Grilled Cheese Rollups

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PourMoreFun #CollectiveBias (Psst! If you love grilled cheese, you’ll want to check out more cheesy recipes at Kraft.com!)

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If you had to pick five objects that represent your entire childhood, what objects would you pick?

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In no particular order, mine would be an inflatable armchair, the Backstreet Boys Millennium CD, my favorite pair of obnoxiously polka-dotted booger green tights, grilled cheese, and Kool-AidCan I get a hashtag #90sbliss?

(Especially for that sexy inflatable armchair–I owned a blue one like this. Cool kids? You bet your velvet bellbottoms and rainbow slinkies we were.)

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Discovering Kool-Aid Easy Mix as an adult was like stepping into a time machine and being transported instantly back into the head-boppin’, teeny-bopper 90s – except this time, there was no irritated high school cashier to tell me off for refilling at the drinks machine wayyy too many times. I bought all three flavors from Walmart recently – cherry, tropical punch, and grape – and I may or may not have already sipped my way through an entire bottle on my own before I even got around to writing this post. Whoops? (Good thing it has 50% less sugar than comparable regular sodas, right?)

When you live in 90°F springtime California, though, it’s hard not to want to drink Kool-Aid all the time. You can probably imagine that Kool-Aid Easy Mix is kind of nirvana for someone like me: just add water and enjoy? Now that’s my kind of childhood throwback!

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That’s not the only 90s throwback I’m sharing here today, though. As you can probably tell from the photos of gorgeous, oozing, melty, cheddary cheese that are flooding your lovely Tuesday monitor at this very moment (I’m sorry, did you say you’re at work and want to lick the whole screen right now? … Read more

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Friday Wallflavourites: Edition 25

If the weeks of April fly by any faster, somebody had better buy me a jumbo sized pack of those sour patch gummies you get from the airport, because Ala does not fly without her gummies. Ever. Here’s another two weeks’ worth of awesome recipes and fabulous bloggers from all over the blogosphere!

It’s no wonder that this is a family favorite recipe! Michelle from Brown Eyed Baker shares this awesome recipe for Fried Dough Pastries!

My grandma's recipe for fried dough - an Easter tradition when I was little! | browneyedbaker.com

I don’t know about you, but for me hummus is the nectar of the gods. Throw in some coconut Thai curry flare, like this recipe for Thai Coconut Curry Hummus from Oh My Veggies, and we’ve got a supernaturally awesome dip on our hands!!

Thai Coconut Curry Hummus

Anyone who knows anything about me, knows that I am obsessed with tofu. Then it’s no surprise that I nearly fell out of my seat when I saw this great recipe for Tofu Fries with Sesame Honey Garlic via I am a Food Blog. I mean, simple is simple–in this case, simple is also DIVINE.

tofu fries - www.iamafoodblog.com

I just have to gush to you about this next one – if you’re intrigued at all by the cauliflower rice phenomenon, you need to try this innovative recipe for Korean Style Cauliflower Rice. Alice from Hip Foodie Mom knows what she’s about with these intense flavors!

Packed with big flavors, veggies, kimchi and some heat, this Korean Style Cauliflower Rice does not disappoint! Cauliflower rice lovers, you need to try this! #cauliflowerrice

Finally, Easter may be over, but may need for these Hot Cross Bun Cupcakes will never end! They have got to be just about the cutest thing in the world, courtesy of my dear friend Aimee from Wallflower Girl!

Nākd “Hot Cross Bun” Cupcakes #vegan #glutenfree

Other amazing recipes on my radar this week–MUST try!:

Almond Joy Granola Bars via Broma Bakery

Asparagus Brunch Tart with Parmesan and Basil via Scrummy Lane

Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole via The Spiffy Cookie

Cookie Butter Cake for Two via Whisk and Shout

Easter Cookie Bars via Shenannagans

Fudgy Granola Bars via Pies and Plots

Graham Cracker Popcorn Toffee Bars via Bakers Royale

Maple Banana Oat and Nut Muffins (Vegan) via Bowl of Delicious

Mrs.Read more

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Chocolate Rum Bundt Cake with Chocolate Syrup {churned by Willy Wonka’s chocolate waterfall}

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Exactly 7 days ago, our school hosted its annual Edible Book festival! And you bet your chocolatey pants that I entered.

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After last year’s Calvin and Hobbes success, I gave myself exactly two days before I started brewing up ideas for this year’s festival. The idea behind the Edible Book Festival is simple: pick a book, create a food display inspired by the book, and show it off to a happy, hungry public. Perfecto, no?

