Category Archives: Starters

Appetizers, snacks

Fresh Garlic Guacamole

Readers who have been following MADMEN :Did ya watch the last episode of  Madmen? I thought that the ending was really good way to finish the whole story. I think that it’s hard for  a show’s producer to end it the way that everybody wants it to end. Regardless of how we said goodbye….I want to see more.  Don…doing yoga at a retreat on the Pacific ocean…such a great oxymoron to how he lived his live the past 7 seasons.  I’m telling myself that he went back to work…. he was reconnected with his kids…came up with the iconic Coke commercial…became a better man.  At least that’s what I want to happen for his character. I guess the producers kind of leave you to make your own conclusions. But I do love that they ended the entire 7 years with Don smiling. He rarely smiled during the whole series and it was almost as if he became at peace with himself and his past. The character that you wanted to shine through all those years came shining through in those last minutes. I just loved it! The other thing that immediately caught my attention was the girl at the retreat center who had the ribbon through her braids just like the girl in the iconic Coca Cola commercial they played at the end. I feel like the writers were trying to tell us that Don goes back to New York has big success and that retreat inspired that Coca Cola commercial. I have come to find out that that Coca Cola commercial was developed at McCann but the executive that developed it actually came up with the idea while stranded in a Ireland Airport overnight. In Mad Men land land I like to think that Don was inspired by these awakenings he had at this retreat.:) Ok…onto real life….

So our Lakehouse is up for sale again….our sweet renters had to move out to be closer to home. If you know anyone searching for a perfect little cottage on a fabulous lake please let me know! We would love to see it sell this season. Here is a link to the listing….We love this sweet little home…and would love a family to be able to enjoy it!

With summer weather here…and Memorial Day this weekend…I wanted to share with you this yummy fresh guacamole. It is good for you..and perfect to have with an ice cold beer:) Or margarita!

I was never a huge fan of guacamole until I had this recipe. It is made with the freshest of veggies so that makes it i no guilt snack right?!?!! That is always a good thing. I usually double the batch because it goes pretty quickly. A little tip to keep it from browning in the refrigerator is to press some cling wrap on top of it before you cover. Just stir it up again before you serve and you’re good to go. Mix up a fresh margarita….get out your favorite tortilla chips and enjoy a little Mexican fiesta at home! This recipe screams summertime which means that it’s right around the corner right? Enjoy!

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Another little tip…to scoop out the fresh avocado…use a cookie or ice cream scooper. Comes right out of the shell:) Add as much heat as you like….we find that 2 seeded jalapenos is just hot enough for us:)

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You will need:

Fresh Garlic Guacamole
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 2 clove garlic, halved
  • 1 or 2 jalapenos, halved and seeded (adding as much heat as you want)
  • ½ c. cilantro
  • 2 limes squeezed
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • ¼ C onion minced
  • 2 ripen avocados
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil and add in the jalapenos and garlic. Saute just a few minutes until fragrant.
  2. In a food processor, combine cilantro, lime juice, and jalapeno mixture. Pulse until combine.
  3. In a bowl, combine onion, jalapeno mixture, and avocados. I use a pastry blender to mush it all together:)

 

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Tracie Stoll is a wife, mom and has a passion for creating new things. On her blog Cleverlyinspired.com she is constantly sharing ways to inspire her readers to be clever in their own home. Since 2010 Tracie has been sharing DIY projects, crafting, remodeling and decorating along with some easy tasty recipes…all on a mindful budget. She is a graduate of the University of Dayton where she studied visual art and communications. Tracie has been featured on popular sites such as Country Living, CNN living, Good Housekeeping, Better Homes and Gardens, Huffington Post, Apartment Therapy, Seventeen and Design Sponge. She is also a member of the True Value Blog Squad & Martha’s Circle of trusted bloggers.

Bacon Wrapped Fries

Fabulous spring summer weekend here!. Our neighborhood had an art festival on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday got rained out a little bit but Sunday was beautiful for the most part. We worked outside a little bit. Had a nice relaxing weekend. I’m thinking of doing a container garden. Anybody have any luck with those? What would you suggest? I was thinking of maybe cherry tomatoes and basil but I’m open to suggestions if you have any. After I had so much luck with my tulips this year my gardening confidence has gone up.

We are in the thick of exam week for my kiddos. Summertime is within our grasp and we cannot wait! I will be splitting summer between the beach and home….Both of my kids got their first summer job so they will be working part time…I think we have a good balance of work and play…hopefully:)

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Thought I would start out Monday with a bacon wrapped steak fry….. I mean I cannot go wrong with that right? Bacon wrapped around a potato wedge? There’s just nothing wrong with that am I right or am I right!!?!? This recipe really is not a recipe it is so flipping easy! You could just serve these up with a large green salad and be done with dinner. Perfect summer meal!

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2 large Idaho potatoes will probably be plenty to feed a family of 4. These would also make perfect appetizers if you’re going to graduation party tailgate whatnot. They cook up in just 25 minutes and they are great at room temperature.

