Tag Archives: guests

Blondies

It’s so rare that I sit behind my home computer anymore.  Honestly, these days with work the way it is (insane), the thought of getting back onto a computer sounds about as appealing as having my head shaved. Thus the reason I stay away. Kind of sad actually, because I was given this recipe almost exactly a month ago. I know, I’m pathetic.

I finally give you….

Blondies.

1 ½ c. (7 ½ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
½ t. salt
12 T (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
¾ c. packed dark brown sugar
½ c. white sugar (a little shy of ½ c.)
2 large eggs
1 ½ t. vanilla extract
¾ c. semisweet chocolate chips
¾ c. white chocolate chips

Adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 350 degrees.
Pan prep/trick for easy removal:
Spray 13 x 9-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray. Fold two 16-inch pieces of parchment paper or foil lengthwise so that one piece measures 9 inches wide and the other measures 13 inches wide.
Lay one piece along the length of the pan then the other one across the width of the pan. Make sure to press the paper or foil down into the corners so they lie flat. What you are going for is to have the pieces criss-crossed with rather clean corners in the pan . . . but with extra length hanging over each side. The extra length makes “handles” to remove the blondies after cooking and cooling. Spray the sheets with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Whisk the melted butter and sugars together in a medium bowl until combined. Add the eggs (beat first) and vanilla and mix well.

Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the wet mixture just until combined. DO NOT OVERMIX. Fold in the semisweet and white chocolate chips and nuts, if using.

Turn the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a rubber spatula. Use the spatula to gently pull the batter into the corners and try to get a uniform thickness.

Bake until the top is shiny and cracked and feels firm to the touch, 22 to 25 minutes. Cool the pan completely on a wire rack. Remove the blondies from the pan using the foil or parchment handles and transfer to a cutting board.

Use a large bread or serrated knife to cut into 20 or 24 bars and serve. Hint: To have clean edges, you can use the knife to trim all the way around the bars before cutting into squares.

*Okay, I have to admit, I didn’t follow this recipe exactly. I used bleached flour and light brown sugar because well, I had them on hand. However, even though they tasted fantastic, they weren’t as great as my friend Mark’s version.  So yeah, you might want to actually use the ingredients that the recipe calls for. 

*Ps. I wish I could say I didn’t eat one of those blondies in the photo. Well, actually, technically, I didn’t eat one.  Nope. I ate them all.

Happy Saturday everybody!

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White Trash Wednesday! Bacon Pimiento Cheese

bacon pimiento cheese

My afternoon with Chef Natalie was full of learning, photos, and food, both healthy and white trashy. In addition to the mango-pineapple smoothies, Natalie stepped it up a notch by making bacon pimiento cheese. I’m not sure if you’re aware, and I know Chef Natalie had no clue, but pimiento cheese is nothing short of heaven for me.

For real.

Growing up I thought it was the food of the devil. I mean, the name itself…pimiento…was utterly repulsive. Little did I know it was nothing more than sharp cheddar, pimientos, and mayo. Now that I’m older and wiser, I know the truth.

But Natalie took it one step further. Instead of making the conventional version, she added bacon. And for this, she is officially my new best friend. And although technically pimiento cheese is a tad bit white trash, this recipe is nothing short of a mouthwatering treat.

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bacon pimiento cheese

Bacon Pimiento Cheese
roasted peppers
cholula hot sauce
sharp cheddar, shredded
mayo
bacon
diced chives
salt and pepper to taste

Mix peppers, cholula, cheddar, mayo, salt and pepper well.
Top with crumbled bacon bits and chives.

Serve on garlic bread.

And if I were you, I wouldn’t reserve this recipe solely for your white trash enjoyment, I’d make it for your next tailgating adventure too.

Just sayin’.

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Smoothies by Chef Natalie

Since being healthy is nothing more than an exercise in futility for me, Chef Natalie was kind enough to indulge me by preparing smoothies for our little get together.

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She made us mango-pineapple smoothies.
And because they were so simple to make, I’m already making smoothies for myself. {I know, it’s as if hell has frozen over.}

Natalie made a few simple changes to a normal smoothie recipe and it tasted delicious…and I didn’t even notice that it was in fact completely healthy.

Mango-Pineapple Smoothie
{printable recipe}

frozen mango chunks
frozen pineapple chunks
greek yogurt
honey
vanilla soy milk
2-3 pieces candied ginger, optional

Toss all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth.

{Last night I even prepped a berry smoothie for my morning commute. I’ll be healthy yet…even if it kills me.}
Thanks Natalie for giving me this kick start! My jeans thank you as well.

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Chef Natalie

This whole blogging adventure has opened up a new world to me and in turn has introduced me to some pretty incredible people. One of those people is Chef Natalie, a personal chef here in Atlanta. We met a few months ago at a blogging workshop (don’t judge) and I knew immediately that Natalie could teach me – a lot. Sitting down with her yesterday, she taught me in a matter of minutes how to roast a pepper and garlic. (Disclaimer: I’m a moron in the kitchen.)

natalie

Aside from being incredibly sweet and down to earth, Chef Natalie has quite a passion for food. And not just any food, well thought out meals and locally grown food. She supports several local CSA programs including Taylorganic Farm, Serenbe, and Riverview Farm. (If you live in Atlanta, you can find several of these guys around town at local farmer’s markets.)

My favorite story Natalie tells is that while she was studying Art History in Paris, she began leading tours of her fellow students to Le Cordon Bleu. Guess you could say she was destined to be a chef. She ended up attending the International Culinary School at the Art Institute of Atlanta. And now, she runs her own company, Food Optimist.