Now is a self-proclaimed amateur connoisseur of both children’s literature and baked goods, you can imagine the sort of schoolgirl high I get every time the end of March rolls around. I mean, edible books? You might as well slap my name all over the marketing flyers and call it a day.

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This year I decided to go the literal route and use the book that’s chock filled with edible references. Growing up, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory wasn’t on my list of favorite books–it wasn’t even on my radar until the seventh grade, and by then I wanted nothing to do with the grotesque author who had written abominably disturbing works such as The Witches. (I mean, have you read that book? Yeesh!)

In fact, it wasn’t until I began teaching children’s literature at the university level that I read the novel in its entirety – once, then twice, then five times and ten. I couldn’t get over all the zany demises of Charlie’s rivals, or the wonderfully awful Quentin Blake illustrations accompanying these descriptions – and let’s face it: a book all about chocolate? Twelve-year-old self, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING???

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Once the cogs started turning, there was no chance in holy fudge tarnations that they were going to stop. I knew I wanted to do a display inspired by my favorite part of the books: the tragic disappearances of each of the four naughty children who enter Willy Wonka’s factory.… Read more

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Brownies & Chocolates, Cakes & Cupcakes

The Very Best Kimchi Fried Rice for #SundaySupper

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I rarely get hungry while editing my photos for this blog (I know, shocker!), but every once in a while something like this Kimchi Fried Rice happens on Saturday night at 2 AM and then I get the hangrays. Like, real bad.

Do yourselves a favor before you read on and save this recipe, guys. Seriously. This is NOT just your run-of-the-mill fried rice.

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Fried rice is the Asian goddess of all things leftover. Except when I was really young, we never really ordered fried rice in Chinese restaurants. It’s sort of like going out to a Vegas buffet and only getting bread–you know, the cheap stuff that anyone (in this case, a shoddy graduate student) can make, and still make taste decent. That’s not to pooh-pooh fried rice, because I love the stuff; it’s just not something a respectable member of an Asian household is supposed to indulge in. (Please don’t tell my parents I love Panda Express too, okay?)

Back at home, though, my mom made it every time we had anything to use up–vegetables, tofu, eggs, the whole lot just went phut! into the sizzling wok, and minutes later we’d each have a heaping plateful of amazing fried rice sitting on our plates, ready to be inhaled right up.

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Maybe that’s why, weirdly enough, I never cooked a single Asian dish when I was at home. When you have actual Asian relatives running around the kitchen making amazing, authentic fare, you’re going to want to stick to stuff that isn’t going to make you look like a disgrace to your heritage. Pick a dish that nobody has heard of–the more exotic-sounding the better (for example, pierogies or bouillabaisse!), though–and you’re in business! The family will instantly think it’s the best thing in the world, simply by virtue of having nothing to compare it to.… Read more

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Filed under Lunch & Dinner, Rice, Vegetarian

Cheez-It Spicy Snack Mix

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MVCheezIt #CollectiveBias

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I didn’t watch much of college anything until grad school. Never one to paint my face blue and gold on Game Day, I was about as exciting as the white petunias sitting in your neighbor’s drought-ridden window garden.

Then basketball season came one year and suddenly I began noticing things. No, not the cute guy wearing a school jersey. (Okay, maybe a little–who doesn’t look cuter dressed from head to foot in school spirit?). I was staring at the long line behind him, filled with hardcore fans and team gear and an excited babble that refused to die down. And that’s when I started to think…huh!

Throw in a bowl of homemade snack mix and you can count me in for the fun :)

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Last week we were visiting Seattle and happened to arrive at the arena just as a bunch of fans congregated for the latest championship game. We didn’t end up buying last-minute tickets since we had a flight to catch (though trust me–he was sorely tempted!), but we did linger around watching all the buzz and excitement around the upcoming face-off, nibbling at our donuts and secretly wishing for a TV and bowl of snack mix to reward our vigilant abstention.

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In fact, I am eternally grateful to basketball and all the snacky cravings it’s inspired in me this month, because that’s how this Cheez-It spicy snack mix was born. As of earlier this year, I became equally obsessed with the game and this perfect game day food.

If somebody told me that chucking my last bag of snack mix at our school mascot would guarantee a victory on the court, I’d have one heck of a time deciding which one I’d rather keep.… Read more

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Filed under Snacks

Friday Wallflavourites: Edition 24

For daily updates on my favorite new recipes and blogs, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest!

I almost fell off my seat when I saw this Egg-Stuffed Bacon and Scallion Pancake via Real Food by Dad. Scallion pancakes are my favorite, and I didn’t think they could get much better (fortunately, I was wrong!):

Egg Stuffed Bacon & Scallion Breakfast Pancakes | Real Food by Dad

Be still, my heart: this Skillet Bacon & Broccoli Mac and Cheese via Mom on Timeout is seriously the only pasta I’ll need for the next five lifetimes, thank you very much!

