Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving Y'all!

Hope y'all had a great Thanksgiving!  As you can see from how long ago my last post was, I was busy busy. My in-laws were visiting from Pennsylvania, staying in downtown Savannah in the cutest house on Greene Square.  We got to live like we lived downtown for a week, which was nice...walking to dinner, breakfast, strolling around.  It was great.  

As for Thanksgiving dinner, I had all these grand ideas about posting all sorts of recipes from the dinner and dessert, but it just didn't happen.  We did most of the cooking on Thanksgiving morning and I couldn't get all the pretty pictures before everything was consumed!  I managed to sneak in a couple here and there and thought I would share my pictures of not just the food, but of our Thanksgiving holiday.  Enjoy!

This was the first day that Nonni and Poppi were here.  We were walking to lunch at Moon River Brewing Company...Jules wearing her Princess Halloween costume.  She's a trip.

 This is Jules and her Aunt Nikki, or Tetta as we call her.  Long story short, there was an Aunt Tetta in my husband's family, or Tetta is Russian for Aunt (not that he's Russian, so maybe that's wrong, too?)?  I forget, but that's what we call her! 

Me and Baxter, one of my three fluffs.  Relaxing...

Jules and Poppi making an advent calendar that is a tradition in my husband's family.  The princesses helped, of course.  

Jules after her Preschool Thanksgiving program.  The sweetest little Indian!  

This recipe you will surely see posted on this blog, probably sometime soon.  This is a tradition in my family on Holidays...Tollhouse pie.  Sorry I don't have a picture of the inside, but it is a scrumptious chocolate chip pie and so easy to make.  Stay tuned for that one.  

Getting set up for dinner.  I love the little decorations that Jules brings home from Preschool.  So homey...

This is our attempt at getting a Thanksgiving family picture.  Believe me....this is a good as it gets.  It's next to impossible to get everyone to sit still.  

Me and Miss very thankful.  She is my world!! 

Jules helping Nonni tear apart the bread for the stuffing.  This has been her "job" since last year when she helped my dad, Nonno do it.  

I love using lemons when I roast a chicken or turkey.  These came from my lemon tree!!  Cool, right??

And this delicious looking turkey is adapted from Ina Garten's Herb Roasted Turkey Breast.  OMG, really.  So unbelievably good.

Max was so sleepy at dinner, he fell asleep right at the table.  We all took naps afterwards, I mean, pretty much that's just what you do...

 And, what a perfect way to end such a lovely day.  Glass of Riesling and a fire...

How was your Thanksgiving?  Any recipes you need to tell me about?  

Come follow me on Instagram, too.  I'm addicted!  @bsgriffin
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Turkey and Two Bean Chili

Chili is one of the best comfort foods around.  Although it's great in winter, to me, chili reminds me so much of fall and football season.  This is a great recipe to make when you have a group coming easily doubles or triples, so make as much as you need to feed your hungry crowd. 

Chili is so versatile too - you can even do all vegetarian and just use beans, no meat.  This is one of those recipes where you can truly make it your own by adapting to the flavors you like.

The result is a spicy, but not too spicy, super hearty chili.  And it really takes no time at all!  It just needs to simmer for about 10 minutes after all the ingredients are combined and you're ready to eat.  And by the way, it's fantastic the next day...just hope you have leftovers.

 Serves 4

Turkey and Two Bean Chili

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound of ground turkey
1 tablespoon McCormick's Spicy Montreal Steak Seasoning
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 large green pepper, diced
2 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic 
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 bottle beer (not light beer)
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed 
1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes
1 cup chicken stock

Heat a deep pot over high heat.  Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the meat.  Season the turkey with the grill seasoning and sear it, browning and crumbling it for 3-5 minutes.  Transfer the meat to a plate and return the pot to the stove.  

Reduce the heat to medium-high and add remaining tablespoon of olive oil.  Add onions, green peppers and garlic and saute until tender, a few minutes.  Return the meat to the pot and season with the Worcestershire sauce, chili powder and cumin.  Add the beer to deglaze the pot and let simmer to reduce by half, 2-4 minutes.  Add the black beans, kidney beans, tomatoes and chicken stock to the chili and simmer for at least 10 minutes to allow flavors to combine.  The longer it simmers, the thicker it will get.  

Serve topped with shredded cheese, corn chips, sour cream, chopped onions, etc.

