Switching over to “Just Like Perfect”

On Tuesday March 3rd, the plan is to redirect visitors to this site over to my new active site, “Just Like Perfect!”. I am still sharing fresh and thoughtful gift ideas as well as my gift of gab over there, and I have room to share so much more now.

Please come on over and if you enjoy your time there, sign up to receive posts by email or follow along on Facebook.

“Just Like Perfect!” can be found at: http://www.justlikeperfect.com/ 

or

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/justlikeperfect

See you soon!

From me…to you

Aaryne

“Follow” Along

It’s bittersweet to move on from this blog because it is where I started almost a year ago. I have loved every moment of it, which is why I wanted my own website to grow into. As I get ready to make this site inactive, there is a slight hesitation to do so.

Sniff, sniff.

Some of the “not wanting to let go” may be from my own world as a momma. My wee ones are growing and the last one will eventually be moving out of the “baby” lifestyle. There are lots of things to look forward to in the new phases to come, like not having to fill milk cups 225 times a day. But it’s the “leaving behind” that puts a catch in my throat.

But, the time is coming to move forward soon.

For those of you who have “followed” me and were able to receive emails every time I posted (aren’t you glad that you picked that option?), I believe that you will need to “follow” me again on my new website, “Just Like Perfect”. At the top of the sidebar on the right, you will see an option to follow along through Facebook or by your email address. I have also added Pinterest as a way to follow me, but my Pinterest boards for Just Like Perfect are in the “development” phase at this point. Other social media options will be coming in the future too.

If you were tired of hearing from me (I know, like that is possible), then this is a way for you to move on.  I will miss you very much and I thank you for hanging in there with me, but I understand that you need to do things differently. I will be happy to see you again, my friend, if you decide to stop back in to “Just Like Perfect” at another point.

In the next few days, I will make “Make it, Bake it or Buy it” inactive and you will be redirected to my new site if you try to come here.

I look forward to seeing you in my new place!

From me…to you

Aaryne

It’s Time for My New Website!

Ready or not, my new website is open to share with all of you!

Yippee!

I am so excited to share this and thank you for being patient with me while I developed it. I am ready to be back and focused on one site and all of the wonderful things that I want to share for your gifting moments and all of your moments made.

Please click here for the link to “Just Like Perfect!” or search for justlikeperfect.com (but since I am new I may be a few pages back…!)

http://www.justlikeperfect.com/

See you at my new pad!!

Almost Ready…

It’s Thursday already…how did that happen?

Well, then it must be almost time for me to unveil my new website.

I am getting “Just Like Perfect!” spruced up for you and tomorrow I will post the link to my new website!

Did You Really Think I Could Stay Away?

Yah, I can’t.

But, I am getting things accomplished, more or less, so you can join me soon on my new website “Just Like Perfect!”.

Today was very busy in a fun way because I was actually able to spend a good amount of time cooking and baking so that I can add some new recipes to my site. I love being in the kitchen and it was so much more fun to do this for my website than to sit and try to figure out all of the technical stuff that is not working or to fix all of the back posts (I am sooo not done with that yet).

I won’t spoil the surprise but there are desserts, soup and a deliciously moist quick bread with a twist to look forward to.

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The only problem is that I think I used every pot and pan that I own so cleanup is ginormous.

I’m Lonely

sad

I’m lonely over in my big ole messy half-empty website without you.

So, because it’s no fun doing this without you and I want you to keep me company, I have decided to spend the next week working like crazy to get my place presentable and then switch over to my new website. Does that sound selfish? It might be, but just maybe you would enjoy grabbing a box to sit on and keep me company. From there, I will keep working on many things that need tidying but it will be so much more fun (for me any way) to have you along. What’s the point in waiting until my website is perfect when the whole point of my website is that it doesn’t need to be perfect to make a moment?

Thus, I will not be putting posts on here this week so that I can focus on getting “Just Like Perfect!” ready enough for switching over next weekend.

I would love to be “open” for the start of March. It is my 1 year anniversary for blogging, ya know. How can it be one year already? But, it makes the moment fun to switch to my new site during my anniversary month – lots to celebrate!

By the end of next week, I will be back and let you know what my plan is for the weekend…it is all just so exciting!

