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Showing posts from June, 2012

Roasted Tomato Basil Pizza

I know what you're thinking: Mandy is blogging on a Saturday night. The girl needs to get off the computer, and get outside!

I promise I'm just killing time waiting for the sun to go down so I can go running in less-than-97-degree-weather. It's H.O.T. out there. 

Originally I wanted to make this pizza earlier this week. Then I realized I only had a couple cups of flour left in my stash... certainly not enough to prepare my homemade pizza dough. Unfortunately, this meant we had to wait until our next trip to the grocery store (Fridays) to make this crazy-delicious pizza. It was thankfully worth the wait.

I have never roasted my own tomatoes. I have now learned what a huge mistake it was avoiding it!

Roasting tomatoes in the oven smells incredible, and it makes such a delicious base for pizza! Who needs sauce when you can just roast tomatoes, and smash them all over pizza dough? With the addition of thick mozzarella slices and basil, this pizza is complete. .

"anot…

Turkey-Pepperoni Burgers

It was time to try out another recipe from my trusty Food Network magazine. They always have so many fantastic burgers to choose from, and I always mark the burger pages for later, but never really have come back to them. How lame. I could have missed out on this crazy-delicious burger, and I finally understand now what all the hype is for with this whole "turkey pepperoni" burger thing.

At first it sounded kind of weird - probably because I've never had the combination before, let alone think about those two ingredients together. Thankfully, I decided it didn't matter, and made the burgers anyway.

What a ridiculously juicy and delicious burger! The turkey was surprisingly light, and every few bites the zing of pepperoni shot through. I loved the herb mayo - I snipped both fresh basil and parsley from our window-box herb garden, and they played along perfectly with the juicy tomato (tomato and basil are just meant for each other) and melty provolone slices. It screa…

Hawaiian Pizza Muffins

Some days, I'm all about makin' it as easy as possible. Today is certainly one of those days. This weekend wore me out physically/mentally/cookinly (Great. Now I'm not even using real words). I felt like I spent most of my time in the kitchen. Why?

Saturday: 
Baby Shower - Peach Cobbler Muffins
Dad's Birthday - His Favorite Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, Almond Crumbs
Progressive Dinner - Fresh Tomato Bruschetta, Strawberry Short Cakes

Sunday:
Lemonade Social - 10 gallons of Roasted Peach Lemonade

I feel like I have a cooking/baking hangover! It was just one of those weekends where everything I volunteered for turned out to be on the same weekend. So I fully take the blame. Thankfully, everything went smoothly, and we had a wonderful time at each event (except for the baby shower... she was in labor at the hospital, so they cancelled. It happens.)

This afternoon I knew two things: I wanted something easy for dinner, and I had a severe craving for pizza. Thankf…

Coconut Milk Infused French Toast with Coconut Buttermilk Syrup

Friday. Thank heavens. This weekend is jam-packed full of all kinds of busy, but wonderful, things to do... and lots of baking...
I love breakfast-for-dinner. It reminds me of the times when my Dad would be out-of-country for business - my Mom would always always serve pancakes, waffles, or french toast for dinner one or two nights when he was gone. It was such a fun treat when we were little ones, and even continued into our high-school years. Heck, I think my Mom will still make a pancake or two for dinner when my Dad is out of town. 
I'll never forget the very best French Toast I've ever had. Ryan and I were invited to breakfast by one of the other law clerks. We were blown away by Founding Farmers in DC, and whenever I have french toast these days, I can't help but reminisce about the incredible stuffed french toast I ordered. I've never eaten such amazing stuffed french toast in my entire life - it transcended all other french toast. I loved the thick slices of …

Peach Almond Cake with Peach Soaking Syrup

I thought I'd finally gone crazy. Whenever the I walked past the bowl of fresh peaches in my kitchen, I could almost hear them calling to me. Their smell was pleasantly intoxicating and were just ripe enough for a tasty dessert I had in store.
I've only really made a bundt cake once before, and the Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake was certainly one of our favorites. I was almost too scared to make another one... we loved the strawberry cake so much - I knew this poor bundt would naturally be measured up to it. All I can say, is that it's a good thing it was bangarang.
Ryan liked it even more than the coveted strawberry cake.
I switched up one of the ingredients, and I think it made all the difference: we didn't have any vanilla beans lying around ($15 for two beans at the supermarket... no thanks), and I didn't want to use just plain 'ol vanilla extract. So I used Almond Extract: heaven in a bottle. For me, that stuff automatically takes a dessert up a few notch…

