Thursday, February 28

Oven Baked Sriracha and Beer BBQ Chicken Wings and Pasta Salad for Tom

I don't have a lot of friends I have stayed close with over the years. Since getting married and having kids the few close friends I did have have grown distant. We all have our busy lives and it is hard to make time for drinks or a coffee date when you have kids and jobs to schedule around.

My childhood best friend Halley and I
Though we may not talk every day like we used to, or see each other more than once a year.... I know my childhood best friend Halley is always there. Halley and I met in 1995 when she moved to my hometown. Through  middle school and part of high school Halley and I were inseparable. Sleep overs, trips to Boston, concerts, amusement parks, road trips to the Midwest, the first time I had an adult beverage and cried on her kitchen floor because I was a drunken idiot, beach days, late nights in the "cabin", all fun times.

So many of those memories include her dad Tom. I spent a lot of weekends at his house with Halley. I always thought he was the "cool" dad who let us eat junk food, brought us on trips to Boston, talked to us about music, brought us to a concert or two. I think I always liked him because he talked to us like friends or equals. He wasn't the kind of parent that was always harping at us and I think he genuinely enjoyed the company if his kids and their friends. 

When Halley called me on Tuesday afternoon to tell me her dad died. I was heart broken for her, for her sister Kelly and for him.

When I found out what the cause of death was it hit me kind of hard. He died of a brain aneurysm. When I was 16 my dad suffered from a brain aneurysm. For a bit there, we all thought he was gone. Luckily for him and for us they were able to preform a brain surgery to clamp the bleeding. My dad is one of the few lucky ones. Though he did not walk away completely "normal" afterwards. He will be disabled the rest of his life but at least he is here with us still.

Halley, Me and our friend Chantal at Six Flags on my 16th Birthday... Tom took the picture.
The summer my dad had his aneurysm, things in my family were a mess. My mom was taking care of my dad and working a full time job. My brother and I were bratty teenagers, and my younger sister a complete monster (sorry James... you were). Being home was not fun.  That summer Halley planned a trip to celebrate my 16th birthday, her dad being our chaperone for the weekend... they took me to Six Flags New England. It was so much fun. I think that was one of the last times I spent much time with her dad as a kid. Years later the summer I got married.... he took Halley and I out to eat a little Mexican place near his home. We ate and had a beer.... and I remember thinking... how cool... we are old enough to be sitting down  having a beer with Tom.

Because I love food so much a lot of my memories revolve around them. I connect food to almost every person in my life and every event. I turned to the foods that remind me of Halley's dad. When were kids he always made BBQ Chicken and Pasta Salad. To this day... two of my favorite foods and I always always think of Tom when I'm making it.

Halley and Tom at Halley's wedding in 2012

For my pasta salad recipe inspired by Tom you can check out this later post for Kitchen Sink Pasta Salad. His was very similar to this, he used a bottle of Italian dressing, some oil and vinegar, broccoli, tri colored pasta. I added some more "kitchen sink" items to this salad. But you get the idea....

Because I did not know what kind of sauce Tom used for his chicken I decided to make my own.... I'm sure he'd  be down with my changes... there's beer in there. I know he'd give me a high five for that ;)

Oven Baked Sriracha and Beer BBQ Chicken Wings
Chicken recipe is inspired by Tom Byers BBQ Chicken, recipe for the sauce from The Beeroness 

1.5-2 lbs chicken wings
1 1/2 cups BBQ sauce (recipe for Stout and Sriracha BBQ sauce)


Preheat oven to 350.

Place chicken in one layer on 1-2 baking sheets. Bake for 30 minutes or until browned.

Remove from oven.  Increase temp to 400

Brush each wing liberally with sauce, pour any remaining over the top of the wings. Return to oven for 15 minutes.

Cheers Tom.


Wednesday, February 27

Mini Brownie Waffles

I am so excited to have my good friend Lauren, from Climbing Grier Mountain guest posting for me today. Lauren and I have been bloggy friends for a bit now and got to spend the weekend together up at Mixed. She's funny, adorable, and the girl knows how to cook! I just know you all will love her blog as much as I do! 


Hi, friends! I'm Lauren Grier, author of the food and lifestyle blog  Climbing Grier Mountain (CGM). On CGM, you'll find delicious recipes like baked chocolate doughnuts with brown sugar frosting, mini naan pizzas, and pork belly deviled eggs.  You'll also discover a few twists and turns as I document life's crazy shenanigans from the Mile High City. So stop by and say hello! 

I'm thrilled to be guest-posting for Carrie today. Carrie is a true gem. I met Carrie last year while attending the food blog conference, Mixed, located where the famous movie Dirty Dancing was filmed. Carrie, along with Kirsten, Katie, and I were roomies. To say that we had a blast making watermelon cakes, reenacting scenes from the movie, and eating truck loads full of swag candy, would be an understatement. When Carrie asked me to guest-post for her, I decided to jump in and help her carry the watermelon!