Talk to you soon and have a great weekend and week…

From me…to you

Aaryne

Shamrock’s for St. Patty’s Day

Here are a few shamrock goodies for St. Patty’s Day from Sturbridge Yankee – you can find all of them at their link:

http://www.sturbridgeyankee.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=shamrock

 

Shamrock Thermometer

$19.95 for Shamrock Thermometer

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Shamrock Jute Trivet

$9.95 for Shamrock Jute Trivet

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Irish Lace Shortbread Pan

$39.95 for Irish Lace Shortbread Pan

 

Pot o’ Gold (or rather green)

Need a super fun St. Patrick’s Day gift idea? How about this green swirl Dutch oven – yes, I can find any reason to get kitchenware as a gift!

The February 2015 issue of Redbook magazine gave some ideas for great gifts and I loved this… (pg 108)

Green Swirl Dutch Oven GR31

https://consumer.goldenrabbit.com/green-swirl-dutch-oven

$48.50 for Green Swirl Dutch Oven from Golden Rabbit

How’s My “Just Like Perfect!” Website Coming Along Now?

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Fabulous, just fabulous!

It has been a few weeks now and for the last few days, I have stopped complaining. That in itself is fabulous because I was getting tired of the “complaining me”, it’s not my nature.

My site is taking shape, finally, and I have not had any major setbacks (I just jinxed myself for sure) and I am getting excited. At the moment, I am knee-deep in tedious manual technical labor but my mind is busy dreaming about what I want it to look like, both temporarily, and as I move forward.

If you don’t know, I am a big dreamer. Big. And with big plans, often much bigger than can be accomplished in the near future – or ever. This website dream is no different.

So, I just reel myself in and make adjustments to my mindset. The biggest kink in my plan is that I need to go through the blog material that I have transferred over, post by post, because links are not working and my new website has the ability to include “featured images” (like my recipe blog had) but this site does not. So, I have to add an image for each post, fix links and clear any other cobwebs that I find. There are over 500 posts. Phew.

First, I started just going page by page and post by post. But I only got to page 7 out of 30 pages and I needed to see more success. I am the person who paints a wall and then cuts in because I need to see results fast. Granted, cutting in takes the longest and it is best practice to cut in first. And technically, once the cutting in is done, the rest of the wall goes quickly. But, at some point, I need visual stimulation to see that I am actually accomplishing something.

This post-fixing project is no different either. So, I changed up the routine and started fixing posts by category. Ahhh, seeing the categories get checked off of a list was the visual accomplishment that helped. I have left the largest category for the end, as I do with painting and cutting in, and will probably be sorry, but by that point, it will just have to get finished.

Thus, in the mindless task of going post by post, I think I have decided that I will open the Just Like Perfect! website once it is operable and invite you all to stop in and look around as construction is going on. I will still have to fix posts and get organized but right now, I am doing double the work by posting here and then adding it to the new site. It just doesn’t make sense. The whole point of my new site is that things do not have to be perfect to be enjoyed. It is about making moments that matter and perfection is rarely a key component. In my younger years, I spent so much time making moments perfect that I missed out on enjoying them and no one really noticed all of the details and “perfection” any way. There is a time and a place for perfection (although as I get older I am not sure when that would be) but I for one, am not going to miss out on a moment with life and loved ones because I could not present perfection. “Just Like Perfect” is perfectly acceptable and much more fun! I am missing you and need to spend more time with you again.

So, soon, very soon, I will invite you to join me in my latest adventure as I expand my blogging world. You can dust off a seat, bring some coffee for both of us (I am not sure where I packed the coffee maker yet) and chit-chat while I clean out cobwebs and corners and find places for all of my pictures and dishes. Eventually, I will return the favor and one day you will come in to smell the coffee brewing, find that fresh-baked goods are waiting for you and I am ready to share some scoop because I have settled in and it has become my new home.

(In case you haven’t noticed or are completely confused, I have been thoroughly enjoying comparing moving into my new website to moving into a new home. It’s stressful and tiring but exciting and cozy as well. – That’s how my crazy mind works!)

