Kimchi Fried Rice Bowl

Hot and spicy and filled with bacon bits, kimchi and topped with a fried egg. You've got to try this Kimchi Fried Rice Bowl!  #kimchi #koreanfood #ricebowl #comfortfood

Yesterday, I did the unthinkable.

I slept in until 6:35am.

On the weekdays, I usually wake up at 5:50am. And I didn’t post anything new here on the blog on Monday. We have 9 days until Christmas and I’m living on the edge.

Hot and spicy and filled with bacon bits, kimchi and topped with a fried egg. You've got to try this Kimchi Fried Rice Bowl!  #kimchi #koreanfood #ricebowl #comfortfood

Last weekend, we hosted two parties. One for my daughter and her friends. .  who – by the way – are all 7 years old. .  and my husband swears he heard talk of boys and kissing. .  WHAT?!!! I’m so not ready for this. I know my daughter doesn’t even like boys yet . .  or so I think . . . let’s hope he overheard something out of context. Parents with older kids, help me out here. .  does it start at this age? I didn’t like boys until at least 5th grade.

And then we hosted a small dinner party (tapas night!) for some friends on Sunday night. We had so much fun! I was introduced to this fabulous singing group, Pentatonix. Have you seen these guys on youtube? oh my gawd, I love them. Especially their Evolution of Beyonce. Word.

Anyway, I’m fighting off a semi-cold . .  and trying my best not to get sick right now.  I have a school field trip, doctors appointments, deadlines and most importantly, girls night out, this week. I’ve got to catch up on my sleep and still have a million and five things to do before next Thursday.

So, what do I do when I’m feeling sick? I drink Emergen-C like there’s no tomorrow AND I eat kimchi. My husband swears there are healing powers in kimchi and I believe it. Kimchi jjigae (kimchi stew) is like our chicken noodle soup. And so I always like to make a big batch of kimchi jjigae, kimchi fried rice or some kind of rice bowl filled with kimchi when I’m starting to feel a little under the weather.

Hot and spicy and filled with bacon bits, kimchi and topped with a fried egg. You've got to try this Kimchi Fried Rice Bowl!  #kimchi #koreanfood #ricebowl #comfortfood

Sick or not, this is one of my all time favorite things to eat and make. This rice bowl is so easy to make ..  and next year, I’m finally going to make my own kimchi! I’m so excited! Growing up, my mom always made ours and now, I kind of like supporting the Korean small business owners and buying my kimchi from these local Korean markets (we have 2 small ones in Madison) but I just want to do it. I kind of feel like I need to do this to celebrate my heritage. Kimchi party anyone?

This is my I don’t have a lot of time, I’m hungry and want to eat now, fast version of kimchi fried rice . . it’s still absolutely delicious. I hope you enjoy. .  and everyone needs to try this. Seriously.

To read my post and to get this fabulous recipe, visit KitchenAid’s blog, The Kitchenthusiast by clicking here.

Kimchi Rice Bowl
 
Note for the cook: If you are not using your KitchenAid Streamline Cast Iron casserole dish for this recipe, please use day old cooked rice.
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Korean
Serves: 4

Ingredients
  • 5 to 6 strips bacon, chopped
  • 4 cups cooked brown or white medium grain rice
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil, split
  • Roasted sesame seeds
  • 2 cups kimchi, chopped (plus 2 tablespoons reserved kimchi juice)
  • 1 to 1 ½ teaspoons gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
  • 2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
  • Fresh green onions, diced for garnish
  • 4 Fried eggs
  • Finely shredded gim (dried seaweed), if desired

Instructions
  1. Visit The Kitchenthusiast for the instructions

To read my post and to get the REST of this fabulous recipe, visit KitchenAid’s blog, The Kitchenthusiast by clicking here.

Hot and spicy and filled with bacon bits, kimchi and topped with a fried egg. You've got to try this Kimchi Fried Rice Bowl!  #kimchi #koreanfood #ricebowl #comfortfood

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post and is in partnership with my on-going work with KitchenAid. All opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

 

Chocolate Merlot Cake

Rich, fudgy, chocolatey goodness . . . with a hint of Merlot. You need to try this cake. #chocolatemerlotcake #baking #holidays #cake #chocolatecake

Madeline and I heard the most disappointing news the other day as we were leaving her doctor’s appointment. Wisconsin is going to have a brown Christmas this year. A brown Christmas. No snow.

I just wrote about Christmas being better with snow in my last post. It’s funny. Every morning, I wake up and look outside hoping for snow. My daughters do the same thing . . and I blame it on living here in Wisconsin, where the snow is captivating and dreamy in the months of December and January, and the Disney movie, Frozen. My kids now LOVE snow and think it’s the best thing in the world.

Rich, fudgy, chocolatey goodness . . . with a hint of Merlot. You need to try this cake. #chocolatemerlotcake #baking #holidays #cake #chocolatecake

The other night I was reading to Madeline at her bedtime. We were reading a Disney Christmas Storybook and she wanted me to read “Frozen: All I Want For Christmas.” The story is a continuation of the movie now that Queen Elsa’s powers are out in the open and everyone in Arendelle is happy and the gates are open. It’s basically about Elsa wanting to make Christmas really special for her sister, Anna. So, she does all these things: creates an ice sculpture, bakes gingerbread cookies with Olaf, decorates the Christmas tree, draws snow flakes on the windowpanes, hires musicians to play Christmas music everywhere and lots of other things, all the while Anna, keeps asking Elsa what she is doing and really just wants to spend time with her sister. Anna doesn’t care about all of the other things.

At the end of the story, Elsa and Anna end up having a snowball fight and playing outside with each other for hours. They go inside and Elsa says, “I got carried away with making Christmas perfect, and I forgot all about the most important part- spending time with you.”

Who says Disney books don’t have any depth?! This story totally reminded me of this story. And my eyes got all teary eyed.

