buffalo chicken dip pizza.

this shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. all opinions are mine alone. #HomeBowlParty #CollectiveBias

buffalo chicken dip pizza perfect for a #HomeBowlParty #ad |

i have a confession to make: i mostly watch football games for the snacks. yea, the sport itself is fun and all, but when it comes right down to it, it’s easier to sit through if there are some good eats and drinks. i normally don’t get too fancy with said eats and drinks. we’re very much a chips & salsa, crackers & hummus, cookies & milk family over here. it’s pretty easy to get in a rut of laying out whatever’s in the pantry, and that’s fine for any old football game.

but the big game warrants a little something extra. a little planning, a little recipe testing, and (dare i say it?) a little solo trip to Target for some treats. oh, solo trips to Target. you are my favorite. i’ve been known to take two hours to just wander around the store, even though all i end up buying is some laundry detergent and snacks for amelia. blissful does not begin to describe it. but i digress. this post is about football game food, not my deep love for shopping by myself.

buffalo chicken dip pizza perfect for a #HomeBowlParty #ad |

for any of you Target lovers, you can save 15% at Target on Coca-Cola brand 6-pack 500ml bottles using the Cartwheel app (until 2/13)! and REESE’S cups footballs are also 15% off at Target using the Cartwheel app (from 1/24-2/13)!

one of the most fun things for me is to find ways to combine foods i love into one great recipe. i love buffalo chicken dip. i love pizza. so of course I’m going to love buffalo chicken dip pizza, right? RIGHT! i’m pretty proud of this pizza you guys. when i had the idea, i had a feeling it would taste good, but then i made it, and had severely underestimated the deliciousness factor. it’s two wonderful football foods that have been married into one even more wonderful football food. be still my heart. when Mister Man tasted it, he couldn’t stop raving about how good it was (and then he had two more slices).

buffalo chicken dip pizza perfect for a #HomeBowlParty #ad |

buffalo chicken dip pizza perfect for a #HomeBowlParty #ad |

buffalo chicken dip pizza perfect for a #HomeBowlParty #ad |

this pizza is basically a deconstructed buffalo chicken dip in pizza form. so while most buffalo chicken dip recipes have you throwing everything together in one pot to heat up and melt together, we change things up a bit to make this. the sour cream, cream cheese, ranch dressing and buffalo sauce are mixed together to act as the sauce for the pizza. the chicken and mozzarella cheese are added as the toppings. i also threw on a cilantro garnish at the end for some color and fresh flavor. i think that the secret ingredient here is in the puff pastry crust though. it’s fluffier than most pizza crusts and really adds a nice twist!

i opted to use better-for-you ingredients in this recipe, because there are usually a lot of snacks hanging around on game days and i figured a more balanced list of ingredients would be a good idea. feel free to mix and match ingredients to make this recipe work for whatever you have on hand though. it’ll still taste great!

buffalo chicken dip pizza perfect for a #HomeBowlParty #ad |

buffalo chicken dip pizza perfect for a #HomeBowlParty #ad |

buffalo chicken dip pizza perfect for a #HomeBowlParty #ad |

buffalo chicken dip pizza perfect for a #HomeBowlParty #ad |

full disclosure, this pizza is DELICIOUS, but it’s also SPICY and SALTY. i highly suggest serving it with something refreshing to cool your mouth off, as well as something sweet to balance out the flavors. Coca-Cola and REESE’S cups footballs are solid choices, and pretty classic from a football food perspective. pizza and Coca-Cola? so classic. REESE’S cups shaped like footballs? so perfectly thematic. take my advice and serve this combo during the big game (whether it’s for a party or just for you, i won’t tell).

buffalo chicken dip pizza perfect for a #HomeBowlParty #ad |

buffalo chicken dip pizza perfect for a #HomeBowlParty #ad |

buffalo chicken dip pizza recipe (serves 8)

prep time: 10 minutes (does not include thawing time for the puff pastry dough)

total time: 35 minutes (includes cook time and cool down time)

  • 1 sheet of puff pastry crust, thawed and rolled out a bit
  • 1/2 C. buffalo sauce
  • 1/4 C. light sour cream
  • 1/4 C. light ranch dressing
  • 6 oz. light cream cheese, cubed
  • 1-2 C. cooked, shredded chicken (can use rotisserie chicken if desired)
  • 1 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • cilantro, for garnish

make sure to thaw your puff pastry crust fully before beginning, whether overnight or for at least 45 minutes. preheat oven to 415 degrees F. in a small saucepan, mix buffalo sauce, light sour cream, light ranch dressing, and light cream cheese. heat over medium heat, stirring often, until all ingredients are fully melted and mixed together into a smooth consistency. while the sauce is heating, lay your puff pastry dough on a baking sheet, and with either your hands or a rolling pin, flatten out slightly. once your sauce is ready, spread it onto your puff pastry dough, reserving a little for dipping. top the sauce and dough with your shredded chicken and mozzarella cheese. bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the ends of the crust are puffy and the cheese is starting to turn golden brown. let the pizza cool, and top with chopped cilantro for garnish. slice into 8 pieces and serve as a snack during the big football game.

buffalo chicken dip pizza perfect for a #HomeBowlParty #ad |

what are your favorite eats and drinks for the big game? are you more of a sweet or savory snack person? i’d love if you shared some ideas!