(Source:  Adapted from Rachael Ray's Uptown Down-Home Chili)

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Magic Bars

Here's another one of those cookies that there are plenty of versions might call them Layer Bars or 7 Layer Bars.  We've always called them Magic Bars and I usually only break this recipe out around Christmas time.  Yesterday, I guess I was just feeling a little festive!  Plus I had all the ingredients (minus the nuts which I usually omit anyway) and we needed a cookie in the house.  We always need some sort of sweet something in the house!  

I used a mix of baking chunks and regular semi-sweet chocolate chips.  I had them both in the cupboard, but you can use any size, any variety you like.

Right out of the oven...

I love how the sweetened condensed milk gives the edges sort of a caramel color and texture.

Magic Bars

1/2 cup margarine or butter
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/3 cup flaked coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 cup butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a 9x13 pan, melt the margarine in the oven.  Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs over the melted margarine, then pour the sweetened condensed milk evenly over entire pan.  Top with remaining ingredients and press down firmly.  Bake 25-30 minutes until golden brown.  Cool and chill and cut into bars.

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Chocolate Chip Blondies

I'm not sure if these are so much "blondies" as they are just plain and simple chocolate chip cookies in bar form.  But, regardless of what you or I may call them, one thing is certain - these are gooey and addicting, buttery, chocolaty and so good.  I pull mine out of the oven when the top starts to turn golden brown, whether they are completely done in the middle or not.  A little underdone gives them that chewy, moist center that I love.  

Chocolate Chip Blondies

2 sticks of butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In the large bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing to incorporate after each one.  Add vanilla and mix to combine.  

In a small bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda.  Gradually beat in  flour mixture until combined. Remove bowl from stand mixer and add chocolate chips.  Stir by hand to combine. 

Pour batter onto a 9x13 baking pan and smooth so it's even across the pan.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown.

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Pepperoni Pizza Quesadillas

This is like the perfect lunch for toddlers...basically an enclosed slice of pizza.  Hardly any mess!  And great for adults, too.  I've made these many times when I needed a super quick and easy weeknight meal.  I know your whole family will be begging you to have these again and again! 

Also so easy to jazz up any way you like - especially for adults.  Add a pinch of red pepper flakes and whatever toppings you like on your pizza normally! 

Pepperoni Pizza Quesadillas

4 soft taco size tortillas
1/4 cup pizza or marinara sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
About 10 pepperoni slices

Preheat your quesadilla maker or large skillet.  Spray each side of the flour tortillas with cooking spray.  Spread about 2 tablespoons of sauce on 2 of the tortillas, layer with about 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella and about 5 slices of pepperoni.  

Heat in your quesadilla maker or skillet until the cheese is completely melted inside and the outside is a nice golden brown.  Serve with extra sauce for dipping.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Mexican Chicken Soup with Limes

This is a very light, although very spicy, quick and easy soup!  It could easily be thrown in the Crock Pot but I started it too late in the day so I used my stove top.  The ingredients came together in minutes and I even threw in my chicken breast still frozen.  It will simmer for about a hour to cook the chicken, but I didn't even look at until the hour was up and it was time to shred the chicken.

I found this recipe on the blog, Budget Bytes, which I love because she breaks down the cost of each ingredient and the total recipe cost.  So, this soup is tasty and super cost friendly!  

I love the sourness from the lime juice that gets squeezed in at the end.  And the creamy, coolness of the avocado takes the bite out the spiciness.  And it is spicy!  That tickle the back of your throat husband I were clearing our throats and coughing a bit while eating this.  You can absolutely omit the jalapeno if you want to cut down on the heat.  

 Serves 4

Mexican Chicken Soup with Limes

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno (I used from a jar, but you can use 1 medium fresh)
4 cloves garlic, minced (I used minced from a jar which would be 2 tsp)
1 large chicken breast
6 cups chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes with chiles, 14.5 oz
1/2 tablespoon cumin
1 or 2 limes
1 avocado

In a large saucepan or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Cook the onion, celery, jalapenos and garlic in the olive oil for about 5 minutes or until tender.  Add the chicken breast, chicken broth, tomatoes and cumin to the pot.  Bring it to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to medium-low, place a lid on top and let simmer for one hour.  

After simmering for an hour, remove the chicken breast from the pot and shred with two forks.  Return the meat to the pot.  Squeeze the juice of 1 or 2 limes into the soup.  Serve and top with a few chunks of avocado and tortilla chips.  

(Source:  Adapted from Budget Bytes)

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I'm a super busy mom of 3 and a Beachbody coach. Follow along as I try to find a balance between eating good food and keeping my family healthy and happy! We eat mostly clean with a few fun treats thrown in every once in awhile. Thanks for stopping by!

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