We won't be talking watermelons today, although I could use a dose of spring or summer right now! Seriously, what's up with all these mega snow storms? Can Mother Nature just simmer for a couple of weeks? Maybe take a vacation? I hear St. Bart's is great this time of year.

Anyways, growing up I loved toasting a couple of Kellogg's Eggo waffles for breakfast. I would smear butter and drizzle warm maple syrup all over the top. It was a moment of true sugary bliss before I headed off to school. Well, since I can't live in my yoga pants the rest of my life (someone dare me, please?), I thought I would reserve waffles for a special treat. Enter, the mini waffle brownie! 

I should issue a warning: if consumed there is a 99% chance you will dance Gangnam style afterwards. These mini waffle brownies are chock full of butter and chocolate, and then garnished with a vanilla frosting and a sprinkle of coconut flakes. Holy sweet treat heaven! The secret to the success of these mini waffles is to use about a 1/4 cup of batter and ladle it into one section of the waffle iron. You have to be patient and wait a little longer than your regular waffle batter to finish cooking.While you wait, indulge yourself and dip your finger and lick some delicious vanilla frosting.

Once finished, grab your blue tuxedo jacket, black shades, and bowl of frosting because it's about to get Gangman-y (Wait. Is that a word?) up in this kitchen! 

Thanks for letting me guest post today, Carrie! Cheers!


Lauren Grier 

Mini Chocolate Waffle Brownies with Vanilla Frosting and Coconut Flakes

(adapted from the Roder Family Cookbook)

Makes about 15 mini waffles

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 2 minutes

for the waffle brownies:
2 sticks unsalted butter
4 (1oz.) squares unsweetened chocolate
4 eggs, room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1.5 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

for the vanilla frosting:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt 
2 cups confectioners sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract

Unsweetened coconut flakes, garnish 

for the waffle brownies:
In a medium saucepan, melt butter and chocolate together over medium-low heat. Once melted remove from heat. Cool slightly. Add the eggs, one at a time beating slowly until combined. In a large bowl, mix together flour and sugar. Gently add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in batches. Once combined, add the vanilla. 

Preheat a waffle maker. Pour about 1/4 cup into one section of the waffle maker. Cook for about 2 minutes or until the batter is firm. Remove waffle and place on a plate to cool. Repeat until batter is gone. 

for the vanilla frosting:
Cream butter with 1 cup of sugar. Stir in vanilla, almond extract, and salt. Frosting will be thick. Add 2 to 3 more tablespoons milk, stir well. Frosting will be runny, now stir in the other cup of powdered sugar. Stir or mix well. If too thick, add more milk. Keep adding milk and sugar to desired spreadable frosting consistency.

to serve: take one of the mini waffles and spread about 1 tablespoon of the vanilla frosting on top. Garnish with coconut flakes!

Go check out Lauren's blog Climbing Grier Mountain. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.


Tuesday, February 26

Milk Chocolate Cadbury Mini Egg Brownies

The day after Christmas, Walmart started selling Cadbury Mini Eggs and other Easter favorites. To some they were annoyed. "Can't we have Valentines Day first? Or at least take down the Christmas Trees?"

Not me! I welcome it. I could bypass all of the Valentines Day treats for a couple extra months of Cadbury Bunny deliveries. It has been SO hard to hold off posting treats that include my all time favorite candy. I LIVE or those candy coated chocolates. (A tad dramatic I know... I just really really really love them!)

Last year I shared some blondie cookie bars filled with mini eggs that were a huge hit. Today they are my #2 viewed post of all time. So I guess I am not alone in my love for mini eggs.

Bakeaholic Mama's Cadbury Mini Egg Blondies

The brownies I have today are the best fudge brownie recipe you will ever make. It is true. I am not just tooting my own horn. They really are THE. BEST. You really can't tell if they are brownies or fudge. They are dense, chocolaty, and then have the nice crinkly top you want in a brownie. To take them up a notch I tossed in a left over mini egg bag I had up in the cupboard. I knew if I did not get rid of those eggs soon I was going to eat them all. By putting them in the brownies... I could share the mini egg love. The brownies would then be cut up and sent to my husbands work. It was a win for his employees... and a win for my waistline.

If I had it my way I would have included WAY more mini eggs,  the written recipe has calls for a tad more than pictured here. Trust me when I say more is more when it comes to Cadbury chocolate!

