Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sweet Treats for Fall!

This post is just plain mean.  I apologize to you, and I apologize to myself because I have to fit into a bathing suit for my birthday trip in less than 2 months. But these desserts are too good not to share. TOO GOOD! There's just something about the fall that gives me the itch to bake and fill the house with warm and cozy smells. These recipes are filled with the smells and tastes of fall, and I'd like to bite right in and embrace the season! A few flavors you can expect: 

Pumpkin ('s basically the food mascot of fall)
Doughy Goodness

Does it get better than that? I think there's a portion of our brain (or stomachs) that immediately starts craving pumpkin once the calendar strikes September. At least mine does.

So, I'm sorry. I'm really sorry, but everyone has to indulge once in awhile! Just plan to run an extra mile this weekend (or 3). 

How amazing do these Cinnamon Rolls On A Stick look like? Just dip them in the glaze. What else would you do?

A Pumpkin Parfait in a mason jar is pure beauty...

Oh man...this Pumpkin Granola is calling my name...Crunch, Crunch, Pumpkin. Crunch, Crunch, whoops, I ate it all.

I LOVE Seven Layer Bars, also known as Magic Bars. Adding pumpkin to these would make them even more magical!

These Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars look insane too... would you like to wake up in the morning with one of these beauties?
They're Apple Cinnamon Roll Muffins!

These Carrot Zucchini Bars almost look healthy, but I'm pretty sure they're not. But they're freaking delicious looking, that's for dern sure.

In the Pull-Apart category, I've got two delicious, doughy treats that will blow your mind. 

This Apple Walnut Pull-Apart has been re-pinned and posted about 1 million times, so you know it's gotsa be good.

Finally, adding pumpkin to a Pull-Apart is literally one of the greatest ideas ever. Check this out and tell me you're not drooling...

Maybe this post was a little gluttonous. Maybe you're mad. Well, come a little...A little pumpkin won't do you any harm :)
As they say here in the South,
 "It's Fall, Y'all!"

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Pinworthy Pins!

With the title of Pinworthy Pins, I'm referring to Pinterest, of course. You've probably heard of it, because honestly, who hasn't!! Pinterest is an online pin board that everyone is using to pin stunning images of all things pretty. It's used for the following:
Planning dream weddings, decorating fake homes, baking decadent desserts, and other things of the sort. It's also used for planning elaborate tablescapes, providing supreme inspiration for weight loss junkies and marathon runners, creating home DIY projects galore and suping out your holiday decor. It's basically a conglomeration of all the most fun and fabulous things ever. Frankly, I don't know how I planned my wedding without it's magical images. While I'm not the biggest Pinterest pinner ever (I'm on it a ONLY a few times a week, as opposed to many of my friends who are on it a few times a day (you know who you are!). I consider that an accomplishment in itself.) 

Here are my latest finds, in all categories under the sun. We're talking food, parties, decorations and fashion. It's randomly Pin-tastic. 

Fall Soups are back. As if they've ever been out.
 Beer Cheese Soup served in a Bread Bowl. Isn't this ridiculously, ridiculously good looking, Zoolander style? It's the perfect football watching accessory.

This Roasted Cauliflower with Aged White Cheddar is a beaut in itself. I'm calling this a health food.

Get in the spirit of Fall with pumkins. And get in the spirit of life with glitter, because glitter makes everything better. This is a fabulous, easy, DIY project for the season.

 For a more complicated pumpkin DIY project that's just as glamorous, try making these DIY Chevron Pumpkins. Holla!

Well aren't these Candy Corn Rice Krispy Treats adorable? 

How clever is this pink nail polish for an "It's a girl" baby shower party favor? And who can't use more nail polish, right?

And we've all heard of red velvet...but how about Blue Velvet Cupcakes for an "It's the boy" party favor?

If I owned this dress, I would sleep in it. Yes, the big bow would probably get all in my face at night, but it would be sooo worth it. Gorgeous.

