A taco board for Taco Tuesday.

It’s Taco Tuesday baby, which calls for a taco board so the whole family could pig out to an epic taco night in! We’re all stuck in the house, so why not make our meals as fun, and creative as we possibly can? Instead of having tacos already made with everything the same on each one.. this gives everyone the opportunity to make the perfect taco.. or heck, even nachos! You don’t even have to put out the exact toppings, and fixings that I did, but these are my go to taco making necessities! This is the perfect game night, or party platter as well! After everything is said and done that is going on in the world right now, you can keep this idea in the back on your mind to impress guests at your summer parties by the pool! A taco board is an amazing date night creation as well. You could of course substitute not only the toppings on the board, but especially the meat. Chicken, shrimp, or marinated strip steak, cut thinly would be super unique!! No matter how many people you’re entertaining, or how inventive you want to get, this board is the most versatile!

  • We’ll start with the meat making process:

Fry your 80/20 ground beef over medium high heat. No need to add oil to the pan before cooking! The fat from the meat coming out will do all the work for you.

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Fry for ten minutes or so until the meat is thoroughly cooked through, and golden brown to color.

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You can surely make your own taco seasoning, or lightly season the meat if you’re not a fan of how insanely flavorful taco meat usually is, but honestly, thats my favorite part about tacos! I used two and a half pounds of meat, and one and a half packs of seasoning. In that case.. to get what I think is the perfect flavor profile.. add one packet of taco seasoning mix to every pound of meat that you use, whether it’s ground beef, or something else that you choose in place of it.

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After adding the seasoning packets, do not throw them away! Fill the packets up with water, and pour em in! Cook for another five minutes to let all the flavors soar together.

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  • NOW: For the fun part Diamonds.. THE TOPPINGS. Yum! 

In my book, a taco is not a taco without cheese. You need it. Cheese to me, is part of life! Even if you are vegan and making these tacos with “beyond” meat, or “impossible” meat, I would still add vegan cheese onto your board of options!

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Next to the cheese, I decided to add slices of fresh radish. Usually you’ll only see these at gourmet restaurants on top of fish tacos, but guess what, Diamonds? I live a gourmet type of life.. so I think radish is absolutely necessary to brighten up the rich meat, and cheese you’re going to pile on top of your taco. You could also see the other original fixings like the scallions, which I can’t live without.. even on nachos! I NEED them. It gives it such a zip that nothing else can rally compare. Also, a big dollop of good sour cream is so needed for anything like this. Don’t skimp and get yourself the light, or non-fat sour cream.. you’ll be disappointed in yourself, trust me!

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Spice up your life with a dash of hot sauce, and chopped up pickled jalapeños! I love jalapeños sooo much. I put them on salads, in sauces, casseroles, and on Italian hoagies. Definitely wouldn’t to live my culinary life without them in my fridge!

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You always need that crunch, and color to your taco! Thinly shred iceburg lettuce, and small dice a red ripened tomato. It’s classic for taco night!

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We decided to have a little more fun than usual to keep things exciting, and not use tortillas, or taco shells. I actually don’t prefer a taco shell to begin with.. I much prefer tortilla chips in view of the fact that a when you bite into a hard shell it falls apart on you, nine times out of ten, anyway! For a little softness, since I wasn’t using original tortilla wraps, I found these “boats” that I thought were perfect! I’ll tell you what.. they held everything together so extremely well; nothing fell out like it normally does from a classic folded up taco!

This is a gorgeous sight, wouldn’t you say? The colors and textures are awesome. Everyone in your house will love it so much. I promise you, Diamonds.

You can surely add the meat onto the board, and have it in the center to be the focal point, but I decided against that because I wanted to keep the cold food with the cold, and the hot on the side. Also, let’s be real here… I went a little overboard with my toppings, LOL. I’m an overboard kind of gal though, so not much more to say about that!

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Again, the toppings are of personal choice, so your board doesn’t have to be the same as mine! Use what you have on hand right now, and in your pantry. Things you wouldn’t even think of opening. Cans of corn, and black beans would be exceptional! Also, don’t forget about the avocado that’s about to be too ripe in your fruit bowl on the island! Whatever you have, and whatever your preference is just right!

