Category Archives: Pinterest projects

Pinned: Party food!

I love cooking enough that it tends to be one of those things I definitely try to do when I have a little spare time. And that includes making food for my own birthday party because I took the day off!

Before anyone gets up in arms, Bobby offered to make the food, and I told him I wanted to make it. It was so nice just having the time to prep a few things while the baby was at day care.

Pizza crescent rollsThe first was this incredibly easy recipe for pizza crescent rolls from The Girl Who Ate Everything.

Pizza Crescent Rolls

Ingredients:

Pepperoni
Crescent rolls
String cheese

Directions:

Roll out crescent rolls. Place 4-6 slices of pepperoni (slice if desired) on each. Top with half piece of string cheese, roll up and cook with directions from crescent roll packaging.

See? Super easy!

The second recipe, Beer Cheese Dip from Tidy Mom, was just as simple.

Beer Cheese Dip

Ingredients:

Two 8-oz. pkgs Cream Cheese, softened
1/3 cup beer (I used Yuengling … use more if dip needs to be thinned some)
1 envelope Ranch Dressing Mix
2 cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Directions:

Beat the first three ingredients until well blended. Stir in cheddar cheese by hand. Serve with Stacy’s Pita Chips.

The best part of this was that I got to feel the accomplishment of trying a couple of new recipes, but they were so quick and easy that I didn’t feel like I spent the whole day cooking. And both of these were a huge hit at my party!

Pinned: Red wine olive risotto

I’m a huge fan of cooking shows (particularly cooking reality shows like Top Chef and Next Iron Chef — I must admit, I was Team Falkner, but I’m fairly happy with Geoffrey Zakarian winning). If there’s one thing I’ve learned from watching them, it’s that risotto is scary and impossible to get right.

So I’ve avoided it for a long time, but when I came across this recipe from We Are Not Martha, I decided to put on my big girl panties and give it a go.

Totally worth it.

I’ll admit, the rice I used and the way I prepped it was a little different, but I’d still consider it a risotto-style dish, at least. Totally delicious.

Red wine olive risottoRed wine olive risotto, adapted from We Are Not Martha

Servings: 4

Ingredients:
1 cup long-grain rice
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup red wine (I used Rex Goliath Free-Range Red, so it was inexpensive but worked great. Five bucks at Target!)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 shallots, chopped
1 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped (I used kalamata olives with Mediterranean herbs, which I found at Target)
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Directions:
Cook rice in 2 cups water for 20 minutes, adding salt and olive oil to water. Once rice is prepped, saute garlic in a pan until slightly brown, then add the chicken broth and rice. Allow rice to absorb most of the broth, then add the wine and olives. Cook, stirring occasionally, until wine is absorbed, adding shallots for last several minutes of cooking. Salt and pepper to taste.

As WANM suggests, you can also add Parmesan and a little fresh parsley. We didn’t try this, but we plan to next time! I especially think the Parmesan would be good. I also enjoyed the leftover wine with the meal!

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If you enjoyed this post, I’d love for you to follow my cooking boards on Pinterest! I have a board for general food, vegetarian options, desserts and party items.

Pinned: Tortellini and garden vegetable bake

Better Homes and Gardens Tortellini and Garden Vegetable BakeThis is probably one of the prettiest dishes I’ve ever made. At the very least, it’s the prettiest I’ve made in a while.

I saw the photo for it on Pinterest and immediately pinned it to my “Vegetarian” board. The original recipe actually calls for chicken, but it was really amazing without it — so amazing, in fact, that Bobby (who is a total carnivore, typically) said he thought it might have been better without the chicken.

Amazing. And he said it’s the best thing I’ve ever made. Better than the alfredo sauce.

So what does this amazing recipe entail? A whole bunch of veggies and some delicious pre-made tortellini! It’s actually a pretty easy dish, just a bit of prep work.

Vegetarian tortellini and garden vegetable bake (adapted from Better Homes & Gardens)

Ingredients:

1 9-oz. package of Buitoni Three-cheese Tortellini
Olive oil
1 small carrot, cut into thin slices
1 cup sugar snap peas, halved crosswise
1 tbsp butter
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/3 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp dried rosemary
1 tbsp dried basil
1/2 cup milk
Salt and pepper
4 oz. cream cheese, cubed and softened
1/2 cup quartered cherry or grape tomatoes

Directions:
Prep all your veggies before you start cooking! I tried to do a lot of stuff simultaneously, and it nearly got me in trouble! If you are a better multi-tasker than me, it might be OK, but I recommend getting the prep work out of the way first! I think the hoity-toity culinary term for that is mise en place. That’s right, folks. I watch a lot of Food Network.