Green Sequin Sneakers…for Sneakin’ Up on Leprechauns

Here’s a super fun gift idea for St. Patrick’s Day!

http://www.catalogfavorites.com/itemdy00.aspx?T1=V1010+8

$29.95 for Kelly-Green Sequin Sneakers

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

All right…so are ya wonderin’ if I managed to redeem myself and if I came up with a gift idea for my husband? (A few days ago I had no idea what I was going to give him as a token gift for Valentin’es Day.)

He somehow got wind of my lack of gift ideas (probably because he is a loyal blog follower). I asked him if he was nervous and he said that he wasn’t…but I think I saw a worry line.

Well, my husband has to work on Valentine’s Day so it finally occurred to me to treat him to a lunch filled with all of the decadence that he normally does not lunch on.

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A BIG sandwich called The B.O.S.S (Big Oversized Sub Sandwich – that is one of his faves and it is also fitting because he is a boss) – and lots of sides were packed away and sent to work with him. I was quite pleased with myself, and almost as important as that was that I think he was happy too…

I also decorated our windows with paper hearts and treated the wee ones to smiley face donuts for breakfast, complete with a crafty puffball critter. They noticed the hearts on the window right away and were quite tickled. About half of the hearts have disappeared because a wee one took them to make their own cards and a toddler just took them. The crafty critters were not a well made craft because they were held together only by glue and I have made many modifications throughout the morning with tape. The toddler’s critter is missing most of its add-ons, but hearts were happy and a moment was made…it is just like perfect!

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Don’t Tell My Husband…

but I am not entirely sure what I am doing for Valentine’s Day…

I know, I know…how can it be that the world’s greatest gift idea gal is not all set for Valentine’s Day? Well, I have a plan in place but I like to get a thoughtful little token gift and I am not on top of my game this year.

Last year, Lindt Chocolate made these adorable Frog Prince Chocolates so I picked one up for him from Target. This year, Target has a frog prince tin with chocolates (ya know, in case you still need an adorable token gift – you have to purchase it from the store) but I cannot do the same thing this year. We already enjoyed my Chocolate Cherry Chip Brownie, in it’s fabulous heart shape.

Lindt Milk Chocolates in Frog Prince Tin 4.7 oz

Valentine’s Day comes hot on the heels of Christmas, our anniversary and both of our birthdays. We are not in need of gifts, although I did give him an idea for me (I can always enjoy some spices from the Spice House).

I will keep you posted…will this gifting gal get it together?

Stay tuned….

Chocolate Cherry Chip Brownies

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Yahhhh…you won’t want to miss this one!

Click on the link below for my recipe site and be on your way to these fabulous treats today…

Chocolate Cherry Chip Brownies

Gourmet Peanut Butter Sampler from Uncommon Goods

I love peanut butter, almond butter, sunflower butter and on and on. This peanut butter sampler would make a fabulously different gift to surprise someone with. You can give it as one gift or break it up as party favors, host/hostess gifts, grab bags or token gifts!

 

Peanut Butter Sampler

http://www.uncommongoods.com/product/peanut-butter-sampler

$40.00 for Peanut Butter Sampler (flavors include:

Happy Trails Mix: Flaxseed, chocolate chips, raisins, split peanuts

White Chocolate Pretzel: Pretzel pieces, white chocolate chips

Snickerdoodle: Snickerdoodle popcorn

Chocolate Toffee: Milk chocolate, bits of toffee, rice crispies

Keep Smunchy: Honey roasted peanuts

Chocolate Coconut: Dark chocolate, shredded coconut, almonds

Exclusively at UncommonGoods.

 

Spice It Up for Valentine’s Day with The Spice House

How about a gift of spice for Valentine’s Day? If you like it hot, here is a great gift box to turn up the heat!

Spice House Hot Seasonings Assortment Gift Box

http://www.thespicehouse.com/spices/some-like-it-hot-gift-box#content

$22.95 for 4 jar Spice Gift Box – “Some Like it Hot” (includes: Hot Chili Powder, Vulcan’s Fire Salt, Very Hot Cajun Seasoning and Black & Red Spice)

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If that much heat is more than you were looking for, check out their website for all of their fabulous gift boxes. There are plenty to give someone a little “sugar” or something in between sugar and spice!

click here: http://www.thespicehouse.com/spices-by-category/gift-boxes#content

Little Passports Valentine’s Day Lunch Idea

http://www.littlepassports.com/blog/2015/02/valentines-day-bento-box/?utm_source=bronto&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Image+-+http%3A%2F%2Fwww.littlepassports.com%2Fblog%2F2015%2F02%2Fvalentines-day-bento-box%2F&utm_content=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.littlepassports.com%2Fblog%2F2015%2F02%2Fvalentines-day-bento-box%2F&utm_campaign=2.5.15-+Valentines+Day+Bento+Box

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First of all, this is adorable.

