Everything Bagels

Everything bagels are…. everything. I could eat a Thomas’ Everything Bagel with cream cheese and a Sunny D for every meal. I’ve reluctantly cut back that indulgence to maybe once every few months.

When I do have a bagel craving, I get Dave’s Killer Bread Epic Everything Organic Bagels, toast half of one, and spread half of a crushed avocado on top. Since the seasoning on an everything bagel prefers your plate, floor, and the bottom of a toaster, I make my own seasoning in bulk and sprinkle on top. Check out the simple recipe below and Everything Season EVERYTHING!

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A simple recipe I made once was I roasted some chicken breast added a little brie on top to melt, sprinkled with Everything Bagel Seasoning then drizzled with a balsamic reduction. Delicious. I should have added a few bacon bits… Next time!

Shopping List:

Sesame Seeds $7.99 on Amazon
Sincerely Nuts Hulled Sesame Seeds – One Lb. Bag – Delightfully Tasty – Healthy & Crunchy – Kosher Certified Product

Dried Minced Garlic $6.24 on Amazon
Garlic, Minced and Dried-4oz-Medium Sized Cut of Dried Garlic Spice

Dried Onion $5.98 on Amazon
McCormick Minced Onion, 8.25 oz

Poppy Seeds $7.49 on Amazon
Spice Select European Whole Poppy Seeds – 10 oz

Coarse Salt $8.95 on Amazon
Premium Atlantic Sea Salt – Coarse Grain 16 Oz.

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Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

What better way to celebrate Feast Day than to do just that – FEAST! Guinness Stew was one of my favorite foods in Ireland along with a burger that tasted like a Big Mac at a place called Currans in Ennistymon. I’ve tried a lot of Guinness Stew recipes and found that my favorite is the simple recipe from the Guinness Storehouse itself. Drink with Guinness or if you prefer wine, try a Syrah or Malbec. Sláinte!

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle Guinness Foreign Extra Stout
  • 1 pound stewing diced beef
  • 1 medium onion – diced
  • 1 C carrot – diced
  • 1 C celery – diced
  • 1 C parsnip – diced
  • 1 liter of beef stock
  • Sprigs of thyme and rosemary
  • Champ potatoes (creamed mashed potato and spring onion)

Cooking Directions

Add some olive oil to a large pot and heat on med-high. Stir fry the beef with a pinch of salt and pepper for about 3 minutes. Add the vegetables and cook to sweat, about 3 minutes, and season with a little more s&p. Lower heat. Pour in the Guinness and simmer to reduce by half. Add the beef stock and herbs and simmer very slowly, for about an hour to an hour and a half. Serve with champ potatoes.

Tip: stew is always better when made one day in advance and reheated.

Recipe courtesy Guinness Storehouse.

Find this recipe and more at the Guinness Storehouse website.

Host for the Holidays

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Happy Thanksgiving!

There may  be many reasons you are not willing or able to cook a Thanksgiving meal but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for a Hungry Man! There are a number of online options and many grocery stores have options for every budget. Here is a small list of companies that offer prepared Thanksgiving and Holiday meals.

Grocery Stores

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Check your local grocery stores for a list of options. Some of these also have the same box you can donate to a family in need. Visit your grocery deli or the deli platter section online to order. Hannaford, Price Chopper, Publix, Shaws, Market Basket, and Whole Foods have available dinners.

Local Restaurants

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Look for flyers in your local restaurants and cafes for any holiday meal services. These have an earlier order date than online and grocery options so plan ahead. Some of the top choices are Cracker Barrel and Boston Market. If you’re from Northern Vermont, check out Chef’s Corner catering menu and for my Southern NH friends, check out Angela’s Pasta & Cheese! A lot of restaurants are open for Thanksgiving and reservations go quick for those offered by inns and hotels. Just Google ‘thanksgiving dinner in ___” to find options in your area.

Online Services

Medium Complete Organic Turkey Dinner, Thanksgiving Delivery

William Sanoma offers a whole dinner in three sizes and an array of incredible sides. Right now they are offering 20% off + Free Shipping on Prepared Sides with the coupon code FRIENDS.

Harry and David offers a similar meal with a ready to cook turkey, four sides, gravy and a dessert for $199. For 15% off your order use code GO15.

Do you have more to add to the list? Post in the comments! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Haunted Mansion Inspired Halloween Party

 

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Simple, inexpensive and not over the top Halloween. Welcome to my party!

 

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I decided to invest in a pub table since I throw a lot of parties. But this can be done with something as simple as a TV stand. All the tables had purple under-lights. This table has a 23.7 inch top and I used a 108 inch round table cloth. The spider web lace cloth is from Christmas Tree Shops. The acid jar was found at an antique store, the candlesticks were from a craft store then painted black and used black taper candles. All set on a silver tray from the dollar store.

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These pre lit branches were purchased last year on Halloween clearance. Get everything you may need after Halloween! The books were a creepy craft posted a few weeks ago and teacups stacked were collected from thrift stores.

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Fondue station! To add dimension to your table, simply put some boxes or books under your table cloth. To easily remove wine label bottles, I use the boiling water technique. I like to save my labels but soaking and scrubbing works well too.  The fondue was a very simple recipe and can easily be made into gluten free. 1 bottle of beer, 1 brick of cream cheese and 8 oz freshly shredded cheese. I ended up needing to thicken it so some cornstarch or flour will do the trick.

