Archive for the ‘Holidays’ 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.

rosemary-shortbread-christmas-tree-cookie-cutter

(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!

Lambrusco-Sangria-10

(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.

Perfect+Pancakes+(Gluten+Free,+Paleo)+-+Personally+Paleo

(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!

Fried-Chicken-Cornbread-Mashed-Potatoes-Layered-Cake-Recipe-1

(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!!

SquashQuinoa

(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!!

Crab-Rangoon-Pull-Apart-Bread

(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!

Smores-cereal-bar-ready-to-eat1

(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!

06-true-food-immunity-soup-fsl

(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.

Gingersnap-Icebox-Cake-with-Cranberry-Mascarpone-Whipped-Cream-3

(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!

Funfetti-Cookies_Macarons-and-Lavender-12-768x512

(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.

Carmelized-Onion-Dip

(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.

Cranberry-Pear-Spinach-Rice-Pilaf-LONG-PIN

(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.

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(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!

Tiramisu

(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.
meatballs

(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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There is a famous saying floating around my house that “if you do something two or more years in a row, then it’s a tradition.” Well, kiddos, this is the FIFTH year I’m bringing you a recipe a day all month of December, making it a clear-cut tradition…until I predictably fizzle out around December 11, because, let’s face it, blogging is a lot of work (and I’d rather be eating cheese popcorn and watching Lifetime Christmas movies. Did I ever tell you my hopes and dreams of writing the next great American…Lifetime Christmas movie?! It all starts with the main character breaking up with her loser boyfriend, and throwing a handful of glitter in the air, and promptly falling down the stairs. I haven’t gotten much further than that, but please, please, future producers, it MUST be shot in the blazing summer where the trees are beautiful and green, the grass is unabashedly alive, the birds are chirping, and my actors are sweating their a$$es off in down coats, hats and mittens without the slightest hint of a chill in the air – thx.)

Ok, so I’m back this year, blogging at you every day until I inevitably grow tired of the whole affair. This year has seen it’s fair share of ups and downs for me, but one of the things I’m excited to tell you is that I can cook….kind of…without a microwave sometimes, even. My blog wife (it’s serious, guys) is this amazing human who travels around the world, and then cooks it, too, and in her spare time, patiently teaches me how to dice onions, de-bone chickens for stock, and pours me a LOT of wine.

Chrissy, aka, The Hungary Buddha is bringing you the first of the holidaze recipes today. I asked her to share her favorite Christmas goodie with me, and this is what turned up in my email – Caramel Nut Crunch.

Caramel Nut Crunch

You know, as much as I love her boozy cooking sessions, I think even I could pull this one off in the comfort of my own home (with my own booze, naturally). It looks pretty easy, and if you read her blog post, you’ll find out that this recipe reminds her of her Grandpa.

With no further ado, let’s get this show on the road:

Caramel Nut Crunch

Ingredients:
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup Beehive Golden Corn Syrup or honey
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 6 cups Cheerios
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • ½ cup sliced or slivered almonds

Instructions:

You’ll have to visit The Hungary Buddha’s website to read how to make this, but trust me, you’ll love it over there.

Caramel Nut Crunch

Caramel Nut Crunch

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A million years ago (4), I decided to post a recipe of the day all 31 days of December. Let’s do that again, or at least act like I’m going to post something on my blog everyday in December, you know, like I did 3 years ago!

Without further adieu, today’s recipe of the day is something I actually made for my giant family Thanksgiving celebration last week. A TOTAL hit and crazy easy, this is the kind of cake in which there are no leftovers.

Better Than Sex Pumpkin Poke Cake

I’ll have you click on over to Something Swanky for the recipe, but just a few quick notes on the recipe: 1) Just the pumpkin and cake mix was delicious, no poking required. If you’re looking for a light, diet-y dessert, just make that. 2) I skipped the caramel sauce, claiming it didn’t need it and would be too rich if added. I really just forgot to get it at the store, but in actuality, it doesn’t need it. Do what you want about that. 3) I also think crushed Butterfinger would be amazing instead of Heath.

