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Frito Fail!

Friday, October 21st, 2016

Good Morning Darlings,

Happy Friday!

It’s always a hoot when things in the kitchen don’t go as planned. Eric and I got a wild hair last weekend to try and whip up homemade fritos to go with chili. The New York Times had what looked like a super easy recipe with basically three ingredients.

And ours looked pretty close to the ones pictured in the Times.

Here’s their photo:

New York Times Fritos (on the right)

New York Times Fritos (on the right)

And here’s ours:

I seriously have to use a better camera, y'all.

I seriously have to use a better camera, y’all.

Perhaps I should have laid mine out on pretty polka dot wrapping paper?

Anyhoo, Frito Lay doesn’t have to worry about going out of business. We immediately went out and bought three bags of real fritos. We had friends coming over! We couldn’t feed them these homemade things.

But we did – just so they could see what the homemade version tastes like. And you know what? They ate them, because they are awesome people. Polite to the max.  It was the first attempt. We can get better.

Popping out to the store is so much easier and tastier, though.

What are you cooking this weekend?

xoxo, Patti

BLT Salad

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

Good Morning Darlings!

I was starting to wonder if I could face another salad – can I keep the magic going?

Surprisingly, yes.

This little number comes from How Sweet It Is, which is a daily obsession. Jessica is always coming up with the tastiest dishes and she is also completely adorable.

There is everything to love about this BLT Salad – bacon, fresh corn, grape tomatoes, feta (to be honest, I ran out of feta and used goat cheese), but besides that, we followed this recipe to the letter. And we were greatly rewarded.

It counteracts those Krispy Kreme donuts I had for breakfast. Ok – you can judge me. But just a little bit. 🙂

Go make this with someone you love.

Seriously, these salads keep getting better!

Seriously, these salads keep getting better!

blt chopped salad with corn, feta + avocado

Totally lifted from Jessica at How Sweet It Is.

ingredients:

2 cups butter lettuce, chopped
2 cups fresh arugula, chopped
1 pint grape tomatos, quartered
4 slices thick-cut bacon, fried and crumbled
1 cup sweet corn
1 avocado, chopped
4 ounces feta, crumbled

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lime, juiced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

directions:

As a note, to chop my lettuce I like to lay it out on a big cutting board and just continuously run my knife through it (in all different directions) until it’s chopped as much as I like.

In a large bowl, combine lettuce, arugula, tomatoes, corn and avocado. Add in salt, pepper, olive oil and lime juice then toss well to coat. Fold in bacon and feta then divide evenly amount 2 plates. Serve!

That Jessica knows her stuff.

And for extra inspiration, go visit my girl and fellow co-founder at Atlanta Movie Tours, Carrie, at her blog, Cre8iveone, where she is slaying it! So proud. Go, visit, leave a very sweet comment.

xoxo, Patti

Farro Salad – Yes it’s cold…

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

Good Morning Darlings!

Yes, I am still on a chopped salad kick. Today’s entry comes to us from Ellie Krieger, who served her adorable little salads in tiny mason jars.

I don’t want to eat out of a mason jar. I want a real bowl, so I can get every bite. Sue me.

But I digress. If you want to layer this salad in a mason jar, you go right ahead. I’m sure it will be precious. But I’m just hungry!

This salad is just as good the next day. I mean – it is TASTY!

Farro Salad. You should make this. Like right now.

Farro Salad. You should make this. Like right now.

Layered Farro Salad (or not layered – I won’t judge)

Ingredients

1 cup farro
11/4 cups walnut pieces
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups shredded kale leaves
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
11/4 cups crumbled feta cheese (6 ounces)
2 cups quartered red or black grapes

Directions

Cook the farro according to the directions on the package. Drain well, then place in the refrigerator to cool completely.

Toast the walnuts in a dry skillet over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant and lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside to cool, then chop.

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Place the kale in a medium bowl, add half of the dressing, and toss to combine. Add the onion, parsley, and remaining dressing to the farro and toss to combine.

To assemble the salad, place the farro in the bottom of a large glass bowl, patting down slightly. Add the kale on top. Sprinkle with the feta cheese. Then layer with the grapes and finally the walnuts. Alternatively, make individual salads by layering the ingredients in wide-mouthed 12-ounce (500 ml) jars.

Makes 8 servings

You know the drill – gobble down like hungry badgers and wash it all down with something delicious. A margarita would be nice here.

xoxo, Patti

Chop It Up, I’ll Eat It

Friday, August 5th, 2016

Good Morning Darlings!

Golly gee whiz, it is HOT here in Georgia. Yes, I know, it’s August. But wow, all I want to eat is chopped salad these days. I’m on a kick and taking Eric with me.

