Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Green Chile Gridiron Granola

Football season is upon us (Can I get a Hallelujah???) and if you know me, then you know that it is my favorite time of the year to cook.  We set up a pretty elaborate tailgate with lots of great friends.  Everyone has a task to do from setting up the tents, to bringing ice to bringing the tvs and power cords.  Thankfully my job is is to bring food, which isn't a job at all when you love to cook.  The only downside to all of the football and food related fun is watching the 'ol waistline.  It's hard to eat healthy with a spread of chili dogs, chips and beer staring you down every Saturday.  Inspired by the healthy snack page on Nuts.com , I decided to create a healthy, energizing snack for this tailgate season.  Often we will spend the entire day on campus outside the stadium and it's nice to have a high protein snack that gives a little energy boost to get through a long day of fun.  And it's always nice to have something that appeals to everyone from vegetarians to fitness enthusiasts.  And face it, when you're standing around with an ice cold beer, yelling for your team on the big screen, nothing is tastier than a handful of snack mix.  I used traditional snack mix with cereal and spices for my inspiration but changed up the spices and decided to use granola in lieu of the typical rice and corn cereals.  The crunchy twist was a huge hit.  After researching the health benefits of different types of nuts at on the healthy snack page at Nuts.com I settled on a mix of cashews, almonds and pecans.  Feel free to change things up with your favorite nuts.  Finally instead of relying on a large amount of brown sugar or maple syrup to sweeten the recipe I used a small amount of Agave syrup.  It added just the right amount of natural sweetness.  Mix up a batch this weekend and Go Team!
Our new favorite HEALTHY Snack Mix!
Start with a combination of your
favorite nuts.  I chose cashews
almonds and pecans.

Look at that lovely green chile powder.

All of the spices and
seasoning.  So much flavor!

Add the agave syrup for
a healthy sweetness.

Whisk together.  

Combine the nuts and granola in a large bowl.

Pour on the spice mixture and stir
well to coat.

This step definitely works best in an
Oklahoma Sooners bowl...

Spread the mixture onto a parchment paper-lined
baking sheet and bake.

Let cool before snacking.

Pack it up to share at your tailgate party.

I invite you to visit the Nuts.com website for more
healthy snacking information, ideas, and delicious products.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Chile Chicken Casserole

I love casseroles.  That's how I roll.  Or should I say that's how I role?  I almost always have the ingredients on hand to put together some kind of one dish wonder.  Chicken?  Check.  Green chiles?  Check.  Cream of something soup?  Check.  Fritos?  DUH.  Of course.  Fritos should go on top of everything.  I love this version.  It makes an 8x8-inch baking dish.  Perfect for just Mr. Devilish Dish and I, with a little leftover for lunch.  Little Devil is always out and about.  You know, never home for dinner.  Too bad, she missed out on a great little meal!
The Chile Chicken Casserole Line-Up
Line a casserole dish with half of the Fritos.
Top with chicken.
Sprinkle with chopped onion.
Add green chiles.
Cover with cheese.
Sprinkle on remaining chips.
Combine soup and water.
Pour over top.
Place in oven and bake until bubbly.
Apparently we were such pigs this night
I forgot to take an "AFTER" picture. 
Trust me, it was tasty!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

White Bean Ragout with Smoked Sausage and Spinach

My brother-in-law is a chef in Denver.  Whenever we visit him we get to eat some of the best food around.  Not only does he feed us well, but he introduces us to his chef friends and takes us to all of Denver's hot spots.  One of our favorite places to eat is Z Cuisine.  It's a wonderful Parisian Bistro with an Absinthe Bar next door.  I'm not an Absinthe drinker but I did have the most refreshing drink there that I can only describe as a Grapefruit/St. Germaine Granita.  Seriously, if you're in the Denver area, check it out.  Growing up with a chef for an uncle has been great for Little Devil.  She's never been a picky eater, but when a guy you already think is really cool tells you to try something YOU TRY SOMETHING.  The last time we ate there she enjoyed Z Cassoulet de la Maison au confit de canard which translates to a duck dish, made with pork belly and sausage, cooked "andouille style" in a white bean ragout with wilted chard and kale.  Now I can't begin to pronounce, let alone cook anything like that but boy does is sound fancy and it tastes even better.  In homage to this dish at Z Cuisine I made this White Bean Ragout with Smoked Sausage and Spinach.  Which also sounds fancy but if you think of it as French Style Beenie Weenies then you can not only pronounce it, you can accomplish it.  I'm very proud of how it turned out, and next time my brother-in-law is home for a visit I'm going to make a pot for him!
I'm not a chef, but I think it turned out really good...
The Cannellini beans and spinach were a great
compliment to the hearty smoked sausage.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Groom's Gals Spa Brunch

