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2018-01-21T00:58:43.340Z
0
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Happy snowy Saturday to you!

Are you in the path of this latest snowstorm? We started to get sleet and ice last night and the snow is supposed to go through late morning today. We’re planning to hibernate and watch hockey and football all the live long day. If you’re getting nasty weather, I hope you stay safe and warm!

As always, you’ll find a recap of what was posted to the site this week, the most shared recipes, my Sunday dinner menu, and recipes I’ve bookmarked from other blogs. Enjoy!

On Brown Eyed Baker This Week

Spinach Artichoke Dip – This spinach artichoke dip is easy, super cheesy, and perfect for your next party. Serve it in a bread bowl or with your favorite chips or crackers.

Chili Con Carne – This version of chili con carne is made with chunks of beef and a homemade chili paste. A great change of pace from chili made with ground beef!

Friday Things – Dominic’s 15-month checkup, interesting links, Ina Garten, the olympics, and more…

1. Dominic had his 15-month checkup and although he was a stage five clinger with me the entire time, he had a perfect checkup! Our string bean is 31.25 inches long (50th percentile) and 22 pounds (37th percentile); he has really been upping his talking game over the last week or two, repeating tons of words. It’s amazing to see his face light up when he communicates something to us (like wanting water or milk) and we actually understand him. So much fun!

2. Yesterday, I was sitting on the couch with Joseph while he was watching a show, and he reached over and rubbed my belly and said hi to “baby sister”. He asked where she was and I said she was still inside my belly growing; he put his head on my belly and his arms around me and said he was giving her a hug. Annnnnd then my heart melted into a massive puddle.

Also, my cousin got him a little train set for Christmas and he has been OBSESSED since we set it up. It’s the very first thing he wants to do in the morning (before the sun comes up and before he eats breakfast!). He figured out how to work it himself within like five minutes, and when he’s done he puts the cars back in the box. My little man :)

Happy Saturday to you!

We are birthday party-ing here today! We’re celebrating Joseph’s 3rd birthday with family, lots of food, and tons of fun. I hope the birthday boy enjoys his special day, and that you have a fabulous weekend, as well!

As always, you’ll find a recap of what was posted to the site this week, the most shared recipes, my Sunday dinner menu, and recipes I’ve bookmarked from other blogs. Enjoy!

On Brown Eyed Baker This Week

Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting – The best (and easiest!) chocolate cupcakes made from scratch topped with my favorite vanilla buttercream frosting recipe. A perfect combination!

Crispy Baked Chicken Wings – You’ll never believe these baked chicken wings were made in the oven! Super easy, crispy skin, meat that falls off the bone, and covered in a sensational dry rub. Perfect for your next party.

Friday Things – Joseph’s 3rd birthday, pregnancy update, alarms, recipes, and more…

This Week’s New Recipe Video!

If you grew up enjoying personal pan pizzas at Pizza Hut, then...

The best (and easiest!) chocolate cupcakes made from scratch topped with my favorite vanilla buttercream frosting recipe. A perfect combination!

Oh hello there cupcake perfection.

For all of the cupcake recipes that live on this site, can you believe I had yet to share with you the classic combination of chocolate cupcakes and vanilla frosting? I’ve used each of these recipes in other places, fancied up in different ways, but the chocolate-vanilla combo definitely deserves its own place of prominence on these virtual pages.

If an ultimate chocolate cupcake sounds like too much for you (yes, we can still be friends), and a vanilla/vanilla cupcake seems a bit too, well, VANILLA… this is the best of both worlds and the balance that you might be craving.

Okay, let’s first talk about the chocolate cupcakes here. These are the only chocolate cupcakes that I’ve made for years and years.

They are the base of the ultimate chocolate cupcakes, which also includes a chocolate ganache center and a satin-like chocolate frosting (they are sublime). They are perfect for big-time chocolate lovers, but I’ve also had tons of success adapting it for other cupcake adventures. I omit the ganache...