Second….that is NOT how my kids get lunch.

Once in a great while maybe, but not on a regular basis. According to the little blurb about the mom who designed this fabulous lunch, she does this all the time and has a little “cookbook” of sorts with ideas for these Bento box type meals. Lucky kids. I want a lunch like that all of the time!

Hey…this could also be a great idea to surprise a grownup in your life – the possibilities are endless!

Little Passports is also a super fun idea, a great way for children to learn about different parts of the world and you can select packages based on age ranges.

To learn more about Little Passports and the mom behind this healthy and fun Valentine’s Day lunch, click on the link above.

White Chocolate Bark

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Today, I needed to escape the pressures of working on my website and one of my happy places is in the kitchen. I am not sure why but White Chocolate Bark became the desired project so I set about creating flavors combinations.

Delish!

Click on the link below to be taken to my recipe blog for the scoop and how to make it.

White Chocolate Bark

 

How’s My New Website Coming Along?

It’s a mess. An absolute mess.

Thank you for asking. I am neck deep in trying to design my new website “Just Like Perfect!” and it isn’t even close to perfect.

It is disorganized, stuff is all over and I cannot find anything I need. It is cluttered, messy and just plain chaotic. There is no place to sit down or put things. It is disturbing to the eyes.

Hmmmm….that sounds familiar but I cannot put my finger on it…..hmmmm.

Oh yah…it looks a lot like this…

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and this

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and this

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and this

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(Yes, there are still holiday decorations up but they are “winter” decorations people…)

I have a tech person in the family who is giving me some assistance. This is the person who wondered why my site didn’t look like “XYZ” (and XYZ was exactly how I had always wanted my site to look but didn’t think I could have a website yet so I got very excited to hear the tech person say that) when I had questions about changing the name of my blog. So, with this person’s encouragement I set off on my quest for the website that I had always wanted.

This person is an absolute whiz in the tech world. This person could design a technical world in a warehouse the size of a football field all by themself and be able to find one specific needle based on that design. No problem. But you would not want to visit this person’s warehouse, it would be too cold and too harsh and that is exactly how it would be planned. It would not be meant for visitors, it would be strictly for function. I, however, am looking for a warm cozy fuzzy place for everyone to come and sit for a while. Big cushy couches to sink into with your coffee while you lose track of time hanging with me. A place that feels fun and inviting. That is a new design world for this tech person who is helping me. We are both bringing something different to the table and I think that it will be one fabulous website, a place you never want to leave, once we are done. But, I am not sure we are ever going to get done.

I am grateful for this tech person’s help because just when I am completely stumped, they give me enough clarity to push through and move on. They give me hope when I am ready to pay someone a million dollars to design my site. It’s too much, I am in way over my head, “WAHHHHHHHHHHHHH” – insert tears and foot stomping – “I can’t do it!!!!!!!!!!”. The worst thing about working with this tech person is that this person believes that I can do this (I can’t). They will not let me give up and hire someone for a million dollars (it’s the only way). This tech person feels that I should know how to do all of these things myself because

A: it is fun – (ok, it kinda is)

B: I will need to know how to do it any way to manage my site in the future (yes, I guess that is true) and

C: I will feel so accomplished once it is complete (probably way more accomplished than trying not to eat a waffle sundae every night)

That tech person’s calm voice cuts through my drama and says that I can do it and that there is a way.

Sniff, sniff – insert nose blowing – “Ugh, Ok, I will keep working on it”.

By the way, tech person, I also don’t know how to get my pictures to organize on my new computer. And how do I get my new camera to take better pictures? Oh, heck, can I pay you to come here and fix all of my technology issues? I would happily give you the million dollars that I want to pay someone to create my website.

