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Sourdough, Sausage, and Chestnut Stuffing

Did Thanksgiving sneak up on anyone else this year? Or was it just me? And was anyone else feeling this exact same way last year? I mean, yesterday was Halloween and the day before that was Labor Day, so I don’t know what’s happening to the yearly calendar as I get older, but apparently time starts to move into warp speed at age 30. It’s like time is just slowly getting moving for the first 20 years of life, hits its stride at 25, and then blasts into overdrive – well – right about now… I feel like I’m clinging onto…

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Spatchcocked Turkey with Anise and Orange

So Jeff and I spatchcocked a turkey yesterday… and yes, we giggled every time we said the word. A spatchcock is a turkey, chicken, or other poultry that has been flattened for grilling or roasting. Yes, flattened. There is no better descriptor, folks, than flattened. You remove the backbone of the bird, then stick your hand on the breastbone, and press down – hard – until it flattens like a little furry bear rug. Then you roast it. I found an article and recipe on this method in Bon Appetit, and just couldn’t resist giving it a try for Thanksgiving this year….

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Baked Stuffed French Toast

Jeff and I are enjoying a lazy weekend with Jeff’s sweet cousin Sarah from Minneapolis who flew out to San Diego to celebrate her 30th birthday in America’s Finest City (we love this girl!). Lazy weekends are hard to come by for Jeff and me during this time of year when weddings are busy busy busy and the holidays are just around the corner, so what do we do during these rare days off in the gorgeous fall season? We eat. And eat. And eat some more… Breakfast is a staple when people we love (like Sarah) come into town and this recipe…

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Almond Butter Sandwich Cookies

Oh. My. Dear. Heavenly. Goodness. I’m not a cookie person really, but I’m definitely an Almond Butter Sandwich Cookie convert. These cookies are nothing short of HEAVEN. And every time I’ve made them for friends, the health-nuts at the party that always skimp on dessert gobble them up like they’re made of carrots instead of sugar. A win for the dessert lovers? Oh yes. Made with almonds, brown sugar, whole wheat flour, and almond butter, they have a delicious texture without losing any of the creamy, buttery flavor that cookie lovers crave. Plus, they’re finished off with a honey-vanilla cream cheese filling…

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Tea-Marinated Salmon

Jeff and I are not what you’d call ‘fish’ people. We love our seafood, and will eat it when presented with the opportunity, but we don’t cook fish or seafood on a regular basis. In fact, this was one of my first attempts at grilling salmon, so I felt a bit like a fish out of water… Sorry about that… I couldn’t resist. This grilled salmon recipe caught my eye because the flavors seemed like a unique combination that we would definitely enjoy. For one, Jeff and I love the flavor profiles of chipotles in adobo sauce, so any recipe…

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Broiled Spicy Pork and Pineapple

I simply can’t believe that summer is coming to a close already. My teacher friends are back in school and Labor Day is coming up in just a short week. How did this happen so quickly? I feel like I just got in the groove of shorts, sunscreen, hats, and pools and now the summer daze is over. But I have to remember that I live in San Diego, and while the summer months might be behind us, the warm sun is still going strong and the weather is about to be perfect for early fall backyard dinners. I found…

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Grilled Meat Loaf Burgers

When it comes to making my own burger patties, I’m always the keep-it-simple type. We don’t put a lot of extra stuff in our homemade patties – we keep it to really high quality beef and that’s pretty much it. Jeff and I joke around that “this is a burger patty – it’s not meat loaf!” Well today, it’s actually meat loaf… I thought this take on meat loaf and burgers looked interesting, so we gave it a whirl and found that it was not only easy, but it was tasty, and that’s a winner here at Casa de Youngren. Jeff and…

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Honeycomb Cake with Lemon Zest and Sage

I gave up baking pies for holiday gatherings at the in-laws.  Growing up, I could whip out delicious pies with my eyes closed, and I was in charge of them for Thanksgiving and Christmas. In the first few years of our marriage, however, I suddenly couldn’t bake a pie worth a bit of salt. Nothing ever came out right once I moved to San Diego – in fact, nothing ever came out even edible. After a few disastrous apple pie fiascos at Christmas dinners with Jeff’s family, I threw in the towel on dessert altogether and decided that San Diego had…