Recently my sweet nephew got married.  And like I explained in my Titanic Themed Rehearsal Dinner post, not only is he extra special, he's just like a son to me.  Now besides the rehearsal dinner, there's just not a lot for the mother of the groom to do.  And certainly not a lot for the grandmother of the groom, the great aunt of the groom, or the cousins of the groom to do.  So I decided to throw a brunch for the ladies in our family to celebrate his big day.  My cousins were here from out of state, and basically all the women from the groom's side of the family were included.  I even invited my friend Courtney, who is a make-up artist, and my friend Britani who is a hairstylist to come and help make us all beautiful.  It was pouring rain outside, but inside the house was bright with food, fun and laughter.  With my nephew and Mr. Devilish Dish out of the house, we transformed it into a giant beauty parlor and had loads of fun.  I used both my dining room, and breakfast room as well as setting up a large folding table in the living area.  I cleared off the bar and added a lighted make-up mirror.  We took turns sitting on the bar stools and letting Courtney make us look awesome.  We used the guest bathroom as the hairstyling center where Britani worked her magic on our hair.  On the large folding table I used a disposable plastic table cloth so folks could eat or paint their nails without a mess.  The table in the dining room was decorated with family wedding pictures and all kinds of beauty products that doubled as the party favors.  Everyone had a blast reminiscing over the old family photos.  I used the table in my breakfast room for serving an array of brunch items and I brought in my Coca-Cola Summer Drink Station from the patio and served bottled Cokes, Diet Cokes and Mimosas.  We had a fantastic, relaxing day together.  It allowed us to spend time together as a family since that's what coming together for Cade's special day was really all about.  Plus we enjoyed a little pampering as well! 

A great way to get the ladies together
and celebrate a special day!
Here's the invitations I sent out.
The spa brunch was really just for family
and close friends, and invitations weren't
really necessary, but I needed a cute way to get the info
about the make-up services out to everyone.
I've included the invitation blank
as a FREE PRINTABLE for you.
Click on the image to enlarge.
Right click and save to your computer.
Open with the software of your choice
and print. These images are my exclusive artwork. 
Please be courteous when using these printables
and remember they are for personal use only.
Here it is entirely blank for you,
in case you'd like to have a spa party
that isn't wedding day themed.
I wanted the brunch to have a wedding theme,
and I used vintage family wedding photos.
Not only was it a great way to honor some family members
who are no longer with us, but a beautiful tribute to
the lasting love in our family.  Not one of these couples
were ever divorced and several were married 50+ years.
I got a variety of gold and silver finish frames at Dollar Tree.
The quality isn't super good, but for a one-time use
project like this, they worked great.  My mom even took the
framed photos home with her after the party.  She has
them displayed on her entry table now.
In addition to decorating with the fun family photos, I used
my beautiful candelabras.  They belonged to my great
aunt (who is pictured on the far left.)  They proudly sit
on my dining table year round.  I just change the candles
according to holiday or season.  For the wedding brunch I
used cream colored candles.  The tablecloth is a fancy, sheer
tablecloth that my mom uses for special occasions like
showers, wedding receptions and anniversary parties.
It provided the glamor I was looking for.
I also decorate this table with my collection of vintage
bride and groom cake toppers. 
(There really isn't anything I DON'T collect.  I've been
randomly hoarding these for sometime, and finally had
an occasion to use them.)  Also the photo pictured
front and center is the groom's grandparents.  Aren't
they adorable?  It was really fun looking at all of
these photos and Little Devil got a kick out of the
varying wedding dress styles.

I used my prettiest crystal bowls and silver platters
to display a variety of masks, and other beauty
items for the guests to use.  I wanted everyone to come
in their comfy clothes and enjoy a day of pampering.
Who says you can't use a gorgeous bowl
to hold cotton balls?  The best part is most of these
bowls and platters were wedding gifts from MY wedding.

I provided little packages of tissues.
I assumed everyone would be crying.
If you understood how important
Cade is to our family, you would know
it was a little hard to let him go.
He's very much loved by all of the
women who attended to brunch!

I found this groovy gold cake stand at an
estate sale recently.  It was perfect for holding
a variety of nail polish products for the guests.
A glass vase made a great holder for these
colorful emery boards I found at Dollar Tree.
The tubes of hand cream doubled as party favors too!
I also displayed the Sign the Wine Bottle from the Rehearsal Dinner the night before.  That way
anyone who missed out signing it at the rehearsal
was able to add their sentiments for the bride and groom.
The wine is to be opened and enjoyed on their
first anniversary.  Finally I included printed
instructions with directions to the
wedding locale, as well as parking information
for the out of town guests.

