{Leftover} Cranberry & Brie Puff Pastries: A Delicious Tribute to Dr. Seuss

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I know I’m not alone on this one.

You’ve divulged into a Turkey Dinner coma and are sitting in Grandpa’s favorite plaid Lay-Z Boy chair. The universe and the stars are aligned perfectly and nothing can ruin that moment… Except that you have to put all the food away!

Yikes! Piles and piles for miles and miles… Sky high mountains of dishes and food, there is no time to snooze.

So, you grab everything in site and run and run with all your might. A vegetable here,  a vegetable there, and now there is some time to spare.

But you realize: “Hey! There is some leftovers we can’t put away!”

What is that food? It’s red and slimy. It reminds me of worms and big bug eyesies!

It’s cranberry sauce, and it goes well with Turkey. But we are done with the turkey, what now can we do with this malarkey?

Do not fret! You can be saved! And all the while costs can be waived!

So grab your pastries and the Brie, and add a little cranberry to be freed!

{Results}: EPIC WIN!

*Trust me when I say this, {you can} make this, too.

 

{Leftover} Cranberry & Brie Puff Pastries

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb. of Brie cheese
  • 1 package (17 1/4 ounces) frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 cup of cranberry sauce (purchased or homemade)

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Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grab a muffin tin and set to the side.
  2. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the sheets into approximately 3 inch x 3 inch squares. Press each square into a muffin cavity.
  3. Cube the cheese. Then, place a cube or two of Brie in the center of each puff pastry square. Top the Brie with a small dollop (about 2 teaspoons) of cranberry sauce.
  4. Bake about 15-20 minutes or until puff pastry corners are toasted lightly brown.
  5. Let cool 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

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Sweet Potatoes Galore!

Sweet Potato Collage

Left to Right: Sweet Potato Casserole, Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon Maple Butter, and Cinnamon Honey Sweet Potatoes.

As with my other post this week, this is also dedicated to the Pilgrims and Indians! 

Ahhhh, Thanksgiving dinner. Easily described as one of the best dinners of the year! You get to eat ALL. DAY. LONG. and not one person can judge you. All the feels of the turkey, cranberry, gravy, corn, green bean casserole, and buttery biscuits marrying each other in your mouth make for a wonderful experience. Buuuuuut wait, you’re missing something! Where’s the sweet potatoes!?

If your family is like mine, then sweet potatoes are a staple at the dinner table! The only problem is…

What kind of sweet potatoes would you like to add to dinner?! No, seriously! There are SO many different ways you can make them. You can mash them, bake them, throw them up and shake them. Fry them, thyme them, and even french fry them. Chop them, skin them, and even butter cream them. Whatever method you choose, they always make a delicious addition to any Thanksgiving meal.

This year, when it came down to me thinking about what I’d like to make for my three families’ Thanksgiving dinner, I jumped on Pinterest. {Of course!} I stumbled upon these three very different ways to make sweet potatoes: this casserole, these cinnamon honey potatoes, and these mashed potatoes covered with maple butter.

Rather than tell you which to choose, I’m going to compare and contrast some notes about each type and let you decide what you’ll make for your family on Thursday!


⋅SWEET POTATOES GALORE NOTES⋅

Sweet Potato Casserole

  • Overview: 
    • The pecan topping is so decadent, it seeps through the sweetness of the marshmallows. Bound to be a hit with every sweet tooth adult and child at the table.
  • Advantages:
    • The actual mashed sweet potatoes turn out smooth, sweet, and yummy.
    • The addition of the vanilla, brown sugar, and eggs to the mashed sweet potatoes make them edible by themselves. You don’t even need to put the toppings on it!
    • A rather quick recipe considering the three separate steps!
  • Downsides:
    • When boiling the potatoes for this recipe, it may take a while, but it’s rather fast (30-45 minutes) compared to baking them.
    • The process of pulling the skins off can be messy and hurt. You should probably wait until after they cool down…
  • Storage:
    • This is a definite do not store ahead side and should be made the day of.
    • Once you put the marshmallows on top, it will not taste as good reheated and will loose the crispness/gooeyness of the marshmallows.
  • End notes:
    • You should keep your limit down. It may cause diabetes if you eat more than two squares full. But, it’s worth it. Just sayin’.

