Well, it is official, the other day, we had our last Google+ Hangout of the year! Hard to believe that a simple idea has transpired into a weekly video chat with Food Bloggers from all over the world. Christine from Cook the Story and I honestly couldn’t have done this without our fabulous (blog) friends! First and foremost, a big thank you to all of our supporters whether you were a guest on Christine & Katie this year or simply watched our live stream or our previously recorded videos.

We invited our past guest to join us and talk about Holiday beverages and recipes of all kinds! We decided to make this an open format for 30 minutes where guest could pop-on and pop-off if they chose too. Of course, as we predicted once everyone was on they stayed on. It was one big food blogger party!

Our honorary guest of the evening included:

Julie from The Little Kitchen
Sam from Sweet Remedy
Julius from Droolius.com
Maureen from Seafood Lady Orlando

Here are a few simple recipes I suggested to entertain with during the holidays:

Artichoke Dip

Artichoke Dip

This dip is easy to make and best of all you can make it from the comforts of your pantry/refrigerator! I always have all the items on hand to whip this dip up in a hurry if unexpected guest stop by!

Apple Streusel Cheesecake Bars

Apple Streusel Cheesecake Bars

These are a tried and true classic… No one can resist these sumptuous bars! Best of all, your guest will never know that they are what I like to call a semi-homemade dessert!

Oreo Truffles

Oreo Truffles

Guest won’t know what to think after they take one bite of these truffles. Seriously, they are amazing and so easy to make! I now find myself making these once if not a few times a year.

Christine and I are looking for guest to hangout with next year. If you are interested, please email me!


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FYI… if you haven’t realized it yet Thanksgiving is THIS WEEK! Now, don’t go panicking. Start writing your list and tackling each task one-by-one! Christine from Cook the Story and I talked with Merry-Jennifer of The Merry Gourmet. We each shared tips and tricks that we do to get us through Thanksgiving (and keeping us sane while doing so). Watch our Google Hangout below to learn what we do in preparation.

As you saw on our chat we are all big fans of making a list. I make list daily so when it comes time for Thanksgiving I’m making list for my list. If your like me, and host Thanksgiving to family that travels out-of-state that also means you need to not only think about the big meal on Thanksgiving but breakfast, lunches, dinners, desserts, snacks, etc for while they are in town. My refrigerator, freezer, and pantry are typically on over load this time of year. Making a list helps you stay on budget. I’m happy to say that I went shopping yesterday and spent just under $200 for 8 mouths to feed for breakfast, lunch, and multiple dinners for 4 days!

… And for those still planning the menu here are 20 go-to holiday recipes to ease you through Thanksgiving!

20 Thanksgiving Go-To Recipes from KatiesCucina.com

Appetizers:

Main Course:

Side Dishes:

Desserts:

I hope this mini round-up can help those of you who are at a loss as to what to make! I’d love to hear everyone else’s tips for preparing for Thanksgiving? Is there a particular recipe you have to make each year?

Happy (early) Thanksgiving!


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Earlier this week, Christine from Cook the Story and I spoke with Angie from Eclectic Recipes about Halloween treats! You don’t have to be a baker to make sweet treats. You can decorate semi-homemade treats by utilize store bought moon pies or cookies or you can go all out and make your own treats from scratch. Candy of all shapes and sizes can be utilized to create a creepy crawly treat to an oh-so chic one! Watch our most recent Google Hangout where we talk about Halloween Sweet Treats.

25 halloween sweet treats

After our chat I decided to put together a list of some of my favorite Halloween sweet treats. These treats don’t have to be difficult to put together yet make a big impact. I hope this list gives you some wonderful ideas as we creep closer to October 31st.

