This past weekend, I had the privilege of traveling to Roanoke to gather with a bunch of food bloggers for the first-annual Mixed conference. I will be posting more photos and stories of the event soon. It was a total blast!
One of the highlights of the weekend came as a total surprise to me. My Roasted Vegetable Macaroni & Cheese ended up winning a midnight mac ‘n’ cheese contest sponsored by Dreamfields Pasta! I was more than a little shocked, and have no doubt that my face turned beet red as I walked up to receive the prize. But they were awesome, and even gave me a red sash, black feather boa and a little tiara. So fun! :)
**We interrupt your regularly scheduled foodie talk for a brief announcement — I GOT A NEW COMPUTER!!!!**
Ok, I know that the Apple store is always packed and people buy new computers all the time. But I am the ridiculously proud owner of a new computer today — one that will not shut down on me 3+ times a day, one that is splatter-free (sorry – watch a little too much Hulu in the kitchen!), and one that, um, WORKS. My last Macbook gave me a mostly-awesome last 6 years, but I am ready to retire it and finally have a pretty new screen to edit photos and talk with you all. Hallelujah!
You all know I couldn’t go too long without posting another recipe with wonton wrappers. (For you newbies, they happen to be one of my favorite ingredients!)
In honor of football season and fun gametime apps, I decided to turn everyone’s favorite pizza ingredients into cute little “Easy Pizza Cups”! These couldn’t be more simple. Bake up some wonton shells, fill them with your favorite pizza toppings, pop them back in the oven for a bit to melt the cheese, and voila! These adorable little pizza cups are yours to enjoy. And let me tell ya – they will easily disappear before halftime if you’re watching the game!!
Two weeks ago when I was craving some mac and cheese, I could not decide whether to make a batch with pumpkin or butternut squash. Or whether to bake it or go straight from the stovetop. Oh, the tough decisions of life…
That day, I ended up deciding to go with this baked pumpkin macaroni, which was fabulous. But a few days later, the extra butternut squash that I had pureed after making these cupcakes was calling my name. So, because I’m an adult…and because I can….I decided to proudly make a second batch of mac and cheese in one week. Judge away.
Any of you Instagram followers will know that I had the pleasure of spending last week in Iowa with a bunch of stellar farmers and bloggers learning all about…CORN! Lots and lots and lots of corn! It was a fabulous experience (which I will be telling you about soon in another post!). But ever since then, I have been craving this salad I adore from one of my favorite local KC restaurants, Urban Table, that it sprinkled with the most delicious roasted corn. They call it the “Shrimp Buena Terra Salad”. I call it…one of my favorite salads EVER.
Seriously. I know that food bloggers are supposed to be all adventurous and everything, but this salad was the first dish I ever ordered there and I love it so much that I may have ordered it every time since. SO GOOD. So after a year, I finally decided I should try making it at home. And I must say, my little homemade rendition seemed to be pretty spot on!
A few weeks ago on a rainy evening, I randomly bumped into an old roommate at Target. And, yes, pretty sure we were thosepeople who stood there right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of carts catching up on our life stories for an hour. It was so great to see her! But sure enough, when there was still more to share and the store was nearing closing time, the conversation came to — “We should do dinner!”
So this week we did! I invited some of the old crew to also come along, and we all spent an evening together at my place sharing a wonderful meal together, some of our favorite nostalgic wines from back in the day, and hours upon hours of conversation about the joys and answered prayers from the past year, some tearful honest moments about the lows, hilarious dating stories for better and worse, cheers over a new engagement, and endless hilarity and laughs. I love these friends!
Somehow this turned into Asian food week at my place! It all began with a craving for my favorite fresh Vietnamese spring rolls. Then revisited my recipe for egg drop soup, followed by some fried rice. And last but not least…these fantastic quesadillas!!
My original plan was to actually use up the leftover cilantro, bean sprouts, and peanut sauce by making this fantastic Thai Chicken Pizza from Closet Cooking (one of my favorite blogs that you should check out – he’s phenomenal). But when I arrived home late from work, and had about zero interest in making a pizza crust, decided to improvise and turn the recipe into quesadillas.
It’s one thing to have great friends who love to cook. And then it’s another to get to live with great friends who love to cook! For nearly two years after moving to KC, I was privileged to do just that with my friend, Liisa. (Until a certain someone fell in love with her and asked her to tie the knot!) :) Oh, how I loved coming home after a long day at work to amazing smells filling the house. And even more, loved the amazing food for the sharing!! I think the part we enjoyed most, though, was all of the fun evaluating the recipes after either of us cooked — about what was a success, how new ingredients did/didn’t work, why in the world certain recipes tended to set off our smoke alarm(!!), and on and on… :) Ha…those were definitely good years.
Anyway, one of the best things I learned from Liisa – who grew up in Arizona cooking/eating all sorts of Tex-Mex and Mexican food – was how to make these fantastic enchiladas. Oh. My. Word. I could eat these things for days. (And since I usually make a double- or triple-batch to freeze or give away….often I do!) The sauce is undoubtedly the best part, with a strong, smoky flavor that is muy deliciosa!