This tech person knows how I live and just laughs. They offered to meet me, alone, in Maine and handle my tech issues, but none of my other issues. They are not coming to my world. Wimp.

Maybe it is because I am designing my new website on a notepad?

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(and yes that is a gingerbread tablecloth on my table still and yes, I do know that it is February.)

I need to go make something in my kitchen, a place where I feel comfortable and know what I am doing, to rejuvenate my soul…and then get back into my website refreshed and ready to tackle the unknown. Unless I use up all of my free time in the kitchen….hmmm….that could work….

 

Maple Sugaring Starter Kit from Blain’s Farm and Fleet

Being from the Northeast and close to New England, maple sugar is a love of mine. I used to get little packages of pure maple candy when on vacation and I savored that treat. The way the sugar just melts and dissolves in your mouth….mmmmmm.

I received an email from Blains Farm and Fleet and this is what I saw (click on link). How fun! Aside from the kit, there are other related goodies.

http://news.farmandfleet.com/public/?q=preview_message&fn=Link&t=1&ssid=10172&id=l4u61humtvrpc4qu1v2jkhf241kqh&id2=f48a2u6oikl88xgckhlm5m8w0s06h&subscriber_id=abywdyrkvwxiszvtywgaafkdfxwcbge&delivery_id=bppsjdqhkvowogqgvgvfogezokgabih&messageversion_id=buuzhghqtukyfgdgzdcymqqsnghkbpb&tid=3.J7w.B71jlA.GBdP.Afb9Zw..AlnRpQ.s.awo.s.AVgs.b.VNIz8A.VNJPqA.J53MYQ

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This kit looks like so much fun, although I suspect there is a learning curve and a bit of work involved. But you just might have someone on your gift list who would love this fresh idea.

Tap My Trees Maple Sugaring Starter Kit

$90.00 for Tap My Trees Maple Sugaring Kit

http://www.farmandfleet.com/products/878661-tap-my-trees-maple-sugaring-starter-kit.html?utm_source=bronto&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Image+-+Tap+My+Trees+Maple+Sugaring+Starter+Kit&utm_content=Breakfast+will+never+be+the+same+again%21&utm_campaign=150204+6806+Spring+Dollar+Days+Tap+My+Trees+In+Area#.VNJipTM5CUk

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Even if I could take on this hobby, one important factor is missing…

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We only have one tree in our backyard.

I guess there will not be a brunch at our house to celebrate my first batch of homemade maple syrup!

My Daughter’s “Blogging”

My daughter has been watching me and paying attention and I did not even know it, until I saw her one day going around with her kid camera getting in close for her shots.

She also loves to “cook” and craft and she has made these for my blog. She had an idea to scoop out the inside of an orange and then fill it with other fruit and yogurt, then top it with the other orange peel. She considers it a recipe (I do too when I barely did anything for my food, it sounds like I was much more involved) and calls these “Treasure Chests”. She must have seen an idea for them somewhere but I just think she is quite clever. She has only just turned “5”.

Her most recent creation is a cupcake made with little colored “puff balls” and a glittery-topped chapstick for the candle (it was a birthday present).

Of course, I think she is so stinkin’ cute…

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Dollar Shave Club & Manly Man Goodies

Check out these super cool gift ideas for any male on your gift list…

Quality Razors

https://www.dollarshaveclub.com/?localization=en_US

A monthly or bi-monthly subscription for shaving supplies – what a treat!

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Or…if you like a soft fuzzy face, how about a Beard Pack to soften the scruffies!

http://www.uncommongoods.com/product/beard-pack

$40.00 for Beard Pack

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And if your giftee would love some extra lovin’ to get spiffied up, how about the Working Man’s Kit?

http://www.uncommongoods.com/product/working-mans-hygiene-kit

$50 for Working Man’s Hygiene Kit

Love these!!

Just Like Perfect!

Yippee! Wahoo!

…[insert happy dance]…

Thanks to you and your encouragement to hang in there, I finally have a new name! (I had outgrown my blog name-read about it here)

This past week it came to me and it was inspired by these pathetic little cupcakes that I made for my daughter’s birthday. I shared these with you in this post.

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They looked fine going into the oven.

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They did not come out looking anything close to fabulous.