Here is one of the salads we’ve been enjoying recently. I’m a big fan of California Pizza Kitchen and love their BBQ Chopped Chicken Salad. I could eat it everyday. But that would get pricey, so I learned how to make it at home. Would you like to make it for yourself? Let me help!

You can make this at home, too!

You can make this at home, too!

I didn’t say I was dieting, I’m just beating the heat. Add a Corona – don’t judge.

The recipe is from Food.com, and I can’t lie, I used tortilla chips and bottled ranch dressing and then threw it all together. If you have the time to follow all these steps, bless your heart.

INGREDIENTS:

4

DIRECTIONS

  1. To Make the Fried Tortilla Strips: In a deep, heavy frying pan, heat several inches of vegetable oil to a temperature of 375 degrees. Working in batches if necessary to prevent overcrowding, carefully add the tortilla strips to the hot oil, submerging them with a metal skimmer or slotted spoon. Fry the tortilla strips until evenly golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Carefully lift them out with the skimmer or slotted spoon and transfer them to paper towels to drain and cool. Set aside, uncovered.
  2. To Make the Garden Herb Ranch Dressing: In a mixing bowl, use a fork to stir together the mustard and cold water, forming a paste. Set aside for 10 minutes. Add the remaining dressing ingredients to the bowl and, using a handheld electric mixer at low speed or a whisk, blend together just until smooth, taking care not to incorporate too much air into the dressing. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  3. To Make the Grilled Garlic and BBQ Chicken: Preheat a stovetop grill or the broiler. In a mixing bowl, stir together the olive oil, garlic, soy sauce, and salt. Turn the chicken breasts in this marinade and leave to marinate at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Grill or broil the chicken breasts until cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes per side. Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator. Cut the chicken breasts into 3/4-inch cubes and, in a bowl, toss with the barbecue sauce to coat well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  4. To Make the Salad: In a large mixing bowl, toss together the lettuces, basil, jicama, Monterey Jack cheese, beans, corn, cilantro, dressing, and half of the Fried Tortilla Strips. Transfer the salads to chilled serving plates. Surround each salad with diced tomatoes and the remaining Fried Tortilla Strips. Top each salad with chunks of Grilled Garlic BBQ Chicken and drizzle the chicken with the barbecue sauce. Garnish with the scallion.

Gobble down like hungry badgers. Crack open another cold beer. Sit in the air conditioning and watch Stranger Things. OMG, I love that show!

What are you doing to beat the heat?

xoxo, Patti

Lemonlicious

Friday, March 25th, 2016

Good Morning Darlings!

I’ve been so busy lately, but I’ve missed you! And now it’s almost Easter.

Bestie Melanie is cooking dinner and I am contributing deviled eggs and lemon meringue cupcakes. Don’t these cupcakes sound divine? Take a look at how pretty they are!

LemonCupcakes

Now, that isn’t my finished product, but it did come from the lovely people at Nielsen-Massey, who were so kind to send me their gorgeous vanilla AND lemon extract so I could recreate this masterpiece at home.

And, it would not be kind of me to keep the recipe all to myself. Here you go – make these and look like a superstar this Sunday!

Lemon Cupcakes with Marshmallow Meringue(Makes 2 Dozen)

For the Cupcakes:
2½ cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups sugar
2 tablespoons lemon zest (3-4 large lemons)
2 teaspoons Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract
½ teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Lemon Extract
3 large eggs
½ cup low-fat buttermilk

Directions
Preheat oven to 350?F. Place paper liners into two standard cupcake tins; set aside. In a medium bowl, add flour, baking powder and salt; whisk to blend and set aside.In a large mixing bowl, add butter, sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla and lemon extracts. With a handheld mixer, beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Reduce speed to low. Add dry ingredients one-half at a time, alternating with buttermilk; beat after each addition and scrape sides of bowl as needed. Do not overmix batter.Fill each liner with about ¼ cup batter and bake until done, about 18 minutes. Carefully place cupcakes in 2 (9 x 13) pans and cover with plastic wrap; set aside to cool. Make sure the wrap does not touch the cupcake tops; this method of cooling will make deliciously moist cupcakes.

For the Marshmallow Meringue:
4 egg whites
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
¼ cup sugar
1 cup marshmallow creme
½ teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract
¼ teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Lemon Extract

Directions
In a large bowl, add egg whites and cream of tartar. With a handheld mixer, beat on medium-high speed until foamy. Increase mixer speed to high and gradually add sugar until soft peaks form.Add marshmallow creme, vanilla and lemon extracts, and beat until combined. Using the back of a spoon, mound and creatively swirl meringue onto each cooled cupcake.Place cupcakes on a rimmed sheet pan. Use a handheld kitchen torch or place under a broiler and toast until golden brown. If using the broiler method, watch to ensure meringue does not over brown.

xoxo, Patti

Time to Get Valentining

Thursday, February 11th, 2016

Good Morning Darlings!

