Mmm…. Ranch Pull-Apart Bread from Land O’Lakes

I haven’t been able to share my foodie side here at CraftyGirl Creates for a while, so I’m long overdue for a great recipe feature! Now, I’ve seen this recipe all over the web from different blogs, company websites, etc…but no matter where you find it, it’s delicious. Let’s check out this Pull-Apart Party Loaf from Land O’Lakes
Pull Apart Party Loaf from Land O’Lakes
…Doesn’t that make you want to drool? So good! I’ve actually made a variation of this recipe before (Cheddar instead of American, and no jalapenos) and it was a HUGE hit. Warm, cheesy, buttery goodness..how could you go wrong? And, if you’re really creative, you can think of so many different variations you could make with this one recipe. Here’s a few ideas off the top of my head:

Pizza Pull-Apart Bread – Use Land O’Lakes butter, diced pepperoni, chopped green or red bell pepper, mozzarella cheese and a package of Italian dressing mix.
Cheesy Fiesta Pull-Apart Bread – Land O’Lakes Butter, half a packet of low sodium taco seasoning mix, browned ground beef, cheddar cheese, and of course..jalapenos! 
Make it for your next party…or throw a party as an excuse to make it! This great recipe from Land O’Lakes is sure to be a party favorite!
Until next time, stay crafty (and get creative with your food)!
-Katie

CraftyGirl Approved Recipes: Brownie Batter Dip ✔

I love trying new recipes, and recently, I had the perfect occasion to test out a few new recipes. Dear Husband and I threw a small New Year’s eve open house, and I had a blast cooking. Here’s my favorite recipe of the night:
Brownie Batter Dip
Brownie Batter Dip 
Brownie Batter Dip from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe  is decadently delicious. I didn’t make any changes to the recipe, except to double it! (I love chocolate, if that’s not obvious) It’s almost a chocolate cheesecake dip instead of a brownie, but either way it’s delicious. We served it with Nilla wafers, pretzel sticks and sugar wafers. A little bit of a sugar overload, but it was completely worth it!
What’s your favorite party food?
Until next time…stay crafty (and eat chocolate)!
-Katie
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Recipe Feature: Easy Mints

Looking for a last minute candy recipe before Christmas? Look no further! This Easy Mints recipe from Karo has only 5 ingredients and is sure to be a crowd-pleaser!
Make sure to check out the recipe here, as well as other holiday recipes from Karo!

Until next time…stay crafty (and make candy)!
-Katie
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Guest Post : For The Chili Nights

Today’s post comes from missrachelchanel, a blog by one of my dear friends. To see the original post, click here.

For The Chili Nights

I wanted to make a post about this because my dear friend asked me to write a post about my favourite holiday recipe. I wouldn’t consider this a holiday recipe so much as a seasonal one, and I felt that it was noteworthy enough to share. When it starts to get cold, this is one of the first things that I get excited to make. 
This is the best chili that I’ve had so far; I obtained the recipe from cooking school. We received a book of recipes that was printed by the school that have been tested and printed up into sections. This chili recipe was in the soup section of the cookbook.
“If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?” Have any of you heard this question?
For years, I was unable to answer it! The very thought of eating only one thing for the rest of my life (even if it was a rhetorical situation) made me want to give up on life! After having had this chili, especially on the second day, I finally found an answer to that question. I would gladly eat this chili for the rest of my life… as long as it was only once a day. If it wasn’t this chili, I’d also choose the vegan chili that our stage manager made once. I’ll have to post the recipe for that one eventually. Once I make it myself, I promise to post a recipe for that one.
But for now… the chili con carne.
It has the perfect amount of spices in it and the right amount of heat from the jalapeños, which makes it plenty flavorful. My mom likes more beans, so I’ve added a little more than the recipe suggests.
The ingredients are as follows:
  • 2 c. kidney beans
  • 5 c. brown stock
  • 4 strips bacon, med dice
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 2 c. small dice onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 jalapeño chilies, seeded and minced
  • 2 ribs small dice celery
  • 2 Tb cumin
  • 2 Tb chili powder
  • ¼ tsp ground coriander
  • 2 c tomato puree
  • s & p, tt
  • sour cream and cheddar cheese for garnish (optional)
So… the first 2 steps of this recipe I’ve never really used because I always bought a can of beans. However, if you’re using dried beans, you want to soak them according to direction first, then cook them in 4 of the 5 c. of that brown stock. While that’s happening, cook your bacon in a very large skillet (Trust me, it needs to be large. This recipe makes a lot of chili). Once your bacon is cooked off, save a piece for yourself, and put the other 3 in with the beans to cook. This way, they can be infused with the goodness that only bacon can give.
IF, however, you’re like me and bought a can of beans, eat your 4 strips of bacon when cooked, and proceed to do the following:
Brown off all your beef in that lovely bacon fat and remove it once it’s cooked. If you didn’t want to use ground beef, I’m sure ground chicken or turkey would be lovely. I’ll have to experiment with that modification and let you know how I get on. In the meantime, let us proceed.
In a pan that is now shimmering with the fat from your bacon and your ground beef (brilliant!), soften that diced onion and add the garlic with it. Once it’s “transparent”, as they say, let the celery and jalapeño join the party and cook up for about a minute. Shortly after, add the spices, that stock, and the puree. Let it boil, then have that lovely soup of flavors simmer down until it’s thickened a bit.
Ahh, you didn’t think I forgot the beans and beef, did you? Well now that your spicy and delicious broth has thickened, add in the ground beef and the beans. If you’ve done dried and have the bacon still in there, leave it in. It’ll do more good than harm, trust me.
Let all these flavors get to know each other on medium heat for 20 minutes. If you feel that it needs salt and pepper, add it in towards the end.
Tadaa!! Let it cool down, get it in your favourite bowl, and tuck in!
IMG_0276
If you’re feel patient enough to wait until the next day (or if you’re lucky enough to have leftovers), the tastes are magnified, and it’ll be even more pleasurable to eat! I know! I didn’t think it could get better until I had it the second day.
If you have a small family or live on your own, this meal can span over a few days until you’ve consumed it all… and the more it sits, the better it gets! It’s one of the few foods that only gets better the longer it hangs around, and I adore that about this chili.
I hope you get a chance to try it this season. I haven’t made it yet, but I’m sure it won’t be much longer before I’ve made my first batch to christen the season.
Enjoy!

