Creamy Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms

It seems like I start off every post with… Has it really been _____ days since my last post? 25 days?  Wow, that’s not good. I really thought things would slow down soon, I guess that’s more of a dream than a reality. So let’s talk mushrooms to distract from the chaos that seems to be my life.

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The second part to my friend Carolyn’s Something Extra Try-it Program included making these easy stuffed mushrooms. This recipe, like the Artichoke Olive Spread, came from the Raley’s ‘Tis the Season to Party! Something Extra booklet. Since we are past holiday parties, these could definitely work for your Super Bowl spread. Go Niners!

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Ingredients:

12 Large Mushrooms (10 to 12 oz. total)
2 Small Green Onion – Chopped
2/3   Cup Nob Hill Trading Co. Artichoke Parmesan Dip
1/4 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
1/4 Cup Crushed Croutons

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F and spray baking dish/stone with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Remove stems from mushrooms and chop; place caps in prepared dish. Cook stems in a skillet that has been coated with nonstick cooking spray for 5 minutes or until soft. Add green onion and cook for 1 minute more.
  3. Stir in artichoke Parmesan dip, then spoon equal amounts into mushrooms. Top with cheese and crushed croutons; bake for 20 minutes or until mushroom caps are soft.

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Carolyn got to work sautéing the mushroom stems – we used some olive oil instead of cooking spray. She added the green onions and then the artichoke Parmesan dip and stirred things up really well. The next step was to load the mushroom caps with the mix.
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We ended up using a pizza stone to cook the mushrooms. Check out that seasoned pizza stone… color me impressed. Carolyn used to sell Pampered Chef and she loves her stoneware.
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I smashed the croutons and added them with the shredded Parmesan as a topper to the mushrooms before baking. 20 minutes at 400°F worked like a charm.
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Golden bubbly brown. Cheese is a wonderful thing.
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We displayed some of the mushrooms on the printed wax paper provided in the Something Extra Try-it kit. The mushrooms were wonderful! Thanks again Carolyn for letting me play in your kitchen.

In other news…

I will be eating lots of fruit and vegetables over the next 8 weeks. I’m starting a challenge at work through our wellness program. The goal is to eat at least five servings of produce each day, with a minimum of three vegetables — in red, orange, yellow/white, green, and blue/violet color categories. The program says that by spreading daily choices across the rainbow of colors, you’re guaranteed the best produce has to offer — vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals. My team is a bunch of over-achievers, so some of us are aiming for the max each day – 9 servings. I’ve been tracking through another app for the past several weeks and it’s going to be tough to consistently get in 9 servings a day. I’m thinking lots of green juice, smoothies, salads and stir-frys. I will be breaking out every vegetarian cookbook I own.

I barely made it through the 8 week exercise challenge that ran from October – December. I was so done with 60 plus minute daily workouts. No rest days killed me, but I wasn’t about to let my team down.  We ended up placing 3rd overall – this was out of 1300+ participants and 148 teams.Woohoo! I planned to take a few days off after the challenge as my reward… and that turned into a few weeks, whoops! I am finally back to working out on a regular basis – 5-6 days a week and that is doable. Even though I’m drained after work, I am making the time – because it’s that important to me.

So what’s new with you?

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Something Extra – Cooking with Carolyn

My girlfriend Carolyn invited me over to help with holiday baking and she also had another project for us to tackle. Carolyn was invited to participate in the Something Extra Try-It program, an opportunity to try great products and services available at Raley’s (for free) and to share her opinions about them through their website and social media. No problem… Cooking, photos, twitter, facebook and blogging, I’m in.

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We started off the afternoon with recipes from Raley’s ‘Tis the Season to Party! Something Extra booklet.

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First up was Artichoke Olive Spread. Carolyn had already gone grocery shopping and the ingredients were ready to go.

Ingredients:
3 Pouches Christopher Ranch Roasted Garlic Cloves
2 (6.5-oz.) jars Raley’s Marinated Artichoke Hearts, drained
1 (7-oz.) jar Mezzetta Pitted Bistro Blend Olives, drained
1 Cup Nob Hill Trading Company Roasted Peppers, drained
1 Cup California Sun-Dry Julienne Cut Sun-Dried Tomatoes, drained
¼ Cup Fresh Rosemary Leaves
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
Crackers or Baguette Slices

Our first mistake was not using roasted garlic – wow… that was a huge mistake, LOL… next time, roasted for sure. We substituted black olives for the bistro blend and that worked out just fine. We also substituted the brand of the roasted peppers.

