#GetCrackin with Wonderful Pistachios

Momtrends #getcrackinThis is it everyone.. the big countdown to large Christmas feasts and celebrating the New Year! A decadent dinner party is always a must during this time of year. Last week I attended a very swank event with Nicole and her team at MomTrends and the team from Wonderful Pistachio. What a treat it was to be surrounded by such great food bloggers and chefs making a full feast themed around pistachios.

*This is a sponsored post. Thanks for stopping by and hearing a little more about my sponsors. *

While I will be the FIRST to tell you that I am not the best cook, I do post my fair share of foodie finds throughout my travels. SO talking and eating food it right up my alley. I’ve never tried cooking with pistachios so I was in for a totally new experience. Adding a handful of chopped pistachios is such a seamless and easy addition!

We started off the evening with a quick knife demo to make sure we all knew the ins and outs of chopping onions.* fun fact * – did you know that the reason you cry when chopping onions is because the onion liquid is being released mainly due to your WRONG chopping technique! So a quick ‘ across the onion’ chop is what’s need to minimize the onion liquid. No more tears in the kitchen kids!

After the demo we all were invited to pick a cooking station we want to work on. The protein, the grains, the veg… or the one I choose.. the no cooking station. I made really delicious popcorn- chocolate- pistachio balls. for the win!

Momtrends #getcrackinWonderful Pistachio and Cherry Popcorn Balls

Old fashioned popcorn balls sparkle with the tart addition of dried cherries and tasty Wonderful Pistachios, while the brown sugar gives them a caramel-y flavor. These are sure to be a hit at any holiday gathering.

Prep: 8 minutes / Time to Table: 18 minutes / Makes: 20 balls about 2 ½ inches in diameter

  • 12 cups popcorn
  • 1 cup shelled Wonderful Pistachios Roasted & Salted, lightly chopped
  • 1 cup dried cherries or cranberries
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • ¾ cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large roasting pan combine popcorn, dried cherries and Wonderful Pistachios, mixing thoroughly.
  3. In a medium saucepan combine syrup, sugar, butter and salt. Over medium heat bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Continue stirring and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and baking soda. Be careful as mixture will bubble up.
  4. Pour syrup mixture over popcorn and stir to coat well. Popcorn will still be warm from the syrup. To keep your hands clean slip them into two plastic bags and coat bags with cooking spray or butter.
  5. Working quickly, form popcorn mixture into balls about 2 ½ inches in diameter. Place on the parchment lined baking sheet to cool. 

  Spicy Roasted Squash with Wonderful Pistachios

Delicata and butternut squash are roasted together with warm spices and a bit of cayenne to heat things up. Crunchy Wonderful Pistachios and maple syrup are just the right additions for texture and sweetness. Garnished with pomegranate arils this dish is a celebration of flavors.

Prep: 18 minutes / Time to Table: 38 minutes / Serves: 8 (about 10 pieces of squash/person; about a cup/person)

  • 1 ½ pounds butternut squash (4 ½ cups prepped)
  • 2 ½ pounds delicata squash
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup shelled Wonderful Pistachios Roasted & Salted, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ¼ cup POM Wonderful pomegranate arils
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  1. Heat oven to 425°F. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil.
  2. Peel and seed butternut squash. Cut in half lengthwise and slice into ½ inch thick pieces. Cut in half again for quarters.
  3. Cut delicata in half lengthwise and seed. Cut into ½ inch thick slices. Combine all the squash in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Sprinkle the cinnamon, allspice, cayenne and salt over the squash. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Melt the butter and stir into the olive oil. Drizzle over the spiced squash and mix thoroughly.
  6. Transfer the squash to the baking sheets, arranging in a single layer. Bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Stir and flip squash. Sprinkle with Wonderful Pistachios and drizzle with maple syrup. Bake another 5 to 7 minutes until pistachios are just toasted. Remove from the oven.
  8. Arrange on a serving platter and sprinkle pomegranate arils over the squash. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Wonderful Pistachios, Peach and Barley Salad

A fresh summer salad with the crunch of Wonderful Pistachios and delicious peaches.

Prep: 15 minutes / Time to Table: 1 hour a 5 minutes / Serves: 4

  • ⅔ cup pearled barley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 cups trimmed green beans
  • ¼ cup pistachio oil, or olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cups baby arugula
  • 2 ripe peaches, sliced ¼-inch thick
  • ⅓ cup crumbled ricotta salata
  • ⅓ cup shelled Wonderful Pistachios Roasted & Salted, roughly chopped
  1. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in barley, reduce to a simmer, and cover. Cook about 45 minutes, until barley is tender and water is absorbed. Remove from heat, and set aside 10 minutes. Add parsley, fluff barley with a fork and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, bring water to a boil in another saucepan; boil string beans about 5 minutes, until crisp and tender. Blanch in ice water and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk pistachio oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper; toss with arugula, string beans, and half the sliced peaches.
  4. Place greens mixture on individual plates. Top with a scoop of barley, remaining peaches, ricotta salata and pistachios. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.