I thought this story was so sweet and touching. And it made me look forward to Christmas day with our family. Last year, we had just moved here to Wisconsin and we didn’t want to travel again so we spent Christmas with just my family; like just my husband, and my kids. And we met my sister’s family at an indoor water park a few days after Christmas.

sugared cranberries

This year, we will all be together with my parents and my sister’s family. Because we all live in different states, I treasure it so much when we can get together. Now, I am known for taking too much on and always trying to do too much. .  especially during the holidays . . so this year, I’m taking that story to heart and will simply unplug and spend time with my family on Christmas.

Christmas will be about celebrations, family, food and more food.

And dessert.

Rich, fudgy, chocolatey goodness . . . with a hint of Merlot. You need to try this cake. #chocolatemerlotcake #baking #holidays #cake #chocolatecake

Rich, fudgy, chocolatey goodness . . . with a hint of Merlot. You need to try this cake. #chocolatemerlotcake #baking #holidays #cake #chocolatecake

I know what I’m going to bake for my family.

This cake has to happen again. I’ve said it before. I believe in dessert. For me, amazing meals become more memorable when you end them with an unforgettable and delicious dessert. This is it, my friends. This Chocolate Merlot Cake is rich, moist, fudgy and chocolatey, with a hint of merlot red wine.

Entwine Merlot Wine

I am seriously trying to contain my excitement because I have just created my favorite chocolate cake recipe here. I made this cake three times. A 3-layer cake, three times. I won’t do the math but let’s just say there’s been a lot of chocolate merlot cake in my house and in my happy stomach.

I landed on a final recipe that is absolutely delicious and not overly powered by the wine. The entwine Merlot wine enhances this cake in all the right ways.

And I put some in the frosting. .  because it had to be done.

Chocolate Merlot Frosting

I loved this frosting so much. I might use this on all of my chocolate cakes from now on.

Rich, fudgy, chocolatey goodness . . . with a hint of Merlot. You need to try this cake. #chocolatemerlotcake #baking #holidays #cake #chocolatecake

Are you looking for a delicious chocolate cake for the holidays? This is it. I picked up some pine cones from Target and made some sugared cranberries for a festive look but you can absolutely just frost the cake and go to town. Every holiday table needs this cake. I hope you give it a try!

Rich, fudgy, chocolatey goodness . . . with a hint of Merlot. You need to try this cake. #chocolatemerlotcake #baking #holidays #cake #chocolatecake

Chocolate Merlot Cake
 
Prep time

Cook time

Total time

 

Makes one 6” round, 3 layered cake.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert

Ingredients
For the cake:
  • 1 cup, 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1 ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ cup applesauce
  • 2 cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¾ cup entwine Merlot wine
For the frosting:
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 5 to 6 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ cup entwine Merlot wine

Instructions
For the cake:
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Prep three 6” round cake pans with parchment paper on the bottom and spray with non-stick baking spray. Using your stand mixer fitted with the flat beater attachment, cream the butter on low speed. Add in the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy, for about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and then add in the vanilla and applesauce and continue beating for another 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. In a separate mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Unplug your stand mixer and remove the bowl from the mixer. By hand, using a rubber spatula, fold in a third of the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and then pour in a third of the entwine Merlot. Fold ingredients together until just combined. Continue this process two more times, alternating folding in the flour mixture and the wine into the cake batter.
  3. Pour the cake batter evenly into the 3 prepared pans and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until a tester inserted comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool for at least 20 minutes before removing from the cake pans.
For the frosting:
  1. While your cakes are cooling, you can prepare the frosting.
  2. Using your stand mixer fitted with the flat beater attachment, cream together the butter, cocoa and vanilla at medium speed for a few minutes. Add in the confectioners’ sugar, one cup at a time and pour in a little entwine Merlot, and mix together until smooth. Repeat until you have a consistency you are happy with. Feel free to add a touch more wine if you need to.
  3. Once the cakes have cooled completely, level each cake and frost, stacking the cakes and putting a thin layer of frosting in between each layer. There should be enough frosting for a crumb coat and an outer layer of frosting. Slice, serve and enjoy.

Chocolate Merlot Cake

To learn more about entwine wines, watch the video below. You can also visit their website or follow them on Facebook.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in partnership with entwine wines. All opinions expressed here are 100% my own. 

 

 

Christmas Cupcakes + A Giveaway!

Christmas Chocolate Cupcakes with peppermint and a surprise! #chocolate #holidays #giveaway #CandyCaneHacks

In my mind, there are 3 kinds of people during the holidays:

1) The Crazies: And I say crazy in a good way. These people are fanatical about the holidays and start decorating in October. Their houses are decked out (I’m talking National Lampoon’s Christmas decked out, they always make homemade gifts and always win the annual family “ugly sweater contest.” Like always. Every single year.

2) The Festive Ones: They enjoy the holidays but don’t go overboard. Holiday baking is usually happening in their kitchens and the radio station that plays holiday music 24/7 is on occasionally, they have their act together for the most part but still have lots of loose ends come December 21st. OK this might be me.

3) The Scrooges: Self explanatory ..  they don’t like the holidays and can’t wait until everything is over.

Christmas Chocolate Cupcakes with peppermint and a surprise! #chocolate #holidays #giveaway #CandyCaneHacks

Yes, you may have guessed it. I’m a festive one. I really enjoy the holidays and after being in Wisconsin last Christmas where we had our first real white Christmas.  . like had to break out the snow blower white Christmas, I have to say . .  Christmas is better with snow.

And cupcakes are better with candy canes and peppermint.

Christmas Chocolate Cupcakes with peppermint and a surprise! #chocolate #holidays #giveaway #CandyCaneHacks

It’s only December 10 and we have like 50 candy canes (more if you count the mini ones) laying around the house. It’s not all me.  . they seem to call my name when I’m shopping. .  and my kids like them too so we pick up more.

So, what’s a girl to do with an abundance of candy canes in the house?

Christmas Chocolate Cupcakes with peppermint and a surprise! #chocolate #holidays #giveaway #CandyCaneHacks

Oh, yes I did.

Peanut Butter & Co. Mighty Maple

We’re big on trying new things here at my house. My kids are big on this too  ..  my little one dips her tortilla chips in applesauce and will eat carrots with Nutella. .  so why not try a peanut butter and peppermint baked treat?

Only good things can happen when Mighty Maple is involved.

