Archive for the ‘Countdown to Christmas’ Category

Merry Christmas!

My Christmas wish this year for you all is to have a year full of love, happiness, laughter and comfort.  May the excitement of the holidays be with you all year long.  May the smile on your face never fade. You’ve all blessed my life in such an amazing way. You’re chosen family and so truly loved

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!

Christmas 2015

With much love and Best Kitchen Wishes!

Lori & Mr. Fantabulous

Countdown to Christmas 2015 Day 1: Sophisticated Green Beans

Let’s dish for a second. If you’re like me you grew up having green bean casserole twice a year – Thanksgiving and Christmas.  And when you did have it, it was made with canned cream of mushroom soup. Okay so I have a few issues with that.

One – why do we only make it twice a year?  We clearly love it like a lot and it’s not difficult to make so why only those two holidays?  I mean this dish is perfect along side of a New York Strip Steak or a Roasted Chicken. It’s a killer side dish or if you’re a vegetarian one awesome entree.  Trust me, I’ve been known to just have this for dinner and that’s it.  Next, the canned cream of mushroom soup.  Why?  No seriously, why?  Because it’s easy?  Yeah no, not acceptable.  Taste should never EVER be sacrificed. Trust me, with this recipe you’ll never buy canned again. EVER.

Sophisticated Green Bean Casserole

So now that I got that off my chest and we all agree to make this more than twice a year and no canned cream of mushroom soup ever again, let’s talk about this recipe.  It was Thanksgiving and while my turkey was roasting away I started working on the sides.  I had a pound of fresh green beans trimmed and was going to cut them up in smaller chunks to make my standard green bean casserole when I decided to go all fancy schmancy (even though I was still in my jammies). This ain’t your Mama’s Green Bean Casserole!

Countdown to Christmas 2015 Day 2: Bacon Cheeseburger Potato Skins

So with Christmas only a few days away making full-blown meals right now is pretty much bust.  With the hustle and bustle of the holidays we’re all about snacking and grabbing small bites versus sitting down for a big meal.  Well that is, until Christmas day.

Bacon Cheeseburger Stuffed Potatoes10

Just a few days ago I shared with you how to make killer homemade potato skins.  And as I told you, they are super easy. Plus they make the perfect edible food vessel! What I love about these potato skins is literally you can stuff ’em with leftovers you have in the fridge.  This recipe happened because I had leftover Triple B (Bacon, Beef & BBQ Sauce) Burgers in the fridge. Since I wasn’t feeling a bun I opted to use some of those puppies in a lovely tater skin.
These are a perfect party buffet food!

Countdown to Christmas 2015 Day 3 – Tuesday’s Tip with The Kitchen Whisperer: Baking Hacks

With Christmas just 3 days away I’m sure you’re fretting to get last minute stuff done. With it being Day 3 of my Countdown to Christmas I’m making today’s Tuesday’s Tip with The Kitchen Whisperer all about Baking Hacks.

So grab your dental floss, your food processor (or blender), your pen and let’s get to hacking.

Hack 1 – Perfect Sliced Cheesecakes

Grab your unflavored dental floss and pull out a long piece.  Hold both ends tight and using a sawing motion slice back and forth down the cheesecake.  You’ll end up with clean even slices.

Hack 2 – Easily remove the skin from hazelnuts

After you heat the nuts in the oven, place the warmed nuts in a kitchen towel. Fold the towel over the nuts and gently roll the nuts around. It may not remove all of the skins but trust me, it’ll save you so much time on what’s left to peel.

Hack 3 – Make your own confectioners sugar

Place standard granulated sugar in a food processor and process until you have a powdered consistency.  Seriously, that’s it!

Hack 4 – Use a cookie cutter as a sprinkle stencil

Place the cookie cutter onto the cake, pour your sprinkles inside the stencil. Gently pick up the cookie cutter and you’ll have clean-lined stencil!

Hack 5 – Avoid Batter Splatters

Make a quick batter splatter guide by poking the end of your beaters (the ends that attach to your machine) into a paper plate and then place the beaters in your machine.  What you’re left with is a paper plate shield between the batter bowl and your machine.

Hack 6 – Remove air pockets from cakes

After you’ve put your cake batter into their pans, pick the pans up and give them a few whacks against your counter. This will release the bubbles, helping the cake to bake more evenly in the oven.

Hack 7 – Decorating without a piping tube

Grab a sterile syringe, fill with your frosting and pipe away delicate lines.

Hack 8 – Prevent Crumbling Cookies

When you remove your cookie sheet from the oven, allow the cookies to rest for a minute or two on the pan prior to moving them to the cooling rack.

Hack 9 – Marshmallows for Frosting Cupcakes

If you don’t have time to make frosting, place a large marshmallow on top of each cupcake the last 5 minutes of baking.

Hack 10 – Make your own colored sugar

See this post/2012/12/04/day-21-countdown-to-christmas-make-your-own-colored-sugars-2012/ for complete details – it’s SUPER simple and a blast!

Countdown to Christmas 2015 Day 7: Beef Shepherd Pie Tarts – Perfect Winter Comfort Food

There is just something truly comforting about shepherd pies especially in the cold winter months. It’s something Mom always made with leftover Sunday roast.  Again that was just one more ingenious way to stretch our money and revamp leftovers into something amazing and new. Full confession though when Mom made mine she made it pretty simple – no chunks of onions, carrots or anything “gross” (i.e., veggies other than canned peas).  Yeah I was that picky kid but as you can see by not only this recipe but all of my other ones, I’ve definitely come a long way.

Beef Shepherd Pie Tarts7

It’s funny as when I was a kid almost all of my friends were the same way – very picky, onions and most veggies were a no-no and dear God if you tried to get us to drink kale smoothies or hummus we would have laughed in your face.  Now that we are a nation of foodies, kids are growing up with a new love of food and even a bigger appreciation of the ingredients.

It doesn’t get any more comforting than Shepherd’s pie!

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