Easy “Last Minute” Entertaining Bites

                                                           A New Year is almost upon us. If you’re like me your plans may be a little last minute. I am here to save the day! Here are a few of my quick and easy go-to bites when entertaining. The best thing about these dishes are that they are quick, affordable, and easy to make. Don’t feel bad about using shortcuts! Especially not on a holiday when people are organizing and preparing for a fresh start. The food should be the last of your worries! Now, lets do this!!! Happy eating and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

 

 

Bite sized chicken and waffles

  • Cooked chicken tenders cut into bite sized pieces. (Absolutely nothing wrong with buying pre-cooked tenders)
  • Waffle mix and waffle iron ( just follow your brands instructions)
  • Maple syrup, hot sauce.
  • Large toothpicks.

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  Shrimp and Grit Bites

  • 1- 2 cups prepared grits.
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese (cheddar, gouda, etc.)
  • 2- 3 Tablespoons butter. Plus one tablespoon for shrimp.
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 4 ounces prepared crispy pancetta or bacon
  • 1/2 pound to 1 pound raw de-veined shrimp (depends on how many you’re making)
  • Old bay seasoning ( 1-2 tablespoons depending on how many shrimp.)

For the shrimp simply heat a pan over medium-high heat. Melt one tablespoon of butter. Coat the shrimp in old bay. Saute in the pan for about 1-2 minutes per side. And set aside.

Cook pancetta or bacon until nice and crispy. Set aside.

Follow the instructions on the back of your favorite grit mix. Add in cream, butter, and cheese.

Spoon the grits into small bite size bowls or spoons. (Cost Plus World Market people!) And proceed to top with pancetta and one shrimp. Voila!

 

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Mini Caprese Bites

Fresh mozzarella balls, tomatoes, basil, and sweet balsamic drizzle. So delicious and the skewers allow for easy, mess-free eating. Simply layer your ingredients onto  the skewers and dress with the vinegar and oil. Assembling the skewers is fun for the kids too!

  • – Pint grape tomatoes.
  • – Fresh small whole milk mozzarella cheese balls.
  • – Wooden skewers.
  • – Extra virgin olive oil (Enough for a light drizzle.)
  • – 2 tablespoons sweet balsamic glaze. (Or just enough to drizzle.)
  • -Fresh basil leaves.
  • – Salt and pepper to taste

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TIME TO CELEBRATE!!!

Oreo Snowman

Looking for a super cute fun and easy holiday treat to do with you’re family? Then look no further! These little guys are SO simple to make and are a great addition to any holiday get together. Super indulgent! But so worth it. We decided to make snowmen but feel free to be imaginative and create whatever you want by switching the colors up. Green for Grinch! Red hat for Santa! I hope you have just as much fun making and eating these little guys as my family did. Happy eating!

Giving it a try? Show us your finished product and tag us on instagram @ayeshacurry

Oreo Snowmen
Package of sandwich cookies
Cake Pop sticks
Parchment paper
Package candy melts
Decorating gel (Black, and red)

Twist apart all of the Oreo cookies very carefully. ( don’t be barbaric and crush ya cookies. Be gentle with these munchkins.)

Melt the Candy Melts in the microwave according to the instructions on the package, stirring until completely melted and smooth.

Dip the tip of the pop stick in the melted chocolate before making an indentation in the filling of each cookie.

Place the top of the cookie back on and allow chocolate to harden for a few minutes.

Then carefully dip each cookie into the melted chocolate covering it completely.

Allow to set on the parchment paper and harden completely. Give it about ten minutes.

Once hardened you may decorate it! Black for the eyes and mouth. Orange for a carrot nose. Tie a ribbon on the stick for a cute scarf!

Enjoy!