Much like my friend Chris, the pastry chef, Natalie is doing exactly what she loves. And not only is she preparing really wonderful food, she’s teaching people like me how to eat well in the process.

Thanks Chef Natalie!

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White Trash Wednesday! Hot Dog & Veggie Stir-fry

A quick thanks to you guys for continuing to forward me some pretty spectacular white trash recipes.  From Becki D’s black ‘n blue pancakes to Amy’s fire pies, you guys do not disappoint.

And this week’s white trash recipe is no different. Thanks to my good friend Lindsey (sadly, no blog to link up, but she was the original guest blogger at YAWYEOR) for shooting the following email to me last night:

“Please make this.  It’s educational too…I had no idea what “julienne” meant.” 

She’s a funny one alright. You’ll understand in a second.

So I clicked on the link and it lead me to this glorious recipe:

Hot Dog & Veggie Stir -fry*

  • 4 to 6 hotdogs or 1 can of SPAM or 8-ounces of baloney
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 4 large carrots
  • 2 or 3 stalks celery
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • Garlic Powder, Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Cooked Rice

“When you prepare this recipe, you may use whichever meat you have available. They all taste good in this recipe. Try to cut the meat into narrow “match-stick” sized pieces. This shape is called julliene. I cut the hotdogs by slitting them long-ways into 4 to 8 long “worms”. Then I quarter them short-ways to get a lot of pretty, skinny julliened hotdogs. Baloney can be stacked after removing the red plastic, and then cut into long skinny strips. Cut the Baloney in half, or thirds the other way and you will have pretty pieces. The SPAM is easy to cut and stack and slice into slivers.

The carrots are cut into narrow slices and then each slice is cut in half. The celery is cut into thin slices and the onion is halved and then sliced into thin half-moons. After preparing the vegetables and meat set it all aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the vegetables. Stir-fry the veggies for at least 5 minutes, or until the onions begin to turn tender. Add the hot dogs or other meat. Cook and stir until the meat browns slightly. Season with Garlic, Salt & Pepper to taste. Add about 2 or 3 tablespoons of water to the skillet. Stir quickly until the water evaporates. There, you are done. Serve the stir-fry over cooked rice. Makes 4 servings.
The spiciness of the meat, the sweetness of the carrots, the subtle bitterness of the celery and the piquancy of the onions make this dish quite good.

VARIATION: If desired you can add 2 or 3 cups of finely sliced cabbage in addition to the other vegetables. Add them to the dish along with the other veggies.

Homemade bean sprouts are also a nice addition. Add them at the end, right before servings. Bean sprouts are best if they aren’t overcooked.”

 Recipe courtesy of the hillbilly housewife.

*Please note that nothing was altered (spelling, punctuation, grammar) so as to not affect the authenticity of this recipe.  It simply is this brilliant.

Happy hump day everybody!

Stumble It!

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{take you…} on a cruise

My parents just returned from what might be one of their best vacations ever. The ‘rents took a cruise around the Mediterranean and saw some insanely amazing destinations…
Rome (my personal favorite), Turkey, Athens, Cinque Terre…you name it, these kids experienced it.

But…because they were on a cruise, this particular vacation was all about the food.
The copious amounts of food.
DSCF3642

The tarts, the danishes, the pasta, the omelets, the lamb, the tuna, the sorbets…
Food was king on this cruise. As I’m fairly certain it is on all cruises.

My creation

So knowing this, why have I never been on one?
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Clearly, this would be my mecca, right?

{thanks to mom and dad for taking tons of pictures so that i could blog about it. you guys are the best!}

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a comment

The other day I received one of the funniest comments this blog has ever seen with a recipe request for Red Velvet cupcakes.

It was too funny not to share. And don’t worry, I asked for permission first.  I swear.

I have to make cupcakes for a family picnic this Saturday and while I love anything related to any kind of cake in a cup, my baking skills are, shall we say, someone get me a Tums awful. Last family function I ruined those pre-made cookies that you just unroll and bake. Yeah, ruined them. I was thinking of trying your black bottom cupcakes because they look fantastic. I had promised though to do a red velvet. Why when I can barely make plain old vanilla, who knows. It probably has something to do with my wanting to live in a house made of red velvet that I eat myself out of. Anyhoo, by any chance, is there a red velvet cupcake recipe that you dig? I figured it couldn’t hurt to ask. Thanks!

So I of course I went on the search for an easy red velvet recipe and a good cream cheese frosting recipe for good measure and sent it onto her.

The other day I received this response: 

Katie, the red velvet cupcakes with the cream cheese frosting were a hit. The family was going in for seconds and you should have seen the looks on their faces when they heard who made them I am officially off the blacklist. Well, for now. I am supposed to make macaroni and cheese next. You don’t know how much wrong you can do to a comfort food until you have had a seat at my dinner table. Ok, gotta run. Just whipped myself up a batch of the cream cheese frosting. Dinner time! Many thanks again for the recipe. If I had your address, my family would be sending you thank you notes and gift cards. I’m pretty sure they are already discussing how they can kick me out and adopt you. If I can’t find my place card at the next family wedding but see one for Katie, I’ll know…

All I know is that not only did this email make me laugh, it made me REALLY, INCREDIBLY happy.  I know there are quite a few of us (you know who you are people) who shy away from picking up the flour and the baking pans, but guess what, you can do it.

It all begins with that first step…and a cute apron.

(For more funnies from Mary, head on over to her blog.)

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