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Showing posts from November, 2013

Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Crumble Bars

We set up the dang tree. 
Totally against my morals before Thanksgiving, but it had to be done. 
We floated into Target, the land of Mandy-give-us-all-your-money-for-the-cutest-things-you've-ever-seen, and walked out with some new Christmas ornaments. We've been married 6 years, and have never been able to afford buying ornaments that follow any kind of theme. I've always been grateful for our tree, and the ornaments from our dear family members (mostly our Moms... okay, ALL from our Moms), but I've always wanted to have my tree match itself. 
I chose glitter gold, buffed gold, shiny gold, and white with deep red and brown accents. I pulled out a couple cranberry garlands, our ornaments that matched that color scheme (and the jewel-looking ones), and got ready to slap them all on the tree. Then I wanted to throw up... 
... because I NEVER NEVER NEVER decorate the tree before Thanksgiving. 
Then I saw it. 
My son's eyes all aglow. He had pulled out our Christmas tr…

Fresh Cranberry White Chocolate Orange Cookies with Citrus Glaze

Orange and Cranberry.  Marriage made in heaven, right? Double right, man. 
I had already used most of my bag of fresh whole cranberries and white chocolate chips for a lovely crumble recipe (to come this week!), and wanted to use up the rest quickly (even though they freeze beautifully). So I decided cookies would be a beautiful vessel for such a fun holiday fruit. I had an orange that was begging for attention as well, and a pile of almonds that had been neglected for too long. It all came together within an hour start to finish, and had such a perfect secret weapon:
glazing the crap out of them with orange/lemon drizzle. 
It completely transformed the cookie. The flavors were so sharp, but softened with the slight crunch from the toasted almonds, and the overall warmth of the dessert. If you decide on making a cookie with cranberry, this one blows the others right out of the water. 
xo,  blondie
Fresh Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Orange Cookies with Toasted Almonds and Citrus Glaze

Christmas Giveaway! $500 Visa Gift Card

Darling readers,

How does an extra $500 sound?

Yep.

We're giving it away, and all you have to do is follow our Pinterest boards. Simple enough, right?

Last week I asked my amazing Facebook followers (YOU!!) what they'd do with the money if they happened upon it, and some of the answers were absolutely touching! Such generous, thoughtful people! My favorite was a guy who said he'd give it to his wife, simply because she is a mother and deserves it. I may be a bit biased, but I'm 100% down with his idea. Also, the idea of using it or giving it away for Christmas isn't too shabby, either. 
Wish you all the best of luck, and hope you enjoy this easy way to add a little dough in the lovely mix of your beautiful lives this holiday season. 
Now go get'em! 
xo, blondie
p.s. I know y'all are thinking I'm a total hypocrite after whining so much last week about Christmas stuff coming before Thanksgiving, but I promise you, I made some bright-green-pile-of-money exc…

White Chocolate Chip Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies

Our toddler is trying to destroy us. 
Like clock-work, he'll come into our room between 6-6:30am and jump on our bed; squealing and whailing with all the energy you would never believe. It's insanity. We try to reasonably convince him to go to sleep for the next half hour, but we all know that's a beyond hopeless endeavor. He jumps on our heads, claims he hears "scary trucks" outside, and then eventually turns on the light or pokes at our eyes with his little carrot fingers.
Oh, one of the many joys of toddlerhood, right? I would think of maybe, kind of, sort of, perhaps, locking the door, but the little man is potty trained, and I don't want to rewind that clock backwards. And if there was a fire or earthquake... a mother's mind can race endless circles around that "if" word. Might as well soak in the crazy while we can, eh? 
I told Ryan that someday when Jake's a teenager, we'll just jump on his bed and poke his eyes in the wee mornin…

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake with Oreo Crumble Crust and Chocolate Ganache

My husband might be the most spoiled man on the planet.  He's also pretty darned skinny, too. 
So when his birthday comes around, I like to make things a little extra special, and go a little over-the-top with his desserts. Instead of asking him for what he likes specifically, I usually ask for a few flavors he'd like. 
This year, he said cheesecake and cookie dough. 

