Archive for the ‘Dessert’ Category

30 Recipes for the Holidays!

Well, Dining at my Desk Readers, I did it. This is the first year I’ve actually created a blog post for each day in December (though have tried valiantly since 2010), and overall, yes, I’m exhausted, thank you for asking. From the beginning to the end, we’ve had soups, side dishes, breakfasts, cookies, ice cream and even a mashed potato and fried chicken cake, but the recurring theme throughout all the recipes is they came from members of Chicagogrammers.

What is Chicagogrammers, you ask? It’s a group of Instagrammers based in Chicago, and it’s free and easy to join. I founded Chicagogrammers with my amazing blog wife, Chrissy, of The Hungary Buddha Eats the World, and this post wouldn’t be complete without a humongous THANK YOU shout out to her and her amazing organizational skills, follow-through and creative powers. She’s just the best. Next big thank you to all of our truly outstanding and inspiring members. While I highlighted the food bloggers here, it’s important to note we have a wide array of lifestyle, fashion, travel, parenting and beauty bloggers we count as members. We’re Chicago-based Instagrammers, bloggers and influencers, and I think 2017 is going to be a great year for us!

Ok, now down to business. I’m here to recap all 30 days of these insanely delicious recipes, so get ready for a feast for your eyes!!

Drunken Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

(1) Drunken Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream: Comes to us from none other than co-founder Chrissy of The Hungary Buddha Eats the World. Boozy ice cream ranks right up there on my personal scale of top foods I want to eat either separately or combined. Enjoy!

Gluten-free Cranberry Oat Bars

(2) Gluten Free Cranberry Oat Bars: These little dandies are from Marie at Lady Ace Kitchen. They’re for all of you people who can’t tolerate or just don’t like gluten, which I’m convinced is people who only like eating desserts.

sweet potatoes 1

(3) Maple Bacon Sweet Potatoes: Ok, technically if we’re counting this as a Chicagogrammer, that’d be me, because these were served to a group of bloggers at a Morton Salt event, which was QUITE tasty. These were seriously some of the best potatoes I’ve ever eaten.


(4) Rosemary Shortbread Cookies: Oh, these sweet little savory cookies come to us from Ellie of the breathtakingly gorgeous blog, Hungry by Nature. Seriously, visit her blog RIGHT NOW. It’s worth soooo many drools. Hi, Ellie!


(5) Lambrusco Sangria: If you all haven’t heard of The Kittchen, pull yourselves out from under your rock and say hi to Kit, the wonderful blogger who also founded our lean, mean blogging machine The Windy City Blogger Collective. She’s in her kitchen all the time whipping up goodies and treats, and this sangria looks particularly delish if I must say so myself.


(6) Perfectly (Gluten Free, Paleo) Fluffy Pancakes: Another fabulous blogger, Katie of Personally Paleo, gives us the recipe for her super fluffy gluten-free, paleo pancakes. I’m personally not paleo, but her site is full of awesome recipes for those who are!


(7) Fried Chicken, Cornbread, & Mashed Potatoes Layer Cake: Hmmm. As of most of my recipes of the day, I never got around to making this…cake, but I really, really want to. This crazy concoction comes to us from Caitlin of Public Lives, Secret Recipes. Another amazing blog to check out when you have a minute!!


(8) Herb-Roasted Squash with Quinoa & Cranberries: Meet Anne of ASquared. Anne and I actually go back a ways in our (other) professional lives, so it’s always fun to give her a little shout and love, and she’s loving us right back with this delicious quinoa dish. Ok, after January 2, this is going on our dinner menu forever!

Cream Cheese Pineapple Pepper Dip

(9) Cream Cheese, Pineapple & Green Pepper Dip (Dorothy’s Dip): Oh, this one I ACTUALLY MADE, can you believe it?! It’s from a new friend, Alana the blogger behind the fabulous party blog, The Jolly Hostess. A combination of slightly strange ingredients comes together in this dip to, as Tim Gunn would say, make it work. This is the easiest dip, and is so good!!


(10) Crab Rangoon Pull Apart Bread: Oh, this was a HUGE hit on Instagram, and still not quite certain why we haven’t made it yet… It’s like, all my favorite things – carbs and cheese and faux crab. It’s from Alison of Rosie Discovers, another fantastic blogger who’s also a member of Chicagogrammers!

Little Lemon Snow Bites

(11) Little Lemon Snow Bites: Ok, here’s another recipe I actually had blogged about before. These little cookies are so refreshing – sweet and tart, and everybody loves a cookie with a filling. Plus candy is an actual ingredient, so that’s pretty exciting!


(12) Smores Cereal Bars: I love Smores, and these cereal bars look like no exception to the kinds of goodies I love most. Michelle from Honest & Truly, gives us another lip-smacker of a recipe. She’s got tons of other recipes on her blog, which are a good mix of naughty and nice for your new year’s resolutions!