Better than _ _ _ Pumpkin Poke Cake

(Hey, my Mom reads this!!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 14 oz pumpkin puree (NOT PUMPKIN PIE FILLING)
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 8 oz. tub cool whip
  • 1/2 bag Heath Bits
  • Caramel Sundae Sauce

Directions: for the rest of the directions and full recipe, please visit the original post on Something Swanky.

Better Than Sex Cake

Images courtesy of Something Swanky

 

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I’m not exactly sure what you’d do with a cob full of candy corn, since it’s obviously a mouthful of cavities waiting to happen, but it’s a pretty cute idea!

Candy Corn on the Cob

 

Click on over to Instructables to find out what the “cob” is!

 

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Easter Ideas From Pinterest

I’m dog sitting (again!) this week. I’m with two cute and cuddly poodles, in the house of what I would call an elegant minimalist. Everything has a place here, everything is intentional, and the lack of clutter is admirable. The decorations and knick knacks are restrained, far from my typical holiday Dollar Tree decor. Every here and there around the house you get a whiff of Easter, mostly in bowl filled with beautiful Easter eggs. As I get older, and without kids, the holidays that aren’t the big ones, or the ones that don’t involve all day drinking, are something I’m starting to overlook. I don’t think I own any Easter decorations, and we all know the only Easter eggs I have around are the ones that wouldn’t last long in a bowl.

It’s a little bit sad to realize the traditions that you looked forward to as a kid don’t have the same special meaning to you as an adult without kids. I remember so many Saturdays before Easter coloring eggs with my family. We always made sure to make an “ugly egg” at the end – one that got dipped in every color of dye. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the traditions – I still do, but I’m not going to go to all the work to decorate, or bake a bunch of special goodies – my pants are ready for all that extra jelly.

I was browsing through Facebook today when a co-worker came in and said he’s been spending a lot of time on Pinterest lately. I browsed to the site and was instantly hooked on how many creative and awesome Easter pins there were. So…I decided if I’m not going to decorate or make anything special for Easter, I can at least write a blog post on the 20 Coolest Easter Ideas and Recipes on Pinterest. Things that I appreciate and admire for their creativity, but things it’s doubtful I’ll soon try. Enjoy!

1. Easter Oreo Bark from Lil’ Luna

Easter Oreo Bark

 

2. Easter Cheese Puff “Carrots” from Blooming Where I’m Planted

Easter "Carrots" with Cheetos

 

3. Easter Peeps S’mores from Eclectic Recipes

Peeps Smores

 

4. Easter Jelly Bean Topiary Tree from Crafty Sisters.

Easter Jelly Bean Topiary

 

 

5. Easter Cookie Butter Popcorn from I Heart Nap Time.

Cookie Butter Easter Popcorn

 

6. Easter Floral Arrangement with Peeps from The Autocrat

Easter Floral Peep Arrangement

 

7. Fruity Pebbles Easter Pops from The Novice Chef

Fruity Pebbles Easter Pops

 

 

8. Peeps on a Stick from Your Homebased Mom

Peeps-on-a-Stick

 

 

 9. No Bake Homemade Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs from Tidy Mom

No Bake Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs

10. Easter Rapper’s Delight Printable from Fontaholic.

Rapper's Delight Easter Printable

 

11. Easter Bunny Butt Cake from Betty Crocker

Easter Bunny Butt Cake

12. Deep Fried Cadbury Creme Egg from Something Swanky

Deep Fried Cadbury Creme Egg

13. Easter Marshmallow Bark from Butter with a Side of Bread

Easter Marshmallow Bark

14. Dr. Pepper Glazed Ham with Pineapple from Six Sisters’ Stuff

Dr. Pepper Glazed Ham

 

15. Oreo Bunny Truffles from One Sweet Appetite

Oreo Truffles Easter Bunny

 

16. Chocolate Covered Easter Carrot Strawberries from Sugar Bean Bakers

Easter Carrot Strawberries

 

17. Carrot Cake Roll from Woman’s Day

Carrot Cake Roll

18. Silk Dyed Easter Eggs from Country Living

Silk Dyed Easter Eggs

 

19. Easter Egg Nests from Nestle Meals.com

Easter Egg Nests

 

20. Nutter Butter Easter Bunnies from Plain Chicken

Nutter Butter Easter Bunnies

 

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