Pear Blue Cheese Puff Pastry Bites

Pear Blue Cheese Puff Pastry Bites ~ golden puff pastry + maple bacon onion jam, caramelized pears and blue cheese. A simple, elegant holiday appetizer.

Appetizers & Beverages | December 6, 2018 | By

Pear Blue Cheese Puff Pastry Bites ~ 2 bite-size golden, flaky puff pastry topped with maple bacon onion jam, sweet caramelized pears and salty, bold blue cheese. A simple, elegant appetizer as festive as the holidays.

Puff pastry may be the best kitchen hack ever ~ prepared, frozen sheets of dough that bake and puff into beautiful, golden flaky pastry. The dough easily transitions from sweet to savory with the help of a few pantry and refrigerator items.

I never seem to have enough time around the holiday season, despite my best planning and intentions. So it’s all about having quick, easy A-Game recipes in my hip pocket. Or in this case, the refrigerator and freezer.

I could practically create a week’s worth of meals wrapped in this buttery, flaky crust. In fact, I just may. I happen to have a box or three in the freezer right now.

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Crispy Baked Buffalo Wings

crispy baked buffalo wings ~ overhead photo of wings with light sauce and sliced carrots and celery

Appetizers & Beverages, Dinner | November 25, 2018 | By

Crispy Baked Buffalo Wings marinated in a simple, spicy buttermilk-ranch marinade and are “oven fried” until crispy and bursting with flavor.

Thanksgiving is over and maybe you still have some mashed potatoes in the back of the fridge but it’s time we moved on to food worthy of a football game. 

You don’t have to understand a thing about football to know everyone up’s their game when it comes to finger food to enjoy while watching the game.

So for today let’s ignore the Christmas music blaring inside every store, make these crispy, spicy wings, turn on the football game and tune out the holiday madness. 

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Caramel Apple Pomegranate Mimosa

Caramel Apple Pomegranate Mimosa ~ Fresh apple cider, pomegranate juice and caramel vodka topped off with champagne in a caramel-sugar rimmed glass.

Appetizers & Beverages | November 2, 2018 | By

Fresh apple cider blended with pomegranate juice and caramel vodka topped off with champagne in a caramel-sugar rimmed glass.

The hardest part about hosting a holiday dinner is deciding on a signature cocktail. I’m kidding! My hat is off to all the heavy lifters planning, shopping for and cooking a meal that takes weeks of preparation and mere minutes to devour.

Friends, life just ain’t fair, but I have you covered with a delicious, simple adult beverage that’ll get the party started.

Caramel flavored vodka, fresh apple cider and pomegranate juice topped off with champagne in a sugary, caramel rimmed flute.

If all that sounds good, it tastes even better and makes the ideal celebratory cocktail for the holidays, Sunday brunch or, hey . . .  just a very long Monday.

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Buffalo Ranch Snack Mix

This Buffalo Ranch Snack Mix recipe is the ultimate party snack combining crunchy and salty plus a marriage made in heaven, Buffalo and ranch.

Appetizers & Beverages | October 4, 2018 | By

This Buffalo Ranch Snack Mix recipe is the ultimate party snack combining crunchy, salty and that marriage made in heaven, Buffalo and ranch.

Snack mix, trail mix, Chex mix . . . whatever you call it, most of us have indulged in it over a cocktail or three. It has an almost addictive quality about it.  

I’ve found myself picking through premade snack mixes for my favorite parts and pushing aside others. Please don’t judge me; let’s stop the madness and make our own snack mix!

This Buffalo Ranch Snack Mix recipe couldn’t be faster or easier and the best part ~ you’re guaranteed to have it exactly as you like it.

Crunchy, salty and boldly spicy. Read on.

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Easy Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Easy Chicken Lettuce Wraps: seasoned ground chicken sautéed with mushrooms and water chestnuts, nestled in lettuce leaf, topped with a spicy hoison sauce.

Appetizers & Beverages, Dinner | September 24, 2018 | By

Easy Chicken Lettuce Wraps ~ Asian seasoned ground chicken sautéed with mushrooms, green onions and water chestnuts, nestled in lettuce leaves and topped with a spicy hoisin sauce.

When I look back on old posts like this one, it reminds me of photos my kids come across of me that they find hilarious. “Those glasses ~ that hair!”. 

The old photos from the original Easy Chicken Lettuce Wraps post were just as awkward and cringe-worthy.

But what I had forgotten about this recipe because I hadn’t made it in a while is . . . dang! ~ it’s sooo good! I do remember how my husband and I almost arm-wrestled over the last wrap. He ended up eating it, but  I would have won. I totally would have won. 

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Easy Hummus Recipe Without Tahini

easy hummus recipe without tahini

Easy Hummus Recipe Without Tahini ~ delicious, creamy hummus with a hint of lemon. No tahini needed and this healthy appetizer comes together in a jiffy!