Put tortellini on to boil (the Buitoni takes around 10 minutes), adding salt and olive oil to the water. With 5 minutes left, add the carrots. With 1 minute left, add the sugar snap peas.

While you are doing this, heat the butter in a sauce pan and saute the mushrooms in it, about 5 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and set them aside.

Whisk together the chicken broth, flour, rosemary, basil, salt and pepper. I just sort of eyeballed it on the rosemary, basil, salt and pepper.

Using the same sauce pan you sauteed the mushrooms in, combine the broth mixture with the milk. Heat and stir until the sauce has thickened a bit and is bubbling. Add the cream cheese and stir until smooth. Remove from heat.

Spray a glass baking dish with cooking spray. Combine all your ingredients in the cooking dish and mix everything together until it’s all well-coated by the sauce. Cover and cook at 350 for about 20 minutes.

I loved how this turned out, and it wasn’t really difficult to make, especially since the pasta is premade and just has to be boiled for a few minutes. I also like that it’s fairly adaptable depending on what you like or have on-hand. The original recipe actually calls for oregano, but I didn’t have any, so I substituted basil and rosemary! I used more or less of particular called-for veggies depending on what I know Bobby and I prefer.

The end result almost has a pot-pie quality, except with cheese-stuffed pasta instead of potatoes and a crust. This is a dish I will definitely make again!

Do you have any favorite recipes you’ve made recently? I love trying new stuff, so please share!

Pinned: Nutella pound cake recipe review

If you know nothing else about me, you should understand that I. freakin’. love. NUTELLA.

I don’t have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to Nutella, but I might as well, as often as I repin Nutella-centric recipes. I follow people who do have Nutella boards, so I know it’s not just me.

This weekend, Bobby and I had Thanksgiving dinner with some friends, and I volunteered to make dessert. Dessert is sort of a comfort zone for me since I enjoy baking, and I had several recipes from Pinterest I’d been wanting to try. It came down to pumpkin-eggnog swirl cheesecake vs. Nutella pound cake, and the Nutella dessert won out.

Overall, the recipe wasn’t super complicated. It was a pretty basic cake batter, then you just layer with Nutella. I followed the recipe pretty much step-by-step, and my cake ended up with a sunken-in middle (see the picture to the right).

I’m not sure where I went wrong. I think it may have been that I put a little too much cake batter on the very bottom layer, and I probably swirled the batter and Nutella a little too much. The cake turned out super-chocolatey, as opposed to the picture on the original recipe page, which looks like pound cake with chunks of Nutella in it.

So, since the Nutella pound cake was extremely ugly (again, see that first picture), I decided to whip up a Nutella trifle cake! Since I already had the Nutella pound cake ready to go, the trifle part was super easy. Here’s a quick recipe for what I did:

Ingredients:
1 Nutella pound cake, crumbled (click for original recipe)
1 large packet of Jello instant chocolate pudding
3 cups of cold milk
16-oz. carton of heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup of mini chocolate chips (or topping of your choice — I also considered strawberries)

Instructions:
Combine sugar and heavy cream in a large mixing bowl and whip until it turns into whipped cream. I used my stand mixer on its highest setting for about 2 minutes for this.

Make the pudding according to the directions on the packet; this is where you’ll use the 3 cups of milk.

Lay down a layer of crumbled Nutella pound cake in a trifle dish. Add a layer of pudding and then a layer of whipped cream. Repeat. Top with mini chocolate chips (or whatever other topping you want).

So easy, and it ends up looking good and tasting delicious. I’d love to make this again! And if you enjoy my Pinterest recipe posts, be sure to check out my Food Stuffs board and my Just Desserts board!

Pinned: Beer chili recipe review

If you follow my Top Pin Tuesday posts, you may recognize this beer chili recipe from last week. The weather has cooled down finally (I live in the South, so this actually seems a little early to me for the type of weather we’ve been having), and Bobby and I have been in a chili state of mind.

We also both really like beer, so from the moment I saw the beer chili recipe on Pinterest I knew we would be making it soon. This may be the shortest pinned-to-kitchen time yet.

Here’s what I liked about the recipe:

  • The instructions were fairly easy, and it made a huge pot. I think we’ve eaten at least six servings out of it and probably have two more left. Much better than making chili with a spice packet and scarfing most of it down on the first go-round.
  • I really like that it has both ground beef and ground sausage. It made for a nice flavor combo.
  • The smell in my kitchen when this stuff was on … OMG.
  • Bobby and I like beer, so the addition of beer to chili was just perfect. I also liked that it had corn flour in it because it was almost like having a built-in Fritos or cornbread flavor.

