It’s December and, around here, that means my weekends are packed solid with get-togethers with friends, more friends, fringe friends I see once a year at these parties, and family. It also means goodies abound! And if those goodies aren’t loaded with tequila, butter, or sugar, then you know what that means:

Bacon. And cheese.

Because ’tis the season, y’all.

Next week, I join some fabulous bloggers and we’ll be talking recipes, tips, entertaining ideas – and while I cannot speak for the other bloggers, at least I will be talking about bacon :) for the #HEBJoyville Virtual Progressive Dinner Party!

Monday – Table Decor by Handmade Mood
Tuesday – Drinks & Wine by Quarter Life Crisis Cuisine
Wednesday – Appetizers by me!
Thursday – Main Course by A Zesty Bite
Friday – Desserts by The Baking Fairy

You, too, can join in the delicious fun and be entered to win a $100 HEB Gift Card and a $50 Prize Pack! Here’s how it works:
1. Instagram a photo each day of your favorite holiday dish, drink, and/or decor.
2. Include the hashtag #HEBJoyvilleSweeps
3. Tag @HEB.

Easy enough, right? And one winner will be chosen each day!

Be sure to give a follow on Pinterest as we’ll be curating our favorite holiday dishes and decor ideas throughout the week!

Happy Friday! And bacon.

In accordance with the FTC Guidelines, I am disclosing that I received compensation from H-E-B for my time and participation in the H-E-B Virtual Progressive Dinner. Although we have material connection to H-E-B, any publicly stated opinions of H-E-B and their brands remain my own.

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The 2nd item of our Favorite Things giveaway is for the Dinner Maker: a big 12-piece set of shiny, stainless steel Cuisinart cookware.

It’s all yours to do whatever you’d like to do. Boil, sear, simmer, scorch, and burn.

The Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Stainless Steel set includes everything you need to get cooking in nice, neat, orderly style:
– 1 1/2 & 3 quart sauce pans
– 8- and 10-inch skillets
– 3 1/2-quart saute pan
– 8-quart stockpot
– Steamer insert

The only thing it’s missing is a corkscrew and a spork. And then life would truly be complete.

To enter to win the cookware, simply put all your holly and your jolly aside, forget the reason for the season, pull out your very best Grinch face, and answer this question in the comments below: What Christmas song do you absolutely despise and why?

You might recall that in previous years, I have raged against Wham’s Last Christmas. And for good reason. SONGS ABOUT ONE-NIGHT STANDS ARE NOT CHRISTMAS SONGS EVEN IF THAT HOOKUP HAPPENED ON CHRISTMAS EVE.

But I’ve developed a Friday-Night-PJ-Dance-Party-With-A-4-Year-Old soft spot for Taylor Swift so when her version of Last Christmas comes on, I don’t immediately want to stab someone.

Baby steps.

Update1: The winner is Norma with comment #41 with her hatred of The Hippopotamus Song. It really is one of the worst.

Update2: Norma chose to ‘pay it forward’ so her prize is going to… Bianca!

You can earn up to 3 extra entries by:
– Leaving a separate comment below that you follow us on Twitter.
– Leaving a separate comment below that you follow us on Facebook.
– Leaving a separate comment below that you follow the blog’s Instagram feed.<

(Bonus entries must be left as separate comments to count as extra entries – your comment number is your “raffle ticket.”)

The fine print:
– Maximum of four (4) entries per person.
– Giveaway ends at 12:01am (Texas time!) on December 5th.
– Winner will be selected by one of those cold, soulless, unfeeling random number generator thingies and announced on this post.
– Winners will receive a Cuisinart MCP-12N MultiClad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set (maximum retail value of prize = $200).
– Prize must be claimed within 7 days or it will be forfeited.
– Winning “extra entry” comments subject to verification.
– Prize can only be shipped to a US address.
– Prize provided by Confections of a Foodie Bride, because we love you guys.
– Official giveaway rules can be found here.

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Roasted Pecan and Chorizo Dressing

This year, I decided to make two different dressings at Thanksgiving: next to the Roasted Jalapeno & Cheddar Cornbread dressing will sit this beauty. Because nothing says “I am thankful” to your loved ones like pushing multiple vats of carbs on them like it’s meth.

When my daughter came home from a weekend away at Gram’s house with two bags of pecans from their trees, I decided our favorite dressing would go ahead and make an appearance at Thanksgiving, but not before getting a Texas makeover.

Out with the roasted chestnuts and sausage, in with roasted Texas pecans and chorizo.