 

Happy feasting everyone!!!

*This is a sponsored post. Thanks for stopping by and hearing a little more about my sponsors. *

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Holiday Gift Guide 2015 – Favorite Toys

It’s the big weekend… the last weekend before the jolly ole fat man breaks into your house to eat your cookies and milk and  take credit for all the toys you bought the kids! Silly Santa! To help you navigate your toy list for all the littles this year… I’m here to help. I’ve rounded up my favorite toys for this season… toys that are great for all ages and will keep kids playing for years to come!   As with all my recommendations, these are all toys I have reviewed at home through this sweet blog or through my awesome job playing with toys all day… at TTPM.com. These toys are the a step above the rest and have some pretty amazing features.

I hope you find this list helpful. Merry Christmas!!!

Favorite Toys for Holiday 2015

 

Snoopy Railroad G-Gauge Set Lionel Train sets have been a favorite in our home since as long and I can remember. Thomas has the latest Snoopy Express and loves it. This is a G Gauge train that goes forward and back with a remote control unit. It also has some conductor phrases and a choo choo whistle. This is a large toy and has some pretty fantastic details!

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Christmas DIY: Chalkboard Wrapping Paper

 

I love wrapping gifts. A beautifully wrapped gift makes the gift inside that much more special. It’s all in the presentation you know. I’ve been picking out a few things for my sister, sister-in-laws and gal pals and it’s such fun. Basically i’m picking out things I like and hope they give it back to me if they don’t like it.

No… who would do such a thing!

This year I’ve been pretty obsessed with chalkboard paint and chalkboard everything and when it came time to wrap gifts… a simple chalkboard wrapping paper was the perfect fit. I found this roll at Target for $3 in their dollar spot. All other things like string and pine tree embellishment was found around the home.

Gifting is so much grander when the gift is thoughtfully wrapped … don’t ya think!

 

 

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Acapella Star Wars Theme Sung by Jimmy Fallon, The Roots and Cast of Star Wars

The highly anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens Thursday and people are going NUTS over this film. I have never seen a single Star Wars film but might just have give in and catch this latest installation.

Jimmy Fallon in his true genius style had released an acapella versions of the Star Wars theme… with The Roots and the cast of the film. It’s pretty brilliant! We’re talking… Adam Driver with that seriously impressive baritone! and Brienne of Tarth!

Enjoy!

 

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In The Year 3

Our sweet little MOTO turned three last week and we celebrated with a great big Lightning McQueen themed party. His little best friends were around to spend the day with us and Thomas loved every minute of his birthday weekend.

I’m not one for big sappy sweeping essays but gosh I wish could conjure up something sappy right now because i am just so sad he’s getting older. Even Lily… she will be 11 on her next birthday … how do these days fly by?

He loves the color pink and baking cupcakes at 6am… which by the way is his wake up call everyday… and there are only so many thing you can do at 6am!

He doesn’t like to go to bed and loves baths. These days he has figured out how to open the heavy wooden front door and even tried to lock me out of the house. so that’s that.

Jonah and Thomas are the best of friends and one is never too far from the other… up to no good.
  

“ it’s been three years since you came out of mommy’s belly Thomas” Lily was just as excited as the rest of us to celebrate our little MOTO birthday last week. I’ll say it… it sounds cliché… but here it is… time goes by really really fast. These years are so quick and we have just barreled through them in the blink of an eye.   

Thomas you are named after your great-grandmother and your grandfather and your father and the generations of family members who have carried your name through the ages. You are brave, you are loving, you are strong, you are kind, you are creative, you are a wrecking machine and you are a leader. 

  
He was snuggled up next to me on the couch and

I said –  “Thomas you are a big boy now.”

To which he defiantly replied – “no I’m your baby.”

“you will always be my sweet baby Thomas” – I kissed him – “even when you are an old grandpa”.

“I’ll be a baby grandpa” – he said

“yep“

“and even when I have babies i’ll be your baby” 

“yep” I offered

“ I’ll be a baby daddy?”.

Happy Happy Birthday my sweet little boy. You are a fierce force in this world and the most gentle of spirits.

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