This dress will go well with the new lightened hair color I'm planning to rock for my upcoming 30th bday.
It's nothing too drastic, but Jessica Alba rocks it.

Oh coffee, how I love the  morning, in the afternoon, with dessert at a fancy meal. 
Caffeine - you complete me.

BAHAHAHA. I've literally lost circulation in my arms to get bags up to my condo in one trip.
 Who's with me?

Here's one of my fave pins of all time, in the fashion of the "Keep Calm" posters...TRUE DAT, right?!

There is so much random goodness to be found on Pinterest, and while it is most certainly a total time suck, it is filled with glorious inspiration. I hope this starts your week off on an inspiring note!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sam Adams Beer Dinner

Happy Tuesday (almost Wednesday)! In honor of Mr. Fo's birthday this past weekend, this post is going to be about beer. More precisely, a beer dinner. Over the summer, Mr. Fo landed a sweet gig and he is now working for the Boston Beer Company, which makes the deliciously delicious Sam Adams beer. For those of you that know him, this is his dream job times a million, so it was only appropriate to celebrate his day of birth accordingly. And side note, Sam Adams Oktoberfest rocks the house.

The uber fun Sam Adams website has tons of food recipes on their website that use their products, and they often host beer dinners. A beer dinner is similar to a wine dinner but each course is paired with a different beer instead of a wine. Beer is also used in the preparation of each course. For those of you who may not know or who may be solely wine snobs, the craft beer world has absolutely exploded; beer dinners, beer tastings and beer nerds are running rampant. I fully support this movement. In a show of support, I created a beer birthday dinner using Sam Adams product. Here's the deets:

Preview pic - bacon soaking in beer. That's right.I hope you get the point that I'm not messing around here.

First up - create cute Sam Adams menu:

Next up - clear crap off kitchen table. Unfortunately, couch eating at the coffee table whilst watching reruns of Law & Order: SVU (I miss you Stabler!) are not cool for birthday dinners. Or anniversary dinners. So basically, we eat at the table for birthdays, anniversaries, and when we're trying to impress guests. 
Which equals not that often.

Programming Note:  We might normally be couch/coffee table eaters, but I break out the wedding china and crystal candlesticks for special events. Honestly, if I don't do it then, they will never get used, and I adore my wedding china. I thank my Mom and Aunt for gently forcing me to put the china on my registry when I proclaimed "I'll never use it." I heart my wedding china and would take it to a dessert island. For reals. 
Dear Martha Stewart for Macys: 
Thanks for making a beautiful pattern that will never go out of style and that I use 5-7 times/year. 
You're worth it, just like L'oreal.

Enough rambling, more food talk. Got it. First up, I made a delicious cocktail using Angry Orchard Hard Cider, a Sam Adams product that is delectable. The Crisp Apple flavor tastes like apple picking, if apple picking had a taste. Blend Crisp Apple with a shot (or two) of Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum for an Angry Captain cocktail that tastes way more delicious than it does angry.

I chose to make two carbs, because carbs make everything better. Plus, on your birthday you can eat as many carbs as possible without repercussion, it's a birthday fact.

Side note, if it was possible to drink this beer dressing, I would. I guess technically I could drink it...hmm...

Meat: I got me some delicious filets from the fab Reid Fine Foods meat counter and used this

Vegetables: Clearly we needed something green on the plate, yes? So i whipped up a good amount of sauteed spinach. Admittedly, I did cook bacon pieces in beer and add it to the spinach, but it's not like it takes away from the spinach's health advantages. Don't judge. It was his birthday.

Here are pictures of our gourmet beer dinner, including a shot of the filet that I may or may not have seared the crap of on my cast iron pan. Some good information for those of you (like me) who lose track of time while cooking and leave cast iron pans on the stove for a bit too long- it's not possible to over-sear a filet, it was as delightful as could be.

I don't know about you, but I can smell the Sam Adams through the computer. MMM...hops and barley.