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Happy TACO TUESDAY, Diamonds, and I’ll be back tomorrow with new!

 xoxo

Butter Snap Pretzel Grilled Cheese Sandwiches.

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A grilled cheese sandwich is iconic. It is timeless. It is nostalgic. It is a mouthful of ooey-gooey cheesy deliciousness, sandwiched in-between two toasty, buttery slices of bread.  In actuality though, it doesn’t always have to be made with bread..at all. You can literally make a grilled cheese sandwich with anything if you get your creative juices flowing! Let them run wild.. and the world will be introduced into a whole new world of food. As we already know it, everyday the world of food is changing. Everyone is trying to come out with the most amazing tasting new concoction. That’s honestly what I hope to you show all of you, diamonds.. crazy fun things that you’ve never had, or seen before, shown easily enough that you have the confidence to try it out for yourself!

These are the perfect appetizers for any party you’re hosting, even if it’s for the kiddos! They’ll be just as in love with them as you.

Preset your oven to 350 degrees. While that’s heating up, place your pretzels on a baking sheet.. I just lined mine up in rows with how ever many I was going to make. Then I used thick shredded farmhouse style cheddar cheese because I wanted the cheese to sit nice and high on the pretzels once they are baked.

  • I don’t recommended using anything really thin like Mexican cheese, or cheese you use for tacos. Nothing like that. It needs to be of a thicker cut!

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All ready to go into the oven for four minutes! Honestly, you don’t have to put them in that long, the cheese will be melted before that, BUT one of my favorite parts of a grilled cheese sandwich is when the cheese oozes off the side of the bread, onto the pan, and gets crispy and crunchy on the ends. Thats exactly what I was going for with these cheesy pretzels. To achieve that crispy texture when biting into these babies while still keeping a pillowy cheesy center, we’ll need to add a second layer of cheese.

After adding a second layer of cheese once the first layer comes out of the oven, pop them back into the oven on 320 degrees for just 3 minutes!

  • This is what these little melty hunnies will look like!

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Right before putting the top butter snap on your grilled cheese’s, just like you would flip the sandwich over to finish the cooking process.. add a dot of honey mustard into the mix. It will give it that elegant flavor it’s looking for.

After platting them up, sprinkle the platter with dried thyme, and scatter mini dollops of honey mustard all around, so that your guests will know that honey mustard is inside of the sandwiches!

 

I think these are absolutely phenomenal for any occasion, any season, for any time of the day! It’s perfect for a brunch party, and just as amazing or a dinner bash. Either way you’ll be impressing your guests with presentation, and don’t forget to make double because they will disappear before you even get the chance to pop more into the oven! When I looked at the end product of these I realized too that they would be awesome to put out for an add on to your Easter menu since the pretzel reminds me of a tiny woven Easter basket! SUPER CUTE!

Enjoy your grilled cheeses, diamonds, I’ll be back very very soon. xoxo

Fluffernutter chocolate chip cookie sandwiches.

 

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YES diamonds, you read that right! Two of your childhood dreams mashing together as one glorious sticky, chocolatey concoction. I discovered this years ago, and always kept it in the back on my mind for this very special moment. One day I was eating a chocolate chip cookie, and I got to thinking.. “hmm I want to create a fun sandwich with this that everyone would be into”. I walked into the pantry with the idea in mind.. saw the peanut butter & marshmallow fluff, and a light bulb went off! If you love the combination on buttery, salty, flaky crackers, than you are going to absolutely fall in love with this.  It’s super easy, and fun for kids to even give a try themselves! They’ll love it to pick on at slumber parties, or just for a cute little snack inside their lunch box at the end of their meal as a delicious treat. An awesome idea would even be to make these for a house party for any sort of event, and half dip them in any flavor of chocolate! Oh my goodness, YUM!

  • I want to take a moment to shout out my sister-in-law for the amazing board that these crumbly yummy sandwiches are sitting on! She surprised me with it on Christmas morning, and it is truly one of the most special gifts I have ever received, so thank you so much again Sara! xoxo

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Of course it’s self explanatory.. but deciding on how many sandwiches you are going to need or want, you’ll spread peanut butter on half, and marshmallow fluff on the remaining half.

