Friday, December 19, 2014

Trader Joe's Product Review No. 6

This is a quick review of a few products I picked up when we went to Trader Joe's a couple of weeks ago. Definitely found some winners!

1. Pumpkin Pie Spice and Tumeric: *****
I haven't actually used these yet, but I have a feeling they are perfectly fine because well, they're spices. The reason I give them 5 stars is because they are cheap ($2) and the packaging is adorable. A win/win in my book!

2. Masala Simmer Sauce: ****
You know I'm a fan of other Trader Joe's simmer sauces and I can't believe I hadn't tried this one before. I recently made some Chicken Tikka Masala from scratch so I knew I liked the flavor. Turns out, this sauce is great and makes for an easy throw it together meal!

3. Balsamic Glaze: *****
This was recommended by another blogger and I'm so glad I bought it. Not too expensive and it has the perfect consistency. I've tried to make a balsamic reduction myself and all it really did was stink up my house! This was PERFECT on our favorite Roasted Tomato and Garlic Pizza. I can't wait to try it on our Caprese Garlic Bread!

4. Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Joe Joe's: *******
I could honestly give these an infinite amount of stars! They are ridiculous and I guess their only downfall is that they are $4 a box. But are they worth it? I'd say yes! They are rich, sweet and have the perfect mint/chocolate ratio. Oh man these would make a great stocking stuffer or gift! Be sure to get them while they're in season!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Artichoke Dip Hummus

I've teamed up with ALOHA to share a healthy and tasty dish you'll want to bring to your next holiday party! ALOHA's mission is to help you feel healthier and happier by providing simple, high-quality products and inspiring content. They have an amazing recipe page with loads of healthy and delicious food. Be sure to check it out!
Now on to the dish...I think we all have the same thought process whenever we're asked to bring an appetizer to a party. Should I bring the same dish l always do or switch it up this time? In my opinion, there are so many amazing dishes to try so why not try as many as you possibly can?
This hummus is a healthy take on the oh so delicious creamy artichoke dip you usually see at every holiday party. And while I love the usual dip, I love this healthier take that still incorporates artichokes because we all know how hard it can be to not overeat during the holidays.

This hummus has such an addicting flavor and I couldn't help but go back for more after each bite!
And the best part is, you can bring a variety of "dippers" for your friends or family to try. From carrots to pita chips to crackers to broccoli. They would all taste amazing with this hummus!

Artichoke Dip Hummus
Adapted from AllRecipes
Serves: 6
1 1/2 tsp. garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and peeled (reserve juice)
1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 Tbsp. water
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1 (7.5 oz.) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and quartered

1. Place garlic, basil and lemon juice in a food processor and pulse several times to mince basil leaves.
2. Add chickpeas, olive oil, water, salt, and cumin in the food processor and process until the hummus is smooth. If hummus is too thick, process 1 Tbsp. reserved liquid from chickpeas at a time into the mixture. Add artichoke hearts to the hummus and process until smooth.
3. Serve with carrots, tortilla chips, pita chips, crackers, etc.

*This recipe can easily be doubled to serve a larger crowd.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Hot Chocolate Cake Mix Cookies

These Hot Chocolate Cake Mix Cookies are part of an online cookie exchange Patience Brewster is hosting! Patience Brewster is an artist who designs a unique line of handmade Christmas ornaments, holiday gifts and everyday decor. Be sure to check out her site!

Now who doesn't love a big old mug of hot chocolate?? Especially during the holidays. I know I do and have already had my fair share this holiday season.
There's just something about a warm, creamy, chocolately drink, with a handful of floating marshmallows, that gives me pure comfort.
And what's better than a hot chocolate drink? Hot chocolate in cookie form. And while these cookies don't actually have any hot chocolate mix, (I'm still dying to try ones that do), they sure taste like it.
Better yet, they're easy as pie with only 5 ingredients and are perfectly moist, dense and delicious.
Be careful not to eat four like I did right out of the oven. Or do, because then they technically are HOT Chocolate Cookies. ;) ;) And one of the most decadent cookies you will ever try.

Hot Chocolate Cake Mix Cookies
Yields: 24 Cookies
1 (18.9 oz.) Devil's Food cake mix (I prefer Pilsbury)
1/3 cup oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup Mallow Bits
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips (Ghirardelli or Guitard are amazing)

1. Heat oven to 375°F.
2. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, oil and eggs; stir with spoon until thoroughly moistened. (Use hands if needed; dough will be very thick.) Stir in Mallow Bits and chocolate chips until combined.
3. Shape dough into 1 1/2-inch balls or use a cookie scoop; place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. With bottom of glass dipped in flour, flatten to 1/4-inch thickness.
4. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until edges are firm. Be careful not to burn. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Food Link Friday: Soup For You

Soup season is in full swing and there are so many fun new recipes to try!
Be sure to check these out!
Broccoli Cheese Soup
I've always been a sucker for broccoli cheese soup and this recipe looks like another good one to try!
Chicken Cordon Bleu Soup
This is one of the best ideas I've ever seen! The flavors of chicken cordon bleu in a soup?? Genius!
Copycat Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana
Who doesn't love Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana?? This copycat looks amazing!
Philly Cheesesteak Stew
I love me a good Philly Cheesesteak so this stew is right up my alley.
Check out all that gooey cheese and that perfect bread bowl!
Slow Cooker Creamy Tomato Basil Tortellini Soup
This flavorful soup has been on my to-make list for weeks now! Hopefully I'll get around to making it soon!

For the Love of Food Link: Creamy White Bean Chili

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ham and Cheese Waffles

You all know by now that waffles are my go-to dinner and this is my all-time favorite recipe. But after a while, it's good to change up the pace. When I saw a recipe for these SAVORY waffles that involve my favorite dynamic duo, ham and cheese, I had to make them immediately.

And they did not disappoint.

They are crisp, chewy and have such a rich flavor. Ham and cheese in every bite? Now what's bad about that?
To make them into a meal, simply serve a fried egg over top. You can also serve these as a side of bread, which is genius! (Excuse the slightly massacred fried egg...perfect eggs are not my forte.)

Anyhow, these are a great addition to my waffle recipe collection and I will be making them frequently!

Ham and Cheddar Waffles
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. table salt
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped deli ham
1 heaping Tbsp. thinly sliced green onions
1 cup buttermilk**
1/2 Tbsp. yellow mustard
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg

**If you don’t have buttermilk, place 1 tablespoon white vinegar in a measuring cup and fill with milk until it reaches 1 cup. Let sit for a few minutes before using.

1. Whisk together flour, corn starch, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add cheese, ham, and onions and lightly toss.
2. In a separate bowl whisk buttermilk, mustard, oil and egg. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until everything is incorporated. Don’t over-mix. If you have time, allow to sit for 20-30 minutes before cooking, the waffles will be a bit fluffier. If you’re in a time crunch, go ahead and cook them.
3. Heat a waffle iron. Ladle batter into machine and cook according to your waffle iron’s instructions until just golden. All waffle irons will vary. 

4. Serve hot and fresh. To reheat, pop in toaster until heated through.