Cupid’s Crunch

For many, the highlight of those cold winter months is the excitement of Valentine’s Day in February.  While some see this as a greeting card holiday, I love the fun, creativity, excitement, and romance associated with this little holiday.  Valentine’s Day is always about the little things you can do to make those around you feel cherished and adored, and it doesn’t take a lot of money to make it happen.

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For my Madeline it’s all about finding that sweet card to reach her special friend who happens to live in Cuba.  For Bradley it seems to be finding that perfect Georgia Bulldogs shirt for his girl.  For Audley, who already treats me with flowers and the like quite often, it’s about getting off from work early so we can enjoy a quite supper together.  And for me, Valentines day is treating my nieces and nephews with sweet notes containing a treat their parents can thank me for later (Sonic gift cards for ice cream, anyone?), surprise sweets for my own kiddos, and preparing a special meal for my love that we may turn into a carpet picnic or enjoy at an elegantly set table.

It’s all about the little things.

Speaking of sweet treats, my entire family is totally addicted to a particular snack mix that I make for a variety of holidays, but thought it would be fun to share in a Valentine’s theme.  That’s why I love making this mix as you can tailor it to fit whatever holiday you want from Christmas to Independence Day!

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Cupid’s Crunch is also great in that you can make it fit your needs.  We have no allergies, so I love to make it a little sweet and salty using popcorn, pretzels, nuts, Kool-Aid mix (with the sugar already added) and candy.

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You can use candy melts from any craft store and save yourself time coloring the candy, but I love the taste of Ghirardelli’s brand of white melting wafers.

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In a VERY large bowl mix together one entire bag of melted white candy wafers with your popcorn and pretzels.  Once you have stirred it together, spread out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Sprinkle your Kool-Aid on top of the sticky mix.

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Next, add a few more pretzels, any candy, nuts or sprinkles you might want to combine.  This is where those colored candy melts come in handy if you desire; otherwise tint one bag of white candy two shades of pink.

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You can use a plastic bag with a corner cut off for this step, but I add the melted candy to squeeze bottle and drizzle all over the snack mix just to make sure everything is all stuck together.

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Let the mix stand about 20 minutes, then break it a part and put into seasonal baggies or a pretty bowl and share with your favorite Valentine!

Click here for the full printable recipe for Cupid’s Crunch .

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FYI, if you pay a surprise visit to college and take an entire recipe to your daughters dorm room, both she and her roommate will polish off EVERY SINGLE BITE  in one evening.

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Check back, I have a couple of more Valentine’s treats to share between now and next Wednesday as well as a fun give-away!

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Buffalo Wings with Blue Cheese Dip

Each year January comes and goes without a lot of writing from me on the blog.  Some see this a bad thing, but honestly, it’s one of the best practices I’ve established for myself, especially this year.

January is an interesting month.  While it is filled with the newness of a new year, it’s also filled with exhaustion of the old.  Holidays are over, guests have come and gone, the house must be put back to normal, winter sports are in full swing, and planners are just being filled with the excitement that is to come.

As I write this evening I’m sitting in my office; a new space to me that I’m super excited to enjoy.

But today, I’m not sharing my office space (I’ll share it soon); instead I’m kicking off February with this yummy Buffalo Wing recipe and with homemade Blue Cheese dressing.

Buffalo-Wings-with-Blue-Cheese-Dip | FiddleDeeDee

While Audley and I firmly believe football is played on Saturday and cars race on Sunday, this weekend is the Super Bowl.  Like so many others we’ll be getting together with friends to watch commercials the game, and this is the dish I’m contributing to the evening festivities!

There are a several reasons this is a fabulous snack to share.  One, it feeds as many as you want; just double, triple or quadruple the recipe.  Two, if you follow a clean eating plan or are Paleo or Keto, the wings totally fit the lifestyle (the dressing… yeah, it’s just not that healthy. HA!).

And three, it’s really easy.

Game Day

For our family of three I do three pounds of wing pieces.  You know Bradley is a wrestler so he eats me out of house and home which means I overcook all the time.  If you are serving as an appetizer this will serve up to six.

Take the wing pieces, season lightly with salt and pepper, then place in a single layer on an oven pan.  An oversize cast iron skillet is perfect for this, but you can line a baking sheet with foil as well.

Bake at 400°.