Beef Ragu

(13) Beef Ragu: Hyam of My Midwest Kitchen brings us this complete winner of a recipe. Meat stew over polenta? Yes, we’re into that! This will also be going in our winter lineup for sure!


(14) Immunity Soup: This recipe is part of quite a long blog post recapping some of the events we went to this fall. One of my favorites was the opening of True Food Kitchen in River North, and to celebrate, I included Dr. Andrew Weil’s cleansing soup recipe. Seriously, January, I’m looking at you.


(15) Gingersnap Icebox Cake with Cranberry Mascarpone Whipped Cream: Omg, whoa. By far the most beautiful cake EVER, this icebox cake is from Danielle, a registered dietician who blogs at The Every Kitchen. Obviously this is a health food. Definitely check out her blog when you get a  chance – the pictures are stunning!

peppermint brownies

(16) Peppermint Brownies: These luscious holiday treats are from the lovely Christine of Lattes, Life & Luggage. Her blog is filled with great recipes, book recommendations and travel musings, and she’s an awesome member of Chicagogrammers!

Spinach Herb Lasagna

(17) Spinach Herb Lasagna: One of my personal favorite blogs is Make it Like a Man, where Jeff shows us how to make stuff, you know, like a man. If Main Squeeze were to make this, it would be a man making a manly meal for a very dainty and refined lady. Hmmm, I wonder where he would find one of those.

Salted Caramel Eggnog

(18) Salted Caramel Eggnog: Yay!! This boozy treat is from Maris of the fabulous food blog In Good Taste. Maris is a wonderful person and her blog matches her personality – it’s just truly great. Be sure to take a look when you get a chance!


(19) Funfetti Cookies: Basically there’s nothing I love more than cookies that mostly come from a boxed mix. Using prepared ingredients make things go a lot faster in the kitchen, and these look simply so good. They’re from Lephan, of the awesome blog Macarons & Lavender. She’s another fabulous Chicagogrammer I met this year!

Creamy Butternut Squash and Crab Bisque

(20) Creamy Butternut Squash and Crab Bisque: This is a unique one, because it comes from Kate of The Ginger List, an Instablog. So delicious and creamy, obviously crab is the perfect accompaniment to a butternut squash soup.


(21) Caramelized Onion Dip: Ooo, yum. Just looking at this dip makes me want to eat it ALL RIGHT NOW. It’s from Kathryn of Foodie Girl Chicago, just another fabulous blog from a fellow Chicagorammer.


(22) Cranberry Pear Spinach Rice Pilaf: This looks SO fresh and delicious, and I can’t wait to make this in the new year! This rice medley is from Maggie of The Love Nerds, and I’m really hoping to meet her in the New Year!

Classic Basil Pesto

(23) Classic Basil Pesto: Really, it doesn’t get much better than a simple pesto sauce on pasta…or anything. Kelly of Chicago Supper Club gives us the perfected version of this classic sauce.

Pecan Meltaways

(24) Pecan Meltaways: Again, sometimes the simplest cookies are the ones we keep coming back to over and over. Joelen of What’s Cookin’ Chicago brings us the recipe for these simple, delicious treats.

Smore Brownies

(25) Smores Brownies: Ok, I might have a real thing for smores. Obviously they are a great love of my life. Bringing us this gorgeous brownie recipe is Kelsey of With a Little Grace.

Bacon Jam Grilled Cheese

(26) Apple Bacon Jam Grilled Cheese: If you haven’t had bacon jam yet, you might want to rethink your life choices, and then start slathering it on your grilled cheese. Thanks for the great idea, Annie! Annie is the inspiration behind this grilled cheese and the fantastic blog, The Brazen Gourmand.

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset

(27) Chocolate Blueberry Basil Smoothie: Oh January 1, you’re looming right around the corner, but Erin of Erin’s Inside Job reminds us that you don’t have to give us chocolate if you pair it with fruits and herbs!


(28) Tiramisu: Ooo, yeah. Pretty much the best dessert you can get in an Italian restaurant, and just a delicious choice anytime, Mrinalini of Mrinhearts brings us this scrumptious looking pudding.

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

(29) Cauliflower Pizza Crust: Yes, January looms very large, and in the new year, we’re going to be eating a LOT more pizza on veggies crusts. Here to save our (considerably larger after the holidaze) butts is Jenn of Leasing Happiness.

(30) Cheesy Skillet Meatballs in Arrabbiata Sauce: Yeah, these are a whole skillet of yums. Brought to us by Allison of Life’s a Beacham, these little round balls of love are gluten-free and full of cheese! My favorite!