  1. String Monster Cupcakes from Katie’s Cucina
  2. Melted Witch Push Up Pops from Cookies and Cups
  3. Moon Pie Owl Pops from Eclectic Recipes
  4. Bloody Popcorn Brains from Not Quite Nigella
  5. Edible Eyeballs from Disney Family
  6. Witches’ Finger Cookies from Annie’s Eats
  7. Meringue Bones from Food plus Words
  8. Bleed Red Velvet Truffles from Cookies and Cups
  9. Bloody Band-Aid Cookie from Noble Pig
  10. Mummy Munch from Picky Palate
  11. Brains in a Jar Cake  from Living Locurto
  12. Spider Peanut Butter Blossoms from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen
  13. Jello Worms from The Idea Room
  14. Halloween Tombstone Cupcakes from The Little Kitchen
  15. Chocolate Dipped Worm Pretzels from Recipe Girl
  16. Frozen “Boo” -nana Pops from Skinnytaste
  17. Black Velvet Layer Cake from Food plus Words
  18. Peanut Butter Eyeball Truffles from Katie’s Cucina
  19. Silly Vampire Truffles from The Domestic Rebel
  20. Homemade Caramel Apples from Brown Eyed Baker
  21. Brain with Blood Clot Cupcakes from Annie’s Eats
  22. Ghost Cake Pops from Bakerella
  23. Chocolate Pumpkin Spider Donuts from Inside Bru Crew Life
  24. Mummy Twinkie Pops from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen
  25. Boo-Ghost Cake in a Cup from Craft-O-Maniac

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Father’s day is right around the corner and what better way to show your love to dad than cook him a nice meal! I know that’s the way to my daddy’s heart and that’s what I plan to do to show him my love and appreciation for him and all he does for my husband and I!

Start your meal off with a few tasty appetizers.

Candied Smoked Paprika Cherry Berries

Leek & Cheddar Dip

 

Next course up is the main event–make sure you make it spectacular. Try one of these recipes:

Grilled Italian Sausage w/ Grilled Sweet Peppers

Barbecue Beef Brisket 

Finish off your meal with a spectacular dessert that will knock dad’s socks off!

Banana Walnut Cream Cheese Cake

Apple Streusel Cheesecake Bars

 


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I thought it would be nice to do an appetizer recipe round-up for those hosting a New Years Eve party tomorrow night. These are some of my favorite appetizers that I’ve made over the past 2 years since blogging. Some of the pictures are struggling… don’t laugh. Well, ok, you can laugh, but know that the pictures can be deceiving! All of the recipes I’ve chosen to feature pair well with adult beverages and most can be made prior to the party! If these 10 have you craving more appetizer recipe ideas feel free to take a look at all the other appetizer recipes I’ve blogged about.
Now let’s get started with my 10 favorite appetizer recipes!

Tomato and Cheese Tarts

These tarts take a little bit of time but let me just tell you… they are worth every second! You will wow your guest like never before if you serve these at your New Years Eve party! Puff pastry, caramelized onions, soft cheese, and a thick sliced tomato make this complete!

Creamy Zucchini and Ricotta Spread

This dip is on the healthier side and will make your guest come back for more! Easy to make ahead and you can serve it cold or warm!

Barbeque Pork Pinchos {aka pork skewers}

These pork skewers can be made a few hours in advance… marinating until ready to be grilled! Easy finger food and a good dose of protein!
This recipe is not like your typical tuna salad… your guest may snub these at first, but once they have one cracker they will be hooked! This is another great make ahead appetizer. You’ll just need to set a few minutes aside to layer the crackers!

Baked Lemons w/ Mozzarella Tomatoes and Olives

These are simple yet elegant and they taste delicious! If you can find a good deal on lemons… splurge and make these little jewels. Your guest won’t complain–that’s for sure!