Christmas Chocolate Cupcakes with peppermint and a surprise! #chocolate #holidays #giveaway #CandyCaneHacks

So, I simply swirled some peanut butter into my cake batter and sprinkled the crushed candy canes and peppermint crunch baking chips on top of the frosting. These were so yummy! You don’t get peanut butter with every bite, but when you do, it’s awesome and delicious.

Christmas Chocolate Cupcakes with peppermint and a surprise! #chocolate #holidays #giveaway #CandyCaneHacks

If you’ve never tried Peanut Butter & Co’s peanut butter, you really need to. It’s delicious. And since it’s the holidays and we’re feeling festive, we’re giving away a couple peanut butters (you get to choose the flavors!) to one lucky winner! So, enter using the widget below and happy holidays!

Christmas Cupcakes
 
I used Mighty Maple but you can really use ANY Peanut Butter & Co. peanut butter here: The Bee’s Knees, Smooth Operator, White Chocolate Wonderful or Dark Chocolate Dreams. Recipe makes about 20-22 cupcakes.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert

Ingredients
  • 1 box devil’s food cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • vanilla frosting (homemade or store bought)
  • crushed candy canes
  • Andes peppermint crunch baking chips

Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line your muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  2. Using a large mixing bowl, combine the devil’s food cake cake mix, eggs, oil, sour cream, buttermilk and vanilla extract until smooth. Swirl in the peanut butter and fill the cupcake liners ¾ of the way full.
  3. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until a tester inserted comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool for at least 20 to 25 minutes before frosting.
  4. To frost the cupcakes: I used a Wilton 2D tip. Pipe out the frosting in a circular motion until you have the height you want. Sprinkle on crushed candy cane pieces and the Andes peppermint crunch baking chips. Enjoy!

Totally inspired by Your Cup of Cake.

Christmas Chocolate Cupcakes with peppermint and a surprise! #chocolate #holidays #giveaway #CandyCaneHacks

The Giveaway!!

(my apologies! open to residents within the United States only).

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. The giveaway is sponsored by Peanut Butter & Co. All opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

Black Bean Edamame Burgers + The Kitchn Cookbook Giveaway!

Black Bean and Edamame Burger. The best veggie burger you'll ever have! Plus enter to win The Kitchn Cookbook! #burger #vegetarian #veggieburger #giveaway

2014 has been a great, fun year for me and for my blog. One of the best things, both personally and professionally, was the opportunity to become a contributor and writer for The Kitchn. If you’re here and reading my blog, chances are, you’ve heard of The Kitchn, but in the off chance that you have not, The Kitchn is a spin-off of Apartment Therapy and is a comprehensive cooking website that provides recipes, cooking tutorials, information about food, home cooking, caring for your kitchen, tips, great finds for the kitchen, cookbook reviews and much much more.

The Kitchn Cookbook  . . and a giveaway!!

I’ve been a team member and contributor now since March of this year and it’s been a blast! I’ve been a loyal reader of The Kitchn for about 4 years so it’s been amazing to be a part of something so inspiring. Cooking is like therapy for me and so I treasure this part of my life and the opportunity to work with Emma Christensen, our Recipe Editor (who has a new book, Brew Better Beer, coming out in May!), and Faith Durand, The Kitchn’s Executive Editor and the co-writer of this fabulous new cookbook, has been a dream!

This cookbook you guys!! The Kitchn Cookbook is so much more than a cookbook. It’s a comprehensive resource guide for cooking and caring for your kitchen and more!

The Kitchn Cookbook

The book is set-up like this.

The Kitchn Cookbook

I love how Faith and Sara Kate walk you through how to properly set up your kitchen workspace, for the way you really cook. “Perhaps you’re setting up a kitchen for the first time, or maybe you have lived in your kitchen comfortably for a long time but would like to freshen it.  .”

Setting Up the Kitchen chpt 1

Setting up your kitchen for the way you cook

The Kitchn cookbook will help you tackle the essentials for setting up a great kitchen space – however big or small it is and provides 10 smart storage solutions that everyone needs to read. There’s also a chapter on Tools, which is essential. You’ve got to have the right tools in the kitchen to be successful at what you do and this book provides some great insight on essential kitchen tools, how to choose good cookware and the best sources for kitchen supplies.

The other part of this chapter that I love is about caring for your kitchen tools and equipment and knowing when to replace them.

Tools chpt 2

And in true The Kitchn fashion, the cookbook takes you into 10 different homes and kitchens of real people.  Sharing stories and showing you how they use their kitchen spaces.

in the kitchen

in the kitchen2

I loved seeing stories like this in the cookbook. .  kitchens of all sizes and seeing how the kitchen is really the heart of the home.

How to Cook Well, Part 2

Part 2 of this cookbook is amazing. There’s information on how to stock your pantry and essential pantry staples, choosing ingredients wisely and meal planning but what I loved reading was The Kitchn’s 50 Essential Skills!!

50 Essential Cooking Skills

“Whether you’re looking for a refresher or a beginner’s course in the essential techniques of cooking, these are the skills you’ll want to know by heart.” Like how to use and hold a chef’s knife, general and important cooking skills, how to deglaze a pan, how to reduce a liquid, fruit and vegetable techniques, how to store meat, how to cut up a chicken and much much more!

The recipes in this cookbook don’t even come until chapter 6 but I love that they’ve walked you through every important step, so that when you do get to a recipe, you can execute it well. The recipes are, of course, delicious and beautiful. I made the breakfast tacos (pg 136), everyday granola (pg 139), the quick drop biscuits (pg 145) and this epic and amazing Black Bean and Edamame Burger (pg 202).

Black Bean and Edamame Burger. The best veggie burger you'll ever have! Plus enter to win The Kitchn Cookbook! #burger #vegetarian #veggieburger #giveaway

The recipe makes 12 burgers and yes, I made all 12 so I could freeze some. I ate two in one day and another one for lunch the following day. So good you guys. So good.

I still want to make the Pasta Casserole with Broccoli and Gouda Cheese (pg 215).

Pasta Casserole with Broccoli and Gouda Cheese

And the Wheat Berry Salad with Blood Oranges and Feta . . .