Next up - Dessert. Because we needed dessert, obviously. We hadn't had enough food. I'm sorry to say this was a) the one course that didn't have Sam Adams beer and b) this was store bought cake. 

The horror! The shame! Let me just explain the store bought situation. Typically I make Mr. Fo a homemade carrot cake for his birthday that is quite frankly, a pain in the arse to make. But I do it, because that's the kind of gal I am. (Maybe I want heaps of praise afterwards, but still, I do it. And that's all that counts)

This year I knew we were having carrot cake cupcakes the next night, PLUS, this meal was kind of intense. And I'm a busy lady. So when I was at Reid's picking up the filets, I saw these amazing cakes that Mr. Fo and I had taken home one time. They're multiple layer cakes in a chocolate flavor or a caramel flavor, made by a clearly talented woman in South Carolina. So when I say store bought, we're really saying that I'm supporting an independent, local baker. And if you've ever tried this cake, you would never bake anything on your own again. I may or may not have gotten one huge slice for EACH of us, which was really not a great idea, but we may or may not have each polished it off. We knew it was a bad idea, but we did  it anyway. 
At this point, why hold back, right?

Then we fell into a food coma. Whatevs. 

The next night we celebrated with great friends at VBGB, a fabulous beer hall in Charlotte with yummy food, a great patio, and tons of brews. I brought these adorable cupcakes (made by another independent baker here in Charlotte) with Beer Mugs on top. They were excellent tasting and fantastic looking to boot!

We totally sang Mr. Fo Happy Birthday and then we posed for a pic. Love this guy...don't you?
I'm so glad he was born :) 

Photo by jackiefo

If this post seemed slightly delirious it's because life's been a little crazy lately with work and events. I've got lots 'o events/weddings this fall, including a wedding I just booked that's in less than 2 weeks. For serious! But I'm always happy to help a bride in need! 
I hope your week is going great so far!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

It's Time For Football...Food, That Is!

If you follow my blog (and I sure hope you do), you know that I love any excuse to eat food, talk about food, look at food and make food for other people. So clearly, I love football season, because it basically involves eating lots of food. And watching football, of course. The food for football season basically consists of bread, cheese and various variations of the aforementioned bread/cheese combo. Since bread and cheese are pretty much my culinary lifelines (along with wine, as if that needed to be said),
football season = happy season for this gal. 

Here are some yummy recipes guaranteed to make this football season a little more scrumptious.

Mmm....homemade pretzels, I'm making these faster than I can throw a perfect spiral. Since I'm pretty sure I can't throw a spiral, I'll be making these asap. For shizzle.

These mini chili bites are simply adorable! Just cut off the top of a dinner roll and hollow it out, then fill with chili for a delightful game day treat.

Football season is the perfect time to break out the pumpkin flavors, so why not whip up some easy peasy pumpkin pie chex mix to snack on during the big game. For full disclosure, I'm going to admit that I probably will never make this because if I do, I will eat the entire thing in one sitting. That's pretty much a guarantee.
If you make this devilish treat, let me know how it turns out!

Let's do a big switcharoo from pumpkin to poppers...jalapeno poppers, that is. How about this delicious popper dip...

...Or these popper crescent roll-ups. Just do as the picture says and "pop 'em like they're hot..."

I've got three words for you... Fried. Cheese. Balls.
 'Nuff said.

How cute are these cornbread/chili mason jars? The lesson here is that just because it's football season doesn't mean it can't be adorbs. 

I'm going to go ahead and say that the next item is probably the MOST unhealthy food I've ever put on my blog. It's a loaded baked potato dip, which is made with cheese, sour cream, bacon and you dip it with...wait for it....waffle fries. Does anyone else find this appetizing and slightly disgusting at the same time?

For some other football food ideas, check out my latest Tablespoon article HERE that celebrates all things football-food related.

