#handcraftededibles: Go Nuts

#handcraftedediblesIn an effort to make all of her holiday gifts this year, Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla invited some of her favorite foodie bloggers to share recipes for hand-crated edibles. Over the course of twelve weeks, we’ll be sharing recipes for all your homemade holiday gifts. Hope you’ll follow along for inspiration. You can find out more information, including the schedule here.

Today’s theme is “Go Nuts”. Spiced and candied nuts or nut mixes make for perfect party food. Next time you’re invited to a holiday party, bring a pretty container full of flavored nuts to gift to the generous host.

I had a couple of recipes on the blog that would fit today’s theme, but I’ve decided to re-share my personal favorite, Orange Rosemary Roasted Almonds. These almonds are a great alternative to the popular traditional candied nuts and are guaranteed to wow your friends.

Orange Rosemary Roasted Almonds


  • 4 C almonds
  • 6 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tbsp orange zest


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Place almonds on prepared baking sheet. Lightly spray with cooking spray and roast 10-15 minutes.
  3. In a small saucepan over medium heat melt together butter and sugar. Once the sugar is dissolved remove from  the heat and mix in the rosemary and orange zest.
  4. Toss roasted almonds and the butter mixture together in a large bowl. Spread nuts back out on baking sheet(s) to cool completely.

*This recipe is adapted from Christie at http://akitchenhoor.blogspot.com/2015/02/src-reveal-orange-and-rosemary-roasted.html*

Orange Rosemary Roasted Almonds | Sew You Think You Can Cook

To give nuts as a gift place them in a glass container and tie it with a bow along with the recipe! An entire gift basket of different nut flavors and varieties would be a great gift, too.

Here are some other options to fill your basket:

Next week – week 10 – check back for our recipes to inspire you as we let our confectioner’s skills shine. Think truffles, barks, anything
and everything with chocolate. Don’t forget to check out our #handcraftededibles pinterest board.

Thankful for Friends and Bloggers

Last month my wonderful friend Tara of Tara’s Multicultural Table threw me a surprise virtual baby shower for my baby boy. The theme behind this blogging event was Thanksgiving.


With a Fall baby, I couldn’t have picked a more perfect theme. Especially when Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I definitely have so much to be thankful for this year.


Tara gathered together a wonderful group of bloggers willing to share a Thanksgiving recipe in honor of my baby boy.

Thank you again to all of the bloggers who came to my shower and a huge thank you to Tara for hosting. I hope you all have a fantastic Thanksgiving surrounded by those you love.

CIC: Jalapenos & Sweet Potatoes


This month’s crazy ingredient challenge was to come up with a dish combining sweet potatoes and jalapenos. Nothing too crazy if you go a Southwest/Tex-Mex direction. I though of doing potato skins or some sort of play on jalapeno poppers – I guess I had game day snacks on my mind.

Instead though I decided to go with burgers. I got the idea after going to the zoo. Random. right?

On Veteran’s Day we took advantage of the husband’s day off and traveled to the Columbus Zoo. It was an incredible trip! It was a cool day and the animals were our to play! We saw a rhino rolling in the mud; lion cubs chasing their mama; the tigers and pumas were out in force, too; and we finally laid eyes on the red panda! The zoo wasn’t very crowded either on a Wednesday and we were able to let our toddler run around some.

Columbus Zoo Fall 2015

But back to the dish at hand.

The food at the zoo is actually pretty good. This visit was our second one to the Columbus Zoo and my husband ordered their black bean burger for lunch. (I like their cranberry feta salad.) After two enjoyable black bean burgers I figured I ought to give veggie burgers a try at home. And why not add some sweet potato and jalapeno!?

I’m pleased to declare my veggie burger adventure a successful one. While it wouldn’t fool a carnivore, it will satisfy one! I was surprised at how filling the patty was. I assembled my burger with cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mayo. Barbecue sauce or ketchup would also compliment the patty nicely.