Things I didn’t like so much about the recipe:

  • It ended up having waaaaaaay too much liquid. It was more like soup than chili.
  • It’s definitely a lot more time-consuming than just using a spice packet to make chili. Definitely don’t make this if you are in a hurry or starving.

I did make a few modifications to the recipe. It was a little unclear about what type of red pepper to get, so I got a red bell pepper, and it tasted really good, but I think the recipe probably meant a spicy pepper. The bell pepper was good for us, though, because all the other seasoning made it spicy aplenty for us.

I couldn’t find ancho chile powder, so I subbed regular chili powder. I also used ground beef instead of ground sirloin because the store I was at didn’t have sirloin, and I was too rushed to go by anywhere else. The beer we used was Yuengling, and I think it fit the recipe well.

The main changes I will make for next time would be to actually get ground sirloin and to get a higher-quality ground sausage (I got the cheapo stuff). I would also drain the kidney beans before putting them in the pot and also have a small can of tomato paste on hand to help thicken it. Oh, and I would season the meat with salt and pepper while it’s cooking, even though the recipe didn’t call for it. Bobby and I agreed that this is totally worth making again.

Want to make some beer chili for yourself? You can check out the original recipe at A Spicy Perspective.

ETA: Now linked with Kludgy Mom‘s Fall Food Recipes!

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Top PIN Tuesday: Holiday spirit?

Tuesday has rolled around again, so it’s time to share some of my favorite pins from this week! I actually got around to cooking the beer chili that was on my list last week, and it turned out great. Review coming tomorrow!

This week’s pins are a good mix of funny, food and baby. Did I just sum up my life in three words? Maybe.

  1. Book Fort, pinned on For the Kiddo. Bobby was basically drooling over this, and honesty so was I. This looks like such a fun idea, and we totally have enough books in our house to do it for ourselvesNoah.

  2. All different kinds of caramel apples, pinned onParty Har Har. Could there possibly be a better fall party idea than this? I want to get my friends together for a shindig just to have a caramel apple bar with all these toppings. Or maybe I’ll just skip inviting the friends. Hmm…
  3. Roasted Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons, pinned on Food Stuffs. OMG. Seriously. OMG. This is basically one of those things I could happily eat every day for the rest of my life.
  4. Stop Clubbing, Baby Seals!, pinned on It Made Me Laugh. Pretty self-explanitory. Go look at the picture.
  5. Slow-Cooker Creamy Chicken With Biscuits, pinned on Food Stuffs. Chicken pot pie in the slow cooker. This will win me major brownie points with Bobby.
  6. Apple Cider Margaritas, pinned on Party Har Har. Great for warming up on a cold night. I love apple cider. I love tequila. How could this possibly be a bad thing?
  7. Stovetop Christmas potpourri, pinned on

    Christmas. Yeah, that’s right. It’s not even Halloween, and I’m already thinking about Christmas. Mess with me about it, and I will cut you. The Christmas board is my latest and greatest, and this is my favorite thing I’ve pinned so far. My heart feels happy thinking about the warm smells that will fill my house when I try this!

  8. What does John have?, pinned on It Made Me Laugh. I’ll go ahead and ruin it for you. Question: John has 32 candy bars. He eats 28. What does he have now? Answer: Diabetes. John has diabetes.
  9. Krispy Kreme doughnut muffins, pinned on Just Desserts. I have been jonesing for hot now Krispy Kreme doughnuts ever since the tornado blew the one in town away on April 27. I have the stuff to make these, and I may just do it tonight. I will post a review if I do!
  10. Garland 10 different ways, pinned on One. Yes, more Noah birthday stuff. I don’t want to spend a bazillion dollars, especially for a birthday he won’t remember, but I would like to do something like this as an inexpensive but fun decoration!

Interested in seeing more of my pins? You can find me here on Pinterest!

Linking up today with Oh Amanda‘s Top Ten {Tuesday}.

Top Ten {Tuesday}

Top PIN Tuesday: Food and funnies (mostly)

Starting my second week of Top Pin Tuesday and realizing that I didn’t pin a ton last week, but thankfully I’m pretty selective about what I do pin, so I have some quality ones to share and was able to weed out a few that weren’t quite as exciting.

