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Monthly Archives: December 2011

Mexican Wedding Cookies

Happy almost Friday y’all! For some of you, today may be your Friday or you may have been off all week due to the holidays but not I. Off to work I go tomorrow with a busy 3-day weekend ahead!

Before everyone starts getting underway with their New Years celebrations I wanted to share one of my favorite holiday recipes.

Mexican Wedding Cookies (Russian Tea Cookies. Same difference.)

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • additional confectioners’ sugar to roll the cookies in (about a cup and a 1/2)

Start by creaming your butter and confectioner’s sugar in an electric mixer. Next, slowly add in the flour, vanilla and milk.

Once everything is combined, add in the chopped pecans and beat to combine.

Roll the dough into roughly 1 inch balls and place on a parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 16-20 minutes.

Once the balls are done, dip them into the confectioners’ sugar and place them onto a cooling rack lined with wax paper.

Allow the cookies to cool for about 10-15 minutes and then roll into the confectioners’ sugar again.

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Chile Infused Vinegar

Ok, so a few weeks ago I told y’all about Tyler and I’s trip to Comfort where I became o-b-s-e-s-s-e-d with their chile infused vinegar. So of course I ran home and decided I must recreate that dag on stuff! And now I get to share it with you! 🙂

I actually ordered dried chile’s off of Amazon because I could only find jalapenos in the grocery store. I was a little apprehensive at first but they re-hydrated perfectly in the vinegar. The tricky thing here is you have to set it and forget it. Not to be confused with the product on the infomercial.

While we were in Comfort I asked the waitress what type of vinegar they used (already figuring out how I could make it at home) and she told me she thought it was cider vinegar. After some research, I saw a few recipes that called for white vinegar so I gave it a try with both to be able to compare and contrast.

I used small Ball jars but I’d suggest larger ones if you have them. Might as well make more while you’re at it!

Here they are on day one:

You can clearly tell which is cider or white vinegar at this stage. But if you notice, the white vinegar automatically started activating the infusion process (I think I used that correctly?) immediately.


See how its turning white and bubbling? It was busy making magic happen people!

Now on day 3, you can see that the white vinegar has actually changed colors as the chiles have re-hydrated. This whole process was kind of like a science experiment and was pretty cool if I do say so.

All of the recipes I saw said you needed to allow the vinegar and chiles to incorporate for about a week. I’m terribly impatient but I knew I wanted this to turn out right so I did as I was told. Of course, I opened it frequently to see if I could notice a difference and you really can tell that it smells spicy. Kinda cool.

Over all, it seems that the white vinegar was the way to go. The chiles seemed to infuse the best with the white vinegar as compared to the cider vinegar. Not to mention the flavor is better.

Now all I need is some BBQ to put it on! 🙂 Or vegetables. Or mac and cheese. Or anything really. Stay tuned!

Spicy Christmas

Merry Christmas y’all! And I guess its almost time to say Happy New Year (man how time flies) but lets not get ahead of ourselves.

Spicy Richmond has been on a Christmas and traveling induced hiatus but don’t you worry, I’m back in full force! The weather in Florida was beautiful and a nice retreat from the chilly weather in Virginia. Check out the view from the balcony of our hotel room.

Beautiful, right?

After check-in, we were off to cook Christmas Eve dinner.

You know, just some of Gordon Ramsay’s Beef Wellington with a Red Wine Sauce courtesy of Chef Tyler. Check out how nice and golden brown they are!

Paired with some of Guy’s Green Bean Casserole and mashed potatoes, we were in business!

After hanging out with the family for a bit after dinner, it was off to bed for this girl!

Since we had to get up so early to see what Santa brought the little ones, I was able to catch this shot of our view at sunrise. I’m in love with how the clouds reflect on the water. Gorgeous.

Good thing we were up so early though because we were able to catch a glimpse of these hot air balloons out for a spin (float?) and they went right over our hotel! This was easily Tyler’s favorite part of the day.

Santa definitely out did himself though! The kids got loaded up with tons of some new goodies. Not to mention the adults!

Tyler’s family really out did themselves with all of the cooking gear they got me and I’m super excited to try it all out! Not to mention the new knife block my parents got me! A girl can never have enough cooking supplies! 🙂

After all of the presents were opened, we ate. Then we ate some more. ‘Tis the season to gain 10 pounds. Tyler’s mom whipped up mini quiches, breakfast pizza, Hot Virginia Dip and Dig Deep Salad.

Everyone loves a good layer salad and I could have eaten the entire bowl. Not to mention I hate peas. I mean hate peas. This stuff was delish!

After we all had a little food induced nap, we headed to Disney’s Grand Floridian to take a few pictures and check out the Christmas Decorations. Tyler was thrilled for this idea let me tell you.

My two personal faves:

Totally a framer.

This one too.

Its so nice to be able to put your toes in the sand and wear short sleeves and flip flops on Christmas Day!

Of course we had to snap a few of the kiddos too.

How cute are they? Love them!

Well, its time for bed for me. Gotta get up early to begin my post-holiday workout regime. That’s the plan anyway. We’ll see what happens when my alarm goes off at 6:15. Goodnight y’all! 🙂

Potluck

So today, we had our Christmas Potluck at work. The day began with a little delivery from one of Santa’s Elves I’m sure.