Milk Chocolate Cadbury Mini Egg Brownies


1 cup of butter 
3 oz chopped milk chocolate
1/2 cup unsweetened coco powder
1  1/4 cups of sugar
3 eggs
2 tbs vanilla extract
1/4 a cup of plain Greek yogurt.
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp salt

1 cup chopped Milk Chocolate Cadbury Mini Eggs 


In a small sauce pan melt butter and milk chocolate together. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

In a medium mixing bowl mix sugar, eggs and vanilla extract together. Whisk in the butter mixture. Using a rubber spatula mix in flour and salt. Once combined fold in Greek yogurt.

In a parchment paper lined 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish spread brownie batter on the bottom. Sprinkle chopped mini eggs on the top. Bake at 350 for about 30-40 minutes. Or until a tooth pick is inserted and comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before slicing. 

If you love Cadbury Easter Candy as much as me... check out some of these recipes as well.

Cadbury Cream Egg Milkshake via Chocolate Moosey
Coconut Macaroon Nutella Cookie Nests via Two Peas and Their Pod
Cadbury Easter Egg Bark via Tutti-Dolci
Cadbury Egg Cupcakes via Around My Family Table 
Skinny Coconut Cupcakes via Skinny Taste 
Cream Egg Brownies via Hidden Ponies 
Cadbury Cream Cupcakes via Chocolate & Carrots
Cadbury Cream Egg Brownies via Love and Olive Oil 
Cadbury Mini Egg Cheesecake Bars via Buttercream Blondie
Homemade Cadbury Cream Eggs via Not Without Salt
Cadbury Cream Cookie Cups via In Katrina's Kitchen
Cadbury Cream Egg Cupcakes via Warm Vanilla Sugar 
Cadbury Cream Egg Ice Cream via Chocolate Moosey
Cadbury Mini Egg Scones via My Love For Cooking 
Mini Cadbury Cream Egg Brownies via I am a honey bee 
Cadbury Egg Fudge via Shugary Sweets 


Sunday, February 24

Brown Butter Peanut Butter Chocolate Pretzel Krispie Treats

Rice krispie treats are hands down the best treat on earth. They take 5 minutes to make 30 to harden and they are just as satisfying as any sweet confection that can take hours to bake and assemble.

This week for Sundays With Joy we did Joy the Baker's Brown Butter Peanut Butter Krispie Treats. It's a traditional krispie treat made with cereal, marshmallows but instead of just melting butter she browns it and adds a 1/2 cup of butter to the mixture. To  add my own twist on her treats, I melted 1 cup of chocolate chips and smeared the tops of each treat and topped with salty pretzels.

I also spread my treats out a tad thinner using the biggest cookie sheet I could find. Reason?
The only complaint I have about rice krispie treats made in a traditional 9x13 or 9x9 pan is that they are too thick and require a lot of mouth action. To bite into a thick treat I cut the roof of my mouth up! They are too crunchy so I wanted them to be thinner to avoid tearing up my mouth!
To get Joy's complete recipe you will have to snag your own copy of her book Joy the Baker Cookbook: 100 Simple and Comforting Recipes. After you do, come check out my super duper fun group of bakers Sundays With Joy. Every other week we tackle one recipe from Joy's Book and share our results through blog posts or pictures. To join just click ~ Sundays With Joy Facebook Group.


Saturday, February 23

A Week In My Life

For those of you who do not follow me on Instagram... Here is a recap of my week through photos!
I reached 100,000,000 pages views in 1.5 yrs of blogging. Woo to the freaking who!

My girl has got style.... she rocks her dad's skateboard helmet like no other.

My 6 year old has a girlfriend.... which is why he blow dries his hair now....
Yeah, this 5 minute thin crust pizza rocked my world.

This is what happens when you buy TP in bulk. 4 year old boys build towers....

I spent a good chunk of one day cleaning dishes while dry heaving. Hubs likes to let food rot in his car and desk...
My new MAC lipstick rocks. All day wear never fades!

Oh look! She loved seeing Mama try new lipstick... so she got into the make up. Her hair is now dyed hot pink.

I don't want to brag.... but I make kick $%@ brownies... recipe post Tuesday.

If you do not follow me on Instagram you should! Fun stuff... check out my profile by looking up at the top right hand corner of my blog... see that little camera? just click!


Friday, February 22

Salted Caramel Brownie Bites

All of you moms out there know what it's like to try and lose those extra pounds and the kangaroo pouch after the babies are born. I find myself counting calories, working out.. and the entire time I am dreaming of things filled with ooey gooey chocolate, slathered in caramel. It's a problem. What does a mom who loves brownies, but wants to spend the summer in a bikini do ?

My solution? Make the brownies!

But only a small batch. If you are like me you... things with caramel and chocolate do not stand a chance. You have issues with self control. That big 9x13 pan of fudgy goodness is going to be eaten. It just happens and before you know it. You are look at My Fitness Pal and just weep because you have gone over your 1220 calorie goal by.... 1000. Those brownies will squash the hopes of wearing a bikini at the beach this summer. Instead of a 6 pack... you will gain a double chin.