 

Cinnamon Honey Sweet Poatoes

  • Overview:
    • It’s not too sweet at all, it’s just the right amount of pepper and sugary sweetness. Perfect balance for the palate.
  • Advantages:
    • They come out beautifully covered!
    • You may not think there is enough sauce to cover all the potatoes, but it’s just perfect amount without overpowering your palate.
    • Quickest way to cook sweet potatoes out of all the recipes.
  • Downsides:
    • The longest part of making this recipe is just cutting up the potatoes to make them cubed.
    • If you don’t take your time to cube them correctly it could take longer to bake. Take it from someone who may have experienced it…
  • Storage:
    • Great store ahead because it won’t harm the flavor or crispness from being placed in the fridge.
  • End notes:
    • This is my new favorite side dish! You can pair these with any meal, not just with Thanksgiving.
    • You don’t have to be too sweet and too plain with this side dish, making it a good balance.

 

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon Maple Butter Sauce

  • Overview:
    • One bite of this recipe and you’ll never go back to the plain-jane sprinkling of cinnamon sugar on your sweet potatoes! It captures the essence of a real mashed sweet potatoes with a pizazz to it.
  • Advantages:
    • The cinnamon maple butter sauce is perfection! It’s sweet and thick without overwhelming you with a sugar high.
  • Downsides:
    • The LONGEST part of this recipe is the actual baking time of the potatoes.
    • It took about 2 hours in the oven for those suckers to soften!! Ain’t nobody got time for dat!
    • I’d definitely recommend just boiling and mashing them to save time.
  • Storage:
    • Easily stored ahead of time, even the sauce. Just put them into two separate containers.
  • End notes:
    • Without the cinnamon maple butter sauce, the sweet mashed potatoes just taste natural. They don’t have a distinct flavor.
    • If you keep the sauce on the side, this gives your family and friends an option to behave themselves at dinner or indulge in sweet bliss—two birds with one stone.

 


{Results}: Each and everyone is an EPIC WIN!

*Trust me when I say this, {you can} make these, too.

Drop a comment below and let me know which one you’ll be trying for the holidays!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂

 


 

{Sweet Potato Casserole}

Ingredients

  • 5 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1/2 cup of butter, melted
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 2-3 teaspoons of salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 cup of milk or heavy cream {I chose the heavy cream :)}

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Topping
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup of flour
  • 1/3 cup of butter, melted
  • 1 cup of chopped pecans
  • 3-4 cups of mini marshmallows

Directions

  1. Take the sweet potatoes and boil them in a pan on the stove. Then drain and mash them. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. To the mashed potatoes: add eggs, vanilla, 1/2 cup melted butter, brown sugar, salt, and milk (or heavy cream) and mix until smooth.
  3. Spread potato mixture in the bottom of a greased 9×13 baking dish.
  4. In a bowl combine brown sugar, flour, 1/3 cup of melted butter, and pecans, and mix well with a fork. Sprinkle mixture over potatoes.
  5. Bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes until pecans are caramelized.
  6. Spread marshmallows evenly over pecan mixture. Return to oven for another 5 minutes or until marshmallows are puffy and lightly browned.
  7. Enjoy!

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Click {here} for the original casserole {pin}.


{Cinnamon Honey Sweet Potatoes}

Ingredients

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pepper

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Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grab a baking sheet and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the honey, olive oil, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Add the sweet potatoes and toss to coat.
  3. Dump potatoes onto the baking sheet. Roast for 25-30 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking.
  4. Enjoy!

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Click {here} for the original cinnamon honey potatoes {pin}.


{Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon Maple Butter Sauce}

Ingredients

  • 2-4 sweet potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1/4 cup of melted butter
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla

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Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, cut off the ends of the potatoes and line a pan with foil. Bake potatoes directly on the pan, until the internal temperature reaches 210 degrees or until a fork inserted into the middle pierces through easily {around 1-2 hours depending how big your sweet potatoes are}.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, combine the butter, maple syrup, flour, cinnamon and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Microwave for 1 minute, just until mixture begins to boil. Sauce will thicken as it cools.
  3. Once potatoes are done baking, remove skins and mash with a fork or potato masher. {Optional: Sprinkle with a little coarse salt to enhance the flavors}.
  4. Serve drizzled with Cinnamon Maple Butter Sauce and a dollop of whipped cream. Enjoy!

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Taco Bake

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Everybody loves tacos.

When I say everybody, I mean your grandmother, my grandmother, your aunt, my mother, and even your second removed cousin. But what makes it so compelling and delicious? Is it the meat and seasonings? Is the hard or soft shell? Is it the plethora of toppings? Maybe, just maybe, it’s because it’s so versatile.

Taco salad, soft tacos, hard tacos, chicken tacos, fish tacos, the list goes on and no. Well kiddos, add this Taco Bake to the list of one of the ever versatile ways to eat tacos.

What I loved about this recipe:

  • How easy it is prep
  • How easy it is to cook
  • Being able to choose my own toppings

What I hated about this recipe:

  • Absolutely nothing!

I’m telling you, this makes for such an easy “pop in and forget” dinner. While I’m sitting here dying over my essays due over the next two weeks, with the pressure of the holidays, at least I’m not dying over what to eat for dinner.

You’ll definitely love this recipe and it might just become a staple, or at least one to ink in for your cookbook.

{Results}: Epic win!

*Trust me when I say this, {you can} make this, too.

 

{Taco Bake}

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Ingredients

  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 package of taco seasoning
  • 2/3 cup of water
  • Corn chips {I went with original Frito, but you can use the chili cheese ones, too!}
  • 1 can of cheddar cheese soup
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • Shredded mozzarella, to top
  • Toppings, as desired

Directions

  1. Brown the ground beef in a skillet. Once done, drain the meat.
  2. Using the water and taco seasoning, pour into the skillet and reduce.
  3. Pour enough corn chips into a 9 x9 pan to cover the bottom.
  4. Top with taco meat.
  5. Combine soup and milk in a sauce pan and heat through until smooth.
  6. Top taco meat with cheese sauce.
  7. Top the pan with mozzarella cheese based on your desired cheesiness.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes until bubbly.
  9. Serve over lettuce and with desired toppings. Enjoy!

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Homemade Chili

IMG_3935I’m going to get really personal here. 

You’d think someone with a food blog is open to all sorts of foods and has a well versed palate. Okay…?

Problem is, I can be extremely, extremely picky when it comes to foods, especially fruits and vegetables. I know that seems insane coming from a food blogger, but that’s not to say that I don’t eat them at all. I do eat certain ones, but I’ve always struggled with getting over fears of certain food.

Moving up here to Gainesville from home gave me this feeling of wanting to explore foods. Coincidentally, I’ve chosen to have the focus of my blog being finding new recipes on Pinterest.

This is not to say that every recipe I find is for this “experimentation with food” agenda, but I decided with this post to try something new: this chili recipe. I’ve never made chili from scratch, nor have I really “cared” for chili because I “hated” beans… but that all changed after making this recipe.

To be honest, before making this recipe, I had this unexplainable fear of beans. Maybe it was the texture? The smell? I’m not really sure, I can’t explain this childhood fear of them. All I know is that after I physically cut everything up, put everything on the stovetop and cooked it, I had this sense of power. I felt like I could conquer everything.

When I was finished, I grabbed a bowl for my boyfriend, Casey, {we’ve been dating for a little over 5 years, more about him on a later date!} and he LOVED it! He asked me if I was going to try it, because he knew how picky I was. His tone was skeptical, was if he already knew there was “defeat,” he thought my answer was an automatic no.

Surprisingly, I went and grabbed that red bowl and shoveled a few spoonfuls over into my own bowl and raced back to the table. I looked at the chili, and then back at Casey, and then dove head first. Best decision EVER.