You know, just a little Lindt chocolate and Candy Cane Kisses to start your day off right.

Oh! And check out our sweet orange Christmas Tree. Yours truly is the mastermind behind that one! 🙂

Santa even made a quick stop to drop off some gifts for our Chinese gift exchange.

We had a nice display of Crock Pots too. The little baby one is filled with my Hot Virginia Dip and the one on the left is some of the best hash brown casserole I’ve ever had.

Everyone was trying to save room for all of our yummy treats but we had to break out a cheese log at 9:30AM to tide us over. Its never too early for cheese and crackers in my book.

And now for my first deviled egg making experience:

My Mimi used to always make me deviled eggs when we would come to visit…and sometimes when she’d come to visit us. I was going to recreate them but honestly, I’m not sure if I would have been able to make them just like she. So, to avoid being disappointed if they weren’t just right, I mixed it up a bit.

I made them like you would traditional deviled eggs but added a heaping teaspoon of horseradish and a splash of Worcestershire to give them a little more umph. There were only 5 left so I think I succeeded!

A big salad was on the menu for me tonight to get some vegetables mixed back into my diet after all of the cream cheese, sour cream, cheddar cheese, cream of chicken soup…are you sensing a trend?

Have any of you had any office potlucks for the holidays?

 

Crescent Roll S’more Recipe Flop

S’mores. They’re gooey. They’re chocolatey. They probably remind most of you, including myself, of your childhood. And these ended up tasting nothing like them.

Ya see, I’m not a marshmallow fan. Like at all. The only exception to that is s’mores and hot chocolate. I never even made rice crispy treats as a kid. Why you might ask? Marshmallow fluff freaks me out. Its a jar of processed sugary goo. To some of you that may sound delicious but not this girl.

When I saw this on Pinterest I was all about it. How hard could it be? Unroll dough. Insert chocolate chips and mini marshmallows. Roll. Bake. Not rocket science here people.

Well, that’s what I thought anyway.

You might look at that picture and think “Wow, those look good!” Don’t believe it though. These little buggers are deceiving.

Since the ends were open, the marshmallows melted and just turned into caramelized sugar. Which would be great had it actually been in the roll.

Do you see any marshmallows in there? That’s a big negative my friend. Not sure how they melted down so much that they just disappeared but they were no where to be found. Apparently I bought magic marshmallows that vanish when baked.

These tasted like a buttery, dinner roll that tasted just fine until you shoved melted chocolate into the center. I was thinking maybe they would have been better if they had graham cracker crumbs or pieces inside to give them a little more texture or flavor but instead, I’m waiving the white flag of surrender.

You win crescent roll s’mores. I’ll save my s’more eating for over a campfire…except I never go camping anymore. If only I had a wood burning fireplace…

Hopefully my next recipe won’t blow up in my face…or yours.

Really depressing fact: woke up before my alarm today thinking it was the weekend. Blah. Off to work I go!

Weekend Fun

It was a very busy weekend that wrapped up with a trip to the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden: Garden Fest of Lights.

The Lochness Monster.

So cheesy. But for real, its a framer, right?

Aren’t we just precious?

Not to mention this craziness:

Upside down tree? Huh.

Well, this girl is off to get in bed early after a tiring weekend! Have a great week y’all!

Garlic and Rosemary Hummus

Are any of you familiar with Chris Young? I’m slightly obsessed especially after I went and saw him with Jason Aldean in September. But his new single is phenomenal and I could probably listen to it over and over. Ok, I am listening to it over and over again. Go listen to it. Now.

So while I was listening to Chris’ (yes, we’re close like that) album on repeat, I made some hummus.

I go through phases with hummus. I want to eat it with everything and on everything for a good 2-3 weeks and then I let the container get pushed to the back of the fridge until I find it one December morning only to find that it went bad in October…

Homemade hummus is definitely the way to go though. You can adjust it to your flavor and all you do is mix and eat. Can’t get any better than that!

Here’s what you need:

I ended up adding in a generous drizzle of olive oil and about half a sprig of rosemary just to give it some extra flavor. And don’t be alarmed, I didn’t use the entire head of garlic. Just 4 cloves.

Garlic and Rosemary Hummus

  • 2 cans of garbanzo beans, drained
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • olive oil
  • half sprig of rosemary
  • salt to taste

Combine ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine. Adjust flavors as necessary according to taste. You can serve immediately but it tastes better after having some time for the flavors to meld so I suggest putting it in the fridge for about an hour.

I had originally planned on just enjoying this with some pita crisps but then the light bulb came on: Make a pita pizza! So I did. It was heavenly.

I already had the pita, roasted red peppers, and goat cheese on hand so this was super quick and easy to throw together. I used the hummus as the “sauce”, layered on my cheese and then added on my peppers. A quick toast in the toaster oven and this baby was ready to eat!

Now I need to go get more pita bread so I can eat the heck outta these things this weekend!

Well, I’m off to get ready for some holiday gatherings this evening (more to come on that later). Have a happy Saturday! 😀

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