The Feastie Blog

Curried Olive Cheddar Melts on English Muffins

I may have mentioned in the past that I have some major food weaknesses. Like kryptonite-style stuff - I can't have it in the house. I'm going to disclose these food vices right now - please don't judge me. I like to think that the majority of the time, I eat pretty well - mostly vegetarian, some fish and poultry now and then, lots of fruits and veggies - but everyone has their little vices, and mine just so happen to be major junk food. Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal and Cheetos. Neither one of these things are allowed in my house. Every once in a while (like once a year) I think to myself, "It's just one box of cereal. How bad can it be? I'll control myself." And so I bring home a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Fast forward 4 hours to me, sitting on the kitchen floor, covered in cinnamon sugar, holding an empty box, despairing both at the fact that a) I've eaten an entire box of cereal and b) there's no more cereal left. GAH!! So these curried olive cheese melts - I'll add these to the list. KRYPTONITE. I can't stress this enough - these little bites are ADDICTIVE and EVIL (in the best possible way) and I make them ONCE a year, usually Christmas or New Year's. Well this year I got carried away and made them for Christmas eve dinner, a Chrismukkah dinner, and now I'm making them again for New Year's Eve. My waistline is NOT happy. But they are SO GOOD I can't even handle it. The recipe was given to me by a friend, and she said she'd been making it for years, it was a recipe that her mother had given her a long time ago, and she didn't know the origins of it. I've seen many versions of this online, and I'm sure they're all good, but I'd like to think that this one is the best. Because imagining one better than this kind of blows my mind, so I'm not even going to go there. These bites are cheesy, melty, salty, savory, crunchy, soft, and every other good adjective you can think of - all at once. They're PERFECTION with drinks and cocktails, they're awesome as passed party hors d'oeuvres or appetizers, and I'll be honest yet again and admit that they're perfect at midnight - a whole muffin, just to myself, while watching The Tudors on Netflix, because hey, why not?! Make them. Share them. Enjoy them. I promise you'll love them. If not, call me and I'll come finish the ones you've already made. Promise. 

Feastie Friday: 23 Brilliant Boozy Drinks to Ring In the New Year

The holiday season is almost at a close - we hope your holidays have been wonderful and delicious! Before you make your New Year's resolutions and get geared up for 2014, you've got one more fantastic excuse to gather with friends and family and celebrate - New Year's Eve! We've rounded up 23 brilliant boozy drinks to help you ring in the new year - everything from margaritas and eggnog to boozy hot chocolate and moonshine. Of course make sure you have lots of tasty appetizers and hors d'oeuvres to soak up the alcohol - we can help you with that, too. So happy holidays and Happy New Year from Team Feastie - thank you so much for joining us!  

Butternut Gruyere Quinoa Gratin

I need to write a sonnet to this recipe. Not even the recipe in its entirety - which is wonderful - but the cheese sauce. OMG THE CHEESE SAUCE!!! *yes I'm screaming this* I may (or may not - there's no proof) have licked the pot after I scraped the sauce into the mixing bowl. Gross, yes, but hey, I used a spatula! This cheese sauce is happening again - SOON - and next time I'm just going full-blown CARBTASTIC and folding it into some cooked pasta. I can't even handle it. But the recipe itself - which is what I'm going to share with you - is fantastic. I came across this recipe for butternut barley cheddar gratin from Veggie & The Beast, and thought it looked like something I needed in my life. But I wanted to use up the mass quantities of quinoa in my pantry, so I used quinoa instead of barley - and everyone knows that gruyere is always a good thing - in other words, this recipe was a great jumping-off point, and I think my final creation is a keeper. Yes, yes - another squash recipe - I'm so sorry. I can't help it. Until we moved to the east coast in 2006 I never really had a need to eat seasonally - in Santa Barbara, everything was pretty much in season all of the time. Farmers markets had tomatoes and watermelons most of the year - strawberries, blueberries - I really wasn't prepared for the whole "season" thing when we moved out here. But now after 7 years on the east coast (eeep I can't believe it's been that long!) I've fully embraced eating seasonally. So it's cold - it's snowy - I'm eating squash. Deal with it. Embrace it. Love it. It's really the ideal dinner for the current weather we're experiencing - when there's a few inches of snow on the ground and it's in the teens at night (okay I'm still not used to the cold weather), I just want something warm and comforting and cheesy and gooey - this gratin fits the bill. It's not a total nutritional nightmare, either - it's high in protein from the quinoa, and high in fiber, and full of vitamins and minerals and other goodies hiding in that bright orange squash. Serve this with a green veggie side (we had sauteed spinach one night, Brussels sprouts the next) and you've got a satisfying and filling vegetarian main course that everyone at the table will enjoy.

Feastie Friday: 17 Festive Appetizers for Your Holiday Gathering

When you're planning your holiday celebration, don't forget the appetizers! Especially if you will be serving alcoholic drinks, make sure your guests have something to munch on while they socialize before dinner. But hey - it's Christmas - keep it festive! Setting out a tray of chips and dip is boring - why not serve some festive, Christmas-y appetizers and hors d'oeuvres? We've rounded up 17 festive appetizers for your holiday gathering - everything from baked brie to stuffed mushrooms. Your guests will thank you - these fun little bites are a special treat. Happy Holidays from Team Feastie! We hope you have a wonderful and delicious holiday.  