Not even close. The tops were sunk in and crunchy. The batter had spilled out over the sides and was baked on.

But, that was not what mattered. It was about celebrating a birthday for my muffin and she loved these cupcakes. It didn’t even occur to her that they looked pathetic.

It was just us and I was juggling a sick kid too so starting all over was not an option and I did not have to.

I salvaged them with frosting and candy and hearts were happy. It was a moment made and for me, that was more important than a lovely looking cupcake.

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I caught myself whispering, “just like perfect” as I finished the first cupcake and I realized that I enjoyed that motto a lot. A lot. More often than not, my best intentions for perfect produce less. But the outcome I wanted was not a perfect cupcake, it was a happy little muffin who felt special on her birthday and I succeeded in that. THAT came out perfectly!

It must have been “meant to be” (I believe in the energy of the universe and all that jazz) because later that night when I looked up the phrase, I could not find anything online that would be a problem for having it as a title for my new website. Nothing. I have searched hundred of names and phrases and they have all been taken.

Then…panic set in…

I still had not figured out HOW I was going to have a website and I did not want the name to be taken before I could “own” it. I wanted to do it right but fast. Here and there I was able to put the pieces together for a plan and became the new “owner” of a website called Just Like Perfect!

I have only just moved into my new digs and now I am trying to figure out how to build my site but I am excited to get it “livable” and invite you to the Open House. Until then, I still have lots to share here, but I will keep you updated. And maybe I will share my journey in the event that some of you are thinking of self-hosting your site. I truly am starting from scratch and with limited knowledge.

So far, it is Just Like Perfect!

Dark Chocolate Cherry Cordial from The Popcorn Factory

When that picture greeted me in my email inbox, I just had to shake my head “yes”. The chocolate – maraschino cherry flavor combo gets me every time.

So, here I am passing on another treat for Valentines’ Day or Just Because – who cares why you order it, just get it already!

Clear Favorites Popcorn Canisters

http://click.em.thepopcornfactory.com/?qs=8b1e98a76d4410c8b730ec51082a6b9079119f019414e5b1eb5a4a0e7efcd51eae966a7a80c644d6

$20.00 for Dark Chocolate Cherry Cordial Popcorn

Mouthwatering Superbowl Must-Haves!

As a batch of chicken wing sauce simmers away on my stove, let me tell you a story…

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Meet one of the loves of my life…oh how I long for those wings and that pizza!

But we have a long-distance relationship because they are in NY and I am not.

Sure, it just looks like pizza and chicken wings, so what is my problem you are wondering – they are all over the place. Sadly, not all chicken wings and pizza have the same flavors and I cannot find those exact flavors in my Midwestern world.

So, I set about to see if I could create them myself.

I make a homemade pizza (homemade as in using frozen pizza dough!) that is tasty and has been a pleaser for years so it satisfies me when I want pizza even tho it is not the pizza you see above.

Thus, the chicken wing sauce became my obsession and after trying many recipes online I came up with the recipe below that is pretty darn close to the flavor that I crave. It seems that simmering the sauce to reduce it and then refrigerating it is key. Once you have the wing sauce, the possibilities are endless. Obviously it is perfect when paired with chicken wings but it is also delicious when tossed with popcorn chicken or as a dip for your chicken fingers. How about dunking your fried egg sandwich or adding it to a burger?

It is also fabulous in a Buffalo Chicken Pizza (see below) that was another favorite food from a restaurant in NY that I just had to figure out how to make myself.

I have also included a recipe for Blue Cheese Dip from the Pioneer Woman (adapted ever so slightly), that goes perfectly with this chicken wing sauce.

Just below the pictures are the links to my original posts and then the recipes follow in case you just need to get to the good stuff (although why you would want to miss out on my gabbing session is beyond me…)

Oh – and keep scrolling for the Hot Dog of your dreams!

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(I needed to show you two shots because you just had to see the melty blue cheese dollops)

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

  • Difficulty: easy but has a few steps
  • Print

Buffalo Chicken Wing Sauce

– adapted

8 tablespoons Frank’s Original Red Hot Sauce (try to use Frank’s Original – I have tried with the wing sauce version and it is not the same)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 tablespoon white vinegar (I used seasoned Rice Vinegar for a little flavor)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (or less if you do not like as “garlicky”)
3-4 splashes of worcestershire sauce

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer on a very light bubble for 15-20 minutes. Add more “cayenne heat” if you need to adjust the taste.