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Another small mistake – I should have minced the rosemary into smaller pieces. I guess I thought they would continue to mince in the food processor. Not so much.

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We placed all ingredients in the food processor (minus the crackers)

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Carolyn pulsed on and off until the ingredients were chopped.

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We served the spread with crackers, but baguette slices would be another great option. We ended up garnishing them with some of the roasted peppers to brighten up the photos and overall appearance.

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Carolyn’s Raley’s “Try Something” kit included some fun printed waxed paper for serving. We ended up using them for the second recipe.

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Carolyn thought small mason jars of the spread and fresh baguette would be a great alternative to baked goods for neighbor holiday gifts. I would have to agree. Beyond the strong garlic taste (our mistake) – the spread was really tasty.

Next up was Creamy Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms – super easy and less than 5 ingredients – stay tuned for the next post.

Thanks Carolyn for letting me help you with your project and for providing a fabulous lunch with the deli tray, fun drinks and other goodies you shared.

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Christmas at Foo’s – 2012

Has it really been over a month since my last post? Why yes it has. My days have been so over-scheduled, it leaves very few hours for me to do anything extra. By the time I am free to eat a meal, it’s dark, I have no energy to cook and I find myself going for easy over planning and prepping to create something fabulous. Soup, stir fry, salads, take out – lots of rinse and repeat going on in my world. Definitely not blog worthy meals. Sometimes I wish my blog wasn’t just a food blog, I miss being able to just write about anything. So instead of food, I bring you Christmas decorations.

I do have hundreds of photos waiting to be edited, recipes waiting to be posted and I’m hoping to get to them in the near future. My upcoming vacation might just give me the nudge I need to make some progress.

Lantern and Christmas Tree

Even though I’ve been busy with life, I have found time to get into the holiday spirit through decorating. It’s sure a different vision when you have a puppy to think about – an investigative puppy that basically gets into everything. Stockings need to be hung higher and getting a tree or not getting a tree becomes a topic of conversation. We decided to not get a tree and that made me realize just how much a tree gets me in the holiday spirit. I helped a girlfriend decorate her tree and she offered her second artificial tree to me to use this  year. I have always had a real tree, but I knew having the tree scent in the house would not be good with the puppy. He tries to eat all of the plants we currently have and he chews on bushes in the backyard on a pretty regular basis. I turned down the artificial tree at first and then called a week and a 1/2 later to borrow it.

Foodiddy Christmas Decor

I purchased some new items this year. I couldn’t pass up the red sweater tree and star from Target. I also fell in love with the red and white felted balls… they had a 4 pack for $2.

Foodiddy Chalkboard Decorations

I got some super cheap silver bells at a garage sale over the summer and added fabric loops to some of them. I used some chalkboard tags I already owned from my parent’s party and put Christmas sayings on those and hung them from vintage stair spindles that are used in my everyday decor. My old suitcase once again made an appearance. I just LOVE that thing and am constantly searching antique stores for more just like it. I opted to not put lights on all of my displays this year, hanging cords are too tempting for puppy teeth.

Magnetic Snowman Advent Calendar

We’ve had fun moving the magnet on our snowman advent calendar. I also filled my numbered mason jars with wooden candy canes I picked up several years ago. It’s a fun stop in the kitchen while making my morning tea. I’m still on a green tea kick.

Wood Cobbler Shoe Form Decoration

I even decorated my  wood cobbler shoe forms. I have been picking those up at antique stores over the past several years. I am fascinated by the different varieties. Add some greenery, a bell and felt ball ornaments and you have an instant Christmas display. The wood and hammered metal boxes were found at HomeGoods back in November.

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I added a berry wreath to my vintage door and hung some stockings on reclaimed wood and metal hooks next to it. So far so good with the stockings. No signs of Finn wanting to pull them down.

Foodiddy Felt Santa Decor

My entry way shelves are the perfect place to display some of the felt Santa and vintage bottle brush tree ornaments I’ve collected over the years.

Pottery Barn Shelves Christmas Display

Candy Canes 5 cents artwork

I found a new home for my 5 cent candy canes. I happened to find the Candy Cane art at HomeGoods over the Summer and I knew I had to have it.