I hope you're planning to enjoy at least one of these cheesy, delicious football recipes this weekend while you watch the games. I'm hoping that my Panthers put on a better showing than they did last weekend...yikes...that wasn't pretty. In other Fo household news, it's Mr. Fo's birthday on Saturday and I've got a fun weekend planned including a delicious dinner I'm whipping up!
I'll report back next week with all the deets!
 Have a great weekend! 

Monday, September 10, 2012


I know, I know. It's been over a week since I've posted. But I took a little break for awhile...and now I'm back! Just needed some time to ease into September..and frankly, I got a little lazy. My deepest apologies. But, you're in luck, because I'm going to do a week in review post, and you'll see what I've been doing all this time. So it will be like I was with you the whole time :)

I enjoyed spending gobs of time on this new find - a website called Rustic Wedding Chic. For pictures of dreamy barn weddings, vintage farm weddings and all things crafty and DIY, you'll drool over this site. Block out a few hours.

One of my favorite finds from this site that's simply perfect for Fall? These apple place cards... to which I quote, from one of my favorite movies, Good Will Hunting:

"How 'bout them apples?" says a very young and very handsome Matt Damon.

Also, not sure if you heard, but my town of Charlotte, NC hosted the Democratic National Convention last week. No matter what your political affiliations may be, having a huge event hosted in your city is pretty cool (even with the increased traffic). My Twitter feed was blowing up with celeb sightings, although I really didn't see any myself despite my BFF Kalle spending some time at the DNC celeb stalking. We straight up stalked, and it poured down sideways rain but we didn't even care. Real celeb stalkers will stalk through rain or shine. See below for rainy evidence...I'm the wet dog on the left :)

Somehow the President Obama made completely out of sand survived the rain...

Michelle Obama rocked her convention clothes, as per usual. My favorite look was the night of her speech...that dress? That hair? Those biceps! Can we just vote for her??

In other big world news this week, my precious niece and goddaughter Brookie had her first day of preschool. Look at this little angel!!!

 Here she is totally cheesin' at the front door. LOVE this little one! Side note - that enormous backpack had a lifetime supply of pull ups in it. That's it. How awesome is that?!

One of my fab Fall brides sent a a gorgeous invite my way (love getting real mail, another perk of the job). I simply adore this whimsical calligraphy!

And she ordered these invitations (which came on a super heavy, gorgeous paper) from Delphine Press which is a GREAT online site for invitations.Word of advice to brides who might be hesitant about ordering online invitations - DON'T BE! If you pick a reputable site and order paper samples from the site before placing your order, you will be totally fine and you'll save money. These invites are amazing and so is the paper quality. Score!

 After living in beautiful Charlotte, North Carolina for 15 years (with a 4 year Ohio hiatus for college), I have yet to find good NJ/NY quality pizza. I think I might have found it...maybe not IT, but it is DAMN close! If you've been on a quest for thin crust pizza that will transport you back to your Jersey days, you must try
 Zucca Pizza in South End. Side note, the owners are from NY, so you totally know they're legit.

Next up, I did a little shopping for football season. Despite our abysmal showing in the season opener this past weekend, I think the Panthers could really shine this year. And if they don't, my bedazzled koozie definitely will. 


And so will my brand new Panthers trucker hat. Insert Panther growl HERE.................

Finally, let's talk about food. Because it's my favorite part of most days. I made my first pot of gravy (tomato sauce for the non-Italian layperson) for the Fall.

And I used the gravy to make some seriously ridonk baked ziti. It's perfectly perfect comfort food.


Finally, I closed out the week with something sweet. I've been dying to make these "light" Lemon Squares from Cooking Light. They took the calories down by 1/2 and it didn't suffer on the taste. I heart lemon squares, and the tangy lemon flavor did NOT disappoint. The recipe is HERE, and you can make them even if you're watching your already beautiful figure. 

 So, in short, that was my week. I hope you enjoyed the review. I hope this week is filled with more fun, food and adorableness. Oh, and some blog posts :)