Skillet Bacon and Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese is the perfect dinner recipe for busy weeknights! Easy and delicious! | MomOnTimeout.com

Can somebody please unglue my eyes from this screen, please? I simply can’t tear them away from this insane Chocolate Chip Cookie Stack via Deliciously Yum–I mean, LOOK at it!!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Stack

Everyone knows I LOVE a great churro, whether from the fair or Disneyland. Well, we’re bringing it home with these Churro Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche via A Cookie Named Desire!

Churro cupcakes with dulce de leche

Finally, raise your hand if you knead–er, need–this No-Knead Bacon Bread from My Name is Yeh! Yeah, get in line, sucker–my hand was up first!

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Other recipes I’m digging this week:

Coconut Cheesecake Breakfast Braid via Willow Bird Baking

Corn Casserole with Chicken and Rice via The Wicked Noodle

Fudgy Peanut Butter Cup Brownies with Caramel & Pretzel Crust via A Cookie Named Desire

Funfetti Waffles (GF + Dairy-Free) via Messy Baker Blog

Garlicky Kale with Beans via East of Eden Cooking

Individual Plum Cakes (V/GF) via Top with Cinnamon

Maple Glazed Donuts via Deliciously Yum

Maple Rutabaga Cake via Rhubarb! Rhubarb! Rhubarb!

Matcha Strawberry Cake via Brunch with Joy

One Bowl Whisky Fudge Cake via How Sweet It Is

Quick Cauliflower Risotto with Asparagus Cilantro Basil Hemp Seed Pesto via Half-Baked Harvest

Shepherd’s Pie Grilled Cheese via I am a Food Blog

Unbelieveable Blueberry French Toast Casserole via Sally’s Baking Addiction

Vegan Potstickers from Scratch via The Pancake Princess

World’s Best Chocolate Oat Hot Fudge Cake via Oh Sweet Basil

It’s been a long time since I’ve included this section, but here are a new blogs I’ve discovered and am currently LOVING!Read more

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Pumpkin Banana Breakfast Cookies

Whether we’re out searching for our ideal partner, building relationships with friends, or already happily settled in a 50-year marriage, it’s no surprise that we spend the better of our lives seeking affirmation from the people around us. On a recent trip to Seattle, we gave ourselves plenty of “nothing” time–time to really back away from our busy day-to-day lives and think about what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, where our lives our headed. Every night at the hotel, Richard would look over and grin when he saw me just sitting on the bed and hugging my pillow, thinking.

He called it pondering time, and (apart from the donuts, and the reunions with friends, and okay maybe the pizza) it was probably the part of the day I looked forward to most.

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Between blogging and baking and schoolwork and teaching and working, I hardly give myself much down time to think any more, so it quickly became apparent that I had a lot of catching up to do. For starters, I had no idea I had so many thoughts about friends and life relationships to sort out–and visiting all these new places and seeing so many old faces gave me plenty to think about.

One way I like to gauge my development is to periodically play a game we called Three Attributes. You start by listing the top three traits you looked for in an S.O., and each one is supposed to reveal something about not only your ideal mate, but yourself as well. If you’re interested in playing, I’ll give you the breakdown so you can try it for yourself before I do the big spoilers:

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So you start by picking your top three traits for a significant other–this can be either your ideal potential one or the one you already have.… Read more

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Filed under Breakfast & Brunch, Cookies, Healthy

Picnic Perfect Cauliflower Salad for #SundaySupper

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Considering it’s been 90+ degrees for the past two weeks already, to say we’re in “springtime” might be something of a misnomer. Scorching heats and sunny pool days? Summertime, I’m ready. So I say

Bring. It. ON. 

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But the sad, sad reality is that despite my summertime excitement, the orbital progress of Earth around the sun isn’t quite ready for me yet. I hear that in some parts of the northern hemisphere, spring is actually happening! We were visiting Seattle last week and there were nothing but miles of blue sky overhead–guess we brought the Cali weather with us:

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As it turns out, either Seattleans have really got their A-game going or I’m just woefully ignorant of the froyo options available in my home state, because this wonderful frozen yogurt place named Menchie’s carries a Cookie Butter flavored froyo. I must’ve stood there eating my weight in free samples until my friends had to tear me away from the machine–because if you’ve ever tasted the aromatic nectar known as cookie butter, you’ll know what I’m talking about and forgive my rudeness instantly. Right?