Not only was the taste of the chili amazing, but the BEANS! Oh my goodness, the BEANS!! They actually tasted good! They didn’t have a distinct taste or texture or off-putting. They were actually smooth and easy to eat. Some psychological childhood fear was just broken! This made me wonder why I even feared them at all. Perhaps the cooking process made me feel empowered and sentimental to my work, and that could be the reason it was easier to eat? I’m not really sure. That’s a question for a psychologist! 

Needless to say, the recipe is super easy to make. And I highly encourage anyone out there with these same fears, or the fear of any type of food, to just give it a chance! Try what I did, start from the beginning prep stages. More control may equal better tasting food. You will never know until you try!

Share with me below your conquered food fears or ones you need help with!

~P.S. I paired this chili with cornbread. Who doesn’t love that combination?!~

{Results}: Epic Win!

*Trust me when I say this, {you can} make this, too.

{Homemade Chili}

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of ground beef {browned}
  • 1 pound of ground sausage {browned}
  • 2 15 oz. cans of dark kidney beans
  • 1 15 oz. can of light kidney beans
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup of salsa
  • 2 15 oz. cans tomato sauce
  • 15 oz. of water {use a can for the measure!}
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons of chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pepper

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Directions

  1. Brown the ground beef and sausage in a skillet. {I used two different skillets to speed the process up.}
  2. While the meat is cooking, chop up your onion. {I also used red and green peppers because I adore them, and they go perfect with chili!}
  3. Grab either a crockpot or a stockpot and add the seasonings: cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. Stir well.
  4. Then add in the onions, beans, salsa, tomato sauce, water, and brown sugar.
  5. If using your crock-pot, cook on low 4 to 6 hours.
  6. If using your stock-pot, simmer for at least 1 hour on low.
  7. Garnish with cheddar cheese and sour cream, and enjoy!a

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Buffalo Chicken Spirals

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I had a rough week between school and work. It’s only Thursday and I feel like it’s a Monday. I don’t know whether it was the impending doom of midterms clouding my mood or the incident at work.

 

Seriously, I don’t understand society sometimes. I literally feel like doing onto others as you’d have done onto you, the golden rule, should apply always and forever. Apparently people forgot this mantra exists, and I wasn’t about to let someone at work treat me otherwise.

 

I work at FedEx Office—and no, I’m not going to get you a discount on shipping. Anyways, I was standing at the shipping counter, smiling and inviting customers up to the register. This middle-aged cookie cutter wife with the “Kate with 8” style stomps up the counter. I try not to notice her resting bitch face, but instead counter it with a sarcastic courteous gesture.

 

“Ma’am, let me take that extremely heavy box from your hands. Wouldn’t want you to have an accident.”

 

“Thanks….” Resting Bitch Face Kate responds back. I meet her eyes and could feel her nastiness swallowing me. The entire transaction was just as much as a nightmare as when I first saw her walk through the front door. She kept asking me all these questions and wouldn’t SHUT. UP.

 

After I processed her package, I gave her the receipt and she “thanked me from the bottom of her heart for helping her get her package out to her sister.” Yeah, OKAY…

So, as always, I responded with “Notta problem ma’am! Have a great day!” and shot her my fakest smile…. That’s when shit hit the fan.

 

This lady pulled out all the stops on me: stomping, screaming, hand gesturing, and “demanding to speak to my manager RIGHT NOW!”

 

Over what? Yeah, she didn’t like my “notta problem” response. To her it meant I was “disrespectful” and “all that is wrong with this world.” Because according to Resting Bitch Face Kate, “I’m what’s wrong with today’s society” and “what happened to thank you?!?”

 

At this point, I mentally checked out. This was the icing on the cake for the make of a wonderful week. THEN, just THEN, when I thought the only way to turn around my week was to make a chicken recipe for the game football game Thursday.

 

I thought I’d be saving some money by finding this great  Buffalo Chicken Spirals recipe. I’m too cheap to spend over 50$ on Hooters at this point in my life. Yeah, that was until this idea came crashing down on top of my head.

 

Forewarning: NEVER TRUST A RECIPE COMPLETY! Seriously, I don’t understand how a chef/baker can post a recipe if they can’t correctly convey the recipe to the reader!!