Wheat Berry Salad with Blood Oranges

And these gorgeous Meringue and Nectarine Trifles in the summer when I can get my hands on some lovely, juicy nectarines. .

Meringue and Nectarine Trifles

There are so many other fabulous recipes in here like, The Lofty Buttermilk Pancakes, Coconut Banana Bread, Cheese Savories, Sweet and Spicy Pickles, 13 fabulous drink and cocktail recipes, Slow Cooker Lemon Garlic Chicken, Pesto for All Seasons and Brownies, 3 Ways!! Fudgy, Cakey and Chewy. How awesome is that?!

This cookbook is an absolute gem and I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys cooking. It’s also a great resource for friends and family who might just be getting started in the kitchen or people who have been cooking for a while, but maybe want to be better. Click here to read more about the cookbook or here if you’re ready to purchase it and have this lovely cookbook in your life.

Black Bean and Edamame Burger. The best veggie burger you'll ever have! Plus enter to win The Kitchn Cookbook! #burger #vegetarian #veggieburger #giveaway

Before we get to the giveaway, I have to share this fabulous recipe with you all . . veggie burger lovers, you need to MAKE THIS. LIKE TODAY. I hope you enjoy!

Black Bean Edamame Burgers
 
Creating a really good veggie burger has been something of an ongoing labor of love at The Kitchn. Our quest ended when Megan Gordon brought us this recipe: a perfect blend of mushrooms, grains, vegetables, and bright green edamame. This burger has all the best flavors, textures, and spices and is tender yet satisfying. You should know up front that these veggie burgers are not a quick prospect. The chopping alone will take you through an episode or three of your favorite podcast. It’s worth it. This recipe makes a big batch, so you can freeze unbaked patties for quick meals down the road.
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 12

Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for the baking pan
  • ½ cup farro (or 1 cup cooked brown rice, page 199)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced small
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 16 ounces cremini mushrooms, stems removed, caps diced small
  • 2 15.5-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1½ cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1 cup frozen edamame, thawed
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1½ teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1¼ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • Thin slices of cheese, for serving (I used provolone)
  • 12 hamburger buns (I used brioche rolls)
  • For the burger: lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, dijon mustard, mayo and anything else you want to spread on!!

Instructions
  1. Heat ½ tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add the farro and cook over medium heat, stirring, until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add 1½ cups of water and a pinch of salt, and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Check the farro and continue to simmer for another few minutes until the farro is chewy but not mushy. Remove the pan from the heat and drain off any remaining water.
  2. In a large, deep skillet, heat the remaining 2½ tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the carrots and garlic and cook until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until softened and cooked through, another 3 to 4 minutes. Set the mushroom and vegetable mixture aside to cool.
  3. In a food processor or blender, pulse 1 cup of the black beans to a chunky puree. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Mix in the remaining black beans, cooked farro, cooled mushroom and vegetable mixture, panko bread crumbs, edamame, cilantro, parsley, mustard, soy sauce, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Allow to cool until the mixture is no longer steaming. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl and stir them into the vegetable mixture. Cover and refrigerate the burger mixture for at least 30 minutes or for up to a day.
  4. When ready to cook the veggie burgers, heat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or some other nonstick liner.
  5. Form handfuls of the mixture into patties roughly 4 inches in diameter and ¾ inch thick. Lay them on the baking sheet spaced an inch or two apart. Bake the burgers in batches if all the patties don’t fit; alternately, form some patties and freeze them for later (see below).
  6. Bake the burgers for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are dry and the patties feel firm around the edges. If desired, top the burgers with cheese and run them under the broiler for 30 to 60 seconds until the cheese has melted. Serve the patties warm on rolls with ketchup, mustard, mayo, and any other favorite toppings.
  7. Baked patties will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week in an airtight container. Unbaked patties can be frozen for up to 3 months: freeze the shaped patties on a parchment-lined baking sheet until solid, then stack the burgers between layers of wax paper and seal inside a freezer proof container. Increase the baking time by 5 to 10 minutes for frozen patties.

Recipe published here with permission.

THE GIVEAWAY!!

(my apologies: open to US residents only)

I’m so excited I get to giveaway one copy of The Kitchn Cookbook!! Enter using the widget below and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post in any way and there are no affiliate links included here. All opinions expressed here are 100% my own. 

Quick and Easy Cucumber Bites . . Three Ways!

Quick and easy cucumber bites. .  Three ways!! Smoked salmon with sriracha cream cheese, egg salad and tuna salad! Great party appetizer! #holidays #entertaining #appetizers

You’ve come to the right place today.

Because I have these fantastic nibbles to share with you.

Quick and easy cucumber bites. .  Three ways!! Smoked salmon with sriracha cream cheese, egg salad and tuna salad! Great party appetizer! #holidays #entertaining #appetizers

After just spending a week with my parents, who live in Texas, I’m feeling thankful that we can at least spend the holidays together. And after not living under the same roof with my dad for like 15+ years . .  I quickly remembered all of his quirks. I know I just talked about my dad in my last post but believe me, if you ever meet my dad, you’ll know why. He’s a force to be reckoned with and always leaves a lasting impression. I love my dad. He’s a hard worker, smart business man, loving father and took care of our family and always provided for us. And my dad loves to eat. I mean, there may not be anyone else I know who loves eating more than my dad. He also has great taste when it comes to food.

My dad loves smoked salmon so, recently, when I was in Kohler, WI, I picked some up from a local smoked salmon guy. I froze it, defrosted it and served some appetizers to my dad the first night be was here. The smoked salmon extravaganza continued a few days later with smoked salmon for breakfast on bagels with cream cheese.

And then I made these.

Quick and easy cucumber bites. .  Three ways!! Smoked salmon with sriracha cream cheese, egg salad and tuna salad! Great party appetizer! #holidays #entertaining #appetizers

These are perfect for holiday entertaining because they are quick and delicious. These are super easy to make and can be prepped beforehand and brought out before serving. These are also perfect for baby showers  . . .

