Holiday

Grace Wenzel

Friday Finds 3.14

Hello again, Delish Dish-ers! Spring is in the air here at BHG. Finally the weather seems to be cooperating just in time for St. Patrick’s Day! Full disclosure, I am not Irish, but I grew up in a very Irish community in small town Illinois so I have full respect for this holiday. Really, I’m all for any holiday that I can wear green (I look really good in green). Here are some of my favorite St. Paddy’s Day recipes from the blogger community. Enjoy!

I found this Green Ombre Cake from i am baker and fell in love!

While Shepherd’s Pie is traditionally an English dish, the Irish also reclaimed it and made it their own. Check out this great Shepherd’s Pie from Sips and Spoonfuls.

The day after St. Patrick’s Day might call for this Green Monster Smoothie from Shugary Sweets. I love the bright green color!

If you’re looking for a quick and easy appetizer for your parties, try this healthy and colorful Fruit Skewers recipe from Get Creative Juice.

Luckily, everyone is Irish on Saint Patrick’s Day which means we all deserve a kiss! Check out this fun cake from Studio DIY!

I hope your “Irish eyes are smiling” this holiday!

Bloggers, would you like your recipes to be included in our Friday Finds? Apply to be a BHG Insider here: BHG.com/BHGinsiders. And don’t forget to tweet at @BHG with your best recipes! We can’t wait to see!

Warmly,

Grace Wenzel, Social Media Editorial Assistant


Erin Gleeson

Warm Brie with Fig & Pistachio Tapenade

Every Christmas Eve, my parents host an open house with appetizers and cocktails. It’s one of my favorite annual gatherings- friends and family stop by all evening. Every year, we make some type of baked brie, and this year we are serving this recipe with a fig and pistachio tapenade, yum! It’s easy to make ahead and it’s so delicious that guests will devour it! I often make and serve it in a mini cast iron pan so that the cheese stays melted longer  once it’s out of the oven. I sprinkle mine with Maldon sea salt for a sweet/salty kick.

This recipe and many others are in the Better Homes & Gardens “Holiday Recipes” magazine, on newsstands now. Several of my fellow Delish Dish bloggers also share some fantastic recipe ideas.

My warmest wishes to you and your families this holiday season!

xo,

Erin

 

Get the recipe for this Warm Brie with Fig and Pistachio Tapenade here. 

 


Michael Wurm, Jr.

Peppermint Dream Cake

‘Tis the season for holiday baking. I don’t know about you, but I’m about ready to turn my oven into a cookie baking machine. With Christmas just two weeks away, it’s time to let the flour fly and crank out some delicious homemade goodies.

Before baking cookies, however, I just had to have something sweet and pepperminty. This craving surprised me because, in the past, peppermint wasn’t one of my favorite flavors when it comes to dessert.

To satisfy my craving, I decided to try my hand at this recipe for Peppermint Dream Cake. It looked and sounded delicious and I already had most of the ingredients in my pantry.

 

It was fun putting this cake together. I especially enjoyed the frosting recipe. I’m accustomed to making icing that consists of butter, cream cheese, and powdered sugar, so it was nice to give something new a try. This particular frosting is very light, but still full of flavor.

To make this cake a show stopper, I decided to get creative with the decorations. I used some white chocolate and made a winter wonderland of trees.

The trees are very simple to make. To start, melt some white chocolate in a double boiler. Once the chocolate is nice and smooth, pour it into a plastic baggie, snip off a tiny piece of the corner of the bag, and pipe some trees onto wax paper. (The thicker you can get the lines, the better. This will lessen the likelihood of breakage.) Once the chocolate has hardened, tuck the trees into your icing.

These adorable little trees really make this cake special.

If you want to make this cake, you can find the recipe here.

Have you started your holiday baking? What’s you’re favorite sweet treat of the season?