Bacon Wrapped Fries
 
Prep time
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Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 16
Ingredients
  • 2 large russet potatoes
  • 8 slices of bacon cut in half
  • old bay to dust on top
Instructions
  1. Heat a cookie sheet in an oven to 475.
  2. Wash potatoes and dry.
  3. Slice potatoes lengthwise, then quarter. Each potato should yield 8 large fries.
  4. Wrap and stretch a slice of bacon around potato and place on a piece of parchment.
  5. Carefully remove baking sheet from oven place parchment with potatoes on top.
  6. Sprinkle with old bay.
  7. Bake for 12 minutes and flip potatoes
  8. Bake for another 12 minutes.

 

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I think the key to this recipe is to get the baking sheet piping hot. 1 potato will equal 8 wedges. Best served with some sour cream maybe some dipping cheese a little salt and pepper. This is a great side dish or appetizer….or heck a meal!

xo

 

Tracie Stoll is a wife, mom and has a passion for creating new things. On her blog Cleverlyinspired.com she is constantly sharing ways to inspire her readers to be clever in their own home. Since 2010 Tracie has been sharing DIY projects, crafting, remodeling and decorating along with some easy tasty recipes…all on a mindful budget. She is a graduate of the University of Dayton where she studied visual art and communications. Tracie has been featured on popular sites such as Country Living, CNN living, Good Housekeeping, Better Homes and Gardens, Huffington Post, Apartment Therapy, Seventeen and Design Sponge. She is also a member of the True Value Blog Squad & Martha’s Circle of trusted bloggers.

Soft Pretzel dip snack bar

Hey yall….hope you are having a productive week. I have been getting my creative juices out….I listed a few new things in my etsy shop. Go take a peek today….they are perfect for teacher gifts or Mother’s day:)

I spent a lot of my childhood in a suburb of Philadelphia. Both of my parents and grandparents were born in Philadelphia as was my brothers and I. I remember in 1st 2nd and 3rd grade we had snack time. We got warm soft Philadelphia pretzels for snack and we could pick a little carton of orange juice or milk. It was my most favorite part of the school day! I have always been a lover of soft pretzels and these frozen super pretzels take me right back to childhood. I thought it would be a fun game night snack or when your kids have some friends over to serve up this superpretzel fondue snack buffet.

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Superpretzel makes it really easy because you can just pop as many as you need in the oven on a few cookie sheets. Warm them up while you are preparing the dips. Each of these tips come together really quickly and are sure to be crowd pleasers! You might also introduce a chocolate or peanut butter dip for dessert. I decided to focus on three savory dips for my snack bar. A creamy Tex Mex dip,  a warm cheesy beer cheese dip and a hot & spicy mustard dip.

 

 

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Your options are limitless and can be any array of flavors that you might like to try. What I love about it is it appeals to a lot of different taste and it’s a snitch to pull together. Looks like you spent a lot more time on it than you actually did….and that is always #winning! A few other key ingredients like the Daisy sour cream the Land O Lakes sharp cheddar cheese can be found in your grocer’s dairy section.

 

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It makes weeknight meals and snack time that much easier! And did you know that April is actually soft pretzel month? Who knew there was such a thing? That gives me all the more reason to eat more of them. Enjoy!

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Soft Pretzel dip snack bar
 
Prep time
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Author:
Serves: 24
Ingredients
  • Sweet Hot Mustard Dip
  • Combine in a bowl….
  • ½ C brown mustard
  • 2 T corn syrup
  • 4 t mustard powder
  • 1½ vinegar
  • 1 t soy
  • 1½ t sugar
  • ¼ t cayenne
  • Creamy Tex Mex Dip
  • Combine in a bowl…
  • 16 oz Daisy sour cream
  • 1 t dill
  • 2 t dried parsley
  • ½ t garlic powder
  • ½ t onion powder
  • ½ t kosher salt
  • ½ C salsa
  • ½ C Land o Lake sharp cheddar shredded cheese
  • Warm Beer Cheese Dip
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¾ cup dark beer
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • Hot sauce, to taste
  • 12 oz Land O Lakes. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. For beer cheese:
  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk and beer, increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the mustard, Worcestershire and hot sauce and cook, whisking occasionally, until the mixture begins to thicken, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Working in batches, add the cheese in large handfuls, whisking until each batch has completely melted before adding more. Season with salt and pepper.

 

 

Be sure to look in your grocer’s dairy section for more ways to spice up your pretzel bar. So many ready made ingredients are available to make your life easier!

 

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Be sure to pop over to Pinterest to see all the goodies you can make using the easy and healthy items from the grocer’s freezer and fridge section.

I am a brand ambassador for the NFRA (National Frozen and Refrigerated Foods Association) & a member of the Cool Food Panel. I have been compensated for my time spent writing this post. All opinions, photos, and thoughts are 100% mine own.

Tracie Stoll is a wife, mom and has a passion for creating new things. On her blog Cleverlyinspired.com she is constantly sharing ways to inspire her readers to be clever in their own home. Since 2010 Tracie has been sharing DIY projects, crafting, remodeling and decorating along with some easy tasty recipes…all on a mindful budget. She is a graduate of the University of Dayton where she studied visual art and communications. Tracie has been featured on popular sites such as Country Living, CNN living, Good Housekeeping, Better Homes and Gardens, Huffington Post, Apartment Therapy, Seventeen and Design Sponge. She is also a member of the True Value Blog Squad & Martha’s Circle of trusted bloggers.