Italian Sausage Lasagna Roll Ups

I know what you're thinking: Mandy, this is your 5th Italian recipe in a row. What's the deal!?
It's true, but I cook by craving. Whatever I'm craving when I make that dang grocery list is what I'm feeding my family that week. Plus, Italian food is by far my favorite (Mexican food being a close second). 
You've probably seen this recipe flying all over Pinterest like the dang monkeys on Wizard of Oz. It's everywhere. But has anyone actually tried it yet? I wanted to put it to the test. 
I had this meal planned for Sunday, but Ryan insisted on something simple for Father's Day. I didn't mind one bit. 
Originally, this recipe was "Spinach Lasagna Roll Up." We've given spinach more than enough chances at our house, and quite frankly... we just don't like the taste. Sure, I'll have it in the raw on a sandwich or burger. But cooked? We honestly tried, but it just never stuck. So what did I do to make this a blondie dish? I axed t…

Homemade Marinara Sauce

I found the most wonderful recipe last week for marinara sauce. Now, I don't always have time to make mine from scratch (the store-bought-jar does it's duty just fine), but occasionally there are some "slow-days-around-the-house" and I have a bit more time to spend on dinner. Tomorrow, I'll be sharing the recipe I prepared this sauce for, but today I wanted the marinara sauce to have it's own spotlight.

I couldn't believe what incredible vapors this beautiful sauce filled my house with. The fresh herbs slowly simmered away in a pool of fragrant garlic and onion, smothered in fresh sweet tomatoes. This recipe actually calls for 2 cans of crushed tomatoes, but I only had 1 28oz can on hand. Thankfully, I had 4 ripe tomatoes lying around... I threw them in the food processor in a flash, and added them right into the heavenly mixture.

This sauce would be absolutely perfect on your lasagna, spaghetti, manicotti, pizza, dipping sauce for crusty bread ... hec…

Fresh Strawberry Gelato

As we all know, Father's Day was yesterday. I knew for a long time that I wanted to find Ryan an ice-cream machine. That way we could make fresh ice cream, in any flavor we wanted, as often as we wanted. At first I felt kind of bad, because it was kind of a "gift for me" (I'd be the one using it), but then I remembered how Ryan probably wouldn't mind getting ice-cream more often. I found the ice-cream machine, wrapped it up in bright green wrapping paper, and set it next to his Sunday morning breakfast. 
I had to be a little sneaky about the ingredients - we don't usually buy a pound or so of strawberries with groceries. Ryan was wondering what they were for, and I had to divert the question. Strawberry ice-cream is one of his favorites! I couldn't wait to make it for him at home. 
A while ago, my mother-in-law let me borrow a wonderful book of beautiful Italian desserts: The Ciao Bella Book of Gelato and Sorbetto (F. W. Pearce & Danilo Zecchin). Every …

Three Cheese White Pizza

When Ryan and I lived in DC last summer for his internship, I discovered the beauty and wonder of the "white pizza". It was completely by accident. 

Ryan had driven across the country to DC a couple weeks before with our car, while I stayed home for my concert, and flew out with the manchild later. The flight into Baltimore was much cheaper than flying right into Ronald Regan in DC, and thankfully the manchild slept the entire time. I knew he would conk out if I caught a flight later in the day.

Unfortunately, this made quite the little drive to our apartment, and we ended up getting into DC pretty late. I was starving, and would have eaten anything at that point. But lucky for us, a couple streets away from our new apartment, there was a small hole-in-the wall pizzeria (still open!) Without thinking much of it, we ordered just two slices of random pizza and headed outta there. Little did I know what beauty we ordered until I opened the box...

The slices were HUGE - practi…

Bucatini All'Amatriciana (Pancetta & Tomatoes in Thick Noodles)

Bored of your usual weeknight spaghetti? I've found a solution guaranteed to ruin any hope of you making packet/jar spaghetti ever again.  I've discovered two ingredients that have changed my life. (okay, not changed, but certainly made my afternoon perfectly giddie yesterday) - with these ingredients, you can conquer the universe.

Bucatini and Pancetta.... HOLY MOLEY.

First of all, Bucatini pasta is heavenly. If you've never had it, it's not your typical pasta. To me, it looks like really really thick spaghetti, but when you hold it up, you can see a little whole going all the way through the long pasta stem. I have no idea how they do that, but it's wonderfully unique.
I couldn't find it at my local supermarkets - I even tried the fancy-schmacy places where I usually can't afford to even walk in the door. Couldn't find that dang bucatini. So, of course, I asked Facebook land, and my friend reminded me of such a fantastic place: Gloria's Little…

Easy Homemade Tortilla Bowls

On Sunday, we had some friends over for an early dinner. This usually means it's time to bust out the crock pot. My house smelled like a Mexican restaurant by the time we returned home from church - and it was heaven! For dinner, we had warm soft tortillas stocked with:
Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken Fluffy Mexican Rice Freshly Made Guacamole Homemade Pico De Gallo Thick Grated Cheddar Cheese Sliced Green Onions Chopped Crispy Lettuce and Fresh Cilantro from my little herb garden
Served with homemade taco chips, freshly cut watermelon, and gooey brownies. 
.... so you can imagine we had a bit of leftovers ready for dinner yesterday evening.
Unfortunately, we only had two burrito-sized tortillas left. I didn't want to just have the same thing again for dinner as we had on Sunday. If we have leftovers, I usually make them into a new meal (versus just attacking the Tupperware with a couple of forks... which was the case when we were both finishing up our undergrads). So I did…