Remove from heat and let cool a bit.

You can use the sauce now, but I discovered that refrigerating it overnight made the flavors and ingredients blend into a much better “sauce”. Give it a stir. If you prefer or need to reheat it, you can use the microwave for short bursts at a time or use the stovetop just to warm it. If you are adding hot wings to the sauce then you really do not need to reheat it because the heat from the wings will soften the refrigerated sauce.

Blue Cheese Dip

I like the Pioneer Woman’s version of Blue Cheese Dressing so I used that and just tweaked it a bit.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/fast-blue-cheese-dressing-recipe.html

1/2 cup mayo
3/4 cup sour cream
3-4 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1 cup Blue Cheese Crumbles
1/8 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate.

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What a Perfect Pair!


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Yes this dog just might be your next best friend, the kind that you love to bring to parties and show off .

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Sometimes, a simple hot dog is best. But when you want to add a little somethin’ somethin’ to it, you can’t go wrong with meat sauce, and a hearty one at that. It’s easy to throw together and very forgiving if you need to substitute an ingredient or two.

Hot Dog Meat Sauce

Hot Dog Meat Sauce

1 lb ground beef (chicken, turkey, or even tofu I suppose)
1/4 cup pasta sauce
1/4 cup BBQ sauce
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons hot sauce of your liking (or omit)
1 tablespoon mustard
1 tablespoon vinegar, any kind – I used seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
3 dashes of soy sauce
salt & pepper to taste

– Brown and drain the ground beef.
– Combine all of the ingredients and mix in the ground beef.

Serve with fresh diced onions, fried onions and banana peppers…yum!

That’s it – you’re done! This can be made ahead of time and refrigerated if need be (just warm it before serving).

Hand-Dipped Ombre Cherries from Shari’s Berries

http://products.berries.com/chocolate/20-HandDipped-Ombre-Cherries-30166173?sk=sharies+berries&ref=SSSorganicmsfbrand&prid=sbseomb&trackingpgroup=productsearch&viewpos=1

$29.99 for 20 Hand-Dipped Ombre Cherries (white chocolate)

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This idea all by itself is a fabulously fun way to send a little love for Valentine’s Day…or a baby shower, birthday party or “Just Because”.

But…because I have the “gift of gab” there is more to this post – a back story.

Last year when I started blogging one of my first recipes was for Nutella Chocolate Dipped Strawberries. I created this super easy treat because I like the idea of a chocolate-covered strawberry but trying to eat them is not pretty. The chocolate is hard and falls off when you bite into the strawberry. Then you have to coordinate putting a piece of the fallen chocolate with a bite of strawberry into your mouth.

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I was planning to share that recipe, if you can call it that, for Valentine’s Day because there is the color red, there is chocolate and because it is a way to sneak in that tasty treat.

I also became obsessed with making chocolate-covered cherries over the winter holiday season and was going to add that recipe to my Valentine’s Day suggestions for gifts. But I was planning to tweak it a bit from the traditional treat. (Just to clarify, a chocolate-covered cherry works because the cherry is small enough to pop the whole treat into your mouth so that the hard chocolate doesn’t have a chance to fall anywhere other than where it is supposed to, your eagerly awaiting mouth.)

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(it can be very gray here in Wisconsin – I will make a better picture someday, I promise!)

Then, today, a mailer came from Shari’s Berries and the above Ombre Cherries were featured. How fun (or Chow Fun as I like to say when I am being weird)!

The ombre cherries are made with white chocolate and it is tinted slightly a few times to make the “ombre” effect.

I had not thought of making ombre-colored cherries but I was considering trying white chocolate. I still think that good ole chocolate-chocolate would be my first preference but variety is the spice of life so I was up for the switch.

Until I get to whip up some of my own cherries and try this all out for myself to share with you, here are the recipes for my “Chocolate-Covered Strawberries” and the recipe for “Chocolate-Covered Cherries” that I found at Taste of Home and liked the best – I tried a few. (Click on the words above for the recipes).

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