The Best Bruschetta

I love Pioneer Woman’s blog and constantly find myself gravitating towards her recipes. Maybe it’s her snarky humor or her love of butter– I’m not sure– but I feel as though her kitchen is one I’d want to visit at some point in my life.

This bruschetta is the “best” for a couple of different reasons. First, cherry tomatoes (in my opinion) pack so much more flavor than other, larger ones. So we’re already on the right track by starting with delicious red and yellow nuggets of goodness. Second, minced garlic is an important, and often neglected element of a good bruschetta recipe. Giving the ingredients time to marinate with the garlic allows for some crazy good things to happen in that bowl. So if you’re making this, be sure to make it ahead of time because YES, wait time really does make a difference.

By the way, don’t tell Giada but I served my bruschetta on top of a toasted whole wheat English muffin. And I’m not sure England and Italy have worked so well together since before King Henry VIII. (Sorry for that… I’m in the middle of watching season 2 of The Tudors; couldn’t help myself).

Oh and one more thing… I added goat cheese on top because, well, it’s goat cheese. And it’s delicious. And it can make even the best bruschetta that much better.

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Strawberry Pretzel Salad

I’m not quite sure why this is called a salad as it is most definitely a dessert. This is my go-to for parties, holidays, or just a quiet dinner at home with friends. This bad boy also won me a Target gift card at a Christmas party back in December, so it’s got the friend stamp of approval. I made a version of this recipe and find that the colors and salty sweet flavors make it a must-have dessert year-round. Try switching out the Jello colors for different holidays (green for St. Patricks Day, red for Memorial Day, pink for Easter… the world is your box of flavored gelatin). A few tips:

1. Add a teaspoon of real vanilla to your cream cheese mixture.
2. Make sure not to over bake your crust or it will become like cement! (Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything)
3. Wait to assemble your layers until everything (crust, cream cheese filling and Jello) has come to room temperature.
4. I find it’s best when eaten cold so the layers hold their shape.

Enjoy! x

Dulce de Leche Coffee

I have a stack of Starbucks gift cards burning a hole in my wallet. Although I love the occasional visit to my local coffee shop, and savor the first taste of my favorite seasonal drinks (Pumpkin Spice Latte and Peppermint Mocha Latte), there is one thing that my kitchen has that my corner Starbucks does not— a liquor cabinet. It also has coffee that costs less than $4 a cup and a fridge full of ingredients to play around with. Needless to say, when it comes to an indulgent coffee treat, I can’t help but think that I will fair much better in my own kitchen than in the Starbucks drive-through. My gift cards feel so neglected.

Now THIS. This is how a rich and delicious coffee drink should taste. We’ve got the bases loaded with fresh-ground coffee beans, creamy dulce de leche and homemade vanilla whipped cream… But then we knock it out of the park with a generous splash of Kahlua for an extra little kick. I followed this simple recipe* and shared it with friends for a late brunch. I can’t think of a more perfect way to brighten up a cold and dreary morning.

*I couldn’t find the pre-packaged dulce de leche at my grocery store so I decided to make my own. There are many different methods for going about this but I found that the easiest (and safest) way was to use my crockpot:

1. Remove label from 6oz. can of sweetened, condensed milk
2. Place unopened can on small saucer (to prevent a ring from forming) in the bowl of your crockpot
3. Add water to cover can completely + one inch
4. Turn crockpot on low and leave for 8 hours (I did this right before bed and turned it off in the morning)
5. Allow can to cool before opening

End result:

Please excuse the fingerprint in the dulce de leche. There was some initial shock at the fact that this had actually worked and my finger went to touch the caramel-ly goodness before I could stop it. Don’t be like me.

Also, please refrain from eating this by the spoonful straight out of the can.

Or don’t.

Cheers, everyone!