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Rhubarb Flatbread with Chives and Honey

I know. The title of this recipe doesn’t exactly sound appetizing once you really think about it. Rhubarb? On flatbread? Eh? I found this recipe in my recent issue of Better Homes and Gardens because rhubarb is in season right now. But their thinking is that there has to be more than just sweet dishes for this ingredient, so they did a feature on savory rhubarb recipes. This one, in particular, caught my eye. We didn’t exactly love it. The recipe says to stick whole stalks of rhubarb on the flatbread and the stalks were just too thick and tart to…

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One Pan Orecchiette w/ Chickpeas & Olives

While my attempts at gardening grow outside (tomatoes, herbs, arugula, green beans, and carrots), I’ve been looking for easy sumer dishes that will work equally well when the San Diego fog rolls in as when the sun is shining bright and hot outside. Or when my garden decides to grow or not… I stumbled across this beauty of a dish while browsing my beloved Martha Stewart Living magazine and tore it out immediately for safekeeping. How can something so pretty be so easy? Not only would I have so much fun making this dish and keep it as a staple in my…

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Gratin Tomato Pasta

My lovely friend and Recipe Sunday assistant, Jenny, comes to my house once every six months to spend two days – an entire weekend – making and photographing ten recipes for the next batch of Recipe Sunday posts here on the blog. It’s two days of cooking, shooting, and washing dishes. LOTS of dishes. And since I’m the one shooting, Jenny and Jeff are the ones in the kitchen, keeping the place from teetering off the cliff into total chaos, which is what it was when I was doing this whole thing solo. I ask Jenny every time we do this if it’s…

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Tres Leches Bread Pudding

Awwwww yes… Easter. The day of chocolate shaped bunnies, deviled eggs, the official launch of the little summer dress, the only day I’ll ever wear white gloves, and the end of lent. Oh the end of lent. Ok, so I’ve rarely observed lent, but I’m slowly hearing the excited groans of those around me that are longing for their neglected shots of espresso, french fries, chocolate bars, and donuts – they’re getting louder and more insistent as the end of lent draws near. So I realize this post will not help those dessert hunger pangs over the next week, but…

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Herbed Potato Gratin with Roasted Garlic and Manchego

I grew up in a town surrounded by potato fields, and my dad was a brilliant engineer that did research and development on irrigation systems so our lives were planted in the middle of farm country. Between our farmer neighbors, my dad’s test fields, and the local farmer’s markets, we had a perpetually bottomless sack of potatoes sitting in our garage all winter long. And since these were local potatoes – not the pretty ones that show up in grocery stores – these babies were HUGE. We’re talking football sized russets with giant knobs jutting out the sides, so we…

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Bacon Wrapped Dates with Goat Cheese

When my Recipe Sunday assistant and kitchen-wonder-woman, Jenny, served these simply mouthwatering goat cheese stuffed dates wrapped in bacon at her house one afternoon, I knew I had found my foodie soulmate. These sinfully delicious bites of creamy goodness mix together so much of what I love – crispy salty bacon, tart fruit, crunchy almonds, and loooooooaaaaads of goat cheese. OH.DEAR.HEAVEN. I’ve never been one to go crazy about St. Paddy’s Day, but any excuse to throw a party is fine by me, and these appetizers will cause any party guest to melt at your feet in honor of the…

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Nutmeg Shortbread

Why do you cook? To remind you of home? To experiment with a new ingredient? To release your creativity? To relax? I’ve been posting Recipe Sundays for a few years now as a casual thing I do for our bloggy-blog, and even though I’ve always known that I am probably the last person on earth to be talking about cooking (I don’t have a minute of formal training or an ounce of technical skill), I’ve always enjoyed it. When Jeff and I got married, I couldn’t even make scrambled eggs. I had Hamburger Helper lining the pantry shelves with boxes…