I tore up some cheesy bread, baked Annie’s pretzels and salami to dip into this godly fondue.

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Also on the menu: Pumpkin Dip, Roast Beef Bites with Horseradish Creme Fraihe, cheese board with honey, fig and grapes, brownie bites, caprese skewers drizzled in balsamic reduction and a special box of chocolates from Burdick’s Chocolates. I did need to accommodate for gluten free so ginger snaps, brownies, graham cookies and some breads were gluten free. Find a bakery that specializes in gluten free bread for an unnoticeable switch.

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Find inexpensive and festive platters at Christmastree Shops, Marshalls, dollar stores and thrift stores. These can transition from holiday to holiday and will be used year round if you love to host! My night-before trick is to use post its to map out where every food goes so if I need help, my husband can jump right in.

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Candles and creepy cloth go a long way and are a very inexpensive way to add ambiance.

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For the kids or kidults, have some games or activities set up out of the flow of traffic. For the kidult in me, I keep a set of window crayons handy.

 

Hope everyone has an amazing Halloween and throws some great parties! Happy Halloween!

Boozey Instant Hot Chocolate

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Made with instant hot chocolate if you don’t want to make it from scratch.

1 packet of hot chocolate mix
1/2 cup hot water
1 ounce Godiva Liqueur
1/2 ounce Bailey’s Irish Cream
1 tsp Frangelico

Oreo Balls – Christmas Baking

I don’t bake often. It takes us a long time to go through any sweets in the house and if I bring it to work, I’ll eat the treats there. So the one time a year I do bake, I find it beyond frustrating. With many attempts and many of these balls from hell squished and thrown out, I found an easy technique that makes this whole ball thing a lot easier.

Ingredients:

  • Oreo Cookies (double stuffed is best)
  • Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • Ghirardelli White Chocolate Wafers (They’re new!)
  • Decoration of choice

First, I de-creamed the cookies. These are much easier to do with double stuffed since they come off as a whole cream pad. If you have regular minimally stuffed, a spoon works great. No worries about breaking the cookies. They are headed to the processor.

After they’ve been de-creamed, put the cream in a bowl along with a brick of Philadelphia cream cheese.

Put the cookie parts in a food processor. I used my juicer (I have the Omega 8006) which has an attachment that makes an amazing fine grain.

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Add the powder to cream and cream cheese blend and knead into dough. Rubber gloves are handy during this process. It takes some kneading!

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Now roll into tiny balls. The first round, I made them way too big. The second time, I made them about the size of a quarter. Way easier to deal with and these are so rich they are overwhelming if too big. Place on a cookie sheet lined with non-stick paper. These were placed on parchment paper.

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Freeze these for a bit. I read some that froze overnight but made the chocolate shell crack. So I froze for about an hour while melting the chocolate in a double boiler. You can melt in a bowl at 30 second intervals too. Paper bowls work great for this stuff!

Set up another cookie sheet with non stick paper for post dipped hell balls if you aren’t using mini paper cups.

Get your station ready and take the balls out. I tried everything to dip. Skewers, forks, toothpicks, fingers, chopsticks, everything I had. These tiny little things worked great with a sturdier toothpick that I stuck into the bottom, dipped quickly in chocolate (enough to submerge the whole ball) and stuck in a foam board covered in foil.

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If you’re making a lot of balls, take them out in sections. You don’t want to get the ball too warm to dip or they will slide down the toothpick. It’s a small hole and easy to cover if this happens. My house was about 75 degrees and the last 2 balls (of 40) slid down.

The chocolate will harden quickly and you can remove to decorate or keep them on the foam to display.

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Hell ball success. And it’s been requested I make more….I’ll post anything else I learn along the way! Enjoy!

Emi’s Home Fries Recipe

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Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 2 Cups Red or Gourmet Baby Potatoes
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Yellow Onion
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Basil
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
  • Pinch of Paprika

Directions

  1. Heat 2 Tbs of olive oil over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet.
  2. Once heated, add potatoes, onion and all of the spices.
  3. Shimmy, flip or stir everything so it’s combined.
  4. Flip or stir lightly every 3 minutes for 15-20 minutes or until medium golden brown. Larger cut potatoes will take longer.

Tips:

  • I use a Vidalia Chop Wizard to get evenly shaped potatoes and onion. (Vidalia Chop Wizard $19.99)
  • For threatening oil pops, I cover with a piece of foil or parchment paper.
  • Keep all the potatoes touching the pan – flatten out every time you flip or stir.
  • This can easily be cooked in a 375 oven until golden.

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GoArmyHomes.com Cookbook

A great way to give back, support and admire our service men & women. These easy to follow recipes are quick, simple and budget friendly. I can add that they are delicious! The recipes make a good sized portions. I’ve already been asked to share the Chicken Pot Pie recipe! I need to try the desserts! Check out more on amazon.com.

cookbook

$1.00 of every cookbook purchased is donated to OPERATION GRATITUDE which annually sends 150,000+ care packages filled with food, hygiene products, entertainment and handmade items, plus personal letters of support, addressed to individual Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines deployed overseas, to their children left behind, and to Veterans, New Recruits, First Responders, Wounded Warriors and their Care Givers.