(don’t forget to take advantage of the Coca-Cola and REESE’S cups footballs Cartwheel deals, both ending 2/13!)

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grandpa’s sauerkraut soup.

i’ve had some awesome feedback on the blog lately about including vegetarian options for my soup recipes. so i’ve decided to start posting a note at the end each recipe to let you know how to make any of these recipes vegetarian-friendly (if possible). that way, even the non-meat eaters can enjoy grandpa’s recipes. keep an eye out for this change going forward!

classic recipe for sauerkraut soup (with options to make it vegetarian friendly!) |

okay people, i know what you’re thinking…sauerkraut soup? no. just….no. why would you think we’d like that erin? sauerkraut in a soup does not sound good. i’m going to skip this post.

just do me a favor and give this one a chance. have i ever led you astray? i would tell you if it was weird, i promise. i mean, i know that i like sauerkraut by itself, and i know that’s a bit goofy, but i had multiple people who were not sauerkraut lovers try this, and they all loved it. it really is more like a cabbage soup, because the sauerkraut doesn’t have a strong taste. I wouldn’t lie to you, so trust me on this one and keep reading.

sauerkraut soup is actually quite popular in the northern european cooking heritage, and when i looked into it (because i was curious if this was a common type of recipe), i found that there’s a huge array of sauerkraut soup recipes out there…who knew! apparently it’s pretty popular, especially in this part of the country, where so many germans, norwegians, swedes and czech settled.







this soup is a classic recipe, using rinsed sauerkraut, lean beef and only a small amount of dried herbs to flavor it. if you look at the recipe, you’ll notice it includes ingredients that would be readily available during the cold winter months in a northern climate; things that could be kept in a cellar, or canned. and because they had to ration their dried herbs all winter, instead of using a larger amount of them to flavor the soup, they use a small amount tied up in a cheesecloth bag, but let it stew in the soup for a very long time to make them go further.

this was the first time i’d ever cooked a soup that called for a Bouquet Garni. if you haven’t heard of that before, you’re not alone, because i hadn’t either! a Bouquet Garni is basically just a fancy way to say “a bag of herbs mixed together”. by putting them together in a cheesecloth bag, it allows the flavors to steep in the soup when cooked for a long time (like a teabag), and also allows you to remove them all when the cooking is done so you don’t have to fish around for a few peppercorns and a bay leaf. bonus: it looks really cute when you make it, and makes you feel like a fancy chef, so i’m a big fan.

how to make a bouquet garni




as usual, my favorite part of making this was getting to read a little note from my grandpa about a memory he had of cooking this soup (i included it below). i’m so happy that i decided to record this little project of mine here, because when i write the recipes down and talk about what the day was like, or what the occasion was for cooking a particular soup, it gives me memories of making each one, just like he had. and i think that’s what’s amazing about cooking any special recipe…it sticks in your heart, and just thinking about a meal can bring up wonderful memories of your life when you cooked it.

so promise me if you’re looking for an interesting recipe to try, one that’s easy to just dump in a pot and leave on the stove all afternoon, you’ll give this one a go. maybe it’ll become a favorite for you like it was for my grandpa!





sauerkraut soup (makes a large batch without doubling)

  • 2 large onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 1/2 lbs. sauerkraut, rinsed in cold water and drained
  • 1/4 C. butter
  • 10 C. beef broth
  • 3 lbs. lean beef, cubed
  • Bouquet Garni of 5 peppercorns, 1 bay leaf, and 1 pinch of thyme, tied in a small cheesecloth bag (see above for photos of how to make a Bouquet Garni)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • boiled tiny potatoes or boiled whole potatoes cut into chunks with skin on (enough for whoever will be eating at that particular meal…should be freshly cooked, as you serve the soup over these)

in a large soup pot, cook onions and celery until vegetables are tender. add sauerkraut and cook over low heat until it’s golden. add the beef broth, lean beef and Bouquet Garni, and cook covered over low heat for at least two hours. at serving time, remove Bouquet Garni and add salt and pepper to taste. serve over freshly boiled tiny potatoes or potato chunks (with skin on).