Proof:

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Of course, we spent the first spring days eating our way through Seattle. One of my friends lives nearby, so he took us for an absolutely fabulous dinner at a pizza joint called Serious Pie, where I ordered a mushroom truffle cheese pizza that was off the charts. Also, my seatmate on the flight over was a Seattle native, so we spent a better part of two hours chatting about all the good eats and obscure gems hidden throughout the city. Among her many recommendations was this Russian bakery known as Piroshky Piroshky, located at the heart of Pike Place Market and specializing in the best savory breads around.

When I asked the man behind the counter whether I should get the Garlic Cheese Roll or the “famous” Potato Cheese Bread, he didn’t even hesitate before he stuffed the first one in my bag and asked me if I wanted anything else:

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Like dutiful tourists, we also made sure to get our fair share of donuts.… Read more

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5-Minute Microwave Caramel Sauce { & 55 things you can do in 5 minutes }

As a challenge to both myself and you, I’m pairing this awesome 5-minute microwave caramel sauce recipe (from the phenomenal Liz of That Skinny Chick Can Bake) with 55 fun things you can do in 5 minutes or less a day.

Ready? Let’s begin.

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  1. Meditate somewhere in the quiet outdoors, and dressed as an all-natural owl
  2. Listen to this incredible video of Harrison Craig from The Voice Australia 2014 singing “You Raise Me Up”
  3. Eat an entire caramel apple by yourself
  4. Write a thank-you card telling someone you appreciate them
  5. Hug a dog/cat (or a stuffed animal if a live one is in short supply)
  6. Make a 15-second silly video of yourself doing Gangham Style and post it on Instagram
  7. Reread your favorite picture book
  8. Dance around your room belting out your current favorite song into a dilapidated hairbrush
  9. Make yourself a cup of hot tea to enjoy
  10. Send a text message saying “hello!” to ten friends you haven’t seen in a long time
  11. Watch this hilarious Bad Lip Reading of The Hunger Games
  12. Catch up on at least two BBC World News videos
  13. Buy a cup of coffee for the next person in lineMicrowaveCaramelSauce4--031515
  14. Do one of these super-random five-minute crafts, like tattooing a banana
  15. Find out which Pixar movie you are
  16. Hold a lively discussion about goldfish safety with your imaginary friend, Bob Gutterson
  17. Try to discover the meaning of life (may require additional 5-minute sessions)
  18. Make your own list of 5-minute activities and commit to finishing one per day for fun
  19.  Look up 5 local restaurants you have never tried and save them for your next outing
  20. Write a haiku about cheese, or your mother-in-law, or both
  21. Create a to-do list of all the things you will need to accomplish when you become World Conquerer
  22. Find a cute new wallpaper for your desktop background
  23. Write down 5 things that made you really happy this week
  24. Create a pyramid-tower out of leftover toiler paper rolls
  25. Waste your insanely valuable time on this Impossible QuizMicrowaveCaramelSaucegif2
  26. Draw a map of what the world would look like if it was filled only with unicorns, rainbows, and sprinkles, in that order
  27. Speak in a heavy English accent to the next person you meet, and keep it up for the entire conversation until they ask you where you’re from.
Read more

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Dips/Spreads, Homemade/DIY

Miso Kale Salad with Apples, Cranberries, Sunflower Seeds, + Feta

Luck isn’t just a condition of our existence. It’s something we can make happen. It’s an attitude.

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Granted, some people simply are lucky. At least that’s the premise of that awfully addicting 2006 rom-com Just My Luck featuring Lindsay Lohan and Chris Pine, who are the luckiest and unluckiest people in the world, respectively. When they kiss one night at a party, their luck swaps and Chris’s character is suddenly waltzed away into a euphoria of fortunate circumstances that launch his music career and basically turn his life around.

I would highly recommend this movie for a night when the only thing you want in your brain is lots of nothing and eye candy action going on.

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IMHO, though, luck is akin to mojo: the better your mojo and your general vibes, the more likely you are to feel lucky, which in turn affects how likely you are to be lucky.

This past week was full of lots of lucky incidents, ranging from small things like wishing away the line at Chipotle (we were trying to order quesaritos and didn’t want to do it if anybody was waiting impatiently behind us) to some bigger things as well. Friday–incidentally, Friday the 13th–I was channeling some serious positive vibes and basically bounced through the entire day from place to place under the (of course) sunny skies of a not-so-wintry March.

It’s amazing how a simple shift of perspective can turn a dismal, dreary week into a fantastic one. On Wednesday, I taught my final class of the quarter and my students clapped so hard at the end that I thought my heart would break from happiness. That’s what I mean when I say that it’s not all about being lucky–feeling lucky is just as important, and I definitely felt lucky, grateful, and blessed when I walked out of the classroom that day.… Read more

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Filed under Lunch & Dinner, Salads