I'm usually deathly afraid of making full-cheesecakes. They tend to crack or under cook and it makes me crazy! This time around, I made sure to pay extra attention to the sensitive mixing and baking processes, and it worked beautifully! After the cheesecake cooled, I dumped on a layer of chocolate ganache, and piped on a couple homemade whipped cream towers. 

Let's just say, he was a little more than pleased. 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake with Oreo Crust, Chocolate Ganache, and Whipped Cream

ingredients:

cookie dough balls:
1/2 C butter, slightly softened
1/2 C sugar
1/2 1/2 C packed light brown s…

Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream and Classic Cocoa Brownies with Salted Caramel Drizzle

I get hate mail sometimes. 
Mostly from the people who are keeping sweets out of their diets completely. 
For this week especially, they should probably stay far far away from this little blondie blog. Each dessert recipe this week is sure to destroy any hope of neglecting those sweet little sugary morsels you've been hiding away in your lesser-used kitchen cabinets. 
I have all kinds of recipes in the queue until the end of the year. I usually share a couple savory and then a dessert one at the end of the week. This week, it's all desserts. So get your fork out, and have a seat. 
- - - 
This dessert was OFF THE HOOK. We had company over, and I wanted to make something a little special for them. The brownies are from dear Alton Brown, so you know they're dynamite. They were the perfect bed of warm chocolate to melt the homemade scoops of pumpkin cheesecake ice cream on. The ice cream was flat out ridiculous. It was almost offensive how long I've lived without tasting …

2013 Top Ten Cookies for this Year's Cookie Exchange Parties

I usually LOATHE the idea of anything Christmas before Thanksgiving (especially Christmas music... stinkin' Kohls almost killed me with it blasting last week). If I start the music before Thanksgiving, I get sick of it pretty fast. Let's face it - Jingle Bell Rock has about a 2-play lifespan. And Silver Bells? After all these years, that poor guy is yet to sing it in tune! And Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree? It's the theme song to my nightmares!  HOWEVER - 
 There is a special piece of Christmas I celebrate a bit early: the holiday baking. 
I try new recipes all year long in preparation for the holidays. Finding out which cookies are the hit of the year is such a blast, and I love to throw them into the ring each year at a cookie exchange party. To make the stress a little easier on you, I've compiled a list of my favorite cookies I made in 2013. Each will sure to be a hit for the holidays! 
Here we go... 

Cherry Limeaid Shortbread Cookies

Chocolate Peanut Butter…

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

With Thanksgiving coming closer and closer, you're probably already stressing about what to make for the fleet of people coming to your home. If you're in my position, you're probably wondering what side dish to bring to the feast at someone else's home.

Well friends, this one is sure to please, tastes incredibly delicious, and good news for you: it's easy to make.

Prosciutto is heaven-sent. Really.

Bacon is wonderful, and pretty much exalted to an unrealistic level of praise in my family - and for good reason, it's amazing. However, prosciutto is 100% better. There are less fat chunks hanging off the ends of the meat, the slices are thin but pack more flavor per ounce, and apparently you can eat it raw. Tried it once - wrapped around cantaloupe. I hated it big time. (maybe because I hate cantaloupe) Scratch the last one, then. Without the cantaloupe/raw reason, it's amazing. I prefer it crispy.

Check out those ingredients. Three, I tell you. THREE. You do…

Cheesy Gnocchi Skillet with Ham and Peas

We lie to our son. 
Yep. LIE. 
He's going to grow up thinking his yogurt is "mickey mouse ice cream" and that Ryan's instant breakfasts in the morning are "chocolate juice." His medicine is "candy juice" (I'm sure we'll have to call poison control over that one someday, yikes). My biggest lie to him last week was when I made a dish with beef polska kielbasa and veggie rotini pasta with green pepper cream sauce and called it "macaroni and cheese with hot dogs". Everything is "chicken" even if I'm serving him pork tenderloin. Even a can of spaghettios are "circle noodles". 
Why do I do this? Well, my friends, with an extremely picky eater on our hands, sometimes I take drastic measures to get him to eat anything. And for the record, he polishes off his plate when I do. 
 - - - - 
Ham and peas just go together so perfectly - and placed on a bed of decadent swiss and mini gnocchi? 
It was perfection. 
I love …

