Fun Semi-Fast Food Salads

You've heard of semi-homemade; how about semi-fast food?

One of my favorite ways to sneak in a treat now and then is to incorporate a little bit of fast food into my salads I make at home. Did you know, for example, that a six-piece chicken ring from White Castle is 12 carbs? That's not too bad, and my partner and I will either split it or use the order in our big salad of the day if we're fasting the rest of the time.

I also like to get a bunless burger and load it with veggies and either make it into a salad or eat it with my salad as a side. Be warned: if you use even half an avocado, you may not finish them together. I tend to have that problem! I wish there were a way to save a soggy salad. I also like to find a protein from local Chinese, Indian and Thai restaurants and mix it in or eat it with my salad! This is such a yummy meal. Just check nutrition info on those sauces!

How do you mix fast food in with your salads at home? 

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Cooking Resolutions

What are your goals this year?

Do you have a lot of cooking goals for the new year? I know we want to learn to cook more together, use our air fryer to make more low-carb meals and definitely make sure our 15-year-old is set in the ways of the kitchen before going out into the world!

I love the idea of a kitchen resolution. This idea to follow the recipe exactly is an interesting one, especially for someone like me who's always tweaking things. It's hard to do in a time when you can't just run to the store anytime, though, so we'll see. The planning part of cooking is sometimes challenging lately, for sure.

What are your food-related goals for the year? Any specific foods to try? Share them in the chat.

New Year's Eats

Whatcha having?

There are lots of traditional foods to eat during New Year's celebrations. You might eat grapes at midnight, eat noodles for long life, or Black-Eyed peas for luck. You might even eat a whole Hoppin' John feast. Or, if you're like my family, you might enjoy creating your own traditions.

One of our favorite traditions for New Year's Eve is to make a big bowl of punch. I love any excuse to make punch, honestly, so it's really fun to do that during one of my favorite holidays. It's also time for us to make our annual party potatoes, which are pure starch and pure deliciousness! My teenager loves to eat little smokies, so we usually have those, too, along with Hawaiian rolls, because who doesn't love those? We usually have cold cuts with the rolls, and sometimes we make other little tapas or finger foods, because is there even a better kind of food to enjoy?

What do you like to eat at New Year's? Share your favorites in the chat.

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Holiday Finger Foods

What are you having?

Most people get excited about the big holiday meal but I've always loved the finger foods you serve either before or with the meal. My paternal grandmother always got trays of lunch meat, cheese, bread and vegetables and I just loved looking at it all. It was so pretty! It's funny what seemed so special to us as kids. That's still my favorite today, but we're not doing anything so elaborate for just the three of us at home this year.

We are doing different meat and cheese combos on Ritz crackers, another one of my favorites, and I'd love to hear what others do with this combination. I also love just about anything you can eat on a toothpick!

What little bites are you making for the holidays this year?

Weird 50s Holiday Recipes

What's the weirdest one you've seen?

A friend of mine recently shared a bunch of weird 50s recipes that people used to actually eat and they are absolutely mind-boggling. There's food shaped like candles. There's "bridal meat dolls," whatever those are! There are so many disturbing foods that I'm not even hungry anymore looking through them!

I'm sure there are loads of things we eat that people from the 50s find suspect. My parents think a lot of what I do is weird, and they'd never eat blue raspberry anything (my favorite snow cone flavor!). So who knows what will be weird to us in another 50 years?

What foods from today do you find the most strange? Share them in the chat!

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Best Winter Bites

Soup season is here!

When I talk about winter snacks, you might find it weird that I mention soup. How is soup a snack? If you've ever tried the Trader Joe's soup dumplings, you know that it's one of the tastiest snacks of the season! You can totally make a meal out of them, too, but if you want a quick, warming bite that is delicious and perfect for winter snacking, it's my absolute favorite.

Another snack I love this time of year is a quick bite of something on a Ritz cracker. Ritz crackers say "Christmas" to me because we always had them during the holidays. My favorite toppings are cheese or meat related, especially if I am in the mood to make a homemade cheeseball out of cream cheese. Sometimes I experiment with herbs and spices (you'd be surprised at how good a saffron one is!) but my favorite is something simple with a bit of corned beef mixed in.

What are your favorite bites for winter snacking? Share them in the chat!

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Homemade Potato Pancakes

Share your secrets!

Latkes, potato pancakes, fried taters... whatever you call them in your house with their specific differences and spices, they are my favorite holiday food. I just want to know how you make them as good as you get them at the store or restaurant!

Every time we make potato pancakes at home, we just can't seem to get them to be as good. I think we need a good spice combination to use or something because we get the texture pretty good each time. I'd love to know what works well for people who have a great recipe at home.

How do you make your potatoes at home? Share your tips in the chat!

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Fall In A Cup

But Hold The Pumpkin!

Lots of people look forward to their PSLs every fall, and I like to have a couple of them myself, but they certainly aren't the only fall flavors to enjoy each fall. There are plenty of other delicious fall drinks to enjoy that don't rely on the pumpkin flavor.

My favorite fall drink is apple cider, which I love both cold and hot. I love to make apple teas to go with it as well. Caramel macchiato and salted caramel mocha have both somehow become fall beverages, and I love all of those. Don't forget cranberry and pear drinks, which are also delectable! I love pairing cranberry with lemon-lime soda. YUM.

What other fall flavors do you love? How do you make your drinks or incorporate them into your cooking and dessert making?

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Gifts For Little Cooks

What are you getting?

With the holidays upon us, it's time to think about what to get the little cooks in our lives. I know so many kids who love to cook, and my own teen is in a baking class right now that's extra fun. It's virtual through our co-op and the mother has kept it super casual to help the kids relax and just enjoy baking together. I know another family that bought a cooking club subscription with recipes and tools delivered monthly, which would make a great gift, too.

Then I ran across this list and wanted to get all of it--either for my kid or my younger niece! Honestly I'd buy some of those for myself--look at those gorgeous rainbow mixing bowls!

What are you getting the cooks in your life this year?

Foster Farms Bold Bites

Have you tried them?

As someone who is always looking for low-sugar snacks for on-the-go, I was excited to learn about Foster Farms Bold Bites. They have some awesome looking flavors of snacks that are low in both sugar and calories. It's boneless, skinless chicken breast with bold flavors packaged in a portable, non-perishable bag!

I think these would be great for a quick addition of protein to salads, too, which I'm also excited about. I am always adding lunch meat to my salads because I forget to cook up some chicken the day before, so it would be a very convenient and flavorful option.

This taco flavor looks really good, and I hope they have more flavors to come. Have you tried them, or have you found anything similar? 

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