An Original Recipe

BBQ Veggie Burgers


  • 1/4 C diced red onion
  • 1 jalapeno, deseeded and diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained
  • 1/2 C mashed cooked sweet potato
  • 1 egg
  • 1 C panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp barbecue seasoning (I probably could have bumped this up to 1 tbsp)
  • vegetable oil
  • 4 buns
  • toppings: cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, etc


  1. In a small skillet over medium-high heat, saute onion and jalapeno in olive oil until tender. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Remove from heat.
  2. In a bowl mash the black beans, leaving some texture. Mix in the sweet potato, sauteed veggies, egg, panko, and seasoning until combined. Form into 4 patties.
  3. Coat the bottom of a large skillet with vegetable oil. Cook patties over medium heat for 3-5 minutes on each side. Melt cheese, if using, on top of patties during the last two minutes of cook time.
  4. Assemble burgers as desired.

BBQ Veggie Burger for Crazy Ingredient Challenge from Sew You Think You Can Cook

To see the other bloggers who participated in this month’s Crazy Ingredient Challenge click on the link below.

Sausage Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese is one of those comfort foods that everyone seems to have a soft spot for. I know it’s one of my guilty pleasures. I say that because I still (in my upper 2os) prefer the highly processed boxed macaroni to a homemade pasta. I think what I don’t care for is a baked casserole dish of mac and cheese. I don’t care for the extra cheese or breadcrumb crust on top and baked noodle dishes to me always seem dry.

But I do give a “fancy” mac and cheese a chance every now and then. And when one is a stove-top version of the comfort food I’m more inclined to give it a try. Especially when cream cheese is one of the ingredients!

And with sausage being a main ingredient I know that my husband would definitely approve. That makes this pasta a main dish and not a side.

Sausage Macaroni and Cheese


  • 1/2 lb uncooked macaroni noodles
  • 2 links Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 1/4 C milk
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 3/4 C shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 C shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
  • 1/4 C cream cheese
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. In a large, high-sided skillet over medium-high heat cook the sausage, breaking it up.
  3. In a measuring cup, whisk together the milk and flour. Add to the skillet and bring to a boil, whisking continuously. Reduce to a simmer and whisk in the cheeses, spices, and salt to taste. Stir until cheese is melted.
  4. Add cooked pasta to the skillet, coating it in the sauce.

*This recipe is adapted from Deborah at http://www.tasteandtellblog.com/cheesy-goodness/*

sausage macaroni and cheese | sew you think you can cook

Tuesday Tattles #10

Tuesday Tattles

It’s been another almost five months since I’ve done a “favorite products” version of Tuesday Tattles. My little man is now 16 1/2 months old.

12107130_10103304221470551_5559103387627477238_nA lot has happened since he’s turned one! He is more sure footed than ever, except for when he’s tired, and is a happy explorer. He can run, although not exactly gracefully, and enjoys running away from us to see if we’ll get him! But his number one activity is climbing. He’ll try and climb up on anything! I’ve caught him on top of my crafting table, laying next to my sewing machine. Chairs now have to be kept at a distance or tucked too far under the table to be of use.

His vocabulary has expanded from “duck” to include “all done”, “uh oh”, “up”, and “okay.” He is getting great at communicating when he is hungry too by running to the fridge and yelling “MAOW”. His favorite foods include sandwiches, berries, bananas, and the food that gets a happy dance, cheese.

Now on to the favorite toys of my one year old. A lot of today’s items are those he got at his first birthday. My family had some great ideas so if you have little ones on your holiday shopping list pay attention!

Duck Pond Water Table

toys for toddlers | sew you think you can cookA splash table is a fun warm weather activity and when I saw one that was duck themed I knew I had to get it! (Duck was my little man’s first word and he still loves rubber ducks and the duck stuffed animal I had as a child.) My son loves water – baths, showers, washing his hands. It’s getting too cold now but I know when it comes back out of the box come late spring he’ll find new enjoyment with it.

Little People Music Parade Ride-On

11755883_10103137355366561_2074814749816057856_nThis marching band car is a huge hit! He loves to press the music making buttons, push it around the house, sit on it and be pushed, sit on it and scoot around himself, and of course, try to fit himself in it. Surprisingly he still hasn’t put anything into the seat cavity, other than to immediately pull it out. Maybe with a little brother around he’ll re-discover the compartment as a place for safe keeping.