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Especially if you’re having a party of some sort, or just preparing food for even a few guests, impressing them is at the top of your list, always! Decorating the board that you set the sandwiches on will be super appealing to the eye, making everyone want to devour them even quicker. I suggest using mini marshmallows. Decorating with someone around whatever the food may be, shows the people what’s actually in the food without having to ask! That helps you out as well being that you will probably be running around replenishing drinks, and entertaining your guests.

I also think it looks super cute if you spread little globs on peanut butter all around on the board. It really just gives your decorating skills that extra push to make people think that you’re really into throwing parties, and preparing for events!

  • Be that entertainer you’ve always dreamed of 😉

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These little babies are so stinkin’ cute, and I honestly don’t think there’s anyone who wouldn’t love these!

  • If you are allergic to peanut butter, or don’t enjoy eating it for some reason or another – substitute for Nutella! That would look and taste just as incredible as this! 

Bri loves Brie ;)

Everyone that has known me for a very long time, or is really close to me in my life knows I love cheese. I mean I LOVE cheese. Brie is extremely special to me considering I thought it was so adorable that we had the exact same name, besides one little letter of a difference. 😉 In all seriousness though, it is by far my most favorite cheese on the planet. You can literally create any dish with it, and it will make it that much more perfect. I wanted to show you diamonds, how to adorn a beautiful brie board. Also.. knowing me I couldn’t pick just one way that I enjoy indulging with brie cheese, so I created this platter in a way that shows the brie both baked, and unbaked, along with all the amazingness that should be paired between the two differencing ways!

To start off any board/platter I always start with something big and colorful. A lot of the times that means fruit, and in this case; grapes! I actually love putting grapes on many of my boards, as you can probably tell from my recent posts. Secondly, after placing focal points, you want to “fill in your corners”. I believe starting off any huge platter to please the eye, needs the corners filled in with texture, and something fun to get the flow of the tray going.

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Once the flow has begun, I placed a plate down for the baked brie to be presented on, and I cut & arranged the unbaked Brie on the other side of the board. Starring at each other, but never touching..

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For the baked brie, all you need is a drizzle of honey, and to place it on a baking dish to get put in the oven at 350 degrees for almost 10 minutes. You can leave it in anywhere from 5-10, but I wanted this baked brie in particular to get a little more ooey-gooey as I like to call it 😉 so that it would spread immensely on whatever you fancy to smother it upon!

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Caramelizing a handful of macadamia nuts in a pan with a teaspoon of butter, and a tablespoon of honey to pour onto of the baked brie is essential to this board!

  • 3-5 minutes until the nuts are golden brown on medium heat

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The creaminess and meatiness of this delicious mild cheese goes absolutely outstanding with sliced apples, and crunched up cranberry filled dark chocolate bars.

To go along with both levels of the cheese.. I put together an onion, mushroom
“jam”. I sliced a whole container of mushrooms, along with one onion, thyme, honey, salt, and pepper. The longer you cook this mixture, the more “jam like” it will become. I started sautéing the vegetables in the pan on medium high heat to get as much  caramelization as possible, then after about ten minutes, I turn the heart down to medium-low for about another half hour. 

I decided to place the mushroom/onion jam in-between the two different types of brie to show the intention of being able to go along with either side.. with any adornments!

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Since I was topping the baked brie with honey glazed macadamia nuts, I couldn’t help but think that I didn’t have a choice but to top the unbaked brie! I did not want to leave her undressed.. that wouldn’t be fair. LOL I decorated around the baked brie with dried blueberries.. which by the way, if you’ve never had them, you MUST. They are so super yummy, and kind of honestly tastes like candy. Anyway, since I wanted to stay within the theme, I played blueberry preserves all over the unbaked brie. It couldn’t have paired better with the prosciutto that I put down later when the tray is more completed.

There’s some instances where I don’t actually love how the tray is looking until I’m almost finished arranging, and rearranging the food on the board, but I really fell in love with this platter instantly! It’s actually kind of ironic too thinking about the fact the I just have genuine love for everything on this board. Also, these are the fixings just about a little more than half way completed. If you are making this for entertaining, I highly recommend investing in cheese knives… as you can see it looks so professional, really put together, and it is just down right convenient for serving!

Decorating all different kinds of boards no matter what it may be, can might as well be considered a hobby of mine! I love decorating so much, even my house, so I intended on making this “Bri Loves Brie” board be as beautiful as it could have been because I wanted it to represent me and everything I love. 