I haven’t sworn off tahini and have nothing against it, but the last time I bought it I could only find it in a super size jar that could have easily come off the shelves of Sam’s Club (but didn’t). I couldn’t use it all before the expiration date and ended up throwing a good portion of it away.

When we were in Florida last March, I bought a container of the local grocery store’s own hummus and was really disappointed ~ thick, tasteless and a little clumpy ~ whaaat? I swore when I got home I would make the kind of hummus I like to eat ~ creamy, full of flavor with just a hint of lemon.

This Easy Hummus Recipe rivals any I’ve had with tahini and since I usually have everything on hand to make it, it’s easier than a trip to the store for pre-packaged and takes about as much time.

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Fresh Tomato Salsa

fresh tomato salsa ~ no cook recipe, diced tomatoes, jalapeno, onions, cilantro and lime. Tasty appetizer or top any Mexican dish.

Appetizers & Beverages | August 16, 2018 | By

Fresh Tomato Salsa ~ light, spicy fresh tomato salsa with a hint of lime and no cooking involved. Also called pico de gallo ~ it’s a delicious appetizer with tortilla chips or topping your favorite Mexican dish.

We planted our garden again this spring and watered and fertilized all the plants; probably watering more this year than I can ever remember because of the stretches of 90+ temps.

We lovingly cared for these little sprouts like they were our children, anxiously waiting for the first sign there would be a harvest and watching as some of the tomato plants grew as tall as me. Don’t be too impressed ~ I’m only 5’2″.

Our reward for all this tending is lots of tomatoes. I’m talking Lots.Of.Tomatoes. We’ve eaten them in pasta salad, sliced on BLT’s and even a goat cheese-tomato appetizer. Some have a future in marinara but for now, our favorite is this Fresh Tomato Salsa with a basket of tortilla chips and a couple of margaritas

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Grilled Peach Caprese

Grilled Peach Caprese ~ grilled sweet peaches, summer tomatoes, fresh mozzarella or burrata, salty prosciutto, basil and balsamic reduction.

Grilled Peach Caprese ~ grilled sweet peaches, summer tomatoes, fresh mozzarella or burrata, salty prosciutto, basil and a drizzle of balsamic reduction. A delicious update to a classic.  

I originally published this recipe in 2015 as one of my first recipes, so if you’ve been following since then maybe you remember it and notice a couple of changes; maybe you’ve even made this recipe. If not, for the love of summer, add it to the top of your list.  

This salad needed better photos that show how much I love this recipe. I love it in the way Oprah expressed her love of bread in the Weight Watcher commercials and because of that, I want you to love Grilled Peach Caprese, too.

Don’t ask me why ~ I guess it’s (another) one of my crazy quirks, but in my *humble* opinion this salad begs to be eaten outside. Maybe it’s the combination of summer tomatoes, sweet peaches made even sweeter by grilling, fresh mozzarella or my new fixation burrata, basil, some salty prosciutto, a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic reduction.

Whatever the reason, grab of glass (or bottle) of your favorite wine, head outside to the patio and enjoy some of summer’s finest. 

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Watermelon Sparkling Wine Cocktail

This Watermelon Sparkling Wine Cocktail shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. The following content is intended for readers who are 21 or older. #CelebratorySips #SipSparkleShine #CollectiveBias

watermelon sparkling wine cocktail ~ made with fresh watermelon juice and chandelier sparkling wine

It’s the same every year here in the Midwest. Cool, rainy bone-chilling spring days and just when we think they’ll never end ~ it’s as though someone flips a switch and suddenly, it’s hot. Flip flop wearing, turn on the air conditioning NOW ~ hot. The days I spent curled under a blanket with a good book are forgotten.

The temperature change triggers something in my husband’s brain too that says all meals should be grilled. It’s a man vs. fire thing that I can’t argue with. But he gets to show off his mad grilling skills while I contribute an equally good, celebratory cocktail because after all, we not only survived spring, but a brutal winter, too.

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Charcuterie 101 + Tips for Hosting a Wine and Cheese Party

Charcuterie 101 + Tips for Hosting a Wine and Cheese Party ~ casual laid back entertaining iat home ~ perfect for wine and cheese lovers.

Appetizers & Beverages | April 13, 2018 | By

Charcuterie 101 + Tips for Hosting a Wine and Cheese Party ~ casual laid back entertaining at home ~ perfect for wine and cheese lovers.

GIVEAWAY!

When was the last time you had a girls’ night in? Your best girls at your house, good food, wine and of course plenty of laughs, catching up and sharing a little gossip. If you can’t remember when, it’s been too long.

Of course you can always meet at a restaurant, but that can be expensive and you lose the relaxed, ‘come as you are’ feeling of getting together in someone’s home.

Entertaining just got easier with step by step instructions for a drool-worthy charcuterie board, tips on how to host a wine and cheese party and if that’s not enough ~ a GIVEAWAY!

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