Eat Well: Super Bowl Snacks

My husband and I went to a big Super Bowl party on Sunday, so of course we whipped up a few classic snacks to share with the crowd. Below is what we brought, with links and/or cooking instructions.

1. Chocolate chip cookies (a classic). I made these the last time a San Francisco team was in a national championship, so it only seemed right to bust them out again in honor of the 49ers. The recipe is here.  DSC_1070 DSC_1098

2. The party we went to had a large number of ex-pat Texans, so of course we had to bring my husband's famous queso. Recipe is below the pictures.

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Queso Recipe

Ingredients: 1 block Velveeta, 2 cans of Rotel, 1 jalapeño, 1 avocado, pepper, chili powder, cumin, onion, ground beef + taco seasoning (optional)

Chop Velveeta into little blocks and put in a slow cooker or into a large pot on the stove. Add two cans of Rotel (drain one and add the peppers; add the other one with liquid + peppers). Meanwhile, season ground beef with a packet of taco seasoning and then cook in a frying pan until browned. Once Velveeta is melted, put in beef, chopped jalapeño, avocado, and caramelized onion. Add in pepper (generous portion), chili powder, and cumin to taste.

3. Baked Brie in Puff Pastry with Raspberry Preserves - my master chef of a sister told me about this one. The recipe is here. I made it without the nuts - I personally think that's better. My sister makes it with raspberry chipotle sauce instead of raspberry preserves, which I would have done except I couldn't locate any here in SF! Regardless of which you use, this recipe is both ridiculously delicious and ridiculously easy.

DSC_1095 DSC_1104 8Or71oqQ13c213338363837313GqgdhtHS_1321867043This last picture is not mine - I pulled it from the webpage with the recipe. I baked this concoction when I was already at the party, so there wasn't an opportunity to take my own picture!

Live Well: Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is my favorite day of the year. There is something so delicious (literally and figuratively) about the countdown to Christmas Day, made all the better by dinner in the dining room, lots of pie, opening presents from siblings (an Ashcroft family tradition!), and ending the evening at church singing Silent Night, Holy Night. I've been trying to take time to enjoy all the little things that have made the past week at home so special, the things that will undoubtedly make Christmas Eve that much better. A few of them are below.

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Stockings hung by the chimney with care.

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The Ashcroft family Christmas countdown calendar. Don't judge - I know it looks like some of the hideous stuff your grandmother has hanging in her house. It's been with us since childhood, though, so it's here to stay! Also, because I am up at 2:15AM writing this post, I am going to go down and move the mouse to the 24th...beating my brother to the punch :)

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Lots of beautiful gifts.

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Eating the most delicious cookies in the world.

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Texas skies.

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Dogs. Lots of dogs.

I hope you're enjoying the best day of the year as much as I am. Merry Christmas Eve!

Eat Well: Sugar Cookies (Two Ways)

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Here are two more delicious treats that I cannot take credit for - my siblings are truly the talented chefs in my family. In honor of the holiday season, I decided to feature two types of sugar cookies - one kind that is appropriate to eat year round, and the other that is perfect for Christmastime.

Type #1: Soft sugar cookies

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DSC_8125In order make these soft, chewy, and oh-so-easy sugar cookies, my siblings use this recipe, with a few modifications. First, don't put in the lemon juice or lemon zest. Secondly, add vanilla (a teaspoon or so should be about right). Third, add cinnamon. However much cinnamon you like. Fourth, take them out of the oven when they look barely cooked - the chewier, the better!

Type #2: Sugar Cookies to Decorate

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DSC_8310No recipe modifications on this one, just one tip: cut the cookies out on a piece of parchment paper and then transfer the paper with the cookies on it to the baking sheet. Spatula + sugar cookie dough = lots of headless snowmen.

Have a great Thursday!

Eat Well: M&M Cookies

When the Giants win the World Series during Halloween week, you are basically required to make orange and black cookies. I used this recipe. To be honest, I think it needs more wet stuff - I'm just not sure what. Probably butter? However, I brought the cookies to work yesterday and my coworkers went out of their way to tell me how good they were. Maybe I just have awesome coworkers (which I do). Either way, I suggest trying the recipe for yourself and seeing what you think!

I'm also refuse to cook unless I have some goods jams blasting out of my speakers (that's right, the only set of speakers I own are in my kitchen). During this baking session, I was listening to my favorite (albeit unoriginal) favorite song:

My Halloween plans are still very much up in the air - is it even possible to have plans if you don't have a costume? We shall see. I hope all of you have a very spooky and sweet Halloween!