1. This sweet boy turns THREE today!! I seriously cannot believe how quickly the last three years have gone, and how much of a little boy Joseph has become over the last six months or so. It’s been so much fun to see him learn and grow and develop his own little personality. We’re having his birthday party tomorrow and I will be sharing all of the details with you next week!

2. Can you believe I’m already in my 3rd trimester?! Each of my last two pregnancies has absolutely FLOWN by, it’s insane. I had to spend yesterday morning doing the 3-hour glucose test since I failed the 1-hour last week (ugh). I also failed the 1-hour with Dominic and went on to pass the 3-hour one just fine, so fingers crossed for the same result! Other than that, I’ve continued to feel really well with no complaints, other than the baby seems to like to kick REALLY HARD juuuuuust as I start to fall asleep at night. We still haven’t picked out a name, and still haven’t assembled the nursery… first step is for me to actually clean out the closet in what is now the guest room since it’s a catch all for all my wrapping supplies, the boys’ bins of clothes, and random seasonal decor. Baby steps :)

3. Speaking of the baby, I’m going to want to get some food...

You’ll never believe these baked chicken wings were made in the oven! Super easy, crispy skin, meat that falls off the bone, and covered in a sensational dry rub. Perfect for your next party.

Is your house a wing house? My husband LOVES wings, but we used to get them way more often when he was still apartment living and we weren’t sitting down to dinner every night with two toddlers. We still get them from time to time, and I’ve always wanted to try them at home, however I had this notion that they were “one of THOSE things” that are just better left to the bars and take-out places.

I COULD NOT HAVE BEEN MORE WRONG.

Let me assure you that you CAN make wings at home and (news flash!) they are actually easy and delicious.

Let’s talk wings!

The vast majority of wings are deep-fried, which are amazing (of course); once while on vacation in Florida, my husband and I stumbled upon a regional chain, Shane’s Rib Shack, that sold smoked wings. It was the first time either of us had ever had them, and they were crazy good. We still talk about them!

So when I started...

This version of chili con carne is made with chunks of beef, a homemade chili paste, and a couple secret ingredients. A great change of pace from chili made with ground beef!

Behold the absolute, without question, best bowl of chili I have ever had.

I first came across this recipe seven or eight years ago in Cook’s Illustrated and although it seemed like a lot of work (it IS labor-intensive), it produced one of the most amazing chilis I had ever eaten. In fact, I think I ended up making it at least three times over the course of a month because my husband and I loved it so much.

This is certainly not your average chili… it includes a few “secret” ingredients like cocoa powder, molasses and beer. It uses dried chiles ground down to make a chili powder and paste instead of the typical chili powder. And it used chunks of beef instead of ground meat. At the time, this was all very unfamiliar ground to my chili palate, but it all sounded so irresistible.

I’m so glad I tried it all those years ago because it really is the most flavorful chili I’ve ever eaten. It’s bursting with flavor, and the meat becomes so tender that it melts in your mouth.

This spinach artichoke dip is easy, super cheesy, and perfect for your next party. Serve it in a bread bowl or with your favorite chips or crackers.

Raise your hand if you love dip. Me too. Meeeeee too.

Any and all dips, bring ’em on! If it’s dip, you can bet your bottom dollar I’m going to want to devour it.

My husband and I have long been massive fans of spinach artichoke dip. We’ve always ordered it nearly anytime we see it on a menu, anywhere from a bar when we’re watching a sporting event, to nicer restaurants before our main meal. Sometimes crab is thrown in there, sometimes it’s served with tortilla chips, sometimes potato chips or baguette. What can I say? No matter how it’s served, we love the stuff!

Which is why I’m so thrilled to share this killer homemade spinach artichoke dip with you!

How Do You Make Spinach Artichoke Dip?

As far as appetizers and dips go, the easier the better since most times you’re making them for a crowd and no one wants to be fussing in the kitchen when company arrives, right? Luckily, this spinach artichoke dip could not be easier to make.

