Cheddar Tater Tots

Ever since my first experience with homemade tater tots, I’ve been on a serious kick. I want to make them and eat them all the time. I guess it is the kid in me coming out. Either way, homemade tater tots are totally awesome.

We had some for lunch over the weekend after a morning of serious cleaning and grocery shopping. What can I say? We needed the nourishment. I added in some cheddar and they absolutely hit the spot. Even though it made a huge serving per person, I could have eaten more. Tater tots are seriously dangerous. Tater tots loaded with cheddar cheese are even more dangerous. Be aware, you’ll devour.

5.0 from 1 reviews

Cheddar Tater Tots
Recipe type: snack, appetizer, breakfast, kid-friendly, vegetarian
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Serves: 4
 

Ingredients
  • 3 russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup flour
  • generous salt and pepper to taste
  • oil for frying.

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.
  2. In a food processor, slice potatoes into thin slivers. You can also grate them if you choose but I am far too lazy for that. Transfer the potatoes to a large towel. Wrap the towel around all of the potatoes, hold them over the sink and squeeze like a sponge to rid the potatoes of all their moisture. Transfer the potatoes to a bowl.
  3. Add the cheddar cheese, salt, pepper and flour to the potatoes and mix well.
  4. Heat about ¼ to ½ inch of oil in a frying pan over medium high heat.
  5. While the oil heats, form your tots. Take a large teaspoon full of potato mixture and mold it into a tot shape.
  6. Drop the tots into the pan and fry them until golden brown. Flip and repeat with the other side then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
  7. Once all finished, transfer the tots to your baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes. This will ensure they are completely cooked through and will be very crispy.
  8. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot.

 

Root Beer Float Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

Want to know why root beer is great?
1. Most root beer sodas are caffeine free which is great if caffeine causes you to get immense headaches or kidney stones. This doesn’t necessarily apply to me but it is definitely nice to have options.
2. It’s got such a different flavor than other sodas. An almost refreshing, spicy sort of flavor. Not your standard cola.
3. Its’ flavor is concentrated into my most favorite candy, root beer barrels. Try them. Now. Your life will be forever changed.
4. It goes great with sweets. Especially vanilla ice cream. Or cake. Or cake with vanilla icing. Oh yes.
When I get in a baking mood (and that doesn’t happen as often as you’d think), I try to make something appealing for everyone in the house. Only because I know that eating an entire batch of cupcakes by myself would make my gut too big to fit into my cute jeans. These popped up on my list a few weeks ago when I realized I had cute cupcake wrappers, root beer extract and old fashioned root beer candies for garnish.
The end result was great. The cake is moist and tasty with a nice punch of root beer flavor. And when combined with the vanilla buttercream, it tastes like a pastry version of my most favorite ice cream treat. I’m thinking these would be a really fun twist for an ice cream social party (which I will so be having when spring or summer rolls itself around again!).
5.0 from 1 reviews

Root Beer Float Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream
Recipe type: cupcakes, dessert
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Serves: 24
 

Ingredients
  • ¾ cup butter, soft
  • 3 eggs
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon root beer extract
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1¼ cups root beer
  • For icing:
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons heavy cream

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.
  3. In your mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and root beer extract to combine.
  4. Alternate adding flour and root beer to butter mixture and beat until just combined.
  5. Spoon batter into muffin tin about ¾ of the way full.
  6. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes until cooked through. Cool completely before frosting.
  7. To prepare icing:
  8. Combine butter, sugar and vanilla in your mixer and beat until combined and fluffy. Add heavy cream a tablespoon at a time until the icing reaches the desired consistency.

Notes
*Garnish with root beer candies if you like. **A serving is one cupcake. Makes approximately 24.

Herbed Greek Yogurt Dip

As of 9:00 on Halloween evening, I’ve eaten two bags of Skittles, a Snickers, a Baby Ruth, 3 gobstoppers and a mini Butterfinger. I’m officially candied out. I figure that since this only happens once a year, it is totally ok to overindulge.

And then turn to things like this refreshing dip to sort of get rid of the guilt. This dip is great because you can use it for just about everything. I dip carrots and other veggies in mine. But you could slather a little on a cracker and it’d be just as tasty. I’m partial to carrots, celery and broccoli but go ahead and try any combo you like. The herbs in here make it refreshing and the Greek yogurt is great for a nice twang.

5.0 from 1 reviews

Herbed Greek Yogurt Dip
Recipe type: dip, appetizer, snack, sauce
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Serves: 6 to 8
 

A light dip filled with herbs, perfect for veggies or crackers.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1 Tbsp. dill (fresh is better but dried is fine)
  • ½ tsp. thyme (fresh is better but dried is fine)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
  1. Combine all of the above ingredients in a bowl and stir well. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

 

Maple Sweet Potato Stacks

What exactly is a Frankenstorm? Are they calling it a Frankenstorm because it is so close to Halloween? And the bigger question, is it going to cause another multi-day power loss like the one we had this summer that cleaned out our entire fridge? Because I’ll be honest, I really like having power.

Although I could deal with snow. I know it’s October and it’s too early for snow but we were seriously deprived of winter weather last year. Maybe Mother Nature thought she’d take a break on us because of the 3+ feet of snow the year before. Either way, I’m ready for some snowy weather. I just would prefer that NOT come along with power loss. How can I charge my phone or watch TV otherwise? First world problems, right?

Either way, these sweet potato stacks are a really good cold weather treat. I’m convinced it is the fact that they are quite filling. Almost comfort food. I made them along side chicken and polished off two whole sweet potatoes and maybe took one bite of chicken. They’ll be perfect if said Frankenstorm comes along. So long as the power doesn’t go out. Should I mention again that I don’t want the power to go out?

I don’t. Just sayin’.

Maple Sweet Potato Stacks
Recipe type: appetizer, snack, vegetable, side, fall
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Serves: 3
 

Ingredients
  • 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ¼” thick slices
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • salt to taste

Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Lay your sweet potato slices flat on a foil-lined baking sheet.
  3. Using a pastry brush, brush all of the sweet potato slices with olive oil. Repeat with the maple syrup. Sprinkle with salt.
  4. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until tender.
  5. To serve, pile the potatoes on top of each other in stacks.

 

No Bake Energy Bites

There are three things that get me through a really long day at work. 1. Loads and loads of coffee or tea. Usually an alternating combination of both. Loads. 2. Good music or funny radio podcasts. Preston and Steve. ‘Nuff said. 3. Snacks.

I’m a snacker. I always have been. I always will be. I try to change my ways but folks, I’m set. It’s not going away. I’ve had to stop bringing money to work so I don’t go near the vending machine for pretzels, chips or popcorn. If I could snack all day, I probably would. Then my jeans would scream at me because they wouldn’t fit right and there would be chaos.

Anyway, that’s why I like these little energy bites. I saw them on Gimme Some Oven! and knew that I needed to try them. They kill two birds with one stone. They alleviate some of my desperate need to constantly stuff my face AND they give you power to chug on without needing 5 pots of coffee. I’m not sure the “energy” is a super noticeable change. But they make you feel full and fresh without making you feel heavy or weighed down. Chips, they don’t do that. I’m trading in the chips for these bites. They taste great and are the perfect popable size for grabbing and going!

Take heed, people of Earth! A new, quick breakfast alternative!

No Bake Energy Bites
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Serves: 8 to 10
 

Ingredients
  • 1 cup dry old fashioned oats
  • ⅔ cup coconut flakes
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup chocolate chips optional
  • ⅓ cup honey

Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients well in a large bowl.
  2. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Once chilled, scoop the mixture into large balls.
  4. Store in an air-tight container for up to a week.