball from the fridge and cover with remaining pepperoni, pressing gently to adhere.
Serve with pretzels, bread sticks, crackers, and veggies.

Dear Friends,

Thanks for popping in! If sports is your thing and you love tailgating, I hope you enjoy these recipes and reading about these unusual supplies to complete your tailgate! 

Cheers to celebrating enjoying all that each season has to offer with friends and family!

Until next time…

🍸Laura

 

 

 

 

 

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SURPRISING DOLLAR STORE TRICKS (AND TREATS) FOR ENTERTAINING

So, you are invited to holiday parties for every holiday, and the worst thing is when you forget to label your dish with your name, or it gets washed off, and you either never get your dish back, or its months, and yes, maybe a year or two. And when the next occasion arises to use that perfect dish,  you  insanely look everywhere. After every cupboard, drawer, and storage bin has been ransacked (that’s an extreme word, but true) you realize that you took an appetizer to Sally’s house, and never got your dish back. SOLUTION: THE DOLLAR STORE.

I know, I know, your mother always told you to watch your pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves. However, can you put a price on your favorite pumpkin platter or your divine deviled egg dish? NO. The seasonal serving opportunities await your dollars at the dollar store. By the way, I am not making any money endorsing this retail establishment, although, not a bad idea!

Today, we are going to a fall clambake and my $2.00 purchase created this fun seasonal serving idea for a delicious desert that I call PUMPKIN PIE CHEESECAKE BITES. I have two favorite versions for this dip.

Normally now, I just leave the serving dish with the leftovers at the party, but this one came out so cute, I’m conflicted, so I may bring it home 🎃

PUMPKIN PIE CHEESECAKE BITES

RECIPE 1 (a little sweeter than recipe 2)

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Ingredients

ž cup International Delight Pumpkin Pie Spice Creamer
1 3.4 oz package pumpkin spice instant pudding
1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed
Graham cracker crumbs for garnish

DIRECTIONS

In a bowl, whisk together the International Delight Pumpkin Pie Spice Creamer with pumpkin spice instant pudding. Set aside for about 5 minutes.
In a mixing bowl, beat together the softened cream cheese and sugar.
Add in pudding to cream cheese mixture and beat.
Once well combined, fold in the 2 cups of thawed whipped topping and refrigerate.
When ready to serve, fill bowl with Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Dip topped with graham cracker crumbs.

If you can’t find pumpkin spice instant pudding (it’s pretty  seasonal), you can use either vanilla or cheesecake instant pudding with a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice.

PUMPKIN PIE CHEESECAKE BITES

RECIPE 2

INGREDIENTS

1 -15 oz. can pumpkin puree
1 -8 oz. container Cool Whip, thawed
1 package 1.5 oz. Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice 

Directions

Cream together all ingredients with an electric mixer until well combined and fluffy. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve. Serve with Vanilla Wafers, Cookies, or Graham Crackers.

img_6499Dear Friends,

Celebrating something every day helps to create the happiness we all deserve to have. For me, its difficult to overlook the inevitable snow, but I love enjoying the beauty of this season and everything that comes with it.

Cheers to you! Laura