note from grandpa: the aroma of this soup brings back fond memories of a winter getaway we had as a family. staying in a log cabin, we snow mobiled, ice fished and cross-country skied…and almost froze in the process! we cooked this soup to warm us up after a long day outside in the cold.

vegetarian substitutes:

  • use vegetable broth instead of beef broth
  • omit the beef (can also add a cup of brown lentils to add protein and bulk if you’d like)


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grandpa’s beef and wine soup with dumplings.

seriously, this is the perfect soup during the cold winter months. beef, wine, vegetables and homemade dumplings...but it only takes 40 minutes to make. yes please! |

if i was ever going to compare eating soup to putting on socks warm from the dryer, this soup would be the one i was talking about. beef and wine soup with dumplings is classic, simple home cooking – you can throw this recipe together from prep to table in about 45 minutes. it’s fancy enough that it will make you feel like a real chef, and i know i love dishes like that.

this soup is seriously really easy, but it tastes like you spent a ton of time on it. if you’re hosting a winter dinner party, this soup, plus a winter salad, some crusty bread, cheese and good wine for drinking would simply be heaven.


if anyone is interested, i am just shy of being 1/3 of the way done with cooking all of my grandpa’s soup recipes. there are 35 soups total, and i have cooked 10 of them to date. interestingly enough, i’m the most behind on the vegetable soups…i never realized how many different recipes/ingredients there could be for vegetable soups, so i’m going to have to get on that. i’ll have to spin it to Mister Man some way so that he is okay with the meatless meal thing. men, i tell ya.


beef and wine soup with dumplings should only be made when you’re cold and craving heartiness in your life. i’m even going to go out on a limb and say that this recipe should only ever be made in the winter. i mean, it’s delicious, but it just doesn’t belong anywhere else. it’s like black-eyed peas on new years eve…they just aren’t the same any other time of year. i can just imagine my grandpa making this for his family after a frozen day playing outside in st. cloud, minnesota. they always got a ton of snow (they still do), and this would have warmed his family of ten up in no time.


now, you can absolutely feel free to make this without the dumplings if it feels too scary for you…it’s still good without them. i’d also recommend using whatever cheap red wine you have on hand. as with all my cooking with wine recipes, i highly support the use of three buck chuck from trader joes (charles shaw for all you who aren’t in the know yet). one last tip – remember to cook your beef as you’re prepping. i forgot and had to scramble while everything was already in the pot! that’s what i get for not reading the recipe close enough at first.




beef and wine soup with dumplings (makes a large batch without doubling)

  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 C. onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 3 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 C. celery, chopped
  • 22-24 oz. beef broth
  • 2 C. red wine
  • 2 C. tomato juice
  • 2 C. cooked lean beef, diced
  • salt and pepper to taste

dice the beef and cook in a large pan. when done, set aside. in a large pot, saute onion, garlic, carrots and celery in the butter until soft (5-6 minutes). stir in broth, wine, tomato juice and beef. simmer covered for 15-20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. season to taste with salt and pepper. serve with crusty bread and cheese, and maybe a winter salad if you’re feeling adventurous.

for the dumplings (you can also use bisquick for an even quicker dumpling)

  • 2 Tbsp. butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

in a bowl, mix butter, eggs, flour and salt until smooth. drop mixture by small teaspoonfuls into the soup. cover and simmer for 10 minutes until cooked through.



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cranberry moscow mule recipe.

oh boy. that last post was a doozy, wasn’t it? i hope it resonated with some of you, because it needed to be written. but now, it’s time to get back to our regularly scheduled shenanigans. oh yes, i’m talking about cocktails.

cranberry moscow mule recipe. an easy, festive twist on the classic moscow mule. it's perfect for any holiday parties you might have this season! || everything with love

i’ve been thinking about this recipe for weeks now. ever since i saw this trader joe’s ginger beer, i just knew it was begging to be used in a moscow mule recipe. but not just any old moscow mule recipe, it had to be a moscow mule with a twist. and then i saw a bag of cranberries at the grocery store around thanksgiving and all i could think was CRANBERRY SIMPLE SYRUP. IN A MOSCOW MULE. thus, the inspiration for the cranberry moscow mule was born.

cranberry moscow mule made with trader joe's ginger brew.  perfectly easy holiday cocktail.

this drink is the jolliest cocktail this side of the nuthouse! (name that movie and you will cement your cool status with me forever.) it’s spicy from the trader joe’s ginger beer, it’s tart and fruity from the cranberry simple syrup, and it’s freaking delicious from being a moscow mule. as with all my cocktail recipes, i highly suggest you make this as soon as you possibly can. i myself may or may not have made this during naptime, so you really don’t have much of an excuse to not make it tonight. or at the very least this weekend. most of us probably have holiday parties up the wazoo, and even if you don’t, i’m sure we can all find a reason to make ourselves a festive cranberry moscow mule. right? right!