Everyday Maven's Baby Celebration

We’re REALLY here today to celebrate Alyssa from Everyday Maven! She is expecting a baby boy (#2) in mid-January so her family will soon have two little boys in the family! I had the pleasure of meeting Alyssa in Seattle (when I lived there) at a Foodportunity event. She was on her way out, heading out to a date night with her husband and we talked about bundt cakes for a few minutes. Food bloggers, you know. .

If we were having a baby shower in real life, I would totally make these and bring these. And recently I learned that my kids like the throw-together-fast-quick-and-easy apps and bites before a holiday dinner. We went to a nail wrap party at my friend’s house and she had a taco dip on the table. Phoebe, my oldest, who is usually very picky and doesn’t like shredded cheese, ate like four plates of this stuff. I usually spend a lot of time on semi-fancy appetizers like crostini or empanadas or puffs of some sort but now I know better!

Plus, these are delicious! So, today I’m going for quick (egg salad and tuna salad can be made ahead of time), easy and tasty. .  especially for Alyssa, who eats mostly paleo and grain-free and gluten-free and she likes smoked salmon. So, maybe she won’t be able to actually make these and eat these until she has the baby ..  major brain fart on my end. You’re looking at someone who ate deli meat, tuna fish and drank coffee while pregnant. Twice.

Check out this recipe for a paleo mayo recipe. And be sure to check out what everyone else brought today!! BIG THANKS to Liz and Faith for bringing us all together today for Alyssa!!

Alyssa, I hope the holidays are magical for you. .  enjoy this time and get lots of rest. .  you know the drill. . you’ll be sleep deprived but holding a beautiful baby so the sleep doesn’t matter! I’m so happy for you!!

Breakfast 

Fried Egg Topped Curried Sweet Potatoes from A Beautiful Bite

Chocolate Orange Protein Smoothie from The Lemon Bowl

Spaghetti Squash Hash from Eats Well With Others

Lunch

Hearty Garbanzo Soup from Sweet Life Bake

Pumpkin White Bean Soup from Blue Kale Road

Dinner

Slow Cooker Red Wine Pot Roast from Jeanette’s Healthy Living

Slow Cooker Beef and Bacon Stew from girlichef

Lemon Pepper Chicken with Arugula from Virtually Homemade

Roast Chicken Ratatouille from An Edible Mosaic

Arugula Chimichurri over Roasted or Grilled Salmon from Karista’s Kitchen

Snacks

Spiced Honey Nut and Seed Snack Mix from Fake Food Free

Charred Brussel Sprout, Bacon, and Toasted Sesame Guacamole from Baker by Nature

Quick and Easy Cucumber Bites, Three Ways from Hip Foodie Mom

Quick and easy cucumber bites. .  Three ways!! Smoked salmon with sriracha cream cheese, egg salad and tuna salad! Great party appetizer! #holidays #entertaining #appetizers

Quick and Easy Cucumber Bites . . Three Ways!
 
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer

Ingredients
For the egg salad:
  • 3 to 4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise (plus more if needed)
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • salt and pepper
  • smoked paprika
  • English cucumbers, peeled and cut (cut into 1 inch tall pieces)
For the tuna salad:
  • 1 can tuna fish, drained
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise (plus more if needed)
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • diced celery (above)
  • salt and pepper
  • diced green onions for garnish
  • English cucumbers, peeled and cut (cut into 1 inch tall pieces)
For the smoked salmon bites:
  • ½ cup cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • ½ lb. smoked salmon, cut into pieces
  • fresh dill
  • English cucumbers, peeled and cut (cut into 1 inch tall pieces)

Instructions
For the egg salad:
  1. Combine the eggs, mayo, dijon mustard and diced celery. Mix and season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust ingredients if needed.
For the tuna salad:
  1. Combine the tuna, dijon mustard and diced celery. Mix and season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust ingredients if needed.
For the smoked salmon cucumber bites:
  1. Combine the cream cheese and sriracha in a small bowl and blend together until the sriracha has been fully incorporated.
For all the cucumber bites:
  1. Core out a little of each cucumber piece and fill with the egg salad, tuna salad and cream cheese mixture, separately. Top the egg salad with the smoked parika. Top the tuna salad with the green onions and place the smoked salmon over the cream cheese and top with some fresh dill.

 

Ina’s Make It Ahead Cookbook

Ina's Bruschetta with Sauteed Chard

If you’re an Ina Garten fan, you probably know she has a new cookbook out. In this latest cookbook, Make It Ahead, Ina takes her 20 years of running a specialty foods store; her extensive knowledge of which dishes can be prepped, assembled, or cooked ahead of time; and her 15 years writing cookbooks, and she answers the most common cooking question she hears all the time — can I make it ahead?

Ina Garten's Make It Ahead Cookbook

This cookbook is filled with gorgeous and delicious recipes for entertaining. .  but I would expect nothing less from the Queen of Entertaining, herself. I’m a big Barefoot Contessa fan, so jumped at the chance to review her new cookbook. Here are some of the recipes that jumped out at me while flipping through this cookbook.

Ina’s Bruschetta with Sautéed Chard. This appetizer is easy, only requires a handful of ingredients and will be the star appetizer at any party.

Bruschetta with Sauteed Chard . . this would make a fabulous appetizer for any party!

Ina’s Leek and Artichoke Bread Pudding. Savory bread pudding at its best. This dish should be on every holiday table. I’m not kidding. Make this one for your Christmas dinner or any holiday gathering. The recipe is here.

Leek and Artichoke Bread Pudding. This dish is unforgettable.

To read my full review of this cookbook, which includes highlights from Make It Ahead, the recipes I made, the recipes I am going to make next, “10 Make-Ahead Tips for Parties,” the “10 Tips for Safely Storing Food,” and Ina’s “Make-Ahead Menus”, click on over to The Kitchn. Thank you guys!

And if you’re a polenta lover, you can’t miss this one. Ina’s Baked Polenta with Mushrooms and Blue Cheese. Oh my gawd, this is signature Ina right here. Check out this cookbook!