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Cheddar Beer Soup

Nothing makes me appreciate a warming-from-the-inside-out kind of dish like spending a few days in Indianapolis this past week. Even local Indiana-ites were aghast at the jaw-clenching freezing temperatures this past week. A high of zero degrees? Really? Did they realize that a couple of Californians were present? Or was this just a special welcome wagon from the maniacal weather gods? However, the chilly air plus the big game today makes this the perfect timing for a yummy, creamy dish like this Cheddar Beer Soup from Epicurious. It’s thick, hot, and perfectly pairs with a dark IPA, so make a…

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Braised Ancho Chili Beef Short Ribs

If you thought it was about time for The Youngrens to post yet another braising recipe on Recipe Sunday, then I have two things to say: You know us too well. I like you already. Our friends know that Jeff and I can’t get enough braising over here at Casa de Youngren, so when my fellow blogger and Recipe Sunday assistant, Jenny, showed up with this mind-blowing recipe to make and photograph, I knew that we had found a new household favorite. Beef short ribs? Check. Ancho chilis? Check. Insane flavor?? Double check. Whenever you’re braising, don’t skip the seasoning…

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Candy Cane Marshmallows

Was this a seriously fast holiday season for anyone else? Since Thanksgiving was a week later than normal, I’ve been feeling the lack of that fourth holiday week to check everything off my Christmas to-dos. Presents bought? Check. Wrapped? Not so much. Decorations up? Check. House cleaned? Hmmm…. So if you’re anything like me and still have a few folks left on your list and need something quick and easy to give, these peppermint flavored Candy-Cane Marshmallows from Martha Stewart just might keep your boat afloat for another few days until the bells ring in Christmas morning. I’m not the…

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Pumpkin Soup with Chili Cran-Apple Relish

Thanksgiving feels much later in the month this year which means two things: 1) More time to build the epic 20 person farmhouse table for hosting Friendsgiving and 2) more time to overdose on pumpkin. Both of which are oh-so-good. When it comes to an easy first course for the droves of family and friends that will be taking over your humble abode this week (or even just a November date night in with your sweetie) this soup is a no fail crowd-pleaser. It’s no surprise that this soup is easy and delicious, though, because it comes from the queen…

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Cranberry Stuffed Cornish Game Hens

I know I’ve said this before but, Recipe Sunday is baaaaaa-aaaaack!! It’s been a little over a year since I last posted a Recipe Sunday and I have no excuses for my sudden cooking silence. Well, actually, I have plenty of excuses – things got busy, our business expanded into three, we’ve got seven employees and a studio now, we moved across the city, we’ve been flying across the country, bladdy-blah-blah-blah. Nothing but excuses coming from this side of town. But do you want to know the real reason for no Recipe Sundays for over a year? I couldn’t find…

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Featured: Style Me Pretty
Ralph and Julie’s Wedding at Casa Real

We’ve gotten a lot of love from the folks over at Style Me Pretty lately and the features just keep coming! First, Ralph and Julie’s lovely in pink Pleasanton wedding at Casa Real attracted a front page feature this week! Booyah! Check out the post and send Ralph and Julie some comment love for putting together such an elegant yet darling wedding!   Next, Style Me Pretty has been THE source of inspiration for new brides with their blog, and one of our Recipe Sunday posts got a fall nod with our Fresh Pear and Cranberry Pie. Check out the…

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Nut Encrusted Chicken Breasts

Just in case you haven’t fallen in love with Jillian Michaels and her fabulous Ripped in 30 Meal Plan quite yet, I think this recipe just may be the nail that locks her down in your kitchen goddess heart. This is the final recipe that we’re featuring from her meal plan, so if you haven’t checked out the other Jillian Michaels healthy dishes that we’ve been posting all summer long, definitely take a look. They’re all keepers and sooooo easy. This delightful crunchy twist on your everyday chicken breast will for sure be added to your well worn recipe binder under the…

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BBQ Chicken and Black Bean Burritos