Is Valentining a thing? It is now!

How will you celebrate? E and I like to stay home away from the crowds and cook a romantic meal together. Complete with cocktails, of course.

Flirtini – isn’t that a fun name? It just makes me want to kiss and hug my sweetie! Here’s the recipe:

Flirtini

FLIRTINI
Time to get your flirt on!
2 oz. Van Gogh Raspberry Vodka
Splash of cranberry juice
Chilled Champagne
Float with champagne chilled to the top of the glass.
My friends at Van Gogh Vodka are always on the cutting edge of yummy cocktails with their flavored vodkas. Love them!

 

Oooh, and who doesn’t love chocolate? A Chocolate Almond Kiss would do the trick!

Chocolate Almond Kiss – with extra kisses!

 

CHOCOLATE ALMOND KISS
2 oz. Van Gogh Dutch Chocolate Vodka
1 oz. Hazelnut Liqueur 
1/2 oz. Dark Crème de Cacao
Splash of Cream 
Shake vodka, hazelnut liqueur and dark crème de cacao into a cocktail shaker with ice. Top with a splash of cream and garnish with a sprig of mint.

 

For dinner, I’m thinking a nice spaghetti, like in Lady and The Tramp.

 

Little candlelight, some nice pasta. Amore!

What are your plans?

xoxo, Patti

Dinner Party 101 – Setting The Table

Monday, November 16th, 2015

Good Morning Darlings!

The holidays are sneaking up quickly and the dinner parties are afoot. Are you hosting Thanksgiving this year? Is it your first time? Let’s visit.

No reason to be scared. We are going to do this together. The first thing your guests will notice when they enter will be your table. Is it set correctly? Instead of guessing which side the fork goes on, here’s an easy to use chart.

Simple Table Setting

This keeps things simple. Why put the napkin on top of the plate instead of under the forks? This way your guests don’t have to jostle the setting to place the napkin in their laps.

If you are going to be a guest at someone’s home for Thanksgiving dinner and can’t remember which fork to use, always use the outside utensil first. If you get there and the table is not set like the diagram above, always take your cues from the hostess. Do what she does.

Tomorrow we’ll talk about the menu.

xoxo, Patti

Making Meatballs – How Did I Do?

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

Good Morning Darlings!

You all know I love to cook and entertain. When I saw this video, I about lost my mind and knew I had to try this recipe.

I bet some of you have seen this meatball stuffed with mozzarella video, too, right?

Here’s what my meatballs looked like before adding them to the sauce in the crockpot.

20151025_122112

And here’s what they looked like all cooked and ready to gobble down.

20151025_145336

Don’t you love that tiny plate? I get them at CB2. Here is a link to their new holiday line which I must order immediately. How cute are these? No, I don’t advertise for CB2, but hey, if they feel like sending me the new line, I would not complain. 🙂

So, how did they turn out? Not as expected. Here are my notes:

1. Make bigger meatballs so you can stuff a bigger piece of cheese inside. For some reason, I thought I counted 22 meatballs in the video. Math is not my strong suit. My cubes of mozzarella were small and totally disappeared in the meatball. NONE of the meatballs had that cheesy center I was hoping for. Next time: Make 15 big meatballs with a much bigger cube of cheese. Heck, slather them all with a thick layer of mozzarella cheese. You can never have enough cheese.

2. Brown the meatballs before placing in the crockpot. I know this rule, but got lazy and thought they would be just as good. Nay nay my darlings. The sear really adds to the flavor, so I will be taking this extra step next time.

3. Make your own sauce. DO NOT USE JARRED SAUCE. This probably goes without saying, but I’m saying it anyhow. I make mine with an entire bottle of red wine. Do not judge me.

4. Don’t use almond milk in place of whole milk in meatballs. I thought this substitution would work. It did not. I think it contributed to much tougher meatballs than I would have preferred.

5. After making the meatballs, put them in the fridge overnight and then reheat. Why? They get greasy and after a nap in the fridge, you can skim all that fat off and have nothing but meat and sauce.

Verdict: I would definitely make these again, but with the above tweaks. What a fab way to feed a crowd. Eric and I made spaghetti with this and each had 3 meatballs, which left us with a ton of meatballs and sauce leftover that went straight to the freezer for a busy night. I don’t know about you, but November is going to be crazy busy around here!

Happy cooking!

xoxo, Patti

The Food Does Not Matter

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Good Morning Darlings!

This article was sent to me by a sweet friend.

I seriously could not say it better myself.

Click here to read.

And don’t slave over the food…

xoxo,
Patti

Raising A Glass With Nobilo Icon

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Good Morning Darlings!

How wonderful to see you all – I have been very busy.

What’s new? Click to continue »