Here are my 10 favorite Pinterest pins from the past week, in no particular order (text links to pin, photos link to original source):

  1. Dinosaur Party, pinned on One. Maybe I’m crazy, but I’m already at least giving some thought to Noah’s first birthday party. I know we have to get through Christmas first, so I’m not planning hardcore, but I am starting to look at themes. I’m leaning toward a dinosaur theme, since we call him our little pterodactyl (because of the screechy noises he makes sometimes).
  2. Frederick Douglass quote, pinned on For the kiddo. The quote reads, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” It’s just so true and a good reminder to love, support and encourage our boy every step of the way.
  3. Tuscan pasta with tomato-basil cream sauce, pinned on Food Stuffs. Just looking at that picture makes me want to cram this into my face right. now. I have crazy love for good pasta.
  4. Soup recipes, pinned on Food Stuffs. Fall is coming quickly, and I enjoy a good soup. Good enough reason for a pin!
  5. Beer Chili, pinned on Food Stuffs. I knew when I saw this one that it would earn me brownie points with my husband, who would probably eat chili once a week during the fall. I like it, too, and this recipe looks AMAZING.
  6. T-Rex Hates Push-ups, pinned on It Made Me Laugh. It did make me laugh. Not quite as much as this pin from a few months ago, but still funny. I think I might have a dinosaur fetish…
  7. There are cookies you don’t even know about, pinned on It Made Me Laugh. A classic from Jill at Baby Rabies. I don’t have toddlers yet, but I will someday. And there WILL be secret cookies.
  8. I may not be perfect, but parts of me are pretty awesome, pinned on I – I – I like it.
  9. Healthy is the New Skinny, pinned on I – I – I Like It. A plus-size model posed nude in a recent episode of O magazine with a Barbie doll and marks on her body where she would have to have flesh removed in order to actually be shaped like Barbie. You can see in the photo that this girl is absolutely gorgeous, and the idea of changing her body so much to meet some unattainable beauty standard is ridiculous.
  10. White Chocolate Brownies, pinned on Just Desserts. Uh, yum. That is all.

Linking up today with Oh Amanda‘s Top Ten {Tuesday}.

Top Ten {Tuesday}

Top PIN Tuesday

I have enjoyed sporadically participating in Top Ten Tuesday link-ups in the past, but I always seem to struggle for things to write about. I can come up with a list of, say, four things that I really love or that are good tips or that I want to accomplish before I’m 30 or whatever else … but sometimes I just have a hard time making a full list, which leads to me wasting time typing up my incomplete list and frustration that I have to ditch my post.

But last week I had a bright idea: Why not start a “Top Pin Tuesday” to share some of my favorite Pinterest finds from the past week? I pin a good bit, so this should be fairly easy, and it could also serve as a way for me to prioritize some of the recipes and craft projects I most want to try. I could have a theme some weeks, and for other weeks, I could just post my ten favorite overall.

So here it goes: In no particular order, these are my 10 favorite pins from the past week.

  1. Sweet Home Alabama sign from AceAvenue’s etsy shop, made from reclaimed tornado wood in Tuscaloosa. I’m sure most people who read this know that I live in Tuscaloosa and have for quite some time. The tornado happened three weeks after Noah was born and ripped through the heart of the city. Things will never be the same here. I’m happy to see someone making art and beauty out of the destruction that happened. Pinned in “For the Home.”
  2. Green Philanthropist Tote from Apolis Global Citizen. This is one of those sort of wish list items because it costs almost $300. I don’t have $300 to spend on a purse, but a girl can dream — and be on the lookout for a rip-off at Target. Pinned in “My Style.”
  3. Children’s Menagerie Chair and Table Set from Paloma’s Nest. I actually like this enough that I may talk to Bobby about saving up for it to put in Noah’s room in a few years. It’s seriously beautiful, and what kid wouldn’t love sitting on an elephant or a gorilla? Pinned in “For the kiddo.”
  4. Elephant print pocket diaper from killcupcake’s etsy shop. I’m resisting the urge to buy more diapers for Noah because he doesn’t necessarily need them, but if I do spring for a new one, this one’s at the top of my list. I have a thing for elephants (Roll Tide!), so this is right up my alley. Pinned in “For the kiddo.”
  5. The best tomato soup and grilled cheese from Everyday Occasions. I’m a sucker for a good tomato soup and grilled cheese, so this was a no-brainer. Pinned in “Food Stuffs.”
  6. Olive Garden’s alfredo sauce recipe, from Olive Garden. I can’t even believe they actually have this recipe posted on their website, but I plan to try this soon. Maybe even this week. I often whip up a quick alfredo and veggie pasta when I want something quick and easy for dinner, but it’s never as good as the sauce at OG. Pinned in “Food Stuffs.”
  7. Beer Belly from fuzzirella’s Flickr stream. Probably particularly hilarious to those of us who constantly have babies on the brain. Pinned in “It Made Me Laugh.”
  8. Let Me Mullet Over from pinned from Reddit (original source unknown). Just click through. Trust me. Pinned in “It Made Me Laugh.”
  9. Orange and Brown Floral Chair from Target. I’m sort of constantly on the lookout for another chair to go in our living room, with its Robin’s Egg Blue walls and orangeish leather couches. This one would be great, and it’s a steal at $179.99. Pinned in “LIVE Here.”
  10. Caramel Apple Cookies from This Homemade Life. I love fall recipes, and since Bobby doesn’t care for pumpkin but loves apple, I try to stick to mostly apple stuff. Can’t wait to try these! Pinned in “Just Desserts.”
So there’s the inaugural Top Pin Tuesday. Do you want to join in? Let me know! I’d love to start a link-up to other folks’ favorites … more to pin!
Linking up today with Oh Amanda‘s Top Ten {Tuesdays}.

