Thursday, October 31, 2013

Cheddar and Green Onion Crostini | Friday Night Bites

I am going back in time this week for Friday Night Bites. One of my college friends use to make this appetizer and I loved it each time she would make it.  It is not healthy but tasty.  It is simple not difficult.  It is perfect to enjoy in front of a fire on a chilly evening. The last few evenings in the Bay Area have dipped into the 40 degree range which is quite chilly for us.  I can only imagine other parts of the country hit even lower temps than we do.

We used our gas fireplace recently which works well to heat up the family room where we spend the majority of our time.  Hubby loves these cheddar and onion Crostini and quite frankly can’t stop eating them.  Although I am not a true fan of mayonnaise on a typical basis, sometimes a recipe just can’t be made without it.  This is one such recipe.

Your favorite Cabernet or Chardonnay would be perfect with this appetizer.  Even a chilled beer would pair perfectly. Since it is Halloween, this would be perfect to nibble on in between those little ghosts and gobblins. Happy Halloween! Enjoy!

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Bacon Parmesan Chickpeas | Friday Night Bites

Do you crave crunchy salty snacks?  If the answer is yes, then I have the perfect treat for you.  I know that salt is not that good for you but on the other hand we do need some in our daily diets.  Give me a bag of Lays potato chips versus a chocolate chip cookie any day – the crunch, salt and starch completely make me happy.  With that unhealthy craving, I thought I would make my snack a bit on the healthy side by using chickpeas. This little treat has been in my head for while, just needed to execute.

Okay the next ingredient is not healthy one iota BUT it is completely tasty and an all American favorite food – BACON!  Please don’t be mad at me, but instead of vegetable oil, I used the bacon drippings as my fat to cook the chickpeas.  Perhaps I balanced the bad and good?  I know, I am probably not fooling anyone, but these kinds of snacks are the type to enjoy in moderation.

After opening the can of chickpeas (a.k.a. – garbanzo beans) and rinsing, I realized that there was a “skin” on each one that needed to be removed.  This task took much longer than anticipated.  I soon surmised that if you rinse, lie on a paper towel and pat dry, then air dry, the skins are easily removed.  You simply take another paper towel and ever so gently rub and the skins will come off.  Then you are ready to rock and roll onto cooking these little treats.

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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Monte Cristo Bites with Raspberry Bourbon Jam | Secret Recipe Club

Time seems to be spinning faster and faster.  Do you feel that way too?  It is hard to believe we are entrenched in the fall season with the leaves changing to those beautiful autumnal shades of brown, orange and yellow.  Living in Northern California, we experience the changing of the seasons however it is subtle as opposed to other regions around America.  I am still sporting my flip flops on the weekends and perfect painted toes, but this shall become a distant memory in the next month or so.  We are currently enjoying what we deem – Indian summer.  It is a time where we have mildly warm weather, shorter daytime light and little to no rain.  It is an exquisite time of year in Northern California.

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Pear and Honey Crostini with Spicy Candied Pistachios | Friday Night Bites

The weekend is almost here.  That means one thing – it is time for Friday Night Bites.  It has been super busy at work lately, which is a good thing.  I savor my Friday nights and weekends even more, since it is my time to relax along with planning our social activities.  For me, I absolutely love having activities to look forward to – whether it is going out to dinner, entertaining at home, heading to a friends house for dinner or going away for the weekend.  We happen to have many social activities planned now through the end of the year which makes me very happy.

I am beginning to plan for a few holiday parties that I am hosting at our house and this weeks Friday Night Bites is high on the list of making an appearance.  It was simple, in season and extremely flavorful along with being visually stunning.  Hubby agreed by devouring the plate when I set it in front of him.  This is a winner he exclaimed.  I love having an “in-house” taste tester.  How great it that?

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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Halloween Sugar Cookies

Where does the time go?  I am not quite sure.  I do know that Halloween is just about two weeks away.  The houses in our neighborhood have begun having the spooky spirit appear in their front yards.  Rather fun to drive around at night and see the scary displays and take in the festive holiday spirit.

Since the Halloween bug has caught up with me, I thought I would whip up some festive cookies and share them at work with my colleagues along with some for my darling hubby.  While pursuing through Pinterest a few weeks ago, I came across this recipe and it was titled “The Best Cookie Known to Man”.  Okay you captured my attention, especially since a great sugar cookie in my opinion is hard to come by.  I prefer the crunchy but soft and full of flavor varietals.  These certainly peaked my interest. Let me just say, they exceeded my expectations.

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Cheddar & Sun Dried Tomato Crackers | Friday Night Bites

Yesterday was Hubby’s birthday.  He is a little kid who is trapped in an adult’s body.  The art of stretching out the celebration for an entire week is his preferred method of celebration.  I love him dearly, so let the celebrations begin.  Oh and by the way, did you know that October 9th is the official start of the holiday season?  Hubby deemed it so.  Smile.

With the week long celebrations, even his colleagues at work got into to the spirit.  Power point presentations had birthday wishes baked in.  His beloved vice of apple fritters made quite a few appearances throughout the week long festivities at his workplace.  Yesterday especially had many folks showering him with sweet treats, cards and other special goodies.

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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Asian Chicken Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing

Let me just exclaim to the world – I love a great salad.  Boy that felt good.  With so many choices and variations of salad, it is sometimes a bit overwhelming to choose. Today is your lucky day.  The amazing folks at Dole Salads have now made our busy lives just a touch easier with the introduction of their Chopped Salad Kits and Salad Blends. These salad kits come with a theme and you simply add your favorite ingredients to make your own unique customized salad. The possibilities are boundless and only limited by your imagination and creativity.  I can only imagine the amount of creativity out there. Smile.

Back in May I was honored with an invitation to attend Dole’sSalad Summit and quickly learned how Dole differentiates itself from other brands in the market place.  After reflecting on the summit, the way Dole distinguishes itself from their competitors was quite clear.  First, they partner with local farmers around the county to bring the freshest produce to their production facilities so you have the best of the best that the market can offer.  In fact, within fours hours of picking lettuce, it is in the sealed salad bag. Second, they have produced an innovative package and process that keeps the salad fresher longer without adding harmful preservatives.  Lastly, each employee of Dole has such a high regard for quality along with ensuring they are consistently exceeding their consumers expectations along with building brand loyalty.

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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Parmesan Onion Canapés | Friday Night Bites

What’s old is new again.  The classics have timeless appeal.  They are forever favorites, often simple in preparation but loaded with flavor. When I was a kid, my mom would make these parmesan onion toasts that I could never get enough of.  Although I was never a huge fan of mayonnaise, I did not seem to mind it in these little appetizers.  She would make the parmesan onion mixture and slather on a those little rye breads and bake in the oven until bubbly. Other times it would be on white bread, but always bubbly.  They were one of those treats that came around every once in a while and when they did, good time were had by all.

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Fig Tarts with Honey Pistachio Brittle

It is a sad time.  Knowing that the fig season is winding down, it brings a figurative tear to my eye. If you have been a long time reader, you know that I am just a bit obsessed with figs, especially with  the fresh varietals.  As promised from a prior post, I am sharing a supreme fig dessert with all of you.

I stumbled upon a treasure at my local farmers market in the last month.  Ever since finding this fortune, I have been back week after week.  It was with one of the smaller vendors, but they grew the most amazing figs on earth.  After chatting with the producer, she let me know that they created their own fig varietal called “Hatfield”.  She went on to say, like the Hatfield’s and McCoy's, but that there was no fighting going on in her farm.  She does have a keen sense of humor. 

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