Yummy Salmon Burgers with Slaw

Big Guy was traveling for work earlier this week so I planned to sneak some salmon onto the menu.  Knowing that he’s not a fan of salmon, I thought it was the nice thing to do.  These salmon burgers require a handful of ingredients and they are insanely delicious.  But don’t forget the slaw – I think my favorite bites included both the salmon burger and the slaw.  Oh, and dill is mandatory in my opinion.  I adore dill and it really makes this dish shine.

I used canned salmon in this recipe but I do not recommend using Trader Joe’s canned salmon.  Unfortunately, the Trader has disappointed me.  The salmon was filled with lots of bone and cartilage.  Once I worked my way through the salmon, making sure all the foreign objects were removed, the salmon was great.

Anyways, don’t let that above paragraph turn you off from these delicious “burgers.”  Simply mix together the salmon, breadcrumbs (I used gluten-free), eggs, salt, garlic powder and herbs (DILL!) in a bowl.  Shape into patties (I ended up making six small burgers) and cook in a little EVOO on the stovetop until browned on both sides.

While the salmon burgers are cooking, prep your slaw.  Since I was only cooking for myself and no one likes soggy slaw, I only made one serving of the slaw.  Into a bowl:  shredded cabbage, Greek yogurt (I used about two tablespoons), splash of vinegar, salt, garlic powder and a drizzle of lemon EVOO (totally optional). Oh, and more herbs (DILL!).

Serve the hot, crispy salmon burgers on top of the cool, crunchy slaw with a sprinkle of salt.

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So satisfying and so healthy.  And packed with omega-3s which means I’m going to have a super smart baby.  hah.

 

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Spicy Peanut Soup with Sweet Potato and Kale

The snow is finally starting to melt!  It’s been brutally cold and despite the fact that we’re having a major warm-up towards the end of the week, I know that we still have some frigid days in our future.  Big Guy and I don’t eat a lot of soup because we really only enjoy it when it’s cold outside.  However, we both love peanut soup – a soup that is inspired by a West African recipe.

Last night was the perfect evening for soup.  After a day of driving back from Charlotte, we wanted something comforting and cozy yet healthy.  Spicy Peanut Soup with Sweet Potato and Kale comes together in a flash on the stovetop but the recipe has adaptations for both the slow cooker and the instant pot.  There’s no excuse not to make this soup (which is actually more like a stew because of the thickness).

To start the soup, onion, garlic and jalapeño is sautéed in olive oil until softened.  Then you add in the sweet potato.  I cut my sweet potatoes pretty small but you could totally do bigger chunks – especially if you’re cooking this in the slow cooker.  Allow the sweet potatoes to brown just a little bit and then add in the fire roasted tomatoes (juice and all), coconut milk, water, salt, curry powder and peanuts.  Trust me on the peanuts.

This simmers until the sweet potatoes are tender.  Add in the peanut butter and the chopped kale and allow to simmer until thickened and the peanut butter has melted into the entire pot of soup.

Serve with an extra sprinkle of peanuts on top.

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So delicious!  I know peanuts seem a little weird in soup but I can’t stress to you how incredible this dish tastes.

 

Friday Favorites

The first Friday and weekend of 2018 is here!  And I’m really excited about this weekend because I’m having my last baby shower in Charlotte on Sunday.  I’m really excited to see my family, a few friends that I haven’t seen in ages and to celebrate our little girl one last time before she’s born.  Stay warm out there my friends!

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Favorite Warm:  Spicy Peanut Soup with Sweet Potato and Kale.  This is totally happening next week.  I adore peanut soup and this version is loaded with deliciousness while being super healthy.

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Favorite Super Bowl:  Addicting Baked Seasoned Ritz Crackers.  The truth is, I have no idea where we’ll be for the Super Bowl.  For all I know, we could be in the hospital having a baby.  But these crackers are screaming my name.

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Favorite Bake List:  Chocolate Babka Pull Apart Muffins.  This is not the recipe for a quick brunch item.  Instead, this is a kitchen project.  And I think it’s the perfect thing to tackle on one of the weekends leading up to my due date.

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Favorite Look Back:  Hopeful Images from 2017.  Looking back at 2017 can sometimes be horrifying – so much evil.  But I prefer to look at all the wonderful things or little moments of love and compassion.

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Favorite Stash the Freezer:  Yummy Salmon Burgers with Slaw.  Not only do I need to be eating more salmon right now (hello, brain development for BG) but I love salmon and these are the perfect quick lunch or dinner option.  In fact, I think I should make a batch just for the freezer for post-baby.  And while the slaw isn’t something that will last in the fridge for the long, it’s easily pulled together.