Pasta Soup with sausage

Thanks for all the love for the Charity Home Playhouse project. I sure did have a blast and I hope to participate again next year:) We had a great weekend of absolutely nothing….Friday was spent with my 70 lb. lap dog on my chest….huddled by a warm fire. Saturday hubs and I had a great date night…and watched the first of season 3 House of Cards….a bit disappointed…anyone else watch? We only watched one episode. I’m hoping it gets better…we waited so long to see season 3.

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It is still cold. I am officially ready to be done with winter. It’s Monday. Sorry…I sound annoyed don’t I? I am just tired of boots, and ice on the grass, and mud, and salt residue on the car….I miss tulips…..

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But, one good thing about the cold…soup. A hot bowl of soup, tall glass of wine, homemade bread…it can make the coldness melt away. This pasta soup with sausage will please the whole family. Just serve it up with some veggie sticks or a salad…some bread or crackers…dinner is done:)

And hey…if you see spring…tell her I miss her:)

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Pasta Soup with sausage
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. Italian sausage cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 c. sliced mushrooms
  • 1 t. olive oil
  • 4 c. chicken broth
  • 1 Can diced tomatoes (Italian style)
  • 2 c. water
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) Italian-style stewed tomatoes
  • 2.5 C small shell pasta uncooked
  • Parmesan
Instructions
  1. Large skillet, brown sausage. Place in stock pot.
  2. Use same skillet to saute onions, mushrooms, garlic in oil.
  3. Add to soup pot.
  4. Add in tomatoes, chicken stock, water and bring to boil.
  5. Add in pasta and simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Lower heat and stir....serve up.
  7. Top with parmesan.

 

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Shout out Happy Birthday to my mommy! I love you!! Have a great day!!!

Tracie Stoll is a wife, mom and has a passion for creating new things. On her blog Cleverlyinspired.com she is constantly sharing ways to inspire her readers to be clever in their own home. Since 2010 Tracie has been sharing DIY projects, crafting, remodeling and decorating along with some easy tasty recipes…all on a mindful budget. She is a graduate of the University of Dayton where she studied visual art and communications. Tracie has been featured on popular sites such as Country Living, CNN living, Good Housekeeping, Better Homes and Gardens, Huffington Post, Apartment Therapy, Seventeen and Design Sponge. She is also a member of the True Value Blog Squad & Martha’s Circle of trusted bloggers.

Make ahead Sausage Ball recipe

Did you watch the SNL Christmas special this past holiday? It is so completely inappropriate but the Alec Baldwin “sweatie balls” scene….makes me laugh so hard. And sadly whenever I make these I think of that skit. Youtube it if you missed it…12 year old humor…but still…

These make ahead sausage balls are great for a rowdy hungry crowd. You can make them and freeze them…a perfect anytime snack. I like this recipe because there is no biquick required….simple ingredients…Even though football season is over…make them up this Sunday and be a little lazy:)make ahead sausage ball recipe @cleverlyinspired (4)cv

 

I realize the majority of the world has had/made a sausage ball. I tweaked my recipe a bit and they were so good this year I had to share. I make one batch of these….freeze them before baking (you can just bake them right away)…and pop as many in the oven as I need. They are hearty and a crowd pleaser. A stand mixer with a dough hook makes the job that much easier too….

 

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Make ahead Sausage Ball recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 24
Ingredients
  • 1 lb hot or mild ground sausage
  • 8 oz ⅓ less fat cream cheese
  • 4 oz cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1¼ flour
  • 1¼ t baking powder
  • dash of salt
  • 1 minced garlic clove
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 400. Combine all ingredients except sausage.
  2. Slowly incorporate sausage (I use my stand mixer with the dough hook)
  3. When ingredients are blended....form into balls.
  4. Either freeze at this point...or bake.
  5. Cook for 20 minutes on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

I think I might heat some up for lunch;) With a salad of course…:) Pop in this weekend on instagram. I will be sharing some more behind the scenes of the charity playhouse:) Also, look forward to next week…I am going to be doing a favorite things giveaway! It is time to give yall back a little something for coming to visit me here everyday:)

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Have a great weekend friends!

xo

Tracie Stoll is a wife, mom and has a passion for creating new things. On her blog Cleverlyinspired.com she is constantly sharing ways to inspire her readers to be clever in their own home. Since 2010 Tracie has been sharing DIY projects, crafting, remodeling and decorating along with some easy tasty recipes…all on a mindful budget. She is a graduate of the University of Dayton where she studied visual art and communications. Tracie has been featured on popular sites such as Country Living, CNN living, Good Housekeeping, Better Homes and Gardens, Huffington Post, Apartment Therapy, Seventeen and Design Sponge. She is also a member of the True Value Blog Squad & Martha’s Circle of trusted bloggers.
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