I used my breakfast room table for serving a
variety of brunch foods.  My kitchen and breakfast
room are Mickey-Mouse themed and the colors are
red, black and yellow.  It seemed only natural to carry
that theme on to the table.
Here's the table all set the night before.
I used a plain black tablecloth and borrowed the
glass plates and forks from my mom. Almost
all of my serving pieces are red or black,
so they looked great with the decor.
For the centerpiece I used the cake topper
from MY wedding cake.  It's usually on
display in my china cabinet but stuck on a
black wooden candlestick made a fun,
appropriate centerpiece.  I've
had over 20 awesome years with
Mr. Devilish Dish.  How can you not
 set out on the road to happiness when you
start off with Mickey and Minnie
on your wedding cake?!?

I also included this adorable perpetual calendar.
It normally sits on my bar, but I cleared everything
off for Courtney to do the makeovers.
I thought having the wedding date accented
was a cute touch.  And yes, My oh my,
it was a wonderful day!
I used my gorgeous black cake stand
with glass dome to serve Raspberry
Sweet Rolls.  I can't even begin to describe
how delicious these are.  You can find the recipe
We also enjoyed
South of the Border
Chicken Salad Sandwiches.
A huge hit.  Easy to prepare and totally different.
Try them for your next brunch or as an
appetizer at your next party.
You can find the recipe HERE.
Caprese Skewers are like a Caprese Salad on a Stick!
Cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella pearls and
cheese tortellini make a fun, colorful appetizer.
Served on a skewer for a delicious twist.
You can find the recipe HERE.
No brunch would be complete without fruit salad.
This is my mom's version and it's so yummy.
Fresh fruit and canned pie filling combine to
make a super simple, but fabulous fruit salad.
You can find the recipe HERE.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

How I Make Deviled Eggs

There are many ways to make deviled eggs and while I often make "fun" versions like my Southwest Deviled Eggs, my favorite version is the way my mom makes them.  Nothing fancy.  Just plain deviled eggs.  I don't even like paprika on top.  Mr. Devilish Dish always tries to get fancy with the garnish and I have to stop him.  Just eggs, prepared mustard, Miracle Whip (NOT mayo!!!) salt and pepper.  That's it.  Mom's way equals the best way.  Maybe it's just me being sentimental.  OR maybe it's just enjoying a deviled egg in its simplest form.  A deviled egg that tastes like a deviled egg. 

My Mom's way.  Which I think is the best way.
Isn't that what we should all think of Mom's cooking?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Apricot Nectar Cake Balls

Recently I hosted a brunch and three of my cousins were in attendance.  I've told you before about my precious Great Aunt Nona and her famous Apricot Nectar Cake.  My cousins and I grew up with this cake, and it's a family staple when we get together.  Since Gran Gran has passed, I've taken up the torch and now I make her cake.  I even have her cake pan and cake stand which are very dear to me.  I've had Oreo Cake Balls and Red Velvet Cake Balls.  But never Apricot Nectar Cake Balls.  Until now.  Not only were these delicious, but nostalgic as well.  I didn't tell anyone what they were, I just let them bite into it and figure it out for themselves.  It didn't take long before everyone was asking, "What's in these white things?  It tastes like Gran Gran's cake!"  It was a fun twist on an old family recipe and absolutely party perfect!

Gran Gran's Famous Apricot Nectar Cake
with a fun, new twist!

Friday, June 19, 2015

CHILE PEANUTS: Nuts About You Dad-Father's Day Treat

Father's Day is this Sunday and I can predict what all of the fathers in my family will be doing.  They'll be parked in front of the television watching the U.S. Open golf tournament.  Which is fine by me.  Dad deserves to do whatever he wants on his day.  And since he'll be watching TV all afternoon, then why not make him a snack?  Chile Peanuts are the perfect Father's Day snack food.  Savory and just a little bit spicy.  And if you're lucky enough to find a Coke with his name on it to wash the peanuts down, then even better!

We're all NUTS about DAD!
Show him how much with a delicious treat to eat!

Little Devil and I went through hundreds of
Cokes.  We finally found Bill (my dad),
Greg (Mr. DD), Larry (my father-in-law) and
Keith (my BFF's husband.)
What a chore that was but so fun.
Who doesn't love peanuts and Coke?
The perfect man food.
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