Thursday, September 29, 2011

buffalo chicken dip

i meant to post this about 2 months ago. i made this for my husband to bring in this year's football season. before we met i didn't really care for buffalo anything. i didn't like wings, i didn't like hot sauce, and i never would have imagined hearing myself say that anything "buffalo" was edible, but at times in recent months i have found myself suggesting buffalo chicken whatever not only because i know that my husband will like it, but because secretly i am beginning to like it a lot. 

this dip is really simple and really good!!!... if you like buffalo wing flavor. ;)

Buffalo Chicken Dip

start by baking and shredding 3 chicken breasts and placing them in a 9"x13" pan.

stir in 3/4 a bottle of your favorite buffalo wing sauce. i used texas pete, because it was the
 most cost-efficient 

this is what it should look like. make sure that you don't get it too runny or the consistency of the dip is way too runny to 'dip' in.

1 block of cream cheese
4 oz. blue cheese crumbles
1/2 cup blue cheese salad dressing
(blue cheese with gorgonzola 
is my favorite for this dip)

once smooth, spread over chicken mixture in pan

sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups mexican cheese or colby-jack and dust with paprika 

bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes; until slightly golden brown and bubbly

serve with tortilla chips or 'dipper' of your choice. i personally prefer pretzel thins. 

Buffalo Chicken Dip Ingredients

 3 chicken breasts, baked or grilled and shredded
3/4 bottle buffalo wing sauce of your choosing
1 8 oz. block cream cheese
4 oz. blue cheese crumbles
1/2 cup blue cheese salad dressing
1 1/2 cups shredded mexican cheese mix
paprika (optional)

happy football season!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Coffee Filter Fall Wreath

for about a month now i have been feeling the need to pull out the fall decorations. not only because fall's arrival is a happy reminder that some of my favorite holidays are just around the corner, but also because every time that i arrived home and looked at our front porch, i would see our spring/summer flower basket hanging on the front door and the 4th of july bunting still draped across the porch railing. i knew that if i had something to replace these decorations that i would feel far more motivated to take them down.
i had seen several fall wreaths that i liked on pinterest...

i really liked this rosette burlap wreath

this yarn and felt wreath made me happy too.

but i fell in love with the look of this coffee filter wreath

the day after i bought my coffee filters for my wreath, emily jones of jonesdesigncompany, whose blog is among my favorites, posted this wreath that she had made out of paint-dyed coffee filters. and although it is gorgeous, it seemed a little tedious to me and it wasn't quite as fall-ish as i was hoping to create.

i read the tutortial for the first filter wreath. she said that she had dyed her white coffee filters with coffee, which i thought sounded like a lot of work, especially since they sell beige coffee filters. maybe i'm just lazy, but i went with the less creative, less time-consuming, pre-colored filters for our wreath. and here is how it turned out-

i thought that the wreath needed some color to keep the beige wreath on our beige door from looking so bland. one of my favorite things about fall is all the warm colors, so i found these berries which had the reds and oranges that i adore so much. and i thought that the curly branches were fun and whimsical. 

here is a brief tutorial on making the coffee filter "ruffles" or flowers.

i folded each round coffee filter in half and then into uneven thirds.

i repeated by folding 2 more filters into thirds 

don't crease the folds, you want them to look loose and "ruffley"

pinch the bottom of the 3 coffee filter ruffle 'wedges' and twist a piece of wire around them.

you can either hot glue or wire the filter ruffles to your wreath form.
i twisted mine onto a wire form like this,

but a foam form and hot glue would work just as well.

i wanted my ruffles to look very full, so i ended up using about 175 filters, but if you like the looser look, just use less.
i put the branches and berries on first and then added the filters around them. 
to finish the wreath off, i attached our C monogram with fishing wire.

i thought about taking pictures of the process as i was making it, but i was too focused on getting it finished to take a break to get the camera.

and of course, paisley was a very eager assistant in every step of the wreath making and hanging. ;)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

happy fall y'all!

it's been a while since i posted, but that doesn't mean that i haven't been busily cooking, baking and creating, but simply that life has gotten in the way of my blogging.
 that and the fact that i tend to forget that i have a blog; pioneer woman i am not. ;)
as the weather has been getting cooler and i have been transitioning my wardrobe and my decor towards fall, i have been craving all of the traditional fall foods (some of them making me curious why they are considered "fall foods", but things that i don't really crave in the spring and summer months). i had my first Starbucks PSL (pumpkin spice latte),

a splurge that will most likely not happen again this season as they are now a whopping $4.91. YIKES!! but it was delicious none-the-less.

 i wore my boots and leggings for the first time, and now feel as though i need several more pairs of boots as i had forgotten how comfortable and warm they are. here are a few of my current favs:

and these adorable desert bootie wedges:

and pulled out several jackets and sweatshirts. 
i had very mixed emotions, because i will be honest, i DETEST being cold. but the thought of "new" (stored away) clothes, new foods,  and an approach to thanksgiving and Christmas (my all-time FAV!!!) could not make me happier. therefore, i have decided to embrace fall.

topher (my husband) made the most incredible suggestion that we have soup night every week. i was so excited since i have been pinning soup recipes on pinterest (which if you have not yet discovered pinterest you need to stop everything and head right over there).
*warning*- it is very addictive!

wednesday night has been deemed soup night at our home and
i selfishly decided to start our soup night tradition with my favorite soup- french onion!!! and it was, as always, absolutely heavenly.

Here is the recipe that i concocted up for ours:

French Onion Soup

3 pounds yellow onions, cut into 1/8" pieces
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter (or margarine)
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
2 Tablespoons sugar
8 cups chicken broth
2 Tablespoons flour
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 2 tsp. fresh), ground finely
1/4 cup dry white wine (optional)
8 ounces Gruyere (or cheese of your choice. i also like it with provolone or swiss) cheese, sliced or grated.
1 crusty baguette

It is a little difficult to slice the onion to 1/8" slices, so i will show you how my mother, who is the best cook that i know, taught me how to slice onions many years ago... it's the best method that i have ever seen.

 begin by cutting off both ends of the onion (the "root" and the "stem ends)

 cut through one of the onion "layers" and peel that layer off with the "skin"

cut the onion in half down the center

turn each half on it's side and starting at one side cut into 1/8" slices. the "rings of the onions will then fall apart into thin strips.

like this.

and just a little hint, if you store the onions in the refrigerator and cut them while they are cold, your eyes won't water much, if at all.

melt the butter at medium heat in dutch oven (or a large pot)
*if i haven't yet mentioned it, i am loving every opportunity to use my Le Creuset 'french oven'.

add the onions to the melted butter

 add the salt and sugar

toss to coat onions evenly with butter, salt and sugar. cover and cook for 10 minutes.

remove cover and cook, stirring frequently, for an hour and 1/2. onions will caramelize and turn a lovely brown color. make sure to scrape the bottom of the pot to loosen the dark "caramel" that is forming

once onions are an even brown color add flour and stir for 2 minutes

it will look something like this (although possibly without that eerie looking smokey haze)

add the chicken broth 

add the thyme and bay leaves and bring to a boil.
lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes
[if adding wine, add and simmer 10 more minutes.
add more salt if needed.]

and your soup is ready!!!

at this point ladle soup into oven-safe bowls or small crocks. 
if you like your onion soup with the bread floating on top (which i don't), place a slice of the crusty bread on top of the soup and then grate or place a slice of cheese on top of the soup.

place in the oven under the broiler until the cheese is browned slightly and bubbly.

happy fall y'all!!!