Cranberry Pecan Bread with Orange Glaze

Quick breads are wonderful. Usually there's no mixer required (less dishes - woohoo!), the ingredients are relatively basic, and anyone can make a delicious loaf or two with minimal effort. I was searching for an alternative to pumpkin bread, something to use up some leftover cranberries - and came across this orange glazed cranberry bread from Sally's Baking Addiction. This is the holidays in edible form. The tart cranberries pair perfectly with the pecans and orange glaze, and the result is an amazingly addictive quick bread that screams "holidays". The cinnamon streusel is wonderful - I seriously want to eat the entire top of the bread in one go. I've restrained myself - I've been enjoying thick slices, warm, with my tea in the evening. Delicious. Make a few of these to share with friends - this is a fantastic holiday gift. Who wouldn't be ecstatic to unwrap a loaf of deliciousness this holiday season?!  

Feastie Friday: 17 Salty Sweet Treats for Chocolate Lovers

One of the hottest trends right now is the salty sweet treat - simultaneously salty and sweet, these little bites satisfy all of your cravings in one go. And adding chocolate to the mix - that takes it to a whole new level. We've rounded up 17 salty sweet treats for chocolate lovers - these are the ultimate in decadence and satisfaction. If you're looking for a fun, personalized, and inexpensive gift for family and friends, wrap up some of these treats in festive paper and you're guaranteed to please everyone on your holiday gift list. In other words, you really can't go wrong with salty, sweet, and chocolate - we highly recommend that you start your weekend off right by trying one (or more!) of these recipes!

Maple-Roasted Butternut Squash with Sage and Garlic

Yes, I am on a squash kick, why do you ask? I can't get enough of it (exhibit A, B, and C) . If I keep up my squash-mania at this pace I'll be all squashed-out by the time spring rolls around, which is just fine, as I'll be ready for asparagus! This maple-roasted butternut squash from Barefoot Contessa is a recipe that I tried for the first time 3 years ago, at a friend's house. We were making a vegetarian feast, and although the original recipe calls for pancetta, we decided to just go ahead and omit it, and see if the recipe held up without it. It did hold up - and then some. This is the ideal side dish for any fall or winter meal - it's great alongside meat or chicken. It's also fantastic all on its own, served with a crusty baguette, if you're looking for a light vegetarian dinner. The creamy, mellow garlic and the sweet squash with the sage and maple syrup - it's just so many amazing flavors packed into one simple, easy, straight-forward dish. 

Feastie Friday: 21 Festive Recipes with Cranberries

Nothing says "holidays" quite like cranberries. On their own, in their raw state, cranberries are tiny, bitter little fruits, but when cooked or dried and hit with a little bit of sweetness, they're incredibly tasty! And so healthy - cranberries are full of antioxidants and vitamin C, as well as fiber and vitamin E. They have anti-inflammatory properties as well as cancer-fighting phytonutrients - suffice it to say cranberries are a good choice all-around. But back to their deliciousness - they really are one of the tastiest, most festive flavors to enjoy during the holidays. We've rounded up 21 festive recipes featuring cranberries to keep you in high holiday spirits. With everything from cocktails to pancakes and brisket, you're sure to find a cranberry recipe here that you'll love. 

1. Cranberry Orange Pancakes from Vegan Yack Attack
Cranberry Orange Pancakes from Vegan Yack Attack
Photo from Vegan Yack Attack

 

Broccoli Cheese Soup {Lightened Up}

I have a confession to make. I know it's not wholesome, I know it's not healthy, but the broccoli cheddar soup from Panera is SO GOOD. As in, I crave it fortnightly (I don't eat it that often, but trust me I think about it). But since it's full of stuff I'd rather not eat on a regular basis (i.e. highly processed ingredients), I figured I'd attempt to create a lightened-up, healthier version full of good stuff, like actual vegetables! I came across this recipe for broccoli cheese soup from America's Test Kitchen, and figured it was worth a shot - rarely does ATK disappoint. This soup was no exception. It's creamy and cheesy without being goopy or fatty - I tweaked it a little bit to suit my own tastes and make it vegetarian, but this recipe is stellar. No, it's not quite the same as the Panera version - but it's just as tasty, and knowing that it's healthy, wholesome, and homemade, it's much more satisfying to eat and enjoy. 

Feastie Friday: 40 Easy Recipes for Thanksgiving Leftovers

Let's face it - one of the best aspects of Thanksgiving is also the most annoying - LEFTOVERS. As in, everyone loves leftovers of their favorite delicious holiday foods, but sometimes those leftovers need a little remix. Rewarming the same food for a few days in a row gets old - so we suggest you round up all those leftovers and get creative. We've collected 40 easy recipes for your Thanksgiving leftovers, dishes that are sure to use up every last bit of that holiday dinner. Whether it's leftover cranberry sauce, pie, turkey or green beans, we've got a solution for you. And no complicated or hard-to-find ingredients - just those leftovers and a few pantry staples and you're golden. Since we shared our favorite Thanksgiving dessert recipes as well as some amazing vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes, we figure it's only fair that we help you use up those leftovers in a fun and tasty way. 

1. The Ultimate Thanksgiving Leftovers Sandwich from Cake 'n' Knife
The Ultimate Thanksgiving Leftovers Sandwich from Cake 'n' Knife
Photo from Cake 'n' Knife

 

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Will blog for food.
The Founder of Feastie.