Reindeer Crunch!

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Okay, so if you are still looking around for one more holiday treat to make, this might be it.  The title of this recipe is Reindeer Crunch, and when I mentioned that I would be making it, one of my vigilant Facebook readers asked if I would be using real reindeer. Nope.  No reindeer were harmed in the making of this recipe.  No deer of ANY kind were involved in the making of this recipe, even though I have flocks of them living in my yard.  (Flocks?  Herds?  Gaggles?  Whatever the right phrase is for lots and lots of deer...that's what I've got.  It's gotten so that they will now pose for the camera.) Anyway, I'm guessing reindeer might like to actually crunch some of this stuff, because it is made with popcorn and mixed nuts that have been coated in a brown sugar glaze, baked, and then drizzled with melted chocolate. I now have to go on a brief rant about melting chocolate.  I seem to be completely incapable of melting chocolate without having it seize up (which means, having Read More & Get the Recipe

Dinner Party!

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Okay, so I'm interrupting my usual parade of bacon-drenched recipes to tell you about the dinner party the Southern husband and I had the other night, because I just HAVE to.   Most of the recipes came right from this here blog, so I'll include the links along the way, just in case anyone is looking around for their own dinner party ideas.  But first, the back-story.  (Because I do love the back-story!) A while ago, a mutual friend introduced me to the amazing David Leite, who not only is the genius behind the also amazing website Leite's Culinaria, but is also the guy behind the best chocolate chip cookie recipe on the face of the earth.  And by introduced, I mean she took me along to have dinner at his house one evening.  Where he made us a duck risotto that ranks up there among one of the best things I have ever had in my LIFE.   As you can imagine, I was one happy camper.  Not only am I meeting my chocolate chip cookie hero, but he's feeding me ambrosial duck risotto, Read More & Get the Recipe

Buttered Rosemary Orange Nuts

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I don't know about you, but when I am throwing any sort of little (or big) dinner party, I have no trouble with the main course, and no trouble with the dessert, but the appetizers always leave me a little stumped.  Maybe I've used all my culinary brainwaves on the later courses, but my mind goes completely blank and all I can visualize is a wooden board with a hunk of cheddar and some Triscuits.  Maybe a few nice grapes. So when I actually come up with a passable appetizer, like the watermelon bites from last summer and the recent fig crostini, I feel ridiculously proud of myself. However. I can't be satisfied with just ONE nibble before dinner, because God forbid anyone leave my house without feeling completely stuffed, and that is where these delectable and easy little nuts come in. You start with whatever brand or mix of mixed nuts you like.  The Southern husband buys them in those large (obviously) plastic jugs at Costco, so we always have some around.  Melt about a tablespoon Read More & Get the Recipe

Mixed Nut Vanilla Brittle

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OK, our week of Gifts from the Kitchen continues with this super-easy brittle that I pretty much adore for two reasons: you make it in the microwave, not on the stove, and there is no candy thermometer required. I actually do own a candy thermometer, but I'm a little afraid of it. I only have a dim sense of what things like the "soft crack" stage is, and usually anything with terminology like that is enough to make me move on to something safer, like chocolate chip cookies. But THIS particular recipe is a whole 'nother story. You need a nice big microwave-safe bowl and a baking tray with sides. Line the baking tray with non-stick foil, and either give the foil a good spray with Pam or butter it well. Now measure out all the ingredients, including the butter and the vanilla and the baking soda, because this baby is going to go FAST at the very end. OK! So you start by putting sugar and corn syrup in the microwave, first covering the bowl with plastic wrap and then uncovering it. That Read More & Get the Recipe

Chocolate Nut Clusters

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It's that time of year again!  We are racing around shopping, wrapping, decorating, making our lists and checking them twice.  And if you are like me, either cooking, getting ready to cook, making notes about what to cook, or cleaning up after the cooking.  My kitchen and I have our closest relationship at this time of the year, and even though it is EXHAUSTING at times, I do pretty much love it. And one of the things I like most is making things that I can give as holiday gifts,  things that are sweet and salty and just a little bit decadent.  And at this time of the year, if they are easy and reliable, that's a gift to ME as well.  So while I usually try and make my weekly blog posts a well-balanced mixture of main dishes and sides and desserts, this week we are going to have a steady diet of sweet treats, all of which are easy and scrumptious and just right for popping in a pretty bag with a ribbon and handing over to someone you love.  Ready? Here's the first and probably Read More & Get the Recipe

Homemade Chewy Granola Bars

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I love granola bars. I especially love those ones that come two to a pack - the crunchy oats and honey ones? I always try and tell myself that I am being so healthy, but I know in my heart of hearts that I am really just eating a couple of nice crunchy cookies. Just keeping it real. However, that doesn't keep me from eating them, and so I was happy to discover this recipe for homemade granola bars on CHOW (and if you don't know this very fun foodie website, you should check it out). Not only does this recipe make pretty great granola bars, but it is a great way to use up those odds and ends of nuts and raisins and seeds and perhaps even chocolate chips that are hanging around in almost-empty bags in your cupboard. If you are anything like me. The trick with this recipe is to cut up them up into bars while they are still warm, so they don't harden into crunchiness and then break into a million pieces when you try to slice them up. I learned this lesson the hard way when I made my Read More & Get the Recipe