Play Kitchen

toys for toddlers 2 | sew you think you can cookA play kitchen is a perfect toy for a food blogger’s kid! And I’m happy to report that a lot of independent play has been developed through his play kitchen. (Allowing me to wash dishes peacefully.) He will bang the dishes, open up all the doors, and naturally try and climb it. This particular model comes with a shape sorting pot and it’s one of his favorite activities. All of the accessories do create a bit of a mess, but what’s a home with a toddler without a little clutter?

Classic Table and Chairs Set

toys for toddlers 3 | sew you think you can cookWe found this classic table and chairs set at a consignment shop in fantastic shape, so I jumped on the chance to bring it home. I thought he was still too little to really use it but I was proven wrong within ten minutes of having it home. He had immediately climbed up on top of the table and stood up. It was kept upside down for a while after that. And when he got tired of being in his booster seat I found he’d eat a sandwich like a big boy at his table. Turns out the table is also the perfect platform for superhero practice with Daddy.

Mega Bloks

Until quite recently my little man much preferred destroying towers as to building them but now he’ll stack a few before taking them apart. He likes to bring us the bag to open up and build with him, although the creativity and endless hours of fun are still a ways away.

The Little Engine That Could

This abridged version of the classic is definitely my 16 month old’s favorite book. We read it at least four times a day.

The Babies on the Bus

I must admit, I wasn’t thrilled pulling this one out of the birthday bag, but the gift giver definitely knew what they were doing. This book comes at a very close second for most read book in our house. I have managed to turn it into a fun read by not singing the song (no one needs that stuck in their head all childhood) and using hand motions. My son will now “sing” “LA LA LA” with the babies on the bus and say “shush shush shush” with the driver on the bus. He will also swing his arms “open and close” along with the “doors on the bus.”
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

#SundaySupper: Budget Friendly Meals

Today’s Sunday Supper theme is Budget Friendly Meals. It’s that time of year when budgets become tested and spending levels go off the charts, so why not save some green in the kitchen. A big thank you to Shelby Ruttan of Gumpy’s Honey Bunch and Caroline Williams of Caroline’s Cooking for hosting this week. Be sure to scroll past my recipe for an incredible selection of penny pinching recipes.

Twice baked potatoes have become my go-to mid-week I-don’t-want-to-cook dinner plan. I can re-purpose leftovers by adding them to the mashed potato mixture. Chili, taco meat, or shredded chicken make for fantastic twice baked potato fillings.

I must admit, I am a complete failure when it comes to a baked potato. I mean, how hard can it be?! Stick potato in oven. Wait. But for some strange reason I can never get the insides of the potato to be cooked. And then I discovered the “baked potato” button on the microwave. My whole world had been turned upside down and the amount of potatoes (and sweet potatoes) we’ve eaten has increased.

Today’s original recipe is inspired by French Onion Soup. I used deli roast beef in this recipe but leftover shredded roast would be perfect, too! Or, you could leave the beef out and use vegetable stock for a vegetarian friendly side dish. Swiss or Gruyere cheese would be a more authentic cheese to add to the mashed potato but I was using what I had available to me, and that was Parmesan.

This recipe is for two whole potatoes, which feeds 2 as a main dish or 4 as a side dish.

An Original Recipe

French Onion Soup Twice Baked Potatoes


  • 1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp butter, divided use
  • 1/4 tsp beef broth
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 baked (or microwaved) potatoes
  • 1/4 C milk
  • 1/8 C sour cream
  • 1/4 C chopped deli roast beef
  • 1/4 C Parmesan cheese


  1. In a skillet over medium-high heat, saute onions in 2 tbsp butter until caramelized. This will take approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Season onions with 1/4 tsp Kosher salt and 1/8 tsp pepper. Add the broth, Worcestershire, and thyme. Cook until saucy, about 1-2 minutes. Set onions aside. Note: These two steps can be done in advance and caramelized onions stored in the fridge.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out the insides.
  5. Mash the potatoes with 1 tbsp butter, milk, and sour cream until creamy. Fold in the onions and roast beef. Season to taste with S+P.
  6. Fill the potato skins with the mashed potato mixture. Top with Parmesan cheese. Bake 20 minutes, until the tops are lightly golden and potatoes are warmed through.

