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Showing posts from October, 2013

Honey Whole Wheat Banana Bread

Whenever I use bananas in a recipe, I can't help but think of my darling friend Natalie.  Natalie is a major genius at everything, and I adore her to pieces. She also is in love with using bananas in her baking (and she should, her recipes are killer). I feel like wherever she is in the world, there's always a few overripe bananas on her counter :) and she always puts them into the most beautiful breads/cookies/muffins.  I, on the other hand, have never really baked with banana - except for that one time I made these banana split cupcakes. They're such a lovely ingredient; so warm and friendly. I don't know why I've avoided them for so long. Maybe it's because we always snarf down the bunch before they even get a single spot on them? Or maybe because I've always kind of hated banana bread. It was always dry and thick and tasted like what I thought were rotten bananas...  Until now.  This recipe is ridiculous. The bread is completely moi

Roasted Red Pepper Potato Soup

Ryan and I woke up to our toddler giggling and climbing all over our pillows.  It was such a beautiful sound.  (A few hours earlier, it would have not been the same ring to my ears).  Ryan's alarm must have gone off at one point, but I sleep so soundly, I honestly never hear it. He claims it goes off every morning, but I can't recall even the sound it makes, or it ever going off in the first place.  He jumped in the shower, the Disney channel came on, and I laced up my running shoes. Grudgingly, I slogged down the apartment stairway towards the gym across the parking lot. Unfortunately, as I started trotting along, I checked my iPod. It was completely uncharged (after being plugged into the wall for a day... ugh). The toddler must have found it. I quietly prepared myself for an even longer-feeling run without music on a treadmill.  It was then when I stopped right outside the door to the gym.  I realized something unexpected and heavenly:  it was

Slow Cooker Hearty Beef Stew

Well, the weather has certainly made up it's mind to NOT make up it's mind. Once again. Hello Utah. Thankfully, this past weekend was on the chilly side of life, and this bread bowl was a perfect and easy way to get dinner on the table. With my Sundays now being filled with, well, everything you can possibly think of (and then some) , I've decided this month I'd do a slow cooker recipe every Sunday. It's been a dream, and has been nice to come home after church to dinner already made and piping hot. I love walking up our stairs in anticipation of a wave of fragrant meats slow cooked away in the apartment all afternoon. Best smell to come home to - well, except for a cozy little baby or a handsome hunka husband. Yep, I said it. This soup was per request. Ryan wanted some hearty meat stew, and lots of it. It came out really great! I needed more salt than I anticipated, though. Adding a little more wasn't a chore, by any means. The soup broth immediately s

Homemade Polish Corn Dogs and Easy Herbed Potato wedges

Yesterday was a huge day for us! Ryan was officially sworn in to The Bar Association as an attorney. We've finally made it. It feels like we've been on this journey for such a long time, but I think that length has only made days like yesterday that much sweeter for our little family. Now to start paying down those student loans from law school and save up for a healthy down payment on a new home for us. Exciting times!  It wasn't always this way, though, for a while when we were both finishing up our undergrads at BYU, we loved our Pell Grants, both had part time jobs, and then Ryan had another job on top of that: freelance sports journalism.  At first I hated it. I dominated our Friday or Saturday nights. After going to school full time, rehearsals, music practice, track practice, working 4 or so hours every day, and studying, the last  thing I wanted to do was to go out to a high school football game. It just so happened, that's exactly where we found ou

Homemade French Cruller Doughnuts

When I was a little girl, the cruller was my FAVORITE DOUGHNUT OF ALL TIME.  Skip the jelly-filled, skip the sprinkles, skip the traditional glazed, skip the dang maple bars for crying out loud (even though they're heavenly). I always went face first into those amazing crullers.  Every. Single. Time.  They're so unique - they're not filled with the usual doughnut-fluffiness (No, Krispy Kreme, you guys are still getting it so wrong! I promise your said "crullers" are not  crullers). These little beauties are filled with an eggy-light-hollow haven. The outside is where the sweet is, and the inside is where the money lives.  I found this recipe online and was going to wait until next week to try it out - then I looked over the ingredients again... I had everything. Within the hour, I had a pile of freshy made crullers cooling on my counter. My husband walked in the door from work, and couldn't stop staring at them. He immediately took a mou

Southwestern Salsa Chicken Casserole

When I was pining through my savory recipe index a week or two ago, trying to get it 100% updated, I quickly learned that my casserole repertoire was... lacking. I mean, with over 30 soup recipes on that list, and only maybe 4 or 5 casserole ones? What's the deal, man? They're SO STINKING EASY. You throw them in a dish, bake it up, and you're done. They feed a family, make great leftovers, and can be adjusted to whatever palettes you're dealing with. For instance, my son who will not east just about anything, ate this casserole like nobody's business. I just sat and stared at him in amazement with my mouth wide open. Life's mysteries, my friends. This casserole was a cinch to throw together. You just dump everything in the pan, bake it up, cover it with cheese, bake it again, and call it good. Serve it with a heaping pile of taco chips, some fresh shredded romaine, and a few slices of fruit - and you've got a dynamite dinner everyone will polish of

Homemade Chicken Stock + Deseret News Fall Home Show

What you see above is the secret to the best soup you've ever had in your entire life.  No, really.  If you're making a chicken broth/stock based soup, making your own stock gives the soup you're serving a completely different flavor. It has a richness that is indescribably heavenly. I wish I could use it every single time I make soup (which as you know, is pretty often here in the Blondie household in these chilly months now and to come). It's super-low maintenance. Whenever you buy a rotisserie chicken for a recipe, SAVE THE BONES! Save that little carcass and throw it into a pot with the veggie trimmings. I didn't have any trimmings, so I just used the whole pieces of veggies. Simmer it away for the afternoon, strain the whole pieces, and save that beautiful elixir for the next time you make risotto, soup, or anything else like gravy that may need a little bit of liquid to help it along. xo,  blondie Homemade Chicken Stock ingredients: lef