Ina's Polenta with Mushrooms

Whole Wheat Hazelnut Waffles with Cinnamon Sautéed Apples

Whole Wheat Hazelnut Waffles with Cinnamon Sautéed Apples. Homemade waffles using whole-wheat pastry flour and hazelnut flour. Your breakfast or holiday brunch never looked so good. #breakfast #brunch #holidays #waffles

My parents were here for Thanksgiving and got to stay with us for an entire week. I got a little overly excited with the chance to be able to to cook for more than just me, my husband and my kids and my dad thinks he gained 5 lbs. while being here. But isn’t that what the holidays are about? Eating until you’re full and happy and then, joining the rest of the world in January at the gym and opening that new gym membership (if you don’t already have a gym membership that you are not using)? See, food bloggers around the world are helping gym memberships across the country. . you’ll see come January.

Whole Wheat Hazelnut Waffles with Cinnamon Sautéed Apples. Homemade waffles using whole-wheat pastry flour and hazelnut flour. Your breakfast or holiday brunch never looked so good. #breakfast #brunch #holidays #waffles

Joking aside, it was great having my parents here with us. . but a little stressful at times in the kitchen. You see, both of my parents are great cooks and my dad is very particular and always has an opinion for everything. Especially when it comes to cooking or refining a recipe. And he likes his food hot. Warm? No way. Waiting for me to take my photos of these waffles? Uh, no. So, the second time I made these waffles, guess who got the first one hot off the waffle baker?

Whole Wheat Hazelnut Waffles with Cinnamon Sautéed Apples. Homemade waffles using whole-wheat pastry flour and hazelnut flour. Your breakfast or holiday brunch never looked so good. #breakfast #brunch #holidays #waffles

My dad.

And my dad could not stop talking about my fabulous waffle baker. I love this thing. This is the first ever waffle baker I’ve owned so I can’t compare it to anything else. But my dad says this one is the best thing he’s ever seen. :)

What I love about homemade waffles, just like galettes. No two are the same. In fact, I love it when they come out a little imperfect. Shows you they were made with love and that they are homemade.

Whole Wheat Hazelnut Waffles with Cinnamon Sautéed Apples. Homemade waffles using whole-wheat pastry flour and hazelnut flour. Your breakfast or holiday brunch never looked so good. #breakfast #brunch #holidays #waffles

Bob's Red Mill Hazelnut Meal and Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

I absolutely loved these waffles. They weren’t overly sweet and had a lovely texture and the whole wheat flour and hazelnut combination, for me, was perfection. I also loved the cinnamon sautéed apples on top of these waffles.. because you always need cinnamon sautéed apples. I am obsessed with Bob’s Red Mill hazelnut flour. Bob’s Red Mill Hazelnut Meal is ground from whole Oregon hazelnuts, or filberts. If you haven’t tried baking with this and you love hazelnuts, what are you waiting for?!! Hazelnut meal can also be used in savory dishes. Use hazelnut meal in place of bread crumbs in meatballs, or as a coating for chicken and fish!

Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour is 100% stone—ground, whole grain flour made from U.S.-grown soft white wheat. Whole Wheat Pastry Flour is a great way to punch up the nutrition factor in your baked goods. Use Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour for whole grain treats including pastries, biscuits, scones, pie crusts, pancakes, brownies, cookies cakes and cupcakes. It is a great choice for virtually any recipe where baking soda or baking powder is used as leavening.

I really hope you try these waffles . . these waffles must be shared! I hope you enjoy!

Whole Wheat Hazelnut Waffles with Cinnamon Sautéed Apples. Homemade waffles using whole-wheat pastry flour and hazelnut flour. Your breakfast or holiday brunch never looked so good. #breakfast #brunch #holidays #waffles

Whole Wheat Hazelnut Waffles with Cinnamon Sautéed Apples
 
Prep time

Cook time

Total time

 

Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast or Brunch
Serves: 4

Ingredients
For the Cinnamon Sautéed Apples:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cups apples, peeled and chopped with the core removed
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the waffles:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 heaping cup hazelnut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 3 whole eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ stick, 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • non-stick baking spray, for waffle baker
  • maple syrup

Instructions
For the Cinnamon Sautéed Apples:
  1. Using a heavy bottomed pan or pot, heat the butter over medium-high heat, once it starts to melt, add in the apples, sugar and cinnamon. Stir together and let cook for about 4 to 5 minutes, or until just tender.
For the waffles:
  1. Using a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat pastry flour, hazelnut flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and sugar. In a separate mixing bowl, beat together eggs, vanilla and melted butter, and then add the buttermilk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until combined.
  2. Turn on and heat up your waffle baker. Spray with non-stick baking spray.
  3. Pour the waffle batter into your waffle baker (use just the right amount to fill your waffle baker but not so much that it spills out). Close the waffle baker and cook according to your waffle baker’s instructions (mine take roughly 3 minutes), or until the waffle is golden brown on both sides. Repeat until all of the waffle batter is used.
  4. Top with some maple syrup and the cinnamon sautéed apples and enjoy immediately.

 

Here are some other recipes using hazelnut flour that I love.

Zucchini Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cake

Best Ever Zucchini Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cake . . one bite and you're in love!

Orange and Hazelnut Cake

Orange and Hazelnut Cake. This cake is unforgettable!

Cherry Chocolate Hazelnut Muffins

Cherry Chocolate Hazelnut Muffins

Cherry Chocolate Hazelnut Scones

Cherry Chocolate Hazelnut Scones

So, remember, the next time you’re at the grocery store, or if you can’t find it there, you can purchase some here, be sure to pick up a bag!!! This stuff is life changing so good.

Bob's Red Mill Hazelnut Flour

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All opinions expressed here are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting me in working with the brands that I use and love. 

 

 

The Best Ever Blondies from Americas Test Kitchen + A Giveaway!!

Best Ever Blondies! Using white chocolate chips plus semisweet chocolate chips gives these blondies a rich, full flavor. Recipe from America's Test Kitchen. .  plus a cookbook giveaway! #blondies #baking #holidays #cookbook

The holidays are here and I’m all about holiday baking and having the house stocked with some sweet treats. Right before Thanksgiving, I got my holiday bake on and baked some pumpkin bars, mini pumpkin pies, cookies, and these wonderfully delicious *you’ve got to try these* blondies (recipe down below) from the NEW Family Cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen.