 

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Make Ahead Breakfast Casseroles

Christmas morning can be pretty chaotic. Which is why I’m a big fan of prepping the night before. That way you have plenty of time to enjoy your loved ones and still be able to create a delicious meal in no time at all! This is one of my go-to Christmas morning breakfasts for my large family! And the greatest thing is you can basically use whatever veggies or meats you have on hand to throw into this egg mixture. It can sit overnight uncooked or you can pop the already prepared dish in the oven the next day to reheat. Who wouldn’t love to open presents and have the delicious smell of breakfast being cooked? Simplicity at it’s best! I love to serve this with some freshly baked cinnamon rolls. Yum! It’s great for the days following Christmas as well. USE THOSE LEFTOVERS PEOPLE!!! Make sure to share your finished dish with me @ayeshacurry . Happy Holidays!

 

Make Ahead Breakfast Casseroles

6-8 eggs beaten

2 cups whole milk

2 cups cheddar

teaspoon salt and pepper

pinch yellow ground mustard

1/2 pound cooked breakfast sausage or your favorite breakfast meat (I love using pancetta)

1 cup diced veggies (asparagus, onion, bell pepper, etc)

green onion to garnish- optional

Bake 40-45 minutes at 350 degrees until slightly golden and firm.

Below are two varieties. One with pancetta and asparagus and the other with sausage and onion.

Enjoy!

10 Minute Pasta!

Here is a throwback recipe to make something fresh, light, quick and EASY! This simple recipe uses things that I already have in my refrigerator. Turns out amazing! It’s a great vegetarian option too! Try it and let me know what you think in the comments below!

Ingredients 
2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes(halved)
1 small shallot chopped
3 cloves of chopped garlic
A handful of FRESH basil chopped
a sprig of fresh rosemary
3 tablespoons of butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
a pinch of salt
1 package of Capellini pasta
Parmigiano-Reggiano (to taste )
Bring a pot of COLD water to a boil on the stove. While the water is heating up, place your skillet on med-high heat and sauté the butter, olive oil, garlic and shallots in a pan until the shallots become translucent (not brown). Add the rosemary, cherry tomatoes and pinch of salt for flavor. Sauté for about 2 to 3 mins and add in your chopped basil. By now your water should have come to a raging boil. Add in your capellini pasta and cook as directed on the package (usually about 3 mins). Drain the water from the pasta and add to your tomato mixture. Mix together well and then plate the pasta. Top with fresh Parmigiano and enjoy!

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Holiday Cookie Contest Winners

Congratulations to the three winners below, your cookies looked amazing! A special thank you to everyone who participated, you all put in so much hard work and there were so many entries we couldn’t pick just one. One winner even submitted two cookie recipes! We hope the winners enjoy their signed copy of The Seasoned Life and baking goodies from Williams Sonoma. Take a look at the winning cookies below and stay tuned for more fun contests in 2017!

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Stamped Rosemary Lemon Shortbread Cookies by Karlee Flores!

Ingredients:

3 sticks of unsalted butter (1 1/2 cups)
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon salt
Zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped fine
3 cups all-purpose flour

Directions:
Combine the butter and sugar and mix until well-blended. Add salt, rosemary, zest and then flour. Mix until combined.
Scoop out about 1 tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball. Dip the stamp in flour and press down until about 1/4 – 1/3 inch thick. Place on a parchment-lined (or use a silicone baking mat liner) cookie sheet.
Chill in fridge for 30 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 8-10 minutes.

Red Velvet Peppermint Crinkles by Leticia Ekube and Family!

Ingredients:

1 Box Duncan Hines Red Velvet Cake
6 TBSP softened butter
2 eggs
1 tsp peppermint extract
1/2 cup crushed candy canes
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp corn starch

Mix first 5 ingredients in a mixing bowl
Mix last two ingredients in a separate bowl
Roll table-spoon sized balls with the red velvet and then roll them around in the powdered sugar mix
Line them up 12 on a parchment paper lined baking sheet
Bake at 375 for 9 minutes
Cool and enjoy!