Mac & Cheese Soup with Ham

Are we all freezing our tots off yet?  Whenever I say that, my husband usually asks me what the heck our tots are. I have no idea. I'm sure Urban Dictionary has quite the description. I'll leave them to it. It's probably not better than my Mom's usual "it's colder than a witches titty out there!" phrase. If you knew my Mom, this dialect wouldn't surprise you for one second.  In these chilly Fall months, we usually have soup at least once a week. It warms us through and through, and makes me wish we could have soup every night. I'm sure our tots would appreciate the warm gesture.  This soup blew our socks off. Even though I always have to close my eyes and plug my nose when adding mustard to a recipe (I hate the stuff, but appreciate what it does to marinades and mac&cheese), the strong flavor faded right into the ham and cheese flavors. It was velvety, and hearty, but not stick-to-your-stomach heavy. Plus, look at those dir

Mini Salted Caramel Apple Cheesecakes

On General Conference weekend, I tend to have a little more time to make something special in the kitchen.  First off, I never ever ever ever  make breakfast on conference weekend. We have cereal! Yay! I see lots of wonderful people making decadent fancy breakfasts Sunday morning - more power to you fine folks. I never do it. Why? I'm going to be in the kitchen making a huge dinner and dessert anyways! As much as I love spending time in the kitchen, I try to keep it simple for breakfast when I know a large dinner is on it's way, and a time-consuming dessert is in the works.  We tried out a brand new soup recipe (to come later this month!) and made these little lovelies for dessert.  When I saw a beautiful cheesecake on Will Cook for Smiles,  I was completely inspired to make one my self - but I wanted to put my own twist on it, and make them my own somehow. Well, my mini-cheesecake pan has been neglected for a good month, so it was time to bust it out

Olive Garden's Chicken Gnocchi Soup

There are 2 things I order when I visit Olive Garden.  Okay, three things I trade-off ordering.  The first, is the   Zuppa Toscana soup. Ridiculous.  Second, my mother-in-law got me addicted to their Lasagna Fritta.  Fried slices of lasagna in a pool of alfredo sauce. Double ridiculous.  Lastly, we usually do the endless soup-or-salad $6.99 deal they have until 4pm, so after my bowl of Zuppa, I   always order a bowl of their Chicken Gnocchi Soup - even if I don't touch it, and take it home in a box for later. It's DIVINE, and has layer after layer of creamy flavor.  I've tried a couple recipes that claim they taste like the real thing, but this one is by far the best. I used my very own batch of homemade chicken stock from the leftover rotisserie chicken bones. And the rotisserie chicken was used right in the soup, as well - so it was a double win. If you're not using rotisserie chicken, leftover chicken thighs will be alright, too. But man, tha

Burst Tomato Pasta

Sometimes I feel like I'm on an episode of Chopped - or at least I like to pretend I am. Especially when we're staring Thursday night in the face (night before our weekly grocery run on Friday), and we're one meal short for the week. I seriously open my fridge and open our pantry, and stare blankly onto the barren cupboards. The only thing I can think of is what on EARTH are we going to make for dinner tonight? I was going to have french toast with fruit, but we ended up eating all our bread with some soup we had earlier that week. We had some bottom-of-the-box pasta shells leftover (whole grain & white), a bunch of cherry tomatoes, a little garlic, and a little basil. I thought we were doomed, and would have to throw in the towel by breaking our budget with going out to eat, but a memory of something actually saved us... I adore watching The Next Food Network Star  every summer. This past season, a wonderful chef  Nikki Dinki  (who I still wish would ha

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Creamy Bacon Gravy

Almost heart-stopping, right?  Sometimes it's okay to indulge.  And indulge we do.   The heartier meals and comfort food have slowly found their way into our dinners here in the early Fall.  I figured if you'e going to go hearty, might as well go all the way, right? Instead of the usual russet potatoes, I decided that we needed to whip up a beautiful bowl of something even sweeter and with more celebration to the season. Sweet potatoes mash up just as well as any other, and their amazing color brighten up just about any dish you can think of. Now for the naughty part...  I remember the first taste of this bacon gravy - I texted my husband that this bacon gravy should be illegal. It's just insane! COMPLETELY insane. The taste is far too delicious for it's own good, and I'm sure it's the furthest thing from healthy I can think of, but boy is it worth that incredible first spoonful...  and second...  and third...  xo,  blondie

Pumpkin Pie Crumble Bars with Roasted Pecans

With a few recent huge  changes in our lives, my husband thought it would be a good idea for me to get a smart phone, and have more information at my fingertips to make things easier. I obviously had ZERO complaints.  I've been begging him for a while now to make the switch, but we really couldn't afford the luxury of anything more than a flip phone. This didn't stop me from annoyingly pestering him though; saying things like : oh, we're lost? if we had a smart phone, we could just find out where we are or how to get there.  oh, we want to find this specific store? if we had a smart phone, we could just look it up in a flash. oh, we forgot to write down the directions or location or time or anything else? if we had a smart phone, i could just jump on my email right now. poor guy. I was relentless. But he's very wise with our finances, and stuck to his guns. Sometimes it makes me crazy, but ultimately, I am 100% grateful to be married