Top Ten {Tuesday}

Pinned: Four (count ‘em, FOUR!) Pinterest recipes

Yes, that’s right folks. I went on a Pinterest-inspired cookingfest.

Bobby and I offered to host a birthday party for one of our close friends, Melissa, and I wanted to make something really good. I might have also used it as a good excuse to finally try a few of the hundreds of recipes I’ve pinned that I still hadn’t gotten around to trying.

For an appetizer, I picked out the hot bacon Swiss dip, which multiple repins claimed was “to die for.” And I have to say, it definitely went quickly once we put it out. The recipe itself was very easy: a block of cream cheese, a cup of shredded Swiss cheese, 1/2 cup of light mayo and 1/4 cup of finely chopped onion, all mixed together and topped with crumbled Ritz crackers and a package of real Bacon bits. Pop it in the oven for about 10 minutes, until the cheese starts bubbling a bit. I served it with Frito scoops and Mission tortilla chips.

As a sort of salad/side, I made cucumber and tomato salad with marinated garbanzo beans, feta and herbs. This recipe calls for the garbanzos to be marinated for about six hours in an olive oil-balsamic vinegar mixture. I only had about three hours, so that’s what I went with. I doubled the recipe that’s linked above, using two cans of garbanzoes, a whole cucumber and two tomatoes, plus a whole container of feta cheese. I also used dried oregano and basil and just sprinkled as much of those and salt that I thought would make it taste good. It turned out well, but I would like to see how it tastes when I actually have time to marinate the beans for the full time. This recipe was probably just as easy as the hot bacon Swiss dip, and it looked very pretty in the serving dish.

For the main side, I cooked Spanish roasted potatoes with tomato sauce. This recipe was the most intensive, but I will also definitely make it again. I roasted  a pan of potatoes with olive oil and salt for about 50 minutes. In the meantime, I made a sauce of sauteed onions and garlic, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, white wine, Tabasco sauce, paprika, salt and sugar. I added the sauce to the potatoes and baked for about 10-15 more minutes. It added a nice tomatoey glaze to the potatoes, and they were pretty delicious. I didn’t really think the recipe was super difficult, just a little on the time-consuming side.

The final thing I made was a super-easy punch that was inspired by this. I mixed it up a bit and used ginger ale and some sort of exotic fruit sherbet from Publix. I intended to do the fruit slices in the punch but forgot to pick them up (those are really mostly for decoration). I didn’t get a picture of the punch.

All in all it was a fun party, and I will probably use all four of these recipes again at some point!

Pinned: Sour Cream Chocolate Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting

I’m a long-time fan of Ming Makes Cupcakes, and I finally got around to trying another one of the recipes recently: Sour Cream Chocolate Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting.

I’m not going to post the whole recipe for this one here since I didn’t really change anything on it, so click the link above if you’d like to check it out. It’s a fairly straightforward cupcake recipe, but I do have a few notes for those who are thinking about trying it:

  • The cupcakes came out a lot dryer than I expected. I think this is because, at least with my oven, I didn’t need to let them go the full baking time of 30 minutes. If I do these again, I will probably check them around 25 minutes.
  • They also stuck in the pan really badly. I was out of cupcake liners, so I just sprayed the pan. That didn’t work, so I definitely recommend using liners.
  • The frosting is ri-dic-u-lous. It’s amazing. I could eat it for days.
  • You will note in the linked recipe that, in the photo, the cupcakes have chocolate-covered … somethings … on top of them. I’m guessing they are chocolate-covered hazelnuts. I used strawberries to top my cupcakes, and they were so perfect that I probably will never try to use anything different.

This is a great recipe for Nutella lovers and for chocolate lovers in general!