Crunchy Cookies & Cream Brownie Bars

It's Friday. 
I know you know, but just so we all know, I now know that you know that I know. 
I love posting dessert recipes right before the weekend. This one is so over-the-top it's almost embarrassing. But those are the funnest ones to share. Mostly because I feel like people will call me the devil and block me forever. I'm just giving you an idea for your cheat days, or free days, or soak-your-head-in-pure-sugar days. This recipe should send you into that sugar-coma you've been longing for all week. 
My husband teaches a Sunday school class every weekend with about 22 14-15 year-olds. By himself. As in, they all might eat him alive at a moment's notice. I think on his first week he tried to teach them in the form of logical arguments, and had millions of quotes/scriptures/facts to back them up. The lawyer inside himself couldn't help it, I guess. 
He learned very quickly that this just doesn't fly in a class full of teenagers with smart phones in each…

Slow Cooked Sweet Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin

I know, right?
Just look at it. 
I love the way center-cut pork tenderloin looks after the slow cooker has it's way with it. It falls apart like a dream, and tastes incredible! I'm not usually a fan of a ton of vinegar/balsamic flavor, so I was a little nervous to soak the meat in a full 1/4 cup of the stuff. 
Strangely enough, with the other glaze ingredients, the balsamic didn't come through as strong as I suspected. It was PERFECT. Really, the flavor melted right into the tenderloin. 
And how much effort did this all take? Absolutely none. Isn't that just the best? I think sometimes that's the way it should be: amazing taste, zero effort. 
If you're a fan of Slow-Cooker-Sundays (as I recently started in the beginning of October - saves brain cells, let me tell you), put this on the menu this week. You will fall in love! 
xo,  blondie

Slow Cooked Sweet Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin 
makes 6-8 servings

ingredients:

pork:
2 lbs boneless center cut pork tenderloin

Slow Cooker Basil Pesto Chicken Wraps

Have a good weekend, folks? Ours was jam-packed with all kinds of crazy. But we're somehow able to hit reset every Monday, and start a brand new week of crazy all over again. 
This wrap is killer. I found the recipe over at the amazing Taste and Tell, and thought it looked incredible! I made a few changes of mine own to the recipe along the way:
I don't usually have cooked chicken on hand (unless it's a leftover, and in that case it's already seasoned with something else), and I wanted the raw chicken I had to be infused with as much basil pesto flavor as possible. So I threw them both in my small slow cooker, and let the juicy depth of the pesto slowly seep right into the savory chicken. I think it took the chicken up a whole new level, and when placed on the whole wheat wrap with two different kinds of sliced cheese, it melted everything together perfectly. 
Also, I salted and peppered the tomatoes - always a win. So simple, but it changes everything. 
We had these …

Prosciutto, Asparagus, and Mushroom Pasta

Are we all hungover from the overflow of Halloween candy last night?

Yesterday evening, as we saw our little giddie trick-or-treating-first-timer squealing as he ran from one house to the next (not for candy, but to see the next porch of "pumkinnss!"), Ryan and I decided that Halloween is a thousand times more fun with a little kid around.

Sure, the grown-up parties are fun to attend, and babies are fun to dress up and carry around, but when that little one gets to run in his little costume from house to house, bursting with Halloween magic, and wearing a smile bigger than he ever has before, it's priceless.

We live by such a charming neighborhood here in West Jordan. The families are amazing, the homes are stunning, and it's all tucked away in a cozy cul-de-sac. Trick-or-treating there was just like a little fairy tale - and lesson learned... bring a bigger bag next year for the little man (they gave out huge treats)!

 - - -

This pasta has some surprising flavor. T…