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Favorite Football Food:  Super Easy Cheesy Monkey Bread.  Another Super Bowl option!  Carbs + Cheese = Life.

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Favorite Upgrade:  Nike Flex 2017 RN Mesh Sneakers.  My athletic shoes take a beating.  Most days they are the only shoes I wear.  These are not only functional but pretty.

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Favorite Sweet Treat:  Chocolate Chip Cookie Chocolate Bark.  Wow.  That’s really all I have to say about that.

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Favorite Baby Related: Everything We Used & Bought in the First Two Weeks with Our Newborn.  After this weekend, I’ll be in 100% nesting mode.  I need to get the nursery (mainly her clothes and “stuff”) organized along with pack my hospital bag.  And despite all my efforts to be prepared, I know for a fact that we’ll be making an Amazon Prime purchase or two after she’s born.

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Favorite Celebrate:  Spiced Merlot Sparkling Punch.  We went out to lunch last week for Big Guy’s birthday and he ordered the sangria (totally random).  I took a sip and was 100% jealous.  I am so ready to be able to order a cocktail again.

Cheers!

Pimiento Cheese Potato Bites

Do you spell pimiento with an “i” or without an “i”?  I spell it with the “i” but I think either is acceptable.  Except don’t search for a recipe that you know you’ve seen if you don’t know how they spell it.  Once I decided I wanted to make these potatoes last weekend it took me a frustrating amount of time to find the recipe because, well, the blogger and I spell “pimiento” differently.

Anyways, regardless of how you spell “pimiento” these little potato bites are pure deliciousness.  They require a little time and effort but man, oh, man will you be rewarded upon your first bite.  And despite the time and effort, these can be made in advance (up to two days) so all you have to do is bake them when you’re ready.

To start, place your baby potatoes in a pot of cool water that covers them completely plus an addition inch or two.  Cover and turn the heat on high.  Set your kitchen timer for 25 minutes and let them do their thing.  I was unsure of whether this timing would work – but it did.  Perfectly tender potatoes.  Drain.  Allow the potatoes to cool.  I promise you they are much easier to work with once cool.

At this point, make your pimiento cheese filling.  You’ll needed shredded cheddar (do not purchase shredded cheese – do it yourself – I repeat, do not purchase shredded cheddar), pimientos (duh), mayo (Duke’s Light), sliced green onions, celery salt, hot sauce to taste plus salt and pepper.

When the potatoes are cooled, slice them in half and then remove some of the potato making a little hole in the middle.  I found that a grapefruit spoon worked the best for this job.  Have patience.  Do not do this step if you don’t have the time and are feeling rushed.  You’ll only frustrate yourself.

Once all the potatoes are hollowed out, fill them with the pimiento cheese.  I found that an appetizer knife worked best.  You don’t want a mound of cheese because that will make a mess.  Instead, level it off.

I prepped to this step the day before we were having family over.  I simply covered the dishes and let me hang out in the fridge.  On Saturday, I pulled them out and baked at 425 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.

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So addicting!  These would be perfect for a party as an appetizer but they were also perfect for an informal dinner.  I served the potatoes with short rib sandwiches and a big salad.

Oh, and for dessert – red velvet cake.  I didn’t take any good pictures of the cake but I followed the recipe EXACTLY and it was seriously delicious.  As in, you need to make this cake.  The cream cheese frosting is absolute perfection.

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Friday Favorites

Are you ready?  For Christmas, that is.  I can’t believe it’s only three sleeps away.  I’ve checked everything (and everyone) off my list and I’m officially ready for a weekend with family.  I hope all of you have the merriest Christmas filled with love and laughter.

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Favorite Wake-Up:  Overnight Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls.  I adore the flavor of gingerbread (perhaps more than pumpkin spice) and I can only imagine how decadent these would be on a cold morning with a hot cup of coffee.

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Favorite Party Bite:  Pesto Parmesan Sundried Tomato Tartlets.  I’m torn on whether to make an additional appetizer or a dessert for a family gathering tomorrow night.  But if I go with an appetizer, these are in the running.  (p.s. I think the colors are so festive!)

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Favorite Entertaining:  Deck the Palms with a Festive Holiday Brunch.  Obsessed is an understatement.  Adding this brunch theme to my arsenal of ideas!