Prior to...

Happy first Saturday of the new year!

I hope you had a super fabulous holiday season; I’ve been slowly getting back into a routine this week, but it’s always so, so hard after holidays or a vacation. One foot in front of the other! If you’ve gotten hammered with snow or cold weather, I hope you’re staying safe and warm. We didn’t get any snow here, but it was brutally cold yesterday… when we woke up it was -4 with a wind chills of nearly -20. Yikes!

A quick programming note: I am shifting my first monthly challenge from this coming Monday to the first Monday in February (2/5), so be on the lookout for it. I had a couple of issues with the end product and want it to be perfect, so I’m going back to the drawing board and will have it ready in another few weeks!

As always, you’ll find a recap of what was posted to the site this week, the most shared recipes, my Sunday dinner menu, and recipes I’ve bookmarked from other blogs. Enjoy!

On Brown Eyed Baker This Week

2017 Year in Review: A Month-by-Month Look Back – A month-by-month look back at my favorite memories and favorite foods!

2018: My Resolutions – 2018 Resolutions! Short and sweet this year :)

1. We had a great holiday season with the boys; lots of time with family and playing with new toys (and Dominic has totally mastered holiday-ing, HA). We also discovered a work around to their usual early bedtime… both of them are typically asleep by 7pm, which is great on normal days, but having to be out and about for holiday stuff makes it a little bit harder. If we leave somewhere late afternoon, they’re guaranteed to fall asleep in the car, probably too close to bedtime, and then it’s a disaster when we get home. Our solution (which is probably not new to anyone with kids, but it was the first time we did it) was to stay where we were (my mom’s on Christmas Eve and my in-laws’ on New Year’s Day) until about bedtime, then change the boys into their pajamas before we left. On cue, they both passed out in the car, but it made it super easy to just carry them right into bed when we got home. SO. MUCH. EASIER!

2. How was your New Year’s? We had a super low key night – watched Netflix and went to bed when we normally do (around 10:30) – there was no way we were going to make it to midnight!

3. Last year I...

I’ve never been much of a January “resolution” maker. Turning the calendar never really gave me the urge to do some massive overhaul on my life. However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that if I don’t actually think about, write down and acknowledge goals I’d like to accomplish, then the likelihood of me meeting them is slim to none.

One of the popular things I’ve seen over the last few years is people picking a word for the year, something that drives their goals and tasks. Although I didn’t formally pick one last year, it could best be summed up as intentional. I really wanted to be more intentional with my time, and I think I did a really good job of not working harder, but much smarter.

This year, if I had to pick a word, it would be GRACE. I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself to go, go, go and do, do, do from the time I get up until my head hits the pillow at night. In late March or early April we’ll be welcoming baby #3 to our family, and I know from experience that it takes at least 4 to 6 weeks to get into a rhythm with a new little one, plus I’ll be recovering from surgery, so I plan to give myself as much grace as...

I can’t believe we’re already sitting here on January 3rd, having closed the book on 2017 and are a few steps into a fresh, new year. Last year was the first time that I did one of these “year in review” posts and I LOVED it (see last year’s here)! I got so much enjoyment out of writing that post – I was reminded of memories I had forgotten about, recipes I loved, and photos that I cherished, so it’s officially a tradition and here we are again!

I hope you enjoy this look back at the previous year as we get ready to forge ahead on our journey together!

What I remember most: Celebrating Joseph’s 2nd birthday. I couldn’t believe what a year of transformation it was for our little guy… at one he was mostly still a baby, and by two he was a full-fledged toddler, and so much fun! We celebrated with a Sesame Street-themed birthday party and he loved his decorations and Elmo birthday cake!

Favorite recipe I made: Chocolate frosted brownies are always, ALWAYS a good idea!