Santa Display

Speaking of HomeGoods, I swear I don’t live there or work for them 🙂 … how cool is my new galvanized bucket? I actually ended up getting two – the Christmas tree farm one is in the first photo. The perfect containers for some of the over-sized ornaments and greenery I’ve collected over the years. The red and white snowflake yarn balls were found at Target last year. The two belsnickle Santas are part of my bigger collection.

belsnickle Santa - Foodiddy

My dining room table centerpiece also housed another belsnickle Santa. I quickly white washed painted the wooden snowflake to place under the glass dome I had found at an antique store for Halloween. A few felt balls for a pop of color and my table was simple and good to go for entertaining.

Christmas Dishes

Speaking of entertaining… I finally broke down and purchased Christmas dishes this year. I had done a google image search on Christmas dishes and found this particular pattern. There were sets of them on ebay going from $250 – $450 and I about gasped… there was NO WAY I was going to pay that much… but I just loved the look of them. A week later, I found a few at my local HomeGoods… $3.99 for the salad plates and $5.99 for the dinner plates – I about screamed in the store. What? It’s a Christmas miracle? SCORE. I then had to go to 3 different HomeGoods to get a set of 6.

Detailed Christmas Dish

I’m so excited to finally own Christmas dishes that I love.

Rusted bell christmas trees

The master bath got a bit of holiday makeover as well. The rusted bell Christmas trees were found at my local grocery store. You never know where you will find the perfect Christmas decor. I just placed them next to what I have up year-round, added some ribbon, jute, jingle bells and knitted stocking ornaments and I smile every time I walk into the room.

I think I missed my calling… while I love graphic/web design and art in general, I have so much fun decorating my house. Guessing it wouldn’t be fun if it became a career, but I’d like to keep the hobby going by decorating other people’s homes… any takers? Your checkbook, my passion, ha! ha!

Rosemary Christmas Trees

I opted for fresh rosemary trees for the guest bath. A few pops of red and the room becomes festive in no time. The trees were really cheap at Trader Joe’s and they smell fabulous. I already owned the red pots.

Entry Way Christmas Shelf

I added wooden snowflake ornaments to the curtain rod drapery clips on the shelf above the entry way dresser.

Christmas Cheese Box

My cheese box obsession continues… I blame my friend Aaron for introducing me to the antique fair under the freeway. A few fabric candy canes and some artificial holiday picks and I was good to go.

Christmas Card Display

I picked up a wooden paper towel holder a few months back and decided that I would use the drapery hooks for Christmas cards this year.

Christmas Card Display

Each hook has multiple cards hanging off it. You can also see our raised artificial tree in the background.  I picked the tree up last weekend and got creative with placement to keep the puppy out of it.

Wooden Crate Christmas Tree Stand

I used crates and wooden boxes on top of a ceramic planter and absolutely love how it turned out. While I normally have a real tree, this one is beautiful at night and fit perfectly in the spot.

Christmas Tree and Crates

I gathered up items around the house to decorate it with. All of the ornaments were back up in the attic and we didn’t feel like digging them out. I did end up picking up a few things at Target, HomeGoods and a local antique store… some more rusted bells… I drew snowflakes in chalk on the wooden iPhone looking ornaments and I had some burlap ribbon left over from a few years ago.

Entry way Christmas Decor

The niche was filled with rusted bells and stars and I re-used some of the red and white felt stars and yarn balls from last year.

Christmas Chalk Board Snowflakes

I drew some snowflakes onto the entry way chalk board and filled the baskets with a vintage Christmas sign and star.

Christmas Tray

The wine bar got some garland, berries and rustic stars. The reindeer candle holder looked cool up against the vintage metal tray that stays up year-round.

German Santa Candy Holder

My German Santa candy container fit perfectly up against my numbered candle holders.

felted reindeer

My girlfriend Carolyn is going to teach me how to work with felt… this could be dangerous. In the meantime, I just love my felted reindeer and Target ornaments… I did pick up a felting book at Michael’s the other day and thumbed through it in the store. Pretty sure I’m going to turn into a felting machine once I start.

I’m very happy with my holiday decorations this year and while they aren’t as over the top as they have been in the past, they are definitely more “me” – I’m finding that my style is a combination of rustic, vintage found objects and craft projects all mixed in.

Merry Christmas from my home to yours. I plan to be back on a more regular basis,  I’ve sure missed my blog and my wonderful readers.
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