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Favorite Addicting:  Chipotle Caramel Chex Mix.  I would happily devour an entire bowl of this snack if given the opportunity.  I think you could serve this chex mix at just about any occasion.

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Favorite Slice:  Red Velvet Cake.  Big Guy has two dessert loves:  carrot cake and red velvet cake.  I’ve asked him which one he wants for his birthday and I still haven’t gotten an answer.  But the frosting on this cake has been leaning towards red velvet.

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Favorite Getaway:  I Want To Go There – Graybarns.   There is  no weekend getaway in my near future (#babywatch) but a girl can day dream.  This little piece of heaven is in Connecticut and looks absolutely charming.

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Favorite Sunday:  Four Cheese Spiced Pimiento Pizza.  A weekend getaway might not be happening before baby, but this totally will.

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Favorite Cozy:  French Onion Potato Soup.  Another favorite of Big Guy’s – french onion soup.  I love the addition of potatoes in this version and I’m plotting when I can whip up a batch.

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Favorite Cheat Sheet:  What’s In My Hospital Bag for Baby #2!  I have an ongoing to-do list for post-Christmas/January and packing the hospital bag is one of the items that I plan on checking off the list soon.  I like to be prepared.

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Favorite Spiked:  White Chocolate Peppermint Rum Balls.  Instead of a cocktail, I thought we’d go for a sweet treat with a little booze in it.  I love all things peppermint and chocolate and would love to end a meal on this note.  And no worries, you can totally leave out the rum if you’re not into that.

 

Cheers and Merry Christmas!!!

Coconut Blondies

Good morning, friends!  I can’t believe it’s December already.  This past weekend my sister and Momma came into town (they’re actually still here) for my baby shower.  It was such a treat to be spoiled and loved on by all our local friends and I feel so lucky that family traveled to join us.  I’ll talk more about the shower when I do my pregnancy recap of weeks 30 and 31.  I have one more shower coming up next month and that will be in Charlotte with mostly family.  But today I have a delicious treat for you!

I loved these blondies, Maggie loved them, Momma loved them and Big Guy loved them.  This is a winning recipe.  These sweet treats are loaded with chopped pecans (I used Trader Joe’s roasted and salted pecans) and sweet coconut.  These are in no way “light” but they are delicious and a treat that would be perfect for gifting or having around during holiday gatherings.  The recipe is rather fool-proof and involves mixing together only a handful of ingredients before baking and allowing to cool.

Don’t forget to line the pan with parchment paper – this makes removing the bars and cutting SO much easier.

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I was afraid these bars might be a little too sweet but they were the perfect mix of nutty, sweetness.  Don’t get me wrong – they’re sweet – but one bite won’t send you to the dentist.

Add these to your holiday baking list!  You won’t regret it.

Everything Bagel Breakfast Strata

This past weekend we went to the last home ECU game for the season.  Might I also add that will be my last mimosa-less tailgate for a very long time.  (wink wink)  Since it was a noon game, I went with a breakfast theme for our tailgate meal.  I love a breakfast casserole since you can usually do all the prep work the night before and simply cook it the morning you want to eat the dish.  I deviated a little from this recipe and next time I would do a few things differently, too.

Some changes I made to the recipe:

  • I simply toasted the bagels and tore them – I did not add butter and honestly didn’t really miss the butter.
  • Instead of bacon, I used sausage because that’s what I had in the freezer.  I think bacon would be excellent and might try that next time.
  • Instead of cooked onion, I had plans to add green onion to the casserole.  But I forgot.  Despite cutting the green onion, I completely forgot to add it to the casserole AND forgot to use it as a topping.  I missed the onion flavor a lot.
  • I felt like 2 cups of a half and half was a little out of control – so I used 2 cups of whole milk.  I don’t think it made a difference.
  • The recipe called for a mix of cheddar and gruyere and that’s what I used.  Since I couldn’t taste the gruyere with everything else going on, I think that next time I’d just use cheddar and perhaps dot some cream cheese on top before baking for that extra bagel feeling.
  • Finally, I cheated and used Trader Joe’s Everything But The Bagel Seasoning instead of making my own.  It’s a pantry staple for me these days and I highly recommend using it on your scrambled eggs and avocado toast.

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The casserole was delicious and filling and I love the texture that the bagels brought to the casserole compared to your normal breakfast casserole made with sandwich bread.  The biggest thing I missed with a little onion flavor and was super bummed that I forgot the green onion.  And like I said, I think a little cream cheese would be amazing on top.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I know that this year I’m extra thankful for everything that I have – most importantly my family.

Gobble, Gobble!