Ok, there you have it! 30 recipes from 30 awesome Chicagogrammers! Hope you enjoyed the drools as much as I did. Here’s to a fantastic 2017 – enjoy this weekend with your friends and family, and I”ll see you back here in January!



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Tiramisu. I’ve never made it. Seems difficult, and I swear I’ve never just “seen” ladyfingers at the store. If I have to search very hard for ingredients, I’ll likely just stick to ordering it at a restaurant. But look at this delicious (fairly easy) looking one from Mrinalini of Mrinhearts. Omg, yum. Maybe I could change my mind. Maybe!!




For the Mascarpone Custard:
– 6 Egg Yolks, at room temperature (I highly recommend farm-fresh and organic)
– 8 oz. tub of Mascarpone Cheese (I prefer the Belgioioso brand)
– 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar (just regular sugar, that is)
– 1/4 to 1/3 cup Heavy Cream or Half ‘n’ Half (the amount varies depending on the texture of your mascarpone)
– 2 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract

For the Lady Fingers layers:
– 1 packet Italian Lady Fingers or ‘Savoiardi’ (these usually come in 200g or 7 oz. packs)
– 16 – 20 oz. of freshly brewed Italian espresso, at room temperature (add a dash of vanilla extract and 2 tbsp. of sugar)

For the topping and garnish:
– 1 cup Heavy Cream, beaten to soft peaks (with 6 tbsp of confectioner’s or powdered sugar and 2 tsp. of vanilla extract)
– 2 tbsp. mixture of Unsweetened Cocoa Powder and Instant Espresso Powder

For the full recipe, please visit Mrinhearts! What a shock, she’s a Chicagogrammer!! :)


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Merry Christmas, Dining at my Desk readers!! I hope you’re having a wonderful holiday with friends and family, and if for some crazy reason, you haven’t made anything for Christmas Day, perhaps you’d like to consider these stunning/delicious/gorgeous/calorie-filled Smores Brownies from Kelsey of With a Little Grace. It might surprise you to know that Kelsey…is a Chicagogrammer!!

Smore Brownies

Smores Brownies


Graham Cracker Crust:
1 ½ cups crushed graham crackers
6 Tbsp butter (softened)
⅓ cup sugar
1 Boxed Brownie Mix
1 Bag of Mini Marshmallows

For the rest of the recipe with full instructions, visit Kelsey at With a Little Grace!

smore brownie

Smores Brownies

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Brownies. They’re everyone’s favorite, and right now, enemy number 1 to my whole thigh/glutteus maximus region. Meh, there’s always January. These scrumptious beauties come to us from Christine (surprise!) another Chicagogrammer! Peppermint obviously adds a great touch of the holidays to your holidaze, and you can feel much better bringing these to your Christmas party than a lame pack of store bought

peppermint brownies

Peppermint Brownies


1/4 cup Cocoa Powder
2/3 cup Flour
1/2 Salt
1 stick Butter, melted
4 ounces Bittersweet Chocolate
3/4 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla
1/4 tsp. Peppermint Extract
3 Eggs
1/4 cup Crushed Peppermint Candies

For the full recipe with instructions, visit Christine over at Lattes, Life & Luggage.

peppermint brownies2

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If you’ve been following along with my blog for the first 14 days of December (hi, Mom!), you’ve probably noticed that I’m featuring a lot of Chicagogrammers on here! And rightly so, because they’re a fantastic bunch of creative, amazing people!! Today we have the most special, wonderful-looking cake from Danielle at The Every Kitchen. She’s Registered Dietician, so clearly, this cake is a health food! Take a look at the gorgeous photos below, and don’t forget to click over at the end for the rest of the recipe! This cake looks like a million bucks, but it actually seems pretty simple to put together. Hooray for icebox cakes!


Gingersnap Icebox Cake with Cranberry Mascarpone Whipped Cream


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries, plus more for garnish
  • cheesecloth
  • 3 cups cold heavy cream
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
  • 1 large box gingersnaps (like Nabisco)

For the rest of the recipe with full instructions, please visit Danielle over at The Every Kitchen.



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Alternate title to this post: I can’t believe I’ve actually blogged for 12 days in a row!! OMG. Exhausting. However, because I love you all (hi, Mom!), and I love Smores, I’m bringing you another recipe from a Chicagogrammer, Michelle, of Honest & Truly. She’s always whipping up amazing stuff with her kiddos, and these look like a tasty alternative to your standard Christmas cookie. So without further adieu, I give you:


Smores Cereal Bars


  • 10 oz regular size marshmallows
  • 1/4 c corn syrup
  • 6 T butter
  • 1/4 c cocoa powder
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 8 c Golden Grahams
  • 1 c chocolate chips
  • 1 c mini marshmallows

For the full recipe with instructions, head on over and say hi to Michelle at Honest & Truly!


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