French Onion Soup Twice Baked Potatoes for #SundaySupper from Sew You Think You Can Cook

Save-Your-Pennies Soups:
Bean and Bacon Soup by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
Mexican Turkey Bean Soup by What Smells So Good?
Pasta e Fagioli by The Food Hunter’s Guide to Cuisine
Turkey and Dumpling Soup by Palatable Pastime
Vegan Broccoli Cheese Soup by Pancake Warriors

Budget-Savvy Bread and Salads:
Mom’s Buttermilk Biscuits by Grumpy’s Honeybunch
Turkey Salad by Food Done Light

Money-Saving Mains:
Black Bean and Bell Pepper Quesadillas by My San Francisco Kitchen
Cajun Blackened Chicken Thighs by Feeding Big
Chicken Enchilada Casserole by Cosmopolitan Cornbread
Chicken Enchiladas by The Freshman Cook
Chicken Piccata by Monica’s Table
Chicken Tetrazzini by Renee’s Kitchen Adventures
Chimichurri Chicken Thighs by Life Tastes Good
Dutch Baby Pancakes by Brunch with Joy
Easy Cheesy Egg Breakfast Bake with Potatoes and Sausage by From Gate to Plate
Easy Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce by Fantastical Sharing of Recipes
Egyptian Rice and Lentils by Wholistic Woman
French Onion Soup Twice Baked Potato by Sew You Think You Can Cook
Gnocchi with Fennel and Pork by Caroline’s Cooking
Italian Baked Chicken by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Lasagna Stuffed Acorn Squash by Cupcakes & Kale Chips
One-Pot Creamy Chicken and Noodles by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
Orzo with Leftover Turkey and Sweet Potatoes by Cooking Chat
Sauteed Vegetables by Party Food and Entertaining
Turkey Sausage and Pasta by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
Twice Baked Sweet Potato Bar by Momma’s Meals
Yakisoba (Japanese Stir Fried Noodles) by Curious Cuisinere

Don’t-break-the-bank Desserts:
Apple Pecan Bread Pudding by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Marshmallow Popcorn Balls by Pies and Plots
Slow Cooker Apple Gingerbread Crumble by The Crumby Cupcake

And more saving suggestions from the Sunday Supper Movement:
Budget-Friendly Meal Ideas for #SundaySupper
8387592742_f6164fd5a8_oJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the#SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Black & White Cookies

I have two cookbooks dedicated solely to cookies yet I never really think to make them! It’s not until an event pops up that requires cookies to be made that I remember I have these books.

There was a service event at church calling for homemade cookies. I searched through my Pinterest boards and found a couple of recipes that intrigued me, but when it came time to bake them I realized I didn’t have all of the ingredients as I’d thought, and then I continued reading and didn’t have time to chill the dough long enough either. So I opened up The Gourmet Cookie Book: The Single Best Recipe from Each Year 1941-2009 on a mission to find a recipe that would make at least 2 dozen cookies, could be made quickly, and with what I had on hand. The recipe I chose is from December 2005.

Black and White Cookies are, according to the cookbook, somewhat of a favorite in NYC. I’ve never had the classic half black half white cookie so I can’t confirm that these tasted like the real deal or not. I know they don’t look like the real deal though because I don’t have the talent or patience to frost 28 cookies, so I used piping bags and went wild.

Mini Black and White Cookies

Ingredients for cookies:

  • 7 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 C flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 C buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients for icing:

  • 2 3/4 C powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp corn syrup
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4-6 tbsp water
  • 1/4 C cocoa powder


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 baking sheets.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg and beat until combined.
  3. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In another bowl or glass, whisk the buttermilk and vanilla.
  5. Alternately add the dry and wet ingredients to the butter, beginning and ending with the dry.
  6. Place spoonfuls of dough onto prepared baking sheet and bake 6-8 minutes, rotating pans halfway. The cookies are done when they’ve puffed and the edges are a pale gold. Allow cookies to cool on a cooling rack.
  7. Make the icings: Whisk together the powdered sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, and 2 tbsp water. Add more water if needed. Divide icing in half and stir the cocoa powder into one half.
  8. Frost the cooled cookies: Classically they are half white and half black. If you pipe like I did you can get away with a half batch of icings.

*This recipe is adapted from The Gourmet Cookie Book: The Single Best Recipe from Each Year 1941-2009*

Black and White Cookies | Sew You Think You Can Cook

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.