the traditional moscow mule is usually served in copper mugs, so that’s how i chose to serve this twist, but i think it would be really fun to serve them in some festive christmas mugs, especially if you serve this as your cocktail at a christmas party. throw in an ugly christmas sweater, and then send me an invite, because you clearly know how to do christmas right!

cranberry moscow mule recipe. an easy twist on the classic moscow mule for the holidays!


cranberry moscow mule recipe. it's s festive twist on the traditional moscow mule for the holidays!

the cranberry simple syrup is the most involved part of this recipe; it only takes 10 minutes to make, so it’s really very easy (plus it makes extra, so you can enjoy all the cranberry moscow mules you want). a little boiling, a little lime squeezing and opening a couple bottles is all the labor this drink requires.


cranberry simple syrup recipe, perfect for all sorts of holiday cocktails this season!

cranberry simple syrup recipe

cranberry simple syrup recipe

here is the recipe for your enjoyment:

cranberry moscow mule recipe (makes 1, easily multiplied)

  • 1 oz. cranberry simple syrup (recipe below)
  • 2 lime wedges
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • ginger beer (to taste)
  • handful of cranberries for garnish
  • ice

in a copper mug filled with ice, add cranberry simple syrup, vodka, and juice from the two lime wedges. throw the lime wedges in the mug as well. top with ginger beer to taste (depending how strong you like your cocktails) and add a few cranberries as a garnish, either free-floating or on a toothpick skewer. add a festive straw and enjoy! be careful…these pack a punch but don’t taste very strong.

cranberry simple syrup recipe (makes 1 cup, can be kept in fridge for 1-2 weeks)

  • 2 C. fresh or frozen cranberries (i used fresh)
  • 1 C. sugar
  • 1 C. water

in a medium saucepan, bring cranberries, sugar, and water to a simmer over medium-high heat. reduce heat to medium-low and cook until cranberries are tender but haven’t quite split open, about 10 minutes. mine did split, but i didn’t notice any difference in the consistency of the syrup once it was strained. let cool, then strain. discard cranberries. the syrup will be a pretty red color. bonus: syrup can be kept in fridge for 1-2 weeks, and can be used in other cocktails (like a dressed up vodka soda).

cranberry moscow mule recipe. an easy twist on the classic moscow mule, perfect for a festive holiday drink!

if you need ideas for other holiday cocktails, check out these posts too:

apple cider sangria || spiked hot cocoa

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grandpa’s cream of cauliflower soup.

quick and easy recipe for cream of cauliflower soup. use ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen! ||

i’m almost ashamed to post this recipe today, for a couple reasons. one is that i realized that i have no photo of the finished product. this was a real life meal (i mean, they all are, but i hadn’t planned this one out to include time for photos, etc.) and so i apparently focused on getting it on the table and into our bellies instead of taking a picture. the second reason is that it’s so easy that it seems silly to devote an entire recipe post to it.

but you know what? it’s really good. and also, what person doesn’t need a quick recipe to throw together on those nights when you forgot to grocery shop but still want a warm meal? i think all of us could use a recipe like that in our back pocket.

i honestly hadn’t even given this soup a second thought when i first flipped through the pages of grandpa’s cookbook, because “cauliflower soup”? yea, no thanks. but then i was meal planning on a particularly busy sunday night, and everything just seemed to be too much work. i needed a recipe that had less than ten ingredients, and that i didn’t have to spend my whole day grocery shopping for. enter this recipe for cream of cauliflower soup. it seemed to be meant for me at just that moment.

if you’ve ever wondered about different ways to cook cauliflower were other than steaming or roasting, or if you just wanted to know how to incorporate cauliflower into more dishes, this is a great place to start. it’s amazing how delicious cauliflower can be when you mix it with a little onion and celery sautéed in butter…







cream of cauliflower soup (makes about 4-6 servings of soup, double if you want to freeze any)

  • 4 C. milk
  • 2 Tbsp. margarine or butter
  • 3/4 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/2 C. onion, chopped
  • 1/2 C. celery, chopped (my addition)
  • 1 (10-oz.) package frozen cauliflower
  • 1 Tbsp. parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

cook cauliflower according to directions on package. cut into smaller florets. heat the milk. melt margarine or butter in a large pot and sauté onions over low-medium heat until golden. add flour, salt and pepper. whisk until smooth. add warm milk to the mixture and stir until smooth. add cauliflower and heat through to desired serving temperature. sprinkle with parsley and serve. this is a great, light soup that is easy to throw together, and you’re likely to have all the ingredients you need already in your fridge and pantry. serve with meat and cheese paninis for a heartier meal.

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