Michael Wurm, Jr – Inspired by Charm


BHG Guest Blogger

Guest Blogger: Julie Blanner with A Simple Holiday Table Setting

Hi! I’m Julie Blanner, the voice behind Coordinately Yours, a blog about effortless entertaining, do-it-yourself projects and more! I like to keep entertaining relaxing and enjoyable. As a seasoned event planner, I love an elaborate table setting, however, that requires ample storage, a lot of set up and even more clean up. Food and conversation take precedence when table settings are simple. Nothing fussy, just plenty of room for great food and drinks.

simple & beautiful holiday decor BHG

This table setting works well all winter long! I started with a few yards of osnaburg to create the perfect neutral palette. It’s my go to fabric because it’s pretty, inexpensive and looks linen without the required care. Pinecones found in the front yard grace each place setting along with washed linen napkins. You’ll notice that I used my everyday white porcelain dinnerware, making cleanup a breeze.

easy ideas for holiday entertaining

effortless entertaining - a simple Christmas table setting

A velvet pillow warms the space while adding comfort to the table and is the perfect compliment to the birch wood vase centerpiece filled with berries. Branches create an easy centerpiece anyone can create. Start by determining the height you want the centerpiece to be and cut the base of stems to the desired length. Then, snip branches so that they’ll hit just above the base of the vase. Twirl them until they create a full look.

diy birch vase and pretty holiday decor

I personally enjoy hosting small, informal gatherings often versus elaborate gatherings occasionally. What’s your preference?

simple Christmas table setting

 

Happy holidays and happy entertaining!

Coordinately yours,

Julie Blanner


BHG Guest Blogger

Guest Blogger: Cafe Johnsonia

Lindsey Johnson writes the food blog, Cafe Johnsonia, where she shares seasonal, (mostly) healthy recipes. She works as a freelance writer, recipe developer, food stylist and photographer. She also contributes to several blogs including Design Mom. Her other loves are traveling, gardening, and participating in the local food scene where she lives in Utah. Lindsey and her husband are the parents of three budding foodies. Follow Lindsey on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Years ago when I bought my first tart pan (of many), I had no idea how much I would end up loving tarts. I love looking at them. I love eating them. I love making them. For me pie is sort of a once or twice a year kind of thing. But tarts? They’re perfect on a weekly basis. And even though I never thought it was possible, they’ve just edged out ice cream as my favorite sweet treat to make, especially when the holidays roll around.

Sometimes I think it’s because I love tart crust so much. It’s more crispy and buttery like a cookie. Other times I think it’s because the filling to crust ratio is more to my liking. And then there are the endless filling options. When I saw the recipe for Cranberry Tarts on BHG.com, I was instantly smitten. Another great love of mine is cranberries. Oh how I live for cranberry season! I’m the crazy lady buying two or three bags every time I grocery stop so I can fill up my freezer. And while I’m at it, let me just say that I’m glad to see cranberries getting some of the spotlight. They were always destined for better things than canned jellies and sauces, though they have their place too, I suppose.

This recipe called to me! I put my own little twist on it, like I love to do. They weren’t big changes, but simple ones that made it my own. Instead of smaller tarts, I made one large tart. I love nut crusts, so I added some ground pecans. I also used all butter. I used gluten-free flour in place of wheat flour.

The filling itself turns out almost jam-like. It’s sweet and tangy, and perfect on its own, but I wondered how a pinch of pumpkin pie spice and a dash of vanilla extract would taste. It just pushed in a slightly different direction that I really loved. Not so much you would say, “Oh, it’s spiced!” But enough for you to wonder what that extra special something was. I just love chocolate and cranberry together – the tartness of the cranberries and the bitterness from the chocolate are magical. I decided to drizzle the cooled tart with both white and add dark chocolate shavings. By the end, I had one fantastic, festive tart on my hands!

Let me show you how easy it is to make this gorgeous, holiday cranberry tart.

 

Mix the dry ingredients for the crust together.

Cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter. You can also use two butter knives, or your hands. The goal is to work quickly so everything stays cold.

Then add ice cold water – not too much at once. And only enough for it to hold together. The dough will come together into a ball.

Then quickly press it into the tart pan and let it chill while the filling is prepared. (The original recipe directs to roll the dough, but I find that to be a little challenging with the crust is gluten-free. Pressing it works just fine here.)