You loved: The always-popular no bake chocolate, peanut butter and oatmeal cookies, as well as the Cookie Monster cupcakes that I made for Joseph’s party!

Hello last Saturday of 2017 (oh my)!

I have no idea how we tumbled to this point so quickly, but here we are! Do you have any New Year’s traditions? When I was younger, my parents had a big party every year, and as I got older, my friends came as well. Right now we’re thoroughly enjoying our tradition of a very low-key night at home and going to bed early! I’d love to hear about what you’re planning to do (and EAT!) and wish you a very safe a very Happy New Year! I’ll be back next week with a year in review and 2018 resolutions!

As always, you’ll find a recap of what was posted to the site this week, the most shared recipes, my Sunday dinner menu, and recipes I’ve bookmarked from other blogs. Enjoy!

On Brown Eyed Baker This Week

Christmas Photo Diary [2017] – A photo-heavy recap of our Christmas holiday.

The Best of BEB in 2017: The 10 Most Popular Recipes – The 10 MOST POPULAR recipes of 2017 is here! Check out the list – did your favorite recipe make it??

The Best of BEB in 2017: 20 of My...

1. I hope you had an incredibly fabulous Christmas holiday with loved ones this week. Although we were all still under the weather, it was wonderful to see the boys having fun. Dominic preferred to lay in the middle of the floor with wrapping paper instead of actually opening the presents, but Joseph was just so excited about everything and it was such a blast.

2. I am, however, seriously disappointed in myself because I didn’t manage to watch ONE Christmas movie this year! Well, I take that back… I did see A Charlie Brown Christmas and Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas multiple times because that’s all Joseph has wanted to watch for weeks :)

3. As much as I love, love, love the holidays, I’m definitely starting to crave getting back into a bit of a routine (as much as a routine as I can have with two little ones, ha). Am I insane? Maybe being sick around Christmas has me holiday-ed out much faster this year.

4. Fun news! My Instant Pot arrived! I haven’t made anything in it yet because it came when I was already sick, and then we had Christmas festivities and we’ve been living off of leftovers, so I’m excited to break it in! Send me allllll your favorite Instant Pot recipes!

5. I hardly ever go to Starbucks, but I’m dying to try one of their new...

My all-time FAVORITE RECIPES of 2017! Easy recipes, sweet, savory, and delicious!

Yesterday, I shared my annual roundup of the 10 most popular recipes on Brown Eyed Baker that were made during 2017. While many of those on that list were my favorites, there were also a ton of recipes that I fell in love with this year that didn’t make the cut. I want to share my personal favorites with you that didn’t make the top 10 list, so I put together this follow-up roundup, which features 20 of my favorites from 2017. It was agonizing to pare this list down; there are so many more recipes I want to include! These are the recipes that I made over and over, tried to hide from others, and cried when they were gone.

Enjoy browsing the list, and feel free to share any recipe requests for 2018 in the comments below!

(Recipes are listed in chronological order, January through December.)

Savory Recipes 1. Antipasto Appetizer Squares

2. Dill Pickle Dip

The 10 MOST POPULAR recipes of 2017 is here! Check out the list – did your favorite recipe make it??

As 2017 winds to a close, it’s time for the annual roundup of the most popular recipes that were posted during the year. It wouldn’t be an end-of-year celebration without it! I always look forward to putting this list together and uncovering which of the recipes were among the reader favorites for the year. So much fun! Enjoy the little trip down foodie memory lane; perhaps you’ll even uncover a recipe you missed or forgot about it!

[View roundups from previous years here: 20162015 / 2014 / 2013 / 2012 / 2011 / 2010 / 2009 / 2008 / 2007]

10. Grandma’s Banana Bread

9. Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix

8. Scalloped Potatoes

7....

Hello hello!

Is it just me or does the day after Christmas feel like the day after you get back home from an amazing vacation and are staring at unpacked luggage and a mountain of laundry? SO MANY THINGS to get organized and put away! I am also in dire need of a trip to the grocery store for all of our “everyday food” necessities.

