Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Holiday Food Inspiration

The Holiday season has to be my favorite time of the year. How can you be sad when there are Christmas lights surrounding you? I love when friends come home from school for breaks, waking up on Saturdays to "Breakfast Bagel Sandwiches"--a Saffell specialty--with my sisters (Becky, you count) and parents, and wearing scarves and coats and all sorts of winter accessories.

Another thing I love about the Holidays, though, is the food. Oh, the food! I think for this one time of year, people are allowed to eat what they want, and indulge with (little to no) regrets. Okay, there's always going to be some regret, but just don't think about it too much and you'll be fine.

So, in honor of the holiday season that I love so dearly, I've compiled some recipes from some of my favorite sites that you can share with your family and friends during the most wonderful time of the year! Some I have tried, some I have not. So if you try something and like it, be sure to let me know!

**Sidenote** Sorry about the lack of pictures. I'm a copyright-phobe (does that even make sense?) and I don't want to use someone else's pictures without permission! That's a BIG no-no. **End of Sidenote**

So, first things first, appetizers!

I think these Cheddar Puffs look to die for. I've always wanted to try them!

Mystery rolls...oh, you don't even KNOW until you've tried them. So simple. So delicious.

Check out these ham and pretzel bites from Pennies on a Platter. Yum! Fiance's been asking about these for a bad, yo.

Confession: I love, love, LOVE mushrooms. Another confession: these look absolutely divine. Smitten Kitchen, always a winner!!

This dip is delicious! Serve it with some pita chips (Stacy's, to be exact) and you'll have everyone begging for the recipe!

Main courses:

Okay, call me crazy, but I think this recipe for Roasted Yorkshire Chicken looks de-lish-us. Super simple way to roast your first chicken! I say that, but I've never roasted a chicken. Maybe this holiday season will be the first? Yeah, doubtful. Also, they're having a Le Creuset giveaway on this post, so hurry on over! Dream come true, I tell you.

I don't know about you, but I'm pretty picky when it comes to lasagna; it has to be perfect in order for me to even remotely enjoy it. This roasted vegetable lasagna, though, looks like it comes pretty darn close to perfection. What could be better than a big helping of lasagna and a nice salad? Nothing. And if you haven't checked out In Good Taste before, you should!! She features lots of weeknight recipes that always look delicious.

Try this sherried tomato soup from none other than PW if you're looking for something to warm your insides. Delicious!! Even with the sherry. I know, right? Scandyyyy.

Nothing screams Christmas like roast beef, right? Okay, maybe not, but I think this herb rubbed version is a nice alternative to the standard roast beef! Served with some mashed potatoes? Yes, please.

Anddd if you're indecisive like me and can't think of just one thing to make, I think this Fantasandwich would be a great idea!! I mean, really. Four sandwiches in one? Please and thank you.

Sides/breads/things you really want to eat but don't know what category they fit in:

Check out this different take on roasted potatoes. Plus, it can function as either an appetizer or a side! I like dishes that are just as indecisive as myself.

I love sweet potatoes. I also love cumin and paprika. Therefore, one can assume that I would LOVE these crash hot sweet potatoes! I've used the spice mix before on sweet potatoes, and it was wonderful. I was just too lazy to do the whole "crash" part. What? I'm a workin' girl.

I know, another potato recipe, but have you heard of hasselback potatoes? I've seen them all over the blogosphere, but have yet to try them. Here's 10 different ways to try them!

Oh dear. These rolls. Melted butter BEFORE you even cook them? Count me in. You can always trust PW to make things non-caloric to spice up your table. Plus, she won a throw-down with Bobby Flay. I think I can trust that these are crazy tasty.

I think this layered salad from Real Mom Kitchen looks delicious! You should also try her parmesan knots. I hear nothing but AMAZING things about those!

I'm not a huge fan of bleu cheese, but this salad looks so good! And what a great way to use pomegranates. Mmmm.

Now for my FAVORITE part! Dessert!