 

The stupid original pinner of the recipe said this recipe called for one tube of croissants. Yet, in every single picture she showed, she had TWO tubes present. That should have been a cue, but why should I doubt her ingredients list?

 

I should have doubted that sucker! Because it was physically impossible to stuff all the buffalo chicken into that one tiny spiral, and I don’t know how I didn’t see that. Even the end result picture had TWO spirals shown. What angers the most is that the author has this recipe floating around and doesn’t care. She doesn’t care that it doesn’t work, she doesn’t care that people will wind up wasting time and money, and she clearly doesn’t care about her reputation on the Internet.

 

The recipe was technically a full blow epic fail and disaster, but it was yummy. I had already lost my grace to failing on a recipe, that this actually tasting great was the only saving me.

 

I’ve learned my lesson—between using the “wrong phrase” and following the recipe blindly—and I’m telling you to stay cautious. Learn from my mistakes, or else they will become yours, too.

{Result}: Epic Fail!

*Trust me when I say this, {you can} make this!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of chicken {shredded or diced up}
  • 1/2 cup of Bleu cheese crumbles
  • 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup of buffalo sauce {any brand}
  • 2 cans of Pillsbury Croissant {8 oz. tube}
  • Parchment paper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Dice or shred the chicken at this time, if it isn’t already.
  2. Combine the chicken, buffalo sauce, and cheeses in a medium mixing bowl.
  3. Pop open both tubes of Pillsbury croissant. Grab some parchment paper and tear some off, laying it on the counter.
  4. Lay out the croissant dough and pinch together the seams on each one {where it tells you to “pull them apart”}. Once finished, turn it over and do the same to the other side.
  5. Spread the chicken mixture between the two doughs, in a thin layer. Then, tightly roll the dough up, making a spiral {do not roll the parchment paper into the spiral}.
  6. Refrigerate the spirals for 15-20 minutes.
  7. Grab a cookie/baking sheet and cover it with parchment paper. Then, cut 1&1/2 inch pieces and place them across the sheet.
  8. Cook them for 15 minutes, checking for the croissant dough to become golden brown. Let them cool for 2 minutes before serving.
  9. Serve with Bleu cheese dressing and enjoy!

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Day 3: Pumpkin Soup

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It’s still around 80-something degrees here in Gainesville, Florida. It’s October 16th. You can say I am getting a bit tired of the tasting the humidity in the air. I wish I could see all the leaves falling, brisk days, and wear a scarf. 😦 Oh, the perils of Florida living!

I decided tonight that despite this awful “Fall” weather here, I was going to pretend it was Fall and make some soup! Of course, not just any other “type” of soup, but one that involved pumpkin! One thing I knew for sure, is that I love that feeling of “Fall” I get from eating thick tomato soup with a grilled cheese. Mmmm. The thought of that itself is making me feel all warm inside!

I went right to the {inspiration} board and pulled out my handy dandy Pinterest. I knew I wanted to keep it basic and a thick consitency, since I’d never really made pumpkin soup before and I wanted it to be like tomato soup. I then stumbled on this {pinspirational} recipe: Pumpkin Soup. Best part of this recipe? Super quick and easy. BINGO!

Let me just clarify, although it seems super basic and “boring,” if you love pumpkin, and you like thick, warm soup, this is definitely made for you! I was actually thoroughly satisfied with the taste. Comfort food, for sure!

{Results}: Epic Win! {& Delicious!!}

*Trust me when I say this, {you can} make this, too.

{Pumpkin Soup}

Ingredients

  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 can chicken broth {I use Swanson’s}
  • 1 can of pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup of applesauce
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk {You can buy one of the small 5 oz. cans}

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Directions

  1. Grab a medium sized cooking saucepan, and heat the butter and onions. Cook the onions until they are soft.
  2. Then stir in the flour until completely mixed in.
  3. Stir in the broth and pumpkin; stirring until well blended.
  4. Add in the applesauce and nutmeg. Heating the mixture until boiling.
  5. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer for approximately 20 minutes.
  6. After, add in the evaporated milk. Simmer an additional 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Scoop out and enjoy!

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