Apple Nut Muffins with Streusel Topping – from Food Network

When I’m stressed, I bake. It’s as simple as that. I went to bake cookies earlier today, and found I didn’t have all the ingredients I needed…however, later in the evening, when I couldn’t sleep, I decided to whip up some muffins! I used the Apple Nut Muffin with Streusel recipe from Food Network, and it is so good! I’d show you a picture of the finished product, but admittedly, I filled my muffin cups too high and well..it’s not pretty. But it’s still delicious. 🙂 

So, make sure to check the recipe out here if you’re in the mood for some baking!
Until next time…stay crafty (and bake some goodies)!
-Katie
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The First Tomato and Vintage Recipes

So, earlier this summer, my wonderful neighbor offered me 3 tomato plants-Apparently, she had planted all of her seeds, thinking that some of them wouldn’t sprout, and ended up with 98 tomato plants! I gladly took the plants, with the warning that I’m not exactly known for my green thumb. I’m better with vegetables than I am with flowers (I’m still not sure how my marigolds are alive), but I was cautiously optimistic.
Through many waterings, some Miracle Gro, and a lot of coddling, I finally have…my first tomato!
There are also a few more on the same plant that should be ready in another day or two. I’ll admit, I’m pretty excited. 🙂 There are also at least 10-12 more green ones on the other plants. Certainly not enough to can mass quantities of anything, but definitely great for salads, sandwiches and more!
And on this glorious day, after doing some cleaning, I came across one of my favorite vintage cookbooks. It’s a 1968 copy of Better Homes and Gardens’ Cookies and Candies. Now, no matter how old the recipes are, cookies and candies NEVER go out of style!
I just love the vintage pictures!
The pages may be yellowed and the spine may be cracked, but the recipes are tried and true. So, I thought I’d share one with you! It’s definitely a classic.
Chocolate Chippers
(Better Homes and Garden’s Cookies and Candies, 1968)

Ingredients:
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon soda (Baking soda)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 6-ounce package (1 cup) semi sweet chocolate pieces (Chips)
1/2 cup chopped California walnuts (Optional)

Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Cream shortening, sugars, egg and vanilla until fluffy
  • Sift together dry ingredients and stir into the creamed mixture
  • Stir in chocolate, and nuts (optional)
  • Drop from teaspoon 2 inches apart onto greased cookie sheet
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes
  • Remove from pan – Makes 3 dozen cookies
Until next time…stay crafty!

-Katie

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Maine Blueberry Cake Recipe

So, I am a huge fan of berries. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries… I’ll take them all! Sometimes, though, if you’re absent minded like me, you buy too many blueberries and you don’t have enough time to eat them before they go bad…oops. This is where one of my favorite recipes comes in!

My maternal grandfather grew up in Maine, and my mother spent a lot of time there during the summers, on family vacations. I’ve only been to Maine once, and I was too young to remember it, but whenever I bake this cake….it makes me feel like I’m there. 🙂

Maine Blueberry Cake

Ingredients:

3 & 3/4 cup all purpose flour
3 & 3/4 teaspoons baking powder (Or, 1 tablespoon plus 3/4th a teaspoon)
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter
1 & 1/2 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen (I prefer fresh)
Additional 1/4 cup white sugar

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour your 9 by 13 inch baking pan.

Sift your dry ingredients together into a bowl. (Flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg)

In another bowl (either fitted to a stand mixer, or in a bowl that you can use a hand mixer with), cream your butter and sugar together. Add in your eggs, one at a time, followed by your milk and vanilla.

Gently mix your dry ingredients into your butter/sugar mixture, making sure to fully incorporate it. You don’t want any lumps, but try not to over-mix your batter.. No one likes a tough cake! 🙂

Finally, gently fold in your blueberries. Pour your batter into your greased 9 by 13 inch pan! Now, here’s my favorite part: sprinkle the additional 1/4 cup of white sugar over the top. (When it’s done, it’ll be nice and crunchy on the top..It’s so good!)

Now, pop that pan of awesomeness into your oven for 45-60 minutes. Times will vary, depending on your oven.. Everyone’s oven is a little different! 🙂 I’d suggest peeking in on it at around 40 minutes, just in case your oven runs a little hot.

You’ll know it’s done when it’s pulled away slightly from the sides, and you can stick a cake tester (or toothpick!) into it, and it comes out clean.

Now, I know it’s super tempting to just dive into that cake right now, but burning your tongue won’t do you any good! 🙂 I’d suggest you let it cool for at least 45 minutes before you slice it, giving the cake time to firm up. Or, if you’re super impatient and you have ample fridge space, just pop it in there after it’s cooled on the counter for 15-20 minutes, and that’ll speed up the process!

Summer may be coming to a close, but you can make this recipe year round! Frozen blueberries work well when you’re in a pinch, or you don’t want to pay out of season prices for fresh. Just make sure to dust your frozen blueberries with a small pinch of flour before you put them in the batter…That will help them not to sink to the bottom. 🙂

Until next time…stay crafty!

-Katie

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