Best Ever Blondies! Using white chocolate chips plus semisweet chocolate chips gives these blondies a rich, full flavor. Recipe from America's Test Kitchen. .  plus a cookbook giveaway! #blondies #baking #holidays #cookbook

The New Family Cookbook from America's Test Kitchen . . plus a giveaway!

I’ve written a couple of reviews on other cookbooks from America’s Test Kitchen. These cookbooks are solid because you know so much thinking, testing and preparation went into publishing these amazing cookbooks. I love how comprehensive cookbooks are from America’s Test Kitchen. These cookbooks are filled with so much expertise and really, delicious, fool-proof recipes.

The New Family Cookbook from America's Test Kitchen

Here’s what’s NEW:

The Package: This new edition is hardcover (rather than ring bound) and features a fresh design with four-color food photography throughout. And at 878 pages, it is even bigger and more comprehensive than the original. This is one comprehensive cookbook!!

1,100 Foolproof Recipes: New recipes like Weeknight Roast Chicken (which roasts in the oven in a preheated skillet), Slow-Roasted Beef (salting an eye-round roast, searing it, and then roasting it in a very low oven makes this bargain cut tender and juicy), and Foolproof Pie Dough (they replace some of the water with vodka! Totally trying this!) represent landmark work done during the past 10 years in the test kitchen. New recipes like Kale and Sunflower Seed Pesto are fresher updates of the classics. There are also more recipes using grains (everything from farro to quinoa), as well as vegetarian entrées.

How-To Tutorials: Throughout the book are 60 illustrated tutorials for core recipes and techniques that the test kitchen thinks everyone should master—things like making a pan sauce, carving a chicken, making a classic quiche or pot roast, or stir-frying tofu. These step-by-step features will sharpen any cook’s skills and teach the test kitchen’s secrets for making food taste better.

The New Family Cookbook from America's Test Kitchen

The America’s Test Kitchen Shopping Guide: This valuable shopping guide features the test kitchen’s no-nonsense ratings of equipment and ingredients. With this information, anyone can be a smarter consumer whether buying a charcoal grill, a garlic press, chicken broth, or canned tomatoes.

The America's Test Kitchen Shopping Guide

More than 1,000 Step-by-Step Photos: Color photos illustrate ingredient prep techniques as well as key steps within recipes. Check out the awesome video here that shows you a much more thorough look at this fabulous book!

This cookbook would make a wonderful holiday gift for a friend or family member who loves to cook. Recipes on my must-cook-soon list: Heart Lentil Soup (pg 110), Quinoa and Vegetable Stew (pg 116), Five-Alarm Chili (pg 119), Spa Chicken with Carrot-Ginger Sauce (pg 129), Korean-Style Steak and Rice Bowls (pg 196), Cod Baked in Foil with Leeks and Carrots (pg 249), Drunken Noodles with Chicken (pg 429), Pecan Sandies (pg 627) and Tiramisu (pg 777).

These blondies were the best I’ve ever had. You need to try these blondies!!

Best Ever Blondies! Using white chocolate chips plus semisweet chocolate chips gives these blondies a rich, full flavor. Recipe from America's Test Kitchen. .  plus a cookbook giveaway! #blondies #baking #holidays #cookbook

Blondies from Americas Test Kitchen
 
Prep time

Cook time

Total time

 

Adding white chocolate chips plus semisweet chocolate chips gives ATK’s blondies a rich, full flavor.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 36 bars

Ingredients
  • 1½ cups (7½ ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups packed (10½ ounces) light brown sugar
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped coarse
  • ½ cup (3 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup (3 ounces) white chocolate chips

Instructions
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Make foil sling for 13×9 inch baking pan (or simply use parchment paper). Spray with non-stick baking spray or grease with butter.
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. In medium bowl, whisk sugar and melted butter together until combined. Whisk in eggs and vanilla. Using rubber spatula, fold in flour mixture until just combined. Fold in pecans and semisweet and white chocolate chips.
  3. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake until top is shiny and cracked and feels firm to touch, for 22 to 25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.
  4. Let blondies cool completely, for about 2 hours. Using foil overhang or parchment overhang, lift blondies from pan. Cut into bars and serve.

Recipe shared here with permission from America’s Test Kitchen. From the New Family Cookbook, pages 639-640.

Best Ever Blondies! Using white chocolate chips plus semisweet chocolate chips gives these blondies a rich, full flavor. Recipe from America's Test Kitchen. .  plus a cookbook giveaway! #blondies #baking #holidays #cookbook

I’m happy to be able to offer ONE LUCKY READER a chance to win this fabulous cookbook. .  enter using the widget below. . and good luck! And, if you don’t want to wait, you can purchase The New Family Cookbook here. Remember, this would make the perfect holiday gift for anyone who loves to cook!

The Giveaway!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I love America’s Test Kitchen and their cookbooks. The cookbook giveaway is hosted by America’s Test Kitchen.

 

 

Black Friday Giveaway!! $50 Gift Card to Amazon.com!

Get a great deal today from the comfort of your home! Black Friday Giveaway!! Enter to win a $50 gift card to Amazon.com! #giveaway #enter #win #blackfriday

Hello friends!

Who’s braving the department stores, Target, Walmart or electronic stores today? I can’t remember the last time I went to a Black Friday sale . . I don’t like crowds and pushing and shoving is not my thing. I’m all about getting a great deal but waking up at the crack of dawn or camping out to wait in line for something is not my idea of fun.

My husband, on the other hand, has done this and camped out with his brother one year at Best Buy. The crowds were insane and everyone was pumped. I think he came home that year with a big screen TV and a new laptop for me.

I can’t believe this year is coming to an end . .  and we’re about to head into December. .  It’s been a great year here at Hip Foodie Mom and I am so so thankful for each and every one of you! Your comments, especially when you’ve made one of my recipes and told me about it are the best. Your comments truly make my day!

So, as a way of saying THANK YOU and granting one of you. .  a GREAT DEAL today on Black Friday, without having to shop somewhere, be in a crowd of crazed people and entering a giveaway from the comfort of your home, while sitting on your couch, possibly eating cookies or snacking on popcorn . . I’m giving away a $50 gift card to Amazon.com!!

