Hummingbird Cake Thursday, Jan 21 2016 

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Happy Birthday to my big sister!! Even if we’re miles apart, I still felt the need to bake you a cake! I know how much you love birds so…. A Hummingbird Cake seemed fitting! Here we have a classic! This cake is so divine. A Southern tradition makes its way up North to Chicago in the reach of winter. How refreshing!! Its a spice cake infused with fresh banana, crushed pineapple, and pecans!

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 T cinnamon
1 1/2 c oil
1  1/2 t vanilla
3 eggs beaten
1 c chopped pecans
2 bananas chopped
8 oz can crushed pineapple

Cream Cheese Frosting

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour 3, 9 in cake pans.
Whisk dry ingredients. Add oil eggs

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and vanilla. Mix until moistened. Stir in pineapple, bananas, and nuts. Spread in pans. Bake 25-30 mins

White Castle Sliders copycat recipe Monday, Jan 18 2016 

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Here in Chicago most are familiar with the White Castle burger. Better known as ” The Slider” the original. With its tasty onions and moist burger almost bite size. They are easy to slug down with a nice cold beer! These are baked in the oven. Easy to make!

18 dinner rolls

1 lb ground beef 80/20 works best
1 onion finely chopped
1/4 cup fine bread crumbs
2 eggs
Sliced American cheese
Salt pepper
Sliced pickles

Heat oven to 400. Spray cookie sheet with non stick spray. Spread chopped onion on cookie sheet. Mix together beef, bread crumbs, egg, salt pepper. Spread on top of onion. Using a straw poke holes all over beef. This will allow the onion to cook all the way through out. Bake 20 mins. Place cheese on top. Return to oven for 1-2 mins. Remove from oven and cut into squares the size of buns. Top with pickles. Enjoy!

Stuffed Baby Bella Mushrooms Saturday, Jan 16 2016 

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I love mushrooms! Sauteed, on steam, pizza, with eggs or Stuffed!! These are simply delish. Serve as an appetizer your guests will beg for more!!

1 lb Baby Bella Mushrooms
8 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup chopped leeks
1/4 cup chopped red or orange peppers
1/4 cup chopped mushroom stems
4 strips crumbled bacon
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
Heat oven to 350.
Remove stems from mushrooms and chop .
In skillet in a little oil saute leeks, peppers, stems for about 7-8 mins
Add veggies to softened cream cheese. Mix well and stir in bacon.
Full mushroom caps and top with mozzarella.
Bake 20 – 25 mins. Serve immediately.

Chocolate Caramel Corn Tuesday, Jan 12 2016 

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We are popcorn junkies here. I’m not real big on the microwave stuff. Yes it’s easy but. Yuck. On my counter sits a beautiful popcorn machine. I love the aroma of fresh popped popcorn. Especially in coconut oil. Smells like the movie theater!
One of my amazing foodie friends. Carrie from Chicago Foodie Sisters dropped me off a beautiful package of foodie goodies!! Thank you Carrie! In this package was Urban Accents fluffy golden Jumbo popcorn and some boxes. Now I’ve tried Jumbo pop before and have been disappointed. Pops up same as regular so honestly I figured it was same deal .NOT this is some seriously fluffy popcorn!! What better use then to whip up some caramel corn. We are big on chocolate here so of course I had to toss some in!!

6 cups popped Urban Accents Popcorn (jumbo)
1 stick butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp salt
2 T corn syrup
2 T water
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 250.
Palace popcorn on extra large cookie sheet.
In saucepan add butter, brown sugar, water, syrup, salt. Bring to a boil. Stir constantly for 2 mins. Add baking soda. Pour over popcorn stir to coat.
Bake 30 mins. stir at 15 mins. Add chocolate chips. Pour on to wax paper. Let set 30 mins.
Enjoy!

Buds Best Edible Checkerboard Set Sunday, Jan 10 2016 

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Have you tried Buds Best Caco Cookies yet? Well let me tell you if you haven’t, you really NEED to. These little snackers are awesome. They are crunchy chocolate cookies with creme filling. Yes, there is another similar brand we won’t mention but my kids actually said they like these better.
So here we decided to have some fun and make a total edible checker set. The cookies are fairly simple. Just dip half in melted chocolate and the other in melted vanilla almond bark.
The board is made of cookie crumbs and a mock cream filling.

The Checkers
1 bag Buds Best Caco Cookies
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 T shortening
4 squares almond bark

The Board
2 bags Buds Best Caco Cookies
1 1/2 stick butter
2 cups Confectioners Sugar

Use a double boiler to melt chocolate chips. Dip cookie and place on wax paper. Do the same with almond bark. To keep checkers neat blow crumbs off before dipping. Tap excess chocolate before placing on wax paper.
The board. Same concept as a cookie pie crust. Use a good processor to chop the whole cookies. Cream filling included. Melt I stick butter. Mix well with crumbs. Place a silicone mat on cookie sheet. Spread out crust mix  be careful to make it 10 x 10 crust . place in freezer. Next step is the white squares. Mix 1/2 stick softened butter with 2 cups confectioner sugar. Roll out. Cut 32 squares measuring 1 1/4 in square. Place squares on crust alternating to form checkerboard pattern.
Play checkers!!! Winner has option to share!!!