  • Butter cookies laced with a dark chocolate layer on the side of it, butter crisp crackers, rosemary Triscuits, and prosciutto finished this board off in such a classic, yet glamorous way; while all having the flavors compliment each other when combined.

Again.. mentioning the “cheese knives”.. I think they look so appealing to the eye, and it looks like such effort was being put into the platter making process.

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Loaded with brie, and love.. this board is all of me and more. It represents what I love,  what I love to do, and what I love to indulge in. You can of course adjust the things that this tray is filled with, or keep is exactly the same; it’s all on your preference, and my opinion. This is a great idea for a wine night, an accompaniment on your island to have your guests nibble on at your next house party, or something like this is even ideal for a house warming party to bring everyone together to show them something special in your life. No matter what you make this for, anyone.. including yourself will be 100% happy as Brie with it 😉

 Get your Brie on diamonds!      xoxo

The Snowed-In board.

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Every single time it snows.. even if I’m not home in that very moment, I immediately want to snuggle up in my pajamas, make a hot cup of cocoa, and munch on a smorgasbord of snacks! I love taking days like that where you just take some time to relax, indulge, and forget about things, for just a few hours. I think that doing things like that, that you love; what makes you happy is just as important as making a living for yourself. You Can’t work, and never be treated for it, am I right? Almost as if you’d be working for nothing, and not even in the sense of money. Since during a snowstorm you’re usually staying in anyway.. you might as well make the most of your cozy time! The best way to do that, especially if you’re having a lounge fest with the rest of your family, or maybe some of your girlfriends battled their way through the snow to come over to indulge in the snowy festivities with you… is to make some sort of a huge platter board!

When you’re lounging all snuggled up on the couch.. you are some what rolled up in a ball.. SO I got a little creative and wanted to mimic that with the food we were eating in the special instance. I chose to make three different flavored wraps, and cut them into two inch pin wheels. This effect also makes for great presentation.

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  • Top middle– A spread of ranch and drizzled hot sauce. (choose high quality ranch and your favorite hot sauce!) Believe me.. the ingredients you use DOES make a difference. Do not cheap out on yourself !!
  • Bottom left- Drizzled spicy brown mustard.
  • Bottom right– A spread of good mayonnaise, then drizzled with yellow mustard.

 

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  • Top middle- After the hot sauce I added buffalo chicken from the deli, and topped it with tangy blue cheese crumbles before rolling.
  • Bottom Left–  On top of the drizzled mustard I added Cooper sharp cheese with slices of sweet Lebanon.
  • Bottom right– On top of the mustard I added white American with slices of bologna.

All of them before the roll ups begin.

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Look how cute they look all rolled up!

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The arrangement before the fries arrived! I l enjoy placing the rolls sectioned off within their own flavors, across from each other. After piling the pinwheels onto the board, I decorated the platter with snacks that go extremely awesome with sandwich like goodies, and that of course has to be chips and pretzels. I chose plain sourdough pretzels, along with regular kettle cooked potato chips for that extra crunchy goodness.

Whenever I create something like this I always love adding vinegary elements to be board along with fresh ones, so that calls for pickles, olives, and fruit!

  • Bread and butter pickles
  • Plain green cocktail olives
  • Fresh strawberries
  • Red Grapes

Can we just take a moment to appreciate how gorgeous those little root vegetable fries are?! I’m really digging how they give the board just a pop more of color, aside from the strawberries decorating the edges.

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Talk about gorgeous, and also such a great game day platter that anyone could end up throwing together in no time at all! If you sit back and think about it… usually you have most of these ingredients lying around anyway unless you’re one to not keep lunch meat in your fridge, but ever since I was a little girl that is something you can always always find in my house.

I’m sure after all of this iv’e made you hungry for some great deli eats! Throw on your comfy clothes, grab a platter, and get rolling! You won’t regret it.. you may just even find that it’s snowing when you take a glimpse outside as you make your way into the living room to indulge in a snowed-in board, and HEY, if it’s not snowing.. pretend!! 😉 

Brie-eeze into Thanksgiving Appetizers!