Are you ready for one of my absolutely FAVORITE healthy recipes today on Recipe Sunday? But I need to warn you – before you read this, you may want to check your stomach rumbles because once you check out this post for BBQ Chicken and Black Bean Burritos from Jillian Michael’s Ripped in 30 Meal Plan your gonna be firing up the stove to throw it together for yourself. The barbecue sauce is tangy, the black beans are filling, and the chicken is packed with protein leaving everyone licking their chops and feeling totally satisfied but not painfully stuffed. What…

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Double Tomato Bruschetta

Happy Labor Day weekend my dear bloggy-blog! This weekend is one of my favorite weekends of the entire year because it officially marks the end of summer on the calendar, but the weather in San Diego is still hot, hot, hot! This means that all of the tourists crowds have gone home to tuck in for the fall, so us native San Diegans can officially come out and play! Woohoo! The beaches, the freeways, the parks, and just about everywhere in between seems so calm after Labor Day. Plus,  the next four months are my favorite time of the year…

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Grilled Chicken with Bourbon Peach Butter

I love my girlfriends because they’re cute, funny, and daring. And particularly daring when it comes to the kitchen. I’ve learned that myself + the kitchen + daring usually equals disaster, but for some reason my girlfriends manage daring with ease and flawless success. Which is partially why I keep them around. They bring up my average. Earlier this year, one of my my besties texted Jeff asking for a great bourbon. She’s not a bourbon drinker, so I could only think two things had happened. A miracle had occurred and I suddenly had a bourbon buddy or she was cooking….

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Grilled Sirloin Salad

What better way to mix the absolute best of summer – grilling a yummy piece of meat and preparing fresh crunchy vegetables – than in a salad? We’re back with yet another of Jillian Michael’s fabulously healthy and incredibly delicious recipes in this Grilled Sirloin Salad that has a spice rub that you’ll totally swoon over. This is the perfect lunch recipe or a light dinner with friends on the back patio, and it’s packed with so much protein that’ll it keep you going all day long. There’s nothing out of the ordinary with this salad, so don’t fret over buying…

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Brie en Croute with Walnuts and Brown Sugar

Melted cheese wrapped in a pastry filled with brown sugar and candied walnuts – now THAT’S what I call an appetizer. Creamy, warm cheese with crispy crackers, a hint of sugar, and a glass of zin – what else do you need on a breezy summer afternoon? Maybe a few more carbs? Let’s just add some cream cheese mashed potatoes paired with a toasted baguette loaded with butter. I’ll see you on the other side of my blissful carb coma. Our album designer, Julie, sent over this recipe that she made for her foodie hubby for an anniversary dinner and…

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Black Bean Chili

Happy Father’s Day everybody! I have the BEST Dad’s Day recipe ever for you guys – a Black Bean Chili with a summer twist. Your entire clan is going to flip over this yummy summer chili that’s so healthy, it’s part of Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 meal plan! In fact, this dish is totally vegan and you can’t even tell – it’s still hearty and thick. It’s packed with protein, filled with flavor, and bursting with chipotle spice. You make this with orange juice which gives it a light citrus summer flavor instead of heavy fall flavors, so it’s…

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Chicken Salad with Avocado and Mango

It’s bikini season. Ugh. I feel like I’m still trying to lose my holiday weight and suddenly I’m strapping on bikini bottoms. The whole ‘summer body’ thang hit Jeff and I hard when we were in Hawaii a month ago. We GORGED ourselves on nachos, Oreos, macadamia pancakes, rum and cokes, and beer. Lots and lots of Kona Brewing beer. Maybe our binging was our way of letting off some steam from our non-stop lives or maybe it was just our island mindset that calories and consequences don’t exist. But I gained exactly TEN POUNDS during that one week. Once…

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Beef and Ale Stew

What could ever make a slow cooked beef stew taste any better than it already does? Deliciously rich, warm, and hearty, this winter staple makes countless cameos in my farm kid vignetted memories of my mother’s kitchen. Example: Winter nights watching Chuck Norris battle Dallas crime in Walker: Texas Ranger on the black and white kitchen TV over a steamy bowl of beef and potatoes with a hunk of french loaf slathered in buttah… *drooling on keyboard* Those were my Saturday nights for many years – passing the time watching Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman until Chuck would break onto the scene and start kicking…

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