However the smaller batch of brownies made in a mini muffin pan, will ensure you only have a bite or two. Yes you might go over your calories a tad.... but nothing in comparison to that 9x12 pan of brownies. The hopes of sun bathing on the beach might just happen after all!.... Who am I kidding, I have three kids... What's relaxation in the hot sun like?

Today to help my friend Rachel from Rachel Cooks out I am guest posting on her blog. Come get the recipe for my Salted Caramel Brownie Bites!

Thursday, February 21

Tempeh Sloppy Joes

Tempeh has been a life saver in my meal planning these days. It's a meat substitute I can get down with. When grated or crumbled and put into dishes in place of ground meat you would hardly tell the difference!

For those of you who do not know what Tempeh is, it's cooked/fermented soy beans mixed with other grains such as millet or barley. It has a slight nutty flavor, and is much more firm then tofu. So all of you tofu haters out there might want to give this a whirl.

A couple months ago I reached out to my Twitter friends for some Tempeh dinner ideas. My friend Madeline suggested Sloppy Joes.

Boy am I glad she gave me that suggestion. My husband loves sloppy  joes or anything smothered in BBQ. He was quite excited for dinner and has requested these several times since! This is a quick weeknight fix using store bought bbq sauce you could use your own homemade sauce in it's place instead. Start to finish this is a meal that could be made in 15 minutes. That's the type of dinner this busy mom likes!

Tempeh Sloppy Joes


2tbs olive oil
2 cups grated tempeh
1 small green bell pepper diced
1 small red onion diced
1 cup BBQ sauce
salt and pepper to taste
Hamburger buns for serving ( I made my own buns)
Coleslaw for topping (here is my recipe for classic coleslaw)


In a large fry pan add olive oil, peppers and onions. Sauté until the onions are translucent. Mix in tempeh and fry until tempeh starts to brown. Mix in BBQ sauce, add to burger buns and top with coleslaw.

Make sure you have extra napkins.... this gets sloppy!

Wednesday, February 20

Spinach Feta Pull Apart Garlic Bread

There are times when my photos just do not do a recipe justice. This is one of those dishes. This bread was so out of this world good I couldn't stop nibbling at it as I was shooting the photos. It's a one of those things that is meant to be a side dish to your dinner, but it steals the show. This is a bread you will fill up on before dinner is even served. So do yourself a favor and make this only when you are really super duper hungry.

It is a basic white bread recipe with layers of garlic, butter, feta cheese and spinach. I ask you... How can you go wrong??

It's garlic bread on crack.

OOOPS.... I said "crack" ......I got some nasty-o-grams about using the term "crack" in the title of a couple of my "Crack"Dip recipes..... get over it. I'm going to crack out crack recipes as often as I can!

Spinach Feta Pull Apart Garlic Bread


Bread Dough:
1/2 cups water
2/3 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbs salt
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast (I use Red Star Yeast and I proof it)
3-4  cups Bread Flour (I use King Arthur Flour) 

For the filling:

3-4 tbs room temperature butter
2-3 large hand fulls of fresh baby spinach
1/2-3/4 cup feta cheese crumbles
One bulb of garlic diced
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese  

In a small sauce pan add I your water, buttermilk, butter, sugar and salt heat until the butter has just melted. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Once the liquids have cooled add them to the mixing bowl of your electric mixer. Using the dough hook on medium speed mix in yeast and flour one cup at a time. Stop adding flour once the dough has come together and is only lightly sticky.

Turn mixing up to high speed and mix for about 2-3 minutes or until the dough is elastic.

Turn dough out into a buttered bowl. Cover with a dish towel and set it someplace warm to rise for about one hour. Or until the dough has doubled in size.

Once dough has risen, on a lightly floured surface roll dough out until it is 1/4-1/2 an inch thick. Using a sharp knife cut dough into 3x3 squares.

Using your hands stretch each square out so it's about 1/4 inch thick. Spread each square with butter, spread with some minced garlic, feta cheese and then place 2-4 spinach leaves on the top.

In a buttered bread pan, place each square in sandwiching the filling with each layer. It gets a little messy but that is ok. Squeeze each square in the pan.

Cover and allow to rise for an additional 30-40 minutes or until the dough has risen about 1 inch above the top of your bread pan.

Bake at 350 on the middle rack of your oven for 15-20 minutes, sprinkle top with  mozzarella cheese. Return to oven and bake for another 15 minutes or until the bread has browned on top and when you flick the top it sounds hollow.

** If you do not own an electric mixer you can do all the mixing by hand and then turn the dough out onto a floured surface and kneed for 6 minutes or until the dough is elastic.

**In the pictured break I ran out of mozzarella so it has less AND I added the mozzarella cheese before baking, after some thought I think it might be best added half way through the baking process to ensure it does not crisp too much.