Apple Pie baked brie will be a show stopper at your Thanksgiving feast this year! The holiday is now in less than a week, and I know for sure there are people out there panicking.. asking all of the usual hosting questions during this time of year.. What’s on my grocery list? What appetizers should I make that people will actual want to enjoy before the epic turkey spread?! I have your answer right here diamonds! Everyone and their mother loves loves loves apple pie (especially on Thanksgiving) and let’s be real.. who doesn’t love a good cheese? Honestly, this starter board is so satisfying that it will be just enough to serve all of your guests, and to get their taste buds soaring, making them extra ready for that perfect sit down meal we look forward to all year long!

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Start with two apples to create the apple pie filling to put onto of our brie! You’ll need a peeler because we will not be keeping the skin on in our mixture.

  • You will also need a block of brie cheese, pastry sheets, salted butter, and cinnamon butter biscuits.

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Chop the two apples up into medium dice pieces, and have your butter on guard! lol

Melt two tablespoons of salted butter in a sauté pan. Let it fully melt before adding in the apple pie ingredients.

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Pile the chopped apples, cinnamon, and a handful of brown sugar on top of the melted butter.

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After about five minutes of sautéing on medium low heat, this is what the glazed apple pie filling will look like!

  • Take this filling out of the pan and put it into a clean bowl to cool down in the fridge, while we prepare our pastry dough.

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Grease a pie pan with butter spray.

 

Prepare an egg wash to glaze over the top of you brie wrapped in puff pastry dough.  All an “egg wash” is, is one egg whisked with either a splash of water, or splash of milk depending on what you would like to use. Adding liquid to the egg just makes it easier to brush on.


Uncover your brie cheese from the wrapping, and place it onto a full sheet of puff pastry over our greased pie pan.

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Pile the pie filling on our brie cheese.. make sure it is cool; getting prepared to wrap it up like a little Christmas present! Hehe

Ugh! Thanksgiving in plain sight ! WOW

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In order to wrap this baby up you’ll need to just take each corner to the center! So, when I finished wrapping the brie, all I did was take this last corner up to the middle of the little pie, and finished with the brushing of the egg wash.

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For some sugary goodness, and wonderful presentation, I sprinkled on coarse gold sugar. It makes the outside glisten when it’s finished.

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Now.. time for a trip into the oven at 400 degrees for a half hour.

  • We want to dough to be fully cooked!!

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You can create these cinnamon twists I am about to show you while the brie is baking, or you can do it before it goes in the oven to bake at the same time as the brie.. which is exactly what I did! Simply, for the reasoning of everything being hot, and ready to serve at the same time!

So since two pastry sheets come in a box and I had a full one left over, instead of just sticking it into the freezer leaving it for another time, I decided to use it to make a cookie twist! All you do is lay out the sheet of dough on a cutting board, and use a pizza cutter to cut one inch strips so we could create our twisted twists!

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All twisted up like a pretzel, before brushing with our egg wash, so we could make them yummy and seasoned with sugar.

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Make sure to really coat the entire twist with the egg wash, and cinnamon sugar.

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Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. I advise checking on them throughout the cooking process.. you want them to be soft, and flaky. If overcooking occurs, they will begin to get dry and hard.

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So puffy and so yummy looking! I bet you wish you can just grab one through the screen! HAHA .. Keep in mind too.. these are so simple to make, and they will absolutely impress your guests, making a total statement!

OH. MY. GOODNESS. Have you ever seen anything more deliciously golden brown?

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On a holiday, I always think that your appetizers should line your counters; and your dinning room table should be filled with the whole meal. So in that case, I set up this beautiful board with sliced honey crisp apples, and cinnamon butter biscuit cookies. The two will pair absolutely gorgeously with the flavors of the apple pie mixed into the melty brie.

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I decorated this pumpkin plate with the cinnamon twists. I think it looks really tasteful when something “unusual” is on a small sandwich plate. It makes your counter scape look like it has a lot of interest, and layers going on.

                                                           Closed.. to opened! 

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I have no words actually for how warm, and inviting this set up is going to look at your holiday gathering this year!

Let’s be so incredibly thankful for that ooeey gooey-ness!! Also, for family of course. (;

Happy Thanksgiving Diamonds! I hope you indulge in food and family fun.. and maybe just maybe follow at the bottom right hand corner if you love this post! 

   xoxo