Puppy Chow:

Not to be confused with this:

I look forward to Puppy Chow all year round; it really is one of my favorite parts of the holidays!

I remember making this with my parents and/or my brother a lot. It was even packaged in cute little bags and handed out to my elementary school teachers a a few times. It apparently didn’t hold such significance in Joseph’s childhood, as he still seems disgusted every time I call it “Puppy Chow.”

This is all you need! Super easy.

Puppy Chow
½ cup peanut butter
¼ cup butter
1 cup chocolate chips
½ teaspoon vanilla
9 cups Chex cereal
1 ½ cups powdered sugar

Combine peanut butter, butter and chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for one minute then stir to blend all ingredients thoroughly. Add vanilla. Stir well.

Place the cereal in a large bowl. Pour the peanut butter-chocolate mixture over the cereal and toss evenly, making sure all the cereal gets a good covering.

Coat with powdered sugar, sprinkling evenly over the cereal and tossing as you sprinkle to cover each piece well.

Alternatively, place cereal mixture in a gallon-size ziplock bag. Pour in powdered sugar, zip bag, and shake until covered. Done!

I know my fellow Americans are probably tired just at the thought of turkey this weekend, but I can’t not share my photos!

My parents and sister Victoria drove up to Fort Worth to stay with us and celebrate Thanksgiving. My parents are incredible cooks, and I’m so happy I got to take advantage of that. And this was the first time they had seen our new house.

We made five pies in total–one for each person! Two buttermilk, two pecan, and a pumpkin cream.

Buttermilk pie is so good (and thankfully tastes nothing like buttermilk).

My dad is famous for his pecan pie! I don’t really like nuts, especially pecans, but his pie tastes like candy.

Pretty Victoria enjoying pie for breakfast.

Joseph’s beautiful turkey!

Leonardo was in the kitchen as soon as we started carving the turkey.

Later, he snuck onto the counter and had quite a feast while we weren’t looking!

All our food: cheesy green beans, yams with marshmallows, pea salad, deviled eggs, green bean casserole, turkey, dressing, and gravy. All made from scratch! There’s not much better than my family’s dressing and gravy.

He was dressed up for company but can’t manage to keep a bow tie (or collar) on for more than a few hours. I think he grows thumbs when I turn around because I always find them on the ground.

I made a video of our holiday! The song is Fleet Foxes’s White Winter Hymnal. At about 1:30 you’ll see our pup Cory having quite a time with turkey drippings; they were still hot, but he just wanted them so badly he tried to ignore the heat.

Click here to watch my Thanksgiving 2010 video!

I forgot to finish up on my post about going to visit my family a few weeks ago. I already shared the photos of my sister directing her high school band, but that was only the first few hours of my visit!

My parents neighbor brought over this apple cake on Saturday, and we served it on this beautiful china I found in the cabinet.

That night my brother Brent and his wife Melissa came over and taught us how to make California rolls. It was surprisingly easy and much cheaper than going out to a restaurant. Just make sure to buy sushi-grade salmon!

The most difficult part is pressing the sticky rice so that it’s thin enough to roll up nicely but doesn’t tear the seaweed.

Click through the link to keep reading (I need a blog re-design so that the link is more visible!)

Anyone in the Dallas/Fort Worth area is all too familiar with the cold that flew in this week. (A cold that also let me know I apparently have allergies–I sneeze every time I go outside)

I need soup. Lots and lots of soup.

This is the absolute best corn chowder ever. It’s pretty standard, except with a kick of spice and some cornmeal. The flavor is really incredible.

The night I made this soup for dinner, Joseph ate five bowls. And then three chocolate chip cookies.  Then he claimed he must have a hole in his stomach.

Corn Chowder with Chilies from The Pioneer Woman

2 slices Bacon, Cut Into 1/2-inch Pieces (or Smaller)
2 Tablespoons Butter
1½ whole Yellow Onion, Diced
5 ears Corn, Shucked (about 4 Cups–I used frozen)
2 whole Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce, Finely Diced
1 whole 4-ounce Can Diced Green Chilies
32 oz, fluid Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1½ cup Heavy Whipping Cream
½ teaspoons Kosher Salt (more To Taste)
3 Tablespoons Corn Meal or Masa
¼ cups Water

Slice the corn kernels off the cob. Set aside.

Add bacon pieces to a pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Cook for a couple of minutes. Throw in diced onion and stir, cooking the onion for 3 to 4 minutes. Add butter and melt. Add corn. Stir and cook for one minute. Add both kinds of chilies and stir. Pour in chicken broth and cream. Add salt. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low.

Combine cornmeal (or masa) with water. Stir to combine, then pour into the chowder. Cover and cook for 15 minutes over low heat. If chowder needs more thickening, add another tablespoon of cornmeal mixed with water. Cook for another ten minutes.

I ate mine with this delicious garlic bread that’s from – surprise – Walmart! My parents introduced me to it. It’s filled with whole roasted cloves of garlic! I slice it and stick it in the toaster oven for a few minutes. So tasty.

I only had a chance to make these once last fall, and since then couldn’t stop thinking of them. I looked forward to autumn purely for the associates with these cookies. So once I saw canned pumpkin in the grocery store, I knew exactly where it was going.

I normally don’t like cakey cookies, but these are, and they are magic. They’re wonderful straight out of the oven, wonderful the next day for breakfast, and wonderful when refrigerated and served with your morning coffee. I really am not normally crazy about cookies, but something about these is incredible.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies from

1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional–I skipped this)

Combine pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, and egg. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt. Dissolve the baking soda with the milk and stir in. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix well. Add vanilla, chocolate chips and nuts.

Drop by spoonful on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for approximately 10 minutes or until lightly brown and firm.