Giant Double Chocolate Chip Cookies by Leticia Ekube and Family

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Ingredients:

1 cup butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup baking cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

Beat with an electric mixer the butter and sugars until creamy
mix in the eggs, then vanilla
In a separate bowl whisk together the remaining dry ingredients minus the chocolate chips
Slowly add the dry to the wet ingredients half at a time
then stir in the chocolate chips
use a third cup scoop to make equal size balls and line them up about 8 cookies per baking sheet
Bake at 375 for 11-13 minutes
let cool and enjoy!

And our final winner………………

Rolled Sugar Cookies  by Christina Garcia!

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Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight) I did it over night and you can store the dough in the fridge for 3-5 days or up to 6 months in the freezer.
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Roll out dough on floured surface. ( I use powdered sugar, it gives it a nice flavor) 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely

Glossy Icing

1/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups confectioners’ sugar, or more as needed
Stir warm water, corn syrup, and almond extract together in a small bowl until corn syrup and extract have dissolved. Place confectioners’ sugar into a separate bowl and add liquid ingredients. Beat with an electric mixer on low-speed until royal icing is smooth. Store in a lidded container for up to a week; stir thoroughly before using.

Winners will be notified by email! Thank you so much to everyone who participated. Happy holidays!

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Rum and Chocolate Banana Muffins

I am so excited to share my latest recipe with you guys! My Rum and Chocolate Banana Muffins using “Fleischmann’s Simply Homemade Banana Muffin & Bread Mix” is simple, delicious and perfect for the holidays!

I make a Rum and Chocolate Banana Bread in my book The Seasoned Life, but this is a quick and easy alternative if you’re crunched for time. Your holiday guests will not believe it comes from a box, especially when you add the tasty twists like rum, chocolate and flax seed. The mix is made with the same ingredients you would typically find in your pantry and doesn’t contain artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. It even has real bananas! For a busy mom like me, this is the jackpot! Fleischmann’s Simply Homemade Banana Muffin & Bread mix is going to give us that scratch-made taste we all know and love in half the time. It goes great with my “Holiday Smoothie” for a refreshing winter breakfast on the go too!

The combination of rich banana flavor, savory rum and sweet chocolate lends something for everyone. Plus, the easy steps and quick bake-time allows you to have more time to spend with your family. Give it a try and you won’t be disappointed. Enjoy!

Visit facebook.com/simplyhomemademix for more tips and recipes. Join me in sharing your images and tips on how you reimagine scratch-made meals using #SimplyHomemade on social media.

 

RECIPE

  • 1 box Banana Muffin Mix
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup of water
  • 2/3 cup of oil
  • ¼ cup dark rum
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup ground flaxseed
  • 1 packed cup plus 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 400° Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray and sprinkle the bottoms of the pan with brown sugar.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix ingredients 1-4.
  3. Then add the rum, chocolate chips and flaxseed to the mixture and gently stir until ingredients are incorporated.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin come out clean, about 15 minutes.
  5. Let cool for about 10 minutes, then serve.

Holiday Cookie Contest

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Happy holidays everyone! It’s so special to celebrate this time of the year with loved ones cooking, baking, and celebrating the Lord. As a big thank you to my readers I wanted to do a holiday giveaway. So break out your baking gear and send me your favorite cookie recipe along with a photo! Don’t forget to include your name and address. The winners recipe and photo will be featured on the blog. Deadline for entry is December 16th 2016. A winner will be chosen by midnight (PST) on December 16th. Happy baking!

Winners will receive signed copy of my cookbook “The Seasoned Life”. As well as a “Holiday Copper Goldtouch Cookie Kit” from our friends at Williams-Sonoma!

Please submit all entries to ayeshacurrygiveaway@gmail.com

Jalapeño Cornbread

By December, the Curry household is in full game day mode – and you know what that means – plenty family and friends visiting and plenty of game day food! Now, I always have my go-to game day recipes, but sometimes I like to shake it up a bit. So, today I’m going to be making my “Game day Chili” from my book The Seasoned Life, and to go with my Chili I want to make cornbread, of course!

But today, we’re not making just any cornbread. I’m going to mix in jalapenos for some added heat and balance that out with a flavorful brown butter, brown sugar crust. And maybe serve it up with a little maple butter!