Broccoli & Pepper Jack Stuffed Mushrooms

I created this appetizer back in 2010 and haven’t stopped making them since. It’s a great way to get a serving of veggies into an appetizer. I feel like this is the grown up version of broccoli and cheese!
Here is another time intensive appetizer, but the time spent always pays off! Anyone can make these and if you have vegetarians coming to the party just omit the shrimp.
I always serve tomato mozzarella skewers at ever party. What is not to like about them? Easy finger food and healthy for you! You can make these ahead up to one day, and serve them cold out of the refrigerator!
One of my absolute favorites… Bruschetta! Nothing beats the homemade stuff and this recipe will have all of your guest asking for the recipe! I’ve been making this for years and don’t plan to ever stop making it!
ok… and my number 1 favorite appetizer to make for a party…
First off… don’t laugh at the picture. This was taken long before I owned a DSLR fancy-pants camera! This is a fool proof calamari recipe that will really wow your guest. I love it because you deep fry pieces of basil right in with the squid! The sauces are really where its at… don’t skimp! Make both sauces.

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In case you are anything  like me and wait until the last minute to plan menu’s or just simply can’t decide. I’ve compiled a list of my favorite recipes you can give a try at your barbecue this Labor Day weekend!
Want to make a cold salad or two for your barbecue? Try any of these salads. They are my favorite!

Grandma’s Potato Salad

My mother tells me that my grandmother use to make this potato salad often when she was growing up. This vinegar based salad is most ideal for barbecues outside. No need to worry about food born illnesses with this potato salad.

My Mama’s — Mama’s, Macaroni & Tuna Fish Salad

This salad screams summer to me. This is probably one of the best ways to end summer with a bowl of mac & tuna with plain potato chips. The saltiness and crunch of the chips is what really adds to this salad. It’s a classic summer staple in our house and I hope it’s soon to be one in yours! *If your bringing this to a barbecue make sure you put it on ice… mayonnaise and a hot day do not mix!

Annie’s Cucumber Salad

As a kid growing up this was always my favorite salad. Annie, my mom’s neighbor growing up, would always make a large bowl to go along with dinner. The problem was — there was never enough to go around for everyone after I got my serving! *Remember to put this on ice if your serving food out doors.

Mandarin Coleslaw

No barbecue is complete with out coleslaw! This version of coleslaw will have all of your guest coming back for more!
Want to go more of the warm side dish route? Try a few of these:

Grilled Asparagus with Garlic in Pouches

I love cooking vegetables in a tin-foil pouch. You don’t have to just stick to asparagus this Labor Day. You can Mix it up and put slices of zucchini and squash.

Oven Roasted Mini Bell Peppers with Rosemary

Super flavorful and easy to make! This veggie side-dish has it all!

Loaded Baked Potato Casserole

This is an easy casserole to make a head and put in the oven before your guest arrive for dinner.
Looking for a Main Course? Try one of these recipes:

Easiest Pulled Pork EVER!

Get your crock pot out and get ready to sit around and wait for this amazing pork dish to be finished cooking. I love making this the morning of my party that way it cooks during the day while I’m busy preparing for my barbecue.

Shrimp-Boil Kebabs

Don’t want to have a traditional shrimp boil? Try these kebabs instead. Make sure you make a double batch because everyone will want more than their eyes can handle!

Lime Chicken & Cilantro Pizza

Do you want to do something even less traditional. Why not grill a pizza? This is probably one of my favorite grilled pizza recipes around. Easy to prepare ahead of time, best of all use a prepared pizza dough crust to save even more time.
What’s a barbecue without dessert?

Star Marshmallow Pops

Make your own marshmallows, place them on sticks, dip them in chocolate and sprinkles! An easier alternative is buying prepackaged marshmallows instead of making your own.

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

For the Oreo lover why not make oreo style cupcakes. The frosting even tastes like the filling of an oreo. You can not go wrong with these lovely gems!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream

Of course what’s a barbecue without ice cream? This is by far my favorite ice cream recipe. Heck, if you have enough time you can make a variety of homemade ice creams and have an ice cream bar. I did that last year at my Bull’s Eye BBQ and it was a huge hit!
I’d love to know what you are cooking up this holiday weekend.
Wishing you a happy and safe Labor Day weekend!

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