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Oh my goodness. 
Whenever I eat a mini-Reese's cup, it's always a small blast from the past for me. It didn't matter if it was from my Easter basket, Halloween candy bag, or Christmas stocking - I always went for the Reese's cups first when I was young. I guess that last part is a lie. It wasn't only when I was young - I still do the same thing! The Reese's cups are just a must for me sometimes. 
I couldn't wait to make these cookies. I'm a huge fan of peanut butter chocolate cookies - but basically smashing one of my favorite candy all over each one? Shut the front door! (I've always wanted to say that phrase aloud at the appropriate moment... these cookies were well-worth it in this context, I assure you). They've probably entered my top 3 favorite cookie list... of all time. I'm dead serious. There's something deeply wonderful about these gooey peanut butter packages of chocolate nirvana.
My absolute favorite part of this cookie wa…

Shabby Apple Giveaway

Alrighty, lovelies. Here's the deal. 
I've never really steered in the direction of "giveaways" before on my blog - just food. But Shabby Apple contacted me recently and said I could gift one of my readers a $50 gift certificate. I thought: why the heck not? Shabby Apple is the bee's knees, people.
Plus, y'all have been absolutely splendid in welcoming me into blog-land, and are so supportive in spreading the "Blondie" love. I seriously had no idea I'd have more than my maybe my Mom and a couple friends reading this blog on a weekly (let alone 'daily') basis. So here's my way of saying "thank-you": free awesomeness from a lovely store. Who wouldn't want a little shopping spree on some new clothes? And if you're one of my manly man readers, your woman will thank me... and thank you. It's a win-win. Trust me.
Shabby Apple has such beautiful clothes. Very often, if I've fallen in love with a dress someone is…

Zesty Lemon Shortbread Cookies

What a crazy-windy afternoon it was today! I love this weather. 
While the manchild was out for his nap, I whipped these little lovers up for an after-dinner treat. I've only made shortbread cookies once before, and really enjoyed them. I couldn't wait to try shortbread in a different flavor. 
Much to my delight, these tasted just like lemon bars! (but without the sticky gooey fingers that come after). The lemon was definitely stronger than I thought it would be, and at first I was nervous while tasting the dough. The cookie's little tanning session in the oven mellowed out that crazy-zingy lemon flavor, and transformed it into a beautifully lemon-kissed cookie - perfect flavors for summertime. Plus, they're little. It only takes a couple small bites to take care of these guys. 
Next time I'll double/triple the recipe. It made almost two dozen.... so I'm guessing they'll only last a couple hours when Ryan gets home.
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Zesty Lemon Shortbread Cookies  …

Carrot Cake Waffles with Maple Nut Cream Cheese Spread

I know I've already posted a breakfast recipe this week, but there's just something so comforting and filling about breakfast food... especially waffles.
I love mixing different food concepts together. In this case, we have moist carrot cake and fluffy light waffles! Sounds delicious, right? But then we sealed together each carrot cake waffle with creamy maple nut spread, then smothered it all in syrup, and topped with chopped walnuts. I mean, what more could there be? (besides bacon). I fell in love with the familiar carrot cake spices. And we all know that cream cheese is the only way to go with carrot cake frosting, so it was perfectly fitting as a spread. The flavors in this dish are incredible.
While I prepared the spiced butter and waffle batter, Ryan peeled and grated the carrots and made the spread. It was a perfect way to spend Sunday afternoon together while the manchild slept off his adventures after church. Our little guy LOVED the waffle pieces (and I was happy …

Baked Eggs Napoleon

Ryan said "If Napoleon's military strategy at Waterloo was as successful as this dish, we'd probably all be speaking French."

We LOVED these! After gobbling them right up, we wanted to make another batch (even though they were surprisingly filling). The jalapeno isn't overpowering at all, and gave it a little extra flavor to take the "fried" egg and tater tot bed to the next level.

Jokingly, we talked about how fun it would be someday to start a bed and breakfast. We'd have these Baked Eggs Napoleon on the top of the breakfast menu. Who knows? By the time we retire (if I'm still food blogging), we'll have a massive repertoire of dishes to choose from. Dare to dream, right?

Either way, these rocked our socks. Enjoy!

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Baked Eggs Napoleon

1/2 bag tater tots, cooked and crumbled (or you could use homemade hash browns)
2 T butter
1 T jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
1/2 C yellow/white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C mozzarell…