Food + Drink

Super Bowl Party

January 30th, 2015

Growing up as the daughter of a football coach in the South who has been coaching just about as long as your parents have been alive (sorry, dad!), I can assuredly say I know and love football. Like, a lot. I definitely know the game better than most of the dudes in the stadiums, or bars, where I watch the game. But I’m not a huge NFL fan. However, I do love Super Bowl Sunday. And while I don’t know much about either team I do know that there will be 24 perfectly inflated game balls this Sunday. And a lot of food. Lots. Of. Food.

The best part of the Super Bowl is always the company, the food, and the beer (or wine for me!). I love the idea of incorporating food that you would be munching on at the tailgate & stadium. Even if you are miles away from Phoenix you can still feel like you’re a part of it all with a few super simple foods. And even better than being there? You get to watch all of the commercials. Win-Win if you’re asking me.

Here’s what I like to do: I make meatballs. And then I just leave them on the stove and people can eat as many as they want! Best part? Three. Ingredients. Sorry there is no picture. But let’s be honest … when do meatballs ever look overly appetizing? They taste way better than they look.

  1. Meatballs (I just use the frozen guys. Don’t judge me, please.)
  2. Jar of Grape Jelly*
  3. Jar of Salsa*

*1 part salsa, 1 part grape jelly

Throw ’em in a pot on the stove and heat them up. And stir! Don’t forget to stir.

Just don’t tell people what’s in them or they may be grossed out. I promise they are good. Oh yeah, also don’t let them boil. But, I mean, it doesn’t get much easier than that, folks.

Here are some fun and simple DIY ideas from around the web (with cool pictures unlike my meatball speciality) that are easy to clean up. Easy clean-up = happy host.

Beer Tasting on a Chalkboard Table Runner 

Mess-Free Chili in a Mini Bread Bowl


Hot Dog Bar! Love this. 

Nacho Bar full of fixins.


Frito Pie (Chili) with Toppings in a Bag. So. Yummy. 

Popcorn in a Football Holder. Yes!

Okay, so I know you probably aren’t eating ice cream sandwiches at the game or tailgate, but how good are these?

PS: If you’re into dip but you’re not trying to gain 94lbs in a night grab the Reduced Guilt Spinach and Kale Dip made with Greek Yogurt from Trader Joe’s and eat it by the face-full with carrots. IT IS SO GOOD. And it is 35 calories for 2 TBSP.

PPS: Why do I keep using post scripts? I need to work on that. But until then, I’ll be stuffing my face with chips and this Skinny Buffalo Chicken dip from Skinnytaste carrots and Reduced Guilt yumminess while Paul polishes off the Skinny Buffalo Chicken Dip (because it is no longer “skinny” when you have no self-control like me).

XX Leigh-Taylor

St. Patrick’s Day Treats.

March 12th, 2014

I want to make something delicious for St. Patrick’s Day. Scratch that …  the last 4 days leading up to St. Patrick’s Day. But my head says, “NO!”. No more sweet treats. This last week of pregnancy is crawling by and I want anything and everything sweet I can get my hands on. I would say it isn’t good for my waist line but I’m not so sure what my waist line ever looked like. But I’m positive it isn’t good for the thunder thighs & love handles and that is enough for me. I had to get on the scale at the doctor yesterday and while I’m still at a number that I’m okay with I can literally feel my body expanding. SO in lieu of swimming in cookies, cupcakes, and Lucky Charms this week {since Guiness & Bailey’s are off the table} I decided to do a bit of a link round-up of every treat I want to eat but am going to forgo. {Although, I’m around 97.6% sure that I will post a home made treat tomorrow or Friday because I CAN’T HELP MYSELF.}



Shamrock Shaped Pancakes with Green Cream Cheese Frosting from Little Leopard Book. Okay, if I’m still pregnant on Monday morning, I just might have to whip these up.



Shamrock Tortilla Chips from Spiced Blog.

Sweet Treats

Chocolate Mint Pretzel Bites

Chocolate Mint Pretzel Bites from Shugary Sweets.


St. Patrick’s Day Snack Mix {with Lucky Charms!} from Vicky Barone.


Thin Mint Muddy Buddies from Something Swanky.


Pot of Gold Cookies from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen.


No sweet treat post would be complete without a little input from Bakerella. This Easy Oreo Mint Chip Ice Cream Cake would get the green light in our house, no doubt. Kind of wishing that was my fork right now.

And yes, I know there is an extreme emphasis on the sweets. So sue me.

I, however, will be posting a project tomorrow on a couple of different, super simple, ways to serve the above at a St. Patty’s Day party and // or pre-game. Think glitter.

Happy hump day, friends!

XX Leigh-Taylor

red lips & movie popcorn. it’s the Oscars!

February 28th, 2014

It’s Friday! Like you didn’t know that already. I don’t take any of the days of the week for granted but I sure do like it when Friday rolls around. I think I’m going to wear red lipstick today, maybe even to Soul Cycle, just to pump the day up. Paul hates red lipstick. He’s pretty passive when it comes to fashion but the red lipstick is about 8 steps too far for him. I’ve really pushed the envelope by getting this deep red lipstick from MAC, Diva.