What would Christmas be without hot chocolate? Answer: I'm not really sure, but I don't ever want to be around if it disappears. Here's a new take on a classic! Hot chocolate on a stick. And if you're feeling in the Christmas-giving-spirit, you can make some for your friends, hand deliver them, and have them make you a glass while you wait! See? Sometimes, you gotta think outside the box.

Or, if you're feeling particularly baker-like one day, I think these Mexican Hot Cocoa Cupcakes would be a delicious alternative. Caramel hidden beneath fluffy spiced cream all on top of a chocolate cupcake? Only if I must.

These chocolate caramel tartelettes from Sophistimom look absolutely heavenly. If you've never looked at her recipes, make sure that you're prepared for the onslaught of hunger that accompanies her posts. Her photography is breath-taking! She also made these cupcakes based on the movie Elf. Dear Jaime: stop being so creative. And can you please come take pictures of my food? I think it'll boost my cooking confidence. Kthanks.

What dessert section would be complete without a shout-out to Bakerella? That would be a travesty. While I haven't made this Maple Walnut dessert at home, I can tell you that this is hands-down one of my favorite restaurant desserts. Make it. Now.

I know cinnamon rolls don't necessarily qualify as a dessert, but they should. But who am I kidding, I'd eat them all day every day if I could.

And for all you English majors out there, I think you know what I mean when I say this is an essential Christmas dessert. Known as "Goo" in our department, this stuff disappears in two seconds flat. If someone feels the need to sneak some of Dr. Agan's Goo back for me to T-town, I wouldn't mind one bit.

So there you have it! My wayyyy too long-winded list of holiday food inspirations! Hopefully, I'll make some of these soon and I'll be able to give you reports on how they taste!

In the mean time, what's one of your favorite holiday recipes? Is there one thing that you have to have every year? Or something that's become a tradition in your family? Please share! Especially if it's a tasty recipe. I wouldn't hate that at all.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Registering and Le Creuset

I've been told on more than one occasion that registering for wedding schtuff single-handedly makes up the most stressful part of wedding planning...I can understand that, but why? Is it because of conflicting decorating styles? (Probably.) The groom-to-be registering for silly things like frozen food? (Most likely.) Or is it because the future bride wants anything and everything she sees? (There we go.)

I know that the registering process won't begin for Fiancee and I for a while, but I still find myself taking notes at Target. From bath towels to a new Wii, I picture our future life together which, by the way, is always EXTREMELY well-decorated and always involves food. But I bet you could guess that already. But the question I find myself asking the most is "What exactly are we allowed to register for?" Am I really allowed to register for a Wii? Or do I just stick with the normal bedding and kitchenware items?

And then I begin to wonder, how much is too much? How many place settings to I register for? 8? 12? Do I dare register at Williams-Sonoma, hoping and praying that someone gets me a Le Creuset 5 1/2 quart round dutch oven in Caribbean, only to be disappointed because I know it's way too expensive? Do I register for every-day dishes AND china?

Then, I thump myself on the head, knowing that I always ask way too many questions and stress out way too soon. You register for what you need, Kayla. Not what you want. Even though a Wii would be SUPER nice (hello, instant Netflix), I know that's not something Fiancee and I need from the beginning. We have our laptops, we'll have a TV, and that should be enough.

Plus, Christmas is coming up. So maybe the things we want and don't necessarily need could be asked for now. Or, let's be real, I don't have any problem hitting up eBay for a used Wii. No shame.

So for now I'll just take notes, looking at the things we'll need (like dishes) and not what we (okay I) want (like a Le Creuset 5 1/2 quart round dutch oven in Caribbean). But that leaves me with a question...what are things you wish you had registered for? Or maybe wish you hadn't? Did you regret registering for both china and every-day plates? (That's seriously a battle in my head). Or did you regret registering for too much? I'm all ears for words of wisdom.

I hope you had a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving holiday!

And just in case you were wondering....this is a Le Creuset 5 1/2 quart round dutch oven in Caribbean. Just in case you needed a visual.

Beautiful, ain't she?