The best part about this delicious cornbread recipe is it’s going to take me no time at all to whip up because I’m going to be using Fleischmann’s Simply Homemade Cornbread Mix. Cornbread from a box you say?! Trust me, this product will make a believer out of you. This cornbread mix uses the same real simple ingredients you would find in your pantry, and contains no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives, so I feel comfortable feeding it to my family and our game day guests. Fleischmann’s Simply Homemade Cornbread Mix is my go-to when I want a delicious, scratch-made taste in a fraction of the time.

You can try my elevated recipe included below, or simply follow the instructions on the box. This mouthwatering, sweet, and buttery cornbread with absolutely no artificial flavors is the perfect complement to my “Game day chili”. Enjoy!

Visit facebook.com/simplyhomemademix for more tips and recipes. Join me in sharing your images and tips on how you reimagine scratch-made meals using #SimplyHomemade on social media.

 

RECIPE

Cast Iron Brown Butter and Sugar Jalapeño Cornbread

  • 1 box Simply Homemade Cornbread
  • 2/3 cup Buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup of butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 seeded and minced jalapeño
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 1 tablespoon butter (optional)

 

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Add first four ingredients in bowl and mix well.
  3. Gently fold in jalapeño.
  4. Set aside bowl.
  5. Heat a cast iron skillet at medium high heat.
  6. Add in 4 tablespoons of butter. Watch closely and stir until lightly browned. About 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in brown sugar with brown butter and leave in the pan.
  7. Pour the cornbread mix over the mixture. Make sure to smooth it out over the whole bottom of the pan.
  8. Place the cast iron skillet into the oven for 25-30 minutes. Or until lightly browned at the top.
  9. Once done remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  10. Optional: Maple butter. Mix 1 tablespoon melted butter and 1 tablespoon maple syrup in small bowl. Lightly brush the top of the warm cornbread with mixture.

Sweet Potato Cornbread

Hey guys! The holidays are quickly approaching, which means lots of family, fun, and of course food! I come from a pretty big family so cooking for the holidays can be a pretty tedious task. Between holiday meal planning, shopping and getting our home ready for guests, I’m always looking for cooking shortcuts that don’t compromise the taste. I love homemade cornbread for the holidays, but when I’m pressed for time, I turn to Fleischmann’s Simply Homemade Cornbread Mix! It’s made with the same real simple ingredients you would find in your pantry, and contains no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives so I feel good about feeding it to the girls too. Simply Homemade Cornbread Mix delivers delicious, scratch-made taste in a fraction of the time.

This recipe is so flavorful and the best part is, no one can tell that it came from a box! For this recipe I’m going to kick up the cornbread mix with a few flavorful and delicious ingredients to create my “Sweet Potato Cornbread.” And to elevate it even further, I’m going to add dried cranberries and chopped pecans for a delicious and unexpected crust.

I love to pair this with my spice rubbed chicken from my book, “The Seasoned Life” and it is the perfect side to complement your upcoming Thanksgiving dinner. Simply Homemade baking mixes are so delicious and handy to have in your pantry. Don’t miss out on this simply mouthwatering product for your next meal!

Visit facebook.com/simplyhomemademix for more tips and recipes. Join me in sharing your images and tips on how you reimagine scratch-made meals using #SimplyHomemade on social media.

 

 

Sweet Potato Cornbread With Pecan and Cranberry Crust

  • 1 box Simply Homemade Cornbread
  • 2/3 cup Buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup of butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup mashed fresh sweet potato or canned
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or pistachios
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Add first four ingredients in bowl and mix well.
  3. Gently fold in sweet potato and mix until well incorporated.
  4. Set aside bowl.
  5. In another small bowl add nuts, sugar, and cranberries and mix well.
  6. Heat a cast iron skillet at medium high heat.
  7. And add in 4 tablespoons of butter. Once melted remove from heat.
  8. Add in your nut mixture and coat with butter. Spreading it evenly over the bottom
  9. Pour the cornbread mix over the mixture. Make sure to smooth it out over the whole bottom of the pan.
  10. Place the cast iron skillet into the oven for 25-30 minutes. Or until lightly browned at the top.
  11. Once done remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Why I’m Glad to Give

Since as far back as I can remember food has played an important role in my life. It can provide comfort when needed, is often a mark of celebrations and can be wrapped in every day family memories – simply, food brings people together.