Ingredients for the sauce are so simple: hot sauce (I am addicted to Texas Pete), butter, lemon juice, and garlic powder.  While your wings cook mix together in a pan heat until the butter is melted and the sauce is all liquid.

Game-Day-Buffalo-Wings | FiddleDeeDee

You can make the blue cheese ahead of time (best so the flavors can mesh), or while your wing pieces are cooking.  I did say the dressing isn’t so healthy, but you can pronounce all of the ingredients which does make it better than purchasing it from the grocery store.  I use all organic products (which I will post in the printable recipe), but you don’t have to.  Ingredients include buttermilk, sour cream, mayo, blue cheese crumbles, garlic salt, red wine vinegar, worcestershire sauce, pepper and chives.

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It will take 45-50 minutes for all of the wings to cook completely; remove from the oven and drizzle the wing sauce over the top.  Return to oven for five minutes to set the sauce, turning the wings after a couple of minutes.

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Serve them up on a platter arranged nicely or just dump them in a bowl.

They are going to be devoured either way, I promise!

Click here for the full printable recipe of Buffalo Wings and here for the Blue Cheese Dip.

Y’all enjoy the game this weekend!

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College Game Day Irish Nachos

We love our Saturday football here in the Jones home.

Really love it.

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In fact last weekend we somehow managed to watched three football games and a NASCAR race simultaneously because all of our teams were playing at the same time!

{And NASCAR really needs to stick to Sunday racing.}

This has been our Saturdays (with the exception of wrestling tourney weekends) for 22 years now, and we are quite content watching our Georgia Bulldogs, Navy Midshipmen, Auburn Tigers (Bradley’s team) or the Carolina Gamecocks (MacKenzie is a Gamecock student) each weekend hoping for a win. Although, if you truly follow football, you can very much tell we are a serious house divided from time to time.

During football season food choices always seem to be a little different. Instead of a huge meal and a couple of smaller meals or a really late breakfast followed much later by supper, we snack.

All day long.

I try to keep healthy options available, but every once in awhile I go off the deep end and fix something not so healthy.

Take for instance these game day Irish Nachos.

Irish Nachos

These were perfect as we watched our Bulldogs squeak by the Notre Dame Irish last weekend for what was celebrated as a huge win!

The ingredients for this dish are so simple: deli corned beef and pastrami, sauerkraut, waffle fries, lots of cheese, and 1000 Island dressing.

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You layer up all the goodness and bake until nice and bubbly, leaving a flavorful dish that you will want to eat in one sitting!

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FYI, you have to eat this dish HOT, and it’s not the best reheated, so don’t make more than you’ll eat in one sitting!

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Click here for the full printable recipe for Irish Nachos.

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Have a fabulous weekend, Enjoy and Go Dawgs!!

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Game Day Fruit Salsa

It’s football season which means our Saturdays are filled with the sounds of game day as Audley and Bradley {and yes, me too} flip channels and cheer loudly for all of our favorite teams.

I don’t know about you and I have no idea why, but something about watching football makes me want to snack! With all the lifestyle changes we have made around her over the last several years, I am picky about the kinds of snacks that I keep in the house. You might think this would be a challenge.  But, really it isn’t.

 One fairly healthy treat that has been a favorite of ours is a sweet and spicy fruit salsa served up with cinnamon sugar pita chips.  It fits the rules of Jones family snacking… Sweet with a kick, crunchy, fairly healthy, fresh and totally easy!

Check it out.  It might become a game day favorite for you as well!

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INGREDIENTS:

1 cup diced pineapple

1 cup diced watermelon

1/2 cup peeled cucumber, chopped

1/2 cup diced mango

1/2 cup diced papaya

1/2 cup red bell pepper

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, loosely chopped

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped

1/2 small red onion, diced

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ASSEMBLE:

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, stir gently to mix together and rest for 30 minutes, to allow flavors to mesh.

This serves 4-6 people, so I usually double my recipe.

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Serve with anything that crunches, although we love Stacy’s Cinnamon Sugar Pita chips with our salsa, you can use plain tortilla chips as well.

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If you have any left over I highly recommend using it for a topping on a chicken taco salad. It is so delicious, and much healthier than sour cream or dressing!

Just in case you’re actually heading out to the big game, or just watching your own athlete play, this fruit salsa is great to make ahead and is easily portable.

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What are your favorite game day snacks?  Inquiring minds want to know!

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