Tuesday, May 20, 2014

It's Been A Long Time Coming

I took a little break from the blogging world..okay..a really long break. It wasn't really an intentional decision, more like a forced necessity. My life has turned inside out in the past 3 years, but my obsession with all things food related only intensifies (if you know me {how else would you even know about this blog?!} the idea of this love affair I have with food in any way lessening is laughable). In fact, I've cooked more new recipes, tried more new flavors, and been to more new places than ever before. Now, more than ever, when I'm tired/stressed/excited/want to make people in my life feel loved, I head straight to the kitchen. I'm so excited to start sharing it with all 5 of you again, because no matter how great they are, you can't survive on just carrots and ranch.

I'll officially be launching the blog the first week of June. What kind of posts would you most like to see? 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Do you ever need to take a snack somewhere? Say to a party or a baby shower or to your Netflix couch time? Second only to carrots and ranch, I'd go with BCD.  People flip out over this like you collected the feathers from the wings of a baby angel or found a 7 leaf clover, but really you just open a can of chicken and stir for like 4 minutes and 29 seconds.

I've made this both ways, but I very much prefer the ranch dressing instead of bleu cheese..but you can do it either way. But you know the name of the blog..I think ranch makes everything better!

1 can of chicken
1 block of cream cheese
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup of hot sauce/or to taste (I use Frank's Red Hot Original-NOT wing sauce)
1/3 cup ranch dressing

Heat chicken and hot sauce in a small pot over medium heat. I'd pull the chicken apart a little with a fork while it's heating.  Stir in hot sauce. Mix in ranch and cream cheese. When the cream cheese has melted and it is all well blended, add shredded cheese until melted. Turn the heat way down or off as soon as you add the shredded cheese. Serve with tortilla chips or raw veggies-celery is the best.

Just watch how the people at your gathering keep going back for more. If you don't beat them to it, that is. What events do you find yourself having to carry food?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

I Heart Ingredients.

I love ingredients. I mean love love love love love. I could write to you an entire short story about the reasons I love garlic. Or anything in the aromatic family. I could sing songs about the usefulness of ricotta cheese. But today I'm crushing on almond extract. Are you having a bad day? Just go smell some almond extract. You are immediately whisked away into a dream land of joy where babies giggle and everything is delicious but zero calories.
Speaking of food related daydreams, have I mentioned how much I to go to Hidden Valley? I know it's not real, I mean like the place in the ads. A land where there are ranch and raw veggies EVERYWHERE?? It's like they made my thoughts a commercial.
I love almond extract so much that all my friends know I love it. I talk about it an awkward amount. When people have cake, the first thing I ask is if the icing has almond extract. Who does that? My friend Robin tagged me in a retweet from Chopped judge Alex G.-someone who apparently is the only other person on the planet with my affliction. "I could practically drink an entire bottle of almond extract. To me, it would be like drinking up an Italian bakery." I feel you Alex.

So what do you do with this teensy jar of magic potion? Well I'm trying really hard to figure out a way to put it in my hair so I can smell it all the time, but I've got a few ways you can put it in food that are a little more "mainstream" than hair perfume.

The first is my special pancake recipe. I literally call them "Special Pancakes." Mostly because I'm the most creative person you know. Anyway, I make the pancakes exactly like the Bisquick box tells you to, but instead of milk I sub almond milk. You don't have to switch the milk, but it really makes the flavor deeper. Add 1 teaspoon of almond extract for each 2 cups of dry Bisquick mix. Then proceed with cooking them like normal.

The second is not actually my recipe, but it is one of my most favorite sweet treats. It's my friend & guest blogger Robin's family icing recipe. I could let her guest blog it but I'm choosing to steal her thunder.

From Robin: It is so important that you stress not adding the milk all at once. If you do, you end up with a runny mess. Also, it has been my experience that you will use more like 1/4 of a cup of milk instead of 1/2 cup. Just depends on what the weather is like (which doesn't make sense to me, but that has seemed to be the case for me in the past). 

And finally, Nannie's mints. These are something I normally make for a baby or bridal shower. The reason I only make them then is because I can't NOT eat them. This is about as close as you can get to just drinking the extract. She makes the standard cream cheese/powdered sugar mints that every grandma knows, but instead of peppermints, it's almond extract. Don't ask me why I call them mints if there is zero mint in there. Just eat another mint and don't worry about it.

What ingredients do you like so much that you wish you could rub it in your hair?