everything bagel popcorn

I’m not the kind of person who can eat popcorn — or any snack, for that matter — as a meal (homegirl needs real food for breakfast, lunch and dinner) but let me tell you, I can definitely pack it in between those times. Sometimes I eat it plain, sometimes I eat it with a little butter and salt, sometimes I toss it with melted peanut butter and/or chocolate and now, I’m going to be eating it like this. Forever and ever. And ever.

My obsession with everything bagels goes way back (back to the dark ages of photography as well, apparently. Apologies to your eyes), so it’s no surprise that I’m a bit smitten with this combination. There are crumbled-up bagel chips, sesame seeds, garlic, onion and caraway seeds in there. Oh, and butter and salt. I mean… when you’ve got those players in the mix, it just doesn’t get much better.

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dad's white chicken chili

In addition to being really into breakfast foods, my dad is seriously into chili.

True story time: One of his semi-real goals is to open up a restaurant that serves chili and hot dogs and call it “Dis Place.” I know. I mean, I don’t know. I don’t know where that idea came from, or why he wants to serve just those two foods, but it’s perfectly quirky and awesome. Just like Dad.

My dad typically makes two kinds of chili: red chili, with loads of beans and ground beef and tomatoes and chopped veggies, and this white chicken chili. The former, I believe, is his original recipe (which I need to share, too, one day) while the latter is a take on Melissa d’Arabian’s recipe. In both cases, my dad is famous for them. Well, in our immediate family, at least. But we’re really big fans.

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creamy shrimp cocktail dip

Hi, hello! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. We celebrated ours with my family in Chicago a day early on Monday, then flew back to Minnesota on Christmas Eve in time for Christmas Day with the husband’s family before he shipped off to work the night shift (blech). Meanwhile, I did my wifely duty by holding down the fort at home, wearing my new pajamas, drinking hot cocoa and watching “Friday Night Lights” on Netflix until I passed out at 9 p.m.

I think it’s safe to say we all need a week to recover from one holiday before diving into the next — New Year’s Eve. But in case you’ve already got that holiday on the brain, I’m here with a yummy-nummy shrimp cocktail-inspired dip for ya. It’s got cream cheese and shrimpies and tangy cocktail sauce and combined it turns into — well, just about the best thing ever, really.

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smoked gouda cheese straws

Merry day-before-Christmas-Eve, friends! I’m going to keep this post short in case you are in the throes of last-minute gift shopping, menu planning, working (boo) or, more hopefully, sitting by the fire with your friends and family enjoying copious amounts of nog and good cheer.

If you’re the kind of people who like to snack throughout the holiday (my family are those people), I highly encourage you to add these smoked gouda cheese straws to the spread. They’re ridiculously simple to make, they taste like cheese and a little like bacon (YES) and you may want to just go ahead and quadruple the recipe below because man, they go fast. As in, I brought them to our Bible study Christmas party last week and left with one straw (which I promptly devoured myself, natch).

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chunky red pepper soup with orzo and herb oil

This was one of those recipes that I could have kept adding more and more “and”s to but I had to stop myself.

Like I could have added chorizo or Italian sausage, making it chunky red pepper soup with orzo AND herb oil AND chorizo/Italian sausage.

And then I thought about adding cheese, making it chunky red pepper soup with orzo AND chorizo/Italian sausage AND cheese.

And then I thought it could also be really really good with bits of potato in it, making it chunky red pepper soup with orzo AND chorizo/Italian sausage AND cheese AND bits of potato.

But I stopped myself because, well, what we have here? It’s pretty darn near perfect as it is.

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classic hot toddy

My amazing, wonderful, hilarious husband, Elliott, decided to take the blog reigns today for a guest post about cocktails (something he enjoys and I enjoy when, you know, I’m not growing an onion in my belly). In case you’re in need of a classic hot toddy for the holidays, for that nasty cold or because it’s got bourbon in it and that’s all you need to know… well, Elliott can fill you in more on how to make this tasty beverage (P.S. photos are still by me so the artist at work had both hands free to create his cocktails).

It’s 28 degrees and snowing in Minnesota today. I’ve just finished raking and bagging the last of the leaves. After my glasses fog up coming back inside, it’s time for something to warm me up. Because leaves are the bane of my existence.

How about something classic? How about something piping hot, sweet and containing alcohol? YES PLEASE.

Not just something classic, the classic. That would be the hot toddy thankyouverymuch (see what I did there, Stephanie?). There’s endless variations, but I like to start with the traditional: bourbon, lemon juice, honey and hot water. So let’s pretend it’s the 1800s and a hot toddy can cure you of that nagging cold or flu. Or the beginning of a long Minnesota winter.

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