As a mom, with two little girls, to know that there are families who may not have a nutritious dinner on their table, that some children go to school hungry, and so many others may not have enough food was heartbreaking to me.

To provide attention and assistance to this issue, I’m proud to be a part of Glad to Give, a national campaign that looks to inspire and encourage others to give back. Glad asked me to join the cause and show how I “give the food off my plate” by sharing the story of my work with No Kid Hungry.

Through working with No Kid Hungry, I get to visit schools and centers around the country to deliver meals and talk to the kids about nutrition and giving back to their communities. Earlier this fall, I was fortunate to visit and share a meal with students at the East Oakland Youth Development Center. They showed me their amazing space where they come together through activities and learning experiences to live healthy and lead by example in their communities. We also discussed why giving back is important and why I give back.

Kids are never too young to learn the lesson of giving back to help those in need and that their communities should be an extension of their families. A few easy ways anyone can help are: to make a little extra to send along with your little ones when preparing lunch for a student who may be in need, get the whole family involved in packing up food for local banks or dropping off food to friends and family who need some love.

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Glad and I believe that one act of giving inspires another, and no act is too small. So as the campaign highlights those giving the shirt off their back, the socks off their feet and the food off their plate, ask yourself what you glad to give?

You can see my story and other real stories of local change makers and learn how you can get involved at GladtoGive.com.

Watch here.

 

Ryan & Riley’s PBK Dream Room Design

Ryan & Riley’s PBK Dream Room Design

I first have to say that through our process of living out here everyone has been so warm and welcoming towards us. It’s always a dream come true when your favorite brands are just as excited to work with you as you are with them. They’ve been kind, generous and extremely patient with us all.

Here in the Curry household things are never at a slow pace and Pottery Barn Kids was more than happy to help us out with our short time frame and new move and make the girls dreams come true! Thank Pottery Barn Kids! I just can’t say it enough.

Okay, so onto the design! I was sad to have to leave our new nursery so soon, but due to privacy issues we unfortunately had to find a new home. Pottery Barn Kids was so sweet to try and recreate that feel in both girls rooms and playroom but elevated a bit because as all of you moms and dads know out there, these kids grow fast!!!

I of course raved about how I thought yellows and teals would just be perfect for the space. Riley had other plans and was feeling pinks and purple (naturally). Even though this was their space I truly thought it would have ended up an eye sore.

It ended up being gorgeous, playful, light and airy and a place they could could grow into throughout their childhood. The shade of purple they chose was perfect and the subtle pink accents were just the touch of feminine it needed. They added their favorite things such as butterflies and horses and even added a little kitchenette reminiscent of my own kitchen. I absolutely love this space and so do my littles.

I just wanted to share it with you all because I am proud of the space and often have people ask where certain pieces in their room are from. When in doubt it’s Pottery Barn Kids.

I hope you guys enjoy these photos and thank you again to PBK!!!

xo- Ayesha

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Our dog Reza loves this tent!
Our dog Reza loves this tent!

Mezzetta Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

If you’re looking for a healthy yet delicious appetizer to serve to your guests on Super Bowl Sunday this Mezzetta roasted red pepper hummus is perfect!!!
It’s full of flavor, fragrant but most importantly it’s easy to make!
Enjoy!
1 16oz can garbanzo beans
1/4 cup tahini paste
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Mezzetta Roasted Red Peppers
Simply place ingredients into a blender, blend until smooth and serve. Garnish with chopped Mezzetta Roasted red peppers and a little bit of sea salt.
http://www.mezzetta.com/