But, here’s the thing, all of my clothes for the last 4 months have been made mostly of spandex and I’ve been knee high in snow for the better part of those 4 months. So red lipstick it is! My mom wears false eyelashes daily & wakes up with a full face on so she’s probably wondering why I’m even explaining why I bought this. BUT ONE MORE THING! It is the Oscars this weekend! How can you NOT wear red lips?

Speaking of the Oscars, are you having a party? I’m not but I wish I was. As fun as it would be it just may not be good timing, that whole having a baby anytime now thing. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try and add some fun & interest to our Sunday night tube watching. One of my favorite parts of going to the movies is eating popcorn. I’m always a little over-zealous and get the big size with my eyes on the free-refill prize. I never get that far but I think it is a noble goal. I’m confident I’m not alone in the movie popcorn addiction and the natural extension of this movie + popcorn combination is a popcorn bar! Such a great easy & inexpensive treat to have set up for an Oscar party. I’m a huge fan of stove-popped popcorn {you can get bags at Trader Joe’s, any chain grocery store obviously, and also from the bulk foods section of Whole Foods!} and just grab some salt & pepper shakers from the local dollar store & load them up with different flavors with a little tag to indicate what the guests are getting themselves into! Set out some brown paper lunch bags to house their kernels.  If you have time you could even give the shakers & little metallic gold spray paint treatment. You know, kick it up a notch!

Here are some links to what looks like really, really good flavoring:

White Cheddar Popcorn

Ranch Popcorn

Cinnamon Toast Popcorn 

If you want to make the popcorn before folks come over {and not just use shakers} here is the Chicago Mix tri-ad.

And here are some weird ones mixed in with some normals. 50 of ’em.

** I just got side tracked on Pinterest looking at recipes for a good 32 minutes. My favorite new pin is the Salted Caramel Cheesecake Cupcakes. Who am I?

Of course champagne is a must, or some sparkling apple cider in my case. Keep ’em fancy with a champagne glass and maybe a blackberry or something.

Oh! Don’t forget to print out the Oscar ballot. Here is a pretty {and free!} one from Minted {link is to the website download}.


Party or not it is fun to pretend you know who is going to win. Who even really picks this stuff anyhow? People campaign for votes? What is this, the presidential election? Kidding, I know who picks.

Good luck, have fun, and enjoy! Have a great, great weekend!

XX Leigh-Taylor

homemade thin mints.

December 19th, 2013

I probably should have realized this sooner but, alas, it is just now occurring to me that pumpkin is to fall {Thanksgiving} as peppermint is to Christmas. So I grabbed a small bottle of Peppermint Extract at Trader Joe’s and made a couple of little delectables before dropping it in the kitchen and turning the little bottle into shards and air freshener. ‘Tis the season.

The good news, for me, is it forced me to stop making my imitation Thin Mints. I may have gone on to make a few too many of these suckers. They are so good! And since we’re still a couple of months out from getting our 2014 assortment of  genuine goods from the Girl Scouts and we have long since run out of our freezer stock I’m pretty excited to have found this easy supplement for the mean time. The best part is it only requires three ingredients. Yep. Three {or four if you want to make your life even easier}. I know the whole Ritz cracker thing may have thrown you for a loop. I get it. Just trust me on this one.

16 – 18 Ritz Crackers
1 cup Baking Milk Chocolate {I used semi-sweet}
1/2 tsp – 3/4 tsp Peppermint Extract
*Optional: Vegetable Shortening


The execution is just as easy.

1. Prepare your baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper or wax paper. Be sure to have a place cleared out in your refrigerator or freezer as well. You don’t want to get stuck scrambling!

2. You can either create your own little makeshift double broiler to melt your chocolate {with a glass bowl perched atop a pot with boiling water} or you could simply dump your chocolate and 1TBSP of vegetable shortening {again, this is optional but helps the chocolate stay smooth and it also gives you a little more time to do your dipping} into a shallow microwave safe bowl and sticking it in the microwave for about 1 minute. Be sure to stop and stir about every 10 seconds. It may melt a bit faster. Just keep your eyes peeled!

3. Once the chocolate is melted remove it from the microwave and add in your peppermint extract. I used 3/4 teaspoons of the peppermint extract but this really does rely on your preference. After you have added in 1/2 teaspoon I recommend giving it a little taste test and determining if you’d like to add more. Same at 3/4 teaspoon!

4. Then begin to dip your crackers into the chocolate mixture. I had a fork and a spoon on hand. I used the fork to remove the cracker from the chocolate and allow the excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl and I used the spoon to smooth out the top of the cracker to make it look presentable and not like a total glob fest.

5. I placed the baking sheet of thin mints into the refrigerator so allow them to harden up. With the vegetable shortening they will take a little more time to do so at room temperature {which is the point when you’re dipping!} but if you’re as impatient as I am you’re going to want these things in prime form ASAP.


Place the cookies into an air tight container and they’ll last for a few weeks. And you can throw ’em in the freezer for about 3 months or so. But believe me they won’t last long enough for all of that refrigerator // freezer junk.


Try these! So easy. So fast. And a total crowd pleaser. Or at least husband pleaser.

Happy Thursday!



XX Leigh-Taylor