To make this tart 100% gluten-free, I used gluten-free all-purpose flour in the crust and I substituted cornstarch for the flour in the filling.

The warm filling is poured into the tart shell and baked. The smell as it’s baking is absolutely divine!

Let it cool and drizzle with melted white chocolate and dark chocolate shavings. I used about 2 ounces of white chocolate melted with 1 teaspoon of butter. I couldn’t wait to share this with my family! We all agreed it was a fine tart and would be added to our list of holiday recipes.

Get the Cranberry Tarts recipe here.


BHG Guest Blogger

Guest Blogger: Jelly Toast

Emily Caruso is the food photographer, writer and cook behind the blog Jelly Toast. She has a passion for beautiful photography and creating simple, but delicious food for her family, often inspired by recipes that have been in her family for generations. When she’s not tinkering in the kitchen or hunkered down behind her camera, Emily can be found photo prop shopping, reading a great new book or spending time with her husband and two children – usually with a cup of coffee nearby.

 

Hi Everyone! I’m so excited to be guest posting on BHG’s Delish Dish! I have been an avid reader of Better Homes and Gardens for years and love their endless selection of scrumptious, seasonal recipes.

Fall is my favorite time of year! Every October, my family throws a huge Halloween bash, complete with spooky treats for everyone to enjoy. I came across two mouth watering apple recipes here on BHG, Dark Chocolate Dipped Apples and a classic Basic Caramel Apples and I decided to combine the two recipes into one. After adding a spooky, cobweb twist they are ready for any Halloween party.

The first thing I wanted to do was turn these full sized Basic Caramel Apples into bite sized treats. While I adore caramel apples, sometimes they can be difficult for little children to bite into, so creating a mini version was a great way to make these easy for kids to enjoy. Plus, I love any excuse to turn something mini! The process was easier than I had imagined, but there were a few tricks that I learned along the way.

I used my melon baller to scoop round bite sized pieces out of one large apple and I was able to get about 12 bites from each apple. I soaked the apple bites in a bit of lemon juice and water to prevent them from browning. An important step was to dry the bites as much as possible with a paper towel before dipping them in the melted caramel.

I simply followed the Basic Caramel Apple recipe to melt the caramel candies. To dip the apple bites in caramel, I simply rolled each bite in the bowl of melted caramel, skin side down, then placed the coated bites on some lightly buttered parchment paper. Placing them in the refrigerator helped firm the caramel up quickly. I found that the caramel stuck best to the skin of the apple and in some cases the caramel wanted to slip off the flesh of the apple. The beauty of this recipe is that the chocolate coating covered any imperfections in the caramel layer. I love that in a recipe!  After the caramel was set, I inserted a stick into each bite and coated each apple bite completely in melted dark chocolate, following the steps from the Dark Chocolate Dipped Apples Recipe. I then placed them back into the refrigerator to harden the chocolate.

For the white chocolate ‘cobweb’ drizzles, I melted some white chocolate chips with a touch of coconut oil (you could use shortening instead as described here in these chocolate drizzle instructions) and placed it into a small squeeze bottle. Using the squeeze bottle to drizzle the chocolate made this step much easier! A few more minutes in the fridge and these Mini Chocolate Dipped Caramel Apples were ready to serve!

These treats can be made a day ahead and kept in the refrigerator until ready to serve. To jazz up these little caramel apple bites, I also made some very easy washi tape flags using washi tape and bamboo skewers.

Washi tape flags are very simple to make. I took bamboo skewers (you could also use skinny wooden popsicle sticks) that you can find in the regular grocery store and removed the sharp points with a pair of wire cutters. You could also use a sturdy pair of scissors if you don’t have a pair of wire cutters.

I chose some Halloween inspired washi tape and wrapped a 2 – 3 inch piece of washi tape around the end of each bamboo skewer to create a tab.  After a quick snip to remove a small triangular piece of tape from the end of the tab, these flags were done! They add a fun and festive touch to any treat.

Everyone in my family loved these Mini Chocolate Dipped Caramel Apples! While there were a few steps to creating these spooky treats, each step was simple and the end results were delicious!