We are all camped out on the couch this afternoon, recovering from Jane’s birthday party and ready for relaxation and non-stop football watching. One of my favorite football snacks is a loaded potato skin — I’m always on board for potatoes topped with cheese and sour cream — but they can take awhile to make. I have been brainstorming some new recipes for my Super Bowl menu and this is my new shortcut for all of that loaded potato skin flavor in half the time. read more

We have been on track with healthy eating for the new year, thanks in part to a lot of meal-prepping and planning! I had been brainstorming a big list of healthy dishes to try out this month, especially ideas that made use of my Instant Pot! I’ve had this one my list for a while, a shredded buffalo chicken served over a wedge salad, because I am 99% more likely to eat a salad if there is blue cheese crumbles involved. We will put this one into the healthy-ish category — if you have more self control than me you could totally have it with a lighter dressing. I’m keeping this one in the rotation for upcoming events too; the chicken would be great on slider buns for a Super Bowl party, and rolled up in wraps with some crunchy lettuce for an easy lunch. Get the full recipe below!
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One of my goals for this year is to introduce more Instant Pot recipes to the blog! We have loved using ours over the last year, but it took me a lot of experimenting with it to feel confident that I could share some of the recipes that we make in it. We use it often on Sundays for meal-prepping, and try to make a big batch of a healthy meal that we can break down into containers (these are our favorite) for lunches or a quick dinner when we’re busy with work. I also love using it for rice, I haven’t made rice on the stovetop since we purchased it! This recipe is for an easy and healthy turkey chili that would be great for meal prepping (I’ve had it for lunch everyday this week), but is quick enough to make for a weeknight dinner thanks to the speed of the Instant Pot! Get the full recipe below: read more

At the end of the year, I went back and looked all of the posts I’d written to try to gauge what sort of topics were most popular. I had a good laugh, because man you guys LOVE my super-indulgent, over the top, high-calorie recipes. The top recipes were full of heavy cream and lots of cheese and I totally respect that because I would eat that way every day if I could! My guess is though, that like me, you’re all probably on that January healthy-eating-kick that catches on as we regret the weeks of holiday indulgence. I’m taking it one step farther this month and actually signed up for Weight Watchers (I have my sister’s wedding this fall that I’m determined to slim down for!) and have made it my mission this month to add more healthy eating ideas to the blog that are just as tasty as my cheesy, caloric entertaining ideas you loved last year. It’s a challenge, but one that I’m excited to take on! To kick it off, I thought I’d share this side dish that we have been making on repeat at our house: Garlic and Herb Mashed Cauliflower. read more

I’m feeling like I’m on a little vacation this week with my work wrapping up for the year and my last book signing of the holiday season behind. And since this feeling is so very rare for me, I’m all about having a festive little cocktail to celebrate. I mixed up this tasty seasonal drink that can be made in a small batch to share with a few friends. The ginger ale and apple cider give it both sweetness and bite that balance the bourbon flavors, and I’ve garnished it to the max with cranberries, rosemary, and a fragrant orange peel. Get the full recipe below, and cheese!  read more

I have been scribbling a long shopping list and menu ideas this week to prepare for our Christmas Eve dinner at my parents house! I’m making some recipes from my cookbook (the penne a la vodka in the Christmas chapter was requested), but I always love to mix in some new dishes too. I decided to upgrade my cheese plate with a dressed up goat cheese spread; it’s easy to make ahead of time and store in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. It’s dotted with sweet candied pecans and dried fruit, and gets tons of seasonal flavors from fresh rosemary and thyme. I liked how pretty it looks with the colorful flecks in the cheese, and I garnished it for the holidays with a little wreath of rosemary sprigs around the base and a small sprig on top with dried cranberries to look like holly! Get the full recipe below:  read more

Since writing my cookbook, I’ve been asked a lot of the same questions about entertaining at each event I go to. One of the most common ones has been “what’s your favorite type of party to throw?” and my answer is always a brunch! Brunch to me always feels cozy and casual, and an easy way to get folks together to celebrate. I especially love it now that we have a toddler – we can have our party and our afternoon too. I have a handful of go-to menu items I always rely on for brunch like maple brown sugar bacon, cheddar chive hashbrowns, and a big hearty breakfast strata. If I’m hosting a bigger event – like a bridal or baby shower brunch – I always add quiche to the menu. read more

We’re in the thick of holiday season, and today we have one more holiday to celebrate: National Cake Day! My blogger buddy Melissa of Lulu the Baker alerted me to this delightful (definitely made-up) holiday, and we decided to celebrate with a little cake-swap! Today Melissa is sharing my favorite cake recipe from my cookbook over on her blog, and I’m getting my cake-consumption on over here with a Spiced Pear Bundt Cake (with homemade caramel sauce!!) from Melissa’s beautiful book: Scandinavian Gatherings. It’s hard to decide what is more lovely, this flavorful cake full of spices and bits of fruit, or her book which is packed with Scandinavian recipes, crafts, and traditions. I served this cake over the holiday weekend and it was hit — we ate it for breakfast, snacks, and dessert, and I know I’m going to be pulling it out again at Christmas. Get the full recipe below, and be sure to check out Scandinavian Gatherings! read more

OK friends, it’s officially pie season and I’m ready with a tasty new recipe that you’re going to want to bring to every holiday party this season! My friends at Martha Stewart Living and California Walnuts partnered up and challenged me to make a beautiful recipe that would “wow” holiday guests using the nutritious goodness of California walnuts. I love texture and flavor of walnuts (especially in holiday recipes!) and decided to incorporate them into a fresh twist on the classic pumpkin pie. read more

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I always find when I make a dessert “mini” sized that people are more likely to grab a bite – and these cheddar apple hand pies are no exception. They’re a bite-sized take on the traditional apple pie with just a few adjustments to make them feel exciting and new. I served them with a spiced caramel whipped cream that acts as a dipping sauce for the hand pies – made with cinnamon, nutmeg, and rich caramel swirled into a homemade whipped cream made with Hood Heavy Cream. read more