We had such a fun weekend and managed to only miss one holiday gathering due to everyone being sick, so that’s a bit of a win. We spent Christmas Eve at my mom’s where we crammed in the traditional seven fishes, got to wake up to a white Christmas, and had a fantastic dinner of beef tenderloin and twice baked potatoes here with my in-law’s yesterday for Christmas.

It was a wonderful time, Joseph had so much fun opening presents, and Dominic was just happy to have wrapping paper to play with lol. I wanted to take a few minutes and share a few of my favorite pictures with you!

I’ll be back tomorrow and Thursday with my annual top ten lists! I hope you’re enjoying your holiday! xo

This nut roll recipe hails from an old family friend and is a Christmas staple. It only requires one rise, so it’s easy to churn out a ton of nut roll! 

It’s Christmas week and we need to talk nut roll!

I’ve seen this called nut roll, Hungarian nut roll, Slovak nut roll, Polish nut roll, kolache, even Pittsburgh nut roll, which blew my mind when I saw it! I didn’t realize they were so synonymous with this region, but that makes me just plain giddy. Whatever name you go by, traditional nut roll is a soft sweet dough that is filled with a sweet walnut mixture. It basically tastes like Christmas and it wouldn’t be the holidays without devouring an embarrassing amount of nut roll.

I originally shared this nut roll recipe with you nearly six (SIX!) years ago, and SO MANY OF YOU have made it year after year for the holidays, which just makes me so ridiculously happy. In that time, however, I’ve received a lot of questions about two very specific components of this recipe: (1) the use of cake yeast; and (2) some issues with the dough splitting open and filling oozing out during the baking process.

I’ve gone back and re-worked the recipe a couple of times to help troubleshoot those issues, and I’ve got you covered!

Happy holiday weekend!

Are your gifts all wrapped? Baking all done? For the first time since Joseph was born, all of our gifts are wrapped before December 23rd! I think last year we finished on the 23rd, the year before it was late on Christmas Eve. Progress!

However, I didn’t get nearly as much baking done this week as I had hoped thanks to coming down with an awful cold. I did get cucidati done before the cold took hold, and I had already made nut roll, Oreo balls, and peppermint bark, but I was hoping to also make snickerdoodles, chocolate crinkles, chocolate chip tea cookies, and snowballs. Womp womp.

I hope you all have a warm, wonderful, and beautiful Christmas holiday with your loved ones. I’ll be back next week with photos from our holiday and my annual top 10 lists!

As always, you’ll find a recap of what was posted to the site this week, the most shared recipes, my Sunday dinner menu, and recipes I’ve bookmarked from other blogs. Enjoy!

On Brown Eyed Baker This Week

2017 Holiday Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffers Under $25 – The 2017 gift guide series concludes with a collection of stocking stuffers all $25 or less.

1. I am so ridiculously excited for Christmas this year because Joseph has been talking about Santa Claus and the North Pole and he sort of a little bit is understanding Santa. He’s also been obsessed with watching Charlie Brown Christmas and Mickey’s Christmas… SO. MUCH. FUN.

Except he told two people at the grocery store yesterday that Santa is bringing him a “big dinosaur” and, well, that was the first time he had ever mentioned dinosaurs EVER, and Santa was already done shopping. He also told someone that Santa was bringing a dinosaur for his brother, too, when he was out with my husband. So a little last minute trip will be happening today ;-)

(Oh and yes, that’s chocolate on his lips in the picture below, he helped me make Oreo balls and was a master taste tester…)

2. The only downside to the holidays right now is that everyone in our house is sick, ugh. Joseph has had a nasty cough for the better part of a week, Dominic has been running a low grade fever with a runny nose and cough and I broke into a full-blown cold yesterday. My husband is still hanging on, but I hope we can get healthy in a couple of days here!

3. Do you thrive on the holiday hustle...