Scotch Eggs with Moore’s Honey BBQ wing sauce Saturday, Jan 9 2016 

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Recently I was lucky enough to receive a variety case of Moore’s marinades and sauces. I have to say they are quite delish. In my quest to use them in unique taken up a notch ways I stumbled into these Scotch Eggs!! Oh you’re welcome!!
4 hard boiled eggs (peeled)
1 lb pork breakfast sausage
Flour
Pablo bread crumbs
Lea & Persons Worcestershire sauce
1 egg beaten

Moore’s Honey bbq wing sauce

Boil 4 eggs 10 mins peel and cool.
Add Worcestershire sauce to sausage divide sausage into 4 patties. Roll Eggs in flour. Mold sausage around egg. dip in beaten egg and roll in bread crumbs. Bake for 35 mins at 400.
Serve with drizzled bbq sauce!!

Chicken and Dumplings Comfort Food Wednesday, Jan 6 2016 

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You have to love these easy toss it in the crock recipes! Start it in the morning and all that’s left is whipping up the dumplings for the last 15 mins. This is actually a very lean recipe!

3 boneless skinless chicken breast cubed
3 stalks celery chopped
1/2 cup chopped leaks
2 T chopped parsley
4 chicken herb bouillon cubes
5 cups water
1 can cream of chicken soup

2 cups baking mix
2/3 cup milk

Place all ingredients in crock. Cool on high for 6 hours.
Mix baking mix (bisquick) and milk. Drop by spoonfuls on top. Cook with top on for 15 min.

Hawaii Chocolate Haupia Pie Sunday, Jan 3 2016 

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Winter has arrived to Chicago. Brand New Year. Hubbys birthday. What better way to celebrate then a little taste of Hawaii!! This pie is a decadent Chocolate Coconut combo that will keep you coming back for more ! Make sure to follow the directions and it will be perfect!

1 pie crust
1 cup milk
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 T coconut extract
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 cup water
4 T butter
3/4 cup Ghirardelli Cocoa
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Bake crust 15 min. Let cool
In heavy medium saucepan add milk, coconut milk, sugar, and extract. Whisk cooking on medium high heat until boiling. Turn down let simmer 3 mins  , Whisk constantly until thickened.
Divide equally into 2 bowls.
In another bowl melt butter. Add cocoa and blend well.
Add chocolate to one of the bowls of pudding. Whisk until well blended. Spread in bottom of pie crust. Let set.
Once set carefully pour coconut pudding on top. Careful not to mix the puddings together.
Refrigerate 1 hour.
In stand mixer whip cream and sugar until stiff peaks form. (Chilling bowl and beater in freezer before using helps ).
Pipe whipped cream on top and garnish with shaved chocolate!
I popped it into the freezer for about an hour before serving!

Christmas Disney Frozen Puppy Chow Monday, Dec 14 2015 

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Everyone loves puppy chow aka muddy buddies!! This is a tasty snack for all your holiday parties! Especially for the frozen fans! Do you wanna build a snow man?? Ok I will spare you the singing and just post the recipe!

1 bag wiltons white melts
1 box Pillsbury holiday cake mix
4 T Butter
8 cups Chex Cereal
Blue and white snowflake sprinkles

Melt butter and melts for 60 – 90 sec in micro. Stir every 30 sec.
Add cereal coat well
Pour cake mix in paper grocery bag. Add coated cereal and shake well until all cereals covered. Add sprinkles!

Christmas Tree Cupcakes Monday, Dec 7 2015 

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These are the cutest little things!! Fairly simple to make. They take a little practice but eating the mistakes is not a problem . Especially with kids in the house I used my favorite chocolate cake recipe. Buttercream frosting. The trick is the little trees. I made sugar cookies and used some of the dough from that.Here’s what you need.
Sugar cookie dough
Wiltons green melts (1 bag)
Sprinkles to decorate
Parchment paper
Cut dough into very small strips. About 1/4 inch wide and 2- 3 inch long. Bake 7-8 mins until well done. Let cool. Place parchment on counter or cookie sheet. Line up sticks leaving room between them.
Melt the candy at 30 second intervals. Once completely melted pour into Ziploc bag. Make small Cut on corner Of bag. Zigzag back and forth across stick. Start at bottom  working up. Leave a trunk to go into cupcake. About 1/2 inch. At top give
it a point. The more you do the easier it gets. Add sprinkles. It will set up quick so get them on fast. . once cooled and set peel off paper and place on cupcake!

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