Get a great deal today from the comfort of your home! Black Friday Giveaway!! Enter to win a $50 gift card to Amazon.com! #giveaway #enter #win #blackfriday

Not required . .  but for some GOOD GIVEAWAY KARMA. .  leave me a comment below telling me what you would buy at Amazon if you won!

Thank you again you guys!! Happy Black Friday! and for those who are going out and shopping.  . be safe!!

THE GIVEAWAY!!

Disclosure: This giveaway is sponsored by me!!! Thank you for reading Hip Foodie Mom!

 

 

Hazelnut Hot Chocolate for #ALDIHoliday

Warm up to this amazing Hazelnut Hot Chocolate, a wonderful spin on your regular hot chocolate!  Rich, chocolatey and delicious! #hotcocoa #hotchocolate

Here in Wisconsin, I’ve learned there’s a lot to do to prepare your yard for winter, or the first real snow fall. Leaves need to be raked up, bushes and certain plants trimmed and you need to make sure your snow blower has a full gas tank. On a day where my husband spent HOURS sucking up leaves and trimming the bushes, I trimmed our hydrangeas and my kids were even helping us with some yard work, we came back in from a very cold afternoon and happily sipped on this delicious Hazelnut Hot Chocolate, a delightful twist on your average hot chocolate!

Warm up to this amazing Hazelnut Hot Chocolate, a wonderful spin on your regular hot chocolate!  Rich, chocolatey and delicious! #hotcocoa #hotchocolate

Warm up to this amazing Hazelnut Hot Chocolate, a wonderful spin on your regular hot chocolate!  Rich, chocolatey and delicious! #hotcocoa #hotchocolate

Last week, I told you guys about a recent trip to Chicago for ALDI. On the first day, we started with a visit to ALDI headquarters, where we visited their test kitchen and participated in a blind tasting of several food products. Each station featured an ALDI brand versus a leading national brand. We sampled everything from orange juice to yogurt to granola bars and tortilla chips and I chose the ALDI brand 9 out of 10 times. Tastes better and costs less? Pretty great if you ask me!

We then moved on to our Sensory Pairings session, where we participated in a joint food and wine pairings presentation and demonstration. Spending the afternoon sampling wine and eating food was pretty fun and filling. We ended the day with a dinner prepared by the ALDI Test Kitchen chefs and left full and happy.

Fresh Produce at ALDI

On the next day, we visited an ALDI grocery store in Illinois. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen some of the photos and the video of this store. Now, this ALDI is a lot bigger than the one I go to in Madison so I had to capture it on video. What I love about ALDI stores is their philosophy: Cutting back on certain things like credit card machines and not having any plastic or brown bags (forcing you to bring in your own reusable bags, which I think is brilliant!), so they are able to offer you high quality products at super LOW prices.

Yogurt and Dairy at ALDI

ALDI also offers great, seasonal and organic produce and dairy. To find out if your local ALDI carries organic products, click here to reach out to Customer Service, where you can inquire on specific products at your local ALDI store.

Organic Produce at ALDI

Organic Milk at ALDI

If you haven’t shopped at an ALDI before, here is what you need to know:

The Carts: They keep their carts in one convenient place. You put a quarter in the cart, shop and then return the cart to get your quarter back. This helps to keep prices low because they don’t spend time retrieving carts.

Checkout: Credit card processing fees are expensive. By only accepting cash, debit and EBT cards, it helps to keep their prices low.

Bags: Bring your own bags or purchase reusable ones at checkout.

Saving Green: Everything they do from their smaller, energy-saving stores to recycled bags and cartons capture the very essence of conservation. As a result, you can save up to 50% on the majority of your needs.

Our Brands: ALDI brands are made of the same, or even higher, quality than national brands. Plus, they’re backed by ALDI’s Double Guarantee.

Select Assortment: While a typical supermarket carries about 30,000 items, ALDI sells only about 1,400 of the fastest-moving grocery items – most of which are their high-quality brands. Smaller inventory means smaller stores, which leads to lower rent and electricity costs. This allows ALDI to pass the savings on to you.

Select Hours: A typical ALDI store stays open during the most popular shopping hours. Staying open later would simply add labor costs.

Switch & Save: Switching to ALDI-exclusive brands saves you up to 50%* over national brands on the things you buy the most. What could be easier?

As we enter the holiday season and the end of the year, it’s all about spending wisely so you have enough saved up for other things. If you have an ALDI store close to you, stop in for a visit! I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

I hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving and I hope your table is filled with family, friends and some great food! And if you’re already experiencing some really cold weather, like we are here in Wisconsin, you need to warm up to some of this delicious, rich and creamy Hazelnut Hot Chocolate. I hope you enjoy!

Warm up to this amazing Hazelnut Hot Chocolate, a wonderful spin on your regular hot chocolate!  Rich, chocolatey and delicious! #hotcocoa #hotchocolate

Hazelnut Hot Chocolate
 
Author:
Recipe type: Hot Chocolate
Serves: 4

Ingredients
  • 4 cups milk
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons chocolate hazelnut spread
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup irish cream (optional)
  • whipped cream and chocolate shavings for fun
  • candy canes, peppermint sticks or pocky sticks (found at most Asian markets)

Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan over medium to medium-high heat, combine the milk, cocoa powder, sugar, hazelnut spread, ground cinnamon and irish cream (if using). Stir occasionally until sugar and hazelnut spread are dissolved and the mixture is evenly heated through.
  2. Garnish with whipped cream and chocolate shavings and serve with a candy cane, peppermint stick or fun chocolate covered pocky stick. Enjoy!

Recipe from ALDI Test Kitchens.

Warm up to this amazing Hazelnut Hot Chocolate, a wonderful spin on your regular hot chocolate!  Rich, chocolatey and delicious! #hotcocoa #hotchocolate

Disclosure: This post is in partnership with ALDI’s Holiday Blogger Ambassador Program. This is a sponsored post. As always, all opinions expressed here are 100% my own.