Roasted Pecan and Chorizo Dressing

Chorizo is a Mexican sausage that’s spiced with cumin, chile powder, garlic, and oregano among other things. It’s a staple around here for breakfast tacos and it adds a delicious twist to what is already The World’s Greatest Thanksgiving Dressing.

If we don’t speak before Thursday, have a safe and happy Thanksgiving! And don’t forget to enter this week’s My Favorite Things Holiday giveaway. I’ll be back next week with my contributions to a progressive holiday dinner. SO much fun!

Roasted Pecan and Chorizo Dressing

I should really go clean now. Because nobody judges dusty baseboards and a missed splatter on a kitchen floor tile quite like family.

Roasted Pecan and Chorizo Dressing

A Texas twist on the classic holiday dressing with chorizo and roasted pecans.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and rough chopped
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 green onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 bunch sage leaves
  • 1 handful flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 lb chorizo, removed from casing and crumbled
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ~1.5 lb loaf bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (enough to fill a 9x13 dish; I used a mixture of sourdough and multigrain)
  • 1 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 large eggs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil and spread pecans on top; cook for ~7 minutes until browned and fragrant.
  3. Butter or spray a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  4. Place the pecans and bread cubes into a very large bowl (or 2 not-so-large bowls - you need room to toss the bread with the other ingredients).
  5. In a food processor puree the carrot, onions, celery, sage, parsley, bell pepper, and garlic until you have a fine pulp.
  6. Set a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the sausage to the pan, cooking through about 5-7 minutes.
  7. Use a slotted spoon to remove the sausage and place in the bowl with the bread
  8. Add the vegetable pulp to the pan and saute until most of the moisture has evaporated.
  9. Season liberally with salt and pepper and transfer to the bread bowl.
  10. Whisk together chicken stock, cream, and eggs. Pour over the bread and toss to mix and coat well.
  11. Transfer dressing into the prepared dish and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown on the top.

Notes

Yields: ~12 servings

Adapted from Roasted Chestnut and Sausage Dressing

Estimated time: 1 hour

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Editing Food Blog Photos with Lightroom 5

It’s here! It’s here! The most wonderful tiiiiiiime of the year!

Which I’d normally tell you was right behind opening day of the NFL season and the day when $5/15lb bags of Rio Star grapefruit reappear in my grocery store. But since the latter happened this week and we celebrated appropriately – move over, football!

Editing Food Blog Photos with Lightroom 5

So here’s “Scary Elsa” to introduce the first of our 2014 holiday giveaways, dedicated to The Picture Taker: a Photography subscription on the Adobe Creative Cloud, which includes the latest releases of Lightroom and Photoshop.

Editing Food Blog Photos with Lightroom 5

In my Photo Friday series, I covered how I used Lightroom to edit my photos.

In the 8+ years (!) that I’ve been flooding the internet with pictures of my desserts and dinners, I’ve tried out different photo editing software. My workflow has changed over the years, even since I wrote the last “How I Edit” column, but what hasn’t changed: I have yet to find anything as user-friendly and compact as Lightroom 2 3 5.

Editing Food Blog Photos with Lightroom 5

Lightroom is the ultimate photography assistant. I can cook up a fantabulous pumpkin butter bundt cake, I can style a pretty decent shot, and I can take a pretty darn good photo. But what I need help doing? Breathing the life and vibrancy and detail back into the output file so that it looks to you exactly how it looked to me . Sitting in my living room floor.

Right before I ate a slice of it for breakfast.

Editing Food Blog Photos with Lightroom 5

We have paired up with the fine folks at Adobe to bring one of you guys a year-long subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan, with which you’ll be able to use Lightroom 5 (and 6, when it is released next spring!) as well as Photoshop CC to edit and create your own delicious masterpieces.

To enter the giveaway, simply answer the following question in the comments below: What is your very favorite animated Christmas program to watch during the holidays?

Mine is “Year Without a Santa Claus” and I am solidly on #TeamSnowMiser.

Update: Congratulations to Tara with comment #40!

Good luck!

The fine print:
– Maximum of one (1) entry per person.
– Giveaway ends at midnight (Texas time, y’all) on Friday, November 28.
– Winner will be selected by one of those cold, soulless, unfeeling random number generator thingies and announced on this post.
– Winners will receive a 1-Year Photography Subscription from Adobe (value ~$125).
– This prize in this giveaway is supplied direct by Adobe.
– Prize must be claimed within 7 days or it will be forfeited.
– Official giveaway rules can be found here.

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